Saturday, January 01, 2005

Compassionate Rouault

A Georges Rouault print exhibition opens on January 11th at the Miami University Art Museum. Miserere is a series of 58 prints made by Rouault at the beginning of World War I as a plea for compassion.
Rouault, a French painter who lived from 1871 to 1958, was as a deeply religious artist whose work resembles stained glass.
Irish Art

Zimbabwean Home Truths

Jason Gambitzs, a 72 year old Zimbabwean Art Gallery owner told his employees that President Mugabe was to blame for their lack of Xmas bonuses, A two month suspended jail sentence for slandering the president followed.
He told employees Mugabe printed useless money and chased tourists away and that was why he could not host a Christmas party or pay their annual bonuses.
Irish Art

V&A Robbed Yet Again

More than 500,000 pounds worth of Renaissance plaquettes have been stolen from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
The eight bronze 15th and 16th century works which show religious scenes were jemmied from their wooden showcases in broad daylight.
Mark Jones, director of the V&A considered this to be "a well-planned professional theft."
The V&A has been robbed of ceramics three times in the last few months including 60,000 pounds worth of Chinese jade and Meissen figures worth 30,000 pounds.
Irish Art

Artless in Seattle

Seattle Art Gallery owner Kurt Lidtke knew his art - but artists, other dealers, clients, his landlord and even friends still sued him for payment for works by Degas, Matisse and many local Seattle artists. Some payments were extracted from his forced $710,000 house sale.
Divorce action, a charge of domestic violence and an order that forbids him from using drugs or alcohol followed for Lidtke. "There's two sides to every story," he said "The last year has been difficult for everyone."
This is particularly true for some of his older Seattle collectors who have lost their art with no chance of payment.
Irish Art

Friday, December 31, 2004

Turbulent Strindberg

The Tate Modern February 17 to May 1 exhibition is devoted to the paintings of August Strindberg, the Swedish writer and an artist of powerful, radical, abstract landscapes.

Strindberg painted to break writers block or when his personal life was turbulent. He painted waves, rocks and ever-changing skies in a vast array of compositions, colour palettes and moods with chance playing a vital role in the creative process.
These works can also be seen as symbolic self-portraits, offering an illuminating insight into the mind of this often troubled genius.

Big Boys Games

Christies in New York has arranged the private sale by the wealthy Belgian Stoclet family of Madonna by Duccio to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for $45 million - believed to be the most money the Met has ever paid for a single art object.
The Louvre, who do not have a Duccio, showed a sudden, late interest in the picture during the negotiation with the Met and the price skyrocketed. Christie dangled the possibility to the Met that the Louvre would get the work - so the Met paid up.
Irish Art

The Final Years

Caravaggio, who was often arrested and imprisoned, murdered a man in a duel then went on the run. He finally died on a beach of fever contracted after a mistaken arrest. All in all, it cannot be said to have been a dull life.
His exhibition surfaces at the National Gallery, London for what must be one of the highlight shows of 2005 in the UK. From February 23rd. Exceptional historical works.
Irish Art

Masters of Light

The February show at Tate Britain of Turner, Whistler and Monet may, at first glance, seem eccentric and unconnected. What binds them together is their status as "masters of light".
The exhibition begins on February 10th and runs to May 15th - it is sure to be something special.
Irish Art

Triumph of Watercolour

From February 2nd until April 24th, lovers of the art of watercolour will descend on Dulwich Picture Gallery to see "The Triumph of Watercolour". This surveys the early years of the Royal Watercolour Society to 1850 including the time when masters like Turner were at the peak of their artistic powers.
Irish Art

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Artistic Pencil Pluckers

The MCA in Chicago has a "Great Pencil Pull" happening going on - art lovers can pluck one of the 28,000 embedded pencils that make up the Damasceno work "Observation Plan".
The work - silhouettes of people observing art - needs to be dismantled to free up much needed space.
Julie Rodrigues Widholm, the MCA curator said: "The artist liked the idea of taking the piece down because now each of the pencils will have a new life with someone else." It costs a dollar donation per pencil - nice little earner that x 28,000.
Visitors were seen to be concentrating on removing their pencils from the "groin areas" of the work.
Irish Art

