Art Knowledge News - November 11, 2011...

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The Fondazione Roma Museo Presents the First Italian Retrospective of Georgia O'Keeffe

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 10:23 PM PST

artwork: Georgia O'Keeffe - "Untitled (Red and Yellow Cliffs)", 1940 - Oil on canvas - 24" x 36" - Collection of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. © The Georgia O'Keeffe    Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. -  On view at the Fondazione Roma Museo in "Georgia O'Keeffe: A Retrospective" until January 20th 2012.

Rome.- Following the highly successful exhibition of works by Edward Hopper, the Fondazione Roma Museo pays homage to another twentieth century icon of American art, Georgia O'Keeffe. "Georgia O'Keeffe: A Retrospective" is on view at the museum through January 20th 2012. From Rome, the exhibition will then travel to Munich, where it will be on view at the Kunsthalle der hypo-kulturstiftung (February 3rd to May 13th) and the Helsinki City Art Museum (May 31st through September 9th). The work of Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) is among the most well-known in America, as is the artist herself.  She became known in the 1920s as one of America's leading modernists, and from then until her death in 1986, she and her work garnered extraordinary and increasing attention in the American art community and with the American public  Indeed, interest in O'Keeffe and her work continues to escalate, and she remains one of America's best-loved and most celebrated artists and icons.

artwork: Georgia O'Keeffe - "New York Street with Moon", 1925 Oil on canvas - 122 x 77 cm. Collection of the Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza, Madrid. - © The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Her work, however, is generally unknown beyond American shores, a situation for which Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) was primarily responsible.  As America's first modernist photographer and its first advocate of modern art, he introduced O'Keeffe's art to the New York art community in 1916, and he became her dealer that year and her husband in 1924. As the most ardent promoter of her work, he made O'Keeffe's art accessible to New Yorkers with the annual exhibitions of it that he organized from 1923 until his death in 1946. By 1929, his promotional efforts had realized sales that made O'Keeffe a millionaire in today's money, which provided her complete financial security. In the beginning decades of the twentieth century, Stieglitz resented the fact that American art was not regarded with the same degree of importance as that of the Europeans. He became committed to the then revolutionary idea that American artists could create an art indigenous to America that would be valued with the same acclaim as that of the European masters. As a result, he refused to send the work of any of the artists he supported to exhibitions outside of the United States:

artwork: Georgia O'Keeffe - "White Calla Lily with Red Background", 1928 Oil on canvas -  Collection of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. © The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum /Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Paul Strand, feeling that if people wanted to see American art, they should come to America. Thus, these artists works were and remain little known outside of the United States. O'Keeffe works are currently in several European collections as a result of recent gifts from The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation, which dissolved in 2006. Also, in the last ten years, exhibitions of O'Keeffe's work have taken place in England, Spain, and Switzerland. But none has been presented in either Germany or Italy.  This retrospective exhibition will thus be the first to acquaint these European audiences with O'Keeffe's extraordinary works.

The exhibition will be made up primarily of work from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum collection, which houses more than half of the artist's entire output, with a few works from other American and European collections.  Examples of O'Keefe's work in charcoal, watercolor, oil, and her sculptures will represent her creative efforts in each of these media. Moreover, selections of works from each decade in the seventy years she was active as an artist (1915-1984) will provide an overview of the kinds of subjects that interested her, from her abstractions of the 1910s, to her innovative and famous large-scale paintings of the 1920s, which include flowers, other natural forms, as well as New York city pictures.

The show will also include works from the decades O'Keeffe worked in both New York and New Mexico, 1929 to 1949, when she made the area her permanent home), such as the many landscape and architectural forms she produced in both places, as well as her famous paintings of subjects specific to New Mexico: architecture, bones, skulls, and paintings of its highly colored and dramatic landscape configurations. In addition, the exhibition will include works she produced after moving to New Mexico in 1949 as well as those that were inspired by her travels beyond American shores that began in 1951. Indeed, she travelled extensively, making several trips around the world, until the early 1980s, when illness made it impossible for her to travel.

The exhibition will also present photographs of O'Keeffe made by Stieglitz, who photographed her from 1917 until the mid-1930s, when he put his camera down. Other photographs of O'Keeffe that date from both before and after Stieglitz's death will be on view, such as images by Ansel Adams, Todd Webb, Andy Warhol, Don Worth, to name only a few. These photographs document two public images of O'Keeffe created through photography, a sexualized provocative O'Keeffe, which was the creation of Stieglitz beginning in the 1910s and the self-determined, serious, and uncompromising image that O'Keeffe created of herself from the 1920s to the end of her life.

artwork: Georgia O'Keeffe - "Evening Star No. VI", 1917 - Watercolor on paper - 8 7/8" x 12" Collection of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. © The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. - At the Fondazione Roma Museo until January 20th 2012.

The Museum Foundation was established in 1999 Rome under the name of Museo del Corso, on the initiative of the President of the Rome Foundation, Prof. Emmanuele FM Emanuele, and on the basis of its deep conviction that art and culture perform a role in promoting the integral development of society. The Rome Foundation Museum presents itself as an instrument for the promotion of this universal language, not merely the enjoyment of physical space but also a place to socialize, share experiences and participate in the community. An identity that the Museum has built and established over time through a series of side events to exhibitions, such as thematic meetings, concerts, performances, poetry readings, and other initiatives for children, specifically for vulnerable social groups. A museum that seeks social inclusion and integral development of the community, careful to value the past of the city of Rome, its unique heritage and at the same time, open to contemporary artistic movements, Italian and foreign, as evidenced by the numerous exhibitions held up today, who dedicated the Museum as one of the most influential and dynamic national and international cultural scene. Visit the museum's website at ... http://www.fondazioneromamuseo.it

The Swedish Nationalmuseum Features Pioneers of Russian Painting

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 10:13 PM PST

artwork: Ilya Repin - "The Zaparozhye Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan", 1880-91 - Oil on canvas. Courtesy the State Russian Museum © 2011, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. On view at the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm in "The Peredvizhniki – Pioneers of Russian Painting".

Stockholm.- This autumn's major exhibition at Nationalmuseum, "The Peredvizhniki – Pioneers of Russian Painting", is on vew, with around 100 paintings on loan from the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and the Russian Museum in St Petersburg, this will be Sweden's largest ever exhibition of works by this group of artists. The exhibition will focus on the 1870–1910 period and will feature realistic, socially critical paintings, landscapes, historical scenes, and portraits of contemporary artists, musicians and writers. The exhibition will remain on view through January 22nd 2012.This is the first large-scale exhibition in Sweden of works by members of the Russian group known as the Peredvizhniki. The group was founded in 1870 in protest at the conservative attitudes of Russia's Imperial Academy of Art. Its members used realist techniques to portray contemporary Russian society and to highlight social and political injustices.


