21 May 2022
12 May 2022
04 May 2022
23 April 2022
17 April 2022
11 April 2022
In "The Garden," British poet Andrew Marvell (1621-1878) imagined it as a place for place for contemplating the beauty of nature, albeit a highly cultivated version. As anyone who has ever donned a pair of gardening gloves knows there is a world of work that goes into cultivating that serenity.
Jean-Baptiste Leroux was born in Touraine, France. The Loire River meanders through the region and this geographical happenstance, made it a favorite of Renaissance French kings. During the Hundred Years' War, Torraine became the seat of king, safely away from Paris. For its many elegant chateaus, the region was nicknamed "the Garden of France/"
The young photographer Leroux made that journey in reverse.. In Paris he became the director of the Nikon Gallery in Saint-Germain-des-Pres. After meeting the owner of the nearby Chateau de Courance, Leroux began to exhibit his garden photographs. His favorite subjectss are gardens and architecture. His eponymous Collection Jean-Baptiste Leroux is part of the Reunion of French National Museums.
Image: Jena-Baptiste Leroux - Potager, undated, color positive photography, Collection Jean-Baptiste Leroux, Paris.
25 March 2022
12 March 2022
'Years later, some will say none of this happened; the shops were pen, we went to see puppets in the park.
And yet on some nights townspeople dim the lights and teach their children to sign. Our country is the stage: when patrols march, we sit on our hands. Don't be afraid, a child signs to a tree, a door.
When patrols march, the avenues empty. Air empties but for the screech of strings and the tap tap of wooden fists against the walls." - "And Yet, on Some Nights" by Ilya Kaminsky, from Deaf Republic, Minneapolis, Graywolf Press: 2019
Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964) was born in Kyiv when it was part of the Russian Empire. After stuying at art schools there he moved to Moscow where he was able to exhibit some works in group shows. In 1908 he moved to Paris where he lived in La Ruche, a Russian art colony. While in Paris his sculptures earned him th nickname "the father of Cubist sculpture.
Archipenko emigrated to the United States in 1923, becoming a citizen six years later. He broke with the neoclassicism of Rodin and Maillol; he reimagined the human figure in three dimensional space through contorted planes set in negative space.
Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa in 1977 when Ukraine was one of the union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Kaminsky is hard of hearing as a result of a case of mumps he suffered as a small child. The Kaminsky family was granted political asylum in the United States in 1993 because of Ukrainian anti-semitism. Ilya Kaminsky settled in Rochester, New Yotk. He has published two collections of poetry Dancing in Odessa (2004) and Deaf Republic.(2019). Three Per Cent, published monthly by the University of Rochester Press has been inspired by Kaminsky's championing of literary translation.
Image: Alexander Archipenko - Carousel Pierrot 1913, paint on plaster, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC.
08 March 2022
28 February 2022
"someone will remember us/ I say/ even in another time." - Sappho, Fragment 147
In full, the title of this painting is Fruit Basket With A Bunch Of Asparagus but the foretaste of spring in the bunch of asparagus is irresistible. The eye is drawn by a spotlight of mysterious origin to the to the lower right quadrant of the canvas. Against an indeterminate backdrop, fruits and vegetables are rendered with a naturalism replete with elegance as well as clarity.
Most of Louise Moillon's paintings were made between 1629 and 1637;a short but impressive career bracketed by a long life. Her father and stepfather were artists and art dealers who provided the young Louise with a workshop, training, studio space of her own, and - crucially - clients for her work. Who her primary teacher was is uncertain although her uncle has been suggested. Eventually King Charles the First of England acquired five of Moillon's still lifes for the royal collection. Indeed, during her lifetime, Moillin's work was widely admired but, like so many other female artists, her reputation faded after her death for lack of champions.
Louise Moillon (1610-1696) was born in Paris; her family resided in the Pont Notre Dame section of the city, a haven for French Protestants who had been forced into internal exile by ferocious religious wars between Catholics and Protestants. Thanks to her father's participation in art local fairs, the young Louise came to know several Dutch painters. Their influence on her style is apparent. Her still life paintings are ensconced in the atmosphere that Lawrence Gowing identified in the paintings of Vermeer aas "an envelope of quiet air."
Image: Louise (Louyse) Moillon - A Basket Of Fruit And A Bunch Of Asparagus, 1630, oil on wooden panel, Art Institute. of Chicago.
13 February 2022
02 February 2022
Torres-Garcia was born in Montevideo, Uruguay but in 1891 the family returned to his parents' homeland. In Barcelona Joaquin enrolled in art school. Recognition came in 1903 when Antoni Guadi invited the younger artist to collaborate on creating stained glass windows for the (still incomplete as of today) cathedral Sagrada Familia.
Torres-Garcia began teaching at the Mount D'or School in Barcelona in 1907.A proponent of the progressive pedagogy of Maria Montessori, he included making of wooden toys in his curriculum He got the idea to make toys with detachable parts to encourage the students to be creative.
