Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters

Auction 178 - 6 March 2021

Contemporary, Modern Art and Old Masters Lot 274

Bram Bogart (Belgium / 1921 - 2012)
Faust and Greta (1959)


€ 44 000 - 60 000

"Bram Bogart" Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels 1959
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam 1959
"Bram Bogart, The early years 1951-1965" D&R Hughes, London 1989, nr. 19 ill.

"Rock and Roll with Paint" … the most extreme example of this new tachism is Bram Bogart, a precursor of total nihilism who, using a mixture of cement, sand and paint puts an uneven layer on the canvas using at times a single unmixed colour. The paintings resemble rough wall surfaces or a rock face and with all the good will in the world have nothing whatever to do with art. In Paris this is the new tendency with some younger painters, a form of rock and roll with paint in its most stupid manifestation…

This critic was clearly not amused by the work he saw at an exhibition in Amsterdam in 1956. In the 1950s, a generation of young artists in Europe rebelled against existing conventions on beauty and painting. They will explore the limits of matter, gestures and ideas, each in their own way: Fontana in Italy, Tapies in Spain, Dubuffet in France and Bogart in Belgium. The artists met in the cafés of Paris and Rome, which provided the vibrant setting for an unstoppable creation and exchange of ideas.

Bogart, like many artists at the time, was limited in his resources. He experimented with mixtures of ordinary materials such as sand, cement and putty. With reasoned movements he applied them to the canvas, on which a sublime landscape of cavities and curves unfolded. The shape is determined by the paint mass, emphasized by the almost monochrome white and gray colour. Matter and emptiness balance each other and define the composition with light and shadow, like day and night.

This 1959 painting is on the eve of a shift in Bogart's oeuvre, in which volume continues to swell. Since the early 1950s, the paint has grown heavier. The difference between painting and sculpture is becoming increasingly blurred. Finally, Bogart will drop the easel and lay his canvases directly on the floor.

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