European Responses to American Abstraction• Like their American contemporaries, European artists are heavily affected by the war.• In addition, European artists begin to respond to American abstraction. – Europeans had become familiar with Abstract Expressionism through the many exhibitions co- sponsored by the American government and sent abroad.
Postwar European Art• While America benefitted from the war, Europe was decimated.• Cities were nearly totally destroyed or leveled by the war.• Millions of lives were lost: – Over 60 million lives, 2.5⅟ of the world’s populations was lost. • An estimated 6 million Jews were exterminated as part of Nazi campaign • France lost 567,600 lives • Britain lost 670,000 lives • Japan lost 1,555,308 lives • America 418,500 lives • Soviet Union 23,400,000 lives
Postwar European ArtOn October 8, 1952 President Dwight D. Eisenhowerremarked: “Our aim in the Cold War is not conquering of territory or subjugation by force. Our aim is more subtle, more pervasive, more complete. We are trying to get the world, by peaceful means, to believe the truth. That truth is that Americans want a world at peace, a world in which all people shall have opportunity for maximum individual development. The means we shall employ to spread this truth are often called "psychological." Don’t be afraid of that term just because it’s a five-dollar, five-syllable word. "Psychological warfare" is the struggle for the minds and wills of men.”• Abstract Expressionism would become a tool in this campaign, part of the psychological warfare touting American democracy and way of living.
Postwar European Art• Eisenhower’s approach has been labeled “dynamic conservatism”.• The United States used its leverage-its economic stability to launch a campaign to stave off the influence of Communism.• The United States with its wealth attempts to buy anti-Communist allegiance from those countries hurt most (and in threat of falling to Communism) through various postwar assistance programs.
Postwar European Art• Part of the anti-Communist effort was a campaign that advertised the pleasures of democracy.• The Central Intelligence Agency launched what can best be described as a cultural campaign to fight Communism employing music, the visual and performing arts, literature, even home and appliance design to sell democracy to European countries.• The Congress for Cultural Freedom was in place by 1950. – Congress for Cultural Freedom sponsored art specifically targeted at the Soviet Union promoting art it had banned. – The thought was if a government could allow artists to create in such a free way, and show that to the world, the message received would be pro-American, that American freedom was a freedom of the individual, with the emphasis on every-man-for- himself.
Congress for Cultural Freedom• In 1952 The Congress for Cultural Freedom sponsored the "Masterpieces Festival" of modern art. – “On display will be masterpieces that could not have been created nor whose exhibition would be allowed by such totalitarian regimes as Nazi Germany or present day Soviet Russia and her satellites." – The primary art of this exhibition and a number of other widely publicized art extravaganzas during the fifties was Abstract Expressionism. – Nelson Rockefeller, whose family sat on the board of several NYC museums, purchased over 2500 pieces of Abstract Expressionist art and used these paintings to help in the campaign and to eventually decorate the lobbies of Chase Manhattan banks.
Congress for Cultural Freedom• CIA sponsored international exhibitions – In 1942, the Museum of Modern Art, in conjunction with the State Department, organizes “The Road to Victory,” a photography exhibition featuring the work of Edward J. Steichen, with text by Carl Sandburg. • The underlying theme was America had to win the war. – According to President Eisenhower MoMA was the fortress of freedom and democracy: • "As long as artists are at liberty to feel with high personal intensity, as long as our artists are free to create with sincerity and conviction, there will be a healthy controversy and progress in art….How different it is in tyranny, when artists are made the slaves and tools of the state; when artists become chief propagandists of a cause, progress is arrested and creation and genius are destroyed." • Modern art, in Eisenhower’s estimation, was a "pillar of liberty.” – 1953/4 exhibition "Twelve Contemporary American Painters and Sculptors” travels to Europe via the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. – Also organized by MoMA, the show “New American Painting” would travel internationally throughout 1958-59.
Postwar European ArtPablo Picasso (1881-1973)• Like American artists, European artists embrace existentialist philosophy.• As many did after World War I, artists returned to conventional subjects and forms of art.• Artists within The School of Paris, like Picasso revisited Pablo Picasso, The Charnel House, Paris, the human form. 1944-1945. Oil and charcoal on canvas, 6’6 5/8” x 8’ 2 ½”. Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Postwar European ArtAlberti Giacometti (1901-1966)• Many artists that had fled to the U.S. during the war return to Europe.• Surrealist sculptor, Alberto Giacometti, breaks from Surrealism to refocus his attention on the figure with existentialist interpretation. Alberto Giacometti, Man Pointing, 1947. Bronze, 70 ½” x 40 ¾” x 16 3/8”. Museum of Modern Art, NYC.
Postwar European ArtAlberti Giacometti (1901-1966)• Giacometti returns to the figure with Head of a Man on a Rod.• The piece exhibits indications of post- traumatic stress. – The work consists of a human head impaled on a rod, mouth open, head tilted back. – The presence of violence is felt in the expression of the man’s face and the gestural working of material. Alberto Giacometti, Head of a Man on a Rod, 1947. Bronze, 23 1/2" (59.7 cm) high, including bronze base 6 3/8 x 5 7/8 x 6”. Museum of Modern Art.
