Tag Archive | The Met

Modern Art Monday Presents: Stuart Davis, Percolator

Percolator
Photo By Gail

Influenced by the Cubist language of flat, overlapping planes and wedges, Stuart Davis (1892 – 1964) used geometric shapes in related colors to create this still life, Percolator (1927). Here, he deconstructs the cylindrical forms of a mass-produced, percolator coffeepot and renders the everyday object both abstract and undefinable. By choosing an industrially produced consumer product as his subject, Davis put a new spin on the spatial innovations of the previous decade’s European avant-garde art movements.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Let My People Go By Aaron Douglas

Let My People Go
Photos By Gail

Kansas-born Aaron Douglas (1899 – 1979) was the leading visual artist of the Harlem Renaissance, the great flowering of the arts in the 1920s and 1930s in New York’s predominantly African American neighborhood. Rendered in Douglas’s flat silhouetted style and with lavender and yellow-gold hues, this work, Let My People Go (1935-39), depicts the Old Testament story about God’s order to Moses to lead the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt.

Ministers, abolitionists , and politicians from the nineteenth-century through the Civil Rights era have related this story to the oppression of African Americans. Light Symbolizing God’s command radiates down and envelops the kneeling figure of Moses. Douglas derived this composition from a design he created in 1927 for God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse, a collaboration with author and activist James Weldon Johnson.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Eye On Design: Dressing Table and Mirror By Norman Bel Geddes

Dressing Table and Mirror Norman Bel Geddes
Photo By Gail

This Vanity (1928) stands as a harbinger in the evolution of an American modern style. Norman Bel Geddes (1893 -1988) conceived of it only a year after founding the first industrial design firm in the United States. His prior experience on theater and film sets lent a dramatic flair to his consumer products, including  this dressing table and mirror, made of enameled and chrome-plated steel, which was part of a larger suite of metal bedroom furniture.

Designed a the height of the Roaring Twenties, it echoes the sleek modernity of Manhattan skyscrapers, a favored motif among Art Deco designers, with its sequence of setbacks from drawers to mirror top. The industrial materials emphasize the design’s mechanical production, while the polished enamel and elegant trim and drawer pulls suggest something of the luxurious finishes found in handmade Art Deco furniture.

Seen in the Mirror: A reflection of the painting, I Saw The Figure Five in Gold By Charles Demuth.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Paul Signac, Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde (La Bonne-Mere) Marseilles

Notre Dame De La Garde
All Photos By Gail

After visiting Marseilles in late 1905, Paul Signac proceeded to paint two canvases in his studio: one showing the entrance to the port, and this view, facing the hill surmounted by Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, the church nicknamed the Good Mother by seamen. Bright and boldly colored, the composition reflects Signac’s contact with the artists Henri-Edmond Cross and Matisse at Saint Tropez in the summer of 1904. The rectangular strokes of unmixed pigment, arranged like tesserae (an individual tile, usually formed in the shape of a cube) in a mosaic, are Signac’s variation on the innovative painting method pioneered by Georges Seurat.

Notre Dame De La Garde Detail
Painting Detail

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Spider Woman By Louise Bourgeois

Spider Woman Louise Bourgeois
All Photos By Gail

Throughout her long career, Louise Bourgeois (1911 – 2010) treated the motif of spiders across many different media, from drawings and prints to monumental outdoor sculpture. The theme was initially associated with her mother, a tapestry restorer, but grew to take on broader associations as a strong female protector against evil. this example, dating from the last decade of the artist’s life, represents a female spider with human face, contained with an eggs-shaped form. The vibrant scarlet ink is  color that Bourgeois favored in the late work.

Spider Woman Louise Bourgeois Detail

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Birth of Venus By Alexandre Cabanel

Birth Of Venus
Photo By Gail

The first version of Alexandre Cabanel’s  The Birth of Venus created a sensation at the Salon of 1863, which was dubbed the “Salon of Venuses” owing to the number of alluring nudes on view. Embodying the ideals of academic art, the careful modeling, silky brushwork, and mythological subject of Cabanel’s canvas proved a winning combination: the Salon picture was purchased by no leas that Napoleon III for his personal collection. In 1875 , Jon Wolfe commissioned the present, slightly smaller, replica from Cabanel.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

Modern Art Monday Presents: Jean-Léon Gerome, Pygmalion and Galatea

Pygmalion and Galatea
Photo By Gail

Between 1890 and 1892, Jean-Léon Gerome (1824 – 1904) made both painted and sculpted variations of the theme of Pygmalion and Galatea, the tale recounted in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. All depict the moment when the sculpture of Galatea was brought to life by the goddess Venus, in fulfillment of Pygmalion’s wish for a wife as beautiful as the sculpture he created. This is one of three known versions in oil that are closely related to a polychrome marble sculpture, also fashioned by Gerome (located at Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA). In each of the paintings, the sculpture appears at a different angle, as though is was being viewed in the round.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art on NYC.