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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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Art History

A Global Art Project Brings Paintings of Anonymous Figures out of Museums and onto the Streets

April 27, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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While visiting the Louvre last last year, artist and filmmaker Julien de Casabianca was struck by an Ingres painting of a female prisoner tucked unceremoniously into a corner of the museum. He suddenly had an idea: what if he could somehow free her—both figuratively and literally—by reproducing her figure on a public street. People may not know the painting, or even the artist, but at least the image would be seen by potentially hundreds or even thousands more people who may never visit the Louvre. With that single act, the Outings Project was born.

Since sharing photos of the first artwork online, people in at least 18 cities have liberated similar anonymous characters found in master paintings and pasted them up in public spaces in London, Barcelona, Chicago, Rome, and elsewhere. Casabianca says the global participation was completely unplanned and unexpected but he’s embraced the idea wholeheartedly.

When asked about the possibility of an artwork being taken out of context or without attribution he shares via email, “we don’t want to tell you something that you don’t know, and we don’t want people to feel ignorant. You have just to feel that [the artwork] is ancient and shifted, you have just to be touched by the emotion, by the esthetic, by the art.”

Art enthusiasts aren’t the only ones paying attention to the Outings Project. Two museums in Madrid and Poland have also engaged the artist to “play with their art in public.” Casabianca is now on a 12-city tour around the United States bringing more unknown figures in local museums into the light. You can follow the most recent classical art paste-ups on the project’s Facebook or Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness, Slate, Hyperallergic)

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Design History

Book Conservator Nobuo Okano Repairs Tattered Books to Make Them Look Brand New

April 21, 2015

Johnny Waldman

For the past 33 years Japanese craftsman Okano Nobuo has been repairing tattered books and reconstituting them to look brand new. When a customer brought in an old Japanese-English dictionary that looked like it had been through a few wars, Okano approached it like an art conservationist repairing a painting. Using very basic tools like a wooden press, chisel, water and glue, Okano reconstituted the book to make it look like it was just purchased.

The tedious job required Okano to take each page—all 1000 of them—and flatten out all the creases with tweezers and an iron. But not everything is repaired. Okano makes some things disappear, like the initials of an old girlfriend. And much like the way a sculptor removes pieces to improve on it, Okano applies a subtractive process to bring the book back to life.

Once the job was done the book was returned to the customer, who presented it to his daughter as she was on her way to college. “It’s not their shape or form but what’s inside them that attracts us to books,” says Okano. For a man who makes it his job to repair the shape and form of books it’s an incredibly humbling statement and is a testament to the value we still hold in physical books. (via Reddit)

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History Photography

Intimate Portraits of 50 Artists and Their Cats Compiled by Alison Nastasi

April 8, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

Henri Matisse/© Robert Capa /© International Center of Photography / Magnum Photos

Henri Matisse/ © Robert Capa / © International Center of Photography / Magnum Photos

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Cat/ James van der Zee /1982

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Cat/ James van der Zee / 1982

John Cage/ Courtesy of the John Cage Trust

John Cage/ Courtesy of the John Cage Trust

Herbert Tobias / Photograph by Peter Fuerst; @ 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Herbert Tobias / Photograph by Peter Fuerst; @ 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Georgia O'Keeffe / Photograph by John Candelario / Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives

Georgia O’Keeffe / Photograph by John Candelario / Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives

Pablo Picasso / Photograph by Carlos Nadal, 1960; © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Pablo Picasso / Photograph by Carlos Nadal, 1960; © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Andy Warhol 1 / © 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Andy Warhol 1 / © 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Maya Lin / © Michael Katakis / The British Library

Maya Lin / © Michael Katakis / The British Library

Artists and Their Cats from Chronicle Books, edited by Alison Nastasi

Artists and Their Cats from Chronicle Books, edited by Alison Nastasi

Although many have been considered an artist’s muse, none have served as repeatedly as the common feline. Often basking directly beside our world’s famous artists, cats have consistently served as creative companion and confidant. New from Chronicle Books is Artists and Their Cats, a collection of intimate portraits featuring many of the past century’s most recognizable artists and their feline counterparts.

Editor Alison Nastasi writes in the book’s introduction, “Many artists buck notions of a stereotypical temperament, but researchers have long speculated that creative individuals share common attributes—which mirror those of cats.” More than 50 pairs are highlighted throughout the book—cats perched on laps, desks, and even atop heads. Included in the cat compendium is everyone from Basquiat to Matisse with images of Picasso and Georgia O’Keeffe in-between. Salvador Dali himself graces the cover with cane and noted Colombian ocelot Babou. Artists and Their Cats is now available on Bookshop.

 

 

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Artist Cat Enamel Pins