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April 12, 2016

Art Friday: Center for Italian Modern Art

Pat and I met at MoMA for an informative lecture on Degas' current exhibit in the morning and then went downtown for our first visit to the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA).  The current exhibit is on Italian artist Giorgio Morandi (born Bologna1890-1964), which opened last Fall and will end on June 25th.  In my college modern art course textbook (John Canady Mainstreams of Modern Art) he is described as "painting a few ordinary bottles and bowls, combined and recombined in picture after picture, yet without monotony...."

Morandi Self-Portrait:  1930 

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I first saw Morandi's paintings at the Met in 2008.  I knew nothing about him as an artist, and wasn't really sure how I felt about his obsession with painting rows of bottles and other similar vessels.  Last Fall, we visited David Zwirner's Gallery in Chelsea and I had a new appreciation of his paintings.  Following that visit, our friend Judy told us about the Center for Italian Modern Art, and it took Pat and I until now to visit there. 

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CIMA is located on the 4th floor at 421 Broome Street and you need to make reservations for guided tours on Friday and Saturday afternoons.  Our tour guide was an Italian research fellow at CIMA and she was amazing!  Behind her are photos taken by Joel Meyerowitz in Morandi's Studio in Italy.

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We were shown into the kitchen and served espresso or coffee - in Pantone color cups which I loved. 

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As we walked around the lovely galleries, I sketched one bottle each  from some of the paintings and painted them when I got home. 

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This view of his Studio/Bedroom raises many questions in my mind about him as a person.  We know that he lived with his 3 sisters in Bologna until his death.

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One last photo - taken from the window in the CIMA Library - of a neighboring rooftop.  I'd love to draw and paint this for a glimpse into our big city life.

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April 5, 2016

Edvard Munch and Expressionism

Neue Galerie currently has an exhibit of Edvard Munch and his influence on German and Austrian Expressionists, including Beckmann, Heckel, Kirchner, Nolde, Kokoschka, and Shiele, among others.  It is a wonderful exhibit and we followed it with a visit to Galerie St. Etienne which is exhibiting Ernst Ludwig Kirchner drawings and watercolors.  Pat, Eunice, and I were enthralled with the art seen and each selected a few things we wanted to remember.

http://www.neuegalerie.org/content/munch-and-expressionism-0 

This painting by Munch is entitled Two Human Beings: The Lonely Ones.  I was struck with the simple separation of figures which demonstrated the emotion of loneliness.  I was inspired to draw a simple version of this painting, and long thin figures from a woodcut by Otto Mueller.   

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I spend lots of time doing figure drawings, and I'm very interested in how the Expressionists distort figures.  I've drawn Schiele and at this exhibit I wanted to remember Mueller's figures from a complicated woodcut - so I only sketched the figures, not the complicated black ink background in The Boy with Two Standing and One Seated Figure.

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At Galerie St. Etienne, Kirchner's drawings were VERY loose, so I decided to sketch two of his more defined images - one a litho and the other almost a single line drawing.   

http://www.gseart.com/gse-pages/Current_Exhibition.php

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I recommend both of these exhibits for anyone interested in Expressionism.  Norwegian Artist Edvard Munch is definitely more than just the painting and woodcuts of The Scream. 

March 25, 2016

Degas - A Stange New Beauty

Yesterday my friends and I went to a Museum of Modern Art Members Preview of the new Edgar Degas exhibit.  I was surprised to read that it is his first solo exhibit at MoMA!  In this exhibit they feature Degas' monotypes, and his working process - along with other drawings and paintings that were definitely influenced by his monotype working style.  Here is a 4 minute video about Monotypes, as an introduction.  Scroll down the museum page for video.

http://moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/1613?locale=en 

 

I was fascinated learning about Degas' working methods and that is what I will remember most from this exhibit. 

1.   His monotypes were usually printed twice from plates - the print of the plate drawing and the ghost print (a second printing that is much more faint).  Some were then colored with pastels.   Others were left untouched.   Here are 3 examples:

His first Monotype -The Ballet Master -  done with artist Ludovic Napoleon Lepic, a printmaker.

