Archive for November, 2010

The Art of Progress

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , on November 30, 2010 by echostains

Turner The Fighting Temeraire 1839

Everything in the world is forever changing –  our planet, our government, our values, ourselves  – everything is shifting.  Art  serves as a  testament  leaving  its legacy and mark on change.  Art provides a reference to our world – a porthole, a window to the past, present and the now.  It has always been like this.  J M W Turner‘s (b. 1775 – 1851 London)  moving watercolour of The Fighting Temeraire shows Nelson’s 98 gun flagship, triumphant in the Battle of Trafalgar 1805 being towed from Sheerness to Rotherhithe to be broken up and used as scrap in 1838  As the new age ushers in new forms of transport, men are no longer slaves to the seas whims: it is the beginning of the age of steam – the ‘floating kettles’ as some called them.  The beautiful setting of the sunset shows a sense of loss as the old warship contrasts with the smaller steam-powered tug.

The Railway Station by William Powell Frith 1862

William Powell Frith‘s (b.1819 – 1909 Yorkshire England) gigantic canvas ‘The Railway Station’  had everyone talking about it when it went on show at a gallery in the Haymarket London in 1862.  Not only was it interesting because the artist had collaborated with a photographer (Samuel Fry), using his photographs as aides to his work – there were nearly 100 figures in the painting and lots of little details which people flocked to see.  Scenarios break out all over the painting: one example being two famous Scotland Yard detectives of the time Haydon and Brett arresting a criminal.  A wedding party and some army recruits join the throng.  This painting was reported by the Times newspaper as breaking all previous sales records for any painting by a living artist:-

“the artist had been paid the astonishing sum of £8,750 for it, while the Athenaeum put the total at 8,000 guineas, or £9,187 10s. Whatever the correct amount, Frith’s earnings from The Railway Station broke all previous records…

 ‘As a rule, it is only dead men whose works have risen to such figures,’ declared The Times, ‘and even these honoured dead may be counted on the two hands.

However, only £4,500 of this was paid for the painting itself; the rest secured the far more lucrative copyright and sole exhibition rights.”  What price artistic ‘progression’ eh.  Frith was very well paid for him labours it seems.

 

connoisseur by Norman Rockwell

The third painting is by illustrator Norman Rockwell (b 1894 – 1978 New York USA)  ‘Coinoisseur’ 1962 – a tribute to Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock (b. 1912 – 1966 USA).  Whilst the painting is sometimes interpreted as a compliment to Pollock – it is also interesting to note the comparison between Rockwell’s illustrative art and the new Modern art of Pollock who was big news in the art scene of 1962.

This is the painting which has inspired yet another Poetry Challenge!  This time it’s about – you guessed by now – PROGRESS:-)  For details of how to enter please click The connoisseur to go over to Bookstains where you will find this and other poetry challenges that are art related.

More information  about The Railway here and image from here

connoisseur image from here

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The Wonderful Myth

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, HISTORY with tags , , , , , on November 25, 2010 by echostains

I’ve just come across this video about the ever popular Pre-Raphaelite painters.  Some of the artists, I am not familiar with – Edward Roberts Hughes and Charles Lock Eastlake are two of them.  But the video is just the thing to transport the spirit into another age (Victorian)- then into  yet another age (the ancient world of myth).  It just goes to show that a good story never dies and shall always linger on in our collective romantic memory:-)   The video is rather long and the music is by Vengellis (not a fan) but the paintings both recognised and unfamiliar are a veritable feast for the eyes 🙂

The video is by gilcarosio – thanks!

PS Things are hotting up over at my other blog Bookstains!  More poems have been added to the Dickens challenge:-)

Just click Charles to have a look – and perhaps join in:-)

Hats Off to York!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, exhibitions with tags , , , , on November 20, 2010 by echostains

collapsable Opera hat

We’ve recently come back from a few days away in York.  Whilst there, I popped into the city Art Gallery where along with the ceramics, illustrations (wonderful small collection from children’s books) and paintings, there was an exhibition simply called ‘Hats’.  The exhibition which runs from to 18th September 2010 – 23rd  January 2011 tracks the way that hats have been used in social etiquette and trends during the last 400 years.

Jennifer Alexander, assistant curator of fine art, said:

“We have a wonderful collection of paintings from the last 400 years and many show how styles and fashions have changed. From baker hats to bonnets to bowlers, all hats say something about the person wearing it, whether it is their job, their social class or their era.

The hats are delightful and some of the fabrics still in very good condition, the intricate decorations including a dead birds head are fascinating.  But what struck me the most is the size of the hats.  Why are our heads bigger now? The skulls seem tiny compared to our present day ones.  I love hats and have been known to wear a few in my time – after all they can add a good few inches to the shorter person which I think is always a good thing where I’m concerned:-)

Barbara Hepworth Surgeon Waiting

Around the walls of the exhibition are paintings of the hats in their context.  Barbara Hepworth‘s oil and graphite on gesso prepared paper was an unexpected find. 

