Good News

The Wedding Dance by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, c. 1566, Detroit Institute of Arts.

The New York Times reports that the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts is no longer in danger of being sold as part of the Bankruptcy filed by the City of Detroit. This is very good news for not only the DIA, Detroit and Michigan, but for any art lover that enjoys access to masterpieces through public museums. Do yourself a favor and visit this collection if you can, there are some very fine pieces and you won't regret it.

Capturing Beauty

There is an exhibition of the work of Sandusky, OH artist Charles Courtney Curran at The Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh, now through February 1, 2015. He studied in Paris and split his time between New York and North Central Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie. The exhibition is titled Charles Courtney Curran: Seeking the Ideal and his definitely captures an idealized and beautiful life full of lovely settings and people, but don't we all like a look into an ideal world once in a while?

The Price We Pay

Isabella and the Pot of Basil by William Holman Hunt, 1868

Many years ago a friend and I attempted to visit The Delaware Art Museum. We drove up from Baltimore during the day and when we arrived at the museum, we found the building was closed because a protestor had chained himself to the front entrance to protest the DuPont Annual Meeting taking place inside the museum. Now, at that time in the early 1990's the DAM had the best collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the US and having just completed a thesis on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, I was anxious to see their collection - I never got to.

I read an article in the New York Times in August that the Delaware Art Museum was arbitrarily and against the advice of the American Association of Museum Directors, divesting themselves of many of the most important pieces in their collection based on monetary, rather than curatorial, decisions. My feelings about the museum came to the surface again, disappointment and disbelief.

The image above is the painting they sold which they anticipated getting upwards of 13 million for, but it only realized 4.2 million (before auction commissions) I wonder if they think it was worth it now. The word is that two more pieces of the collection will go up for sale soon to pay a debt incurred for a construction project, soon there will be less to adorn those new walls.

Saving The Past for the Future

St. Hedwig by Joseph Felix Męcina-Krzesz, 1914, Location of Original Unknown.
The Museum of Divine Statues in Lakewood, OH is housed in the old St. Hedwig Catholic Church and this lithograph image of the Saint for whom it is named was gifted to the museum. The museum features rescued and restored Catholic religious statuary from many of the churches in the area that have been closed in the last few years. It also has a fine collection of stained glass, as well as, furnishings, fixtures, and other artwork from many area churches. 

Side by Side

The West Wind by Tom Thomson, 1916-17, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada

The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario is hosting a study of two iconic Canadian artworks  by artist Tom Thomson through January 4, 2015. Tom Thomson's The Jack Pine and his The West Wind are examined side-by-side. I first came to know of Thomson after marrying my Canadian husband and visiting his relatives in Toronto when we went to the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) and I was introduced to the Group of Seven. They were a loosely tied group of landscape artists all choosing to focus on their surroundings as subject matter and thereby created the first major Canadian art movement.

The Jack Pine by Tom Thomson, 1916-17, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario


Water Lily by Georgia O'Keeffe, 1921, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

I saw this lovely pastel drawing by Georgia O'Keeffe today and had to feature it. It is different from her larger, closer, interpretations of flowers, but no less striking. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is located in Santa Fe, New Mexico and features not only her work, but that of many of her contemporaries.

Happy Father's Day

Portrait if Alexander J. Cassatt and his son, Robert Kelso Cassatt 

Mary Cassatt, the Impressionist artist, is well known for using her family as models in her artwork (men and boys are seen less often) as she spent a lot of her time around the women of the family. In this portrait we see Cassatt's father and her brother sharing an intimate moment. Her father was a railroad man and probably not around the house as often, or willing to sit still for very long (pure conjecture on my part). Happy Father's Day - perhaps you can capture an image of your father today?

Thanks to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Sadly, The Glasgow School of Art suffered a fire yesterday. It is an iconic work by the famous Scottish architect/artist/designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a personal favorite of mine. The most recent updates say that the firefighters were able to save much of the building and its contents which is very good news. Mackintosh is best known for his unique take on the Art Nouveau tradition which was reflected in all of his work and gave it a very beautiful, flowing style. The Glasgow School of Art is often cited as one of the most important buildings in modern architecture.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Breaking Ground by Making Art

Gateway, Tangier by Henry Ossawa Tanner, c. 1912, The St. Louis Art Museum.

Tanner studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, which was highly unusual for an African American at this time. He was also lucky enough to study under Thomas Eakins, who revolutionized the way that art was taught and influenced many. Robert Henri, founder of the Ashcan School, was also a student at the same time. Tanner felt the burden of post-slavery racism (his mother was a slave who had escaped through the Underground Railroad), even in the north, and decided to strike-out for France, where he spent most of his life. He continued his studies at The Louvre where the great French masters, such as Gustave Courbet, influenced his work further.

Follow the Seal

Two angels transporting the Saint Bride to Bethlehem to witness the Nativity. Scenes of the life of Christ are sewn into the garments of the angels. John Duncan is often characterized as a Symbolist artist because of his style, but also because he had a strong desire to understand the mysteries of nature as they relate to the divine.

Paper Landscape

Gas Giant by Jacob Hashimoto at MOCA, Los Angeles

Jacob Hashimoto creates large installation pieces made up of many small parts that are constructed, quite often by utilizing kite making techniques. You can see in the photo the individual pieces, some in boxes, some circles that look like small kites. His work is on display until June 8, 2014 at MOCA at the Pacific Design Center.

MOCA just opened a large exhibition of the work of multi-media artist (and Detroit native) Mike Kelly which is open through July 28, 2014.

You Know the Work, Now Meet the Woman

Mary Blair conceptual drawing for Disney's Alice in Wonderland.

Mary Blair was one of the most important artists to work at Disney and yet most know her work, but not her name. She brought that iconic mid-century style to such work as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Cinderella and she did set designs for Small World and Tomorrowland at Disneyland.

There is an exhibition of her work now through September 14, 2014 at The Walt Disney Family Museum in at The Presidio in San Francisco.

Article from Blouin Artinfo

The Armory Show - Then and Now

 Gallery A in the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art (nicknamed "Armory" Show)

The International Exhibition of Modern Art (The Armory Show) of 1913 was a pivotal time in the world of art. It marked the first time that art considered to be the "modern" style was brought together and exhibited in one space. It took over a year of planning and received much public scorn from people unaccustomed and uninterested the burgeoning styles displayed like Cubism, Fauvism and Futurism.

 Currently, there is an exhibition of the same name taking place in New York at the Piers which highlights art of the 20th and 21st centuries and is primarily a venue to buy and sell. However, if you have the opportunity, it is also a chance to see works by famous and unknown artists in the same locations.

2014 Armory Show in New York through March 9, 2014

Supreme Painting

Suprematist Composition, 1916 by Kazimir Malevich

During the closing ceremonies of the Olympics in Sochi last night, reference was made to Ukrainian artist Kazimir Malevich, but not much else was said about him. He is one of the most important artists of the 20th century, less famous than Picasso, but no less important. This is considered to be one of the most important pieces of 20th century art and in his treatise of 1916 Malevich explained that he wanted to concentrate on color and texture and to move beyond traditional representation.

Object as Communication

Suprematism, 1915 by Kasimir Malevich, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Malevich is the Father of the Suprematist movement which led to Abstraction. He considered his ultimate goal to be communication through "non-object" representation, culminating in a final "white on white" painting. He considered the conveying the feeling of a work more important than portraying an object. After the Russian revolution in 1917, he became a teacher and was quite influential on the Bauhaus artists, architects and designers.