Sunday, July 19, 2015

Abraham Manievich, A Town Through the Branches

Abraham Manievich, A Town Through the Branches, 1914-15
34.02 x 38.74 in.

Abraham Manievich (1881-1942) was a Russian-American artist known mostly for his landscapes and cityscapes.  Born in the town of Mstsislaw, now in Belarus, he studied at the Kiev School of Art from 1901 to 1905.  He later taught at the Ukrainian Academy of Fine Arts.  Manievich's early works are squarely Post-Impressionist, but he soon began to fins a more unique style, incorporating elements of Cubism and Futurism, as well as Fauvism, sometimes to erie effect. He applied his aesthetic equally to buildings and trees.  Manievich enjoyed significant success in these early years of his career, with his 1913 solo exhibition in Paris especially well-received.  In 1921 Manievich moved to the United States, settling in the Bronx, but he traveled significantly in order to paint other parts of the country.  A Town through the Branches is a very unusual painting. Perhaps the most striking thing about the piece is that Manievich has painted it in such a way that it resembles stained glass.  The branches of the trees and the many divisions Manievich creates crisscross and segment the scene into small sections that resemble scales fit together to create the whole.  The painting is minutely detailed and carefully planned to create a town scene obscured by these twisting trees.  Manievich uses the bright colors of Fauvism to highlight a certain unnaturalness in the depiction, drawing attention to its representational status.

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