new-york

Kurt Seligmann

John Bernard Myers Gallery

In the sixth issue of The Tiger’s Eye (December 1948), given over to a painters’ and critics’ discussion of “the sublime in art,” Kurt Seligmann described his emotions in front of the great works of art of the past as akin to “the Norwegian fisherman in Poe’s tale of the Maelström. Plunged into the colossal whirlpool, and seeing no possible escape from certain annihilation, he sets aside his anguish, aware of his pettiness amidst the grandiose, the unheard of spectacle. His only regret is that he cannot return to his fellowmen and tell of the Sublime which he had witnessed in the abyss.” So unable was Seligmann that shortly thereafter he committed suicide. Lack of communication was too terrible.

Still, in the later ’30s at the time of his conversion to Surrealism (although his earlier works evince clear attachment to Surrealist biomorphism despite the nominal abstractness of his position—he

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