Monday, February 16, 2009

Frans Masereel's La ville - Coda # 1

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Images:
1., 2., 3. two Expressionist woodcuts and an etching with aquatint; Kirchner and Dix are examples of the cultural zeitgeist that was highly influential in Frans Masereel’s work;
1. the 4th annual Die Brücke’s portfolio’s cover by ELK (Ernst Ludwig Kirchner), 1909;
2. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Frauen am Potsdamer Platz (women on Potsdamer Platz; 1914);
3. Otto Dix: Sturmtrupp Geht unter Gas vor; shock troops advancing under a gas attack; Der Krieg (the war; Nierendorf, 1924);
4. Page from Maestro, by Caran d’Ache (Emmanuel Poiré’s nom de plume) as published by the Musée de la Bande Dessinée (the comics museum) in Angoulême, 1999; Maestro is an unfinished (and unpublished) novel in pictures drawn at the end of the 19th century;
5. a curio: drawing by Balthus as published in Mitsou (Payot & Rivages, 2001 [Rotapfel-Verlag Erlenbachm, 1921]); Balthus was thirteen years old when he drew this book;
6. page from Schicksal, Eine Geschicte in Bildern by Otto Nückel as published in Destiny, a Novel in Pictures (Farrar & Rinehart, 1930 [1928?]); the novel’s main character contemplates suicide; these Neue Sachlichkeit (new objectivity) beautifully done verist leadcuts remind silent films; the fact that we rarely see the woman’s face counterbalances the sometimes excessive melodramatics of the story;
7. page from Alay-Oop by William Gropper as published in David Beronä’s Wordless Books (2008 [1930]); in the same way as Otto Nückel, William Gropper shows lower working class women’s difficult lives;
8. three images from "Vertigo" as published in Storyteller Without Words, the Wood Engravings of Lynd Ward (Abrams, 1974 [Random House, 1937]); as we can see, words weren’t completely absent from this storyteller’s oeuvre; Lynd Ward’s art deco inspired drawings are frequently kitsch, but many of his compagnons de route, Masereel included, are also guilty of the same sin (mainly because they were left wing idealists, of course);
9. a new Masereel?, page from Eric Drooker's Flood! (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1992); Flood! isn't completely wordless because it has four pages with captions and direct speech; two other artists who could be included on this post are Peter Kuper and Chris Lanier.

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