Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur, 1930 ~ Oil on canvas
Canna Leaves, 1925 & Corn No.2, 1924 ~ Oil on canvas
Blue Line, 1919 ~ Oil on canvas
Alfred Stieglitz ~ Georgia O’Keeffe – Hands, 1912 ~ Gelatin silver print
No. 17 – Special, 1912 ~ Charcoal on paper
Anything, 1916 ~ Oil on board
Abstraction, 1945 ~ Charcoal on paper
Todd Webb ~ Georgia O’Keeffe with Camera, 1958 ~ Gelatin silver print
John Loengard ~ Grooming Dogs, Abiquiú, 1966 ~ Gelatine silver print
Dan Budnik ~ Georgia O’Keeffe with Chow and Friends at Ghost Ranch, 1975 ~ Gelatin silver print
Ansel Adams ~ Georgia O’Keeffe at Yosemite, 1938 ~ Gelatin silver print
Flagpole, 1925 ~ Oil on canvas
Untitled (City Night), 1970s & Ritz Tower, 1928 ~ Oil on canvas
The Barns, Lake George, 1926 ~ Oil on canvas
Detail of a built-in bench with a rattlesnake from Georgia O’Keeffe’s home, in Abiquiú
Horse’s Skull with White Rose, 1931 ~ Oil on canvas
Ram’s Head, Blue Morning Glory, 1938 ~ Oil on canvas
Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico/Out Back of Marie’s II, 1930 ~ Oil on canvas
Kokopelli, 1942 ~ Oil on board
Kokopelli with Snow, 1942 ~ Oil on board
Blue – A, 1959 ~ Oil on canvas

A Great American Artist ~ A Great American Story

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe

April 27th, 2019

Joan Miró || Birth of the World

Head of a Man, 1937. Gouache and oil on coloured paper
The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers, 1941. Gouache, oil wash, and charcoal on paper
Still Life I, 1922-23. Oil on canvas
Still Life III, 1922-23. Oil and gouache on canvas
Still Life II, 1922-23. Oil on canvas
Woman (Opera Singer), 1934. Pastel and pencil on flocked paper
”Hirondelle Amour”, 1933-34. Oil on canvas

“You and all my writer friends have given me much help and improved my understanding of many things,” Joan Miró told the French poet Michel Leiris in the summer of 1924, writing from his family’s farm in Montroig, a small village nestled between the mountains and the sea in his native Catalonia. The next year, Miró’s intense engagement with poetry, the creative process, and material experimentation inspired him to paint The Birth of the World.

In this signature work, Miró covered the ground of the oversize canvas by applying paint in an astonishing variety of ways that recall poetic chance procedures. He then added a series of pictographic signs that seem less painted than drawn, transforming the broken syntax, constellated space, and dreamlike imagery of avant-garde poetry into a radiantly imaginative and highly inventive form of painting. He would later describe this work as “a sort of genesis,” and his Surrealist poet friends titled it The Birth of the World. [source: MoMA]

Self-Portrait I, 1937-38. Pencil, crayon, and oil on canvas

The exhibition ran between February-June 2019 and featured artwork from the Museum of Modern Art’s collection of Miró’s works, which is one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world. However, the most comprehensive selection of Miró’s oeuvre actually on view has to be that of the Fundació Joan Miró, in Barcelona, a dedicated space created by Joan Miró himself with the idea of making art accessible to all.

MoMA, New York City

April 4th, 2019

Double Take

Four Ladies by Thomas Dewing; with added shine in gold gilded frames, or frameless in all their plain glory. 

The Carnation, 1893 || Oil on canvas
Thomas Dewing (1851-1938)
The Carnation, 1893 || Oil on canvas
Thomas Dewing (1851-1938)
The Mirror, 1907 || Oil on wood panel
Thomas Dewing (1851-1938)
The Mirror, 1907 || Oil on wood panel
Thomas Dewing (1851-1938)
The Garland, ca. 1916 || Oil on canvas
Thomas Dewing (1851-1938)
The Garland, ca. 1916 || Oil on canvas
Thomas Dewing (1851-1938)
The Piano, 1891 || Oil on wood panel
Thomas Dewing (1851-1938)
The Piano, 1891 || Oil on wood panel
Thomas Dewing (1851-1938)

Frames designed by Stanford White (1853-1906)

Freer Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

March 21st, 2019

Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes

The Language of the Underworld || 2017 || Acrylic and charcoal on linen
Moky || 2013 || Acrylic, oil, and charcoal on linen
Lady Moth || 2017 || Acrylic and charcoal on linen
Mana Hatta || 2017 || Acrylic and charcoal on linen
Solo Dolo || 2010 || Acrylic, oil, and charcoal on linen
P. || 2008 || Acrylic, charcoal, and pastel crayon on linen

The largest US museum survey of this pioneering artist to date, Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes featured more than thirty large-scale paintings that revealed the artist’s considerable influence in the field of contemporary art.

One of the most inventive artists working today, von Heyl has earned international acclaim for continually rethinking the possibilities of contemporary painting. Her cerebral yet deeply visceral artworks upend longstanding assumptions about composition, beauty, and narrative. Drawing inspiration from a vast and surprising array of sources—including literature, pop culture, metaphysics, and personal history—von Heyl creates paintings that are seemingly familiar yet impossible to classify, offering, in her words, “a new image that stands for itself as fact.”

In studios in New York and Marfa, Texas, von Heyl combines a rigorous, process-based practice that demands each painting develop through the act of painting itself. The spellbinding results invite viewers to explore a unique visual language that is both exuberant and insistent.

Snake Eyes ran at The Hirshhorn from November 2018 to April 2019.

March 18th, 2019

Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern – part III

Paul Klee
Actor’s Mask, 1924
Oil on canvas mounted on board

O. Louis Guglielmi
Wedding in South Street, 1937
Oil on canvas

Pavel Tchelitchew
Leaf Children, 1940
Oil on canvas

Bernard Perlin
The Lovers, 1946
Gouache and ink on paper-faced board

Pavel Tchelitchew
Head of Autumn (Study for Hide-and-Seek), 1941
Watercolour and pencil on paper

Edward Hopper
House by the Railroad, 1925
Oil on canvas

Ben Shahn
Willis Avenue Bridge, 1940
Gouache on paper on board

Ivan LeLorraine Albright
Woman, 1928
Oil on canvas

Bernard Perlin
The Lovers, 1946 (detail)
Gouache and ink on paper-faced board

Pavel Tchelitchew
Hide-and-Seek, 1940-1942
Oil on canvas

Elie Nadelman
Man in the Open Air, c. 1915

MoMA, Mar-Jun 2019

March 15th, 2019

Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern – part I

Lucian Freud
Portrait of Lincoln Kirstein, 1950
Oil on canvas

Kirstein sat for this portrait while he was in London for a New York City Ballet performance at Covent Garden and to organize the exhibition Symbolic Realism in American Painting: 1940-1950 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Lucian Freud
Portrait of a Woman, 1949
Oil on canvas

Artworks by Pavel Tchelitchew, George Platt Lynes, Paul Cadmus & Jean Cocteau
Pavel Tchelitchew
George Platt Lynes, 1935
Coloured ink on paper

Walker Evans
Lincoln Kirstein, c. 1931
Gelatin silver print

Paul Cadmus
Designs for the ballet Filling Station, 1937
Paul Cadmus
Designs for the ballet Filling Station, 1937
Paul Cadmus
Designs for the ballet Filling Station, 1937
Paul Cadmus
Designs for the ballet Filling Station, 1937
Paul Cadmus
Designs for the ballet Filling Station, 1937

Karl Free
Costume designs for the ballet Pocahontas, c. 1936

Jared French
Costume design for the ballet Billy the Kid, 1938

“I have a live eye,” proclaimed Lincoln Kirstein, signaling his wide-ranging vision. Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern explored this polymath’s sweeping contributions to American cultural life in the 1930s and ’40s. Best known for cofounding New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet with George Balanchine, Kirstein (1907–1996), a writer, critic, curator, impresario, and tastemaker, was also a key figure in MoMA’s early history. With his prescient belief in the role of dance within the museum, his championing of figuration in the face of prevailing abstraction, and his position at the center of a New York network of queer artists, intimates, and collaborators, Kirstein’s impact remains profoundly resonant today. [source: MoMA]

Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern

MoMA, Mar-Jun 2019

March 15th, 2019

By All Means: Time travel @ The Morgan

Travelling in time and space in just a few steps, from gallery to gallery, at The Morgan; when three fantastic exhibitions ran simultaneously through May 2019.

