Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday Farmer's Market

I try to get to the Farmer's Market at the Civic Center every Wednesday. I buy my eggs from people who really do have genuine organic eggs and then, I just let myself roam through the market, buying whatever takes my fancy. Today I had other errands so I didn't have lunch from one of the food trucks at the Market but that's another thing that I love to do and which I now enjoy more than ever, given my long absence from the pleasures of simple shopping.

 This generic stall is at the entrance of the market. You really have to pick through the produce to get anything good. I don't know where they get their stuff but I doubt if it's organic. But it's cheap and for a lot of people who shop at the Civic Center, cheap is the only thing that's important.

Real locally produced honey. The stuff that you see in the stores is not local, it's certainly not organic and it's just plain sugar. Organic and local has the benefits of real honey and you will be buying and supporting a local business.
Fresh, organic, non sprayed and full of flavor.

Spring Bouquet

Turnips and Parsnips

Photo of the ladies who sell the food they get for free from the SF Food Bank. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, born 29 August 1780

August 29, 1780. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (29 August 1780 - 14 January 1867) was a French Neoclassical painter. Although he considered himself to be a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, by the end of his life it was Ingres's portraits, both painted and drawn, that were recognized as his greatest legacy.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Man Ray

Emmanuel Radnitzky (Man Ray) was born on this day in 1890. Self-portrait.

Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky, 1890–1976) was a leader in two pioneering art movements, Surrealism and Dada, but was never deeply invested in either of the two. Although accomplished as an avant-garde photographer, he eschewed labels and thought of himself primarily as a painter and as an artist wedded to no single medium. Man Ray's camerawork marked a turning point in the integration of photography among other visual art form.

 His obsessive love affair with Lee Miller lead to some of the greatest works of his career. Miller and Ray lived and worked together from 1929 to 1932, and the work they did together influenced modern photography and film for decades to come.

A year ago:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Happy Birthday Rufino Tamayo

August 26, 1899. Rufino Tamayo (August 26, 1899 - June 24, 1991) was a Mexican painter of Zapotec heritage, born in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. Tamayo was active in the mid-20th century in Mexico and New York, painting figurative abstraction with surrealist influences. In this image: Rufino Tamayo's painting "Sandias" or "Watermelons'' is seen in this undated picture. Mexico put out an international alert Sunday, Jan. 31, 1999 for 12 paintings that were stolen from an exhibition last week, including "Sandias" by one of Mexico's most famous painters. The paintings, on loan from private art collectors in Mexico, the United States and Europe, were part of a 43-canvas show the gallery organized to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Tamayo's birth.

Mr. Tamayo's painting can be stark or lyrical, bawdy or extraordinarily delicate, allegorically elaborate or a feast of music and nature. Throughout his long career, his passionate commitment to the craft of painting is unmistakable, as is his feeling for animals and fruit and for the ceremonial pleasures of play and dance. (NY Times obit).

Modernism helped him explore the possibilities of an international language but his inspiration remained the presence and continuity of Mexican traditions. The ecstatic earthiness, the transcendent power of simple things, and his masklike faces and statuesque figures are rooted in his Indian origins and in his study of Mexican folk art and pre-Columbian sculpture. From beginning to end, his painting is saturated with Mexican color and light. 
Obit NY Times:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

'Saint Eustace' (1501) by Albrecht Dürer

Albrecht Dürer, Heiliger Eustachius, 1501 (detail). Kupferstich, 358 x 260 mm. Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Kupferstichkabinett / Photo: Karen Blindow.

The Kunsthalle Bremen was able to acquire a work sold more than a hundred years ago by the museum. The well-preserved copperplate engraving of “Saint Eustace” (1501) by Albrecht Dürer is the artist’s largest copperplate engraving, measuring 35.8 x 26 cm, it. During his lifetime, the artist viewed it as his unsurpassed masterpiece and proof of his skills as an engraver. The recently purchased masterpiece “Saint Eustace” by Albrecht Dürer once belonged to the collection of the Kunsthalle Bremen. 

