The Harvard Art Museums
Here is Willem de Kooning's 1937-1938 Oil on Masonite painting titled, "Untitled (The Cow Jumps Over The Moon). I learned that de Kooning was trained as a commercial artist and his artistic styles move back and forth between abstract and figurative methods. This painting below is one of his earlier works, which reminds me of Joan Miro's work to some degree. His later artwork, for which he is more well-known, is more gestural and epitomizes the abstract expressionism movement.
I stared at this painting below "Grazing Horses IV (The Red Horses), painted in 1911 by Franz Marc for quite a long time. Not because I love horses, but rather it struck me as fascinating. Franz Marc painted horses a lot, and was known for his preoccupation with animals. I learned that this particular painting was actually his first work of art to enter a museum's collection, the same year it was made. What struck me was his use of unnatural colors in a very natural scene. It's hard to see in the photo, but I was intrigued with the use of bright red in only one or two spots on the horses.
Below is Jasper johns' "The Dutch Wives", encaustic on canvas, created in 1975. If you haven't read my blog article on the Jasper johns retrospective exhibition at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles, you can find it HERE.
Below is a wonderful painting from a German artist that I was unfamiliar with named Corinne Wasmuht. It is titled, "50 U Heinrich-Heine-Str." oil on wood and created in 2009. The painting is a portrayal of Berlin's Heinrich Heine Street subway station and its surrounding neighborhood. It's hard to tell scale from photographs, but this is a huge painting and it's scale immerses the viewer, but the paintings various perspective points and different scales of objects also disorient the viewer. It's really a magnificent painting and I can see why it was gifted to Harvard's Busch-Reisinger Museum.
Below are some fascinating samples taken from the Forbes Pigment Collection. Edward Forbes was the director of the Harvard Art Museums from 1909 to 1944. During his tenure, he traveled the world, collecting a large number of pigments for the library. Today, the Pigment Collection contains more than 2,500 samples that are beautifully displayed in cabinets on the 4th floor and are used to this day to help identify pigments used in historical artworks.
I came across this wonderful, short video on the Forbes Pigment Collection that was created about 2 years ago. Check it out!
For more information about The Harvard Art Museums, please visit their website: www.harvardartmuseums.org. I definitely recommend visiting the Museum as you're in for a wonderful experience!
The Getty Center
Vinvent Van Gogh's "Irises" is one of The Getty's highlights. Van Gogh painted Irises in 1889 in the garden of the Saint-Remy asylum where he was being treated for his mental illness. It is oil on canvas. I learned that Van Gogh never really thought of this painting as a finished painting, but rather more of a study. It's a great example of his work that demonstrates how he painted en plein air. I'm fascinated with his brush techniques and how he layers color upon color upon color. I've included a detailed image of "Irises."
I really loved the special exhibit at The Getty Center called, "Cut! Paper Play in Contemporary Photography." This exhibit that runs through May 27, 2018 features the work of contemporary photographers who use paper in unique and innovative ways. Some of the artists created paper models with images from current events with the intention of photographing them to create their final piece of artwork. While some artists make folds, cuts, or layers to arrange photographs to create something entirely new and innovative.
The photo below is the artwork of artist, Soo Kim. To create her artwork, she cuts and layers imagery to create areas of negative space that gives her images a 3-D look. The shadows cast onto the wall are fascinating. I included two detailed shots showing some of the imagery seen in this cut photograph. the other detailed photo shows the beautiful shapes created by the shadows.
The grounds of The Getty are home to wonderful sculptures; there's something wonderful around every corner. Unlike most paintings, sculptures are typically created to be displayed outdoors. Outside, a three dimensional sculpture can be viewed from every angle, a variety of distances, and therefore creating an experience or a special moment for the viewer. The sculpture gardens include artwork from artists such as Joan Miro, Rene Magritte, Alexander Calder, Fernand Leger, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, and other artists.
Another amazing exhibit was the "Michelangelo to Degas" exhibit that featured new aquisitions that broke records in the art world. The Getty Museum purchased 16 major drawings and one painting from a private collector that includes works by Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto, Goya, Domenico Tiepolo, and Edgar Degas. Below are three of my favorite pieces from this small but powerful exhibit. From left to right: Edgar Degas' "After The Bath (Woman Drying Herself)" about 1886; Michelangelo's "Study of a Mourning Woman" about 1500-1505; and Edgar Degas' "Two Studies of Dancers" about 1873.
