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Wols

Untitled

oil on canvas
c. 1946
35 x 27 cm / 13 3/4 x 10 5/8 in.
signed centre right

Wols certainly can be called a trailblazer of informal painting as he was one of the first artists who developed a painting that was based on gesture and continuously abandoned any figurative symbolism, even though its origins are irrefutably to be found in Surrealist art. This untitled painting most probably is one of the first oil paintings by Wols, who just started to work in this technique at the beginning of 1946, the year this work was executed. The central motif – if it can be called a motif rather than a form – appears organic in its pulsating yet grounded colours. Wols reworked the wet and the dried layers of oil paint by drawing and scratching on them, covering the grattage partly again and restarting this procedure. This kind of painting – obviously a completely new and very influential approach to painting a picture, despite all it owes to Paul Klee – enabled Wols to create a texture that is unmistakably his own characteristic style. And the resulting works were previously unseen visual metaphors for spiritual states of mind.

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