FOUR CHAIRS # 12
Courtesy Sonnabend Collection
On display from 2009 to 2012 (May)
In the early sixties Dine focused his work on the graphic or pictorial presentation of objects and items from everyday life, showing how greatly these were an integral part of the way of life of modern American society, which they help mould. These very simple-looking works in terms of theme and vocabulary soon became successful not only on the market but also with critics, until in 1962 Walter Hopps invited the artist to show his work in the New Painting of Common Objects group exhibition at the Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena. This was an exhibition of historical importance in the development of Pop Art in America. Dine’s use of images of mass-produced commercial objects abstracted from their original context was perfectly attuned to the emerging new aesthetic. Though his name is closely bound up with the birth of the new aesthetic, Dine has always kept a certain distance from the cold approach to Pop Art, being notable for his absolutely personal choice of imagery capable of an intimate resonance, a concern for manual skill and the preference for an expressive vocabulary.
All these elements can be found in Untitled: Hammer and Four Chairs # 12 of 1962, in which the precise and essential reproduction of tools and furniture in everyday use is combined with a compendiary colouring, reminiscent of American Abstract Expressionism, and with an eccentric angle which de facto denies the values of centrality and absoluteness to the subjects represented. Dissatisfaction with these first experiments led the artist in 1967 to leave the United States for Europe, where he studied the works of artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and other protagonists of the historical avant-gardes of the early 1900s. Only in 1973 did objects and tools from everyday life return as elements inspiring Dines' poetic, becoming prominent in the lithographic series Ten Winter Tool.
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