A striking mid century aquatint etching in colors by the noted European artist and print maker JOHNNY FRIEDLAENDER (1912-1992). The unframed print, 8 1/2" by 5 1/2" inside the present mat opening (sheet 13 1/2" by 9 1/2") is signed at lower right margin with the artist's distinctive signature and numbered 41/55 at lower left. Friedlaender was a pioneer in the aquatint process, having taught such artists as Rodo Boulanger. Born in Prussian Silesia before World War I, he showed early talent, exhibiting in Dresden in 1930 when only 18. Friedlaender studied with Otto Mueller in Breslau. By his early 20's he had already been to Berlin and Paris, and by his mid twenties had visited Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Austria, France and Belgium. During the turbulent 1930's Friedlaender found himself a political refuge; he spent time in Nazi concentration camps he very nearly did not survive. After the war's end, his skills came to be very widely recognized, throughout Europe, in Japan, South America and the United States; there were exhibitions of his work in Tokyo, Milan, Rome, Sao Paulo and New York. He became a friend of the important French modernist Nicolas de Stael. More accolades followed late in life, with retrospectives in 1978 at the Musee d'Art Moderne in Paris, in 1987 at the Bremen Art Museum, and in 1992, the year of his death, at Bonn. Friedlaender's works, I believe, have always been undervalued by the art market. One reason might be the penciled signature itself, which though distinctive is indecipherable. The artist was amazingly prolific, creating many prints, perhaps falsely suggesting abundance and unlimited supply. This print is clean within the present mat lines, though outside of them, there is considerable old mat browning and discoloration. Replace the present mat with a clean new one and frame and this will be a classy addition to a small wall in your Mid Century setting.
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