Friday, February 13, 2009

Alfred Maurer if only he had known Frida Kahlo and Kiki Smith

Today, Alfred Maurer looped in and out of my mind as I wandered the streets of San Francisco. Years ago, my office window looked down on a parking lot that is now SFMOMA. For old times sake, I took Maurer there and spent the better part of an afternoon. It's just taken awhile to get to a point where I could write.

Looking at what Maurer did in his life, you can certainly see that he channeled both Cubism (George from yesterday) and Matisse in Fauve Landscape (shown here). Maurer had traveled to France and had realized upon his arrival that he needed to expand his artistic horizons. He spoke these words about the journey to change his art:

“The transition from the old school to the new is not an easy one.… When I decided to make the change, I had to lay aside my brushes for almost a month and think nothing but Impressionism. Then I went at it slowly and timidly, feeling my way. I am still in transition, I know. I can’t tell what tomorrow will bring about.”

Who knows what Maurer would have painted if he had lived in the 1950 or 60's. He and I talked a bit about that as we went through the galleries at SFMOMA. Maurer recognized Matisse but hadn't seen any Frida Kahlo. We talked a bit about how Frida Kahlo's portrayal of Diego Rivera looked as if Diego were related to Al Gore. Of course, I had to show him a photo of Gore. We almost got sidetracked on politics. Fortunately, the Dali and Magritte pieces made him smile. At Rothko's No. 14, Maurer insisted on sitting and looking. When we left there he seemed to take on a different aura, almost floating. He especially enjoyed the vitality of the Kiki Smith bronze and glass sculpture as well as the Neri standing so near the Diebenkorn. It was a good day for us both.

Maurer, where would you like to go tomorrow? We have all day in San Francisco.

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