Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt’s technique influenced:

Project 1.2 Urban landscapes etchings and drypoint

Assignment 3 Chiaroscuro

Project 4.2 Self Portraits

Sources and references

Bikker, J. and G. J. M. Weber (2015). Rembrandt: The Late Works. London, National Gallery.
Royalton-Kisch, M. (2006). Rembrandt as Printmaker. London, Hayward Gallery Touring.

Etchings

Christie’s exhibition

Rembrandt (1606-1669) was a Dutch  painter, draughtsman and printmaker. His works cover a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies.

Rembrandt’s fame while he lived was greater as an etcher than as a painter (he did no engravings or woodcuts). He experimented with different etching and drypoint techniques. He used different mark-making tools to create different types of line – in contrast to the much more mechanical engraving techniques. Rembrandt sometimes employed even the V-shaped engraver’s burin in his etchings, combining it with the fine etching needle and thicker dry point needle, as in the work opposite, for richer pictorial effects.

Rembrandt Old Bearded Man
Rembrandt Old Bearded Man
Rembrandt with Saskia etching
Rembrandt with Saskia etching
Rembrandt Mother in Widow's Dress and Black Gloves
Rembrandt Mother in Widow’s Dress and Black Gloves
Rembrandt The Three Trees Etching and Drypoint
Rembrandt The Three Trees Etching and Drypoint

He also experimented with different inking variations for chiaroscuro, producing very different interpretations of the same plate. Etching allows a lot of correction and burnishing to change the image. In some instances his etching were explorations of light and shade that he then transferred into his paintings.

Rembrandt The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634, etching, engraving and drypoint printed in black ink on cream paper.
Rembrandt The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634, etching, engraving and drypoint printed in black ink on cream paper.

Goldmark exhibition (has a loupe to see the detail of markmaking)

Detailed discussion of Rembrandt’s techniques and the background to his etchings.

Rembrandt’s technique

Rembrandt’s self portraits

Rembrandt The Late Works

Per Kirkeby

Danish painter, sculptor and writer. In 1962 he entered the Eksperimenterende Kunst-skole (Experimental Art School) in Copenhagen.His first important one-man exhibition abroad was at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, in 1977. He later exhibited widely at public and commercial galleries throughout Europe and the USA.
A prolific artist, Kirkeby used a range of different media. He was a member of the Fluxus group and was influenced by Pop art in the 1960s. Later he was influenced by Tachism and Abstract Expressionism. The vigorous brushwork and chromatic beauty of his, mostly untitled, paintings and the sensuous modelling of his rough black bronzes have earned him the title ‘lyric expressionist’. The paintings, which tend towards the abstract, bear veiled iconographic reference, largely to the Danish landscape and the female figure.
In contrast to the poetic and dramatic character of his paintings and black bronzes Kirkeby’s brick sculptures display an unusual clarity. They make strong reference to traditional Danish housing and are inspired by Mayan architecture, as in the house-like, symmetrical form (1973) at Ikast, Denmark. In 1981 Kirkeby completed a group of such sculptures for the County Council building in Ålborg. His concern with experiment and conceptual art led him to execute a series of works in chalk on blackboard, and he regularly published poetry, essays and travel books, as well as making television and full-length documentary films. He also produced many artist’s books, such as the ‘picture novel’ Landskaberne (‘Landscapes’; Copenhagen, 1969).
Bibliography
Per Kirkeby: Übermalungen, 1964–84 (exh. cat., Munich, Kstraum, 1984)
Per Kirkeby: Skulpturen und Bilder (exh. cat., Zurich, Gal. Knoedler, 1985)
Per Kirkeby: Retrospektive (exh. cat., Cologne, Mus. Ludwig, 1987)
Per Kirkeby: Pinturas, esculturas, grabados y escritos (exh. cat., Valencia, IVAM Cent. Julio Gonzalez, 1989–90)
‘Per Kirkeby’, Louisiana Revue, xxx/3 (1990) [whole issue]
JENS PETER MUNK

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham 1912 –  2004

from Wikipedia

Google Images

Barns-Graham Charitable Trust images

Looking In Looking Out  You Tube video

My Aunt Wilhelmina Barns Graham  You Tube video

 

I want my work to be a simple statement. To have an atmosphere and integrity – this is a presence…To have interesting space relationships, relationships of colour, and colour to form – that is form suggesting colour and vice versa. One plane over another in a totality of image, with something of the fun of the unexpected. A world in itself – of small area against large mass.

