Gerome Kamrowski

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Gerome Kamrowski "Rotational"

Gerome Kamrowski (January 29, 1914 – March 27, 2004) was an American artist and pioneer in the Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist Movements in the United States.[1]

Early Life and Education[edit]

Gerome Kamrowski was born in Warren, Minnesota, on January 19, 1914. In 1932 he enrolled in the Saint Paul School of Art (now Minnesota Museum of American Art - MMAA), where he studied with Leroy Turner, and Cameron Booth. Both Turner and Booth had been students of Hans Hofmann, and were also associated with the Abstraction-Création group in Paris. It was from these peers that Kamrowski was introduced to a "kind of expressionist cubism."[2] In 1933 Kamrowski was awarded a scholarship to the Art Students League, where he would study in New York under Hans Hofmann. Unfortunately immigration problems had prevented Hofmann from assuming his post. Nevertheless, Kamrowski decided to remain in New York for a short time, to attend classes taught by George Grosz. After a few weeks, he returned to St. Paul, and found a position in the mural painting division of the Minnesota FAP/WPA (Works Progress Administration). In 1936 he contributed “Synthetic Cubist Style” frescoes in the Northrup Auditorium of the University of Minnesota.[3][4]

In 1937 Kamrowski went to Chicago to study under Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Alexander Archipenko at the New Bauhaus (now Illinois Institute of Technology's Institute of Design). There he was exposed to new and interesting ideas regarding the role of nature in art and the "geometric basis of natural form".

The New York Years[edit]

In 1938 Kamrowski received a Guggenheim fellowship to attend Hans Hofmann's summer school in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He then relocated to New York where he met William Baziotes. Together they shared a fascination in Surrealist automatic writing, and both artists explored its possibilities in their paintings. Kamrowski was particularly drawn to Surrealism's fundamental appeal of intuition over intellect. He was interested seeking a process that "binds all things together...a kind of cosmic rhythm".[5]

Throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s while living in New York, Kamrowski became an integral part of the emerging surrealists. In 1942, the artist Roberto Matta attempted to form a group of artists to investigate new applications for Surrealist methods. He invited Kamrowski, along with William Baziotes, Jackson Pollock, Peter Busa, and Robert Motherwell to join. Like Kamrowski, the others were more interested in process than in subject matter—the foundation of Matta's art—and the group soon dissolved.[6]But no matter how short lived the collaboration was, this group was the kernel of the open-ended movement that was referred to as abstract surrealism and would over time prove to be the beginnings of abstract expressionism. [7]

It was during this time, the winter of 1939/1940, that an amazing collaboration was made. Kamrowski and two of his contemporaries, William Baziotes and Jackson Pollock, came together and began to paint. The description of this historic event is described as follows in "Pollock" by Ellen G. Landau: "For a number of years, Kamrowski had been involved with Surrealist image-coaxing techniques. In a letter to B.H. Friedman, Kamrowski recalled that one day he, Pollock, and Baziotes were fooling around' with quart-cans of lacquer paint. Baziotes asked if he could use some 'to show Pollock how the paint could be spun around.' He then looked around the room for something to work on, and a canvas that Kamrowski had 'been pouring paint on and was not going well' was handy, so Baziotes began to throw and drip' white paint on it. He next gave the dripping palette knife to Jackson, who with his intense concentration' started flipping the paint with abandon. ' According to Kamrowski, after all had a chance to play, Baziotes identified the spiral forms he had created as 'birds' nests, ' but Pollock refused to interpret his spots." This painting was a pivotal work, showing the transition from, and fusion of, Surrealism to Action Painting and Abstract Expressionism.[8]

In 1947, Kamrowski was invited to the Surrealist Exhibition in Paris by Surrealist leader André Breton. Breton said of him, "Of all the young painters whose evolution I have been able to follow in New York during the last years of the war, Gerome Kamrowski is the one who has impressed me far the most by reason of the "quality" and sustained character of his research. Among all the newcomers there, he was the only one...tunnelling in a new direction..."[9]


The Michigan Years[edit]

In 1948 Kamrowski relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan in order to teach at the University of Michigan School of Art. It was a career that would span thirty-eight years, and would encourage countless others to push their artistic boundaries. Professor Jon Rush, at the University's School of Art and Design, stated: "As a teacher, Professor Kamrowski admonished his students to experiment and push the boundaries of their art. He urged them to be unafraid of failure and consider it a natural part of the creative process," says "Above all, he stressed the importance of finding one's own path and that it would take hard work and dedication to achieve that. He was a natural teacher who related well to students because he himself never stopped being one."[10]

Teaching became a second passion. Over the years, Kamrowski's energy and drive never faltered, and his style continued to evolve dynamically from the abstract intellectual exercises of the past to colorful 3-D pieces often made of glass, cement, and random found objects. He worked every day and exhibited steadily in Michigan and elsewhere.[11]


Personal Life[edit]

His first wife was Maryanna Fargione, with whom he had a son, Felix.

