Category Archive 'Art'
09 Nov 2021
Calverley Old Hall, between Leeds and Bradford, is currently subject to a major repair and renovation programme funded by the Landmark Trust, who have owned the building and run part of it as a holiday let since 1981.
The oldest parts of the hall date back to the 14th century but most of it is Tudor. It was the seat of the Calverley family for centuries until the 1750s, when they sold the estate and moved to Esholt Hall. Calverley Old Hall was then subdivided into cottages.
Ahead of the current restoration work, historians and conservation specialists were able to examine the fabric of the building and made an incredible discovery behind a 1930s fireplace. …
Dr Anna Keay, who worked at the site, said: “An exposed area of timber seemed to have something on it; reddish, greenish, and blackish stains on the oak. We thought they could just be the streaks and smudges of mould and dirt and decay. It looked to be wishful thinking that this was anything of note. But just on the off chance, ever cautious, we decided to ask the conservators at Lincoln Conservation to have a look. …
Two days were allocated… to remove the later plaster altogether and see how much remained beneath. I stopped in on the morning of day two, expecting them to have only just begun. When I walked up the stairs into the room I was simply overcome. The plaster had gone and there on all three walls before me was a revelation. Floor to ceiling, wall to wall, a complete, highly decorated Tudor chamber, stripped with black and red and white and ochre. Mythical creatures and twining vines, classical columns and roaring griffins.
“Wall paintings were prized in grand Tudor houses, and from time to time patches of them are revealed. But never in my own 27 years of working in historic buildings have I ever witnessed a discovery like this. Hidden panelling, yes, little snatches of decorative painting, once or twice. But an entire painted chamber absolutely lost to memory, a time machine to the age of the Reformation and the Virgin Queen, never. …
“Suddenly, we are transported from a dusty, dilapidated building into the rich and cultured world of the Elizabethan Calverleys, a well-educated family keen to display their learning and wealth by demonstrating their appreciation of Renaissance culture. The Calverley paintings are very carefully planned, in a vertical design that uses the timber studwork as a framework. Teethed birds laugh in profile; the torsos of little men in triangular hats sit on vases or balustrades. When the fantastical figures and architectural elements are incorporated into dense vertical stacks as at Calverley Old hall, they’re known as ‘candelabra.’
“The whole chamber was probably originally covered in the scheme, a rich, dark, private space that must have been all the more impressive by candlelight.”
The hall was witness to dreadful violence in April 1605, when Walter Calverley murdered two of his sons, William and Walter, after drinking heavily. He was tried in York for murder, but refused to plead and was therefore pressed to death. Because of his refusal, his property could not be seized by the state, and passed to his surviving baby son. The murder inspired the Jacobean play A Yorkshire Tragedy, the authorship of which was attributed to William Shakespeare in the first printed edition (1608) but which is now thought to have been written by Thomas Middleton.
28 Aug 2021
Johannes Vermeer, Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, 1657-59, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden.
The female figure in Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window” (1657-59), art historians have long known, is not exactly alone in the room. As early as 1979, x-rays revealed a painting of a full-length cupid hanging on the wall behind her, partly shielded by a silky green trompe l’oeil curtain pulled to the side. This picture-within-a-picture, a hallmark of the artist’s opulent renderings of Dutch interiors, was further confirmed using infrared photography.
But until recently, experts assured us Vermeer had painted over the chubby amorini himself. In 2019, laboratory tests led to a shocking discovery: the cupid imagery was covered up by someone other than the artist, likely decades after its completion. Conservators at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) in Dresden, where the painting has resided for over 250 years, decided to return the work to its original state, removing the layers of varnish and overpaint concealing the original composition.
Doubtless, the conservators’ decision to restore the painting to the artist’s original intent is an inevitable academic and institutional choice. Still, I find the heavy-handed symbolism of the result tedious and the composition cluttered when compared to the previous version. Sad.
03 Nov 2020
George Caleb Bingham, The County Election, 1854, Engraving.
25 Aug 2020
Jacek Yerka, Bible Dam.
09 Aug 2020
Sold 25 November 2017
CHU TEH-CHUN (ZHU DEQUN, FRANCE/CHINA, 1920-2014)
PoussÃ©e Cristalline (Unrevealed Crystal)
HKD 22,300,000 ($2,899,000)
HKD 10,000,000 – HKD 16,000,000
Chu Teh-Chun or Zhu Dequn (24 October 1920 â€“ 26 March 2014) was a Chinese-French abstract painter acclaimed for his pioneering style integrating traditional Chinese painting techniques with Western abstract art. …
Chu Teh-Chun was born in 1920 in the town of Baitu in Xiao County, which was then in Jiangsu province but now part of Anhui province. In 1935 he entered the National School of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, graduating in 1941. At the school he studied Chinese painting under Pan Tianshou and Western art under Fang Ganmin and Wu Dayu, who were prominent Chinese artists trained in France. …
In 1945 Chu became a faculty member of the architecture department of the National Central University in Nanjing, then China’s capital. With the communist victory in mainland China, Chu moved to Taiwan in 1949, joining the National Taiwan Normal University where he taught Western-style painting. He moved to Paris in 1955, where he lived for the rest of his life. He became a French citizen in 1980, and a member of the AcadÃ©mie des Beaux-Arts in 1997. …
Inspired by Nicolas de StaÃ«l’s abstract landscape paintings, Chu abandoned figurative painting and adopted a unique style using bold strokes of colour which evoked Chinese calligraphy. His new style was immediately successful. In 1964, an exhibition of his works at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh brought him international fame. On 17 December 1997, Chu was elected a member of the AcadÃ©mie des Beaux-Arts of France, the first Frenchman of Chinese origin to be chosen. He was also made a Chevalier de lâ€™Ordre des Palmes AcadÃ©miques and Chevalier de la LÃ©gion dâ€™Honneur in 2001. His paintings are now in the permanent collections of more than 50 museums all over the world. Major exhibitions of his work were held at the Shanghai Art Museum in 2005 and Beijing’s National Art Museum of China in 2010.
08 Aug 2020
My Modern Met:
Chinese contemporary artist Li Xiaofang uses porcelain to make wearable art that pays homage to China’s past while looking toward the future. Xiaofang takes hundreds of shards of porcelain, some dating back to the Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties, and puzzles them together into magnificent porcelain dresses. His wearable art acts as both a coat of armor and a sculptural masterpiece.
Xiaofang sews together the shards using thin metal wire, and each is lined with a leather undergarment. Looking at the artist’s work, it’s impossible not to marvel at the precision and care taken, not only to find the exact shapes to form the curves of the dresses, but also how the pattern and color of the porcelain are used to create new shades and silhouettes. But Xiaofang doesn’t only limit himself to porcelain dresses, he’s also experimented with creating suit jackets, pants, blouses, and even a military hat.
The Beijing-based artist has seen his work exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has engaged in collaborations with fashion giants like Lacoste and Alexander McQueen. A visionary in his field, his work was by the rapid development engulfing Beijing. â€œThese blue shards, bathed in the sunny skies of socialism and caressed by the contemporary cool breezes blowing from the west throughout the capital, assume a bewildering array of postures as fashion items entering the new century,â€ the artist once stated. â€œThese are the blue-and-white costumes! These emanate the splendor once crushed! These are the illusions flowing with sorrow!â€
29 Jun 2020
Lot 132: DAUM Important tubular vase with conical neck on pedestal.
Est: â‚¬18,000 – â‚¬20,000
â‚¬18,000 0 bids
OGER – BLANCHET
July 2, 2020, 2:30 PM CET
Important tubular vase with conical neck on ringed pedestal. Made in purple and white marbled glass. Decorated with violets etched with acid and entirely enhanced with natural polychrome enamel. Lower part and pedestal decorated with engraved leaves and insects enhanced with gilding.
Signed in gold under the base.
High. : 70 cm
Similar to model presented by Daum Establishments at the Nancy International Exhibition in 1909.
I get lots of auction notices by email.
I’d buy this one for my wife like a shot, except not for â‚¬18,000, alas!
27 Apr 2020
Ornamental Plaque of a Knight, ca. 1300, possibly British, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
My guess would be German, because of the antler crests.
18 Feb 2020
The late Vincent Scully lecturing Eurocentrically years ago.
