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HEIGHT: 81 in (206 cm) WIDTH: 19 in (48 cm) DEPTH: 19 in (48 cm)
Glass, Iron, Nickel
Walter Kantack (attrib.)
Early 20th Century
An oil on canvas painting titled "The Soothsayer"by Swiss-American Artist John Konstantin Hansegger. The piece is signed and dated (1986) in the lower right. John Konstantin Hansegger(1908-1989) was a unique figure in 20th Century Art, working as he did at the highest level in most of the major movements of the past century. His career spanned seven decades and five continents, and produced at least six major periods and several minor ones. His mastery extended over Cubism, synthetic cubism, Abstract Expressionism, Impressionism, portraiture(he painted many culture icons from life including Picasso, Einstein, and Albert Schweitzer), and several styles of his own. He was a member of the Surindependants in Paris in the 1930’s winning the Silver Medal of Paris in 1939 with one of his groundbreaking “Abstract Parallels” paintings, and working in close association with Fernand Leger, Picasso, Alfred Reth and Mondrian This painting, “The Soothsayer(card reader)”is one that incorporates the Abstract Parallels, along with more figurative elements. This is the second version of this painting, the first being executed and exhibited in Switzerland in 1942. During the war he returned to his native Switzerland where he was a founding member of Paul Klee’s Allianz. During this period he founded the historical gallery Des Eaux Vives, in Zurich, which is credited with helping to keep modern art alive in Europe by providing a venue for such artists as Kandinsky, Klee, Max Bill, Walter Bodmer, Hans Arp, Max Huber, Sophie Tucker Arp, Richard Lohse and many others during the dark days of World War II. During this period he worked primarily in the Art Konkrete style, sometimes blended with his Abstract Parallel motif. After the war his painting exploded in new directions. When he was Invited to hold a one-man show at the Princeton Museum in 1953, he elected to stay and settle in America where he continued to paint, show and innovate until his death in 1989, a few months after the major retrospective given him at the Kunst Museum in his home city of St. Gallen in Switzerland. Several books have been written about his career. His work still looks remarkably fresh and contemporary today, is being discovered by more and more designers, and was recently seen in Martha Stewart’s Living.
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