His second wife was Edith Dines and his third wife was Mary Jane Dodman.

He died at his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan on March 27, 2004. He was 90 years old.[12]


Exhibitions[edit]

  • 1938

"American Abstract Artists" Municipal Art Galleries, New York, NY

  • 1939

"American Abstract Artists" Riverside Museum, New York, NY

"Art in the San Francisco World's Fair" Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, CA

  • 1940

"Paintings in Group Shows" Nierendorf Galleries, New York, NY

  • 1941

"Group Exhibition" The Pinocotheca, New York, NY

  • 1942

"Rejections from Carnegie" Puma Gallery, New York, NY

  • 1943

"Adventures of the Inner Eye" Norlyst Gallery (organized by Jimmy Ernst) "Collages" Art of this Century Gallery (organized by Peggy Guggenheim) "54th Annual Exhibiton of American Paintings and Sculpture" The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL "Annual Exhibition of oil Paintings" Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA "56th Annual American Exhibition: Oil Paintings" The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

  • 1946

"Gerome Kamrowski" Mortimer Brandt Gallery, NY (first solo show) "Annual Exhibition of American Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings" The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY "Second Summer Exhibition: Oil Paintings" University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa City, Iowa "Eighty New Paintings" Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY

  • 1947

"Bloodflames" Hugo Gallery, NY (organized by Nicholas Calas) "International Exposition of Surrealism" Gallery Maeght, Paris, France (organized by Andre Breton and Marcel Duchamp) "Spring Annual Watkins Gallery, American University, Washington, DC "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings" Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting" The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

  • 1948

"Gerome Kamrowski" Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, NY "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings, " The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY "Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "Black and White Drawings" Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum Bloomfield Hills, MI "Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings, " The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting" The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY "International" The Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY

  • 1950

"Gerome Kamrowski" Galerie Creuze Paris - Introduction written by Andre Breton, later published in his book Surrealism and Painting "Young American Artists" Museum of Modern Art, New York, NYl "Gerome Kamrowski" Hugo Gallery, New York, NY "Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings, " The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

  • 1951

"Abstract, Painting and Sculpture in America" Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY - included as abstract surrealist "Annual Exhibition fo Contemporary American Painting" The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY "Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Sculpture, Watercolors and Drawings, " The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

  • 1952

"43rd Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "Contemporary American Painting" The University of Illinois, Urbana, IL "Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting" The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY "44th Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "Phases del'Art Contemporain-Premiere Confrontation Internationale d'Art Experimental Paris" Salle Balzac, Paris, France

  • 1954

"Recent Paintings of Gerome Kamrowski" Saginaw Art Museum, Saginaw, MI "45th Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI

  • 1955

"Group Exhibition" The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH "46th Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "19th Annual Drawing and Print Exhibition" San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA "47th Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "Gerome Kamrowski" Battle Creek Civic Art Center, Battle Creek, MI

  • 1957

"Kamrowski: Oeuvres Recentes" Galerie Crueze, Paris, France "48th Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI

  • 1958

"53rd Annual Exhibition of American Oil Painting and Sculpture" Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, PA and the Detroit Institute of Art

"American Art of Our Time" Provincetown Arts Festival, Provincetown, MA "The Art of Seeing" Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, MI

  • 1959

"49th Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "Paintings United in the Form of a Suspended Dome" Alexander Iolas Gallery, New York, NY "Second Exhibition, 1959" Sigma Gallery, East Hampton, NY (Paintings United in the Form of a Suspended Dome) "Landscape '59" AAA Gallery, Detroit, MI "Ann Arbor Group - An Exhibition of Midwestern Painting" Riverside Museum, NY

