To create the spiraling, anthropomorphic figures seeing in Memnon and The Butterflies (1942), Kurt Seligmann traced patterns of cracked glass that he projected onto his canvas. He was inspired by the vast open terrain of the American Southwest and elements from European mythology to create what he described, as psychological, “cyclonic“ landscapes where “living being seem to detach themselves from torturous geological formations. A world in formation – not the heroic landscapes of prehistory, but rather a lyrical one.” Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: Kurt Seligmann, Memnon and The Butterflies→
Paraskeva Clark (1898 – 1986) came to Toronto via Paris as a Russian émigré, arriving in 1931. Having experienced the 1917 Russian revolution firsthand, she never forgot its terrors or its utopian promise. Once in Canada, she remain committed to her homeland. In 1942, the year in which she painted Self Portrait With a Concert Program, her country was under siege during the Second World War. At that time, she held a sale of her paintings in support of the Canadian Aid to Russia Fund. In this painting, she incorporates the paper program from a concert of Russian music into the surface of her work, her gaze meeting ours with wary pride.
Photographed in the Vancouver Art Museum in Vancouver BC.
Originally trained as an architect, Roberto Matta settled in France in 1933, where he worked with Le Corbusier. During a visit to Spain in 1934, he befriended the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who was assassinated two years later by agents of the Fascist leader, Francisco Franco. In a tribute to his friend, Matta composed a screenplay called The Earth Is A Man, and the text’s apocalyptic imagery, rapidly shifting perspectives, and emotional language became the principal source of his artistic work over the next five years.
This large canvas is the culmination of Matta’s project. Exhibited shorty after its completion (in 1942) in New York City, where the artist had immigrated at the onset on World War II, the painting’s abstract and visionary qualities influenced a new generation of artists, who would later become known as the Abstract Expressionists.
This painting depicts a St. John’s Day eve in the Brazilian town of Ouro Preto, whose central plaza is illuminated with colored lanterns to mark the end of the winter solstice. Lincoln Kirstein commissioned Guignard to make the painting after seeing a drawing of the same subject. His description of the artist’s work — “tight and detailed’– characterizes much of the art that Kirstein favored. Guignard’s meticulous craftsmanship and attention to particulars are visible in this works finely rendered architectural features, tiny revelers, and distinctive indigenous flora.
Ouro Preto: St. John’s Eve (1942) by Alberto da Veiga Guignard was photographed as part of the exhibit Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern, on View at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.