Brushstrokes in paintings could help early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, according to a study published on Thursday of works by famous sufferers such as Salvador Dali and Willem De Kooning.
“Knowing that you have a problem sooner rather than later is always going to be an important medical breakthrough,” said Alex Forsythe from the University of Liverpool, one of the authors of the study.
Fractal analysis — a way to study patterns that is already used to spot fake paintings — was used to gauge the relative complexity of the works.
Fractals are often described as “fingerprints of nature.”
For De Kooning and Brooks, the study showed a sharp decrease in the complexity starting around the age of 40 — long before their Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
De Kooning received an official diagnosis in 1989 — the year he turned 85 — and Brooks when he turned 79. Read the rest of this entry »
Pierrot and Harlequin, Juan-les-Pins, 1920
pen and black ink with gouache on cream paper
sheet (folded in half): 27.3 x 21.3 cm (10 3/4 x 8 3/8 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mrs. Gilbert W. Chapman, 1981
Barney Henderson reports: A double-sided erotic Picasso portrait has sold for a record price in New York, soothing the art world’s nerves after a nervous start to a major sale.
La Gommeuse (The Nightclub Singer), which hides a second hidden portrait of an art dealer on its back, sold for $67.5 million (£45 million) late on Thursday night, setting a new record for a blue period Picasso.
It’s sale, comfortably above its expectation, was one of several at Sotheby’s on Thursday night after a wobble in the market the night before.
The sale had got off to a lacklustre start, with a collection estimated at $500m selling for just $377m, including significant works left unsold and collectors fearing an impending chill in the market.
Officials seemed to breathe a sigh of relief on Friday, with Simon Shaw, co-head of Impressionist and modern art worldwide, lauding what he called “a small sale that packed a real punch,” and saw “a very strong result for any various owner sale in the category.”
The auction house noted its $1.67 billion Impressionist and modern total for the year so far was already the highest in its 271-year history…(read more)
A Picasso painting became the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction on Monday, going for more than $179 million.
Christie’s said “Women of Algiers (Version O)” sold for $179,365,000. That figure, which the Associated Press reports to include the auction house’s premium, surpasses a Francis Bacon work called “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” that held the top spot, also selling at Christie’s for $142.4 million in 2013.
Picasso painted the work as part of a 15-painting series…(read more)
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s spring art auctions get underway Tuesday with exceptional pieces by Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Vincent Van Gogh and others whose work continues to fuel a robust market for impressionist, modern and contemporary art.
Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version O),” estimated to bring over $140 million, is poised to become the most expensive artwork sold at auction, while Giacometti’s “Pointing Man” could set an auction record for a sculpture if bidding soars to an expected $130 million.
Both are being offered at Christie’s on May 11.
Experts say the once unimaginable prices are fueled by established and wealthy new buyers and the desire by collectors to own the best works.
“I don’t really see an end to it, unless interest rates drop sharply, which I don’t see happening in the near future,” said Manhattan dealer Richard Feigen. “Buyers will flock in from the Far East, the Gulf and Europe.”
In 2012, Edvard Munch‘s “The Scream” fetched nearly $120 million only to be bested a year later when Francis Bacon’s triptych “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” sold for $142.4 million.
Now Picasso’s 1955 “Women of Algiers” could potentially eclipse that stratospheric price tag. The vibrantly colorful work featuring a scantily attired female amid smaller nudes is part of a 15-work series that Picasso created in 1954-1955. It has appeared in several major museum retrospectives of the artist.
Giacometti’s 1947 “Pointing Man,” a life-size bronze of an elongated figure with extended arms, has been in the same private collection for 45 years. Giacometti, who died in 1966, made six casts of the work; four are in museums, the others are in private hands and a foundation collection.
His “Walking Man I” holds the auction record for a sculpture. It sold in 2010 for $104.3 million. Read the rest of this entry »
Picasso masterpiece “Les Femmes d’Alger” went on show for the first time in Hong Kong Wednesday ahead of an auction where it is tipped to smash the world record price for a painting.
The 1955 piece depicts women in a harem and is the final work in a 15-painting series which pays homage to the 19th century artist Delacroix, who Picasso admired.
“It’s one of the great Picassos, period, and it’s one of the last great Picassos that has been in private hands. In terms of Picasso’s quality, it’s at the absolutely top end. It’s an extremely important piece.”
— Derek Gillman, chairman of Christie’s impressionist and modern art department
It is billed to fetch an estimated $140 million when it goes on sale at Christie’s in New York in May — but the auction house says the price could well go higher.
The current world record for any painting sold at auction is for Francis Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud“, which sold for $142 million in 2013, also at Christie’s in New York.
“There aren’t that many museums that can afford works at that level… Increasingly, works that might in the past have gone into museum collections have gone into private collections.”
