Tuesday, December 25, 2012


To commemorate this blessed season, here's William Christie leading his Baroque ensemble Les Arts Florissants in Handel's Messiah.

Happy Holidays to one and all!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925, at the MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art is presenting Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925, a survey of 350 works from the beginning of the 20th century that trace the development of non-representational art.

Far from being a rehash of familiar images, the show includes many small paintings, drawings, photographs, and mixed media pieces that I've never seen before, from artists who are totally unfamiliar to me.

The exhibit conveys the spirit of experimentation and rebellion of artists who didn't quite know what they were aiming for and yet produced strikingly original bodies of work. Even the painters who are now known for having a distinct style, like Josef Albers and Piet Mondrian, did things early on in their careers that seem, in retrospect, totally fresh and daring.

The show merits repeated visits and will be on view until April 15, 2013.

František Kupka
Mme. Kupka dans les verticales (Mme. Kupka among the verticals) (1910-11)
Oil on canvas, 53 3/8 x 33 5/8" (135.5 x 85.3 cm)

Anton Giulio Bragaglia
Un gesto del capo (A gesture of the head) (1911)
Gelatin silver print, 7 x 5" (17.8 x 12.7 cm)

Robert Delaunay
Soleil, lune, simultané 2 (Sun, Moon, Simultaneous 2) (1912)
Oil on canvas, diam.: 53" (134.5 cm)

Francis Picabia 
 La Source (The spring) (1912)
Oil on canvas, 8' 2 1/4" x 8' 2 1/8" (249.6 x 249.3 cm)

Wyndham Lewis
Portrait of an Englishwoman (1913 or 1914)
Ink, pencil and watercolor on paper, 22 1/16 x 14 15/16" (56 x 38 cm)

Umberto Boccioni
Dinamismo di un foot-baller (Dynamism of a soccer player) (1913)
Oil on canvas, 6' 4 1/8" x 6' 7 1/8" (193.2 x 201 cm)

Sonia Delaunay-Terk
 Prismes électriques (Electric prisms) (1913)
Oil on canvas, 22 1/16 x 18 1/2" (56 x 47 cm)

Lawrence Atkinson
Vorticist Composition (1914-1915)
Oil on canvas, 41 3/4 x 33 7/16" (106 x 85 cm)

Georgia O'Keeffe 
Blue II (1916)
Watercolor on paper, 27 7/8 x 22 1/4" (78.4 x 56.5 cm)

Patrick Henry Bruce
Composition II (1916)
Oil on canvas, 38 3/8 x 51 1/4" (97.4 x 130.2 cm)

Kurt Schwitters
  Das Kreisen (The revolving) (1919)
Wood, metal, cord, paperboard, fiber, wire, and oil on canvas, 48 3/8 x 35" (122.7 x 88.7 cm)

Josef Albers
 Gitterbild (Lattice Picture, also known as Grid Mounted) (1921)
Glass, iron latticework, and copper wire, 13 1/8 x 11 7/8" (33.4 x 30.2 cm)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Master Drawings from the Courtauld Gallery

On view at the Frick Collection: Mantegna to Matisse: Master Drawings from the Courtauld Gallery, a glowing exhibition of fifty-eight drawings from Britain's preeminent research center for art history.

I visited the Courtauld during my last trip to London six years ago and enjoyed its collection of Impressionist paintings. The current show at the Frick reveals the depth of its holdings and includes works from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern periods.

This exhibit features many pieces that are being shown in New York for the first time, and the roster of artists includes Andrea Mantegna, Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Peter Paul Rubens, Jusepe de Ribera, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Charles-Joseph Natoire, Thomas Gainsborough, Francisco Goya y Lucientes, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Théodore Géricault, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso.

The show is a humbling reminder that fine draftmanship is skill that has become increasingly rare in this age of mechanical, mass produced, and assistant driven commercial art.

These inspiring drawings will be on view until January 27, 2013. Don't miss them.

Workshop of Hugo van der Goes (c. 1440?–1485)
A Seated Female Saint, c. 1475–85
Pen, point of the brush and gray ink, heightened with white gouache over preliminary black chalk underdrawing, on green prepared paper

Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528)
A Wise Virgin, 1493
Pen and brown ink on paper

Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640)
Head of the Farnese Hercules, c. 1608–10
Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on gray paper

Guercino (1591–1666)
A Child Seen from Behind, Standing Between His Mother's Knees, c. 1625
Red chalk with stumping

Pieter Saenredam (1597–1665)
The South Ambulatory of St. Bavokerk, Haarlem, 1634
Pen and brown ink with gray wash, heightened with white gouache, on blue paper

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669)
Two Men in Discussion, 1641
Quill and reed pen in brown ink, with corrections in white gouache

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1683–1754)
The Head of a Boy and of an Old Man, c. 1739–40
Black chalk heightened with white chalk, on gray paper

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867)
Study for La Grande Odalisque, 1814

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
Colchester, Essex, c. 1825–26
Watercolor, white and colored chalks, and gouache, with scraping

Honoré Daumier (1808–79)
Le Malade imaginaire (The Hypochondriac), c. 1850
Black chalks, black ink wash, watercolor and touches of gouache, with pen and point of the brush in brown and black-gray ink

Georges Seurat (1859–91)
Female Nude, c. 1879–81
Black Conté crayon over stumped graphite

Edgar Degas (1834–1917)
Woman Adjusting Her Hair, c. 1884
Charcoal, chalk, and pastel, on two sheets of buff-colored paper

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Over the past three weeks I worked on this figure study using acrylic and masking techniques. I was attempting a video static effect inspired by Andy Denzler but using a high key palette. The canvas size is 24 x 30 inches.

Freddy, the model, is an artist and painter as well. We have one more session with him. I may try a quick portrait sketch next weekend.

WIP photos: