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Collections Frau Herbst und ihre zwei Töchter (Mrs. Autumn and Her Two Daughters)

Collections Frau Herbst und ihre zwei Töchter (Mrs. Autumn and Her Two Daughters)

Title
Frau Herbst und ihre zwei Töchter (Mrs. Autumn and Her Two Daughters)
Artist
Sigmar Polke
Date
1991
Dimensions
unframed 118 × 196.75 × 1.625 inches
Materials
artificial resin, acrylic on synthetic fabric
Location
Not on view

Object Details

Type
Paintings (Paintings)
Accession Number
1991.70
Style
Conceptual
Inscriptions
N.A.; N.A.
Physical Description
Group of 3 women UL composed of black outlines cutting and sprinkling paper onto a mountain which is being approached by a man and 2 mules LL Right side of canvas is void of any objects just white paint, black wash, and raw fabric.
Credit Line
Gift of Ann and Barrie Birks, Joan and Gary Capen, Judy and Kenneth Dayton, Joanne and Philip Von Blon, Penny and Mike Winton, with additional funds from the T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1991

object label Sigmar Polke, Frau Herbst und ihre zwei Töchter (Mrs. Autumn and Her Two Daughters) (1991) Walker Art Center, 1999

I pile everything up, all the accumulated material … all the things from my travels … and when the room is filled, I lock it up and move on to an empty one… . I have done this all my life. When I was seven the war broke out and the village I lived in was right on the Russian front. We had to leave immediately and left everything behind. I still remember the drawer of my table with all my things in it: pieces of wood I carved, stones, seeds, a stuffed owl … all left.–Sigmar Polke, 1992

Sigmar Polke has emerged as one of the most important artists of postwar Germany. In 1963, he and other German artists, such as Gerhard Richter, Joseph Beuys, and Konrad Lueg, founded a movement called Capitalist Realism. Its practitioners juxtaposed banal subject matter in a way that made their work seem a parody of American Pop Art (see Polke’s sculpture in Gallery 5). In the mid-1980s, he began exploring the medium of photography, which led to his grand-scale pictures made with intentionally unstable chemicals and his use of transparent painting surfaces.

In this work, Polke combines a mysterious image from a book of 19th-century engravings with an abstract surface. The image is fanciful, almost surreal, perhaps depicting a mother explaining to her children where snow comes from, or the fairylike beings that produce snow. In contrast, the gorgeous abstraction, painted on transparent fabric, suggests clouds, sky, and an almost spiritual emanation of light.

Walker solo exhibition: Sigmar Polke: Illumination, 1995

Label text for Sigmar Polke, Frau Herbst und ihre zwei Töchter (Mrs. Autumn and Her Two Daughters) (1991), from the exhibition Art in Our Time: 1950 to the Present, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 1999 to September 2, 2001.

Copyright 1999 Walker Art Center

curriculum resource Sigmar Polke, Frau Herbst und ihre zwei Töchter (Mrs. Autumn and Her Two Daughters) (1991) Walker Art Center, 2002

“I pile everything up, all the accumulated material … all the things from my travels … and when the room is filled, I lock it up and move on to an empty one … I have done this all my life. When I was seven the war broke out and the village I lived in was right on the Russian front. We had to leave immediately and left everything behind. I still remember the drawer of my table with all my things in it: pieces of wood I carved, stones, seeds, a stuffed owl … all left.” –Sigmar Polke, 1992

Sigmar Polke has emerged as one of the most important artists of postwar Germany. In 1963, he and other German artists founded a movement called Capitalist Realism–a parody of American Pop Art. In the mid-1980s, he began exploring the medium of photography, which led to his grand-scale pictures made with intentionally unstable chemicals and his use of transparent painting surfaces.

In Frau Herbst und ihre zwei Töchter (Mrs. Autumn and Her Two Daughters), Polke combines a mysterious image from a book of 19th-century engravings with an abstract surface. The image is fanciful, almost surreal, perhaps depicting a mother explaining to her children where snow comes from, or the fairylike beings that produce snow. In contrast, the gorgeous abstraction, painted on transparent fabric, suggests clouds, sky, and an almost spiritual emanation of light.

Text for Sigmar Polke, Frau Herbst und ihre zwei Töchter (Mrs. Autumn and Her Two Daughters) (1991), from the curriculum guide So, Why Is This Art?, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2002.

Copyright 2002 Walker Art Center

curatorial commentary Richard Flood discusses Sigmar Polke’s Frau Herbst und ihre zwei Töchter (Mrs. Autumn and Her Two Daughters) (1991) Richard Flood, September 1999

Sigmar Polke is probably the closest thing we have to a history painter in the latter part of the century, but the history is, as we have come to know history, not a clean narrative. It’s a jumble of a lot of different kinds of information. It’s what we perceive to be the fact, but it’s also how the fact becomes enhanced by the fiction and how the fiction has a need to get more poetic in order not to have to be substantiated by further facts. So, you have this meta thing and, then, you put it on a transparent surface, this totally permeable skin, that is accepting light and at the same time dealing with the notion of illusionistic space, but in a very real architectural way, just lifting it off the wall, allowing you to see the support structure through it. I think his contribution is bigger than I’m describing. At the same time, it’s amazing that people did not think of this earlier. It’s kind of astounding. All of these things look quite simple. Was that a big idea? Actually, yes, it was a big idea. But did the big idea have to be complicated? Not really. I take great heart in that as well

Richard Flood, Chief Curator, Walker Art Center, commenting on Sigmar Polke’s Frau Herbst und ihre zwei Töchter (Mrs. Autumn and Her Two Daughters) (1991), during the exhibition Art in Our Time: 1950 to the Present, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 1999.

Copyright 1999 Walker Art Center