Wednesday, January 20, 2021

UNITED STATES OF ABSTRACTION. AMERICAN ARTISTS IN FRANCE, 1946-1964

 

Musée d’arts de Nantes, 

12 February – 24 May 2021


1 Musée Fabre, Montpellier, 

3 July – 17 October 2021

 

The Musée d'arts de Nantes and the Musée Fabre in Montpellier are organising an exhibition entitled United States of Abstraction. American Artists in France, 1946-1964.

The role of Paris as the world capital of Western art since the 19th century is well recognised and it is also considered an established fact that the City of Light lost this pre-eminence after World War II to New York. The history of Abstract Expressionism, the New York School and its heroes, Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning among others, thus became the prevailing narrative of art after 1945.

Nevertheless, we also know that many American artists, musicians and writers, both men and women, continued to travel to France to study and create. More than 400 artists in particular made use of the G.I. Bill scholarship between 1944 and 1953, which allowed any veteran to finance their studies, by enrolling at Parisian art schools and academies. The exhibition examines their intense presence and the way in which they contributed to redefining abstract art in France at a time when the world geography of art went through profound changes.

 

Sam Francis, Blue Balls, vers 1961-1962, Stockholm, Moderna Museet © 2020 Sam Francis Foundation, California / ADAGP, Paris, 2020


The exhibition examines their intense presence and the way in which they contributed to redefining abstract art in France at a time when the world geography of art went through profound changes. They came for a range of reasons: the cultural appeal of Paris, its museums and its masters, the draw of Europe, the possibility of creating without any real constraints through grants, the search for greater freedom, the desire to be elsewhere, to be in Paris as if on an island. The exhibition is arranged into three sections. The first section examines works brought together by the critic Michel Tapié, whether in group exhibitions (such as Véhémences Confrontées at the Nina Dausset gallery in 1951, Les Signifiants de l'Informel in 1952 and Un Art Autre at the Studio Facchetti the same year) or in publications from the first half of the 1950s. These events constitute an exciting attempt to bring together a series of abstract works outside of national considerations, but around the ideas of expressivity, gestural and automatic abstract painting. 


Several American painters, Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Mark Tobey, Claire Falkenstein, Alfonso Ossorio were associated with works by Wols, Jean Dubuffet, Georges Mathieu, Jean-Paul Riopelle. Their works have in common their large scale, floating forms with intense colours. 

 


The second section brings together several abstract colourists, such as Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell, Shirley Jaffe, but also Kimber Smith, Norman Bluhm and Beauford Delaney, who found in France a place of freedom and creativity, without establishing strong links with the artists of the School of Paris, with the exception of the Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle. They claim a form of solitude and use the French capital as a stimulating place for creation but remain nevertheless strangely stateless. Nevertheless, we also know that many American artists, musicians and writers, both men and women, continued to travel to France to study and create. More than 400 artists in particular made use of the G.I. Bill scholarship between 1944 and 1953, which allowed any veteran to finance their studies, by enrolling at Parisian art schools and academies. 


The last section looks at how the artists Ellsworth Kelly, Ralph Coburn, John Youngerman and Robert Breer, in relation to some of their elders such as Jean Arp and Alexander Calder and to some of their contemporaries (François Morellet), profoundly renewed geometric abstraction in post-war Paris. Comprising around one hundred works, paintings and sculptures from European and American public and private collections, the exhibition is enhanced by a wealth of documentation that provides an insight into the period and a catalogue in which French and American specialists retrace a fascinating chapter in the history of artistic exchanges in a new light. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Sotheby's Global Livestream Auction: 28 January

 


With Sotheby’s poised to re-open the doors once more onto its galleries in New Bond Street in London, this winter season’s series of Old Master and Treasures sales will showcase works by some of history’s most famous artists, including Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt. From paintings to prints, to sculpture and drawings, these artworks will go on view alongside unique and extraordinary objects encapsulating the history of patronage and collecting over the centuries.

Alongside these 700 artworks spanning 800 years, two paintings from our sale of Old Masters in New York in late January 2021 will be unveiled in our London galleries as part of the pre-sale exhibition. Sandro Botticelli’s Young Man Holding a Roundel – the ultimate Renaissance portrait and a true beauty of the ages, and one of the greatest Renaissance paintings remaining in private hands – is estimated to sell in excess of $80 million.



