Posts Tagged ‘English painter

01
Apr
11

Exhibition: ‘Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera’ at the Brooklyn Museum, New York

Exhibition dates: 19th November 2010 – 10th April 2011

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The first and last photographs are a knockout – and then just look what Rockwell does with them!

The background of traditional ‘flash’ behind The Tattoo Artist (1944, below) is inspired as is the humour in the crossing out of the names. The book of the English painter Augustus John nonchalantly placed on the counter in the photographic studies for Soda Jerk (1953) is delicious. Just fantastic to see some of the preparatory work behind the paintings.

Many thankx to the Brooklyn Museum for allowing me to publish the artwork and text in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘Photograph for The Tattoo Artist’
1944
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, March 4, 1944
11 ¼ x 8 ¾ in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘Photograph for The Tattoo Artist’
1944
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, March 4, 1944
11 ¼ x 8 ¾ in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
The Tattoo Artist
1944
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, March 4, 1944
Oil on canvas
43 x 33 in.
Collection of the Brooklyn Museum
Gift of the artist 
©1944
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘Photograph for Going and Coming’
1947
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, August 30, 1947
11 1/4 x 15 5/8 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
Going and Coming
1947
Tear sheet, The Saturday Evening Post, August 30, 1947
13 5/8 x 10 5/8 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collection 
©1947
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
‘Photographs for The Problem We All Live With’
1964
Study for Look, January 14, 1964
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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“To create many of his iconic, quintessentially American paintings, most of which served as magazine covers, norman rockwell worked from carefully staged study photographs that are on view for the first time, alongside his paintings, drawings, and related tear sheets, in Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. The exhibition, which will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum from November 19, 2010, through April 10, 2011, was organized by the norman rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, following a two-year project that preserved and digitized almost 20,000 negatives.

Beginning in the late 1930s, norman rockwell (1894–1978) adopted photography as a tool to bring his illustration ideas to life in studio sessions. Working as a director, he carefully staged his photographs, selecting props, locations, and models and orchestrating every detail. He began by collecting authentic props and costumes, and what he did not have readily available he purchased, borrowed, or rented – from a dime-store hairbrush or coffee cup to a roomful of chairs and tables from a New York City Automat. He created numerous photographs for each new subject, sometimes capturing complete compositions and, in other instances, combining separate pictures of individual elements. Over the forty years that he used photographs as his painting guide, he worked with many skilled photographers, particularly Gene Pelham, Bill Scovill, and Louis Lamone.

Early in his career Norman Rockwell used professional models, but he eventually found that this method inhibited his evolving naturalistic style. When he turned to photography, he turned to friends and neighbors instead of professional models to create his many detailed study photographs, which he found liberating. Working from black-and-white study photographs also allowed Rockwell more freedom in developing his final work. “If a model has worn a red sweater, I have painted it red – I couldn’t possibly make it green.… But when working with photographs I seem able to recompose in many ways: as to form, tone, and color,” Rockwell once commented.

Included in the exhibition will be more than one hundred framed digital prints alongside paintings, drawings, magazine tear sheets, photographic equipment, and archival letters, as well as an introductory film. Among the paintings on view will be the Brooklyn Museum’s painting The Tattoo Artist – one of many that Rockwell created during World War II – depicting a young sailor stoically having his arm tattooed, shown alongside working photographs by Gene Pelham, and the watercolor Dugout, also from the Museum’s collection, portraying the Chicago Cubs baseball team being jeered by fans of the Boston Braves. This work will be displayed along with the September 4, 1948, Saturday Evening Post cover on which it appeared and study photographs by Gene Pelham.

Among the magazine covers included in the exhibition are several from The Saturday Evening Post, for which Rockwell worked for nearly fifty years before turning his attentions to more socially relevant subjects for Look magazine, with which he had a decade-long relationship. Included is The Art Critic, showing an aspiring artist scrutinizing paintings in a gallery, which appeared in the April 16, 1955, issue. The exhibition also includes several series of photographs and the final paintings and magazine tear sheets, among them the July 13, 1946, Saturday Evening Post illustration Maternity Waiting Room, shown along with a series of images by an unidentified photographer that served as details of the final work, which portrays ten anxious soon-to-be fathers.

