Nude || Not || Naked

Celebrating the human body (but the artist’s daughters seem less than impressed).

1/
Nude Study of an Indian Man, about 1878-79
Émile-Jules Pichot (1857-1936)
Charcoal and powdered vine charcoal with stumping and lifting

Little is known of Pichot, to whose talents as a draftsman this sheet attests. The drawing’s date, however, can be determined with some precision, for the same gaunt, bearded model (possibly a Hindu ascetic or a Sikh) appears in a drawing by Georges Seurat, a contemporary of Pichot and destined for greatness.

2/
Standing Male Nude, 1866
Gabriel Ferrier (1847-1914)
Charcoal with black chalk

This accomplished nude study executed when the artist was nineteen years old, predicted a bright future for Ferrier in the official art world. Largely forgotten today, he won the French Academy’s prestigious Rome Prize in 1872 and later received prominent commissions, including decorations for the Gare d’Orsay train station (today the Musée d”Orsay).

3/
Adolescent I, about 1891
George Minne (1866-1941)
Marble

This nude, emaciated youth defiantly exposes his body while simultaneously crossing his arms in a protective embrace, indicating shame and anguish. Minne was one of the major representatives of a circle of Symbolist artists and writers based in Ghent, Belgium.

4/
Dancer, 1912
Paolo Troubetzkoy (1866-1938)
Bronze

Countess Thamara Swirskaya (Saint Petersburg, 1890-Los Angeles, 1961), the famous Russian pianist and dancer depicted here, performed throughout Europe and the United States. J. Paul Getty, who purchased this piece in 1933, may have attended one of her shows in the U.S. She posed for this lively composition in 1909 in Paris, where Troubetzkoy, the son of a Russian prince and American mother, lived between 1905 and 1914.

5/
Double Portrait of the Artist’s Daughters, 1889
Adolf von Hildebrand (1847-1921)
Polychrome terracotta

Freestanding double-portrait busts are rare in European sculpture, and this is one of the few known examples. Hildebrand’s termination of the figures above the waist and his use of subtle colours are based on Italian Renaissance portraiture. This sensitive portrayal of the artist’s daughters, Silvia and Bertel, is remarkable among the sculptor’s normally restrained official portraits and monuments.

The Getty Center

July 18th, 2017

The [k]night is dark

The Animated Series (1992) opening storyboards, drawn by Bruce Timm and coloured by Eric Radomski.

For me, The Animated Series (1992-1995) is the definitive Batman. And the opening title sequence encapsulates the essence of Batman in way that has yet to be surpassed.

*Watch*

#current_mood
#two_days_to_Halloween
#my_batman
#it’s_my_birthday_and_I’ll_try_if_I_want_to

Warner Bros Studio Tour

July 14th, 2017

Paradise Lost | The Art of the Sublime

I was browsing through some gorgeous prints yesterday evening, courtesy of The New York Satellite Print Fair, where seventeen dealers present their fine prints and drawings during print week. From Old Masters to contemporary artists, there are some remarkable works of art to be found here and that’s only an annex to the main event – the Fine Art Print Fair – at the Javits Center in Manhattan West. Photography is completely out of place in this environment but the prints reminded me of these sublime works by William Blake, on view at the Huntington in Los Angeles.

Satan watching the endearments of Adam and Eve, 1807
Pen and watercolour


Raphael Warns Adam and Eve, 1807
Pen and watercolour


Rout of the Rebel Angels, 1807
Pen and watercolour


The Creation of Eve, 1807
Pen and watercolour


The Temptation and Fall of Eve, 1807
Pen and watercolour


The Judgement of Adam and Eve; So Judged He Man, 1807
Pen and watercolour


For William Blake, the Bible was the greatest work of poetry ever written. Only Milton’s 17th century epic poem, Paradise Lost, rivaled its importance to his art. Blake produced three separate sets of illustrations for Paradise Lost, the first a series of twelve drawings commissioned by Joseph Thomas in 1807. Henry E. Huntington purchased all of the watercolours in this original series between 1911 and 1914. 

