gouache and ink on paper 14.0 x 20.0 cm Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art
Wols (born: Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze, 1913 - 1951) was a rare and enigmatic artist whose creative efforts ranged from music and poetry to painting, in which he was self-taught. Having grown up in Germany after World War I, Wols moved to Paris, where he became recognized initially as a photographer. The subjects he chose included figures with their eyes closed and raw foodstuffs before cooking, which he turned into photographic works revealing a strong and discerning gaze.
From his teens, Wols had painted in watercolors and pursued drawing as well. When war broke out between Germany and France, he was interned in French prison camps as a German national where he spent his time absorbed in watercolors and drawing. It is said that images came to him when his eyes were closed and he drew with thin lines like spider’s threads and translucent colors to create watercolors with a unique appeal that was Wols’ alone.
Wols also began working in oil paints and in the postwar period developed a style unbound by conventional oil painting technique. His work was appreciated by literary figures of the day like Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Paulhan, which prompted commissions for illustrations for their books that Wols executed in etching. However, these artistic activities were cut short when Wols died at the tragically young age of 38. Although he died in poverty, soon after his death Wols’ work gained recognition as a forerunner of Art Informel.
Wols’ art was introduced in Japan from 1956 and has since won the hearts of many. While few exhibitions of Wols’ art have been seen in Japan in recent years, the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art boasts a collection of Wols’oil paintings, watercolors and etchings. In this exhibition, we draw mainly on this collection to present a group of Wols’ works that, although not large in size, stand out for their depth and expansive scope. We hope that this exhibition will provide an opportunity for viewers to rediscover the art of this exceptional artist.
January 16 - February 10, 2017