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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gottlieb, Adolph


Alkahest of Paracelsus
1945
152.4 x 111.76 cm (60 x 44 in.)
oil and egg tempera on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA

… Well, I’ll tell you how the idea of compartmentalization occurred to me.
I was looking for some sort of a systematic way of getting down these subjective images and I had always admired, particularly admired, the early Italian painters who preceded the Renaissance and I very much liked some of the altar pieces in which there would be, for example, the story of Christ told in a series of boxes, starting with the Nativity and ending with the Resurrection. This would be told chronologically, like a comic strip technique. And it seemed to me this was a very rational method of conveying something. So I decided to try it.
But I was not interested in telling, in giving something its chronological sequence. What I wanted to do was to give something, to present what material I was interested in, simultaneously so that you would get an instantaneous impact from it. So I made boxes but then I put the images in with no sequence and no rational order. In other words, there was no chronology and you were supposed to see the thing instantaneously. Then, since there was no chronology, there was no rational order. The images appeared apparently at random; they then established themselves in a new system. So that was why all those years I was able to use very similar images but, by having different juxtapositions, there will always be a different significance to them.
Curiously, I’ve told this to people but it doesn’t seem to register, but what really puzzled me is that nobody ever accused me of being influenced by Mondrian. They accused me of being influenced by psychiatry, primitive art, by Torres Garcia, all sorts of things, but nobody ever mentions Mondrian. No one ever thinks of early Italian painters. (Adolph Gottlieb in an interview in 1967)

Adolph Gottlieb (1903 - 1974) was an American abstract expressionist painter, sculptor and graphic artist. He was born in New York to Jewish parents. He attended public schools in New York however left high school to work his way to Europe at the age of 17, when he resolved to be an artist. He lived in Paris for six months, then spent another year visiting museums and galleries in Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Dresden, among other major European cities. He returned to New York in 1924. He attended classes at The Art Students League, Educational Alliance, and other local schools where he met early friends including Mark Rothko. He valued the artist’s role as a leader and creator, and he served as both with his art and his organizing abilities. He was a founding member of artist’s groups as early as The Ten in 1935, and helped organize the Federation of American Painters and Sculptors in 1939 and New York Artist-Painters in 1943.

Gottlieb was the first of his colleagues to be collected by a major museum when the Guggenheim Museum purchased eleven works in 1945 and the Museum of Modern Art purchased a painting in 1946. He left a legacy of art, active involvement in the art and progressive movements of his time, and a foundation that extends his legacy of giving to individual artists and promoting their interests.
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard