Doctor Faustus

Robert Vale Faro

'Doctor Faustus', color lithograph, 1946, edition 13. Signed, dated, titled, and numbered '124' and '13/13' in pen. A fine impression, with fresh, vivid colors, on heavy, off-white wove paper; full margins, in excellent condition.

German author Thomas Mann’s last novel ‘Doctor Faustus’ was begun in 1943 and published in 1947, a year after Faro’s work. The novel, set in the context of the first half of the 20th century and the turmoil of WWII Germany, is a re-shaping of the Faust legend. The plot, wherein the protagonist sells his soul to the devil, is derived from Christopher Marlowe’s Elizabethan tragedy ‘The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus’, first performed about 1592.

Robert Vale Faro (1902-1988) was a well-known modernist architect and artist associated with the Chicago Bauhaus. He received his degree in architecture and design from the Armour Institute in Chicago and worked at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, from 1924-27, where he was influenced by Harry Kurt Bieg and Le Corbusier. Upon his return to Chicago, Faro worked with the important modernist Chicago architects George and William Keck under Louis Sullivan.

Faro founded the avant-garde printmaking group 'Vanguard' in 1945. The group counted Atelier 17 artists Stanley William Hayter, Sue Fuller, and Anne Ryan as New York members and Francine Felsenthal of Chicago. The Brooklyn Museum mounted a show of Vanguard artists' work in 1946, which subsequently toured several other institutions in the United States.

Faro's visionary graphics from the 1940s are a sophisticated blend of Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, and Indian Space Painting, with a humorous, often satiric bent—perhaps serving the artist as an emotional counterpoint to Bauhaus formalism. His work is in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, National Gallery of Art, and the Seattle Art Museum.

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10 5/8 x 7 1/8 inches