Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Saturday, January 28, 2017
|Palm Tree and Rooster. Ito Jakuchu. 1760|
What does the year of the Rooster mean? here
Marc Chagal's Roosters
Predictions for each sign in the Chinese zodiac
Year of the Rooster
Friday, January 27, 2017
January 27, 1585. Hendrick Avercamp (January 27, 1585 (bapt.) - May 15, 1634 (buried)) was a Dutch painter. Avercamp was born in Amsterdam, where he studied with the Danish-born portrait painter Pieter Isaacks (1569 - 1625), and perhaps also with David Vinckboons. In 1608 he moved from Amsterdam to Kampen in the province of Overijssel. Avercamp was mute and was known as "de Stomme van Kampen" (the mute of Kampen). In this image: A Hendrick Avercamp painting entitled "Ice Scene with Golfers," more than 300 years old, showing a golfer dressed like a costumed duffer of today, is part of an exhibit at Washington's National Gallery of Art showing how the newly-rich of Rembrandt's time indulged a taste for curios as well as painting.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Today we celebrate the birthday of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns (1759–1796).
Medieval Haggis (in honor of Robert Burn’s poem to haggis
haggis, noun : a traditionally Scottish dish that consists of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep or a calf minced with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the animal
From "Address To A Haggis"
Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!
Things you didn’t know about Robert Burns: https://t.co/hdqhXOUjBP
He had a sharp response to criticism: http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/01/thou-eunuch-of-language.html
Official site: http://www.robertburns.org
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
January 24, 1915. Robert Motherwell (January 24, 1915 - July 16, 1991) American painter, printmaker and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School (a phrase he coined), which also included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Philip Guston.
Robert Motherwell at 100: Gregory Gilbert reflects on the artist’s centenary
New research into the artist's work has offered new perspectives, but much work remains to be done
by Gregory Gilbert | 2 April 2016
Last year marked the centenary of the birth of the Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell, who died in 1991. Over the past several years, a host of publications and exhibitions devoted to the artist have proven to be important and welcome additions to the somewhat sparse field of Motherwell studies, offering new perspectives on his career. Yet, in a more discouraging way, they also largely repackage and recirculate existing perceptions about the artist.
There is a lingering and conservative monographic aura around Motherwell scholarship, which has tended to lag behind the more rigorous interdisciplinary research on other Abstract Expressionists. Motherwell was one of the few artists of his generation who received a university education, graduating in the 1930s fr om Stanford University, where he studied American Pragmatist philosophy, Modernist poetry and psychology. He later pursued graduate training in philosophy and art history at Harvard and Columbia universities. The numerous philosophical, political and literary influences on his art and writings have yet to be fully examined. His disparate oeuvre deserves to be analysed within these more complex aesthetic and cultural contexts.
Throughout his career, Motherwell experimented with diverse modes and materials. His art lacked the signature style and symbolic conventions of Abstract Expressionists like Mark Rothko and Franz Kline, which has hindered the critical and scholarly reception of his work. Although Rosalind Krauss and Hal Foster have argued that Motherwell’s “plastic automatism” tamed Surrealism’s anarchic subjectivity into an autographic and marketable serial manner, the opposite is true. Motherwell deviated from Abstract Expressionism’s canonical norms, which makes his oeuvre especially worthy of revisionist consideration. It also reveals that Abstract Expressionism was not the cohesive monolith still promoted in many art history surveys. With his knowledge of Pragmatist fallibilism, the eclecticism of his art may have been a willful effort to challenge overly narrow and prescriptive definitions of the New York School. In the 1950s and 1960s, his art did not fit the predominant formalist criteria and teleological theories promoted by Clement Greenberg. Critical estimations of his art have fared no better during an age of postmodern theory.
The most noteworthy of the museum and gallery exhibitions around Motherwell’s centenary was the Guggenheim’s 2013 show Robert Motherwell: Early Collages, which was organised by Susan Davidson. The once-in-a-lifetime gathering of fragile pieces, a large number of which are still in private collections and rarely on public display, cemented the significance of Motherwell’s early collages. These are some of his most inventive and distinctive works, with their bold easel scale, experimental methods of fabrication, radical disjunctive designs and vibrantly colored papers (many of which have since faded, an important discovery made by conservators in preparing the exhibition).
Despite the virtues of the show, the catalogue presented relatively few new insights on Motherwell’s collages. With the important exception of noting the influence of Joan Miró’s and Jean Arp’s Surrealist collages, the authors explain Motherwell’s technique largely as an isolated practice driven by his own aesthetic interests. His early collages need to be examined in the broader context of collage trends in the 1940s, which has itself been virtually unstudied. Within the New York avant-garde of the time, collage was everywhere: in the poetry of T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore and Benjamin Peret, as well as in the work of artists like Gerome Kamrowski, Ad Rinehart and Hananiah Harari. The trend was recognised in the curator Dorothy Miller’s exhibition Collage at the Museum of Modern Art in 1948. This show is now largely forgotten. It has been overshadowed by the museum’s more famous 1961 exhibition The Art of Assemblage, which has created the misperception that, after a fallow period, collage was revived in the 1950s as an outgrowth of Neo-Dada.
The latter movement figures in Catherine Craft’s book An Audience of Artists: Dada, Neo-Dada and the Emergence of Abstract Expressionism (University of Chicago Press, 2012), in which Motherwell emerges as an influential editor. His work on the 1951 anthology Dada Painters and Poets was, in the first place, decisive in shaping historical perceptions of the movement and its ideological underpinnings. At the urging of key Dada figures like Richard Huelsenbeck, Motherwell downplayed the movement’s original alignment with Communist politics by omitting texts pertaining to Berlin Dada. The result was an anthology focused on the aesthetic and conceptualist strains of Dada, which proved to be pivotal in the formation of radical tendencies like Happenings, Neo-Dada and Fluxus.
Yet it is too simple to say that Motherwell had no specific political ideology. Trenchant scholarship on the politics of Abstract Expressionism by David Craven and Nancy Jachec has analysed Motherwell’s ideological stance in relation to the interweaving of Marxist, Anarchist and Pragmatist currents within the Post-war American avant-garde. Motherwell was among a group including Harold Rosenberg, Sidney Hook and Lionel Trilling who adopted an alternative provisional politics. They renounced the dogmatic leftist Stalinism of the 1930s, and embraced, instead, the Pragmatist values of pluralism, moderation, diversity and democratic tolerance. In this way, they also rejected the conservative political absolutism and conformity of American Cold War culture. Liberal individualism and creative isolation was an intellectual underground in the vein of a Pragmatist community, which included the New York School.
Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 110 (1971). © Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Motherwell’s Elegies in particular have political dimension, which has yet to be fully studied. They are a direct reference to the destruction of the Spanish Republic by Francisco Franco’s fascist regime, which was supported by the policies of the US government during the Cold War. Through Meyer Schapiro, Motherwell met political figures affiliated with Partisan Review, who actively supported the cause of the Spanish Republicans. Moreover, from the 1960s through the 1980s, Motherwell supported the Spanish Refugee Aid Committee and was close to Spanish artists like José Guerrero, who were dissident political exiles from Francoist Spain.
Ellen Landau looks at an earlier phase of Motherwell’s career in her insightful and detailed study Mexico and American Modernism (Yale University Press, 2013). Her topic—the impact of Mexican art and culture on the American avant-garde during the 1940s and 1950s—has largely been neglected in previous Motherwell scholarship. In 1941, the artist took an extended trip to Mexico with the young Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta, wh ere they met with the exiled Austrian Surrealist Wolfgang Paalen. Most accounts have stressed the influence of Matta’s Surrealist art on Motherwell’s early abstractions, but Landau argues the brash graphics and automatist spontaneity of Motherwell’s Mexican Sketchbook (1941) stem from Paalen’s expressionist gestural paintings.
More crucially, Landau’s book explores how Motherwell’s Mexican interlude sensitised him to the connection between Modernism and political crisis. While in Mexico, he was exposed to the leftist populist prints of José Guadalupe Posada, whose imagery was opposed to the repressive regime of President Porfirio Díaz, foreshadowing the upheaval of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920. Posada’s art denouncing political oppression, as well as Pancho Villa’s brutal death through assassination by fascist forces (elegized in Motherwell’s collage Pancho Villa, Dead and Alive from 1943), may have influenced his conception of the Elegies to the Spanish Republic.
The most notable publication that accompanied Motherwell’s centennial is the massive Motherwell Paintings and Collages: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1941-1991 (Yale University Press, 2012), which was compiled by Jack Flam, Katy Rogers and research staff at the Dedalus Foundation. The catalogue is a significant endeavor. It includes detailed entries on each work, critical essays and a definitive bibliography. The essays provide a concise summary of key documents that were culled from the foundation’s extensive Motherwell archives, providing researchers with an invaluable overview of primary sources on the artist.
