Art Stroll

Art Stroll: Hilma af Klint at Guggenheim, NYC

Last week Kim and I went to the Guggenheim to see the Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) “Paintings for the Future” exhibition. I had been excited to see the exhibition for a couple months now and I wasn’t disappointed.

Klint radically started creating abstract paintings years before Kandinsky, Mondrian or other that are called the pioneers of abstraction would change their own artwork from representational content to abstract paintings.

The size and colors of her early paintings are just mesmerizing and such a happy delight to see – instant feel good right in front of those.

It also struck me how immensely feminine those paintings are.

The color schemes are still muted colors but light and the forms are round and free.

These ten earliest huge paintings of Klint go through the lifespan of humans from birth to old age.

Interestingly enough Klint kept most of her groundbreaking paintings private, because she was convinced that the world was not ready yet to understand her work. In her will she stipulated that a lot of her work was not be shown for twenty years following her death. Ultimately her abstract paintings remained all but unseen until 1986 – 80 years after she painted some of her most prolific abstract paintings in 1906.

The painting above is a sample of what would be seen mostly of her work. It is just so mind blowing. Given that abstract male painters several years later caused insane outrage about their work, she was probably right that as a female artist on top, people would have not understand her art at all.

It makes you rethink art history though – it messes with our perception of the timeline of abstract art and of the mainly male key figures of this movement as well.

In 1896 Klint held regular séances with four other women. She had begun attending séances as a teenager, using them as a way to contact her younger sister, who had died young. Spiritualism was a big thing back then and the group wanted to obtain a direct access to a higher order of knowledge.

Klint worked earlier as a biological illustrator and her scientifically styled diagrams and her esoteric experiences mixed in her paintings.

The swan represents the ethereal in many mythologies and religions and stands for completion in the alchemical tradition.

Klint often incorporated insights gleaned from color theory in her paintings. For Klint certain colors represented certain significances. Blue for example represents the female, yellow stands for male, green for the unity of the two.

In 1906 an otherworldly spiritual guide commissioned Klint to prepare a message to human kind and so she painted about 193 paintings containing the spirit of the world. Those paintings are known as the “Paintings for the Temple”

Not all of Klints work were kept secret by her. The Blue Books were a tool that Klint created to show trusted viewers her paintings. They contain black and white photos and next to them carefully rendered watercolor reproductions.

At the time she made those works, the art world was generally dismissive of work made by women and on top many critics did not take abstraction seriously.

“…in 1920, she made a series of small works that begins with a single circle, half black and half white, called “Starting Picture”—the world as a balanced duality, physical and material, dark and light.

Subsequent entries in the series offer similar circles, differently divided up between black and white: one divided into four alternating slices; one with black crescents framing a white center; etc. The titles suggest they are supposed to represent different graphs of the great spiritual traditions: “The Current Standpoint of the Mahatmas,” “The Jewish Standpoint at the Birth of Jesus,” “Buddha’s Standpoint in Worldly Life,” and so on.”

Klint made sketches for a spiraled building that would show her work ascending the spiral case to the heaven ….! “In many ways, the Guggenheim retrospective fulfills the artist’s long-buried dream.”

This was an uplifiting and thought provoking exhibition. Did I decipher her work? Nope …but …I was content and happy just looking at it and make me feel good. Nothing wrong with that …and hey …maybe that was the message all along ;)

Comments (4)

  • Sue Clarke

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    It is amazing to me how intense her colors are and yet they are light pastels in many paintings.
    I totally felt the different ages of the first grouping (even before you pointed it out).
    I want to look for a book about her life. Kline sounds like quite the woman and painter!
    Thanks Nat.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Thanks Sue for joining! Yeah I am also very intrigued about her life!

      Reply

  • ARHuelsenbeck

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    Nathalie, thank you for this fabulous article. You’ve educated me about an artist I didn’t know.

    Reply

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Art Stroll: Andy Warhol at the Whitney, NYC

Last week Kim and I took a day off and for our annual Christmas Party at the n*Studio we decided to go into the city to visit the Andy Warhol Exhibition at the Whitney and have a nice lunch afterwards. It was a wonderful day!

Warhol began his series of Flower paintings in 1964. He used an image of four hibiscus flowers from a magazine and, with the help of assistants, silkscreened it across more than five hundred individual canvases, methodically producing paintings in different sizes and seemingly endless color combinations.

