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WALTER KUHLMAN (1918-2009) signed dated pastel drawing by pioneer abstract expressionist artist
Pastel on paper drawing, 8 1/2" by 11 3/4" inside the mat (20" by 23 1/2" framed), the subject apparently a seascape with a lone sailboat at center, (possibly an interpretation of central San Francisco Bay in the fog) created in a highly impressionistic technique, signed (presently hidden by the mat but revealed by pulling it away) and dated at lower right 1970 or perhaps 1976, by the noted early pioneer of Abstract Expressionism, WALTER KUHLMAN (1918-2009). Kuhlman was born in Minnesota and received early art training at the University of Minnesota and the Saint Paul School of Art, where he also later taught. By 1950 the artist was in Paris, absorbing the post-war art scene there while continuing to study. The year 1960 saw him teaching at the University of New Mexico, where he remained until 1965. In his later years, Kuhlman settled in Sausalito, California, (across from San Francisco), where he became known as a member of the "Sausalito Six", which included Richard Diebenkorn and Frank Lobdell. Kuhlman continued to produce art and teach at various institutions through the 1980's, and in 1995 he was admitted to the National Academy of Design. Today we see his abstract paintings, the best of them resembling some pieces by Clyfford Still, at major auctions. Kuhlman is considered to have played an essential part in the West Coast birth of abstract expressionism, though some now see him as a 20th century California School artist. His papers are now a part of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. This work has traveled without glass. It appears to me that the area at left center is a conglomeration of scratches acquired in the course of careless handling. It has also occurred to me that the piece could be technically a monotype in pastel, if that is possible---I am not an expert in monotype---but I see auction records of works very similar to this one image-wise, which are described not as drawings but as monotypes. If this be a monotype process, then perhaps the "scratches" are not really scratches but in fact a part of the result of monotype process----or, again, they could be damage. I cannot be certain. Lifting up the mat reveals that this work is on a considerably larger sheet of paper than the mat opening would suggest, there being large white empty margin all around. Clearly it should be re-matted to show the margins and signature.
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