Paul J. Karlstrom is a specialist in modern and contemporary art and culture in the United States. He recently retired as West Coast Regional Director of the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art in San Marino, California. Among his publications are On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art, 1900-1950.
Raimonds Staprans: Art of Tranquility and Turbulenceby Paul J Karlstrom, Peter Helena Demakova, Peter Selz
In 1947 the young Raimonds Staprans emigrated with his family from Latvia to America, and for the past half century the artist and playwright has lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area. In Raimonds Staprans: Art of Tranquility and Turbulence, Paul Karlstrom investigates the realism and abstraction in Staprans's work, focusing on the more edgy and
In 1947 the young Raimonds Staprans emigrated with his family from Latvia to America, and for the past half century the artist and playwright has lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area. In Raimonds Staprans: Art of Tranquility and Turbulence, Paul Karlstrom investigates the realism and abstraction in Staprans's work, focusing on the more edgy and self-revealing paintings by bringing the artist's life experience and personal psychology prominently into the equation. Karlstrom recognizes that the meaning of Staprans's work cannot be understood solely in terms of the painterly skill and aesthetic beauty that characterize the landscapes, marines, and still lifes. Neither can it be fully appreciated in the minimalist abstraction with which Staprans qualifies his realism. Rather, the key to understanding is hidden in the secret life and philosophical preoccupation that emerged in the author's interviews with the artist.Two prominent writers provide brief essays dealing with Staprans as a "trans-Atlanticist": Latvian cultural critic Helena Demakova brings the perspective of the artist's native country to his American émigré story. American art historian Peter Selz examines realism's rich modernist potential in Staprans and other artists who have pushed realism to discover new conceptual and aesthetic truths.Staprans is also a writer, known in Latvia mainly for his work for the stage, and excerpts from his writings provide insight into his painting.
- University of Washington Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 10.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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Raimonds Staprans may not be a household name among the many devotees of the Bay Area artists such as Thiebaud, Bechtle, Parks, Diebenkorn, Brown etc - artists who capture the light and landscape of that particularly beautiful region - but this monograph should change that recognition. Author Paul Karlstrom has written a scholarly evaluation of Staprans' work and career and includes enough visual and written information to seduce the reader into an appreciation for a gifted quiet artist. Staprans, born in 1926 in Latvia, emigrated to the US in 1947 when Communism created a negative space for artistic thought. In a fine essay by Helena Demekova the influence of his country's art tradition and sociopolitical upheaval is clearly defined. Once in the USA Staprans settled in the Bay Area where he began his painting output as an abstract expressionist only to gradually evolve into a painter of landscape, still life (fruits, paint cans, angry birds), and nudes in a manner in which he flattened his compositional lines and utilized brilliant color fields in what has been termed 'realist abstraction and psychological expressionism'. Art historian essayist Peter Selz examines and defines Staprans' place in the field of art in an illuminating manner, posing that 'realism' enhances the brilliance of conceptual abstraction. But worthy as the written words about Raimonds Staprans are, nothing compares to the generous examples of his works included in this tome. The paintings follow his career, the most impressive being the extraordinarily luminous poolscapes and simple houses in design of complex canvases, works that engender comparison to the works of Wayne Thiebaud, Josef Albers and even Mondrian. Staprans use of vibrant, explosive color in patterns that suggest realism but go beyond to a plane of painterly truth in forms that are uniquely his. This is magnificent painting, work that has earned him a well-deserved seat in the pantheon of Bay Area artists. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp