G e r o m e - K a m r o w s k i-- -1 9 1 4 - 2 0 0 4


Born in Warren, Minnesota, Gerome Kamrowski began his art studies in 1932 at the St. Paul School of Art (now Minnesota Museum of American Art - MMAA) where he studied with Cameron Booth and Leroy Turner, both former Hans Hofmann students who were also associated with the Abstraction-Création group in Paris. In 1937 Kamrowski moved to Chicago to study under Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Alexander Archipenko at the New Bauhaus (now Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute of Design). There he was exposed to the concepts of the role of nature in art and the "geometric basis of natural form". In 1938 Kamrowski received a Guggenheim fellowship to attend Hans Hofmann's summer school in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He then moved to New York where he met William Baziotes, who supported his early fascination with Surrealism. Together they shared an interest in Surrealist automatic writing, and both artists explored its potential in their paintings. Kamrowski was especially attracted by Surrealism's fundamental appeal to intuition over intellect. He was interested in the energy generated by the act of painting, seeking a process that "binds all things together...a kind of cosmic rhythm".

In 1942, Surrealist artist Matta (Echaurren) formed a short-lived group of artists to investigate new applications for Surrealist methods. He invited Kamrowski, William Baziotes, Jackson Pollock, Peter Busa, and Robert Motherwell to join. Like Kamrowski, the others were more interested in process than in subject matter—the foundation of Matta's art.This group was the kernel of the open-ended movement known as Abstract Surrealism, which further evolved into Abstract Expressionism. Kamrowski described his own paintings as “science-fiction space”. His abstracted Surrealist motifs served to create an inner-worldly presence conveying the sub-conscious forces of emotion, longing, and transcendence.

 

Kamrowski was invited to the 1947 Surrealist Exhibition in Paris by Surrealist leader André Breton. Breton said of him, "Of all the young painters whose evolution I have been able to follow in New York during the last years of the war, Gerome Kamrowski is the one who has impressed me far the most by reason of the "quality" and sustained character of his research. Among all the newcomers there, he was the only one...tunnelling in a new direction..."

In 1948, after the death of his wife, Kamrowski moved to Ann Arbor to teach at the University of Michigan School of Art where he remained there for 40 years, until his retirment in 1982. For more than half a century, he continued to work in his home studio creating paintings, sculptures, wind machines, beaded wooden creatures and art installations for public spaces. A beloved teacher, the University of Michigan Museum of Art featured his work in two major exhibitions, 1983 and in 2003.

Gerome Kamrowski was one of the few American artists to be included in Peggy Guggenheim's the Art of This Century Gallery in 1943. He also had shows at Museum of Modern Art in New York, 1951, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art on several occasions. His work can be seen in the Joe Louis Arena station of the Detroit People Mover.


Untitled (Surrealist Abstraction I) - 1946, Drypoint.

Edition 20, editioned in 1996. Signed, dated, and numbered 8/20 in pencil.

Image size 5 x 5 7/8 inches (127 x 149 mm); sheet size 10 x 10 7/8 inches ( 254 x 276 mm).

A fine impression, on cream laid paper, with full margins (2 to 3 1/8 inches), in excellent condition.

Illustrated in The Stamp of Impulse, Abstract Expressionist Print by David Acton, Hudson Hills Press, NY, 1902. Exhibited: Worchester Art Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, Aman Carter Museum, Mary Anne Lee Block Museum of Art.

SOLD


Untitled (Surrealist Abstraction II) - 1946, Drypoint.

Edition 28, editioned in 1996. Signed, dated, and numbered 7/28 in pencil.

Image size 5 x 5 15/16 inches (127 x 151 mm); sheet size 10 x 10 7/8 inches ( 254 x 276 mm).

A fine impression, on cream laid paper, with full margins (2 to 3 1/8 inches), in excellent condition.

$1400.


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