 

The positive aspect of working in an abstract way for me, is the freedom of choice, i.e.medium, space, texture, colours, the challenge of feeling out the truth of an idea – a process of inner perception and harmony of thought on a high level…Abstract is a refinement and greater discipline to the idea, truth to the medium thus perfecting the idea, only using that which perfects or adds to that idea.

 

At my age, there’s now no time to be lost. I say to myself, ‘Do it now, don’t be afraid.’ I’ve got today, but who knows about tomorrow? I’m not ready for death yet, there’s still so much I want to do. Life is so exciting. Trying to catch one simple statement about it. That’s what I’m aiming for, I’ll keep on trying.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s work generally lies on the divide between abstract and representational, typically drawing on inspirations from landscape.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham was born in St Andrews, Fife. She enrolled in Edinburgh College of Art in 1931, after some dispute with her father. After periods of illness,  she graduated with her diploma in 1937. In 1940, she moved to St Ives, Cornwall, in 1940, near to where a group of Hampstead-based modernists had settled, at Carbis Bay, to escape the war.This was a pivotal moment in her life. Early on she met Borlase Smart, Alfred Wallis and Bernard Leach, as well as the painter Ben Nicholson and the sculptors Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo.  Perhaps the most significant innovation at this time derived from the ideas of Naum Gabo, who was interested in the principle of stereometry – defining forms in terms of space rather than mass.

Her pictures from this period are exploratory and even tentative as she began to develop her own method and visual language. Later, local shapes and colours appear in the images – the Cornish rocks, landscape and buildings.

At the suggestion of the College’s Principal Hubert Wellington, Barns-Graham became a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists and the St Ives Society of Artists but was to leave the latter when, in 1949, the St Ives art community suffered an acrimonious split, and she became a founder member of a breakaway group of abstract artists, the Penwith Society of Arts. She was also one of the initial exhibitors of the significant Crypt Group. In the same year she married the art critic David Lewis (they divorced in 1960).

She travelled regularly over the next 20 years to Switzerland, Italy, Paris, and Spain. With the exception of a short teaching term at Leeds School of Art (1956–1957) and three years in London (1960–1963), she lived and worked in St Ives. From 1960, on inheriting a house outside St Andrews from her aunt Mary Niesh (who had been a support to her throughout her art college years), she split her time between summers in Cornwall and winters in Scotland.

Barns-Graham’s series of glacier pictures that started in 1949, inspired by her walks on the Grindelwald Glacier in Switzerland, reflect the idea of looking at things in a total view, not only from the outside but from all points, including inside. In 1952 her studies of local forms became more planar and two dimensional, but from the mid-1950s she had developed a more expressionist and free form attitude following journeys to Spain.

In the early 1960s, reflecting the turmoil in her personal life, Barns-Graham adopted a severe geometrical form of abstraction as a way of taking a fresh approach to her painting. Combined with a very intuitive sense of colour and design, the work often has more vitality than is immediately apparent. Squares tumble and circles flow across voids. Colour and movement come together and it is at this point in her work that St Ives perhaps exerts the least influence; rather, this approach more likely reflects an interest in the work of Josef Albers who was exciting UK artists at this time, in embracing new possibilities offered by the optical effects of a more formulaic abstraction.

Nonetheless there is evidence to suggest that many images did stem from observations of the world around her. This is seen in a series of ice paintings in the late 1970s and then in a body of work that explores the hidden energies of sea and wind, composed of multiple wave-like lines drawn in the manner of Paul Klee. The Expanding Form paintings of 1980 are the culmination of many ideas from the previous fifteen years – the poetic movement in these works revealing a more relaxed view.

From the late 1980s and right up until her death, Barns-Graham’s paintings became more and more free; an expression of life and free flowing brushwork not seen since the late 1950s. Working mainly on paper (there are relatively few canvases from this period) the images evolved to become, initially, highly complex, rich in colour and energy, and then, simultaneously, bolder and simpler, reflecting her enjoyment of life and living. “in my paintings I want to express the joy and importance of colour, texture, energy and vibrancy, with an awareness of space and construction. A celebration of life — taking risks so creating the unexpected.” (Barns-Graham, October 2001) This outlook is perfectly expressed in the extraordinary collection of screen prints that she made with Graal Press, Edinburgh, between 1999 and 2003.

