Archive for the 'European Art' Category

Hot Dogs at the DMA

Hot dog – tomorrow is National Dog Day! What better way to celebrate man’s best friend than to have an entire day devoted to our canine companions? We love dogs here at the DMA and have a paws-itively delightful variety of works of art depicting them. Grab your furry friend and have a tail-waggin’ good time as you celebrate National Dog Day with the top dogs of our collection.

Nicolas Mignard, The Shepherd Faustulus Bringing Romulus and Remus to His Wife, 1654, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Nicolas Mignard, The Shepherd Faustulus Bringing Romulus and Remus to His Wife, 1654, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Home is where your dog is, and this home is about to welcome two new babies to the family. This painting tells the story of a shepherd who found two babies—Romulus and Remus—in the woods. They were abandoned by their family and had been living with a she-wolf who took care of them. Luckily the babies have a four-legged family member to help watch over them!

Mythical aso (one of a pair), Borneo, Greater Sunda Islands, Kayan people, 19th century, wood (kayu tapang or Koompassia: Excelsa), Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund and the Museum League Purchase Fund

Pair of Mythical aso, Borneo, Greater Sunda Islands, Kayan people, 19th century, wood (kayu tapang or Koompassia: Excelsa), Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund and the Museum League Purchase Fund

Beware of dog! Their bark may be louder than their bite, but these two creatures certainly look strong and fierce. This is a pair of asos, a mythical animal that is a mix of a dog and a dragon. Dogs and dragons both guard and protect and for the Kayan people of Borneo, asos protected the most important people in their society.

Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Water Spaniel Confronting a Heron, 1722, oil on canvas, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation

Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Water Spaniel Confronting a Heron, 1722, oil on canvas, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation

Friend or fowl? Jean-Baptiste Oudry was known for painting hunting scenes, but there is a question about who is hunting whom in this picture. It looks like this bird is barking up the wrong tree. My money is on the mutt!

Nicolas de Largillière, Portrait of the Comtesse de Montsoreau and Sister as Diana and an Attendant, 1714, oil on canvas, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation

Nicolas de Largillière, Portrait of the Comtesse de Montsoreau and Sister as Diana and an Attendant, 1714, oil on canvas, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation

These girls are dressed up to have their portrait painted with their two pampered pooches – who wouldn’t want a painted portrait with their dog? The girls are dressed as the Goddess Diana and an attendant; Diana is the Goddess of the Hunt and her symbol is a crescent moon.

John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901-1902, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan

John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901-1902, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan

This pup looks dog-tired! Dogs can say a lot without ever barking—just look at their ears and tail! This dog, Shamrock, may be taking a cue from his owner as they sit and stay to have their portrait painted. The woman in this portrait is Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt, cousin to President Theodore Roosevelt. As a teenager, Dorothy visited the White House often for parties and events. One might say that Shamrock is one fashionable dog, check out his elegant gold collar!

The next time you feel like drooling over paintings depicting pups, take a two-legged visit to the DMA to search out the hounds.

Amanda Blake is the Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences at the DMA

The Welcoming Party: A Van Gogh Returns

Today we at the DMA are excited to welcome home after a “sabbatical” in Paris one of our masterpieces, van Gogh’s work on paper Café Terrace on the Place du Forum. On tour at the Musée d’Orsay, this magnificent work of art was one of only seven drawings featured in Van Gogh/Artaud: The Man Suicided by Society. This exhibition was seen by nearly 655,000 visitors over the course of four months, making it the highest-attended exhibition in Musée d’Orsay history. Now prominently and proudly on view in our special exhibition Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cézanne, Café Terrace on the Place du Forum joins other masterworks by van Gogh’s peer artists including Manet, Degas, Cézanne, and Renoir. Say “bonjour” and see it now through October 26 on a visit to Mind’s Eye.

Painting Without the Point: Pissarro’s “Apple Harvest” Unvarnished

A long-time favorite in the DMA’s European galleries, Camille Pissarro’s Apple Harvest of 1888 has returned to view this month after a visit to the Painting Conservation Studio.