The Musée d'Orsay Shows the Romantic Side of 'Les Rosbifs"

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 09:29 PM PST

artwork: John William Waterhouse - "Saint Cecilia", 1895 - Oil on canvas - 123.2 x 200.7 cm. - Private collection, c/o Christie's © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Art Library. - On view at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris in "Beauty, Morals and Voluptuousness in the England of Oscar Wilde" until January 15th 2012.

Paris.- The Musée d'Orsay is proud to host "Beauty, Morals and Voluptuousness in the England of Oscar Wilde", on view at the museum through January 15th 2012. This exhibition was organised by the Victoria & Albert Museum , London, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco , in collaboration with the Musée d'Orsay and explores the extraordinary 19th century movement that set out to move away from the ugliness and materialism of the time by proposing a new idealisation of art and beauty. Through literature, and through what was, for many, the "dangerous" idea of "art for art's sake", painters and poets created a new art form whose sole raison d'être was to be beautiful, an artistic style freed from the established principles of order and Victorian ideas of morality, and which dared simply to give pleasure and to allude to the delights of sensuality.


The Hammer Museum Presents "Now Dig This!" ~ African American Artists

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 09:02 PM PST

artwork: William Pajaud - "Holy Family", circa 1965 - Watercolor, pen, and ink on paper - 38.1 x 50.8 cm. Courtesy Welton Jones, WAJ Collectibles. On view at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, in "Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980" until January 8th 2012.

Los Angeles, CA.- The Hammer Museum is proud to present "Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980", a comprehensive exhibition that examines the vital legacy of the city's African American visual artists. "Now Dig This!" comprises 140 works from 35 artists that have rarely been shown in a museum setting and includes early pieces by now well-established artists as well as works once considered "lost." The exhibition expands the art historical record by presenting an array of artists, some not widely recognized by a broad public, and connecting their work to the movements, trends, and ideas that fueled the arts in Los Angeles during this period. The work of these African American practitioners was animated to an extent by the civil rights and Black Power movements reflecting the changing sense of what constituted African American identity and American culture.


The Dennos Museum Center Shows the Miniatures by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 08:29 PM PST

artwork: Wes Siegrist - "On Alert" - Opaque watercolor - 6.9 x 6.9 cm. - Courtesy of the artist. On view at the Dennos Museum, Traverse City in "The World of Nature in Miniature: Exquisite Miniatures by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist" until December 30th.

Traverse City, Michigan.- The Dennos Museum Center at Northwestern Michigan College is proud to host the travelling exhibition "The World of Nature in Miniature: Exquisite Miniatures by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist", on view at the museum through December 30th. Wes Siegrist and Rachelle Siegrist are an American husband and wife team who mesmerize viewers with miniature paintings so exquisitely crafted that they are often mistaken for tiny photographs. Their tiny treasures, as collectors often refer to them, typically measure less than 9 square inches and appear even more detailed when viewed under magnification!  A hallmark of their work is their ability to convey the feeling of a larger canvass or the essence of the natural world in miniature.

"Man Ray in Paris" New Book by Getty Publications

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 08:09 PM PST

artwork: Portrait of Salvador Dalí and Man Ray in Paris, 1934 - Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Photographer Van Vechten Collection.

Los Angeles, CA - Paris after World War I was teeming with Americans. Bon vivants seeking escape from prohibition mingled with artists and intellectuals, all pursuing their dreams in the City of Light. The American Modernist Man Ray (1890–1976) spent the 1920s and 1930s in Paris, where experimental expression was flourishing. While he considered himself to be primarily a painter and also worked in film, sculpture, and collage, his best-known and most innovative medium was photography. Man Ray arrived in Paris in 1921 full of creative energy. Inspired by Marcel Duchamp's "readymades" —mundane objects that became works of art in the gallery context—Man Ray spontaneously created an assemblage during a party by combining carpet tacks and an iron, which he then photographed. Soon afterward, he began to experiment with cameraless photography and devised his Rayographs— abstract images produced by placing objects directly on photographic paper and exposing it to light.


Masterpieces from Brazil & Mexico lead the Autumn Latin American sale at Christie's NY

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 07:07 PM PST

artwork: Diego Rivera -  "Retrato de Julieta".  -  Estimate: $300,000 - 500,000. -  Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

NEW YORK, N.Y.- Christie's New York announces details of its major fall Latin American Sale on November 15, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. and November 16, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. This two-session sale of more than 370 lots total is led by significant works from the best-known painters and sculptors of 20th century Central and South America and the Caribbean. The Evening Sale features 79 of the sale's most important works, with an exceptional line-up of paintings and sculpture from celebrated Brazilian and Mexican artists, amongst many others. The following Day Sale presents 290 additional works of art, including photography, drawings, prints and sculpture from the Spanish colonial era to the present. The combined sales are expected to realize in excess of $18 million. Virgilio Garza, Head of International Latin American Paintings at Christie's, commented: "The very rich representation of genres, periods and countries represented in this fall's Latin American Sale offers exceptional opportunities to collectors in this dynamic field, at every price level.


Report shows Chinese Contemporary Art Market Confidence Higher than US & Europe

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 07:06 PM PST

Zhou Yilun (b. 1983) - "Dream Came True", 2011 - Charcoal & acrylic on paper, 58 x 78 cm. - Courtesy of Fabien Fryns Fine Art, Los Angeles

LONDON.- ArtTactic released its latest Chinese Contemporary Art Market Confidence Survey, which, like its last survey in April, shows that confidence in the Chinese contemporary art market remains high despite an overall drop in global confidence. Buoyed by mainland China's new collectors, who have emerged as some of the world's most voracious buyers of art, gold and jewelry, and fine wine since 2008, ArtTactic's confidence indicator "remains strongly positive," though the differences between domestic Chinese and international auction houses are becoming increasingly stark.


While the sustainability of the current growth rates remains suspect, a majority of respondents continue to believe the Chinese contemporary art market will grow in the next six months. What all this boils down to is the same thing Jing Daily and other market observers have said over the past two years: the Chinese contemporary art market is inevitably moving towards quality. This, perhaps more than anything, is why ArtTactic points out in this study that a gap in risk perception remains between the Hong Kong and mainland China contemporary auction markets, with the Risk Barometer for the mainland auction market coming in 49 percent higher than the international Hong Kong market.

