Dramatic linocut print, the sheet 13" by 20", unframed, numbered at lower left 6/12 and pencil signed at lower right and dated there 1971, the "HB" blind stamp adjacent, by the important and still highly underrated Swiss-California modernist HANS GUSTAV BURKHARDT (1904-1994). The subject is somewhat uncertain; perhaps a look at a catalogue raisonne of the artist's graphic works would provide the title, but skulls and other references to death seem to predominate, and the ink is black. At lower left the artist has cut his name into the block and apparently included the 1968 date (though, again, it's dated 1971 in pencil in lower right corner). Burkhardt was born in Switzerland and arrived in America in 1924. He attended Cooper Union and Grand Central School in New York in the latter part of the 1920's, meeting and working with Willem de Kooning. From 1929 to 1936 he was a student of the famous artist Arshile Gorky, with whom he went on to became a close friend. By 1937, Burkhardt was in Los Angeles, where the prestigious Stendhal Gallery held an exhibition of his work, that exhibition arranged by the progressive modernist of that period in Los Angeles, Lorser Feitelson. While in Southern California, Burkhardt met the likes of the surrealists Man Ray, and Eugene Berman, and modernist Knud Merrild. Isolated from the art centers of Europe and the east coast, he steered his own course in modernism for the next fifty years. Major museums around the nation and abroad held exhibitions of his work from about 1947 through the late 1950's, some comparing him to east coast figures Hans Hofmann, De Kooning, and Gorky. By the late 1950's Burkhardt was already a mentor and teacher himself, at USC, Otis Art Institute and Chouinard, and thousands of students have traced their artistic background to his teachings. Burkhardt was a prolific artist himself until perhaps the 1980's, as he turned vigorously to printmaking, judging from the sheer number of images he created. Variously described as an abstract expressionist, cubist, and modernist, Burkhardt's large body of work, created over such a long lifetime, varies enormously in both style and medium. He worked in many media, including oil, pastel, mural, mosaic, and printmaking; and many subjects, including figurative, abstract, landscape, marines, are seen in this body of work--sometimes, mixed together in a unique style. Many have tried to interpret his message, which often deals with death, war, and man's inhumanity to man. THE PRESENT PRINT: Overall very crisp and fresh, with just minor handling creases at upper corners. Framed, a viewer would not be troubled by any of this. Ask for information on other prints by the artist I will be offering for sale. SEE HUNDREDS OF OTHER WORKS OF ART NOW IN MY SHOP.
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