Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Surplus Industrial Wealth Transformed into Baroque Paintings

Francesco Stringa
Allegorical Still-life with Portrait bust of 
Francesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena, by Gianlorenzo Bernini
ca. 1680
oil on canvas
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Gabriël Metsu
Portrait of Lucia Wijbrants
1667
oil on panel
Minneapolis Institute of Art

These beautifully-preserved and florid 17th-century paintings are reproduced from museum collections in the one-time hugely prosperous industrial cities dotted around the Great Lakes in the middle of the U.S.  namely, Minneapolis, Toledo, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Chicago. Tycoons imported European canvases from the prestigious past to decorate their late-19th and early-20th century mansions, eventually bequeathing many very good pictures to the new public culture-palaces that had risen to ornament and substantiate their cities.

Anthony van Dyck
Betrayal of Christ
ca. 1630
oil on canvas
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Peter Paul Rubens
Union of England and Scotland
1633-34
oil on panel
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Peter Paul Rubens
Crowning of St Catherine
1631
oil on canvas
Toledo Museum of Art

Mattia Preti
Feast of Herod
ca. 1656-61
oil on canvas
Toledo Museum of Art

Jan Miense Molenaer
Allegory of Vanity
1633
oil on canvas
Toledo Museum of Art

Jan Miense Molenaer
Battle between Carnival and Lent
ca. 1633-34
oil on panel
Indianapolis Museum of Art

Jusepe de Ribera
Aristotle
1632
oil on canvas
Indianapolis Museum of Art

Giovanni Francesco Romanelli
Finding of Moses
1656-67
oil on canvas
Indianapolis Museum of Art

Frans Pourbus the Younger
Portrait of Giovanni Battista Marino,
poet and early patron of Nicolas Poussin

ca. 1621
oil on canvas
Detroit Institute of Arts

Anthony van Dyck
Portrait of a military commander of the Spinola family
ca. 1621-27
oil on canvas
Cincinnati Art Museum

Rembrandt
Old man wearing a gold chain
1631
oil on panel
Art Institute of Chicago

Cecco del Caravaggio
The Resurrection
ca. 1619-20
oil on canvas
Art Institute of Chicago

From 1880s France

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
Woman on seashore
1887
oil on paper, mounted on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

You are allowed to like
no one, you know. The characters
are not people.
They are aspects of a dilemma or conflict.

Three parts: just as the soul is divided,
ego, superego, id. Likewise

the three levels of the known world,
a kind of diagram that separates
heaven from earth from hell.

You must ask yourself:
where is it snowing?

White of forgetfulness,
of desecrations 

It is snowing on earth; the cold wind says

Persephone is having sex in hell.
Unlike the rest of us, she doesn't know
what winter is, only that
she is what causes it.

– from Persephone the Wanderer, published in Averno by Louise Glück (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006)

Henri Fantin-Latour
Roses and nasturtiums in a vase
1883
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Georges Seurat
Fort Samson, Grandcamp
1885
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Claude Monet
Garden in Bordighera
1884
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Claude Monet
Meadows at Giverny
1888
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Paul Cézanne
House along a road
ca. 1881
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Paul Gauguin
Street in Rouen
1884
oil on canvas
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Paul Gauguin
Rue Jouvenet in Rouen
1884
oil on canvas
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Paul Gauguin
Orchard under the church at Bihorel
1884
oil on canvas
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Paul Gauguin
At the window
1882
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Paul Gauguin
Bouquet
1884
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Paul Gauguin
Coming and Going, Martinique
1887
oil on canvas
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Jean Louis Forain
Dancer
ca. 1885-86
pastel
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Édouard Manet
Portrait of Mme Jules Guillemet
ca. 1880
drawing
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Amsterdam Photographs by George Hendrik Breitner

George Hendrik Breitner
Winter along the Amstel, Amsterdam
ca. 1890-1910
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Winter along the Singel, Amsterdam
ca. 1890-1910
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Canal buildings, Amsterdam
ca. 1894-98
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Canal reflections, Amsterdam
ca. 1890-1910
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

"Whereas, before Karrer went mad, I used to go walking with Oehler only on Wednesday, now I go walking – now that Karrer has gone mad – with Oehler on Monday as well. Because Karrer used to go walking with me on Monday, you go walking with me on Monday as well, now that Karrer no longer goes walking with me on Monday, says Oehler, after Karrer had gone mad and immediately gone into Steinhof. And without hesitation I said to Oehler, good, let's go walking on Monday as well. Whereas on Wednesday we always walk in one direction (in the eastern one), on Monday we go walking in the western direction, strikingly enough we walk far more quickly on Monday than on Wednesday, probably, I think, Oehler always walked more quickly with Karrer than he did with me, because on Wednesday he walks much more slowly and on Monday much more quickly. You see, says Oehler, it's a habit of mine to walk more quickly on Monday and more slowly on Wednesday because I always walked more quickly with Karrer (that is on Monday) than I did with you (on Wednesday)."