“In the mid-1960s Warhol employed carpenters to construct numerous plywood boxes identical in size and shape to supermarket cartons. The finished sculptures were virtually indistinguishable from their cardboard supermarket counterparts. Warhol first exhibited these at the Stable Gallery in 1964, cramming the space with stacked boxes that recalled a cramped grocery warehouse. He invited collectors to buy them by the stack, and, though they did not sell well, the boxes caused controversy. In reference to his boxes, Warhol later said that he “wanted something ordinary,” and it was this mundane, commercial subject matter that infuriated the critics. The perfectly blank “machine-made” look of Warhol’s boxes contrasted sharply with the gestural brushstrokes of abstract expressionist paintings.”

Would you buy one? (if money was no obstacle)

Sorry- it was so crowded it was hard to take any pictures LOL – but this was too iconic to let it just go …

Loved seeing his gold leafed shoes – the detail are actually quite fascinating on those

Love his sketches the most

The early stages of his work and concepts.

I love seeing the early work that shows where things were going -stencils, marks, people, lines …

In embracing the image of the Coca-Cola bottle as fine art, Warhol opened up the possibility of linking the worlds of commercial and fine art.

Death and Desaster- depicting magazine and newspaper headlines in oversized images.

“Warhol’s depiction of Superman is based on a drawing by Kurt Schaffenberger from the comic Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane (April 1961). Warhol’s decision to use Superman as a subject may offer a biting commentary on the heroic machismo associated with Abstract Expressionist “action” painting, or a queer reading of the Man of Steel, or both. Warhol displayed Superman and four other paintings shortly after they were made in a window display at the Bonwit Teller department store (below), where he and many other artists produced window displays.”

“Warhol based this composition on a small advertisement for a plastic surgeon that ran in the National Enquirer in early April 1961, which he had enlarged and projected in order to trace it onto the surface of the canvas-a precursor to the silkscreen technique he pioneered the following year. The work was first exhibited in the window of Bonwit Teller, the Fifth-Avenue department store, in early April 1961 as part of a display that included five other early paintings by the artist.”

 

Loved this – I had just used this very same image in a class for image transfers and seeing this silk printed with a similar effect in a big size was quite cool.

Well – another iconic one

“Warhol was as captivated by the lives of the ordinary as he was the rich and famous. This work was created from the Newsweek article, “Two Tuna Sandwiches,” about two Detroit mothers, neighbors who ate tuna sandwiches while they watched their children play and, two days later, the women died. The two housewives died via poisoning from tainted tuna. It shows how harmless consumerism can lead to accidental death. Warhol explored the brief and tragic fame bestowed on people after violent and unexpected termination of life.”

“Warhol chose the image of Mao—then the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party—after reading news coverage of President Richard Nixon’s trip to the People’s Republic of China in February 1972. An unprecedented act of Cold War diplomacy, Nixon’s trip marked the first visit by a sitting American president to the nation, which at the time was considered an enemy of the state.”

When I went to the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh I was fascinated by the collaborative works Warhol made with Jean-Michel Basquiat. “According to Basquiat, Warhol would begin the paintings with “something very concrete, like a newspaper headline or product logo, and then I would sort of deface it.” Depending on the work, this process could continue for two or three rounds, until a balance was reached between Warhol’s hand-painted images and Basquiat’s abstract gestures, text, numbers, and pictographs. ”

“Unlike in his other portraits, Warhol did not name the subjects of this series. They were not, however, truly anonymous. Marsha P. Johnson (bottom right), for example, had been a key player in the Stonewall rebellion that sparked the struggle for LGBTQ rights and, like Wilhelmina Ross, was a member of the performance group the Hot Peaches. In recent years, research into the other sitters’ identities has allowed their names to be instated. Warhol’s portrait of Marsha P. Johnson captures the confidence, warmth, and charm that made her a beloved member of New York’s queer community. Johnson was a pioneering trans-rights activist: she participated in the 1969 Stonewall uprising and later, with her friend and fellow trans activist Sylvia Rivera, founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a political organization that advocated for the rights of queer and trans people and sex workers, particularly those who were homeless or incarcerated.”

What are the symbols of a country? Thought provoking? Was he political?

 

“For a series of still lifes begun in 1975, Warhol worked with assistants to make theatrically lit studio photographs of a variety of objects, such as a skull or a hammer and sickle, positioning them to cast shadows so dramatic that they took on identities of their own. In the years that followed, he created a number of paintings based on these photographs. It was through these investigations into photography—a medium most commonly associated with accurate representation—that Warhol was able to make works that read more overtly as abstraction. Beginning in 1978, he made a radical shift and did away with the objects entirely, producing an expansive series of more than one hundred paintings focused only on shadows, which he titled just that: Shadows. In these works Warhol freed himself from his Pop subjects by experimenting with something close to pure abstraction. Yet he never completely divorced himself from his sources, maintaining his connection to the everyday world while still playing with the problem of how images generate meaning.”

