Bronislaw Wojciech Linke (1906-1962). As he’s from Eastern Europe I don’t find any biographical information on him readily available. That’s to be understood. Since he doesn’t fit the American definition of Art (followed by the rest of the world) he never existed. As King George Bush the First helpfully explained, “What we say goes.” Instead of having galleries with work the quality of Linke’s we’re requested to stand in awe before a mound of colored pigment poured onto the floor or spin-art paintings. Linke’s work can be distinguished from the vast sea of emptiness in the art world by the fact that it actually says something.
Most of the painting titles are in Polish but the one above is translated as “Sea of Blood” (1952). This guy is one hell of a painter.
Apologies that I can only find hard to read images. It’s just great that I can find tens of thousands of perfectly reproduced works by genius painters Johns and Schnabel and Keith Haring. But a hack painter like Linke? It’s a wonder I’m able to find anything at all. I can’t read anything about him, either, as I don’t read Polish.
The drawing above is from 1950 and titled Wall Street. A wonderfully succinct depiction of where we are now drawn over half a century ago by a European artist. We also have Wall Street to thank for the sublime works that currently constitute the world of high art. The drawing calls to mind the lyrics from Pretty Boy Floyd by Woody Guthrie “Some will rob you with a six-gun/And some with fountain pen.”
The biggest problem with Linke’s work, and why it’s been condemned to obscurity, is that it’s depressing. And it’s true. It’s not optimistic. It’s not a “bright and shining lie”, as Neil Sheehan titled his book on the Vietnam War. It’s not part of the bright and shining lie of the contemporary art world. Hats off to Bronislaw Linke.