It was the Impressionists, Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who first discovered the artistic potential of the south coast, finding an unspoilt landscape that perfectly matched their aims. ‘It is so beautiful,’ Monet wrote, ‘so bright, so luminous. One swims in blue air and it is frightening.’
Vincent van Gogh captured the landscape in and around Arles and Saint-Rémy in the final years of his life, while the Master of Aix, Paul Cézanne, used the rugged landscape of his native Provence to radically reconceive the very nature of art-making.
Long before the South of France became synonymous with glamour and sun-drenched seduction — think of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in the 1955 film To Catch a Thief, or Brigitte Bardot and Alain Delon on the beaches of Saint-Tropez — this corner of Europe attracted a very different kind of tourist.
Since the turn of the century, the sleepy fishing villages and remote towns of the Provençal hills had lured artists from Paris and beyond — the bright light, dazzling colours and palpable presence of the classical past all serving to inspire and revive jaded spirits.
In this week’s episode of “Cocktails with a Curator,” Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, examines one of the Frick’s most beloved paintings, Hans Holbein’s “Sir Thomas More.” Xavier considers More’s relationship to humanist circles and the role of “friendship portraits” in making the absent present. In the words of More’s devoted friend, Desiderius Erasmus, “life without a friend is no life.” As a nod to the turbulent times of Tudor England, Xavier pairs this episode with a Bloody Mary cocktail.
An architectural marvel has sat incomplete in a residential corner of Barcelona since its architect, Antoni Gaudí, died during construction in 1926. For decades, La Sagrada Familia has been an example of Christian fealty and Catalan ingenuity wrought in granite and sandstone; but little could anyone have guessed that ninety-four years after Gaudí’s death a Japanese sculptor would dedicate his life to completing the architect’s colossal work…
I WAS A COMPETITIVE BIRDER in high school. My family drove all around the countryside, so I spent a lot of time in the car, and I had to keep myself busy and project my brain somewhere. I would bring sketchbooks and field guides that I got from the library. I had started an Envirothon team at my school, to compete in the national decathlon pitting nerdy teens against each other in their knowledge of soil surveys, forestry, wildlife, and aquatic ecology.
I was the birding specialist. I learned more than two hundred birdsongs and birdcalls from CDs and from the field. I participated in other competitions where I would win binoculars and forty-pound bags of birdseed. I didn’t even have a bird feeder—I’d just become obsessed.
Unlike bird-watchers, birders often rely first on auditory cues to identify a species. You immediately know so much about the bird—its seasonal plumage, age, sex, if it’s making a courtship call or a warning call—from listening. The second thing you cultivate is an idea of where the call is coming from, so you can zero in on it. You develop a spatial awareness, so even with your eyes closed the woods become a vivid visual experience.
A steward of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania once took me out in a canoe to this extremely remote location to see a bald eagle’s ten-foot nest. Eagle populations had been devastated by the use of DDT. At the time, all nest sites had to be reported to the government and kept secret. In 2007, the bald eagle was removed from the list of threatened and endangered species, and ever since, I would catch myself looking out for them whenever I’d pass a lake or river. Where I work, in upstate New York, I see bald eagles all the time. Two years ago, I found a nesting pair in Poughkeepsie near a waste-treatment plant on the Hudson River. I just spent time watching and drawing them. It was very unglamorous. They eat garbage. They’re like pigeons. The river freezes in the winter, and I have a vivid memory of watching this wet, bedraggled eagle on a chunk of ice.
Cy Gavin is an American artist that lives and works in New York. Gavin often incorporates unusual materials in his paintings such as tattoo ink, pink sand, diamonds, staples, Bermudiana seeds, and cremains. Gavin also works in sculpture, performance and video.
In this week’s episode of “Travels with a Curator,” Xavier F. Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, transports us to the Japanisches Palais (Japanese Palace) in Dresden, the original home of the Meissen “Great Bustard.” Augustus II rebuilt and enlarged the Japanese Palace to showcase his extraordinary collection of porcelain, but he died before the project was completed. This exquisite porcelain masterpiece became part of the Frick’s collection through the generosity of the late collector Henry H. Arnhold (1921–2018).
On this episode of Art Institute Essentials Tour, take a closer look at American Windows, created by Marc Chagall in 1977. Later in his life, the artist Marc Chagall turned to the medium of stained glass to explore intense color on a monumental scale. This six-panel work, created for the museum to commemorate America’s bicentennial, merges symbols of American history, the Chicago skyline, and the arts.
