Obsession || Nudes by Klimt, Schiele and Picasso *Safe For Telework*

From the Scofield Thayer Collection.

Scofield Thayer (1889-1982) was editor and co-owner of the Dial, a journal that published writing and art by the European and American avant-garde from 1919 to 1926. An aesthete, he was a brilliant abstract thinker and a complex, conflicted personality. In the early 1920s, Thayer underwent psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud in Vienna. While in Europe, he assembled a large collection of some six hundred artworks – mostly works on paper – with staggering speed, acquiring them from artists and dealers in Vienna, London, Paris and Berlin.

While Pablo Picasso’s work had been shown in America, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele were unknown in this country at that time. Both artists were remarkable for their frank portrayals of female nudity and sexuality.

In 1924 a selection from Thayer’s collection was exhibited at a New York gallery and won acclaim, but it found little favour when shown in his native city of Worcester, Massachusetts. Offended by intolerant views toward provocative art, Thayer drew up his will in 1925, leaving his collection to The Met before retreating from public life until his death in 1982.

An exhibition of the bequest has been planned since its arrival at the Museum in 1984, but its diversity, unevenness and vast quantity proved a challenge. While a select group of paintings by artists of the School of Paris is always on view, the light-sensitive watercolours, drawings and prints have been rarely displayed. This exhibition, held on the centenary of the 1918 deaths of Klimt and Schiele, presented these erotic and evocative works together for the first time.

It ran from July through October 2018 at The Met Breuer.

Egon Schiele || Sorrow, 1914 || Drypoint


Egon Schiele || Squatting Woman, 1914 || Drypoint


Egon Schiele || Girl, 1918 || Lithograph


Egon Schiele || Reclining Nude with Boots, 1918 || Charcoal on paper


Egon Schiele || Standing Nude with Orange Drapery (recto): Study of Nude with Arms Raised (verso), 1914 || Watercolor, gouache and graphite on paper


Egon Schiele || Nude in Black Stockings, 1917 || Watercolor and charcoal on paper


Egon Schiele || Observed in a Dream, 1911 || Watercolor and graphite on paper


Egon Schiele || Two Reclining Nudes, 1911 || Watercolor and graphite on paper


Egon Schiele || Self-Portrait, 1911 || Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper


Egon Schiele || Seated Nude in Shoes and Stockings, 1918 || Charcoal on paper


Gustav Klimt || Reclining Nude with Drapery, 1912-13 || Graphite


Gustav Klimt || Two Studies for a Crouching Woman, 1914–15 || Graphite


Pablo Picasso || Fondevila, 1906 || Oil on canvas


Pablo Picasso || Head of a Woman, 1922 || Chalk on paper


Pablo Picasso || Erotic Scene (La Douceur), 1903 || Oil on canvas


The Met Breuer

August 19th, 2018

Chasing Games

Let the kids go chasing partridges in the Met while grown ups enjoy a wild-goose chase in Mad Ave.

Two bronze statues of girls chasing partridges
Roman, Early Imperial, late 1st century b.c. or early 1st century a.d. 

Children playing with animals became a popular genre type in  Greek and Roman art. These sculptures are remarkable for their large size, excellent state of preservation and careful workmanship. This is the only known symmetrically pendant pair of bronze sculptures, perfectly preserved down to the plinth. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art & window-shopping on Madison Avenue

August 19th, 2018 (with many thanks to M. – mvschulze, for spotting my unintentional time travel to 2028… wouldn’t that be fun though!)

Carving Gods and Nobles

In noble materials
Marble head of Athena
Greek, Hellenistic, ca. 200 b.c. 

The goddess originally wore a helmet of marble or bronze, added separately. The ears are pierced for metal earrings. The head comes from an over-life-sized statue that possibly represented the goddess striding forward. The statue may have stood outdoors, as a monumental votive image of the warrior goddess in her role as protectress of a city rather than within a temple as a cult statue.

Bronze portrait of a man
Roman, Late Republican or Early Imperial, ca. 1st century b.c.

In the early first century b.c. Greek artists were fashioning portraits of Roman patrons that presented a straightforward image of their subjects in a veristic style. This phenomenon existed across the ever-expanding Roman world, but the finest and largest group of such portraits in marble survives on the Cycladic island of Delos, which was an important commercial centre in the Late Republican period and home to numerous Roman merchants. 

