Sunday, October 22, 2017

#Wombat Day

It’s #WombatDay! Did you know Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriele Rossetti had two pet wombats? He described owning them as ‘a Joy, a Triumph, a Delight, a Madness’. 

Here are two drawings by Rossetti that show Jane Morris with one of the marsupials, and Rossetti lamenting the death of his wombat in 1869. Instead of being buried in the tomb shown in his drawing, this one was stuffed and placed in Rossetti’s entrance hall.

Friday, October 20, 2017

On this day. Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp

Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp (October 20, 1620 – November 15, 1691) was one of the leading Dutch landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The most famous of a family of painters, the pupil of his father Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp (1594–1651/52), he is especially known for his large views of the Dutch countryside in early morning or late afternoon light.

Cuyp was the great interpreter of the Dutch landscape in the Italianate manner. Early landscapes like 'A River Scene with Distant Windmills' are influenced by van Goyen, some of whose paintings show Dordrecht, Cuyp's home town. The work of Utrecht painters, especially Jan Both, who returned from Italy about 1641, helped to turn Cuyp's interest towards large-scale landscapes in the Italianate manner.

Cuyp was the son of the Dordrecht portrait and animal painter, Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp. His occasional portraits, like the 'Portrait of a Bearded Man' in the Collection, reflect his training with his father. Though based in Dordrecht throughout his life, Cuyp travelled widely in Holland, making drawings. In 1658 he married a wealthy widow and appears to have painted little thereafter.

Sunlight in his paintings rakes across the panel, accentuating small bits of detail in the golden light. In large, atmospheric panoramas of the countryside, the highlights on a blade of meadow grass, the mane of a tranquil horse, the horn of a dairy cow reclining by a stream, or the tip of a peasant's hat are all caught in a bath of yellow ocher light. The richly varnished medium refracts the rays of light like a jewel as it dissolves into numerous glazed layers. Cuyp's landscapes were based on reality and on his own invention of what an enchanting landscape should be.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

On this day. Umberto Boccioni

October 19, 1882. Umberto Boccioni (19 October 1882 - 17 August 1916) was an Italian painter and sculptor. Like other Futurists, his work centered on the portrayal of movement (dynamism), speed, and technology. He was born in Reggio Calabria, Italy. He died in WW I, only thirty-three years old. This made him an iconic and tragic symbol of the Futurists' celebration of the machine and the violent destructive force of modernity.

In the above image: Francesca Rossi, curator in charge of the Sforzesco Castle drawings collection, looks at a work by Umberto Boccioni, in the same room where sketches by mannerist painter Simone Peterzano are preserved, in Milan, Friday, July 6, 2012.

During his short life, he produced some of the movement’s iconic paintings and sculptures, capturing the color and dynamism of modern life in a style he theorized and defended in manifestos, books, and articles.

Although Boccioni deserves a great amount of credit for evolving the style now associated with Italian Futurism, he first matured as a Neo-Impressionist painter, and was drawn to landscape and portrait subjects. It was not until he encountered Cubism that he developed a style that matched the ideology of dynamism and violent societal upheaval that lay at the heart of Futurism. Boccioni borrowed the geometric forms typical of the French style, and employed them to evoke crashing, startling sounds to accompany the depicted movement.

Boccioni believed that scientific advances and the experience of modernity demanded that the artist abandon the tradition of depicting static, legible objects. The challenge, he believed, was to represent movement, the experience of flux, and the inter-penetration of objects. Boccioni summed up this project with the phrase, "physical transcendentalism."

Despite his fascination with physical movement, Boccioni had a strong belief in the importance of intuition, an attitude he inherited from the writings of Henri Bergson and the Symbolist painters of the late 19th century. This shaped Boccioni's approach to depicting the modern world, encouraging him to give it symbolic, almost mythical dimensions that evoked the artist's emotions as much as the objective reality of modern life. In this respect, Boccioni's approach is very different from that of the Cubists, whose work was grounded in an attempt to closely describe the physical character of objects in a new way.

