Dec 2, 2011

'Lost' Rembrandt self-portrait revealed

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A known portrait of Rembrandt (L) with the newly uncovered painting (R)

An unfinished self-portrait by the Dutch master Rembrandt has been discovered under another painting using advanced scientific techniques. 

No detail is visible in the face, but experts say it matches a reproductive print from 1633 that has an inscription saying it is by Rembrandt.

X-ray scanning was used to detect the pigments in hidden layers of paint.

A leading expert on Rembrandt said he was convinced of its authenticity based on similarities in painting style.

The unfinished self-portrait was discovered under another panel said to be by the master - Old Man with a Beard.

Old Man with a beard  
The self-portrait is hidden under this image of an old man, attributed to Rembrandt
Art historian Ernst van de Wetering, head of the Rembrandt Research Project, said there were key technical similarities in painting style between the self-portrait and authenticated works by Rembrandt that date to the 1630s.

There is also a copy of the painting that must have been made by one of the pupils in the artist's studio.
The self-portrait was revealed when the painting was scanned at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and the ESRF light source in Grenoble, France.

Koen Janssens of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, told BBC News: "The portrait is considered to be an early work. So this documents a little bit better how Rembrandt in his early period was functioning in his workshop. 

Prof Janssens, who led the X-ray scanning, added: "Which projects did he start? Which ones did he finish? How many are there that he changed his mind about and started over."

The technique of X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry allowed the different chemical elements present in the paint to be mapped, revealing different views of the hidden image.



'Alice' by Morgan Weistling

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Alice - Morgan Weistling -
Alice - Morgan Weistling

The oil painting, which depicts a young, mischievous looking girl clutching a small white rabbit in her arms as she gazes out at the viewer, features deep pinks and glowing highlights that create somewhat of a dreamlike quality. Weistling's gentle brushstrokes achieve a host of subtle nuances and color harmonies that result in an intense depth in "Alice."

"We are very happy to carry this truly wonderful piece, as I think it really displays the imagination of a child," said David Wilfong, spokesperson for "Weistling is known for his mesmerizing oil paintings and his use of color, and 'Alice' is definitely one of those memorable pieces."

Before he was even two, Morgan Weistling was experimenting with art, learning to draw from the lap of his father, who was a comic artist. His youthful imagination brought his art to life by weaving narrative stories into the things he drew. Weistling got his big break into the world of professional art at a young age, landing a gig with the top movie poster agency in Hollywood at the age of 19. His clients included Universal/Amblin Entertainment, Disney, MGM, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures and TriStar, and his works were used to promote the stories of dozens of feature films. 

Weistling has since shifted the focus of his career to fine art, and his success in this space has been equally impressive. The artist is inspired by the ordinary scenes around him and brings his subjects to life with the attention to detail of a skilled movie director. As he did in his paintings as a child and at the movie poster company, he incorporates a story in each of his paintings, treating art as his method of communication. 

"Alice" speaks to the imagination and fun spirit of children and their pets, something that everyone has known and witnessed for themselves. The power of this timeless message has been reflected by the public’s reaction to this painting, as "Alice" was a featured work at the 2011 Jackson Hole Art Auction, selling for over $86,000. This by far exceeded the estimated sale price.

"'Alice' perfectly bridges the divide between modern art and classic oil painting," said Wilfong. "The simplicity of the subject coupled with the complexity of Weistling’s technique makes this work a joy to behold."



The Getty Museum's new Manet

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Manet Brunet 2

The first thing one might say about the well-known portrait by Edouard Manet (1832-1883) just acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum is this: Poor Madame Brunet!

It was bad enough that she had to refuse an unflattering picture of her painted by a family friend, reacting in horror when first she laid eyes on it at his Paris studio. The artist, unruffled, then had the nerve to include the picture in an 1863 gallery exhibition of recent paintings, where anyone who wandered in could see it -- including all her friends. Zut alors!

At least a caricaturist came to the lady's defense. Scrawled across a rudimentary drawing of the portrait, an anonymous sketch now in the collection of Paris' Bibliotheque Nationale, is the exclamation, "La...femme de son ami!!!" As the ellipsis and all those exclamation points underscore, if Manet was willing to do such a thing to "the woman of his friend," what kind of cad was he?

When Manet's portrait goes on view in Brentwood on Dec. 13, it will be easy to see why Mme. Brunet was not amused -- even presuming she was indeed as homely as Manet portrayed her, with a rather hard, blank, mask-like face. Her exact identity is unknown today, since more than one fellow with the last name Brunet was in the artist's circle, while the record of the painting left in the artist's studio when he died described the picture only as "a woman with a glove, dressed in 1850s style." But Manet was determined not to play the part of conventionally ambitious artist here, flattering his client in paint on canvas.

Velazquez portrait CARL COURT AFP Getty Images
Theodore Duret, a French journalist and critic, later reported the fateful encounter between sitter and artist: "One of his first portraits, done in 1860, was of a young lady, a friend of his family. He had painted her standing, life-size. It seems she was not pretty. Following his own inclinations, he must have accentuated her distinctive facial features. In any event, when she saw herself on the canvas, and the way she looked there, she began to cry -- it is Manet himself who told me about this -- and left the studio with her husband, wanting never to see the picture again."

One of Manet's "inclinations" at the time -- and the work's precise start date of 1860 isn't certain -- was to learn everything he could from Spanish painting, especially Velázquez (1599-1660). The wife of Napoleon III was from Granada, and as Empress Eugenie had made all things Spanish fashionable in Paris. By 1863 the influence of Manet's Iberian predecessor would be turning up all over his work, including scandalous pictures like "Luncheon on the Grass" and "Olympia."

Manet was enthralled with Velázquez's remarkable use of black as a lush and luxurious color. It's the dominant hue in Mme. Brunet's portrait, from her large velvet hat, voluminous coat and lace-trimmed dress to the painterly delineation of those "distinctive facial features." He might even have added the bland, woodsy landscape background long after she rejected the painting -- the anonymous caricature doesn't include it -- by borrowing from a portrait of King Philip IV of Spain as a hunter; the Louvre Museum acquired that painting in May 1862, mistakenly thinking it was by Velázquez. (It's probably by the Spaniard's son-in-law.) The French painter traveled to Madrid in 1865 to see more of his idol's work.
The Getty, alas, doesn't own anything by the incomparable Velázquez -- although it could. Reportedly only four documented Velázquez paintings are not already in museum collections, none of them in Southern California; but a recently discovered, modestly sized and very handsome portrait bust of an unknown gentleman hits the block at Bonham's London auction house on Wednesday. I saw the rare picture recently and, while it needs a thorough cleaning, the painting appears to be in very good condition, except for a minor paint loss above the sitter's left eyebrow. The distinguished fellow's ruddy, fleshy face rests lightly inside a crisp white collar atop a flat-black torso. 
A British export license will be needed to take the painting out of the country. It isn't certain to be granted, but the chances seem quite good. There's no shortage of exceptional Velázquez paintings already in U.K. museums, while huge funds are still being sought to retain a great Titian for Britain's National Gallery. A major Poussin recently got the green light for a Texas museum; the Getty itself acquired an important Turner from the Earl of Rosebery in the spring and other masterpieces have recently gotten export licenses. It would be a shame if the Getty let the Velázquez go by.

Probably the closest the Getty's existing collection gets to its new Manet is an arresting, full-length 1804 portrait by Francisco Goya of Marquesa de Santiago, also shown standing in a landscape. In her ankle-length black dress and dramatic white mantilla, the wide-eyed lady stares you down. The depiction of the infamously dissolute Marquesa, like Manet's blunt rendering of poor Mme. Brunet, skips the urge to fantasize about ideal beauty in oil paint on canvas. Instead, the artist goes after something rather more direct.

Like Manet, Goya had learned a lot from Velázquez too.



Louis Beck learns it is never too late to follow a dream

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Artist Louis Beck describes the most expensive piece in his art gallery, a 5-foot-by-4-foot, 150-pound wood carving of the Last Supper, priced at $30,000. He worked on the carving periodically for a little more than 20 years.

Artist Louis Beck will admit no painting is perfect, but said the closest he's painted would be the portrait of his wife Lottie, who died in February 2010.

"About March (2010), I thought I'd paint her portrait," Beck said. "I found such a satisfaction in painting and it really kind of gave me piece of mind."

As his inner artist was reawakened, so was an old dream the couple shared -- owning a gallery.

The same year, Beck renovated a building he owned into what is now L & L Beck Art Gallery at 5705 Kavanaugh Boulevard in Little Rock.

"It's as much of an ego trip as it is a business," Beck said. "I'm very proud and I know my wife would have been proud to say, 'We have a gallery.'"

Beck, 80, graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1953 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts.

"I had a certain amount of (artistic) ability, but it was nothing I really pursued," Beck said. 

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Beck gave away his art to friends and family on special occasions.

It wasn't until his gallery opened in December 2010 that Beck said he became serious about displaying and selling his art. In addition to art, Beck owns and operates St. Jude Packaging. 

John Stroud, the gallery's curator, said the gallery holds about 45 paintings and woodcarvings. Beck has a little more than 200 pieces of artwork total, including portraits and landscapes.

"I try to paint every day at least an hour … and all weekend," Beck said. "I'm depressed if I don't have a painting working."

Each month, the gallery hosts a different theme, from ducks to golf, and December will feature about 20 religious paintings. 

