Frans Masereel


About this Work:

Born in Belgium in 1898, Frans Masereel created this masterpiece of woodcuts which reveal an indeterminate time in The City. Possibly one evening, one day or one year, the chonicle of events traces the human element evolving in congestion and chaos, order and disorder, the miracle of life and the tragedy of death. Murder and passion all play out in The City, not unlike our own contemporary city. The likeness is at once disturbing and wonderful. Masereel’s city is the window of a voyeur with the realization that this window reveals a truth beyond mere titilation but that we will see desire and beauty along with death, rape, violence, suffering, joy, ecstasy and horror. Are these not the themes of our city as well? The voyeur seeks that which excites the passions. We as citizens of Masereel’s city must be voyeurs who watch through a series of windows as humanity is displayed and we are helpless to intervene. Like a powerless divinity, we can only look away or else we should accept that this too is our city.

These artworks were first published in Germany in 1925 and influenced by that society in upheaval, on the brink, the surging force of communal tides amidst the thoughtful reflection of the individual. Masereel’s work was widely popular throughout Europe and he is still esteemed worldwide as graphic designer and artist.

Frans Masereel’s Website