The City Rises. Oil on canvas - Museum of Modern Art, New York

"The City Rises" is considered by many to be the very first truly Futurist painting. Boccioni took a year to complete it and it was exhibited throughout Europe shortly after it was finished. It testifies to the hold that  Neo-Impressionism and Symbolism maintained on the movement's artists even after Futurism was inaugurated in 1909. It was not until around 1911 that Boccioni adapted elements of Cubism to create a distinct Futurist style. Nevertheless, "The City Rises" does capture the group's love of dynamism and their fondness for the modern city. A large horse races into the foreground while several workers struggle to gain control of it, suggesting a primeval conflict between humanity and beasts. The horse and figures are blurred, communicating rapid movement while other elements, such as the buildings in the background, are rendered more realistically. At the same time, the perspective teeters dramatically in different sections of the painting.

Twenty works on line:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

National Chocolate Cupcake Day

Miyukti Tsurukawa. Ceramic Frankenstein
The celebrations for foods that are so delicious and yet, must not be eaten roll in. But since I can't eat much chocolate, I can enjoy the ceramics at Creativity Explored as it celebrates National Chocolate Cupcake Day.

Founded in 1983, Creativity Explored gives artists with developmental disabilities the means to create and share their work with the community, celebrating the power of art to change lives.

Devil Girl Monster (Detail) by Christina Fong © 2017 Creativity Explored Licensing, LLC, acrylic, paint markers and permanent markers on canvas, 26.5 x 15 inches
Current Exhibit:

Shop Art:

3245 16th St @ Gurerrero St
San Francisco, 94103
(415)  863-2018

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

International Pasta Day

It is probably a good thing that I did not know about this earlier. I love pasta but it is not good for my waistline. But that does not prevent me from enjoying literary references to pasta. Even those in a cook book of the Tolstoy Family

Leo Tolstoy's recipe for Mac n' Cheese - or to be more honest, his wife's recipe. How interesting. But if I am going to have macaroni, I prefer the description in Lampedusa's "The Leopard" in which Sicilian macaroni is described in loving, sensual terms. Not sure that Russian macaroni would fit the same bill but would love hear from those who tried. Amazon for $3.99

 A grand, luxurious and filling dish of macaroni and meat encased in pastry, Timballo del Gattopardo translates as ‘The Leopard’s Pie’ and is named after Giuseppe di Tomasi di Lampedusa, a nineteenth century Sicilian prince who wrote Il Gattopardo, one of Italy’s most famous novels. The original recipe contained eggs from the ovary of a chicken, but hard boiled eggs work just as well today. 
Cuisine of Sicily: "Carluccio's assistant has spent a day preparing the stock for the pie, from vegetables and a large joint of beef. But first, he has to make the pastry case. The dough is spread, liberally sprinkled with flour, over an earthen vessel and the excess removed, so that the vessel is coated with the pastry dough on the inside. The original recipe calls for the unborn eggs from the ovary of a chicken, but the yokes of plain eggs will do as well. While the pasta is boiling, finely chopped onions are added to abundant olive oil, to fry along with chicken and chicken livers and truffles (or Porcini mushrooms), two glasses of beef stock, cubes of cooked ham, a smattering of wine, and finally the eggs. Add everything to the pasta, which is very al dente, and the last touch - liberal quantities of Parmesan. Fill up the pastry case with the mix and cover with a dough lid, brushed with oil to give a nice crust. Sprinkle cinnamon and put into the oven for half an hour...."

Cuisine of Sicily:

On this day in 1577. Cristofano Allori

October 17, 1577. Cristofano Allori (17 October 1577 - 1 April 1621) was an Italian portrait painter of the late Florentine Mannerist school. Allori was born at Florence and received his first lessons in painting from his father, Alessandro Allori, but becoming dissatisfied with the hard anatomical drawing and cold coloring of the latter, he entered the studio of Gregorio Pagani, who was one of the leaders of the late Florentine school, which sought to unite the rich coloring of the Venetians with the Florentine attention to drawing. Allori also appears to have worked under Cigoli. In this image: Judith with the Head of Holofernes (1613). Oil on canvas, 139 x 116 cm. Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence.

This is his most famous work. It exists in at least two versions by Allori, of which the prime version is perhaps that in the British Royal Collection, dated 1613, with various pentimenti. A version of 1620 in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence is the best known and there are several copies by studio and other hands. According to the near-contemporary biography by Filippo Baldinucci, the model for the Judith was his former mistress, the beautiful "La Mazzafirra", who is also represented in his Magdalene, the head of Holofernes is a self-portrait, and the maid is "La Mazzafirra"'s mother

Monday, October 16, 2017

Celebrating the birthdays of Faith Ringgold, Dorothea Lange, Richard Mier, Paul Strand

I am a week behind in celebrating artist's birthdays so I am doing catch up.

