Goodbye Dorothea Tanning

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , on February 11, 2012 by echostains

The oldest living Surrealist Dorothea Tanning passed away January 31 2012 at the great age of 101.  Tanning was born in Galesburg Illinois USA 1910, attending Knox College  before living in Chicago for several years.  In  1936 whilst attending the exhibition  Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism at the Museum of Modern Art New York,Tanning discovered the wonderful world of Surrealism and Dada.  To support herself, Tanning worked as a commercial artist, but she  soon began to work on her own surreal paintings in the early 1940s.

Lee Millar portrait of Tanning and Ernst

She was introduced to Julien Levy, a gallery owner who was to show her work and give her two one person exhibitions in 1944 and 1948.  He introduced her to a circle of surrealists  whose work he was showing in his New York gallery.  The young artist fell immediately in love with German surrealist Max Ernst and married him in 1946.  Tanning’s surreal paintings have a dreamlike quality and a very individual style.

She lived in  France with Ernst after the war for 28 years.  Her work features in MOMA. The George Pompidou Centre. The Tate Gallery london and many more collections around the world.  She created costumes for  Balanchine between the 1940s and 50s and sculptures in the 70s

Maternity 1946

At the age of 91 the artist was asked how she felt about carrying the surrealist banner;-

I guess I’ll be called a surrealist forever, like a tattoo: “D. Loves S.” I still believe in the surrealist effort to plumb our deepest subconscious to find out about ourselves. But please don’t say I’m carrying the surrealist banner. The movement ended in the ’50s and my own work had moved on so far by the ’60s that being a called a surrealist today makes me feel like a fossil!

Birthday 1942

Tanning moved back to New York in 1979 after Ernst’s death. Among others, she found a friend in Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Merrill. It was Merrill

 “Who more than anyone at that point of my life, made me realize that living was still wonderful even though I felt that my loss, Max, had left nothing but ashes,” she says. “So if I took up brushes again, and the pen, to work for 20 more solitary years — and am still at it — it was Jimmy who made me want to, and so proved himself right.”

Tanning published her first book in 1986, The book is a collection of reminiscences and is called “Birthday,” after her most famous painting.

EineKleineNachtmusik

Her career spanned 6 decades, she was a printmaker, sculptor – she  wrote and published  poems and a novel.  She counselled young artists with these words;-

“Keep your eye on your inner world and keep away from ads, idiots and movie stars.”

I was lucky enough to see her work in 2001 at a surrealist exhibition at the Tate Modern, called ‘Desire Unbound’ 2001 .  Her dreamlike scenarios work ensure that she is still known as a surrealist.

Palaestra 1947

 

One of my posts about Women Surrealists and their work can be found here

Night Music image from here

Voltage, Palaestra, Ernst and Tanning, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik portrait by Lee Millar, Maternity from the wonderful dorotheatanning.org where lots of her work can be found

Birthday image from here

More about Dorothea Tanning can be found here

Interview with the artist can be found here

Happy Birthday Chaim Soutine!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2012 by echostains

Soutine by Modigliani

Today is the birthday of Expressionist artist Chaim Soutine (b 1893 – 1943 Belarus)  Soutine who was inspired by classical painting in the European tradition  and favoured colour, texture and shape over representation.  His work acted as a bridge between traditional approach and the evolvment of Abstract Expressionism.

Born near Minsk (when it was part of the Russian empire) and one of eleven children, Soutine studied at the Vilna Academy of Fine Arts in Vilnius between 1910 – 1913  He emigrated  to Paris with fellow artist Pinchus Kremegne (1890 – 1981) and Michel Kikoine 1892 – 1968) where he studied under Fernand Cormon at the Errcole des Beaux-Arts.

Little Girl with Doll 1919

Portait of a Nurse c 1916

He became friends with Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920)   and he painted Soutine’s portrait several times when they were all struggling artists in Montparnasse. Modigliani’s  most famous portrait of Soutine was painted on an apartment door belonging to Leopold Zborowski (1889 – 1932) their art dealer.  Zborowski was later to take the artist to Nice to escape Paris when it was being bombed in WWI.

After struggle and poverty, often helped by his friends and  fellow artists, Soutine finally managed to sell 100 paintings to American collector Albert C. Barnes who established his Foundation Museum in Merion, USA in 1922..  With the proceeds, the artist now began to enjoy a better life and dividing his time between Paris , the Pyrenees and the Riviera.

Man with ribbons

Although a passionate artist, Soutine left few works.  He suffered from anxiety and tempers and destroyed a lot of his paintings.  There are a few stories about this artist which give us a sketch of his personality and the effect it had upon his work.  One of them concerns one of his most iconic set of images  series  Le Boeuf Ecorche’ .

