|crumb / guston
"But most of all you are reminded of comic books, comic strips, the funnies – Krazy Kat, Mutt and Jeff. Guston admitted that he knew them well – when he was 13 his mother enrolled him in a correspondence course from the Cleveland School of Cartooning – but he didn’t much care for the comparison. Robert Crumb, in his comic book Weirdo No. 7, which makes play with some of Guston’s motifs (the big eye, the soles of nailed boots) and has a narrative, ‘Uncle Bob’s Midlife Crisis’, in which he muses about taking up ‘a fine art career, oil painting maybe’, might have been suggesting that Guston was a plagiarist. The dates don’t fit. But the high art/low art antagonism can’t be ignored. When Guston took off the abstract mask, he lost the fear of revealing ‘how bad one can be’ and the images he made were done in a style only the true, deep tastelessness of someone like Crumb had, until then, had a use for. Guston can make his shoes, hairy knees and hairy arms, mugs, hands and dogs monumental, but the pictures are still rude, and rude is always in some way or another funny." from here
"There is in Guston's later work, from 1970 on, something both brutal and delicate. All those pinks and greys he used, although painted thickly, are a counterpoint to what seems to be rough, cartoonish drawing. His is an unmistakable painterly voice, and one that can't be emulated. The colour range is as reduced as ever - cadmium reds and oranges, Mars black, hard titanium white, a frightening green, but the reduction doesn't limit him. It is often said that his later work owes a lot to comics, to George Herriman's Krazy Kat cartoons and the underground work of Robert Crumb - who, it turns out, ended up aping Guston, in a sort of homage." from here (presumably they are referring to weirdo #7 1993, that a long time to simmer over alleged image theft,
"Outside the confines of fine art, Guston's late work was influenced by, or had affinties with, the cartoons of George Herriman, whose Krazy Kat comic strip Guston knew from his youth, and of Robert Crumb, whose work was published in the late 1960s in Zap Comix and other underground journals (for examples of their work and a discussion of their significance to Guston, see Kirk Varnedoe and Adam Gopnik, High and Low: Modern Art & Popular Culture, exh. cat, Museum of Modern Art, New York 1991, pp.169–74 and 214–27). The vocabulary of objects which Guston depicted in his late work can be found in the cartoons of such artists, although it was also derived from Guston's studio or things he saw on his travels.
" from here
"His breakthrough work in 1967 even seemed to echo “underground” comic-book stylists of the day, notably R. Crumb, though evidently he was unaware of them at first. (The resemblance points to shared influences. Both Guston and Crumb took inspiration from such classic comic strips as George Herriman’s “Krazy Kat.”) I loved rock-and-roll Dylan, but I clung to a faith in high-toned abstraction as the pinnacle of contemporary art. Guston’s 1970 show—in retrospect, modern painting’s Appomattox—left me feeling betrayed." from here
See page 38 for crumb thoughts on guston.
Even as an adult, Guston still loved the way Bud Fisher, the creator of Mutt and Jeff, drew those big goofy shoes on his characters. He thought Cliff Sterrett, who drew the Gumps and Polly and Her Pals, "did the best furniture," and he also loved Gasoline Alley for "the backyards, porches, screen doors, litter on the steps, dogs, old cars being fixed, dismantled..."
But his all-time favorite comic strip was George Herriman's Krazy Kat. He was not alone in this: de Kooning was a big Krazy Kat fan, and others among his New York School cronies loved the atmospheric drawing style and poetic invented vernacular. Franz Kline, who shunned the New York Times because it didn't have comics, was also among those who faithfully followed Herriman's existential ink opera about a feline fool hopelessly smitten with a feisty little mouse who routinely repels his romantic overtures by braining him with flying bricks that he takes for tokens of love. The most perceptive painters knew that if comic strips were not dismissed, in Robert Crumb's words, as "cheap amusement for the masses, like vaudeville, early movies, pulp magazines, and so on," Herriman's genius would be seen as at least equal to their own.
But what they probably didn't know and what I didn't know until Michael Auping dropped this bomb in passing in the introduction to the new Guston book was that George Herriman was a light-skinned black man. It isn't mentioned in any of the histories of the comic strip that I've read over the years, not even The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, a hefty illustrated tome that is supposed to be definitive. I had to go on the Internet to get more information, and what I learned was that Herriman "was a black man passing himself as white for his entire life" and "years after his death, a marriage certificate of his parents was found, listening their race as 'mulatto.' " Finding out that Herriman was born in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, also sent flares up and started bells ringing in my brain, since jazz and the comic strip are often cited in the same breath by cultural historians as the only two art forms native to America. Suddenly the phrase "Krazy Kat" takes on new meaning, making Herriman seem a hipster ikon as heavy as Louis Armstrong. However, even without knowing his background, which it is doubtful any of them did, it still makes sense that Herriman's strip, with its Joycean dialogue and Nighttown setting, would have such vast appeal to members of America's first important fine art movement, most of whom also dug jazz.
Royal academy PDF
“We know that Guston made the decision to portray the world as represented by the clenched fist. The artistic means he used to do so and that first turn up In the drawings have been debated: his early interest in cartoons, namely the comics of George Herriman and later of Robert Crumb, his
fascination for the paintings and drawings of Max Beckmann, which he was able to see as early as 1938 in New York and especially to study during
his years of teaching in St. Louis (1945-1947). Beckmann did not only appeal to him thematically; or his new works Guston also borrowed his method of drawing closed contours around the figures.