Norman Rockwell became one of the most famous illustrators of his generation through his naturalistic, narrative paintings done in a readily recognizable style, which appeared in national magazines that reached millions of readers. Born in 1894 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, he left high school to study at the National Academy of Design and later the Art Students League of New York. By the age of eighteen he was already a published artist specializing in children’s illustration and had become a regular contributor to magazines such as Boys’ Life, the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America, where he was soon named art director. In 1916 he painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post, beginning a forty-seven-year relationship that resulted in 323 covers and was the centerpiece of his career.

Early in his career Rockwell had a studio in New Rochelle, New York. He later moved with his wife and three sons to Arlington, Vermont, where many of his family and neighbors served as models in working photographs for his illustrations, which began to focus on small-town American life. In 1943 a fire destroyed his Vermont studio, along with numerous paintings and many of the photographic studies. A decade later the family relocated to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In 1963 he severed his forty-seven-year association with The Saturday Evening Post and began to work for Look magazine, where, during his ten-year association, he produced work that reflected his personal concerns, including civil rights, America’s war on poverty, and space exploration.”

Press release from the Brooklyn Museum website

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
New Kids in the Neighborhood
1967
Tear sheet, Look, May 16, 1967
13 x 20 ½ in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘
Photograph for Shuffleton’s Barbershop’
1950
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, April 29, 1950
11 5/16 x 7 15/16 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
Shuffleton’s Barbershop
1950
Cover Illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, April 29, 1950
Oil on canvas
45 ¾ x 42 ½ in.
Collection of the Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA 
©1950
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘Photograph for Soda Jerk’
1953
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, August 22, 1953
9 ½ x 7 9/16 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘Photograph for Soda Jerk’
1953
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, August 22, 1953
9 ½ x 7 9/16 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
Soda Jerk
1953
Tear sheet, The Saturday Evening Post, August 22, 1953
13 5/8 x 10 5/8
 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections 
© 1953
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
The Dugout
1948
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, September 4, 1948
Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite on two sheets of conjoined cream, moderately thick, moderately textured wove paper
19 x 17 13/16 in.
Collection of the Brooklyn Museum
Gift of Kenneth Stuart 
© 1948
SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909-2004)
‘Photograph for The Dugout’
1948
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, September 4, 1948
Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust
Licensed by Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn
New York 11238-6052

Opening hours:
Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Brooklyn Museum website

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18
Dec
09

Exhibition: ‘Caravaggio – Bacon’ at Gallery Borghese, Rome

2nd October 2009 – 24th January 2010

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Two of my favourite artists together for the first time!

Individually they are dazzling but the curatorial nous to bring these two great painters together – fantastic.
Imagine going back to the time of Caravaggio – his paintings in the churches of the powerful (not the rich, see, because the rich can never enter the kingdom of heaven) –  lit by candlelight, all huge thrusting buttocks at eye level as you enter, the rich velvety colours, the drama, the dirty feet, the voluptuous forms stretched across the canvas.

Now imagine taking Bacon back to the same period. His sinuous, tortured bodies lit by candlelight – no a single electric light bulb (remember!) – innards spreading effusively, effluently along the floor. Can you imagine the gloomy interiors with Bacon’s figures looming out of the darkness? His ‘Head VI’ screaming in the darkness …

Instinctively, intellectually we know how the paintings of a Baroque artist of the early 17th century affect how we look at the paintings of Bacon. This exhibition offers the reverse, in fact it rewrites how we look at Caravaggio – through the benediction of Bacon. Those rough house homosexuals sure knew a thing or two about painting, flesh, desire and the eroticism of the human body. God bless em!

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PS. I have arranged the paintings below to illustrate some of the confluences and divergences between the two great artists, hopefully much as the actual exhibition will have done.

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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
‘The Conversion of Saint Paul’
c.1600/01

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Francis Bacon
‘Study of George Dyer’
1969

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Francis Bacon
Central panel of the ‘Triptych of George Dyer’
1973

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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
‘Saint John the Baptist’
1604

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“I have always aspired to express myself in the most direct and crudest way possible, and maybe, if something is transmitted directly, people find it horrifying. Because, if you say something in the most direct way to a person, the latter sometimes takes offence, even if what you said is a fact. Because people tend to take offence at facts, or at what was once called truth.”

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This is how the Irish genius Francis Bacon justified his modus operandi, his propensity for a disquieting and sometimes grotesque distortion of the form. His works, placed next to those of another “damned” painter of the history of art, the great Caravaggio, will be exhibited from 1st October 2009 to 24th January 2010 at the Galleria Borghese in Rome. On the occasion of the fourth centenary of Caravaggio’s death, and of the centenary of Bacon’s birth, the figures of these eccentric artists, who are considered excessive – each one in their own way in their own period – are interweaved and narrated for the first time at the Galleria Borghese, which will also have prestigious loans from the most important museums in the world. By Caravaggio, already familiar with the Galleria Borghese thanks to his relation with cardinal Scipione Borghese, six masterpieces will be on view, synthesising his entire production: Boy with basket of fruit, Sick little Bacchus, Madonna and Child with St. Anne (dei Palafrenieri), David with the head of Goliath, Saint Jerome writing and Saint John the Baptist. Other key works of his artistic career will be added to these pieces of the permanent collection: Peter’s denial (Metropolitan in New York), Saul’s fall (Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome), The Martyrdom of St. Orsola (Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano in Naples) and the Portrait of Antonio Martelli, Knight of Malta (Palazzo Pitti). About twenty works by Bacon, loaned by the most prestigious museums, will be placed next to Caravaggio’s masterpieces.

The exhibition has the objective, with an unusual style and combining for the first time the two authors, not so much to immerse visitors in a historical-critical reconstruction, as much as to suggest an alternative aesthetic experience generated by the confrontation between the two expressive idioms which are so far yet so close. To tell the truth, the comparison between the two artists betrays Bacon’s grammar, as he did not love to be measured against the great masters of the past, even with those he esteemed the most: he ingeniously looked at the great “pillars” of the history of art filtering them through photography, which convulsively stimulated his perception and guided his creativity, until he conceived works that were very far from their original source of inspiration. Yet Caravaggio and Francis Bacon have something in common: in their linguistic, formal and temporal diversity they are both undisputed paladins of the human figure, they were able to seize the arcane undertones of life and art, and translate them into representations of ruthless frankness. Through the truth of flesh, what emerges are existential anxieties and a careful analysis of the human soul. In Caravaggio it happens thanks to his realism taken to obsession, in which the rigorous plasticity of bodies and theatrical illumination do not reveal only pleasant and harmonious shapes, they do not spare the spectators’ eyes from the crudeness of the distressing and deformed aspect of a subject. For Bacon physical deformation is enslaved to the ferocious narration of the human condition. Therefore, the password of this “strange couple” of artists is “truth,” of purposes and/or of means …

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Francis Bacon
‘Triptyph’
August 1972

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Francis Bacon
‘Triptych of George Dyer’
1973

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Francis Bacon
‘Triptych in Memory of George Dyer’
1971

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Therefore, the true stars of the exhibition are the spectators, it is up to them to contemplate the works and find links and discrepancies between the two artists, according to their own sensibility and regardless of the conditions originally foreseen by the painters for their creations. Those pieces live, in the museum context of Villa Borghese, an autonomous existence, free from their first generated status.  The exhibition “Caravaggio – Bacon” is curated by Anna Coliva, Director of the Galleria Borghese, Claudio Strinati, Special Superintendent for the PSAE and for the Museum Pole of the city of Rome and by Michael Peppiatt, biographer and close friend who knew very well Francis Bacon, organised by MondoMostre and made possible thanks to the support of BG Italia, ENEL and Vodafone.”

Press release from the Gallery Borghese website

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Francis Bacon
‘Head VI’
1949

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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
‘Boy with a Basket of Fruit’
c.1593-1594

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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
‘Madonna and Child with St. Anne (dei Palafrenieri)’
1606

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Francis Bacon
Central panel of the ‘Triptych in Memory of George Dyer’
1971

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Francis Bacon
Right panel of the ‘Triptych in Memory of George Dyer’
1971

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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
‘The portrait of Antonio Martelli, Knight of Malta’
1608-09

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Galleria Borghese
Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5

Opening hours:
Monday 13:00 – 19:00
from Tuesday to the Saturday 9:00 – 21:00
Sunday 9,00 – 19:00

Caravaggio – Bacon website

Gallery Borghese website

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Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Études’ 1994

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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