  • 1960

"Drawings by Faculty Members of Michigan Colleges" Kalamazoo Institute of Art, MI "Group Ten" Riverside Museum, NY "50th Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "Painting United in the Form of a Suspended Dome (Third Exhibition) " Signa Gallery, East Hampton, NY "30 Collages" Gallery Mayer, New York, NY

  • 1961

"Paintings on the Surfaces of Domes and Space Grids: Gerome Kamrowski" Gallery Mayer, New York, NY "51st Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI "West Michigan Art Exhibition" Grand Rapids Art Museum Grand Rapids, MI "Recent Paintings and Paintsemblagers by Gerome Kamrowski" Gallery Mayer, New York, NY

  • 1963

"Faculty Exhibition, The Department of Art, The University of Michigan" Detroit Artist Market, Detroit, MI "53rd Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI

  • 1964

"Hylozoist Exhibition" Ohio University, Athens, OH

  • 1965

"Second Hylozoist Arts Festival" Northland Geodesic Dome, Southfield, MI

  • 1966

"Retrospective Selection of Drawings, Paintings, Constructions, and Sculpture by Gerome Kamrowski" The Scarab Club, Detroit, MI "56th Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI

  • 1967

"Michigan Art '67 Exhibition" Bloomfield Art Association, Birmingham, MI

  • 1968

"Kamrowski and Ramsay" Flint Institute of Art, Flint, MI "Sesquicentennial Exhibition" Rackham Gallery, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

  • 1969

"Mutual Attractions: Lantern Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI "59th Annual Exhibition of Michigan Artists" The Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI

  • 1974

"Gerome Kamrowski: Drawings" Pyramid Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI

  • 1976

"Gerome Kamrowski: Then and Now" Gallery 2269, Chicago, IL

  • 1977

"American Abstract Artists" Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM "Art for the Out of Doors" Paul Waggoner Gallery, Chicago, OL "Surrealism and American Art, 1931-1947" Rutgers University Art Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ "International Surrealism" Black Swan Gallery, Chicago, IL

  • 1978

"Dada and Surrealism Reviewed" Hayward Gallery, London, England "American Abstract Art of the 1930s and 1940s" Susanne Hillberry Gallery, Birmingham, MI "Gerome Kamrowski: Paintings and Works on Paper 1940-47" Monique Knowlton Gallery, New York, NY "New Acquisitions" Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

  • 1979

"Drawings by Hoffman Students" Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

  • 1980

"Gerome Kamrowski: Recent Monochromes" Dreyfuss Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI

  • 1981

"Drawing Acquisitions, 1978-1981" Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY "Four Decades of American Modernism: 1909-1949" Martin Diamond Fine Arts, New York, NY

  • 1983

"Gerome Kamrowski: A Retrospective Exhibition" University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI

  • 1967-87

"The Interpretive Link: Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism, Works on Paper, 1938-1948" Newport Beach, CA; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

  • 1986

"Moderns in Mind: Gerome Kamrowski, Lee Mullican and Gordon Onslow Ford" Artists' Space, New York, NY "Gerome Kamrowski: Beaded Beast, a Metaphysical Menagerie" G.R. Namdi Gallery, Detroit, MI

  • 1987

"Gerome Kamrowski: The 1940's" Washburn, NY "Ann Ryan and Circle" Washburn Gallery, New York, NY

  • 1988

"Gerome Kamrowski: Beaded Beasts" Robert Kidd Gallery, Birmingham, MI "Convulsive Beauty: The Impact of Surrealism in American Art" The Whitney Mueum of American Art, New York, NY and Fairfield, CT "Surrealistic Paintings by American Artists, 1930-1950" Parkerson Gallery, Houston, TX "Past/Present" Washburn Gallery, New York, NY

  • 1989

"Gerome Kamrowski: The 1940's Washburn Gallery, New York, NY "The Surreal Image: Drawings, Photographs, Collages" Zabriskie Gallery, New York, NY "Abstract Ecpressionism: Other Dimensions" Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami; Terra Museaum of American Art, Chicago, IL; Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, NJ; The Whitney Museaum of American Art at Phillip Morris, New York, NY

  • 1990

"Watercolors from the Abstract Expressionist Era" The Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY "Abstract Expressionism: Other Dimensions" Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris "Gerome Kamrowski: Sustained Vision" Detroit Focus Gallery, Detroit, MI "The Provocative Years, 1935-1945" Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Provincetown, MA