 

I love what someone said that there is no “supreme court of art and he experimented with the boundaries of art is” It is a great exhibition – I would def. go again but in the new year and during the week again as it the museum was stuffed even early at 10am when we went.

I hope you enjoyed the is little Art Stroll! Hope to take you on another one soon :)

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Art Stroll: Kunsthalle Hamburg, Part 3

Here is part 3 of my long visit of the Kunsthalle Hamburg when I visited Germany last month.

Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Portrait of Tchouiko, 1908 – Oil on Canvas – I love the background the colors but especially how she painted the hands.

 

Adolf Erbslöh, Spring 1909 – oil on canvas

Love how the sky and the trees are mostly created with small little brush marks while the buildings and ground is differently painted.

Lyonel Feininger, Spring – 1936 – oil on canvas

Loved seeing this and Erbslöh painting close to each other since they had the same title – and depict houses but yet so different.

Lyonel Feininger, East Choir of Halle Cathedral, 1931- oil on Canvas

I love love love this earlier Feininger – it still has a feel of collage and architectural drawing to it which I like better than the more advanced cubist painting before.

Robert Delaunay, The Towers of Laon, 1912 – oil on canvas

 

Max Beckmann, The Bearing of the Cross, 1911 – Oil on Canvas

I am a huge Max Beckmann fan – and seeing a bigger collection of his work was a treat – see how different this work is to the next ones

Max Beckmann, Portrait of a Rumanian Woman – 1922 – oil on canvas

Max Beckmann, Large Still Live with Fish – 1927 – Oil on Canvas

Max Beckmann, Adam and Eve, 1936 – Coated Plaster

I love this …it is so symbolic to me especially right now with all the stuff going on in this country.

Max Beckmann, Girl with Yellow Cat (on grey), 1937 – oil on canvas

this makes me laugh – the cat is hilarious – the cat is also not yellow …love it :)

Max Beckmann, Prometheus (The Man Left Hanging), 1942 – oil on canvas

the title alone makes me laugh- poor Prometheus

Max Beckmann, Before the Ball (Two Women with a Cat) , 1949 – Oil on canvas

Def. didn’t improve on the cat…hahahah – I love it!

Edvard Munch – Girls on the Bridge – 1901 – oil on canvas

they were def. doing better when some of his other subjects on this bridge ;)

And that was it from the Kunsthalle- and btw- isn’t that a pretty cool bannister! Hope you enjoyed my Kunsthalle Art Stroll . You can find all the Art Strolls from around the world right here if you want to take a little Museum’s trip :)

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Such a variety of art work by Max Beckmann!
    I always like seeing the work you post/present after a museum visit Nat.
    I wondered about the women and cats myself…thanks Janene.
    East Choir of Halle Cathedral is my favorite by far. It just begs me to look at it again and again.

    Reply

  • Janene

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    They’re all fabulous in their own way, but I particularly liked Max Beckmann, Portrait of a Rumanian Woman and Adolf Erbslöh, Spring 1909.

    And what was up with Max Beckmann’s fascination with women and cats?? I had to know, so through the magic of the Inter-web, I found an article on the website “The Great Cat”: https://www.thegreatcat.org/the-cat-in-art-and-photos-2/cats-in-art-20th-century/max-beckmann-1843-1950-german/ Apparently Max thought women were similar to cats in promiscuity and domesticity. Meow!!

    =^._.^=

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Art Stroll: Kunsthalle Hamburg Part 2

Last month while going to Germany to teach a workshop I spent a day at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. I loved revisiting the Permanent Collection and see some of my favorites again :)

Max Ernst, Menschliche Figur (Human Figure)  1930 – oil on canvas

I love this painting the shapes the shadows and that you can see the human figure – it is funny and I often smile when I see Max Ernst work.

Max Ernst, Grätenblumen (fishbone flowers) – 1928 – oil on canvas

This is one of my favorite paintings ….like Ever :) Because I remember how excited I was the first time I saw it – the dimensions, the structure, the visual and actual texture and how I couldn’t wait to go home and replicate the look. It was early on in my adventures as a self taught artist and to this day I feel this painting is like a old friend sparking something in me. Yes …I never said I am not a weirdo – hahaha

 

Paul Klee, Der Goldfisch (The Goldfish), 1925 – Oil and watercolor on paper on cardboard

Another painting that excited me early on – the sgraffito the colors …when I walked into the gallery I almost yelled out “hey fishy” ..but then …the reserved Hamburgers are a bit more suspicious of people bursting out when maybe New Yorkers are – LOL

