Thursday, January 31, 2019

Dorothea Tanning. Died Jan 31, 2012

Temptation of St. Anthony
Dorothea Tanning died on this day in 2012. She was an important surrealist artist and another woman artist who we have to fight to keep from disappearing from history. She died in 2012 . How many know about her today?

Self Portrait

In 1942, Dorothea Tanning painted the self-portrait that would catapult her into the Surrealist movement. Birthday shows her in fantastical costume with a winged creature at her feet, the gatekeeper to an infinite recession of open doors. The canvas was named in her New York studio by the émigré German Surrealist Max Ernst, who was scouting for female artists to participate in an exhibition at the gallery of Peggy Guggenheim, his then-wife. Within weeks, Ernst had moved in, and he and Tanning married four years later. (Guggenheim later quipped that she should have restricted the show, titled 31 Women, to 30 artists.)

She did not receive a major museum survey until October 2018...

The Art Story Analysis

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The de Young & Legion of Honor Museums Announce Free Saturday Admission for All San Francisco Residents

The de Young & Legion of Honor Museums Announce Free Saturday Admission for All San Francisco Residents. The new program starts in April. First Tuesdays have been Free for quite some time

SAN FRANCISCO (Tuesday, January 29) –  This April, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will roll out multiple new programs to provide free and reduced admission to their permanent collection galleries and special exhibitions. For San Francisco residents, general admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor will be free every Saturday starting April 6.

“The collections at the de Young museum were founded with the support of middle-and working-class San Francisco families,” says Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums. “We were tasked with providing artistic engagement and education for local audiences, which is still a core component of our mission today. In this time of rising costs, we are looking back to our roots and recommitting to our most loyal audience: the residents of San Francisco. We must serve the city that we represent. Step one is making sure that every resident can step foot in its museums. That starts with access. That starts with accessibility. Together we will remove as many barriers as possible to having art enrich the lives of the residents of San Francisco.”

In addition to free admission, on Saturdays the de Young will continue to feature engaging art experiences for the entire family, with family art making, gallery guides, and enhanced gallery tours with discussion groups and sketching in the permanent collection galleries. The ever-popular organ concerts on the Skinner organ will continue to take place at the Legion of Honor. All programming will also be free with museum admission.

“Every child, every family should have the opportunity to experience our amazing arts and cultural institutions. San Francisco is an increasingly expensive place to live, and that makes the cost of museums prohibitive for many. Exposure to the arts should not be limited by the price of admission,” adds San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “The Fine Arts Museums are an incredible part of our City’s arts community, and I am excited they will be opening their doors to all San Franciscans on Saturdays.”

The Fine Arts Museums are also excited both to introduce free admission to all visitors with disabilities and to join the national Museums for All program. Last week, the Museums also announced free general admission to all federal workers affected by the government shutdown. These programs join the beloved Free Tuesdays initiative, which gives free general admission to all visitors the first Tuesday of every month. Youth ages 17 and under are always free.

Details of the programs are as follows:

FAM Free Saturdays

Offer: Free general admission every Saturday
For: San Francisco residents with valid photo ID or postmarked envelope bearing their home address
Dates and times: Every Saturday beginning April 6, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor

FAM Free Tuesdays

Offer: Free general admission the first Tuesday of every month
For: All visitors
Dates and times: The first Tuesday of every month, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor

FAM Free Access

Offer: Free general admission and discounted special-exhibition admission during normal museum hours and on dedicated Access Days for visitors with disabilities
For: Any visitor with a disability plus one guest
Date and time: Normal museum hours beginning April 2, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor

Bank of America | Museums on Us

Offer: Free general admission the first full weekend of every month
For: Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, or U.S. Trust cardholders with valid bank card and photo ID
Dates and times: First full weekend of every month throughout 2019, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor

Museums for All

Offer: Free general admission during normal museum hours
For: All visitors receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits) with a valid EBT card
Date: Normal museum hours beginning April 2, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor

Discover & Go

Offer: Free general admission during normal museum hours for California library cardholders
For: Anyone with a valid library card; redeem online for a Discover & Go museum pass before visiting
Dates: Ongoing, 9:30 am–5:15 pm
Locations: The de Young and Legion of Honor

For more details, please refer to our website.

Patrick Heron, January 30, 1920 - March 20, 1999

This painting was made at Zennor, Cornwall. Heron has recalled that in the same month he 'painted the first of my other explicit vertical stripe paintings, the best known of which were those included in my exhibition at the Redfern Gallery in February, 1958. I painted other pictures in March, 1957, in which the colour was equally brilliant and flat, but in which the element of the vertical band or stripe was slightly modified'.

January 30, 1920. Patrick Heron (30 January 1920 - 20 March 1999) was a British abstract and figurative artist, writer, and polemicist, who lived in Zennor, Cornwall. Throughout his career, Heron worked in a variety of media, from the silk scarves he designed for his father's company Cresta from the age of 14, to a stained-glass window for Tate St Ives, but he was foremost a painter working in oils and gouache. In this image: Susanna Heron poses with Patrick Heron?s Nude in Wicker Chair, 1951.

