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message 1: by Heather (new)

Heather 18 February 1913 French painting Nude Descending a Staircase No.2 (1912) by Marcel Duchamp causes a scandal at the 1913 Armory Show in New York City.

Nude Descending a Staircase

A major proponent of Dada, Duchamp was one of the most influential figures of avant-garde 20th-century art.
Marcel Duchamp [28 Jul 1887 - 02 Oct 1968] was a French painter and theorist, a major proponent of DADA, and one of the most influential figures of avant-garde 20th-century art. After a brief early period in which he was influenced chiefly by Paul Cezanne and Fauve color, Duchamp developed a type of symbolic painting, a dynamic version of facet Cubism, in which the image depicted successive movements of a single body.

It closely resembled the multiple exposure photography documented in Eadweard Muybridge's book The Horse in Motion (1878). In 1912, Duchamp painted his famous Nude Descending A Staircase, which caused a scandal at the 1913 Armory show in New York City. In the same year he developed, with Francis Picabia and Guillaume Apollinaire, the radical and ironic ideas that independently prefigured the official founding of Dada in 1916 in Zurich.

In Paris in 1914, Duchamp bought and inscribed a bottle rack, thereby producing his first ready-made, a new art form based on the principle that art does not depend on established rules or on craftsmanship. Duchamp's ready-mades are ordinary objects that are signed and titled, becoming aesthetic, rather than functional, objects simply by this change in context. Dada aimed at departure from the physical aspect of painting and emphases in ideas as the chief means of artistic expression.

In 1915, Duchamp moved to New York City, where he was befriended by Louise and Walter Arensberg and their circle of artists and poets, which constituted New York Dada. That same year he began his major work, The Large Glass, or The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (1915-23), a construction of wire and painted foil fitted between plates of transparent glass, Even. In 1918 he completed his last major painting, Tu m', a huge oil and graphite on canvas, a unique combination of real and painted objects and illusionistic and flat space.

The Large Glass


Following his maxim never to repeat himself, Duchamp "stopped" painting (1923) after 20 works and devoted himself largely to the game of chess.

Marcel Duchamp playing chess in 1952. (Kay Bell Reynal photo in the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art.)

message 2: by Heather (new)

Heather February 28, 2002 Discovered Rubens's The Massacre of the Innocents to go at auction.

Sotheby's auction house announces that it has identified a previously unknown painting by Peter Paul Rubens, one of the greatest Old Masters to be offered at auction in decades. A private owner brought the painting, previously thought to be by Rubens follower Jan van den Hoecke, to the company's attention, and Sotheby's experts determined it was a Rubens. The painting, The Massacre of the Innocents (1611), is expected to sell for anywhere from $5.7 million to $8.5 million when it is auctioned on 11 July 2002.
It shows a gruesome, action-filled scene in which soldiers begin to slaughter a group of women and children. Babies' bodies litter the ground, one soldier holds an old woman by the throat as he prepares to run a sword through her torso and blood runs beneath the figures' feet.
The painting had been bought by the royal family of Liechtenstein, in about 1700, identified as an early Rubens. But it was later misidentified by their curators.

message 3: by Heather (new)

Heather March 25 The Annunciation, first day of Christian Era

by Berruguete

by Fra Angelico

Roman Church historian Dionysius Exiguus (ca.500–550), in calculating his history of the Christian Church, took this day as the supposed date of the Annunciation. March 25th afterward became the first day of the calendar year, until the Gregorian Calendar Reform of 1582 changed the day to January first.
In chronology Dionysius has left his mark conspicuously, for it was he who introduced the use of the Christian Era (see Chronology) according to which dates are reckoned from the Incarnation, which he assigned to 25 March, in the year 754 from the foundation of Rome (A. U. C.). By this method of computation he intended to supersede the "Era of Diocletian" previously employed, being unwilling, as he tells us, that the name of an impious persecutor should be thus kept in memory. The Era of the Incarnation, often called the Dionysian Era, was soon much used in Italy and, to some extent, a little later in Spain; during the eighth and ninth centuries it was adopted in England. Charlemagne is said to have been the first Christian ruler to employ it officially. It was not until the tenth century that it was employed in the papal chancery (Lersch, Chronologie, Freiburg, 1899, p. 233). Dionysius also gave attention to the calculation of Easter, which so greatly occupied the early Church. To this end he advocated the adoption of the Alexandrian Cycle of nineteen years, extending that of St. Cyril for a period of ninety-five years in advance. It was in this work that he adopted the Era of the Incarnation.