I encourage you to go visit The Getty when in Los Angeles--You won't be disappointed! I encourage you to take advantage of the wonderful tours and events that the Getty Center offers such as architectural tours, garden tours, exhibition tours, etc. Also, for families with children, there are Art Detective Cards where kids can find the artworks and solve mysteries while exploring the galleries. For visitors information, please visit: www.getty.edu.
Metropolitan Museum of Art New York
In recent years as you've read in my previous blog posts, I visited museums like the Whitney, the Guggenheim, MOMA, the Brooklyn Museum, the New Museum, the Jewish Museum, just to name a few. I encourage you to look through the Categories Listing on the right side of this page and click on what interests you, whether it be museums, cities, or famous artists.
The Met has been in the news this past week because it was announced that its admission policy is changing, requiring visitors to pay for admission (the Museum has been pay-as-you-wish for over 50 years). The new admission policy will go into effect on March 1, 2018. Residents of New York State, and students from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will remain pay-as-you-wish. Children under 12 will remain free. Be sure to check out their website for more information: www.metmuseum.org
I'd recommend purchasing your ticket(s) online and arriving to the Museum when it first opens. You will wish you had more time for your visit if you don't! The line for admission seemed to span the entire length of the huge museum, but having purchased an advance ticket, I was able to walk in a separate door, check in, and head straight into the galleries. Admission will get you into the Met Fifth Avenue, the Met Cloisters, as well as the new Met Breuer.
I didn't have the chance to visit the Met Cloisters and the Met Breuer. My visit to the Metropolitan Museum of New York on Fifth Avenue was amazing. First of all, it is massive. I forgot just how large the museum is that is located on the Upper East Side on Fifth Avenue between East 80th and East 84th Streets. This blog post covers my experience of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue, mainly what was on exhibit in their Modern & Contemporary Art galleries, 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture, and some of their Asian Art collection. There were also two special exhibitions going on that I'll include: One on the hugely talented artist David Hockney. And the other on an artist that you may have heard of before, Michelangelo! At the end of this blog, I'll include a few other artistic surprises outside of the Met I encountered on my trip to NYC.
In Marc Chagall's painting shown below, "Le Pont de Passy et la Tour Eiffel," painted in 1911, we experience a fascinating view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. The important thing about this painting is its composition. Chagall uses several converging diagonal lines: the bright red road, the orange cement wall, and the lines denoting the blue sky. If you think about the time period of the painting, it's interesting to note how it depicts some of the modern changes to the city of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, the construction of the Pont de Passy Bridge and technologically modern train, electrical power-lines, and how it is juxtaposed alongside the element of the horses and wagon alluding to and earlier time in history.
With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, painters like Fernand Leger incorporated streamlined forms and contours of assembly-line production into their artwork. In the painting shown here, "Three Women by a Garden" painted by Fernand Leger in 1922, three generations of women are depicted. "Woman with a Cat" was painted in 1921.
Piet Mondrian is one of my favorite artists. Here is one of his iconic paintings called, "Composition" completed in 1921. It's an early example of the geometric style of painting that Mondrian called Neo-Plasticism, that emphasized planar relationships in painting, architecture, and design. Many people who look at my own personal artwork sometimes comment that they see hints of a Mondrian influence in my artwork. Here is Mondrian's painting at the Met, next to one of my paintings!
Mondrian used black lines to divide the canvas into rectangles that are sometimes painted in shades of blue and red, creating lighter hues by mixing primary colors with white. Later on in his artistic process, Mondrian stopped creating these hues and used pure, primary colors. In comparing his painting with mine, we each use an entirely different process to create our black lines and blocks of color. If you notice, the black line at the bottom right of his painting doesn't quite reach the bottom. To me, it detracts from the overall design. Here are two other artists, whose works are hung alongside Mondrian's at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I love Jackson Pollock's artwork! The painting below is called "Number 28" and was painted in 1950. His drip and pour paintings are widely recognized as his greatest achievement in art. He used simple sticks or paint stirrers and enamel house paint, sometimes poured right from the can, spilling lines directly onto raw canvas spread on the floor. What I love about his paintings are that the paint on the canvas we see is a record of the artist's creative process and his movement as he walked around all the sides of the canvas.