A major revelation of the catalogue raisonné was Motherwell’s penchant for revision. The entries provide a record of the subtle and almost obsessive way Motherwell continuously re-thought the stylistic and iconographic elements of his works. He would also frequently alter existing works and change their titles even after they were exhibited and photographed for publication.
The essays suggest various reasons for Motherwell’s fixation on artistic revision, ranging from the desire for formal and symbolic variations to more complex and intriguing psychological interpretations, such as the idea that editing allowed him to detach himself from the distressing emotional content of his art. Another possible influence was Motherwell’s educational background in the Pragmatist philosophy of John Dewey, whose writings stressed shifting conditions of reality, the transitive nature of experience and the perpetual revisability of perception. Critics and art historians have regularly accused the artist of being repetitious and formulaic with extended series like the Elegies (1951-1991), but the artist’s continued reconsiderations push back against these criticisms.
My only critique is that with their specialised knowledge of Motherwell, it would have been beneficial for Flam and his team to define the current state of Motherwell studies, summarising key questions within the literature to indicate fruitful directions for future research. Still, this long-awaited and informative resource will no doubt stimulate and inform ambitious new research on the artist. More contextual studies like Craft’s and Landau’s represent the methodological direction needed in future scholarship on Motherwell, moving away from a narrow biographical framing and art historical inquiry limited to a study of his oeuvre. These broader revisionist perspectives may actually give us a more incisive view of Motherwell’s intellectual personality and artistic achievements.
Gregory Gilbert is Professor and director of the art history programme at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. In 2015, he was the recipient of a Dedalus Foundation Visiting Scholar at the Archives of American Art Fellowship for his research on Robert Motherwell.
Monday, January 23, 2017
January 23, 1832. Édouard Manet (23 January 1832 - 30 April 1883) was a French painter. One of the first 19th-century artists to approach modern and postmodern-life subjects, he was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. In this image: Tour guides-in-training discuss 'USS "Kearsarge" off Boulogne-Fishing Boat Coming in before the Wind', painted in 1864 by Edouard Manet, during a press preview of the exhibition "Manet and the Sea" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2004.
Years ago I first learned of Édouard Manet’s model Victorine Meurent in Eunice Lipton’s compelling book Alias Olympia. Part biography and part memoir of her own evolution as an art historian, Lipton goes searching for the real Meurent amidst the layers of myth and mystery that surrounded this redheaded, working-class Parisian who became the scandalous subject of Manet’s most controversial canvases including “Olympia” (1863) and “Dejeuner sur l’herbe” (1863) as well as those more respectable ones such as “Young Lady in 1866” (1866) and “Saint Lazare Station” (1873). The book opens with a chapter entitled “History of an Encounter” and relates her own slow recognition of Meurent’s presence in Manet’s work. “I don’t remember when I first saw Victorine Meurent,” she begins, “but I wouldn’t have recognized her or known her name at the time. No one would have. She was just another naked woman in a painting.”
By James Polchin
Manet and Morisot - a tale of forbidden love and sadness. Were they lovers? We will never know but Morisot was jealous of Manet's wife and married his brother - maybe as second best.
Bar at the Folies
A Bar: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/becoming-modern/avant-garde-france/realism/v/douard-manet-a-bar-at-the-folies-berg-re-1882
Brian Sewell: Edouard Manet (1832-1883), dubbed in his day the Father of Impressionism, was nothing of the kind. Indulgent and supportive, he bought paintings by Impressionists but he exhibited in none of their exhibitions (1874-1886) and, indeed, at 51, died well before their sequence ended. He preferred the path of long academic training, his ambition to exhibit at the Salon, the Parisian equivalent of the Royal Academy; this he achieved but not without the sour adversity of powerful Salonards and the mocking hostility of influential critics, the insiders objecting to his alla prima technique (that is painting directly on the canvas without preliminary studies, the composition adjusted and edited in progress, the brushwork free and fluent and perspective left to chance), the outsiders bemused and angrily disturbed by subjects in which Manet broke all the technical rules and ignored the traditional hierarchies that made, for example, a history painting mightily superior to a still life.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
January 22, 1879. Francis Picabia (22 January 1879 - 30 November 1953) was a French painter, poet, and typographist, associated with Cubism, Abstract art, Dada and Surrealism. In this image: French Culture Minister Christine Albanel present Francis Picabia's 1941-42 "L'Adoration du veau" (Adoration of Calf) at the Georges Pompidou modern art museum, Monday Sept.24, 2007 in Paris. The piece is the latest painting bought by the museum. At left is Picabia's "Femmes au bull-dog" (Bull-dog women).
