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Artist:     Frederic TAUBES (Polish-American, 1900 - 1981)
Title:     Avant-garde cityscape, 1920
Item ID   5883
Price:     7000.00 €


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This avant-garde cityscape was executed by well-known Polish-American painter, printmaker and art writer Frederic Taubes (1900 Lemberg (Poland, now Lwiw/Ukraine) - 1981 Nyack/New York, USA). Our painting was executed by the author (due to his biography) in 1920 during his study at the Bauhaus, Weimar, Germany under Johannes Itten. Our work was exhibited in the famous Dudensing Galleries, New York in early 1930s ( which he jointed in 1931, on the back of the canvas is the stamp of this gallery).

Here is artist‘s biography by Roger Green, written on the occassion of a memorial retrospective of Taubes’ work, organized and exhibited by the Butler Institute of American Art in 1983 (source - website : During a long and spectacularly productive career, spanning most of the present century, Frederic Taubes achieved success in a number of fields. As a painter and printmaker he won critical acclaim, particularly for his technical virtuosity: major museums purchased his works, which were shown in more one-man exhibitions that were staged for any other living artist in the United States. As a writer, he published more than 40 authoritative books about art, many of which became standard texts and bestsellers. Turning his energies to scientific research, he discovered and approximated the painting media used by Flemish masters of the 14th and 15th centuries. In what remained of his time, he was a tireless lecturer and teacher.

Taubes, who was born in Lwow, Poland in 1900, has been correctly described as exemplifying "the young European artist caught up in the political and esthetic chaos of the first half of the 20th century."' The outbreak of World War I, the conflict that triggered the chaos, found the unsuspecting Taubes vacationing with his prosperous parents at a Czechoslovakian spa. Unable to return to Russian occupied Poland, the family packed its bags and moved to Vienna, where the elder Taubes, a clever banker, immediately began amassing a second fortune.

Young Frederic, who had received privat lessons in Poland, continued his study in Vienna, eventually becoming a student at the city's Academy of Art.

Following the war, Taubes continued his art education at the Academy in Munich, studying under Franz von Stuck, the celebrated jugendstil painter, and Prof. Max Doerner, at the time the world's leading authority on painting methodology and techniques. Mired in tradition at the Munich Academy, Taubes was nevertheless deeply affected by his adopted city, whose avant-garde artists were boldly experimenting with the newest, most daringly iconoclastic "isms." Recognizing that Central Europe had been catapulted into the 20th century by the war, Taubes became fascinated by experimental art, which he romantically perceived (as did many Europeans at the time) as a response to new problems faced by modernity. After a year, he quit the Munich Academy, enrolling at the experimental art school par excellence, the Bauhaus in Weimar.

During the year 1920 at the Bauhaus, he completed the Basic Course taught by Johannes ltten, whose theories about color were to influence Taubes throughout his career. Remaining from the Bauhaus experience are many creditable drawings in the Cubist manner, picturing still–life objects and female nudes, reduced to elegant arrangements of geometric shapes.

During the 1920s, Taubes experimented with a number of styles, including (besides Cubism), dada, Expressionism and the New Objectivity. The painters who influenced him at this time — far from old masters — were Paul Cezanne, Giorgio de Chirico, Otto Dix and George Grosz. Moreover, for some years he worked as an itinerant portrait painter, traveling east across Europe to the Black Sea, then north to Warsaw. In 1930 Taubes sailed for New York where, after four return trips to Europe, he determined to settle permanently. Conditions in the depression stricken city were anything but auspicious for a young, foreign artist eager to make his way. However, mustering the strength that had served him in Europe, Taubes eventually found a gallery interested in handling his work, in particular his realistic portraits.

1931 Taubes joined famous modernism Dudensing Gallery in New York. From 1926 to 1947 the Valentine Dudensing Gallery was a center for modern art on East 57th Street in New York. Taubes makes a living as a society portrait painter. Paints portraits of such influential personalities as Mrs. William Randolph Hearst Jr., Mrs. Morgan Belmont, Baron von Romberg, etc. After ten years in the United States, Taubes had become an important artist. Critics applauded his work, while connoisseurs expressed the most sincere approval by purchasing it. Prestigious colleges and institutions invited the ascending art superstar to lecture and teach. Taubes' fame peaked in the mid-1940s, when his groundbreaking scientific research, followed by the appearance of several successful books, greatly increased his prestige. He spent 1942 as the Carnegie visiting professor of art and resident painter at the University of Illinois in Urbana, where he discovered and approximated the painting media used in 14th and 15th century Flemish paintings, world-renowned for their mysterious durability. Following up his Urbana researches, Taubes formulated his well-known line of painting media and varnishes, which became commercially available in 1942. He also published his findings in The Mastery of Oil Painting, which was printed in numerous editions, both here and abroad. The publication of the book in England brought Taubes invitations to lecture at Oxford University and the Royal Society of Art, of which he was elected a fellow. In 1944, Taubes published Oil Painting for the Beginner, which became the standard art students' text for ten years, and which remains in print to this day. Between 1943 and 1962, he published a regular column, "The Taubes Page," in American Artist magazine. In his writing for the page, which over the years became increasingly controversial, he continually championed the craft techniques of the old masters. After 1955, Taubes all but ceased showing his work, although he never stopped painting, energetically altering and developing his art until his death in 1981.

Literature: H.Vollmer "Artist dictionary of 20th century", Leipzig, 1999; Falk, 1985; Prof.H.Fuchs, Lexicon of Austrian artists, Vienna, 1975.

Inscription: signed upper right, on the back of the canvas is the stamp of famous Dudensing Galleries in New York.

Technique: oil on canvas, original period frame..

Measurements: unframed : w. 19 5/8" x h. 30 3/4" (49,7 x 78 cm); framed w.20 5/8" x h. 31 3/4" (52,5 x 80,5 cm).

Condition: in very good condition.

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