Federico Castellón: In Print
07/15/2014 - 01/12/2015
Goodman Gallery map
Castellón (1914-1971) is often heralded as one of the first American artists to
embrace Surrealism. Born in Almería, Spain, he immigrated to the United States
with his family at the age of seven. Although he was brought up in Brooklyn,
New York, Castellón’s Spanish heritage played an important role in his artistic
development. While in high school Castellón’s talent, as well as his interest
in modern art, was brought to the attention of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
Rivera served as a mentor and through his social and political connections
helped Castellón secure his first one-man show in New York and receive a traveling
fellowship from the Spanish government. With these funds the young artist went
to Europe from 1934-37; there he had the opportunity to exhibit his work in
Paris alongside the Spanish Surrealists Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. After
returning to New York, Castellón’s career was successfully established when he
received the first of two Guggenheim Fellowships and his work was shown in
museums in Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York.
He would later teach for many years at Columbia University and Pratt
Institute and also worked as an illustrator.
Initially a painter,
Castellón learned about printmaking techniques in Paris and was introduced to
lithography in 1937 at George Miller’s workshop. Although Castellón
incorporated conventional Surrealist devices such as floating objects,
disembodied limbs, biomorphic forms, and barren landscapes into his work, the
early etchings and lithographs shown here hover between Surrealism and Realism,
a style most recently termed Magic Realism. This sensibility is primarily
visible in his figures, which are depicted realistically yet appear to be in a
trance-like state. A quiet stillness—a sinister strangeness—that pervades his
imagery is an element that underlies much of his graphic work. It is a quality
that Castellón masterfully renders through the clarity and tone of his black
and white prints.
Curated by Marilyn Masler, Registrar
Federico Castellón, American (b.
Spain), 1914 - 1971
. . .the giddiest grew pale.
. . from The Mask of the Red Death
by Edgar Allen Poe, 1969, published by Aquarius Press, Baltimore,
Sixteen lithographs, 101/500
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis TN
Gift of Isabel Ehrlich Goodman and Charles F. Goodman 90.19.2a-b
© Estate of the Artist