This intriguing monograph of painter and printmaker Robert Kipniss is an intimate look at a memorable period in his life and early career. Robert Kipniss: Paintings and Poetry, 1950-1964 is the result of many arduous months of revisiting his writing of more than half a century, poems that were stashed away and essentially forgotten. "Some of the poems are straightforward, some are infused with surreal irony, and some are angry," says Kipniss in his candid and honest preface. Thoughtful and articulate from conception to completion, his never-before-published poems parallel the creation of his early paintings in this contemplation of the influential and foundational years from 1950 to 1964. "When I stopped writing [in 1961] my vision was no longer divided between word-thinking and picture-thinking: these approaches had merged and in expressing myself I was more whole," Kipniss reflects.
Readers of this gorgeous volume are generously rewarded with glimpses of intensely personal moments in this accomplished artist's personal history. In an unambiguous self-assessment, Kipniss elaborates: "The most significant insight that arose in this undertaking came when I began to collate reproductions of my paintings done in the 1950s. I could clearly see that my work in the two mediums had come from very different parts of my psyche and that, while they were both in themselves completely engaged, they were not in any way integrated." These early, critically acclaimed paintings and previously unpublished poems are accompanied by two astute and illustrative essays that will enlighten readers familiar with this highly respected American artist as well as those just discovering the beauty and mystery of his work.