Archive for the ART HISTORY Category

Goodbye Dorothea Tanning. Gone But Not Forgotten.

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , , , , on August 25, 2020 by echostains

To commemorate this wonderful Surrealist artist, I dedicate this post.

The oldest living Surrealist artist 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

A bit of Ruff, a bit of smooth, good patches and a golden eggstravaganza

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2020 by echostains

I have  not featured any jewellery on Echostains for quite a while so I have been looking for something really unusual – something that can send me into flights of fancy.  I am writing this on the birthdate of the Faberge egg (29th May  1885 – 1917), the day the Faberge egg was ‘laid’.  The Faberge egg is instantly recognisable – sumptuous, bejewelled and opulent.  These eggs were  developed in Russia by  the House of Faberge (1885 – 1917) The miniature eggs were Easter gifts, that were given singly and  were sometime worn on a neck chain.

The Karelian egg

The larger more famous eggs (also known as the ‘Imperial’ eggs) were originally made for Alexander 111 and Nicholas 11 of Russia.  Only 50 of these eggs were made, and 42 have survived.

The Karelian and Constellation eggs, planned for 1918 were destined never to be delivered.  Nicholas 11 and his whole family died in an assasination that year and  the year before Nicholas had  abdicated.  The eggs themselves are gorgeous, opulent and seen as a symbol of luxury – jewellers masterpieces.  But it is not these little baubles which once hung from necklaces which caught my eye, but this strange face distorting jewelery by Burcu Buyukunal.   

My first question is ‘why?’  How does this enhance the face?  By  distorting her face, do we then notice how attractive the woman really is?  They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different ‘looks’ have their admirers, as do fashion, design ect. Maybe one day ‘beauty’ will be played down to be the new beauty. It is this example which  reminded me of how Elizabethan ladies used to paint their faces white and how patches made of velvet were used on the face in the 18th century to disguise blemishes, make the face appear even whiter or draw attention to certain facial features depending on  where they were placed.

circa 1780 patch box

‘Her patches are of every cut,
For pimples and for scars;
Here’s all the wandering planets’ signs,
And some of the fixed stars.’

 In this very short video we see the owner of the painting ‘Une Dam a sa Toilette’ by French painter Francois Boucher (  1703 –  1770)  explain the delicate operation of patch application.  Boucher ‘s art is known for his  voluptuous and idyllic subject matter which is well suited to the Rococo style.  His patroness was  the famous Madame Pompadour, he painted many portraits of her.

There are also accessories which are used to glamourise. Whirls of cigarette smoke enveloping beautiful women in black and white movies  lend such mystique and intrigue to the silver screen. The actuality is rather different.  Cigarette Smoke permeates everything it touches, including, flesh, clothes and hair – there’s nothing mysterious about that, but I was quite tickled about this cigarette collar – though I think they missed a trick by not making it a prisoners or slave’s collar to emphasis the entrapment of the noxious weed. The ‘chain’ association is still there though, and there is something of the chain smoking beagle about this collar.  These types of collars are not new though – the actual shape of  the ruff collar goes back to the sixteenth century and were worn by men, women and children.  The pleats of the ruff was accomplished by the use of  cone-shaped goffering irons. which were heated.  Ruffs were made from a lot of material.  Elizabeth1 had a ruff of ‘ten yards for the neck and hand’.  During starching, ruffs could be coloured with vegetable dyes, though Elizabeth herself disapproved of the light blue colour;-

“Her Majesty’s pleasure is that no blue starch shall be used or worn by any of her Majesty’s subjects, since blue was the color of the flag of Scotland”

Stiff collars, smooth complextions, disguises used as enhancements – beauty will always be subjective and is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

 

Karelian egg image here

Lots of these beautiful eggs here

Distorting jewlery from here

Patchbox from here

Video by AndSper with thanks

Romanov Assassination information here

More about Boucher here

Smoking Dietrich from this article

Elizabeth1 image here

The verse and the source of a lot of delightful information about the history of the patch can be found in Chambers Book of Days

Picture this Poetry Challenge: Haiku ‘The Bedroom at Arles’ Vincent Van Gogh

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART QUOTES, haiku, Picture this Haiku Poetry Challenge, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 25, 2020 by echostains

Vincent Van Gogh painted three versions of this painting ‘The Bedroom at Arles’.  This is the third  version he painted in 1889.  He painted it whilst waiting for his mother to visit him in a Lunatic Asylum in  St Remy.  He was to commit suicide 10 months after this painting.  He called his chair ‘The Seat of happiness’ because the  colours symbolise sunshine, warmth and happiness.

the bedroom

” When I see my canvasses again, after my illness, The one that seemed the best was ‘The Bedroom’

 

The idea is to write a haiku about the painting and link to Echostains and Bookstains and  it shall appear here.  Here’s  mine;

Yellow sunlit chair

light up my starry night of rest

your colours soothe me.