One of the Special Exhibitions on display during my visit was "Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer." Michelangelo Buonarroti lived from 1475 to 1564 and is celebrated for his excellence of the power of drawing and invention that provided the foundation for all the arts. His drawing skills, design, sculpture, painting, and architecture all combined to give him the reputation of "The Divine One" by his contemporaries. The exhibition showed a range of over 200 works by the artist that was pulled together from 50 public and private collections across the United States and Europe. The exhibit opened in November and is on view through February 12, 2018. Below are just two of his incredible artworks I saw at the Met. #MetMichelangelo
During my visit there was a magnificent exhibit of the British artist David Hockney that showcases 60 years of his art career. I highly recommend visiting this exhibit that is at the Met Fifth Avenue through February 25, 2018. David Hockney's painting address translating movement, space, and time into a two dimensional painting. Hockney is probably best known for depicting California swimming pools and backyards in the mid-1960s. Many of his paintings are quite large, perhaps over 6 or 7 feet square. I love how he uses Acrylic paint on canvas.
Alexander Calder created a series of moving sculptures called mobiles that he created in a diverse range of abstract configurations. Shown here, is a free-moving wind mobile that is carefully balanced on a movable pivot point. I learned that he was inspired by the work of Joan Miro, and the similar shapes and forms can be observed in Calder's mobiles. In the video below, you can see the kinetic nature of his mobile, "Mobile" created in 1941 from painted aluminum, steel, steel rod, and wire.
Here are some of Claude Monet's masterpieces...
And lastly, I came across these wonderful sculptures created by artist, Jaume Plensa, that are permanently installed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel near Grand Central Terminal. I learned that these two huge sculptures are reminiscent of the Moai sculptures on Easter Island.
Overall, my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was simply amazing. I could have spent the entire day looking at all the art and taking photos of every piece of artwork, but I could only include these 6 dozen or so photos! I wish I had the time to visit Met Cloisters and Met Breuer as well. Well, reason for another visit! I hope you enjoyed this blog and I welcome your comments! Have a friend who would enjoy reading this blog? Then please share it with them via email or social media! You can click on the Facebook and Twitter buttons below!
PS: If you liked this article, you might like these other articles on my artistic travels:
Los Angeles, California
New York City Street Art
Napa Valley, California
Park City, Utah
Part 1: Barcelona Architecture
One cannot talk about Barcelona's architecture without mentioning Antoni Gaudi. Part of the Modernista movement of the late 19th Century, Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona's most famous architect. Almost anywhere you look in Barcelona, Gaudi had some part in its creation, from the houses, apartment buildings, churches, sidewalks, parks, and even the city benches lining the streets. In Modernism, nature was a huge element present in decorative motifs as well as present in the actual architectural structure of Gaudi's buildings. Below are some of Gaudi's masterpieces, but there are dozens of others throughout Barcelona to visit and experience.
I really enjoyed seeing Casa Batllo, which is situated on a main street in the heart of Barcelona. Mosaic is everywhere. The Chimneys of the building are works of art. The roof is representational of a dragon's back. The exterior facade demonstrates Gaudi's expert use of texture and color. Below are some photos of the exterior of the building as well as the interior. The sidewalk tiles as shown in the photos below line the streets and feature an underwater, marine-life motif.
Gaudi's Sagrada Familia is innovative and highly symbolic. The architect's objective was to explain the teachings of the Church through sculpture and architecture. Following Gaudi's death, work on the Sagrada Familia continues to be carried out by collaborating architects and artists. The project is expected to be complete by 2026, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.
The stained glass windows were perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of the Sagrada Familia. The colors were so vivid and bright.
Park Guell is another one of Gaudi's masterpieces. It was build between 1900 and 1914. It was opened as a public park where Gaudi let his imagination run wild with his incredible use of mosaics throughout the park. Below are some photos of Park Guell. The mosaic work is unbelievable and reminds me very much of the mosaic illusion that I paint in many of my own paintings.
