Mennon and Butterflies
On View: European Art Galleries, 5th floor
To create the spiraling, anthropomorphic figures seen here, Kurt Seligmann traced patterns of cracked glass that he projected onto his canvas. He was inspired by the vast open terrain of the American Southwest and elements from European mythology to create what he described as psychological, “cyclonic” landscapes where “living beings seem to detach themselves from tortuous geological formations. A world in formation—not the heroic landscapes of prehistory, but rather a lyrical one.”
The year he made this painting, Seligmann participated in the exhibition Artists in Exile at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York, along with fourteen of his fellow European modernists who fled Nazism and moved to New York, including André Masson, Yves Tanguy, and Ossip Zadkine.
Oil on canvas
49 x 58 1/2 in. (124.5 x 148.6 cm)
frame: 50 1/4 × 60 1/4 in. (127.6 × 153 cm) (show scale)
Gift of The Beatrice and Samuel A. Seaver Foundation
Kurt Seligmann (Swiss, 1900-1962). Mennon and Butterflies, 1942. Oil on canvas, 49 x 58 1/2 in. (124.5 x 148.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Beatrice and Samuel A. Seaver Foundation, 2004.30.19. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2004.30.19.jpg)
overall, 2004.30.19.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2005
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