San Francisco is… ”Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle”

You may not know the name Eyvind Earle but you certainly know his work, if Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan or Lady and the Tramp sound at all familiar. A visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum was firmly on our map, but Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle, a retrospective about the life and work of the artist behind some of Disney’s timeless stories that marked the childhood of kids all over the world -myself included- was a double win.

The exhibition featured more than 250 works, including concept paintings for Lady and the Tramp and artworks for Sleeping Beauty. But, more importantly, it included an extensive collection of Earle’s lush landscapes in the artist’s very distinctive style, as well as serigraphs, watercolours, sculpture, commercial illustrations (two examples of which we saw in the teaser, yesterday) – the extend of Earle’s work seems limitless.  Self Portrait Sketch, 1925 (age 9-10)


Botticelli Woman, 1936
Graphite on paper


Scratchboards created for
Horizon Bound on a Bicycle:
The Autobiography of Eyvind Earle (1991)
Ink on scratchboard


[In 1937, at the age of 21, Eyvind Earle bicycled across the country from Hollywood, California, to Monroe, New York, on a 45 day trip. He painted 42 water colors and wrote a 10,000 page diary along the way. At the conclusion of the expedition, Charles Morgan Gallery in New York exhibited all the watercolors.

Eyvind created many water colors during his life; during certain time periods they were his primary focus.  Occasionally he had shows which solely exhibited his watercolors, some of which have been declared to be his finest work.] (source) New York, 1939
Watercolour on paper


Little Girl, 1939
Watercolour on paper


Winter Oak, 1997
Oil on Masonite


Face 2, 1981
Ink on scratchboard


Bearded Man, 1980
Ink and varnish on scratchboard


Portrait of a Woman, 1981
Ink on paper


Portrait of a Woman, 1975
Ink on paper


[The sleek glow of his acrylics and oils is the result of a custom-made formula Earle created himself for the varnishes he used, often tinting them with glues. He also experimented with marine varnishes which were impervious to water and did not require the addition of glue. Because he needed to wait for the layers to dry, Earle often worked on up to thirty paintings at the same time.] (source)

”In nature when I look I see trees, some of them are such that they thrill me with their perfection and their sweeping lines and certain mood they seem to have. Windswept plains give me something that can’t be seen. In every tree I feel as though I could see the soul of that tree. It is alive. It is a person. And if beauty be related to the truth, harmony and balance must be there, and there must be movement because in nature all things move. And there are certain laws such as the law of duality. Everything has its opposite. Nothing is without its opposite. If I want a bright light in a painting, I must have a dark shadow. If I want a color to look very warm, I must have also a very cold color, and so on and on forever. But when I paint, I forget the things I know. I just sit there painting away, trying to get the feeling into my painting that I feel inside. Whatever beauty is, I feel it, and as long as I can I shall try to find more and more beauty, and to put it down so that others can see what I have seen.” – Eyvind Earle

Blue Tree, 1994
Oil on masonite


Tall Tree and Barn, 1969
Oil on canvas on wood


Green Forest, 1970
Acrylic on Masonite


Pastures in Early Spring, 1996
Oil on masonite


Mustard Field, 1974
Oil on masonite


Coastal Paradise, 1995
Oil on masonite


Where Eagles Fly, 1993
Oil on masonite


Giant Oak, 1996
Oil on masonite


Flower Fantasy, 1980
Watercolour on paper


Three Noble Horses, 1993
Oil on masonite


Hillside Magic, 1976
Oil on masonite


Orchard, 1984
Oil on canvas


Three Live Oaks, 1983
Oil on canvas


Concept paintings, c. 1959
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Gouache on paperboard


Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle was on show at The Walt Disney Family Museum, until beginning of January 2018.

July 8th, 2017

San Francisco is… keeping its hats on

[In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, hats were a social obsession, subjects of acclaim and critique. The Paris millinery industry was at its financial and creative peak between the mid-1870s and 1914, the period between the Franco-Prussian War and the outbreak of the World War I, decades that coincided with the ear of French Impressionism. The women who made and sold hats – milliners, or modistes in French – as well as those who purchased them, fascinated Edgar Degas and other artists in his circle.] Bonnets of the 1880s by Mangin Maurice (left) & Cordeau et Laugaudin (right)


Bonnet, ca. 1894 by an unknown designer, France


Jean Béraud, 1849-1935
Fashionable Woman on the Champs-Élysées, n.d.
Oil on canvas


Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Woman Adjusting Her Hair, ca. 1884
Oil on canvas


Hat by Maison Virot, ca. 1900 (with alterations)