The paintings will be a "potpourri of religious art," including St. Joseph tending to the baby Jesus and the Sacred Heart, Beck said. A 2010 painting titled "St. Anne teaching Mary," depicts the two playing in a 21st-century pose, with a 16th-century background, Beck said. 

"I just think that people today with religious art should see religious art as what it would look like today," Beck said.

Beck said religious art has been a way for him to be more involved as a parishioner of Our Lady of the Holy Souls Church, In August he donated paintings of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to the Taste of Faith vocations fundraiser, a cause he said he plans to donate to again.

"I depend on God for my artistic ability. He's the one who gave it to me," Beck said. "But I had to recognize it was a gift and do something with it."

Though business has been slow, Beck said a few of his paintings have found a way to the right home, including a painting of Mother Teresa that now hangs at the Arkansas Pregnancy Resource Center's chapel in Little Rock.

Lydia Antonetz, who volunteers at the center, said she first saw the painting while window shopping after a pro-life conference in August. Though she was drawn to Beck's religious artwork, the painting cost $1,290. 

"I said to the Lord, 'If you want me to get one of these paintings, somehow you have to get the money so I can purchase it,'" Antonetz said. 

Though not an experienced gambler, Antonetz tried her luck at a slot machine in New York and won upwards of $1,000. With her winnings, she bought the painting on Sept. 5, the 14th anniversary of her death. 

Besides the emotional impact of that painting, it holds a fun, artistic secret of Beck's.

"Way back when I was painting in the '60s, my kids would ask me what I was doing and I said I was 'monkeying around,'" Beck said. "Ever since then, I've hidden the word 'monkey' in my paintings."


Nov 30, 2011

Book REVIEW: Van Gogh: The Life

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Book by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith

REVIEW: Van Gogh: The life 

In the modern Western imagination, Vincent Van Gogh is the very embodiment of the tortured artistic genius, able to express that genius—in his case, on canvases that are now among the best-loved artworks in the world—precisely because he was tortured, a man who eventually died young (only 37) by his own hand (of course). All very tragic, if undeniably romantic. And all profoundly mistaken, according to Naifeh and Smith, authors of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Jackson Pollack, about another volatile painter who died young. The truth, in fact, is far more authentically tragic. Van Gogh was enormously productive and incandescent with inspiration when he was feeling well, and unable to take up his brush during his bouts of mental illness. With a final blow to the mythic Van Gogh, the authors argue he didn’t even kill himself, but fell victim to a couple of boys with a misfiring revolver.

Naifeh and Smith are persuasive in that conclusion, as they are in everything else in this magisterial biography. Writing with the co-operation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, they didn’t have just the beautifully written letters exchanged by Vincent and his beloved brother Theo, but also previously unpublished family correspondence. The man who emerges is not someone most people would enjoy having for a relative. (Theo was a long-suffering brother.) Vincent was as dedicated to violent quarrels as he was to investigating the surprises provided by his own troubled psyche. Yet he had courage and integrity that is humbling to encounter.

After the death of his father in 1885, Van Gogh lost his religious faith, a loss with which he never really came to terms, according to Naifeh and Smith. As Van Gogh himself wrote, only art was left: “Illusions may fade, but the sublime remains. My aim in life is to make pictures and drawings, as many and as well as I can, and then passing away thinking, ‘Oh, the pictures I might have made!’ ” In Vincent Van Gogh’s heartbreaking story, there’s really nothing more to add.



Painting exhibition ‘Travel Pakistan’ amuses art lovers

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NUML Artwork

“This exhibition is actually a humble effort to project and cherish different colours of Pakistan and to give a glimpse of its rich culture and art through the medium of oil painting, calligraphy, illustrations and posters.”

This was stated by National University of Modern Language (NUML) Programme Coordinator Amina Zulfiqar in an exhibition held at NUML.

“Travel Pakistan” was organised by the students of Mass Communication Department.

It was a true reflection of their talent and speaks volume of the fact that with a little more effort and guidance, these amateur strokes of brushes, calligraphy and imagination could become professional.

The exhibition aimed to provide colours of all provinces of Pakistan by using the graphics and latest tools of digital media. Paintings, calligraphy, posters, photographs and illustrations were contributed by the students of Mass Communication.

The oil paintings of interior Lahore and traditional Islamic calligraphy in medium of gold by Wasif Shahid were displayed in the exhibition. Moreover, pictorial illustration of a poem “Taut Batot” by Sufi Tabassum was published in Adobe Photoshop by Noor-e-Sehr, a student of Mass Communication, while posters depicting a gate way to the rest of Pakistan, Balochistan, a place where people live truly, Punjab, history lives in the heat of Sindh, land of extraordinary people, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and then land of celebrations, Gilgit were also adding colour to the exhibition. 


