Mar 9, 2009

Tan Still Life

Tan Still Life

c. 1932

Alfred Maurer

(American, 1868–1932)


Support: Paper board, mounted to thin paper board

Overall: 25.4 x 37.9 cm (10 x 14 15/16 in.)

Gift of Tommy and Gill LiPuma in loving memory of Josephine LiPuma Kestner 2003.55



During the last years of his life, from about 1927 to 1932, Maurer painted a series of still lifes that contributed significantly to the Cubist revival that swept America in the 1920s. This Cubist design is especially severe—the forms clarified and reduced to a few, distinct shapes isolated in the center of the composition. Forms rarely overlap across the thin painted surface. Decorative stripes, zigzags, and dots further distinguish the individuality of each shape and at the same time add lateral vibrancy to the design. The painting’s lucid structure points toward the reductive simplicity that distinguished American Cubism of the 1930s and contributed to the leaner geometries of the American Abstract Artists, a group founded in New York in 1937. Although Maurer ranks among America’s most inventive and prolific artists, he failed to received significant critical recognition during his lifetime.

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