October 08, 1930. Faith Ringgold (born October 8, 1930, in Harlem, New York City) is an artist, best known for her narrative quilts. Ringgold's artistic practice was extremely broad and diverse, and included media from painting to quilts, from sculptures and performance art to children's books. She was an educator who taught in the New York city Public school system and on the college level. In 1973, she quit teaching public school to devote herself to creating art full-time. In this image: Faith Ringgold, American People Series, The Flag is Bleeding, 1967, oil on canvas. Collection of the artist, c. Faith Ringgold. Courtesy ACA Galleries, NY.

October 10, 1965. Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 - October 11, 1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography. In this image: A large photo of "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange hangs in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum with the other photos, background, that Lange took while photographing the mother and children, as part of the "This Great Nation Will Endure" exhibit on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004, in Hyde Park, N.Y.
October 12, 1934. Richard Meier (born October 12, 1934) is an American architect, whose rationalist buildings make prominent use of the color white. In this image: Architect Richard Meier speaks as he honored at the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards on Ellis Island on Thursday, April 19, 2012.

October 16, 1890. Paul Strand (October 16, 1890 - March 31, 1976) was an American photographer and filmmaker who, along with fellow modernist photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston, helped establish photography as an art form in the 20th century. His diverse body of work, spanning six decades, covers numerous genres and subjects throughout the Americas, Europe and Africa. In this image: Wall Street, 1915.

Flower Power at the Fall Arts and Antiques show in SF

Shades of Spring. Marcel Dyf, courtesy of Haynes Fine Art of Broadway
The Summer of Love theme has proved inspiring for any number of events. Of course, there was the exhibit at the de Young musem - a rather commercial and prettied up version of that important year. But this year, “Floral Imagery in Art, Antiques & Design” will be the theme of of the SF Fall Arts and Antiques fair. Inspired by  floral imagery which has long been part of a visual symbolism in art, every item that can be linked to flower power will be on display. 

From Watteau to Warhol, Flower Power is fertile ground for cultivating a uniquely curated assortment of art and antiques that will appeal to a wide audience, from the contemporary collector to the antiquities aficionado.

The 2017 San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Show, now in it's 36th year,  will take place Thursday, October 26 through Sunday, October 29 at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture’s Festival Pavilion. The always fabulous (and expensive) Opening Night Preview Gala, benefiting Enterprise for Youth will open the Show on October 25.

This edition of the Show will feature fifty dealers from around the world, offering for sale an extraordinary range of fine and decorative arts representing all styles and periods including American, English, Continental and Asian furniture and decorative objects, paintings, prints, photographs, books, gold, silver and precious metals, jewelry, rugs, textiles and ceramics. Dealers are invited to bring pieces from antiquity to present day. The Show also features a popular Lecture Series, Cocktail Hour Talks and other programming.

ENTERPRISE FOR YOUTH As always, 100% of net proceeds benefit Enterprise for Youth (, the San Francisco nonprofit that has, since 1969, prepared and empowered a diverse group of Bay Area youth to pursue life after school with passion and purpose. Enterprise offers students everything they need to get and keep their first job, including intensive workshops, pragmatic skills and career exploration training, a network of advisors and peers, a broad database of paid internships, and college and career counseling.

DESIGNER VIGNETTES The Grand Entry Hall will feature four Designer Vignettes created by prominent designers and members of our Designer Circle, each incorporating pieces borrowed from exhibitors on the Show floor as well as a custom designed wall covering exclusively developed in collaboration with de Gournay ( and the designers. The 2017 Vignette Designers: Pamela Babey/BAMO (, Jay Jeffers ( Edward Lobrano ( Kendall Wilkinson (

All activities are held at the Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 26-28, noon-5 p.m. Oct. 29. Tickets: $20 at the door, $15 in advance. Lectures: $10. The preview gala is Oct. 25. Details: 415-989-9019, or Proceeds benefit Enterprise for High School Students.

