Thursday, February 26, 2009

Frederic Fiebig - 1885 - 1953

A very much overlooked plein air painter in the history of 20th century art, Latvian born Frederic Fiebig studied in St. Petersburg and at the Julian Academy in Paris. His work was well received in Paris where he exhibited alongside other well known avant-garde painters during the pre-World War I years. Despite this and periodic successes thereafter, his life was mostly a downward spiral of isolation, misfortune and poverty culminating in a hermit-like existence in the mountains of Alsace before his health broke during World War II.

Fiebig was a painter of integrity, following a unique path of absolute individuality far from convention. “The tragic terms of his miserable life never compromised his art.” 1. His distinctive style of the 20s and 30s was expressed in tiny (as small as 3” x 5”) jewel-like plein air paintings done on paper with a palette knife. Although these are objective paintings, they have an underlying structure of triangular forms evocative of Cezanne and cubism. The painting shown is View of Rodern from a Mountain, 1934, oil on gray wove paper, 6 ¾” x 5 ½”.

- Carl Judson


1. Kashey, Elizabeth, Frederic Fiebig St. Petersburg-Paris-Alsace: Fall Exhibition 1990 Shepard Gallery. New York, 1990

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