Art Stroll

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


    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…


    • Nathalie Kalbach


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


  • Sue Clarke


    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.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


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


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Stroll Through The Hood – July 2018

Time for a Stroll Through the Hood . Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and to get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks.

This above actually taken in NYC – love it! Love how the heart is part of the figure.

YESSS – thats what I say- LOL: Love the lettering and the colors inside the individual letters.

Van Hook Cheese – is one of my favorite stores in the hood …not only do they have delicious cheese – they also have always the best window display. Look at those painted houses made from cardboard – LOOOOOVEEEE

4th July Jersey City firework over the Hudson – pretty :)

Near the Holland Tunnel there are tons of murals -I don’t go there often with my bike but I had to run some errands at Home Depot and I took the time to check those out. I like the perspective here.

Dramatic. Still thinking what the reference might be. Any ideas?

Looking at Open Houses is interesting. This bathroom wallpaper was in a beautiful Brownstone which had a lot of time capsule features. I love the bright paisley (well…I wouldn’t in my bathroom hahahah) and the lamp is so cool- look at the pattern in it)

In my newly embroidered dress -in front of the pencil factory where I live. I love this little street, every time I go out of our building or come back I think about how cool it is that this is preserved.

This mural shows all kinds of known landmarks for Jersey City, the Colgate Clock, the Liberty State train station, the Mana Watertower, the Loew Theatre and more. Fun! Makes me want to grab my Stroll stamps.

And …I showed this before on my Instagram and FB – OMG – this painted wooden floor …my heart was going like a million beats a second LOOOOVEEE. Unfortunately the flooring didn’t justify the rest of the house…but hahahahaha almost ;)

Hope you enjoyed the Stroll Through the Hood-  join me next month again!

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke


    Sounds like you’re house hunting Nat…have fun and don’t rush (find the most perfect place for you).
    Love the strolls photos as always. Not sure about that one with the two women, but my first impression was how the establishment has been holding Latinas down (not as many opportunities in employment and maybe even the immigration issues that are in the forefront these days)???


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      No rush at all Sue- I agree about the most perfect place :) But it is fun nonetheless to see all the different options.
      Interesting thought about the graffiti ! I should find out who made it and see if there is a connection.


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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


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


  • Pam Hansen


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


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Swapped – Painting

A new finished painting which I call Swapped. I was intrigued by the story of the Morton F. Plant House, located on the prestigious Fifth Avenue in NYC.

Apparently Cartier wanted the building, and Plant exchanged it in 1917 for 100 Dollars and a double stranded pearl necklace worth about 1,000,000 Dollars at the time. Then the necklace “only” made 151,000 USD in 1957 at an auction, so I guess that swap didn’t really work out. And so there is a jeweler and watch store up to this day in the building. There are quite some weird real estate exchange stories in NYC …this is certainly one of them. I imagined the building being just an “ordinary” apartment building -it is still so beautiful and one could only guess at how many necklaces would be needed for such a swap today! These are the things that went through my head when I painted Swapped.

The painting is 24″x18″ in size, acrylic paint, spray paint and marker on canvas.

It is available in the store here and meanwhile waits for a new home on my living room wall.



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Farewell Painting

I finished this painting last week – some of you might have seen it in some of my Facebook Live Videos.  The painting captures the iconic Flatiron building in New York City, located in the wedge created by the intersection of Fifth Ave and Broadway. I am always fascinated by the Flatiron building and it’s story.

Although it has stood strong at this busy intersection for over a century, the world around it is always in constant flux. The city weeds out the weak, and businesses and people who may once call it Home may find themselves bidding it Farewell another day.

The bold colors represent the energy of the city and the sweeping lines suggest a place where nothing stays still for long. Yet the Flatiron remains, a focal point of stability in a very busy place.

The original “Farewell Painting” is up for sale now in the store. Maybe it will find a new home :) Acrylic paint, acrylic ink, spray paint, and pencil on 12”x16” canvas.

