nedjelja, 31. ožujka 2013.

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910-1983) - As far as science goes we have only looked in the mirror, not at what is concealed behind

Još '50-ih Von Bruenchenhein je vidio ono što miksroskopi i teleskopi vide tek danas. Ali i više - vidio je da je znantvena materija samo osnovnoškolsko štrebersko pojednostavljenje beskrajnih eruptivnih energija.

Von Bruenchenhein was born in Wisconsin in 1910, and worked in a bakery during the 10 years (1954-1963) that the bulk of his work was completed. Very early on, Von Bruenchenhein would paint on the panels of boxes that he would bring home from the bakery. Then, he moved into painting on canvas with brushes. But, in 1954, Von Bruenchenhein’s technique changed and he started to paint on board with his fingers. In 1955, he began to add a white or cream base coat and he would scrape the paint with bakery tools, combs, and quills which would reveal the undercoat, adding an entirely new dimension to his work. Finally, in 1956, Von Bruenchenhein had mastered his own technique, and he would spend the next 5 years painting like a maniac!
Von Bruenchenhein produced almost 1,100 paintings in his lifetime. Unfortunately, he was never successful in selling his work or gaining any recognition during his lifetime. It has only been in the last several years that the importance of Von Bruenchenhein’s work has come to be realized. As part of the Centennial Celebration of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, a huge collection of Von Bruenchenhein’s work is available in 22 separate galleries on for download as high-resolution files! I recommend downloading a couple of these amazing pieces of art and having them printed and framed before the offer is no longer available!

 1910 – 1983

No 796  The Filament of Ages
April 12 – 1959  
Oil on Masonite panel
24 x 24 inches


Paintings, Sculpture, Photography, Poetry, Philosophy
Our Night of Life
   In dreams we float
To other worlds
And other shores,
To salvage what we may,
To build and beautify
Our night of life.

Eugene Von Bruenchehein, “Freelance Artist, Poet and Sculptor, Inovator [sic], Arrow maker and Plant man, Bone artifacts constructor, Photographer and Architect, Philosopher”, never really found contentment in the real world, except in his love for his wife Marie.  His was the world of dreams, ideas, of escaping, traveling to far off undiscovered worlds beyond Earth.  
I journeyed to the edge of Universe
Where stars collide and end in dust
The junk yard of the Universe
Where inky darkness lasts from
millenium to millenium
Far – Far – into the unwanted portion of time. . .
 Born in the year that Halley’s comet passed by our planet, Von Bruenchenhein spent much of his life exploring the unseen and unexplained relationships inherent in living things – human, cosmic, and everything in between.  He sought and provided answers to the largest of questions.  “Why is there no wall beyond the fringe of Universe?  Because something always lies beyond a wall, And because no Universe can be contained.”  Our Night of Life celebrates this extraordinary vision, through which nature is infinitely fluid, continually revealing new aspects of itself.
It is now twenty-four years since Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s works came into public light, and since that time our examination of his work still has not had the time to fully comprehend the many facets of his artistic vision, within the many mediums in which he worked.  The works themselves are journeys into their meanings, but the artist’s writings – less well know than the paintings, sculptures, and photos – add yet another dimension to his world.  Von Bruenchenhein formulated elaborate “Bruenchenesian” theories, postulating on the complexity of nature and our ability to know it.  In one selection he suggests that only one of nature’s planes is visible through a scientific lens:

                        We consider ourselves so smart and yet after the
                        great length of time man has lived on Earth he has just
                        scratched the surface of knowledge. . . As far as science goes
                        we have only looked in the mirror, not [at] what is concealed
                        behind. . .

Von Bruenchenhein spent hours looking at drops of water through a microscope, and was equally concerned with a macrocosmic order, evident in musings and paintings about the worlds beyond ours.  He made exceptionally convincing paintings of  “Lines of Force Contained” and “Lines of Force Released”, pictorializing what science could only express in numeric formulae.  Now, one only needs to pick up a New York Times daily newspaper in which a recent photograph by the Hubbell Telescope is featured revealing some amazing new cosmic cataclysm or ein had already traveled there. 