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Leeds passes on Grimshaw

John Atkinson Grimshaw is Leeds most famous painter. Now, Leeds City Art Gallery has refused to spend 350,000 on "Beeches" - on sale in a London gallery - even though it is on their acquisition list.
The religious parents of John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893) were against painting and once even destroyed his painting equipment. Nevertheless Grimshaw became a full-time, highly successful painter, famous for his night scenes.
Grimshaw would undoubtedly be highly peeved by the decision to turn down his work - he was one of the most active supporters of Leeds founding the City Gallery in the first place.
Irish Art

Mooving Art Attack

Vandals attacked five fibreglass cow sculptures that were part of the Mooving Art Exhibition in Shepparton, Australia. One cow was drowned, others were beaten up.
Police took the damaged beasts into protective custody.
The Mooving Art collection has featured in the past at the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show and other worldwide locations.
Irish Art

LA Forged Art Hunt

Los Angeles police are hunting the source of forged paintings allegedly sold to unsuspecting buyers by Dr Vilas Likhite, a Southern California physician arrested in a sting operation when an LA police officer posed as a wealthy South Korean collector.
Likhite seems to have sold paintings to collectors supposedly by modern masters like de Kooning and Pollock which were actually originals done in the style of the artists. Likhite allegedly told buyers that he wanted to sell a $1 billion collection without going to auction.
Irish Art

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

"Constructivist" Biederman Dies

Charles Biederman, the constructivist painter and sculptor has died aged 98. In 1948 he published "Art as the Evolution of Visual Knowledge", a milestone of 20th century art theory.
Biederman's unique artistic contribution grew out of a 50 year study of natures structural processes, building on the artists he admired most - Leonardo, Courbet, Monet and Cezanne. An uncompromising artist, he produced rich, lyrical art which is amongst the most visually exciting and intellectually satisfying of our time.

Biederman turned away from painting in favor of 3D work, which he thought better represented nature and the play of light and was more able to return art to what he considered to be its basic fundamentals.

English Museum Visitors Soar

Spectacular visitor increases of 75% to English museums have followed the 2001 scrapping of admission charges - 6 million more people visited In 2004.
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said: "Our decision to invest in free admission was a success from day one. Now, three years on, I am delighted that visit numbers continue to grow. This gives the lie to the idea that ordinary people have no appetite for 'serious' culture - sweep away the obstacles and they come in their millions." The Conservatives responded by promising that a future Tory government would allow museums to charge, particularly to foreign tourists.
The National Gallery welcomed 4.9 million visitors last year - up 485,000 - making it the most visited cultural UK institution.
Irish Art

European Masters in Korea

The Seoul Arts Center shows "400 Years of Western Art - From Poussin to Matisse" thanks to loans from major French museums, This is a rare chance for Koreans to see these world famous works.
The 119 paintings by 88 artists showcase the major artistic European styles since the 17th century - highlighted by the paintings of Nicolas Poussin - whilst the 18th century room features the Ingres sensual, "The Spring" and "The Death of Marat" by David. Paintings by Courbet, Gauguin, Monet and Renoir show the diversity and creativity of late 19th and early 20th century European art.
Irish Art

Monday, December 27, 2004

Pop Artist Dies

American pop artist Tom Wesselmann, famous for creating female nudes and showing them with objects like radios, fridges or cigarettes, has died aged 73 following heart surgery in a New York.

A contemporary of artists like Warhol and Lichtenstein, he was inspired by de Kooning, Matisse and Mondrian.
Although he prefered giving his art the "commercial look" without any signs of the hand of the painter, he was reportedly working recently on a series of nudes painted in the abstract expressionist style.

Browsing in New York?

