Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Adolf Wölfli

Adolf Wölfli (1864–1930) was a Swiss artist who was one of the first artists to be associated with the Art Brut or “outsider” art label.Wölfli was abused both physically and sexually as a child, and was orphaned at the age of 10, leaving him to grow up in a series of state-run foster homes.He was very disturbed and sometimes violent on admission, leading to him being kept in isolation for his early time at hospital. He suffered from psychosis, which led to intense hallucinations.At some point after his admission Wölfli began to draw. His first surviving works (a series of 50 pencil drawings) are dated from between 1904 and 1906.A doctor at the Waldau Clinic took a particular interest in Wölfli’s art and his condition, later publishing Ein Geisteskranker als Künstler (A Psychiatric Patient as Artist) in 1921 which first brought Wölfli to the attention of the art world.Morgenthaler’s book detailed the works of Wölfli who seemed to have no previous interest in art and who developed his talents and skills independently after being committed for a debilitating condition.In this respect, Wölfli was an iconoclast and influenced the development and acceptance of Art Brut.At a glance, Wölfli’s work oozes the sentiments of Psychedelic art with its kaleidoscopic swirls of colorIn truth, they’re the relics of a man orphaned in the 1800s, whose life was bookended by the abuse he both received and committed.But that madness also incubated one of the most jaw-dropping works in Art Brut history: Wölfli will paint, compose music and write a semi-biographical book that has 45 volumes, approximately 25,000 pages, and more than 1.600 illustrations that is filled with reptiles, knights, dancing shadows; and insect musicians, along with Algebra and melancholic sheet music.Wölfli’s work has been described as one of the three or four most important a  bodies of work constituting an artist’s lifework of of the twentieth century.More of Adolf Wölfli‘s mesmerizing artwork can be found at https://www.adolfwoelfli.ch/ and  Adolf Wölfli: mad genius.

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