Heather MacDonald, BK ’70, demolishes the cant being used to justify remodeling Yale’s once-illustrious History of Art Department into a distribution center for Marxist agitprop and Multicultural Identity Stroking.
By 1974, when I enrolled at Yale, its faculty had long since abdicated one of its primary intellectual responsibilities. It observed a chaste silence about what undergraduates needed to study in order to have any hope of becoming even minimally educated; curricular selections, outside of a few broad distribution requirements, were left to students, who by definition did not know enough to choose wisely, except by accident. So it was that I graduated without having taken a single history course (outside of one distribution-fulfilling intellectual history class), despite easy access to arguably the strongest American history faculty in the country. Scullyâ€™s fall semester introductory art history course has been my anchor to the past, providing visual grounding in the development of Western civilization, around which it is possible to develop a broader sense of history.
But now, the art history department is junking the entire two-semester sequence, as the Yale Daily News reported last month. Given the role that these two courses have played in exposing Yale undergraduates to the joys of scholarship and knowledge, one would think that the department would have amassed overwhelmingly compelling grounds for eliminating them. To the contrary, the reasons given are either laughably weak or at odds with the facts. The first reason is the most absurd: the course titles (â€œIntroduction to the History of Art: Prehistory to the Renaissanceâ€ and â€œIntroduction to the History of Art: Renaissance to the Presentâ€). Art history chair Tim Barringer apparently thinks students will be fooled by those titles into thinking that other traditions donâ€™t exist. â€œI donâ€™t mistake a history of European painting for the history of all art in all places,â€ he primly told the Daily News. No one else would, either. But if the titles are such a trap for the Eurocentric unwary, the department could have simply added the word â€œEuropeanâ€ before â€œArtâ€ and been done with it. (Barringer, whose specialities include post-colonial and gender studies as well as Victorian visual culture, has been teaching the doomed second semester courseâ€”a classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse.)
Barringer also claims that it was â€œproblematicâ€ to put European art on a pedestal when so many other regions and traditions were â€œequally deserving of study.â€ The courses that will replace the surveys will not claim to â€œbe the mainstream with everything else pushed to the margins,â€ he told the Daily News. Leave aside for the moment whether the European tradition may legitimately form the core of an art history education in an American university. The premise of Barringerâ€™s statementâ€”that previously European art was put on a pedestal and everything else was pushed to the marginsâ€”is blatantly false. The department requires art history majors to take two introductory-level one-semester survey courses. Since at least 2012, the department has offered courses in non-Western art that can fulfill that requirement in lieu of the European surveys. Those classes include â€œIntroduction to the History of Art: Buddhist Art and Architectureâ€; â€œIntroduction to the History of Art: Sacred Art and Architectureâ€; â€œGlobal Decorative Artsâ€; â€œThe Politics of Representationâ€; and â€œThe Classical Buddhist World.â€ No one was forced into the two Western art courses.
Nor would anyone surveying the art history catalogue think that Yale was â€œprivilegingâ€ the West, as they say in theoryspeak. That catalogue is awash in non-European courses. In addition to the introductory classes mentioned above, the department offers â€œJapanâ€™s Classics in Text and Imageâ€; â€œIntroduction to Islamic Architectureâ€; â€œThe Migrant Imageâ€; â€œSacred Space in South Asiaâ€; â€œVisual Storytelling in South Asiaâ€; â€œAztec Art & Architectureâ€; â€œBlack Atlantic Photographyâ€; â€œBlack British Art and Cultureâ€; â€œArt and Architecture of Mesoamericaâ€; â€œThe Mexican Cultural Renaissance, 1920â€“ 1940â€; â€œPainting and Poetry in Islamic Artâ€; â€œAesthetics and Meaning in African Arts and Culturesâ€; â€œKorean Art and Cultureâ€; â€œAfrican American Art, 1963 to the Presentâ€; â€œArt and Architecture of Japanâ€; â€œTextiles of Asia, 800â€“1800 C.E.â€; and â€œArt and Politics in the Modern Middle East,â€ among other courses. The Western tradition is just one among many. Nevertheless, Marissa Bass, the director of undergraduate studies in the department, echoed Barringerâ€™s accusation of Eurocentrism. The changes recognize â€œan essential truth: that there has never been just one story of the history of art,â€ Bass told the Daily News. But Yale does not tell just one story of the history of art. Department leaders have created a parody of their own department simply in order to kill off the Western survey courses.