Post-war, when St Ives had ceased to be a pivotal centre of modernism, her work and importance as an artist was sidelined, in part by an art-historical consensus that she had been only as a minor member of the St Ives school. In old age, however, she received belated recognition, receiving honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews in 1992 and later from the universities of Plymouth, Exeter and Falmouth . In 1999 she was elected an honorary member of the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Scottish Watercolourists. She was awarded a CBE in 2001, the same year that saw the publication of the first major monograph on her life and work, written by Lynne Green — W.Barns-Graham : A Studio Life (Lund Humphries). This publication was followed in 2007 by The Prints of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham : a complete catalogue by Ann Gunn (also a Lund Humphries publication). Her work is found in all major public collections within the UK.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham died in St Andrews on 26 January 2004. She bequeathed her entire estate to The Barns-Graham Charitable Trust, which she had established in 1987. The aims of the trust are to foster and protect her reputation, to advance the knowledge of her life and work, to create an archive of key works of art and papers, and, in a cause close to her heart, to support and inspire art and art history students through offering grants and bursaries to those in selected art college and universities. Information about the trust and its activities is to be found at http://www.barns-grahamtrust.org.uk

Copyright

Barns-Graham Charitable Trust

“You may download the material featured on this website to file or printer for non-commercial research and private study. You will need a licence from us for any other form of re-use. Applications can be sent to us at:

Barns-Graham Charitable Trust
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KY16 6AT”

Lyubov Popova

Lyubov Popova (1889 – 1924) was a Russian avant-garde artist (Cubist, Suprematist and Constructivist), painter and designer. Much of her art explores the way shapes advance and recede depending on colours and precise details of design. Linked to revolutionary ideas about architecture and modern living.

Google images for Popova linocut

Linocuts from portfolio of six prints in article on Tate exhibition of Russian women artists

Full set of linocuts sold at Christies

TateShots: Rodchenko and Popova

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Slideshow of paintings

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Life

Lyubov Popova was born into a wealthy family.  She grew up with a strong interest in art, especially Italian Renaissance painting. At eleven years old she began formal art lessons at home. Popova travelled extensively and her work has contributed to, and influenced by, many of the major art movements of the early 20th Century.

1907-1908 Impressionism: She studied first with Stanislav Zhukovsky and Konstantin Yuon whose interest in luminous tonalities reminiscent can be seen in early works by Popova such as Still-life with Basket of Fruit (1907–8)

1909 she was very impressed by the religious works of Mikhail Vrubel’.

1910: Renaissance she travelled to Italy and admired Renaissance art, especially the paintings of Giotto.

1910- 1911: Russian art she toured many parts of Russia, including Suzdal’, Novgorod, Yaroslavl’ and Pskov. Inspired by Russian architecture, frescoes and icons, she developed a less naturalistic approach.

1912-1914: Cubism and futurism she went to Paris and Italy. She studied at the Académie de la Palette, under the direction of Henri Le Fauconnier and Jean Metzinger. In numerous sketchbooks she applied Cubist analysis to the human figure. She was also influenced by Léger and the Italian Futurist Umberto Boccioni  (see e.g. Two Figures, 1913–14; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.; Seated Figure (1914; Cologne, Mus. Ludwig). By 1913, in Composition with Figures, she was experimenting with the particularly Russian development of Cubo-Futurism: a fusion of two equal influences from France and Italy. Popova shows a new confidence and fluency, and a more sophisticated integration of form and space into the transparent structures of curved and rectilinear planes. A complex and dynamic fragmentation appears in canvases such as Travelling Woman (1915; Los Angeles, CA, Norton Simon A. Found.; see Rudenstine, pl. 808).

1912-onwards: Constructivism and suprematism

From 1914–1915 Popova’s Moscow home became the meeting-place for artists and writers.

Popova was influenced by Vladimir Tatlin and worked at some time between 1912 and 1915 in his studio in Moscow, the Tower. Inspired by his constructions, Popova experimented with collage and in 1915 began to produce painted reliefs in which projecting curved elements made of cardboard are juxtaposed and enlivened with strongly coloured, impasto paintwork (e.g. Jug on a Table, 1915; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.).

