Monday, January 21, 2019

Manet, Born on this day in 1832.

Hats off to Édouard Manet for creating such beautiful work. He was born in Paris. 🎩 At The Milliner's' | 1881

Edouard Manet (1832-1883), dubbed in his day the Father of Impressionism, was nothing of the kind. He bought paintings by Impressionists but he exhibited in none of their exhibitions (1874-1886).
He preferred the path of long academic training, his ambition to exhibit at the Salon, the Parisian equivalent of the Royal Academy; this he achieved but not without the sour adversity of powerful established members of the Salon and the mocking hostility of influential critics, the insiders objecting to his alla prima technique (that is painting directly on the canvas without preliminary studies, the composition adjusted and edited in progress, the brushwork free and fluent and perspective left to chance), the outsiders bemused and angrily disturbed by subjects in which Manet broke all the technical rules and ignored the traditional hierarchies that made, for example, a history painting superior to a still life.

Manet knew these rules, and others too, for he came from a social background of civil service, diplomacy and the aristocratic reserve of the high bourgeoisie. Intended for the Navy, he failed, and at 18 in 1850 enrolled for six years as a student of Thomas Couture who, at the Salon three years earlier, had sprung to fame (and notoriety) with his enormous and much debated history painting, The Romans of the Decadence. Under Couture he learned the ancestral techniques of his trade (though he was swiftly to abandon them) and copied the painters of Renaissance Venice and 17th-century Spain and Holland who were to be both profound influences and the subjects of respectful subversion in his work. He wanted Couture’s popular success, critical acclaim and commissions but when, in 1859, he made his first submission to the Salon, he was rejected. In 1861 (the Salon was biennial) he tried again and two paintings were accepted, but in 1863 he was again rejected — indeed, so many other painters were rejected that Napoleon III commanded the immediate institution of the Salon des Refusés (the first hint that a Salon jury might be fallible), at which Manet’s now celebrated Déjeuner sur l’Herbe caused one of the great brouhahas in the history of art criticism. The absolute power of a Salon jury in Manet’s day may seem extraordinary and outrageous but it is matched today by the similarly arbitrary power of the Arts Council and of Serota and his Tates. Until his death 20 years on, the Salon maintained its ambivalence towards his work, but Manet remained convinced that it was the proper place for him to exhibit and be judged, though he was contemptuous of jurors whom he damned as “an ill-mannered lot” for whom he “wouldn’t give a f-”. Conservative in temperament and wealthy enough to go his own way, he could afford to offend the Salonards while wishing to be one of them.
For the last five years of his life Manet found it increasingly difficult to stand at his easel, the reason syphilis, either contracted in 1848-49 when on a preparatory training voyage to Brazil for the Naval College, a boy of 16 or 17 being made a man by his mates in one of Rio de Janeiro’s brothels, or inherited from his father, for his later life was one of uxorious devotion and discretion. After many attempted cures gangrene set in and in April 1883 his left leg was amputated. He did not recover.  (taken from an old essay by Brian Sewell).

Monday roundup of what's open, free passes for furloughed government workers & the Museum of the African Diaspore events for MLK Day (Open & Free)

Asian Art MuseumContemporary Jewish Museum and Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will offer free admission to federal workers during the government shut down. You just need to show your id at the door. Spread the word!

The Museum of the African Diaspora is open today and FREE. Open from 11 t o5 PM

Kicking off all the hoopla of Week, with its dueling art fairs and spate of opening parties for gallery exhibitions, SF's Museum of the African Diaspora struck a serious note with its celebration of a colleague museum. via

Browse and support the dozens of museums closed by the government shutdown: Link here

Friday, January 18, 2019

Ambrosius Bosschaert, King of tulip portraits

Fetishizing tulips before they became the stuff of mania: Ambrosius Bosschaert in 1609. Today is his 446th birthday.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Berthe Morisot. Born this day in 1841

Berthe Morisot, (Jan 14, 1841 - March 2, 1895). French Painter who exhibited with the Impressionists, and participated in their battle for artistic recognition. In spite of her gender, she became a leading figure of the most famous artistic movement of the 19th century. Because of her gender, she could not attend the almost obligatory drawing classes which featured nudes so she focused (like Mary Cassatt) on paintings of domestic life, landscapes and her daughter, Julie. 

The daughter of a high government official (and a granddaughter of the important Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard), Morisot decided early to be an artist and pursued her goal with seriousness and dedication. From 1862 to 1868 she worked under the guidance of Camille Corot. She first exhibited paintings at the Salon in 1864. Her work was exhibited there regularly through 1874, when she vowed never to show her paintings in the officially sanctioned forum again. In 1868 she met Édouard Manet, who was to exert a tremendous influence over her work. He did several portraits of her (e.g., Repose, c. 1870). Manet had a liberating effect on her work, and she in turn aroused his interest in outdoor painting. In 1874 she married Manet’s younger brother, Eugène, also a painter

Morisot’s work never lost its Manet-like quality—an insistence on design—nor did she become as involved in colour-optical experimentation as her fellow Impressionists. Her paintings frequently included members of her family, particularly her sister, Edma (e.g., The Artist’s Sister, Mme Pontillon, Seated on the Grass, 1873; and The Artist’s Sister Edma and Their Mother, 1870). Delicate and subtle, exquisite in colour—often with a subdued emerald glow—they won her the admiration of her Impressionist colleagues. Like that of the other Impressionists, her work was ridiculed by many critics. Never commercially successful during her lifetime, she nevertheless outsold Claude MonetPierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley. She was a woman of great culture and charm and counted among her close friends many of the literary elite of 19th century France. 

She died at the age of 54 from pneumonia, caught from nursing her daughter through an illness.