The portrait exhibited here is a good example of the veristic style, which appealed to Roman citizens who valued individuality. Bronze was the preferred medium for Roman honorific statues because of its ability to achieve the closest possible fidelity to nature. 

Mosaic floor panel
Roman, Imperial, 2nd century a.d.
Stone, tile and glass
Excavated from a villa at Daphne near Antioch (modern Antakya, Turkey), the metropolis of Roman Syria

The rectangular panel represents the entire decorated area of a floor and was found together with another mosaic (now in the Baltimore Museum of Art) in an olive grove at Daphne-Harbiye in 1937. In Roman times, Daphne was a popular holiday resort, used by the wealthy citizens and residents of Antioch as a place of rest and refuge from the heat and noise of the city. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

August 19th, 2018

Hair Styles for the Zoom Era: Tie the Knot

No hair stylist? No problem!

Pierre Jean David d’Angers (1788-1856)
Ann Buchan Robinson, 1831
Marble

This masterpiece of carving was probably commissioned from David d’Angers, the leading portrait sculptor of the Romantic era, by the sitter’s husband, a New York entrepreneur with business connections in France. Formal purity is paramount: nothing distracts from the transition between smooth skin and the swept up coils of an extraordinary hairstyle that was the height of fashion about 1830. The tilt of the head and slightly pouted lips impart refined lifelikeness to the portrait. Robinson’s idealized serenity is typical of David d’Angers’s female portrait busts; those depicting men tend to reveal far more about the sitters’ inner personality. 

Lent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by the Museum of the City of New York

August 19th, 2018

A Heavenly Garden

Of Earthly Delights

Dolce & Gabbana
”Penelope” wedding ensemble, S/S 2013


Valentino
Evening dress, S/S 2014


Undercover, Jun Takahashi
Ensembles, S/S 2015, printed with iconography from Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych ”The Garden of Earthly Delights”


House of Dior
Raf Simons, Evening dress, A/W 2015-16
A more abstracted interpretation of Hieronymus Bosch’s painting ”The Garden of Earthly Delights”


Valentino
Evening Dress, A/W 2015-16


Jean Paul Gaultier
‘Lumiere’, Evening ensemble, S/S 2007


Steinunn Thorarinsdottir
Armors, 2016-2018


Rick Owens
Ensemble, A/W 2015-16.
With a pee(p) hole at the crotch, Owens’ playful,  subversive ”habit” evokes the popular literary stereotype of the lecherous, debauched and scandalous medieval monk, satirized by Geoffrey Chaucer in ”The Canterbury Tales” (1387-1400).


The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park

July 14th, 2018

Heavenly Bodies || The Cloisters

Well, I don’t know about the bodies but some of the gowns were heavenly, indeed! The exhibition was two-part, the main segment being at The Met on Fifth Avenue, and an annex displayed at the medieval monastic environment of The Cloisters, where the gowns seemed to have found their natural habitat, as if they had always belonged there. If I had to describe the display, setting & ambience in one word, that would have been ”sublime”.

Viktor & Rolf, ensemble, 2018 original design: A/W 1999-2000


Valentino, evening ensemble, A/W 2015-16


Philip Treacy, ”Madonna Rides Again II” hats, 1998 – 2001


House of Chanel, wedding dress, A/W 1990-91 by Karl Lagerfeld


The Unicorn in Captivity
Wool, silk and silver and gilded-silver wrapped thread
South Netherlandish, ca. 1495-1505


Altarpiece with the Virgin and Child and Saints
Master fo the Burg Weiler Altarpiece
German, Swabia, ca. 1470

Reliquary busts of female saints
South Netherlandish, Brabant, possibly Brussels, ca. 1520-20


Valentino, red silk velvet dress, S/S 2015


Thom Browne, wedding ensemble, S/S 2018


Olivier Theyskens, evening dress, S/S 1999


House of Dior ”Hyménée” wedding dress by Marc Bohan, 2018; original design: S/S 1961


House of Balenciaga, wedding dress, spring 1967

Fashion history has designated this garment by Cristobal Balenciaga the ”one-seam wedding dress.” If the dress were indeed made from a single length of fabric, it would claim a biblical source: Jesus’ seamless robe at the Crucifixion. The dress, however, is made of two pieces of fabric stitched together and it has three shaping seams – two at the shoulder and one down the centre of the back.


