Today is the birthday of Edvard Munch (1863 – 1944) Norwegian Symbolist artist and printmaker and a forerunner of the Expressionist art movement . There a quite a few videos to choose from which feature his work, but I rather like this one because of the way the music seems to capture the mood of his work. The music sounds to me like it comes from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.
An early Echostains posts explores this artist further and references his most famous painting ‘The Scream’ and where the idea may have come from.
Art pops up in the most unexpected places (see my post about Michaelangelo’s work found behind a sofa…). 271 pieces of Pablo Picasso‘s work have now turned up in a garage on the French Rivera. They have lain there in a cardboard box for 40 years. Retired electrician 71-year-old Pierre Le Guennec sought to have them authenticated by the Picasso administration. The artist’s son Claude Picasso and 5 other heirs say that the works are stolen and have slapped a lawsuit upon Le Guennec.
The previously unseen work includes drawings, lithographs, cubist collages, a watercolour and notebooks. They are estimated to be worth between 60 -80 million dollars according to different sources. Le Guennec included photographs of 27 of the works in an email to the Picasso administration. Christine Pinault, Claude Picasso’s assistant and an employee of the Picasso Administration and the family have acknowledge authenticity but question how Le Guennec came into possession of the works. Le Guennec says that he received the works from Picasso’s wife in return for alarm systems he installed. The family say that whilst Picasso did give gifts – he usually dedicated them.
Meanwhile, the works were seized by France’s Central Office for the Fight Against Traffic in Cultural Goods October 5 and are now holding them in a vault at its Nanterre office, northwest of Paris. The couple have said theat they don’t want to sell them – just have them authenticated and clear the matter up for their children. I wonder what the outcome shall be of this interesting case?
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 ofThe 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.
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.
The third painting is by illustrator Norman Rockwell (b 1894 – 1978 New York USA) ‘Coinoisseur’ 1962 – a tribute to Abstract ExpressionistJackson 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 toBookstains where you will find this and other poetry challenges that are art related.
More information about The Railway here and image from here
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 🙂
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:-)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The Brotherhood’s early doctrines were expressed in four declarations:
to have genuine ideas to express;
to study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them;
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;
and, most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues
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.
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.
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’.”
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:-)
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!
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.
“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, 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
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!
‘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).
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!
Another picture by the artist entitled Quinces took £313,250 against a forecast of £150,000-£200,000.
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!
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