Postwar European ArtAlberti Giacometti (1901-1966)• The figures captured here in The Forest represents the the artist’s postwar style.• His figures are exceptionally expressionistic; they are elongated, retain his signature style of keeping the marks from working the material.• The Forest epitomizes the existentialist angst felt by most after WWII-a sense of alienation that cannot be soothed. Alberto Giacometti, The Forest (Composition with Seven Figures and One Head), 1950. Painted bronze, 22” x 24” x 19 ¼”. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.
Postwar European ArtGermaine Richier (1904-1959)• Richier’s early work resembles Rodin, from who she can trace her artistic lineage.• Her mature work takes a uniquely morbid twist represented here in Praying Mantis.• Surrealist tradition figured the praying mantis as a symbol for the castrating female, “the New Woman of Paris”.• Richier creates an ambiguous form that looks simultaneously like a seated figure and the insect from which it gets its name.• In context to the postwar era, the Germaine Richier, Praying Mantis, praying mantis becomes of symbol of 1949. Bronze, height 47 ¼”. endurance. Middleheim Sculpture Museum, Antwerp.
Postwar European ArtBalthasar Klowwowski, Count de Rola (1908-2001)Balthus• Closely associated with Giacometti.• Early influence comes from mother and father who were both painters.• Self-taught, spent time studying master artists from the Louvre collection.• Known for the subject matter captured here-prepubescent young girls coming of age. Balthus, Les Beaux Jours (The Golden Days), 1944- 46. Oil on canvas, 4’ 10 ½” x 6’6 ¾”. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Postwar European ArtBalthus (1908-2001)• The young girl is figured striking a lolita- esque pose in a chaise lounge with exposed chest .• Her posture is reminiscent of the Renaissance and modern masters’ paintings of courtesans.• Included in the background is an older male figure whose presence makes the viewer uneasy after reviewing the young girl’s posture. Balthus, Les Beaux Jours (The Golden• Scholars interpret Balthus’ work as Days), 1944-46. Oil on canvas, 4’ 10 ½” commentary on a Europe haunted by x 6’6 ¾”. Hirshhorn Museum and war. Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Francisco Goya, The NudeGiorgione, Sleeping Venus, c. Majas, 1792. Oil on1510. Oil on canvas, 42.5” x canvas, 38.6” x 75.2”. Prado 68.9”. Gemäldegalerie Alte Museum, Spain. Meister, Dresden Balthus, Les Beaux Jours (The Golden Days), 1944-46. Oil on canvas, 4’ 10 ½” x 6’6 ¾”. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture ÉdouardTitian, Venus of Urbino, 1538. Garden, Smithsonian Manet,Olympia,1863-65. Oil on canvas 47” x 65”. Institution, Washington, D.C. Oil on canvas, 4’3” x 6’2 Uffizi, Florence. ¾”. Musée dOrsay, Paris.
Postwar European Art • One can also make draw connections between Balthus’ image and that of Munch’s Puberty, 1894/5. – Both artists feature young girls at the age of maturation. Balthus, Les Beaux Jours (The GoldenDays), 1944-46. Oil on canvas, 4’ 10 ½” x 6’6 ¾”. Edvard Munch, Puberty, 1894-1895. Oil Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture on canvas, 59 5/8” x 43 ¼”. National Garden, Smithsonian Gallery, Oslo.
Balthus, Les Beaux Jours (The Golden Days), 1944- 46. Oil on canvas, 4’ 10 ½” x 6’6 ¾”. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.• Balthus’ young girl is figured with a mirror, traditionally used as a symbol of female vanity.• In Ways of Seeing (1972), author John Berger writes: “The mirror was often used as a symbol of the vanity of woman. The moralizing, however, was mostly hypocritical. You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, you put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting Vanity, thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for your own pleasure.” Diego Velázquez, Rokeby Venus, 1647-1651. Oil on canvas, 48” x 69.7”. National Gallery, London.
Postwar European Art: L’Art BrutJean Dubuffet (1901-1985)• Of the European artists painting in the postwar era, Dubuffet presented a specific retaliation to the New York School.• His “Anticultural Positions” given in Chicago in 1951, became of the most influential aesthetic statements of the postwar period.• Dubuffet argued, in part, for the return to figuration-something represented here in his Corps de Dame series. Jean Dubuffet, Corps de Dame- Château d’Étoupe, 1950. Oil on canvas, 45 1/16” x 34 7/16”. Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio.
Postwar European Art: L’Art BrutJean Dubuffet (1901-1985)• Prior to becoming an artist, Dubuffet was a successful wine salesman.• His turn to art in early the 1940s would establish him as an artist amongst the postwar avant-garde.• His interest in the mentally ill would be instrumental in establishing a style called “L’Art Brut” or brutal or raw art. Jean Dubuffet, Corps de Dame- Château d’Étoupe, 1950. Oil on canvas, 45 1/16” x 34 7/16”. Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio.