Camille Pissarro’s Apple Harvest (1888), on Mark Leonard’s easel, in the DMA’s Painting Conservation Studio

Camille Pissarro’s Apple Harvest (1888) on Mark Leonard’s easel in the DMA’s Painting Conservation Studio

Removal of the old varnish layer began at the right side of the picture, as is seen in this image taken during the cleaning process.  Soft cotton swabs and a mild organic solvent mixture were used to remove the discolored resin.

Removal of the old varnish layer began at the right side of the picture, as is seen in this image taken during the cleaning process. Soft cotton swabs and a mild organic solvent mixture were used to remove the discolored resin.

The painting, which has been at the Museum since 1955, is in very good condition, but it was brought to Chief Conservator Mark Leonard to determine whether it was in need of cleaning. He opened a small “cleaning window” along the right side of the canvas, removing the layer of protective varnish. The bright pigments revealed by this small test confirmed that the varnish had become dark and yellowed over the past half-century, masking the true colors of the painting. It needed to be removed. The painting was carefully cleaned and its original vibrant tonality has been rediscovered.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Pissarro actually made three different paintings of this subject: a group of peasants gathering apples in the shade of an apple tree. The first version dates back to 1881, when Pissarro was one of the leaders of the impressionist group, and is painted in a classic impressionist style, with open brushwork describing the dappled sunlight that falls on the figures.

Camille Pissarro, Apple Picking, 1881, Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 21 ¼ in. (65 x 54 cm), Private Collection

Camille Pissarro, Apple Picking, 1881, oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 21 ¼ in. (65 x 54 cm), Private Collection

The same year, Pissarro started another, larger version of the subject, but did not complete it until 1886, when he showed it at the eighth and final impressionist exhibition.

 Camille Pissarro, Apple Picking, 1881-1886, oil on canvas, 49 5/8 x 50 in. (126 x 127 cm), Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan

Camille Pissarro, Apple Picking, 1881-1886, oil on canvas, 49 5/8 x 50 in. (126 x 127 cm), Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan

At that exhibition, Pissarro championed the participation of the young pointillist painters, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, and Seurat showed his “manifesto painting,” A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte1884.

Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte—1884, 1884-86, oil on canvas, 81 ¾ x 121 ¼ in. (207.5 x 308.1 cm), Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection

Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte—1884, 1884-86, oil on canvas, 81 ¾ x 121 ¼ in. (207.5 x 308.1 cm), Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection

Pissarro had recently adopted Seurat’s neo-impressionist method as the approach to painting that was “in harmony with our epoch” and an evolution from the older, “romantic” impressionism of artists like Monet. When he began work the next year on the DMA’s Apple Harvest, Pissarro was returning to a familiar subject, but armed with the new, “scientific” principles he had learned from Seurat.
Pissarro prepared the painting with a number of drawings, oil studies, and a full compositional watercolor, which he squared for transfer.

Camille Pissarro, Compositional study for Apple Harvest, c. 1888, watercolor on paper, 6 5/8 x 8 ½ in. (16.7 x 21.5 cm), Whereabouts unknown

Camille Pissarro, Compositional study for Apple Harvest, c. 1888, watercolor on paper, 6 5/8 x 8 ½ in. (16.7 x 21.5 cm), whereabouts unknown

In one drawing for the apple tree, Pissarro carefully noted the local colors he observed in the grass while sketching in the apple orchard: “yellowish red-orange,” “green,” “violet,” and “pink.”

Camille Pissarro, Study for Apple Harvest, c. 1888, graphite and colored pencil on beige paper, 7 x 9 in. (17.8 x 22.7 cm), The Eunice and Hal David Collection

Camille Pissarro, Study for Apple Harvest, c. 1888, graphite and colored pencil on beige paper, 7 x 9 in. (17.8 x 22.7 cm), The Eunice and Hal David Collection

In the final painting, these colors were evoked optically through a flurry of carefully selected and painstakingly applied flecks and dots of pure, unmixed color.

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest (Cuillette des pommes), 1888 (detail)

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest, 1888 (detail)

The pointillist method was a source of ongoing internal debate for Pissarro during these years. Despite his methodical preparatory studies, Pissarro placed a very high value on freedom and improvisation in painting. In September 1888, around the time he was completing work on Apple Harvest, he wrote to his son Lucien, a fellow neo-impressionist: “I am thinking a lot here about a way of producing without the point,” he reported. “How to attain the qualities of purity, of the simplicity of the point, and the thickness, the suppleness, the liberty, the spontaneity, the freshness of sensation of our impressionist art? That’s the question; it is much on my mind, for the point is thin, without consistency, diaphanous, more monotonous than simple.”

