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Posts Tagged ‘Expressionism’

I often stumble across the work of Alfred Kubin, an Austrian printmaker/illustrator/writer who lived from 1877 until 1959.  It’s hard to look away from his imagery as much as it sometimes may make you wish to do so. His work is often associated with the Symbolist  and Expressionist movements but it has an oddness that is distinctly its own.

Macabre and creepy may also describe it.

But it has an appeal that makes the imagery seem as though it is from a dream, familiar yet odd and distant, making you want to know the what and why of what you are seeing. As though it has some personal relevance and meaning for you.

There is not a large amount of info in his bio and his work is yet to claim universal acclaim. He lived his life in Austria, lived through both World Wars and during the second, even though his work was labeled degenerate art by the Nazi regime, was allowed to continue making art in the small 12th century castle that was his home for the last 50+ years of his life.

He also wrote a few things including a book, The Other Side, which seems to be the literary equivalent of his visual work. It is considered dark and prophetic, as it was written in 1909, of the coming World War and turmoil that would embroil Europe. It was said to be greatly admired by writer Franz Kafka, whose own work the book is often compared. I can see that comparison just in the visual images.

But like many from the past, Alfred Kubin is an artist you may not know. Nor may you like seeing his work. But it is compelling in many ways and I think you will want to at least take a look. Here’s a video of his work along with some of his images. Judge for yourself.
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Chaim Soutine Les Maisons 1921Chaim Soutine was yet another brilliant but tragically short lived painter, dying at the age of 50 in 1943.  He was a Russian Jew who studied art as a youth in his native Belarus then emigrated to Paris in 1913.  There, among the many diverse artistic influences, his distinct expressionistic style found its voice and over the next two decades he produced a powerful body of work.  However, he wasn’t hailed as the great painter he truly was until the days just before the start of World War II.

As a Jew in German occupied France, he was forced to be always on the move from safe haven to the next in order to avoid the Gestapo. He sometimes found himself sleeping outside in the forests.  In 1943, he suffered a perforated stomach ulcer and died during emergency surgery.

He is best known for his paintings of the carcasses of meat and his still lives, all painted in his wild, heavily impasto manner.  However, for me, it is his landscapes that are the real treasures.  They have a tremendous amount of movement through them that forms a rhythm that, along with the color and contrasts of the surface, make them sing for me.  I just see them as being very powerful pieces.

Take a look for yourself at some of my favorite Soutine landscapes.

Chaim Soutine Landscape with Red Donkey Chaim Soutine Landscape at Cagnes Chaim Soutine Houses of Cagne Chaim Soutine Landscape with Cypress Chaim Soutine The Old Mill

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