Postwar European Art: L’Art BrutL’Art Brut (1945-1950s)• Translated as “raw art” and is often referred to as outsider art.• Inspired by the teachings of Dr. Prinzhorn, Dubuffet took an interest in the mentally ill, school children, the incarcerated and criminally insane, primitive, and naïve. – His collection of thousands of works are housed in a museum dedicated to outsider art in Switzerland.• He embraced “low art” in a world Jean Dubuffet, Supervielle, Large Banner Portrait, 1945. that championed the fine art of the Oil on canvas 51 ¼” x 38 ¼”. New York School. Art Institute of Chicago.
Postwar European Art: L’Art BrutJean Dubuffet (1901-1985)• Dubuffet’s work reflects the naïve styling of the untrained.• His work is anti- intellectual, natural, and authentic- a grittier side of the unconscious tapped into by Surrealists and Abstract Expressionist artists alike. Jean Dubuffet, View of Paris: The Life of Pleasure, 1944. Oil on canvas, 35 x 45 ¾”. Private Collection.
Postwar European Art: L’Art BrutJean Dubuffet (1901-1985)• Dubuffet also used unconventional materials and found objects including driftwood, sponges, twine, etc.• His L’Âme du Morvan makes use of grapevines.• From these raw, found materials he was able to forge a rough figure reminiscent of Giacometti’s postwar figures. – Like Giacometti’s work, the Jean Dubuffet, L’Âme du arrangement possesses existentialist Morvan) The Soul of angst and expressivity. Morvan), May 1954. Grape – One might interpret the scene as the wood and vines mounted on postwar wasteland of any given slag base with European city. tar, rope, wire, twine, nails, and staples, 18 3/8” x 15 3/8” x 12 ¾”. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture
Postwar European ArtJean Dubuffet, L’Âme du Morvan) The Soul of Morvan), May 1954. Grape wood and vines mounted on slag base with tar, rope, wire, twine, nails, and staples, 18 Alberto Giacometti, Man Pointing, 1947.3/8” x 15 3/8” x 12 ¾”. Hirshorn Museum and Bronze, 70 ½” x 40 ¾” x 16 3/8”. Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. Museum of Modern Art, NYC.
Postwar European Art: L’Art BrutJean Dubuffet (1901-1985)• 1950s, Dubuffet focuses on landscapes.• As seen here, his landscapes are unique described best as close-up shoots of nature (the earth, dirt, vegetation). Jean Dubuffet, The Exemplary Life of the Soil (Texturology LXIII) (Vie exemplaire du sol (Texturologie LXIII)), 1958. Oil on canvas, 51 ¼” x 63 ¾”. Tate, London.
Postwar European Art • Interestingly, his Texturology series bears some resemblance to Pollock’s drip paintings from the 1950s. Jean Dubuffet, The Exemplary Life of theJackson Pollock, One (Lavender Mist), 1950. Oil Soil (Texturology LXIII) (Vie exemplaire duand enamel paint on canvas, 8 10" x 17 5 5/8”. sol (Texturologie LXIII)), 1958. Oil onNational Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. canvas, 51 ¼” x 63 ¾”. Tate, London.
Postwar European ArtL’Art Informel and Tachisme
Postwar European Art: L’Art Informel TachismeL’Art Informel (1940 and 1950s)• Term used to designate an art form associated with European gestural abstraction.• Originated in 1950 by Michel Tapiés to describe what considered another art, one that had no preconception, no need for control or geometric abstraction. – Concern was more for a lack of form. – Emphasis was on the spontaneous, the unplanned• L’Art Informel include artists: Hans Hartung, Wols, Jean Fautrier, Nicolas de Staël, and Pierre Soulages (also Georges Mathieu, Gerard Schneider)
Postwar European Art: L’Art Informel TachismeTachisme (1940s ad 1950s)• The term tachisme means to drip, blot, stain, or spot and has obvious affinities with many methods employed by first and second generation artists of the New York School.• It is a specific reaction to Cubism and its geometric abstraction.• Characterized by free and gestural brushwork, marks of paint made directly from the paint tube, and action painting with calligraphic forms.• Considered the French equivalent to Abstract Expressionism.• Part of the larger movement, L’Art Informel.• Important artists associated with the movement include : Jean-Paul Riopelle, Jean Dubuffet, Pierre Soulages, Nicholas de Stael, Hans Hartung, Serge Poliakoff, Georges Mathieu and Jean Messagier.
Postwar European Art: L’Art Informel“No art form can produceemotion if it does not mix in apart of reality.” - Jean Fautrier Jean Fautrier Nude, 1960. Oil on canvas, 35” x 57 ½”. Collection de Montaigu, Paris.
