Tag Archives: hudson river school

Modern Art Monday Presents: Ed Ruscha, The Old Tool & Die Building

old too and dye building photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

The title of Ed Ruscha’s The Old Tool & Die Building (2004) suggests that the industrial space pictured here — decorated with signage in a mix of altered, nonsensical Korean and archaic Mandarin characters, an unidentifiable corporate symbol, and graffiti — was once a place where machinists manufactured parts.

The Old Tool & Die Building is part of the Course of Empire series — a group of five paintings that revisit the subjects of Ruscha’s 1992 series Blue Collar. In those back and white canvases, the artist had pictured the industrial buildings once common to the American urban landscape. The newer paintings, rendered in color, capture old sites repurposed, abandoned, enlarged, or made obsolete

Ed Ruscha named the series after a group of paintings by the Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole (1801 – 1848). Cole’s The Course of Empire (183336) traces the transformation of an imagined civilization from an Edenic state close to nature, through the rise of culture, to a dominating Empire, and then on to decline and ruin. Although Ruscha’s coolly removed depictions do not editorialize on their subjects, like Cole’s works they chronicle the unrelenting developments and the inevitable cycles of human civilizations.

Photographed in The Whitney Museum in NYC.

 

Modern Art Monday Presents: Sunrise on the Matterhorn by Albert Bierstadt

Sunrise on the Matterhorn
Photo By Gail

In the summer of 1856, during a four-year period of study in Europe, American landscape painter Albert Bierstadt joined several American colleagues on a sketching trip. His fascination with the Swiss terrain resulted in a series of oil studies and pencil sketches, executed during the trip, and several large canvases of the mountain landscape, painted upon his return to New Bedford, Massachusetts. He revisited Switzerland numerous times between 1867 and 1897 to do more sketching.

In this dramatic view of the most famous mountain located in the Swiss Alps, Sunrise on the Matterhorn, the artist depicted the cloud–in circled peak in the distance, strikingly juxtaposed with a low, rocky foreground. The vertical thrust of the mountain is reinforced by the towering pines at the lower left.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.