La Pedrera is also known as Casa Mila. It was completed in 1912 as an apartment building. There are curved walls that seemingly defy the laws of gravity. The rooftop is amazing at night and includes all of Gaudi's architectural trademarks. Bricks in the attic create arched ceilings and are uniquely used using the log side of the brick, which also features the brick-maker's fingerprints. There are terrific wrought iron balconies and exquisite ceramic mosaics. I highly recommend visiting La Pedrera by booking a night tour, which includes a full tour of the building and a surreal visual light display on the rooftop under the stars, followed by a champagne toast and cookies!
Although my time in Barcelona didn't permit me to visit the Palau Guell, I should mention that it is an excellent example of one of Antonio Gaudi's early architectural masterpieces. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a magnificent example of domestic architecture in the context of Art Nouveau and one of the first important commissions Gaudi received at the start of his career. It is located just steps away from La Rambla, not far from La Boqueria.
Part 2: Barcelona's Art Museums and Fine Art
A Guide to Visiting Barcelona's Museums:
If you plan to visit Barcelona, I highly recommend purchasing the Barcelona Museum Pass, also known as an art passport from ArtTicket BCN, which will give you access to six Barcelona museums, including the ability to skip the lines. The Passport give you access to the Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso), the Joan Miro Museum (Fundacio Joan Miro), the National Museum of Art of Catalunya (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya), the Antoni Tapies Museum (Fundacio Antoni Tapies), the CCCB, and the MACBA. I purchased the passport online (for 30 Euros), and simply showed the ticket to the first museum I visited to receive the passport. The passport is stamped upon entry at each museum. To learn more about the ArtTicket BCN, check out their website: http://articketbcn.org/en/barcelona-museum-pass. I should also mention that it is very important to check the hours of each of the museums as they vary significantly. Most museums, with a few exceptions, are closed on Mondays. Also, all city museums are free at last one afternoon per month, so be sure to check the websites in advance for hours and special exhibition dates.
If you're interested in contemporary art, check out this website that provides a network devoted to contemporary art in Barcelona: http://www.artbarcelona.es/circuit/en/.
Picasso Museum in Barcelona
The Museu Picasso of Barcelona is a wonderful center documenting Pablo Picasso's early years of apprenticeship. With over 4,000 works of art in its permanent collection, you'll see why this museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona.
The Picasso Museum highlights the artist’s relationship with the city of Barcelona. I learned that Pablo Picasso's father was a teacher at the San Telmo Fine Art and Crafts School. and had an important influence on Picasso's future career as an artist, who demonstrated a strong interest in art from a very young age. There are some drawings and small panels in oil that give an idea of his efforts to give his own creativity free rein and explore new techniques by taking in his immediate environment.
In Barcelona, Pablo Picasso continued his art education at the La Llotja Fine Art School. The photos here show his artwork featuring Barceloneta Beach and two ports. After taking these photos, I learned that photos were not allowed, so unfortunately, I do not have photos showing the rest of the museum. This Picasso museum focused on his earlier works, and very few on display were "well-known Picasso masterpieces." The museum highlighted Picasso's creative process of some of his work of his Blue Period. Some of the highlights of the museum included Las Meninas Series. This was a series of paintings based on the Velazquez painting Las Meninas.
For more information, please visit www.museupicasso.bcn.cat.
Fundacio Joan Miro
The Joan Miro Museum (Fundacio Joan Miro) is located in the Montjuic area of Barcelona and houses the work of Joan Miro as well as temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st Century art. The collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings displayed at the museum is one of the most comprehensive collections representing every stage of Miro's career as an artist. There are paintings related to Surrealism and works based on the Spanish Civil War. Miro's work on large canvases in the late 1970s onward demonstrate his use of large color fields and painting with free gesture.
For more information, please visit www.fmirobcn.org.
Museums Further Afield from Barcelona:
In the town of Girona, I visited the Museum of Jewish History. The goal of the Museum is to preserve the history of the Jewish communities of Catalunya. Art at this museum included various Jewish ritual objects. Be sure to visit if you are in Girona, which is not far from Figueres, where the Dali Museum is located.
On of my favorite pieces was this one below entitled, "Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at a distance of 20 meters is transformed into the portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko).” Gala was his wife and muse for many years.
The exterior of the museum is a work of art as well. Statues with loaves of bread on their heads. Inside the museum in the open air courtyard is a spectacular and wild work of art called, "Rainy Taxi". If you put a Euro in the slot located at the base of the artwork, it will rain inside the taxi, and an umbrella will open up on top of the artwork!
