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Filter: Surrealism  view all

Paintings by Abdul Mati Klarwein
Title: Robert Graves

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Interviewer: In which school do the critics, the dealers, and the collectors think you belong?

Abdul Mati Klarwein: That depends. During the abstract expressionist epidemic of the fifties, I was dismissed as a latent surrealist illustrator. In the sixties, when the pop art revolution swept the globe with its tidal waves of whimsical garbage, I was scorned as a psychedelic artist — especially when seen in the company of Tim Leary — too close to LSD for the straight culture-vultures of Madison Avenue. In the seventies, when conceptualism was the magic word (what else is there, anyway?) and a work of art was called a "piece", I was haughtily snubbed as an old-fashioned easel painter from Montmartre.

It's only in the eighties, now that conservative senility has entrenched itself in the marrow of Western culture, and good old-fashioned easel painting is being resuscitated as high-funk nostalgia, that the art-mart world is beginning to treat me with a little respect for the first time. I have a very nice, and respectable, European art dealer who peddles my images according to the rules of the game... To full interview

Previously on Mati Klarwein

Works by Richard Oelze
Title: Wallace Stevens

From the 2001 German book Richard Oelze. Read about the artist on Weimar.

Will 50 Watts
Paintings by Pavel Tchelitchew
Title: Loren Eiseley

Previous post on this artist:
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtains

Will 50 Watts

Painting by Félix Labisse
Title: Yves Tanguy


Paintings by Nicholas Kalmakoff
Title: Arthur Rimbaud

In 1955, a Russian émigré died alone, unknown and in poverty at the hôpital de Lagny to the north of Paris. After leading a hermit's existence in his small room at the hotel de la Rochefoucault in Paris, this former Russian aristocrat had created a fascinating body of work which, deemed eccentric and worthless, was locked away in storage and forgotten.


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