Malte Sartorius - The Venice Etchings Part II21. May - 19. Jun 14 / ended Francis Kyle Gallery
Open weekdays 10am to 6pm, Saturdays 11am - 5pm
The Venice Etchings of Malte Sartorius, Germany’s most distinguished practising printmaker, have now achieved classic status. Presented alongside the etchings of Venice created in the eighteenth century by Canaletto and those of Whistler in the century following, Sartorius’ Venice Etchings have provided the subject of the major public exhibition, Venice: Three etchers across three centuries, shown to great acclaim in 2012 at the Veste Coburg Museum, Germany.
Anticipating the Coburg exhibition, in 2008 Francis Kyle Gallery showed a first selection of the Venice Etchings. Now this project, presenting ‘the most significant treatment of Venice through the medium of etching in the last hundred years’ (John Julius Norwich) is completed with Part II, a fitting lapse in time as Sartorius worked to create this series over a period of more than five years.
In Sartorius’ meanderings in Venice, the first impression of distance is imperceptibly replaced by a sense of unassuming appreciation, a cherishing of weathered walls, doorways, old paving stones worn by time, the elements, history itself which here and there leaves its mark in the form of a plaque or some obscure architectural fragment dating back to Byzantium or the late Middle Ages – evidence here of Sartorius’ well-known preference, manifested throughout his career, for compositions in which he can focus on raw elements from everyday life, whether seen in a market in China, on the old wooden quays of San Francisco, among fishermen’s huts on an Icelandic shore or in a random cluster of pomegranate husks noticed on a bare sunlit wall in some back yard in Andalucía. In a career of some five decades spanning many developments from an early abhorrence for fashionable abstraction to a political engagement explored in found photographic images, Malte Sartorius has now arrived with his supreme skills at a mastery of distilled observation hinting (in de Chirico’s words) at a ‘metaphysics of everyday life’.
Together with the Venice Etchings, the exhibition includes a selection of Malte Sartorius’ original pencil drawings with Venetian subjects, the majority of these rare drawings from the first Venice cycle now belonging to the Permanent Collection of the Veste Coburg Museum,. Also featuring in the exhibition are new examples of the artist’s still life etchings, the aspect of his work which shows most strongly the influence on him of classic Spanish art, notably the still lifes of Sánches Cotán and Zurbarán.
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