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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews Poetry

Thoughts about René Magritte – The blank signature, 1965

May be an image of 1 person, horse, tree and outdoors

I don’t understand why I like this painting so much on first glance. The most disturbing element, I suppose is the strip where the horse has simply disappeared giving it the appearance of being a light transparent trunk itself. This, I think adds a joking quality to the overall work which I find a kind of magical forest. The sort that you might well find in a fairy tale or an adventure. The rider does not seem discombobulated by this wooded environment. Indeed she seems to have a sense of purpose and direction quite at variance to the seeming dissolution of her means of transport beneath her. The colours or palette seem to add to a jolly effect and the canopy of branches seems protective.

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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews Literature Poetry

The Charming Paintings of Pietro Antonio Rotari(1707-1762)

Next to my laptop propped against the now never used printer is a postcard which I bought at the remarkable Musée JacquemartAndré. This lovely gallery is grandly situated in the Boulevard Haussman in the 8th Arrondissment (huitieme). The postcard shows what a Scotsman might have called a fair bonny lassie.

Pietro Rotari

This Italian Baroque painter was born in Verona and died in St Petersburg. His paintings are remarkable for both their astonishing beauty but also for their realism as can be judged from the following clip.

Looking at these lovely paintings gives me the same feeling as reading this-

BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.

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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews German Matters

LEO PUTZ (1869-1940) German painter

Just discovered this rather relaxing post by this superb anti-Nazi Austrian painter. The accompanying Chopin Nocturne adds to the ambience I find.

Leo Putz (18 June 1869, in Merano – 21 July 1940, in Merano)[1] was a Tyrolean painter. His work encompasses Art Nouveau, Impressionism and the beginnings of Expressionism. Figures, nudes and landscapes are his predominant subjects. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Putz

LEO-PUTZ-(1869-1940)-MODERNE-GALERIE-1909-41x31-inches-106x78-cm-Reichhold--Lang-Munich

1909 Exhibition in Munich

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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews

Clifford Rowe (1904–1989) The painter for the people

The Fried Fish Shop | Art UK

I very much admire this painting, “The Fried Fish Shop”, its composition and the limited range of colours which suits this painting which is in the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery in Leicester. Rowe was an important active member of the Artist’s International Association https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artists%27_International_Association

An interesting Guardian Review of an exhibition in 2013 can be read at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2013/sep/13/exhibitionist-art-shows-14-sep

 

 

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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews

Musee Antoine Bourdelle- Montparnasse -Entry Nine Euros

I did not know when I arrived here that students in the 18th Century used to stand on a nearby hill  and recite their poems. Hence the nickname Mount Parnassus. Like many a modern flaneur, however. I associated the quartier with the jazz loving Americans of the 1920s. The habitués of the Café du Dôme rubbed shoulders with the ‘crowd’ as they called themselves; Ernest Hemmingway, Sylvia Beach, John Rodrigo Dos Passos and Ezra Pound. This was the Lost Generation fleeing prohibition living it up in cheap dodgy hotels – later to be followed by Henry Miller. These fading lyrical echoes in the shade contrasted with the undistinguished entrance to the hidden charms of the Musee.

Once into the museum, you enter the creative space of Antoine Bourdelle(1861-1928), the pupil of Rodin and the teacher of both Matisse and Giacometti. It was in 1926 that this typical Parisian atelier was to be turned into a museum. The quiet sanctuary of the front garden gave me the first glimpse of four sculpted figures including La Victoire (Victory) and l’Eloquence (Eloquence) surrounded by a secluded peristyle. At the time of my visit, I was unaware that there were over 500 works of art here. I simply sat and made a few sketches of the first few of these impressive statues.

Passing into the Great Hall, which was built in 1961, for the centenary of the artist’s birth, I encountered an impressive array of magnificent figures some of which towered way above the visitors. Interspersed between these at the further end were brightly colourful dresses by famous contemporary couturiers. This museum has frequently had special exhibitions and this focussed on the fashion of dresses from the back. (Dos à la mode}.However my attention was taken by the famously energetic sculpture of Hercules the Archer.

Bourdieu made some 12 versions of this dynamic sculpture. The model was a certain athletic Commandant Doyen-Parigot who twisted his muscular body into the required difficult posture. He contorted his body in demanding fifteen-minute sessions. Bourdelle also famously used his rather primitive Kodak camera to facilitate his project. A wealthy financier, Gabriel Thomas was deeply impressed by this statue of Hercules in 1910. Thomas together with Gabriel Astruc, the impresario that brought Rubenstein, Caruso, Toscanini and famously Diaghilev to Paris, set up a real estate company to build a new theatre. This became the Theatre des Champs-Elysee, the façade and inner atrium were, under Thomas auspices, to be decorated by Bourdelle. This was to be the debut of Art Deco style, a feature of the new modernism.

Returning through the studios there were many fine sketches by Bourdelle including those he made of the dancer Isadora Duncan. Proceeding through an outlying corridor I came across the Beethoven heads. These imaginative and expressive works began around the time he started his association of 15 years with Rodin. Altogether he made some 40 of such masterpieces.

In the tranquillity of the ivy leafed inner garden I encountered a huge and towering bronze. This was the statue of Centaure Mourant. From just where I stood, I could not see more than the torso of the horse and only by moving gingerly around the piece could I discern the twisted direction in which the head lay. Inspired by classical myth and considering its construction in 1914, Bourdelle was asked why does the centaur die? Bourdelle replied in Nietzschean mode, “He dies like all the gods- because no one believes in him any more.”

 

 

 

 

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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews

Self Portraits- Jean Eve

Jean Eve was born into a working-class family. Entering the Colonial School of Le Havre in 1918, he became involved in the colonial  troop called Spahis and drew watercolours during his travels. Returning to Douai, he enlisted in the railways and then worked in a foundry workshop. Leaving painting , it was then that he had the revelation at the Petit Palais during the Gustave Courbet exhibition. But having a dependent family, he is only allowed to paint on Sundays.

In 1929, Jean Eve met Moses Kisling, who brought him closer to the editor of L’Art Vivant, who decided to organize a support committee for him to devote himself only to painting, which allowed him to quickly exhibit at the Salon des Indépendants. At the invitation of Henri Bing and Maximilien Gauthier, he participated in the exhibition “The Popular Masters of Reality” in 1936. This was the beginning of the fame for Jean Eve.

He then exhibited in New York and Switzerland and received the rank of Knight of the Legion of Honour and Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

Jean Eve’s painting is characterized by its sincerity and simplicity. As Maximilian Gauthier said, “he painted what he saw, simply, with all his heart.”

“My real workshop is nature” Jean Eve

This self portrait is somewhat reminiscent of Lucien Freud’s earlier work currently on display at the Royal Academy. Eve’s work is on display in the Musee Maliol in Paris.

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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews Uncategorized

Mix and Match by Creative Curation

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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews Penwith St Ives West Cornwall (and local history)

Harry Ousey-Neglected Colourist amongst the St Ives Artists

 

Very recently I attended an intriguing talk by Sue Astles, Ousey’s neice about this little known Northern  Artist. I found myself wondering just how such a brilliant colourist could seemingly be rather overlooked. Further information and background can be found at

https://www.lancashirelife.co.uk/out-about/harry-ousey-exhibition-at-the-salford-museum-and-art-gallery-1-4082392

and at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Ousey

There are two possible factors which one might surmise for this aberration. Firstly, it seems that his interest in experimenting in so many various styles may have mitigated his being recognised for any definite style. His restless interest in both conventional and abstract work is not difficult to recognise. There is a certain interest in certain themes such as stone wall construction and the sea horizon. Certain influences seem to be lurking in the background from Miro, Dufy and perhaps Rothko. However, the multiplicity of his painting styles, doubtless including original work, could have inhibited proper recognition.

Such recognition might have been easier if he had access to gallery display. My second point is that I surmise that the influence of more recognised and prominent figures in the St Ives nexus made this difficult. Artists like Denis Mitchell and Terry Frost would have understood this. There was a social class barrier to surmount and I am fairly sure this is a pressure that a less wealthy northern painter would have encountered this even in the more enlightened postwar period. A glass ceiling even amongst progressives and bohemians!

Image result for harry ousey artist

Image result for harry ousey artist

Ousey’s later interest in environmental compositions reminded me also of the not dissimilar work of Margaret Mellis. (Not to be confused on grounds of alliteration with the abstract Penwith artist Marlow Moss!)

 

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Art Exhibition Reviews Uncategorized

Felix Valliton

From the Latin American Expo at Photographer’s Gallery, the above photograph in the context of Latin American history brings up all the associations with the colour red. Melons with a knife implies the violence of the troubled history of South America. It also recalled the painting by Valliton which he painted upon the outbreak of the First World War- also a bloody image with another fruit/vegetable. I had seen this just a few hours before at the R.A. I ask myself what it is about these images that was so affecting. Perhaps it was that I was about to visit the Stanley Kubrick exhibition, perhaps also that they are reminders of how easily, in the current situation politically matters could go wrong.

Here are some further images of the Valliton from the R.A. I found his work dramatic and affecting on so many levels. A true modernist with a thoughtful face according to his self-portrait.

Valliton 1914

Gertrude Stein by V
Gertrude Stein by Valliton

Landscapes

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Art and Photographic History Art Exhibition Reviews Poetry

Viewing Joseph Wright’s paintings in Derby

Image result for joseph wright of derbyThe light from within the Orrery

illuminates the children’s faces.

This glow in the darkness

spreads and each canvas is lit.

This picture depicts some wonder of generosity;

a marvel that touches deeply your curiosity.

Here around are landscapes, portraits and myths

gathered in profuse display and all Wright.

Here Arkwright sits near the spools of cotton

woven at his water-powered mill,

seemingly the quintessence of optimistic enterprise.

Beyond Arkwright’s son and wife look

more prosperous yet more mannered too as

Gainsborough might depict.

Across here a scene from Laurence Sterne

has captured Wright’s inquisitive imagination.

Nearby Vesuvius again erupts into crimson

and emerald below in the bay boats float

with fishermen undistracted in their industrious

capture of shoals beneath the calm seas.

I too am captured by a certain canvas in which

an Indian squaw sits widowed on a hillside under

her hero husband’s suspended arms and

awaits the breaking tumult from the threatening clouds.

Image result for joseph wright of derby