Two Heads

c. 1931
(American, 1868–1932)
Support: Paper board
Watermarks:
Overall: 52.9 x 44.7 cm (20 13/16 x 17 5/8 in.)
Location: not on view
This artwork is known to be under copyright.

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Description

Maurer was among the first American artists to experiment with collage, a technique of creating art from non-traditional artist materials, as in the piece of wood glued onto the surface of this painting. This wooden stick, painted black and white, forms part of one face that dramatically confronts another. Historians interpret the two figures as Maurer and his father. Following the artist’s return to America in 1914, he lived with his father, a Currier and Ives illustrator who hated avant-garde art and never approved of his son’s paintings. The two heads in this composition may refer to the life-long, unbridgeable gulf that poisoned the painter’s relationship with his father. In 1932, the year after Maurer painted this work, his father turned 100 years old and received lavish praise for his artistic achievements, far in excess of any attention his son ever received. Perhaps seeing this as a final defeat, two weeks later, the son committed suicide by hanging.
Two Heads

Two Heads

c. 1931

Alfred Maurer

(American, 1868–1932)
America, 20th century

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