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Aaron Siskind (American “Abstract Expressionist” Photographer, 1903-1991) (left) New York , 24 x 20“, gelatin silver print, 1951 (right) compare Franz Kline , Siskind , oil on canvas, 1959 Aaron Siskind , Boys Playing with Toy Swords , Harlem, New York, 1930’s Siskind , Chicago 25 , 1957

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Aaron Siskind (American “Abstract Expressionist” Photographer, 1903-1991) (left) New York, 24 x 20“, gelatin silver print, 1951 (right) compare Franz Kline, Siskind, oil on canvas, 1959

siskind chicago 25 1957
Siskind, Chicago 25, 1957

"For the first time in my life, subject matter, as such, had ceased to be of primary importance. Instead, I found myself involved in the relationships of these objects, so much so that these pictures turned out to be deeply moving and personal experiences."

Siskind moved from Social Realism to de-politicized formalist abstraction of the Chicago Institute of Design and second generation Abstract Expressionism (1950s)


European Postwar


1949 – a founding

feminist text rooted in

existential doubts

about the true nature

of Being.


Jean-Paul Sartre

Simone de Beauvoir

1938 Paris


Jean Fautrier (French, 1898-1964) Art Informel, Head of a Hostage, 20," oil on panel, 1944, one of over thirty “hostage” paintings and sculptures that he made during the occupation of Paris alluding to the Nazi atrocities.

“These paintings addressed the

most important issue of their time, epitomizing a 'new human resolve'

against the horrors of war." (Fautrier)


Germaine Richier (French, 1904-1959) , Crucified Christ, 1950, Notre-Dame de Tour Grâce d'Assy, France. Post-humanist?(lower right) Richier’s teacher, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, Hercules, 1909


Alberto Giacometti (Swiss, 1901-1966), (left) City Square, 1948, bronze, c. 8 x 25 x 17“(right) Giacometti, Portrait of a Seated Man (Diego), 1949, oil on canvas, 80 x 64 cm.

2 of 5 casts. Guggenheim collection photo, lower,

shows preferred viewpoint (eye-level, close up) which

alters the viewer’s perception of scale

Portraits are the stopping point

of an agonized struggle with

perception as proof of existence

Giacometti, The Palace at 4 a.m., 1932, construction in wood, glass, wire, and string, 25 x 28 x 15 in. Prewar Surrealist work

Artist’s sketch, 1932

Giacometti, Woman with Her Throat Cut, bronze, 1932, prewar Surrealist work drawing from the artist’s dreams and imaginings

MoMA New York, 2005


(left) Poseidon, Greek, c. 575 BC, bronze, found in the Aegean Sea in 1926: god as powerful warrior male(right) Giacometti,Man Pointing, 1947, bronze, 70 inches high, Existential man: “thrown naked into the void” (Heidegger, German WWII era existential philosopher). The Poseidon was a source for Giacometti

Sac State Student, 2005


Jean Dubuffet[French, 1901-1985] “Art Brut,”Large Sooty Nude, 1944, o/c, 64”H; (right) Tree of Fluids, 1952; compare (center) Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1952“Art addresses the mind, not the eyes.” (Dubuffet)

Brassai, (Gyula Halasz, French b. Romania, 1899 - 1987)(left) Swastika Graffiti; (right) Passion Graffiti, both Paris, 1939

Francis Bacon (British, 1909 -1992), (left) Painting, 1946, oil and pastel on linen, 6' 6" x 52“; (right) Head Surrounded by Sides of Beef, oil on canvas, 1954

Black umbrella was the symbol of British Prime Minister

Neville Chamberlain’s policy of Nazi appeasement


Francis Bacon,Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 5 x 4 ft, 1953(right top) source: Velazquez, Pope Innocent X, 1650; (right below) Still from Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 The Battleship Potemkin, Odessa steps sequence

NOTE: Study for Portrait II, 1956, from Bacon’s

series of papal portraits sold at Christie’s

February, 2007 auction for $27.51 million


Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, 1944, oil and pastel on canvas, triptych on wood fiberboard, each 37 x 29 inches. The crucifixion was for Bacon a symbol of humanity’s sadism(lower right) source: Picasso, On the Beach (La Baignade), 1937

Aeschylus’ TheEumenides:

“the kindly ones,” The Furies, the

dark hidden side of the human

psyche, with Orestes


(left) Francis Bacon, Three Studies of figures on Beds, 1972, oil and pastel on canvas, triptych, each panel 6’6” x 4’ 10”(right) source: Eadweard Muybridge, photograph from The Human Figure in Motion, 1887

Exhibition photo of Bacon’s Two Figures Lying on a Bed with Attendants, 1968