Hat by Camille Marchais, ca. 1895


Bonnet by Mesdemoiselles Cotel, ca. 1885 (left) & Capote by E. Gauthier, ca. 1890


Hat by Caroline Reboux, ca. 1904-1905 (left) & by Au Bon Marché, retailer, ca. 1884


Capote by Auguste Poussineau, known as A. Félix, ca. 1880-1885 (front) & Hat by Monsieur Heitz-Boyer, 1898 (back)


Hat by an unknown designer, ca. 1890


Édouard Manet (1832-1883)
Berthe Morisot, ca. 1869-1873
Oil on canvas


Louise Catherine Breslau (1856-1927)
The Milliners, 1899
Pastel on paper mounted on board


Paul-César Helleu (1859-1927)
The Final Touch, ca 1885
Pastel on paper


Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade exhibition ran until September 2017 @ the Legion of Honor*

July 07th, 2017

*If, by any chance, September 2018 finds you in San Francisco, please do make me jealous and go see the current exhibition, Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters!

“Cabin crew, please take your seats for landing”

Ladies & Gentlemen, welcome to San Francisco!

You know you’re in the right place when -on touch down- you’re greeted with a display of some of the most iconic antique typewriters ever produced. Japanese Typewriters

Chinese and Japanese script are logographic and utilize characters that represent elements of words or meanings. Chinese is one of the most ancient forms of active writing, with over 80.000 characters identified throughout different eras and regions of China. Modern Chinese is simplified. Around 3.500 characters are defined in the List of Frequently Used Characters in Chinese, with approximately 2.500 in Common-use Character lists published by the Chinese government.

In 1915, Japanese printer and inventor Kyota Sugimoto (1882-1972) patented a typewriter that printed in both Chinese and Japanese. Manufactured by the Nippon Typewriter Company, the machine featured a large, sliding tray to room for 2.450 individual type-slugs. 


The Chinese typewriter

Typing in Chinese or Japanese on a flatbed typewriter is a complex procedure. Operators of these machines must familiarize themselves with the location of more than 2.000 type-slugs, and most early typists averaged twenty to thirty characters per minute. Typing speed substantially increased with the arrangement of type-beds by operators to suit their individual needs. In the early 1950s, the New Typing Method introduced ”radiating compound” organization to Chinese typists. Depending on subject matter, associated characters were arranged around central, primary characters in radiating patterns. Typists were responsible for their own layouts, and organization differed dramatically. For instance, a layout for a government office would be quite different than for a factory, with names of officials substituted for company names and technical terms.

Throughout the 1950s, most Chinese language typewriters were manufactured in Japan. The Chinese government restructured typewriter production under the new communist regime and in 1964, the Shanghai Chinese Typewriter Manufacturers Association introduced a flatbed typewriter. Based on the Japanese typewriter produced by Nippon Typewriter Co. in Tokyo, the revitalized machine was branded the Double Pigeon DHY and made by Shanghai Calculator & Typewriter. Available with either ribbon-or roller-inking mechanisms, the DHY was the iconic typewriting machine of the People’s Republic of China and was manufactured until 1992.


Olivetti Design

The Valentine is perhaps the most iconic Olivetti typewriter, envisioned by designer Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) as an inexpensive and simple-yet-stylish portable.


Royal Quiet De Luxe with carrying case, 1949
Royal Typewriter Company, Inc. Hartfort, Connecticut


Bar-Lock No. 6, 1895
Columbia Typewriter Company, New York

Double Keyboards

Modern typewriters use a shift-key mechanism to select upper- and lower-case characters. Many models introduced during early typewriter production utilized a double-keyboard arrangement, with two banks of keys organized by upper and lower cases. Initially, makers of double-keyboard machines promoted their potential speed and efficiency. The Smith Premier was the best-selling typewriter of this group and advertised ”a key for every character”. Like the Sholes & Glidden Type Writer and early Remington models, the Smith Premier was an upstroke machine and did not print within the user’s view – its carriage had to be lifted to reveal the paper and printed text.


Williams No. 1, 1895
The Williams Typewriter Company, New York


Crandall New Model, c. 1890
Crandall Machine Company, Groton, New York


Chicago No. 2, 1905
Chicago Writing Machine Co.


Underwood Standard Portable Typewriter with hand-lettered case, 1926
owned by Orson Welles
Underwood Typewriter Company, New York

Typescript for Citizen Kane, 1941


Royal Model P, 1932
owned by Ernest Hemingway
Royal Typewriter Co., Inc. New York

Our amazing trip to the West Coast had just began in the best way possible – in San Francisco International Airport.

