WILLIAM BAZIOTES (1912-1963)
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BAZIOTES CATALOGUE RAISONNE
The William Baziotes Catalogue Raisonné project was initiated with the curatorial research conducted for the Guggenheim exhibition in Venice. The objective is to document all of the artist’s paintings and works on paper, including watercolors and drawings.
This documentation will include title, date, media, size, inscriptions and images. Provenance, a record of the various owners of the work from creation to present, will also be researched.
In detailing provenance, it is understood that some owners may not wish to be identified by name. In such cases, their anonymity will be secured and the phrase “Private Collection” will be used.
Finding works requires research bordering on investigation. Unfortunately, some images exist without provenance or ownership information. Some works disappeared after auction sales. Hopefully, they will be uncovered and documented.
WILLIAM BAZIOTES, AN INTRODUCTION
To take a step closer to the art and spirit of William Baziotes, you have to take a step back from what you think you know about the history of modern art. Many writers tell us he was a brush-wielding member of the Abstract Expressionist club or connect him – and rightly so – to the esprit de corps found among the Surrealists in America. Yet, his art work and his sensibilities about the world lead us on a far more complicated odyssey.
William Baziotes was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1912 to Stella and Frank Angelus Baziotes, who were Greek-Americans.
A loving brother, a devoted husband, a caring teacher are what we find in Baziotes, a man for whom integrity and eloquence meant everything. Yet, we cannot overlook the passion of the artist who embraced all within his grasp.
We must, for example, reconcile a student of the art of boxing with a devotee of classical antiquity. Can work in a stained glass factory, an appreciation for the 18th-century French classicist Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and a friendship with the Chilean surrealist Roberto Matta Echaurren possibly begin to explain Baziotes’ love of line and color? Can the exoticism of Baudelaire’s poetry find a parallel in the wafting smoke from Bill’s favorite cigarette. Yes is the answer to all of these.
He had a never-tiring, never-ceasing commitment to universal motifs – the primordial, the cultural myth, the exploration of the psyche. He found a metaphor in the “arena.” However, his arena was not one of the bullfight or the gladiator. Rather it was one illuminating the struggle for perfection – for the survival of the essence of a thing – that was the greatest and most worthy of battles. It is in his watercolors and paintings that Baziotes gave full flight to his fancy.
Reference: William Baziotes, Paintings and Drawings, 1934-1962. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (September 5, 2004-January 9, 2005). Curator, Michael Preble. Catalogue.
Images, top to bottom:
William Baziotes, c 1947
Prehistoric, 1957 (PC)
Ethel and William Baziotes, c 1947
Dusk, 1954 (SRGM)
William Baziotes, c 1955
Cover, Peggy Guggenheim Collection Exhibition, 2004