Tag Archive | painting

Modern Art Monday Presents: Diego Rivera, Cubist Landscape

cubist landscape diego rivera photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Cubist Landscape (1912) was inspired by a trip that Diego Rivera made to Spain on 1911, where he encountered the olive trees of Catalonia. The serrated blue ridge in the painting evokes Montserrat, a mountain in the region. The work exemplifies the idiosyncratic approach to Cubism that Rivera developed in the 1910s, when he lived in Paris. He saw these early works, which combine a sun-drenched palette with kaleidoscopic planes and abstract patterning, as a way of beginning to forge a specifically Mexican modernism. “My Cubist paintings,” he said, “are my most Mexican.”

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

Modern Art Monday Presents: Ferdinand Lured By Ariel By Sir John Everett Millais

ferdinand lured by ariel photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Sir John Everett Millais (18291896) opened up new terrain in this scene from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The shipwrecked prince Ferdinand can hear, but not see, the sprite Ariel, who strums a stringed abalone shell and lifts the hero’s hat to sing in his ear. Determined to be true to nature, the young artist took eye-catching color and minutely observed detail to unconventional limits. He adopted the novel approach painting the background outdoors, zealously delineating “every blade of grass and leaf distinct.” By contrast, Ariel and the noisemaking imps are whimsically fantastical. Exhibited at London’s Royal Academy in 1850, Ferdinand Lured By Ariel proclaimed the insurgent ambitions of Millais and his friends in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, so named because their innovative style took inspiration from art made before Raphael (14831520).

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Christmas-time, The Blodgett Family By Eastman Johnson

christmastime the blodgett family photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Jonathan Eastman Johnson (18241906) was an American painter and co-founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In this painting from 1864, Johnson depicts merchant William Tilden Blodgett and his family in the parlor of their Manhattan home. Painted toward the end of the Civil War, the serene interior only hints at the urgent issue of Black emancipation through a kinetic toy seen on the table (click the image to enlarge for detail). Suggestive of a minstrel figure and outfitted as a Union recruit, its presence underlines Blodgett’s abolitionist sympathies and the complexity of racial stereotyping at this time. Along with Johnson, Blodgett would later serve as a trustee of The Met, securing funds for the purchase of the 174 European pantings in 1871, which included works by Anthony van Dyck and Francesco Giardi.

Photographed as Part of the Exhibition, Making the Met, 1870-2020, a Celebration of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 150 Year Anniversary.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Paul Signac, Opus 217 (Portrait of M. Félix Fénéon)

paul signac opus 217 photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Known for his meticulous dress and unusual goatee, French art critic Félix Fénéon gained a reputation as a dandy among his peers. In this painting, whose full title is Opus 217. Against the Enamel of a background Rhythmic with Beats and Angles, Tones and Tinits, Portrait of M Félix Fénéon in 1890, Paul Signac set the critic’s static profile against a swirling background– a kaleidoscopic reference to optical theorist Charles Henry’s recently published color wheel. The wordy title is a spoof on the exceedingly long titles that Henry and his fellow scientists gave to their studies. Though Fénéon professed to dislike it, he kept the portrait for the rest of his life.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Vasily Kandinsky, Picture With An Archer

kandinsky picture with an anchor photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

The vibrant colors of Vasily Kandinsky’s Picture With An Archer (1909) almost obscure its subject. At lower right, an archer on horseback leaps through a radiant landscape of towering trees and rock formations. Men in Russian dress stand in the left foreground; behind them is a group of buildings with onion-shaped domes. This folkloric scene evokes Kandinsky’s native Russia, and it also bears the influence of Murnau, the southern German town where the artist lived when he made this work: the black outlines enclosing bright colors recall reverse glass painting, a local craft. “Color,” Kandinsky wrote a year later, “is a power which directly influences the soul.”

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Painting of Unknown Title By Yves Tanguy

yves tangy title unknown photo by gail worley

Yves Tanguy’s debt to the still and imaginative landscapes of the Italian Surrealist Giorgio de Chirico is apparent in this work’s perplexing array of imagery that includes a small school of fish and child flattened by a cart. The plain white tower in the background — a favorite iconographic motif of de Chirico — secures the connection between the two artists. The title of this fun painting from 1926 is unknown

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Rosalyn Drexler, Love and Violence

love and violence by rosalyn drexler photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Rosalyn Drexler’s work often explores the dark backstories of postwar media culture and gender roles through imagery taken from mass-produced printed materials. For Love and Violence (1965), she enlarged a poster from the 1963 Hollywood film, Toys in the Attic, collaged it onto canvas and then painted over it within a flattened visual field. In this image, the movie’s main character, played by Dean Martin, embraces the female lead, Yvette Mimieux, with his hands at her chin. By setting the image against a red background, above cinematic scenes of brutality, Drexler highlights the threat implied by the male character’s seemingly intimate gesture. In the artist’s words, these popular images were “hidden but present, like a disturbing memory.”

Photographed in the Whitney Museum in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Edna Andrade, Summer Game

edna andrade summer game photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail 

An early practitioner of Op Art, a movement that emerged in the mid-1960s and prioritized optical illusionism, Edna Andrade (19172008) used geometry and color to create abstract interpretations of organic ratios, biological systems, and natural rhythms. Summer Game (1972) features a vibrant palette and an irregular grid that appears to expand and contract, project, and recede, creating a sense of playful, kinetic energy.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Emma Van Name By Joshua Johnson

emma van name by joshua johnson photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

This compelling portrait of a Baltimore toddler picking berries from a surreally-scaled goblet is an icon of the American vernacular painting. Joshua Johnson, who was self taught, is the earliest known African American painter to make his living from his art. Emma Van Name (1805) is his most ambitious and engaging portrait of an individual child. Revealing the hallmarks of Johnson’s characteristic style in its naturalistic precision and imaginative flair, the painting is distinguished by a bravura demonstration of his talents in its nuanced palette, compositional complexity, and deft handling of details, especially in the child’s dress and demeanor.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Kees van Dongen, Modjesko, Soprano Singer

modjesko soprano singer photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Modjesko was a popular drag performer in Paris in the early years of the twentieth century. Art critic, Félix Fénéon, included this portrait in several exhibitions at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, including the group show Portraits of Men.  In 1909, he signed artist Kees van Dongen to a seven-year contract. Both anarchists, van Dongen and Fénéon shared a desire to advocate for the rights of socially marginalized people.

Modjesko, Soprano Singer (1908) was Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.