This artwork titled "Cafe Life" 1982 is a offset lithograph with a color crayon and oil pastel drawing on wove paper by American artist Michael Bowen, 1937-2009. It is hand signed and inscribed "Image" in color crayon. The image size is 27. 75 x 18 inches, the drawing is 9.25 x 7.25 inches, sheet size is 30.75 x 21.75 inches. It is in excellent condition, has never been framed.
About the subject:
Nowhere is the intertwining of metaphysical, biographic and social narratives more evident than in the Café Life series painted in the 1980’s. Though the “series” was done in the 80’s, the pieces really revive the spirit of the Beat café scene, which began in the mid-1950’s and which was so instrumental to the particular spiritual and social vibe of the counter culture. And his Café Life observations continue over his artist life with scenes, such as the ones here, from Los Angles, Bolinas, Mexico and Italy.
About the artist:
Michael Bowen (December 8, 1937 – March 7, 2009) was an American fine artist known as one of the co-founders of the late 20th and 21st century Visionary art movements. His works include paintings on canvas and paper, 92 intaglio etchings based on Jungian psychology, assemblage, bronze sculpture, collage, and handmade art books. An icon of the American Beat Generation and the 1960s counterculture, Bowen is also known for his role in inspiring and organizing the first Human Be-In in San Francisco. Chronicled in books and periodicals reflecting on the turbulent 1960s, Bowen's historical impact on both the literary and visual art worlds is well documented. He remains influential among avant-garde art circles around the world. He started his art career at age 17, when he joined the American installation artist Ed Kienholz in his Los Angeles studio. There he met and joined with other influential Beat Generation artists including Wallace Berman, John Altoon, and Dennis Hopper. Bowen participated in the construction of the Ferus Gallery and Now Gallery created by Ed Kienholz and curated by Walter Hopps. Bowen attended the Chouinard Art Institute for several years during his formative artistic experiences in Los Angeles. In the late 50s and early 60s, Bowen continued his spiritual training and research. He investigated and practiced a variety of occult topics, Eastern philosophies, and mysticism, and his artwork reflected these themes. Bowen is often referred to as a mystic artist. As a lifelong student of the Bhagavad-Gita, Bowen's entire career has emulated the spiritual warrior archetype of Arjuna, fighting for the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. Michael Bowen moved to San Francisco in the late 1950s, and along with fellow artist comrades Arthur Monroe and Michael McCracken, lived and worked out of 72 Commercial Street. Painting spontaneous, impromptu, hectic canvases, along with assemblage and collage, Bowen became an integral part of the San Francisco Renaissance. The Norwegian art patron and physician Reidar Wennesland befriended Bowen and many of his bohemian artist friends and collected their artwork. Bowen's work now makes up the majority of the paintings in the Wennesland Foundation Collection located in Kristiansand, Norway, alongside many other important North Beach artists, such as Jay DeFeo. A 1963 painting of Janis Joplin by Bowen, along with his prophetic 1966 Love painting, are examples of the Bowen works in the Wennesland collection. His style progressed from large abstract expressionist canvases to figuratives and large faces, to assemblage. Bowen's painting about McCarthyism, Red Future? from the Wennesland Collection, was featured in the 1995 Whitney Museum exhibition Beat Culture and the New America, 1950-1965, which opened in New York City, and then traveled to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the De Young Museum in San Francisco, California. Exile from San Francisco In 1963, police brutality and persecution drove many of the Beat Generation writers, musicians, and artists out of San Francisco. Michael Bowen, along with many of his artist friends moved to an old Abalone Factory in Princeton by the Sea, where they lived and painted for many months. Bowen's singer friend, Janis Joplin was a frequent guest at the Princeton Abalone studio. In 1963, on one of Bowen's visits to be with his mentor in Tepoztlan, he was initiated into an ancient Aztec shamanic ceremony that inspired his future work with world consciousness transformation. After his initiation, Bowen traveled to New York City, where he established a studio in the Lower East Side and met with many of the Beat Generation artists, writers, and musicians living on America's East Coast. He often visited the two former Harvard professors Timothy Leary and Ram Dass, then Richard Alpert, in their mansion at Millbrook, New York, where a new variety of consciousness experimentations were being conducted. In the summer of 1966, Bowen traveled back to San Francisco and established a studio/ashram in the middle of the newly burgeoning Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Along with the poet Allen Cohen, Bowen co-founded the underground newspaper, San Francisco Oracle that broadcast the 60s counterculture ideology. Bowen became the art director and let his studio become the offices for the Oracle, while Cohen was the editor. Bowen died in Stockholm of complications of childhood polio.