Some of the highlights of the new survey:

* Confidence in the Chinese contemporary art market remains high despite art market confidence dropping sharply in the US & European contemporary market in October 2011.

* The recent financial turmoil in Europe and US does not seem to have filtered down to the Chinese art market yet. The overall ArtTactic Chinese Art Market Confidence Indicator for November 2011 came in at 80, only 2 percent below the record reading in April 2011.

* The Chinese contemporary art market has been on a "rapid path of recovery" since February 2009, and the latest reading in November 2011 indicates that a majority of experts surveyed remain positive about the Chinese contemporary art market in the next six months.

* 51 percent of the experts still believe the market will go up in the coming six months (down from 76 percent in April 2011).
artwork: Eric Wesley - Remix , 2008 - Bronze  - 17 x 22 x 19 inches Courtesy of China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles, CA

In terms of the risk projection, Hong Kong's far more internationalized auction market — in which major auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's can operate — continues to garner more confidence from collectors than mainland Chinese houses like China Guardian or Poly. As Jing Daily has noted before, mainland Chinese houses promote a certain set of contemporary artists and Hong Kong promotes another, and although there are signs of overlap between the two (with certain artists, such as Zeng Fanzhi and Liu Ye proving popular in both mainland China and Hong Kong), ArtTactic notes that the Chinese contemporary art market may largely remain on a "two-track journey."

In the new survey, ArtTactic's Risk Barometer for the International Chinese Contemporary Art market came in at 4.4. While this is an increase of 10 percent since April 2011, this remains below the "medium" risk level, suggesting that the current recovery is "growing at a healthy speed without strong elements of speculation." The Speculation Barometer sits at 6.4 at the upper "medium" level, but has only risen two percent since the last study this spring. For the mainland China market, naturally the proliferation of upstart, unproven auction houses has had a negative effect on ArtTactic's Risk Barometer, which currently comes in at 6.7, 49 percent higher than the International Chinese market. Still, this remains within the "upper medium" risk level. Speculation in the mainland China auction market remains a distinct concern, however, with inflows of new speculative and short-term investment capital from private, as well as institutional (art funds and investment trusts) raise concerns about the sustainability of the rapid growth of the mainland Chinese art market. What all this boils down to is that the Chinese art market recovery has attracted a great deal of "hot money," while Hong Kong is better positioned for more sustainable growth. Not a surprise, but an important trend to keep in mind.

artwork: Cui Xiuwen (b. 1970) - Angel 3 , 2007 - C-print, 80 x 170 cm (31 x 67 in) - Edition of 8Courtesy of F2 Gallery, No.319 CaoChangDi Chaoyang District, Beijing, China

In terms of valuations, the US$50,000-100,000 price segment has seen the strongest increase in confidence over the past six months, driven mostly by the recent auction results at Sotheby's Hong Kong. This price segment, which accounted for only one percent of the total at Sotheby's Hong Kong in spring 2010, rose to seven percent of the total this autumn. While a majority of experts surveyed remain positive about the top price segment (over US$1 million), confidence has weakened in the $500,000-1 million segment.

Artist confidence remains high at the top-tier, with 67 percent of artists now having a reading above 50, indicating there is more positive than negative sentiment towards the artist's market. In the Top 10 Short-Term Confidence Ranking, Zeng Fanzhi has moved from fourth place to first, and four new entries have taken their places in the top ten: Song Dong (now second place, up from 12th), Zhang Xiaogang (fourth, up from 11th), Li Songsong (sixth, up from 15th), and Gu Wenda (eighth, up from 19th). In terms of long-term confidence, 35 percent of artists (18 out of 52) have seen a positive increase over the past six months. Among the top 10 artists that the experts believe will stand the test of time are Ai Weiwei, Cai Guoqiang, Zeng Fanzhi, Yang Fudong, Zhan Wang and Xu Zhen. ArtTactic does note that there have been some changes to the top 10 since April 2011, however, with Zhang Peili, Song Dong, Xu Bing and Zhang Xiaogang entering the list.

Though several artists in these lists have seen a drop in their confidence levels since April, ArtTactic echoes what Jing Daily has said before: that a select group of blue-chip Chinese contemporary artists have firmly established themselves, and will in all likelihood remain, in the longterm performers category — including Ai Weiwei, Cai Guoqiang, Zhang Peili, Zeng Fanzhi, Xu Bing, Song Dong , Zhang Xiaogang, and Yang Fudong.

artwork: Choi Xoo Ang (Korean, B. 1975) - "The Wings", -  Oil on resin, stainless steel. Executed in 2008, 48 × 172 × 56 cm. - signed (bottom of stainless steel structure).- Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2011.

As for the collector base of Chinese contemporary art, Asian collectors continue to dominate as they have since 2008, when Western collectors cut back in the wake of the global financial crisis. Though Taiwanese collectors remain the most powerful force in the Chinese contemporary art market, one important finding in ArtTactic's new survey is that mainland Chinese "new collectors" have risen into the top five collector segments, ahead of American collectors and Indonesian collectors. Perceptions among respondents towards mainland Chinese collectors are now shifting, with ArtTactic noting that observers have largely validated the "new trend of growing interest in contemporary art from mainland China." Look for this to continue as more new collectors enter the market.

As Shanghai-based "super-collector" Liu Yiqian observed this past August, "Over the past five years, there were only a few collectors involved with this market, and [I was] therefore quite familiar with buyers as well as sellers. But this situation has changed [in 2011], as half of the buyers are even new to me."

Overall, the latest ArtTactic survey indicates that the Chinese contemporary art market (at the uppermiddle to top-tier) is moving towards more sustainable growth and quality. This is very much a positive trend, and one that's absolutely necessary. As Chinese collectors continue to become more discriminating — with many passing up lower-quality works by blue-chip artists at the recent Sotheby's Hong Kong autumn auctions — we should see prices for many artists stabilize or trend towards slower growth. If these artists can remain insulated from the "hot money" inflows that are contributing to the myriad problems facing upstart domestic Chinese auction houses (unsustainable growth rates, issues with collecting payment, counterfeiting controversies), they will likely see their long-term confidence rankings and auction sales prices remain among the highest in the global contemporary art world. Luckily, top-tier artists like Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Xiaogang, Fang Lijun and Yue Minjun — who are widely sold on the internationalized Hong Kong auction market — should see little to no ill effect from issues in the mainland China auction market.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza ~ A Jewel In The "Golden Triangle of Art" In Madrid