The angel's visit to Mary inspires great paintings over a thousand years later.

by Sandro Filipepi “Botticelli”
Tempera on wood

This picture was painted for the church of the florentine convent of Cestello (today Santa Maria Maddalena de'Pazzi) in borgo Pinti. The scene is notable for dramatic force suggested by the pose of the Virgin; the figures are placed inside a perspective space, open in the background on a beautiful landscape.

by Van Eyck
tempera and oil on wood

message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda Harkins (catdog77) | 29 comments Isn't that a Holbein in Berruguette's

message 5: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1943 comments Linda wrote: "Isn't that a Holbein in Berruguette's


message 6: by Linda (new)

Linda Harkins (catdog77) | 29 comments the Ottoman carpet on the floor

message 7: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1943 comments Why is that a Holbein?

message 8: by Linda (new)

Linda Harkins (catdog77) | 29 comments With the importation of luxury goods from the East during the Renaissance, the wealthy particularly craved and purchased expensive Ottoman carpets from Central Anatolia (Turkey), chief among them the red ones wirh geometric patterns and medallions. In Holbein's "The Ambassadors" there is a red carpet draping the table. Holbein probably was among the first to include these magnificent carpets in paintings; hence, they have come to be called by his name. Even the contemporary ones that I saw in Turkey in 2009 are incomparable. The carpet sellers continue to refer to them as Holbeins.

message 9: by Heather (new)

Heather Very interesting, Linda. Thanks!

message 10: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1943 comments I know those carpets show up in Northern Renaissance paintings, but I had no idea they were called Holbeins. That's interesting. Is it just the red ones they call Holbeins, or all of them?

message 11: by John (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) It's irrespective of color. There are a few different types of them, depending on the size of the pattern involved.

message 12: by Heather (new)

Heather I just looked up these interesting tidbits of interesting is what it says in Wikipedia:

Holbein carpet are a type of Ottoman carpets taking their name from Hans Holbein the Younger, due to their depiction in European Renaissance paintings. Actually, these in fact are seen in paintings from many decades earlier than Holbein, and are sub-divided into four types (of which Holbein actually only painted two); they are the commonest designs of Anatolian carpet seen in Western Renaissance paintings, and continued to be produced for a long period. All are purely geometric and use a variety of arrangements of lozenges, crosses and octagonal motifs within the main field. The sub-divisions are between:[1]

* Type I: Small-pattern Holbein. The motifs are small, and usually of several different types that recur regularly.
* Type II: now more often called Lotto carpets.
* Type III: Large-pattern Holbein. The motifs in the field inside the border are large squares filled with decoration, placed regularly, with narrow strips between them containing no "gul" motifs. The carpet in Holbein's The Ambassadors is of this type.
* Type IV: Large-pattern Holbein. The square compartments have octagons or other "gul" motifs from the small-pattern types between them.

Type I small-pattern Holbein carpet, Anatolia, 16th century.

Type IV large-pattern Holbein carpet, 16th century, Central Anatolia.

Type I Holbein carpet with small medallions, Bergama, early 16th century.

Verrocchio Madonna with Saint John the Baptist and Donatus 1475-1483

Master of Saint Giles, Mass of Saint Giles, c. 1500, with a Type III Holbein carpet.

"The Ambassadors", by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1533. This is a "large-pattern Holbein", Type III.

message 13: by Linda (new)

Linda Harkins (catdog77) | 29 comments Thanks for posting the additional pictures and research, Heather. Needless to say, I was unable to purchase a Holbein when I was in Turkey, but did buy a carpet in Central Anatolia made by an Armenian family.

message 14: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1943 comments I do love oriental carpets. I have a couple, but they're really worn.

message 15: by Dvora (new)

Dvora Heather, you're a treasure. Thanks for making it so easy for us to get a handle on this Holbein business.
Heather wrote: "I just looked up these interesting tidbits of interesting is what it says in Wikipedia:

Holbein carpet are a type of Ottoman carpets taking their name from Hans Holbein the Youn..."

message 16: by Heather (new)

Heather April 12, 2002 Worth a Million the Painting Discovered by a Boy?

