Hollywood Busts

Similar expressions, millenia apart.

Bust of Belisarius, 1785-91 || Jean-Baptiste Stouf || Marble

Belisarius (about 505-565) was a Byzantine general whose military prowess was envied by the emperor Justinian, who banished and allegedly blinded the general. The subject was popular among French eighteenth-century writers and artists, both as political allegory and as a means of depicting the pathos of a fallen hero. Stouf skillfully rendered the crinkled skin around the eyes, the sunken cheeks, and the luxuriant curls of the beard and hair with a subtlety that belies the challenge of carving stone.

Belisarius at the Getty Center || James Dean at Griffith Observatory

Los Angeles

May 10th, 2019

The Goddess Nicotina, c. 1860

Unmasked

From a photo album accompanying the exhibition ”Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer” exploring the life and work of one of the most influential photographers of the 19th century.

”Oscar G. Rejlander (British, born Sweden, 1813-1875) was one of the 19th century’s greatest innovators in the medium of photography, counting Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll and Julia Margaret Cameron among his devotees.

Oscar G. Rejlander was born in Sweden and moved to England in 1839, working first as a painter before turning to photography in 1852. He made a living as a portrait photographer while experimenting with photographic techniques, most notably combination printing, in which parts of multiple negatives were exposed separately and then printed to form a single picture. Rejlander moved to London in 1862, where his business continued to grow and where his wife, Mary Bull, worked alongside him in his photography studios.” [source: The Getty Center]

For more photos by Oscar Rejlander, please visit this Art Blart article.

The Getty Center, L.A.

May 10th, 2019

Bar at the Folies-Bergère

How would Manet react, I wonder…

Daughter of Art History, Theater A, 1989 || Yasumasa Morimura
Daughter of Art History, Theater B, 1989 || Yasumasa Morimura

Since the early 1980s, Yasumasa Morimura has been appropriating and restaging famous paintings, casting himself in the role of the figures depicted. By fabricating elaborate sets and costumes, he does not merely replicate his sources but also presents a pastiche of references that simultaneously pay homage to and satirize the original works. [source: The Getty Center]

Los Angeles

May 10th, 2019

Meet your host, Mr. J. Paul Getty

Fortunately, his legendary stinginess did not extend to his art collection. Which is, by all means, extraordinary. 

1/
Cabinet on stand, Paris ca. 1675-80
Attributed to André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732
Probably made for Louis XIV or as a royal gift. 

2/
Planisphere Clock, Paris ca. 1745-49

3/
The host

4/
Wall clock, Chantilly & Paris, ca. 1740

5/
Pair of Vases & Decorative Figures, China, Kangxi reign, 1662-1722

6/
”Turkish Bed”, Paris, ca. 1750-60
This bed would have been placed against the wall, with a canopy above. The body of the bed may be pulled out on wheels, leaving the back attached to the wall. This separation allowed the bed to be made up more easily by servants. 

7/
Secrétaire, Paris ca. 1770-75
Philippe-Claude Montigny (1734-1800)

8/
Candelabra, Paris, ca. 1775

9/
Bed, Paris ca. 1775-80
A grand bed such as this was meant to stand in a deep niche in the most important bedroom of a private residence, where visitors were frequently received. 

10, 11/
Paneled Room (salon de compagnie). Painted doors (detail)
Jean-Pierre Ledoux (French, active 1753 – 1761)

The painted doors and panels and the gilt plaster relief sculptures in the overdoors in this room come from the main reception room of a house built for Jean-Baptiste Hosten. Hosten, a wealthy planter from Santo Domingo, commissioned the celebrated architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux to build his Paris residence, the Maison Hosten, starting around 1790. 

12/
Ideal Female Heads, 1769-70
Augustin Pajou (1730-1809)

The Getty Center

July 18th, 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

The Getty Department of Photographs is the Mecca of Photography

The J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection of over one hundred thousand images is among the most comprehensive holdings of rare and important photographs in the world. It ranges from daguerreotypes to work by contemporary photographers.

For conservation purposes and, may I add, due to their sheer number, photographs cannot be kept on permanent display, but go on view during rotating exhibitions. The images below are from ”Now Then: Chris Killip and the Making of In Flagrante” , ‘‘the most important photobook to document the devastating impact of deindustrialization on working-class communities in northern England in the 1970s and 1980s”.

Paired here with an image from the Cactus Garden and a detail from one of the exterior walls showcasing just a few of the 1.2 million square feet of travertine stone used to cover many surfaces of the Getty Center.

2/
Bever Skinningrove (1987) by Chris Killip
Gelatin silver print

The Getty Center

July 18th, 2017