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Art History Photography

Vincent van Gogh Possibly Identified in Newly Discovered Group Photo of Famous Artists from 1887

June 22, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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JULES ANTOINE (1863-1948) ATTR. Vincent Van Gogh in conversation with friends, Paris, 96 rue Blanche, December 1887 Melanotype, direct positive and reversed image on blackboard (carton photographique), 86×112 mm, “Gautier Martin” stamp, recto.

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Vincent Van Gogh in conversation with Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard, Félix Jobbé-Duval. André Antoine is standing between them.

Some experts believe this recently discovered 1887 melainotype showing six men drinking around a table may include a rare sighting of painter Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh famously recorded himself in numerous self-portraits, but was known to abhor photography and supposedly never sat for a photo as an adult; only two rare photos of the artist as a child are known to exist, taken when he was 13 and 19.

The image first came to the attention of French photo expert Serge Plantureux when two individuals acquired the photo at an estate sale and thought they recognized a few of the faces, among them, artists Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard—a significant discovery in and of itself. Analyzing the photographic process, the photographer (thought to be to Jules Antoine), and pinpointing the when the photo was taken raised the chances significantly that a bearded figure who appears amongst the gathering of stoic men might be Van Gogh. Serge Plantureux writes for magazine L’Oeil de la Photographie (The Eye of Photography):

The photograph they had brought to show me was small, dark, and rather difficult to see. Six characters were around a table. The light was pale, perhaps it was a winter afternoon.

They told me, still hesitant, that they thought they recognized the people in it, artists in whom they had long been interested. They were collectors and liked the painters of the late 19th century, in particular the neo-impressionists. They also said it was possible that one of the figures around the table was someone whose true face had never been seen.

The photo went to auction just this weekend and was expected to fetch between $136,000 to $170,000, though a final sale price hasn’t been made public. Still, some experts aren’t convinced. The photo expert for the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam feels it can’t be the artist “because it simply does not look like him,” and also mentions the artist’s desire to never be photographed. Others note that Van Gogh didn’t mention the gathering in his meticulously written letters from the time period.

Regardless, the photo is still of significant historical value and only time will tell if experts reach a consensus in the identities of everyone depicted. (via PetaPixel, Hyperallergic)

 

 



Animation History Photography

Historical Photos and Artworks Set in Motion by Nicolas Monterrat

June 10, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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One of my new favorite Tumblrs to follow is Un gif dans ta gueule… (roughly ‘A gif in the mouth…’) run by French photographer and animator Nicolas Monterrat who brings his surreal sense of humor to historical photos, paintings, and other borrowed imagery by creating bizarre and humorous animations. Collected here is just a sampling, do yourself and dive into his archive, you won’t regret it. (via Lustik)

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History Illustration

An Oklahoma School Discovers 100-Year-Old Chalkboard Drawings Hidden in the Walls

June 8, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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All images courtesy Oklahoma City Public Schools

While undergoing renovations last week, workers at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City made a surprising discovery: when removing several old chalkboards they found an even older set of chalkboards hidden in the walls. Apparently the school didn’t remove or even bother to erase the oldest boards they replaced back in 1917, leaving various lessons and illustrations untouched for nearly a century.

The images and writing depicted on the boards include a list of hygiene tasks, an unusual mathematics lesson, music, and several references to pilgrims, probably correlating with the time of year the boards were last used around December. A school district spokesperson says they are working with the city to preserve the chalk drawings. You can see several more of the educational time capsules over at the Washington Post. (via Neatorama)

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Art History Photography

Artist Alexey Kondakov Imagines Figures from Classical Paintings as Part of Contemporary Life

May 19, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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For his ongoing series “Art History in Contemporary Life,” Ukrainian artist Alexey Kondakov takes scenes and figures lifted from classical paintings and drops them into modern-day life. Bouguereau’s Song of the Angels appears to take place on an empty subway car while a pair of men from Holbein’s famous The Ambassadors are transported to the table of a seedy bar. Much like Etienne Lavie’s billboard series and Julien de Casabianca’s recent Outings Project, the series creates an interesting and playful new context for artworks usually only encountered in museums and art history books. You can see more over on Facebook. (via Supersonic)

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Art History Photography

Photographic Portraits of Famous Artist’s Paint Palettes by Matthias Schaller

May 15, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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Palette of Marc Chagall

Since 2007 photographer Matthias Schaller has photographed raw, abstract paintings. The paintings however are not found on canvas, but rather smeared onto the tools used to craft each work of art—the palettes. His series, Das Meisterstück (The Masterpiece), claims these behind-the-scene objects as portraits of the artist, while also giving a direct insight into the detailed techniques performed by each painter.

Schaller was first inspired to begin his photographic collection during a visit to Cy Twombly’s late studio. During the visit he stumbled upon the artist’s palette, which he discovered to be an accurate reflection of the artist’s paintings. Encouraged to further discover the similarities between palette and painting, Schaller has gone on to photograph over two hundred of these historic portraits. His search has led him to collect palettes from all across Europe and the United States, finding the objects in major museums and private foundations and in the custody of artists’ relatives and collectors. The palettes he’s photographed so far in the series belong to seventy painters from both the 19th and 20th century, and include such artists as Monet, van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso. To accurately analyze the details from paint hue to brushstroke, Schaller presents the images in large format, each work existing at approximately 190 x 150 cm.

Schaller’s practice focuses on non traditional portraits, which he considers “indirect portraits.” Other subject matter has included children’s rooms in Naples, Italy, 150 Italian opera houses, astronaut suits, and early punk vinyls. Through June 8, the Giorgio Cini Foundation will present Schaller’s Das Meisterstück alongside the Venice Biennale, an exhibition that will focus on 20 of Schaller’s palette photographs. (via Hyperallergic)

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Palette of Paula Modersohn-Becker / Palette of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

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Palette of Wassily Kandinsky, 2007, 190x156cm, Copyright: Matthias Schaller,Lenbachhaus, München

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Palette of Claude Monet / Palette of Édouard Manet

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Palette of Edgar Degas

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Palette of Eugene Delacroix / Palette of Georges Seurat

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Palette of J.M.W. Turner, 2013, 190x156cm, Copyright: Matthias Schaller, The Royal Academy of Arts, London

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Palette of Francis Bacon, 2007, 190x156cm, Copyright: Matthias Schaller, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin

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Palette of Cy Twombly, 2007, 190x156cm, Copyright: Matthias Schaller, Collezione Nicola del Roscio, Gaeta

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Palette of Pablo Picasso / Palette of Henri Matisse

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Palette of Vincent van Gogh, 2007, 190x156cm, Copyright: Matthias Schaller, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

 

 



Art History Photography

Dreamlike Autochrome Portraits of an Engineer’s Daughter From 1913 Are Among the Earliest Color Photos

April 28, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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Mervyn O’Gorman (1871-1958) is best known as one of the greatest British engineers, and during WW1 was head of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. O’Gorman was also known as an early pioneer of color photography, and was an artist in addition to his interest aeronautics. Many of his images are included in exhibitions referencing early color photography, including this dreamlike series of his daughter Christina using the Autochrome process in 1913. The Autochrome process, patented in 1903, was the first fully practical single-plate color process that was accessible to the public.

The beach images are from Lulworth Cove, Dorset and feature her in a bright red swimming costume—a color the early process captured well. Christina is also captured in red in every other scene, drawing the eye immediately to the subject and her long strawberry blonde hair. The up-close image of Christina has an oddly modern feel as her clothing is hard to pin to a singular time period. O’Gorman’s wife Florence and second daughter are featured in the last portrait, the photographer’s camera box seen just to the left of his family. (via PetaPixel, Mashable, and National Media Museum)

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