L M Roberts 2020

Image from here

 

Happy Birthday Georges Braque!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2020 by echostains

le viaduct de La Estaque

Le Viaduct de L’ Estaque

 

Georges Braque b. Paris, France (1882-1963) was a  painter, collagist and draughtsman, sculptor and printmaker. His major contribution to  Art History is through Cubisim, which he founded and developed alongside   his close association with  Picasso during the 1908-1912 period.

houses at l estaque 1908

Houses at de L’Estaque

He also participated in Fauvism and Impressionism and his work was full of bold shapes and striking colours.  His work during the War though was more sombre and reflective of the mood, but between the war, when the word changed – so did he, using lighter colours, themes and styles.

man and guitar 1911

Man and Guitar 1911

Cubism though can be found in most of this work throughout his career.  He studied painting at Le Havre Academy,  at first concentrating on Impressionism.  Around  1905,  inspired by Cezanne and Van Gogh and their bright use of colours he became a Fauvist painter and exhibited with Henri Matisse and Andre Derain who were also Fauvists.

Braque had his first solo exhibition in 1908 and from 1909-1914 spent time with Picasso  developing a darker colour palette and use of bold line which was to become the Cubism style.

the portuguese

The Portuguese

Cubism challenged presentable form as perspective and conveyed a different way of ‘seeing’, which reflected the ‘modern’ world. Braque incorporated collage innovatively into his work.  His work after the WW1 changed direction again –   reflecting nature and the effect of light, but he never strayed to far from his Cubist style and his  bold use of lines and colour.

girl with a cross

Girl with a Cross

In 1937 he began to add sculpture to his repertoire and did receive some international success when his pieces went beyond Europe and were shown in the USA. He worked after WW2, concentrating on lighter subjects like landscape, sea and nature.  his health was not robust, yet it did not prevent him forming a new art movement of Cubism along side Picasso.

With thanks to WikiArt

More about Braque here

Images from here

Surreal Thing Happy Birthday Dali!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2020 by echostains

Dali is a superb draughtsman.  Some years ago I visited the Dali Universe, County Hall, London. salvador-dali-quotes-famous-best-sayings oneThis 3,000 square metre space housed sculptures, (1935 -1984), lithographs, drawings and wonderful  furniture inspired by Dali: gold and glass objects and  even copies of the famous lobster telephone and the Mae West lips sofa!

There were no major paintings on display, apart from the oil he did for Hitchcock’s ‘1945 film ‘Spellbound‘.  I took great delight in looking through Dali’s drawings which are simply exquisite and show not only his draughtsmanship skills, but how exacting and precise his execution of drawing was. His imagination may have been wild, but his skills struck me as very honed and precise, not something I associate with Surrealism.  Surreal, I know!

 

Dali and his wild cat Babou

 

Too much has been written about this famous Spanish artist: some by myself (please see my earlier birthday posts here and for further Dali eccentricities here ).

Dali loved wild animals.  His favorite pet was a wildcat, an Ocelot, called Babou whom he would take to restaurants, tethering the animal to a table and causing alarm to fellow diners.

The surreal image below shows Dali emerging from the Paris underground taking two Anteaters for a walk (1969).  Andre Breton, (Founder of the Surrealist movement) who was known  as ‘le tamanoir’ – ‘the anteater’)  used this image as bookplates for several books and Dali was to depict the style of the anteater in his famous 1929 painting ‘The Great Masturbator’

Dali taking a Parisian walk with his pets Dali taking a Parisian walk with his pets

 

One of Dali’s famous stunts was staged at London’s International Surrealist Exhibition, 1936 when he gave a lecture whilst wearing a deep-sea diving suit. He very nearly suffocated.  His wild exaggerated gestures were mistaken for his usual amusing form of eccentricity.  Luckily for him a poet, David Gascoyne rescued Dali – with a spanner!

The Great Masturbator 1929

surrealism1938

A mysterious fire broke out in the artist’s bedroom in 1984, fortunately Dali was rescued by a friend, Robert Descharnes.  Dali was returned his beloved  Figueres , Spain (his birthplace), where his friends and  artists looked after him. In November 1988 he went to hospital with heart failure.  On 23rd January 1989, the artist died of heart failure at the age of 84.  He is buried in the crypt in his Teatro Museo in Figueres, much loved and much admired by most artists and non artists alike.

 

Images, with thanks are from here and here     the Ocelot image here, others from here    and here   

For historical characters with unusual pets here

Here’s some stuff you might not know about Dali here

 

Scream, Scream and Scream Again!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART with tags , , , , on May 7, 2020 by echostains

The Scream by Edvard Munch 1893

Today is the anniversary of when the famous painting ‘The Scream’ by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944) was recovered undamaged where it was first stolen in February 1994 from the Oslo Museum.  It had been missing nearly 3 months.

Artist and printmaker Munch explored themes of madness, jealousy and sexual awakening, among other psychological states.  His childhood was tragic.  His sister and mother died of tuberculosis and there was mental instability in his family.  The Scream’ (also known as ‘the Shriek) or to give its original title Der Schrei der Natur   means ‘The Scream of Nature) and the painting was part of his ‘Frieze of Life’ which he painted in 1893.

