Tiffany Chaney is a writer, artist and graphic designer residing in North Carolina. Nursing a cup of coffee, this artist writes about several subjects, favoring cross-genre work in speculative and surreal fiction, imagery rich poetry, and writes about art for ArtCorner.com. In 2012, her first poetry collection Between Blue and Grey was released. Find out more about her at www.tiffanychaney.com.
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London will be publishing the only surviving copy of the Nazi list of “degenerate art,” which are the artworks that Hitler and the Nazis set out to destroy; the modern art particularly popular on the list was Expressionism. Of course, nothing here is new in terms of knowledge, but it will be interesting to have a searchable collection of the artworks at the V&A website, which will be available as early as February.
The original list was compiled by German museums as Entartete Kunst between 1937-38 at the height of the Second World War. This list was split into two volumes (cities A-G and G-Z) as an alphabetical inventory of cities, often identifying buyers of works as well as prices. “X” marks places where works were destroyed. As many as 5,000 paintings, drawings, and prints are thought to have been burnt in the courtyard of Berlin’s main fire station in 1939. Two copies of A-G listings survive in Berlin archives. G-Z was presumed lost until the widow of London art dealer Heinrich Fischer donated a copy to the national art library at the V&A. It is unknown where Fischer obtained his copy. The inventory spans 480 physical pages.
This decision to publish the inventory by V&A could not be more timely. In April 2013, much of the world learned of the more than 1,400 works of art recovered in the apartment of Cornelius Gurlitt, the son of the dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, a substantial number appear to be “degenerate art” that had been deaccessioned under the Nazis. Intense research is still underway regarding the seized collection from the Gurlitt apartment. While returning the works to the families of those who had to give up the works remains difficult (if not impossible) a route to navigate, the release of the inventory to the general public is an important contribution to art history.
Long lasting corporations have been collecting masterpieces for centuries. A new book reveals these secret corporate collections that hold great works from master artists such as Van Gogh and Cezanne to post-war modernists. The collections are said to rival great major museum exhibitions.
In 1472, the Monte dei Paschi bank in Siena established what is thought to be the first corporate art collection. Corporations have been collecting and commissioning art for centuries. Such collections if gathered into one show would rival the displays of art museums. So began the inspiration for such a show and book. Peter Harris and Shirley Reiff Howarth co-authored and curated A Celebration of Corporate Art Programmes Worldwide out of fascination with the history of corporation collection.
The book was released early last week and is the focus of a new show running at the auction house Bonhams in London. The show will include works lent by companies including HSBC France, Statoil in Norway, EON in Germany, and the law firm Clifford Chance in the UK . Among the artists on display are Tracey Emin, Otto Dix, Cornelia Parker, and Richard Hamilton. Proceeds from the show go to the Wapping Arts Trust, which is “committed to explore the relation among different art forms; it develops projects related to various disciplines and aims at increasing the involvement in the arts at a national and international level.”
According to The Guardian, “Harris believes an art collection says something about a company. ‘It’s for image. It is to tell the world and their employees things about them. If you go into any office before the staff arrives these days, they all look roughly the same: rows and rows of computers – and you think, what is this company all about? The answer is, it’s on the walls.” Harris notes if such a show as seen in the book were curated, it would contain much of the finest art of the world.
In Tokyo, on the 42nd level of a Shinjuku skyscraper, visitors would observe such astounding paintings, including a Gauguin, a Cézanne and one of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Ninety minutes away in Hakone, underground you would see works by Monet, Renoir, Chagall and Picasso.
Whether it’s a traditional office or modern office, an art collection can give personality to a company and its portrayal to the public. It anthropomorphizes the brand identity of a company into “something” an employee or customer can relate to and is an interesting aspect of contemporary art and the future of art in general as an integral part of our society and economy.
What do you think of the idea of corporations as art patrons? Can large, Fortune 500 companies gain a competitive edge by investing in art and influencing the art world and thus creating a unique brand culture and identity?
Primitivism is a “term used with reference to art that celebrates certain values or forms regarded as primal, ancestral, fertile and regenerative,” according to Rodger Cardinal (Oxford University Press, 2009). At one time the term was representative of Africa, Asia, Pre-Colombian America, and the Pacific Islands. Though between 1905-1935 western artists began flocking to this subject matter and the term found its spectrum widening; this interest in “ethnic arts” by westerners was in a large part due to the formal studies in anthropology and by art historians. It seemed to be the closest that some artists would get to such raw material as supposedly represented within its own unbiased, cultural context. Though, it seems the artists were drawn to the inspiration for primarily formal reasons.
One such artist is Henri Rousseau, a post-impressionist painter widely recognized for his work in Primitivism. He was born in the Loire Valley of France and worked as a tax collector; he was a self-taught artist. He never left France but many scenes of his works took place in the jungle. Other artists that explored Primitivism included Matisse, Picasso, and Gauguin. Though, Gauguin did travel to Tahiti but took up with a French colony there. Picasso, of Spanish heritage, was fascinated by African art and believed in the power of talismans. He and Matisse received strong artistic inspiration from Persian art and the use of pattern to create depth.
Some compare the onset of the Primitivism movement with the same zeal that the Pastoral movement overtook artists and authors before Impressionism, when the idealism of a Golden Age ruled. The common thread that runs through both movements is the idea of untouched nature, of untouched innocence, and of a place unsullied by civilization. So many describe Primitvism as less of an art movement and more of a found sensibility or “cultural attitude.”
The canvas is roughly thirty inches high and is rendered from the perspective of a viewer sitting down to a rather surreal meal. There is the fork and knife, the glass, the beverage container, and on the plate stares an eye back at the viewer. The Portrait is the painting that started a series of profound questions among conservationists and eventually led to the solving of a mystery.
The show surrounding the unlikely mystery is aptly named: “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938,” an exhibit at MOMA currently running through January 12, 2014. It is the first exhibition to focus on René Magritte‘s Surrealist years.
“There was something off about the painting from the start.” In 2011, Curator Anne Umland and conservator Michael Duffy first noticed that the piece of art had been painted around the edges, whereas Magritte utilized white primer on the canvas edges typically, according to the conservator. X-ray photos were taken as a standard part of inspection and preparing the painting for display. The X-rays revealed something interesting:
“…we developed the X-ray and saw that there was a visible figure underneath—though, since the underlying image is perpendicular to the imagery of The Portrait, it took us a while to figure out what it was.”
X-rays revealed a nude torso of a female, which didn’t shock the staff but did pique their interest. (Magritte has been known to overpaint.) The next task was to find what the painting beneath was. What was its title, its history?
The identity of the painting was discovered after a conversation with Brad Epley, at Houston’s Menil Collection, which, along with the Art Institute of Chicago, co-organized the exhibition with MoMA. Epley noted “a similarity to a painting in the catalogue raisonne, The Enchanted Pose, from 1927. Its whereabouts, according to the catalogue, were unknown.”
That painting featured two identical female nudes, adjacent one another, each resting an arm on a broken column. But the nudes were full-length, not the partial figure revealed by X-rays of The Portrait.
The destroyed nude of Magritte was entitled La Pose Enchantée (The Enchanted Pose), rendered in 1927, oil on canvas, dimensions unknown as only one figure spans the canvas in the x-ray. The conservators were taken aback, yet understood, why this once acclaimed artwork had been painted over by Magritte: ”It was critically acclaimed when it was shown in a 1927 exhibition at Le Centaure. However, further down the line, there was also a 1932 letter from the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, instructing Magritte to come and retrieve the painting, which had been languishing there,” said Duffy.
“He’s at a very different place in his career in 1935 from 1927,” Umland relayed. “One can hypothesize that he had moved on. Was The Enchanted Pose too Picasso-like? Was he no longer interested in strategies of doubling? Or perhaps the condition of the painting had been compromised.” The conservationist speculated that it was different from the work he previously produced and that it didn’t sell. It was strange to them how such a large work of art could disappear.
Of course, the X-ray only revealed half of the painting, the painting which was now The Portrait. The conservationists have a challenge before them to find the other half. They have analyzed a few candidates, which did not have paint on the sides and were then ruled out. Though Umland notes that Magritte has cut used prior works in a similar way: ”And there are multiple works from the period we’re looking at in which he divides his pictures into quadrants;” Umland cites Man Reading a Newspaper (1928), from the Tate, in which the image is separated into four frames. “And he often does images of the backs of paintings that are divided into quadrants by stretcher bars. So this idea of quartering, dividing, gridding, cutting, all as a way of countering seamlessness, is there in his practice.”
The search is still on for the missing half, though thanks to the catalogue raisonne, we can view The Enchanted Pose now.
Some of us prefer to be outside building snowmen and others would prefer to sit by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa and look at a winter scene painting instead. No matter which camp you are in, this post will expose you to fantastic snow scenes without the chill.
Selected from the works of old masters and the modern artists of Artist Become collection, here are four amazing winter landscapes to bask on during these cold winter days.
The painting features two wolves (mates) in a winter landscape. The male wolf is at watch while the female rests by the frozen stream. The full moon glows in its height in the night sky. Evergreen trees are blanketed with snow.