Three studies for the Crucifixion by Francis Bacon 1962

His neighbours complained about the stench of the animal carcass which he kept in his studio and called the police.  But Soutine remained unrepentant, advocating art over hygiene.  He painted 10 of the carcass paintings,  inspired by Rembrandt’s Carcass of Beef (1655) sometimes known as The Flayed Ox after studying the Old Master’s in the Louvre, Paris.  One of the paintings in Soutine’s series Le Boeuf Ecorche’(1924) sold for £7.8 million in 2006.

Little Pastry Cook

His work is characterised by its frantic brushwork, often violent colour and distorted images which covey emotion and he liked to paint bell boys, waiters and hotel workers – ordinary everyday people. In 1937 Soutine was hailed as a great painter, even though he did not take part in an important exhibition The Origins and Development of International Independent Art which was held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume.  Very soon after that, the France was invaded by the Germans and Soutine, as a Jew had to flee Paris to avoid arrest by the Gestapo.  He lived as best he could and eventually left a safe shelter to return to Paris for an operation for a bleeding stomach ulcer.  The operation was not a success and he died of a perforated ulcer on August 9, 1943  . Soutine was interred in Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris.

Video by bestjonbon with thanks!

Also thanks to;-

Lots of information about this artist here

Modiglini portrait of Soutine from here

Man with Ribbons and Little Pastry Cook images from here

Bacon triptych image from here

Landschaft mit Häusern, 1918 and Portait of a Nurse, c. 1916   Little Girl with Doll, 1919  all from this blogspot

Good images from Oscar Grillo Oscartoons  and here

PLUS

There’s a big birthday party going on over at my sister site Bookstains – and you’re invited!

UPDATE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROBERT BURNS (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796)  Here’s a video I made of Scottish artists;-

Legacies; Goodbye Helen Frankenhaler

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN, HISTORY, POETRY, SCULPTURE, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2012 by echostains

On 27th December 2011, the death of New York Abstract Expressionist Helen Frankenhaler was announced (b 1928 Manhattan USA).  The artist was 83 years old when she died at her home in Darien Conn. Frankenhaler, influenced by Pollock poured thinned oil paint which was diluted with turpentine directly onto canvas to achieve lyrical use of colour (her ‘soak stain’ technique). This technique, which was adopted by Pollock, Morris Louis (1912–1962), and Kenneth Noland (1924–2010 )helped lead and paved the way for a newer generation of abstract painting which became known as Color Field painting. Like Pollock, Frankenhaler also worked on the floor  pouring diluted paint onto the canvas and allowing it to soak through to produce the illusionistic stains.

Mountain and Sky

Her work was included in the 1964 exhibition Post Painterly Abstraction, which was curated by the critic Clement Greenberg who promoted Abstract Expressionism.  Frankenhaler’s work has been exhibited over 6 decades (1950s onwards) and has had several retrospectives.  She is also one of the artists I originally referenced when I first conceived the Echostains project in 2002.  This year sees the 10th anniversary of my project which has just grown and grown!  More news of this later in the year.

Poetree

From Frankenhaler’s legacy to a rather curious and  anonymous ‘gift’ which caught my imagination. Last year in an Edinburgh library, a series of sculptures began to appear.  The first sculpture, placed on a table in the Scottish Poetry Library was most appropriately carved from paper, mounted on a book and bore a tag with the library’s Twitter account number on @byleaveswelive  This is what it said;-

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.… … We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.… This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)

Next to the Poetree sat a paper egg with a scattering of words which when put together made up the sentence “A Trace of Wings’ by Edwin Morgan (see here) Despite local news coverage, no information has been found about the maker of the work.

more mystery

Then in June 2011, another paper sculpture was received, the donor this time chose The National Scottish Library as it’s recipient.  The sculpture is in the form of a gramophone and a coffin and is sculpted from a copy of Ian Rankin’s ‘Exit Music’  The tag reads;-

For @natlibscot – A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. (& against their exit)

In these days of Kindle  (smacks of Orwell’s 1984 to me) nothing beats the tactile thrill of holding, caressing, smelling, –  the physical page turning, the owning of and even the dog earing of  the physical object of a BOOK.   A physical object that holds so much of our dreams, imagination and is our portal to another world. It’s wonderful that these paper sculptures should pay homage to this – long may they keep popping up!

