Category Archives: Art History/Antiquity/Anthropology

composing with the “conversation piece”

As a solution to the problem of composition and context, “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt was a brilliant consolidation of a given number of figures into a group portrait and, under the conditions of this particular assignment, seems to have … Continue reading

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The Night Shift

A misunderstood picture? … The figures in the picture are awarded varying degrees of prominence. The fact that some of them had all but disappeared, obscured through coats of yellowed varnish and layers of dirt, helped give rise to the … Continue reading

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all together now

Group portraits represent one of the most vexing problems a painter is ever required to resolve requiring as it may, expressive ingenities that defy standard compositional devices… In a group portrait each member must be awarded their proportionate measure of … Continue reading

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daumier: love and merciless

Honore Daumier made his living as a cartoonist. His paintings were known to few during his lifetime. But, upon his death a syndicate acquired them and made a tidy killing on the proceeds. Daumier did about five thousand cartoons, though … Continue reading

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print collecting in the arcade

Art of the fantastic or visionary art. Generally at best a tenuous relationship with the world we know and must depend upon associations of the most personal and inward kind. Our response to visions and dreams hinges on these connection, … Continue reading

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klee: emptying the void

Paul Klee. First thing to hang your hat on is that his great technical skill and intellectualism were peripheral to his art. His art, for the most part, remains a mystery to be solved by most, a sophisticated harmony battling … Continue reading

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fly in the soup of innocence

Henri Rousseau was fortunate enough to receive from established painters whom he admired the good advice to avoid formal training even when he was in a position to take advantage of it. Emulating himself, Rousseau developed a style of great … Continue reading

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unwilled power of unreality

It is the gift of crystallizing inner experience that differentiates an artist from a mere craftsman or technician, and sometimes this crystallization takes place through the chemistry of some power unwilled or even unsuspected by the painter…. The most conspicuous … Continue reading

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alchemy on the hudson: cups runneth over

The nineteenth-century produced a group of American painters who, to an exceptional degree, revealed that a dream or a vision need not be shaped in fantasy but may exist in ordinary aspects of the world around us. That is, a … Continue reading

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dreams in the ordinary world

Into the otherworld. A vision of the isolation of the human spirit in a region beyond time and beyond space… The first half of the nineteenth-century in America produced some of the most poetically evocative paintings of the century anywhere. … Continue reading

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