Countries: AR-Argentina , BR-Brazil, DE-Germany, FR-France, IT-Italy, MX-Mexico, NL-Netherlands, RU-Russia, SP-Spain, SW-Switzerland, UK-United Kingdom , US- United States, VE-Venezuela                           

Magic Realism - A Time Capsule  

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St. Ivo (c 1450)
by Roger van der Weyden (Flemish)


Pieta (c 1470-75)
by Giovanni Bellini (IT)


Kitchen Interior (c 1580-85)
by Joaquin Beuckelaer (Flemish)


Young Sick Bacchus (c 1593)
by Caravaggio (IT)


St. Matthew and The Angel (1655-60)  by Rembrandt van Rijn (NL)


Boy with a Squirel aka Henry Pelham (1760) by John Singleton Copley (US)


The Spanish Singer (1860)
by Eduard  Manet (FR)


Studio Wall (1872)
by Adolf von Menzel (DE)



Lady in Yellow (1901)
by Ilya Repin (RU)


The Snake Charmer (1907)
by Henri Rousseau (FR)


Young Woman with Yellow Scarf (1911) by Felix Vallotton (FR)


The Dream (1912-13)
by Felix Casorati (IT)


The Surgeon (1913)
by Ubaldo Oppi (IT)


Mystery and Melancholy on a Street (1914) by Giorgio de Chirico (IT)


Motherhood (1916)
by Gino Severini (IT)


Dazzle Ships in Drydock at Liverpool, (1919) by Edward Wadsworth (UK)


The Black-Marketeer (1920-21)
by  Heinrich Maria Davringausen (DE)


Stilleben II (1922) by Alexander Kanoldt   (DE)

  Heinrich Maria Davringhausen (1922) by Carli Mense (DE)  

Self-Portrait with a Cigarette
(1923) Max Beckmann (DE)


Zwei Frauen auf dem Balkon (1923)
by Franz Radziwill (DE)


Portrait eines Architekten (1923)
by Wilhelm Schnarrenberger (DE)


Le retour de la Mer / Back from the Sea (1924)
by Felix Vallotton (FR)


Anna Berber (1925)
by Otto Dix (DE)


Schoolroom (1925)
by Karl Hubbuch (DE)


Orizia agli specchihe (1925)
by Ferruccio Ferrazzi (IT)


Bildnis Toni Overbeck ( 1926)
Gerta Overbeck (DE)


Self in Front of an Advertising Column (1926)
by Georg Scholz (DE)


Marcella Schad (1926)
by Christian Schad


John Foerate, Man with Glass Eyes
(1926) by George Grosz (DE)


Troedelladen (1926)
by Ernst Thoms (DE)


Flower and Torso (1927)
by Peter Blume (US)


Donna allo Specchio (1927)
by Cagnaccio di San Pietro (IT)


Memories of the Past
(1927) by Ivan Albright  (US)


Portrait of Egon Erwin Kisch (1928) by Rudolf Schlichter (DE)


Danger on the Stairs (1927-28)
by Pierre Roy (FR)


Cellar Still Life (1929)
by Franz Lenk (DE)


Ruhr Battle (1930)
by Barthel Gilles (DE)


Gramaphone (1930)
by Rudolf Dischinger (DE)


Arnold Comes of Age - Portrait of Arnold Pyle (1930) by Grant Wood  (US)


Shooting Gallery ( 1931)
by Pyke Koch (NL)


Water Tower in Bremen (1931)
by Franz Radziwill (DE)


Wilma (1932)
by Carel Willink (NL)


La Tailleuse de Soupe (1933)
by François-Emile Barraud (SW)


Desocupados (1934)
by Antonio Berni (AR)


Stadsgezicht - Townscape (1934)
by Carel Willink (NL)


Lelia Caetani (1935)
by Balthus (FR)


Accidente (1936)
Alfonso Ponce de Leon (SP)


View in Chambers Street (1936)
by O Louis Guglielmi  (US)


Hilda, Unity and Dolls (1937)
by Stanley Spencer (UK)


The Mountain (1937)
by Balthus  (FR)


Self-Portrait with Apple Blossum (1939)
by Felix Nussbaum  (DE)


Self Portrait with Monkey (1940) by Frida Kahlo  (MX)


Lee e Maura (1940)
by Alberto de Veiga Guignard  (BR)


Los Comisarios (1942)
by Hector Poleo (VE)


The Gray and Gold (1942)
by John Rogers Cox  (US)


The Artist Looks at Nature (1943)
by Charles Sheeler  (US)


The Bridle (1943)
by Tristram Hillier  (UK)


El Peluquero Zurdo (1949)
by Emilio Baz Viaud  (MX)


The Red Stairway (1944)
by Ben Shahn  (US)


Donna con i limoni (1947)
by Giovanni Acci  (IT)


El filósofo (1948)
by Jesus Guerroro Galvan  (MX)


Playground (1948)
by Paul Cadmus   (US)


Interior in Paddington (1951)
by Lucien Freud  (UK)


Doors (1953)
by George Tooker  (US)


The Rope  (1954)
by Jared French (US)


Solitude (1955)
by Paul Delvaux  (BE)


Portrait of Mary Block (1955-57)
by Ivan Albright  (US)


Archery Contest (c 1959)
by Pyke Koch  (NL)