“It’s one of the great Picassos, period, and it’s one of the last great Picassos that has been in private hands,” Derek Gillman, chairman of Christie’s impressionist and modern art department, told AFP.
“In terms of Picasso’s quality, it’s at the absolutely top end. It’s an extremely important piece,” he said.
The painting was unveiled as part of a preview at Christie’s in Hong Kong ahead of the New York sale and it will also go on show in London later this month.
The piece is inspired by a Delacroix painting of a similar name.
[PHOTO] Reverdy, Picasso, Cocteau and Brassaï in Picasso’s Studio at rue des Grands Augustins, Paris, 1944 by BrassaïPosted: March 25, 2015
Reverdy, Picasso, Cocteau and Brassaï in Picasso’s studio at rue des Grands Augustins, Paris, 1944 by Brassaï
The art of Japanese woodblock master Katsushika Hokusai will flood the MFA Boston from April 5 through August 9, in possibly one of the largest shows of his work ever mounted in the U.S. The exhibition will be comprised of 200 works from its collection, spanning the artist’s 70-year career.
Imagery from Hokusai’s ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings have become iconic all over the world, and the MFA Boston happens to have the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. Prints such as Under the Waves Off Kanagawa and Phoenix will be presented alongside lesser-known pieces, such as painted lanterns and delicate cut-out dioramas.
Museum-goers will be given a rare chance to see a textile work by the artist: a piece of silk square (called a faukusa in Japanese) that prominently features a mythological Chinese lion. The piece would most likely have been used as a gift wrapper in the 19th century. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] The Fluid Dynamics of ‘The Starry Night’: How Van Gogh’s Masterpiece Explains the Scientific Mysteries of Movement and LightPosted: January 13, 2015
Maria Popova writes:
…more than a masterwork of art, Van Gogh’s painting turns out to hold astounding clues to understanding some of the most mysterious workings of science.
This fascinating short animation from TED-Ed and Natalya St. Clair, author of The Art of Mental Calculation, explores how “The Starry Night” sheds light on the concept of turbulent flow in fluid dynamics, one of the most complex ideas to explain mathematically and among the hardest for the human mind to grasp. From why the brain’s perception of light and motion makes us see Impressionist works as flickering, to how a Russian mathematician’s theory explains Jupiter’s bright red spot, to what the Hubble Space Telescope has to do with Van Gogh’s psychotic episodes, this mind-bending tour de force ties art, science, and mental health together through the astonishing interplay between physical and psychic turbulence.
Van Gogh and other Impressionists represented light in a different way than their predecessors, seeming to capture its motion, for instance, across sun-dappled waters, or here in star light that twinkles and melts through milky waves of blue night sky.
“The effect is caused by luminance, the intensity of the light in the colors on the canvas. The more primitive part of our visual cortex — which sees light contrast and motion, but not color — will blend two differently colored areas together if they have the same luminance. But our brains primate subdivision will see the contrasting colors without blending. With these two interpretations happening at once, the light in many Impressionist works seems to pulse, flicker and radiate oddly.”
That’s how this and other Impressionist works use quickly executed prominent brushstrokes to capture something strikingly real about how light moves.
Sixty years later, Russian mathematician Andrey Kolmogorov furthered our mathematical understanding of turbulence when he proposed that energy in a turbulent fluid at length R varies in proportion to the five-thirds power of R. Experimental measurements show Kolmogorov was remarkably close to the way turbulent flow works, although a complete description of turbulence remains one of the unsolved problems in physics. Read the rest of this entry »
“She thought he was God and he thought he was God. The two of them were in love with him.”
– Barbara Rose
Carol Kino writes: Think of Picasso, and it’s impossible not to envision the women he loved, tormented and painted, like Fernande Olivier, whose distorted features are indelibly associated with early cubism, or Dora Maar, often depicted weeping, or Marie-Thérèse Walter, whose face and body the artist sundered so violently during his surrealist years.
“It began in 1952 when the 72-year-old artist, one of the most famous people in France, met the 27-year-old Roque at a pottery studio in Vallauris. He was making ceramics there, and she was a salesgirl.”
“For me, there are only two kinds of women—goddesses and doormats,” he told his postwar partner, Françoise Gilot, as she recounted in Life with Picasso, her 1964 memoir.
“Overall, however sexualized or aggressive Picasso’s characterization, there is also a serene, joyful quality to the work. Perhaps that’s because, as Duncan recalls today, the couple’s love for each other was abundantly evident.”
Since Picasso’s death in 1973, the works emerging from these liaisons—and the gripping tales behind them—have provided fodder for countless museum and gallery shows.