The Piano, 1943

Five Discs 1963
design for a window in St. Ives. 

Wikipedia here

The Telegraph here

Monday, January 28, 2019

Happy Birthday Alice Neel

January 28, 1900. Alice Neel (January 28, 1900 - October 13, 1984) was an American visual artist, who was known for her portraits depicting friends, family, lovers, poets, artists and strangers. Her paintings have an expressionistic use of line and color, psychological acumen, and emotional intensity. Neel was called "one of the greatest portrait artists of the 20th century" by Barry Walker, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which organized a retrospective of her work in 2010. In this image: Ballet Dancer, 1950. Hall Collection. © The Estate of Alice Neel. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London and Victoria Miro, London.

Intimate and often disturbing, Alice Neel’s paintings offer a glimpse of the dramas that marked her life off-canvas

Born in 1900, she had spent 40 years painting intimate, often disturbing, portraits without anyone taking much notice. Compared with the abstract art of Rothko or de Kooningthat filled New York’s galleries in the middle of the last century, Neel’s figurative work seemed not so much old-fashioned as beside the point. 
It would be wrong to suggest that Neel didn’t care about this purdah. She did, very much. And yet right from the start she had made a life for herself that was not only wilfully difficult but uniquely nourishing for the kind of art she felt compelled to make. Living for most of her adult life in penury, she painted everyone she encountered on the streets of New York, from prostitutes to brush salesmen, museum curators to transsexuals.  From The Telegraphy, Jan 2018. 

Sunday, January 27, 2019

International Holocaust Rememberance Day

On #HolocaustRemembranceDay, please watch this haunting video about #Belzec, a Nazi death camp. App. 500,000 Jews were exterminated there in less than a year. Only TWO survived. @AJCGlobal partnered w/ govt. of #Poland to protect & memorialize the site.

We are all brothers and sisters. A powerful antidote to hate rests in honoring those millions who lost their lives by ensuring history never repeats itself. “What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.” —Anne Frank  

Soviets (including Jews):
Poles (non-Jewish):

Friday, January 25, 2019

Robert Motherwell. Born January 24, 1915

January 24, 1915. Robert Motherwell (January 24, 1915 - July 16, 1991) was an American painter, printmaker, and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School (a phrase he coined), which also included Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. In this image: Robert Motherwell, The Hotel Corridor, 1950. Oil on masonite, 44 x 55 inches, 111.8 x 139.7 cm. © Dedalus Foundation, Inc./ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

"Motherwell's painting is natural or mythic encounter; one traverses its condensations and gestures to arrive, on the other side, among the ochers of Italy and California, the bules of Nice and Provincetown. In moving between these two poles, Motherwell has become for some people the greatest abstract painter alive, and for others not an abstract artist at all."  Robert Hughes, Time 1983. 

In 1950, when the painter Robert Motherwell invented the phrase “The School of New York,” he summed up its mission as “an activity of bodily gesture serving to sharpen consciousness.”

Throughout his career, he practiced that gospel while preaching it. In film footage, he is forever bespectacled, chain-smoking, slouched in tweed jackets, holding forth on Martin Heidegger or Dadaism or children’s art and repeatedly quoting Arthur Rimbaud’s visionary dictum, from his poem “Adieu,” that declared “one must be absolutely modern.” For Motherwell, “modern” meant the practice of a universal art built around an emphasis on materiality and the momentary, freeing the maker and the made of historical and cultural responsibilities.

Motherwell’s backstory explains a lot. Although he was interested in contemporary European art and poetry, he followed up on his undergraduate degree at Stanford in the late 1930s by shipping off to Harvard to placate his demanding father, the president of Wells Fargo Bank. Abandoning an academic career in philosophy, at the age of twenty-five, he took up painting while at Columbia University.

He grappled with the seductive influence of Cubism and through his teacher Meyer Schapiro he befriended Surrealists like Roberto Matta Echaurren as well as Dada’s founder, Marcel Duchamp. From the Surrealists, he adopted the procedures of psychic automatism, a kind of unscripted, spontaneous method of drawing and painting that circumvents the will of the ego to unlock secrets of personal identity or individual consciousness. While he served as the Surrealists’ interpreter and introduced them to the pleasures of hot dogs and Coca Cola, Motherwell gradually distanced himself from their program, particularly its representational inclinations and its resistance to revisions.

Over time, with Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and even his former wife Helen Frankenthaler as immediate peers and influences, Motherwell created a stripped-down, somber style of gestural abstraction. While his posthumous reputation as a seminal New York figure remains largely unchallenged, he has not been quite forgiven for the sin he kept repeating: time and again, this Abstract Expressionist was caught pondering aesthetic philosophy in public.  (Tim Keane, Hyperallergic, 2014)

The Art Story:  


Oral History Interview here

Wikipedia (excellent bibiolgraphy)  here

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.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

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.