Friday, September 22, 2017

Monet: Framing Life

Detroit Institute of Arts
Oct. 22, 2017“ to March 4, 2018

Monet: Framing Life” is an intimate exhibition focusing on an important painting in the DIA collection—: Claude Monet'’s “Rounded Flower Bed (Corbeille de fleurs)” from 1876, formerly known as “Gladioli” and recently retitled based on new research. Monet created this work while living in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil between late 1871 and early 1878, an especially productive time. It was there that he met and worked beside fellow avant-garde painters that formed the group now known as the Impressionists.

This exhibition brings the DIA’s painting together with 10 other Argenteuil paintings by Monet and fellow impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir—including seven major loans from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. In doing so, the exhibition presents a more comprehensive story about the creation of “Rounded Flower Bed (Corbeille de fleurs)” and how it fits into Monet’s body of work, as well as the history of Impressionism more broadly.

A catalog accompanies the exhibition.

This exhibition has been organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts.




  • “Rounded Flower Bed (Corbeille de fleurs),” 1876, Claude Monet, oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts  
 
 
  • “Snow in Argenteuil,” 1875, Claude Monet, oil on canvas. The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Matsukata Collection  
 
  • “Argenteuil,” about 1872, Claude Monet, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection, 1970.17.42 

 
  • “Bridge at Argenteuil on a Gray Day,” about 1876, Claude Monet, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection, 1970.17.44 
 
 
 
  • “Claude Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil,” 1873, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, oil on canvas. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut. Bequest of Anne Parrish Titzell, 1957.614 
 
  • “Claude Monet,” 1872, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 1985.64.35  
 
  • “Regatta at Argenteuil,” 1874, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection, 1970.17.59

 
  • “The Artist’s Garden in Argenteuil (A Corner of the Garden with Dahlias),” 1873, Claude Monet, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Gift of Janice H. Levin, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art, 1991.27.1  
  • “The Artist’s House at Argenteuil,” 1873, Claude Monet, oil on canvas. The Art Institute of Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1153  
 
  • “The Bridge at Argenteuil,” 1874, Claude Monet, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 1983.1.24  
 
  • “Woman with a Parasol–Madame Monet and Her Son,” 1875, Claude Monet, oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 1983.1.29

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Gilded Age Drawings at The Met



The Metropolitan Museum of Art
August 21–December 10, 2017



More than three dozen rarely seen treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection of late 19th-century American works on paper are featured in the exhibition Gilded Age Drawings at The Met. Created primarily during the 1870s to ’90s—America’s so-called Gilded Age—shortly after the founding of the Museum, many of these innovative drawings in watercolor, pastel, and charcoal were acquired during the artists’ lifetimes and represent the beginnings of The Met’s collecting of American examples of this art form. On view will be iconic works by some of the leading American artists of the period, including Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, John La Farge, and John Singer Sargent, along with striking examples by artists who are less well-known today. A highlight of the exhibition will be three works by Cecilia Beaux, La Farge, and Sargent that are recent promised gifts to The Met.

Arranged thematically in groupings of figure studies, landscapes, and still lifes, the presentation will reveal how some American artists of the period used drawing in preparation for painting in oil, while others created fully realized works of art for exhibition. The former practice is represented by five major works by the acclaimed American realist Thomas Eakins (1844–1916), whose masterful watercolors were collected more enthusiastically in New York than in his native Philadelphia, as well as a grisaille drawing by Eakins’s one-time student Henry Ossawa Tanner. Other highlights include the evocative and meticulously observed watercolor Winter Scene in Moonlight by the American Pre-Raphaelite Henry Farrer (1844–1903) and lyrical floral still lifes by Ellen Robbins (1828–1905) and Laura Coombs Hills (1859-1952) underappreciated Boston artists who specialized in the popular genre.

A display of late 19th-century artists’ materials—watercolor boxes, among other items—will also be featured.

Due to their sensitivity to light, drawings cannot be regularly displayed, and many of these American examples have not been shown for more than 30 years. The exhibition underlines the American Wing’s renewed commitment to presenting works on paper on a rotating basis in our collection galleries as well as exhibitions. 





Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916). The Dancing Lesson, 1878 

Watercolor on off-white wove paper. 18 1/8 x 22 5/8 in. (45.9 x 57.3 cm). 



  • Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933)
    Louise Tiffany, Reading, 1888
    Pastel on buff colored wove paper
    20–1/2 x 30–1/4 in. (52.1 x 76.8 cm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the family of Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham, 2003 (2003.606)

    https://i.pinimg.com/564x/ca/29/9b/ca299b078031ee80492fb71d28426a4f.jpg

  • Henry Farrer (1844–1903)
    Winter Scene in Moonlight, 1869
    Watercolor and gouache on white wove paper
    11–7/8 x 15–3/16 in. (30.2 x 38.6 cm)

    In the Generalife

  •  John Singer Sargent (1856–1925)
    In the Generalife, 1912
    Watercolor, wax crayon, and graphite on white wove paper
    14–3/4 x 17–7/8 in. (37.5 x 45.4 cm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1915 (15.142.8)






Word/Play: Prints, Photographs, and Paintings by Ed Ruscha


Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha
February 3 – May 6, 2018



Ed Ruscha, Clarence Jones, 2001, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 124 inches, Phillip G. Schrager Collection

The first major exhibition featuring Ed Ruscha in his home state of Nebraska, Word/Play brings together prints, photographs, and artist books dating from the 1960s through 2014, complemented by a selection of major paintings. An important early figure in Conceptual Art, Ruscha deftly combines imagery and text. At turns poignant, provocative, and confounding, Ruscha’s use of the written word is a signature element of his work.

Born in Omaha in 1937, Ruscha lived in the city for several years before his family moved to Oklahoma City. In 1956, Ruscha relocated to Los Angeles to study commercial art at the Chouinard Art Institute and quickly became a fixture in the energized West Coast art scene. Rarely seen photographs featured in Word/Play reveal the urban landscapes that inspired many of Ruscha’s most famous prints and paintings, including images of nondescript apartment buildings, everyday consumer goods, and the Los Angeles streets.

Examining the breadth of Ruscha’s rigorous engagement with printmaking, the exhibition encompasses screen prints, etchings, and lithographs, revealing his aptitude for pairing traditional techniques with unexpected subjects and unconventional materials, such as coffee or gunpowder. Ruscha’s monumental mountain paintings combine the names and occupations of traditional laborers with sublime topographies, highlighting his capacity to ennoble the mundane and cleverly transform it into the extraordinary. Several of these images contain palindromes, inscribed over mirror-image landscapes, such as



Lion in Oil (2002).


More images:



https://d32dm0rphc51dk.cloudfront.net/87cyFXBxuUFWTh4GanIoxA/larger.jpg

Ed Ruscha.  Sweets, Meats, Sheets; Closed; Air, Water, Fire; and Open from Tropical Fish Series, 1975



Sweets, Meats, Sheets; Closed; Air, Water, Fire; and Open from Tropical Fish Series, 1975
Contact Gallery

Renaissance Venice. Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese. From Italian and Russian collections

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Art, Moscow

09.06.2017 – 20.08.2017
Main Building
The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts proudly presents a large-scale project of exceptional significance – “Renaissance Venice. Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese. From Italian and Russian collections”, exhibiting 25 outstanding works by three of the greatest painters. These works will be brought to Moscow for the first time, and some of them have never been displayed outside of Italy.

During the Renaissance, Venice experienced the golden age of art and, first and foremost, painting. In the 16th century, a triad of great masters of the brush – Titian Vecellio (c. 1490–1576), Jacopo Tintoretto (1518–1594) and Paolo Veronese (1528–1588) – created their famous paintings in this city. These artists played a defining role in the formation of the European artistic culture and rendered an important influence on the development of art over the next centuries.

This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see works of these great contemporaries side by side, whose creations revolutionized the concepts of painting in many ways and laid the foundation for painting throughout Europe. Many great masters of the 17th century, including Velazquez, Rubens, Rembrandt and Poussin, learned from Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese.

The relationship among the great Venetian Renaissance masters is one of the most important topics reflected in the concept of the exhibition. Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese were born in different towns, belonged to different generations, had different social statuses and received different educations. Each of them had his own inimitable artistic language and style. At the same time, they complemented one another to some extent. Their creative lives had much in common: all of them fulfilled orders for Venetian churches and surrounding areas and worked for major politicians and influential people.

