Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Dr. Caligari Clock
  • Wendell Castle
    born: Emporia, Kansas, United States ; died: Scottsville, New York, United States ; active: United States
  • Dr. Caligari Clock, 1984
  • Where object was made: United States
  • burly cherry veneer, ebony, gold-plated brass, clock works
  • Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester (New York) Given in honor of Joan M. Vanden Brul by her family
  • Not on display
  • EL2008.064
  • Loan: Not in the Spencer's collection
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Wendell Castle: About Time," Sep-2008, Lara Kuykendall and Susan Earle
The artist saw the 1920 silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari while a student at the University of Kansas. “I was impressed with it but never thought about how I might use it as inspiration until much later,” he recalls. “And I remember the film vividly from that moment, and what I remember about it is not so much the storyline but the visuals. The sets were painted with slashing brushstrokes. The paintings and the furniture seemed slightly askew and abstract. Those two things I wanted to bring into the vocabulary. The clock is blue-it’s the only piece of my Caligari furniture that’s blue, but I thought that so many of those black-and-white films look slightly blue. I avoided looking at the film while I was making the furniture. And I didn’t look at it again until after I was finished with the series.”