Saturday, April 26, 2014

Art & Antiques Fair - 2014

William McGregor Paxton, "The Sisters", 1904

This year, the Chicago Art and Antiques Fair moved to Festival Hall at  Navy Pier - where the 80-foot ceiling offered  the show a more spacious feeling.

Since I immediately get immersed in the details of whatever interests me, it's hard to compare this year's show with the one last year at the Merchandise Mart.

As always,  there were a lot of  paintings that seemed incredibly bad.

The London galleries were missing, but there did seem to be some very good New York galleries here -- and perhaps they were new to Chicago.

One such gallery brought the above monumental double-portrait to this show.

As a 20th C. relic of the 19th C. French academy, Paxton is only cherished now by the Classical-Realist dissidents of the artworld - and otherwise is never mentioned in the same sentence with his famous American contemporaries, Eakins and Sargent.  But someday he'll probably get there.

He's given these ladies a lot of personality that might not be noticed in the reproduction.

John Twachtman

The same gallery had these two pieces by my favorite Cincinnati painter.

The snow scene is too faint and subtle to survive reproduction - but I've done my best.

The harbor scene may have been an earlier work.  It seems to be a homage to the Golden Age of Dutch seascapes.

Wakao Toshisada (b. 1933), 2008

The surface of this plate looked so tasty, I wanted to break off a piece and eat it.

David Palumbo

This artist is a  successful illustrator.  Most of his pieces in this show resembled cheesy pin-up girls from the 1940's.

But the above was obviously painted from life -- with the artist sitting quite close to a model lying on a platform -- an arrangement that often occurs in the studio of my art club.

Lockwood De Forest (1850-1932)

Every year there's always a few plein air studies from 50-100 years ago done by very good but completely obscure local artists.

I assumed that this was another example -- but it turns out that De Forest was a well-born and well-taught New York decorator who eventually moved to California to paint out doors.


Here's the image of the Twachtman snow scene off the gallery's website ( Gerald Peters Gallery)
I'm sure it's colors are  far closer to the original than my bluish and purplish versions.

Here's the gallery's image of the harbor scene - which was indeed done when the artist was 27 and painting  in the Netherlands.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Dorothy Braude Edinburg Collection

Max Pechstein (1881-1955) "Three Nudes in the Forest", 1911

It looks to me more like "one nude in the studio" - but it's still a great drawing. Gallery signage tells us that it was done in a small fishing village on the Baltic coast where the artist and his friends from the Brucke retreated from the city.

John Linnell (1792-1882), "Walking through the Field", July 25, 1868

A nice, lively sketch done on one Summer's day by a 76 year old artist as he was walking about.

The A.I.C. showed this collection 8 years ago when Ms. Edinburg first promised it to the museum -- and now it's up again in recognition of it's receipt last August.

Unlike paintings and sculpture which are inaccessible unless shown in the galleries, works on paper are great gifts for museums because they can always be seen by appointment.

The above  pieces are the only two that interest me now -- though the student work of famous artists like Cezanne and Klimt is fascinating for a single viewing.