Peggy Miller is a self taught artist working many different artistic jobs in her sixty years of life, graphic design, costume design, etc. However, painting she will tell you is Miller’s passion. Trying to capture a soft, beautiful, serene feeling in each image loving nature and believing in the conservation and preservation of the world around her. (ArtistBe.com)
In this painting, we see the view of a lone street buried in the snow. This does not stop individuals from going about their business. One man even has a large bag he is hauling in the snow-laden street. Pissarro’s treatment of the snow makes us feel as if we could kick up the snow with our boots were we there making our way to the village bakery.
Jacob-Abraham-Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) was a French Impressionist painter who’s focus on landscapes, as well as, rural and urban French life have always been a favorite of the viewing audience. His later work displays an empathy for peasants and laborers sometimes revealing his radical political leanings. (Impressionist Master, OverstockArt.com)
Rendered in 1890, this is one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings. Van Gogh’s heavy brushstrokes and cool palette give a strong representation to how harsh winter can be. The two peasant women are vigilant and dig in the snow for sustenance.
Vincent Van Gogh‘s restless spirit and depressive mental state fired his artistic work with great joy and, sadly, equally great despair. He produced many paintings that were heavily biographical. (Post-Impressionist Master, OverstockArt.com)
4. Snow in Houroy 67 by Pol Ledent (oil, 20″ x 24″, various sizes available, vertical)
This landscape shows the falling snow covering the small town of Houroy and its vegetation. You can almost envision yourself taking a sleigh ride down the hill into town.
Pol Ledent was born in 1952 in Belgium. He came to painting in 1989. He started with watercolor but felt rapidly that oil painting would match his way of being. He is a self-taught painter. (AritstBe.com)
Whether you prefer to play in the snow or stand by with your cup of cocoa by the fire, winter is certainly a beautiful season to behold, especially in art.
Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes (1746 – 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker and is known as a father of Modernism and one of the last true “Old Masters.” He knew more than one wife and mistress in his lifetime, and his passions were known to flare up unpredictably.
At age 14, Goya studied under the painter José Luzán. Goya relocated to Madrid where he studied with Anton Raphael Mengs, a painter who had strong favor with Spanish royalty. Goya’s examinations were unsatisfactory, and his personality did not mesh with his master’s. Goya attempted entrance at the Royal Academy of Fine Art in 1763 and 1766, but was denied both times.
Finally, when living in Rome, in 1771 he won second prize in a painting competition curated by the City of Parma. Later that year, he returned to Saragossa and rendered parts of the cupolas of the Basilica of the Pillar (including Adoration of the Name of God), a cycle of frescoes in the monastic church of the Charterhouse of Aula Dei, and the frescoes of the Sobradiel Palace. He studied with Francisco Bayeu y Subías where his work took on the delicate brush work and play of light for which he became famous. Goya developed his love for pattern, and the exploration of printmaking in his work never ended, though his painting seems more widely regarded than his printmaking.
By the age of forty, Goya became a painter to King Charles III, and, in 1789, the newly accessioned Charles IV promoted him to court painter. The year 1789 marked the decline of French monarchy (with Charles IV unwilling to rescue his cousin Louis XVI from ruin). In 1793, war erupted between France and Spain. During the war time, Goya traveled to Cádiz in Andalusia with Sebastián Martínez y Pérez, a well-to-do businessman and art collector. Unfortunately in Cádiz, at the age of 46, Goya became ill and this resulted in him becoming deaf.
Goya continued to paint for the royals and those at court throughout his lifetime. When French forces invaded Spain in 1808, leading to the Peninsular War of 1808–1814, Goya is said to have remained neutral; though he did render portraits of French sympathizers and patrons. Yet, when the Spanish monarchy was fully secured in their reign, Goya had nothing to do with painting French portraits.
Goya bought a house, called Quinta del Sordo or ”Deaf Man’s House.” His later paintings featured mythological references and were seen as darker in subject matter. Around the age of 75, it is here that he completed his Black Paintings:
Using oil paints and working directly on the walls of his dining and sitting rooms, Goya created intense, haunting works with dark themes. The paintings were not commissioned and were not meant to leave his home. It is likely that the artist never intended the works for public exhibition: …these paintings are as close to being hermetically private as any that have ever been produced in the history of Western art.
Goya did not give titles to the paintings, or if he did, he never revealed those titles.
These works were rendered as murals on the walls of the house and were then transferred onto canvas in 1874. The themes are haunting and disturbing, a bleak look at humanity’s dark side. Presently, they are collected in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.
Sickened by the growing political unease in Spain, Goya removed himself to Bordeaux in 1824, having claimed he was seeking medical advice. For one so challenged by tough relations between France and Spain in his earlier years, it is interesting that he spent his final years in Bordeaux and Paris.
Goya’s works from his later years resemble more of the Grotesque and Expressionist movements that will arrive 50 years later by Edvard Munch and Lord Frederic Leighton. This is why many regard him both as an Old Master as well as a Father to Modernism, Goya’s influence in the 1800′s brought the art world to explorations and eventually the evolvment of the Modern art movement starting with the infamous Impressionists.
