Description: Still Life near the Window, 1960, Oil on canvas, Signed.
Dimensions: 94x66 cm
Artist or Maker: Joseph Floch, 1895-1977
Medium: Oil on canvas
Provenance: Forum Gallery, New york (lable on the reverse).
Notes: "Floch is a painter who never fails to take into account that imponderable which man harbors within himself and which poets call the soul – a soul that by abscure and secret communication he recognizes in everything surrounding him” These words were written in 1964 by Jean Cassou, referring to Joseph Floch. The text by Cassou, the known French critic and director of the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, is part of an introduction to the artist's exhibition catalog at the Forum Gallery in New York, origin of the paintings "Port Landscape" (p. 54) and "Still Life near the Window" (p. 57). In his writing, Cassou continues to identify the most precious moments of a person's internal world in the artist's paintings. Indeed, Floch's work has modern characteristics of his time but, simultaneously, qualities of the Old Masters; and the human figure stands as the center of the work – a true humanist. Therefore, it is not surprising that throughout his life and remarkable career, Floch was a painter through and through, and never "gave in" (as he saw it) to the abstract painting. The Jewish-Austrian painter, who arrived in the USA in 1941, fleeing the menace of war, left behind an impressive career in Europe. At the age of 46, upon his arrival to America, he had already succeeded in rebelling against the tradition of the Sezession (the Art Nouveau center of Vienna); founding the "Hagenbund" society, which had become influential in Vienna during World War I, as well as exhibiting his work in Paris along the biggest names of the beginning of the 20th century – Modigliani, Matisse, Dufy, Derain and others. Not without reason, he was embraced by the Americans and rushed to the local pantheon. Floch's paintings in the sale were made during his stay in the US. Sharp lines cross the canvas in varying diagonals. The canvas' color scheme changes during the day. Layers upon layers of oil paint, visible and hidden from the viewer's eye, tell the painterly history of the work, the artist's deliberations and the decisions he makes. The themes center on the cold urban landscape, but the trace of humanity remains forever in the painting – a flower vase, a ship of passengers or a woman sitting at the terrace of her house. In his journal, in which he continuously wrote throughout his life, he describes life in the US as content and artistically productive, a time for which the five paintings in the auction are an impressive testimony.
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