Those courses must also be sacked because it is impossible to cover the â€œentire fieldâ€”and its varied cultural backgroundsâ€”in one course,â€ as the Daily News put it. If this statement means that the span of time covered in each of the one-semester Western art classes is too large, non-Western survey courses are as broad or broader. â€œChinese Painting and Cultureâ€ covers 16 centuries. â€œPower, Gender, and Ritual in African Artâ€ covers nearly two millennia. â€œIntroduction to the History of Art: Buddhist Art and Architectureâ€ covers seven centuries. â€œIntroduction to the History of Art: Sacred Art and Architectureâ€ covers several millennia. None of these courses is facing extinction.
Barringer promises that the replacement surveys will subject European art to a variety of deconstructive readings designed to pull that tradition down from its alleged pedestal. The new classes will consider Western art in relation to â€œquestions of gender, class, and â€˜race,â€™â€ he told the Daily News in an email, carefully putting scare quotes around â€œraceâ€ to signal his adherence to the creed that race is a social construct. The new courses will discuss the involvement of Western art with capitalism. Most intriguingly, the relationship between Western art and climate change will be a â€œkey theme,â€ he wrote.
Barringerâ€™s proposed deconstruction of Western art illustrates a central feature of modern academia: The hermeneutics of suspicion (Paul Ricoeurâ€™s term for the demystifying impulse that took over the humanities in the late 20 century) applies only to the Western canon. Western academics continue to interpret non-Western traditions with sympathy and respect; those interpreters seek to faithfully convey the intentions of non-Western creators and to help students understand what makes non-Western works great. So, while the replacement European art survey courses will, in Marissa Bassâ€™s words, â€œchallenge, rethink, and rewriteâ€ art historical narratives, the department will not be cancelling its Buddhist art and architecture class due to the low representation of female artists and architects, nor will it â€œinterrogateâ€ (as High Theory puts it) African arts and cultures for their relationship to genocidal tribal warfare, or Aztec art and architecture for their relationship to murderous misogyny.
29 Jan 2020
Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1833-1836, New York Historical Society.
James Panero tells us that Yale imported a Cambridge bolshie to “decolonize” the History of Art Department.
Are we in our own revolutionary moment? Many of our leading institutions clearly believe so. Yale University has been working overtime to prove it is on the right side of history. â€˜Problematicâ€™ colleges have been renamed. â€˜Offensiveâ€™ stained-glass windows have been knocked out. Only the leadership of an Ivy League school could spread such a poisonous rash. Heading the charge against the Dead White Male has been a progressive Yale bureaucracy that is, for the most part, pale and stale.
Now the task of dismantling Yaleâ€™s famous art history survey course has fallen to a scholar I respect, Tim Barringer. British-born, Barringer is the Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University and has been a leading curator at the Metropolitan Museum. He even mounted the Metâ€™s exceptional 2018 exhibition on Thomas Cole.
Following a 2017 mandate to â€˜decolonizeâ€™ Yaleâ€™s Department of English, Barringer is giving over the keys of Yaleâ€™s famous art survey course to the identity vandals. According to the Yale Daily News, instead of one class that will tell the story of art from â€˜Renaissance to the Presentâ€™, new courses will, Barringer says, be devised to consider art in relation to a five-step history lesson, â€˜questions of gender, class and raceâ€™, with further discussion of artâ€™s â€˜involvement with Western capitalismâ€™. Of course, â€˜climate changeâ€™ will also be a â€˜key themeâ€™.
Art doesnâ€™t fare well in revolutionary times. Likewise, revolutionary sentiments are often revealed in the treatment of art. If only Professor Barringer had looked more carefully at another five-step history lesson, Thomas Coleâ€™s â€˜Course of Empireâ€™ tableau (1833-36), he might have seen how civilizations burn down from decadence as well as assault.
That whirring sound you hear in the background is grand old Yale Art History professors, men like Sumner Crosby who taught the Gothic Cathedral course and Charles Seymour who taught the Italian Renaissance Art course, who fished for salmon together every summer on the Upsalquitch, spinning in their graves at 78 RPM.