In 1916 she joined the Supremus group with Kazimir Malevich, the founder of Suprematism, Aleksandra Ekster, Ivan Kliun, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Olga Rozanova, Ivan Puni, Nina Genke,Ksenia Boguslavskaya and others who at this time worked in Verbovka Village Folk Centre. The term ‘supreme’ refers to a ‘non-objective’ or abstract world beyond that of everyday reality. The aim was creation of a new kind of painting as part of the revolutionary urge of the Russian avant-garde to remake the world. However there was a tension between those who, like Malevich saw art as a spiritual quest, and others who responded to the need for the artist to create a new physical world. In 1916 she began to paint completely abstract Suprematist compositions, but the title ‘Painterly Architectonics’ (which she gave to many of her paintings) suggests that, even as a Suprematist, Popova was more interested in painting as a projection of material reality than as the personal expression of a metaphysical reality. Popova’s superimposed planes and strong colour have the objective presence of actual space and materials. In 1916 she produced her first non-objective canvases, six of which she exhibited as Painterly Architectonics (two repr. in Rudenstine, pls 826–7) at the November Jack of Diamonds exhibition. Earlier that autumn Popova had joined Malevich’s Suprematist circle, producing several designs for the magazine Supremus (which was never published). Although she adopted the rectilinear geometry and white grounds of the Suprematists, Popova’s abstract canvases were distinctive. She produced very powerful and dynamic paintings in which large geometric planes, boldly coloured but with elements of modelling, abut and interpenetrate to create taut and thrusting diagonal compositions (e.g. Architectonic Painting, 1917; New York, MOMA). Color is used as the iconic focus; the strong primary color at the center drawing the outer shapes together.

During the Civil War Popova worked in the Fine Art Department (IZO) of Narkompros (the People’s Commissariat for Enlightenment), producing agitational posters, and also taught workers at Proletkul’t (Proletarian Cultural Organization). In 1918 she joined the staff of the State Free Art Studios (later known as Svomas), and when these became the Vkhutemas (Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops) she and Aleksandr Vesnin taught colour construction on the Basic Course.

A member of Inkhuk (Institute of Artistic Culture) from 1920, Popova was active in discussions concerning the new art and was commissioned to write a paper on the teaching of art, ‘K voprosu o novykh metodakh v nashey khudozhestvennoy shkole’ (‘Towards the question of the new methods in our art school’; unpublished; Moscow, priv. col.). She also participated in the crucial theoretical debates that led to the formation in March 1921 of the First Working Group of Constructivists. Although not a member, Popova collaborated with two of its founders, Aleksandr Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova, in the 5×5 = 25 exhibition (1921), showing five works she described as ‘experiments with painterly force structures’. By this time her paintings were more complex in their geometric and spatial construction, making greater use of linear elements (e.g. Spatial Force Construction, 1921; four in Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.; three in Athens, George Costakis Col.; one in New York, priv. col.; see Rudenstine, pl. 874).

Popova seems to have stopped painting in 1921 and, by her own declaration to Inkhuk in December, she espoused more fully the Constructivist emphasis on the utilitarian role of the artist working in poster, book design, fabric and theatre design, as well as teaching.

Her principal contribution to Constructivism was her subsequent work in theatre and textile design. In 1920 she had collaborated with Aleksandr Vesnin on a project for a mass outdoor festival in honour of the Third International, to be directed by Vsevolod Meyerhold. The following year she was invited to teach a course on the ‘Analysis of the elements of material design’, at the Higher Theatrical Workshops. These were organized by Meyerhold, who in 1922 invited her to design the sets and costumes for his production of Crommelynck’s farce The Magnanimous Cuckold at the Actors’ Theatre in Moscow. Popova created a Constructivist environment by transforming the water-mill of the setting into a multi-levelled, skeletal apparatus, with enormous wheels that rotated at crucial moments in the action. She dressed the actors in overalls, which she conceived as prototypes for workers’ clothing in that they were functional, suitable for mass-production and expressed the new proletarian ideology. In 1923 her set for Meyerhold’s production of Sergey Tret’yakov’s Zemlya dybom (‘The earth in turmoil’) consisted of a gantry crane, and the stage properties were selected from mass-produced objects such as projectors and motorcycles. By this means, together with the use of political slogans and newsreel film, Popova created an industrial montage.

Late in 1923 or early in 1924 Popova, together with Stepanova, started to design textiles for mass manufacture at the First State Textile Factory in Moscow. In accordance with Constructivist principles, both artists considered it imperative, in order to rationalize cloth production, to replace traditional floral patterns with designs consisting of rigorous combinations of one or two geometric forms in an economic colour range. Popova also designed working clothes, dresses made from her own textiles, and garments that utilized available materials such as flannel to combat current shortages. Popova’s theatrical experiments and textile designs were published in Lef (‘Left front of the arts’), a magazine set up in 1923 to promote Constructivist ideas in all the arts. She contracted scarlet fever from her son and died prematurely.

 Popova died of scarlet fever in 1924 in Moscow. A large exhibition of her work opened in Moscow on December 21, 1924.

Resources

Yayoi Kusama

My big job is to glance my vision

a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement … Polka dots are a way to infinity.

Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生 or 弥生 Kusama Yayoi?, born March 22, 1929) is a Japanese artist and writer. Kusama’s work is based in conceptual art and shows some attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, Art Brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism, and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content. Throughout her career she has worked in a wide variety of media, includingp ainting, collage, sculpture, performance art, and environmental installations, most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colors, repetition and pattern. Kusama is also a published novelist and poet, and has created notable work in film and fashion design. A precursor of the pop art, minimalist and feminist art movements, Kusama influenced contemporaries such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. Although largely forgotten after departing the New York art scene in the early 1970s, Kusama is now acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan, and an important voice of the avant-garde. Major retrospectives of her work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1998, the Whitney Museum in 2012, and Tate Modern in 2012. In 2008, Christies New York sold a work by her for $5.1 million, then a record for a living female artist.

Video about the Tate Exhibition 2012

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Earth is a polka dot – about Mirror Room

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Kusama’s self-obliteration: Jud Yalkut video, 1967

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Princess of polka dots

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Floating in her Lemon Juice

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 Life

source: Wikipedia

Born in Matsumoto, Nagano into an upper-middle-class family of seedling merchants, Kusama has experienced hallucinations and severe obsessive thoughts since childhood, often of a suicidal nature. She claims that as a small child she suffered severe physical abuse by her mother.

Kusama started creating art at an early age, going on to study Nihonga painting in Kyoto in 1948. She was frustrated with this distinctly Japanese style and hated the rigidities of the master-disciple system where students were supposed to imbibe tradition through the sensei. “When I think of my life in Kyoto,” she is quoted as saying, “I feel like vomiting.”

She became interested in the European and American avant-garde. By 1950, Kusama was depicting abstracted natural forms in watercolor, gouache and oil, primarily on paper. She began covering surfaces (walls, floors, canvases, and later, household objects and naked assistants) with the polka dots that would become a trademark of her work. The vast fields of polka dots, or “infinity nets,” as she called them, were taken directly from her hallucinations. The earliest recorded work in which she incorporated these dots was a drawing in 1939 at age 10, in which the image of a Japanese woman in a kimono, presumed to be the artist’s mother, is covered and obliterated by spots. Her first series of large-scale, sometimes more than 30 ft-long canvas paintings, Infinity Nets, were entirely covered in a sequence of nets and dots that alluded to hallucinatory visions. In the early 1960s Kusama began to cover items such as ladders, shoes and chairs with white phallic protrusions. Despite the micromanaged intricacy of the drawings, she turned them out fast and in bulk, establishing a rhythm of productivity she still maintains. She established other habits too, like having herself routinely photographed with new work. She staged several solo exhibitions of her paintings in Matsumoto and Tokyo during the 1950s. 

Yayoi Kusama said about her 1954 painting titled Flower (D.S.P.S),

One day I was looking at the red flower patterns of the tablecloth on a table, and when I looked up I saw the same pattern covering the ceiling, the windows and the walls, and finally all over the room, my body and the universe. I felt as if I had begun to self-obliterate, to revolve in the infinity of endless time and the absoluteness of space, and be reduced to nothingness. As I realized it was actually happening and not just in my imagination, I was frightened. I knew I had to run away lest I should be deprived of my life by the spell of the red flowers. I ran desperately up the stairs. The steps below me began to fall apart and I fell down the stairs straining my ankle.

1957 – 1973: US Pop culture

After living in Tokyo and France, Kusama left Japan in 1957 at the age of 27 for the United States, settling down in New York City where she produced a series of paintings influenced by the abstract expressionist movement. Her organically abstract paintings of one or two colors (the Infinity Nets series), which she began upon arriving in New York, garnered comparisons to the work of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman.

Switching to sculpture and installation as her primary mediums, Kusama became a fixture of the New York avant-garde, having her works exhibited alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and George Segal during the early 1960s, where she became associated with the pop art movement.  In 1961 she moved her studio into the same building as Donald Judd and sculptor Eva Hesse. She was also a friend of Georgia O’Keefe.

Embracing the rise of the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s, Kusama came to public attention when she organized a series of happenings in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots. Kusama organized outlandish happenings in conspicuous spots like Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge, often involving nudity and designed to protest the Vietnam War. In one, she wrote an open letter to Richard Nixon offering to have vigorous sex with him if he would stop the Vietnam war. Between 1967 and 1969 she concentrated on performances held with the maximum publicity, usually involving Kusama painting polka dots on her naked performers, as in the Grand Orgy to Awaken the Dead at the MOMA (1969), which took place at the Sculpture Garden of the Museum of Modern Art. In 1968, Kusama presided over the happening Homosexual Wedding at the Church of Self-obliteration in 33 Walker Street in New York, and performed alongside Fleetwood Mac and Country Joe and the Fish at the Fillmore East, New York City. She opened naked painting studios and a gay social club called the Kusama ‘Omophile Kompany (kok).