By any means: Contemporary drawings from The Morgan

Stephen Vitiello (American, b. 1964)
Speaker Drawing (22.06), 2006 – Pigment and spray fixative

This work is part of a series in which Vitiello explored the relationship between sound – his primary medium – and drawing. He placed pigment in a speaker that was embedded in a table, laying a sheet of paper on top. Vibrations from a synthesizer’s low-frequency oscillator moved the pigment from the speaker to the paper, creating an image that contrasted in its minimalism with the density of the aural event.

Sol LeWitt (American, 1928-2007)
Untitled (folded paper drawing), 1971

John Cage (American, 1912-1992)
Where R = Ryoanji (2R)/4-6/83, 1983
Graphite pencil

Cage often relied on chance to determine the forms of his works. The present sheet belongs to a series inspired by the Zen rock garden of the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto, in which fifteen rocks are carefully arranged. The selection of stones, the number of tracings (here 30, as denoted by 2R, where R is equivalent to 15, the number of stones at the temple), their placement, and the number of pencils of different softness that he used (4) were determined by the I Ching, an ancient Chinese divination manual, by way of a computer simulation developed by Bell Labs in New York.

Marsha Cottrell (American, b. 1964)
Old Museum (Interior_7), 2015
Laser toner

Although Cottrell uses a computer to make her work, she does not use a computer programme to determine composition but instead passes Japanese paper through a printer numerous times, each time changing or rearranging the shapes on the screen to generate dense, layered images.

Invention and Design: Early Italian Drawings

After Girolamo Mocetto (ca. 1458-after 1531)
Metamorphosis of the Nymph Amymone, ca. 1500
Brush and brown, green-brown, and blue wash, pen and green-brown ink, and white opaque watercolour, over black chalk, on paper

Vittore Carpaccio (1460/66-1525/26)
Head of a Young Man, in Profile to the Right, 1490-1500
Black chalk, brown wash, and white opaque watercolour, on blue paper

Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio (ca. 1489-1534)
Head of a Woman Crying Out, ca. 1509-11
Charcoal and black and white chalk, on two pieces of light brown paper joined vertically

Timoteo Viti (1469-1523)
Head of a Woman in Profile to the Right, ca. 1515
Black and white chalk, on two pieces of paper joined vertically; incised with stylus

Bartolomeo Cincani, known as Bartolomeo Montagna (1447/50-1523)
Nude Man Standing Beside a High Pedestal, ca. 1515
Brush and black ink and brown wash, heightened with white opaque watercolour, over traces of black chalk, on blue paper faded to brown

Attributed to Francesco Bonsignori (1455/60-1519)
Head of a Man Wearing a Cap, in Profile to the Left, ca. 1490-1500
Red, black, and white chalk

Lorenzo di Credi (ca. 1456-1536)
Head of a Young Man, Turned to the Left, Looking Downward, ca. 1490
Metalpoint, with white opaque watercolour, on pink prepared paper

Giovanni Agostino da Lodi (active ca. 1467-ca. 1524)
Head of a Bearded Man in Profile to the Right and Head of a Youth Facing Left, ca. 1500
Red chalk

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth

J.R.R. Tolkien
The Tree of Amalion, [?1940s] – Coloured pencil, watercolour, silver paint, black in on grey paper
MS. Tolkien Drawings 88, fol. 1

”He was the sort of painter who can paint leaves better than trees. He used to spend a long time on a single leaf, trying to catch its shape, and its sheen, and the glistening of dewdrops on its edges. Yet he wanted to paint a whole tree, with all of its leaves in the same style, and all of them different.”

This extract from Tolkien’s allegorical short story, ”Leaf by Niggle”, is a poignant expression of his own creative struggle as he sought to bring his works, both literary and academic, to completion. The story was written in the early 1940s as he worked fitfully on The Lord of the Rings, his Elvish languages and his wider legendarium, all of which seemed very far from completion. His perfectionism often resulted in numerous revisions and rewritings, whilst his interest in the minutiae led him down interesting but distracting side roads.

The only snapshot I could steal; so long were the lines, the guards had to usher Tolkien’s devotees, or the gallery would burst from overcrowding!

The Morgan Library

March 9th, 2019

The Young and Evil

From February through April 2019, David Zwirner presented The Young and Evil, a group exhibition featuring significant works from the first half of the twentieth century by Paul Cadmus, Fidelma Cadmus Kirstein, Charles Henri Ford, Jared French, Margaret Hoening French, George Platt Lynes, Bernard Perlin, Pavel Tchelitchew, George Tooker, Jensen Yow, and their circle.

Among them, some works by Pavel Tchelitchew, to which I was particularly drawn.

March 7th, 2019