Notebooks: the turn towards abstract art

" From 1940, you gradually abandon figurative art for abstraction. Did the meeting with abstract artists in Grasse influence your personal development?"


"This meeting did influence it but also political events at that time played a part: the war, the internment, the defeat of the Allies, the German army’s advance. You can understand that these shocking events can determine a painter’s career. Until then, what I had done was often marked by an antique-romance influence. Whilst I found a following in England and the USA, the world collapsed as it faced the realities that I had just been living.  Disoriented, I floated without knowing how to replace my former reality. It was then that the presence and example of Arp was of great assistance to me. Familiar with both the German and French cultures, his spirit was alive and agile. Despite his irrational and poetic side , Arp lived in the present whose problems he liked to analyze with humor and common sense. Thanks to his advice and also that of Magnelli and Sonia Delaunay, I found the courage to translate my visual language in a way that seemed the most appropriate to me at that time. " Ferdinand Springer ( Interview by Emmanuelle Foster).

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The "notebooks" or "diaries" mark, with Ferdinand Springer, the passage between figurative and abstract art. They were executed in Grasse or during the war in the period following his discharge and before his flight to Switzerland or during the immediate postwar period. All his works on paper are very small (10x15 cm on average), which can be explained by the lack of materials during and after the war. Alberto Magnelli, also in Grasse at this time, painted on sandpaper or slates for the same reasons. These works have been painstakingly collected in the form of various notebooks by Marcelle Springer (Irene Mathias), the painter's wife.

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