Since 1963, Kusama has continued her series of Mirror/Infinity rooms. In these complex installations, purpose-built rooms lined with mirrored glass contain scores of neon coloured balls, hanging at various heights above the viewer. Standing inside on a small platform, light is repeatedly reflected off the mirrored surfaces to create the illusion of a never-ending space.

In 1966, Kusama first participated in the 33rd Venice Biennale. Her Narcissus Garden comprised hundreds of mirrored spheres outdoors in what she called a “kinetic carpet”. As soon as the piece was installed on a lawn outside the Italian pavilion, Kusama, dressed in a golden kimono,[25] began selling each individual sphere for 1,200 lire (US$2), until the Biennale organisers put an end to her enterprise. Perhaps one of Kusama’s most notorious works,Narcissus Garden was as much about the promotion of the artist through the media as it was an opportunity to offer a critique of the mechanisation and commodification of the art market. Various versions of Narcissus Gardenhave been presented worldwide venues including Le Consortium, Dijon, 2000; Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2003; as part of the Whitney Biennial in Central Park, New York in 2004; and at the Jardin de Tuileries in Paris, 2010.

During her time in New York, Kusama had a decade-long sexless relationship with the American artist Joseph Cornell, Kusama’s only recorded romantic attachment to date.

However, she did not profit financially from her work. Around this time, Kusama was hospitalized regularly from overwork, and O’Keeffe convinced her own dealer Edith Herbert to purchase several works in order to help Kusama stave off financial hardship.

1973 – present return to Japan

In 1973, Kusama moved back to her native Japan, where she found the art scene far more conservative than that in New York. Becoming an art dealer, her business folded after several years, and after experiencing psychiatric problems, in 1977 she voluntarily admitted herself to a hospital, where she has spent the rest of her life. From here, she has continued to produce artworks in a variety of mediums, as well as launching a literary career by publishing several novels, a poetry collection and an autobiography.

In 1973, Kusama returned to Japan in ill health, where she began writing shockingly visceral and surrealistic novels, short stories, and poetry. Kusama checked herself into the Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill and eventually took up permanent residence. She has been living at the hospital since, by choice. Her studio, where she has continued to produce work since the mid-1970s, is a short distance from the hospital in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Kusama is often quoted as saying: “If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago.” She continued to paint, but now in high-coloured acrylics on canvas, on an amped-up scale.

When she left New York she was practically forgotten as an artist until the late 1980s and 1990s, when a number of retrospectives revived international interest. Following the success of the Japanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1993, a dazzling mirrored room filled with small pumpkin sculptures in which she resided in color-coordinated magician’s attire, Kusama went on to produce a huge, yellow pumpkin sculpture covered with an optical pattern of black spots. The pumpkin came to represent for her a kind of alter-ego or self-portrait. Kusama’s later installation I’m Here, but Nothing (2000–2008) is a simply furnished room consisting of table and chairs, place settings and bottles, armchairs and rugs, however its walls are tattooed with hundreds of fluorescent polka dots glowing in the UV light. The result is an endless infinite space where the self and everything in the room is obliterated. The multi-part floating work Guidepost to the New Space, a series of rounded “humps” in fire-engine red with white polka dots, was displayed in Pandanus Lake.

In her ninth decade, Kusama has continued to work as an artist. She has harked back to earlier work by returning to drawing and painting; her work remaining innovative and multi-disciplinary, and her most recent exhibition displayed multiple acrylic-on-canvas works. Also featured were an exploration of infinite space in her Infinity Mirror rooms; which typically involve a cube shaped room being clad with mirrors, water on the floor and flickering lights; which suggests a pattern of life and death.[35]

 

 Writing

In 1977, Kusama published a book of poems and paintings entitled 7. One year later, her first novel Manhattan Suicide Addict appeared. Between 1983 and 1990, she finished the novels The Hustler’s Grotto of Christopher Street (1983), The Burning of St Mark’s Church (1985), Between Heaven and Earth (1988), Woodstock Phallus Cutter (1988), Aching Chandelier (1989), Double Suicide at Sakuragazuka (1989), and Angels in Cape Cod (1990), alongside several issues of the magazine S&M Sniper in collaboration with photographer Nobuyoshi Araki.

