Vilhelm Lundstrøm (1893-1950), The Second Commandment, 1918
Both in terms of imagery and medium, Lundstøm’s so-called ”crate pictures” are among the most radical pieces created on the Danish art scene during the first half of the 20th century.
The materials used
The artist used crudely sawn and frayed pieces of wood from discarded crates, hence the designation ”crate pictures”. In this case, the pieces of wood have been nailed onto an oval base and partially painted with rapid, smeared brushstrokes alongside the letters and signs appearing on the original crates.
Inspired by Picasso's experiments with collage
In part, Lundstrøm’s picture was made possible through Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) experiments with collage, a technique that held a central position in his production from 1912 onwards. Collage was excellent for accentuating the physical nature of the work; it quite literally consisted of found and pre-processed materials. The same applies to the pieces of wood in The Second Commandment. With their rough and unpolished feel they are very literal pieces of reality, emphasising that the picture does not represent anything outside of itself.
The Cubist principles
Lundstrøm later explained that he and like-minded artists also employed the Cubist principles to make their images entirely anonymous or impersonal: ”We endeavoured to work towards simplicity and painterly order.”