  • 1991

"Gerome Kamrowski: Recent Mosaics and Sculpture" Alice Simsar Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI "Past/Present" Washburn Gallery, New York, NY

  • 1992-93

"Twenty-Eighth Annual Exhibition of Art on Paper" Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina, NC

  • 1993

"Works on Paper" Washburn Gallery, New York, NY

  • 1994

"Americana Fantastica: Surrealism in American" Parrish Art Museum, Southhampton, NY

  • 1996

"Baziotes. Kamrowski & Pollock: Surrealism in the 1940's" Joan Washburn Gallery, New York. NY "Gerome Kamrowski: the 1940's" Joan Washburn Gallery, New York, NY

  • 1997

"Patterns of Revelation: Gerome Kamrowski's Visual Imperative" Jean Slusser Gallery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

  • 1998

"The Surrealist Vision: Europe and the Americas" The Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT

  • 1999

"Gerome Kamrowski: A Visual Journey, 1940s, 1960s, 1980s, 2000" University of Michigan East Quad Art Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI "Gerome Kamrowski: Millenium Mosaic" The River Gallery, Chelsea, MI

  • 2000

"Surrealists in Exile" Musie Moderne et Contemparaine, Strasburg, France; Minesterio de Cultora, Museo Nacional, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain "Gerome Kamrowski: Millenium Menagerie" River Gallery, Chelsea, MI

  • 2000-1

"Vital Forms: American Art in the Atomic Age 1940-1960s" Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY

  • 2001

"Surrealism: An American Attitude" Thomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL

  • 2002

"Kamrowski: An American Surrealist" Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Tarpon Springs, FL

  • 2002-3

"Gerome Kamrowski" Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI

  • 2003

"The Worlds of Gerome Kamrowski, Surrealism and Beyond" University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI "Gerome Kamrowski: Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture, Constructions" River Gallery, Chelsea, MI "Gerome Kamrowski: 1914-20014, A Memorial Retrospective, River Gallery, Chelsea, MI "Gerome Kamrowski: A Memorial", Washburn Gallery, New York, NY

  • 2005

"Surrealism USA" National Academy of Design, New York, NY; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ "Gerome Kamrowski: 1940 to 1965, Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism" Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco, CA "Organic New York: 1941-1949" Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, NY

  • 2006

"Gerome Kamrowski: 1958 to 2002, Abstract Expressionsim and Beyond" Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco, CA

  • 2007

"Surreal Things: Surrealism and Design" Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England

  • 2011-2

"Surrealism: New Worlds" Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco, CA

  • 2013

"Action and Chance: A New Look at Drip" Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco, CA [13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pioneer Press: Obituary, March 2004. [1] Retrieved 04 June 2019
  2. ^ Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art + Artists: Artists "Gerome Kamrowski" Retrieved 04 June 2019
  3. ^ Kamrowski, Biography Gerome Kamrowski 1914-2004 Retrieved 04 June 2019
  4. ^ Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art + Artists: Artists "Gerome Kamrowski" Retrieved 04 June 2019
  5. ^ Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art + Artists: Artists "Gerome Kamrowski" Retrieved 04 June 2019
  6. ^ Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art + Artists: Artists "Gerome Kamrowski" Retrieved 04 June 2019
  7. ^ Keith Sheridan Fine Prints, Gerome Kamrowski 1914-2004 Retrieved 04 June 2019
  8. ^ Karamanoukian, Jacques. "Gerome Kamrowski: Art, Fame & Fortune." Agenda April 1997, P. 7 & 8. Ann Arbor District Library Retrieved 04 June 2019.
  9. ^ Keith Sheridan Fine Prints, Gerome Kamrowski 1914-2004 Retrieved 04 June 2019
  10. ^ Nesbit, Joanne. "Obituary: Gerome Kamrowski." The University Record Online. 05 April 2004. Pars. 1 and 2. [2] Retrieved 06 June 2019
  11. ^ Rieke, Stepahnie. "Kamrowski's Last Hurrah: an avant-garde legend in Chelsea." The Ann Arbor Observer: Nov 2004. Par. 5. [3] Retrieved 04 June 2019
  12. ^ Nesbit, Joanne. "Obituary: Gerome Kamrowski." The University Record Online. 05 April 2004. Par. 1. [4] Retrieved 04 June 2019
  13. ^ Kamrowski, Biography Gerome Kamrowski 1914-2004 Retrieved 04 June 2019

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