Author Archives: Toby Byron


America’s Age of Self-awareness,

Developed and written by Aldis Browne

Until the mid-20th Century American artists were almost exclusively judged by comparisons to their European peers.

As the world experienced the profound realities of war—WWII in the 1940’s, the Korean conflict of the 50’s and the Vietnam War of the 60’s—America developed a voice of its own, and what a clarion voice it was.

The three decades between the genesis of Abstract Expression and the explosion of Pop Art established America’s art and artists as forces of unsurpassed dynamism.

As American art came to be recognized, widely exhibited, and frequently collected, small institutions began to proliferate across the Nation.  No longer could long-established institutions in such art capitals as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, claim any monopoly.

Art centers, university art galleries, and small museums drew ever-increasing support, both public and private, and they, too, became integral to community, education, and connoisseurship.

Enjoying art was no longer the exclusive domain of major museums in the large metropolitan areas, nor of the elite, the academic, or the intellectual.

The Michelin Guide has long awarded stars as: * worthy of a visit, ** a detour, *** a trip. Similarly, America has become home to both institutions and works of art that are well worthy of such a visit, detour or trip. The works featured here reflect the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s – the beginning of America’s ‘age of self-discovery’.





Peggy and David Rockefeller’s art at Christie’s

“Eventually all these objects which have brought so much pleasure to Peggy and me will go out into the world and will again be available to other caretakers who, hopefully, will derive the same satisfaction and joy from them as we have over these past several decades.”
(David Rockefeller, 1992)

Exhibition and Auction:
The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller

New York: 20 Rockefeller Plaza
Through March 10, 2018

“To date, Christie’s dedicated Rockefeller sales have made $764.4 million—and there are three more live sales and a variety of online sales still to come … last night’s European art auction [May 8, 2018] … generated a smashing $646 million total.” (Artnet News, © Artnet Worldwide Corporation)

Of Interest: Robin Pogrebin, “Pulled From Rockefeller Walls, Picasso, Matisse and Monet Fetch Big Prices,” The New York Times

Pablo Picasso, Young Girl with a Basket of Flowers. Paris. Spring 1905. The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, sold for $115 million Tuesday night at Christie’s Rockefeller auction.

Henri Matisse, Odalisque couchée aux magnolias, 1923. Oil on canvas. 23¾ x 31⅞ in (60.5 x 81.1 cm). © Succession H. Matisse/ DACS 2018. The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller – sold for $80.8 million Tuesday night at Christie’s Rockefeller auction in New York.

Paul Signac, Opus 217. “Against the Enamel of a Background Rhythmic with Beats and Angles, Tones, and Tints, Portrait of M. Félix Fénéon in 1890,” 1890. The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, Spring 2018 at Christie’s in New York.

Edouard Manet (1832–1883), Lilas et roses, 1882. Oil on canvas. 12¾ x 9¾ in (32.4 x 24.7 cm). The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, Spring 2018 at Christie’s in New York.

Claude Monet: Extérieur de la gare Saint-Lazare, effet de soleil, 1877. Painted in Paris. Oil on canvas. The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, Spring 2018 at Christie’s in New York.

Willem de Kooning (1904-1997), Untitled XIX, 1982. Oil and charcoal on canvas. 80 x 70 in (203.2 x 177.8 cm). © The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, Spring 2018 at Christie’s in New York.

Juan Gris, La table de musician, 1914. Demonstrating the cubist artist’s ability, La table conjures solid objects from oil, gouache, colored wax crayons, charcoal and paper collage on canvas. Although Picasso and Braque also used these techniques Gris is regarded as the ‘master of form’. The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, Spring 2018 at Christie’s in New York.

David Rockefeller and Peggy McGrath Rockefeller. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Matisse’s “Odalisque couchée aux magnolias” (left) and David Rockefeller (right)

Featured image: John Singer Sargent: San Geremia, 1913. Oil on canvas. Painted on Sargent’s last trip to Venice where he stayed with his friends the Curtis’ at Palazzo Barbaro. The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, Spring 2018 at Christie’s in New York.

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“‘Every work I create is a mathematical dream’ – an interview with Beatriz Milhazes,” By Amandas Ong

Beatriz Milhazes creates colourful compositions in a variety of mediums, inspired by landscape of Brazil and modernist traditions in both Europe and Latin America. She speaks to Amandas Ong about her new exhibition, ‘Rio Azul’, at White Cube in Bermondsey.

‘Rio Azul’ means ‘blue river’ in Portuguese, but it also refers to an important Mayan site in Guatemala. How did you arrive at this title for the exhibition?
It’s the title of the tapestry that’s on display. The idea of a river is probably what inspired me most: in our imagination, rivers are blue, but they can also be any other colour depending on the light. There’s also something magical about rivers because they support life.