Paul Klee, Felsige Küste (Rocky Coast) – 1931 – oil on plywood

Love the usage of plywood and the little rectangles – actually it makes me want to do something with the same small pattern but different colors coming together to form a landscape …

btw – the glimpse out of the galleries into the main hall always is a treat :)

Hans Arp, Augen-Nase-Schnurrbart (Eyes, Nose and Moustache) after 1928 – oil on cardboard- artist’s frame

I love the cut shapes and the colors – and reading the title makes me laugh – another outburst tehehehe

Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Wehende Formen (Floating Forms) 1935 – Oil on canvas – artist’s canvas

Oskar Schlemmer, Treppenszene (Stairway scene) 1932 – Oil on fabric on plywood – artist’s frame

This painting makes me want to see the Bauhaus Stairway Painting of his from the same year hanging at MoMA in NYC together with this. Apparently- and I didn’t know this before writing this post – there is some controversy as to how the painting got to be at MoMA.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Das Paar vor den Menschen (Two Against The World), 1924 – oil on canvas

I am always fascinated by Kirchner’s paintings- they glow , they are radiant and encapsulate you when you stand in front of them  it is a physical experience.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Das Wohnzimmer (The Living Room) – 1923 – Oil on canvas, artist’s frame

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Gut Staberhof (Staberhof Countryseat), 1913  oil on canvas

Love this so much the colors, the shapes …swoon

Emil Nolde, Das Meer VI (The Sea VI), 1915 – oil on canvas

Emil Nolde, Schlepper auf der Elbe (Tugboat on the Elbe) – 1910 – oil on canvas

Max Pechstein, Am Seeufer (On the Banks fo the Lake), 1910

All those paintings make me want to use crazy acidic colors …maybe my love for those colors comes from those artists which I remember being fascinated by in art lessons in school.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Maler und Modell (Painter and Model) – 1910- oil on canvas

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Das blaue Haus (The Blue House) . 1907 – Oil on canvas – artist’s frame

A gorgeous vibrant painting – with such a beautiful frame. The photo really doesn’t do this beautifully textured impasto painting justice but nonetheless I wanted to show it.

Lyonel Feininger, alte Lokomotive (Old American Locomotive), 1910-1924 – oil on canvas

Loving those figures and the background!

If you think I went home after this …Nope – I couldn’t say bye to Kunsthalle (probably the reason why after 5 years living in the U.S. I am still a member there- LOL.

Another part of this Art Stroll is coming soon- I hope you enjoyed this one.

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    I just love Rocky Coast and would be happy to hang it in my living room if the museum no longer has room for it.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      LOL- me too! Actually I will take any of those if they have no longer room for them hahahaha

      Reply

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ArtStroll: Kunsthalle Hamburg Part 1

A couple weeks ago I was in Germany to teach workshops and I was lucky enough to spend a couple days in Hamburg, my old home.

I made an effort to spend a day at the Kunsthalle, which I used to visit regularly when I lived there.

Sigmar Polke – Häuserfront (Front of the Housing Block), 1967

I love Sigmar Polke’s early Raster dot works. He always questioned what he saw- in newspapers etc. and after vastly enlarging the image with a projector, exposing the individual halftone dots of the reproduction, the artist transferred each dot onto his paper by dipping the eraser of a pencil into paint. This always makes the image seem to move- things are in flux – are changing.

Neo Rauch, Die Fuge (The Gap) , 2007 – oil on canvas – two parts

Gerhard Richter – Juist – 2001 – oil on canvas

I love Gerhard Richters oil paintings that look like blurry photographs

Gerhard Richter – Abstraktes Bild

Such a treat to look at those paintings by some of my favorite Artists.

Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting

Gerhard Richter, Grey

Gerhard Richter, Oswald 1964 – oil on canvas

you can still see the raster on the canvas that Richter used to transfer the photo as a painting

Gerhard Richter, Familie Schmidt, 1964 Oil on canvas

Georg Baselitz – Thing with Arm, 1993

Sigmar Polke, This is all that remains of the original Statue, 1974

Sigmar Polke art always makes me stand in awe and I cannot stop looking at all the details and materials he used.

sigmar Polke, Zweite niederländische Reise (Second Dutch Journey), 1985 – Dispersion, paint, mixed technique on decorative fabric

Look at this- It makes me itch and wanna run to my studio right away and play with collage, fabric and stencils

I also loved those little straw sculptures by Haegue Yang

Beautiful shapes and way to work with straw.

Vajiko Chachkhiani, The Missing Landscape , 2014 – Burned Tree Trunks

this made me sad

Georg Baselitz, Bilddreißg (Paintingthirty), 1994 oil on canvas

It was a great Art Stroll and I actually spend many more hours in the Museum but I will share more in a different blogpost :)

Hope you enjoyed this little stroll and found some inspiration

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Art Stroll: The Met Cloisters, NYC

For my birthday my husband and I took the day off and went to The Cloisters in NYC. I am so glad we did this.

