Erik Saxon, “Untitled”, Acrylic on canvas 1975
ERIK SAXON (b. 1941) San Francisco, CA
Acrylic on canvas
Signed: Erik Saxon 74 75 (on back of frame)
Canvas H: 24” x W: 24”
Framed H: 26 1/4” x W: 26 1/4”
***24 layers of paint were applied to the surface and the painting is 24 inches high and wide. Erik Saxon was born in San Francisco in 1941 and now resides in New York City. He received both his Bachelor and Master of Arts from Berkeley (The University of California). Originally from San Francisco but based in NYC since 1968, Saxon was a core member of the Radical Painting Group active in NYC during the 1970s and 1980s. The RPG stressed a return to the core concerns of painting, focusing primarily on the monochrome. The group included Erik Saxon, Phil Sims, Merrill Wagner, Dale Henry, Doug Sanderson, Susanna Tanger, Anders Knutsson, Marcia Hafif, Jerry Zeniuk, Frederic Matys Thursz. In 1973 Saxon began making abstract work based on the grid format, initially using watercolor on paper and then industrial paint on raw canvas. The same year he began exploring the idea of monochromatic canvases – a series of acrylic drawings consisting of white and off-white squares arranged into groups of three to five panels – but tabled the idea a year later to focus his attention on paintings organized around a nine square grid structure. For the past thirty years, Saxon has worked with the monochrome and it’s relationship to its surroundings–the wall, the floor, its location within the exhibition space, and the viewer. In addition to his studio work, Saxon is a writer and has had his essays published in Artforum, Art in America, Appearances and other respectable art magazines. Radical Painting denotes an abstract art tendency in Europe and North America, which was in existence in the 1980s and 1990s and has to be seen in the light of Postmodernism. The term Radical Painting was used in the context of an exhibition at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown (MA) in 1984 for the first time. It describes a self-referential art, which addresses topics of its immanent characteristics – especially color, but also image carriers, surface and structure. The Radical Painting artists and their monochrome painting are in the tradition of Post Painterly Abstraction of the 1950s and 1960s and shows notions of Minimal Art. The roots of radical art can also be found in the stylistic ambitions of Constructivism, Suprematism and Art Concret. In terms of style, radical painting is characterized by mostly monochrome works that focus on color effects, shading and material properties, entirely doing without external motifs. Radical Painting enables the observer to sensually experience the picture with its independently perceived color and light values, uniquely achieved by the painting technique, subtle coating methods or change of flows. Among the main artists of Radical Painting are Phil Sims, Marcia Hafif, Günter Umberg and Joseph Marioni; others radical artist are Jerry Zenuik, Andreas Exner, Frederic Matys Thursz, Rudolf De Crignis, Christiane Fuchs, Ingo Meller, Eric Saxon, Peter Tollens, Dieter Villinger, Ulrich Wellmann, Olivier Mosset and Winston Roeth.
Saxon’s works can be found in the following selected Public and Private Collections: artothek, Kolnisches Stadt Museum, Cologne, Germany. Bank of America, San Francisco. Fogg Museum, Havard University , Boston, MA Goteborg Museum of Art, Sweden Lita Hornik, New York IBM, San Jose, CA Wynn Kramarsky, New York Herbert Minkel, New York Mondriaanhuis, Museum voor Constructieve en Concrete Kunst, Amersfoort, Neatherlands. Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, The University of British Columbia, Vancover,B.C., Canada Museo Cantonale d’Arte of Lugano , Switzerland Museum fur Kommunikation, Frankfurt, Germany Museum of Modern Art, Belgrade MOMA, Museum of Modern Art , New York . Gift of Wynn Kramarsky National Gallery of Art, Washington , D.C. UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles , CA University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, KY Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
Erik Saxon, “Untitled”, Acrylic on canvas 1975
ROBERT BREER (1926-2011) USA
Oil on canvas, white-gold leaf and lacquer frame
Marks: Untitled, 1950, Robert Breer, 26×32, No. 29 in a circle (paper label)
Provenance: Robert Breer, Private Collection, Chicago
Canvas: H: 25 3/4” x W: 32”
Framed: H: 32 1/4” x W: 39″
“Breer acknowledges his respect for this purist, “cubist” cinema, which uses geometric shapes moving in time and space”
Robert Breer’s career as an artist and animator spans 50 years and his creative explorations have made him an international figure. He began his artistic pursuits as a painter while living in Paris from 1949-59. Using an old Bolex 16mm camera, his first films, such as “Form Phases”, were simple stop-motion studies based on his abstract paintings.
Breer has always been fascinated by the mechanics of film. Perhaps it was his father’s fascination with 3-D work that inspired Breer to tinker with early mechanical cinematic devices. His father was an engineer and designer of the legendary Chrysler Airflow automobile in 1934 and built a 3-D camera to film all the family vacations. After studying engineering at Stanford, Breer changed his focus toward handcrafted arts and began experimenting with flip books. These animations, done on ordinary 4″ by 6″ file cards have become the standard for all of Breer’s work in fim.
Like many of his generation, Breer did early work influenced by the various European modern art movements of the early 20th century, ranging from the abstract forms of the Russian Constructivists and the structuralist formulas of the Bauhaus, to the nonsensical universe of the Dadaists. As a result of his association with the Denise René Gallery, which specialized in geometric art, he saw the abstract films of such pioneers as Hans Richter, Viking Eggeling, Walter Ruttmann and Fernand Léger. Breer acknowledges his respect for this purist, “cubist” cinema, which uses geometric shapes moving in time and space.
In 1955, he helped organize and exhibited in a show in Paris entitled “Le Mouvement” (The Movement), which paved the way for new cinema aesthetics. During this period, Breer also met the poet Allen Ginsberg and introduced him to his film “Recreation” (1956), which made use of frame-by-frame experiments in a non-narrative structure. Although Breer resisted being labeled a beatnik, the film does capture some aspects of beat poetry and music.
When Breer returned to the United States in the late 1950s, the American avant-garde was thriving and films by Kenneth Anger, Stan Brakhage, Peter Kubelka and Maria Menken were creating a new visionary movement. Breer found kindred spirits within the New York experimental scene. As Pop Art emerged as a phenomenon in the 1960s, Breer befriended Claes Oldenburg and others. He worked on the TV show, “David Brinkley’s Journal”, filming pieces on art shows in Europe; at the same time, he made his debut documentary on the sculptor Jean Tinguely in 1961.
STEPHEN LONGSTREET (1907-2002) New York, NY
“Tribute to Bunk Johnson” c. 1970’s
Paper cut-out, mixed media and paper collage
Signed: Longstreet (lower left), titled “Tribute to Willie “Bunk” Johnson