Albrecht Dürer in the Kunsthalle Bremen’s Collection
With the acquisition of this rare “Saint Eustace” print one of the German master’s greatest works returns to Bremen. Furthermore, it fills a major gap in the Kunsthalle Bremen’s collection of printed works which resulted from early sales and heavy losses incurred during the Second World War. Works by Dürer represent a prominent focus of the collection in Bremen: In addition to the almost complete printed works, the Kunsthalle possess drawings, watercolours and paintings which were exhibited in 2012 in a major monographic exhibition. As loans, these exhibits have also enriched major shows of Dürer’s work internationally.

“Saint Eustace”, the subject of the engraving by Albrecht Dürer
The engraving shows a scene from the “Legenda aurea” by Jacobus de Voragine (1228–1298). A stag with a crucifix between its antlers appeared to the Roman general Placidus (first century A.D., later Saint Eustace). Placidus subsequently had himself and his family baptized and was subjected to a series of calamities that tested his faith. In the end he died a martyr’s death under the Emperor Hadrian and is venerated as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. In his engraving, Dürer depicted the apparition of the stag with the Saint kneeling before the crucifix to the left and the game in the middle distance.

The unusual refinement and concentrated use of hatching creates an almost “painting-like” impression. Dürer was able to achieve a precise depiction of the quality of various surfaces such as stone, metal, fur and foliage. The richness of forms found in nature – glorification of the divine creation – ranges from the various poses of the dogs, which are based on Dürer’s independent studies of the natural world, to plants, leaves, the lake with swans, the flock of birds and the knight on the horse ascending the mountain. Each detail is depicted with great care, the composition extending in an almost ornamental pattern. The horse reflects the beginning of Dürer’s interest in the study of perspective which he continued to explore in the following years. The fortress on the mountain appears to be inspired by his watercolours of Italian landscapes. Dürer’s watercolour “Mountain Castle in the Cembra Valley” (“Felsenschloss im Cembratal”) from the collection of the Kunsthalle Bremen was a possible model for the fortress.   

Press release and image from Art News Daily   

Monday, August 22, 2016

Happy Birthday Henri Cartier-Bresson

August 22, 1908. Henri Cartier-Bresson (August 22, 1908 - August 3, 2004) was a French photographer considered to be the father of modern photojournalism. He was an early adopter of 35 mm format, and the master of candid photography. He helped develop the "street photography" or "life reportage" style that has influenced generations of photographers who followed. In this image: A man looks at images at the opening of a photo exhibit Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2004, at The Museum of The City of New York, which features the work of photographers from the Magnum photo agency.

I saw a show of his work back in 2010 at the "old" SFMOMA. It was overwhelming, far too many photos to really look at with any comprehension, many of which were the iconic photos which we all recognize. But it was a treat to hear his widow talk and be privileged enough to be there. Let's hope that the "new" SFMOMA can mount exhibitions as powerful.

Quotes: "One has to tiptoe lightly and steal up to one's quarry; you don't swish the water when you are fishing."

"I believe that, through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us." - Henri Cartier-Bresson

images courtesy of SFMOMA, from 2010 show

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Inspired by Basho

旅に病んで夢は枯野をかけ廻る tabi ni yande / yume wa kareno wo / kake meguru
falling sick on a journey / my dream goes wandering / over a field of dried grass [1694]

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ranin Foundation and talk on public art

The Kenneth Ranin Foundation is presenting a free symposium on the public art on Sept 10 at the Oakland Museum of California (from 1-6 PM) . It is open to the public, with “strongly encouraged” advance registration available at

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New posters on Mkt St, Mission Sunday Streets, SECA awards & Italian festival in North Beach

It's the usual summer weekend in San Francisco- fog in the morning, a bit of clearing by the afternoon and all day festivals throughout the city. Don't miss the new San Francisco Art Commission posters on Market Street. San Francisco artist Jeff Canham draws from experiences as a vintage sign painter to recreate Market Street theater marquees from the past: "I like the idea that these posters will speak differently to the different audiences that populate Market Street," says Canham.

