It’s Day 357 and I had a very busy day with filming and also have a holiday party this evening. I was still able to get today’s piece done. I wish I had more time to focus on it. Please join me in honoring Hannelore Baron today.
Hannelore Baron (June 8, 1926 – April 28, 1987) was an artist whose work has become known for the highly personal, book-sized, abstract collages and box constructions that she began exhibiting in the late 1960s. Born in Dillingen/Saar, Germany, she and her family fled persecution in Nazi Germany, illegally crossing the border into Luxembourg in 1939. In 1941 Baron’s family sailed from Lisbon to New York and setteled in the Bronx, New York City.
By the time she graduated from the Staubenmiller Textile High School in Manhattan, Baron was avidly reading eastern philosophy, making increasingly abstract paintings and probably already experiencing the symptoms of claustrophobia and depression that would lead to a series of nervous breakdowns throughout her life. In the late 1950s Baron combined a variety of techniques and began making her first collages. Occupied with raising two children (daughter Julie and son Mark) and beset by psychological problems, Hannelore nevertheless exhibited her work and in 1969, the year of her one-person exhibition at Ulster County Community College, she began to make the box constructions that would become her signature. In the early 1970s, Baron established a studio and devoted her time and energy completely to her artwork until her death in 1987. Hannelore Baron was self-taught.
Although her compositions are completely abstract, she considered them to be both personal and political statements. In her own words,
Everything I’ve done is a statement on the, as they say, human condition…the way other people march to
Washington, or set themselves on fire, or write protest letters, or go to assassinate someone. Well, I’ve had all the same feelings that these people had about various things, and my way out, because of my inability to do anything else for various reasons, has been to make the protest through my artwork… H.B.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s her work garnered critical acclaim, along with gallery and museum exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Japan. In 1995, her work was the subject of a one-person exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. In 2001 her work was the subject of a traveling exhibition curated by Ingrid Schaffner and organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. Her works can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the conSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Israel Museum, Jerusalem.
Biography is from wikipedia.
Below bio is from artist’s website. www.hannelorebaron.net
Hannelore Baron practiced an art of concealment and protection. Out of rough and common materials she fashioned constructions, drawings and collages that transmuted the painful experiences of her life into indelible images of the darkness and mystery of being. Baron was born Hannelore Alexander in Dilligen, a small town in the Saar region of Germany in 1926. Her father, Julius, was a Jewish textile merchant, and almost as soon as Hitler came to power, the family began to feel the ominous consequences. Hannelore and her brother were sent to a special school for Jews only. On Kristallnacht, the family’s apartment was ransacked and her father beaten. Thus began a period of flight and border crossing that did not end until the family managed to emigrate from Lisbon to New York in 1941. In the midst of all this, one of Baron’s most vivid memories was that of a brief return to her family’s wrecked apartment, where the bloody handprints of her father were still visible on the walls.
By the time she graduated from the Staubenmiller Textile High School in Manhattan, Baron was avidly reading eastern philosophy, making increasingly abstract paintings and probably already experiencing the symptoms of claustrophobia and depression that would lead to a series of nervous breakdowns throughout her life. On one of her rare forays out, to sketch, she met Herman Baron, a book salesman for the Philosophical Library, and they
married in 1950. The milieu was intellectually rich: Baron’s brother ran a small press and published works by avant-garde writers such as Maya Deren and Henry Miller, and Baron himself soon opened his own bookstore in the Bronx. Isolated by her mental distress, however, Hannelore developed her art without instruction and without direct knowledge of the currents that were changing the art world. Her abstract paintings betray no debt to Rothko, Gorky or Motherwell. But she did manage to visit an exhibition by John Heliker, a friend of Baron’s brother, and the experience was decisive: she saw how collage could combine all aspects of art, from drawing and painting to sculptural manipulation of materials. Over the next three decades, Hannelore would explore the implications of mixed media with depth, subtlety and daring.
Occupied with raising two children (daughter Julie and son Mark) and beset by psychological problems, Hannelore nevertheless exhibited her work and in 1969, the year of her one-person exhibition at Ulster County Community College, she began to make the box constructions that would become her signature. In these works, damaged wood and metal, often tied or nailed together, enclose secrets that can only be guessed at: scraps of
her past, mysterious games without rules, concealed objects. In their rawness and obscurity they form the necessary counterpart to Joseph Cornell’s elegant enigmas. In these works and in her collages, Hannelore was able to convey her sense of the fragility of life, the mythic substratum of human experience, and broader concerns for the environment, the injustices of war, especially the Vietnam conflict, and the physical pain of existence. In 1973, she was diagnosed with cancer and would struggle with various forms of the disease until it took her life in 1987. After her death, Hannelore’s work was the subject of a one-person exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and, in 2002, a national touring exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution. She once remarked of one of her works, “The solution didn’t come only from my head, it was lived out and worked out. It is a complete thing.”
I hope you enjoy my tribute today! It was a therapeutic experience creating it. Her style is very distinct and hard to emulate because of it’s subtlety, so I tried to get into a mind frame of my own while creating this piece.
I will see you tomorrow on Day 358!