Monday, August 21, 2017

On this day. Aubrey Beardsley

Ali Baba (Cover design for "The Forty Thieves")

Illustrator and author Aubrey Beardsley was born #onthisday in 1872. A leader of the Aesthetic movement, His work influenced the opulent style of Art Nouveau in the early 20th century,

Inspired by the style of Japanese woodcuts which were becoming known in the West, hia work emphasized the grotesque, the decadent, and the erotic, although as a life long sufferer of TB, his decadence was solely in his imagation. He was a leading figure in the Aesthetic movement which also included Oscar Wilde and James A. McNeill Whistler. Beardsley's contribution to the development of the Art Nouveau and poster styles was significant, despite the brevity of his career before his early death from tuberculosis. In six short years, he had broken though Victorian rules of illustration which emphasized the pretty and the prissy and introduced a revolutionary look which combined a sensuous line with eroticism and humor.

In 1892, Beardsley travelled to Paris, where he discovered the poster art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and the Parisian fashion for Japanese prints, both of which would be major influences on his own style. Beardsley's first commission was Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory (1893), which he illustrated for the publishing house J. M. Dent and Company. Illustrations from Le More d'Arthur:

The Peacock Skirt
The dancer's reward. Salome.

New Yorker: The faith behind his art.

Images from Wikipedia

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Today's birthday: Gustave Caillebotte

August 19, 1848. Gustave Caillebotte (19 August 1848 - 21 February 1894) was a French painter, member and patron of the group of artists known as Impressionists, though he painted in a much more realistic manner than many other artists in the group. Caillebotte was noted for his early interest in photography as an art form. In this image: An employee looks at a painting 'Oarsmen' of 1877 of French Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) in the Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany, Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gustave Caillebotte. Paris Street, Rainy Day, 1877. Art Institute of Chicago
Even up to the 1950s, Gustave Caillebotte was relatively unknown despite achieving much in Paris during the reign of the Impressionists. Like many of his fellow avant-garde artists, he was fascinated by the impact of industrialization and modernization on the city of Paris and its inhabitants. While he is classified as an Impressionist, the paintings that are considered by most to be his masterpieces actually fall more into the category of Realism, like the work of his predecessors, Millet and Courbet, and even Degas or Monet's earlier work. Individual paintings in his oeuvre frequently feature the distinctive, loose brushwork and lighter palette of the Impressionist style, but the paintings for which he is best known are large-scale, precise "evocations of photographic naturalism," as one contemporary critic put it, although at the time the comment was meant to be taken pejoratively. Ultimately, what he had most in common with his Impressionist colleagues was his choice of subject matter: he depicted themes from everyday life rather than those favored by formally trained, academic painters. More at ...

In his masterpiece, "Paris Street; Rainy Day," (see above),  Gustave Caillebotte brought an unusual monumentality and compositional control to a typical Impressionist subject, the new boulevards that were changing the Paris cityscape. The result is at once real and contrived, casual and choreographed. With its curiously detached figures, the canvas depicts the anonymity that the boulevards seemed to create. By the time it appeared in the third Impressionist exhibition, held in April 1877, the artist was 29 years old, a man of considerable wealth, and not only the youngest but also the most active member of the Impressionist group. He contributed six of his own canvases to the exhibition; played a leading part in its funding, organization, promotion, and installation; and lent a number of paintings by his colleagues that he owned.  From My Blog in 2014:

Yellow Roses in a Vase, 1882, Dallas Museum of Art
Les raboteurs de parquet (1875), a controversial realist subject, Musée d’Orsay

Painter’s Eye. LA Times

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fearless Female Friday: Aethelflaed (Æthelflæd). Ruler of Mercia people in the English Midlands, Military leader.

Royal MS 14 B VI edited close up (image 2)
Queens Aethelswitha and Aethelflaed, In The Cartulary And Customs Of Abingdon Abbey (edited close up)

Queens Aethelswitha and Aethelflaed, In The Cartulary And Customs Of Abingdon Abbey (edited close up)
Fearless Female Friday: Aethelflaed (Æthelflæd). Ruler of Mercia people in the English Midlands, Military leader.

