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Indepth Arts News:

"Carborundum Printmaking: Henri Goetz and His Legacy"
2003-02-13 until 2003-04-06
Boston University Art Gallery
Boston, MA, USA United States of America

Fifty years after the French-American artist Henri Goetz (1909-1989) last exhibited in the United States, at the Circle and Square Gallery in New York, his work returns to the United States at the Boston University Art Gallery in Carborundum Printmaking: Henri Goetz and his Legacy. A focal point in post-war Paris, as the artist’s studio was a gathering place for artists and friends, it was in his role as a printmaking teacher beginning in 1950 that Goetz made his most lasting impact. Goetz was considered a virtuoso in his application of traditional printmaking techniques to his non-traditional visual style.

An accomplished printmaker in virtually every technique, he also contributed richly to the advent of new techniques, most notably the Carborundum printmaking process. An engraving technique requiring the use of an abrasive ground to create a granulated and textured surface, printmakers worldwide have since employed this process. Over thirty vintage works by Goetz will be on view and accompanied by a contemporary selection of works in the Carborundum process by artists Dikran Daderian, Hélène Laffly and Denise Zayan.

After studying at Harvard and MIT Goetz left America for Paris in 1930, where he worked in the Montparnasse painting academies frequented by American art students. Rooted in the Surrealist tradition, Goetz made his debut in Paris at the Salon des Surindépendants in 1935. Goetz’s first experiences with engravings date from the outbreak of the war and he soon became a master. As the war began to escalate in Europe, Goetz and his wife, the painter Christine Boumeester, worked with the French Resistance. They were forced to leave Paris for Southwestern France where Goetz met and mingled with members of the Belgian surrealist group that included Rene Magritte and Raoul Ubac. He also exhibited his work with Hans Hartung and Pierre Soulages.

Returning to Paris after the Liberation, Goetz co-founded the "Graphis Group" in 1949 and began teaching at the Ransom Academy and then at the Grande-Chaumière, where he opened two ateliers in 1955. From 1953 to 1966, Goetz was also director of an atelier in the American Conservatory at Fontainebleu. He founded the atelier Goetz (Goetz workshop) in 1965. In 1949, Goetz and his wife Christine Boumeester became naturalized French citizens. Goetz died in Paris in 1989.

Dikran Daderian was born in Beirut in 1929. His abstractions are derivative of richly brocade fabrics, with subtle shifts in tone and weight, composed of vibrant color. His work is often thought of as unclassifiable, as it prefers to relay a meaningful presence over a tangible form. French artist Hélène Laffly’s prints play with the idea of subtle shifts in texture, often forsaking color for this purpose. Denise Zayan was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1946. Her international roots are strongly visible in her work evidenced through the use of lush tropical colors intermingled with the careful refinement of French floral painting. All three artists were students at the Goetz Academy in the 1960’s.

This exhibition was organized by the Boston University Paris Program in conjunction with independent curator, Nelly Chadirat to celebrate the renaming of the Paris campus street to rue Jean Pierre-Bloch. A personal friend of Goetz, Bloch, like Goetz, was a prominent member of the French Resistance.

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