Saturday, February 27, 2016

August Macke and Franz Marc. An Artist Friendship

Kunstbau January 28, 2015 - May 3, 2015

On occasion of the centennial of August Macke’s death, the Lenbachhaus, in collaboration with the Kunstmuseum Bonn, presented the first exhibition to explore Macke’s friendship with Franz Marc and the exchange of artistic ideas between them. With around two hundred paintings, works on paper, objets d’art, and private documents, the show offered a vivid picture of the two artists’ lives and art between 1910 and 1914, illustrating how Macke and Marc inspired each other and highlighting the close and affectionate ties between them.

Macke first visited Marc in his studio in Munich on January 6, 1910. The two struck up a deeply felt friendship and began a creative dialogue that would enter the annals of twentieth-century art. Their close collaboration was short-lived: Macke died in 1914, only weeks after the outbreak of World War I; in 1916, the war took Marc’s life as well.

The exhibition was divided into chapters that portray the two artists’ creative evolution from 1910 on, document their early encounters in Sindelsdorf, Tegernsee, and Bonn, examine their debates over the theory of colors, and show them at work on the ‘Blue Rider.’

Documents from their shared travels and their visits to each other’s homes, the gifts they gave each other, and objets d’art from their possessions also illustrate the important roles their wives, Elisabeth Macke and Maria Marc, played in their friendship. In 1912, they met in Macke’s studio in Bonn to paint the mural Paradies as a testament to their mutual attachment.

The exhibition showed in detail how Macke and Marc absorbed the inspirations of Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, and abstraction. Out of these influences, each crafted his own art, whose development the exhibition traces to the last pictures they created in 1914 before the catastrophe of the war put an all too early end to their lives and oeuvres.

Both artists were very young when they first met—August Macke had only just turned twenty-three and Franz Marc was about to turn thirty. Neither the contrast between their personalities—Macke was impulsive and outspoken, whereas Marc was often pensive and always very deliberate in his actions—nor their diverging views on art and the politics of culture ever cast a shadow on the bonds of affection between them. In his famous obituary for Macke, Marc highlights the loss his young friend’s death meant for art with great precision, but it is also, and first and foremost, a token of his profound grief.

The collections of the Lenbachhaus and the Kunstmuseum Bonn formed the basis for this comprehensive exhibition.

Macke spent the greater part of his life in Bonn; Marc was the only native son of Munich among the artists of the ‘Blue Rider,’ of whose oeuvres the Lenbachhaus holds the world’s most important collection. Numerous eminent works on loan from German and international museums and private collections helped round out the show.



An extensive catalogue featuring essays by renowned writers, 210 color plates, and numerous additional illustrations, will be published in conjunction with the exhibition. 360 pp., Hatje Cantz Verlag.

A collaboration between the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus München and the Kunstmuseum Bonn

The exhibition in Bonn: September 25, 2014 - January 4, 2015 

More images here.

Klee & Kandinsky. NEIGHBORS, Friends, RIVALS

October 21, 2015 – January 24, 2016 AT KUnsTBAU

Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky: two names that have come to stand almost as synonyms for classical modernism. They are associated with fundamental avant-garde movements such as the "Blue Rider" and the Bauhaus, and regarded as founding fathers and pacesetters of abstract art. History also records their relationship as one of the great friendships in twentieth-century art.

Klee and Kandinsky were indeed close, though never uncritical, friends for almost three decades. Central to the rapport between them was a focused engagement with each other’s art sustained by many shared aspirations as well as differences on personal and artistic levels. Both artists strove to spiritualize art and explore the intrinsic laws of its visual means. Yet Klee’s ironically refracted realism was alien to Kandinsky’s idealism, and his protean individualism clashed with his friend’s pursuit of the autonomous laws of abstract art.

