history_topERIC ISENBURGER is a friend whose talent I have seen in evolution for many years and with whose works I have lived, never ceasing to delight in their graceful compositions, their exquisite colors, and their intimate charm. As to their unusual texture and the peculiar luminosity of the artist’s palette, they fill me with unending enchantment, for there is something rich, fresh, and spontaneous about them, yet so mysterious and so unlike anything I know, that my pleasure is constantly mixed with admiration for the mastery with which these effects are obtained.

Well as I know how Isenburger himself is fascinated by textures, surfaces, and the many possibilities of the uses of pigments, I cannot help marvelling at the ingenuity that has led to his establishing a very personal technique. While he believes that color and emotional brushwork have their origins in abstraction, the abstract is not, for him, a sufficient manner of expression: he feels the need to be strongly attached to reality, whether seen realistically or with a penchant for exaggeration. Whereas abstract art may seem removed from life, expressionism as Isenburger conceives it is deeply concerned with life and with the artist’s surroundings. Yet this concern is governed by emotions and thus allows the painter liberty to fashion an image that springs from the observation of nature but which, by elimination, simplification, or transformation, rearranges the elements of reality into new patterns, distilling essential features and condensing a multitude of impressions into a harmonious play of lines and colors.

If Isenburger’s recent work comes close to fauvism in force of accent and economy of form, it still retains the delicate tints, the fine sense of their relations, the subtle glazes, and that strange transparency of pigments which are his very own. These qualities link him to a tradition of freedom from servility, of perception balanced by imagination and never severed from nature, a tradition established by Bonnard and Vuillard.


John Rewald, Foreword, Eric Isenburger Recent Paintings, Hammer Galleries (New York, NY), 1962, p. 2