Monday, September 19, 2011

Christian Schad

For over thirty years I have been interested in fauvist, expressionist and surrealist art. Fate seems to have encouraged that interest because I have repeatedly stumbled onto exhibitions at just the right moment.In 2001, I was working in Paris and one free afternoon I set off on a walk. When I reached the Marais I saw a notice for a Giacometti exhibit at the Centre G. Pompidou. Once there I became fascinated with his systematic study of the human skull and I jotted down a sentence from one of his notebooks. I later used the line in my second novel: J’ai passé tout l’hiver dans ma chambre d’hotel à peine le crâne, voulant le preciser….
A few years later, once again in Paris, I was returning to my hotel when I noticed that there was an important exhibit of Picasso's erotic art. I spent the rest of the afternoon lost in Picasso's mythic universe. Since that time I have used his images of the Minotaur over and over again in my work. In fact, the character, Karl Wisent, grew out of my study of Picasso's Vollard Suite.

In the early 90's I was working for a major manufacturing company and I often accompanied the President of the company to New York. During this time I was studying Gustav Mahler and Oskar Kokoschka. One free afternoon as I passed the Guggenheim I noticed that the whole museum was featuring the works of Kokoschka. Fate once again was on my side.

Approximately, a year and half ago in New York, I stumbled onto an exhibit of Christian Schad's work. At the time I had no idea who he was but I was immediately struck by his images and the feeling tone of his work and I knew instantly that he would enter my pantheon of artistic gods. The painting above is one of his. I mention Schad because he, like Celan, was both an expressionist and a surrealist. He was born on August 21, 1894, in Miesbach. In 1913, he studied art in Munich. During the first world war, he fled to Zurich where he joined Hugo Ball and Tristan Tzara. Together with Walter Serner he started the magazine-Sirius. From 1920 to 1925, Schad lived in Rome and Naples where he studied the Italian Renaissance painters and in 1925, he joined with Otto Dix and George Grosz to particpate in the Neuen Sachlichkeit.

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