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"People are shy of humor in painting. They think it has to be a serious matter. It’s the only thing we have between ourselves and pessimism. I see painting as poetry. Humor, after all, is the reminder that we are mortal." William N. Copley, excerpted from William N. Copley: CPLY X-Rated.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Edited by Linn Lühn.
Originally written in 1976 for his Paris–New York exhibition, Reflection on a Past Life is painter William N. Copley’s (1919–1996) humorous and insightful account of his many bizarre encounters with key Surrealists, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp and René Magritte. After inheriting a fortune as a young man, Copley (often known as "CPLY"), used his family wealth to open The Copley Galleries in Beverly Hills shortly after World War II, where he exhibited works by major Surrealist artists. Although the gallery proved to be a financial flop, closing after its first year, Copley secured a place in the annals of art history by bringing Surrealism to Hollywood, as well as with his own painting. This memoir provides a revealing and intimate look at the work and thought processes of Copley’s heroes from the frank, engaging perspective of a younger colleague.
Painter, gallerist, writer and collector William N. Copley (1919-1996) was one of Surrealism's most active advocates in America (especially in Los Angeles), and his paintings are increasingly recognized as important precursors to Pop. A close friend to Duchamp and Man Ray, Copley always courted controversy, never more memorably than with his infamous X-Rated exhibition at the New York Cultural Center in 1974. Copley's cartoonish works of the 1950s developed an overtly sexual iconography in the 1960s, which in turn prefigured his erotic and arguably pornographic work of the 1970s. Published on the occasion of Paul Kasmin Gallery's reconstruction of the 1974 show, the book includes 38 superb color plates of the paintings--many of which have not been seen since the original exhibition--as well as Copley's fascinating 1977 memoir of his early years as an exponent and gallerist for Surrealism, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dealer."
PUBLISHER PAUL KASMIN
BOOK FORMAT Hardcover, 10.75 x 10.75 in. / 140 pgs / 38 color / 8 bw.
PUBLISHING STATUS PUB DATE 4/30/2011 Out of print
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. EXCLUSIVE CATALOG: SPRING 2011 p. 80
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9780982943311TRADE LIST PRICE: $65.00 CDN $75.00
AVAILABILITY Not available
STATUS: Out of print | 00/00/00
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Published by Hatje Cantz. Edited by Klaus Gerrit Friese. Text by Stephan Berg.
The life and career of William N. Copley (1919-1996) spans an exciting (if little-known) period in American art. As a gallerist, Copley established a powerful presence for Surrealism on the West Coast, exhibiting René Magritte, Max Ernst, Yves Tanguy, Joseph Cornell and Man Ray, before deciding, in 1947, to become a painter himself. He then moved to Paris, where he developed his own unmistakable style, a style which has come to be recognized as the native link between Surrealism and Pop art. In his emphasis on bold wavy outline and occasional use of text, Copley is now also considered a forerunner of the graffiti art practiced by the likes of Keith Haring. This important monograph reproduces a broad selection of Copley's paintings, inspired by everyday American circumstances: his cowboys and pin-up girls, his erotic and pornographic fantasies and his set pieces from everyday life.