Hard to believe you are still in the city and with the magnificent Fort Tryon Park right at the Hudson River you could almost think you are somewhere in Europe. At parts I could imagine being at the River Rhine.

The Cloisters are a museum (part of the MET) built from 4 different European cloistered, acquired by an American fellow, then sold to Rockefeller. Between 1934 and 1939 they were dissembled over stone by stone and built up again here in a way of a nice Frankenstein Cloister. At times you feel you are not in the States anymore – everything feels real- and yet then upon turning another corner you realize something is off …it is weird and fun.

An incredible amount of medieval art is hosted in the museum as well. A lot of art in this time period of course was made for the church.

above piece was tiny!

 

The three heads on the wood carved altar are relics made around 1500 in Germany and contain each a skull of a saint.

 

Church bench….mhhhhh ….

When I entered the Unicorn Room with it’s tapestry I gasped- it was magical. In 1922, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased the 7 pieces for for one million US dollar and donated them in 1938 to the Met.

The tapestries tell the story of the Unicorn from the hunt to its captivity. They were made probably in Belgium and woven in wool, metallic threads, and silk and incredible vibrant.  The initials “A” and “E” can be seen hidden in each tapestry several times.  The “E” is backwards and one example can be seen in the tree between two hunters, others are found in the bottom corners

Detail of another tapestry – I will call it “Grumpy guy on tapestry .”..

Throughout the cloisters gorgeous windows from all over Europe.

And four wonderful gardens inviting to rest.

The exhibition “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” is running until October 2018. Here a 1967 wedding ensemble from the House of Balenciaga

Stunning wooden cross.

Details of the pillar.

Two Valentino pieces – I found the inspiration for the capes interesting.

Clear reference to stained glass window.

This wooden panel was amazing. Loved how the figures were drawn  and the colors – you could almost think it was a piece from the 60s  but nope – made in Spain, 13th Century

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino, Spring 2014. Now this one was stunning! The embroidery was breathtaking!

A medieval herb garden in one of the cloisters.

Wherever you turn artwork collected and put in here- again – it was kind of odd- yes I know it is a museum but it also felt so right and then also so misplaced.

A 14-century work, probably created for a convent in Nuremberg, depicting St. Clare receiving a palm from the Bishop of Assisi.

These dresses are in a section inspired by Hieronymous Bosch’s triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights.

I loved those windows – cruel scenes in some of them:

Souls Tormented in Hell – 1500-1510

Not sure why he is feeding the dragon but beware of your neighbor ;)

Monkey business I guess :)

Fountain – fun!

Unicorn water vessel – gosh so gorgeous!

I loved it. It is well worth the trip – if you are longer in NYC and want to see something that a bit off the beaten path … check it out. When you get there with the subway and get out at 190th St Station you will also have to enter the elevator still rund by an elevator attendant. It is a pretty cool station.

Hope you enjoyed the Art Stroll through The Cloisters and will join me soon for a different one.

Comments (4)

  • ARHuelsenbeck

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    Nathalie, The Cloisters is one of my favorite places on earth! In fact, the opening of the YA novel I’m writing is set in The Cloisters. She’s looking at one of the tapestries you pictured (The Unicorn in Captivity), and the unicorn talks to her, and a docent tells her she’s the chosen one who will save the unicorn…

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Oh how cool- that sounds so fun! I hope she will save the unicorn!

      Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    The church bench is very comical.
    Souls Tormented in Hell I would very much like to avoid!
    I love the window at the end of the post. I really should have been born long ago to live in a castle.
    Thanks for sharing your art stroll Nat.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Thanks for joining me Sue! Yeah- no sitting on that church bench LOL

      Reply

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Art Stroll: 1600 – 1700 Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Last month I was lucky enough to go to Amsterdam for a couple days and here is a second Art Stroll from the visit of the Rijksmuseum – this time about the Art from 1600 – 1700

I find a lot of humor in some of the artwork – almost worth making up some memes :)


Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq, Known as the ‘Night Watch’, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642
The only way to take a photo without plugging through other visitors or being obnoxious with a camera. I always try to be very quick and the least distracting for other visitors in a museum when I take a photo after taking the artwork in.

