From Lens to Eye to Hand || Parrish Art Museum

The closer you look, the harder it is to believe that these photos are actually paintings.Richard McLean (1934-2014)
Western Tableau with Rhodesian Ridgeback (Trails West), 1993
Oil on linen


Richard McLean (1934-2014)
(Detail) Western Tableau with Rhodesian Ridgeback (Trails West), 1993
Oil on linen


Charles Bell (1935-1995)
Troupe, 1983
Oil on canvas


Ralph Goings (1928-2016)
Miss Albany Diner, 1993
Oil on canvas


Robert Cottingham (b. 1935)
Radios, 1977
Oil on linen


Robert Bechtle (b. 1932)
’73 Malibu, 1974
Oil on canvas


John Kacere (1920-1999)
Untitled, 1974
Watercolour on paper


John Kacere (1920-1999)
Reina ’79, 1979
Oil on linen


Randy Dudley (b. 1950)
Gowanus Canal from 2nd Street, 1986
Oil on canvas


Davis Cone (b. 1950)
State-Autumn Evening, 2002
Acrylic on canvas


Don Jacot (b. 1949)
Herald Square, 1936 (After Berenice Abbott), 2013
Oil on linen


Don Jacot (b. 1949)
(Detail) Herald Square, 1936 (After Berenice Abbott), 2013
Oil on linen


From Lens to Eye to Hand, Photorealism 1969 to Today, was an exhibition that took a fresh look at this contemporary art movement that found its roots in the mid-1960s in New York and California, evolving from the then dominant movements, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art and Minimalism. And, while Photorealism reached its height in the ’70s, there are some magnificent works proving that the movement continues today.

Parrish Art Museum
Water Mill, Long Island

September 3rd, 2017

Art of War

There is a sad beauty in these artworks drawing the tragedy of war.

Harry R. Hopps (1869-1937)
Destroy This Mad Brute-Enlist, 1917
Colour lithograph


French, early 20th century
The Great Nave: Wounded Soldiers Performing Arms Drill at the End of Their Medical Treatment, 1916
Gelatin silver print

During WWI, Paris’ magnificent Grand Palais, a Beaux-Arts structure that opened in 1900 as an exhibition hall, was repurposed as a temporary military hospital that served injured French soldiers. It held one thousand beds and had two operating rooms, as well as an extensive physical rehabilitation centre where soldiers could recover from their injuries, exercise and practice military drills before returning to the front. 


John Copley (1875-1950)
Recruits, 1915
Lithograph


Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946)
Rockets, 1917
Watercolour, gouache, graphite

Spilliaert served briefly in the Belgian civil guard after the German invasion. A pacifist by nature, he was greatly affected by the violence of war. Here, he depicts a deep blue sky illuminated by the flare of rockets, an image witnessed by both soldiers and civilians in occupied territories. The artist concentrated not on the rockets’ violent potential but on the graceful forms they generate and their resemblance to stars and comets


French, 20th century
After the Victory (Au Lendemain de la Victoire), 1918
Printed by Imprimerie Kapp
Published by Librairie Hachette & Co.
Colour lithograph

Many children lost loved ones to the war and were traumatized by the sounds and sights of combat. Ostensibly, celebrating victory, this book, like much wartime propaganda for children, reflects these dark events. Its interior presents images of rebuilding: each page shows a scene of destruction, but when a flap is raised, it shows the same site restored. 


Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945)
The Parents (Die Eltern), from War (Krieg), 1921-22
Printed by Fritz Voigt, Berlin
Woodcut

Pain,” Kollwitz noted, ”is totally dark.” This raw images portrays the profound grief of parents who, like the artist, lost a child to war. Kollwitz began working in this medium after seeing an exhibition of woodcuts by Ernst Barlach and being inspired by their graphic power; the War series is considered her most important in the technique. Kollwitz spent fifteen years working on a sculpture based on this print. The Grieving Parents, located in the cemetery for German soldiers in western Belgium where her son Peter is buried, is composed of two separate sculptures, showing the parents isolated in their despair.


George Grosz (1893-1959)
Background (Hintergrund), 1928
3 out of 17 photolithographs with printed portfolio


Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945)
Mothers (Muetter), from War (Krieg), 1919
Lithograph

In Mothers, women and children huddle together, their linked bodies forming a solid structure that fills the composition. Kollwitz drew herself in the centre, eyes closed and arms wrapped protectively around her two sons: Hans, the elder, and Peter, who was killed in combat at eighteen.


Images from ”World War I and the Visual Arts”, an exhibition exploring ”the myriad and often contradictory ways in which artists responded to the first modern war”.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

August 6th, 2017

The Titan’s Goblet

One of my favourite paintings, is on view @The_Met. Both mythical and realistic, surreal yet, somehow, familiar. I feel like it would take me many moon phases – or may be forever – to complete a full circle around the lush wooded rim. I feel like I’ve been there many times before; I go there often – in my dreams. Almost always in twilight, instances before it turns completely dark.

The Titan’s Goblet, 1833
Thomas Cole (1801–1848)
Oil on canvas

August 6th, 2017

They come in all sizes

Museums come in all shapes and sizes, integral parts of our society and pivotal in preserving, studying and expanding knowledge about the culture, heritage and nature of our world. And in an ethnically diverse metropolis of the magnitude of New York City, Museums come in every conceivable type: from the matchbox Mmuseumm to the jewel box Frick Collection, the Ambassador of Modernism that is the MoMA to the National Museum of the American Indian, advocate of Native American heritage, there are weird museums, pop up museums, museums of gigantic proportions like The Met; there is something for every interest, taste and even physical condition.

The Brooklyn Museum falls under the category of those Tardis-like structures that are surprisingly ”bigger on the inside”. How else can I explain the seemingly endless space when, after going through the galleries hosting the extensive Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition occupying -what we thought was- the largest part of the Museum, we found ourselves walking through corridors and galleries, monumental installations and even reconstructed period rooms, only to end up in this vast open space, its glass-tile floor reflecting the natural light coming from a skylight as large as the ceiling, enhanced by a huge chandelier?

It was only afterwards I looked it up and realised we had just visited the third largest Museum in New York City! This is the ”Beaux-Arts Court”, where the portraits of Washington A. Roebling and his wife, Emily Warren Roebling, fittingly hang side-by-side. Mr. Roebling was the chief engineer during the construction of Brooklyn Bridge, visible through the window in his portrait. When he fell ill, it was his wife who stepped in and oversaw its completion. Mrs. Roebling was the first person to cross the bridge, carrying a rooster for good luck.Portrait of Washington A. Roebling, 1899 by Théobald Chartran
Portrait of Emily Warren Roebling, 1896, by 
Charles-Émile-Auguste Carolus-Duran

Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017

Haunted

By benign spirits.

1/Henry Trippe House; Secretary, Maryland; c. 1730
Major Henry Trippe, a gentleman landowner and planter of English origin, built this one-and-a-half story brick home he called ”Carthagena” between 1724 and 1731 on land he head inherited from his father. The house faced the head of Secretary Creek on the eastern shore of Maryland. This orientation indicates the importance of water access before the development of good roads.

Greatly altered, the house still stands on its original site. A model and its living room can be viewed at the Brooklyn Museum, one of the twenty-three American period rooms installed as part of the Museum’s decorative arts collection.

2/Raphael Soyer (American, born Russia, 1899-1987); Café Scene, ca. 1940; oil on canvas
Raphael Soyer had a lifelong interest in the daily lives of working-class New Yorkers. His paintings of lone women in the early 1940s suggest the absence of husbands or sweethearts who had been called up to serve in WWII.

3/Luigi Lucioni (American, born Italy, 1900-1988); Paul Cadmus, 1928; oil on canvas
Luigi Lucioni and Paul Cadmus probably met as students, and they doubtless shared acquaintances within New York’s circles of gay artists and writers.

4/Reginald Marsh (American, 1898-1954); The Bowl, 1933; egg tempera on pressed wood panel
In this vivid Depression-era painting of one of the wild “bowl” rides at Coney Island, friends and strangers alike are thrown into contact by the overpowering centrifugal force. Reginald Marsh described the chaotic tangle of female bodies with the sensual physicality for which his work was best known.

5/Abbott H. Thayer (American, 1849-1921); The Sisters, 1884; oil on canvas
The women in this portrait were Bessie (left) and Clara Stillman, the sisters of the powerful financier James Stillman. 

Georgia before O’Keeffe

An icon in the making. Georgia O’Keeffe 
Woman with blue hat, 1916-1917
Watercolour, gouache and graphite on paper

O’Keeffe may have created this watercolour for classroom use. The work demonstrates the application of flat, stylized designs of fashion illustration. In this same period, the magazine Vanity Fair published similar stylized illustrations by O’Keeffe, who was searching for additional ways to turn her art skills into income. 


Hilda Belcher
The Checkered Dress (Portrait of O’Keeffe), 1907
Watercolour and gouache on cream laid paper, with JW watermark, mounted on paperboard

To pose for Hilda Belcher, who had also studied at the Art Students League of New York, O’Keeffe wore a stylish checkered dress that she most likely made for herself, in the black and white palette she would favour throughout her life. This watercolour, with its tour-de-force detailing of the dress, won Belcher membership in the male-dominated New York Water Colour Club. Several years later, a female writer composed a love poem to the then unknown sitter shown in the image; it reads in part:

”Could you know, did you guess/Such a daring rhythmic dress/Gleaming here, darkening there,/Would but render you more rare?”


Eugene E. Speicher
Portrait of Georgia O’Keeffe, 1908
Oil on canvas

When Eugene Speicher, an older student at the Art Students League, asked O’Keeffe to model for him, she wore a three-piece outfit associated with the so-called New Woman: a white shirtwaist, black skirt and jacket, and black bow at her neck. This combination allowed women to move with greater ease than in conventional Victorian dresses and was a style of reform dress widely endorsed by budding women artists and professionals. In 1948, Life magazine ran an image of the sixty-one-old O’Keeffe posed next to the portrait (in a different frame), noting, ”she has changed from an unknown youngster to one of the foremost painters in the U.S.” Her personal style, however, had remained the same. 


Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017

Meanwhile, New York was doing ‘OK

Thanks to Brooklyn Museum at its curators who had organised an extraordinary exhibition about the work and lifestyle of Georgia O’Keeffe. It was truly extraordinary because, refreshingly and for the first time ever, it focused on her wardrobe, showing some of her signature garments alongside her paintings and photographs. In doing so, the show was successful in capturing the spirit of the woman behind the artist, her steely determination to be in charge of her own life and work, the reinvention of herself as a style icon. I went into the exhibition an avid admirer of the work by one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. I came out full of new images, knowledge and a better understanding of her intriguing personality. Coming back from Los Angeles, I couldn’t have asked for a smoother landing into the frenzy of New York City. 

Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O’Keeffe at 291, 1917
Platinum print


Georgia O’Keeffe
Shell and Old Shingle VI, 1926
Oil on canvas


Georgia O’Keeffe
Black Pansy & Forget-Me-Nots (Pansy), 1926
Oil on canvas


Cecil Beaton
Portrait of Painter Georgia O’Keeffe, 1946
Gelatin silver print

Black remained her favourite colour throughout O’Keeffe’s life. Her reason was described in one article in 1929: ”She wears black almost invariably – not, she says, because she prefers it, but because, if she started picking out colours for dresses, she would have no time for painting.”


Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1932
Gelatin silver print

A modernist in dress as well as art, O’Keeffe liked to wear white blouses partially covered with a black sweater to create defined blocks of light and dark. 


Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O’Keeffe, probably 1919
Gelatin silver print

O’Keeffe considered her neck and head as integral shapes in arranging her dress. She frequently used the necklines of her blouses as visual framing devices for her long neck, and headdresses or her neatly wound hair to bring closure to her sartorial composition.


Georgia O’Keeffe
Manhattan, 1932
Oil on canvas


Georgia O’Keeffe
Brooklyn Bridge, 1949
Oil on masonite

Just before moving to New Mexico permanently in 1949, O’Keeffe painted this farewell salute to New York, her home for thirty years.


Arnold Newman
Georgia O’Keeffe, Ghost Ranch, N.M., 1968
Dye transfer on paper


Apron, 20th century
Denim

This apron was probably bought off-the-rack, but O’Keeffe added the lower section using her own scraps of denim. Though she had kitchen help much of the time, she was a good cook. She used fruits and vegetables from her own gardens and prepared food as she dressed, simply with few adornments.


