"oblatenart bohnenkopfteller" by the Austrian art group "kunst/gruppe olga." The paper plate artwork above was the winning picture of the 2007 "International Pavel Jerdanowitch Painting Contest"

Disumbrationism was a hoax masquerading as an art movement that was launched in 1924 by Paul Jordan-Smith, a novelist, Latin scholar, and authority on Robert Burton from Los Angeles, California.

Annoyed at the cold reception his wife's realistic still lifes had received from an art exhibition jury, Jordan-Smith sought revenge by styling himself as "Pavel Jerdanowitch" (Cyrillic: Па́вел Йердaнович), a variation on his own name, and entering a blurry, badly painted picture of a Pacific islander woman brandishing a banana skin, under the title "Exaltation". He made a suitably dark and brooding photograph of himself as Jerdanowitch, and submitted the work to the same group of critics as representative of the new school, "Disumbrationism." He explained "Exaltation" as a symbol of "breaking the shackles of womanhood."[1] To his dismay, if not to his surprise, the Disumbrationist daub won praise from the critics who had belittled his wife's realistic painting.

More Disumbrationist paintings followed: a composition of zig-zag lines and eyeballs he called "Illumination"; a garish picture of a black woman doing laundry which he called "Aspiration", and which a critic praised as "a delightful jumble of Gauguin, Pop Hart and Negro minstrelsy, with a lot of Jerdanowitch individuality"; "Gination," an ugly, lopsided portrait; and a painting named "Adoration", of a woman worshipping an immense phallic idol, which was exhibited in 1927.

The same year, Jordan-Smith confessed to the Los Angeles Times that the Disumbrationist paintings were meant as a spoof.[2][3][4][5]

Since 2006 there has been held a yearly a painting contest in memory of Paul Jordan-Smith and the disumbrationist school of arts: the "International Pavel Jerdanowitch Painting contest". The winners were Kurt Hinterbichler in 2006, kunst/gruppe olga in 2007 and Olga Krolik in 2008.

External links


  1. ^ Museum of Hoaxes, The Disumbrationist School of Art
  2. ^ (27 January 1931). Pictures Painted to "Show Up" the Critics Bring Fame to Mythical Modernistic Artist, Lawrence Journal-World (Associated Press)
  3. ^ (14 August 1927). INTERNATIONAL ART HOAX BARED BY LOS ANGELES AUTHOR, Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ Watson, Elmo Scott (14 October 1937). Historic Hoaxes, Clinton County Times
  5. ^ (19 September 1927). Fine Arts: A Thoroughly Modern Picture, Lewiston Daily Sun

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