Now- I have no idea why this the triptych below hung in the hall of 1600-1700 – as it is actually an earlier piece- but ..I will show it since it is stunning


It is the end of the world. The dead emerge from their tombs and are judged by Christ, seated on a rainbow in the sky. He consigns the wicked to hell (right), where perpetual fire and terrifying demons await them. The righteous souls may go to heaven (left): a place of color and light. Peter and Paul, the patron saints of Leiden, are set before a grand imaginary landscape on the outer wings of this altarpiece.Triptych with the Last Judgement outer wings: Saints Peter and Paul, Lucas van Leyden, 1526 – 1527

Beautiful window in the hall


Portrait of a Couple, Probably Isaac Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Laen, Frans Hals, c. 1622

This happy, smiling pair sits comfortably close to each other. Posing a couple together in this way was highly unusual at the time. It may have been prompted by the sitters’ friendship with the painter and the occasion for the commission – their marriage in April 1622. The painting thus contains references to love and devotion, such as the garden of love at right, and at left an eryngium thistle, known in Dutch as ‘mannentrouw’, or male fidelity.I love the expressions on their faces – you see the painter clearly loved them.

Children Teaching a Cat to Dance, Known as “The Dancing Lesson” Jan Havicksz Steen, 1660-1679, oil on panel

Aweee- poor kitty – I do really hope there was no long posing involved for the poor cat

The Feast of St. Nicholas, Jan Havicksz Steen, 1665-1668, oil on canvas

well …guess the boy on the left wasn’t that lucky for St. Nicolas. You usually get a piece of coal and dry twigs if you weren’t good of a kid  …guess why I know ? ;)

The Drunken Couple, Jan Havicksz Steen, 1655-1665

Of course the cat is just watching the thieves taking their belongings ….LOL

A Mother Delousing her Child’s Hair, Known as “A Mother’s Duty”, Pieter de Hooch, c. 1658-1660, oil on canvas

Oh the joy of being a mother …;)

The Threatened Swan, Jan Asselijn, ca. 1650 – oil on canvas

a swan fiercely defends its nest against a dog. In later centuries this scuffle was interpreted as a political allegory; the white swan was thought to symbolize the Dutch statesman Johan de Witt (assassinated in 1672) protecting the country from its enemies. This was the meaning attached to the painting when it became the very fist acquisition the Nationale Kunstgalerij (the forerunner of the Rijksmuseum) in 1880

The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede, Jacon Isaacksz van Ruisdael, c. 1660 – 1670, oil on canvas

Self-Portrait, Ferdinand Bol , 1653, oil on canvas

Ferdinand Bol was a scholar of Rembrandt. Ever thought about the urge of artists of taking a selfie throughout the centuries? I find it funny that people are so upset that people take selfies with a camera – it is not new, just the tools are different and who actually is capable of doing it.


Comments (4)

  • Laura Weed

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    I was blessed to visit the Rijksmuseum in the 1980’s (while the rest of my tour did Anne Frank’s House which was just too much for me) and I was absolutely blown away at the size of some of those paintings I had only ever seen in books before. What an immersive experience. Rembrandt is one of my favorites, and I love looking at the expressions on the faces of the people in the backgrounds. So glad you’re sharing this amazing place!

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      It is a gorgeous museum and I am glad we went back again – there is just so much to see :)

      Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Portrait of a Couple is just delightful and so unusual for that time period.
    I don’t believe for a minute that you got coal. LOL
    The frame around the Swan is gorgeous.

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Art Stroll: Modern Art at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Last month I spend a lovely weekend in Amsterdam and since we haven’t been at the Rijksmuseum for a while we decided to go :) Now usually the Rijksmuseum is not really what you connect with Modern Art …the more the reason for us to check out the small collection a kind of hidden floor :)

Standing Figure, Karel Appel, 1949 – wood, paint, metal

Shortly after the Second World War a new generation of young artists stepped into the limelight. With their unpolished and improvised painting  and sculptures they celebrated their regained freedom after years of German occupation. Karel Appel looked at artifacts from Africa and Oceania. He thought they were exemplary models of the unspoiled creativity and drive that should form the basis fo art in a free society.

Below two paintings by Karel Appel

Child with Donkey (Kind met ezel), Karel Appel, 1949 – oil on canvas

In 1949 the smoldering eyes of Appel’s figures of children caused a great deal of discomfort among the public, The silent reproach of their gazes even led to his wall painting Questioning Children in the Amsterdam city hall being covered over. Appel began painting children after a  trip through post-war Germany. The misery of the often orphaned, hungry, and begging war children made indelible impression on him.

La Ville Noyèe (The Sunken City), Constant, 1956, oil on canvas

the title of this painting may refer to Atlantis, a beautiful and prosperous legendary island that was engulfed by the sea, according to Greek mythology. When Constant made this painting he was devising his own imaginary society: a city for the people of the future that he christened New Babylon.