Have a gorgeous day you all :)


Comments (4)

  • Sue Clarke


    I love buildings that are on corners like this and have seen several in person in Boston.
    This painting is wonderful, especially the firy colors!
    I hope it finds a deserving home.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Thank you Sue! I actually just saw one of those buildings in Amsterdam and thought it was fun because the architecture in general was so different :) Tiny rooms I guess in the corner part- LOL


  • Janene


    Whew! You scared me with the title “Farewell Painting”. I’m thinking, Nathalie is moving? She’s giving up painting? Whaaaaaaat? In all seriousness – the Flatiron building glows in contrast to the gray streets and nearby buildings — fabulous! — and I love the title now that I understand it. :-)


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Aweee- sorry to have scared you Janene- that wasn’t my intention! I am not going anywhere right now – LOL- and a new canvas is up on the easel- just thinking of what I want to paint next :)


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Art Stroll: American Museum of Natural History, NYC

A couple weeks a friend and I went to the American Museum of Natural History. It was the first time in 17 years I was back there and I really enjoyed it. Now …I know that is going to be a question for some … “Wait…an Art Stroll there? But is it Art?” …Welllllllll….let’s think about it LOL

I loved the subway art when you get out of the subway station at the museum – lot’s of mosaics of different animals- here a beautiful bird.

Love the gorgeous windows …that would be a really cool stencil, don’t you think?

“The dioramas at the American Natural History Museum, when they were first built, were an opportunity for people to see a world that most didn’t get to travel to,”

I also think they are beautiful artistic interpretations of landscape painting.



The explanation about Japanese woodblock printing was amazing  – I really enjoyed all the little displays about crafts and arts in different countries.

In Japanese tradition there is a recognition of a spiritual quality in all materials, which must not be negated. Therefore each wood block for the printing process is used from both sides for each stage in a progression of the print. The use of only one side would deny the wood its total efficacy.

I loved seeing the different stages of the print- for this art form. …or is it a craft form ….well…what do you think?

gorgeous pieces of hand made containers and dishes

kids toys

and even drawings as explanations of certain pieces in the museum as well

Gorgeous sculptures – some of them actually not the real deal but remakes- but I would only know when reading the signs


and beautiful patterns

gorgeous pottery …anyone thinking of Picasso here? Why is his pottery art ..but this is craft?

gorgeous earrings …well ….maybe a bit tough to wear for me …but look at the inlay!

These two llamas were some of my favorites!

It was different and fascinating …and I know it is for some a far fetch to call some of the pieces art …but hey …it is an interesting ongoing question and if it is inspiring to me – then there you go…it is an art stroll. That’s all that counts…for me on my blog anyway – LOL  – but what do you think?


Comments (6)

  • Sue Clarke


    Yes, those windows would make a terrific stencil!
    The blue block painting with the birds caught my eye right away.
    It’s all art to me.


  • ARHuelsenbeck


    Thanks, Nathalie! I love going to the museum with you.


  • Janis Loehr


    Thanks Nathalie… very much enjoyed this stroll and your comments. Art isn’t just on paper of course. Three dimensional art. The word “craft” doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Thanks again!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      I agree Janis – craft has this weird connotation of being less worthy …It is so interesting why that is.


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Different Kinda Art Stroll: Freeman Alley, NYC

Freeman Alley is a little …well alley  in the Lower East Side

you almost walk by and miss it. In 1909 people would line up in a so called “bread line” through the alley in the hope to receive some food from the Bowery Mission.

In a more and more polished looking part of the city …it is a refreshing to find some wheat pastes and graffiti – Lot’s of layers

At the end of the alley you find a restaurant -but I was more into the fire escapes !

Definitely have to come back and see what’s new when I am in the East Village next time. You find it off Rivington Street – don’t miss it ;)

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Art Stroll: New Museum, NYC

A couple weeks ago my friend Thomas visited us from Germany and we spent a wonderful day with Kim and went to the New Museum in NYC for the Songs of Sabotage: New Museum Triennial 2018. This major exhibition, held once every three years, looks to highlight young, international artists working in a variety of media. .

