Konrad Cramer

Woodstock, NY

c. 1918

oil on paperboard laid on panel
14 x 17 inches

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Provenance:  Private collection, FL; Franklin Riehlman Fine Art; Christie’s New York, March 25, 2015, lot 135.

A painter of abstraction including numerous still lifes and non-objective work, Cramer became one of America’s earliest modernist painters. He founded and directed the Woodstock, New York Art Association and the Woodstock School of Painting. His style, considered radical in America at the time, interpreted the Woodstock landscape through the Cubist perspective. Cramer divided his time between Woodstock and Manhattan and was highly prominent in progressive art circles. He was a close friend of Alfred Stieglitz, who interested him in photography. He was also a skillful illustrator and textile designer.

Born in Wurzburg, Germany, in 1888, Cramer studied art at the Karlsruhe Academy from 1906 to 1908 and with Ernest Schurth in the following year. He moved to Munich in 1910 and he began to see works by Europe’s foremost cubist painters, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. He lived in Munich in the months leading up to the emergence of the Blaue Reiter group and found inspiration in the work and ideas of Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and others. The Blaue Reiter artists felt one must break with tradition and paint from “inner necessity.” They believed that realistic representation of the world was no longer the sole aim of art—instead, expression of one’s emotional responses to the world took precedence. These emotional qualities found expression in abstract forms and shapes and strong colors.

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