Miss Mary Arabella Jay exhibited 1819 by William Etty

 York painter William Etty (1787-1849) The Missionary Boy was also on display, unfortunately I couldn’t find an image of it to display here.  Etty was one of the few artists to become successful at large history paintings.  He liked to paint nudes, portraits and later, landscapes.  here’s an example of his work.

English artist Spencer Gore (1878- 1914) was a Founder member of the Fitzroy Street group and was involved with the formation of the Camden Town Group.   He came into contact with Pissarro whose impressionistic style he adapted.  Walter Sickert was another great friend and influence upon his art.  Spencer Gore is an interesting artist in his own right and I shall be writing more about him soon.

Spencer Gore. Balcony at the Alhambra, c. 1911-1912. Oil on canvas

Along with Roger Bissiere‘s Woman in a Straw Hat, other paintings include French artist Jacques Emile Blanche  (1861-1942) whose painting ‘Knightsbridge to Sloane Square’ painted in 1908/9 shows everyone from children to Policeman behatted.  Only the beggars remain bare-headed.

Hepworth image here, Etty image from here Gore image from here and info and more images here

More about York Gallery and the exhibitions here

Poll – My Pre-Raphaelite Favorite

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by echostains

 

Beata beatrix by Rossetti

Pre- Raphaelite fans will be delighted with the art world’s latest find.  It’s a previously unseen drawing by  Dante Gabriel Rossetti of William Morris’s wife Jane.  The drawing which has been in a private collection shall go on display in January next year.  It is a full-scale pastel drawing called Mnemosyne.  The actual painting is on display in the Delaware Art Museum.  The drawing will be shown at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.  Jane Morris‘s beauty came to typify the Pre -Raphaelite idea of classical beauty.  Morris and Elizabeth Siddal are immortalised in their art.

The drawing study for the 1881 painting Mnemosyne which will go on display next year

Much has been wrote about the Pre- Raphaelite brotherhood which were founded in 1848 by  Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, and John  Everett Millais.  The brotherhood consisted of critics, poets and painters. William Michael Rossetti (brother to Gabriel) James Collinson, Frederick George Stephens, and Thomas Woolner made up the seven original members – other artists were added later.  The Pre -Raphaelites believed that the classical poses and compositions of Raphael in particular had a corrupting influence on academic art teaching.  Joshua Reynolds, (whom they nicknamed ‘Sloshua’) came in for some criticism for his painting technique which the Pre -Raphaelites considered ‘sloppy and formulaic form of academic Mannerism’.  They wished to return art to use of abundant detail and rich bright colours seen in Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art.

Isabella and the pot of Basil by Holman Hunt

The Brotherhood’s early doctrines were expressed in four declarations:

  1. to have genuine ideas to express;
  2. to study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them;
  3. to sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parodying and learned by rote;
  4. and, most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues

 

 
 

Christ in the House of his Parents by Millais

One of my favorite Pre -Raphaelites is John William Waterhouse,a later Pre- Raphaelite.  I have  included him here, to take the place of non painter William Micheal Rossetti.

work by Ford Maddox Brown

To Let by Collinson

 

The  critic and champion of the P.R. was John Ruskin and although an exquisite draftsman, but I haven’t included him this time.  I have however, included Ford Maddox Brown instead of Frederick George Stephens, as Stephens was the Pre- Raphaelites  promoter, rather than artist. 

The Beguiling of Merlin by Burne-Jones

 Thomas Woolner is also ommitted as he was a sculptor rather than painter.  He has been replaced byEdward Burne-Jones.

The Pre- Raphaelites  were no strangers to scandal and Millais painting of the Virgin Mary (Christ in the House of his Parents) in 1850 came in for severe criticism by the writer Charles Dickens;-

“According to Dickens, Millais made the Holy Family look like alcoholics and slum-dwellers, adopting contorted and absurd “medieval” poses’.”

Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse

Dickens of course had a lot to say about most things and for the most part said it well.  But here is an opportunity for you to have your say in my ‘What the Dickens?’ poetry challenge over on Bookstains – just click Dickens for details:-)

LATEST POEM HERE

More about this Pre Raphaelite painting here  More on the Pre- Raphaelites here  Images;- Millais here  Holman Hunt here  Collinson image here Burne-Jones image here John William Waterhouse image from here – Thanks to all!

Preserving the words

Posted in ART, exhibitions with tags , , , on November 11, 2010 by echostains

 

George Cattermole's Old Curiosity shop

Anyone who reads this blog will know that I’m a big fan of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London which houses many treasures illustrating not only our own culture but the world.  This week the museum is launching a campaign to conserve three of Dickens’s original manuscripts which were acquired from the writer’s home by his friend John Forster and bequeathed to the museum in 1876.  The race is on to restore the priceless originals in time for Dickens’ bicentenary of Dickens’ birth in 2012.