July 4th, 2017

My imaginary wish list

Sometime ago I mentioned how much I enjoy wandering about the period rooms at the Metropolitan, so painstakingly reconstructed by the museum curators that they compete in authenticity and splendour with the original ones. Today, let’s go for another walk to see some of the objects high on my imaginary wish list (and a couple of no-nos).

The pianoforte:Pianoforte, New York City, 1810-15
Patented by John Geib and Son. Case attributed to the workshop of Duncan Phyfe (1768-1844). Mahogany, rosewood, satinwood, ivory, gilded gesso, brass with white pine, maple, ash


The Square Piano (when more is too much – too complicated for my wish list, yet very impressive woodwork): Square Piano
Robert Nunns and John Clark (active 1833-58)
New York City, 1853
Rosewood, mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell

{Lavish decoration and opulent materials distinguish this extraordinary piano…. Its immense scale and excessive decoration make it quite unlike the small and economical upright pianos that became fixtures of middle-class parlours in the second half of the nineteenth century.}


The Four Seasons cabinet: Cabinet
Herter Brothers (active 1864-1906)
New York City, ca. 1869
Rosewood, maple ebonized wood, porcelain plaques, oil on panel, brass

{This rich and imposing cabinet is from a ten-piece parlour suite made by Herter Brothers in 1869 for Jay Gould’s house on Fifth Avenue. Incorporating a design vocabulary taken from the architecture of the day, it is a tour de force of cabinetmaking, combining sophisticated marquetry, assured carving and delicately modeled ceramic plaques depicting the Four Seasons.}


The Étagère in Rococo Revival style: Alexander Roux (active 1843-86)
New York City, ca. 1855
Rosewood, chestnut, poplar, bird’s-eye maple veneer


A Girl’s best friend (not just diamonds): Necklace with Pendant, ca. 1910
Louis Comfort Tiffany
Tiffany and Company
Moonstones, Montana sapphires, platinum


The Gilded Kennel (with the mark of Marie-Antoinette, no less): Kennel
Gilded beech and pine. Signed by Claude Sené (1724-1792): stamped with the mark of Marie-Antoinette’s garde-meuble. French, ca. 1775-80


The Copper Lamp: Dirk Van Erp (1859-1933)
San Francisco, California, ca. 1912-15
Copper base, mica and copper shade


The dressing room (gown included): Worsham-Rockefeller Dressing Room
New York City, 1881-82
George A. Schastey & Co. (1873-97)

{In 1881, Arabella Worsham then-mistress of railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington, hired the cabinetmaking and decorating Firm George A. Schastey & Co. to create a series of distinctive artistic interiors for her townhouse at 4 West 54th Street. The resulting decor, including that found in this dressing room, was the height of cosmopolitan style in the early 1880s and emblematic of Worsham’s quest to fashion her identity as a wealthy, prominent woman of taste.}


The octagon table:Probably New York City, about 1860
Walnut, marble


The Richard and Gloria Manney Greek Revival Parlour:

The Richard and Gloria Manney John Henry Belter Rococo Revival Parlour:

The Working Girl’s table:Worktable
Salem, Massachusetts, 1800-1810
Mahogany, mahogany veneer, ivory with white pine, maple

{Worktables were one of few gender-specific pieces of furniture used in the home. Women relied on them for storing sewing supplies and for conducting correspondence, as such tables often contained a hinged writing surface in a drawer.}


The Richmond Room, 1810-11:

The yellow chairs and the sleek Federal era sofa:Side Chairs
Attributed to the workshop of John Finlay (1777-1851) and Hugh Finlay (1781-1830)
Baltimore, ca. 1815-25
Maple with painted and gilded decoration

{Originally part of a large set, these brilliantly conceived and handsomely executed chairs derive their broad, deeply curved crest tablets and sweeping rear stiles from the ancient Greek klismos form.}

Center Table
Labeled by Anthony G. Quervelle (1789-1856)
Philadelphia, ca. 1830
Mahogany, marble and brass with painted decoration

The Art Nouveau mantelpiece: Attributed to Jean-Désiré Muller (French, 1877–1952)
Glazed stoneware, ca. 1900

The Minimal-Tidy-Closet-I-will-Never-Have-But-Always-Dream-Of:  Sara Berman’s Closet

{The meticulously organized, modest closet in which Sara Berman (1920–2004)—an immigrant who traveled from Belarus to Palestine to New York—kept her all-white apparel and accessories both contained her life and revealed it. Inspired by the beauty and meaning of Berman’s closet, the artists Maira and Alex Kalman (who are also Berman’s daughter and grandson) have recreated the closet and its contents as an art installation.

