Brenda Starr, Reporter: The Art of Dale Messick

Brenda Starr, Reporter debuted in June of 1940 and was an immediate hit with young women and girls. Brenda Starr’s name came from a 1930’s debutante, Brenda Frazier, and her body, fashion sense, and persona mirrored leading Hollywood actress, Rita Hayworth, complete with matching long red hair and a curvaceous figure.

At its peak, Brenda Starr, Reporter was included in 250 newspapers and read by more than 60 million readers. When Starr and her long-time “Mystery Man” boyfriend, whose very survival depended on the serum found in the fictitious but famous black orchid, finally married after 36 years in 1976, President Gerald Ford sent a congratulatory telegram. [source]

Random squares from an exhibition @ The Society of Illustrators

February 9th, 2019

The Spiritualist

When Hilma af Klint began creating radically abstract paintings in 1906, they were like little that had been seen before: bold, colorful, and untethered from any recognizable references to the physical world. It was years before Vasily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, and others would take similar strides to rid their own artwork of representational content. Yet while many of her better-known contemporaries published manifestos and exhibited widely, af Klint kept her groundbreaking paintings largely private. She rarely exhibited them and, convinced the world was not yet ready to understand her work, stipulated that it not be shown for twenty years following her death. Ultimately, her work was all but unseen until 1986, and only over the subsequent three decades have her paintings and works on paper begun to receive serious attention. [source: The Guggenheim]

Hilma af Klint (1862-1944)

Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future, was the first major solo exhibition of the artist in the United States, running from October 2018 to April 2019.

December 9th, 2018

The Six Brandenburg Concertos @Park Avenue Armory

The Six Brandenburg Concertos, one of J.S. Bach’s most iconic masterpieces meet Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, one of the world’s most acclaimed choreographers meet Park Avenue Armory, one of New York’s most iconic venues.  A winning combination and one of the highlights of the year.

”The Brandenburg Concertos consist of six concerti grossi, in which Bach deploys the instruments from the baroque orchestra in different, often audacious constellations. Against this backdrop, De Keersmaeker sets sixteen dancers originating in different Rosas generations. Following the premiere of Mitten wir im Leben sind/Bach6Cellosuiten De Keersmaeker approaches, as in Vortex Temporum (2013), Bach’s music as if it were a ready-made score for a dance piece, embodying Bach’s polyphonic mastery. The concertos are played live by the baroque ensemble B’Rock. Violinist Amandine Beyer, with whom De Keersmaeker previously co-operated for Partita 2, will conduct the orchestra.” – [source: Rosas]

October 1st, 2018

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

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

Funny Ladies at The New Yorker: Cartoonists Then and Now

”With the vote won in 1920, and a new found freedom, many women moved to the city to find work. In 1925, journalist Harold Ross and his wife Jane Grant, a reporter for the New York Times, created The New Yorker, a humor magazine for the urban elite. When Ross began to look for talent to contribute to this new endeavor, he sought the best. Some of the best included cartoonists who were women; with the support of The New Yorker, they became some of the most heralded cartoonists the art form has known.” [source]

”I’m going to leave him – I’m tired of being Duse* inside.” – by Barbara Shermund

*Eleonora Duse (1858-1924) was an Italian actress, often known simply as Duse. She is regarded as one of the greatest actresses of all time, noted for her total assumption of the roles she portrayed.”

Barbara Shermund
Dear no, Miss Matberry – just the head.” – by Mary Petty
Doris Matthews
Liza Donnelly
Mary Lawton
Carolita Johnson
Liana Finck
Victoria Roberts
Pia Guerra
Maggie Larson
Maggie Larson
Bishakh Som
Julia Suits
Nurit Karlin
Nurit Karlin
Kim Warp
Kim Warp
Roz Chast

These were just a few of the many talents showcasing their work in this exhibition, their creative, witty personalities expressed in their cartoons and beyond – as in Roz Chast’s bio, above.

All of the cartoons shown in the exhibition were published in The New Yorker magazine, © The New Yorker & the artist. The majority of art is the property of the cartoonist.

The Society of Illustrators

July 28th, 2018