The three artists also headed popular studios, which, according to Venetian tradition, were family-owned. Their coexistence in the artistic space of Venice is often regarded as competition. The reality was much more complicated, however: every master had his own niche and worked for specific categories of customers and segments of society. They carefully observed each other’s works, studied them and eventually came to a mutual relationship without any open confrontation: while remaining loyal to their common cultural background, each one recognized the uniqueness of his own style.
The exposition presents a unique opportunity to see priceless masterpieces of the three artists from collections of the most famous Italian and Russian museums. Portraits and religious works – from compositions for private customers to large altarpieces (a type of painting revolutionized by Venetian artists in the 16th century) – will be displayed in the same space.

Curators also paid attention to the rendering of mythological scenes, where Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese discovered their own approaches to the topic of beauty filled with sensuality and thrill. Venetian painting of the 16th century, the golden age of Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese, gained fame for centuries thanks to the freedom and originality of interpretation of erotic scenes, common to mythological themes.



It is not easy to highlight specific examples in the diverse panorama of the exhibition, but Titian’s “Salome” is deserving. It belongs to the collection of the Doria Pamphilj Gallery housed in Rome, and it is rarely seen outside Italy. Made by the young artist in the mid-1520s, when the Renaissance in Venice reached maturity, this painting attracts viewers with its poetry and brightness of color. Striving to achieve the expressiveness of the color scheme is a distinguishing feature of the Venetian painting style, but Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese made an especially outstanding contribution to this tradition.

Jacopo Tintoretto was a dramatic artist who used color as a powerful expressive medium. This can be clearly seen in his altar paintings, such as



“Last Supper” from the church of San Marcuola,





“Baptism of Christ” from the San Silvestro church

 https://uploads4.wikiart.org/images/tintoretto/lamentation-over-the-dead-christ.jpg


and “Pietà”, which is currently housed in the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice.

The wealth of colors in the works by Paolo Veronese (who, according to his name, was born in Verona) expresses the uplifting nature of his art and his worship of the world’s beauty. This is obvious in his paintings depicting ancient myths. The exhibition includes his magnificent



 


"Venus, Mars and Love with a Horse”, which is housed in the Sabauda Gallery in Turin.

Most of the paintings will be brought from the most famous Italian collections of museums and churches. A few artworks presented belong to Russian collections. These include two paintings from the Hermitage



 (“St. George” by Jacopo Tintoretto



and “Portrait of a Man” by his son and assistant Domenico Tintoretto),

http://www.arts-museum.ru/events/archive/2017/venice/21419_foto_1_03.jpg

one painting from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (“Resurrection of Christ” by Paolo Veronese, which will be exhibited for the first time after the restoration is completed by Nadezhda Koshkina, head of the Museum’s restoration workshop),



and Titian’s “Venus and Adonis”, owned by the Classica charity fund and considered to be one of the sensations of the exhibition. The chief researcher of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Victoria Markova, identified this work as one by the great master, and it has only recently entered art history, having never been displayed in Russia before.

 The Last Supper by Jacopo Tintoretto. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

Curator – Victoria Markova, Doctor of Arts, chief researcher of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and the custodian of Italian paintings
Curator from Italy – Thomas Dalla Costa (University of Verona)
Academic supervisor – Professor Bernard Aikema (University of Verona)
The exhibition is held with the assistance of the Embassy of Italy in Moscow and Ambassador Cesare Maria Ragaglini.


The artworks courtesy of the following museums: Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts; the National Art Gallery (Bologna); the Gallerie dell’Accademia (Venice); the Church of San Giovanni Elemosinario (Venice); the Church of San Marcuola (Venice); the Church of San Silvestro (Venice); Castelvecchio Museum (Verona); Palazzo Chiericati (Vicenza); Musei di Strada Nuova – Palazzo Bianco (Genoa); Galleria Estense (Modena); Museo di Capodimonte (Naples); Doria Pamphilj Gallery (Rome); National Gallery of Ancient Art, Palazzo Barberini (Rome); Capitoline Museums (Rome); Sabauda Gallery (Turin); Uffizi Gallery (Florence).