Berman was one of city's best artists

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  • Fred Berman, artist

Fred Berman was still a young artist - "29, barely," as he later said - when he was suddenly swimming in the deep end of the art ocean.

A painting by Berman was included in the 1956 Venice Biennale with the likes of Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning as well as Ivan Albright and Joseph Friebert from the American Midwest.

"It's like the Grand Prix or the World Series," said Tom Lidtke, director of the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend. "It's really a major accomplishment.

"He was definitely one of Milwaukee's more important late 20th-century artists," Lidtke said.

Berman died Nov. 6 after complications after a fall. He was 85.

Berman already was a twenty-something instructor at the old Layton School of Art when he got that first big break, something that was at least one part luck and a couple parts young daring. He had read that Katharine Kuh was involved in selecting American artists for the Biennale. He had never met her but knew that she was familiar with his paintings from other exhibitions. He wrote and asked to show her his work.

Soon he was driving his father's car - loaded with paintings - and headed for the loading dock at the Art Institute of Chicago.

"She came downstairs to the loading dock, and she looked at me and said, 'Double congratulations, for being so young and painting so well,' " Berman later told Lidtke in an interview. "So that was my introduction to Katharine Kuh."

One of his "White City" paintings was later selected for the Biennale. It was, as Lidtke wrote, "a luminous and intentionally ambiguous urban scene that was as much atmospheric as it was architectural."

Other successes followed.

Berman grew up in Milwaukee. As a youngster, his parents were warned that he should avoid physical activity because of a possible heart problem. He became proficient at chess, later making the decision to give up pursuing professional chess to concentrate on art.

He earned his bachelor's degree from the old Milwaukee State Teachers College, a forerunner of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and then his master's degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

"Berman, you have talent," Robert von Neumann told him during the state teachers college years. Berman remembered what that meant when he later became a teacher.

In 1960, he left the Layton School of Art to join the faculty at what is now UWM.

"Wherever we went, students would come up to him and talk about his influence in their lives," said Valerie Stefanich, whose husband, Dan, also became a Berman friend-for-life. "He still knew every name."

Through the years, Berman kept working as an artist, especially in oils, as well as in pastels, collages and assemblages, and photography.

The photography began in 1958 after a broken finger in a cast meant he couldn't paint for a while.

"I'm an artist who uses a camera," he told Lidtke.

The last retrospective of his work was held at UWM in 2009. It was entitled simply, "Fred Berman/Works Across 7 Decades."

He also told the story of the painting he did not want to sell.

"I called it my 'white painting.' It's far from white," Berman said. Virginia Booth Vogel, who already had a reputation as an arts patron and donor, wanted to buy it, but he said it wasn't for sale.

"You realized Mrs. Vogel wanted to buy it?" someone asked.

"Yes," Berman said. "It's still not for sale."

"Over the years, I got to be friendly with Virginia Vogel," he said in his interview with Lidtke. "When Virginia died, I gave 'November 7th' to the (Milwaukee) art museum in her memory."

Other Berman paintings are in the Milwaukee Art Museum collection, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, and other museums in Wisconsin and in the United States.

In his personal life, he married Joy Gross Berman, also an artist and teacher.

"They did get divorced, but they remained very good friends their entire lives," son Jon Berman said. "He always wanted to have a retrospective of her work before he died, because many things she did he thought were as good or better as the things he did."

His former wife died in 2000.

Berman was remembered as a man who loved life in Milwaukee and nurturing friendships. He became an avid tennis player in his 30s after hearing he could ignore the childhood warnings against exertion.

"A friend of his - a doctor - said that was nonsense, that there was no reason he couldn't do physical activity and play sports," Jon said. "And so he took up tennis, and he enjoyed that for many years."

Berman also appreciated art in other forms.

"He wanted to see Ryan Braun selected as the National League most valuable player," his son, Joe Berman, said last week. "And that just happened."

In additions to his sons, survivors include brother Julian.



Indonesian Artists Go to Italy

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Astari Rasyid’s ‘Very Wall.’ A new exhibition in Rome is bringing contemporary works from the archipelago to the European stage.

Fifteen artists from Indonesia are showcasing their creations at a new exhibition in Rome, as the archipelago’s artists make headway on the international stage.

Some of Indonesia’s masters, including Agus Suwage, Astari Rasyid, Budi Kustarto and Teddy Darmawan, are featured at the exhibition, “Beyond the East: Contemporary Indonesian Art,” which is running until Jan. 15 at MACRO Testaccio, an influential art museum in the Italian capital.

“Indonesia is a boundless archipelago notable for its diverse cultures,” said Dominique Lora, an art historian and the event’s curator. Lora, who divides her time between Bali and Rome, said it was about time Indonesian artists received recognition on the international stage.