Wilmer Wilson IV – staples and pigment print on wood.

Wilmer Wilson IV enlarges photos of people, most of them African-American, that he finds on fliers for parties and church events in his West Philadelphia neighborhood. He attaches the the prints to wood with thousands of staples so that the photograph is almost entirely covered, leaving just small sections clear.

Amazing from afar but upon coming closer eerie!


Gresham Tapiwa Nyaude – The New Zimbabwe (2018


Chemu Ng’ok’s paintings consider individual and collective identities and the role protest plays in their formation. Ng’ok was a student at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, during the Rhodes Must Fall student protests, a social justice movement across universities in South Africa calling for the decolonization of education.

“Senzenina” (2018), an installation by the South African artist Haroon Gunn-Salie, memorializes the 2012 police massacre of striking miners in his homeland.

Cian Dayrit’s uses tapestry-like mappings, part fact, part fiction, of Philippine colonial history.

Zhenya Machneva, CHP-14 (2016)

Zhenya Machneva reflects on the collapse of the Soviet Union in a series of tapestries depicting scenes of industrial factories. Her use of traditional weaving methods mirrors the demise of traditional manufacturing in the wake of technological advances.

Janiva Ellis’s “Thrill Issues” (2017). Her vivacious paintings incorporate religious and racial stereotypes.

Daniela Ortiz, who is based in Barcelona, brings a selection of tabletop-size ceramic prototypes for anti-colonialist monuments, including a beheaded alternative to a Christopher Columbus statue in New York City. Ms. Ortiz has proposed replacements for monuments to Christopher Columbus in Madrid; Lima, Peru; and New York

Tomm El-Saieh, a Haitian-born painter based in Miami. His works are made up of tiny, obsessively applied marks

I really loved his work- I could get lost in it!

Tomm El-Saieh, Walking Razor (2017–18)

Claudia Martínez Garay, Cannon Fodder/Cheering Crowds (2018)

Claudia Martínez Garay deconstructs visual imagery in propaganda as a way of understanding worldwide labor and social movements. For the triennial, she scoured the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam for posters and leaflets across the political spectrum, focusing on repetitive imagery of fighting warriors and animals. She is interested in how the same types of images have been used by right and left ideologies to manipulate the viewer. She reproduced the figures as painted wood cutouts and juxtaposed them attacking each other in this mural-size work.

It was an interesting and for sure thought provoking exhibition. It was interesting how different the three of us would “read” the artwork. This is the best part of an Art Stroll -going with different friends and then discuss. Highly recommended :)

Hope you enjoyed this Art Stroll to the New Museum.

Comments (6)

  • Sue Clarke


    Wow…I’m totally loving the work of Wilmer Wilson IV!
    The detail in the staples…when just the hands show through…very powerful.
    TFS again…I look forward to your posts every day Nat.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      So happy to have you Sue!!! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Yes- the work of Wilmer Wilson IV was super powerful !


  • Janene


    So grateful to you for posting these diverse and amazing pieces. I keep going back to “Walking Razor” – the colors and tiny little texture-strokes are really intense, and very inspiring. I also really loved the Russian woven textile pieces. It’s not a medium I’ve ever worked in, so I appreciate seeing it up-close. Thank you again, dear Nathalie!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Janene- yeah the Walking Razor was super intriguing and I kept trying to figure out how it was done. Just like for you the woven pieces are super interesting to me – painting with yarn :)


  • Deb


    Thank you so much for continuing to share your Art Strolls. We get to see exhibits that we otherwise would not. Your last comment in this post about seeing how differently we each “read” the various pieces is so true. Good to have friends to discuss it with. The “debriefing” of the stroll.

    Love the variety of your blog posts. Have enjoyed your posts from your Japan trip and the subsequently inspired journal pages. I look forward to your daily posts. Thanks for all the effort you put into them.

