work I will be analyzing is Autumn,
created by Abraham Rattner. The artwork was created in 1938 during the
Expressionism movement. Gouache paint was used on paper on board. The
dimensions of the photo are 20 3/8 x 15 3/8 inches. The medium of the art piece
is original lithograph in colors on paper (St. Petersburg College
The artwork is non-objective and abstract because it doesn’t depict situations
in real-life. Most of Rattner’s works would fall under abstract expressionism (Oxford Reference). The artwork was on
loan from the St. Petersburg College Foundation and was displayed at the
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. This artwork is part of an exhibition that
features work by “prominent artists from Paris who influenced Rattner’s work
throughout the decades, as well as art history as a whole” (St.
Petersburg College Foundation). The exhibition also
contains other artworks from Rattner’s archives. The exhibition serves as a
survey throughout the decades of some of the most influential artists of our
time (St. Petersburg College
Rattner was born in 1895 in Poughkeepsie, New York. During World War I, he was
recruited in the U.S. Army, where he served in the camouflage unit in France (The Annex Galleries). After Rattner
served in World War I, he moved to France and lived there for almost 20 years. While
living in France, he was exposed to various kinds of art such as cubism,
surrealism, and futurism. He also met and became friends with other artists
during his time in France. Some of those artists are Pablo Picasso, who was one
his strong influences, and architect Henry Miller. He even moved into the same
artistic groups as Braque, Miro, and Dali (Sacred Art Pilgrim). Rattner was known for his cubist style
and interpreting nature in bold, vibrant color arrangements (The Phillips Collection). Through the use of
color and movement, he expressed his reactions to world events in the 20th
century (Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art ). After his
two-decade residence in France, he moved back to America. There he developed
his own artistic style that contained Cubism and Expressionist brushwork.
Rattner liked to call this art style “poised emotionalism” (Sacred Art Pilgrim). He would use this style to address
themes of suffering, death, and spiritual joy (Oxford Reference).
Autumn uses organic shapes to depict
the sun and the bodies within the flame. Rattner uses a variety of rich colors.
There are different shades of orange, yellow, and blue used in the photo. The
dark orange circle at the top left of the photo symbolizes the sun. The light
yellow is used to symbolize heat or flames. The focal point of the photo is the
sun or the orange circle on the top left. There is great emphasis on the bottom
half of the photo. The brushstrokes depict the heat embodying the man and
woman. The light yellow used in the background helps determine the proportion
of the sun and the bodies to the rest of the photo. The arrangement of the
figures creates an implied line. The implied line guides the viewer’s eye
through the artwork and introduces them to the sun and the engulfed figures. It
also creates variety of movement in the composition. As the line guides the
viewer’s eye, the viewer begins to realize the orange figure, on the bottom
half of the artwork, takes the form of a snake. There is a light source in the
lower right and upper right corners. The light source illuminates the upper
bodies of the engulfed figures. By looking at the shapes and strokes used on
the hairs, the viewer can tell there is both a man and a woman. The woman is
the figure that is facing her back towards the viewer and the man is the figure
who has his arms flung around his head. One of the focal points in the Autumn is the sun which draws the
viewer’s attention first.
stated before, the medium of the photo was an original lithograph. Lithography
is a type of printmaking that uses stones or metal plates. Since it is a
planographic medium, it means the metal plate is usually left flat. Lithography
is an ideal medium for making prints with multiple colors or with just black
ink. Artists in the 19th and 20th centuries viewed this
medium as a way to expand the possibilities for their art and to make it
available to a wider audience (Seaburg).
For this type of printmaking, no carving is required. There are no physical
limitations for this medium. According to Kurt Seaburg, when making a
lithograph, the artist draws the image directly on the stone with a greasy
material. Seaburg also mentions “When the drawing is completed the surface is
treated with a chemical etch. The chemical etch is used to bond the greasy
drawing materials to the surface while making the open areas grease-repellent.
Once the stone is processed, prints are ready to be made. Once the image is
fully inked, the stone is dried and the paper is laid over it and covered with
a tympan. Once it passes through a litho press, the tympan is removed and the
paper is carefully pulled off. The paper now reveals a mirror-image of the
inked drawing on the stone. The stone will then be dampened again and re-inked
for another print” (Seaburg).
A steady hand is not required for this medium. The artist can make as many
changes to the image as they.
formal aspects and the subject matter help depict the seasonal change in the
art. When I first looked at Autumn, I
was really confused and disoriented. It took almost half an hour to figure what
was being depicted in it. But when I saw the rake embedded in the orange, I thought
it was a representation of the season. In my opinion, because of the organic
shapes and various forms used in the art, it can be difficult to come up with a
reasoned statement about the Rattner’s aim. I must admit before writing this
paper or taking this class, I had never attended an art museum. Attending the
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art was a cultural and enriching experience. I got see
different exhibitions that were on display. I would definitely go again next
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art . Collections.
n.d. Document. 30 December 2017.
Oxford Reference. Abraham
Rattner. 2017. 30 December 2017.
Sacred Art Pilgrim. Abraham
Rattner. Ed. Harry M. Adams. 1974. Document. 30 December 2017.
Seaburg, Kurt. What is a
Lithograph? 2012. 18 December 2017.
St. Petersburg College Foundation. Rattner’s
Contemporaries in Paris. 6 December 2016. Photo.
The Annex Galleries. Abraham
Rattner Biography. n.d. Document. 29 December 2017.
The Phillips Collection. Abraham
Rattner – Bio. n.d. Document. 29 December 2017.