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Year 1 · No.10 · Dec 05 1998

ISSN 1437-1340

Chagall · Cattle Dealer
Being a Modern Painter

            

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289 · Red Duck
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Preface

This series is not intended to be a university course. I am not an art scholar - I am just a painter. I'm going to reveal some secrets that I stumbled upon. Of course, you too may discover some of these secrets in books, but they are hard to decipher. It will be my pleasure to do so and spread the word. My motto will be, as always:

Als ich kan
(from a painting of Jan van Eyck, found as a citation in a modern mathematical book, meaning: as good as I can do it).

Your appreciation gives me the encouragement to continue. It is for you and all the great masters that I do this, and I hope you enjoy the results. Please don't hesitate to send me feedback in order to help me with that goal! This kind of journal is new to the net, so please tell me if the size is OK (eg images are great, but big!).
      

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Because English is not my home language, I do not always express myself clearly. I hope that you are able to interpret my meaning. Also, I invite you to participate. Send me your articles and comments to be published in this journal.

Yours truly,
Signature Dr. Werner Stürenburg, Germany

                    

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Chagall: Cattle Dealer
Scans by Mark Harden, Carol Gerten and the publisher.
To get a blowup of Chagall's "Cattle Dealer" while offline:
Connect to the internet, click here, then disconnect.

 

Comment
Being a Modern Painter
You know, my native language is German (information, not fishing for compliments). 
 

Last week, I introduced the subjects Chagall is famous for. We saw that even in this early painting man and woman are central, or more precisely: the relation between man and woman.

In contrast to many later paintings, conceived when Chagall was happily married, we don't see cute amorousness here, rather the division of labor typical for rural circumstances.

                    

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Chagall, Cattle Dealer

I already touched upon the implications of the relation of man and woman, namely reproduction, which is referred to in a very surprising manner, showing the calf inside the womb of the cow (or is it a horse?).

I don't know of any other painting of Chagall addressing the subject of division of labor and reproduction. Also, the only examples of showing something inside of something which can't be seen in reality that I remember are from Stone Age, still living with the Inuit (Eskimos): there is a whole style known as "x-ray drawing".

                    

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But there are other aspects in this painting which are very typical. Chagall is famous for his reference to his Jewish and rural Russian background, which is very present in our painting, too.

Painters at that time tried to invent subjects that did not illustrate ideas. Painting was supposed to produce something independent from reality like music. Chagall was obviously successful in this respect.

In consequence, Abstract Art was invented these years (see Pablo Journal, Kandinsky / Kelly), Cubism, Futurism prospered, all being methods which could easily be applied by other painters as well (not necessarily producing great results).

Chagall's art is modern in this sense, but it could not be adopted by other artists. His work lives very much from his subjects which are entirely personal.

You can find out much about Chagall by studying his paintings, but you can't find out much about Kandinsky with the same method. This is even true with respect to Paul Klee or Max Ernst, to name a few.

Especially Surrealism (Dali, Magritte), although supposedly dream like, mostly puzzles and hides contents from the spectator.

                    

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Chagall in contrast is very frank and open, and I guess, he is naive, too. This isn't meant depreciative, I am naive myself.

Look at all these cubistic elements: he used them to prove that he is a modern painter. He wanted to belong to the leaders and was eager to adopt formal elements. It didn't take long that he dropped them altogether.

But in his later years, he often had problems to find his subject. (Most probably because you can't be in first love all the time.) In these situations, he resorted to the formal tricks he learned in his early years.

Of course, the results are not convincing at all. Here comes to mind good old Goethe:

"It doesn't have to be best quality all the time, does it?"

At least one dimension of Chagall hasn't been addressed so far, and a very important dimension, too, missing in the work of almost all other modern painters: The religious dimension. But remember, we're talking about a work and not about a painter, so this is beyond our scope here, as "Cattledealer" does not show any immediate relation to it.

                    

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During the last month, I completed the redesign and added sections for artists Jochen Brennecke and Danny Conant at Gallery Daguerre. Have a look! Masthead images this time by Liz Donovan at Gallery Ingres. New screensavers, too. I just love them. At the time being, I run Navitrolla's saver.

All the best 'til next time. Yours truly,
Signature Dr. Werner Stürenburg, Germany

PS:
If you have enjoyed this issue, please support my efforts and recommend it to a friend. For your convenience, I prepared both a mailto: link at the top and a Recommend-It button at the bottom.

                              

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Last month
Chagall, Cattle Dealer
Study on the Main Theme

Next month
Duerer: Self Portrait As A Young Man
Introduction

            

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Liz Donovan

 

Sorry, no longer here ...
 

Original Work in Gallery Ingres at Art Quarter


Teapot with Gladiola
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Width 33" · 81cm · Edition 100
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Christoph Fischer

  
Original Work in Gallery Clay at Art Quarter


Rider Torso
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Jochen Brennecke

 

  

Original Work in Gallery Daguerre at Art Quarter


Utopia
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12" · 30,5cm · edition 125
179 US$ · Inquiry

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