TICKETS: On sale now for the Preview Gala and Show days at

Falling Water

Some green forest and a waterfall to help us deal with the stressful fires around the globe.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

On this day. James Jacques Tissot

 October 15, 1836. James Jacques Joseph Tissot 15 October 1836 - 8 August 1902) was a French painter, who spent much of his career in Britain. Tissot exhibited in the Paris Salon for the first time in 1859, where he showed five paintings of scenes from the Middle Ages, many depicting scenes from Goethe's Faust. These works show the influence of the Belgian painter Henri Leys (Jan August Hendrik Leys), whom Tissot had met in Antwerp in 1859, over his work. In this image: Le Balcon du Cercle de la rue Royale (The Circle of the Rue Royale), 1868.

 In later life he became a devout Catholic and devoted his time to producing art based on religious themes. These became very popular, but I don't find them very interesting. What I do find interesting are his paintings of beautiful women, often of his mistress, the divorcee Kathleen Newton, dressed in the height of turn of the century fashion.

Brief Biography:

Wikipedia Commons:

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fragonard. Young Girl Reading

Young Girl Reading. National Gallery of Art

More on Fragonard whose birthday was earlier this week. From the National Gallery of Art.

"A question long posed of this painting has been, “Does it represent one of Fragonard’s fantasy figures?” Its dimensions, palette, and energetic brushwork conform to those of the known works in the group, as does the girl’s pseudo-Spanish costume with its elaborate ruff collar. Yet the other fantasy figures assume dramatic poses and turn their faces to meet the viewer’s gaze, whereas the girl in the Gallery’s painting is shown in quiet repose, turned in profile, enraptured by her book, oblivious to viewers. Recent technical studies and the discovery of the related drawing provide some answers."

"In 1985 Gallery conservators x-rayed the painting to peer beneath its current surface. They discovered that Fragonard had painted the head of Young Girl Reading over a preexisting portrait, possibly representing a man whose face is in three-quarter view, looking out to the viewer."

"Fragonard’s Sketches of Portraits includes a drawing that closely resembles Young Girl Reading, suggesting that the painting once depicted a fantasy figure. As in the painting, the girl in the sketch is seated by a window, indicated by the railing on which she rests her elbow, and leans against a large pillow while holding up a book in her right hand. In the sketch, however, her head is turned toward the viewer, showing that the drawing relates not to the current portrait, in which the girl appears in profile, but to the underlying portrait seen in the x-radiograph, now understood to represent a woman rather than a man."

More at:

About the Artist

Friday, October 13, 2017

SF Open Studios 2017, Five Weekends of Art (Oct. 14 – Nov. 12)

SF Open Studios 2017, Five Weekends of Art (Oct. 14 – Nov. 12)


SF Open Studios is the oldest and largest open studios program in the country, featuring an annual, month-long, city-wide art event that showcases over 800 emerging and established San Francisco artists in their studios over four weekends in October and November.

Each weekend, art patrons, admirers, and collectors venture out on self-guided tours to see as many SF Open Studios artists and their artworks as possible, in the hopes of finding their next true art love. 2017 marks the 42nd Anniversary of SF Open Studios.

2017 SF Open Studios Schedule (Do no know why the links for weekend events go to a site for you to buy tickets but all the studios are open to the public and free.)

Weekend 1: October 14 & 15, 11 am to 6 pm
Hunters Point Shipyard & Islais Creek Studios

Weekend 2: October 21 & 22, 11 am to 6 pm
Presidio, Richmond, Sunset, West Portal, Ocean View

Weekend 3: October 28 & 29, 11 am to 6 pm
Dogpatch, Potrero Hill, Bayview, Bernal Heights, Portola, Excelsior, Balboa Park, Visitacion Valley, Outer Mission, Diamond Heights, Glen Park

Weekend 4: November 4 & 5, 11 am to 6 pm
Fort Mason, Marina, North Beach, Pacific Heights, Western Addition, Hayes Valley, NOPA, Upper & Lower Haight, Cole Valley, Tenderloin, MIDMA, Downtown, SOMA, Buena Vista, Russian Hill

Weekend 5: November 11 & 12, 11 am to 6 pm
Mission, Noe Valley, Castro, Upper Market

Guide and Map:

iPhone ap: 

Virtual on line guide:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

On this day in 1684. Jean-Antoine Watteau

Jean-Antoine Watteau (French: [ʒɑ̃ ɑ̃twan vato]; baptised October 10, 1684 – died July 18, 1721),[2] better known as Antoine Watteau, was a French painter whose brief career spurred the revival of interest in colour and movement, as seen in the tradition of Correggio and Rubens. He revitalized the waning Baroque style, shifting it to the less severe, more naturalistic, less formally classical, Rococo. Watteau is credited with inventing the genre of fêtes galantes, scenes of bucolic and idyllic charm, suffused with a theatrical air. Some of his best known subjects were drawn from the world of Italian comedy and ballet. (Wikipedia)