Block Party on Valencia St:

header courtesy of SF MOMA

The annual SFSECA awards have been announced. They can be a very mixed group artistically and since I now longer have a press pass, I will not be paying top admission prices to see what may or may not be good, but as they say, "Your Mileage May Vary."

Photo courtest of Festa Coloniale Italiana

Viva Italia (Americano that is): The SF Italian Athletic Club once again welcomes you to North Beach for the annual Festa Coloniale Italiana to celebrate the rich Italian and Italian-American heritage that has existed in San Francisco for generations.

The Festa Coloniale Italiana is hosted each year by the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club—actually their non-profit foundation—and brings together authentic Italian food, a relaxed venue, and non-stop entertainment and traffic congestion that will gridlock the whole area. Just have another glass of wine and relax. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

William Blake in San Francisco

William Blake. Blake’s Illustrations of Dante. Plate 1: “The Circle of the Lustful: Paolo and Francesca” US: 1954 Large folio, fine, clear uniform impression on hand-made paper with no watermark, inscribed in pencil by Lessing Rosenwald.
After 50 years in the book trade and 43 years operating John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller, longtime rare book dealer, John Windle, will launch his retrospective of the artist in October, 2016, within San Francisco’s historic 49 Geary building. The first physical space exclusively dedicated to Blake's work in over two hundred years, The William Blake Gallery will display over 1,000 original blake pieces alongside thousands of reproductions of the artist’s own writings and artwork. Over the years, I have had some great talks with Mr. Windle, have been impressed by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and really look forward to seeing this collection. I don't think any of our museums have any pieces by Blake on display.

Of the decision to open a gallery of William Blake’s works, John Windle remarks: “I must be stark raving mad. Like Blake.”

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and print maker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic works have been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language". His visual artistry led one contemporary art critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". Although he lived in London his entire life (except for three years spent in Felpham), he produced a diverse and symbolically rich oeuvre, which embraced the imagination as "the body of God"or "human existence itself". His work and beliefs are far to complex to be summarized in one paragraph but they include political beliefs that were revolutionary and anarchist, anti-slavery, pro free love, radical religious ideas, and a humanitarian goal of wholeness of body and spirit. His visionary works, complex and symbolic were looked upon with scorn by the critics of the day and he lived and died in poverty.

William Blake: Wikipedia

Some of the works to be shown are:

 Illustrations to Dante’s Inferno, Earliest known proof set, Seven plates and oblong folio, printed on laid paper
The Complaint of Job, 1785, Monochrome wash drawing
Songs of Innocence: “Holy Thursday”, 1789, Single sheet, printed in black, matted
• Plates from the final lifetime printing of The Gates of Paradise

• The Virgin Hushing, 1799, Tempera on paper

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

St. Clare, Alma Thomas, Eva Hesse

In the musical Oklahoma, Ado Annie sings that she's "just the girl who can't say no." Her No is really a Yes, to being laid by any man who wants her, few questions asked and no conditions laid down. The three women that I am writing about also said no, Clare to the restricted life of a medieval woman, an arranged marriage and a life bound by the patriarchal strictures of the 12th century - married young, with no rights to a life of her own and usually dead in childbirth at an early age.

On August 11th, we celebrate the birthday of St. Clare of Assissi who refused an arranged marriage, fled home, put herself under the protection of St Francis, founded the Order of the St. Poor Clare's, women who lived in extreme poverty and aided the poor. Following such a strict religious regime is not what I would do but I have to admire a woman who struck out for her independence and said no to what was expected of her. It took a lot of courage.

