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Art Design History

Download More Than 300 Art Books From the Getty Museum’s Virtual Library

December 2, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“The Rosebud Garden of Girls” by Julia Cameron. Virtual Library title: “Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs” by Julian Cox, Colin Ford, Joanne Lukitsh, and Philippa Wright

Over the last five years, the Los Angeles-based Getty Museum has developed a program to share more than three hundred books in its Virtual Library. Each unabridged volume, drawn from the Getty Publications Archive, has been cleared for copyright issues and is available for free download. Greg Albers, Digital Publications Manager for Getty Publications, shared with Hyperallergic that books in the Virtual Library have been downloaded 398,058 times to date. The initiative is a way to keep compelling and historically important books available even if they have, literally, gone out of print. Topics in the Virtual Library collection range from fine and decorative art genres to features on specific artists. Dive into diverse titles including “Art and Eternity: The Nefertari Wall Paintings Conservation Project 1986 – 1992” and “Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs”—among dozens and dozens of others on the Virtual Library Website. (via Hyperallergic)

“Pilgrim Flask and Cover with Marine Scenes” (circ 1565-1570), Workshop of Orazio Fontana, tin-glazed earthenware. Virtual Library title: “Italian Ceramics: Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection” by Catherine Hess

 

 



Art History Science

A Multicolored Library of the World’s Ochre Pigments Archived by Heidi Gustafson

November 24, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Medicinal and industrial ochres being processed and archived, Greece. All Images: Heidi Gustafson

Washington-based artist and researcher Heidi Gustafson forages, processes, and catalogs natural mineral samples for the Early Futures Ocher Archive. Ranging in color based on its elemental structure, ochre is crushed into a powder and used in various applications from art to medicine. With over 550 samples, Gustafson’s ever-growing archive has become a collaborative project with contributions from archaeologists, scientists, and creatives from around the world.

As each sample enters the collection, it is labeled with a corresponding number. In a notebook, Gustafson records where the ochre is from, who sourced or collected it, any historic or contemporary uses, and other relevant information. Gustafson grinds the iron-rich ochre into pigments, which she sells to artists and also uses for her own work. Processed samples are added to glass vials and organized by region or dominate mineral type. Gustafson also considers the material for its artistic, spiritual, and scientific properties. “More importantly, I build a relationship to the materials,” she tells Colossal. “I’m trying to understand their unique behaviors, the microbial communities they host and support, their tonal ranges, their historical uses and many other diverse features.”

Pigment studies, Left – foraged pigments from northern Washington, USA, Right- foraged pigments from Hormuz, Iran.

The archive was officially formed in 2017 when Gustafson relocated to the Pacific Northwest, but working with the material is more than a hobby or intellectual pursuit—it is a calling. After having a dream about ochre, she initially wrote it off. Other experiences and anxieties about climate change inspired her to research exactly what ochre was and what it was used for. “I realized that ochre and pigments were at the heart of art and aesthetic experience,” Gustafson tells Colossal, adding that the mineral has been linked to complex mental processing in modern homo sapiens. “Protecting ochre’s vast capacities and impact on human creativity, feels like Earth’s mandate to me,” Gustafson continued. “I didn’t ‘come up’ with the idea for this project, it came to me and I felt responsible to do my best to understand and listen to that call.”

To tag along on foraging trips and for updates on the archive, follow Heidi Gustafson on Instagram. To shop for pigment sets and other products from the project or to contribute samples of your own, visit the Early Futures website.

Gathering orange ochre, Oregon, USA.

Ochre contribution, protective isibomvu used by healers, from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Gathering blue ochre, with artist Scott Sutton, Oregon, USA.

Ochre contributions, gathered by Caro Ross, England.

Pigment study, red ochre, world-wide.

Ochre Archive (close-up)

Gathering yellow ochre, Arizona, USA.

Gathering various ochre, British Columbia, Canada.

 

 



Design History

A Miniature Magazine Penned by Teenage Charlotte Brontë is (Finally) Acquired by the Famous Author’s Namesake Museum

November 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

It’s often said that even the most successful people start small. What they probably don’t mean, though, is that to become an author equal to the timeless stature of Charlotte Brontë, you should pen a miniature magazine first. Yet Brontë did just that: in 1830, at age fourteen, she hand-wrote six issues of a petite periodical, one of which recently came up at auction for $777,000. The Young Men’s Magazine was a matchbook-sized series including stories and even advertisements of Brontë’s devising.

