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PRINT December 1964

Ernst Josephson

THE MADNESS WHICH IN 1888 tore in two the life of the Swedish artist Ernst Josephson was a guarantee of fame—of posthumous fame, since the creations which flowed from an imagination let loose “when the floodgates opened” were largely lost on his contemporaries. It would take vision schooled by Matisse, the monumental line drawings of Picasso, and most of all the intensifying disproportions of the Expressionists, to appreciate Josephson’s late work which anticipated these styles and directions by many years. The Holy Sacrament, (1889–90) Ecstatic Heads, painted in the same year, Portrait of Ludwig Josephson, (1893) are Expressionist works before the term or the school had been thought of Josephson died in 1906 virtually without spiritual descendants (except in Sweden) though Picasso may have seen some of the drawings in Paris and Kokoschka and others knew his work. But he was not a formative

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