Postwar European Art: L’Art InformelJean Fautrier (1898-1964)• Fautrier was a leading figure of L’Art Informel.• Inspired Dubuffet to return to art.• Rejected geometric abstraction and premeditation of process.• Like most artists of the postwar period, rational art could no longer be justified. – In a world where mass annihilation was possible, the time called for a new way of producing art. Jean Fautrier Nude, 1960. Oil on canvas, 35” x 57 ½”. Collection de Montaigu, Paris.
Postwar European Art: L’Art InformelJean Fautrier (1898-1964)• Early work of 1920s and 1930s characterized as representational with an abundance of nudes, flowers, and landscapes where black dominates.• His work allows for no illusion.• Disaffected by studies at both the Royal Academy of Art and the Slade School he instead studied the works of artists like J.M.W. Turner in the Tate Gallery. Jean Fautrier, Les peaux de lapin (The Rabbit Skins), 1927. Oil on canvas, 51 1/8” x 38 ¼”. Marie-José Lefort, Geneva, Switzerland.
Postwar European Art: L’Art InformelJean Fautrier (1898-1964)• Fautrier gained attention with the production of a series of works known as the Hostage series.• Inspired by the atrocities of the war and his personal experience with the German Gestapo.• Small in scale, the artist built up several layers of paint over a neutrally colored sheet of paper.• The designs recall human remains. Jean Fautrier, Otages fond noir (Hostages Black Ground), 1944-47, printed c. 1962. Etching, relief printed, plate: 9 1/4 x 12 9/16”. Museum of Modern Art.
Postwar European Art: L’Art InformelJean Fautrier (1898-1964)• Fautrier’s Naked Torsos series followed the Hostage series and won him the award at the Venice Biennale.• Like the Hostage series, Fautrier creates forms suggestive of human remains.• His canvas is a thick application of clay, paint, glue, and other materials the result of which create a three dimensionality to the painting. Jean Fautrier Nude, 1960. Oil on canvas, 35” x 57 ½”. Collection de Montaigu, Paris.
Postwar European ArtHans Hartung (1895-1981)• Directly affected by Nazi occupation, Hartung fled Germany in the 1930s and settled in Paris in 1935.• His early work from the 1920s suggests de Kooning’s brand of gestural abstraction associated with the New York School.• He was influenced by artists including Kandinsky and the Surrealism of Míro and Masson.• Hartung believed that painting was an act performed on the Hans Hartung, T-1954-20, 1954. Oil canvas, something critics Rosenberg on canvas, 57 ½” x 38 ⅜”. and Kaprow discuss in essays National Gallery of
Franz Kline, Nijinsky, 1950. Enamel on canvas, 46” x 35 ¼”. Collection Muriel Kallis Newman, Chicago.• T-1954 represents Hartung’s mature style, (a style influenced by exposure to artist Franz Kline), characterized by black slashes against bright washes of color.Hans Hartung, T-1954-20, 1954. Oil on canvas, 57 ½” x 38 ⅜”. National Gallery of Art, Australia, Canberra.
Postwar European Art(Alfred Otto Wolfgan Schulzer)(1913-1951)Wols• Attended the Bauhaus and was mentored by László Moholy-Nagy.• Nagy advised him to move to Paris where he was introduced to Amédée Ozenfant, Fernand Léger and Surrealist artists Hans Arp (1887-1966), Joan Míro, Max Ernst, and Alberto Giacometti.• Interned by the French during the war. – Work produces at that time recalls the Surrealist style of exquisite corpse drawings. Wols, Bird, 1949. Oil on canvas, 36 ¼” x 25 3/8”. Menil Collection, Houston, TX.
André Breton, Valentine Hugo, Greta Knustin, and Wols, On lui fait une radio, 1939. Tristan Tzara, Exquisite Corpse, c. 1930; ink on Mixed media (pen, possibly ink or paper, 9 ¼” x 12¼”. Morton G. Neumann watercolor on paper), dimensions Family Collection. unpublished. Collection unknown.
Postwar European ArtWols (1913-1951)• Like Fautrier, Wols builds the canvas to sculptural dimensions with layers of paint.• Biomorphic specimens, possibly informed by associations with Surrealist artists, or his background studying anthropology and biology, is noticeable.• His work retained a trace of the trauma he experienced during the war years. – That and his move to the United States arguably contributed to his alcoholism which killed him in 1951 at the age of 38. Wols, Bird, 1949. Oil on canvas, 36 ¼” x 25 3/8”. Menil Collection, Houston, TX.
Post War European ArtGeorges Mathieu (b.1921)• Cast as a Lyrical Abstraction artist.• Strong promoter of L’Art Informel as alternative to geometric abstraction.• Credits first experiments with abstraction to Edward Crankshaw’s Joseph Conrad: Some Aspects of the Art of the Novel (London, 1936).• Calligraphic style draws parallels to Hartung.
Postwar European Art Georges Mathieu, Painting,1953. Oil onHans Hartung, 24, 1953. Etching, 14.8“ x canvas, 6’6” x 9’10”. Guggenheim 20.1“. Galerie Boisserée. Museum of Art, NYC.