It was very difficult to choose a title that could capture the diversity of my work – I paint, I make collages, and now I make tapestries, too. But the tapestry is one of the largest works on display. And in all my work it’s important for me that viewers are able to engage in a dialogue between symbolism and material fact, so I wanted the title to reflect this interaction.

Installation view, ‘Beatriz Milhazes: Rio Azul’ at White Cube, Bermondsey, 2018. Photo: © White Cube (Ollie Hammick); © Beatriz Milhazes

The tapestry is one of a number of works in the show made collaboratively with others. What role does collaboration play in your artistic process?
I’ve always enjoyed and been curious about collaborative effort. I worked with my sister, Marcia Milhazes, to design the set for the performances that she choreographs for her dance company, but was happy for her to make most of the major creative decisions – she’s the one who stages the actual dances.

To make Rio Azul, I had to learn lots about weaving, which is a whole different craft to anything I’d ever done before, so that was fascinating. Collaboration requires a generosity of spirit, and you need to strike a balance between pushing your ideas across and knowing when to be a bit more passive. Because the weavers were the ones who had the technical knowledge to make my dream come to life, I had to make sure they really understood my vision and were on the same page as me.

Installation view, ‘Beatriz Milhazes: Rio Azul’ at White Cube, Bermondsey, 2018. Photo: © White Cube (Ollie Hammick); © Beatriz Milhazes

What it was like working with the master weavers at the Pinton Mill in France to create the tapestry?
I chose the Pinton Mill, who have been operating since 1867, because they had a rich tradition of working with modernist artists like Sonia Delaunay and Alexander Calder. The partnership felt a little like travelling back in time – to work in the same space as Delaunay was a huge honour for me.

I was very impressed by how closely the Pinton family is involved in the creative process, from shearing the wool to dyeing to the actual weaving. It took more than a year to have the tapestry made – and up until the moment when it was unveiled, nobody had seen it in its entirety, even the weavers, because different groups would be participating in the project at any one time. It was a very emotional moment for all of us.

Descriptions of your work often refer to the colours and natural landscape of Brazil. Are these references to your home country deliberate?
The first studio I had was in the same neighbourhood as the botanical gardens in Rio de Janeiro, and so I was constantly surrounded by nature – I think that’s why there are so many tropical colours and so much green in my work. After I became more internationally recognised, it was even more important for me to establish a sense of identity that was tied to home. I’m definitely very attached to my country – I’ve never thought about leaving Brazil because all my friends and family are there.

Goa (2017), Beatriz Milhazes. Photo: © Pepe Schettino; courtesy White Cube. © Beatriz Milhazes

Given the wide range of mediums that you use, do you have a creative philosophy that applies to all of them?
My work centres on the paintings – they’re sort of how I think, and they’re also the most energy-consuming and require the most focus. My collages take up a lot of time, but sourcing the materials is a more varied process. I collect sweet wrappers, silkscreen and holographic papers, and I piece them together.

I’d say that the use of colour is a characteristic that unites my work, which is funny because when I first started out all I wanted to use was white. Now, colour is a way for me to create contrast, drama and mystery. Every work I create is a mathematical dream and colours are a way of emphasising that.

‘Beatriz Milhazes: Rio Azul’ is at White Cube, Bermondsey, until 1 July.

By Amandos Ong, Reprint from Apollo magazine, 24 April 2018, © 2018 Apollo Magazine.

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Vincent van Gogh: Undergrowth with two figures, 1890. Oil on canvas, 19 1/2 x 39 1/4 inches (49.5 x 99.7 cm), Cincinnati Art Museum.

Vincent van Gogh’s (1853-1890) love of nature is well known from his exuberant landscapes of fields of grain, mountainsides, turbulent skies, orchard blossoms to the more humble vignettes of birds, butterflies and lilies. This masterpiece from the Dutchman’s late period was created in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, in June 1890.

It is little known that the marvelous “Undergrowth With Two Figures” is a pendant piece to “Wheat Fields near Auvers,” June 1890, located in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere of Vienna, Austria. Vincent documents the pendant artworks in a letter to his brother Theo, dated June 24 or 25, 1890. Vincent was to die a tragic and controversial death just days later on July 29, 1890.

Today, I Require Art’s store opens. Eight premium prints produced with our exclusive print partner, Art Authority, of Ashland, OR.

We thought you might like to read some background on each of the works now available.

Questions? Comments?
We want to hear from you!

David Park: Rehearsal, 1949-1950. Oil on canvas, 46 x 35.75 inches, Oakland Museum of California.

