Posts Tagged 'Vincent van Gogh'

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.

Run the DMA Marathon

It’s that time of year again, and the excitement of the Dallas PCS Marathon has arrived! Last year, the marathon races drew over 15,700 runners and 300,000 spectators. It’s expected to be bigger than ever this year, and the city of Dallas is pulling out all the stops. The Dallas Museum of Art is joining the city in welcoming runners and their friends, families, and fans alike!

As both a McDermott intern in the education department and a runner, I had the pleasure (and pain!) of gaining my Museum feet during the height of my training for the marathon. As I learned to navigate through the galleries, I discovered that the DMA has many things in common with a marathon: it’s huge, it’s inspirational, and there are lots of friendly staff members to support you along your journey. Therefore, I am thrilled to combine two of my passions–running and museums–in inviting you to embark on your very own DMA Marathon. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite artworks throughout the DMA’s galleries, hand-picked to motivate, inspire, and refuel you. So, what are you waiting for? Lace up your running shoes, and get ready to explore!

Registration: DMA Atrium
The DMA has free general admission (every day!), so you don’t need to pull out your wallet for this race. But please do hit up the Visitor Services Desk to sign up for the DMA Friends program. With your shiny new DMA Friends membership, you’ll be able to check in at various locations in the Museum and earn points toward exciting DMA rewards such as free parking, sneak peeks at new exhibitions, and exclusive Museum experiences. The Atrium is also a great place to grab a pre-race bite in the DMA Cafe, use the line-free bathrooms, and get in your stretches in front of Robert Rauschenberg’s breathtaking Skyway or Rufino Tamayo’s iconic painting El Hombre (Man).

Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, oil and silkscreen on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr. and General Acquisitions Fund

Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, oil and silkscreen on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr. and General Acquisitions Fund, (c) Rauschenberg Estate/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre (Man), 1953, vinyl with pigment on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds

Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre (Man), 1953, vinyl with pigment on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds, (c) Estate of the artist in support of Fundacion Olga y Rufino Tamayo, A.C.

Resist Temptation and Find Your Pace: Level 4: Ancient American Art and American Art
The starting gun goes off and you head up the stairs to Level 4, where you will come face to face with Tlaloc, the DMA’s rain god. But no need to worry about rain inside the Museum, Tlaloc was also a war god and will send you off with blessings of stamina and power!

Head of the rain god Tlaloc, Mixtec, Late Postclassic period, c. 1300-1500, ceramic, tufa, stucco, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus in memory of Mary Freiberg

Head of the rain god Tlaloc, Mixtec, Late Postclassic period, c. 1300-1500, ceramic, tufa, stucco, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus in memory of Mary Freiberg

As you make your way by Crawford Riddle’s bedstead, deemed “The Big Bed” by our younger visitors, try not to be distracted with thoughts of putting your feet up so early in the race. You’ve worked hard to prepare for this moment, and this bed should serve as a reminder that some well-deserved relaxation awaits you at the end of this journey!

Crawford Riddell, Bed, c. 1844, Brazilian rosewood, tulip poplar, and yellow pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of three anonymous donors, Friends of the Decorative Arts Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, and the Boshell Family Foundation

Bedstead, Crawford Riddell, c. 1844, Brazilian rosewood, tulip poplar, and yellow pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of three anonymous donors, Friends of the Decorative Arts Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, and the Boshell Family Foundation

Also, I know how easy it is to let the excitement of the race throw off your timing. Gerald Murphy’s Watch is a great reminder to check your pace and adjust your gallery viewing speed if necessary.

Gerald Murphy, Watch, 1925, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist

Gerald Murphy, Watch, 1925, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the artist, (c) Estate of Honoria Murphy Donnelly

Dodge Obstacles and Find Inspiration: Level 3: Arts of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
Head down the stairs to Level 3, where you will come face to face with sculptures, jewelry, and artifacts from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. You may want to pick up the pace when you spot the coffin of Horankh in the Ancient Egyptian gallery. We have several Egyptian coffins (including one with an actual mummy inside!), and although they are beautiful, they are rumored to look a little too alive at times!

Coffin of Horankh, Late Period, c. 700 B.C., Thebes, Egypt, wood, gesso, paint, obsidian, calcite, and bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

Coffin of Horankh, Egypt, Thebes, Late Period, c. 700 B.C., wood, gesso, paint, obsidian, calcite, and bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund

Before you leave the third floor, loop around to the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection for some inspiration. Vincent van Gogh’s Sheaves of Wheat is a breathtaking sight that should not be missed!

Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, July 1890, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Vincent van Gogh, Sheaves of Wheat, July 1890, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Beat “The Wall”: Level 2: Ancient Mediterranean and European Art
Trot down the stairs to Level 2, where you will glide between athletic bodies featured in the Greek and Roman statues, busts, and antiquities. Pat yourself on the back; after this race, you will be able to rank yourself among these talented athletes!
At this point in the race, it is common to hit “the wall,” and you may be starting to feel like the characters in Fernand Leger’s Divers or Picasso’s Guitarist in the European galleries, but keep going–you’re almost to the end!

