The extraordinary German Austrian Mexican painter, sculptor and theorist Wolfgang Paalen (1905–59) moved too fast for art history, which is only now beginning to catch up with his many accomplishments.
A member of the Abstraction-Création group in the mid-1930s, he joined the surrealist movement in 1935. He went into exile in Mexico in 1939 (at the invitation of Frida Kahlo), where he promoted the surrealist cause and edited the influential art magazine DYN; after the war he moved to San Francisco, forming the Dynaton Group with Gordon Onslow Ford and Lee Mullican. Paalen’s pictures and texts were an inspiration for abstract expressionists such as Pollock, Newman and Rothko, no doubt due to his pioneering “fumage” technique, which deployed candle smoke to create abstract patterns.
This beautiful catalogue spans all of the artist’s periods, also illuminating his work on British Columbian and Mexican art, as well as his writings.