The Fate of Persephone
Walter Crane

A long-forgotten Victorian masterpiece rediscovered by a 10-year-old Connecticut boy in his school library is expected to fetch more than $1 million at a 12 June 2002 auction in London, Christie's announces. In fact it would go for £424'650 (about $660'000)
Bingham Bryant long admired the dusty old painting portraying one of his favorite Greek myths that sat above the bookcase behind the librarian's desk. One day he was moved to tell his antique dealer father about it. After some painstaking research by his father, Christopher Bryant, and a much needed cleaning, the painting -- which had sat in Old Lyme School for nearly 70 years -- was revealed to be Walter Crane's The Fate of Persephone (121x266cm).
Crane [1845-1915] was regarded as the primary painter of the Aesthetics Movement -- which was concerned with design in various mediums -- and painted the piece in 1878.
The painting depicts Pluto, lord of the underworld, and his two rearing black stallions emerging from Hades to abduct Persephone, the goddess of spring, as she picks flowers from a blooming garden.
The schoolboy started the process that unearthed the masterpiece in 2000, when he was in the fifth grade. "I know quite a bit about art and I'm interested in Greek mythology and very classical painting," says Bryant, now a 12-year-old seventh grader at Old Lyme Middle School. "I was sure it was old. I just wasn't sure if it was good or no, so I just told dad."
Christopher Bryant acted on his precocious son's suggestion and had a look. "I realized as soon as I saw it that it was really something quite special and quite wonderful," Bryant found that the painting had been purchased in 1923 by Yale professor Brian Hooker, who lent the work to Old Lyme School in 1935 and never reclaimed it. Bryant tracked down the painting's legal heirs, Hooker's octogenarian daughters, who decided to auction the painting.
"I was really excited," the young Bingham said about finding out the true value of the old painting. "It was very dark and dingy, there was a lot of dust. It was beautiful then and even more beautiful now." The Bryants would not comment on any financial arrangements struck with the Hooker sisters.

message 17: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Thanks for this article about The Fate of Persephone. I wonder what ever happened to it.

message 18: by Heather (last edited May 28, 2011 09:17AM) (new)

Heather Birth of Dante Alighieri who inspired so much art!

Dante codex page
illumination on parchment by an anonymous Italian miniaturist active in the 1340s in Venice

The codex contains Dante's work, the Divina Commedia. In the 14th century the codex belonged to the Venetian Emo family. The three figurative pictures on the title page shown here illustrate lines 1-2 and 30-50 of the Inferno.
In the N initial the figure of Dante appears, below it Dante meditates in a racky landscape.
The third picture depicts the meeting of Dante with the three symbolic beasts (lion, wolf, panther).

La Barque de Dante
Eugene Delacroix 1822

Dante Drinking the Waters of the Lethe
by Jean Delville (Belgian, 1867-1953) 1919

Beatrice Meeting Dante at a Marriage Feast, Denies Him Her Salutation
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1855, Watercolor

Dante's dream at the death of Beatrice
Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The First Anniversary of the Death of Beatrice: Dante Drawing the Angel
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1853, Watercolor

Beatrice addressing Dante from the whirl

Dante and Virgil Entering Purgatory
by Luca Signorelli 1500 Fresco detail

message 19: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Chadwick (greggchadwick) | 2 comments Thank you! These are fantastic artworks that capture the beauty and mystery of Dante's life and work.

message 20: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Hi Gregg! Heather, you are a star! I appreciate seeing all these works. There's a painting of Beatrice at a bridge in Florence I'll post when I get back to my desktop. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. everybody-same to everyone in other parts of the world. May we all share art and ideas and have a Memorial Day that honors the end of all war and killing!

message 21: by Heather (new)

Heather Glad you like them! I will look forward to that painting, Monica, when you get a chance to post it.

message 22: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Chadwick (greggchadwick) | 2 comments Below is an image of Dante's death mask that I captured at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence last October:

Death Mask of Dante (Palazzo Vecchio, Firenze)

message 23: by Heather (new)

Heather Wow, Gregg! That literally puts a face to a name! Really neat, thanks for sharing!

message 24: by Heather (new)

Heather For all who enjoy the independence celebration of the United States:

The Declaration of Independence John Trumbull

John Trumbull (June 6, 1756 – November 10, 1843) was an American artist during the period of the American Revolutionary War and was notable for his historical paintings.

