Modernist-Utopian Art of Karl Momen, B. 1934

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This work is an analysis of the artistic trajectory of Karl Momen (b. 1934), a painter, sculptor, architect, and set designer, who studied with Max Ernest and Le Corbusier before embarking on an artistic career marked by adherence to certain avant-garde precepts formulated in early twentieth-century Europe. The documentation of Karl Momen’s work, from 1960 to the present, provides a unique insight into the mind, life history, and artistic output of one of the foremost exponents of constructivist thought in our day, while also contributing to our understanding of how avant-garde art movements continue to exert their influence on the production of non-objective contemporary art.


“The cardinal rule for introducing an artist is to establish at the outset why the particular individual might be considered worthy of recognition, exhibition, acquisition or publication ... With clarity and depth Dr. du Toit has clearly articulated the case for acknowledging Momen and his contribution. The story of an interesting life is told in a riveting manner and makes this well researched study engrossing reading.” – (from the Foreword) Dr. Vern G. Swanson, Director of the Springville Museum of Art in Utah

“Dr. du Toit’s contribution is timely – for at a moment when art seems to be wandering aimlessly, Momen’s Utopian vision is refreshing; and, no doubt, the reader will find the iconic and aesthetic qualities of his work both pleasing and satisfying.” – Professor Stephen Bule, Utah Valley State College

“Karl Momen emerged from obscurity to find his talent recognized, mentored and promoted by an impressive circle of modernist legends ... Momen’s phenomenal journey is chronicled in Dr. du Toit’s excellent monograph. This well-documented narrative establishes Momen as a significant player in venues as diverse as Stuttgart, Stockholm, and the American post-modern scene.” – Professor Mark Magleby, Brigham Young University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. The Persistence of the Utopian Ideal
2. The Constructivist Impulse
3. At Origin
4. Portentous Awakenings
5. The Russians are Coming
6. Freedom to Think and Learn
7. Becoming a Student of Life
8. Lessons Learned from the Modern Masters
9. Working in Sweden
10. An Artist at Last
11. Developing a Personal Iconography
12. The Tree of Utah
13. Constructivist Antecedents
14. Galileo’s Verdict
15. Return to the Classics
16. The Lonely Path

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