The Brontë Society placed the winning bid to acquire Brontë’s magazine, wresting it back from the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts, a now-shuttered for-profit (and fraud-ridden) venture that nabbed it in 2011. Learn more about the history and significance of The Young Men’s Magazine in the video below, which features Ann Dinsdale, the curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, England.

 

 



Art History Illustration

Salvador Dalí’s Surreal Tarot Card Designs from the 1970’s to be Released as a Complete Deck

November 8, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

The surrealist master Salvador Dalí often dabbled in modes of mainstream culture, whether designing wine guides, appearing on game shows, or—in this instance—designing a deck of tarot cards for a James Bond film. Dalí undertook the project in the early 1970’s for Live and Let Die, starring Roger Moore and Jane Seymour. The deck didn’t end up appearing in the film, apparently due to Dalí’s high fees, but the artist continued to work on the cards for a decade and completed them in 1984. Art book publisher Taschen is releasing the deck, along with an instructional book that Dalí made to accompany it. Dalí.Tarot will be published on November 15, 2019, and is available for preorder on the Taschen website. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 

 



Design History

A Yellow Brick Road is Paved in Chicago to Mark Former Home of ‘Wizard of Oz’ Author L. Frank Baum

November 4, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographs: Bickerdike

Follow the yellow brick road to 1667 N. Humboldt Boulevard in Chicago. The address is home to recently rehabbed affordable housing in the rapidly gentrifying Humboldt Park neighborhood. It’s also where author L. Frank Baum penned “The Wizard of Oz” in 1899 (though the author’s residence has since been demolished). The 70-foot long section of sidewalk is now paved with yellow bricks, a nod to one of the most famous stories in American popular culture, thanks to nonprofit developer Bickerdike. An upright rounded wall will also feature an Oz-themed mural commission from Chicago-based artist Hector Duarte.

In an interview with Block Club Chicago, Bickerdike clarified that the whimsical touches were not part of the core affordable housing budget; the project partners including the architect, general contractor, an an outside foundation paid for it out of pocket. (via Block Club Chicago)

 

 



Art History

Collages of Thousands of Strangers Convey the Vast Scale of Memory and Death

October 29, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In his series Chronicle: Passing (6,393 Per Hour), artist Greg Sand creates analog super-edits of the repeated patterns found in old photographs. Drapery, flowers, shoes, shadows, hands, and faces are homed in on and grouped into enormous grids, representing the simultaneous enormity and specificity of human death. As the series’ title notes, approximately 6,393 people around the world die every hour. Each small black-and-white or sepia-toned image is from an ambiguous past era, though hairstyles and clothing offer clues to every individual’s specific moment in time.

Sand tells Colossal that the biggest challenge was collecting all the images he needed; he relied on eBay and local antique stores to source the thousands of old photographs. Using a half inch or one inch punch, Sand framed each visual element in a small square, and arranged them manually. “I was intrigued by the interactions of the various textures, values, and colors that developed,” Sand explains. “I found my eye bouncing around from light to dark, from matte to glossy, from bright to dull, from textured to smooth. The pieces became like pixelated masses from a distance that required getting very close to discover each image individually.”

Sand explains that he hopes the series sparks a reflection in the viewer on how memories fragment. Childhood recollections may focus on specific details like the clothing or gestures of a loved one. “Photographs function in a similar manner. They do not show a whole person or an entire life, but instead capture a single moment,” Sand says. “These keepsakes help determine some of the pieces of memory that stick with us.”

See the artist’s work in person at Momentum Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina in the exhibition Small Works | Big Impact, which opens November 14, 2019.

 

 



Art History

A 21 Foot-Long Painting of The Last Supper by 16th Century Nun and Artist Plautilla Nelli Has Just Been Painstakingly Restored

October 24, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In the 1500’s self-taught artist and nun Plautilla Nelli created a life-size mural of Jesus and the twelve apostles at the Last Supper. Spanning 21 feet feet, the vibrantly colored painting includes carefully rendered details including wine chalices, salt cellars, wood panelling, and a rhythmically creased tablecloth. In addition to the inanimate objects depicted, Nelli demonstrated impressive facility with human anatomy in her renderings of the religious figures—at the time, women were barred from studying the field of anatomy.

Nelli’s masterpiece stayed for two centuries at her convent, Santa Caterina, and then changed locations a few times before being unstretched, rolled, and put in storage about a hundred years ago. After an initial restoration and then additional damage due to flooding in the 1960’s, The Last Supper has been undergoing restoration for the past four years. Brought back to life by an all-female team of curators, restorers, and scientists at Advancing Women Artists, it is now on permanent display at the Santa Maria Novella Museum in Florence, Italy. (via artnet, Smithsonian Magazine)

 

 

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