In Apple Harvest, Pissarro went to great lengths to avoid the monotony of pointillism, and his dots are surprisingly active and diverse, fracturing and curling to define form as well as color.

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest (Cuillette des pommes), 1888 (detail)

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest, 1888 (detail)

Robert Herbert, one of the great 20th-century historians of impressionism, described Pissarro’s complex approach to describing the deep shadow under the apple tree at the center foreground of the painting with a myriad of colored points: “The shadow has brilliant red, intense blue, intense green as well as pink, lavender, orange, some yellow, and subdued blues and greens. The pigments were not allowed to mix much together, and preserve their individuality which, because of the high intensity, results in an abrasive vibration in our eye that cannot be resolved into one tone. In order to make the contrast still sharper, Pissarro strengthens the blue around the edges of the shadow, a reaction provoked by the proximity of the strong sunlit field.”

 Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest (Cuillette des pommes), 1888 (detail)

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest, 1888 (detail)

By February of the next year, Pissarro informed his son that he was still “searching for a way to replace the points. Up until this moment, I haven’t found what I desire; the execution doesn’t seem to me to be quick enough and doesn’t respond simultaneously enough to sensation.” Pissarro sought nothing less than translating the immediacy of his optical sensations into the solid fact of paint on a canvas. Throughout the late 1880s, he was testing the capacity of the neo-impressionists’ methods to sustain this personal artistic goal.

Camille Pissarro taking his rolling easel outdoors to paint near his house in Éragny, France, c. 1895

Camille Pissarro taking his rolling easel outdoors to paint near his house in Éragny, France, c. 1895

The first critics who saw Apple Harvest in 1889 and 1890, when it was shown at important exhibitions in Brussels and Paris, were profoundly impressed with how Pissarro managed to convey the experience of sunlight using the pointillist approach. One early critic wrote, “Truly, the canvases of M. Pissarro are today painted with the sun.” Later writers have agreed, pointing out how Pissarro “directed the light so that it appears to radiate from the depths of the scene, to activate with color everything along its path and then to issue forth in to the viewer’s space.”

How, then, does the painting’s recent cleaning alter our understanding of Apple Harvest? For many decades, the painting has appeared more yellow than Pissarro intended because of the darkened layer of varnish on its surface. This change has no doubt influenced viewers of the painting who noted the “warm” palette of the canvas, which “positively throbs with the heat of a late summer’s afternoon.” The intensely sunlit effect of the painting was, it seems, given an additional golden glow by the amber hue of the darkened varnish. But, the dazzling luminosity of Apple Harvest—its “powerful fiat lux,” in the words of one early critic—was no accident of time. It was apparent to viewers as soon as the painting left Pissarro’s easel, and now, 125 years later, the painting’s brilliant colors and lighting effects have been restored to their original, white-hot intensity.

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest (Cuillette des pommes), 1888, oil on canvas, 24 x 29 1/8 in. (61 x 74 cm), Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest, 1888, oil on canvas, 24 x 29 1/8 in. (61 x 74 cm), Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Celebrate Camille Pissarro’s birthday on July 10 with a visit to the newly conserved work on Level 2.

Heather MacDonald is The Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art at the DMA.

World War I Through the Eyes of Käthe Kollwitz: One Hundred Years Later

A new installation in the European Works on Paper Gallery contemplates the life and work of the German artist Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945). For Germans born in the latter half of the 19th century, life was in a constant state of chaos. Immigration to America was at an all-time high, and World War I would soon be on their doorstep only to be followed by the destruction of World War II. For Kollwitz, the impact of these grave events became the inspiration for her artwork.

Käthe Kollwitz, Self Portrait, 1927. Lithograph, 12 5/8 x 11 ¾ in. (32.068 x 29.845 cm.), Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, 1953.37

Käthe Kollwitz, Self-Portrait, 1927. lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

As a graphic artist and sculptor, Kollwitz was widely popular in Europe and America throughout her long life. Kollwitz had always been drawn to representing the working classes. But it was with a cycle of six prints documenting the Weaver’s Revolt of 1844 that she achieved instant fame. The DMA owns the last two prints in the series, Revolt and End.

