Two Heads

Two Heads

c. 1931

Alfred Maurer

(American, 1868-1932)

Gouache with brown/black ink and oil paint

Support: Paper board

Overall: 52.9 x 44.7 cm (20 13/16 x 17 5/8 in.)

Gift of Tommy and Gill LiPuma in loving memory of Sam and Rose LiPuma 2003.54

Location

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.

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