“I wanted to make paintings that were a celebration, and that revealed something and obscured something at the same time.” —Damien Hirst
Damien Steven Hirst (born 1965) is an English artist, entrepreneur, and art collector. He is one of the Young British Artists, who dominated the art scene in the UK during the 1990s. He is reportedly the United Kingdom’s richest living artist, with his wealth valued at £215m in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List.
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.
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
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 gorgeous photographs, 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.
Between 13 December 1954 and 14 February 1955, Picasso painted a series of fifteen canvases based on Eugène Delacroix’s masterwork Les femmes d’Alger, each of which he assigned an identifying letter from A to O. Together, these paintings constitute Picasso’s single greatest achievement in the decades following the end of the Second World War. They represent his first comprehensive appropriation and thoroughgoing exploration of an important painting by an earlier artist, as well as the most focused analysis he had done since the war years of the female figure set within a specific spatial environment.
Picasso painted the present Femmes d’Alger, Version F on 17 January 1955, around the halfway point in the cycle. It is the culminating, most fully resolved canvas from the first phase of the series, when Picasso favored medium-sized formats for his protean explorations.
From Christie’s (June 27, 2020):
One of the largest canvases from Thiebaud’s groundbreaking early period, it depicts a row of arcade machines, decorated in a vibrant mix of oranges and yellows…With their foreshortened bodies, the machines press towards the picture plane like the cakes and hot dogs in Thiebaud’s other works, inviting the viewer to reach in and taste.
It’s a classic of Pop art, a masterful reflection of the post-war boom in consumerism.
In November 2020, Wayne Thiebaud — the American artist best-known for his still lifes of pies, pastries and other tempting treats — turns 100.
Thiebaud also had a lot of fun with the backglasses: instead of cartoons and flashing lights, he decorated them with the ghostly, geometric forms of Frank Stella’s Concentric Squares, Jasper Johns’ Targets and Ellsworth Kelly’s Colors for a Large Wall.
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As a child, Marc Chagall would marvel at the traveling acrobatic troupes that passed through his Village. The animals, dancers and musicians of the circus seemed to conjure a distinct joy that would consistently manifest itself throughout the artist’s career. In this episode of Expert Voices, discover how Chagall was able to uniquely translate this fascination to canvas as Edith Eustis delves into the deep greens and brilliant reds of Marc Chagall’s Le Cirque Vert. Painted in 1973, this work captures the magical allure of the spectacle and incorporates many of the artist’s most iconic motifs. Le Cirque Vert will be offered as a highlight of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York.
Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985) was a Russian-French artist of Belarusian Jewish origin. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in a wide range of artistic formats, including painting, drawings, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic tapestries and fine art prints.
In this week’s episode of “Travels with a Curator,” travel with Xavier F. Salomon, Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, to Valenciennes, the birthplace of the Rococo painter Jean-Antoine Watteau. Delve into the historical events surrounding Watteau’s “Portal at Valenciennes” (ca. 1710–11), a scene of soldiers at rest near the ramparts of the town. Known for his depictions of garden frolics, Watteau seldom portrayed military life—“The Portal” is one of only three such paintings that survive today.
Valenciennes is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It lies on the Scheldt river. Although the city and region experienced a steady population decline between 1975 and 1990, it has since rebounded.
Vice Chairman Lucian Simmons sits down to describe one of his favorite works – Fernand Léger’s Nature Morte. After surviving World War I, Léger joined an influx of artists searching for “purity” or a so-called “return to order.” Executed in 1925, Léger’s still life is an outstanding example of the artist’s classical period, where the artist found a new stride. Nature Morte will be offered as a highlight of the Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Evening auction in New York.