Fernand Léger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation

Fernand Léger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, (c) Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

Pablo Picasso, The Guitarist, 1965, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund

Pablo Picasso, The Guitarist, 1965, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Art Museum League Fund, (c) Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Level 1: Contemporary Art
Your heart is pounding as you head into the final stretch of the marathon. Your final leg will take you back up the Museum Concourse to the finish line in the contemporary art galleries. You can hardly believe your eyes when you catch a glimpse of Mark Rothko’s Orange, Red and Red and wonder if you are seeing a mirage. But it is real, and the finish line is surrounded by gorgeous contemporary works. Take in the sights as you relish this moment–you did it!

Mark Rothko, Orange, Red and Red, 1962, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated

Mark Rothko, Orange, Red and Red, 1962, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, (c) 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

It’s been my pleasure to take you along on the DMA Marathon. We hope that you are able to join us during marathon weekend and experience the Museum firsthand! Best of luck to all of my fellow runners; see you at the finish line!

Amelia Wood is the McDermott intern for family & access teaching at the DMA.

Sacré Bleu! A Twisted Tale of the Ultramarine Hue

Recently I managed to get my hands on an advance copy of Christopher Moore’s newest book, Sacré Bleu. This auspicious event was followed by two days of ravenous reading, skipped meals, and neglected chores. Christopher Moore, the author who has brought us absurdly funny stories about Jesus Christ, vampires, and sassy whales, has cannonballed into the pool of art history–and has made a huge splash!

"Sacré Bleu" by Christopher Moore. On sale April 3, 2012.

When asked about the origin of his latest novel, Moore says, “I simply set out to write a novel about the color blue.” This desire brought him to Paris, London, and Italy, where “it turns out they keep a lot of the art discussed in this book.” The novel opens as the tragic news of Vincent van Gogh’s death reaches Paris. His friends, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Lucien Lessard, set out to solve the mystery of Vincent’s death after receiving this warning from him:

“P.S. If you see the Colorman, run. Run. You are too talented and too delicate of constitution to endure, I think. I am not mad. I promise.”
–Vincent

To solve the murder, Lucien and Henri will have to hunt down this twisted little Colorman who has a penchant for ultramarine blue. They will find love, heartbreak, forgotten memories, and, ahem, some girls in Moulin Rouge. Ultimately they will uncover the secret of the Colorman and the ordained powers he gets from Sacré Bleu, but not before having a little bit of fun with their impressionist friends.

Here are some examples of uses of Sacré Bleu from Christopher Moore’s novel. Throughout the story, each of these artists is visited by the manipulative Colorman.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, “The Swing,” 1876, oil on canvas, Museé d’Orsay.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, “Rousse dit aussi La Toilette,” 1889, oil on cardboard, Museé d’Orsay.

Claude Monet, “Camille Monet on Her Deathbed,” 1879, oil on canvas, Museé d’Orsay.

Georges Seurat, “Bathers at Asnières,” 1884, oil on canvas, National Gallery.

Sacré Bleu, the “sacred blue,” the truest blue, was at the time the most expensive paint in history. It was extremely difficult to obtain. First, colormen would need the gemstone lapis lazuli, which, for centuries, was more rare and more valuable than gold. On top of that, lapis lazuli is only found in one place in the world, the mountains of Afghanistan–a world away from Europe! Why go to all this trouble to make a little bit of blue paint? Because the pigment derived from lapis lazuli creates the most spectacular, everlasting, ultramarine blue. It does not fade over time or blacken with age like some other blue paints. This quality of ultramarine blue, as well as the significant sacrifice one had to make to obtain it, made it the perfect color to reserve for the Blessed Virgin, the mother of Christ. In many religious scenes, Mary is seen wearing a Sacré Bleu gown.

Michelangelo, “The Entombment,” c. 1500, tempera on panel, National Gallery.

Although he spends most of his time haunting the impressionists in Montmartre, the Colorman does make his way back to 16th-century Italy to visit the masters of the Renaissance. In this example, it appears as though Michelangelo’s The Entombment remains unfinished because he was unable to obtain the ultramarine paint he needed to finish the figure of the Virgin Mary. Of course in reality this is probably due to the high cost of the paint, but in Sacré Bleu, it is a mystery that is waiting to be solved by you!

Christopher Moore will discuss his new book as part of the Arts & Letters Live program at the Dallas Museum of Art on Tuesday, April 1o, at 7:30 p.m. For more information and tickets to this event, visit our website. The DMA’s Museum Store is selling first-edition copies of Sacre Bleu, with beautiful color illustrations of the art discussed in the novel.

Hayley Dyer is the Audience Relations Coordinator for Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.

A Pair of Twos: Two Authors’ Take on Two Painters

Part of what’s most fun about working on Arts & Letters Live is getting to hear the buzz about new books several months before they are released. We first heard about Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith last winter and couldn’t wait for the release. This new biography came out less than a month ago to tremendous acclaim. Leo Jansen, Curator at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, called it “the definitive biography for decades to come,” and the authors were  profiled on 60 Minutes.

We are thrilled to be able to host these two authors for a program at the Dallas Museum of Art on Monday, November 14. They will discuss their new book and the similarities between Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, the subject of their Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Jackson Pollock: An American Saga.