Monday, September 18, 2017

Modigliani Unmasked

Jewish Museum

September 15, 2017–February 4, 2018

The Jewish Museum presents Modigliani Unmasked, the first exhibition in the United States to focus on Amedeo Modigliani’s early work made in the years after he arrived in Paris in 1906. The exhibition puts a spotlight on Modigliani’s drawings, with a large selection acquired directly from the artist by Dr. Paul Alexandre, his close friend and first patron. The drawings from the Alexandre collection, many being shown for the first time in the United States, as well as other drawings from collections around the world and a selection of Modigliani’s paintings and sculptures, illuminate how the artist’s heritage as an Italian Sephardic Jew is pivotal to understanding his artistic output. The exhibition is on view at the Jewish Museum from September 15, 2017 through February 4, 2018.

Modigliani Unmasked considers the celebrated artist, Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, 1884-1920), shortly after he arrived in Paris in 1906, when the city was still roiling with anti-Semitism after the long-running tumult of the Dreyfus Affair and the influx of foreign emigres. An Italian Sephardic Jew with a French mother and a classical education, Modigliani was the embodiment of cultural heterogeneity. When he moved to Paris, he came up against the idea of racial purity in French culture — in Italy, he did not feel ostracized for being Jewish. His Latin looks and fluency in French could have easily helped him to assimilate. Instead, his outsider status often compelled him to introduce himself with the words, “My name is Modigliani. I am Jewish.” As a form of protest, he refused to assimilate, declaring himself as “other.” The exhibition shows that Modigliani’s art cannot be fully understood without acknowledging the ways the artist responded to the social realities that he confronted in the unprecedented artistic melting pot of Paris.

In these years prior to World War I, Modigliani largely stopped painting in order to develop his conceptual and pictorial ideas through drawing and sculpture. The works in the exhibition reveal the emerging artist himself, enmeshed in his own particular identity quandary, struggling to discover what portraiture might mean in a modern world of racial complexity.

Modigliani Unmasked is arranged thematically, and includes approximately 130 drawings, 12 paintings, and seven sculptures by the artist. Modigliani’s art is complemented by work representative of the various multicultural influences — African, Asian, Greek, Egyptian, and Khmer — that inspired the young artist during this lesser-known, early period.

When he arrived in Paris, Modigliani — still virtually unknown — met Dr. Alexandre, a young physician. Alexandre amassed some 450 drawings directly from the artist and commissioned a number of portraits. The exhibition includes a selection of drawings depicting Dr. Alexandre, as well as a mysterious, unfinished portrait never seen before in the United States. Probably painted around 1913, it is a stylistic anomaly within Modigliani’s oeuvre, more sketchy and gestural than his typical portraits.

Modigliani would visit museums in Paris, including the Louvre and the Musée du Trocadéro, and was mesmerized by the nonwestern art. Unlike most of his contemporaries in the French vanguard, who appropriated such works expressionistically as an abstracted distortion of the human form, Modigliani’s manner of using such stylized effects was far more respectful. The influence of masks in particular is clearly visible in the many drawings and sculptures in the exhibition.

Prominent in the Alexandre collection are the stylized drawings related to sculptures. Produced between 1909 and 1914, this body of work constitutes a distinct category within the artist’s oeuvre and reveals his ongoing preoccupation with identity. Particularly noticeable is his obsessive examination of physiognomy. When seen together, his repeated images of heads and faces reveal minute, calculated variations in the eyes, noses, and mouths. As seen in the exhibition, this group of drawings offer a nuanced commentary on the underlying issue of aesthetics as it relates to race.

In 1911, Modigliani began to explore a motif borrowed from ancient art, the caryatid, and a selection of these drawings is included in the exhibition. While in classical art the caryatid is usually a woman, his are male, female, or of ambiguous gender. He also incorporated elements derived from Egyptian art, as well as ancient South and Southeastern Asian sources such as facial features, postures, and tattoos.

The exhibition also includes a selection of life studies and female nudes. Among these are of the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, whom the artist met in 1910. Her exotic presence inspired Modigliani to introduce her to Egyptian art. The influences he drew from Egyptian art, such as the attenuation of the figure and the angularity of form, can be seen in the drawings he did of her.