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Friday, January 20, 2017
|Liberty Leading the People|
A woman personifying the concept and the Goddess of Liberty leads the people forward over the bodies of the fallen, holding the flag of the French Revolution – the tricolour flag, which remains France's national flag – in one hand and brandishing a bayonetted musket with the other. The figure of Liberty is also viewed as a symbol of France and the French Republic known as Marianne.
Women Warriors: http://mentalfloss.com/article/59287/9-female-warriors-who-made-their-mark-history
|Judith slaying Holofernes|
Lady Liberty: http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2013/07/the-statue-of-liberty-127-years-at-americas-gateway/100546/
DC Museum celebrates history's women warriors: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nasty-women-museum-tour_us_5873f3fde4b043ad97e52e62?section=us_arts&ir=Arts&
A pioneer of the black arts movement
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Cezanne: the man who changed the landscape of art.
Trachtman, Paul. "Cezanne: the man who changed the landscape of art.(Paul Cezanne)." Smithsonian 36.10 (Jan 2006): 80(9).
IN THE FALL OF 1894, the American painter Mary Cassatt attended a dinner in the countryside outside Paris with a group of artists, among them the notoriously bohemian Paul Cezanne. "His manners at first startled me," she wrote to a friend. "He scrapes his soup plate, then lifts it and pours the remaining drops in the spoon; he even takes his chop in his fingers and pulls the meat from the bone.... Yet in spite of the total disregard of the dictionary of manners, he shows a politeness towards us which no other man here would have shown."
As Cassatt observed, there was something surprising, even contradictory, about Cezanne. He spouted profanities yet could recite long passages of Virgil and Ovid in Latin. He scorned priests but went faithfully to Mass. He hated the official Paris Salon but kept submitting his work to its judges. He haunted the Louvre, copying sculptures and paintings into his sketchbooks, yet critics said he couldn't draw. He was obsessed with tradition and obsessed with overturning it. He felt himself a failure ... and the best painter of his time.
In this centennial year--Cezanne died October 23, 1906, at age 67--two shows focus on different aspects of the career of the gutsy iconoclast who has been called the father of modern art. "Pioneering Modern Painting: Cezanne & Pissarro 1865-1885," an exhibition organized by New York City's Museum of Modern Art, is on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art until January 16. The show, which goes on to the Musee D'Orsay in Paris (February 28 to May 28), highlights the period of Cezanne's immersion in Impressionism, when he often painted side by side with artist Camille Pissarro. An exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., "Cezanne in Provence" (January 29 through May 7), features more than 100 paintings the artist executed in and around his hometown of Aix-en-Provence in southern France. The exhibition will move to the newly renovated Musee Granet in Aix-en-Provence (June 9 through September 17) as a highlight of a national celebration in France officially marking 2006 as the Year of Cezanne. "It was by painting his own particular, familiar landscape," says the National Gallery's Philip Conisbee (co-curator of the exhibition with Musee Granet director Denis Coutagne), "that Cezanne changed the way later generations would see the world."
PAUL CEZANNE wanted to make paint bleed. The old masters, he told the poet Joachim Gasquet, painted warmblooded flesh and made sap run in their trees, and he would too. He wanted to capture "the green odor" of his Provence fields and "the perfume of marble from Saint-Victoire," the mountain that was the subject of so many of his paintings. He was bold, scraping and slapping paint onto his still lifes with a palette knife. "I will astonish Paris with an apple," he boasted.
In the years when his friends Manet, Monet, Pissarro and Renoir were finally gaining acceptance, Cezanne worked furiously and mostly in isolation, ridiculed by critics and mocked by the public, sometimes ripping up his own canvases. He wanted more than the quick impressions of the Impressionists (nature, he wrote to a fellow artist, "is more depth than surface") and devoted himself to studying the natural world. "It's awful for me;" he told a young friend, "my eyes stay riveted to the tree trunk, to the clod of earth. It's painful for me to tear them away.... And my eyes, you know, my wife tells me that they jump out of my head." He could often be found, said one contemporary, "on the outskirts of Paris wandering about the hillsides in jackboots. As no one took the least interest in his pictures, he left them in the fields."
Yet by the end of his life, Cezanne had been recognized, at least by some critics, as a true revolutionary who overturned the rules of painting and upended conventional theories of color. And his paintings were clearly an inspiration to artists who followed, including Matisse, Picasso and Alberto Giacometti.
