Barnes Foundation in 2009, three small watercolors nestled amongst the vast collection of Post Impressionist masterpieces. I noted his name in my sketch book but never followed up on him.
This past fall I flew up to Philadelphia to see the Barns Foundation in its new home, and there were those three little scribbles on torn out book pages. Again I noted down his name. When I got back to Dallas I saw that the Menil Collection in Houston was having a Wols retrospective. And so, after a few false starts I made the three and a half hour road trip from Dallas to Houston.
Was it worth the drive? Yes!
Wols (1913- 1951) is one of those artists who made a great impact while he was alive, and in Europe he maintained a high profile after his death. But he quickly disappeared from the annuals of art history as seen from the American vantage point. Talking with the book buyer at the Menil Book Store I learned that there are only two books on Wols written in english, one being the must have Wols Retrospective catalogue published by the Menil Collection.
I don't know much about Wols' life other than a few intriguing hints of drama such as being imprisoned in France with Max Ernst and Hans Bellmer for 19 months, dieing of food poisoning, and that his wife continued to create and sell his paints long after he was dead. Sounds like this catalogue is going to be a good read.