A panel depicting a man with wings sitting in the center of the frame, illuminated by a light source that seems to come from within himself, surrounded by two other travelers, an elderly Abraham and Sarah peeking out of the door of the house
This small oil-on-panel work by Rembrandt, Abraham and the Angels (1646), is expected to sell for upward of $20 million. (Courtesy of Sotheby's)

It will be joined by Abraham and the Angels, a rare biblical scene by Rembrandt measuring just 6½ by 8⅜ inches (16 x 21cm) – a profoundly beautiful, gem-like painting on panel from 1646 that stands among the finest works by the artist ever to come to auction. The masterpiece was studied for months by the late British artist, Lucian Freud, a few years before his death, with the intention of making an etching inspired by the painting. Freud abandoned the print, remarking that he could not improve upon what Rembrandt had done. Last appearing at auction in London in 1848, when it sold for £64, this small-scale masterpiece is now returning to the block with an estimate of $20-30 million.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Picasso to Rothko: European and American Masters in Dialogue

 Palm Beach SOTHEBY'S

9—31 January 2021 

A constellation of pivotal artistic and historic moments, this exhibition illuminates the influences that connect these icons of post-war art across the Atlantic. Miró, Dubuffet, and Picasso had a formative impact on many mid-century vanguard American painters. In his early work, Rothko was inspired by the primordial imagery and mystical landscapes of Miró, who in turn saw and admired the New York school following a visit to the United States in 1947. When describing his observations of American painting, Miró explained that, “it showed me the liberties we can take, and how far we could go, beyond the limits. In a sense, it freed me.” This sentiment was similarly felt and adopted by Picasso in his own work. Decades later, Picasso and Dubuffet's primal mark-making and uninhibited artistic approaches left an unmistakable impression on Basquiat, who made frequent visits to galleries and museums to specially study Dubuffet.



Picasso to Rothko: European and American Masters in Dialogue presented by Nahmad at Sotheby’s Palm Beach

9—31 January 2021 • Selling Exhibition • Palm Beach

Spanning decades and continents, this exhibition highlights the nuanced historical and stylistic dialogues between some of the most influential artists of the 20th Century: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Fernand Léger (1881-1955), Joan Miró (1893-1983), Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) Mark Rothko (1903-1970) and Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988).Palm Beach, FL 3348

FERNAND LÉGER'S COMPOSITION AUX TROIS PROFILS, JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT'S UNTITLED , JEAN DUBUFFET'S PERSONNAGE (BUSTE) AND JOAN MIRÓ'S OISEAUX EN FÊTE POUR LE LEVER DU JOUR

Picasso to Rothko: European and American Masters in Dialogue highlights the relationships and interchange of ideas that inspired these artists to create their greatest works. For example, Miró and Calder's legendary friendship was bolstered by a mutual fascination with calligraphic line and biomorphic forms. Léger would often attend Calder’s circus performances in Paris and the two would often walk New York together in search of visual inspiration. Similarly, Picasso and Dubuffet shared an aesthetic language that oscillated between abstraction and figuration. Picasso, Calder, and their mutual friend Miró were aligned by their shared sociopolitical beliefs of the avant-garde. In their most famous coming-together, the three artists captured a crucial moment in European history through their artistic contributions to the 1937 World Fair, communicating the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War to the world.

Revolutionary masters of the 20th Century, this carefully curated selection of paintings and sculptures explores how each artist's personal histories and artistic sensibilities left an indelible mark on one another's practices.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Frida Kahlo: Five Works

Dallas Museum of Art 

February 28, 2021

This winter, the Dallas Museum of Art will share with visitors the rare opportunity to see five exquisite works by the acclaimed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. In her lifetime, Kahlo’s work was well-known in artistic circles, particularly in Mexico and the United States. In the years since her death in 1954, her work has garnered ever-increasing critical attention and
international praise. Today, her fame is so widespread that she has gone from being simply a celebrated artist, to a global cultural phenomenon.

Opening on February 28, 2021, Frida Kahlo: Five Works includes four paintings and a drawing on loan from a Private Collection, courtesy of the Galería Arvil in Mexico City. In the new installation, each work will act as a vehicle for understanding larger aspects of Kahlo’s artistic practice. This includes her development of a personal language of metaphorical imagery and her exploration of still life painting late in her career. At the same time, as with many of her most well-known works, these pieces reflect Kahlo’s experiences and the events of her adventurous life.

Frida Kahlo: Five Works will be on view through June 20, 2021 on the Atrium Overlook on Level 4 and opens simultaneously with Devoted: Art and Spirituality in Mexico and New Mexico featuring works from the DMA’s Latin American collection. Both exhibitions are curated by Dr. Mark A. Castro, Jorge Baldor Curator of Latin American Art, and are included in free general admission.

“It is always exciting to delve into the works of a dynamic artist like Frida Kahlo,” said Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director. “This generous loan will offer our visitors a chance to look closely at these five works and explore the many stories they can tell about Kahlo, her remarkable work, and her inspiring life.” 