David Park (1911–1960), in 1949, decisively abandoned his work within the prevailing abstract expressionist art movement with a trip to the Berkeley dump. At the time, he was teaching at the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute. Park was the first to reassert figurative work and scenes from everyday life into his work. This artistic directional shift from the abstract to the representational, known collectively as the Bay Area Figurative movement, was later pursued by Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, Paul Wonner and others in the Bay Area.

Pauline Napangardi Gallagher: Mina Mina Jukurrpa (Mina Mina Dreaming), 2017. Acrylic on Belgian linen, 152 x 122 cm. 1798/17ny. © Warlukurlangu Artists.

Pauline Napangardi Gallagher (b. 1952), paints Pikilyi Jukurrpa (Pikilyi Dreaming) and Mina Mina Jukurrpa (Mina Mina Dreaming), Dreamings that relate to her land, its features and animals.

At first glance, contemporary Aboriginal paintings appear to be straightforward abstract artworks, but they derive from the rich heritage of their forbears. Stories passed down over countless generations of their origins, traditions of body painting and notable geographical features of their territories translate into intricate, vibrant visual patterns.

Marcus Jansen: Typewriter, 2007. Oils on paper, 14 x 17 inches. © Marcus Jansen.

Marcus Jansen – New Horizons. Mit den Waffen der Malerei
February 10 – April 15, 2018
Museum Zitadelle Berlin, Germany
Bastion Kronprinz

I Require Art:
No. 44, Interview: Marcus Jansen

Jansen’s first museum introduction to Europe was at the Triennale di Milano Museum in 2016 where the artist was noted in the Italian press as one of the top ten shows to be seen in Italy alongside Basquiat and Monet. Jansen has also been referred to as “one of the most important American painters of his generation” by two time Documenta Kassel curator, Prof Manfred Schneckenburger in his recently published book “Marcus Jansen. Aftermath” (Hirmer Publishers, Munich).

Odilon Redon: The Buddha, c. 1905. Pastel on paper, 90 x 73 cm, Musée d’Orsay.

The symbolism of Odilon Redon (1840-1916) transports. His mind — magical. Whether roaming through the peculiar and compelling dark world of oddities in his “noirs,” or his later works of sublime floral vistas, the imagery of his subjective visions intoxicates. Late in his career, a number of works reflect a strong interest in Japonism and eastern religions, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism. Here, we see one of his several exquisite visions of the Buddha, c. 1905.

Jacob Lawrence: Migration Panel 18, Migration Series (60 panels), 1941. Tempera on gesso on composition board, 18 x 12 inches, Museum of Modern Art, NY.

Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000), grew up in Harlem at a time when the neighborhood, stories of individuals and of a people, mattered. No doubt, this formative period during the Harlem Renaissance for Lawrence, as a young man and as an artist, charted his direction.

“The community [in Harlem] let me develop … I painted the only way I knew how to paint … I tried to put the images down the way I related to the community … I was being taught … to see.” (Jacob Lawrence)

He often painted in series. His Migration Series (1940-1941) of 60 panels is the story of the massive movement of over a million African Americans from the rural South to the urban North between World War I and World War II. The Museum of Modern Art has granted rare permission to issue a print edition of Migration Panel 18.

“To me, migration means movement. There was conflict and struggle. But out of the struggle came a kind of power and even beauty. ‘And the migrants kept coming’ is a refrain of triumph over adversity. If it rings true for you today, then it must still strike a chord in our American experience.” (Jacob Lawrence)

Bob Parent: Charlie Parker with (l-r) Charles Mingus, Roy Haynes and Thelonious Monk, The Greatest Night in Jazz?, Open Door, New York, NY, September 13, 1953.

On September 13, 1953, bebop legend Charlie Parker, was on the bandstand at the Open Door in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and Roy Haynes shared the stage with the great Bird in what many have said was the greatest night in jazz. Bob Parent’s landmark photograph is available here.

Hans Hofmann, Summer Night’s Bliss, 1961. Oil on canvas, 84 x 78 inches, The Baltimore Museum of Art. © Renate, Hans & Maria Hofmann Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Such a colorist! Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), notable as an abstract artist, influential teacher and author, is the progenitor of the “push and pull” technique of manipulating color, form and texture to create the illusion of depth, space and movement eschewing representational forms.

“Art is to me the glorification of the human spirit, and as such it is the cultural documentation of the time in which it is produced.” (Hans Hofmann)

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“How Egg Tempera Painters Crack the Mystery of the Perfect Yolk,” By Karen Chernick

“How Egg Tempera Painters Crack the Mystery of the Perfect Yolk”

‘Just in time for Easter and Passover, we’ve hatched a practical guide to the centuries-old egg-based paint.’