Postwar European ArtGeorges Mathieu (b.1921)• Process applies paint to canvas directly from tubes in a slashing gestural motion.• Believed that speed was paramount to capturing the spontaneity desired and intuitive process.• Titles works after French battles in history insisting his style is part of traditional history painting-just in an abstract form.• Title, Painting suggests the topic of work is medium itself.• Would perform before audiences in outfits making the process of painting truly an Georges Mathieu, Painting, 1953. Oil on event. canvas, 6’6” x 9’10”. Guggenheim Museum of Art, NYC.
Postwar European ArtPure Creation/Concrete Art (1947-1950s)• The term “Concrete Art” was first used by Theo van Doesburg in his 1930 publication, "Manifesto of Concrete Art".• According to van Doesburg this form of abstractionism must be free of any symbolical association with reality, arguing that lines and colors are concrete by themselves.• The idea was revived again in 1944-1947.• Artist Max Bill promoted van Doesburg’s idea and organized the first international exhibition of Concrete Art in 1944. – Bill’s Pure Creation Art evolved out of the tradition of de Stijl, Constructivism, the Futurists, and Kandinsky. – Artist Josef Albers promoted the idea in America.
Postwar European Art: Pure Creation/Concrete Art Nicolas de Staël (1914-1955) • One of the earliest European abstractionists to attract international attention. • Studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. • Considered his work within art historical tradition as a continuation of Poussin, Matisse, and Braque. • Much of his work is dedicated to reconciling abstract versus nature. • His process involved using a palette knife to build layers onto the surface of the canvas. – He worked with loosely arranged rectangular shapes to construct his designs. Nicolas de Staël, Agrigente, 1954. Oil on canvas, 34 ¾” x 50 ½”. Museum of Contemporary Art,
Postwar European Art: Pure Creation/Concrete Art• One sees a similarity in compositional organization between de Staël’s Agrigente and Poussin’s Holy Family. Nicolas Poussin, Holy Family on the Nicolas de Staël, Agrigente, 1954. Oil on Steps, 1648. Oil on canvas, 28”x44”. canvas, 34 ¾” x 50 ½”. Museum of Cleveland Museum of Art. Contemporary Art, LA.
Postwar European Art: Pure Creation/Concrete Art Max Bill (1908-1994) • Studied at Bauhaus 1927-1929 with Albers. • Believed painting and sculpture had mathematical foundations. • His work is indebted to the teachings of Albers and example of Mondrian. • Bill first applied the term “concrete” to his art in 1936. • He defined Concrete art as, “painting [that] eliminates all naturalistic representation; it avails itself exclusively of the fundamental elements of painting, the color and form of the surface. The essence is, then, he complete emancipation of every natural model…” Max Bill, Endless Ribbon From A Ring I • Concrete art promoted the (1947-1949)/(EXECUTED 1960). Gilded rationalism, balance, and clarity valued copper on crystalline, 14 ½” x 27” x 7 in the Bauhaus style. ½“. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Postwar European Art: Pure Creation/Concrete ArtMax Bill, Nine Fields by Means of Two Colors Piet Mondrian, Composition in Red, Blue, , 1968. Oil on canvas, 47” x 47”. Albright- and Yellow, 1930. Oil on canvas, 20 1/8" Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. x 20 1/8". Museum of Modern Art.
Postwar European ArtPostwar Juxtapositions: Figurationand Abstraction in Italy and Spain
Postwar European ArtGiorgio Morandi (1890-1964)• Italian art of the postwar period, like its predecessors, the Futurists, was very much tied to political views.• Realism maintained a strong presence in postwar Italy.• Morandi arose as the leading figurative painter of the postwar period.• He explored landscape and the human form but his main subject remained the still life. Giorgio Morandi, Still Life, 1951. Oil on canvas, 8 7/8” x 19 5/8”. Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen.
Postwar European Art• Morandi’s still lifes continue in the tradition of Baroque masters.• His still lifes gather together containers set against a neutral background.• His arrangements are simple and broken down to their most abstract forms. Juan Sánchez Cotán, Still Life with Giorgio Morandi, Still Life, 1951. Oil on Quince, Cabbage, Melon, andcanvas, 8 7/8” x 19 5/8”. Kunstsammlung Cucumber, 1602. Oil on canvas, 27.2” x Nordrhein-Westfalen. 33.5”. San Diego Museum of Art.
Postwar European Art“ My equestrian figures are symbols of the anguish I feel when I survey contemporary events. Little by little, my horses become more restless, their riders less and less able to control them.” -Marino Marini Marino Marini, Horse and Rider, 1952-53. Bronze, height 6’10”. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C.