This exhibition represents Berman’s life from 1982 to 2004, when she lived by herself in a small apartment in Greenwich Village. In her closet Berman lovingly organized her shoes, clothes, linens, beauty products, luggage, and other necessities. Although the clothing is of various tints—including cream, ivory, and ecru—it gives the impression of being all white.}

And, finally, his made-to-order Little Red Hood’s cloak:Child’s cloak
American, 180s
Wool and silk

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

July 2nd, 2017

summer of mischief

there were turtles and peacocks and ethereal angels,
a huge creepy face and menacing eagles,
smiling piglets and playful hounds,
proud looking stags and graceful felines –

all kinds of furry, feathered and mischievous creatures
dancing and stalking and flying –
sweeping across from wall to sacred wall
of one of the world’s largest cathedrals ”Ursus”, Dan Ostermiller


‘Sun Face”, full scale production section by Greg Wyatt, Plaster cast


”River Mates”, Tim Cherry


”Circle of Friends”, Gary Lee Price


”Trouble”, Bob Guelich


”Eagle Rock”, Kent Ullberg


”Peacocks”, Dan Chen


”Stella”, André Harvey


”High Four” and ”Tickled”, Louise Peterson


”Two Peacocks”, Greg Wyatt


”Hope”, Elwira Jarecka, La Guardia Community College


”Hidden Behind”, Chitra Mamidela, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts


”Scottish Stag”, Wesley Wofford


”Top Gun”, Stefan Savides


”Wild Instinct”, Joshua Tobey

A Summer of Sculpture was an exhibition that featured Cathedral Artist in Residence Greg Wyatt’s Peace Fountain and Animals of Freedom; A Blessing of Animals, curated by the National Sculpture Society; and the Art Students League of New York’s Model to Monument Retrospective. It ran in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, until September 2017.

June 29th, 2017

Bear in mind

They come in peace

1/Installation courtesy of Q Florist
2/”Ursus”, the gigantic bronze sculpture by Dan Ostermiller was inviting visitors to cross the monumental entrance of St. John the Divine Cathedral. Inside, more wild creatures had taken their places all over the Cathedral in celebration of ”A Summer of Sculpture” – an exhibition that ran through September 2017.

More photos from ”A Summer of Sculpture” coming up tomorrow.

June 29th, 2017

The Art of the In-Between

1/KAYA (Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers), founded 2010, installation view of SERENE, 2017

3/Kaari Upson (b. 1972), In Search of the Perfect Double II, 2016 (detail). Urethane, pigment and aluminium

4/Asad Raza (b. 1974), detail of Root sequence. Mother tongue, 2017

5/Elsie Driggs (1895–1992), Pittsburgh, 1927. Oil on canvas

8/Richmond Barthé (1901–1989), African Dancer, 1933. Plaster

9/View (partial) of Larry Bell’s Pacific Red II, 2017 – also seen in previous post

The 2017 Whitney Biennial

June 10th, 2017

beginning & the end, neither & the otherwise, betwixt & between, the end is the beginning & the end

Made you look, didn’t it? Imagine then, what a head-turner this installation was in real life!

A site-specific work by Raúl de Nieves for the 2017 Whitney Biennial, with floor-to-ceiling windows made to look like stained-glass, using paper, wood, glue, tape, beads, and acetate sheets. In front of them, the most heavily blinged sculptures, completely covered in beads, costume jewelry and heavy fabric, costumes that the artist is actually wearing himself when performing.

Doubtlessly the most bonkers installation of the 2017 Biennial but, for those searching for a deeper meaning, the accompanying tag had it all spelled out:

”In all of his work, de Nieves treats modest materials with meticulous attention, turning the mundane into the fantastical—with metamorphosis a common theme. The windows depict a world in which death and waste are omnipresent, often symbolized by a fly. Unlike many Western spiritual traditions, however, de Nieves presents death as a metaphor for the possibility of spectacular transformation and rebirth in an unpredictable and turbulent world.”

Ha! My nose is bigger than yours!


Raúl de Nieves (b. 1983 in Morelia, Mexico; lives in Brooklyn, NY)

beginning & the end, neither & the otherwise, betwixt & between, the end is the beginning & the end, 2016
Paper, wood, glue, acetates, tape, and beads, 195 x 456 5/16 in. (495.3 x 1159 cm).

Man’s best friend, 2016
Yarn, fabric, glue, beads, cardboard, found trim and mannequin

The longer I slip into a crack the shorter my nose becomes, 2016
Yarn, dress, glue beads, cardboard, found trim, apple, taxidermic bird and mannequin

Somos Monstros 2, 2016
Beads, glue found trim, cardboard, costume jewelry and dress

The 2017 Whitney Biennial

June 10th, 2017