Claudius Lafond jacket & red and purple cotton madras dress, 1950s

O’Keeffe rejected the synthetic fibers that were popular during and after WWII, such as nylon, acrylic and polyester. When traveling in the 1950s and 1960s, she continued to seek out natural cottons and silks in either a single colour of sometimes with stripes, checks or plaids. She may have bought this heavyweight cotton-work jacket when she went to Franc for the first time, in 1953. She most likely designed the plaid Madras dress for herself. 


Don Worth
Georgia O’Keeffe with Chair, 1958 (printed 1968)
Gelatin silver print

Customarily, O’Keeffe wore black and white when photographers came to visit, but in 1958, she made an exception for Don Worth. She wore her white French work jacket over the red plaid dress, we saw above.


Armi Ratia for Marimekko
”Mother’s Coat” Dress with matching belt, designed mid-1950s.


Annika Rimala for Marimekko
”Varjo” Dress, ca. 1963


Georgia O’Keeffe
Ram’s head, White Hollyhock-Hills (Ram’s Head and White Hollyhock, New Mexico), 1935
Oil on canvas


Georgia O’Keeffe
In the Patio IX, ca. 1964
Oil on canvas mounted on panel


Emilio Pucci
”Chute” Dress, ca. 1954

This was one of the first Pucci dresses to be sold in the American market, testifying to O’Keeffe’s interest in and awareness of contemporary fashion.


Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918
Gelatin silver print


Alfred Stieglitz
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918
Gelatin silver print


Paul Strand
Georgia O’Keeffe, Texas, 1918
Platinum print

Paul Strand, a young photographer supported and mentored by Stieglitz, was the first to capture O’Keeffe sleepy-eyed and slightly disheveled, wearing a kimono. The fact that kimonos were sleep and bath wear for her gives this photography its frisson; her letters to Strand show that the two were briefly attracted to one another and may have had a short-lived dalliance.


Georgia O’Keeffe
Green, Yellow and Orange, 1960
Oil on canvas


Philippe Halsman
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1967


Philippe Halsman
Georgia O’Keeffe, 1967


Tony Vaccaro
Georgia O’Keeffe with the Cheese, 1960
Gelatin silver print


Ansel Adams
Georgia O’Keeffe, Carmel Highlands, California, 1981 – printed 1982
Gelatin silver print

In 1981, O’Keeffe visited Ansel Adams in California for the last time. They were very dear friends and had known one another for over fifty years. He unfailingly got her to look directly at him and his camera for portraits that characteristically are straightforward and natural, without the mythos that attended photographs of her as a solitary and remote figure of the desert.


Alexander Calder
Pin, ca 1938
Brass

Sculptor Alexander Calder, who also made hand-wrought metal jewelry, created this brass pin for O’Keeffe. It first appears in a 1938 photograph and, from then on, O’Keeffe wore it often for photo shoots. When her hair turned grey, she found the pin’s copper colour less flattering and, on a trip to India in 1959, she found a craftsman to make her a silver version, which she wore for the rest of her life. She was known to boast that the copy cost her only five dollars.


Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern was running in Brooklyn Museum until July 23rd, 2017. I caught it one day before closing.

July 22nd, 2017

Getty & The Ladies

The rare instance of being a voracious womanizer who “could hardly ever say ‘no’ to a woman, or ‘yes’ to a man”, could momentarily be overlooked.

3/
Portrait of the Marquise de Miramon, née Thérèse Feuillant, 1866
James Tissot (1836-1902)
Oil on canvas

4/
Jeanne (Spring), 1881
Édouard Manet (1832-1883)

Oil on canvas

Depicting young actress Jeanne Demarsy as the fashionable embodiment of spring, this portrait was part of an unfinished series of the seasons that Manet undertook at the end of his life. 

5/
Portrait of Jeanne Kéfer, 1885
Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921)
Oil on canvas

6/
Portrait of Princess Leonilla of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, 1843
Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873)
Oil on canvas

7/
Mischief and Repose (1895)
John William Godward (1861-1922)
Oil on canvas

The Getty Center

July 18th, 2017