“Two Heads” by Alfred Maurer in 1930 “America’s First Modern Artist”
Alfred Maurer (1868-1932) the pre-eminent father of the American Modern Art movement; which began in New York with the Armory Show in 1913 when he exhibited this work. The son of a Currier & Ives painter, his art was far different than that of his father’s. He first studied at the National Academy of Design and under William Merritt Chase, then went to Paris in 1897 where he studied Impressionist painting, evolving into Cubism. Maurer was befriended by Gertrude and Leo Stein, who introduced him to Matisse & Cezanne, who encouraged him to explore the modern transition that earned him the title of the “First Modern American painter” and he was friends with other avant-garde American painters such as Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, & Georgia O’Keefe.
‘Two Heads” is Maurer’s finest and most important work, influenced by Modigliani’s and Picasso’s portraits. This painting symbolized both Cubism and the new approach of Modernist painting, and is a bridge between the two historical styles of Modern Art. Milton Brown the eminent art historian, considered Mauer’s cubist paintings to be the finest ever produced in America. In this painting Maurer fully accomplishes the principles used by Picasso and represents his coming to terms with the European modernism that influenced him when he first met Matisse & Cezanne in Paris. Maurer committed suicide shortly after he painted “Two Heads” in 1932 after his father died. The frame is hand carved by Alfred Maurer. Accompanied by the original Bill of Sale from Sotheby PB in 1979 as well as various Exhibit Labels on verso including “the Society of Four Arts, West Palm Beach, Fla. - Loan No. 70-4-10-4,” this important American Modern painting has not been on the market for 30 years.
Unsigned, oil on artist board 18 x 24 inches, in original frame which was designed by Maurer and carved by Carl Sandelin for Bertha Schaefer Galleries, New York with his notes on verso. In perfect condition with no restoration.