The exhibition is organized in cooperation with the Zentrum Paul Klee, Berne, and will focus on the years between 1922 and 1931, when both taught at the Bauhaus, worked in a close exchange of artistic ideas, and even lived door to door in one of the "Master Houses" designed by Walter Gropius. Yet their works from the "Blue Rider" period as well as the late oeuvres of the two artists, who died in 1940 and 1944, likewise reflect the bonds of friendship between them.

A collaboration between the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich and the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

Wassily Kandinsky, In Blue, 1925
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf Acquired by a donation of the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Photo: Walter Klein, Dusseldorf
Paul Klee, Architecture of the Plain, 1923
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Museum Berggruen © bpk/Nationalgalerie, Museum Berggruen, SMB, Berlin



The catalogue accompanying the exhibition (360 pp., more than 300 color ill.) edited by Michael Baumgartner, Annegret Hoberg and Christine Hopfengart has been published by Prestel Verlag in German and English.

From an outstanding review, with several more images:

Never before has such an outstanding selection of works from these two masters ever been united in one exhibition.
Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky – they are considered to be the “founding fathers” of “classical modernism” and their artists’ friendship to be one of the most fascinating of the twentieth century. Their relationship was shaped by mutual inspiration and support, but also by rivalry and competition – a combination that spurred both of them on in their artistic work. The exhibition “Klee & Kandinsky” traces the eventful history of this artistic relationship over the long period from 1900 to 1940 for the very first time. It draws attention to parallels and similarities as well as differences and distinctions, with an emphasis on their personal and artistic dialogue at the time of the “Blue Rider” and the Bauhaus. The exhibition was created in cooperation with the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich, where it will be presented from 21 October 2015 to 24 January 2016.

Easy Virtue: Prostitution in French Art, 1850–1910

Large-scale exhibition at Van Gogh Museum in collaboration with Musée d’Orsay.
Easy Virtue will run from 19 February to 19 June 2016 at the Van Gogh Museum. The exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay, explores the depiction of prostitution in French art in the period 1850–1910. It is the first time that the subject has been highlighted at a major exhibition. The first showing at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris under the title Splendeurs et Misères attracted nearly 420,000 visitors.

Easy Virtue at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam will now examine how the theme of prostitution was dealt with by a variety of artists. Over 100 paintings and works on paper by more than 40 different artists can be admired, including big names like Van Gogh, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso. The exhibits include loans from international museums and private collections, the vast majority of which have never been shown before in the Netherlands. Interesting historical items also feature, such as a police record, pornographic photographs, a 19th-century ornamental bed and a whip belonging to a famous courtesan.

Vincent van Gogh, In the Café: Agostina Segatori in Le Tambourin., 1887, oil on canvas, 21 ¾ × 18 ¼ in., Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Prostitution was a favourite theme in visual art in the second half of the 19th century. Inspired by Baudelaire’s dictum that art should represent modern life, artists depicted prostitution as an aspect of contemporary urban life in Paris. They painted women soliciting on the boulevards, wealthy courtesans in their salons, and worn-down prostitutes in brothels. It was a topical theme, reflecting frequent social debates about the dangers of prostitution and the benefits and drawbacks of regulation.  
Easy Virtue: Prostitution in French Art, 1850–1910 examines what it was that drew artists to this complex and sensitive subject between the Second Empire and the belle époque. The exhibition shows the world of Paris prostitutes as recorded by a variety of painters and draughtsmen: a world of contrasts, of luxury, make-up and glamour, but also of poverty, disease and misery.

Unique and for the first time in the Netherlands This is the first time that the theme of prostitution has been examined in such detail in an exhibition. Easy Virtue: Prostitution in French Art, 1850–1910 comprises over 150 objects, including more than 100 paintings, works on paper, sculpture and decorative art. There are striking and famous masterpieces by big names like Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso, Kees van Dongen, František Kupka and Vincent van Gogh, as well as works by lesser-known artists such as Louis Anquetin, Henri Gervex, Jean Béraud, Félicien Rops and Auguste Chabaud. High-level visual art is complemented in Easy Virtue by photographs, books, magazine illustrations and intriguing and curious objects like pornographic photographs, a police record with photos of arrested prostitutes, a gilded and decorated ornamental bed, and the whip that belonged to the celebrated courtesan Valtesse de la Bigne.