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith were gracious enough to answer a few questions for us in advance of their event.

How did you come to tackle Vincent van Gogh as a subject for this book?
While we were still working on our biography of Jackson Pollock, more than twenty-five years ago, we began to think about the next artist we might want to write about. The challenge for a biographer is to find a subject (1) who is significant, in terms of the work he or she has left behind; (2) who led an interesting life; (3) whose life had a particular impact on the work; (4) who left behind enough of a record in order to be able to reconstruct the life; and (5) who hasn’t already been the subject of a definitive, or even a thorough, account. No one met these criteria better than van Gogh. The only hurdle was that we don’t read Dutch, a hurdle got past with the help of eleven translators. 

Other than Vincent van Gogh himself, who is the most interesting figure that you write about in this book?
Theo, certainly. He was easily the most important person in van Gogh’s life. He was Van Gogh’s only consistent source of emotional and financial support. He was an interesting person in his own right – both audacious enough to be one of the first dealers in Paris who showed the work of the impressionists, but also conservative enough to show only work he knew would sell. He was intensely conflicted in his feelings for his brother –fully aware of Vincent’s willingness to take advantage of his generosity, furious that Vincent caused their family so much trouble, and angry that Vincent refused to accept his advice about how to make his work more salable, yet caring for him deeply, utterly.

How do you feel van Gogh’s letters shaped Van Gogh: The Life?
The letters are the starting point for any biographer of van Gogh. They are astonishingly long and detailed, and yet they often have a manipulative intent. Van Gogh usually wanted something from Theo, and he was sometimes elegant, sometimes ham-fisted, in his efforts to cloak his requests. But because of van Gogh’s intermittent self-knowledge, because of his extraordinary intelligence and intellect, because they were written for the most part to one person, and because he didn’t think anyone else would ever read them, van Gogh’s letters open an almost unique window onto a great creative mind.

Sheaves of Wheat, Vincent Van Gogh, 1890, Oil on Canvas, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection

Do you have a favorite work of van Gogh’s? What draws you to that piece?
We have many, many favorites, but one that comes to mind is a painting of underbrush in the Van Gogh Museum collection. It shows both his absolute mastery of color – extraordinary and subtle combinations of browns and purples and blues, hundreds and hundreds of them – and a dazzling display of his command over his brush, and in particular his Sargent-like ability to paint wet on wet.

Tree Roots, July 1890, Oil on Canvas, 19 3/4 x 39 1/4 in. Van Gogh Foundation, Amsterdam.

Have you visited Dallas before? If so, what did you think of the city?
(Steven) Yes, I have a lot of family in Texas – in fact I was Congressman Charlie Wilson’s first intern on Capitol Hill. Dallas has some spectacular architecture, including I. M. Pei’s Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, and the Museum has a first-rate collection, including two key works by Jackson Pollock, Portrait and a Dream and Cathedral. We have not yet seen the Nasher Sculpture Center and are thrilled at the opportunity to see it.

Cathedral, Jackson Pollock, 1947, Enamel and aluminum paint on canvas, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard J. Reis

The November 14 event is sold out but overflow seating is still available in a live simulcast in the Center for Creative Connections Theater.

Katie Hutton is Program Manager of Arts & Letters Live at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Member Appreciation Week

The DMA’s third annual Member Appreciation Week (MAW) is less than a month away. Each year we set aside one week to celebrate our members! Membership contributions are vital to the Museum’s operations, allowing us to present exquisite special exhibitions and rich multidisciplinary programming like Late Nights. The Dallas Museum of Art is extraordinary because of the generosity and investment of its members.

We’ve added a couple of days to this year’s MAW so that we can incorporate the opening of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to the Sidewalk. Over twenty events are planned during these nine days, which was no easy feat, and there is something that will appeal to all of our members. Some of the week’s highlights include:

  • Member previews of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier - Preparation for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition has been in the works for months, but we reserved time for our members to have the opportunity to view the exhibition prior to the November 13 public opening.
  • Arts & Letters Live special lecture: Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock: Changing What Art Is - Authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith will discuss their new book Van Gogh: The Life as well as the similarities they found between Vincent van Gogh and Jackson Pollock, on Monday, November 14. Members will be able to attend this event free (to make reservations click here), and I’m taking this night off so that I can enjoy my membership benefits!
  • Story Time – Every summer the education department sends an e-mail to staff members asking who wants to read books during Story Time. I’m always one of the first to volunteer to read a children’s story in one of the collection galleries. It is a popular event with families and we want to offer our members this experience in the fall. After the story, we talk about the art. Hearing children tell me about their experience with art is one of the highlights of my job!
  • 20% off in the Museum Store – who doesn’t love a good sale! The extra 20% is just in time to start your holiday shopping.

For a full list of events, visit Events for Members. Don’t forget to stop by the Member Services Desk to introduce yourself so that we can thank you in person! For information on how to become a member, call 214-922-1247 or visit  DallasMuseumofArt.org.

Wendi Kavanaugh is the Member Outreach Manager at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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