Modigliani’s fondness for performance, including theater, street entertainment, and the circus, is reflected in numerous early drawings, often sketched from a blend of life and imagination. The exhibition includes his drawings of the Commedia dell’Arte character, Columbine, as well as circus performers. Many of these works — like others in the exhibition — reveal the acuity of his psychological awareness, which had the effect of transforming simple sketches into portraits.

Modigliani Unmasked is organized by Mason Klein, Senior Curator, The Jewish Museum. The exhibition was designed by Galia Solomonoff and Talene Montgomery of SAS/Solomonoff Architecture Studio.

Catalogue



The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by the Jewish Museum and Yale University Press. The book includes an essay by Mason Klein that offers close analysis of Modigliani’s portraits and figure studies in pencil, ink, gouache, and crayon, ultimately arguing that the artist demonstrated a modernist embrace of difference, as well as an understanding of identity as heterogeneous, beyond national or cultural boundaries. The 172-page book also includes an afterword by Richard Nathanson. Featuring 165 color illustrations, the hardcover will be available worldwide.




Amedeo Modigliani
Unfinished Portrait of Paul Alexandre, 1913
Oil on canvas, 31½ x 25¾ in. (80 x 65.6 cm)
Private collection on long-term loan to the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen



Amedeo Modigliani
The Jewess, 1908
Oil on canvas
21⅝ x 18⅛ in. (54.9 × 46 cm)
Laure Denier Collection, Paul Alexandre Family, courtesy of Richard Nathanson, London




Amedeo Modigliani
Nude with a Hat, 1908
Oil on canvas, 31⅞ x 21¼ in. (81 × 54 cm)
Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum, University of Haifa, Israel
Photo courtesy of the Hecht Museum, University of Haifa, Israel



Amedeo Modigliani
Jeanne Hébuterne with Yellow Sweater, 1918-19
Oil on canvas
39⅜ x 25½ in. (100 x 64.7 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, By gift 37.533
Image provided by Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation / Art Resource, New York

Toward the end of World War I, Modigliani left Paris for the south of France. In this more serene environment the artist’s work became more contemplative, his figures abbreviated and calm, and his palette brighter. Hébuterne, an art student whom he met at the Académie Colarossi in Paris in the winter of 1916 –17, was his lover, later his wife. Here he depicts her with affection and no sense of the erotic. The face is outlined as a long oval, the eyes are blank, and the nose is long and geometric. The artist underscores the simple elegance of Hébuterne’s features, rendered as a series of flat shapes —the tilt of her head, the echoing refrain of the turtleneck sweater and her crossed hands, while conveying her youthful, moody personality. 




Amedeo Modigliani
Lola de Valence, 1915
Oil on paper, mounted on wood, 20½ x 13¼ in. (52.1 x 33.7 cm)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 67.187.84
Image provided by The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, New York 
Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876 – 1967), 1967 

This portrait depicts the famous nineteenth -century Spanish dancer Lola de Valence, also memorialized by the poet Charles Baudelaire and the painter Édouard Manet. Modigliani’s radical approach to portraiture is on display here: the dancer’s face is essentially an African mask. 


Amedeo Modigliani
Lunia Czechowska, 1919
Oil on canvas, 31½ x 20½ in. (80 x 52 cm)
Museu de Arte de São Paulo
Assis Chateaubriand, Gift, Raul Crespi, 1952
Photograph by João Musa

Modigliani saw himself primarily as a sculptor. Even when declining health forced him to abandon the medium, he continued to think, draw, and paint as one. Lunia Czechowska, a good friend of Leopold and Hanka Zborowski, became acquainted with the artist an d emerged as one of his favorite models. Here, Modigliani suppresses descriptive identity in the service of a universalized presence: he graphically captures Czechowska’s aristocratic bearing, depicting her like an icon. Her smooth, ethereal features and exaggeratedly long neck emphasize the image’s sculptural quality. 
 



Amedeo Modigliani
Caryatid, c. 1911
Oil on canvas
28½ x 19¾ in. (72.5 x 50 cm)
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf
Image provided by bpk Bildagentur / Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen / Art Resource, NY




Amedeo Modigliani Portrait of Docteur Devaraigne, 1917
Oil on canvas 
Collection of Bruce and Robbi Toll  

Modigliani painted two portraits of Dr. Devaraigne, who was probably a friend. The sitter’s identity is partly established by his military uniform, which suggests that he had been mobilized during World War I. When a subject’s personality or features were particularly striking, as with Dr. Devaraigne, Modigliani would sometimes exaggerate them, increasing the sense of their individuality. Often, especially with people he knew, he painted more than one version of a portrait. 



Amedeo Modigliani
Portrait of Manuel Humbert, 1916
Oil on canvas 
Collection of Bruce and Robbi Toll  

Modigliani immortalized the Spanish landscape painter Manuel Humbert Estève, a struggling artist whom he met in the ethnically diverse environment of Montparnasse. In such paintings, he continued to question portraiture’s claim to truth, presenting the genre as eve rambiguous. Here, he renders the sitter’s head as masklike, with a narrow, triangular face and stylized arched brows connected to a thin, straight nose. But he distinguishes personal features as well —pursed mouth, parted hair —constantly altering the counterpoise of individuality and formal abstraction. 




Amedeo ModiglianiHanka Zborowska, 1916
Oil on canvas 
Private collection 

Based on stylistic similarities with other paintings of 1916, this work is quite likely the first of a series of twelve portraits of the common-law wife of the poet Leopold Zborowski, who was Modigliani’s art dealer during the last years of his life. Here, the artist balances the generic artifice of the mask with the particular self absorption of the sitter, a tension that resonates in his metaphoric use of an inner and outer eye.   



Amedeo Modigliani
Portrait of Roger Dutilleul. 1919
Oil on canvas 
Collection of Bruce and Robbi Toll  


This classic example of Modigliani’s consummate painterly style pays homage to one of his most devoted patrons, Roger Dutilleul. Unable to afford to collect the work of more established figures, Dutilleul turned to young contemporary artists. Between 1918 and 1925 he acquired thirty -four paintings and twenty -one drawings, virtually ten percent of Modigliani’s late work.
 


Jacques Lipchitz 
Death Mask of Amedeo Modigliani, 1920,
Cast plaster 
The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, 
Bequest of Joseph Halle Schaffner in memory of his beloved mother, Sara H. Schaffner 

Modigliani succumbed to tubercular meningitis on Saturday evening, January 24, 1920, at the Hôpital de la Charité on Paris’s left bank. Two of his fellow artists, Moïse Kisling and Conrad Moricand, attem pted to make a death mask before his burial in Père Lachaise Cemetery. Neither painter possessed the necessary technical skills; they removed the plaster mold too early, and broke it. The sculptor Jacques Lipchitz, another Jewish artist resident in Paris and a close friend of Modigliani, salvaged the mask; he produced a number of plaster casts and, eventually, an edition in bronze.   

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Edvard Munch: Breathe, Feel, Suffer and Love



Modernism, San Francisco
August 31  - October 7, 2017 

Modernism is presenting a major exhibition of prints and drawings by the legendary Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863 - 1944). Encompassing thirty works  produced between 1894 to 19 30 , the exhibition complements aconcurrent retrospective of Munch's paintings at  the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  

Also see (Edvard Munch: Color in Context National Gallery of Art September 3, 2017, through January 28, 2018.)

The Modernism exhibition features some of  Munch's most famous images, including  The Sick Child,  Madonna, and The Kiss;


– painted  versions of which are simultaneously on view at SFMOMA  – affording viewers a rare  opportunity to see how he treated key themes including death and  love in diverse media.





Printmaking was central to Munch's practice, and works on paper were as significant to him artistically as oils on canvas. Over the course of five decades, beginning in 1894, he printed  some eighteen thousand impressions, representing hundreds of motifs, realized as etchings,  lithographs, woodcuts, and mixtures of these techniques. 

The bulk of this oeuvre is now in  Oslo's Munch Museum,, which inherited his personal collection upon his death. Decades of scholarship by that museum, as well as institutions such as the National Gallery of Art in  Washington DC  – have revealed the extraordinary richness of his graphic art, and its intimate  relationship to his paintings and drawings. As Munch wrote in an 1889 diary entry, his artistic aim was to show "living people who breathe, feel, suffer and love". 