He was a rebel from the start. Among his earliest paintings--finished when he was 23--are four huge wall panels of young women representing the four seasons. He painted them in the elegant, academic style of Ingres, so pleasing to bourgeoisie taste. They decorated the salon of the family estate in Aix. The panels were parodies--he even signed one "Ingres"--showing off his skill while disguising his mockery. In the center of the same wall, Cezanne hung a portrait he painted of his father, a hatmaker turned banker. The painting was done with a palette knife--its thick, crude slabs of paint suggesting the handiwork of a mason or plasterer. The technique had been used by Cezanne's hero Gustave Courbet, a radical painter of the previous generation, but Cezanne wielded the knife more aggressively, with quick, almost violent strokes. Referring to a portrait that Cezanne made of his sister Marie (modeled on portraits by the Spanish artist EI Greco that Cezanne was copying at the time), the American artist James McNeill Whistler would later say, "If a 10 year old child had drawn that on his slate, his mother, if she was a good mother, would have whipped him."
Cezanne's technique, a style he called couillarde, or ballsy, suited his early subjects--murders, rapes and orgies among them. "The young Cezanne wanted to make people scream," says French art historian Jean-Claude Lebensztejn. "He attacked on all fronts, drawing, color, technique, proportion, subjects ... he savagely demolished everything one loves." To accomplish this, says Lebensztejn, Cezanne drew on tradition, adapting themes from the erotic art of Titian and the disasters of Goya.
Cezanne's father, Louis-Auguste, tried to set the young man straight. Remember, he said, we die with genius, but we eat with money. The two were frequently at odds. Cezanne briefly studied law, as a step to joining his father's bank, but it didn't take. His boyhood friend and Aix schoolmate Emile Zola--Cezanne was once beaten up by school bullies for befriending him--was living in Paris and urged Cezanne to join him there. Cezanne's father finally agreed, and sent him off with an allowance to study art. The artist would resent this patronage all his life, even though he depended on it. His mother, Elizabeth, supported his desire to be an artist and tried to keep peace in the family by mediating between father and son.
In Paris, Cezanne, then in his early 20s, applied to the Ecole des Beaux Arts, training ground of Salon painters, but he was rejected. "Unfortunately, he paints with excess," noted a former student of Ingres. Cezanne was soon installed in the Atelier Suisse, a studio long favored by upstarts, including Courbet. Even here, Cezanne stood out. Pissarro, who was intrigued by this "peculiar Provencal" and went to see him at the Atelier Suisse in 1861, recalled later that Cezanne's life studies "provoked roars of laughter from all the impotents of the school."
His friend Zola was one of the few to champion him. Zola had not forgotten the incident that had sealed their friendship; the day after Cezanne had been attacked for defending him, Zola had brought Cezanne a basket of apples. Late in life, Cezanne tied this incident to his still lifes, telling his friend Gasquet, "Ah, Cezanne's apples, they go far back." Now Zola, who moonlighted as an art critic, defended Cezanne's paintings--even if he didn't always understand them. (Zola and Cezanne would, in fact, become estranged in their later years after Zola published a novel that many felt portrayed Cezanne as a failed genius.)
Year after year Cezanne presented his work to the official Salon, "carrying his canvases," one critic noted, "on his back like Jesus his cross." And year after year he was rejected. In 1865 he and Pissarro, nine years his elder, began to paint together out-of-doors in villages outside Paris. The collaboration made both men more daring. From Pissarro, Cezanne picked up a sense of discipline and a habit of unremitting daily practice that would mark the rest of his life. He also began incorporating brighter colors and explored new ways of applying paint, using both brushes and palette knives. One day, a villager who watched the two artists reported: "Monsieur Pissarro, when he painted, dabbed, and Monsieur Cezanne smeared."
But in other ways the two men were similar. "They both shared in common their humongous needs, their egos," says the Museum of Modern Art's Joachim Pissarro, the painter's great-grandson and curator of the "Cezanne & Pissarro" exhibition. "They needed to be fed, like monsters, these bulks of tradition that they gulped down and re-digested in their own ways."
In March 1865, Cezanne wrote a note to Pissarro about the work he and another young painter were submitting to the Salon: "On Saturday we are going to the barrack of the Champs-Elysees to bring our canvases, which will make the Institute blush with rage and despair." But it was Edouard Manet who made the crowds blush that year. Salon officials accepted his painting of a naked courtesan, Olympia, an adaptation of a Titian Venus but painted without the conventional refinement. (Nearly a decade later, in 1874, Cezanne, who was tired of hearing Manet's canvas praised, would paint a retort to Manet he titled A Modern Olympia. He wanted, wrote Cezanne biographer John Rewald, "to create an Olympia more female, more attractive and more desirable than the proud courtesan of Manet." But when Cezanne's version was displayed in Paris, critics had a field day. Cezanne, wrote one, "can only be a bit of a madman, afflicted while painting with delirium tremens." Even Pissarro referred to it as "a five-footed sheep.")
