Robert Breer “Untitled” Oil on canvas 1950
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.
Robert Breer “Untitled” Oil on canvas 1950
GEORGE MANUPELLI (1931-2014) USA
“AC Sandino” Silk screen poster c. 1970
Silk-screen with black and red ink.
This stylized “Ben-Day dot” technique image of Augusto Cesar Sandino (AC Sandino (1895-1934) was a Nicaraguan revolutionary and guerrilla leader), the poster is float mounted in a white gold leaf edged frame.
Signed: george manupelli (in ink below image) and in pencil script below black inked printed name
Poster dimensions: H: 35″ x W: 23″
Framed dimensions: H: 41 1/2″ x W: 29 1/2″ x D: 2 1/2″
George Manupelli was born in Boston's North End in 1931. A pioneer in experimental film since 1955, he has exhibited and won awards internationally including the 1964 Venice and 1965 Sao Paulo Biennials. He recently received and Avant- Garde Master Award for his Dr. Chicago films. He holds a Doctorate Degree from Columbia University (1959), and has taught at the University of Michigan, York University, was Dean of the San Francisco Art Institute, and was a Fellow at the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Studies. Manupelli founded the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 1963 and directed it for 17 years. He was also a member of the music theatre ONCE Group. His many films are in the archive of the Anthology Film Archives in New York City.
***This print is made from a 1930s photo of revolutionary Augusto Sandino.
Mayo Martin Johnson (b. 1904) USA
“Summit Conference” 1960
Patinated bronze with a verdigris patina in the recessed areas and natural bronze highlights, original wooden plinth / base.
Marks: Red painted museum accession marks
For more information see: American Art, ed. Peter Hastings Falk (Madison, Conn.: Sound View Press, 1985) p. 317.
H: 10 ¼” on plinth