Visitors to the exhibition will be transported from the dance-halls and cafés where women picked up their clients, to the closed world of the brothel and of prison, where illegal prostitutes and women suffering from venereal disease were incarcerated. Easy Virtue: Prostitution in French Art, 1850–1910 has been designed by Clement & Sanôu – an Amsterdam duo known for their costume, lighting and set designs for opera, ballet and theatre, including the Dutch National Ballet’s recent Mata Hari.

Uncertainty and ambiguity

Easy Virtue is organised around four themed ‘chapters’. The exhibition begins with Uncertainty and ambiguity, which shows how painters visualised prostitution in the public space. Prostitution was legalised in France in the early 19th century. It was viewed as a necessary evil, which had to be controlled and hidden away as much as possible in order to protect public morals and to counter the spread of venereal disease. Street prostitution was only permitted in the evening (after l’heure du gaz when the gaslights were lit) and for prostitutes who were registered with the police. Many women also worked illegally, however. Prostitutes were not always readily distinguishable from ‘respectable’ women in the street or when out and about at night. Artists incorporated subtle references to this ambiguity in their paintings, using colours, poses, meaningful looks or the interaction between their figures.

The most important works in Uncertainty and ambiguity are:

  • Woman on the Champs-Elysées at Night, 1890–91 by Louis Anquetin (Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, acquired with the support of BankGiro Loterij and the Rembrandt Association), 

  • Edgar Degas, Absinthe, 1875–6, oil on canvas, 36 ¼ × 27 in., Paris, Musée d’Orsay

  • Moulin de la Galette, 1889 by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (The Art Institute of Chicago),

  • Study for ‘Flirt’ (The Englishman in the Moulin Rouge), 1892 by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (The Metropolitan Museum, New York)

  • Waiting, c. 1885 by Jean Béraud (Musée d’Orsay, Paris).

The Splendour of the Courtesans

The chapter The Splendour of the Courtesans shows how courtesans were depicted in art. These expensive escorts and stars of haute prostitution often began their career on stage or as ‘ordinary’ prostitutes. Having risen to prominence by sharing the beds of rich men and politicians, they enjoyed a certain status and flaunted their social success by having their portraits made in paintings, sculptures and photographs, which they spread as widely as they could. The flamboyant courtesan was worshipped in the theatre, followed by the press and was even a trendsetter when it came to fashion.

One of the most famous courtesans was La Païva (1819–1884). Born Thérèse Lachmann into a poor Jewish family in Moscow, she moved to Paris, where she climbed the ladder to become the most successful courtesan of the 19th century. She was renowned for the extravagant parties and dinners she held for the Paris beau monde, which were regularly attended by politicians, noblemen and writers like Gustave Flaubert and Emile Zola. Several pieces of furniture from her house can be seen at Easy Virtue. There is also a 19th-century gilded bed, decorated with a figure of Leda and the swan and little angels, which probably belonged to a courtesan or came from one of the many brothels in Paris.

The most important works in The Splendour of the Courtesans are:

  • Charles Carolus-Duran, Portrait of Julia Tahl known as Mademoiselle Alice de Lancey, 1876, Oil on canvas, 60 × 83 in. (152.5 × 211 cm) Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Paris

  • Rolla, 1878 by Henri Gervex (Musée d’Orsay, Paris) 
  • The Thorny Path (The Courtesan’s Carriage or The Modern Courtesan), 1873 by Thomas Couture (Philadelphia Museum of Art).

At the Brothel: from Anticipation to Seduction

The next chapter in the exhibition is At the Brothel: from Anticipation to Seduction, which reveals the hidden world of the brothel – a rewarding subject for artists looking for modern material. It gave them the opportunity to experiment with a new and unconventional way of representing the female nude and to depict what went on behind those closed doors: the game of anticipation and seduction, but also the everyday lives of the prostitutes. Artists painted the endless waiting around for clients, but also intimate, domestic scenes with the women in conversation, eating their meals or washing and dressing, sometimes in the presence of a customer.