    Happy Friday!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Happy weekend Deb-!!! so happy to have you and that you enjoy the blog!
      I love going with friends and talk with them about art. Our different backgrounds and experiences as well as different knowledge makes up for interesting “readings” and conversations. My friend Thomas is much older and so it was really interesting what his perspective was – plus his knowledge of Latin for some of the tapestry was unbeatable- LOL. Have a wonderful sunday!


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Art Stroll: MoMA NYC

A couple weeks ago I went on an Art Stroll at MoMA – I love how there are always pieces exchanged in the permanent collection

James Ensor, Masks Confronting Death – 1988 – Oil on Canvas

I love the visual texture in this painting …yet the death masks are a bit disconcerting.

Pablo Picasso Woman Plaiting Her Hair – 1906

I love those three Picasso’s – it shows the development into cubism so well.

Pablo Picasso Bather 1908-09

Pablo Picasso Woman with Pears 1909

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Street, Berlin 1913

Kirchner’s colors are always make my heart swoon!

Henri Matisse The Blue Window 1913 

so beautiful !

Henri Matisse The Morrocans 195-16

Matisse developed this painting of what he described as “the terrace of the little cafe of the casbah” in the years following two visits to Morocco in 1912 and 1913.

Paul Klee, Mask of Fear, 1932 Oil on Burlap

Jackson Pollock, Echo 25 – 1951

Jackson Pollock Easter and the Totem 1953

After 1952 dripping and pouring paint were no longer the primary means of expression for Pollock. The bright colors and expansive spaces anchored by large swaths of black suggest the influence of Henri Matisse, who was the subject of a large retrospective that Pollock would have seen at MoMA the previous year.

Robert Gober, Intaglio Print 2001

The Long Run was an exhibition I found very interesting. Innovation in art is often characterized as a singular event- a bolt of lightning that strikes once and forever changes the course of what follows. But artists are continual experimenting  longer after their breakthrough moments. Invention results from sustained critical thinking, persistent observation and countless hours in the studio. The exhibition shows artworks from the later years of certain well known artists.

Philip Guston – Edge of Town – 1969

“When the 1960s came along I was feeling split, schizophrenic, the war that was happening in America, the brutality of the world. What kind of a man am I, sitting at home, reading magazines, going into a frustrated fury about everything – and then going into my studio to adjust a red to a blue.” In 1968 Gaston emphatically embraced figuration and his new paintings were scathing and satirical, often implicitly addressing current events.

Willem de Kooning, Untitled III 1982

I could not believe how different this painting by Kooning was from everything I knew from him.

Elizabeth Murray, Do the Dance 2005 – Oil on canvas on Wood

A very interesting part of this exhibition was how many women were included in this exhibition …it makes you wonder why there are not more artwork of the exact same artists from earlier years are included in the permanent collection ..hey MoMA …you could step your game up a bit and then it would make this exhibition round !

Ed Clark – Untitled 2009

Cy Twombly always makes me swoon


Cy Twombly – the four seasons – 1993 -1994


Roy Lichtenstein – Study for Interior with Mobile – 1992 –

I was really sure how this was really different from the former work of Lichtenstein.

Andy Warhol – The last Supper –

James Rosenquist – Lady Dog Lizard – 1985


Frank Stella, Giufa, la luna, i ladri e le guardie 1984 – synthetic polymer paint, oil, urethane, enamel, fluorescent alkyd and printing ink on canvas and etched magnesium, aluminum and fiberglass

I love how Stella how was so minimalistic and colorless in the past embraced color late in his life.

Geta Brătescu Medea’s Hypostases VI – 1980

Geta Brătescu Medea’s Hypostases III – 1980

Geta Brătescu Medea’s Hypostases II – 1980

Again a women that I do not know much about ..but I do love those fabric pieces.

Lee Bontecou Untitled 1980-98

It was a fun and inspiring visit – it reminded me that you always have to keep going, exploring and being curious.

Hope you enjoyed the Art Stroll :)

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