One of the most brilliant and original artists of the eighteenth century, Antoine Watteau (1684–1721) had an impact on the development of Rococo art in France and throughout Europe lasting well beyond his lifetime. Living only thirty-six years, and plagued by frequent illness, Watteau nonetheless rose from an obscure provincial background to achieve fame in the French capital during the Regency of the duc d’Orléans. His paintings feature figures in aristocratic and theatrical dress in lush imaginary landscapes. Their amorous and wistful encounters create a mood but do not employ narrative in the traditional sense. During Watteau’s lifetime, a new term, fête galante, was coined to describe them. Watteau was also a gifted draftsman whose sparkling chalk sheets capture subtle nuances of deportment and expression. (Met Museum)

He died young, at just 36, and from contemporary accounts it seems as though he always knew he would not have long. With his eyes he caught at everything that he could, snagged it and kept it, all in skeins of line.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Born on this day in 1840. Simeon Solomon

October 09, 1840. Simeon Solomon (9 October 1840 No. 3 Sandys Street, Bishopsgate, London, England - 14 August 1905 in St. Giles's Workhouse, Endell Street) was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter. Examples of his work are on permanent display at the Victoria and Albert Museum and at Leighton House. In December 2005/January 2006, there was an important retrospective of his work, held at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and in London at the Ben Uri Gallery in October / November 2006. In this image: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, 1863.

 This sensitive drawing is titled ‘Until the day break and the shadows flee away’, and is reminiscent of other Pre-Raphaelite artworks that explore the theme of night and day. A work similar to this appears in Solomon’s poem 'A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep' published in 1871.

In the Temple of Venus 1863
Love in Autumn, 1866

Friday, October 6, 2017

Harvest Moon

Under the Harvest Moon

Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.

Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Born on this day. Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947)

Pierre Bonnard (French: 3 October 1867 — 23 January 1947) was a French painter and printmaker, as well as a founding member of the Post-Impressionist group of avant-garde painters Les Nabis. Bonnard preferred to work from memory, using drawings as a reference, and his paintings are often characterized by a dreamlike quality. The intimate domestic scenes, for which he is perhaps best known, often include his wife Marthe de Meligny.

His artistic legacy calls to mind the many dazzling bathing paintings of Marthe, his wife and muse of nearly fifty years, modeling in the bathtub, toweling her ever-youthful figure, or gazing at her nude likeness at her toilette.

These shimmering visions of still waters, iridescent tiles, and private escapes have been in the public eye for many decades. The social and cultural milieu of Bonnard takes us back to another era, that of the later years of the nineteenth century, when a group of young artists commingled in Paris as friends and fellow painters. Emulating the expressive color and bold pattern used by
Paul Gauguin, their aim was to explore a form of decorative painting. Calledthe Nabis (Hebrew for “prophets”), their imprint on French art was brief but indelible.

"We are looking into a sort of sea cave, shining with internal color. Its walls are covered with a wobbly grid of large tiles: yellow, viridian, mauve-flecked with rose madder. The floor is all sea-green and turquoise speckles, but it's hard to say exactly what color any patch of the gelatinous mosaic is because each is so modified by contrasting touches within its small boundaries. The biggest shape in this aquarium light rises diagonally across the picture: a bath, like an immense open oyster, in which floats the body of a woman, all legs, shining indistinctly in the water. She seems in a trance--her face can't be read as a face but more as a spongy clump of jeweled paint. She is as indifferent as coral, not posing but tenderly spied on."

"Bonnard's critics--including Picasso, who dismissed his art as "a potpourri of indecision"--have often made the mistake of treating Bonnard as a mere hedonist, with his beautiful color and apparent lack of conceptual underpinning. In this they have been wrong. There was nothing stupid or foolishly pleasurable about Bonnard's work. But Whitfield is right to see Bonnard as an elegiac artist: "He is not a painter of pleasure. He is a painter of the effervescence of pleasure and the disappearance of pleasure." (Robert Hughes)

A documentary produced to coincide with the 1998 exhibition of Pierre Bonnard's work at the Tate Gallery in London (12th February - 17th May) and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (24th June - 29th September).