Artist Looking at Herself, Marlene Dumas 1983, gouache, acrylic paint, chalk, on paper

Eroticism and her role as a female artist are recurring themes in Dumas’ work. This portrait presents a paintress but whether it is Dumas herself is not clear. We see a women looking through spread legs into  mirror under her. She olds a paintbrush in her left hand, as though she is painting the pictures at this very moment.

Four Virigitns (1-4), Marlene Dumas, 1993- gouache, indian ink

No identification is given for the four women portrayed here by Marlene Dumas. Can they be recognized as famous models, or are the randomly photographed women? That they are virgins is emphatically indicated in the title. Whether this definition applies solely to the women’s virginal stat or refers to their virtuousness is left up to the beholder by Dumas.

Dish Relief, Jan Schoonhooven, paper, cardboard, paint, wood

Like his 17th-century predecessor and fellow Delft artist Johannes Vermeer, Jan Schoonhoven was fascinated by light. His brilliant white reliefs are composed of a few basic forms, whose irregular surfaces make light visible. Here Schoonhoven pasted pieces of cardboard on top of each other to create a design of light and dark lines, which resembles light playing through a cobweb.

Mondrian Dress, Yves Saint Laurent, 1963, wool, silk lining

The abstract geometric visual language of De Stijl in the 1920s inspired a new generation of artists forty years later. The French couturier Yves Saint Laurent won international success with dresses inspired by the paintings of Piet Mondrian. This is the most elementary model of the six variants presented by Yves Saint Laurent in 1965.

Space Circus, Constant, 1956 – 1961, soldred wire

This is not just a sculpture in its own right, but also the model of a meters-high construction that Constant wished to install on the Museumplein in Amsterdam. The small ladders indicate that it was meant to be climbed. This giant climbing frame was part of New Babylon, Constant’s imaginary metropolis of the future populated by homo ludens, or man the player.

Man and Machine, Marinus Johannes Hack, c. 1913, sandstone

This statue stood at the entrance of the Amsterdam office of a company that exported machines to Dutch businesses in the former Dutch East Indies. The Javanese man, nude and sitting cross-legged, symbolizes the colony. The modern diesel engine in his lap alludes to the company’s trading activities, as well as to the progress that the Netherlands hoped to bring to Indonesia.

….mhhhh….

Portrait of Marie Jeanette de Lange, Jan Toorop, 1900, oil on canvas

Marie Jeanette de Lange chaired the Vereeniging voor Verbetering van Vrouwenkleding (Association for the Improvement of Women’s Clothing), which championed hygienic, loose-fitting, natural clothing that allowed women greater freedom of movement. In February 1900 she posed at home, dressed comfortably, for Jan Toorop. Using tiny dots of colourful paint, he created a sparkling portrait of a modern woman on the threshold of a new century.

Road through the Woods, Jan Sluijters, 1910, oil on canvas

Self Portrait, Edgar Fernhout, 1945, oil on canvas

Edgar Fernhout often painted himself by way of practice, coolly and objectively as though he  were an object. However this is not the case of this self portrait done in the last year of the Second world War; Five years of German occupation and a famine, the so called Hunger Winter 44-45, show in his gaze and gaunt face. After the war he abandoned realism and painted mostly abstract landscapes.

Mercedes de Barcelona, Pyke Koch, 1930, oil on canvas

the playing cards in this picture suggest that this woman is a fortune teller. Her large unreal eyes, too, seem to suggest some mysterious fate. In 1930-31 Koch painted three women of “questionable virtue”; in addition to the fortune teller, he portrayed a street girl and a fairground woman. He gave all three the facial features of the Danish film star Asta Nielsen, whom he so admired, with a broad mouth and high arched eyebrows.

Composition, Bart van der Leck, 1918, oil on canvas

Bart van der Leck, one of the first artists to become involved with De Stijl magazine, limited his palette to primary colours – red, yellow and blue – along with neutral white, black and grey. He always took a recognisable design as his starting point, reducing this to a Composition of pure, geometrical forms. He described what he tried to achieve as ‘monumental clarity

Composition, Jozef Peeters, 1921, oil on canvas

As editor of the cultural magazine Het Overzicht Jozef Peters maintained  close contact with other pioneers of Abstract art, such as the Dutch artists affiliated with De Stijl journal as well as up-and-coming talents including Carel Willink. Although Peeters championed pure Abstract art divorced from reality, his daughter later wrote that the Paris Underground was the inspiration for this Composition

Composition Liebe (Love) Carel Willink, 1923, oil on canvas

In Berlin of the 1920s the disillusionment of a lost war (1914-1918) was drowned in drink, lust, and love. However, art and culture also flourished as never before. In this melting pot the young art student Carel Willink soaked up the influences of Italian Futurists, Russian Constructivists, French Cubists and German Dadaists like a sponge. All of these styles reverberate in this painting, in which figures merge in the lamplight of the metropolis.