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:48 PM PST

artwork: Lord Frederick Leighton - "Greek Girls Playing at Ball", 1889 - Oil on canvas - 114 x 197 cm. East Ayrshire Council, Scotland, currently on display as part of the exhibition

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Spanish), is one of the three Madrid museums that make up the "Golden Triangle of Art", which also includes the Prado and the Reina Sofia (modern and contemporary) galleries. The collections's roots lie in the privately owned Thyssen-Bonremisza collection, once the second largest private art collection in the world (after the British Royal Collection). The collection started in the 1920s as a private collection by Heinrich, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon (1875–1947). In a reversal of the movement of European paintings to the United States during this period, one of the Baron's sources was the collections of American millionaires coping with the Great Depression and inheritance taxes, from which he acquired such exquisite old master paintings as Ghirlandaio's 'Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni' (once in the Morgan Library) and Carpaccio's 'Knight' (from the collection of Otto Kahn). The collection was later expanded by Heinrich's son Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (1921–2002), who re-assembled most of the works from his relatives' collections (distributed after his father's death) and proceeded to acquire large numbers of new works. In 1985, the Baron married Carmen Cervera (a former Miss Spain 1961) and introduced her to art-collecting. Carmen's influence was decisive in persuading the Baron to decide on the future of his collection and cede the collection to Spain. When Baron Thyssen decided to open his collection to the public, he initially tried to have his museum in the Villa Favorita in Switzerland expanded, when this proved impossible, a Europe-wide search for a new was home started. The competition was won in 1986 when the Spanish government came to an agreement to provide a home for the collection (the 19th century Villahermosa Palace close to the Prado in Madrid) and fund the museum in return for the loan of the collection for a minimum of nine and a half years. Pritzker prize winning Spanish architect, Rafael Moneo was employed to redesign and extend the building and the museum opened in 1992. However, so impressed were the Thyssen-Bornemiszas with the building and Spain's commitment to the collection, that even before it opened, they were negotiating with the Spanish government to make the museum permanent. In 1993, the Spanish government agreed to buy the collection (valued at up to 1.5 billion dollars) for $350 million and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum became a permanent fixture in Madrid. The museum currently houses two collections from the Thyssen-Bornemiszas, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, acquired by the Spanish government from Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza on permanent display since the museum opened in 1992 and the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, owned by the baron's widow and held by the museum since 2004 on loan. These two collections comprise over one thousand works of art (mostly paintings), with which the museum offers a stroll through the history of European painting, from its beginning in the 13th century to the close of the 20th century. The Baroness remains involved with the museum, deciding the salmon pink tone of the interior and in May 2006 campaigning against plans to redevelop the Paseo del Prado as she thought the works and traffic would damage the collection and the museum's appearance. A collection of works from the museum is housed in Barcelona in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. Visit the museum's website at … http://www.museothyssen.org

artwork: Matthias Stom - "The Supper at Emmaus", circa 1636 - Oil on canvas - 111.8 x 152.4 cm. Collection of The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

One of the key characteristics of the Thyssen-Bonemisza Museum is that it complements the Prado's collection of old paintings and the modern art housed at the Reina Sofía Museum, featuring movements and styles such as the Italian and Dutch primitives, German Renaissance art, 17th century Dutch painting, Impressionism, German Expressionism, Russian Constructivism, Geometric Abstraction and Pop Art. And, setting it apart, its singular display of 19th century North American painting (practically unknown in any other European museum), which occupies two halls of the museum. With the museum's own acquisitions, it now contains over 1,600 paintings and sculptures, which are laid out in chronological order. One of the focal points is in early European painting, with a major collection of trecento and quattrocento (i.e. 14th and 15th century) Italian paintings by Duccio, and his contemporaries. Among the highlights are paintings by Luca di Tomme, Benozzo Gozzoli , Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello ("Crucifixion among saints"), Cosimo Tura, Ercole de'Roberti, Bramantino ("Christ Risen"), Antonello da Messina and "The Young Knight" by Vittore Carpaccio, generally considered the first full-length portrait painted in Europe. Works of the early Flemish and Dutch painters include masterpieces by Jan Van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer, and Hans Holbein. Later Renaissance and Baroque works include significant paintings by Italian, Dutch and Flemish masters such as Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo, Caravaggio, Rubens, Tintoretto, El Greco, Van Dyck, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Claude Lorrain, Murillo, Rembrandt and Frans Hals as well as wonderful portraits by Domenico Ghirlandaio and Vittore Carpaccio. The artistic shift from rococo through to realism and romanticism is reflected in works of European artists including Watteau, Boucher ("The Toilet"), Nicolas Lancret, Fragonard, Hubert Robert, Jean-Marc Nattier, Chardin ("Still Life with Cat and Stripe"), Giambattista Tiepolo ("Death of Jacinto"), Canaletto, Bernardo Bellotto and Pietro Longhi ("Tickle"), English paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Lawrence and Johann Zoffany and the works of Goya, Delacroix ("The Arab Horseman"), Géricault, Courbet and Caspar David Friedrich marking the transition to realism and romanticism. In line with museum policy, from 1960 onwards different parts of the collection began to travel all over the world and a major programme of loans to other galleries was put in practice, meaning that the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection was nearly always present, in some form or another, in the big collective exhibitions.

artwork: Roberto Matta - "Great Expectations. From "The Blinding Exile" Cycle", 1966 - Oil on canvas 203 x 402 cm. - Collection of the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

