Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Class Portrait by Anna Brooks and Samantha Harvey

Class Portrait by Anna Brooks and Samantha Harvey, Kingston University, BA (Hons) Graphic Design & Photography

The ethical issues and paranoia surrounding the laws of photographing children in today's society is confusing and somewhat farcical. At what point will the photography of children be forbidden?

Georges Rouault

Street of the lonely

Monsieyr et Madame Poulot

from the Miserere Series

(not sure of the title)


In the land of thirst and terror

Monday, 28 June 2010

James Abbott McNeill Whistler vs John Ruskin

In 1877 Whistler sued the critic John Ruskin for libel after the critic condemned his painting Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket. Whistler exhibited the work in the Grosvenor Gallery, an alternative to the Royal Academy exhibition, alongside Edward Burne-Jones and other artists. Ruskin, who had been a champion of the Pre-Raphaelites and J. M. W. Turner, reviewed Whistler's work in his publication Fors Clavigera on July 2, 1877. Ruskin praised Burne-Jones, while he attacked Whistler:
For Mr. Whistler's own sake, no less than for the protection of the purchaser, Sir Coutts Lindsay [founder of the Grosvenor Gallery] ought not to have admitted works into the gallery in which the ill-educated conceit of the artist so nearly approached the aspect of willful imposture. I have seen, and heard, much of Cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face.

Whistler, seeing the attack in the newspaper, replied to his friend George Boughton, "It is the most debased style of criticism I have had thrown at me yet." He then went to his solicitor and drew up a writ for libel which was served to Ruskin.[62] Whistler hoped to recover £1,000 plus the costs of the action. The case came to trial the following year after delays caused by Ruskin's bouts of mental illness, while Whistler's financial condition continued to deteriorate. It was heard at the Queen's Bench of the High Court from November 25 to 26, 1878. The lawyer for John Ruskin, Attorney General Sir John Holker, cross examined Whistler:

Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (1874),
Detroit Institute of Arts
Holker: "What is the subject of Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket?"
Whistler: "It is a night piece and represents the fireworks at Cremorne Gardens."
Holker: "Not a view of Cremorne?"
Whistler: "If it were A View of Cremorne it would certainly bring about nothing but disappointment on the part of the beholders. It is an artistic arrangement. That is why I call it a nocturne...."
Holker: "Did it take you much time to paint the Nocturne in Black and Gold? How soon did you knock it off?"
Whistler: "Oh, I 'knock one off' possibly in a couple of days - one day to do the work and another to finish it..." [the painting measures 24 3/4 x 18 3/8 inches]
Holker: "The labour of two days is that for which you ask two hundred guineas?"
Whistler: "No, I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime."

Whistler had counted on many artists to take his side as witnesses but they refused fearing damage to their reputations. The other witnesses for him were unconvincing and the jury's own reaction to the work was derisive. With Ruskin's witnesses more impressive, including Edward Burne-Jones, and with Ruskin absent for medical reasons, Whistler's counter-attack was ineffective. Nonetheless, the jury reached a verdict in favor of Whistler but awarded a mere farthing in nominal damages, and the court costs were split. The cost of the case, together with huge debts from building his residence ("The White House" in Tite Street, Chelsea, designed with E. W. Godwin, 1877–8), bankrupted him by May 1879, resulting in an auction of his work, collections, and house. Stansky notes the irony that the Fine Art Society of London, which had organized a collection to pay for Ruskin's legal costs, supported him in etching "the stones of Venice" (and in exhibiting the series in 1883) which helped recoup Whistler's costs.