A lot has been written about Munch’s tragic personal life as well as his art  (read two of my earlier posts here and here ).  Munch. although striking, tall and handsome to women was himself quite wary of the opposite sex.  He had a fear of marriage, convinced that any children he may have may be prone to depression and physical illness – a family trait.

My original print re assembled

The location in the painting has been identified as the road leading up to the mental hospital Munch’s sister Laura Catherine was a patient in at the time of the painting.  I once watched a programme about Munch and this painting and it was said that screams could be heard from the interns  by Munch and his family.

In a page in his diary headed Nice 22.01.1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image thus:

I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

This painting has inspired films, masks and other art – my own included.  The painting has been stolen a few times.  the first time was February 12th 1994 and recovered undamaged in May 1994.

Final print

Another version of ‘The Scream’ (there are several) was stolen by gunmen in 2004 and recovered in 2006 (lots of details about the thefts here.

In 2004 I even ‘borrowed’ the painting myself, basing some lino prints on it.  The intention behind this was to show the alternative worlds between madness and sanity.  I did this by cutting my print up and re-assembling, then making  further prints.  The print is divided and has the line running down the middle to show the split personality of the self and other.  I have heightened the colours to show intensity and acuteness – but I have made one muddier and more nebular to show the hidden and less lucid mood.

Original Scream image from here

More about this painting here.

Munch Museum here

Happy Birthday Yves Klein!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , on April 28, 2020 by echostains

Yves Klein

French artist Yves Klein (b. 1928 – 1962 Nice France) isn’t easy to classify.  Some have said that he was a post-modernist others  a neo Dadaist.  Between the years of 1947 – 48 Klein ‘wrote’ a symphony which consisted of a 20 minute sustained chord followed by a 20 minutes silence.  From 1948 to 1952 he travelled to Italy, Spain and Britain.  Whilst in Japan he became a master of Judo, he was aged 25.  This was considered at the time a great achievement for a westerner’

Yves Klein blue (IKB)

He threw himself into art seriously and held his first private exhibitions of his monochromes in 1950.   Some of his shows showed orange, pink, red, yellow and blue monchromes which Klein thought were misunderstood.  He decided to concentrate only on the colour blue.  Klein patented his own recipe.  This was to become ‘International Klein Blue’ which resembled the blue of the Madonna’s robe  in Medieval paintings, originally made with lapis lazuli.

Klein making a Fire painting

Another show, in 1958 called  La spécialisation de la sensibilité à l’état matière première en sensibilité picturale stabilisée, Le Vide (The Specialization of Sensibility in the Raw Material State into Stabilized Pictorial Sensibility, The Void consisted of an empty gallery space except for a large cabinet.  All surfaces were painted white and on the opening night 3000 people queued up to view the empty room, thanks to enormous publicity!

He decorated the Gelsenkirchen Opera House, Germany with vast blue murals and in 1958 collaborated with Jean Tinguely (Bas reliefs in a Sponge forest) using the sponges he had used to paint his canvases.  These were mounted on to steel rods and set in rocks from his parents garden.

Victory of Samothrace 1962

He also ‘painted’ with gas burners by scorching his canvas.  He  made sculptures, like ‘Venus de Milo’ and ‘The Winged Victory of Samothrace’  which he painted in IKB.   He also made this photomontage called Saut dans le vide (Leap into the Void) which shows appernetly him jumping off a wall.

Le Saut le Vide by Yves Klein

 But he is perhaps most well known for his performance art where he used models as paintbrushes as the formerly dressed audience watch and Klein’s Monotone symphony played!

Yves Klein, Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue

 Here’s the artist himself amidst his symphony and his painted ladies:-

Lots of information about this artist here

and here

Source of images and information here

 Yves Klein becomes the latest artist to be celebrated – there’s many more in my Artists birthdays category!

Happy Birthday J M W Turner – Grand Master of the Elements – not all at Sea

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2020 by echostains

Today is the birthday of British Romantic Landscape, seascape, watercolourist and printmaker  Joseph Mallord William Turner(b. London 1775 – 1851).  Turner understood the elements, for example when in 1834 parliament caught fire, Turner witnessed it.  He also sketched shipwrecks, storms and other natural phenomena like fog, rain, storms and above all the light and strove to capture it .  He was fascinated by the way light acted upon the elements, giving them a sort of spiritual majesty. Turner loved the sea and it is said that he once had himself tied to a mast of a ship for a few hours to better understand storms.  A romantic tale which is  probably a myth and takes ‘method’ acting to new heights.

Turner was a master of the elements and loved the Dutch seascapes.  He  conveys emotion through his paintings, and an incredible affinity with natures elements.  The sea was in his blood.  He was brought up by the Thames and it would prove to be a great source of inspiration to his work.  In this great video, Turner’s relationship wiith the natural elements is further explained.

A past birthday post about Turner by me here

Another of my posts featuring Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire   here

Video by

Her Aeolian Harp  with thanks!
Turner’s life here and website here