“Mr. de Crignis made seemingly monochrome paintings, often in radiant blues or subtle grays, built up from numerous thin layers of different colors. His work had a luminous depth that was compared more than once to the light installations of James Turrell.” —Roberta Smith writing in his obituary in The New York Times, December 30, 2006.
Rudolf de Crignis suffered an untimely death at the age of 58, leaving a rich archive of the paintings for which he was best known, as well as a vast collection of drawings.The paintings at first appear to be simple monochrome canvases, but are actually built up from dozens of layers of translucent pigment. Displayed in natural light, the works are exercises in slow looking, unfolding as one views them from different vantage points (as de Crignis prescribed).
This new book, the first substantial volume on the work of this Swiss-American artist, presents a thorough overview of his spare and deeply meditative work. It also includes text from both Swiss and American experts, a full illustrated chronology, and traces his development as a renowned colorist.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Rudolf de Crignis was born in 1948 in Winterthur, Switzerland, and died in 2006 in New York. Studying at the Form und Farbe School for Art and Media Design in Zürich and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg, Germany, his early focus in art was photography, video and performance art. In 1976, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale in a group exhibition (called “The Environment”) in the Swiss Pavilion. A studio fellowship in 1985 in New York City helped pave the way to de Crignis’ shift to painting. He lived and worked in New York until his untimely death in 2006. Over the years, de Crignis’ work has been the focus of numerous one-man museum exhibitions, including Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland, 1995; Artothek, Cologne, Germany, 2001; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany, 2003; Swiss National Library, Bern, Switzerland, 2006; and Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich, 2009.
He exhibited widely in galleries in the United States and Europe from the 1980s onward. His first New York exhibition at the Pamela Auchincloss Gallery was in 1995, and was followed by subsequent exhibitions at the Stark Gallery, Peter Blum Gallery and Margarete Roeder Gallery. He was included in the group exhibition “Equal, That Is, to the Real Itself” at the Marian Goodman Gallery in 2007. His work is in numerous public collections, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Harvard University Art Museums, Boston; Kunsthaus Zürich; Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland; Lenbachhaus, Munich; Kunstmuseum Bonn; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Wisc.; and Kolumba, Cologne, Germany.