The story of Magic Realism begins with the Renaissance where the Oil and Tempera Technique was mastered in the North, exhibiting extreme detail. The works of Grunewald, Albrecht Duerer, Lucas Cranach, and others were studied by artists after WWI.   In Italy an emphasis was placed on formal design and perspective during the Renaissance. An improved palette was developed by Venetian masters. Tonal controls and chiaroscuro were mastered by Baroque artists to enhance dramatic effects within paintings.     The precision of Copley's painting shocked British observers as he was self-taught. He stands as the father of American Realism. Manet is considered by some to be the father of Modern Art. His Guitar Player might pass for a work of Contemporary Realism.   Menzel's work brings the object into focus as the center of attention and suggests deeper meaning "behind" the object. Rousseau's naive style was greatly admired by many European artists, some of whom purposely incorporated naive motifs within their work. Vallotton's straightforward and sometimes banal realism in many ways served as a prelude to Magic Realism. The composition of Casorati's work was informed by Classical art. From this point on, developments in Italian art profoundly impacted German art.   No other artist of the 20th Century would have more influence on Magic Realism than Giorgio de Chirico. Severini moved from the abstract  Futurism to a neo Classical style. His work is typical of the Return to Order trends that flourished after World War I.   Davringhausen, Kanoldt and Mense, together with Georg Schrimpf, formed a core group of Magic Realists in Munich. Their work was influenced by the "Valori Plastici" magazine, covering contemporary Italian art and published in Munich.   In the early 1920s, Max Beckmann moved stylistically toward Magic Realism, but then veered toward a mixture of Cubism and Expressionism. Radziwill studied the Old Masters with Otto Dix . His work was informed by German Romantic art.   Schnarenberger's early work was heavily influenced by the naive art of Henri Rousseau. In 1924 he converted to a more objective, naturalistic style. Vallotton produced quite a number of striking figurative, still life and landscape paintings.   Otto Dix's oeuvre was varied and diverse. He made use of the a Mixed Technique of oil glazes with tempera and moved toward a Magic Realism during the mid 1920s. Dix was a very visible artist during the 1920s and influential many of his contemporaries.   The Neue Sachlichkeit exhibition was held in Hannover in June 1925 and then toured Germany, spreading its concepts. Christian Schad's work is often cited as highly representative of Magic Realism, yet he lived outside Germany until the late 1920s.   George Grosz made a remarkable transformation from political caricature to naturalistic portraiture punctuated with verist detail. Peter Blume in the U.S. alternated between Magic Realism and Surrealism over the next two decades.   Troedelladen (second hand store) is a masterwork of Magic Realism, with multiple centers of interest, sharp focus and a faux naive style. Ivan Albright developed his own personal style of Magic Realism, in some cases appearing almost morbid.   More than any other Italian artist of the time, Cagnaccio di San Pietro adopted the style of Neue Sachlichkeit. Roy's painting is a example of the uncanny (Das Unheimliche), an important element in Magic Realism art.   Both Lenk and Gilles studied the Old Masters, using the Mische Technique and Egg Tempera, respectively, to achieve strong illusions of realism. The late 1920s represented the high tide mark for German Magic Realism. Grant Wood made several trips to Europe in the 1920s and was impressed by the art of the Flemish and German Renaissance. He utilizes both naturalistic and naive elements in his work. His iconic American Gothic is a masterpiece of Magic Realism.   Pyke Koch and Carel Willink represent the Dutch wing of Magic Realism, their work rich in the uncanny. The trademark of Franz Radziwill's paintings is his use of dark unnatural skies to help produce an eerie atmosphere.   Francois-Emile Barraud, a little known Swiss artist, produced a few notable works in the early 1930s. Berni of Argentina mixed Social Realism with touches of surrealism to produce his own strain of Magic Realism during the 1930s and 40s.       Balthus plays with perspective and proportions in an Alice in Wonderland-like portrait of Lelia Caetani. Accidente by the Spaniard Alfonso Ponce de Leon is an singular masterpiece of Magic Realism..   Guglielmi was the most well known of the artists employed through the WPA. He manipulated color, scale and space in his socially conscience works. Stanley Spencer was the most successful British figurative artists between the Wars.   Balthus' notable work The Mountain depicts a hypnagogic scene set in the Alps. The figures have ambiguous relationships, yet are connected through the landscape. Nussbaum belonged to the latter part of Neue Sachlickeit, later disappeared at Auschwitz.   Frida Kahlo was actively recruited by Andre Breton, but refused to join organized Surrealism, saying "I never paint dreams or nightmares,. I paint my own reality". Many painters in Latin America during the 1940s produced works of Magic Realism.   The Gray and Gold succeeds as a work of Magic Realism on several levels, including its rich detail . Painted at the time that America entered World War II, storm clouds gather as the country reaches  its crossroads in history.   Charles Sheeler, as the leading voice of Precisionism, is observed painting an interior, "en plein air". Precisionism is closely related to Neue Sachlichkeit, and has a long-term influence on Realism in the U.S. and Canada.   Emilio Baz Viaud is perhaps the Mexican artist most influenced by developments in Magic Realism. Ben Shahn was frequently  associated with the movement, along with other American Scene artists such as Philip Evergood, Peter Blume and Charles Rain.   A remarkable Magic Realism painting,  Donna con i limoni (Lady with the Lemons) represents work from the group known as the Modern Painters of Reality, from the late 1940s. Jesus Guerroro Galvin mixed an traditional approach with a Mexican spirit.   Paul Cadmus frequently found himself in storms of controversy, as he pushed the boundaries of social commentary to their very limits. The early works of Lucien Freud were influenced by countryman Stanley Spencer. Later the magic in his art was lost.   Perhaps no other artist in America is more frequently associated with Magic Realism than George Tooker. Al;ong with Jared French and Paul Cadmus, Tooker represent a triumvirate of  Magic Realists championed by promotor Lincoln Kirstein.     Although most often referred to as a Surrealist, Paul Delvaux produced a number of paintings that fit the both the style and content criterion of Magic Realism.