#current_mood
#four_days_to_Halloween
#art_of_the_sublime

The Huntington

July 16th, 2017

Look || See || Feel

The Emptiness Within

Jay DeFeo
b. 1929 Hanover, NH
d. 1989 Oakland, CA

The Eyes, 1958, Graphite pencil on paper, 42 × 84 3/4 in. (106.7 × 215.3 cm).

The artist inscribed the back of this drawing with a stanza from a poem by Philip Lamantia, a fellow member of San Francisco’s Beat community: ”Tell him I have eyes only for Heaven as I look to you Queen Mirror of the Heavenly Court”.

The 2017 Whitney Biennial

June 10th, 2017

The Society of Illustrators Annual Student Competition 2017

A jury of professional peers including illustrators and art directors have chosen the most outstanding works created by college level illustration and animation students throughout the year. Pieces are accepted based on the quality of technique, concept and skill of medium used. After reviewing 8.082 submissions, only 220 were selected for this year’s exhibition and 25 have received financial awards.

The works were on view between May & June 2017; these images are but a fraction, just enough to get an idea. Individual styles, different types of media, several Art Schools, all sharing a common quality: it was hard to believe these works were created by students, not professionals.

Carina Chong, F is for Fox
Gouache and pencil, Pratt Institute, Instructor: Pat Cummings


Mei Kanamoto, Insignificant Others
Silkscreen on paper, Parsons School of Design, Instructors: Jordin Isip and Steven Guarnaccia 


Amanda Chung, The Fool
Mixed media, Parsons School of Design, Instructors: Jordin Isip


Kyoosang Choi, Illusion
Acrylic and oil on panel, School of Visual Arts, Instructors: Thomas Woodruff and TM Davy


 Oh, look! Steadman was here Varvara Nedilska, The Collector
Watercolour and gouache, OCAD University, Instructor: Jon Todd


Clarissa Liu, Felt Tattoo
Felt, Rhode Island School of Design, Instructor: Melissa Ferreira

Nina Charuza, Train

Acrylic, California College of the Arts, Instructor: Bob Ciano


Mack Muller, Sax man
Monoprint, Syracuse University, Instructor: James Ransome


June 3rd, 2017

That’s The Spirit…!

Of being an old soul but never wanting to grow up.

The Spirit: ”Il Duce’s Locket” page 1
May 25, 1947
Ink on paper

P’Gell, a femme fatale with an impossibly narrow waist, was among the more prominent and persistent in a series of beautiful criminals in Eisner’s long-running Spirit. P’Gell, though a deadly adversary couldn’t shake her love interest in The Spirit. He seldom returned her affectionate overtures. P’Gell was named after the Quartier Pigalle, the notorious red light district of Paris


The Spirit: ”Quirte” seven-page story
November 21, 1948
Ink on paper


The Spirit: ”John Lindsay’s Mayoral Race”, five-page story
New York Herald Tribune magazine (January 9, 1966)
Will Eisner and Chuck Kramer
Ink on paper with wash

Will Eisner had not drawn a new Spirit story since 1952 when the New York Herald Tribune’s Sunday magazine contacted him in late 1965 to create a story based on the city’s mayoral election. The lettering (done on clear acetate) is missing from the original pages, but the story can be read on the smaller reproductions of the published version.


Portrait of Will Eisner by The Spirit
circa 1985
Ink on paper


Spirit Magazine #20 cover art
1979

Ink with watercolour on board


Samples of Eisner’s used pens and brushes
Jules Feiffer script for unpublished Spirit Story
1952
manuscript 


Smash Comics #8: ”Espionage”, page 3
1940
Ink on paper

This original ”Espionage” page on display is among a very small handful of Will Eisner’s surviving comic book pages from the 1930s when the Eisner & Iger Studio ”packaged” stories for client publishers. During that period (and later) publishers routinely destroyed original art after publication. Decades before organized fandom saw value in both vintage comics and art, publishers saw no reason to save such ”production” material. As a result, original art from the comic book industry’s early years is extremely rare. 