General George Washington at Trenton, oil on canvas, by the American artist John Trumbull. 92 1/2 in. x 63 in. Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Gift of the Society of Cincinnati in Connecticut.

Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec 1775

The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill, June 17,1775.

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis

His Declaration of Independence was used on the reverse of the two-dollar bill.

message 25: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 376 comments Beautiful paintings, Heather. It's good to be reminded how courageous the signers were, and how many sacrificed in the Revolutionary War. The Fourth of July is not just picnics and fireworks.

message 26: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) But the parades are fantastic to watch. Happy Fourth Everyone!

message 27: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments John Trumbull was the first American painter to produce a series of history paintings that depicted scenes of the Revolutionary War. (Did you know that he was blind in one eye due to a childhood accident?) In the painting below, Trumbull painted 42 portraits of the 56 signers of the Declaration.

[image error]
John Trumbull (1756-1843); The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776; 1832; Oil on canvas; Purchased by Daniel Wadsworth and members of the Atheneum Committee.

John Trumbull painted his eight well-known canvases of scenes of the American Revolution between 1786 and 1831. However, in 1817 the United States Congress commissioned Trumbull to reproduce four of the paintings in life-size, which he did, with some regret that he was not asked to do the full series. (Those 4 paintings now hang in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.) In 1831 Trumbull's hopes for creating a complete series in monumental size were revived with the artist's proposal to establish a Trumbull Gallery at Yale University. Daniel Wadsworth offered to donate the property and funding for a second Trumbull Gallery to be built in Hartford. However, Trumbull and Wadsworth could not compromise on which gallery would house the original 8 history paintings, and consequently the Hartford gallery was not built.

Trumbull kept on with the project and finished the five existing paintings in the series by 1834. All appear in this gallery. He exhibited the group at the American Academy of Fine Arts in New York in 1835 and planned to complete the remaining three. Trumbull's advanced age and poor health did not permit him to accomplish this wish, and he died in 1843. The five paintings were purchased by Daniel Wadsworth in 1844, and they were installed in the newly formed Wadsworth Atheneum.

[image error]
John Trumbull (1756-1843), The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill, June 17, 1775, 1834, Oil on canvas. Purchased by Daniel Wadsworth and members of the Atheneum Committee.

In his series of paintings about the American Revolution, John Trumbull focuses not on the outcome of the battles but on the noble and courageous behavior of the participants on both sides. In the first of his series, The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill, Trumbull shows the moment when American General Joseph Warren is killed by a musket ball, just as the British successfully press beyond American fortifications. An American soldier gathers the fatally wounded general in his arms, while British Major John Small fends off an attacking grenadier in an attempt to save Warren from being bayoneted. In the right foreground, a wounded soldier hesitates, wondering whether to save himself or return to assist his general.

John Trumbull (1756-1843), The Death of General Montgomery at the Attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775, 1834, Oil on canvas, Purchased by Daniel Wadsworth and members of the Atheneum Committee.

Rather than depict a scene from one of Major General Richard Montgomery's victorious battles, Trumbull chooses to capture the nobility and courage of the American general and his army in their futile, but brilliant, campaign against Quebec. The Canadian and British troops, who anticipated the American attack, fired a blast of grapeshot from a naval cannon, killing Montgomery, his two aides-de-camp, and several others. In The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec, members of the American army gallantly and protectively surround the dying Montgomery, while others gesture in shock at the sight of their fallen leader.

[image error]
John Trumbull (1756-1843); The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776; 1831; Oil on canvas; Purchased by Daniel Wadsworth and members of the Atheneum Committee.

In this painting, John Trumbull focuses on the benevolence of the victorious Americans toward a fallen enemy officer. On December 25, 1776, George Washington, determined to put an end to a demoralizing series of military defeats, planned a surprise attack on the German Hessians at Trenton. Caught on the morning after Christmas celebrations, the Germans were unable to organize a resistance; the ensuing battle lasted only forty-five minutes. In the center, mounted on a horse, Washington directs the assistance of a mortally wounded Hessian colonel, while in the left and right foregrounds, further gestures of sympathy and care for injured soldiers are depicted.