“The nation was formed at the crossroads of many civilizations,” she said.

Ciputra Artpreneur, an art center owned by the Ciputra Group, one of the largest property companies in Indonesia, is sponsoring the exhibition.

According to Rina Ciputra Sastrawinata, the president director of the art house, the event will create a new platform to promote Indonesian artists on the international stage, especially among the European connoisseurs.

She said that while the quality of Indonesian art had been improving over the last few years, Italian art lovers, among the world’s most discerning, remained largely unfamiliar with Indonesian artists.

“Only a few Italian art collectors and enthusiasts know about the Indonesian art scene,” she said.

Lora said it was a challenge to select the artists for the exhibition because she could only include 15 from among the hundreds across Indonesia. Although the selected artists are known for distinctive work, she said the exhibition was not a representative of the evolution of contemporary art in Indonesia.

Lora said she selected the artists because they all demonstrated a commitment to producing quality art and preserving tradition. The pieces chosen complement each other because it is “as if there is a dialogue going on between the selected artworks.”

In the exhibition, Agus Suwage, a native of Purworejo in Central Java, is showcasing his sculpture “Toys ‘S’ US,” which he produced using a combination of polyester resin, stainless steel, aluminium and acrylic paint.

Agus, who studied graphic design at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), is known for bold ideas. “Toys ‘S’ US,” p erhaps his most iconic work, shows a bald man squatting with an aluminium cone that resembles an animal’s muzzle covering his nose and mouth. With his arms wrapped around his chest, the figure sits on a thin surface attached to a large steel pillar.

Astari Rasyid, who was a painter before experimenting in contemporary art, is presenting her latest work, “Very Wall.” In her mixed media installation, Astari tries to provoke discussion of the challenges faced by many women in Indonesia.

Astari created two female wayang shadow puppets dressed in traditional Javanese clothes. By situating the first puppet behind a large wooden frame that resembles an entrance to a traditional Javanese house, she is trying to portray a traditional Javanese woman.

With the second figure, however, she depicts a traditional woman coping with the modern world. While this second puppet is also dressed in traditional clothes, she is carrying a modern pink bag: an allegory for the social dilemmas conflicting many Indonesian women.

Budi Kustarto, who studied sculptural art at the Indonesia Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta, presents his painting “Flying With Calixte Dakpogan.”

Using oil paint, the artist depicts a long-haired and bare-chested man with green skin who flies while carrying a collection of junk, including tires, padlocks and a bottle of soda.

“The artists I have selected share both an intellectual integrity and a desire to preserve and foster the diversity and matrices of local culture through an alternative system of production and consumption,” said Lora, the curator. “Art here is seen as both the object and the subject of the confrontation between individuals and communities.”


Nov 28, 2011

Studies Of 'Pine Trees' By Vincent van Gogh

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Study of Pine Trees

By Tanveer Khadim

"It is autumn now in the woods, it quite absorbs me." 
(Vincent Van Gogh, 1882)

From May 1889 to May 1890, Vincent van Gogh stayed t Saint Paul asylum in Saint - Remy. During his stay at the asylum, he made numerous paintings of the surrounding garden, the enclosed Wheat Field, olive groves and a number of portraits of different people that he met at the asylum.

In November 1889, van Gogh painted his one of the finest paintings "Pine Trees". 

In a letter to his brother Theo, van Gogh wrote about the Pine Tree Painting:

"a pine trunk, pink and purple, and then the grass with some white flowers and dandelions, a little rose bush and some other tree trunks in the background right at the top of the canvas."

Made with small brush-strokes and tiny arcs of paints, the canvas of Pine trees create a blurred image in an abstract style. The marvelous effects of light and shades of trees show mastry of the artist with his paints and brush. 

Vincent Van  Gogh, Pine Trees at Sunset, 1889 (Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands).
Throeau writes:

We hug the earth — how rarely we mount! Methinks we might elevate ourselves a little more. We might climb a tree at least. I found my account in climbing a tree once. It was a tall white pine on the top of a hill, and though I got well pitched I was well payed for it, for I discovered new mountains in the horizon which I had never seen before, — so much more of the earth and the heavens. I might have walked about the foot of the tree for three score years and ten, and yet I certainly should never have seen them. But, above all, I discovered around me, — it was near the end of June, on the ends of the topmost branches only, a few minute and delicate red cone-like blossoms, the fertile flower of the white pine looking heavenward. I carried straightway to the village the topmost spire, and showed it to stranger jurymen who walked the streets, — for it was court week — and to farmers and lumber dealers, and wood-choppers and hunters, and not one had ever seen the like before, but they wondered as at a star dropped down! Tell of ancient architects finishing their works on the tops of columns as perfectly as on the lower and more visible parts! Nature has from the first expanded the minute blossoms of the forest only toward the heavens, above men’s heads and unobserved by them. We see only the flowers that are under our feet in the meadows. The pines have developed their delicate blossoms on the highest twigs of the wood every summer for ages, as well over the heads of Nature’s red children, as of her white ones. Yet scarcely a farmer or hunter in the land has ever seen them (Thoreau, “Walking,” in Walden and Other Writings (New York: Modern Library, 2000), 660-61).
Vincent Van Gogh, Pine Trees at Sunset, 1889

