Magazine article Artforum International

Realist Camp

Magazine article Artforum International

Realist Camp

Article excerpt

One of Basel's favorite sons, Arnold Bocklin (1827-1901) is up for a second survey in his hometown. The first, in 1977, marked the 150th anniversary of his birth. "Arnold Bocklin: A Retrospective" (Kunstmuseum Basel, May 5-Aug. 8), curated by Katharina Schmidt, will commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death. As a student in Dusseldorf, Bocklin learned to record what was before his eyes, to give trees and family members the same no-nonsense treatment, but he soon grew dissatisfied with the mere reality embraced by so many artists of his generation and began to populate his landscapes with aliens from a remote Mediterranean world. Like his German contemporaries Anselm Feuerbach and Hans von Marees, Bocklin enjoyed long sojourns in Italy, where his imagination was fired with visions of antiquity, as if on a sunny excursion to Capri he might stumble upon no less an adversary than Polyphemus. In Bocklin's work, the collision of classical fantasia and earthbound realism can produce quite a few giggles. …

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