Wolfgang Paalen: Artist and Theorist of the Avant-Garde

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Both critic and artist, Wolfgang Paalen was a highly influential figure in the culture of the Modernist movements of the 20th century. His work significantly informed Abstract Expressionism, especially with his periodical ^IDYN^R, published from 1942-1944, which became a seminal work for painters of that time. This is the first book-length work to demonstrate his importance and bring together the contexts—philosophical, scientific, anthropological, political, and cultural—in which he worked. Thus it provides a study not only of Paalen himself, but of the relationships between modernist art movements of Europe and America, including Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism—and the cultural, social, and political histories in which they developed.

Carefully and thoroughly detailing the events of Paalen's life and the formation of his thinking, author Amy Winter shows how his biography, art, and thought come together in the six issues of ^IDYN^R, which continued an exploration initiated by the Surrealists and other avant-gardes, and which delved into many problems which have preoccupied art in the last two decades. Utilizing material gathered for the first time, including personal interviews and archives never before consulted, Winter offers a vivid portrayal of a painter, philosopher, critic, collector, journalist, editor, historian, and ethnographer—in short, a 20th-century renaissance man.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275975241
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/30/2002
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

AMY WINTER is Director and Curator of the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College of The City University of New York.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Theoretical and Political Roots in Austria and Germany 1
Ch. 2 A Paris, 1928-1935 33
Ch. 3 Through a Glass Darkly, 1936-1939 51
Ch. 4 Surrealism in Mexico/Mexico in Surrealism: Prelude to Exile 71
Ch. 5 The New World 85
Ch. 6 New York School Days 105
Ch. 7 The First Three Issues of DYN 123
Ch. 8 Totem Lessons: The "Amerindian" Issue of DYN 159
Ch. 9 Cosmic Creation 181
Ch. 10 The New Man in Barnett Newman 193
Ch. 11 Chaotic Magnificence 209
Epilogue 223
Appendix 231
Bibliography 237
Index 267
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2003

    Review by Linda D. Henderson

    Linda Dalrymple Henderson David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor in Art History and Distinguished Teaching Professor, The University of Texas at Austin: Amy Winter has written the definitive book on Wolfgang Paalen. Grounded in years of extensive archival work and interviews, Winter's superb study reconstructs Paalen's career, illuminating his art and theory as well as providing invaluable insights into the various artistic milieus in which he operated--from 1920s Berlin to Surrealism in Paris and Mexico in the 1930s and his subsequent impact on young American artists in New York in the 1940s. This book is a vital resource for any scholar of the period and a major addition to the literature on modernism in general.

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