Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sophie Taeuber Arp

Not that I haven’t read this article before – by many others. I think the best was done by Greg Allen at the Times. It’s kind of pathetic to read about singular painters when discussing this, like “They always have the Frida Kahlo up” etc. - as if any singular painter can transform 5% into 50.

How credit, attribution and influence were achieved has everything to do with it. Here’s an example of a couple of my favorite artists and how my own views began to change:

For years I thought Jean Arp was the superior artist to Sophie Taeuber Arp. Mind, he had double her lifetime and didn’t begin to get into the Venice Biennale and such until he was much older, but age was not the only advantage…

It’s only been the last few years that I saw how he got a lot of his ideas, subject matter and yes, even style, from her. The whole “like nature” schtick he got from her. And he knew it, he wrote about it. He was devastated when she died – he didn’t make any art for over five years - for more than one reason. She was not just his love; she was a pipeline.

I think you can put Sophie Taeuber Arp up there, no question, as a great artist but impossible to really gauge. She died young, but also lived in a time when the way she got to influence the history of art was rooted in how she influenced a male artist.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

brings to mind lee krasner, among countless others i'm sure, who were the women BEHiND the men. i vowed long ago never to hook up with another artist, as i knew my ranking would likely take a hit. actually, i think i've been pretty fortunate to have men in my life that support (at the very least financially) my artistic aspirations.

-baby

Anonymous said...

Smart woman!

It tooks me years of relationships with other creative men to realize what you knew already!
Nah, they didn't mean to be in competition with me, or advise me constantly about things I had already made my mind up about.... That stuff might be hard-wired. But the who-had-the-brainwave-first argument is tough to battle and win, even when it is o b v i o u s.

E

harold hollingsworth said...

glad to see her mentioned, Arp was one of my earliest artistic influences, and the backgrounds to their shared lives is always welcome to me. I'm just a history nut, love, love the information, the lives led, the struggles, and the way things came about!

Anonymous said...

I am with you Harold as regards Arp. All of my 20s I read anything about him I could get my hands on, including his own writings, which are extensive. He's still there somewhere in how I see things.

But he did write about her a lot and he gave her credit. Nowadays when I look at things and think "Jean Arp," I wonder if it's Sophie I should really be thinking....

E