From the Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici and Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II to Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg, these aristocratic virtuosos acquired, selected, and displayed the objects in real-life catalogues that represented the entire world—spanning architecture, interior design, painting, sculpture, gemology, geology, botany, biology and taxonomy, astrology, alchemy, anthropology, ethnography, and history.
The Wunderkammer, or “cabinet of curiosities,” saw collectors gathering objects from many strands of artistic, scientific, and intellectual endeavor, in an ambitious attempt to encompass all of humankind’s knowledge in a single room.
Marvel at the unicorn horns (narwhal tusks), gems, rare coral growths, Murano glasswork, paintings and peculiar mechanical automata. Browse through illustrations of exotic and mythical creatures and discover the famed “Coburg ivories,” an astounding collection of crafted artifacts. These collections are nothing short of a journey through time, from the Renaissance and Age of Discovery, the Mannerist and Baroque periods, up to the present day. Although many of these cabinets of curiosities no longer exist, others have been meticulously reconstructed, and new ones born.
These marvelous cabinets of curiosities can now be explored by all in this XXL collection. To realize this mammoth undertaking, Massimo Listri traveled to seven European countries over several decades; the result is a set of gorgeousphotographs, an authoritative yet accessible introduction, and detailed commentary on each of the 19 chambers highlighting the most remarkable items in each collection. Discover how these timeless treasures both describe and defined civilization, the modern concept of the museum, and our very knowledge of the universe.
Giulia ML Carciotto graduated in art history from the Sapienza University in Rome. She was a Research Fellow at the Warburg Institute in London, where she also worked for Christie’s. She was editor-in-chief of the art publisher Franco Maria Ricci Editore in Milan, and now teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo and at the Abadir Academy in Catania.
Antonio Paolucci studied art history under Roberto Longhi in Florence and began his career in the management of cultural heritage. He was the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage in Venice, Verona, and Mantua. He later became Director of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence and, for almost twenty years, the Superintendent for the Polo Museale Fiorentino. Most recently, Paolucci was the Director of the Vatican Museums from 2007 to 2016. A specialist in Italian Renaissance art, he is the author of museum and exhibition catalogues, as well as publications on Donatello, Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Benvenuto Cellini, among others.
This week, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu held its first performance with a live audience post-coronavirus, but it’s unclear whether the attendees were too green to appreciate Puccini’s “Crisantemi.” Seated in the red, velvet seats and among the gold balconies, 2,292 palms, ficus trees, and Swish cheese plants filled the iconic opera house to listen to the string quartet’s rendition.
A collaboration with Madrid-based artist Eugenio Ampudia and the Max Estrella gallery, the concert was meant to reflect on humans’ relationship with nature. “I thought why don’t we go into the Liceu like weeds, take it over and let nature start growing everywhere and turn it into something alive even when there are no people,” Ampudia said in an interview. After the performance, the leafy audience members were donated to healthcare workers who have been battling the virus during the last few months.
Detroit designers have always led the way in car design. The futuristic concept cars, roaring muscle cars, and sleek racers designed in and around the city shape our ideas of what a car can be. Working on paper, in clay, and in metal, their ideas drive American car culture and inform the way we get around every day.
This exhibit organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts will highlight the artistry and influence of Detroit car designers working between 1950 and the present day. It will bring together 12 coupes and sedans designed across that 70-year period to highlight significant achievements in style and technology.
The 12 cars include unique examples of experimental show cars created for display and iconic production models sold to the mass market. Design drawings and photographs will allow you to imagine the creative and innovative processes that bring a vehicle from the drawing board to the street.
A selection of paintings and sculptures will highlight the conversation between the American art world and the car culture from the 1950s to the present day.
The intertwining of the four classical elements—fire, water, earth and air—is a constant source of inspiration to the design and philosophies of John Pomp. Be it a ripple on the ocean or the swelling of a bubble, his sculptural pieces mimic the wondrous geometry that exists, often unnoticed, in the natural world.
By capturing the fluidity of glass in its liquid state with gestural experimentations of technique, John transforms “perfectly imperfect” into signatures of his creations. Fragile and ethereal, yet purposeful and confident, every Pomp piece is a unique confluence of light, liquid and fire, which he brings together to alchemic effect.