David Copperfield by Phiz

“At the moment we can’t display these manuscripts safely because they are so damaged and so fragile,”

 said John Meriton, deputy keeper of word and image at the V&A.

“They were last conserved in the 1960s, when they were rebound and placed in what are called ‘guard books’. But the backing paper used, unfortunately, was very acidic, causing a lot of stress to the original manuscript leaves.”

A Tale of Two Cities by Phiz

A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and Dickens last unfinished novel manuscript The Mystery of Edwin Drood will all be restored and conserved for the public to see – if the money can be found (which I’m confident it will be).  Dickens has contributed so much to English literature.  He has entertained, prodded consciences and provoked social awareness with his sharp commentaries upon the poor, working conditions and the division of the social classes.  He has cocked a snoot at  the Upper class and championed the orphan.  He should be celebrated!

So, jumping in there way ahead of his bicentenary I am issuing a challenge on Bookstains.  If you would like to take part please click Mr Dickens:-) 

If not – just enjoy the illustrations – I shall be running a fun poll soon to see which Dicken’s illustrator is the most popular (and there are many…)

More about the V and A’s campaign to conserve these precious manuscripts here

Dickens illustration from here and here

Jerry cleans up!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , , , on November 8, 2010 by echostains

Jerry Hall by Francesco Clemente

You may remember that quite a few posts ago I wrote that Texan model Jerry Hall (ex Mrs Jagger) had decided to put some of her art collection up for auction last month (the post is here).  The collection which included paintings by Lucian Freud, Francesco Clemente and Warhol were sold at auction on the 16th October at Sotheby’s auction house London and Jerry cleaned up!

Jerry Hall by Freud

‘Eight Month Gone’, a portrait of Hall painted by Lucien Freud when Hall was 8 months pregnant with her 4th child  sold for £601.250   (the  original estimate being  £300,000-£400,000).

Auerbach-Head-of-Helen-Gillespie-IV

 

A Frank Auerbach painting, ‘Head of Helen Gillespie’ was bought by Hall in 1997, estimated at between £700,000 and £900,000 actually went for £1,071,650 –   $1.76 million) (proved to be a good investment indeed!

Freud-Quinces

Another picture by the artist entitled Quinces took £313,250 against a forecast of £150,000-£200,000.

warhol-dollar

Hall was given an acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas Dollar sign by Warhol in 1982.  It has the inscription ‘To Jerry’ and was estimated to be worth  between 120,000 pounds to 150,000 pounds.  Of the 14 pieces of art offered by Hall for auction – four remained unsold, but I can’t find any information to what they were.

Jerry has famously said that her reason for selling the paintings was to ‘move on’ from that particular episode of her life and put the past behind her.  She calls it ‘movin on’ in the auction’s catalogue,  “At a certain age you just want to get rid of things,” she says.  I suppose by parting with these – she really does mean what she says!

Article here
A detailed article of more works offered for auction including Warhol’s ‘Diamond Dust Shoes’  here  Quinces imaged here  Hall’s collection offered for auction here  Lots and lots of individual info on Hall’s paintings here

My 634 post – All my Yesterdays? well, a few of them

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, exhibitions with tags , , , , , , on November 4, 2010 by echostains

 

Beautiful rafaela just one of my many past posts

I thought that I’d do an update as I haven’t done one since my 550th in June.  I am glad that the experiment in cutting down my blog post by posting every few days doesn’t seem to affected my views.  Posting every day (which I managed for a full year) was getting very time-consuming: life  and Bookstains were suffering!

Hogarth another past post (birthday I think)

What I thought I would do for this post is look at some posts going right back: posts that never really got a proper airing in the early days. 

My Bronte bites (must update these with another trip to Haworth)

My blog has changed completely over the a few years – so much added; so many categories.  The book reviews and poetry have had to be accommodated in Bookstains where I’m  hosting poetical challenges based on paintings.  But just for fun and because I’m feeling nostalgic –  here area tiny minute fractionof my early ‘Yesterdays’  Please feel free to comment:-)

Foundation Stones McGuire

A very early post about Irish artist Brian McGuire and why I love his ‘Foundation Stones paintings

Just a tick – just getting the lay of the land(one of my very first blog posts…….

euphoria-borealis

Euphoria Borealis An early painting (and why)

99 cent pop Gursky

Andreas Gursky Go BIG

Hepworth garden

A Cornish Garden of hidden delights (Barbara Hepworth)

unusual ceramics and teapots have features

Teapots (not done any posts on these for a long time) go all political

PS Theres two more entries in the Weeping Woma poetry challenge (including mine) on Bookstains HERE