The most important works in At the brothel: anticipation and seduction are:

  • In the Salon: the Couch, c. 1893 by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand), 

  • The Customer, 1878 by Jean-Louis Forain (Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis), 

  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Woman Pulling up her Stockings, 1893, oil on cardboard, 22 ¾ × 18 in., Paris, Musée d’Orsay 

  • Study for Reclining Female Nude, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation).

Debauchery in Colour and Form

The final chapter of the exhibition, Debauchery in Colour and Form, focuses on the modern era from the turn of the 20th century to 1910. Prostitution had become an established avant-garde theme by that time. Rather than being hidden, it was now visualised explicitly, verging at times on the caricature. Artists were concerned less about the theme as such than with colour, form and expressiveness. This new generation of painters tended to present the prostitute as a solitary figure, no longer in the context of a brothel. Some saw the Paris prostitute as an attractive subject for colourful canvases showing sensual, loose women, while others took a very different approach, presenting her in a raw style as a prisoner in a world of darkness.

The most important works in this section are:

  • In a Private Dining Room (At Le Rat mort), 1899 by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (The Courtauld Gallery, London), 

  • Women Kissing, 1906 by Jan Sluijters (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), 

  • Nude with Red Stocking, 1901 by Pablo Picasso (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon), 

  • Melancholy Woman, 1902 by Pablo Picasso (The Detroit Institute of Arts), 

  • František Kupka, Gallien’s Girl, 1909–10, oil on canvas, 42 ½ × 38 ¾ in., Prague, Národní Gallery. The Kupka image is NOT free of copyright

  • André Derain, Woman in a Chemise or Dancer, 1906, oil on canvas, 39 ¼ × 32 in., Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst. The Derain image is NOT free of copyright


In parallel with Easy Virtue, the Print Room in the Van Gogh Museum’s exhibition wing is showing a selection of 19th-century prints under the title Prints-Prostitution-Privacy. These intimate little artworks, whether autonomous or illustrations for erotic texts, seem to whisper a secret to the viewer. Women of easy virtue were depicted partially or entirely undressed, in poses and situations varying from suggestive to explicitly sexual. The prints, produced in limited editions, were intended for a closed circle of artists, publishers, dealers and collectors, who belonged to the decadent sub-culture within the Paris elite. They kept the separate prints in portfolios and viewed them in the privacy of their studies or in the gallery. Erotica was viewed as a natural expression of the ‘French spirit’, so long as it was artistically presented. In this way, works of a sensual nature could be kept out of sight of government censors and other moral crusaders.

New acquisition

The Prints-Prostitution-Privacy exhibit also features an exceptional new acquisition by the Van Gogh Museum:

La lecture après le bain, 1879–83, by Edgar Degas (1834–1917).

Degas made his erotic monotypes (one-off prints) of prostitutes primarily for himself. He covered a sheet of glass with black ink, which he then wiped and scratched away to conjure nudes out of the darkness. The dozens of ‘black’ prints he created were only discovered in his studio after his death. La lecture après le bain was purchased with the support of the BankGiro Loterij, the Mondriaan Fund and the Rembrandt Association.


The exhibition is accompanied by the richly illustrated book Easy Virtue: Prostitution in French Art, 1850–1910 (also available in Dutch), Van Gogh Museum/Musée d’Orsay, 192 pages.

The catalogue Splendours and Miseries: Images of Prostitution in France, 1850–1910, Musée d’Orsay/Flammarion is also available, 308 pages.

Excellent reviews here

and here.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Swann Galleries 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings, March 8: Homer, Whistler, Lewis, Haper, Wood, benton, Marsh

On Tuesday, March 8, Swann Galleries will offer 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings, featuring works by recognizable European masters and prominent American printmakers.

            The sale is headlined by Winslow Homer’s serene Fly Fishing, Saranac Lake, 1889. Fly Fishing was made in the same year Homer abandoned etching, making it likely his last etching, as well as his most experimental. The print is estimated at $80,000 to $120,000. 

            Homer was inspired to create fine prints by James A. M. Whistler’s “Etching Revival,” and this sale features some of those Whistler works as well, including Nocturne: Palaces, etching and drypoint, 1879-80, a scarce etching that typifies the artist’s painterly technique of inking and wiping to make unique impressions. 

Whistler’s Quiet Canal, etching and drypoint, 1879-80, from his second set of Venice etchings, is also included. Nocturne: Palaces is estimated at $70,000 to $100,000, and Quiet Canal at $30,000 to $50,000.

Works by other American printmakers include Martin Lewis’s 1930 drypoint and sand-ground Shadow Dance ($30,000 to $50,000). The market for prints by Lewis has seen an upswing in recent years, and last November Swann set a record for the artist when a print sold for $72,500. 

Edward Hopper began making etchings and drypoints with the help of Lewis; Hopper’s Night Shadows, etching, 1921 is also in the sale ($25,000 to $35,000). 

Several pieces by Regionalist artist Grant Wood are in the sale, including Sultry Night, a 1939 lithograph, and the only nude to be represented by a regionalist artist ($15,000 to $20,000). 

Other Regionalists represented include Thomas Hart Benton, who captures motion and drama with The Race, lithograph, 1942 ($15,000 to $20,000), 

while the Social realists are represented by Reginald Marsh, whose Tattoo­–Shave–Haircut, etching, 1932, depicts a scene beneath the El on the Bowery ($20,000 to $30,000). 

            Featured prominent European artists include Henri Matisse’s La Danse, a color aquatint, 1935-1936, based on Matisse’s maquette for an early iteration of a mural commissioned by Albert C. Barnes in 1930 ($60,000 to $90,000).   

Pablo Picasso’s Buste au corsage à carreaux, a 1957 lithograph,

and Jeunesse, a lithograph from 1950, are estimated at $40,000 to $60,000 and $30,000 to $50,000. 

These and several other Picasso prints are featured alongside Picasso ceramics, including Bearded Man’s Wife, a partially glazed terre de faïence turned pitcher, 1953 ($20,000 to $30,000). 

Georges Seurat’s only known lithograph, Torse d’homme, vu de dos, is an intimate image likely made by transferring one of his crayon drawings onto a lithographic stone ($20,000 to $30,000). 

            Bright works from Joan Miró, including Le Matador, color etching, drypoint, aquatint and carborundum, 1969, add pops of color to the sale ($30,000 to $50,000). 

Color and line play delicately in Wassily Kandinsky’s Lithographie Blau, color lithograph, 1922, 

contrasting with the bold and whimsical use of color in Marc Chagall’s color lithograph, Mounting the Ebony Horse, 1948 (both $15,000 to $20,000 each). 

Salvador Dalí’s The Mythology, a complete set of 16 drypoints with aquatint, 1960-64, shows the artist’s unique eye applied to classical subject matter ($30,000 to $50,000). 
The auction will be held Tuesday, March 8, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The auction preview will be open to the public throughout Amory Week, with the exhibition open Thursday and Friday, March 3 & 4 from 10 am to 6 pm; Saturday, March 5 from noon to 5 pm; and Monday, March 7 from 10 am to 6 pm.; and by appointment.
An illustrated auction catalogue will be available for $40 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

Friday, February 19, 2016

Works by Maurice Utrillo, Eugéne Boudin, Jasper Francis Cropsey: Clars February 21st Sale

The oil on canvas titled, “Eglise de Chatou” by Maurice Utrillo (French, 1883-1955)is a classic example of the artist’s work. Utrillo was known for painting Parisian street scenes, as well as the countryside encompassing the city as his subject matter. His unique style of using bold, rich colors with strong black contours have made his landscapes of buildings and streets most desirable among collectors. Accompanied by impeccable letters of authenticity, this painting will be offered at $60,000-90,000.