Though Cezanne continued to paint with Pissarro, it was Manet he considered the leading modern painter--and the man to beat. One evening in the early 1870s, according to Claude Monet, Cezanne made the rounds at the Cafe Goerbois in Paris shaking everyone's hand. But when he came to Manet he tipped his hat and said, "I won't offer you my hand, Monsieur Manet. I haven't washed in eight days." It was a gesture both of respect and insolence, says Jean-Claude Lebensztejn: "Manet haunted Cezanne."
Cezanne was nothing if not a loner. Friends, admirers, other artists were suspect: "They want to get their hooks into me," he complained. "The meanness of people is such," he wrote in one of his last letters to his son, "that I should never be able to get away from it--it is theft, complacency, infatuation, violation, the seizing of your work." He worried that other artists would steal his secrets--especially his ideas about color--and was convinced that Paul Gauguin had done just that. He disliked being touched (even his son would ask permission before taking his arm), and he was fearful of women. "Women models frighten me," he once said, "you've got to be on the defensive all the time." On a rare occasion when he hired one, he panicked when she began to undress and pushed her, half naked, out the door of his Paris studio. When, around 1869, he met and fell in love with Hortense Fiquet, a 19-year-old model 11 years his junior, he took great pains to hide her from his father (who still held the purse strings). They lived apart as much as together during their 37-year relationship, even after their son, Paul Jr., was born in 1872. And though Fiquet, a tall and handsome brunette whom he finally married in 1886 (a few months before his father died), apparently had no interest in his paintings, she put up with his quirks, didn't interfere with his work and posed for him for hours on end. She stares out from the many portraits he made of her looking bored or pained. "Be an apple!" Cezanne would tell his sitters. Her patience helped make him a master of the modern portrait.
When the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who said that Cezanne's paintings were one of the principal influences on his poetry, saw the portrait of Fiquet known as Madame Cezanne in a Red Armchair (left), painted circa 1877, when Cezanne was about 38, he wrote: "It is the first and ultimate red armchair ever painted.... The interior of the picture vibrates, rises, falls back into itself, and does not have a single unmoving part."
Cezanne was constantly seeking new ways of handling form and perspective. And in many of his canvases he succeeded in creating a new sense of space. Standing in front of Landscape, Auvers-sur-Oise (1874) at the Museum of Modern Art show, Joachim Pissarro said: "In this landscape, try to figure out where you are sitting. Are you sitting on the edge of the wall? Are you falling off the side of the path? It's not so dramatic that it gives you a sense of vertigo, but still, it's completely incomprehensible, it's a sense of being above the void! This is where Cezanne is totally a key to Modernism."
Cezanne's growing mastery did not ease his brooding sense of failure. On his first trip to Paris, in 1861, he had ripped up an unfinished portrait of Emile Zola. Two decades later, it was Madame Zola's turn. As she posed for him in her garden, Cezanne suddenly poked holes in the canvas, broke his brushes and stalked off. Renoir recalled once retrieving a scrap of paper outside Cezanne's studio in Aix--"a most exquisite watercolor [he] had discarded after spending twenty sessions on it."
"My hair is longer than my talent," Cezanne complained in his 20s. At 50, he wrote that "the many studies to which I have dedicated myself have given me only negative results." And in 1905, a year before he died, he lamented, "My age and my health will never allow me to realize the artistic dream I have pursued throughout my entire life."
Cezanne's Impressionist friends took a different view. "How does he do it?" Renoir marveled. "He can't put two touches of paint on a canvas without success." On another occasion Renoir declared, "I don't think you can find any artist who compares with Cezanne in the whole history of painting." Pissarro said, "If you want to learn to paint, look at Cezanne." But Cezanne, it seems, couldn't take a compliment. Monet wrote about an incident at a dinner with a group of artists at his home in Giverny. When Monet started to tell Cezanne of his friends' love and admiration, Cezanne interrupted. "You, too, are making fun of me!" he protested, grabbing his coat and rushing out the door.
It was the impossibility of the task Cezanne had set for himself that accounted for his sense of failure. He called himself "a slave to nature," but he knew that he could never completely capture the natural landscape on canvas. "Art is harmony parallel to nature," he once said.