Frida Kahlo, Still Life, 1951, oil on masonite, Private Collection, Courtesy Galería Arvil. © 2021 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Frida Kahlo, Sun and Life, 1947, oil on masonite, Private Collection, Courtesy Galería Arvil. © 2021 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Frida Kahlo, Still Life with Parrot and Flag, 1951, oil on masonite, Private Collection, Courtesy Galería Arvil. © 2021 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Frida Kahlo, Diego and Frida 1929 – 1944, 1944, oil on masonite with original painted shell frame, Private Collection, Courtesy Galería Arvil. © 2021 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Frida Kahlo, View of New York (Dedicated to Dolores del Río), 1932, pencil on paper, Private Collection, Courtesy Galería Arvil. © 2021 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 


Monday, January 4, 2021

Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France

 Denver Art Museum

November 14, 2021 - February 13, 2022 
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts  
March 26, 2022 - July 10, 2022.


John Singer Sargent, Atlantic Storm, 1876. Oil paint on canvas; 23 x 32 in. Myron Kunin Collection of American Art, Minneapolis, MN.

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) has announced the exhibition Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France, set to premiere at DAM November 14, 2021. The exhibition will feature more than 100 paintings made between 1855 and 1913 in the first comprehensive examination of France’s stylistic impact on American painting of the period. From academic training in Paris to exploration of the countryside landscape, Whistler to Cassatt  reveals both the visual and conceptual influences of France on American painters in the 19th and early 20th century. Organized by the DAM and curated by Timothy Standring, curator emeritus at the DAM, Whistler to Cassatt will be presented in the Anschutz and Martin and McCormick galleries on Level 2 of the Hamilton Building through February 13, 2022. The exhibition will then travel to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts from March 26, 2022, to July 10, 2022.

Mary Cassatt, Mother and Child, c. 1889. Oil paint on canvas; 28-3/4 x 23-5/8 in. Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio: John J. Emery Fund/Bridgeman Images.

“In this exhibition, visitors will experience the stories leading up to and at the turn of the 20th century of renowned American artists working and training in France,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “Their challenges, triumphs and learnings in the region contributed to the florescence of this period’s paintings. By advancing narratives that reveal the deep cultural links between France and America, DAM’s exhibition provides audiences with a more comprehensive understanding of one of the most complex periods in American art history.”

Thematically organized, the exhibition will feature seven sections, opening with a dramatic gallery reminiscent of the Paris Salon, an annual showcase of artworks that determined the success of an artist’s career. Subsequent galleries will highlight a wide spectrum of artistic styles championed by American artists, including classicism, realism, tonalism, impressionism and hybrids of each—that were honed from lessons by Paris’ private ateliers, official enrollment in École des Beaux-Arts and summer months spent at artist colonies throughout Normandy and Brittany.

The exhibition also focuses on the instruction American painters received in the official and private academies. This labor-intensive academic approach involved hours of preparation prior to the final execution of a painting. The end result was to present a clear visual composition based on a literary narrative. By the mid-19th century, many of the works accepted for the Salon focused on popular domestic themes and historical subject matter, as visitors will see throughout this exhibition. Demonstrative examples include The Resurrection of Lazarus (1896) and The Young Sabot Maker  (1895) by Henry Ossawa Tanner, a Black American artist who trained at the Académie Julian. Other works in this gallery will include works by Walter Gay, Henry Mosler and Frank Biggs, the first three American artists whose works were acquired by the French state after being shown at the annual Salon. Two works painted by Winslow Homer in France will be on display as well.

James McNeill Whistler, The Beach at Marseille, 1901. Oil paint on panel, 8-1/16 x 13-1/16 in. Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1992.143. Photography © Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago.

The significant artistic contributions of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt then take the stage of this exhibition narrative. These artists were known to be part of the first wave of Americans to cross the Atlantic Ocean to Europe, and to Paris—then considered the center of the art world. Each contributed to the rich complexity of American painting, which was in close dialogue with their French contemporaries during this period.

A gallery dedicated to Whistler will showcase the many different approaches to painting that the artist explored throughout his tenure in France, which began with his participation in the atelier of the Swiss-born artist Charles Gleyre. Artworks in this gallery display the diversity of Whistler’s painting, including realist canvases referencing the work of French painter Gustave Courbet to a more aesthetic approach characterized by a restricted palette and painterly finish. The latter approach to his painting had a considerable impact on American artists of the period, persuading many to adopt tonalism as Whistler’s style is now called. Artworks on view in this gallery will include The Coast of Brittany (Alone with the Tide), (1861), Blue and Silver, Dieppe (1880–85), The Sea, Pourville (1899) and The Beach at Marseille (1901).