An Artist Couple’s Domestic Gesamtkunstwerk

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910-1983) was a self-taught artist from Wisconsin. He worked in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography and poetry. Below are images of his wife Marie (Eveline Kalke Von Bruenchenhein - "Marie").

Eugene Von BruenchenheinPhotograph of the Artist's Wife Marie, 1940s, 9 1/4 x 7 1/8"

Eugene Von BruenchenheinMontage Photograph of the Artist's Wife Marie, 1940s,9 1/8 x 7 1/8"

"Von Bruenchenhein met his wife Marie in 1939 during a visit to Wisconsin State Fair Park, located just a few blocks from his family's home. After a three-and-one-half-year courtship, they began a forty-year marriage that ended only with the artist's death in 1983. Beginning in the early 1940s, Marie became the subject of literally thousands of black-and white photographs taken by him. He developed the prints himself in their bathroom.

Inspired by the 1940s pinup aesthetic, Von Bruenchenhein's photographs are strangely erotic tableaux. They often feature Marie posed seminude before lush, floral cloth backdrops. She also appears enveloped in yards of bright satin or draped in imitation leopard skin and other patterned fabrics. In many images, she wears multiple pearl necklaces or dons a sparkling make-believe crown fashioned by the artist from a tin can and Christmas tree ornaments. Marie, transformed by her exotic costuming, assumed the fictional roles of seductress, ingenue, glamour queen, pinup girl, and movie star, all before the relentless voyeuristic gaze of Von Bruenchenhein's camera. During the 1950s, Marie enacted even more lavishly costumed charades for a series of over two thousand color slide images. She also helped her husband to hand color many of his earlier photographs of her."

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein35 mm Color Slide Image of the Artist's Wife Marie, 1950s

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein35 mm Color Slide Image of the Artist's Wife Marie, 1950s

"Marie! Marie!
I long for you thru the dusky,
Hollow, fading, years.
The memory of blossom lips;
Of starry eyes; of devine being,
Mingle to form a picture,
Where the sole joy of living
Manifests itself in the laughter
And lovliness of youth!
The tremor of a singing heart;
The whisper of a soft voice;
The movement of a summer blossom
In summers breezes;
Virtues that permeate the very
Charm of living!

Oh Marie! These and these alone
I would remember.
For these were you!"
(poem by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein)

Eugene Von BruenchenheinEugene Thinks of Marie: Montage by Eugene, 1940s,
10 x 5 1/2"

(source for photographs, poem and quote: Eugene Von Bruenchenhein: Obsessive Visionary, published by John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin © 1988)

Looking at the photograph above, Eugene Thinks of Marie: Montage by Eugene, makes me think about sources of inspiration and creativity, and the role of the artist's muse, andCarl Jung's concept of the anima ...

"The anima is a personification of all feminine psychological tendencies in a man's psyche, such as vague feelings and moods, prophetic hunches, receptiveness to the irrational, capacity for personal love, feeling for nature, and-- last but not least-- his relation to the unconscious. It is no mere chance that in olden times priestesses (like the Greek Sibyl) were used to fathom the divine will and to make connection with the gods.

A particularly good example of how the anima is experienced as an inner figure in a man's psyche is found in the medicine man and prophets (shamans) among the Eskimo and other arctic tribes. Some of these even wear women's clothes or have breasts depicted on their garments, in order to manifest their inner feminine side -- the side that enables them to connect with the "ghost land" (i.e., what we call the unconscious).

One reported case tells of a young man who was being initiated by an older shaman and who was buried by him in a snow hole. He fell into a state of dreaminess and exhaustion. In this coma he suddenly saw a woman who emitted light. She instructed him in all he needed to know and later, as his protective spirit, helped him to practice his difficult profession by relating him to the powers of the beyond. Such an experience shows the anima as the personification of a man's unconscious.

...The most frequent manifestations of the anima takes the form of erotic fantasy..."