File:Hospital in Saint-Remy.jpg
Pine Trees with Figure in the Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital

File:Van Gogh - Blühende Wiese mit Baumstämmen und Löwenzahn.jpeg
Pine Trees and Dandelions in the Garden of Saint-Paul Hospital
April–May, 1890


Iconic art heads to Auckland

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An art exhibition surveying one of the most revolutionary periods in recent art history will open to the Auckland public next year. 

Dali to Degas, which will travel exclusively to the Auckland Art Gallery from Scotland, will include paintings and sculptures from the Modernist period spanning the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. 

The 79-piece collection will open in March and will be the first paid-admission exhibition the gallery has hosted since it opened its renovated premises to the public in September. 

The gallery will not say how much the exhibition costs to bring to Auckland or what the entry fee would be. 

Paintings by Monet, known for his experimentation with light and colour, will be exhibited next year, alongside works by fellow heavyweight Impressionists Van Gogh and Renoir. 

Other significant artists to be included will be Dali, a Surrealist known for his disturbing dreamscapes, his Belgian contemporary Magritte, and American Pop artist Andy Warhol. 

Regional Facilities Auckland gallery director Chris Saines says the major exhibition demonstrates their commitment to showing international art. 

The exhibition, which comes from the National Galleries of Scotland collection, will open on March 3 and will run for three months. 

The new Auckland Art Gallery took three years and a cost of $121 million to renovate. It opened to the public on September 3 and now has 50 per cent more exhibition space. 

A promised bequest by American philanthropists Julian and Josie Robertson includes paintings for the permanent collection including Modernist works by Dali, Picasso and Matisse. 



There’s an art to saving the planet

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iol tonight 28 nov 11 ndr cop17 gallery pic1

Gallery owner Joy Reynolds of The Elizabeth Gordon Gallery poses with some of the art pieces of the exhibition she will be hosting to celebrate COP 17 being held in Durban.

While most of us grew up in an environment where the resources and nature could be used and appreciated, many are not as fortunate. 

Hussein Salim is one of the less fortunate people who had to survive in an environment where the vegetation was sparse, in fact, almost non-existent. 

Salim was born and bred in Sudan where he had to learn about greenery and listen to stories about the beauty of nature because he was not exposed to it. 

As a South African I cannot imagine a life without beautiful butterflies, lush green fields and flower-filled gardens, but if the environment continues to degrade as rapidly as it is, maybe the next generation will have to live in that kind of barreness. 

To help prevent that from happening, Salim and 15 other artists are creating awareness on climate change and global warming in an artistic way. 

He will be exhibiting at the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery from Wednesday to coincide with the 17th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17), which starts today.
The exhibition, titled Durban – City for all Seasons, captures the essence of Durban through the themes of climate change and green awareness. 

Salim said growing up in a desert where vegetation was alien and having to live in a dry environment inspired his paintings because he had lived life without anything green. 

One of his works includes an abstract oil painting titled My City, which uses his distinctive style to portray various symbols and scenes of Durban. 

“Some of us were not lucky to grow up surrounded by trees and greenery. I started learning about it when I was in first grade. It taught me more about the importance of nature and that we need to preserve and protect planet earth,” Salim said. 

When we visited the gallery, I found Salim’s abstract oil painting not alluring to the eye, but it did arouse curiosity and made me question his intentions. 

From what is pictured in this painting – a very “messy”, extraordinary, chaotic painting – I would never wish to live in such an environment. 

Explaining the story behind his work of art, Salim said it illustrated the planet in a near future, after suffering from climate change, where it will not be attractive as it is now. 

Mission accomplished! 

This “ugly” image turned out to be a very meaningful, sensitive and challenging piece. 

He further said: “I don’t want the world to experience and live what I have lived as a kid. No one should go through what we went through in Sudan.” 

Looking at these paintings done by artists from all over the world – it is clear to me that art is a universal language through which stories of reality can be conveyed. 

Joy Reynolds of the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery said the artists started work on their paintings a month ago in preparation for the conference. 

She said the exhibition would be opened on Wednesday at 6pm by the CEO of Thompson’s Africa, Linda Pampaliss. 

“People are very receptive to paintings of their surroundings. We wanted to bring in the topic of climate change and green awareness,” Reynolds said. 

