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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Self portrait expressionism in print




The Dp gallery artists are all posting self portraits tomorrow. I haven't been able to put myself together for this... I have lots of ideas and yet a procrastinating impulse when it comes to looking at myself. Today I just spent my day clearing space to work. In the flat files I found a two-color linoleum print self portrait that I did a while back. I was in the German expressionism phase... adoring artists such as Paula Modersohn-Becker, Max Beckmann and Enrst Kirchner. Modersohn- Becker had a daughter late in life, named Tillie. Unfortunately Modersohn- Becker died soon after. Tillie grew up to catalogue and champion her mother's art. Ernst Kirchner was interested in the european contemporary art movements as well as in reviving the German tradition of woodcuts and he looked to the artists of Germany's past- like Lucas Cranach the Elder ( my great x15 grandfather), Albrecht Durer and Matthies Grunewald. He taught printmaking for many years. Beckman gained early popularity with works in the Berlin National Museum and a professorship. But the rise of Hitler meant the fall of modern art and Beckmann was reviled, exiled, and his works destroyed. He died in NYC five years after the war ended.
On another synchronistic note I spent yesterday at the German consulate in NYC filing paperwork regarding my father's stolen citizenship. My grandfather fled Germany in 1934 and in 1935 met my French grandmother who, with her brother, worked in the underground resistance. Soon after, in 1938, Hitler declared all Jews non-German. Hitler said, "the Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human". If you had 1/8th of Jewish blood you were to be exterminated. So in 1936 my dad, the couple's first born child, was first a German citizen and then without a country. In the ensuing years of the war my grandfather fought with the US as one of the original OSS members.
The files I brought to the consulate contained original passports, exit visas, birth certificates, marriage licenses and were really a factual conceptual self portrait of who I am today.

But here-on larger sheets of paper, with the image size of 6 x 4 inches is my expressionist self portrait. I found six of them in assorted color combinations. Unframed with shipping, $80 US dollars each.

Note: Most ALL artists are expressionists, but the term really refers to intentionally creating work that is built upon emotion. Typically expressionism flourishes in societies when there is social unrest.
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