The artist with Albert E. Elsen, Stanford University,
The artist's collages are a little known aspect of his work that has evolved since the early 50s. As the artist wrote in his monograph, Anatomy of a Cloud: "The collages to me are like diagrams. Burnt parchment maps giving indication of the terrain. Emblems that go back to another ancestral time and mean something I cannot totally explain but can feel as pointing to a place."
As shown in the above photograph, the
artist envisioned a series of autobiographical montages for the monograph
published in 1972 by Harry N. Abrams, with an extensive text written
by the distinguished art historian, Albert E. Elsen. Later excluded
from that publication, these preliminary works are shown above aligned
the wall of Albert E. Elsen's office, in a photograph taken of him
with the artist at Stanford University.
Throughout the remainder of the 70s, elements from these montages gradually
integrated themselves into the larger, expanded collages of Anatomy
of a Cloud. Often called by the artist A Book of Guides, Anatomy
of a Cloud provides a visual history in collage to the artist's life and to
those who held special meaning for him, such as Martha Graham and
Prior to publication of Anatomy of a Cloud, in
1983 by Harry N. Abrams, the artist's collages were largely unknown.
exception is the 1978 exhibition at the Gimpel Weitzenhoffer Gallery
in New York, which integrated sculptural elements with collage. Yet,
as early as the mid-fifties, visitors to the artist's Paris studio could
see abstract collaged interior doors, as well as
an inner wall
later called Hokusai Arch, consisting of Japanese woodcuts.