I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Frans Masereel

Amazing how storytelling through visuals can pack a gut punch like this. The graphic impact of each idea on the page is just breathtaking.

Frans Masereel (1889-1972) Blankenberge, Belgium. "Frans Masereel was the greatest woodcut artist of our time. A pacifist in World War I, he tried to make his art accessible to the ordinary man. His works were banned by the Nazis and widely distributed in Communist countries. But he rejected "political" art and party affiliation, condemning all enslavements, oppression, war and violence, injustice, and the power of money." (from graphicwitness.org)

The Idea. first published 1920. Thomas Mann wrote in a later edition,"'...so compelling, so deeply felt, so rich in ideas that one never tires of looking at them.'" Here is a written running commentary of "The Idea."

The City. 1925. The scope, here complete, is epic and unflinching.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ronnie,

Your post of Frans Masereel harkens and stirs art appreciation and interest in many ways.

- On the first exhibits that stirred my interest in art was the German Expressionist 1920s at the Legion of Honor which is a museum in SF walking distance from my parents house. After Germany's defeat in World War I, there was a strong art movement in Germany depicting human loss, suffering, and anti war sentiment. Ironically, Hitler and Nazi party used it to stir Anti- Semitism.
- In other respects, Masereel's work reminds me of another political activist illustrator/comic artist - Peter Kuper. I first met him at San Diego Con 8 years ago. Check out his book Speechless as well as his covers for Time, New Yorker.
-My dad was an avid collector of wood block prints mainly Kiyoshi Saito. It is truely an underrated art medium.

Anyway, thanks for the post.


10:11 PM

Blogger Ronnie said...

Hey, Charles. Mansereel's work just grabbed me and I just had to troll the net for more. I'm a big Rockwell Kent fan ( I have two rather pricey books on his work ). Because of that I've bought almost every copy I come across of "Wilderness", "North by East" and "Moby Dick" that he's illustrated. I did scratchboard art to try my hand at it--and maybe I can focus on that when retirement comes for me.

That show you saw at the Legion of Honor must've been quite inspiring that the memory has stuck to you. I know of Peter Kuper's work. He is very much in the same vein as Mansereel.

Hope all is well.

11:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Brazil, there are a lot of artists that work with wood cut!! I think here we have a tradition with this tecnique. Make a research about brazilian woodcut. You will find great things. Try in portugese in google: xilogravura.


12:18 PM

Blogger Ronnie said...

Thank you, Leticia, for the lead. I did do a search and found many magnificent examples. For everyone, here's what I found about Gravuras:

Cordel Literature

Men from the Northeast of Brazil have a very popular way of expressing their culture in verses through the cordel literature. They are simple, small books printed in cheap kind of paper and sold in street markets all around the Region. They are called cordel literature because they are exhibited hanging from a piece of cord.

2:40 PM


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