John Wilde Included In Exhibition At The Arts Club Featuring Midwestern Surrealists

The small yet potent exhibition, A Home for Surrealism: Fantastic Painting in Midcentury Chicago at The Arts Club of Chicago, features the work of eight artists from the 1930s through the 1950s. The title does double duty, referring broadly to the city’s embrace, by collectors and institutions, of European Surrealism, and specifically to a group of artists who shared the same aesthetic sensibilities, often using the home as subject matter —Gertrude Abercrombie, Ivan Albright, Eldzier Cortor, Harold Noecker, Julio de Diego, Dorothea Tanning, Julia Thecla, and John Wilde.

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Secrets seen: John Wilde’s private collection at MOWA - 2015

The night is coming on in “Eventide at the Duchess’s.” The sky glows orange with an apocalyptic burn, familiar in the paintings of artist John Wilde (1919–2006). The sunset bathes a wild bunch of cavorting bodies. Some couples embrace and others face off, while in other vignettes single figures dot the improbable landscape. A woman lounges on a gigantic leaf as another balances on a beach ball floating in water, or on a head sticking up from the ground. In the distance, with striking nonchalance, is the painter who busies himself working at his easel.

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