Skip to content

John Franklin KOENIG (1924-2008)

The beginning of his carreer is closely related to the venture of gallery Arnaud into lyrical abstraction. The second world war took him to Europe and in 1945 he studied at the Biarritz American College while getting acquainted with the art of painting. 
The state of Washington, and its great landscapes shaped by mountains forests and fjords show some similarities with scandinavian, french and japanese landscapes that will play a leading role in his journey.

At the end of the 1947, he exhibits some works at the university . As a veteran he benefits from the G.I Bill and is eligible to pursue his studies in Paris at the Sorbonne University.During the spring of the following year they take the risk to open an art gallery in the basement of the bookstore where young and unknown artist would be able to show their works. Bound from the beginning to showcase lyrical abstraction. Soon the place becomes the headquarter of the artistic movement that defines the capital in the 50’s.

In 1952, Koenig exhibits a series of collage at the gallery Arnaud and stands in less than two years as one of the best collage artist among Jeanne Coppel and Ida Karskaya with whom he exhibits his work at Arnaud’s Gallery in 1956.

In 1953 he reconnects with oil paint and his first paintings born from collages progressively break away from the geometrical shapes.

In 1956 the series that he exhibits at the Gallery Arnaud, shows his paintins in an astonishing state of maturity. He uses landscape formats when he had so far used only vertical ones. The intensity of the light and the astonishment provoked by the colors that define his works are a result of a trip he took to Mexico in 1946.

© Édouard Kutter