Film

In 1968, the film Kusama’s Self-Obliteration which Kusama produced and starred in won a prize at the Fourth International Experimental Film Competition in Belgium and the Second Maryland Film Festival and the second prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. In 1991, Kusama starred in the film Tokyo Decadence, written and directed by Ryu Murakami, and in 1993, she collaborated with British musician Peter Gabriel on an installation in Yokohama.[37]

Fashion

In 1968, Kusama established Kusama Fashion Company Ltd., and began selling avantgarde fashion in the “Kusama Corner” at Bloomingdales. In 2009, Kusama designed a handbag-shaped cell phone entitled Handbag for Space Travel, My Doggie Ring-Ring, a pink dotted phone in accompanying dog-shaped holder, and a red and white dotted phone inside a mirrored, dotted box dubbed Dots Obsession, Full Happiness With Dots, for Japanese mobile communication giant KDDI Corporation‘s “iida” brand. Each phone was limited to 1000 pieces. In 2011, Kusama created artwork for six limited-edition lipglosses from Lancôme. That same year, she worked with Marc Jacobs (who visited her studio in Japan in 2006) on a line of Louis Vuitton products, including leather goods, ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes, watches, and jewelry.

Performance

In Yayoi Kusama’s Walking Piece (1966), a performance that was documented in a series of eighteen color slides, Kusama walks along the streets of New York City in a traditional Japanese kimono with a parasol. The kimono suggests traditional roles for women in Japanese custom. The parasol, however, is made to look inauthentic as it is really a black umbrella painted white on the exterior and decorated with fake flowers. Kusama walks down unoccupied streets in an unknown quest. She then turns and cries without reason, and eventually walks away and vanishes from view. This performance, through the association of the kimono, involves the stereotypes that Asian American women continue to face. However, as an avant-garde artist living in New York, her situation alters the context of the dress, creating a cross-cultural amalgamation. Kusama is able to point out the stereotype that her white American audience categorizes her in by showing the absurdity of cultural catergorizing people in the world’s largest melting pot.

Commissions

To date, Kusama has completed several major outdoor sculptural commissions, mostly in the form of brightly hued monstrous plants and flowers, for public and private institutions including Pumpkin (1994) for the Fukuoka Municipal Museum of Art; The Visionary Flowers (2002) for the Matsumoto City Museum of Art; Tsumari in Bloom (2003) for Matsudai Station, Niigata;Tulipes de Shangri-La (2003) for Euralille in Lille, France; Pumpkin (2006) at Bunka-mura on Benesse Island of Naoshima; Hello, Anyang with Love (2007) for Pyeonghwa Park, Anyang; and The Hymn of Life: Tulips (2007) for the Beverly Gardens Park in Los Angeles.[43] In 1998, she realized a mural for the hallway of the Gare do Oriente subway station in Lisbon. Alongside these monumental works, she has produced smaller scale outdoor pieces including Key-Chan and Ryu-Chan, a pair of dotted dogs. All the outdoor works are cast in highly durable fiberglass-reinforced plastic, then painted in urethane to glossy perfection.

In 2010, Kusama designed a Town Sneaker-model bus, which she titled Mizutama Ranbu (Wild Polka Dot Dance) and whose route travels through her home town of Matsumoto. In 2011, she was commissioned to design the front cover of millions of pocket London Underground maps; the result is entitled Polka Dots Festival in London (2011). Coinciding with an exhibition of the artist’s work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2012, a 120-foot reproduction of Kusama’s painting Yellow Trees (1994) covered a condominium building under construction in New York’s Meatpacking District. That same year, Kusama conceived her floor installation Thousands of Eyes as a commission for the new Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, Brisbane.

Expressionist portraits: woodcuts and paintings

Jawlensky

Moma Exhibiton

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Max Pechstein

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The earliest print technique, woodcut first appeared in China in the ninth century. Arriving in Europe around 1400, it was originally used for stamping designs onto fabrics, textiles, or playing cards. By the 16th century it had achieved the status of an important art form in the work of Albrecht Dürer and other Northern European artists.

During the first decade of the twentieth century German Expressionists sought to recover a German tradition and to register a thread of continuity with their late Gothic and Renaissance artistic heritage – taking inspiration from late Gothic artists like Durer, Baldung, Cranach, Altdorfer and Grunewald. It was in part a reaction against Impressionism’s emphasis on atmospherics and surface appearances, and against the rigidity of academic painting, stressing instead the emotional state of the artist, subject and also viewer. In addition to the Germanic tradition they were also inspired by Van Gogh, Munch, Gauguin, Cezanne and African and Oceanic art.