By creating multiple  variat ions on a print over a period of decades  – and using prints as inspiration for subsequent  drawings and paintings and prints  – he was able to explore his innermost feelings through  countless expressionistic permutations on the living people who stirred his  own love and suffering. 

This strategy can be seen from the very beginning of his printmaking career. For example, one  of the earliest images in the Modernism exhibition, a drypoint etching titled  

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/35/9f/b6/359fb6ae2ae4ee469f801fec11af8567--edvard-munch-eros.jpg

Death and the Woman (1894), derived from an ill - fated affair that he recorded in sketches in the late 1880s  and 
 http://en.wahooart.com/Art.nsf/O/6WHK94/$File/Edvard+Munch+-+death+and+la+young+girl+(1893)+.JPG

developed into a painting in 1893. Like the painting, his etching adapts the traditional theme of the Dance of Death, depicting a nude young woman passionately embracing a  skeleton. 

In the same year, Munch extracted the emotional essence of his composition, setting  aside the symbolism, in a painting called  The Kiss

 

This painting in turn became the basis for  an 1895 etching, also on view at Modernism, showing the fervid embrace of a nude couple.  

 

Over the  years that followed, Munch continued to develop the motif using a broad range of  techniques. One of the most important was the woodcut, which facilitated greater abstraction. 



A 1902 version, in which the couple has been clothed in black, can be seen at the Modernism  exhibition

 https://www.edvardmunch.org/images/paintings/the-kiss.jpg
 (and compared to a similar painting from 1897 on view at SFMOMA). 

While the identity of the lovers in  The Kiss is hidden  – and the connection to Munch's own life  is essentially poetic  – other works by Munch are explicitly autobiographical, perhaps none  more so than  

 

Edvard Munch, The Sick Child, 1885–86. The original version. Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo.

This image originated with the death from tuberculosis of  Munch's older sister Johanne Sophie in 1877. He was greatly traumatized by the experience,  and began painting his memory of Johanne Sophie on her deathbed as early as 1885. 



Edvard Munch, The Sick Child, 1896. The second painting was completed while the artist was living in Paris, Konstmuseet, Gothenburg.

A  decade later he focused in on her haunted face  – emphasizing her gaze into the darkness  ahead  – in a color lithograph that he considered to be his "greatest print". 




The four - color version on view at Modernism, printed in 1896, can be compared to 



a painted version from the same year at SFMOMA, which shows the graphic influence of Munch's printmaking  experience on his contemporaneous canvasses. 


 
Edvard Munch. The Sick Child. 1897
  

'The Sick Child', Edvard Munch, 1907 | Tate

To realize his complex compositions, Munch often depended on models, who could act out his memories and fantasies as he captured their emotional undercurrents. 

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One of those models, Ingeborg Kaurin, can be seen in a charcoal drawing at Modernism. The drawing takes the title of the nickname Munch gave her,  Mossepiken, and may have been a study for paintings such as  




The Forerunner, a 1913 self - portrait in which he fondles an uncomfortable peasant girl. 

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Munch was also an adept portraitist. The Modernism exhibition includes a pastel of the Norwegian singer Marta Sandal, captured in 1902, the year she was discovered by Edvard  Grieg, launching her illustrious career.) 

Munch's remarkable creativity over six productive decades resulted in myriad innovations in  both form and content, which greatly influenced painters and graphic artists of his own era, including Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner . More recently his work has inspired  contemporary  artists ranging from Georg Baselitz to Marlene Dumas to Jasper Johns. Yet the  person he inspired most, and who was most inspired by him, was Edvard Munch himself. 

The  exhibition at Modernism vividly illustrates that virtuous circle of self - influence.  


 Madonnas


 (see below).
Paintings:





Version from Munch Museum, Oslo. 1894. 90 cm × 68 cm (35 in × 27 in). It was stolen in 2004 and recovered two years later.
Version from National Gallery of Norway, Oslo. 1894–95. 91 cm × 70.5 cm (36 in × 27.8 in).
Version from Kunsthalle Hamburg, Hamburg. 1895. 90 × 71 cm (35.4 × 28 in)