John Singer Sargent, Fishing for Oysters at Cancale, 1878. Oil paint on canvas; 16-1/8 x 24 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Gift of Miss Mary Appleton, 35.708. Photograph © 2020 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Whistler to Cassatt also will feature a range of works by Sargent, including four oil studies that he produced prior to painting his renowned Fishing for Oysters at Cancale (1877). Born in Florence, Italy, to American parents, he spent several years in France, during which time he painted primarily landscapes and beach scenes reflecting his travels throughout the country. In Paris, he participated in the private atelier of Carolus-Duran and the École des Beaux-Arts where he produced a stunning drawing of a marble plinth for one of his classes. His portrait of Carolus-Duran (1879) pays homage to his teacher, who encouraged Sargent to work according to his painterly inclinations, evident in his paintings A Gust of Wind (1883-85) and Atlantic Storm (1876), which defied stylistic categorization.

Mary Cassatt, Young Girl at a Window, c. 1883– 1884. Oil paint on canvas; 39-1/2 x 25-1/2 in. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC: Corcoran Collection, museum Purchase, Gallery Fund. Image courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington. Public Domain.

In Cassatt’s dedicated gallery, nearly 20 works will be on view spanning the artist’s career, from one of her first works exhibited at the Salon of 1868, The Mandolin Player (1868), to her Portrait of Lydia Cassatt (1880), Young Girl at a Window (1883-1884), Baby in Dark Blue Suit, Looking Over his Mother’s Shoulder (1889), to three different studies in pastel of Sara and her Mother with the Baby  (1901). At age 21, Cassatt arrived in Paris and was quickly accepted to the atelier of distinguished master Jean-Léon Gérôme based on the strength of her portfolio. She supplemented her studies by making copies of masterworks at the Louvre, as women of the time were not accepted to the École des Beaux-Arts or allowed to socialize in cafés where male avant-garde artists congregated. Nonetheless, during her time in Paris, she formed a close friendship with Edgar Degas who supported and challenged her artistically. 

Whistler to Cassatt will bring to the fore the richly braided story of American and French creative discourse—and how it shaped the past and present of painting in America,” Standring said. “The exhibition weaves a combination of themes—philosophical, stylistic and economic—to underscore the allure of Paris for American artists of the time and the intersections of global influences that continue to reverberate in today’s American culture.”

American painters did not just master their craft in Paris; many flocked to artist colonies in France’s picturesque towns such as Pont-Aven, Grez-sur-Loing, Arques-la-Bataille and Giverny. Artworks produced by American artists John Henry Twachtman, Theodore Robinson, Childe Hassam, Willard Leroy Metcalf, Dennis Miller Bunker, Robert Vonnoh and Guy Rose, among others, will fill gallery walls with picturesque landscapes and leisurely countryside paintings. Additionally, a section of this gallery will focus on works by American women artists Elizabeth Jane Gardner, Cecilia Beaux, Lilla Cabot Perry and Elizabeth Nourse.

The exhibition will close with a gallery devoted to artists who exhibited in fiercely competitive Paris salons and became grounded in sophisticated and avant-garde techniques in France. These artists worked on both sides of the Atlantic, including William Merritt Chase, J. Alden Weir, Frank Benson, Edmund C. Tarbell, Thomas W. Dewing and Robert Lewis Reid, among others. Upon their return from France, they decided to form an independent group known as The Ten. Their livelier and mostly impressionist painting style was initially frowned upon in the United States for its radically different approach to the widely held concept of “American art.” The group exhibited together, which helped them gain a following in the U.S. This gallery also will feature artworks by the second wave of French-trained American artists, including Robert Henri, William Glackens, Maurice Prendergast, Arthur B. Davies and Arthur Dove, known for forming the group The Eight in 1907.

Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Resurrection of Lazarus, 1896. Oil paint on canvas; 37-1/4 x 47-1/2 in. Musée d'Orsay: acquis en 1897. Photo: Herve Lewandoswki. © RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

A more than 200-page catalog will accompany the Whistler to Cassatt  exhibition. It will feature about 200 illustrations and essays by scholars including Randall Griffin, Southern Methodist University, on the question of American art; Suzanne Singletary, Thomas Jefferson University, on Whistler and France; Susan Rawles, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, on the careers of American women artists from this period; Ben Colman, Detroit Institute of Arts, on American painters and the French Salon; Emmanuelle Brugerolles, École Nationale Supérieur des Beaux-Arts, on Americans at the École; and Standring, on American artists’ responses to the question of “finish” prevalent during the 1860s and 1870s. This catalog, published by Yale University Press, will be available in the Shop at the Denver Art Museum and via its online store.

John Singer Sargent, A Gust of Wind (Judith Gautier), c. 1883-85. Oil paint on canvas; 24-3/4 × 15 in. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond: James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin Collection. Photo by Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.