«Surrealism USA»

O. Louis Guglielmi. Mental Geography. 1938. Oil on masonite

«Surrealism USA» exhibition, organized by the National Academy Museum will be at the Phoenix Art Museum through September 25. Some 120 paintings, works on paper and sculptures created in the United States between 1930 and 1950 are displayed there. It is the first exhibition devoted to American Surrealism in a quarter century.

The event features works created by influential European emigrants in the United States during this period – Salvador Dali, Roberto Matta Echaurren, Max Ernst, Andre Masson and Yves Tanguy. Among the prominent Americans represented are Joseph Cornell, Ivan Albright, Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi, Arshile Gorky, and David Smith. Works by Louise Bourgeois, Jackson Pollock, Man Ray, Kay Sage, Dorothea Tanning and John Wilde suggest links to contemporary artists.

Surrealism established a foothold in America in the 1930s, when several New York galleries, started showing the work of European Surrealists. After the beginning of the Second World War presence in New York of European Surrealists in exile, particularly Breton and Dali gave the movement new vitality and great impact. In general, American Surrealism was dominated by Dali’s influence.

The exhibition features three works by Dali – two drawings and vivid oil, «Honey is Sweeter than Blood», 1941. Cornell, who was one of the first Americans to create Surrealist works, is represented in the event by nine objects, ranging from enigmatic collages of the 1930s to the more familiar, yet puzzling, box constructions of the 1940s. Spanish-born Federic Castellon, believed to be the most gifted of Dali’s emulators in the United States, has two remarkable paintings in the exhibition, «Untitled (Horse)», circa 1938, and «The Return of the Prodigal», late 1930s.

Responding to fascist air raids and many deaths among the civilian in the Spanish Civil War, painter O. Louis Guglielmi visualized the aftermath of a bombing of the Brooklyn Bridge in his graphic «Mental Geography», 1938. Two artists, Gorky from Europe and Noguchi from Asia, teamed up to mark the onset of World War II with «Hitler Invades Poland» 1939, a striking mixed-media-on-paper work.

Published in: on June 16, 2005 at 6:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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