There are more of these sculptures

Helen Frankenhaler’s obituary here and here

Frankenhaler portrait  and more information about this artist  here

Sky and Sea by Helen Frankenhaler from here

Paper sculpture Poetree image  from here  and gramaphone sculpture from here with thanks!

Information and more images are available from this site with thanks!

Barbera Hepworth’s birthday (January 10th)  read my post about her here

PLUS

Its back! The original and eclectic Bookstains!

Happy Christmas and New Year!

Posted in Architecture, ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, BEHIND THE PAINT, CHRISTMAS, DESIGN, exhibitions, PHOTOGRAPHY, POLLS, SCULPTURE, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , , on December 24, 2011 by echostains

In my usual tradition, here is the round up of featured posts for 2011.  It’s been a pretty tubulent year personally for me and I haven’t blogged as much as I usually do – but my New Year resolution is to do so, so get ready for more eclectic mixes of art, design and quirkyness!  I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a bright New Year!

Stone me! Bathbombs, puppets, dribbles and Little Dancers!

Posted in Architecture, ART, BYGONE ADVERTISING AND PACKAGING, DESIGN, exhibitions, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 2, 2011 by echostains

Ronnie Wood Sketch

Musician,artist and printmaker  Ronnie Wood, who plays with the Rolling Stones (and has also played with The Faces, and the Jeff Beck Group) trained at Ealing Art College. His new exhibition, called ‘Time and Places’ will showcase 100 pieces of his work, including paintings of Jimi Hendrix, Slash and portraits of friends and family.  It shall run 7 – 12th November Cork Street, Mayfair. London.  Wood had this to say about his work:-

“People don’t know that I’m an artist. Playing music as part of a team effort is wonderful, but to express individuality as an artist is very personal. Art is more powerful, a more personal statement.”

 Creativity is creativity, but I take his point about personal expression and the need for own space to indulge this.  A group of artists can all bounce off each other and feed off ideas, each with their individual interpretation, – the inner journey must be solitary though.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, it’s nearly that time again.  No not Bonfire night – The Annual Turner Prize is nearly upon us.  love it or hate it, The Turner Prize has attracted controversy since it began back in 1984 to celebrate new developments in contemporary art.  Contenders have to have had outstanding exhibitions – and be under 50.

This year the exhibition will be held in the wonder BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Arts Gateshead.  This is a wonderful venue – a large and airy space  which used to be an old flour mill (see my review of this arts centre from when we visited – here)  The contenders for the Turner Prize this year are;-

Karla Black         

The BALTIC


Martin Boyce
Hilary Lloyd
George Shaw

I shall be reviewing the other contenders in a later post, but my attention was drawn to the strange media of artist Karla Black – obviously a person after my heart where diverse media is concerned.  Whilst I have ground soft pastels mixed with polyfiller, and have flirted with latex, recycled acrylic scraps, Black uses crushed bath bombs (must smell wonderful!) foodstuffs and even medicines to make her sculptures.  Heavily influenced by psychoanalysis, she states;-

‘While there are ideas about psychological and emotional developmental processes held within the sculptures I make, the things themselves are actual physical explorations into thinking, feeling, communicating and relating’.

There’s a good review of this artist, image from here   If you want to see some of my painterly ‘recipes’ please look in my Categories MY SURFACES.  Here’s one I did earlier ‘Brown Sauce meets Latex’

This TV built 1936 was still going in 2009 please read the link below

Age is a dichotomy in many ways,on the one hand, nothing much surprises me any more – yet on the other there is still a yearning to believe in somethings and I still feel a childlike disappointment when they turn out to be wrong.  For instance, I find it very very difficult to believe that television is 75 years old today!  It seems only yesterday when I was told to see if there was any mail, went downstairs and saw a television showing a children’s programme in black and white.  I had never seen a television before – so you can imagine….  I was watching Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men – and they spoke my language :-)   Bill and Ben, along with Andy Pandy, The Woodentops and many more were part of the Watch with Mother series.  BBC Watch with Mother ran from 1952 –  about 1965 when it was replaced by other children’s programmes like Camberwick Green, Pogles Wood and Trumpton.  Here’s a very early episode from Bill and Ben (Thanks to ) :-

Also in the news is the famous Little Dancer, the bronze ballerina made

The Little Dancer

by French Impressionist Edgar Degas.  The bronze sculpture, stands 40 inches in height and  wearing a silk hair ribbon and satin tutu failed to sell at Christie’s New York.  The ‘Little Dancer aged 14′  had a pre sale estimate of between $25 million to $35 million.  Degas’s heirs had 28 bronzes cast from the original which was made from tinted wax.  Whilst I find it difficult to believe that there was no buyer for such an iconic work – on the other hand, the price tag is a bit on the high side…..