The art world, as always, had another year of mystery, controversy, car chaises and multi-million dollar heists and auctions. Like a good “Bond” movie, the art world keeps delivering suspense and glamour all wrapped up in the beauty and elegance of the most coveted art pieces in history.
April 2013/November 7, 2013. In 2011 about 1500 paintings by master artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Franz Marc and many more recovered during a tax raid in Germany. The collection is part of Hitler’s personal ‘degenerate art’ looting of Jews during World War II. The artists among the works are such names as Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Marc, Max Beckmann, Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. ’Focus’, a German news magazine, broke the story as recently as April of 2013.
November 13, 2013. A Francis Bacon triptych that became the most expensive art work ever sold at auction, Christie’s New York Post’s War & Contemporary Art evening sale blew past pre-sale expectations, bringing in a total of $691,583,000. The auction was one of two (another post-war and contemporary art sale taking place in May, $495M) of Christie’s that represented “9% of the total value of global auction sales.”
March 18, 2013. Exactly 23 years ago, on March 18, 1990 two thieves disguised as Boston police officers robbed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, making off with 13 priceless paintings, previously valued at $580 million. It is said to be the most “valuable collection of stolen artwork in history: $580 million worth of famous works, including Rembrandt’s only seascape, “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” and Vermeer’s “The Concert,” a masterpiece valued at more than $200 million.” The FBI stated the suspects are “members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England.” Though the FBI won’t release the suspects names, it seems the statute of limitations has run out so it can’t charge anyone with the theft and the question of recovering the art hangs in the air.
April 12, 2013. Philanthropist and cosmetics tycoon Leonard A. Lauder promised seventy-eight individual Cubist works of paintings, sculpture, and photography to the Met. It is cited as one of the most substantial gifts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s history. Many of the works in Mr. Lauder’s collection have historical significance. Two landscapes are from the 1908 Kahnweiler exhibition: Braque’s “Terrace at the Hotel Mistral,” from 1907, and his “Trees at L’Estaque,” from 1908. Even the Met notes that “The Trees at L’Estaque’ is considered one of the very first Cubist pictures that recognizes a new type of perspective in the landscape, which Braque arrived at upon analysis of Cezanne’s work.
June 5, 2013. In July of 2010, 74 Edgar Degas sculptures were found in a storeroom and heralded as a possible great art find of the century, if questions of authenticity could be put to rest. A Degas scholar outlines the reasons for controversy and boldly challenges the meaning of “original” as we have known it.
February 4, 2013. La Pietà Rondanini, one of Michelangelo’s magnificent unfinished sculptures was moved to a Milanese jail, despite art historian protests. The master artist worked on the sculpture from around 1552 until his death in 1564. The city’s government planned the move due to the sculpture’s home Castello Sforzesco undergoing much-needed renovations.
July 17, 2013. Ash from an oven contained paint, canvas and nails owned by Olga Dogaru, whose son was charged with stealing seven multi-million dollar paintings, including works by Matisse, Picasso and Monet. The discovery could be evidence that Olga Dogaru was telling the truth when she claimed to have burned the paintings, which were taken from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal gallery in 2012.
November 13, 2013. As only one of four double-paneled car crash paintings Warhol rendered in 1963, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), was the only work to have remained in private hands among the four. One of Andy Warhol’s more startling images — a lifeless body amid the wreckage of a car crash — sold for $104.5 million at Sotheby’s art auction, making it “the highest price ever paid at auction for the Pop artist.”
December 19, 2013. Though many major contemporary art houses struggled this year, Forbes shares an ArtNet finding that “the ten most expensive lots sold in action so far have accounted for 669 million or over 5% of total global auction sales by value in 2013,” from the post-war and contemporary art category. Christies May and November 2013 auctions in this category accounted for “9% of the total value of global auction sales.”
December 20, 2013. Described as the “Rothko of India,” Vasudeo S. Gaitonde set a record for an Indian artist at auction, after selling for 237 million rupees ($3.7 million) at Christie’s International Plc in Mumbai on December 19, 2013. 83 works were sold at the debut auction covering the last 100 years of Indian art achieving a net amount of $15 million.
Records were set in 2013, particularly by auctions in November of 2013. What do you think of the authenticity of the Degas sculptures? Is Olga Dogaru insane for burning such art treasures? What art headlines of 2013 blew you away?
We hope 2014 will yield more interesting art related events. Art is such a vital part of our world, and we need to cherish the greats and appreciate the artists that devoted their lives to their passion.
Art is a language that all people speak that cuts across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhances cultural appreciation and awareness. Without art; life would basically become boring, lifeless and plain.