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DEUX PERSONNAGES-SERIE DES ROULETTES
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|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born in Poland in 1927 with the name of Pinchas Burstein, Maryan,
became a modernist artist whose work reflected the nightmarish
existence he led as a Jew during his formative years. "He has
succeeded in making his grim autobiography into art." (Glueck) At age
he was arrested with his family and spent the nex six years at
Auschwitz concentration camp. During that period, he had a leg
he lived and was liberated in 1945, when the Russians came through, but
the rest of his family, including his father who was a baker, had died.
After the war, he studied in Jerusalem, and in 1950 moved to Paris,
where he enrolled in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He settled in New
York City in 1962, living in the 1970s at 301 East 63rd Street.
Much of his artwork, likely reflecting his experiences in the
concentration camps, is "brutal, boisterous, aggressive, and
theatrical" with bright colors, solitary figures called Personages and
poses---"caught in the comedy of the human condition" (baumgold).
His work in the 1950s was had primarily Jewish themes, and spoke much
of brutality, but later his work became more generalized. In the
1960s, he injected some clownish humor with figures that were "mocking,
clownish zombies with masklike faces and lolling tongues. . . Later
they got wilder and more gestural, with maybe a touch of de Kooning,
winding up as slobbering, almost illeglible bundles of mouths, flailing
limbs and flying organs. . . Petty, sly and dumb they were not only
oppressors, but victims as well." (Glueck)
In 2002, an exhibition of his work, Maryan: Works from the 60s,
at the Adam Baumgold Gallery, featured paintings, works on paper and
linoleum cuts that the artist did after his move to New York in
1962. A description of that event includes the following:
"The exhibition features a large painting "Personnage," 1962, that
shows the twisted upper torso of a man in military uniform - fingers
bloody, tongue skewered defiantly to the side of his mouth with two
solitary red chess pieces on either side of his body. A series of eight
linoleum cuts from 1962 has costumed, seated figures with part comical,
part maniacal facial expressions and wildly gesticulating hand
movements. These works are done with a bold and crisp line that is the
organizing force in all the drawings and works on paper in the
"Maryan's work was linked at times to movements such as CoBrA, Nouvelle
Figuration, and other artists, among them Peter Saul, Philip Guston,
and H.C. Westermann, as well as the Chicago Imagists, Jim Nutt and Ed
Paschke, but the very personal nature of his oeuvre makes it unique and
original. That Maryan was an artist provided him with the means to
address his life experiences on his own terms - his 'Truth Paintings,'
as he called them, are 'autobiographical" - "I will be myself in any
color I put on the canvas.' "
In 1969, he was part of the Whitney Museum's exhibition, "Human
Condition/Personal Torment", and in 1972 was featured at the Solomon R.
Guggenheim exhibition, "Ten Independents."
Grace Glueck, "Art: Survey of Paintings by Maryan at 2 Galleries", The New York Times, January 31, 2007 (Published 2/15/1985)
Who's Who in American Art, 1976
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