Magic Realism in the Americas - Part 2

        Three artists established a lifelong friendship in the 1940s and individually, as well as a group,  made a strong contribution to the development on Magic Realism in the United States. They are Jared French, Paul Cadmus and George Tooker. French introduced the other two to the Old Masters technique of using egg tempera. Many of the early paintings of Cadmus are highly energized and drew strong reaction for being overtly suggestive. It was George Tooker, however, who picked up the themes of alienation and anxiety and portrayed his world of New York City them in eerie ways, reminiscent of Neue Sachlichkeit. Subway (1950) and Government Bureau (1956) are exemplary. He remained wedded faithfully to Magic Realism during his entire career and produced a very compelling body of work.

      Other Americans associated with Magic Realism  during the 1930s and 40s are Ivan Albright, Philip Evergood, O. Louis Gugliemi, Charles Rain and Peter Blume. Albright developed an idiosyncratic style in later years, but his early work is typical of Magic Realism. Evergood and Gugliemi produced work that had strong elements of fantasy, and in styles that border on surrealism. Some of Blume's works are unquestionably surrealistic, but he also produced many works of Magic Realism.

      There are many writers who include Andrew Wyeth by Jamie Wyethas a Magic Realist. Wyeth is a master of the dry brush and egg tempera techniques which allowed him to achieve great detail in his work. Certainly the strong feeling of nostalgia and rural isolation that emanates from his work helps bring a mysterious quality to his paintings. This is combined with many unusual viewpoints, including sharp focus in both the foreground and background, as well as the sharp detail in his work verifies his standing as a great master of Magic Realism . The paintings by his son, Jamie Wyeth, particularly his earliest works, also manifest many similar characteristics.

      In addition to the artists we have mentioned from the United States, there were many others in the Americas who worked in the with Magic Realism style. Included are artists like the Canadian Alex Colville, the Argentinian Antonio Berni (during the 1930s, 40s and 50s) and Mexicans Emilio Bas Viaud and Gabriel Fernandez Ledesma. One might also say that the works by Frida Kahlo and the early works of Colombian artist Fernando Botero are related. The mysterious elements of Kahlo's art come from Aztec and Mexican folklore, which she infused into a realistic style stemming from the Mexicidad, the Mexican version of Regionalism . Kahlo painted many self-portraits, some dressed in native costumes and jewelry, often accessorized with parrots or monkeys. Botero, who studied the Masters in Spain and Italy, brings us a fresh and amusing brand, utilizing inflated bodies and stylized architecture. This more extreme Latin variety might be called "Marvelous Realism", rich in references from earlier works of Magic Realism, as well as from many other movements in art history.

      The main era of Magic Realism art lasted from the 1920s into the 50s. In the 1960s, a new style of realism, called both Photorealism and Hyper-Realism, came into vogue. It provided the ultra sharp image, but without magic or mystery. Other styles using a mixture of realism and the imagined, Fantasy art and Sci-Fi art in particular, have also established themselves in the past few decades, taking up much of the territory that at one time had been occupied by Surrealism and Magic Realism . 

       Our discussion continues....    

Neue Sachlichkeit Gallery
European Magic Realism Gallery
America Magic Realism Gallery

Chapter 1 - Magic Realism Introduction
Chapter 2 - Roots of Magic Realism
Chapter 3 - Neue Sachlichkeit Artists
Chapter 4 - Surrealism vs Magic Realism
Chapter 5 - Magic Realism in other European countries
Chapter 6 - Magic Realism in the Americas (1)
Chapter 7 - Magic Realism in the Americas (2)

Chapter 8 - Contemporary Magic Realism
Chapter 9 - The Future of Magic Realism