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A beautiful expressive portrait of his friend, actress Ellen Andree: 

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A monotype made of a Brothel scene "The Name Day of the Madame,", then colored with pastels: 

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2.  Charcoal drawings were made of the same subject and a quote from him says:  It is essential to do the same subject over again, ten times, a hundred times."  This way to work, multiplying and varying a subject is common to Degas' way of working.

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I loved this charcoal drawing and sketched the figure on the left during out visit.

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3.  This pair of drawings consists of a charcoal drawing on the left (3 drawings of Ludovic Halevy).  The one on the right is a counterproof made by placing wet paper over the drawing and then rolling both sheets through the printing press. 

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4.  There were 3 full sketchbooks included in the exhibit.  I loved how he included multiple drawings on each page in Carnet 1.

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5.  Carnet 3 has very thin paper and he used this quality to redraw images on the reverse side of the original drawing, making it possible to change the drawings slightly reversing the images.   It was difficult to take a good image from this video display, but the image on the left is the an image seen through thin paper, and the image on the right shows how it was retraced and changed.

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6.   It is postulated that this painting of 4 ballet dancers was made from images that were manipulated in such a way. 

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For more information about this very interesting and educational exhibit, you can read about it on today's ArtDaily.com  It also was reviwed in today's New York Times.

http://artdaily.com/news/86043/Museum-of-Modern-Art-exhibition-explores-Edgar-Degas--rarely-seen-monotypes#.VvVB5OT2bNM

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/arts/design/the-moderndegas-you-havent-seen.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0 

March 22, 2016

Wednesday Figure Drawing at Battery Park City

I first want to send condolences to the people of Brussels for the horrible terrorist bombings this morning.  A good friend of ours was in the airport, close to the bomb blast, but is uninjured.  Wednesdays are my day to go past the World Trade Center Memorial as I cross Lower Manhattan to go to figure drawing, and these random bombings reawaken many of the feelings I had living in Manhattan in 2001.   

I love going to Lower Manhattan for Figure Drawing on Wednesdays.  When I was looking up at the Freedom Tower (WTC1) last Wednesday and posting photos to my blog, I had no idea that we would be reflecting on yet another terrorist attack in Europe this Wednesday. 

We had a model that I've drawn before, and this week she had her Very Curly Hair au naturelle, and stayed in the same clothes for most of the session.

These are my first two minute poses - always used for warmup.  I sketched her with a 4B graphite pencil on newsprint - which is hard to flatten out for photographing.

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These are three 5 minute sketches done with a General Sketch and Wash pencil - with paint added in the final seconds before the end of the pose, or in one case during her 5 minute break. 

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One 10 minute pose:

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The final pose - done in 15 minutes - and not painted because I was too tired.

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On Wednesday May 4th, the Figure Drawing sessions will move to the South Cove of Battery Park City - through October 26th, weather permitting. 

March 18, 2016

Visit to the Oculus With NYC Urban Sketchers

New York City Urban Sketchers met at the new Santiago Calatrava Oculus on Wednesday, and viewed the inside and sketched the outside.  As I walked from the Fulton Center subway stop I took photos of the exterior from the East, the interior, and exterior from the West.  While the group was sketching at the foot of the Freedom Tower, I went across West St. to Brookfield Place and sketched from there.  The Oculus is still a construction site inside and out, but it is fun to see this very interesting new center to the Lower Manhattan Transportation Hub.

Oculus from the East (Dey and Church St.):  That is the World Trade Center Freedom Tower behind it.

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The Entrance I went in is at the NW corner of Liberty and Church St, just inside the door to WTC4.  Follow the signs to the Path Station down 2 escalators, and two long white marble corridors to the Oculus. 

 

Interior:  The wall covered in posters hides the continuing construction, but it is really the side walls and ceiling that are the main attraction.   

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Oculus From the West:  I sketched this view (see below), from the front of Brookfield Place and across West Avenue from the Oculus.

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It will still be a few months before all of the entries are open and the construction tools are gone.  This is a map of the area, including all of the World Trade Center Buildings that will eventually be accessible from the whole Plaza.  This is the Map I photographed from within the Concourse linking many of the buildings.  

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My Oculus Painting From the West:  I was lucky that the trees were still mostly bare. 

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