In the past three years alone, Gagosian Gallery, in conjunction with the Picasso biographer John Richardson, mounted two well-received New York exhibitions, Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’Amour Fou in 2011, and Picasso and Françoise Gilot in 2012. (On October 28, the gallery will open Picasso & the Camera, curated, like the others, by Richardson.)
“There are more portraits of Jacqueline than any other woman in Picasso’s life. The range of interpretation of her image is quite extraordinary.”
— Arne Glimcher, Pace’s founder
Now Pace Gallery, which has presented many Picasso shows of its own, will focus an extensive, two-gallery exhibitionaround the least celebrated and most controversial of the artist’s amours, Jacqueline Roque, a dark-haired divorcée 45 years the artist’s junior, who became his second wife in 1961.
“It is so free and full of love. Jacqueline created peace for him. That did not happen before.”
— Guggenheim Museum curator and Picasso scholar Carmen Giménez
Their relationship endured for more than 20 years, until Picasso’s death at 91, making Jacqueline, who took his name when they married, his longest-lasting consort and most persistent muse. Yet she has inspired only a few exhibitions. The last was in 2006, at the Kunst Museum Pablo Picasso in Münster, Germany. Read the rest of this entry »
For over half a century, New York City’s Four Seasons restaurant has been a place where Picasso meets the power lunch.
“I’ve seen a tremendous amount of reservations, a tremendous number of people coming to see the Picasso for the final time.”
But the pairing between one of the artist’s biggest paintings and one of New York’s most illustrious eateries is due to end Sunday. The unusual artwork – a painted stage curtain – is to be eased off its wall and moved to a museum.
“It’s spectacular. It’s huge, it’s colorful, it’s meaningful. I mean, it’s an outstanding artist.”
- BOOKS: A True Picture of Picasso (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Picasso’s Unmovable Feast: Pablo Picasso’s most readily accessible painting isn’t in a museum… (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Picasso Painting Reveals Hidden Man (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Comrade Picasso: The man and the political myth (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- The Picasso Effect (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
WASHINGTON — Scientists and art experts have found a hidden painting beneath one of Pablo Picasso‘s first masterpieces, “The Blue Room,” using advances in infrared imagery to reveal a bow-tied man with his face resting on his hand.
Now the question that conservators at The Phillips Collection in Washington hope to answer is simply: Who is he?
It’s a mystery that’s fueling new research about the 1901 painting created early in Picasso’s career while he was working in Paris at the start of his distinctive blue period of melancholy subjects.
Curators and conservators revealed their findings for the first time to The Associated Press last week. Over the past five years, experts from The Phillips Collection, National Gallery of Art, Cornell University and Delaware’s Winterthur Museum have developed a clearer image of the mystery picture under the surface. It’s a portrait of an unknown man painted in a vertical composition by one of the 20th century’s great artists.
“It’s really one of those moments that really makes what you do special,” said Patricia Favero, the conservator at The Phillips Collection who pieced together the best infrared image yet of the man’s face. “The second reaction was, ‘well, who is it?’ We’re still working on answering that question.”
In 2008, improved infrared imagery revealed for the first time a man’s bearded face resting on his hand with three rings on his fingers. He’s dressed in a jacket and bow tie. A technical analysis confirmed the hidden portrait is a work Picasso likely painted just before “The Blue Room,” curators said. After the portrait was discovered, conservators have been using other technology to scan the painting for further insights. Read the rest of this entry »
Several works in his collection suspected of having been looted from Jewish families during Nazi era
For The Guardian, Philip Oltermann writes: A Swiss museum has inherited one of the most controversial art collections in recent European history. Kunstmuseum Bern confirmed on Wednesday it has been named the “unrestricted and unfettered sole heir” in the will of the reclusive collector Cornelius Gurlitt, who died on Tuesday.
Several works in the collection, which was originally assembled by Gurlitt’s father Hildebrand, are suspected of having been looted from Jewish families during the Nazi era. A taskforce of art experts is examining the provenance of the works in a secret location in Germany until the end of the year.
Kunstmuseum Bern’s director, Matthias Frehner, said in a statement: that the news had come “like a bolt from the blue”, since Gurlitt had at no time had any connection to the museum. Already boasting works by Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee, the museum could soon be showing paintings and sketches by Claude Monet,Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Marc Chagall, Oskar Kokoschka and Max Liebermann among others. Read the rest of this entry »
“I don’t want to be the judge who has a Picasso destroyed”
“Le Tricorne” is a 19-foot-tall canvas that Picasso painted in 1919 for Sergei Diaghilev‘s Ballets Russes. It was originally used as a curtain for “The Three-Cornered Hat,” a now-classic ballet composed by Manuel de Falla and choreographed by Léonide Massine for which Picasso designed the sets and costumes. John Richardson, Picasso’s biographer, considers the décor for the ballet to be his “supreme theatrical achievement,” and the curtain is a priceless relic, one of the last surviving souvenirs of the most influential ballet company of the 20th century. Forty years after Picasso painted it, Philip Johnson incorporated “Le Tricorne” into his plans for the Four Seasons Restaurant, which is located in Mies van der Rohe‘s Seagram Building, a 38-story skyscraper that is itself a classic of modern architecture. Ever since the Four Seasons opened in 1959, “Le Tricorne” has hung in the entryway, where it can be seen not only by patrons but by passers-by. The interior of the Four Seasons was designated as a landmark in 1989, meaning that it can’t be altered without official approval.