Whistler published his account of the trial in the pamphlet Whistler v. Ruskin: Art and Art Critics in December 1878, soon after the trial. Whistler's grand hope that the publicity of the trial would rescue his career was dashed as patrons avoided him for years to come. Among his creditors was Leyland, who oversaw the sale of Whistler's possessions. Whistler made various caricatures of his former patron, including a biting satirical painting called The Gold Scab, just after Whistler declared bankruptcy. Whistler always blamed Leyland for his financial downfall.

text lifted straight from wikipedia

Nocturne in Black and Gold - The Falling Rocket

Nocturne in Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge

The Gold Scab

Friday, 25 June 2010

Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes - Manifesto & Silence


Before going down among you to pull out your decaying teeth, your running ears, your tounges full of sores,
Before breaking your putrid bones,
Before opeing your cholera-infested belly and taking out for use as fertilizer
your too fatted liver, your ignoble spleen and your diabetic kidneys,
Before tearing out your ugly sexual organ, incontinent and slimy,
Before extinguishing your appetite for beauty, ecstasy, sugar, philosophy,
mathematical and poetic metaphysical pepper and cucumbers,
Before disinfecting you with vitriol, cleansing you and shellacking
you with passion,
Before all that,
We shall take a big antiseptic bath,
And we warn you
We are murderers.
(Manifesto signed by Ribemont-Dessaignes and read by seven people at the demonstration at the Grand Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 5 February 1920.)


Thursday, 24 June 2010

Camille Bombois

At 16 he was the regional wrestling champion and liked to pit himself against the athletes of travelling circuses. One day he decided to leave with them and as you'll see below they had quite an influence over him.

"When Bombois paints people he gives them extra weight and greater girth. His distortions are not dictated by plastic reasons but by his contact with the shattering realities over which he has triumphed." Dictionary of Modern Painting.

Le Repos des Gens du Cirque

Musee Maillol

le Cirque

Le Clown, Kalle Brunett

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Nikolai Pozdneev - Still Life in Grass

First of all, in paintings of late 1950 - early 1960s Nikolai Pozdneev revealed as a talented colorist, has a rare natural sense of color. His painting style features a powerful broad paint, energetic separate swab and complex texture of painting, original composition and artistry of execution.

But perhaps the main feature of his style it is striking at first glance at his paintings was their original line-up. Nikolai Pozdneev had a rare gift as everyday painter and colorist. It seems all that surrounded him, was at hand, any thing, piece of furniture or household stage, he easily could turn into an original and profound poetic image.

It was the natural state of the artist, that we call a natural gift, talent, and not strained to stand out. In his still lifes, genre scenes Nikolai Pozdneev conveyed a sense of the his time, of simple human relations. His art, like the master himself, was a kind and ingenuous, full of optimism, sometimes ironic, and speaks of the fullness of life.
Still Life in Grass

Spring day

Autumn Day

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Hans Richter-ghosts for breakfast (1927)

totally ace.

Louis Vivan

Held in the net of its tenous lines, Vivan's painting is one of the valid manifestations of naive art. 'Dictionary of Modern Art'

The Moulin Rouge

Plusieurs oeoeuvres - Notre-Dame

Paysage de Neige


Monday, 21 June 2010

Ballet mecanique (1924) by Fernand Leger & Dudley Murphy

Part 1

Part 2

Music by George Anthiel.

Roger La Fresnaye

Following on from Denis, one of his pupils. The Dictionary of modern art says of his pieces Seated Man, The Conquest of the Air and Married Life that in each of these works line and colour are so closely bound together, so marvelously combined that the composition has not a single flaw.

Seated Man

The Conquest of the Air

Married Life

The Acacia Alley in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, France


Village Landscape

Friday, 11 June 2010

Maurice Denis

Maurice Denis was the originator of the famous definition used when anyone wants to explain contemporary art: 'Remember that a picture, before being a horse, a nude, or some sort of anectdote - is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order.'

The Muses (1893)

Easter Mystery

Avallon, paysage au grand arbre (1927)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Alexej von Jawlensky

The human face became the only theme which interested him, and its essential architecture - the cross of the nose and the arch of the eyebrows, the mouth, the oval of the chin, the forehead - determined the symbolic composition of the picture, a new form of iconography stamped with a profound mystical religious sense. 'Art is nostalgia for God', Jawlensky often said.