Self Portrait , Elly Tamminga, ca. 1920-55

Elly Tamminga peers at the subject she is painting outside the picture plane. The paintbrushes in the vase are her tools. The sailing boat of the silhouetted village with a church tower on the embankment behind her are small and therefore farther away in the distance. Atmospheric perspective is avoided, however and volume is suggested only by the two shades of red in her face and blue in her hair.

It was a really interesting art stroll through Modern Art – and I loved getting introduced to some new to me but well known Dutch Artists as well. Hope you enjoyed this Art Stroll as well :)


And if you missed my Summer Sizzler sale, don’t worry you can still save $$ on my stencils over at the big Mary Beth Birthday sale at StencilGirl! Use the coupon code MBS14 to save 14% off, now through July 8th at 11:59pm CST.

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Comments (1)

  • Janene

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    There are so many things to comment on:

    The Yves St. Laurent dress: I wish it was hanging in my closet. It’s still classically beautiful even though it’s 55 years old.
    The Elly Tamminga work: love the colors and the strength she exudes.
    The “Portrait of Marie Jeanette de Lange” by Jan Toorop: all those tiny dots! I wonder if there’s an underpainting to help guide the color placement. I’m in awe.
    The “Man and Machine” sculpture: I’m not sure I would interpret it as “modern diesel engine in his lap alludes to the company’s trading activities”. I think it says something else entirely.
    And there are no words for the brilliant placement of the nails in “Standing Figure” by Karel Appel.

    Thanks for the amazing virtual visit to the Rijksmuseum.

    Reply

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Art Stroll: Whitney Museum – Permanent Collection

I always enjoy time at the Whitney – it is a short 15 minutes PATH ride from here and every time I am there I also enjoy seeing changes in the permanent collection.

Florine Stettheimer, New York, Oil on Canvas – 1918

I love this painting – how Stettheimer worked the folds of Lady Liberty’s toga, the view , the frame!

Japer Johns, Two Maps, 1965,Encaustic, oil, found paper and cotton on canvas

just look at the details – swoon!

Louis Lozowick, Strike Scene, 1935 – Lithograph

What an impressive print – it also kind of blew my mind how much work went into into creating the plate and the print showing a split of a second moment – being so used to photography nowadays.

Reginald Marsh, Death Avenue, 1927, Oil, charcoal, fabricated chalk, and ink on canvas

This painting shows the “Death Avenue” as it was called before the 1930s – and before the elevated train tracks were built – nowadays more known as the High Line. The freight line would frequently cause the death of a pedestrian. Marsh chronicled everyday urban life in his paintings.

When asked for his advice to young painters, Marsh replied, “How to draw? Go out into the street, stare at the people. Stare, stare, keep on staring. Go to your studio, stare at your pictures, yourself, everything.”

Charles Demuth, Buildings, Lancaster, 1930, Oil and graphite pencil on composition board

Thomas Hart Benton, Poker Night, 1948, Tempera and oil on linen

This is a scene from the theatre play A Street Car Named Desire. The story is that the painting was a commission and the female actor on the right looking into this mirror was totally offended by her portrayal since she was not wearing anything like the neglige in the painting.

Fairfield Porter, Portrait of Ted Carey and Andy Warhol, 1960, Oil on linen

In 1960, Warhol and Carey commissioned Fairfield Porter to paint their portraits. They thought they could save money by requesting a double portrait which they planned to cut in two, each taking his half. But Porter foiled their scheme by posing them so closely together that they could not divide the forty-inch-square of painting without ruining it. Warhol ended up buying Carey’s share and ultimately giving the portrait to the Whitney Museum of American art in New York.

Good on you Fairfield- well played :)

George Tooker, The Subway, 1950, Tempera on composition board

I always feel haunted by this painting and cannot stop looking at it.

The people look trapped, the woman seems anxious. Where is she going? What are the guys doing in the cubicles? Is it modern live anxiety …or the anxiety of living in an Mc Carthy era? I always think about the later.

Rockwell Kent, Moonlight, Winter, c. 1940, oil on linen

Agnes Pelton, Untitled, 1931, Oil on canvas

I hope you enjoyed the little Art Stroll through the Whitney – see you soon again with a different stroll.

Comments (4)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Well played indeed Fairfield Porter!
    I always enjoy your strolls although The Subway is just bizarre enough to make me uneasy. LOL

    Reply

  • Pam Hansen

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    I really enjoyed this, thank you for sharing your stroll. ❤️

    Reply

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