Whilst the ‘Little Dancer’ is at least a bronze, Jackson Pollock’s No.5 1948 painting sold at for $140 million in a private sale in 2006.  The painting measures  8ft x 4ft and is on a sheet of fibreboard.  Quality versus quantity?  Not necessarily – take a look at the rest of the worlds most expensive paintings here.  Perhaps, in the end, a painting is only worth the price someone is willing to pay for it?

Ronnie Wood related link and painting from here

Television image and article (from 2009) is this TV still going now I wonder? read here

BBC first broadcast info here

Degas image and more information here

A Caricaturists hunting ground, – the artist known by whats his name? and paints payback

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2011 by echostains

The Regent's Birthday Cruickshank

If you have been reading this blog (and I can only wonder at your forbearance and tenacity if you have and thank you for it) you will know that I include all sorts of artistic expression.  I see art everywhere.  One aspect that I have yet to mention on Echostains up until now is the art of the caricaturist. 

Loo in the kitchen Cruickshank

George Cruikshank’s art was the equivalent to a newspaper headline you would see today – usually scandalous!  People  complain about the intrusion of the paparazzi, but fame has always been a double-edged sword and the newspaper machine – a many-headed hydra.  George Cruickshank (b. London 1792 – 1878) was an illustrator and caricaturist with considerable talent and was one of the leading caricaturists of the 1790s.  His work employs a descriptive narrative similar to William Hogarth including prints, plates and illustrations. He also  illustrated some of the plates for some Charles Dickens books.

Fagin in his cell Cruickshank

His early work focused on caracturising English life for social publications, but he gained a lot of interest from caracturising the Royal family and the leading politicians of the time.  He even received a Royal bribe in 1720 not to lampoon the King George IV in any ‘immoral situation’ he may be in  (he must have made a tidy sum as  there were many.)

James Gillray an earlier caricaturist was one  of Cruikshank’s influences and  joined forces with him and Thomas Rowlandson (another Satirical artist) to develop a personification of England – John Bull in 1790

Cruikshank’s material came from social events, especially wars abroad and political parties, though he appears to be impartial to Tory Whigs and Radicals and satirised them all.  He illustrated ‘Sketches by Boz’ 1836, ‘The Mudfrog Papers’ 1837 – 1838 and ‘Oliver Twist’ 1838 all by Charles Dickens.

Snuffing out Boney by Cruickshank

He created controversy in 1871 with a letter to The Times where he claimed credit for a lot of the plot in Oliver Twist.  This spoiled his friendship with Dickens.  In the 1840s Cruikshank work became moore focused on book illustration.  He became obsessed with Temperance and was a staunch anti smoker illustrating work for the National Temperance Society.

Crinoline Parody Cruickshank

Cruikshank was a complicated man with a scandalous personal life   (upon his death, it was revealed that he had 11 illegitimate children with a mistress)  Yet he  still managed to produce nearly 10,000 prints, plates and illustrations, get buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.  His work can be seen in the Victoria and Albert and the British Museum.

George Cruikshank illustrations and information from here

Gary lawrence Homage to Anonymous

The Jerwood Visual Arts and Drawing projects UK has awarded First Prize in the Drawing Exhibition to Essex artist Gary Lawrence.  His large-scale drawing ‘Homage to Anonymous’ – a tribute to all anonymous artists, is drawn on the back of discarded posters using a ballpoint pen.  The work is dedicated to all artists who made work but went unrecognised and will be shown at JVA at Jerwood Space, London from 14 September – 30 October 2011. This what the artist says about this work-
 ‘Homage to Anonymous began in 2010 as a simple view of Pothea (the main town on the Greek island of Kalymnos) where I went on holiday. While working on it, I began thinking of other artist’s views of towns, especially El Greco’s View and Plan of Toledo (1608-14). While checking my El Greco book, I saw View of Candia (Litta di Candia) (1582) and View of Toledo (1582), both drawings which I initially thought to be by El Greco. (Candia, I found out, is Herak Lion, Capital of Crete, El Greco’s island of birth). All these historical references, plus my own holiday snapshots of Kalymnos, were combined over many months to finish the drawing in June 2011.’

