EUGENE VON BRUENCHENHEIN
(1910-1983 | USA)

Eugene von Bruenchenhein was born and grew up in Marinette (Wisconsin), where he spent most of his working life employed in a bakery. Ever hopeful of success, the self-taught artist developed his own unique painting technique: using his fingers to rapidly manipulate the thin wet oil paint, he created magical swirls and twists of bright, visionary colours. These organic shapes represent deep-sea, monsters, spiky plants and, later, cities and floral forms.
In the 1950s, at the height of the Cold War, he expressed his fear of nuclear attack by painting apocalyptic scenes of mushroom clouds and luminous depictions of fallout.
Eugene was a prolific photographer. In the early 1940s, after setting up a provisional darkroom in his bathroom, he started to photograph his wife, Marie, at home. Nevertheless, his photographs extended past the walls of their bedroom. Repurposing leftover materials as backdrops and props, Von Bruenchenhein created transformative stages for Marie to pose on; he invited her to dress up in exotic costumes. Many of these portraits evoke the “pin up” girls of the 1950s. As the main object of attraction, Marie coyly confronts the viewer to question the relationship between photographer and subject, husband and wife, artist and muse. By the mid 1950s, these intimate shots had reached the thousands.
He also made home-fired clay masks and concrete sculptures, and used recycled chicken and turkey bones to construct towers and chairs.

EUGENE VON BRUENCHENHEIN
(1910-1983 | USA)

Eugene von Bruenchenhein è nato e cresciuto a Marinette (Wisconsin), dove ha trascorso gran parte della sua vita lavorando in una panetteria. Senza speranze di successo, l’artista autodidatta ha sviluppato una tecnica pittorica unica: usando le dita per manipolare rapidamente la pittura ad olio, ha creato turbinii magici e colpi di scena dai colori brillanti e visionari. Queste forme organiche rappresentano montagne, mostri, piante spinose e, più tardi, città e forme floreali.
Nel 1950, all’apice della Guerra Fredda, ha espresso la sua paura di un attacco nucleare dipingendo scene apocalittiche di funghi atomici e raffigurazioni luminose.
Eugene era anche un fotografo. Nei primi anni 1940, dopo la creazione di una camera oscura provvisoria nel suo bagno, ha iniziato a fotografare sua moglie, Marie, a casa. Tuttavia, le fotografie non furono mai mostrate al pubblico. Riutilizzando materiali di scarto come fondali e oggetti scenici, Von Bruenchenhein ha creato diverse pose per Marie; la invitò a vestirsi con costumi esotici e a posare come una vera “pin up” degli anni ’50.
Poiché era l’oggetto principale di attrazione, Marie affrontava il timido spettatore ad interrogarsi sul rapporto tra fotografo e soggetto, marito e moglie, artista e musa. Entro la metà del 1950, questi scatti intimi superarono i 1000.
Ha anche realizzato in casa maschere di argilla e sculture in cemento, ed utilizzato ossa di pollo e tacchino riciclati per costruire torri e sedie.

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Marie, 1960, © Henri Boxer Gallery
Eugene von Bruenchenhein Untitled (Marie), c. 1943-1960, gelatin silver print, 23.18 × 1.09 cm (9 1/8 × 7/16 in.), John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection, Sheboygan
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Untitled, 1940, © Andrew Edlin Gallery
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Untitled, March 17 1958, © Carl Hammer Gallery
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Untitled, 1960-1980, © Andrew Edlin Gallery

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