The use of the term Expressionism seems to date from around 1911, although the De Brucke movement had been established in 1905 and was holding exhibitions till 1913. Another movement: der Blaue Reiter was formed in 1911 as a loose collection of artists interested in abstraction. Other groups included the Berlin and Munich Secessions, the Red Group, the November Group and the New Artist’s Association. Among the publications were Der Sturm and Die Aktion. Many of these groups and publications had socialist of communist ideals.

They adopted woodcut as a primary artistic vehicle. Their starkly simplified woodcuts capitalized on the medium’s potential for bold, flat patterns and rough hewn effects. At the same time the flexibility of woodcut as a medium encouraged individual approaches and novel techniques from the Brücke’s vigorous cutting to the Blaue Reiter’s abstracted forms. They exploited the medium’s capacity to convey and disseminate innovative ideas, depicting wide ranging themes in a diversity of formats,  catering to different audiences.

A change occurred with World War I. The horror of the war and the chaotic years of the Weimar Republic (1919-33) led to introduction of a sharply satirical tone in the work of many of the artists. Many of the artists went on to join new movements like Dada and Neue Sachlichkeit and continued to work until well after World War II.

Sources:

Shane Weller ‘German Expressionist Woodcuts’ Dover Publications New York, 1994

MOMA Expressionist exhibition website

See also Wikipedia article on Expressionism

 

Patrick Caulfield

Patrick Caulfield (1936–2005)

Patrick Caulfield images

Nick Serota & Dexter Dalwood on Patrick Caulfield

TateShots: Mavis Cheek & Antonio Carluccio on Patrick Caulfield

Patrick Caulfield and Gary Hume at Tate Britain

English painter and printmaker. From the 1960s, Caulfield has been known for his iconic and vibrant paintings of modern life that reinvigorated traditional artistic genres such as the still life.

Patrick Caulfield was born in west London. He began his studies in 1956 at Chelsea School of Art, London, continuing at the Royal College of Art (1960–63), one year below the students identified as originators of Pop art. Patrick Caulfield came to prominence in the mid-1960s after studying at the Royal College of Art where fellow students included David Hockney. From the 1960s his paintings are characterised by flat areas of colour with objects defined by simple outlines.

Through his participation in the defining The New Generation exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1964, he became associated with Pop Art. However he resisted this label throughout his career, instead preferring to see himself as a ‘formal artist’ and an inheritor of painting traditions from Modern Masters such as Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Fernand Léger who influenced his composition and choice of subject matter.

In the early 1960s Caulfield’s painting was characterised by flat images of objects paired with angular geometric devices or isolated against unmodulated areas of colour. He adopted the anonymous technique of the sign painter, dispensing with visible brushwork and distracting detail and simplifying the representation of objects to a basic black outline in order to present ordinary images as emblems of a mysterious reality. He deliberately chose subjects that seemed hackneyed or ambiguous in time: not only traditional genres but selfconsciously exotic and romantic themes and views of ruins and the Mediterranean.

See for example:

In the 1970s he began to combine different artistic styles including trompe l’oeil to create highly complex paintings that play with definitions of reality and artifice. This coincided with a subtle shift in subject matter to topics that directly engaged with the contemporary social landscape and the representation of modern life. Such approaches remained his practice for the rest of his career.

See for example:

  •  After Lunch 1975 (Tate) features a photorealist image of the Château de Chillon hanging in a restaurant interior that is depicted in simple black outlines against a flat, two-toned background.
  • Tandoori Restaurant 1971 (WAVE Wolverhampton Art Gallery)

Gradually Caulfield’s attention shifted to the architectural elements to which he had earlier made isolated reference. Caulfield began to insert highly detailed passages in the manner of Photorealism into his characteristically stylised idiom, playing to great effect with ambiguous definitions of reality and artifice. Always a slow and exacting worker, he sustained a high level of pictorial invention. During the 1980s he again turned to a more stripped-down aesthetic, particularly in large paintings in which the precise disposition of only a few identifiable elements miraculously transforms an ostensibly abstract picture through the creation of a vivid sense of place.

See for example:
Later works include: The exhibition will also include later paintings such as  and the artist’s final work Braque Curtain 2005 (Tate).
See for example:

Major exhibitions during his lifetime included retrospectives at Walker Art Gallery Liverpool and Tate (both 1981), Serpentine (1992–3) and Hayward Gallery (1999). In 1993 he was elected a Royal Academician.