Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Brooklyn Museum 2014

 Albert Bierstadt  (1830-1902), "Storm in the Rocky Mountains", 1866
The Brooklyn Museum is currently running a special exhibit of the celebrated Chinese artist,
Ai WeiWei, but I just couldn't muster the $30 admission fee to see conceptual art.  
So instead, we visited the rest of the museum - or actually - since time was limited - we just viewed one or two rooms of the American collection.
After seeing all the wall-size paintings on the fourth floor of MOMA the day before, I continued to wonder how anyone could prefer them to something more enjoyable - like the above.
There are artists who still paint the world as wonderful, scenic,  and glorious, but their work never makes it out of exhibitions of  "Western" art.
 John Koch (1909-1978),"The Sculptor", 1964
 Here's a curious painter about whom I knew very little.
Time will reveal many more artists who did not join the trends of mid-century American painting.
This style seems to come from an earlier era, , but the coy, chaotic  sexual ambivalence of this piece is definitely connected to the sixties. .
"Light my Fire"
(the Doors first recorded  song with that title in 1966)
The luminosity here is so enjoyable--
and it's exciting to experience such visual complexity,
 even if it's not completely satisfying.
Maurice Stern (1878-1957), "The Awakening", 1926 
Here's a 20th Century American figure sculptor who was completely new to me.

I like modern classicism - and this kind of reminds me of Gaston Lachaise.

But it did feel closer to an academic exercise
than a heart-felt expression.
Which may be why Wikipedia notes that  the artist is remembered today as
 the husband of a famous philanthropist.
 Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), portrait of Creifelds, 1876

"They are all portraits of very  ugly men... they have little grace, little finish, little elegance... their great quality is their extreme naturalness, their unmixed, unredeemed reality"... Henry James, 1875, discussing other recent portraits by Duveneck.

The above comment seems to relate more to the gritty subject than to the painted design that presents it -- which appears quite elegant and finished to me.

It's an early portrait by the dean of Cincinnati painters.


 William Glackens (1870-1938),  East River Park, 1902

This small park reminded me of the one about 6 miles north that I used to walk through  every morning when we visited my grandparents on the upper east side.

So many nice contrasts of sharp with blurry

William L. Hawkins (1895-1990), "Nineteenth Century Houses"

This was another exuberant large size painting that seems so preferable to what high end art galleries were showing at the time.

It seems to scream "I love my life!"

Unfortunately, my photos  of it were blurry -- and the museum only offers a thumbnail in deference to the image rights of someone (though the artist himself has been dead for almost 25 years)

 Lois Mailou Jones (1905-1998),
 Dans Un CafĂ© a Paris (Leigh Whipper), 1939

A curious painting that owes more to Cezanne than most other American paintings of that decade.

It came one year after the artist painted this more Afro-centric image.

 Robert Laurent (1890-1970), The Wave, 1926

A beautiful little art deco carving - it's more like decorative netsuke 
 than narrative figure sculpture

(image from the museum website)

Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), My Uncle, 1934

Noguchi was quite an expressive  portrait sculptor before he went totally abstract.

Seymour Lipton (1903-1986), "Earth Forge II", 1955

There a certain grinding aggressiveness about this piece that reminds me of the sculpture of another New York sculptor/dentist from the 1950's.

 George Lovett Kingsland Morris (1905-1975),
Indian Composition #6, 1938
Quite a contrast to both the social realism of his decade - and the ABX that followed.
It seems to be a psychological self portrait.
Pleasant - but not earth shaking.


Blogger marly youmans said...

So was Lizzie Boott Duveneck's work pleasing to you?

Really fascinated to read about the couple and the Bootts. Had no idea that daughter and father were models for Gilbert and Pansy in "The Portrait of a Lady." Shall have to root around some more.

I always like your round-up pieces and observations. The Cezanne mention seemed just right, and I liked the little netsuke-ish piece.

August 19, 2014  
Blogger chris miller said...

I'm afraid that Lizzie's paintings were under my radar in both the Brooklyn and Cincinnati museums. I'll pay more attention to them next time - though the web images are not promising.

But I do remember her sarcophagus, modeled by Duveneck and Barnhorn. How sad.

August 20, 2014  

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