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Published on Mar 30, 2013
"Music for Julius Bissier", a free improvisation by Max Ridgway -- guitar & gourd bass, Randall Colbourne -- drums, recorded on March 30, 2013. Julius Bissier was a German artist born in 1893. He studied at the Karlsruhe Academy of Fine Arts in 1914 but remained there for only a few months, preferring to work alone. In 1927 he met Ernst Grosse, who introducing him to ancient Chinese art and philosophy. In 1930 Bissier began to make ink paintings, in the same year meeting in Paris with Constantin Brancusi, who taught him that art was rooted in meditation. Bissier then began to question the abstract painting he had practiced until this time, to such an extent that when a fire destroyed almost all his works in 1934 he started again from scratch and began to paint in a style influenced by Chinese monochrome ink paintings. From this point forward he concentrated on the technique of wash drawing in black India ink. Strongly influenced by Taoism, he combined spontaneity and mastery in a single gesture. He lived quietly at Hagnau on Lake Constance, working in isolation, and did not exhibit his pictures under the Nazi regime. The monochrome ink paintings he executed throughout this period were seen by the public only after World War II, and helped to establish his reputation. During the 1950s Bissier left Germany for Ascona in Switzerland, where he continued to lead a quiet life in conditions favorable to the meditation on which his painting depended. Bissier was one of the first modern western painters to have sought inspiration from the art of the Far East. Bissier died in 1965.