The museum includes paintings by Old Masters with works from the 13th Century to the 18th Century. The largest section of the museum is devoted to works from the 19th and 20th Centuries and includes a wonderful selection of Catalan painting and sculpture of the Modern period. I was very impressed with their collection of paintings by the great masters of French and international impressionism (Degas, Sisley, Monet, Pisarro, Sargent, etc.). Picasso and Dali, avant-garde artists are also well represented!
Part 3: Barcelona's Public Art
The streets of Barcelona are filled with art by world renowned artists. Below are just a few of these that I came across on my artistic journey.
PS: If you liked this article, you might like these other articles on my artistic travels:
Los Angeles, California
New York City
New York City Street Art
Napa Valley, California
Park City, Utah
The Brooklyn Museum
If your favorite color is blue, like it is mine, then you'll enjoy the exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum called, "Infinite Blue." The exhibition's title hints at the connection between the color blue and the idea of spirituality as written by Russian artist Vasily Kandinsky, "On the Spiritual in Art." Blue is often associated with the heavens and the spiritual because blue is the color of the sky.
The artwork featured in "Infinite Blue" feature every variety of the color blue from ancient times to the present. The exhibit includes a wide range of artwork from the museum's permanent collection of Asian, African, Egyptian, American, Native American, and European art: paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, etc. My understanding is that this exhibit will expand to other areas of the first floor of the museum over time.
My favorite blue is Cobalt Blue. On display were a variety of blue and white ceramics from the Middle East. The use of Cobalt in the Middle East likely inspired the Chinese to use the pigment.
In the artwork below and the detailed close-up, artist Arlene Schechet has created handmade papers from abaca, a plant native to the Phillippines. The Flow Blue series, from which this work derives, is named after a British transfer pottery from the early 19th century. For more more information on the exhibit, use the hashtag #infinitebluebkm.
The museum also had a number of wonderful pieces from Alex Katz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Rodin. Here are a few paintings on exhibit. Having walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn over the Brookyn Bridge earlier that day, I really appreciated Georgia O'Keefe's painting of the Brooklyn Bridge. I had always thought that most of her artwork was in the same genre of the Ram's Head painting below. Georgia O'Keefe's painting of the Brooklyn Bridge emphasizes the abstract elements of the composition. This painting was one of her last works of art painted in New York before relocating to New Mexico in 1949.
Luce Center for American Art: Visible Storage Study Center:
One of the many wonderful surprises at the Brooklyn Museum was discovering the Visible Storage Study Center. The beautiful display gives you an inside look at how museums work and provides you with a glimpse of the breadth and scope of the Brooklyn Museum's collections. The Visible Storage Study Center contains artwork organized and identified by the accession number assigned by the museum's registrar. Visitors can learn more information about the object by entering an item's identification number on a special web site at computers located throughout the space.
I had the opportunity to see the Marilyn Minter "Pretty/Dirty" exhibit that was on display at the Brooklyn Museum from November 4, 2016 to April 2, 2017. The exhibit featured many over-sized paintings showing seductive and sexual visual statements. The artwork included paintings and videos mostly sexual in nature. The photographs, paints, and videos in one gallery focus on licking, dripping, and devouring mouths. I believe it is a commentary on American culture's inexhaustible appetite for glamour and stimulation. I've included a few photos from the exhibit below.
The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago is the most significant icon of 1970s American feminist art. It took Judy Chicago 5 years to complete the project from 1974 to 1979 with the help of hundreds of collaborators. The Dinner Party represents 1,038 important mythical and historical women, most of whom had been neglected by history. The Dinner Party consists of a series of Entry Banners, Heritage Panels, a Heritage Floor, and a huge ceremonial triangular banquet table measuring 48 feet on each side with a total of 39 place settings. The Dinner Party is housed a the Brooklyn Museum as the central installation of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
The Table is in the shape of an open equilateral triangle, a symbol of equality. Each place setting represents a woman of great historical significance, either real of mythical. The Heritage Floor beneath the table is comprised of 2,300 porcelain tiles.
The Brooklyn Museum was a fascinating experience. Check out the Museum in you are in the vicinity. You won't be disappointed!
The Art Connection
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