Art Index: Xul Solar
Article written by Alessandro Berni on February 5, 2021
Vuell villa, © Xul Solar
"Although this is a time when art is more individual and arbitrary than ever, it would be a mistake to call it anarchic. In spite of so much confusion, there exists a well-defined tendency toward simplicity of means, toward clear and solid architecture, toward the pure plastic sense that protects and accents abstract meanings of line, mass, and color, all within a complete liberty of subject and composition… Let us admit, in any case, that among us now – if mostly still hidden – are many or all of the seeds of our future art, and not in museums overseas, and not in the homes of famous foreign dealers. Let us honor the rare ones, our rebellious spirits who, like this artist, before denying others, find affirmation in themselves; that instead of destroying, seek to build. Let us honor those who struggle so that the soul of our country can be more beautiful. Because the wars of independence for our America are not yet over…"
Xul Solar was the adopted name of Oscar Agustín Alejandro Schulz Solari (December 14, 1887 – April 9, 1963), Argentine painter, sculptor, writer, and inventor of imaginary languages.
Solar was raised in Buenos Aires in a cosmopolitan family. His father, Emilio Schulz Riga, was born in Riga, the current capital of Latvia, while his mother, the Italian Augustina Solari, was originally from Zoagli, a town near Rapallo, in the province of Genoa.
He studied music and architecture (although he never completed his studies in the latter).
After working as a teacher and changing numerous jobs, on April 5, 1912, he decided to embark as a crew member of the Hong Kong-bound English Carrier.
Once in London, the artist decided to head for Turin and undertake a European Tour that saw him visit Paris, Genoa, and finally Zoagli - his mother's birthplace.
In the following years, despite the outbreak of the First World War, he kept traveling between France and Italy.
Towards the end of the war, he worked at the Argentine consulate in Milan. An eccentric character, he began to take an interest, among other things, in magic, astrology, linguistics, occultism, and religion.
During the years of the Great War, Solar made friends with the Argentinian artist Emilio Pettoruti, then resident in Italy.
It was through him that he came into contact with the Futurist movement and its members. Inspired and influenced by the movement, he began to paint, first using watercolours, then gouache, and finally, but only occasionally, oils. Using the surnames of his father and mother, he obtained the pseudonym of Xul Solar, which he adopted to sign his artistic works.
In 1924 his works were featured during an exhibition dedicated to Latin American artists in Paris.
In the same period, he met the famous British magician Aleister Crowley and his mistress Leah Hirsig.
The same year Solar returned to Buenos Aires, where he became part of the avant-garde group Florida. Solar worked as an illustrator for the magazine "Martín Fierro" from 1924 to 1927.
He began exhibiting more frequently in Buenos Aires galleries and participated, in 1926, in a joint exhibition with prominent artist Pettoruti and Norah Borges, sister of Jorge Luis.
Pegaso de Sol, © Xul Solar
Xul Solar is mainly known for his watercolors.
His visual style has been described as a meeting point between the styles of Vassily Kandinsky,Paul Klee, and Marc Chagal.
Besides his favourite medium, the artist is known to have used unconventional materials like producing modified pianos, including a version with three rows of keyboards.
"It is not easy for the human spirit to rise from astrology to astronomy, but we would make a mistake to forget that an authentic astrologer like Xul Solar is close to the source of the stars. Xul Solar's primitivism precedes the appearance of the gods. The gods correspond to a more evolved form of energy ».
Besides painting, Solar had a strong interest in astrology; at least as early as 1939, he began to draw astrological charts. He also had a strong interest in Buddhism and believed strongly in reincarnation. He also developed his own set of Tarot cards. His paintings reflect his religious beliefs, featuring objects as stairs, roads, and the representation of God.
He invented two fully elaborated imaginary languages, symbols from which figure in his paintings and was also an exponent of duodecimal mathematics. (Xul Solar - Wikipedia)
Muy Mago (portrait of Aleister Crowley), © Xul Solar
According to Artprice.net Sherman's turnover in 2019 is $112,000, with the last peak in price dated 2010.
The oldest auction result ever registered on the website for an artwork by this artist is a drawing-watercolor sold in 1987 at Christie's, and the most recent auction result is a painting sold in 2020.
Most of his works were sold in the range of $10,000-$50,000.
Distribution by price (by Artprice)
There are no artworks by Alejandro XUL SOLAR currently listed in upcoming public auctions.