Although the conference runs for two weeks, the Elizabeth Gordon’s Gallery will run the exhibition until Christmas in order to give the artists more exposure. 


‘Passionate Hues’ brings together 3 artists

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‘Passionate Hues,’ an exhibition of paintings that brings together three women painters of Islamabad, is on at gallery6. The subjects of the artists are distinctly different — Nargis Khalid focusing on still life, Nusrat Ji painting landscapes and Shaheen Shahzada dwelling in figurative expressions — but the commonality is the use of intense colours with enthusiasm.

Nargis Khalid graduated from Central Institute of Arts and Crafts, Karachi, in 1973 and got the opportunity to learn from legendary teachers like Ali Imam and Rashid Ahmed Arshed. She also painted with Ahmed Parvez for almost a year. This added a new dimension to her work where risks were part of adventure in painting.

Nargis proceeded to the USA for Masters in Art Education from Rhode Island School of Design, where she got exposed to the artworks of several leading painters and came across art critics who guided her in greater understanding of art.

Nargis has participated in 36 group exhibitions and held 10 solo shows in Pakistan, the USA, the UAE and Azerbaijan. She has also been commissioned to make paintings for specific places, including 18 large paintings that hang in Emirate Towers in Dubai. She has taught art in universities in the USA and the UAE, and currently is a professor at the Department of Architecture and Design at COMSATS. Describing her love for painting, Nargis Khalid said, “My last brush stroke will cease with my last breath.”

Nusrat Ji obtained her Bachelors in Fine Arts degree from Punjab University in 1970, completed a diploma from Pakistan Art Institute, Karachi, in 1989 and acquired a certificate in History of Contemporary Art from McGill University, Canada, in 2003. She has to her credit, 28 group shows and 18 solo exhibitions, held nationally and internationally. Besides these, she also has diploma in interior decoration and certification in flower arrangements.

Though actively engaged in interior designing of scores of public and private places and landscaping in different places, Nusrat has actively remained engaged with paintings for over three decades and has also worked as art teacher in the UAE, the USA, Canada, the UK and Pakistan. She has produced paintings in oil, acrylic, water colour, pencil, charcoal, wax and mixed media.

The subjects of Nusrat’s paintings have been men, women, horses, flowers, seascapes and calligraphy. In this exhibition, she has focussed on landscapes with some brush and palette knife strokes clearly defining the object, while others merging. This creates imagery with three dimensional effects, with an element of surrealism. Commenting on her art journey, Nusrat Ji said, “Over the years, my paintings have had multi0discipline concepts, which are wrapped up in strong cultural ethos, mingled up with human emotions and activities.”

Shahien Shehzada’s inspiration for painting came from her mother, Laila Shehzada. She graduated in 1970 with a degree in Graphic Arts and was amongst the first batch of students graduating under Ali Imam’s guidance at the Central Institute of Arts and Crafts, Arts Council, Karachi. She then moved to the USA where she participated in group shows between 1971-1979.

In 1980, Shahien moved to London and became a full-time interior decorator but continued to paint intermittently. She returned to Islamabad about five years back and has been concentrating more on painting. She is announcing her return to paintings full time by participating in this exhibition-her first-ever in Pakistan.

Shahien’s medium is acrylics on canvas and her subject is the human moods interpreted with minimal lines and bold flat colours. It depicts yin and yang of life describing how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only exist in relation to each other.

Discussing her work, Shahien said, “None of us feel the same way while passing through the same time or event-someone may feel elated while another may feel upside down-two distinctly different reactions by two persons at a given moment.”



Highlights from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Amid the classical elegance of the New Town, the turreted, red sandstone, neo-gothic building on Queen Street looks ecclesiastical.

The entrance guarded by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, however, gives the first indication that the reverence paid here is to great Scots. 

When the main door of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery is thrown open on December 1, after being closed to the public for the best part of three years, it will be clear that 122 years after it was first opened, as the world’s first purpose-built portrait gallery, it remains a perfect showcase for the growing collection of portraits, sculptures and photographs of notable Scots. As ever kings, queens and wealthy patrons share the space, Jock Tamson’s bairns-style, with footballers, scientists and poets. Visitors will find weel-kent faces from Robert Burns to Sir Alex Ferguson but will also come across a mask of Dolly the sheep, while the ladies who meet for coffee can be reassured that the airy new café will still serve the famous cheese scones. 

