It took an army of 1,600 Chinese artisans to create Ai Weiwei's 100m handpainted porcelain 'seeds', which are scattered over the floor of Tate Modern's Turbine Hall
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Anonymous Chinese artist, 'Peanut, Arachis hypogaea', late 18th or early 19th century. Museum no. E.1754-1924
Anonymous Chinese artist
'Peanut, Arachis hypogaea'
Late 18th or early 19th century
Museum no. E.1754-1924
As China opened up to foreign trade in the eighteenth century European botanists were compelled to record the plants they encountered for the first time. Rather than return home with dry and lifeless specimens, native artists were employed to produce drawings from living species, particularly around the ports of Macao and Canton.
Though Chinese artists could boast a long tradition of flower painting, their abstract style was very different from the precise botanical illustration undertaken in Europe. In order to satisfy their patrons' tastes, these native artists began to study European examples and to adopt the same conventions.
This study of a peanut plant shows the characteristically hybrid style that emerged. Attesting to its European influence, the drawing is arranged on a blank page and every detail, including the last nibbled leaf is recorded. Nevertheless, there are still Chinese traits such as the flattened perspective.
"This is a preparatory drawing for the sketch-map reproduced on the endpapers of Winnie-the-Pooh and therefore one of the most celebrated locations in children's literature. Although the geography was not revised, several captions were evidently changed. 'Eeyores Gloomy Place' was originally 'Eeyores Pasture Land' and the 'Floody Place' was originally captioned 'Floods Might Happen Here'. Shepard also poses the question 'What sort of House is Kangas?' at the top of the map. The caption at the foot originally appeared as 'Drawn by Me helped by Mr Shepard' and shows a process of revision to 'Drawn by Me and Mr Shepard helped'. It was printed as 'Drawn by Me and Mr Shepard helpd'."
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
“The Frick Collection is one of the world’s most acclaimed art institutions and was especially admired and respected by Norton Simon,” says Walter Timoshuk, President of the Norton Simon Museum. “This exchange program not only brings some of the Frick’s marvelous works to the West Coast, but also honors Mr. Simon’s esteem for this exceptional institution.”
Located on Fifth Avenue, The Frick Collection is housed in the former mansion of industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) and is home to an internationally celebrated collection of Western fine and decorative arts, with works by Bellini, Fragonard, Gainsborough, Goya, Holbein, Ingres, Manet, Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Titian, Turner, Velazquez, Vermeer, Whistler, and others. “We are delighted more to form this special exchange with the Norton Simon Museum, whose superb works very rarely leave Pasadena,” says Anne L. Poulet, Director of The Frick Collection. “And what a pleasure it will be to view the Comtesse in a new setting—the Norton Simon’s beautiful and serene galleries.”
Comtesse d’Haussonville will be on view at the Norton Simon Museum from October 30, 2009, through January 25, 2010. Two preparatory drawings by Ingres will accompany the painting—one a direct study, executed around 1843 or 1844, which shows this same pose and his process in dealing with the folds of her elegant dress; the other a preparatory detail drawing for an 1839 commission for his monumental work, The Golden Age. All three works will hang alongside the Norton Simon’s portrait of Baron Joseph-Pierre Vialetés de Mortarieu, also by Ingres. A series of lectures and educational and family programs will be organized around the installation. A related exhibition, “Gaze: Portraiture after Ingres,” runs from October 30 through April 5, 2010.
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780–1867) left behind a rich and varied body of work created during his long life. While many of his most known paintings are historical and religious depictions, his series of portraits, many of them of well-born, beautiful women, are among his most captivating. Ingres began his portrait of Louise d’Haussonville (1818–1882) in 1842, when he was 62 and the comtesse was 24. The picture shows the lovely young woman standing before a hearth in a well appointed room, a mirror on the wall reflecting the back of her head and neck. She wears an elegant, Delft-blue silk dress, its folds and details resplendent, a few pieces of gold jewelry, and an ornate red ribbon and tortoiseshell comb in her hair. One arm rests across her waist, the other is bent upward, and her hand is tucked under her chin. The comtesse looks directly ahead, and her slight smile and open expression invite the viewer into this lovely scene.
“Her contemplative pose, with hand to chin, is a motif Ingres revisits time and time again in portraits, history paintings, and surviving sketches,” says Carol Togneri, Chief Curator at the Norton Simon Museum. “The opportunity to have this beautiful portrait, as well as two working drawings that show his interest in this important detail, allows us to consider Ingres’s relationship and homage to antique art.”
Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington (March 10, 1876 – October 4 ,1973) was a prolific and innovative American sculptor. She was a master of naturalistic animal sculpture. Particularly noted for her equestrian statues she was active over a period of 70 years.
Huntington is recognized as one of America's finest animaliers, whose naturalistic works helped to bridge the gap between the traditional styles of the 1800s and the abstract styles of the mid-twentieth century. Her prominence also enabled other female artists to succeed. Her innovations in technique and display, as exhibited through her aluminum statues in Brookgreen Gardens, guarantee her place in the annals of art history.
During the 1940s and 1950s, she was increasingly distressed by modern art and what she considered a tasteless machine age. However, despite widespread public interest in abstract sculpture, Mrs. Huntington continued to win recognition and awards. She did her last equestrian statue when she was 91.
In anticipation of the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 2009, the 2006 Springfield City Ornament depicts Abraham Lincoln:On the Prairie, the sculpture at the entrance to New Salem where he lived as a young man. The sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington portrays young Abe on horseback, reading a law book. Springfield artist Stan Squires interpreted the statue for the ornament design, silhouetting Lincoln and his horse between wisps of prairie grass and a split-rail fence.