[image error]
John Trumbull (1756-1843); The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777, 1831; Oil on canvas; Purchased by Daniel Wadsworth and members of the Atheneum Committee.

The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, the third battle scene in Trumbull's Revolutionary War series, commemorates the loss of a leading American general. General Hugh Mercer, shown kneeling beside his horse, is bayoneted and clubbed to death by a detachment of British forces moving to assist Lord Cornwallis in his attempt to storm Washington's camp. Cut off from his beleaguered men, Mercer fights alone to defend himself against attacking soldiers. Washington (on the brown horse) and his troops rush in to defeat the British, but are too late to aid Mercer, who dies nine days later. The Battle of Princeton was an American victory, the last conflict in Washington's campaign against the British in New Jersey.

message 28: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 376 comments Good article, Carol. Are you a docent at the Wadsworth Atheneum?

message 29: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments How can you tell?!

message 30: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments [image error]
Thomas Jefferson (left), Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776., Illustration courtesy Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, Library of Congress

The Declaration of Independence Was Signed on July 4

Independence Day is celebrated two days too late. The Second Continental Congress voted for a Declaration of Independence on July 2, prompting John Adams to write his wife, "I am apt to believe that July 2, 1776, will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival." Adams correctly foresaw shows, games, sports, buns, bells, and bonfires—but he got the date wrong. The written document wasn't edited and approved until the Fourth of July, and that was the date printers affixed to "broadside" announcements sent out across the land. July 2 was soon forgotten. In fact, no one actually signed the Declaration of Independence at any time during July 1776. Signing began on August 2, with John Hancock's famously bold scribble, and wasn't completed until late November.

message 31: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments FYI: Early American flag --

The famous "Join or Die" flag dates back to the French and Indian War (1754 to 1763) also known as The Seven Years War. The design was the product of Benjamin Franklin, who was a big fan of the rattlesnake image. Franklin believed that the symbol of the rattlesnake could capture the hope for unity amongst the colonies, who were to face the French in a war that would determine much of the fate of the American landscape. As Franklin stated: “Tho’ measures that suit these Times shou’d be concerted with the utmost prudence, they ought to be executed with the greatest Vigour, and delays are not only dangerous but fatal. The safety of the Province, under Almighty God, depends upon a union among ourselves.”

During Colonial America, many embraced the popularity and myth that a rattlesnake, if chopped into pieces, would come back to life if the snake were buried before sundown. This is why Benjamin Franklin's "Join or Die" snake was so popular. The idea of national unity when combined with snake folklore was a powerful symbol. The rattlesnake was so popular that it was seriously considered for the national emblem based on the following beliefs:

* The rattlesnake has no eyelids and is therefore eternally vigilant.
* Colonial Americans believed that the rattlesnake would never attack first, and that it never retreated from a fight.
* Colonial American society believed that a rattlesnake never slept, suggesting that the animal never tired.
* The rattlesnake is indigenous to North America.

message 32: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I like the symbolism for the snake. I thought the flag, Don't Tread on Me was the first. But this one is nice, too. Thanks, Carol.

message 33: by Heather (last edited Jul 10, 2011 05:41PM) (new)


On 10 July 2002: $76.7 MILLION PAID FOR A MASSACRE.

A recently rediscovered painting by Rubens [28 Jun 1577 – 30 May 1640] that had been hanging in the dark hallway of a monastery in Austria is sold at an evening auction at /S#*>Sotheby's in London for $76.7 million, the third-highest price ever paid for a painting at auction and the highest auction price ever for an old master painting.
The Massacre of the Innocents (1611, 142x182cm) [image below] is a large, biblically inspired painting depicting the massacre of newborn boys ordered by King Herod. Sam Fogg, a London manuscripts dealer, was the winning bidder. Three dealers and one telephone bidder were willing to spend more than $55 million.
Mr. Fogg was bidding for David Thomson, a Canadian collector and the son of Lord Thomson of Fleet, former owner of The Times of London. Mr. Thomson is thought to have outbid several museums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
The seller, an unidentified 89-year-old Austrian woman, so disliked the painting after she inherited it in 1923 that she lent it to Stift Reichersberg, a monastery in upper Austria. It was thought to be by Jan van den Hoecke [04 Aug 1611 – 1651], an assistant to Rubens, until George Gordon, an expert in Flemish and Dutch paintings at Sotheby's in London, received an e-mailed picture of it from Sotheby's office in Amsterdam, which had been approached by the seller. Simply by looking at the image on a computer, he had a hunch it might be something else, so he went to the monastery to see the work. The back hallway where the painting hung was so dark he had to do his examination with flashlights.
What convinced Mr. Gordon that the painting was by the Flemish master was how much it had in common with Rubens's Samson and Delilah. The two works date from almost the same point in Rubens's career and have the same characteristics.
When Gordon was convinced that the painting was indeed a Rubens he had leading Rubens scholars from London, Oxford and Antwerp examine it. All agreed with him. However others, after today's sale, insist that the painting has a pigment never used elsewhere by Rubens and that dating of the wood in the panel indicates that it is very probably posterior to 1611, too late to be by Rubens, who by then no longer painted in this purist classical style.
The $76.7 million far surpasses the $35 million paid for Pontormo's portrait of a young man, which the Getty bought at Christie's in 1989 for $35.2 million, then a record for an old master painting.
It is also the third-highest price ever paid for a painting at auction. Van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1890, 67x56cm) brought $82.5 million at Christie's, and Renoir's Au Moulin de la Galette (1876, 131x175cm) sold for $78.1 million at Sotheby's, both in May 1990 in New York.
The family who owned The Massacre of the Innocents tried to sell it in the 1930's, officials at Sotheby's said, but couldn't find a buyer.

(see post #2)

message 34: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) So this painting is not a Rubens? I personally don't like the subject matter, but if someone is willing to plunk down 7 mill for it more power to them.

message 35: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 376 comments That's serious money when you don't know who really painted it. As a mother, I can certainly understand why the Austrian woman didn't want the painting in her home, even if the artist had wonderful technique.

message 36: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments That's an interesting question in art the sublime or moving or exiting sometimes includes scenes of violence and chaos. It's a very different thing when one goes from a public or institutional space into a personal space.

I wonder how small her house was? This has got to be a huge painting!

I think that Francis Bacon was a very talented painter, but it would creep me out to have one of his paintings where I have to sleep. If I were wealthy, I wouldn't mind having him in the art collection where I could choose when I went to look at it.

message 37: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I think she had it in the back hallway. I would have just given it to a museum but hey that is just me.

message 38: by Heather (new)

Heather “Arshile Gorky” Suicide on 21 July 1948

Gorky was born in the village of Khorgom, situated on the shores of Lake Van. It is not known exactly when he was born: it was sometime between 1902 and 1905. (In later years Gorky was vague about even the date of his birth, changing it from year to year.) In 1910 his father emigrated to America to avoid the draft, leaving his family behind in the town of Van.

In 1915 Gorky fled Lake Van during the Armenian Genocide and escaped with his mother and his three sisters into Russian-controlled territory. In the aftermath of the genocide, Gorky's mother died of starvation in Yerevan in 1919. Arriving in America in 1920, the 16-year old Gorky was reunited with his father, but they never grew close. At age 31, Gorky married. In the process of reinventing his identity, he changed his name to "Arshile Gorky", even telling people he was a relative of the Russian writer Maxim Gorky.

The Artist and His Mother (ca. 1926-1936) by Arshile Gorky. The painting is based on a photograph of a young Gorky and his mother taken in the short-lived first republic of Armenia. His mother died of starvation in Yerevan in 1919 when Gorky was 15, only 4 years after Gorky along with his mother and four sisters had escaped the Armenian Genocide from Van.

Between 1931 and 1934, Gorky made a series of more than 80 drawings and two paintings that he titled Nighttime, Enigma, and Nostalgia. The inspiration for this important body of work came from Giorgio de Chirico’s 1914 painting The Fatal Temple, which was acquired by Albert Eugene Gallatin, the noted artist and collector, in 1927. When Gorky began the Nighttime, Enigma, and Nostalgia series, the painting was on view at Gallatin’s Gallery of Living Art, located in New York University’s main building in Greenwich Village. The gallery was free to the public and offered progressive American artists access to important masterpieces of the European avant-garde. On his frequent visits, Gorky was drawn to de Chirico’s The Fatal Temple, probably because it contains a portrait of the artist’s mother, Gemma de Chirico, and an outlined self-portrait, complete with a dissected brain.