The collection of nineteenth century artworks includes all the masters, Manet, Renoir, Monet, Degas ("Green Dancer" and others), Pissarro, Bonnard, Berthe Morisot, Gaughuin, Toulouse-Lautrec ("Redhead with White Blouse") and important works by Van Gogh. American nineteenth century art includes examples by Gilbert Stuart, John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. The twentieth century section has a significant role in the Thyssen Museum, and includes Fauvist works by Henri Matisse ("Yellow Flowers") and André Derain, but it is in Cubism, Russian Constructivism and German Expressionism where the collection is concentrated. Of note is the abundant collection of works such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner ("Alley With Woman in Red"), Emil Nolde, Max, Franz Marc, Ludwig Meidner and Erich Heckel among others. The jewel is possibly "Metropolis", a masterpiece by George Grosz. The ground floor is devoted entirely to twentieth century art, from Cubism to Pop Art. Examples of analytic cubism include noteworthy pieces by Pablo Picasso ("Man With Clarinet"), Georges Braque ("Woman With Mandolin") and Juan Gris. "Harlequin Mirror" and "Bullfight" are highlights from Picasso's blue period. Surrealism is well represented, including a number of important works by Salvador Dali. Highlights from the 1960s and 1970s include "Moon Over Alabama" by Richard Lindner, works by David Hockney , Tom Wesselmann ("Large Nude # 1") and Roy Lichtenstein ("Women in the Bathroom"). A "Portrait of Baron Thyssen" painted by Lucian Freud in the early 1980s is the latest work, and one of three Freud's in the collection. Other important artists amongst the incredible collection of 20th century artistic trends include, Edvard Munch, James Ensor, Paul Klee, Kandinsky, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, Lyonel Feininger, August Macke, Otto Dix, Albert Gleizes, Frantisek Kupka, Gino Severini, Fernand Léger, Rodin, Liubov Popova, El Lissitzky, Francis Picabia, Yves Tanguy, Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Edward Hopper, Joan Miró, Kurt Schwitters, Balthus, Paul Delvaux, Magritte, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Ronald Kitaj, Alberto Giacometti, Lucio Fontana, Francis Bacon, Roberto Matta, Richard Estes and Robert Rauschenberg, representing almost every artistic movement from impressionism to hyper-realism. Temporary exhibitions, educational activities, conferences, publications, voluntary, corporate and promotional programmes, are just some of the initiatives that have been put in practice over these years, aimed at progressively increasing the cultural services on offer to promote the collection, as well as to involve an ever broader section of society in the life of the museum.

artwork: Antonio López García - "La Pistola (The Pistol)", 1959 - Oil on canvas. Image courtesy of the artist. From June 28th until 25th September 2011, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza will be hosting a major retrospective of Antonio López García's work.

Two major temporary exhibitions can currently be viewed at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Until 22 May 2011, "Jean–Léon Gérôme (1824-1904)" provides an in-depth retrospective of this controversial French artist. Jean-Léon Gérôme was one of the most famous French painters of his day, but in the course of his long career, he was the subject of controversy and bitter criticism, in particular for defending the conventions of the waning genre of Academic painting. However, as this exhibition shows, Gérôme was not so much heir to that tradition as he was the creator of totally new pictorial worlds, often based on a strange iconography. This exhibition, the first retrospective of this artist's works to be held in Spain, sheds light on the most noteworthy features of his painting and sculpture from his early career in the 1840s up to his last works. "Heroines" from 8th March to 05th June 2011 is a joint exhibition, hosted between the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Fundación Caja (both in Madrid). The history of Western art is full of images of seductive, indulgent, submissive, defeated and enslaved women. But the women whom this exhibition centers on are strong women. The focus is on active, independent, defiant, inspired, creative, domineering and triumphant women as depicted in art. Following a non-chronological but thematic order, the exhibition explores the backgrounds and aspirations of heroines, through the iconography of solitude, work, delirium, sport, war, magic, religion, reading and painting (the first 5 at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, the latter 4 at the Fundación Caja). In each "chapter" artworks from different periods, languages and artistic environments are juxtaposed, providing food for thought on what has changed and what has remained the same over time. And in each chapter, one or several voices of women artists, particularly contemporary women, respond to images created by their male counterparts. From June 28th until 25th September 2011 the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza will be holding a comprehensive exhibition of the work of the Spanish artist Antonio López (born Tomelloso, 1936). It will feature oil paintings, drawings and sculptures of some of his most typical subjects such as the interior of houses, the human figure, landscapes and urban views (principally of Madrid), as well as his still life depictions of fruit and other subjects. In the reality that surrounds him López looks for everyday aspects that he can reproduce in his work, using a slow, highly meditated creative process that aims to capture the essence of the object or landscape.

Red Grooms Exhibition Showcased at Bryn Mawr College

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:47 PM PST

artwork: Red Grooms - Nighthawks Revisited , 1980 - Colored pencil on paper, 44 x 74 ½ in. Collection of Lysiane Luoung Grooms and the artist. / Photographer: Rick Echelmeyer

BRYN MAWR, Pa. – Bryn Mawr College's spring exhibition Old Masters and Modern Muses: Red Grooms's Portraits of Artists, 1957-2009 will showcase more than 30 works of art by prominent American artist Red Grooms. The exhibition will feature drawings, prints, paintings, and sculptures, spanning five decades of Grooms' career, and include a number of recent works that have never been exhibited before. Old Masters and Modern Muses will be on view in Bryn Mawr's Canaday Library through June 5, Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m., and will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and related programming. This exhibition is free and open to the public.

Video Works by Philadelphia Artists

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:46 PM PST

artwork: Nick Salvatore - The Rockstar Diaries: Two Thousand Myspace Photos in Beijing, 2009.Nick Salvatore - The Rockstar Diaries: Two Thousand Myspace Photos in Beijing, 2009.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) reconfigured its Morris Gallery into a black box for a series video works. Through October 18, 2009, PAFA presents "Summer Shorts," a selection of video works by artists from Philadelphia. Each of seven works are shown continuously in the Morris Gallery for one week. During the final week of the series, all seven works will be shown consecutively in a video loop.
States Julien Robson, PAFA's Curator of Contemporary Art, "'Summer Shorts' gives audiences an opportunity to sample some of the variety of video art being made by artists in the city."

New Acropolis Museum Designed By Bernard Tschumi Architects Opens in Athens

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:45 PM PST

artwork: General view of the New Acropolis Museum at night. - Photo by EFE/Orestis Panagiotou

ATHENS, GREECE.- The new Acropolis Museum opened today. It is located 300 meters from the famous ruins, and cost $181 million to build. Today, the new Acropolis Museum has a total area of 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters, ten times more than that of the old museum on the Hill of the Acropolis. The new Museum offers all the amenities expected in an international museum of the 21st century. Athens may be one of the most congested cities in Europe, but you won't feel it here, staring up at the Parthenon's columns as they turn to gold in the evening sunlight. Suddenly, your high-speed city break will feel like a proper Athens holiday.

Bellini, Giorgione, Titian and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:44 PM PST

Washington, DC - A major new international exhibition, Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting will present more than 50 masterpieces from the most exciting period of the Renaissance in Venice.  Premiering June 18 through September 17 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the exhibition explores the relationships between these and other artists, emphasizes their innovative treatments of new pictorial themes such as the pastoral landscape, and reveals what modern conservation science has discovered about the Venetian painters' techniques.

artwork: Giovanni Cariani ConcertTwo museums with outstanding collections of Renaissance art, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, are the exhibition organizers: together they are contributing about one-third of the works on view.  Among the most admired masterworks of the Renaissance, Titian's Pastoral Concert ("Concert Champêtre") (c. 1510), is being lent by the Louvre to the United States for the first time.  The exhibition features significant loans from The National Gallery, London; the Prado, Madrid; the Uffizi, Florence; and many other museums and private collections.

"I am very pleased and proud to be able to offer the Italian Embassy in Washington's cooperation in the installation of this outstanding show," said the Italian ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta, who also thanked the National Gallery of Art, "which, together with Bracco, has made possible an event that captures in all its artistic glory such a fervent period in our cultural history."

"This exhibition brings the Renaissance alive not only as an era in history, but also as a concept embraced by the most adventurous artists of their time," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art.  "It is gratifying to be able to share with the public so many masterpieces, thanks to the generosity of our lenders.  We are also very grateful to the Bracco Group for making this exhibition possible; we welcome them as a sponsor to the Gallery, and appreciate their enthusiasm "

The Exhibition : JUNE 18–SEPTEMBER 17, 2006

Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting differs from previous surveys of 16th-century Venetian art by focusing exclusively on paintings from the first three decades of the century, and by presenting them thematically, rather than by artist.  The period represents, visually and intellectually, the most exciting phase of the Renaissance in Venice, when the old Bellini (d. 1516), Giorgione (d. 1510), young Titian, Sebastiano Luciani, later called del Piombo (active in the city until 1511), and Jacopo Negretti, known as Palma Vecchio (d. 1528), were all working side by side.  While celebrating the achievements of Bellini and his most famous pupils, the exhibition also presents more conservative masters, like Cima da Conegliano and Vincenzo Catena, and it includes other artists, like Lorenzo Lotto, who worked, though not exclusively, in Venice at the time.

In early 16th-century Venice, artists turned to new subjects drawn from classical antiquity and developed new styles and new techniques to represent them.  Provocative subject matter and virtuoso displays of skill were appreciated by a new kind of sophisticated patron.  A highlight of the exhibition will be the presentation of Titian's Bacchanal of the Andrians (1522–1524), and Bellini and Titian's Feast of the Gods (1514 and 1529), paintings that once hung together in the Duke of Ferrara's study, considered the most beautiful room in Renaissance Italy.

The exhibition emphasizes the artists' innovative treatments of several new pictorial themes, outlined below, and demonstrates how religious painting, still dominant, was transformed.  It also explores how ideas about music, love, and time pervade the art of the period.

artwork: Giuseppe Nogari An Elderly Woman in a Striped ShawlThe pastoral landscape.  The pastoral landscape, with its Arcadian motifs of nymphs, shepherds, and shady groves, became a quintessentially Venetian mode of painting.  The exhibition includes the epitome of the genre, Titian's Concert Champetre.  The development of the pastoral extended to religious painting, with Christian or biblical figures or narratives vividly portrayed in idyllic settings.  In one of many illuminating juxtapositions in the exhibition, one can compare Bellini's Virgin with the Blessing Child (1510) and Titian's Virgin and Child ("Gypsy Madonna") (c. 1511); Titian has shifted his figures off the central axis to emphasize the landscape view.  Also on view is Giorgione's version of the Adoration of the Shepherds ("Allendale Nativity") (c. 1500), which employs elements of the pastoral and was much admired: the exhibition includes three variants on this work.

The female nude and eroticism. Given that images of women of any sort were rare in Venetian painting, the introduction of nudes or partially clothed figures in early 16th-century paintings was truly revolutionary.   In the exhibition, Giorgione's famous "Laura" (1506), which launched the new genre, is presented with Titian's Flora (c. 1520) for the first time.  Titian's portrait became a model for the "Belle Donne" of other artists, such as Palma Vecchio.  Even to this day, it is not known whether these images of women are idealized portraits of actual women or images of ideal female beauty.

Male portraits. Giorgione and his circle introduced a new kind of idealized portrait, in which an individual was shown in the guise of a lover, poet, musician, or soldier.  Called "action" portraits, these works depict young men acting out roles, as in Portrait of a Poet (c. 1520) by Palma Vecchio or Man in Armor (c. 1511/1512) by Sebastiano del Piombo.  Beyond single portraits, there are double and triple portraits of men together, as in Titian's Concert (c. 1511/1512) and Cariani's Concert (c. 1518). The exhibition ends with Titian's Man with a Glove (c. 1523/1524), whose realism breaks with Giorgione's poetic idealization.

Conservation Science Reveals Venetian Painters' Methods

Because modern technologies have revolutionized our understanding of the methods of the Venetian painters, the exhibition will include a room devoted to conservation studies of Venetian paintings, undertaken by Elke Oberthaler of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Elizabeth Walmsley of the National Gallery of Art, including x-radiographs and infrared images of several works on view.  Similarly, the exhibition catalogue includes new studies of the Venetians' painting methods and materials.

artwork: Giovannia Bellin Lady With A MirrorEarly 16th-century Venetian paintings were among the first to be studied using x-rays, which revealed pentimenti, or changes of mind, as the artists worked out their compositions.  More recently, infrared reflectography has qualified Vasari's claim that Venetian artists did not draw, by exposing the underdrawings lying beneath the surfaces of their paintings.  On view will be a new infrared reflectogram of Giorgione's Three Philosophers (c. 1506) that reveals insights into the artist's creative process, a complex method of continuous revision.  Similarly, an x-radiograph of Titian's "Gypsy Madonna" shows how the artist changed his characterization of the Virgin.

In the exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art conservation scientist Barbara Berrie and art historian Louisa C. Matthew of Union College present their research findings about the famous "Venetian palette" and its extraordinary luminosity.  The Venetian glass industry, centered on the island Murano in the Venetian lagoon, flourished in the late 15th century.  According to Matthew and Berrie, painters obtained pigments of superior quality from "color sellers," and added pulverized glass to lend added brilliance to the hues in their pictures.

Curators, Catalogue, and Related Activities

The exhibition curators are David Alan Brown, curator of Italian and Spanish painting at the National Gallery of Art, and Sylvia Ferino-Pagden, curator of Italian Renaissance paintings at the Kunsthistorisches Museum.  In addition to the curators, an outstanding group of specialists in Venetian Renaissance art have contributed to the catalogue, including Jaynie Anderson, University of Melbourne; Deborah Howard, Cambridge University; Peter Humfrey, University of St Andrews; and Mauro Lucco, Università degli Studi di Bologna.  The fully illustrated catalogue will be published in English, German, and Italian. Early support for planning and research for the exhibition was provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Visit The National Gallery of Art at : http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/index.shtm

"The Antidote" at Claire Oliver features Works by Seven Artists

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:44 PM PST

artwork: Jesse McCloskey - "Artist's Studio", 2010 - Vinyl paint paper collage mounted on canvas, 24 x 30 inches - Photo; Courtesy: Claire Oliver

NEW YORK, NY.- In the 160 years since French painter Paul Delaroche proclaimed "from today painting is dead", many scholars and critics of art have echoed his sentiments. As each new concept or movement in the visual arts comes to the fore, judgment is passed on all that came before it. In Delaroche' time, the advent of photography changed the usefulness of painting as documentation, in the 20th century, modernist painting transitioned paint from a representational two dimensional medium to art grounded in codes rather than images. In our contemporary culture of instant access and short attention spans, painting has once again reinvented itself.