Two not to be missed. The $840 million Museum of Modern Art project was completed in 2004 and the MoMA reopened - bring a crisp $20 bill for entry.
"The Aztec Empire" at the Guggenheim is more than awesome, it is a revelation. With more than 450 objects, it is the largest show of Aztec Art ever mounted outside of Mexico. Exhibition ends February 18th - expect $2 dollars change from yet another crisp $20 bill.
Suddenly, one begins to appreciate UK and Irish Art public gallery funding just that little bit more...
Irish Art

Cultural Cork Launches

Cork will launch its year as European Capital of Culture with a show of fireworks, water, light and music on Saturday, 8th of January. It should be the most spectacular outdoor event in Ireland from the smallest city to gain capital of culture status.
An ambitious programme of more than 230 events is planned with visual arts projects including a showcase of contemporary Irish Art at the Crawford Art Gallery and an exhibition about the 18th-century Cork painter James Barry, the only professor to be expelled from the Royal Academy for radical views and erratic behaviour.
Irish Art

Art Sleuth Software

Art thieves of the world, beware. Investigators may soon get a new weapon in the painstaking pursuit of stolen paintings and sculpture. Starting next year, Derdack, a company based in Potsdam, Germany, plans to start selling software for mobile phones that can take a photo of a suspicious painting with a cellphone or a personal digital assistant, send it wirelessly by GPRS or UMTS networks to international databases of stolen art and make a match - within seconds.
It could become a powerful tool in the fight against art theft, which Interpol says is increasing with the price of art. Across Europe, there are more than 100,000 pieces of stolen art on record.
For the full story - click the title
Irish Art

New or Old in 2005?

It is said that people buy contemporary art when they are confident about the future and old art when they are not.
Last month saw record auction sales of contemporary art in New York. Research by the Art Sales Index shows that over the past 4 years, the shares of contemporary and modern art in auction market turnover have risen, while Old Masters and 19th century works declined.
Irish Art

Sunday, December 26, 2004

17 Rembrandts Head for London

From 30th January to the 1st of May, the National Gallery will show 17 portraits of Rembrandt religious subjects from 1650 - 1660 in the Dutch Galleries of the west building. The exhibition will later transfer to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles from June 7 to August 28.
Loans have come from museums and private collections in the US and abroad, including the Louvre in Paris, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery in London.
Irish Art

Clyfford Still Housed

The late Clyfford Still was a grumpy, self-imposed isolationist who hoarded his paintings, told collectors which works they would be buying and once took back one of his paintings from a patron by slashing it out of its frame. One reviewer dubbed him the Unabomber of Abstract Expressionism.

Contemporaries still remember how Still for years refused to exhibit his work in New York because it was "too corrupt" before agreeing to a 1980 exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - after it allowed him to hang his own work and curate the showing. For all of his attitude, though, there is no questioning the wonder of his jagged-looking, mural sized works filled with bold colors and heavy strokes. Jackson Pollock once said: "Still makes the rest of us look academic."
Now the 750 paintings in his estate along with 1,300 pastels will be housed in a new $24m museum in Denver.
For the full story - click the title

The de Kooning Story

When de Kooning died aged 92, America saw him as almost Picasso-like in stature. His private life however, was a tragic wreck. In his later life, even with Alzheimers, he kept painting. The Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan book "De Kooning: An American Master" poses the questions: "What is one to make of these works? Are they heroic strivings in the face of diminishing capacity, a great last flowering like the cutouts of Henri Matisse? Or are they little more than a childs scrawls put down by a man groping his way through a gathering mental twilight?"

This is an exemplary biography, weaving the evolution of his work and the harrowing, depressing chronicle of his incapacitating alcoholic bouts and womanising. Not a pretty tale but one in which scholarship and writing shine with integrity. Buy with your Xmas book tokens.
For the full story - click the title

Top Class Find

During a visit to a Milwaukee school, a local art collector noticed several pieces of art on the walls. He asked about the art and was shown more in storage. He found two paintings by Birger Sandzen, a Swedish-born artist who died in 1954 and whose work in recent years has increased in value.
The paintings are believed to have been gifts of graduating classes in the 1920s and are expected to fetch half a million dollars in auction.
Irish Art