Shannon's Fine Art Auctioneers

American (1914 - 2004)
"Space Carnage"
mixed media and collage on canvas, signed on the reverse "G. Kamrowksi," titled on the artist's label on the reverse
96 x 48 1/2 inches

Provenance: The artist; By descent in the artist's family; Private Collection, Michigan.

Other Notes:

Gerome Kamrowski was born in Warren, Minnesota in 1914. In 1932 he enrolled in the Saint Paul School of Art and in 1933 he was awarded a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York where he studied under Hans Hoffman and George Grosz.

As a member of the WPA, he traveled extensively throughout the United States during the 1930s painting murals. In 1937 studied at The New Bauhaus in Chicago with László Moholy-Nagy and in 1938 he received a Guggenheim fellowship from Hilla Rebay to attend Hans Hofmann's summer school in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He then relocated to New York where he met William Baziotes.

Together they shared a fascination in Surrealist movement, and both artists explored its possibilities in their paintings. Kamrowski was particularly drawn to Surrealism's fundamental appeal of intuition over intellect. He was interested seeking a process that "binds all things together...a kind of cosmic rhythm". [1]

In the early 1940s Kamrowski worked closely with Baziotes, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, and Roberto Matta, who were original members of an open-ended movement referred to as Abstract Surrealism, a group that would prove to be a critical step in the birth of Abstract Expressionism. It was during these years that he worked on many collaborative works with Pollack and Baziotes. In a letter to B.H. Friedman, Kamrowski recalled that one day he, Pollock, and Baziotes were fooling around' with quart-cans of lacquer paint. Baziotes asked if he could use some 'to show Pollock how the paint could be spun around.' He then looked around the room for something to work on, and a canvas that Kamrowski had 'been pouring paint on and was not going well' was handy, so Baziotes began to throw and drip' white paint on it. He next gave the dripping palette knife to Jackson, who with his intense concentration' started flipping the paint with abandon. ' According to Kamrowski, after all had a chance to play, Baziotes identified the spiral forms he had created as 'birds' nests, ' but Pollock refused to interpret his spots." This painting was a pivotal work, showing the transition from, and fusion of, Surrealism to Action Painting and Abstract Expressionism.[2]

In 1947 Kamrowski was invited to the Surrealist Exhibition in Paris by surrealist Andre Breton. He was deeply respected by Breton, who proclaimed: "Gerome Kamrowski is the one who has impressed me far the most by reason of the quality and sustained character of his research. Among all the newcomers there, he was the only one tunneling in a new direction."

He left New York in 1948 and became a teacher at the University of Michigan School of Art at Ann Arbor where he taught for 38 years .He never abandoned his art career and continued to evolve, creating 3D works of art with different medium until his death at the age of 90 in 2004.

1 Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art + Artists: Artists "Gerome Kamrowski"

2 Karamanoukian, Jacques. "Gerome Kamrowski: Art, Fame & Fortune." Agenda, April 1997, P. 7 & 8. Ann Arbor District Library.

tags: abstract, post war, large-scale, modern / contemporary, 20th century

  • Condition: Canvas: Unlined
    Condition: Very Good
    Restoration: None
    Frame: Cap
    Framed dimensions - 50 x 98 1/4 x 3 inches

    In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation.


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