Giorgio de Chirico, The Fatal Temple, 1914

De Chirico’s mysterious painting, with its suggestion of the joy and suffering of the mother-and-son relationship, must have resonated with Gorky, who had by this time begun two important works on the theme of the artist and his mother. With its interlocking shapes, shallow cubist-derived space, and compartmentalized imagery, the Nighttime, Enigma, and Nostalgia series represents a distinct departure from Gorky’s earlier experiments with the techniques and motifs of Paul Cézanne and other modern masters. While his paintings of the ’20s remained recognizably close to their original sources, the Nighttime, Enigma, and Nostalgia series moved farther and farther from de Chirico’s work as it progressed, to the point where the two paintings on the theme can be considered among the most original of Gorky’s early accomplishments.

Arshile Gorky's Portrait of Master Bill, 1929–1936. Oil on canvas. This painting appears to depict Gorky's friend, Willem de Kooning who said Gorky "had an extraordinary gift for hitting the nail on the head; remarkable. So I immediately attached myself to him and we became very good friends."

The Liver is the Cock's Comb (1944)
The painting represents the peak of Gorky's achievement and his individual style, after he had emerged from the influence of Cézanne and Picasso

Andre Breton declared the painting to be "one of the most important paintings made in America" and he stated that Gorky was a Surrealist, which was Breton's highest compliment. The painting was shown in the Surrealists' final show at the Galerie Maeght in Paris in 1947.

Michael Auping, a curator at the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, saw in the work a "taut sexual drama" combined with nostalgic allusions to Gorky's Armenian past. The work in 1944 shows his emergence in the 1940s from the influence of Cézanne and Picasso into his own style, and is perhaps his greatest work. It is over six feet high and eight feet wide, depicting "an abstract landscape filled with watery plumes of semi-transparent color that coalesce around spiky, thornlike shapes, painted in thin, sharp black lines, as if to suggest beaks and claws."

His final years were filled with immense pain and heartbreak. His studio barn burned down, he underwent a colostomy for cancer, his neck was broken and his painting arm temporarily paralyzed in a car accident, and his wife of seven years left him, taking their children with her. Gorky hanged himself in Sherman, Connecticut, in 1948, at the age of 44. He is buried in North Cemetery in Sherman, Connecticut.

message 39: by Heather (new)

Heather 5 August 2007 NICE THEFT !!!

The paintings are stolen from the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Nice

Falaises près de Dieppe
Claude Monet [1840 – 1926]

Allée des peupliers près de Moret
Alfred Sisley [30 Oct 1839 – 29 Jan 1899]

Allegory of Water
Jan Brueghel I [1568-1625]

Allegory of Earth
Jan Brueghel I

A gang of five knows exactly which paintings they want as they enter the museum at 13:00 (UT), at lunchtime, when the staff is reduced to four, on one Sunday each month on which entry is free. There are only some six visitors.
Two of the robbers wear motorcycle helmets with visors, two wear surgical masks and one wears heavy dark glasses. Two of the men wear white chemical hazard suits. One stays in the lobby, aiming a gun at staff, while the others hold up the two guards on the first floor, where the paintings are hanging.
At gunpoint, they order the staff members to lie on the floor while they remove the paintings from their frames and put them in black bags. They try to carry off a second Sisley, but they drop it and break the frame after finding that it is too heavy or too cumbersome. The theft is over in no more than five minutes.
The robbers were probably working to order, as the stolen paintings are too well known to sell. They might have planned to ransom the paintings from the insurers.
The Monet and the Sisley, both on permanent loan from the Paris Musée d’Orsay, had survived a 21 September 1998 theft. Jean Forneris, at that time curator of the Nice museum, had them stolen by two accomplices. They were recovered a week later on a boat under repair in the nearby port of Saint-Laurent-du-Var (Alpes-Maritimes). Forneris was sentenced to 18 months in prison in June 2002. The Sisley was also stolen in 1978 when on loan to a Marseille museum and found a few days later in a sewer.
The paintings stolen today would be recovered in June 2008.

message 40: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments That Sisley is gorgeous. Even the Brueghels are lovely. What on earth was Jean Forneris thinking? I imagine no museum will ever hire him!

message 41: by Heather (new)

Heather Yes, the Sisley is my favorite of all the above.

message 42: by Ed (last edited Aug 05, 2011 11:05PM) (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments Heather wrote: "Yes, the Sisley is my favorite of all the above."

