Friday, April 29, 2016

Jan Lebenstein (1930 – 1999)

Jan Lebenstein - The Climax, 1969The Climax, 1969

Jan Lebenstein - Hall Of Hearings , 1973Hall Of Hearings , 1973
 Jan Lebenstein - InvasionInvasion

Jan Lebenstein - Untitled , 1962Untitled , 1962
 Jan Lebenstein - Hall - Hearings -Sad - Appeal, 1975Hall - Hearings -Sad - Appeal, 1975

Jan Lebenstein - Couple SquattingCouple Squatting

Jan Lebenstein - Apocalypse , 1985Apocalypse , 1985

Jan Lebenstein - Club Bar, 1976Club Bar, 1976
 Jan Lebenstein - Illustration for Animal Farm, 1974Illustration for Animal Farm, 1974
 Jan Lebenstein - Les Siens, 1969Les Siens, 1969

Jan Lebenstein - Guard House (Straż przyboczna), 1973Guard House (Straż przyboczna), 1973

Jan Lebenstein - Corps de Garde 2, 1970Corps de Garde 2, 1970

Jan Lebenstein - Act, 1968Act, 1968

Jan Lebenstein - Contradicting Images, 1971Contradicting Images, 1971
 Jan Lebenstein - Dream Salon, 1968Dream Salon, 1968

Jan Lebenstein - Bestiary , 1973Bestiary , 1973

Jan Lebenstein - Garden, 1965Garden, 1965

Jan Lebenstein - Aviation,1965Aviation,1965

Jan Lebenstein - From the cycle Bestiary, 1963 From the cycle Bestiary, 1963
 Jan Lebenstein - From Eros and ThanatosFrom Eros and Thanatos

Jan Lebenstein - Untitled ( second version) , 1963Untitled ( second version) , 1963
 Jan Lebenstein - Untitled , 1963Untitled , 1963
 Jan Lebenstein - Point Of View (dyptich), 1967Point Of View (dyptich), 1967
 Jan Lebenstein - Composition of woman with four legs, 1973Composition of woman with four legs, 1973

"The artist's imagination was most strongly inspired by the great texts of world culture. He believed that the road to modernity lead through a processing of tradition. As he himself said, the cellars of the Louvre, filled with relics of the ancient Sumerian and Babylonian civilizations, fascinated him. He was stimulated by the mythologies of ancient civilizations like Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, and Greece, as he was by the Bible. This was the impulse for consistent production of works reflecting an apocalyptic vision of the world. His own "Zoology Lesson" - a personal myth about the derivation and animalistic nature of humans (Leçon de zoologie, 1972) - occupied a central place in his art. In particular, Lebenstein emphasized the biological and physiological foundations of human sensuality. A reader of cultural archetypes, he focused mainly on erotic aspects and themes (reflected in the motifs of the Great Mother and the Great Vamp) and on the concept of Thanatos, manifested in the "Isle of the Dead" motif (Lebenstein dedicated his exhibition at the Théatre National de l'Odéon in Paris to, among others, Arnold Böcklin, creator of a well-known painting of the same title). He caricatured "human fauna", creating strange creatures barely recognizable as being of "human derivation" (Carnet intime series, 1960-65). These pre-evolutionary representatives of archaic tribes were evidently subject to the pressures of untamed desires and appeared above all in Lebenstein's work after 1960 (Bottom I, Inassouvissement, both 1969).

At around the same time he created a series of paintings that portrayed "prehistoric" animals (Créatures abominables series, 1960-65) and imagined "vertebrates" (Deux vertébrés, 1966). This rich, baroque bestiary served as a bank of models from which he drew direct inspiration for subsequent works. Carefully and arduously formed, his compositions of this time seem almost sculpted in wrinkled, dough-like layers of paint, and radiant with an exceptional richness of subtle pictorial effects. Lebenstein would soon abandon this extraordinary noble material in favor of a stylization that also characterized his gouaches and temperas of the 1970s and 80s (between 1976 and 1989 the painter used no oils). These are distinguished above all by fine, often manneristic, curving lines (Animals' Sweety Bar, 1976; Asile, 1989). The works, no longer possessing the textures of his earlier oil paintings, are worthy of note for their unsettled atmosphere and tension inherent in complicated, erotic "dangerous liaisons".

In contrast to many 20th century artists, who shied away from narration in their paintings, drawings, and prints, Lebenstein not only tended towards anecdote, but was also an illustrator of literary works. His achievements in this sphere include a series of outstanding illustrations - to George Orwell's "Animal Farm" (1974), the "Book of Job" (1979), the "Apocalypse" (1983), and the "Book of Genesis" (1995). The artist also produced illustrations for a number of short stories by his friend Gustaw Herling-Grudziński. Furthermore, Lebenstein designed a stained-glass window with scenes of the Apocalypse for a Palotine chapel in Paris (1970) and dabbled in scenery design." - quote source

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