Another important French artist is seascape painter, Eugène Boudin (French, 1824-1898). Boudin became known for his marine scenes with figures and boats along the French shores and is considered one of the earlier French plein-air Impressionist painters. The oil on panel titled, “Beach Scene,” also estimated at $60,000-90,000, epitomizes Boudin’s delicate brush strokes and atmospheric style.

The artist Albert Marquet (French, 1875-1947) continued in the tradition of Impressionism after Boudin. Marquet often painted views of the Seine in Paris, as well as the harbors of Rouen, Le Havre and Marseilles. His scenes were depicted with a light palette of grey and black brushstrokes with subtle hints of color that conveyed a rainy or misty atmosphere often with reflections on the water. One such example that will be offered at Clars on February 21st is his oil on canvas titled, “Boat Basin,” estimated at $30,000-50,000.

Jasper Francis Cropsey (American, 1823-1900) was one of the most respected painters of the Hudson River School, a 19th century American art movement led by a group of landscape artists whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism and the meticulous beauty of nature in the Northeastern United States. Cropsey was one of the elite first generation masters of this group with his richly colored canvases depicting the season he favored most as his subject matter – Autumn. The bucolic fall scene painting of birds in flight titled “Mallards on the River (1886),” will be offered for $40,000-60,000. Clars would also like to thank the generosity of the Newington-Cropsey Foundation in New York for recently authenticating this painting.

Edward Moran’s (American, 1829-1901), ”A Shipwreck (1860),” is another important 19th century American painting that will be offered for $20,000-40,000. Listed in the Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, DC), this dramatic seascape has both important museum as well as gallery provenance making this an ideal acquisition of the genre.

Always a favorite, Clars is once again pleased to offer four paintings by Wolf Kahn (American/German, b. 1927). The largest of the works is an oil on canvas titled, “Bullock Farm (1977),” an impressive and vibrant landscape by the artist which carries an estimate of $25,000-35,000.

An early painting titled, “Julie London with Orange,” by California photo-realist, Ralph Goings (American, b. 1928) will be offered at $20,000-40,000. A gift to the current owner from the artist, his bright and playful piece from the 1960s will surely attract admirers.

Water Water Everywhere - Kraushaar Galleries: Demuth. Sloan, Avery, Glackens, Hopper

Kraushaar Galleries

15 East 71st Street, #2B
New York, NY 10021

Friday, February 19 - Friday, April 15, 2016

 Water Water Everywhere features a diverse group of American artists who found inspiration from their surroundings that, in these instances, include water.   

            The earliest works are from 1894.  Robert Henri sketched Breton women along the canal in Concarneau, France and John Sloan etched the Schuylkill River, in which he “went out and drew directly from nature on the waxed plate, then came back to the studio to do the biting.”

            The Massachusetts coastline is captured in 1915 by 

Charles Demuth’s fluid watercolor of beaches at Provincetown 

and by Sloan’s rugged Gloucester rocks, The Popples, 1917. 

The same locale is the subject for Milton Avery’s 1945 view of Roosting Seagulls in Lavender Sea.  

William Glackens’ The Headlands, Rockport, 1936 is a sophisticated and vibrant multi-figure composition.  

The rocks, boats  and islands in the Maine waters are transformed through the Modernist visions of John Marin, William Kienbusch, John Heliker and Karl Schrag.

            The urban waters of New York City are seen in drawings of the Central Park Lake by Edward Hopper 

and Gifford Beal.  

In 1934 Dorothy Dehner drew Governors’ Island and the Statue of Liberty from the Brooklyn Promenade and ten years later Joseph Stella also found inspiration in Brooklyn, looking towards another East River crossing, the Williamsburg Bridge. 

Carl Holty’s 1943 painting of the New York Harbor breaks down the subject in a Cubist-like fashion of cool blue and grey hues.