During a stay in Paris in 1912, he discovered Cubism But the need to make a living turned him into an itinerant artist who would crisscross the Atlantic several times. Visiting New York City and meeting the Dutchman Piet Mondrian influenced his toy-making; the constructions became more geometrical and the surfaces arose from the construction rather than applied as decoration.
By the time of his death in New York in 1949, Torres-Garcia was recognized as an important figure in introducing modernism in the Americas. His paintings are included in the collections of Reina Sofia in Madrid, Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Image - Joaquin Torres-Garcia - untitled toy, circa 1917-1932, oil painted on carved wood, Ortizar Prijects, NYC.
20 January 2022
For some unfathomable reason the British writer G.K. Chesterton started the rumor, "Poets have been mysteriously silent about cheese."
In this still life by Luis Fernandez, there is Swiss cheese in front, I think ,and a brick of Stilton (possibly) in back. As for those apples, all angles and marmoreal faceted surfaces, they remind me of glass paperweights. Welcome to the world of Cubist cheese. Salvador Dali's notorious limp watches in The Persistence of Memory (1931), were inspired by Camembert. Cheese in art has a long and intriguing history.
How cheese is aged is a story in itself. Affinage is the process of aging cheese in a cave; an affineur is a person who tends these works in progress for months or even years, until they are ready to be eaten. Other French terms are fromage (cheese), fromager (a cheese monger) and fromagerie (cheese shop). All cheeses that have rinds need to be aged in a cave. And the rinds need to be carefully monitored, high humidity maintained and mold evenly brushed over the surface of the wheel at regular intervals. What this means is that during the pandemic, affineurs are essential workers.
On Sunday, September 26, 2021, a group calling themselves 315 Foodies (for the Central New York Area Code 315) met to assemble what the Guinness Book of World Records was on hand to certify as the world's longest charcuterie board at 315 feet. Cheese mongers from around the region took part, using wooden cheese boards that interlocked like puzzle pieces; each board one foot long.
Before there was cheese in upstate New York, there was water. About 11,000 BCE, a glacial waterfall carved out the gorge where Little Falls now stands. From this point, rivers to the east drain toward the Atlantic and to the west the fluvial deposits go toward the Great Lakes. The Mohawk River gorges and the Erie Canal, both running east to west, made a flourishing mill culture that brought prosperity to Little Falls - grist mills, paper mills, flour mills, sawmills, and textiles mills.
During the second half of the 19th century the city was known as "the cheese capital of the world," thanks, in no small part, to the promotional zeal of local newspaperman Xerxes Willard. Then, as now, dairy farming and cheese making are important to the New York State economy. The Chobani yogurt Company was founded in 2005 by a Turkish immigrant in South Edmeston, a hamlet located south of Little Falls.
Note: History records three painters named Luis Fernandez, one a 17th century Spanish history painter, one a contemporary Venezuelan, and this Luis Fernandez (1900-1973) , an Asturian artist who studied at the School of Arts and Crafts in Barcelona. In 1924 Fernandez moved to Paris where he met Braque, who introduced him to Cubism. Fernandez died in Paris in 1973.
You can order a wide selection of chesses and other comestibles at Calle1945.
Image: Luis Fernandez - Nature morte, pommes et fromage (Still Life with Pommes and Cheese), no date given, oil on board, Musee d'arte moderne, Paris.
06 January 2022
01 January 2022
24 December 2021
21 December 2021
The shortest day brings with it the longest night. Time to begin the season of vitamin D cocktails.
Robert Gibbings (1889-1958) was an Irish artist, born in Cork. His family opposed his intention to study art but Gibbings persevered, eventually enrolling at the Slade School in London. Among other media, Gibbings made wood engravings and from 1924 to 1933 he ran the Golden Cockrell Press.. He also illustrated books on travel and natural. history. In an astonishment, he became the first person known to have made drawings under water. He was buried on the banks of the River Thames in the village of Long Wittenham.
Image: Robert Gibbings - Dublin Under Snow, woodblock print, vourtesy of Grive Press, New York.
11 December 2021
29 November 2021
It's harvest time in Raoul Dufy's Arcadia, Langres, a commune in northeastern France, where autumn is sometimes foggy, wet, and even snowy.
But this is Dufy's Arcadia, so unpleasant conditions have been banished. This is a place where sheep may safely graze indeed. In the far background there are rows of laborers mowing and reaping. In the lower left corner there is an empty hayrick which draws our eyes to remnants of an antique Arcadia, a celebratory urn atop a pedestal and, this being a painting by Dufy, there is a lissome reclining woman,, her clothes nowhere to be seen. An open air social event, perhaps. Harvesting has never looked this festive.
On a serious note, Dufy's particular contribution to modernism was to marry formal avant-garde principles to a decorative aesthetic.
Image; Raoul Dufy - Harvest At Langres, circa 1938, Musee d'arte Moderne, Paris.