Käthe Kollwitz, Revolt (Sturm), 1897. ink and etching on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

Käthe Kollwitz, Revolt, 1897. ink and etching on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

Käthe Kollwitz, End (Ende), 1897. aquatint and etching on paper, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Käthe Kollwitz, End, 1897, aquatint and etching on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Together these works document the uprising of peasant workers and the resulting death and destruction. This series was so popular that Kollwitz was awarded a gold medal at the Great Berlin Exhibition of 1898, but the Prussian emperor Wilhelm II refused to award it to her, fearing her striking images would spark rebellions among the working classes. Nevertheless, it was this subject matter that would carry throughout her life’s work. She became dedicated to advocating for the lower classes and the downtrodden in society.

After the war, Kollwitz created many lithographs of women and children, such as Bread! and Hungry Children. These images were widely popular and circulated throughout the country. Kollwitz intended to draw attention to the starving working class and the impact of World War I on the nation.

Käthe Kollwitz, Bread! (Brot!), 1924. lithograph, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Käthe Kollwitz, Bread!, 1924. lithograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg

Käthe Kollwitz, Hungry Children (Deutschlands Kinder Hungern!), 1924. lithograph and ink, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

Käthe Kollwitz, Hungry Children, 1924. lithograph and ink, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts, The Alfred and Juanita Bromberg Collection, bequest of Juanita K. Bromberg

These two works were reprinted nearly a decade later. During World War II, Bread! was published in the National Socialist women’s magazine, Warte, as pro-Nazi propaganda, with the forged signature of St. Frank. Kollwitz was outraged, as she was a staunch opponent of Nazism and another world war. The United States appropriated Hungry Children as a propaganda poster to encourage rationing for the war effort.

After Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867-1945), Brot!, reprinted by the Nazi Party in NS Frauen Warte, the National Socialist Women’s Paper, photo credit Elizabeth Prelinger, Käthe Kollwitz (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1992), pg. 122. After Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867-1945), Ask the Women and Children Whom Hitler is Starving Whether Rationing is Too Great a “Sacrifice,” 1942-1945, Photomechanical print, 55 ¾ x 39 13/16 in. (141.6 x 101.2 cm.), National Archives at College Park, MD, ARC Identifier, 513836

After Käthe Kollwitz, Bread!, reprinted by the Nazi Party in NS Frauen Warte, the National Socialist Women’s Paper, photo credit Elizabeth Prelinger, Käthe Kollwitz (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1992), pg. 122. After Käthe Kollwitz , Ask the Women and Children Whom Hitler Is Starving Whether Rationing Is Too Great a “Sacrifice,” 1942-45, Photomechanical print, National Archives at College Park, MD, ARC Identifier, 513836

The works are currently on view in the Museum’s European Works on Paper Gallery on Level 2 and are included in the DMA’s free general admission.

Update September 5, 2014:
Listen to an interview with Michael Hartman discussing the exhibition on Tyler Green’s The Modern Art Notes Podcast here.

Michael Hartman is the McDermott Intern for European Art at the DMA.

Hocus Pocus

Halloween is just around the corner and it has us seeing haunting references in works at the DMA and treats throughout the Museum’s galleries. Tell us which works cause you to have a hair-raising Museum visit.

Reclining Nymph Gets a New Name

You may have heard that we recently reattributed a Baroque sculpture in the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection to the artist Giovanni Bonazza. Here’s an interview with Olivier Meslay, associate director of curatorial affairs at the DMA, explaining how he discovered the true artist of Reclining Nymph:

For additional information on the sculpture and its reattribution, you can read the full press release here or see the work up close, and for free, on view in The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection on Level 3.

Off the Walls: Erminia and the Shepherds

The DMA’s galleries house art from around the world, and each work has a story. Olivier Meslay, the Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs and Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, shares insight about the recent acquisition Erminia and the Shepherds, by Guillaume Guillon Lethière. After you learn about the artist and the history of the painting, visit the work on Level 2 for free!


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 273 other followers

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

Backstage at the Indonesian Celebration

We're ready for an Indonesian Celebration!

More Photos

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 273 other followers