Born around 870, Aethelflaed was the eldest child of Alfred the Great and Ealhswith (member of ruling family of Mercia) as well as, sister of Edward "the Elder," King of Wessex. In 886, Aethelflaed married Aethelred (Lord of Merica) having one child Aelfwyn (Ælfwynn). In 911, Aethelred was killed in battle against the Danes. Upon Aethelred's death, Aethelflaed became the political and military ruler of the Mercians and received the title, Lady of the Mercians (Myrcna hlædige).

Aethelflaed took an active military role, she built fortresses in western Mercia as a defense against invading and occupying Danes. She also led her forces against the Danes at Derby and captured it in 917, she then took Leicester in 918, without any opposition. The Danes then submitted to her rule and offered their allegiance as protection against Norwegians in Ireland.

Aethelflaed died on June 12, 918, and was succeeded by her daughter Aelfwyn. However, her uncle Edward, who already controlled Wessex, hoped to solidify his control over most of England. He seized the kingdom away from Aelfwyn, taking her captive, leading to a rebellion by the Mercian and Welsh peoples.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What the so called "alt left" was doing in Charlottesville.

On Tuesday, after a weekend that included a white supremacist mowing down and killing a peaceful counter-protester in Charlottesville and Nazis marching on the University of Virginia with torches, the president of the United States stood in front of the American people and said, “What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at, as you say, the ‘alt-right’? Let me ask you this: What about the fact they came charging—that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”

  Dahlia Lithwick
Dahlia Lithwick writes about the courts and the law for Slate, and hosts the podcast Amicus.

There were, as it turns out, a great number of Charlottesville locals present to witness the violence and lawlessness on display in this town—my town—last weekend. I asked local witnesses, many in the faith community, every one of whom was on the streets of Charlottesville on Saturday, whether there was a violent, club-wielding mob threatening the good people on team Nazi. Here’s what I heard back:

Francesco Albani

August 16, 1578. Francesco Albani or Albano (17 March or 17 August 1578 - 4 October 1660) was an Italian Baroque painter. Albani never acquired the monumentality or tenebrism that was quaking the contemporary world of painters, and in fact, is derided often for his lyric, cherubim-filled sweetness, which often has not yet shaken the mannerist elegance. While Albani's thematic would have appealed to Poussin, he lacked the Frenchman's muscular drama. His style sometimes appears to befit the decorative Rococo more than of his time. In this image: Baptism of Christ ca 1640 (State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. )

Francesco Albani: Holy Family with Angels, 1608-10
Photograph by Sharon Mollerus, Creative Commons licensed

Spring (Venus at her Toilet)1616-17. Oil on canvas, diameter 154 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome. Web Gallery of Art

Looks like he was born on the 17th day although the month is not clear

Sunday, August 13, 2017

2017 SECA Awards at SFMOMA

Liam Everett,Untitled, 2016. Photo courtes the artist and the Altman Siegel Gallery, SF
Since 1967, SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art) has honored over seventy Bay Area artists with the SECA Art Award, which includes an exhibition at SFMOMA and inclusion in the accompanying catalogue. Recipients of the SECA Art Award, typically four per award year, are chosen during a ten-month process involving artists, SECA members, museum staff, and members of the local arts community. The exhibition is jointly curated by Jenny Gheith, assistant curator of painting and sculpture, and Erin O’Toole, Baker Street Foundation Associate Curator of Photography.     

Alicia McCarthy, Untitled, 2015, photo the artist and Jack Hanley gallery, SF

Sean McFarland, Untitled, 2016, photo: Courtesy the artis and Casemore Kirkeby Gallery, SF
K.r.m.Mooney, Accord, A Chord 1, 2016, courtesy the artist, Reserve Ames, and Altman Siegel Gallery, SF   

Lindsey White, Studio 8, 2016, photo. Courtesy the artist
The 2017 SECA Art Award exhibition, the first to be held in the new SFMOMA, features five Bay Area artists in their first major museum presentations. Liam Everett, Alicia McCarthy, Sean McFarland, K.r.m. Mooney and Lindsey White join the ranks of those who have received the award since 1967.

“The 2017 SECA Art Award exhibition is the first to take place in the museum in over five years, and the scale and profile of the exhibition has expanded along with the museum,” said O’Toole. “We are excited that a broader audience will be exposed to the work of the best contemporary artists working in the Bay Area today,” continued Gheith. 
The exhibition is being held in the temporary exhibition galleries on the museum’s fourth floor, and each artist has a dedicated gallery." Liam Everett’s paintings reveal traces of their making, evidence of deliberate and repetitive actions focused on movement and materials. In her intricately patterned compositions, Alicia McCarthy transforms surfaces into bursts of line and vibrant color. Using made and found photographs, Sean McFarland reckons with the challenges of representing the landscape. K.r.m. Mooney incorporates natural, industrial and hand-crafted elements in sculptures that explore the relationships between bodies and objects. In her most recent work, Lindsey White takes humor seriously, making photographs and sculptures inspired by stage performers such as comedians and magicians."

At SFMOMA. Through September 17, 2017. Images courtesy of SFMOMA

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday grab bag: World Elephant Day, Peter de Grebber, Incline Gallery, Basquiat

Peter de Grebber ( 1600- 1652) Another Dutch Golden Age painter whose actual date of birth is unknown. As did many artists in this era, he came from an artistic family. His father was a painter and embroiderer in Haarlem, Holland and the brother of the painters Maria and Albert.

In 1618, father and son went to Antwerp and negotiated with Peter Paul Rubens over the sale of his painting "Daniel in the lions pit". It was then handed - via the English ambassador in the Republic, Sir Dudley Carleton - to king Charles I. Pieter got important commissions not only in Haarlem, but also from the stadholder Frederik Hendrik. As such, he worked on the decoration of the Huis Honselaarsdijk in Naaldwijk and at the Paleis Noordeinde in Huis ten Bosch in the Hague. He painted altar pieces for churches in Flanders and hidden Catholic churches in the Republic. He may also have worked for Danish clients.

Pieter remained single and lived from 1634 until his death at the Haarlem Béguinage.

Besides history paintings, Pieter de Grebber also painted a number of portraits; furthermore many drawings and a few etchings by him have survived. From different influences, such as the Utrecht Caravaggistism, Rubens and also Rembrandt, he came up with a very personal style. He was, together with Salomon de Bray, the forerunner and first peak of the "Haarlem classicism" school, producing paintings characterized by a well-organized clarity and light tints.

Vermeer and the Delft School which has information on Grebber 

Overview at Pubhist


On #WorldElephantDay we say a big thank you to all of the men & women who serve on the #frontline everyday to protect these majestic animals

World Elephant Day on Twitter

The Guardian. Our Moral duty to care for nature.

The Atlantic. Since 2011, August 12 has been set aside as World Elephant Day. Supported by numerous conservation agencies, it’s a day to “spread awareness, share knowledge, and provide solutions for better care and management of both captive and wild elephants,” according to the organizer’s website. Elephants face numerous challenges, including poaching, habitat loss, exploitation, abuse, and proximity to human conflict and poverty. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists African elephants as “vulnerable” and Asian elephants as “endangered.”

From Chris Packhan:
I calling for protection of Asia’s endangered and an end to unethical tourism.

Incline Gallery: Incline Gallery presents NFS, an exhibition where artists have been invited to create works directly on and around the walls of the gallery. Over the course of six weeks 10 Bay Area artists will transform the space through an evolving exhibition of murals and mixed media installations. Visitors will be able to view finished works and works in process from July 20th through August 11th. People are encouraged to visit throughout the exhibition to see these artists pieces unfold directly on the walls. Scheduled gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays 1-5pm.

"I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is."

August 12, 1988. Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 - August 12, 1988) was an American artist. He began as an obscure graffiti artist in New York City in the late 1970s and evolved into an acclaimed Neo-expressionist and Primitivist painter by the 1980s. In this image: A gallery assistant poses with US artist Jean-Michel Basquiat's "Warrior" at Sotheby's auction house in central London on June 14, 2012. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL.