Following the ascent of abstraction in the early twentieth century, international Surrealist and Expressionist tendencies brought renewed attention to the human condition on personal, social, and existential levels. The period between the two world wars is notable for a resurgence of figurative painting and sculpture in a wide variety of styles. In conjunction with the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum’s exhibition of still lifes by Georges Braque from 1928 to 1945, this selection of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from the Museum’s permanent collection and the Saint Louis Art Museum offers a corollary probing of the meaning of the human face and figure by artists from France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe who were working in the same period. Among the artists represented are Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Max Beckmann, Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, Wyndham Lewis, Georges Rouault, and Henry Moore. A sizable group of rarely seen sculptures will join well-known paintings to offer the most complete view yet offered to the public of the Museum’s collection in this period.
Face and Figure in European Art, 1928-1945 is curated by John Klein, associate professor in the Department of Art History & Archaeology, Washington University in St. Louis.
Support for this exhibition is provided by James M. Kemper, Jr., the David Woods Kemper Memorial Foundation, the Hortense Lewin Art Fund, and members of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.
Fernand Léger, Les belles cyclistes (The Women Cyclists), 1944. Oil on canvas, 29 x 36". Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. Gift of Charles H. Yalem, 1963. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Paul Klee, Frägt Sich, 1934. Oil on cloth, 12 3/8 x 11". Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard K. Weil, 1976. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Willi Baumeister, Still Life with Head, 1930. Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 1/4". Saint Louis Art Museum, Bequest of Morton D. May, 833:1983. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.
Wyndham Lewis, Portrait of Mrs. Ernest W. Stix, 1944. Oil on canvas, 47 x 32 1/8". Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. Gift of Mrs. Ernest W. Stix, 1969.
Sir Jacob Epstein, Portrait of Pola Givenchy, 1937. Plaster cast, 22 1/4 x 17 1/2 x 12 3/4". Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. Gift of Lady Kathleen Epstein, 1967.