TRAILBLAZER KARL KNATHS
A brilliant retrospective of 20 stunning masterworks by modernist pioneer Karl Knaths is part of the centennial celebration at the Provinc- etown Art Association and Museum. Curated by Donald Beal, Robert Dutoit and John Frishkopf, this beautiful selection of paintings, on loan from private collectors and lending museums, spans from 1927 to 1970.
Born at the end of the 19th century (1891) in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Karl Knaths attended the Chicago Institute of Art in 1912. Working as a museum guard, he saw the 1913 Armory show when it came to Chicago from New York, and was so taken with the modern works of Paul Cézanne that his way of painting permanently shifted.
He moved to Provincetown in 1919, meeting his future wife, Helen, a musician and pianist, and her sister, artist Agnes Weinrich. They had just traveled to Europe, learned about Cubism and shared their knowledge of its principles with him. The influ- ence of the new movement, most especially Cézanne’s paintings, is clear in Knaths’ work.
The artist bought a piece of land and built a house and studio in the West End of Commercial Street, living there until his death in 1971. Josephine C. Del Deo beautifully describes him in her essay “Karl Knaths, A Fixed Diversity”: “He devel- oped a daily routine that would have suited an athlete. He rose early and walked often in the direction of the moors along the road to Herring Cove … and set his mind to the timeless metronome of art.”