Karl Benjamin Paintings 1950-65

 

Louis Stern Fine Arts

 

Black Pillars establishes the foundation of a clear art to an African standard. Totem Group III begins the metamorphosis through I.F. (Interlocking Forms) and I.F. (Interlocking Forms: violet & umber), i.e., from Picasso to Kelly.

Karl Benjamin
Black Pillars
oil on canvas
48 x 24 inches
1957

Karl Benjamin
Totem Group III
oil on canvas
50 x 30 inches
1957

Karl Benjamin
I.F. (Intersecting Forms)
oil on canvas
22 x 14 inches
1958

Karl Benjamin
I.F. (Intersecting Forms: violet & umber)
oil on canvas
40 x 30 inches
1958

 

Karl Benjamin
Red Sun/Blue Moon
oil on canvas
48 x 24 inches
1954

 

How far this had risen, what an eminence it had attained several years before, may be seen in Red Sun/Blue Moon. And now we have defined some early parameters (this painting is a Klee Arab City) let us go on and note the definite landscape of Benjamin. Landscape Forms is made up of collapsible pillow forms delimiting a red gulch. We’re almost there. VS #1 is made of vertical bands of color, very particularly organized as color harmonies not dripped la Louis. And for this purpose let’s stop at VS #2, a black latticework anchored at two edges, from which color springs optically.

 

Artful precision is the name of the game here. It must be simple and clear, evidently, so that color does all the pussyfooting, like wit in the actor’s mouth.

 

There are other foundations, other mirrors and mazes. Prismatic rhythms symmetrical or not, foreshaping Patrick Hughes. Again the ultimate refinement of Cubism, or the broadly intersecting forms (with gold) of Easter, leading to an independent expression, the key abstractions #26 and #27 in contrasting colors, orange and green or blue and purple.

 

The artist, keen and soft-spoken, sat in the crowded room conversing with the public under #9 in white and red and pink effecting “hearts” imagery with the shape of the numeral, before the picture window.

 

Jesus walked among the disciples that first Easter. They did not recognize him, and he elicited from them all the sad news. That was the sense of humor Jesus had.

 

 

 

 

 

Karl Benjamin
Easter
oil on canvas
36 x 48 inches
1957

 

Karl Benjamin
Landscape Forms
oil on canvas
61 x 42 inches
1961

 

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