From 'A dictionary of Modern Art

The Hunchback

Girl in blue apron

---can't find title---

girl with a green face

Portrait of a dancer, Alexander Sakharoff

Monday, 7 June 2010

Roland Oudot

Oudot belongs to a group of artists who, without trying to shock, have asserted them selves between the two wars and been given the name of 'Painters of the poetic reality'. They are generally considered as the final product of Impressionism. This has meant giving Impressionism and its consequences an interpretation that the movement certainly did not have at the beginning; and it is not because these painters have taken the landscape as an essential theme that they should be credited with Impressionist descent; Oudot's art has, in fact, a fixity that contradicts the mobility of Impressionism. His large blue skies, his dominant greys, his slate tones are the opposite of scintillating light; he seeks stability rather than instantaneity.

He is one that will remain true to a very classical conception of art, in which an always controlled emotion admits of no facility. Nature remains his inspiration under all circumstances, but it is Nature conceived anew, seen through a tense, penetrating sensitivity that is never lacking.

Text from 'A dictionary of Modern painting'

Lot No 112

Two Young Women Bathing in the Woods


Cemin dans la campagne

Friday, 4 June 2010

James Ensor - sinister sans surreal

James Sidney Edouard, Baron Ensor (April 13, 1860 – November 19, 1949) was a Belgian painter and printmaker who had ties to both the expressionists and impressionists as well as the old flemish painters of yester-year. He creates astoundingly sinister masked figures and makes them look relatively normal. However good the masks are, I cannot help but find the 'Skeletons fighting over a pickled herring' the most unnerving and jovial at the same time, a brilliant portrayal of an unexpected subject.

Skeletons fighting over a pickled herring

The intrigue

Scandelized Masks

Entry of Christ into Brussels

Thursday, 3 June 2010

August Macke - Lady in a green jacket

August Macke (3 January 1887 – 26 September 1914) was one of the leading members of the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). He lived during a particularly innovative time for German art which saw the development of the main German Expressionist movements as well as the arrival of the successive avant-garde movements which were forming in the rest of Europe. Like a true artist of his time, Macke knew how to integrate into his painting the elements of the avant-garde which most interested him.

Macke's meeting with Robert Delaunay in Paris in 1912 was to be a sort of revelation for him. Delaunay's chromatic Cubism, which Apollinaire had called Orphism, influenced Macke's art from that point onwards. His Shops Windows can be considered a personal interpretation of Delaunay's Windows, combined with the simultaneity of images found in Italian Futurism. The exotic atmosphere of Tunisia, where Macke traveled in 1914 with Paul Klee and Louis Moilliet was fundamental for the creation of the luminist approach of his final period, during which he produced a series of works now considered masterpieces. August Macke's oeuvre can be considered as Expressionism (the movement that flourished in Germany between 1905 and 1925), and also as part of Fauvism. The paintings concentrate primarily on expressing feelings and moods rather than reproducing objective reality, usually distorting colour and form.

Macke's career was cut short by his early death at the front in Champagne in September 1914, the second month of World War I. His final painting, Farewell, depicts the mood of gloom that settled after the outbreak of war.

text from wikipedia (where else)

Lady in a green jacket (1913)

Girls Under Trees


Church in Kandern

Farewell (1914)

Here is an extract from a letter Robert Delaunay wrote to August Macke...

"For me, every man distinguishes himself by his essence his personal movement, as opposed to that which is universal. That is what I found in your works that I saw this winter at Cologne. You are not in direct communication with nature, the only source of inspiration directed toward beauty.' Such communication affects representation in its most vital and critical aspect. This communication alone, by the comparison of the antagonisms, rivalries, movements which give birth to decisive moments, permits the evolution of the soul, whereby a man realizes himself on earth. It is impossible to be concerned with anything else in art."
read the whole thing