Fritz Eichenberg’s life was shaped by his firsthand experience of World War I in Cologne, Germany, and his immigration to the United States in 1933 as Germany was preparing for another war. Eichenberg was a highly sensitive person with a quick eye, a sharp wit, a passionate love of literature, and an equally intense commitment to the truth. He combined these qualities to produce several careers’ worth of work as a political cartoonist, book illustrator, religious radical (he was a major contributor to the newspaper of the Catholic Worker, a left-leaning movement founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Marin in 1933), and distinguished educator. His images, published in newspapers, magazines, portfolios, and more than one hundred books, have reached countless numbers of people. He was, in the best sense of the word, a popular artist, one who communicated to a wide audience his unique vision while maintaining the highest technical and ethical standards.
The focus of Fritz Eichenberg—Artist of the Book will be portfolio illustrations Eichenberg created for twelve classic works of literature. A set of original publications will be featured along with a self-portrait of Eichenberg with many of the authors illustrated in this exhibition, thanks to a generous loan from a local collector. Additionally, this loan will include Eichenberg's preparatory drawing, final print, and original woodblock for the cover of The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of Dorothy Day, along with the book itself, allowing visitors a glimpse into the artist's process. The gallery will also present selections from Eichenberg’s 1972 work In Praise of Folly (Encomium Moriae) from its permanent collection.
Fritz Eichenberg—Artist of the Bookis organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director.
Max Klinger, German, 1857-1920 Der Künstler in der Dachstube (The Artist in the Attic)
Etching and aquating (on thin wove paper)
5-3/4" x 2-3/8"
Dr. and Mrs. E. William Ewers Gift for Fine Arts Fund Purchase
History's Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of National Identity
(January 16 - February 27, 2013.)
An opening reception will be held Thursday, March 13, 2014 from 5 to 7 pm in Cohen Memorial Hall.
Presented as the first survey of German art from the Fine Arts Gallery’s collections, History’s Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of National Identity, addresses the role of history in shaping German art, and how that history has, as the title suggests, formulated German identity. This exhibition will also address how we, in turn, view German art through a lens grounded in our complex relationship with the German past, with World War II still coloring how many Americans and Germans alike view Germany, its culture and its art.
While not a comprehensive survey of German art, History’s Shadow will span over five hundred years, with particular attention given to political and cultural events and how these events “cast a shadow” on both the artists and the art created by them. The earliest German work in the Fine Arts Gallery’s collection is the melancholic Rhenish Pietà, a late Medieval work ca. 1450-1460. Old Master prints are well represented beginning in the fifteenth century by such artists as Michael Wolgemut, Albrecht Dürer’s teacher, and Dürer himself. Several works by artists called the kleine Meister, or “Little Masters,” a group of German artists active in the first half of the sixteenth century who produced a wide range of small-scale, intricately worked prints, nearly all of which were engravings, are also featured. Art of the late-twentieth and early twenty-first centuries is represented by Sigmar Polke, the conceptualist Thomas Locher, and by an excerpt from Christiane Baumgartner’s 1 Sekunde, a meditation on time and contemporaneity.
History’s Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of Identityis organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director.
Presented as a companion exhibition to History’s Shadow: German Art and the Formulation of Identity, Farandole brings together two European cultural figures of the latter part of the twentieth century, artist Hans Hartung (1904–1989) and novelist and poet, Jean Proal (1904–1969). Published in 1972 as a portfolio of lithographs by Hartung with an accompanying poem by Proal, Farandole plays a set of aggressive abstract images against a poem with equal amounts of force and presence. Farandole, the title of Proal’s poem and the collaboration itself, is taken from the name of an open-chain community dance popular in Provence, France.
Farandole—An Artistic and Literary Collaborationis organized by the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery and curated by Joseph S. Mella, director.