Postwar European ArtMarino Marini (1901-1980)• Marini’s work is rooted in a deep tradition of figurative sculpture.• He draws inspiration from ancient Greek, Etruscan, Roman, and Chinese art.• Unlike his Futurist predecessors, he firmly believed contemporary art to be fused with art of the past.• The horse and rider was a preferred theme of the artist and he looked to the ancient cultures (Roman and Tang dynasty, China) for Marino Marini, Horse and examples. Rider, 1952-53. Bronze, height 6’10”. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Museum,
Marino Marini, Horse and Rider, 1952-53. Bronze, height 6’10”. Hirshorn Museum and Equestrian status of Sculpture Marcus Aurelius, ca. Garden, Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C. Horse and Rider, Tag 175CE. Gilded Bronze, dynastey, c. 650-700 CE. Asianapproximately 138” high. Art Museum of San Francisco in Musei Capitolini, Rome. California.
Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937. Oil on canvas, 11’6” x 25’ 8”. Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid.• The expressive quality of gesture also gives cause for comparison to Picasso’s Guernica. Marino Marini, Horse and Rider, 1952-53. Bronze, height 6’10”. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C.
Postwar European ArtGiacomo Manzù (1908-1991)• The figurative tradition continued in the work of Italian Manzù who was known for his religious sculptures.• Large Standing Cardinal is part of a larger series titled, Cardinal series.• In this series the artist continues a conversation begun in his earlier Crucifixion series commenting on fascism .• Manzù presents a traditional figural sculpture with an air of mystery. Giacomo Manzù, Large Standing Cardinal, 1954. Bronze, height 66 ½”. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian
Postwar European ArtLucio Fontana (1899-1968)• Argetentian-born painter, sculptor, and theorist.• Leading representative of abstract artists working in Italy after WWII.• Member of the Abstraction-Creation group centered in Paris.• 1935 writes The First Manifesto of Italian Abstract Artists to be followed in 1946 by the better known, White Manifesto. – Informed by Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto and espoused what would later become known as Spatialism. Lucio Fontana, Spatial Concept: The End of God, 1963. Oil on canvas, 70” x 48 ½”. Gallerie dell’Ariete, Milan.
Postwar European Responses Spatialism (1947-1960s)• Spatialism Manifesto written between 1947-1952.• Spatialism combines ideas from the Dada, Tachisme, and Concrete Art.• Fontana wanted to create art for "a new age" that would show the "real space of the world."• Spaitialism rejects illusionistic space of traditional easel painting.• Advocated free development of form and movement.• What separated the movement from Abstract Expressionism was the concept of eradicating the art of the easel and paint, and try to capture movement and time as the main tenets in the work.• Like Lyrical Abstraction and L’Art Informel, Spatialism rejects premeditation and seeks art (much like Schwitters’ Merz Pictures) become part of its surroundings.
Postwar European ArtLucio Fontana (1899-1968)• Works like Spatial Concept capture his Spatialist ideas.• His Concetti Spaziale from the 1950s anticipate Conceptualism of the 1970s in their experimentation with light, space, and environment.• Spatial Concept: The End of God is existentialist in approach and demonstrates where Fontana takes Spatialism in the 1960s. Lucio Fontana, Spatial Concept: The End of God, 1963. Oil on canvas, 70” x 48 ½”. Gallerie dell’Ariete, Milan.
Postwar European ArtLucio Fontana (1899-1968)• Like, Spatial Concept: The End of God, in Concetto spaziale Fontana pierces the surface breaking through the picture plane-the traditional object of modernist debate and attack against tradition.• Gesture for Fontana was associated with the exploration of artistic medium, not the performative aspect Lucio Fontana, Concetto spaziale, (Attese), 1965. Water-based paint on canvas 32" x 25 5/8" . Folkwang Museum Essen, Germany.
Postwar European ArtAntoni Tàpies (b.1923)• Tàpies became one of Spain’s most important postwar artists.• Like Picasso, he drew inspiration from the landscape of his native Catalonia and its culture.• His early work from the 1940s explores both figurative and abstract forms and exhibits a heavy use of impasto.• To explore textural qualities of paint he mixed ground up chalk and pigment with oil paint then scratched away at the surface area to create multi-dimensional pieces.• In September 1948, he became a founding member of the Dau al set, a group of artists Antoni Tàpies, Painting Collage, 1964. Mixed influenced by Surrealist media on canvas, 14” x 22”. Galleria automatism. Toninelli, Rome.
Postwar European ArtAntoni Tàpies (b.1923)• His international reputation was solidified in the 1950s with a group of works that do not fit neatly into the categories of painting or sculpture.• During the 1960s, under a Pop influence, Tàpies began to introduce found objects into his mixed media paintings.• Selection of objects was based anthropomorphic possibilities.• Here, Tàpies presents a mixed media collage suggestive of an anthropological dig.• The materials he selects to create his collages are humble and parallel the Antoni Tàpies, Painting Collage, 1964. work of the Arte Povera artists. Mixed media on canvas, 14” x 22”. Galleria Toninelli, Rome.