I quite like the way that this work has grown from conception to its evolution.  Sometimes in art, the original idea with which you set out with is lost or changes to such an extent that you can’t remember what beginning actually was.  All you need is the spark, I think.  Without the spark or the germ of the idea you can’t really make a beginning.  Another observation I have made is the problem solving aspect of art.  You have the concept, then you try to execute your idea.  You realise that this isn’t working – it’s not quite what you wanted to say, so it’s back to the drawing board (so to speak).  Sometimes, just sometimes, the real journey, the finding of a way is actually more interesting than the finished piece in my own personal experience.  More about this exhibition here 

Jakub by Jan Mikulka

Here’s Czech artist 31 years old Jan Mikula whose oil painting of his lifelong friend  is so life-like it looks like a photograph.  The artist is said to have wanted to capture his lifelong friend JakubWagner ‘sensitive nature  at a short distance’. 

There’s no doubt about the artists skill here, and the finished painting is aesthetically pleasing to me – so therefore it’s a success so I shouldn’t be looking for more from this painting – yet I am and I can’t pinpoint what it could be.  I  prefer this portrait of a woman for her air of mystery and truth.  For me, it’s what you don’t see – what is hinted at which creates the interest.  Please take a look at the artist’s website here which is full of fantastic paintings and prepare to be enraptured!

Portrait of a woman by Jan Mikulka

With the advent of the first camera (first permanent photograph 1822)  artists were outraged and believed that photography would destroy art and the portrait artist’s livelihood.  But as you can see from this artist and other photo realists like Chuck Close this has been reversed – art is now imitating photography and blurring the boundaries.  Read more about this painting and the artist  here who won the Visitors Choice at the British Portrait Exhibition 16th June – 4 September 2011 with Jakub.  To see who won the  BP Portrait awards click here  

More PhotoRealists/Photorealists can be found at this blog

Rough and tumble with Bellows, naughty Beardsley and robbery with violins too!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, DESIGN with tags , , , , , , , on August 27, 2011 by echostains

Stag at Sharkeys by George Bellows

Belated birthdays  The candles have long been blown out on these artists birthdays, but as a way of catching up with my posts they provide a good excuse to write!  August 11th saw the birthday of American realist artist George Bellows (b 1882 – 1925) (though there seems to be some discrepancy on his August birthdate according to Wikipedia)
George Wesley Bellows attended Ohio State University from 1901 – 1904 . He  played baseball and painted illustrations for magazines whilst studying there.  In  1904 he became a student of Robert Henri at the New York School of Art becoming one of Henri’s ‘Eight’ and becoming associated with a group of artists who at that time were painting American  society in a modern down to earth, kitchen sink manner.   This group came to be known as the Ashcan School.

Pennsylvania Station George Bellows

When Henri organised an exhibition featuring mostly urban studies in 1908, Bellows became more interested in pursuing a career as a painter.  He was to prove successful and became very famous and nationally recognised.  His work typically depicts rough working class people and chaos  are have lots of atmosphere.  The artist is mostly known for his boxing scenes which are laden with movement and rough brushstrokes. 

The  artist received many commissions from the social elite of New York.  Socially conscious Bellows also became associated with the ‘Lyrical Left’ group of artists.  He taught and contributed drawings and prints to the socialist journal ‘The Masses’. A lot has been written about this interesting artist’s life.  There’s also a wonderful article about him and his work  by Jonathan Jones, The Guardian  here

Earlier in the month it was the British illustrator and writer 

Salome by Beardsley

Aubrey Beardsley‘s birthday  (21 August 1872 – 16 March 1898)Heres a link to a previous post I did about Beardsley here   and some lovely art prints from Beardsley.artpassions 

stolen pen and ink drawing by Rembrandt

A couple of weeks ago the British newspapers have been full of reports about the riots and looting which has gone on in the UK.  In Los Angeles yet another art masterpiece has been looted from a private art exhibit at the Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey whilst the curator was distracted by a well planned diversion.  The work is believed to be The Judgement by 17th century Dutch artist Rembrandt Van Rijn is estimated to be worth $250,000.  The good news about the painting is that it has been recovered a few days later in a church in San Fernando Valley after an anonymous tip-off.  Read about it here

But, back to today and today is American Dadaist and Surrealist artist Emmanuel Radnitzsky, better known as Manray (b. 1890 – 1970)  The wonderful ManRay trust website can be found here http://www.manraytrust.com/  A earlier post of mine which celebrates the artist’s birthday can be found here   Manray is esteemed in the art world for his avant-garde photography – especially renown for his fashion and portrait work, though he regarded himself as a painter above all.  Manray is still a very well regarded and influential artist even now. 

George Bellows information here

George Bellows Lithographs and drawings can be found here

Stag at Sharkeys image from here

Men of the Docks image from here

Pennsylvania Sstation image from here

  Salome image  from here

More Stolen Rembrandt details here

The Judgement drawing from here

Manray Violin from here

All with thanks!

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