VMFA Announces Exhibition Lineup to Follow Grand Opening in May

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:43 PM PST

artwork: George Luks (1867-1933) - "The Hitch Team (Horses in the Snow)," 1916 - oil on canvas - It is a promised gift to VMFA from James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin. (Photo by Katherine Wetzel, courtesy the McGlothlin Collection)

RICHMOND, VA.- The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, VMFA,  has announced a lineup of exhibitions that will begin when the museum opens its new $150-million James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing May 1, 2010. This exhibition of more than 70 paintings, works on paper and sculptures - dating from the antebellum to the modern periods - is drawn from one of the finest private collections of historical American art in the country. Featured artists include George Bellows, Mary Cassatt, William Merrit Chase, Childe Hassam, Martin Johnson Heade, Robert Henri, Winslow Homer, George Luks, William Rimmer, John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler. "American Art from the McGlothlin Collection" / May 1, 2010-July 18, 2010.

Masterpieces of Himalayan Art from a European Private Collection

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:42 PM PST

artwork: Yama - Tibet 18th century - Distemper on cloth - 23⅝ x 16⅛ in (60 x 41 cm)

New York City - London dealer Rossi & Rossi and New York's Carlton Rochell are pleased to present an important exhibition of twenty-five works from Tibet, Nepal and India to be staged at Carlton Rochell Asian Art in the Fuller Building, 41 East 57th Street, New York, from Friday 11 to Friday 25 September 2009 .  From a European private collection, these sculptures, paintings and ritual objects are all of breathtaking quality, created by artists to inspire worshippers of the Buddhist and Hindu faiths.  Spanning several centuries and from a number of cultures in the Himalayan mountain region, each of the works in the collection embodies an unparalleled spiritual aesthetic.   Prices will range from $45,000 to over $750,000.

Williams College Museum of Art Presents Kota Ezawa

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:41 PM PST

artwork: Kota Ezawa Lennon

Williamstown, MA – The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) presents Kota Ezawa: Re-Animating History.  The installation, on view in WCMA's Media Field Gallery, places three, single-channel animated works by Japanese-German artist Kota Ezawa side by side: The Simpson Verdict (2002); The Unbearable Lightness of Being (2005); and Lennon, Sontag, Beuys (2004).  The artist will discuss his work at the museum on Tuesday, May 8 at 4:00 pm. All are invited to attend. The exhibition can be visited until 10 June, 2007.

Peter de Francia: 'The Ship of Fools' at Pallant House

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:40 PM PST

artwork: Peter De Francia Ship Of Fools 

Chichester, West Sussex, UK - Peter de Francia (b. 1921) is one of the most politically engaged British figurative painters of the post-war period. His work, based on sensitive draughtsmanship and subtle line, encompasses social commentary and political allegory. At Pallant House Gallery 13 October to 13 January, 2008.

'Impassioned Images: German Expressionist Prints' at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:40 PM PST

artwork: Franz Marc - Piggies

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY.-In the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany forged a vital, multifaceted movement in the arts that encompassed architecture, painting, printmaking, sculpture, poetry, prose, music, theater, and film. This pluralistic modern movement, Expressionism, was visionary and rebelled against the staid constraints of a German Empire society that retreated from the destitute populations crowding into industrialized cities. The touring exhibition Impassioned Images: German Expressionist Prints, to be seen August 22-October 26, 2008 at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, explores the visions of numerous artists who engaged their charged emotions with printmaking.

During these years, the arts became a tool to encourage a freer, fairer, and more spiritual world, and a world where the emotions were integral to life. As Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, a key artist from this era, stated, Expressionists wanted to "express inner convictions…with sincerity and spontaneity."

artwork: Karl  Schmidt-Rottluff (German 1884-1976) Head of a Woman, 1916 Woodcut on  wove paper Syracuse University Art CollectionPrints became a favored medium among German Expressionists, who found that powerful utopian or critical messages could be relayed to numerous audiences through individual sheets, print portfolios, posters, manifestoes, or literary journals (the latter primarily based in Berlin). Religious, moral, social, and political issues were confronted in these prints with an energy and immediacy not seen in the art academies. Even the media they used -- woodcut, drypoint, lithography, and etching -- were handled in a startlingly more direct manner, often resulting in distorted and exaggerated forms not found in the technically more refined prints of the day. Aggressive and new use of the media became the hallmark of the German Expressionist artist. 

 Organized by the Syracuse University Art Collection, Impassioned Images presents fifty woodcuts, lithographs, and etchings by many of the seminal German artists of the early twentieth century, including Kirchner, Käthe Kollwitz, Erich Heckel, George Grosz, Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, and Wassily Kandinsky. The Expressionist groups Der Blaue Reiter and Die Brücke, and the post-war trend of Neue Sachlichkeit, are all represented by a range of vigorous works. Impassioned Images will be presented in the art center's Prints and Drawings Galleries, and this showing is generously supported by the Friends of the Frances Lehman Loeb Exhibition Fund.

"Expressionist artists confronted their themes and issues head-on with the media they chose. By rendering brittle lines into copper, gouging bold shapes into wood, or drawing quick marks onto plate or stone, they responded in their styles and subjects to a new, fast-paced, and increasingly materialistic age," said Patricia Phagan, the Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. "Through these bold advances, they truly revolutionized the printmaking processes. They were aware of the lauded traditions in German Renaissance printmaking, particularly the virtuosic woodcuts and engravings of Albrecht Dürer early in the sixteenth century. However, Expressionists modernized the print into an immediate, driven, and often harsh statement of the inner life."

Over time, Expressionist artists looked as well to non-European cultures, especially in Africa and the South Seas region (which were common travel destinations for many of these artists). Recent European prints were also of interest, especially to the Die Brücke group who looked to woodcuts by Edward Munch, Paul Gauguin, and Félix Vallotton. Many also sought out Japanese woodblock prints with their flat shapes, saturated colors, and jutting diagonals.

