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Francesca Woodman: Italian Works

Through December 15th
Victoria Miro, Venice
victoria-miro.com

by Matt Carey-Williams

It’s raining here in Wiltshire. So, sat by the fire, with a glass of red to comfort the soul, my mind drifts to sunny Venice and our heartwarming exhibition of photographs by the enormously talented Francesa Woodman. This is her “Self-portrait, Easter, Rome, Italy, 1978 (1.160)”; the most sublime little gelatin silver estate print and, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful works in Victoria Miro Gallery Venice’s show dedicated to Woodman’s practice in Italy. Woodman was born in Denver in 1958 and was educated in Colorado and Massachusetts. Her family owned an old farm just outside of Florence and Woodman summered there for much of her childhood, learning to speak fluent Italian as a result. A child prodigy, she enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design in 1975 and, as part of her honors program, lived and studied in Rome between 1977 and 1978. This is where she made this gentle, elegant, stripped back yet haunting photograph. It’s typical in that Woodman exposes the fragility of (feminine) self through the interaction of her (more often than not) naked body with a bare, distressed, usually ambiguous, interiorized space. Here she sits, scrunched up in a somewhat anxious pose against a mottled chevron-thrusting plaster wall and hexagonally-tiled floor. Even the purity of geometry is discombobulated by Woodman’s insistence on an extended exposure for her print, blurring image, time and meaning. Around the corner from her apprehensive self stands a lone Calalily (voicing soft whispers of Mapplethorpe), propped up against the wall. Its thrusting vertical stem and marginally exposed flower head providing the gateway to Woodman’s exploration of both gender and sexuality, already communicated with the depiction of her naked self. The artist was barely 20 when she made this simple yet utterly beguiling image. A strangely unbreakable delicacy prevails but one, alas, that would not last long. She would live only until the age of 22, committing suicide in New York by jumping out of her loft on 19 January 1981. Her images embody a pain only poetry can evince. Achingly beautiful work.

Three Stephen Douglas paintings have found new homes this summer.

Three Stephen Douglas (American, b. 1949) works have found new homes this summer.

Frost Art Museum, Miami, FL. In With Poe, 2013, Oil on linen, 48 x 48 inches. © Stephen Douglas

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA. Overcast Imminent, 2002, Oil on linen, 40 x 30 inches © Stephen Douglas

Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, CA. Marsha, 1995, Oil on linen, 70 x 58 inches © Stephen Douglas

These artworks are posted in accordance with fair use principles.
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Peregrinations

Peregrinations:
America’s Age of Self-awareness,
1940-1970

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’.

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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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