About St. Clare from the St. Francis Lutheran newsletter

Alma Thomas: "Creative art is for all time and is therefore independent of time. It is of all ages, of every land, and if by this we mean the creative spirit in man which produces a picture or a statue is common to the whole civilized world, independent of age, race and nationality; the statement may stand unchallenged."
-Alma Thomas, 1970

Born in 1891into a black family, Alma Thomas was born in Georgia but her family fled the south because of the racial violence. She also rejected the conventions for black women of her era, becoming an educator and a painter whose works now hang in the White house.

NY Times: 

"Eva Hesse," a documentary feature on the life and work of one of the greatest sculptors of the late 20th century, is on an entirely different plane. It opens Aug. 19 at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco and the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

Eva Hesse, “Addendeum” (1967) on view at Tate Liverpool in 2012 (photo by Rept0n1x via Wikimedia Commons)
Eva Hesse (1936-1970) is one of the greatest American artists of the 20th-century. She was a pioneer, helping to establish the post-minimalist movement, but her career was cut short at age 34, when she died of a brain tumor. In just a decade, Hesse challenged and changed the field with large scale, complex sculptures and installations that defy easy categorization. This documentary explores the the life and work of Hesse, making superb use of the artist’s voluminous journals, her correspondence with close friend and mentor Sol LeWitt, and contemporary as well as archival interviews with fellow artists, including Richard Serra, Robert Mangold, and Dan Graham. Art critic Arthur Danto has written that her work is: “full of life, of eros, even of comedy… Each piece vibrates with originality and mischief.” The documentary captures these qualities, but also the psychic struggles of an artist who, in the downtown New York art scene of the 1960s, was one of the few women to make work that was taken seriously in a field dominated by male pop artists and minimalists (Film Forum). (2016, 108 min, digital)

She said no to the misogyny of the 1960's where she was expected to be the good little wife to her husband who was seen as the "real" artist and yes to her own genius. She declared herself in a letter to her father, she was probably 19, she says: ‘I don’t want to have a life where I just do the same thing every day — I’m an artist.’ At that age, knowing what it was going to take for her as a woman in the late ’50s, early ’60s, to stand there and go: ‘You know what, I’m good enough. It’s not just about being a woman artist, I’m good enough and I’m smart enough to be acknowledged as a great artist on any level.’ (interview with Marcie Beglieter on the making of the documentary, Benjamin Sutton, May 2015. Hyperallergic).

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Chiura Obata at the 'Wild West Show' at the Legion

Setting Sun. Courtesy Legion of Honor, SF
One of the more pleasant aspects of the Legion’s  Wild West Show was seeing some of the works of Chiura Obata. His work is seldom seen and it’s absolutely spectacular. Obara was born in Japan, came here at the age of seventeen and was an important teacher until his death in 1975.

He knew at an early age he wanted to be an artist and lucky for him, he was allowed to do so. At age 14, he was able to move from his home in Sendai, Japan. There he came under the influence of the nihonga movement - Japanese style paintings which also incorporated western ideas such as perspective and three-dimensional modeling. He won an important medal for his art work and in 1930, came to San Francisco. He remained in the Bay Area for the rest of his life.

Death's Grave, 1930. Private Collection

Chiura Obata ( November 18, 1885 – October 6, 1975) [2] was a well-known Japanese-American artist and popular art teacher.  A self-described "roughneck", Obata went to the United States in 1903, at age 17. After initially working as an illustrator and commercial decorator, he had a successful career as a painter, following a 1927 summer spent in the Sierra Nevada, and was a faculty member in the Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1932 to 1954, interrupted by World War II when he spent over a year in internment camps. After his retirement, he continued to paint and to lead group tours to Japan to see gardens and art.

Full Moon, Pasadena. 1930. Woodcut. Whitney Museum of Art
His work is a fusion of Japanese styles along with the Arts and Crafts style popular at the time. His reverence for nature and his love for Yosemite are reflected in the numerous watercolors and wood block prints that he created - few of which are on display at any time (alas). From his first trip to Yosemite in 1926, Obara made the glories of that landscape the focus of his art, creating some of the most beautiful and spiritual paintings of the West ever done.

Wild West at the Legion of Honor through September 16.