On the Cover: Georges Malkine | Visual Art | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It
Favorite

On the Cover: Georges Malkine 

click to enlarge La Dame de pique (Queen of Spades), Georges Malkine, oil and collage on board, 38 x 23 cm, 1926
  • La Dame de pique (Queen of Spades), Georges Malkine, oil and collage on board, 38 x 23 cm, 1926

The moody, brooding landscape on this month’s cover is a small, early painting by Georges Malkine, whose work and anti-career are the subject of an exhibition opening this month at the Woodstock Artists Association Museum (WAAM).

A complex character, Malkine began his work as a painter in 1920s Montparnasse, the Left Bank artists’ neighborhood of Paris, alongside a number of other, but now better-known artists, including André Masson, Joan Miró, Yves Tanguy, and Man Ray. Together, they were responsible for the early injection of painting and visual art into the nascent Surrealist movement, which was being erected out of the ashes of Dada by André Breton and a circle of his anti-literary writer friends. Malkine holds the distinction of being the only painter identified by name in Breton’s first Surrealist Manifesto, where he is listed (along with a laundry list of the writer’s other favorites) for “having performed acts of ABSOLUTE SURREALISM.”

Malkine fell into this avant-garde group early and easily, attracted by their dedication to nonconformity. It is the main thesis of curator Derin Tanyol’s exhibition at WAAM that his embrace of Surrealism’s anti-consumerism extended to a willful self-obscurity that was an act of “perfect surrealist behavior.” She notes that “his disdain for self-promotion amounted to an evasive refusal of his own place in history” and quotes the artist himself as saying “I did everything I could to escape the attention of my contemporaries.”

Eschewing commercial success of the sort that had the Surrealists anagramming the name of ultra-self-promoter Salvador Dali into “Avida Dollars,” Malkine’s life wended through any number of unplanned detours, side roads and dead ends. Despite his early embrace of Surrealism, he renounced his official membership in the movement in the 1930s, by which time a serious addiction to opium became his primary activity. He essentially abandoned art making altogether for the next 20 years, and was active in the French Resistance during WWII, for which he was detained several times by the Nazis, even spending some time in the camps at Wannsee and Dachau in 1943-44. After the war, he married his much-younger wife, Sonia Malkine (who passed away earlier this year), and began a family that was to include our own local favorite, Gilles Malkine. In 1948 they moved to the US, eventually buying a house in Shady, where Georges picked up his painting in earnest once again.

“Georges Malkine: Perfect Surrealist Behavior” is the first retrospective of Malkine’s work ever to appear in the US, and is accompanied by a substantial catalog that is the first ever in English to appear on the artist. On October 11, the opening reception will be preceded by lectures by both exhibition curator Derin Tanyol and noted Surrealism scholar and translator Mary Ann Caws. The talks begin at 2:30 pm in WAAM’s Towbin Wing; the reception will run from 4 pm to 6 pm. The exhbition continues through January 4 at the Woodstock Artists Association Museum, Woodstock. 845) 679-2940.

Speaking of...

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Parting Shot: Lisa Durfee

    Lisa Durfee’s documentation of unnoticed parts of shabby chic Hudson currently being shown at the Hudson Opera House.
    • Feb 1, 2017
  • On the Cover: Margot Kingon

    Margot Kingon discusses the interconnection between her family and her creative work.
    • May 1, 2017

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Common Ground

Oct. 6-Nov. 13 — A photography exhibition by Ellen Lynch. The exhibit pairs separate photographs of...

View all of today's events

Latest in Visual Art

  • The Photography of Fred Cray
  • The Photography of Fred Cray

    • Oct 1, 2017
  • An Exhibit of Helen Frankenthaler's Prints
  • An Exhibit of Helen Frankenthaler's Prints

    Over 25 prints by the pioneering abstract artist Helen Frankenthaler are on display at Vassar College’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.
    • Oct 1, 2017
  • Olana, with The Ancram Opera House, presents an original play in landscape
  • Olana, with The Ancram Opera House, presents an original play in landscape

    Performing Olana: Frederic Church living his art Olana and Ancram Opera House collaborate to produce a theater performance specifically created to take place in the landscape of the historic site. The dramatic work draws inspiration from Frederic Church’s paintings, letters, family life and the celebrated landscape and is presented as an immersive theater experience in which performer and audience journey together into Church's art. FRI 6PM | SAT 2PM, 4PM, 6PM | SUN 2PM, 4PM, 6PM Member: $10, Non-Member: $15, Family (up to 5): $40
    • Sep 21, 2017
  • More »

Related to Visual Art

More by Beth E. Wilson

Hudson Valley Tweets