As he moved beyond Impressionism, Cezanne began investigating new ways to stimulate the eye, painting with touches and patches of color in carefully calculated juxtaposition to one another. He was looking for a new visual logic, as if to say that art lies, as he put it, "in what our eyes think." (Kathryn Tuma, assistant professor of modern art at Johns Hopkins University, says that looking at The Red Rock, a c. 1895 Cezanne landscape, in natural light at the Orangerie in Paris several years ago, she saw "dynamic, flickering vibrations of color appear as if floating in front of the surface of the work"--an effect she likens to Rilke's description of seeing vibrations in Madame Cezanne in a Red Armchair.)
Cezanne, according to one account, "would sit motionless in the landscape, like a lizard in the sun, patiently waiting and watching the shifting scene for the appearance of what he wanted to catch in paint." Indeed, he once told a friend: "I would rather smash my canvas than invent or imagine a detail. I want to know."
Painting as a search for knowledge is something that would engage many artists of the next generation--and Cezanne's art may be easier to grasp in retrospect, through their eyes. Mondrian, who couldn't stop reworking his later canvases, explained, "I don't want pictures. I just want to find things out." And Picasso remarked, "One doesn't make a painting, one makes studies, one never ends getting near." James Lord, the biographer of Alberto Giacometti, says the artist often called his sculptures failures. "But that was only because he wanted to do the impossible," Lord notes. "He wanted to make the impossible possible, and nobody can do that." The same was true of Cezanne.
DURING THE LAST DECADE or so of his life, Cezanne lived mainly in his hometown of Aix. There he painted his monumental bathers, his astonishing apples, his moving portraits, his Provencal scenes and, above all, his beloved mountain. "See this Sainte-Victoire," he told a friend, "what lift, what imperious thirst for the sun, and what melancholy in the evening when all her weight falls back.... Her bluish shadows are part of the air's ambient breathing."
In his black frock coat, he looked like a banker as he painted. He was so reclusive that some in the art world thought he had died. For a time, his work could be found only in the shop of an eccentric Paris art dealer, Pere Tanguy, who had traded Cezanne art supplies for paintings. When Tanguy died, however, a more ambitious dealer, Ambroise Vollard, took possession of the paintings and tracked down the artist in Aix. He proposed a show, and in 1895 Cezanne, then 56, at last astonished Paris with his first one-man show, an exhibition of some 150 paintings, including a number of his still lifes of apples. The artist, wrote one critic, is "destined for the Louvre." But Cezanne stayed away, leaving the business end of dealing with Vollard to his 23-year-old son, who had remained in Paris.
After Cezanne's mother died, in 1897, the artist and his two sisters sold the family estate, and he moved to an apartment on the street where his father's bank had been. Vollard was selling his work, even raising the prices, and in 1899 he came to Aix and bought everything in the artist's studio.
In 1901, Cezanne oversaw the construction of Les Lauves, a studio on a hill overlooking the town, close to his favorite view of Sainte-Victoire. By then, his fame had spread and young artists, including Emile Bernard, came to learn from him. But his time was running out. "Someone else will accomplish what I have not been able to do," he said. "I am probably only the primitive of a new art."
Cezanne once spoke of what he called Titian, Rubens and Rembrandt's "sublime compromise"--the painters' ability to express profound emotion in a very personal way yet with a realism faithful to nature. In the end, Cezanne too achieved this compromise, but in a radically new fashion. "In the late portraits of Cezanne's gardener Vallier," says Philip Conisbee, "the encrusted surface of the old man, his gnarled hands, the ravaged face with its shadowed eyes, recall the late portraits of Rembrandt. A comparable feeling of tragedy, of impending death, is powerfully present. At the same time, the views he painted from the terrace of Les Lauves are radiant. In The Garden of Les Lauves, Cezanne's deep feeling for nature is translated into a series of color patches so abstract that, in hindsight, they seem to anticipate the abstract art of a far later era."
On October 15, 1906, Cezanne climbed the winding road that led from his studio to his favorite lookout to paint his mountain, as he'd done a hundred times before. But while he worked, he was caught in a sudden thunderstorm and collapsed. A passerby found him and carried him, half conscious, back into town on a laundry cart. "I want to die painting," he had told a friend. His last letter was to a dealer who supplied his paints. "It is now eight days since I asked you to send me ten burnt lakes no. 7 and I have had no reply," he wrote. "Whatever is the matter? An answer and quick, please." He died of pneumonia six days after writing the letter.
A year later, a major exhibition of Cezanne's works opened at the Salon d'Autumne in Paris. Picasso, Braque and Matisse were among those crowding into the show--and stealing his secrets. But they would never steal his grandeur. Rilke, too, was there. "Not since Moses," he wrote to his wife, "has anyone seen a mountain so greatly."
