Tag Archive | Painting

Modern Art Monday Presents: Gertrude Abercrombie, Self Portrait As My Sister

Self Portrait As My Sister
Photo By Gail

Chicago-based surrealist Gertrude Abercrombie (19091977) was acclaimed for her enigmatic paintings of stark interiors and illusory landscapes. On first glance, Self Portrait As My Sister (1941) appears to be relatively straight-forward representation, lacking the idiosyncratic imagery of her complex, dreamlike works. But Abercrombie was an only child, and the title’s allusion to a sister heightens the paradox of the painting. She frequently used self-portraiture as a means of trying on new guises and personas, later observing, “It’s always myself that I paint, but not actually, because I don’t look that good or cute.” Indeed, in her records she referred to this work as “Portrait of Artist as Ideal.” Her reference to a fictitious and prettier sister hints at desire to be a different person, a longing she could satisfy through her painting.

Photographed in the Art Institute Chicago.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Portrait of Paul Cadmus By Luigi Lucioni

Portrait of Paul Cadmus
Photo By Gail

Luigi Lucioni and Paul Cadmus probably met as students, and they doubtless shared acquaintances within New York’s circles of gay artists and writers. Lucioni’s likeness of Cadmus (1928) celebrated the shared passion of two young moderns for the ideal forms of Italian Renaissance art, particularly the paintings of Piero della Francesca. Within a modern close-up format, the artist captured a gaze that is at once tentative and mesmerizing.

Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Alejandro Puente, Untitled

Alejandro Puente Untitled
Photo By Gail

Alejandro Puente (19332013) was at the fore of a group of artists from La Plata, Argentina, who shared with American Minimalist and Conceptual artists of the 1960s a devotion to the rigorous exploration of systems of color and form. This composition reflects Puente’s preference for the primary colors as they appear unmixed on a color wheel. Arranged together, four equilateral triangles make up a single, larger triangle, with the three primary colors radiating out from an anchor in black. An even white strip runs along two sides of each triangle, suggesting a state of incompleteness while also creating the perimeter of overall composition. As this composite work suggests, the abstract vocabularies practiced by La Plata artists effectively abandoned traditional painting by embracing the shaped canvas, the support assuming its own identity in space as an object

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Stuart Davis, Men and Machine

Stuart Davis, Men and Machine
Photo By Gail

Heralded for his abstract visual evocations of jazz, Stuart Davis‘s art also responded profoundly to the industrial age. Men and Machine (1934) features two men standing before a schematically rendered structure with their backs to the viewer. Likely representing a construction site with the foreman and investor looking on, the painting alludes to New York’s interwar construction boom. Highlighting the degree to which industrialism was associated with masculinity, Davis’s painting, consisting of primary colors on a white background, also testifies to the artist’s respect for Piet Mondrian.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Fernand Leger, The Builders

The Builders
Photo By Gail

The quintessential painter of the machine age, Fernand Leger observed the effects of modern technology in the trenches as a soldier in the French army during World War I. Featuring workers whose bodies appear to be assembled from standardized industrial parts, The Builders (1920) exemplifies the style he developed after the war. Unlike the toiling laborers of Thomas Hart Benton’s mural, America Today, the builders here fuse seamlessly with the scaffolding and gears around them, as though they are part of one, harmonious machine. In the 1930s and 1940s. Leger would go on to make his own murals, featuring abstracted images of industry and machine power.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Return of Neptune By John Singleton Copley

The Return of Neptune
Photo By Gail

In this scene, mermaids, tritons, and marine cherubs effervesce from the sea around the mighty marine god, Neptune. John Singleton Copley derived the image for The Return of Neptune (1754) from an engraving of 1749 by Simon Francois Ravenet, after a design by the Italian painter Andrea Casali. It is among Copley’s earliest works, executed when the artist was about fifteen years old. He may have been introduced to the European print while viewing works in the collection of his stepfather, Peter Pelham, a well-known engraver and print seller in Boston. Colonial American furniture makers had similar access to prints and design books that they used as inspiration for carving patterns, decorative motifs, and geometric proportioning.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Businessman Max Roesberg, Dresden By Otto Dix

The Businessman Max Roesberg, Dresden
Photo By Gail

German painter Otto Dix portrayed his subjects with a hard-edged, detached realism, accentuating unattractive features and signs of age. Since this portarit, The Businessman Max Roesberg, Dresden (1922) was a commission, his treatment of his subject was rather kind. Dix highlights Roesberg’s business prowess — which was short-lived — in several ways. The room is cluttered with materials central to a productive professional practice, such as a telephone, calendar, and tools for correspondence,while the palette of greens and blues alludes to rh coorof money. Moreover, Roesberg’s body is almost completely obscured by his business suit —  a mark of his professional identity.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.