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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Balthus: “I refuse to confide and don’t like it when people write about art”.

Balthasar Klossowski  de Rola (February 29, 1908 in Paris – February 18, 2001 in Rossinière, Switzerland), best known as Balthus, was an esteemed but controversial Polish-French modern artist.

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17Th- To 20Th-Century Japanese Painting from the Gitter-Yelen Collection

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This celebration of four centuries of Japanese art is astonishingly rich, vibrant, and detailed. Moving chronologically in a blend of sophisticated commentary and dazzling reproductions, its topics range from styles, schools, and trends to individual artists, including poet-artist Yosa Buson, Maruyama Okyo (founder of the realist school of Japanese painting), the three “eccentrics” of the eighteenth century, Hakuin and Zenga painting, ukiyo-e (“floating world”) paintings, and more. This survey is unique because, unlike many, it moves beyond the Edo (1615-1868) period into the Meiji period, which saw a transformation in Japanese aesthetics with the establishment of new exhibition venues showing Western art. The idea of integrating outside elements with the Japanese spirit was viewed as fundamental to late nineteenth- and twentieth-century modernism, and resulted in the country’s first oil paintings, the new classicism, paintings reflecting World War II and the postwar period, the work of avant-garde nanga painter Tomioka Tessai, and modern interpretations of Zen thought. Included is a chronology of historical periods, a detailed listing of exhibition works, and artists’ seals. Lauren Roberts
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

The Edo period in Japan, from 1615 to 1858, witnessed an unprecedented flourishing of the arts. During these long years of peace and relative stability, Japanese culture attained new levels of refinement and distinction. Innovative painting styles such as Rinpa, nanga, Maruyama-Shijo, ukiyo-e, and zenga flourished along with the traditional painting lineages of the Kano, Tosa, and Hasegawa schools. With the fall of the shogunate in 1868 and the subsequent Meiji restoration, many painting styles current in Edo were practiced along with Western-style oil painting and types that assimilated both Eastern and Western traditions.

In An Enduring Vision, twelve distinguished scholars examine Japanese painting in this vibrant period. The book opens with eminent guest curator Tadashi Kobayashiís overview of the exquisite paintings in the Gitter-Yelen collection. Stephen Addiss, Patricia J. Graham, Motoaki Kono, Johei Sasaki, and John T. Carpenter take up, respectively, Nanga, literati, and Rinpa painting, the Maruyama Shijo school,a and aspects of ukiyo-e painting during the Edo period. Patricia Fister, James T. Ulak, and Masatomo Kawai examine, respectively, the influences of Yosa Buson; the Eccentrics Ito Jakuchu, Soga Shohaku, and Nasagawa Rosetsu; and the Zen painter Hakuin Ekaku. Paul Berry addresses the transformation of traditional painting practices in 19th- and 20th-century Japan, and Christine M. E. Guth takes up aspects of nanga and zenga painting in America. In addition, catalogue entries offer fresh commentary on the background and context in which the artworks were created. All these texts are generously illustrated in color.

An Enduring Vision presents 138 exceptional artworks by the great masters of the Edo period as well as the paintings of their students, friends, and associates, whose relationships the authors explore and discuss. In addition to the artists mentioned above, the selection includes paintings by Ike Taiga, Sengai, and Tawaraya Sotatsu, among others. The catalogue offers a rare opportunity to appreciate in depth the ways in which these gifted individuals developed as artists. (source)

Odilon Redon. French Symbolist painter, printmaker, draughtsman and pastellist.

self-portrait, 1880
// // Bertrand-Jean Redon, better known as Odilon Redon (April 20, 1840 – July 6, 1916) was a French Symbolist painter, printmaker, draughtsman and pastellist.

“Those were the pictures bearing the signature: Odilon Redon. They held, between their gold-edged frames of unpolished pearwood, undreamed-of images: a Merovingian-type head, resting upon a cup; a bearded man, reminiscent both of a Buddhist priest and a public orator, touching an enormous cannon-ball with his finger; a spider with a human face lodged in the centre of its body. Then there were charcoal sketches which delved even deeper into the terrors of fever-ridden dreams. Here, on an enormous die, a melancholy eyelid winked; over there stretched dry and arid landscapes, calcinated plains, heaving and quaking ground, where volcanos erupted into rebellious clouds, under foul and murky skies; sometimes the subjects seemed to have been taken from the nightmarish dreams of science, and hark back to prehistoric times; monstrous flora bloomed on the rocks; everywhere, in among the erratic blocks and glacial mud, were figures whose simian appearance–heavy jawbone, protruding brows, receding forehead, and flattened skull top–recalled the ancestral head, the head of the first Quaternary Period, the head of man when he was still fructivorous and without speech, the contemporary of the mammoth, of the rhinoceros with septate nostrils, and of the giant bear. These drawings defied classification; unheeding, for the most part, of the limitations of painting, they ushered in a very special type of the fantastic, one born of sickness and delirium.”

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Chinese Painting from Western Galleries

“Treasures of Asia”
“100 reproductions in full color.”
Skira/Rizzoli reprint of the 1960 edition by James Cahill.


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Pablo Picasso – The early years,1892-1906

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Picasso was a renowned tattoo artist known for making the barbed wire popular after inking one on his left arm.

Pablo Picasso’s impact on the history of modern art has been profound. His early development was complex and innovative, constituting a subject of surprising depth. This exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of Picasso’s art before cubism, from the academic and realist work of his youth to his emergence as a brilliant stylist in late 1906.

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Gustav Klimt. Austrian Symbolist painter.

Gustav Klimt (July 14, 1862 – February 6, 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter.

Golden phase and critical success.
The Kiss 1907–1908. Oil on canvas. Österreichische Galerie Belvedere.
Klimt’s ‘Golden Phase’ was marked by positive critical reaction and success. Many of his paintings from this period used gold leaf; the prominent use of gold can first be traced back to Pallas Athene (1898) and Judith I (1901), although the works most popularly associated with this period are the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) and The Kiss (1907–1908). Klimt travelled little but trips to Venice and Ravenna, both famous for their beautiful mosaics, most likely inspired his gold technique and his Byzantine imagery. In 1904, he collaborated with other artists on the lavish Palais Stoclet, the home of a wealthy Belgian industrialist, which was one of the grandest monuments of the Art Nouveau age. Klimt’s contributions to the dining room, including both Fulfillment and Expectation, were some of his finest decorative work, and as he publicly stated, “probably the ultimate stage of my development of ornament.” Between 1907 and 1909, Klimt painted five canvases of society women wrapped in fur. His apparent love of costume is expressed in the many photographs of Flöge modeling clothing he designed.
As he worked and relaxed in his home, Klimt normally wore sandals and a long robe with no undergarments. His simple life was somewhat cloistered, devoted to his art and family and little else except the Secessionist Movement, and he avoided café society and other artists socially. Klimt’s fame usually brought patrons to his door, and he could afford to be highly selective. His painting method was very deliberate and painstaking at times and he required lengthy sittings by his subjects. Though very active sexually, he kept his affairs discreet and he avoided personal scandal.
Klimt wrote little about his vision or his methods. He wrote mostly postcards to Flöge and kept no diary. In a rare writing called “Commentary on a non-existent self-portrait”, he states “I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women…There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night…Who ever wants to know something about me… ought to look carefully at my pictures.” (read more wikipedia)
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