Not my favorite impressionist. But this one is so alive, almost Van Gough-like. The leaves almost take off and form a swarm!

message 43: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments Heather you're on a roll!

message 44: by Jim (new)

Jim | 147 comments It's hard to believe the same buyer would want the different paintins stolen.
the Sisley is really unbelievable.
did the Impressionists take drugs back then?

message 45: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments Heather wrote: "18 February 1913 French painting Nude Descending a Staircase No.2 (1912) by Marcel Duchamp causes a scandal at the 1913 Armory Show in New York City.

Nude Descending a Staircase

A major pr..."

Just read a biography, he was just a fascinating figure. He was a very skilled draftsman and painter, by the way, but he felt he needed to go beyond that.

message 46: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Wow at least they dropped the one, so they weren't exactly a well-oiled machine. That shows how much art work is appreciated if the one robber got only 18 months, he could likely be stealing again.

message 47: by Heather (new)

Heather 8 August, 1492: Dürer's first Saint Jerome engraving

Publication of Saint Jerome's Letters in Germany. The book itself was not as significant as its title page which was a woodcut by a rising 21-year-old artist. Within a few years men would say Germany had only two artists: Holbien and Durer. Few would achieve Albrecht Durer's equal with engravings.

This early Saint Jerome was homey, set in a very European building. The lines were simple and yet the cloth of Jerome's robe is full of folds and encases all but the great scholar's face. The face seems somewhat anxious, not particularly scholarly or spiritual. Books stand on a shelf behind Jerome and there is some illusion of depth as the young artist works with the new Renaissance techniques of perspective and shadow. The lion at Jerome's feet, however, is almost a caricature. The whole is strong but static.

Durer excelled in the uncommon medium of drypoint, in which a sharp metal instrument is used to scratch lines directly into the copper plate from which the image will be printed. This process raises, along the incised line, a ragged edge of copper called burr that holds ink and thus gives softness and depth to the prints tonal range. Because the burr is very delicate and usually wears away after fewer than twenty printings of the plate, drypoint impressions of this superb quality are extremely rare.

Saint Jerome Seated Near a Pollard Willow

In 1512 Durer did a picture of Saint Jerome Seated Near a Pollard Willow. By then his mastery was complete. Using the techniques of dry point, he placed Jerome out of doors beneath a tree. Jerome looks every inch the prophet. His muscular arms are bare. He sits amidst rocky crags. The lion rests its head upon great padded feet. Jerome's hands are couched for prayer. Half-tones abound. The mastery of the earlier work is transcended. This Saint Jerome is considered one of the greatest works ever done, full of proportion and inner life.

message 48: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 376 comments I saw an exhibit of Durer's work at the MFA, and the detail was absolutely amazing.
Thanks for sharing, Heather.

message 49: by Monica (last edited Aug 08, 2011 07:31AM) (new)

Monica | 909 comments Durer's work fascinated me deeply in college, and if I recall correctly, I was able to view originals in the print department at the University of Michigan. I recall large file drawers, gloves and a large viewing table...but alas it was a very long time ago. I was more drawn to his allegories and fanciful illustrations, like those of the apocalypse.

[image error]

message 50: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) will have an exhibit this fall called "Print by Print: Series from Dürer to Lichtenstein" running from October 30, 2011 – March 25, 2012. They will feature 16 woodcuts of The Apocalypse.

Dürer’s Apocalypse woodcuts established himself throughout Europe. It appealed to an audience interested in millenial concerns as the year 1500 approached. Dürer was responsible for the illustrating, printing, and financing of this project. It seems (although it is not certain) that Dürer was not only responsible for the designing of the illustrations but also the cutting of the blocks, a responsibility regularly given over to an independent specialist -- a "formschneider". In making the Apocalypse, Durer took an economic risk and made something for a general audience instead of appealing to the interests of an individual patron.

Four Horsemen from The Apocalypse.

John's Vision of the Seven Candlesticks, from The Apocalypse.

Adoration of the Lamb, from The Apocalypse.

I love his work. More info on him --

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