A frequent contributor, New Mexico-based author and artist PAUL TRACHTMAN wrote about Toulouse-Lautrec in the May 2005 issue.
Thomson Gale Document Number:A141100126
January 19, 1839. Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th-century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cézanne "is the father of us all" cannot be dismissed.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
And then, one day in 1944, Mandelman and her painter-husband Louis Ribak packed up and moved to New Mexico. In Taos, where they eventually settled, there were no art galleries; it would be two years before one opened its doors. Marianne Rosenberg, whose Upper East Side gallery Rosenberg & Co. has organized a new show of Mandelman’s work, says Taos was, “at that point, essentially a hole in the wall inhabited only by Agnes Martin.” The couple’s rented adobe house didn’t even have indoor plumbing.
It was about as far from the New York art world as one could get—and Mandelman and Ribak embraced it wholeheartedly. Although they were painters in the social realist tradition before moving to Taos, the change of scenery inspired a slow but significant transformation in their art. During her first years in New Mexico, Mandelman began to paint semi-abstract landscapes and Native American ceremonies. But, following a trip to Paris in 1948 to study with Fernand Léger (where she also became close with avant-garde artist Francis Picabia), her work moved even further towards abstraction. As Mandelman and, eventually, Ribak adopted the trappings of European Modernism, they became the de facto leaders of a group of artists known as the Taos Moderns.
In fact, the FBI may have been the reason behind the couple’s hasty departure from New York City in the first place. As government documents show, just a few weeks after Ribak and Mendelman left NYC for New Mexico, their apartment was ransacked by FBI agents. And that wasn’t the end of it—several years later, a government informant enrolled in their Taos Valley Art School. In total, the FBI spent thousands of dollars and more than 20 years spying on the artists.
While these discoveries suggest their move was more politically than artistically motivated, it’s impossible to deny the effect it had on Mandelman’s post-1944 work. She began an experimentation with color and form that finally began to coalesce in the 1960s. “She had really matured her abstract art into something that was highly sophisticated and well thought-out,” Rosenberg says. “She wasn’t trying things out anymore. She had found her path, so it is a very complete thought process that she offers us.”
This decade is the focus of Rosenberg & Co.’s exhibition, “Beatrice Mandelman and the Sixties,” which opens January 18th. The works on display reveal the strong influences of Matisse’s cut-outs and Braque’s Cubist collages, albeit with a color palette born of the bright desert sunlight. Unique to this decade are a series of politically explicit collages, with images of Twiggy and Black Panthers that speak to the turbulent social climate and harken back to Mandelman’s social realist past. “There’s some real sort of explosive force in what she’s working with at the time,” Rosenberg notes. “And also a real exuberance of color. There’s a confidence in the color and the expression and the melding of color that I think is a real phenomenon of the sixties.”
Mandelman and Ribak were prolific artists, leaving behind exactly 5,532 works in their combined estates. Mandelman out-produced her husband, according to Rosenberg, painting furiously until her final days. She said repeatedly that she wanted a last chance at national recognition, and rebounded from cancer several times during the last decade of her life. Finally, in May 1998, a feature in Forbes magazine lauded her as one of the most significant living Modernists. She’d made it. Seven weeks later, at the age of 85, Mandelman died.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Langston Hughes, 1902 - 1967
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,"
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.
From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Knopf and Vintage Books. Copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
January 08, 1830. Albert Bierstadt (January 7, 1830 - February 18, 1902) was a German-American painter best known for his lavish, sweeping landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century. In this image: Sean O'Leary looks at Albert Bierstadt's "Storm in the Rocky Mountains-Mount Rosalie," an oil on canvas painting from 1866, while viewing the exhibit, American Sublime, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, Thursday, June 20, 2002.
January 10, 1903. Dame Barbara Hepworth DBE (10 January 1903 - 20 May 1975) was an English sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism, and with such contemporaries as Ivon Hitchens, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo she helped to develop modern art (sculpture in particular) in Britain. In this image: A Christie's employee looks at a sculpture 'Sea Form (Porthmeor)' by Barbara Hepworth on display at the auction house in London, Friday, May 30, 2008.
January 14, 1836. Henri Fantin-Latour (14 January 1836 - 25 August 1904) was a French painter and lithographer best known for his flower paintings and group portraits of Parisian artists and writers. In this image: The Temptation of St. Anthony. Oil on canvas, 63.5 × 83.5 cm (25 × 32.9 in). The National Museum of Western Art.
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