Postwar European Art: CoBrACoBrA (1948-1951)• Founded in Paris by Asger Jorn (from Copenhagen), Joseph Noiret and Christian Dotremont (from Brussels) and Constant, Corneille and Karel Appel (from Amsterdam) signed the manifesto La Cause était entendue’ (The Case was Heard).• CoBrA was a response to a statement by the French Surrealists entitled La Cause est entendue (The Case is Heard).• CoBrA artists rejected premeditation; they wanted to work spontaneously and with more fantastical imagery.• CoBra wanted their work to be expressive, colorful and unconventional- they rejected academy standards.• CoBrA artists worked with many media, experimentation was paramount.• Artists associated with CoBrA include Piere Alechinsky ,Else Alfelt, Karel Appel, Mogens Balle, Ejler Bille, Corneille, Christian Dotremont, Sonja Ferlov, Stephen Gilbert, Svavar Gudnason, Henry Heerup, C. O. Hultén, Egill Jacobsen, Erik Ortvad, Carl-Henning Petersen,Max Walter Svanberg, and Anders Österlin
Postwar European Art: CoBrAAsger Jorn (1914-1973)• CoBra artists experimented with material and technique, allowing for chance to assist.• Birds, cats and dogs, fantasy animals, and hybrids dominate.• Like L’Art Brut, CoBrA artists found inspiration in children’s drawings, the art of the mentally unstable, folklore, and the masks of African peoples.• Jorn reacted most against the Concrete artists’ search for balance and harmony.• He was personally interested in mythic tradition, and Nordic folklore. Asger Jorn, The Enigma of Frozen Water, 1970. Oil on canvas, 63 ¾” x 51 ⅛”. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Postwar European Art: CoBrA“You have to learn it all, then forget it and start again like a child. This is the inner evolution.” -Karel Appel Karel Appel, Willem Sandberg, 1956. Oil on canvas, 51 ¼” x 31 ⅞”. Museum of Fine
Postwar European Art: CoBrAKarel Appel (1921-2006)• Like Jorn, Appel’s work never evacuated the figurative.• He painted with heavy impasto and bright colors.• Appel, like Dubuffet was drawn to an intuitive and spontaneous process.• The subject of this portrait, Willem Sandberg, was the director of Amsterdam’s Stedeljik Museum and advocate of experimental modern art. – Sandberg gained admiration for both his unabashed defense of CoBra and effort to save Dutch Jews during WWII. Karel Appel, Willem Sandberg, 1956. Oil on canvas, 51 ¼” x 31 ⅞”. Museum of Fine
Postwar European WarHundertwasser (1928-2000)• Hundertwasser continues the tradition of Austria’s Art Nouveau and Expressionist artists.• His style was largely based on the imagery developed by earlier artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele – He shares Klimt’s jewel-like tones.• Hundertwasser survived Nazi Germany by remaining in disguise.• His later work focused on designing urban architecture. Hundertwasser, House which was born in Stockholm, dies in Paris, and myself mourning it, 1965. Mixed media, 32” x 23 2/3”. Private Collection.
Postwar European ArtPostwar British Painting and Sculpture
Postwar European Art “…a terrible beauty…” -Francis BaconFrancis Bacon, Painting, 1946. Oil on canvas, 6’6” x 4’4”. Museum of Modern Art.
Postwar European Art Francis Bacon (1909-1992) • Bacon’s Painting is a compilation of images that recall the works of of Rembrandt and Velázquez. • Bacon paints a dark scene of disfigured bodies-animal and human. • While alive, the artist asserted the objects appeared accidently. • Pictured in the scene is a figure that emerges from a dark background with a horrific grin. – Surrounding the figure are slabs of meat, including one strung up to resemble a crucifixion scene. • Most scholars agree the overarching method is one of fear and intimidation, of uncensored power.Francis Bacon, Painting, 1946. Oil on canvas, 6’6” x 4’4”. Museum of Modern Art.
Rembrandt van Rijn, Carcass ofBeef, 1655. Oil on panel, 37” x 27”. Art Francis Bacon, Painting, 1946. Oil on Institute of Chicago. canvas, 6’6” x 4’4”. Museum of Modern
Chaïm Soutine, Carcass of Beef, 1926. Francis Bacon, Painting, 1946. Oil on Oil on canvas, 45 ¾ x 31 ¾”. canvas, 6’6” x 4’4”. Museum ofMinneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota, Modern Art.
Postwar European ArtFrancis Bacon (1909-1992)• Like many countries in Europe, Britain’s artists made a return to the figure.• Bacon was a self-taught artist whose subject matter focused on the existential and macabre.• His paintings often visited the work of Baroque artists with modern commentary.• His Head VI from 1949 quotes Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent and transforms the pope into a grotesque skeletal-like figure. – Some scholars interpret this as commentary on gays in the Catholic Francis Bacon, Head VI, 1949. Oil on church or its role in WW II. canvas, 36 ⅝” x 30 ⅛”. Arts Council Collection, London.
Diego Velázquez , Portrait of Pope Innocent Francis Bacon, Head VI, 1949. Oil on X, 1650. Oil on canvas, 25 ½” x 19 ½”. canvas, 36 ⅝” x 30 ⅛”. Arts Council Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome. Collection, London.
