About this artwork
Less than two weeks after Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, painter Kurt Seligmann traveled from Europe to New York for the opening of an exhibition of his work. Urged not to return home due to the threat of Nazi persecution, he became one of the earliest Surrealist artists to seek refuge in New York.
For The Dance, which envisions a modern danse macabre, or dance of death, Seligmann employed a traditional German folk technique in which he painted in reverse on the backside of glass and used candle smoke to enhance the rich black tones. The technique and imagery reflect Seligmann’s fascination with medieval heraldry and magic, as well as his horror at the contemporary tragedies of war. As the artist wrote around the time he made The Dance, “My mind is as black as the background in my paintings.”
- Kurt Seligmann
- The Dance
- Switzerland (Artist's nationality:)
- Oil on glass
- Signed, l.r.: "K. Seligmann 1940"
- 87 × 101.6 cm (34 1/4 × 40 in.)
- Mary and Earle Ludgin Collection
- © 2018 Orange County Citizens Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York