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Kurt Seligmann

"I am fascinated by the precision and the grace of engraved lines."


Notes of biography

Kurt Seligmann was born in Bale, Switzerland in 1900. He is hardly 18 years old when he takes part in his first group exhibition at the Kunsthalle in his hometown; he will exhibit here regularly. Seligmann takes classes at the School of Fine Arts of Geneva where he meets Pierre Couthion. He becomes friends with Alberto Giacometti in 1920. After returning to Bale, he leaves for Paris where he studies at the studio of Andre Lhote, then at the Academy in Florence.
He takes numerous trips in the beginning of the 30’s, one to Greece with Le Corbusier. On returning to Paris, Kurt Seligmann becomes a member of the ‘Abstraction-Creation’; he is friends with Jean Arp. The artists participates in numerous group exhibitions - Salon des Surindependants in Paris, the Fine Arts Palace in Brussels, etc. His first solo exhibition is organized at the Jeanne Bucher Gallery in Paris in 1932. He meets Andre Breton, who he will distance himself from 11 years later. Seligmann joins the surrealist’s. He exhibits in important galleries in Milan, Rome, London, Tokyo, etc.
After a long honeymoon around the world, he moves to Paris. His neighbor is Salvador Dali. In 1938, he brings back from British Columbia a 16m high totem pole that now stands in front of the Museum of Man in Paris. In this same year Kurt Seligmann participates in the International Exhibition of Surrealism and the Fine Arts Gallery in Paris. He participates in the complete illustrations of Lautreamont, with Brauner, Dominguez, Ernst, Man Ray, Masson, Matta, Miro, Paalen and Tanguy.
With the start of the Second World War, Seligmann leaves for the United States in 1939 and sets up in New York, where he from now on exhibits his work. He buys a farm at Sugar Loaf in New York State and installs a printing press. Tanguy and Calder will come to work with him here; Robert Motherwell will be his student. It must be stated that the artist himself prints his engravings until 1939 in Paris on the Tanneur presses and with the help of an aid, then alone with his own press in the United States. In 1942, he meets Duchamp, Man Ray, Miro and Tanguy and participates in famous exhibitions ‘Art of this Century’ at the Peggy Gugenheim museum, ‘First Papers of Surrealism’ and ‘Artists in Exile’ at the Pierre Mattisse Gallery.
In 1943, he publishes vast works ‘The Mirror of the Magic’; the sum of his permanent research on occult science. Kurt Seligmann continues to exhibit and to teach art history, painting and engraving at Brooklyn College from1953-1960.
In 1960, he leaves New York City and moves permanently to Sugar Loaf. It is there, in 1962, that he is the victim of an accident; the artist is found dead in front of his house, a shot gun at his side.

Artists on display

The art and the artists display: proclamations, galleries, museums, personal or collective exhibitions. On walls or in shop windows, wise or rebels, posters warn, argue, show. Some were specially conceived by an artist for such or such event, other, colder, have only the letter.

Some were created in lithographic technic, most are simple offset reproductions. They are many those who like collecting these rectangles of paper, monochrome or in games of colours, in matt paper or brilliant, with many words or almost dumb.

We are happy also to be able to greet, by this pages, mythical galleries as those of Denise René, Louis Carré, Claude Bernard, Berheim Jeune, Maeght, Pierre Loeb and others.


Complete work(s)

Complete work(s)
All the complete works

Bibliographic track and more

To read about the artist :
  • « Abstraction-Création », revue, 5 n°, Ed. Les Tendances nouvelles, 1932-1936
  • European Artists Teaching in America », cat. Addison Gallery, Mass., 1941
  • « Artists in Exile », cat. d'expo. coll., Pierre Matisse Gallery, NY, 1942
  • « First Papers of Surrealism », cat., Ed. C. C. of French Relief Societies, 1942
  • « Derrière le Miroir n° 19 », Ed. Maeght, Paris, 1949
  • « Encyclopédie du surréalisme », R. Passeron, Somogy Ed. d'Art, 1975
  • « K. Seligmann, Ausstellung », cat. Galerie Schreiner, Bâle, 1978
  • « K. Seligmann, Leben und Werk », S. E. Hauser, Scwabe & Co Verlag, Bâle, 1997
  • « The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art, », J. M. Marter, vol. 1, Oxford U. Press, 2011
  • « Kurt Seligmann - Monograph », S. E. Hauser et autres, Ed. Weinstein Gallery, 2015
To read from the artist :
  • « Le Miroir de la Magie », Ed. Fasquelle, Paris, 1956 (Nomb. Editions)
  • « Kurt Seligmann, planches gravées », Ed. Galerie Berggruen & Cie, Paris, 1998
Website :
No website dedicated to the artist.

More :

Art movements

+ SURREALISM / 1924-1969 / Marcel Duchamp, Dora Maar, Kurt Schwitters, Taro Okamoto, Antonio Berni, etc.
+ ABSTRACTION-CREATION / 1931-1938 / Etienne Béothy, Frantisek Kupka, Piet Mondrian, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Georges Vantongerloo, etc.
All art movements

See & discover

Beyond works currently in stock, it seemed to me useful to combine business with pleasure by letting you discover others works by artists in my gallery. These artworks, now sold or removed from our website, have been in our stock in the past.

These pages will undoubtedly make it possible for some of you to associate an image with its title or the other way round, for others it will be a good time to discover more on such and such artist. For the sake of confidentiality – the pieces being no longer available – we won't display neither their numbering or their price. For whatever reason, make sure to visit this amazing art database with to date 6441 online works just for your pleasure! Michelle Champetier

See & discover