End of story…right? Not even close.
The acuity of TJ Clark’s thought, allied to his sweeping breadth of reference, makes him the ideal interrogator of Picasso, argues John Banville
For The Irish Times, John Banville writes: At the heart of this wonderful book there is a telling passage in which the author quotes Picasso remarking to a friend that he preferred his painting The Three Dancers of 1925 to the later and more publicly ambitious Guernica.
“It [the Dancers] was painted as a picture, without ulterior motive,” Picasso said. Clark finds this puzzling, and wonders if the painter meant that “the work happened essentially without him”, and calls to his aid Rimbaud on alienation from the self. Surely, however, the matter is simple. The Three Dancers is a fearsome, indeed a savage, work, but it is pure painting; Guernica, for all its violence and power, was intended as a political statement as well as a work of art, and for that reason it is, essentially, kitsch.
One does not lightly lay such a charge against one of the modern world’s most revered cultural artefacts. However, artists of Picasso’s type, few though they be, are always in danger of imagining that because they have achieved critical success and earned much money and fame, they must have profound things to say about the public life of their times. The inevitable result is either fatuity or bombast, or both. Georges Braque, co-deliverer with Picasso of the coup de grâce to traditional European painting, summed up the matter when he was asked in old age for his opinion of his friend and said, “Pablo? Oh, Pablo used to be a good painter; now he’s just a genius.”
Pablo Picasso has long been hailed as an ardent member of the left and an advocate for peace. New research into his relationship to the Franco regime suggests the need for revision, and an examination of our motives.
JONATHAN VERNON writes: One would expect a game of word association on a busy street to match many a ‘Picasso’ with ‘Guernica’. Commissioned for the Spanish Republican Pavilion at the 1937 Paris World’s Fair, Guernica took as its subject the aerial bombardment of the eponymous Basque town. Heinkel bombers flying for General Franco had razed it to the ground across three days earlier that year. The visual language Picasso wrought from that event gave form to human suffering with unparalleled potency. Read the rest of this entry »
Paris, 1907. In a ramshackle studio in Montmartre, a twenty-six year-old Spanish artist presented the painting he had been working on day and night for the best part of a year to a small group of fellow artists, dealers and friends. They were visibly aghast.
One considered the work “a veritable cataclysm”. Another concluded that its creator must be on the brink of suicide. None could foresee that it would one day be considered the most influential artwork of the twentieth century.
The painting, then untitled, was later to become known as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. It is credited as the first work of Cubism, and the catalyst for a revolution in Western art and culture.
The reaction of its first viewers that day was understandable. Les Demoiselles was ugly, chaotic and confusing: everything art was not supposed to be. It represented a wrenching, violent rupture with artistic convention. It flouted laws of perspective, representation and beauty that had endured for over four hundred years.
In a predictable world, Les Demoiselles would have been regarded as a regrettable aberration and quickly forgotten. Yet within a few years, Cubism had become the dominant art movement in Europe, and Cubist artists were commanding sky-high prices for their work.
The painting’s creator, at the time barely known outside of Montmartre, went on to become the most famous artist in the world. The name “Pablo Picasso” became synonymous with “genius”.
By Jason Chow
A set of four hanging scrolls by 20th-century Chinese ink painter Zhang Daqian sold for $10.4 million, more than five times its pre-sale estimate, at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong on Tuesday afternoon.
Titled “Lotus,” the four large paper scrolls – each more than five feet high and 2.5 feet wide – depict lotus flowers in various state of bloom. Completed in 1947, the work was estimated to achieve $1.9 million, but brisk bidding in the room pushed the price far above that figure before going to an Asian private buyer.
In 2011, Mr. Zhang was the top-selling artist in the world at auction, but sales of his works fell to $241.6 million in 2012 from $782.4 million the year before. As a result, the artist’s sales ranking dropped to No. 4 after Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Gerhard Richter, according to figures compiled by Artnet.
Sales of Mr. Zhang’s works are once again going strong. On Monday night, Sotheby’s sold 25 works by the artist for $42 million at a sale in Hong Kong. The most expensive work sold was “Daoist Goddess Playing Panpipe,” a 1955 painting that fetched $9.5 million.
via Scene Asia – WSJ.