Grisaille Panels
French, probably Normandy, ca. 1270-80


Jean Paul Gaultier
”Regina Maris” evening ensemble, S/S 2007


House of Dior
Ensemble, S/S 2006 by John Galliano


Book of Hours
Simon Bening (1483/84 – 1561)
Tempera, gold and ink on parchment
South Netherlandish, Bruges, ca. 1530 – 1535

This tiny Book of Hours is one of Simon Bening’s prayerful jewels, intended for use at regular intervals throught the twenty-four-hour day (ideally every three hours). It was a reminder of the omnipresence of God, meant to be attached to its owner, or stored with precious possessions.


Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
Chasuble for Saint John Paul II (reigned 1978-2005), 1997

This chasuble was created for Saint John Paul II to wear on World Youth Day in 1997.


The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park

July 14th, 2018

A Fashion’s Guide to Heraldry

How many hours did it take to create this modern coat of arms, would you say?

Gown:
Jean Paul Gaultier
”Ex-Voto” evening ensemble, S/S 2007
Grey silk mousseline, white silk-metal lace, crocheted gold and silver silk and iridescent crystals, appliqued holograms and aluminum ex-votos

Rosary:
Ivory, silver and partially gilded mounts
Carved in Germany, ca. 1500-1525

This rosary’s Latin inscriptions read ”Think on death” and ”This is what you will be.”

Reliquary arm of Saint Valentine:
Silver, gilded silver and blue cabochon
Made in Switzerland (Basel), ca. 1380-1400

Headdress:
Alexander McQueen – Shaun Leane, A/W 1998-99
Silver and faceted red crystals

Breastplate:
House of Givenchy
Alexander McQueen & Shaun Leane, S/S 2000
Silver-plated metal, resin and old gold

From the Heavenly Bodies exhibiton, held @The Met in 2018

July 14th, 2018

Ascetic Opulence

From over the top opulence to extreme modesty and back. Fashion is inextricably connected to human nature. To understand the former, you may want to start deciphering the latter first.

Spinario (Boy Pulling a Thorn from his Foot)
Bronzse, partially gilt hair and silvered eyes
Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi)
probably modeled by 1496, cast. ca. 1501


Seated Paris
Bronze statuette, partially gilt and silvered
Antico (Pier Jacopo Alari-Bonacolsi)
Mantua, ca. 1500


Christian Lacroix
”Gold-Gotha” ensemble, A/W 1988/89


Gianni Versace
Evening top, A/W 1991-92


Gianni Versace
Evening top, A/W 1991-92


Gianni Versace
Jacket, A/W 1991-92


Jean Paul Gaultier
”Surprise de l’Icine” ensemble, A/W 1997-98


Dolce & Gabbana
”Idamante” ensemble, S/S 2016


Dolce & Gabbanna
”Angelica” ensemble, S/S 2016


From the Heavenly Bodies exhibiton, held @The Met in 2018

July 14th, 2018

Deep || Midnight || Blue

If I had to pick one from this plethora of extraordinary gowns, it would have to be this one; an eclectic combination of taffeta and lace, paired with leather biker trousers in Lee McQueen’s inimitable style.

House of Givenchy
Evening Ensemble, S/S 1999 by
Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)

Black silk taffeta, white duchesse satin, white cotton lace, white silk organza, black leather

From the Heavenly Bodies exhibiton, held @The Met in 2018

July 14th, 2018

Halocinations

The Angels wear tiaras.

Fragment of a floor mosaic with a personification of Ktisis [Greek for foundation (of a  city or colony)]
Marble and Glass
Byzantine, made 500-550


House of Lanvin (Jeanne Lanvin)
”Incertitude” evening dress, 1936


And a closer look at Goossens’ tiara and accessories over the statuary vestment for the Virgin of El Rocio, by Yves Saint Laurent.


From the Heavenly Bodies exhibiton, held @The Met in 2018

July 14th, 2018