Actually, Expressionism was never a cohesive movement; rather, there were various centers of activity. The groups involved were all informed and inspired by the varied artistic, social, political, and natural environments in which they lived. Die Brücke (bridge) was the first of these groups, a community that emerged in 1905 in Dresden and collapsed in 1913 in Berlin. At the beginning, its founders were all fellow students of architecture and included Kirchner, Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Restrained by the historic nature of architecture, however, they ventured into the visual arts and made works based on their freely-recorded feelings and emotions.

artwork: Max Pechstein Dancer Reflected in a Mirror  -  1923 Museum of Modern Art, MoMAThey were joined later by Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, and Otto Mueller (whose works are also in Impassioned Images), and others. The Brücke artists were largely self-taught in woodcut, and their woodcuts introduced this modern printmaking renaissance in Germany. With their relatively quick process of carving into wood and printing the inked block by hand, they made prints with simplified lines or stained-glass colors that recorded their raw, bohemian lives unified with their surroundings, all the while defying academic standards of draftsmanship and traditional notions of illustration. Kirchner is represented in the show by Woman, Tying Shoe, for instance, a pulsing woodcut melding a figure to her surroundings, both inside and outside. Heckel and Schmidt-Rottluff also contributed profoundly to the development of the woodcut in Die Brücke. Heckel is represented by five woodcuts in the exhibition, while Schmidt-Rottluff's powerful living line can be observed in two. Pechstein brought his experience as a painter into the group.

 The group's major successor, Der Blaue Reiter (blue rider), was formed in Munich in 1911 and lasted until the beginning of World War One in 1914. Its founders included Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and August Macke, and they were joined later by Heinrich Campendonk and others. The movement takes its name from Der Blaue Reiter, an almanac edited by Kandinsky and Marc of new art and music, fostered by the expressions of the "inner wishes" of artists rather than through conventional styles. Cézanne and Matisse were featured, for instance, as were works from Die Brücke and children's art. In the almanac, Marc spoke of fighting like "wild ones against an old, organized power" and promoted, like Kandinsky, spiritual matters over materialism. The group held exhibitions and wrote manifestoes, and in 1912 Kandinsky's theoretical work Uber das Geistige in der Kunst (Concerning the Spiritual in Art) was published in Munich.

It is interesting to contrast these works with those of Lyonel Feininger, an American artist living in Germany. This artist explored light and structure in unprecedented ways among the Expressionists. Many of his works call forth fragmented, shard-like surfaces with a characteristic fragility and precision. The common ground between Feininger and Kandinsky, then, lies in the search for an understanding of the spiritual essence of all things, which is the underlying goal of the artists from Der Blaue Reiter.

World War One shattered the lives of artists, many of whom volunteered or were drafted. After the war, numerous artists produced prints and print portfolios of their wartime experiences and of the ensuing political turmoil brought on by revolution. Many artists also formed into groups informed by political or utopian programs. The Arbeistrat für Kunst (working council for art) in Berlin, for example, promoted the idea of a democratic art under the aegis of architecture. Interestingly, former Brücke members Heckel, Schmidt-Rottluff, and Pechstein were on its board. The architect Walter Gropius was on its executive committee, and in 1919 he established the Bauhaus in Weimar, attracting Feininger as faculty, among others, and, later, Kandinsky and Paul Klee. The Arbeitsrat für Kunst would eventually merge with the Novembergruppe (November group), made up of artists who worked in the new contemporary styles. Pechstein was on its executive committee. Both of these organizations and others of the time, including the Bauhaus, were built upon the search for community and creation of a better world—clear Expressionist aims.

artwork: Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956)  Das Tor ( The Gate ) ca. 1920 Woodcut, image/sheet:16 x 17 1/2 in. German Expressionists continued to make prints in the 1920s and early 1930s, although the movement itself declined due to the devastating economic climate, and the development of new artistic concerns such as photomontage and advertising techniques. However, the social outlook familiar from Expressionism continued in Neue Sachlichkeit (new objectivity), a new trend that developed with Germany's WWI defeat and the beginnings of the German Republic. These artists displayed the cynicism that reflected the tragedy of the war, and established an active shift from individual reality and hopes for a new world to a more socially engaged criticism. Rather than searching for new worlds, they sought "fidelity to positive, tangible reality," and made paintings and prints, often highly detailed, of industrial and street scenes and of portraits. The Neue Sachlichkeit is presented in Impassioned Images by works of Otto Dix and George Grosz, who sometimes adapted the stylistic exaggerations of Expressionism. Grosz captured the chaos of post-war Berlin, a landscape of decay and vices, worthy of his trenchant satire. Dix's themes were similar, as he was also disillusioned by an existence in a world of disgust, horrors, decadence, and indifference.

 Max Beckmann exhibited at the Kunsthalle, Mannheim, in 1925 at a well-known exhibition that featured artists of Neue Sachlichkeit. His art had undergone a major transformation of style due to his front line war experiences (where he met Heckel). His work thereafter became aggressive and severe, tragic in an existential way. Käthe Kollwitz, working in Berlin, was also personally hurt from the war as she lost her son, Peter. She kept fighting against war throughout her life, engaging in radical socialist politics and proletarian themes in her works, as did many postwar artists. Impassioned Images also includes works by Ernst Barlach, Sandor Gergely, and Paul Kleinschmidt.

By 1933, German Expressionist artists were denounced by the new regime of the Third Reich, which promoted a heroic nationalism and naturalistic representation. It was not until many years later, after the Second World War, that German Expressionists' distinctive and enduring works became accepted again as part of a vital, innovative art movement. Prints were essential to this movement, and they document these artists' impassioned searches and observations and hopes.

This Week in Review in Art Knowledge News

Posted: 10 Nov 2011 06:39 PM PST

This is a new feature for the subscribers and visitors to Art Knowledge News (AKN), that will enable you to see "thumbnail descriptions" of the last ninety (90) articles and art images that we published. This will allow you to visit any article that you may have missed ; or re-visit any article or image of particular interest. Every day the article "thumbnail images" will change. For you to see the entire last ninety images just click : here .

When opened that also will allow you to change the language from English to anyone of 54 other languages, by clicking your language choice on the upper left corner of our Home Page.  You can share any article we publish with the eleven (11) social websites we offer like Twitter, Flicker, Linkedin, Facebook, etc. by one click on the image shown at the end of each opened article.  Last, but not least, you can email or print any entire article by using an icon visible to the right side of an article's headline.

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