 from the novella Walking, originally published by Thomas Bernhard in 1971, translated by Kenneth J. Northcott and published in English by University of Chicago Press in 2003

George Hendrik Breitner
Cavalry troops
ca. 1890-1910
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Children in an alley
ca. 1890
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Children playing on sand pile
ca. 1890-1910
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Cyclist on the Prinsengracht, Amsterdam
ca. 1890-1910
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Portrait of girl with flowers
ca. 1886-1910
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Portrait of William Witsen
ca. 1890-1910
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Portrait of Margaretha Breitner
ca. 1890-1910
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Portrait of a woman
ca. 1890-1910
gelatin silver print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik Breitner
Reclining nude - Marie Jordan Breitner
ca. 1888
photographic print
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

George Hendrik  Breitner
Marie Jordan Breitner playing with kitten
ca. 1890
photographic print
Rijksmuseum,  Amsterdam

Hermitage Paintings from pre-Revolutionary France

workshop of Hyacinthe Rigaud
Portrait of Louis XIV
ca. 1701
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Jean-Marc Nattier
Portrait of young woman in gray
ca. 1715-20
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Jean-Antoine Watteau
La Boudeuse
ca. 1718
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

"Degraded to the existential minimum of my brain, I was forced to retreat from my own books and those of my teachers.  The result of this degradation, which always leads to catastrophic conditions at the back of my head, is that I can bear nothing any more.  Always close to going completely mad, but not completely mad, I then control my brain only to the extent of horrible commands to my hands and feet, for special ordinations of my body.  But what I most feared in this house and of which I did not report the least thing to my brother in America, on the contrary, I wrote to him twice a week, as agreed, I was doing well, I was grateful to him, I was making progress with my studies as with my health, I loved his house and everything around it, but what I most feared in Unterach, was the twilight, and the darkness which quickly followed after twilight.  It's about this twilight that I'm talking here. About this darkness.  Not about the causes of this twilight, of this darkness, not about its causalities, but solely about how this twilight and this darkness in Unterach affect me.  But as I see it, at the moment I don't at all have the strength to concern myself with this subject as a problem, as a problem for me, and I want to restrict myself only to outlines, and altogether I want to limit myself solely to the twilight in Unterach and to the darkness in Unterach in relation to me in the condition in which I find myself in Unterach.  I have, after all, no time whatsoever for a study, because my head, because the sickness of my head, claims the whole of my attention, the whole of my existence.  In my room I cannot bear the twilight and the darkness following the twilight in Unterach, consequently, every day, when the twilight draws in the darkness in this ghastly mountain atmosphere, I run out of my room and out of the house onto the road.  I then have only three possibilities: either to walk in the direction of Parschallen or in the direction of Burgau or in the direction of Mondsee.  But I have never yet walked in the direction of Mondsee, because I fear this direction, the whole time I've only walked in the direction of Burgau; but today, all at once, I walked in the direction of Parschallen.  In the twilight (here already very early, already at half past four!), because of my illness, my cephalalgy, which has been tormenting me now for four years, I was out of my room into the hall into the darkness onto the road, and because, obeying a sudden signal from my head, I wanted to inflict even greater torture on myself than on preceding days, not towards Burgau, as has been my habit since staying in Unterach, but toward the ugly village of Parschallen, where there are eight butchers, although there are less than a hundred people in the village, just imagine: eight butchers and less than a hundred people . . . I wanted to induce not only the Burgau exhaustion but the much greater Parschallen exhaustion, I wanted to sleep, to fall asleep, to at last fall asleep once more.  But now, because I've resolved to write down these sentences, there can be no further thought whatsoever of falling asleep.  For today a Parschallen exhaustion appeared to me advantageous, so I walked in the direction of Parschallen."

 from the story collection Prose, originally published by Thomas Bernhard in 1967, translated by Martin Chalmers and published in English by Seagull Books in 2010

Noël-Nicolas Coypel
Birth of Venus
1732
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Carle Van Loo
Perseus and Andromeda
ca. 1735-40
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Jean-Baptiste Van Loo
Portrait of Sir Robert Walpole
1740
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Robert Tournières
Portrait of an unknown woman as Hebe
ca. 1740
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Pierre Subleyras
Emperor Valens before Bishop Basil
ca. 1743-47
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Jean-Baptiste Perronneau
Portrait of a boy with a book (the painter's brother)
ca. 1745-46
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Sketch for The Stolen Kiss
ca. 1760
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée
Roman Charity
ca. 1760-62
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Claude-Joseph Vernet
Storm by Rocky Shore
1763
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin
Still-life with attributes of the arts
1766
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Jean-Baptiste Le Prince
Visit to a Palmist
ca. 1775
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg