The Idiosyncratic Eyes of Mme Bourgeois

Staring into your soul.

House 1994
Marble


the puritan 1990-97 (text: 1947)
Folio set no. 3: engravings with selective wiping, gouache and watercolour additions


Lullaby 2006
Series of twenty-five screenprints on fabric: title sheet and twenty-four compositions

Bourgeois created shapes by turning and tracing common household objects – scissors, a knife and a candy dish, among them. She published this set herself, under the imprint Lison Editions. Lison, Lise, Lisette, Louison and Louisette were among her childhood nicknames.


Ode à l’Oubli 2004
Fabric illustrated book with thirty fabric collages and four lithographs

The pages of this book are composed of linen hand towels saved from her trousseau. Many contain the embroidered monogram LBG (Louise Bourgeois Goldwater). Bourgeois later issued and editioned version of this book in twenty-five examples. In that version, the pages are tied together through buttonholes instead of bound so all of the pages can be displayed simultaneously, as seen on this wall.


Untitled 1998
Fabric and stainless steel


Stamp of Memories I 1993
Drypoint with metal stamp additions


Sainte Sébastienne 1992
Drypoint


Triptych for the Red Room 1994
Aquatint, drypoint and engraving

The subject of pain is the business I am in.“ – LB


Self Portrait 2007
Gouache on paper


Self Portrait 1990
Drypoint, etching and aquatint


I Redo (interior element) from the installation
I Do, I Undo, I Redo 1999-2000
Steel, glass wood and tapestry


Untitled 1940
Oil and pencil on board


Lacs de Montagne (Mountain Lakes), 19916 & 1977
Engraving and aquatint with watercolour, gouache and ink additions


Arch of Hysteria 1993
Bronze, polished patina


Spider 1997


Note from Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait, an exhibition that ran at the MoMA, until end January 2018: ”[…] explores the prints, books, and creative process of the celebrated sculptor Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010). Bourgeois’s printed oeuvre, a little-known aspect of her work, is vast in scope and comprises some 1,200 printed compositions, created primarily in the last two decades of her life but also at the beginning of her career, in the 1940s. The Museum of Modern Art has a prized archive of this material, and the exhibition will highlight works from the collection along with rarely seen loans […].”

September 25th, 2017

The Watermill Center

A laboratory for the arts and humanities, a unique space for artists to explore, create and present their work, the brainchild of visual artist Robert Wilson and, for the two of us, an uplifting, almost spiritual experience.

It was Sunday, beginning of September and the Watermill Center was resting after a summer of buzzing activity. No one else was around, the grounds were ours to explore. In a strange, calming way we did not feel lonely; for the artists may have been absent but their essence still lingered in the air. And in the many totems scattered in the woods.

The Watermill Center, is a mere 5′ drive from the Parrish Art Museum and a 2-hour drive from Manhattan.

September 3rd, 2017

Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again @Socrates_Sculpture_Park

Reading about how the local community took the initiative to save this abandoned space, between Long Island City and Astoria, by converting it into a sculpture park – and being the first to applaud such creative initiatives, I thought I owed it to myself to take a closer look, not least because it is named after Socrates (470-399 B.C.), the great Greek philosopher, which is not surprising considering New York’s largest Greek community is in Astoria.

The exhibition on view those days was Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again, G.O.A.T. being an acronym for Greatest of All Time, a phrase commonly used in American sports. The exhibition examined ‘how hubris creates misplaced expectations in American cultural politics. This exhibition also brought new insight into the artist’s exploration of identity, social progress, the urban environment, and group belonging.

While it was difficult for me to grasp the higher meaning behind the flock of goats carrying stuff on their backs, I found the artist’s explanation ”… articulation of social dynamics, conjuring the animal’s attributes and symbolic connotations, from an ambitious climber of great heights to an outcast” equally puzzling.

On the other hand, the Apollo/Poll sign, that read ‘APOLLO’, the letters ‘A’ and ‘O’ blinking on and off to spell out “POLL” was easier to interpret even without the help of the artist (but here it is anyway): ”… The size and font of the red LED-lit letters are inspired by those of the iconic neon beacon hanging over Harlem’s Apollo Theater, a renowned venue for African American entertainers. The word ‘POLL’ suggests not only the theater’s well-known amateur night in which the audience decides the winner, but also the democratic election process.

I wonder what would Socrates have made out of all this…

August 26th, 2017

Sixth and a Half

Times Fifty Sixth, equals the magic number that unlocks the mysteries of the Avenue That Does Not Exist.

You too can uncover its mysteries; but tread gently or you might upset the kind denizens of this strange, parallel world.

Popeye by Jeff Koons, 2009-2012
Granite and live flowers

Big, big Penny by Tom Otterness, 1993
Bronze

July 26th, 2017

Attaining Perfection

Imagine living in a world where these treasures were household items – not museum objects.

1/ Maurice Sterne
The Awakening, ca. 1926
Bronze

2/ Kem Weber
Vanity with Mirror and Stool, 1934

3/ John Vassos
RCA Victor Special Model K Portable Electric Phonograph, c.a 1935

4/ Emilie Robert
Pair of Gates, ca. 1900 (detail), France
Iron

Brooklyn Museum

July 22nd, 2017

Adagio

Swaying into December with Grace.

Auguste Rodin
Pierre de Wiessant, Monumental Nude (Pierre de Wiessant, nu monumental), 1886, cast 1983, for The Burghers of Calais.
Bronze

The Burghers of Calais is a memorial to a group of fourteenth-century citizens who offered to sacrifice themselves to save their long-suffering city. It comprises six large figures. For each of four of the monument’s six figures, Rodin also executed a full-scale nude, among them this undraped version of the burgher Pierre de Wiessant. The practice of creating nude figure studies, which allowed artists to refine poses and understand how clothing should drape over the body, derives from the academic tradition that Rodin both embraced and rejected during his career. {source}

The full picture:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brooklyn Museum

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

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

Taking sides

Do we really have to? I can’t decide.

Bust of Juliette Récamier, ca. 1801-2
Joseph Chinard (1756-1813)

Juliette Récamier (French, 1777-1849) was a socialite renowned for her literary circle, but perhaps even more for her beauty. At age fifteen, she married Jacques-Rose Récamier, a banker, thirty years her senior – and her mother’s longstanding lover. Rumor had it that Récamier was, in fact, her natural father and they got married so that she would become his heir(!) Apparently, the marriage was never consummated.

Prince Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, courted her; Prince Augustus of Prussia proposed but she refused to divorce her husband/father; the French Romantic writer François-René de Chateaubriand was a constant visitor of her salon. The courtship never seized; despite advanced age, ill-health and reduced circumstances having lost most of her fortune, Juliette remained as charming as ever.

In this bust, her friend Chinard, a brilliant portraitist, enhanced her charming features by slightly tilting her head, paying attention to details such as her hair and including her arms and delicate hands.

@ The Getty Center

July 18th, 2017