The Shadow of the Avant-garde
Rousseau and the Forgotten Masters
Published by Hatje Cantz
Edited with text by Falk Wolf, Kasper König. Text by Daniel Baumann, Tobia Bezzola, Laszlo Glozer, Robert Jones, Veit Loers, Katharina Neuburger, Maria Anna Potocka, Nina Schallenberg, Barbara Schellewald, Robert Storr, Manja Wilkens.
A necessary revisionist text that uncovers the importance of Henry Rousseau, Alfred Wallis and their early autodidact colleaguesDifficult to categorize and branded as “naive,” the oeuvres of the great autodidact painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries continue to pose problems for art history. Artists such as Henri Rousseau, André Bauchant, Morris Hirshfield, Bill Traylor, Alfred Wallis and Séraphine Louis are far too often isolated in the light of an exotic primitivism, so to speak. Instead, this publication and the exhibition it accompanies at the Museum Folkwang contextualize their powerful creations with key works from the modern era, by artists such as Honoré Daumier, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso and, more recently, Blinky Palermo and Mike Kelley. It is not by chance that many of the autodidacts fascinated the canonical modernist artists with their paintings and sculptures, who often publically supported them. From this perspective, even contemporaries such as Miroslav Tich? make a contribution to the development of art and are no longer merely its antagonists.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
The constellations of works at the Museum Folkwang by self-taught artists were, almost without exception, impressive... The spotlight that was shone on the less familiar self-taught masters illuminated the crepuscular gloom in which they have long languished, and that in itself makes the exhibition memorable.