Standing Above the Real: Surrealist Graphics, 1924-1965

  • PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania
  • /
  • February 07, 2022

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Stanley William Hayter, Combat, 1936 Black-Moorhead 102; engraving, etching & gauffrage
Dorothea Tanning, Les 7 Perils Spectraux, 1950, folio of 7 color lithographs

The word surreal has long been a part of everyday conversation. Any experience that seems in any way extraordinary or simply strange may be described as surreal. That the word first came into use to name a revolutionary Modern art movement is no matter to most who have added it to their vocabulary. In these times of pandemic, the word is on the tip of our tongues as we try to make sense of the current situation, coping with the fears, interruptions, and isolation forced upon all of us. Now seems as good a time as any to look at the art which made the term ubiquitous and necessary to the art of the last 100 years.

Paul Keene, La Cogida y la Muerta, 1965, etching & drypoint

Surrealism as an approach to making art and seeing the irrational nature of human existence has and continues to be part of us. Surrealist art reminds us that while the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment gave us a sense of identity as individuals and democratic ideals, surrealism gives name to all that is unreasonable, at times dark, confusing, or disturbing. This, too, is life, and as our collection here shows, artists refuse or are unable to dismiss what is unsettling yet find humor and irony in what most might accept as rational. This personification of fear and anxiety is how many of these artists exorcised the darkness to assimilate a new structure, a new order, a new way forward.

The Dolan/Maxwell exhibition includes 89 works made between 1924 and 1965 and primarily created by artists working at Atelier 17. Stanley William Hayter was a central figure in the development of Surrealism. And via Hayter, Atelier 17 became a melting pot of techniques, concepts, and politics. As evidenced here, both played a crucial role as Modern art developed in Pre-War Paris, wartime New York City, and Post-War Paris and New York.

Dolan/Maxwell's online exhibiton of 88 works on paper includes rare examples by distinguished 20th Century masters Andre Masson, Wiffredo Lam, Max Ernst, Roberto Matta, Stanley William Hayter, Jacques Herold, Rockwell Kent, Joan Miro, Gabor Peterdi, Jackson Pollock, Wolfgang Paalen, Oscar Dominguez, Krishna Reddy, Kurt Seligmann, Yves Tanguy, Dox Thrash, and Dorothea Tanning.  

Surrealism Beyond Borders, just finishing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and soon to appear at the Tate Modern, London, makes a case for the worldwide impact of the Surrealist movement, and the works selected indicate that the influence of Surrealism is long-lasting.  We're proud to include excellent works by artists who are not readily identified with the Surrealis movement and yet clearly integrated surrealist thinking into their studio practices.  They are Joseph Hecht, Fred Becker, Morris Blackburn, Julius Bloch, John Buckland-Wright, Harry Brodsky, Sam Brown, Minna Citron, Ellen Countey Abbey, Sari Dienes, Seymour Fogel, Earnest Freed, Jan Gelb, Terry Haass, Jean Helion, Harry Hoehn, Ian Hugo, Dalla Husband, Buffy Johnson, Reuben Kadish, Leo Katz, Paul Keene, Sigismund Kolos-Vari, R E Marton, Gan Kolski, Tom Lias, Mauricio Lasansky, Hope Manchester, Boris Margo, Roderick Mead, Hugh Mesibov, Norma Morgan, Jean Morrision, Nina Negri, Barbara Neustadt, Barbara Olmsted, Helen Phillips, Anton Prinner, Andre Racz, Alice Rahon, Karl Schrag, Elaine Stevens, Arpad Szenes, Julien Trevelyan, Roger Vieillard, and Catherine Yarrow.

Ron Rumford

2046 Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
About Dolan/Maxwell

Dolan/Maxwell specializes in fine prints and works on paper by artists from the 1930s to the present. Their works are presented seriously and in depth with emphasis on Modernist works from the WPA era, Europe and Atelier 17, the New York School, art by African Americans as well as International Contemporary artists. We work closely with the artists and the estates of artists we represent. We augment these works with carefully chosen sculptures and paintings on canvas or panel by artists whose work complements our core and are of particular interest to us. As a founding member of the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) we have notable expertise in works on paper in all media.

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