Monday, November 12, 2007

an abundant harvest of sun...

lee mullican 1950 catalog 1

lee mullican 1950 catalog 2

lee mullican 1950 catalog 3

some images of a small 1950 catalog of the work of lee mullican, from his first new york show, at the willard gallery. the essay was written by fellow dynaton painter and publisher of dyn, wolfgang paalen... here are some excerpts from his text:

...it has been a fecund year for mullican, an abundant harvest of sun... one of the most inspired of these pictures is called 'ascension'. it makes me think that there ought to be an angel for painters. not a guardian angel nor the final one of the very last judgement; in any case, this angel would not carry a trumpet. for all i know, he might not even be on the very best of terms with the high brass of heavens - and i would believe him equally indifferent towards the run of the mill saints and sinners. he would travel ever incognito, a kind of 'eminence grise' of the spirit. some evening, he might be seen in a silent country, looking over the shoulders of men who sit around the late glow of dying embers. when the embers crumble, one of the men, without a word, would let drift an eagle-feather into the warm air over the ashes, where it would stay afloat for an unforgettable moment. and i dare to think the angel would smile in his wisdom, how well this gesture weighs on the scales of eternity... that angel might also be seen walking in and out of certain paintings, at dusk and dawn.

there's a great interview with mullican here.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous billy g said...

I've got a thing for old exhibition catalogs and announcements. a great economy of design, unique vintage printing, but also a beautiful language for the art in question.

mr Paalen's prose certainly florid, but do people write of other artist's in this manner anymore? that is, without coming across as very affected or hackeyed?

8:35 AM  
Blogger Woolgathersome said...

Wow! What a little treasure...

His painting, Space, is enough to take your breath away and reminds a bit of Pellizza da Volpedo's The Rising Sun - in terms of tracing this radiance in lines and space...

Thanks for pointing to the article, too...

8:39 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

yes, old paper is totally wonderful, the design and printing always kills me. i think there was more of a romantic literary bent to artists writing about artists then than now... i don't think it sounds affected, but perhaps because it is of another time - although i'd love someone to approach my own work from a similar place, and perhaps that will happen at some point. i read so much pre-1950 literature that paalen's text feels genuine to me... indeed if you don't know lee mullican's work you should check it out. he's amazing. the retrospective a few years ago was absolutely stunning, and i feel very much like there is a wonderful legacy of west coast abstraction that is idiosyncratic, connected to a lot of spiritual as well as formal considerations, that is just starting to get its due. mullican was one of the great ones. madame woolgathersome, you should buy the catalog from the lacma show, it's a nice small hardcover with lots of color images and probably not pricey... much goodness!

5:39 PM  
Blogger Joey said...

That is NICE. Way back when I was an art preparator, I installed his an exhibit of his son Matt Mullican's work at the Santa Barbara Museum. Didn't care much for his son's work, so when I met him I made the mistake of saying, "I love your Dad's work!" LOL. Honest, brutally honest....

6:03 PM  

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