Monthly Archives: August, 2015

Joaquin Sorolla

What light! Palpable and alive — the winds, the boats, the bulls, the people at work and play — visual exultation at its finest.

The artist? Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (Valencian Spanish, 1863-1923). His work centered mostly in his native Valencia and Madrid. This prolific artist’s subject matter varied widely and he enjoyed great popularity during his lifetime.

If, at first glance, John Singer Sargent crosses your mind, one understands. Each artist indulged in loose, lush brushwork and a bright palette in pursuing light. Each was a premier portrait painter. Each is associated with Velasquez as an artistic influence. And each produced a body of work that endures and still engages.

John Singer Sargent: Watercolors

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), preeminent portraitist of his generation, was born to American parents in Florence, Italy. He received early training in Paris under Carolus-Duran. The artist lived his life largely as an expatriate in Europe, but worked on both sides of the Atlantic in later years.

By 1907, Sargent shifted his attention from formal portraiture to watercolors. During the course of his career, he amassed over two thousand watercolor works. It is reported that even prior to 1907, his studio was filled to overflowing with watercolor works heaped high, all created for private viewing, none for sale. (Joshua Rothman, “Sargent’s Watercolors,” The New Yorker, July 17, 2013.) He regularly utilized both transparent and opaque watercolor techniques, breaking with traditional European transparent technique to achieve a unique, robust vigor. Though clearly absorbed by the capture of light in his works, he did not aspire to the goals or techniques of the Impressionists. Unconfined by subject matter or technique, the results of this large body of work are perhaps unrivaled in the effects of a fluid and lively spontaneity and wondrous light.

And through the window, blue air, love…

Marc Chagall: Evening at the Window, 1950. Oil on canvas. Sammlung Rosengart Art Museum, Lucerne, Switzerland.

“I had only to open my bedroom window, and blue air, love, and flowers entered with her.” (Marc Chagall)

Banksy (United Kingdom-based; graffiti artist, street art, political activist, film director, and painter): "Waiting in vain...at the door of the club" (Man with Flowers), 2013. Seen on a roll-down security gate covering the main entrance to Larry Flint's Hustler Club in Hell's Kitchen, New York, NY.

Banksy (United Kingdom-based; graffiti artist, street art, political activist, film director, and painter): “Waiting in vain…at the door of the club” (Man with Flowers), 2013. Seen on a roll-down security gate covering the main entrance to Larry Flint’s Hustler Club in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, NY.

 

Cy Twombly (American, Contemporary, 1928–2011): Wilder Shores of Love, Bassano in Teverina, 1985, Oil based house paint, oil crayon, coloured pencil, lead pencil on wooden panel, 55-1/8 x 47-1/4 inches (140 x 120 cm), Private Collection. © Cy Twombly, Walther Dräyer, Zürich. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Cy Twombly (American, Contemporary, 1928–2011): Wilder Shores of Love, Bassano in Teverina, 1985, Oil based house paint, oil crayon, coloured pencil, lead pencil on wooden panel, 55-1/8 x 47-1/4 inches (140 x 120 cm), Private Collection. © Cy Twombly, Walther Dräyer, Zürich. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

 

Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944): Romantic landscape, 1911. Oil on canvas, 94.3 x 129 cm. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany. "The true work of art is born from the Artist: a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being." (Wassily Kandinsky)

Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944): Romantic landscape, 1911. Oil on canvas, 94.3 x 129 cm. Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany.
“The true work of art is born from the Artist: a mysterious, enigmatic, and mystical creation. It detaches itself from him, it acquires an autonomous life, becomes a personality, an independent subject, animated with a spiritual breath, the living subject of a real existence of being.” (Wassily Kandinsky)

 

M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Bond of Union, 1956. Lithograph, 25.3 x 33.9 cm (10 x 13-3/8 inches). © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Bond of Union, 1956. Lithograph, 25.3 x 33.9 cm (10 x 13-3/8 inches). © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

 

Marc Chagall [French, born Russia (present-day Belarus), 1887-1985]: Over the Town, 1918. Oil on canvas, 45 x 56 cm. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia. 'In his painting Over the City, Chagal and his wife Bella appear to be flying over Vitebsk while leaving in the space of Earth’s gravity the little houses sinking to one side. The principle theme of Chagal’s work is “the time of man.” He understood this to mean “man and his recollections, his reflections as something at the same time both existing and visible. It is a single being. And I portray it.” Therefore, the place allotted to any of the personages does not need to follow any laws of logic or physics and the figurative world loses its self-sufficiency and becomes only a pretext for expressing experiences. His ability to combine the lofty with the ordinary was one of the specific qualities of Chagal’s art. Even when depicting two lovers hovering over the city and daily life, the artist does not forget about details. Bella’s slippers, the lace of her dress, the very prosaic scene from life – all of this does not detract from the sense of the flight of these souls in love.' (© The State Tretyakov Gallery)

Marc Chagall [French, born Russia (present-day Belarus), 1887-1985]: Over the Town, 1918. Oil on canvas, 45 x 56 cm. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

Tom Wesselmann (American, Pop Art, 1931-2004): Bedroom Painting No. 38, 1978, Oil on canvas, 213.36 x 246.38 cm, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Washington, D.C., USA. © Estate of Tom Wesselmann/SODRAC, Montreal/VAGA, New York (2012), Photo: Lee Stalsworth. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Tom Wesselmann (American, Pop Art, 1931-2004): Bedroom Painting No. 38, 1978. Oil on canvas, 213.36 x 246.38 cm, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Washington, D.C., USA. © Estate of Tom Wesselmann/SODRAC, Montreal/VAGA, New York (2012), Photo: Lee Stalsworth. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

 

Alex Colville (Canadian; Realism, Magic Realism; 1920 - 2013): Soldier and Girl at Station, 1953. Glazed tempera on hardboard, 40.6 x 60.9 cm. The Thomson Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Alex Colville (Canadian; Realism, Magic Realism; 1920 – 2013): Soldier and Girl at Station, 1953. Glazed tempera on hardboard, 40.6 x 60.9 cm. The Thomson Collection, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

 

 

Julio Larraz

It has been said that reality lies not in what is revealed, but rather in what is not, or can not, be revealed. Therein lies an immense appeal of the works of Havana-born artist, Julio Larraz.

Julio Larraz (b. 1944), son of a newspaper publisher, left Cuba in 1961 with his family for Miami and remained in the US in political exile. During the 1960s, his political caricatures appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and others. Among his direct influences from 1964-1970 were Burt Silverman, David Levine, and Aaron Schikler. By 1967 Larraz worked full time as a painter.

Larraz’s jewel-toned oeuvre, though infused with autobiographical and political metaphors, exudes a sense of transcending the moment, the life lived, to achieve a certain monumentality in its conception and import. His work is rooted in early modern, European art traditions, including flirtations with Surrealism, but this preeminent Latin American artist’s vision, and particularly his Caribbean visual abstractions, are uniquely his own. Often his images convey an aura of mystery, strangeness — perhaps of a concealed, lurking danger. His works share an affinity with the Canadian, Alex Colville, and the American, Edward Hopper. But, the multi-dimensional visual poetry of Julio Larraz challenges, stimulates and gratifies unlike any other.