Portrait of a Nude Woman
1936

Oil on stretched canvas

A teen-aged Will Eisner painted this model while attending life drawing classes at the Art Students League in New York. Eisner’s disapproving and practical mother was shocked to learn that her young son was painting naked women and she discouraged him from pursuing art, a career she felt would be unremunerative. Eisner’s father, who when younger had aspired to be an artist, quietly gave his son encouragement. 


Late Train
New York City lithograph series
1988
Ink with watercolour on board


Turf War
New York City lithograph series
1988
Ink with watercolour on board


A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories: ”The Super”, ten-page excerpt
1978
Ink on vellum, adhered to board


Images from WILL EISNER: The Centennial Celebration 1917-2017, a retrospective comprising over 150 pieces of artwork, graphic novel sequences, original pages of The Spirit and Mr. Eisner’s personal items. The exhibition was curated by Denis Kitchen and John Lind and ran between March & June 2017 at the Society of Illustrators. It was the largest Eisner exhibition ever in the United States and made me very happy indeed.

June 3rd, 2017

Travelling on Memorial Day weekend…?

Roy Lichtenstein
Study for No Thank You!, 1964

That’s what I should have said. Probably. But I figured, if I avoided the rush on Thursday or – worse – Friday afternoon, I could just about manage to make it to destination unscathed. So, the next few weeks I hope to be bewitched, bedazzled and bewildered by the wonders of nature in Yellowstone, the savoury landscape of the Salt Flats in Utah, the coolest urbanity of Portland in Oregon and Seattle in Washington. Now, how about: travelling on Memorial Day weekend – Yes, please…!

The Morgan Library & Museum

May 7th, 2017

A tale of many faces (… and a frog)

Hendrick Goltzius, Netherlandish, 1558-1617
Self-Portrait, ca. 1590-91

Black, red and white chalk with watercolours


Jan de Bray, Dutch, ca. 1627-1697
Portrait of a Boy, in Half Length, ca. 1660

Black, red and while chalk 


Albrecht Dürer, German, 1471-1528
Portrait of a Young Woman with Braided Hair, 1515

Black chalk and charcoal


Attributed to Anthony van Dyck, Flemish, 1599-1641
The Fall of the Rebel Angels, ca. 1617-18

Black and white chalk, with pen and black and dark brown ink and black wash, incised for transfer

The exquisite drawing of the Archangel Michael battling Satan and the rebel angels was made after a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, now lost, and served as the model for an engraving by Lucas Vorsterman the Elder. 


Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish, 1577-1640
Robin, the Dwarf of the Earl of Arundel, 1620

Red and black chalk, with pen and brown ink, and traces of white chalk


Anthony van Dyck, Flemish, 1599-1641
Profile of a Young Woman with Her Left Arm Extended, A Study for Moses and the Brazen Serpent, ca. 1618-20

Black and white chalk on grayish brown paper 

Van Dyck adopted from Rubens the practice of making life drawings as a final preparation for key figures in his paintings at this early moment of his career. His style was so close to that of Rubens that this drawing was long believed to be by Rubens himself. 


Antoine Coypel, French, 1661-1722
Young Woman, 1690s

Black, red and white chalk, peach and pink pastel with touches of blue pastel, on brown paper

Unlike most eighteen-century studies made from a live model, the sitter depicted here looks directly at the viewer with a bold frankness. 


Attributed to Nicolò dell’Abate, Italian, 1509/12-1571
Frog Man, ca. 1560

Pen and brown ink and wash on tan paper, cut to the outline of the figure and laid down

The drawing is an example of the marvels of invention that characterized theatre at the Renaissance court. The Frog Man is a frog catcher, a man dressed up with a frog’s head mask and clothing of lily pads who would lure frogs into his net with the sounds of his pipes. He is analogous to Papageno, the well-known bird catcher of Mozart’s Magic Flute of a later century. 


From Treasures from the Nationalmuseum of Sweden: The Collections of Count Tessin”, an exhibition that ran through May 14, 2017.

The Morgan Library & Museum

May 7th, 2017