By Karen Chernick

What would Easter be without the decorated egg? Powder blue, rose pink, and daffodil-yellow ovals have become synonymous with the springtime holiday, and painting or dyeing the white canvas of egg shells has reputedly been a popular tradition since the Middle Ages. Eggs are also a fixture on Passover Seder plates, symbolizing a sacrifice in the Temple of Jerusalem.

But there’s also a centuries-old artistic tradition of painting using the eggs themselves. Egg tempera was a ubiquitous technique during the early Italian Renaissance, when it was considered the standard for portable easel paintings. Botticelli, Raphael, and Andrew Wyeth all painted with tempera. Today, the quick-drying medium, which employs a 50/50 blend of egg yolk and color pigment, is mostly in use by a brave few contemporary practitioners (who must not mind the smell of aging eggs in the studio).

These seasoned artists know what to look for in the perfect paint-worthy egg. Some of them, such as Mary Frances Dondelinger, have been known to use hundreds of eggs a month. Others are regulars at particular farmers’ markets, or swear by a specific brand of store-bought eggs. Just in case you’re not able to raise your own hen (which most agree is the very best option), here’s your guide to sourcing the ideal egg, according to six contemporary egg tempera painters.

Sandro Botticelli, “The Birth of Venus,” tempera on canvas (c. 1486, via Wikimedia)

1. Do you want to eat it?

If it doesn’t look appetizing to eat, it probably isn’t — and shouldn’t be used for painting, either. “The best eggs for egg tempera are fresh and healthy,” says Miranda Gray, a New-Mexico based painter. “The eggs that you would most want to eat yourself are the eggs that work best for egg tempera.”

Robin-Lee Hall, a UK-based artist, agrees: she buys the same eggs for her studio and her refrigerator. A loyal customer of a British brand called Burford Browns, Hall says, “They make delicious creamy scrambled egg.”

2. Is it fresh?

The fresher the better, for eggs and most perishable ingredients. But how far do you take that recommendation? “I heard of one painter who caught the eggs before they hit the nest to get the freshest and warmest eggs for painting,” says Mary Frances Dondelinger. Of course, not everyone has a flock of hens at their disposal.

Robin-Lee Hall, “Joy,” egg tempera on gesso panel, 28 x 24 inches (courtesy of the artist)

Beyond the sell-by date on a store-bought egg carton, you can gauge whether an egg is fresh by the strength of the shell, and how easy it is to separate the yolk from the egg white. “If the egg is old or sickly, the membrane between the yellow and white is not strong, the shell is thin and weak, and it is very difficult to separate the egg,” Gray says.

3. What color is the yolk?

It’s worth shelling out the extra money for richer-colored yolks. As a culinary ingredient, yolks are a binder that adds a creamy texture to dishes. In tempera painting, they are the glue that keeps pigment particles together. “The cheapest eggs have the palest yolks,” says Rosemary Antel, a Seattle-based landscape painter. “Pastured hens and organic eggs have yolks that are almost red-orange.” Hall buys Burford Browns because of their “bright rich cadmium orange yolk,” she says. “It needs to be rich and thick.”

4. Free-range from the farmers’ market, or store-bought?

There isn’t a consensus among egg tempera painters on whether farm-fresh eggs make a difference in the final painted product. “I have tried organic versus not, brown eggs and white, and shades between, and found it’s not of any significant difference,” explains Mona Conner, a tempera portrait painter. “It’s just about the freshness.

“For many years I bought store eggs for eating and painting,” says Ella Frazer, a Scottish-born painter now based in Florida. “I am now vegetarian and always buy organic cage-free eggs. I certainly haven’t noticed any change.”

Miranda Gray, “Yoda in Spring,” egg tempera on panel, 5″×7.5″ (courtesy of the artist)

5. Do you have to paint with chicken eggs?

Painters of a different feather may not use chicken eggs at all. According to Antel, Alaska Natives have a tradition of mixing salmon eggs with finely ground rock to create paint.

Among artists drawing from the European tradition, birds have been the egg-hatchers of choice, but chickens don’t have a monopoly on egg tempera. “There is talk of using eggs that have a larger oil content (emu or goose eggs for example) thus producing more brilliant colors,” says Dondelinger. “But when I’m using hundreds of eggs in a month I look for ease of access and I’ve had beautiful results with eggs from the humble chicken.”

Antonio da Fabriano II, “Saint Jerome in His Study,” The Walters Art Museum, tempera and gold leaf on wood panel (c.1450, via Wikimedia)

Featured image: Robin-Lee Hall, “Amber Still Life,” 10×12 inches, egg tempera on gesso panel (courtesy of the artist)

By Karen Chernick, Reprint from Hyperallergic, 30 March 2018, © 2018 Hyperallergic Media Inc.