Walter W. Quirt (1902 - 1968)
The Future is Ours, 1935
Oil on masonite
18 3/4 x 10 3/4 inches
Signed and dated lower right: W. Quirt . 35
Signed and titled verso in the artist’s hand:
Mrs. Eleanor Quirt, Minneapolis, Minnesota
[Terry Dintenfass Gallery, New York, New York, as agent]
John P. Axelrod, Boston, Massachusetts, until 2002
Private Collection, Massachusetts
Julien Levy Gallery, New York, New York, February 18 – March 11, 1936, Paintings of Walter Quirt
Rutgers University Art Gallery, New Brunswick, New Jersey, March 5 – April 24, 1977, Surrealism and American Art, 1931-1947
University Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, January 18 – February 29, 1980, Walter Quirt: A Retrospective, no. 9
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 2005, Surrealism USA, exhibition traveled to Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, illus. on p. 85, pl. 16
The broken cross in this painting is similar to the symbol used in the fourteenth panel of Jose Orozco’s mural Modern Migration of the Spirit (1932-34) for Dartmouth College. James Guy recalled visits with Quirt to Dartmouth to watch Orozco’s progress on the murals.
Walter Quirt studied art at the Layton School of Art in Wisconsin from 1921 until 1923 and later at the McDowell Colony in New Hampshire in 1928. (1) He was one of the most vital and active figures of the New York avant-garde art world of the 1930s. He
He later moved to Minneapolis and taught art at the University of Minnesota from 1956 to 1968. Early in his career, Quirt painted the social problems of his time in a realistic style. He also involved himself in left-wing causes by illustrating political magazines, such as The Masses, and by joining radical artist groups. Quirt was a member of the John Reed Club.
After working with socialist themes for many years, Quirt became one of the first American artists to experiment with Surrealism. He had a retrospective exhibition of his work in 1960 through the American Federation of Arts, and he showed during his career at the Art Institute of Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Quirt died March 19, 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.