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein detail image


I first saw Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s paintings in 2003. I found them mysterious and evocative, and full of energy. The more I looked at them, the more they expanded beyond the borders of the frame. They seemed to carry with them a complex history, as if they were glimpses of a world distant from our own. Many appeared to depict an event—on land, underwater, or in deep space—drawn from some alien cosmogony. The paintings were relatively inexpensive, so I purchased a few. A couple of years later, I purchased a few more. And a few more. I loved the places they took me and the power they had to stimulate my imagination. Finally, my enthusiasm for the paintings reached the point that I wanted to share them. So, in May, 2009, we launched



EVB—Gene to his wife and friends—was born in Wisconsin, married a local girl, and worked in a bakery during the ten years that he completed his most imaginative pieces, 1954-1963. The two of them lived in a small house that had belonged to EVB’s father, and they barely got by. His first paintings were on panels of boxes that he brought home from the bakery. As his devotion to painting increased, he would purchase paint and boards from a local art supply store. Gene worked without an easel, on the kitchen table. On summer nights, he’d put up a couple of floodlights and paint in the back yard. Most of his paintings were completed in a single frenzied session, one to three hours in length. His neighbors regarded him as a weird character. EVB saw himself as a great artist, but was unsuccessful in selling his work or gaining any recognition. By his own accounting, he completed 1,080 paintings. When he died, his small house was crammed from floor to ceiling with them.
Initially, he painted with brushes on canvas. Then in 1954 his technique changed. He started painting on board with his fingers. In 1955, he began to treat his board surfaces with a white or cream undercoat, and in addition to using his fingers, he began to scrape the paint with combs, quills, and bakery tools, revealing the undercoat beneath. His experiments with this technique proceeded through 1955 with a limited color palette. Then in 1956 his technique took a quantum leap and his colors went wild. He painted like a madman for about five years, producing a staggering number of images. Then his energy flagged, along with his health. The quality of his pieces became sporadic—brilliant things mixed with less brilliant—until 1963, at which time his painting ceased.
Prior to 1954, EVB spent a decade taking photographs, mostly of his wife Marie. After 1963, he devoted himself to sculpture. He returned to painting in the late 70s, just before his death. Everything EVB produced bears evidence of his great energy and imagination. But the paintings completed during 1954-1963 are extraordinary. There are roughly 950 of them, about 70% of which have been documented by museums and the estate that survived the artist. The rest have either vanished or are in private hands. About 80 were given away by EVB during his lifetime, and many of these have never surfaced. Some have undoubtedly been destroyed. Others may be gathering dust in a closet or attic.


From the standpoint of the art world, EVB is an outsider. He was self-taught and worked in isolation. He was first embraced by the Outsider Art, Art Brut, and Folk Art communities. His sculptures, especially, said “Folk Art” because of the materials he used. But EVB’s paintings are unlike what is generally seen in the Folk Art domain. The painting style isn’t primitive. It shows great skill. EVB was a master of technique. It just happened to be his own.
EVB has more in common with artists like Bosch and Brueghel and Goya. He has a lot in common with William Blake and Max Ernst. He also has a lot in common with a novelist and story writer like Arthur Machen, and a recording artist like Jim Morrison. My own struggle to understand what gripped me and why, led to a theory of kinship and a simple definition. So here it is, for whoever might be interested.


Most people are content to live in this world. But a few of us would prefer to be somewhere else. There are lots of reasons for a disengagement from reality, but without getting into causes, people who want to disengage, and have a lively imagination and some creative ability, may choose art as a means of creating and living in a different world. For these people, their “vision” of a world apart becomes the chief reality. That’s a different kind of life, and it produces a different kind of art. The individuals I’m thinking of have two simple identifying traits:


First, they have a desire or compulsion to set the everyday world aside in preference to another world. Second, they believe that the world they have envisioned is more profound and more real than the everyday world. Plato compared day-to-day existence with life in a cave. Above the cave, he said, there was a different world with better lighting, and that world was the more important one. That’s the Visionary perspective. The envisioned world may be blissful or full of torment. Sometimes it has elements of both heaven and hell. But it is a world apart from the one we live in, and, to them, it is more important.

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein

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