Postwar European ArtLucian Freud (1922-2011)• Grandson of Sigmund Freud.• Recognized while he was alive as one of Britain’s premiere modern painters.• His style is rooted in unapologetic realism.• His figures strike provocative and unconventional poses.• His portraits are committed to the realizing the physical characteristics of the viewer.• The integrity of the form is paramount in his paintings.• His portraits maintain the tradition of the New Objectivity of the 1920s Lucian Freud, Girl with a white dog, 1951-52. Weimar Germany. Oil on canvas, 30” x 40”. Tate, London.
Postwar European ArtLucian Freud (1922-2011)• The nude figures was the dominant subject of Freud’s work.• The 1950s witnessed the loosening of Freud’s brushwork, however his gaze was unrelenting.• His models were most often friends and relatives, with the occasional commission from celebrities and wealthy dignitaries, including the Queen.• His portraits, although recognized by the art world drew criticism by many because of their “ugly” treatment of the subject.• The topography of Freud’s paintings met his intention was to capture the living Lucian Freud, Reflection (Self- quality of flesh, muscle, and blood. Portrait), 1983-85. Oil on canvas, 22 ⅛” x 20 ⅛”. Private Collection.
Lucian Freud, Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, 2001. Oil on Lucian Freud, Portrait of Kate Moss, 2002. canvas, 9” x 6”. Private Oil on canvas, ~6’ x 4’. Private
Postwar European ArtHenry Moore (1896-1986)• During WWII he made thousands of drawings of the underground air-raid shelters in London.• 1930s Moore defends his artistic personality against the styles of the day.• Like his contemporary, Francis Bacon, Moore studied the effects of the war on the human condition. – His is a more introspective psychological Henry Moore, Study for Tube Shelter study than the outwardly aggressive Perspective, 1940-41. works of Bacon. Pencil, wax, crayon, colored crayon, watercolor, wash, pen and ink, 10 ½” x 6 ½”. Collection Mrs. Henry Moore, England.
Postwar European ArtHenry Moore (1896-1986)• Postwar English sculpture can be summed up in the work of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.• Always faithful to his origins in abstraction, he continued to work in a biomorphic mod even at its most reductive.• Early 1950s brought new experiments in his work which resulted in more naturalistic, attenuated figures.• His late were executed for the most part in bronze which gives each piece its own range of effects from the most jagged to the most Henry Moore, King and Queen, 1952-53. Bronze, height 63 ½”. Hirshorn Museum and biomorphically finished. Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C.
Yuny and his wife, Renenutet, early Dynasty 19, late reign of Sety--early reign of Ramesses II,ca. 1290-1270 B.C.Limestone, h. 2’ 10”. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.Henry Moore, King and Queen, 1952- 53. Bronze, height 63 ½”. Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C.
Postwar European ArtBarbara Hepworth (1903-1975)• Like Moore, she too had to defend her style amidst the styles of 1930s modernism.• Pieces are small in scale with great impact.• She most preferred to work in wood or stone.• She was inspired to create her groups after watching people walking thru town centers in Venice. Barbara Hepworth, Two Segments and Sphere, 1935-36. Marble, 10 ½” x 10 ½” x 8 ½”. Private Collection.
Postwar European ArtBarbara Hepworth (1903-1975)• Discovered personal style thru a series of Groups.• Her groups were related to her earlier compositions, all of which capture her interest in Cycladic sculpture.• Much of her 1950s work was a response to the landscape of rocks, cliffs, and the sea surrounding her home in Cornwall along with Neolithic stone menhirs (stones) that populated the areas landscape. Barbara Hepworth, Group II (Evocation), 1952. Marble, height 9”. Private Collection.
Figurine of a Cycladic idol, from Syros (Cyclades), ca. 2500-2300BCE. Marble; 1’6” high. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. Barbara Hepworth, Group II (Evocation),1952. Marble, height 9”. Private Collection. Sumerian votive statues, Abu Temple, c. 2400 BCE. Marble, various size from 3” to 24”. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Postwar European Art • Her work recalls that of Giacometti’s figures with Tanguy’s Surrealist landscapes. Alberto Giacometti, The Forest (Composition with Seven Figures and One Head), 1950. PaintedBarbara Hepworth, Group II (Evocation), 1952. bronze, 22” x 24” x 19 ¼”. Marble, height 9”. Private Collection. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.
Postwar European ArtRobert Doisneau (1912-1994)• French photographer.• Roamed the streets of Paris looking for what he considered the “unimaginable image within the marvels of daily life”.• His approach was witty with a serious whimsy. – His work managed to brighten a city that was distraught after the war. Robert Doisneau, The Sideways Glance, 1948-1949. Gelatin-silver print.
Postwar European ArtRobert Doisneau (1912-1994)• Doisneau focused on the everyday activities of Parisians.• His work brought an air of laughter, enjoyment, folly to an otherwise damaged country feeling the pangs of existentialist angst. Robert Doisneau, Kiss By the Hotel de Ville, 1950. Gelatin-silver print.