Quicksilver Brilliance || Adolf de Meyer Photographs

An exhibition of works by the great pictorialist. Adolf and Olga de Meyer at the Acropolis, 1900-1910
Gelatin silver print
Unknown artist


Olga de Meyer, Japan, 1900
Platinum print

De Meyer made this affectionate photograph of his new wife while on their honeymoon to Japan.


Lady Ottoline Morrell, ca. 1912
Platinum print


Rita de Acosta Lydig, ca. 1917
Platinum print

De Meyer’s portrait of the socialite, art patron, ”shoe queen”, and suffragette Rita de Acosta Lydig is striking in its simplicity of tone and contour. The image, which appeared in Vogue in 1917, resonates with the classical elegance epitomized in the paintings of society portraitists John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, who also depicted this “alabaster lady”.


Count Etienne de Beaumont, ca. 1923
Gelatin silver print

An aristocrat and patron of the avant-garde, Count Etienne de Beaumont cuts a dashing figure here, posed in one of the grand salons of his hôtel in Paris’ rue Masseran. The count hosted a series of legendary masquerade balls at this residence during the interwar period, attended by avant-garde artists such as Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso and Man Ray. De Meyer described these parties, which he and Olga often attended, as ”fêtes of unsurpassed magnificence” in a 1923 article for Harper’s Bazaar.


Josephine Baker, 1925-26
Direct carbon print


The New Hat Called Violette Worn by The Honorable Mrs. Reginald Fellowes, 1928
Gelatin silver print


Mannequin in Suzanne Talbot Hat, 1929
Trichrome carbro print


Plates from Le prélude á l’après-midi d’un faune, 1914
Collotypes

These six collotypes belong to de Meyer’s 1914 volume Le prélude á l’après-midi d’un faune. As with all bound works, the album is constructed from a variety of materials, each subject to the effects of time. In this case, the embrittlement of the adhesive used in the original mounting resulted in the separation of these six prints from their support leaves. Following the exhibition, each one was returned to its original location in the album, completing the conservation treatment of this rare book, one of only seven known copies, documenting Nijinsky’s scandalous 1912 ballet L’Après-midi d’un faune.


A rare exhibition of some 40 works by this master photographer, portraitist of celebrities, the first official photographer of the American Vogue and leading photographer of Vaslav Nijinsky and the Ballets Russes, was on view at the Met, between December 2017 & April 2018.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

February 17th, 2018

David Hockney

What I was saying yesterday, about popular exhibitions? Well, David Hockney’s major retrospective held at the Met between November 2017 & February 2018, was one of them.  Impossible to enjoy – oftentimes not being able to see anything at all, multiple rows of heads obscuring the art. So crowded were the galleries, we soon gave up. But not before catching at least a few striking images on camera, the most ”presentable” of which I’m glad to share today with you.

Art:

1/ & 2/
My Parents, 1977
Oil on canvas

3/
Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, 1968
Acrylic on canvas

4/
The Cha-Cha That Was Danced in the Early Hours of 24th March, 1961
Oil on canvas

5/
Self-portrait, 1983
Charcoal on paper

David Hockney @The Metropolitan Museum of Art

February 17th, 2018

Saturday afternoon at the Met

Portraits, angels, ethereal figures, a lighthouse; I have them all to myself! Even on crazy busy weekends, the crowds disperse on all floors and into various galleries, engulfed by the vastness of space that is the Met, leaving me alone, to enjoy my favourite works in peace. Unless, that is, there is a popular exhibition – then it feels like the whole of New York has landed on that same floor, at the same time, making it really hard to appreciate the art. Popularity, like most things in this world, has its price…

Art:

1/
Fairfield Porter, 1907-1975
Elaine de Kooning (1918-1989), 1957
Oil on canvas

2/
Edward Hopper, 1882-1967
Tables for Ladies, 1930
Oil on canvas

In Hopper’s Tables for Ladies a waitress leans forward to adjust the vividly painted foods at the window as a couple sits quietly in the richly paneled and well-lit interior. A cashier attentively tends to business at her register. Though they appear weary and detached, these two women hold posts newly available to female city dwellers outside the home. The painting’s title alludes to a recent social innovation in which establishments advertised ”tables for ladies” in order to welcome their newly mobile female customers, who, if seen dining alone in public previously, were assumed to be prostitutes.

3/
Florine Stettheimer, 1871-1944
The Cathedrals of Broadway, 1929
Oil on canvas

4/ & 5/
Jean Dunand, 1877-1942 & Séraphin Soudbinine, 1870-1944
Pianissimo and Fortissimo, 1925-26
Lacquered wood, eggshell, mother-of-pearl, gold

Created for the music room of Solomon R. Guggenheim’s residence in Port Washington, Long Island, these screens are an artistic collaboration between the designer Jean Dunand and the sculptor Séraphin Soudbinine. While Soudbinine conceived the composition and carved the bas-relief figures of otherworldly angels and rocklike forms, Dunand lacquered the screen.  Guggenheim’s widow, Irene Rothschild, donated the screens to the Metropolitan following the death of her husband.

6/
Edward Hopper, 1882-1967
The Lighthouse at Two Lights, 1929
Oil on canvas

7/
Juan Gris, 1887-1927
Juan Legua, 1991
Oil on canvas

8/
Balthus, 1908-2001
Thérèse Dreaming, 1938
Oil on canvas

9/
Francis Bacon, 1909-1992
(Reflection on one of) Three Studies for a Self-Portrait, 1979-80
Oil on canvas

As Bacon remarked to David Sylvester in 1975, ”I loathe my own face… I’ve done a lot of self-portraits, really because people have been dying around me like flies and I’v nobody else left to paint by myself.”

10/
Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973
Bust of a Man, 1908
Oil on canvas

11/
Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973
Gertrude Stein, 1905-06
Oil on canvas

12/
Albert Bloch, 1882-1961
Summer Night, 1913
Oil on canvas

13/
Edgar Degas, 1834-1917
Young Woman with Ibis, 1860-62
Oil on canvas

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

February 17th, 2018

Feel like dancing

(But after wandering for hours in and out of the Met’s endless galleries, I do need to sit down).

Art:

1/
Joel Shapiro, 1941
Untitled, 2000-2001
Oil paint on cast aluminum

2/
Al Held, 1928-2005
Mercury Zone III, 1975
Acrylic on canvas

3/
Jennifer Bartlett, b. 1941
Five A.M., 1991-92
Oil on canvas

4/
Alex Katz, b. 1927
Red Coat, 1982
Oil on canvas

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

February 17th, 2018

Tangled

How my brain feels at the end of this week.

Art:

1/
Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)
,

2/
Monoceros
, Ibram Lassaw
|
ronze and manganese bronze fused over galvanized wire

3/
Untitled
, Clyfford Still 
Oil on canvas

Kouros, Isamu Noguchi
Marble 

4/
Attic, 1949, by Willem de Kooning
Oil, enamel and newspaper transfer on canvas

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

February 17th, 2018

Meditation

Healing, following a brief panic attack last night, triggered by a close encounter with a giant cockroach, in the bathroom.

P.S.: a chilled beer can also help
P.S.1: the beast is dead

Spectrum V, 1969, by Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015)
Oil on canvas

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

February 17th, 2018