Abstract Painter Gets Concrete Bunker in Still Museum: James S. Russell

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The Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. The building rises from behind a grove of trees next to the flamboyant Denver Art Museum. Photographer: Jeremy Bittermann/Allied Works via Bloomberg 

 Clyfford Still Museum
Galleries at the Clyfford Still museum, which opened Nov. 18 in Denver. A rippling ceiling scrim in concrete filters daylight from overhead, to fully show the densely textured surfaces and deep colors of the Still paintings. Photographer: Jeremy Bitterman/Allied Works via Bloomberg 

  Clyfford Still
Pioneering Abstract Expressionist artist Clyfford Still in 1969. Still withdrew from the New York art world at the peak of his fame, taking almost all of his work with him. Source: Clyfford Still Museum via Bloomberg 

 "PH 1023"
"PH 1023" (1976) by abstract expressionist artist Clyfford Still. It is one of more than 800 of Still's paintings in the collection of the Clyfford Still Museum that opened in Denver this month. Source: Clyfford Still Museum via Bloomberg 

  "1949 No. 1"
"1949 No. 1" (1949) by abstract expressionist artist Clyfford Still. It hangs in the inaugural exhibition of the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. Photographer: Peter Harholdt/Clyfford Still Museum via Bloomberg 

I couldn’t stop looking at a 1944 painting labeled PH-235. A fissure of red appeared to crack open a heavily textured black field. I felt I could fall into that yawning, monumental canvas. 

It is a landmark painting by the enigmatic Clyfford Still (1904-1980), whose work is celebrated in a new museum in Denver. Single-artist museums can embalm. This one astonishes. 

Rising to fame in the 1950s with such lions of abstract expressionism as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell, Still withdrew from the New York art world at the peak of his fame, taking almost all of his work with him. 

The diminutive 29,000-square-foot Clyfford Still Museum, which opened Nov. 18, houses about 2,400 of the artist’s works. Until now, his enormous stature has rested on less than 10 percent of his output during six decades. 

The best of Still’s abstractions look as inevitable as the heedless, randomly beautiful patterns of geology or flowing water. The boxy bunker designed by architect Brad Cloepfil bristles with ragged concrete fins, evoking Still’s intricate compositions. 

That roughened exterior radiates an elegant gravitas. It forms a carapace that guards Still’s cerebral work from our jangled, attention-deficit lives. 

Cloepfil, of the Portland, Oregon, firm Allied Works Architecture Inc., brings a Zen calm by framing the nine, squarish second-floor galleries in planes of concrete and painted drywall that alternately obscure and reveal, like Shoji screens. He mixes salon-style rooms with high galleries topped by a rippling scrim of concrete in which teardrop perforations delicately shower the space with shimmering daylight.

Galleries Breathe

Each room feels contained, so that you stop and look rather than glance and move on. The galleries still breathe because Cloepfil opened corners to diagonal vistas that gently tease you along. 

I’ve never seen another museum that paces the art-viewing experience so well. 

Dean Sobel, the Still Museum’s director, working with abstract expressionism expert David Anfam, presents a chronological survey of about 100 of the museum’s holdings. 

His early work depicts beaten-down Depression-era farm workers he knew from his youth on the endless frozen plains of the American and Canadian West, where he worked odd jobs, studied art, and taught. In photos, Still’s own expression is inevitably stern, with a sweep of gray hair topping rimless engineer-style glasses. 

Sobel sketches a transition toward abstraction, with detours to surrealism and cubism weirdly inflected by art deco, before Still finds his true voice in the 1940s.

Breakout Work

PH-235 (Still didn’t title works) hangs in an 18-foot-high gallery with other breakout abstract expressionist paintings. These would make him famous and influence contemporaries. 

Here Cloepfil mixes the daylight showering from above with sidelight that’s filtered to a limpid wash by the louvers of an outside porch. 

This is lighting so gorgeous you feel you could touch it. Cloepfil worked with Brian Stacy, a lighting designer at the New York City office of the engineering firm Arup. 

Sobel and Anfam have hung many drawings and paintings never displayed before. Tiny explosions of bright colors erupt out of huge swaths of dark brown and blue. I saw a psychic battlefield in swirling, colliding vortices of paint. 

Still sold little after he left New York City in 1961, disgusted by what he saw as the art world’s soul-killing machinations. He worked out of a small barn on a farm in rural Maryland and developed a weakness for Jaguar cars. He died in 1980.

Will and Sale

His will offered his art to the American city that would build a museum completely devoted to his work. Under then-Mayor John Hickenlooper (who is now Colorado’s governor), Denver took up the challenge. The museum raised $32 million privately and built the $15 million structure. 

Earlier this month Sotheby’s sold four paintings that had been promised to the museum by Clyfford’s wife, Patricia, when she died in 2005. They were auctioned to boost the endowment and sold for $114.1 million. 

While the museum did very well by the art market Still disdained, the lush proceeds can only encourage cash-strapped institutions to proffer their own crown jewels, museum ethics be damned.
Thanks to Cloepfil, Still’s work now has a home that suits his stormy majesty.