Archive for the 'European Art' Category

Picture Yourself

Self-portraits are compelling images because they appear to show us the person behind the artwork, offering us a special peek in to who the artist was. We hope that by looking at the self-portrait, we can learn something about them. Yet, much like the selfies we post on social media, the artists were presenting themselves how they wished to be seen.

Just as selfies allow our friends and family to feel like they’re sharing in our daily lives, they ultimately resulted for our own conscious decisions, just like a self-portrait. The self-portraits we see in museums are images that exist somewhere between how e see the artist and how the artist wanted us to see them.

My upcoming exhibition Multiple Selves: Portraits from Rembrandt to Rivera opening  this weekend in the Museum’s European gallery on Level 2  focuses on this play between how we want to be seen and how we are seen. The majority of the images are self-portraits, ranging from the 17th to the 20th centuries in a variety of media, including etching, lithography, and drawing.

Just as we use objects and clothing in our selfies to identify ourselves (think college t-shirts to mark us as alums or pictures in front of tourist landmarks to show where we’ve been), artists in these self-portraits use different objects and costumes to help us identify the person we see in the portrait as an artist.

Koloman Sokol, Self-Portrait (Autoportret), mid-20th c., wood engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, Anonymous gift, 1949.11

In many of the works, these things are tools of the trade, or objects that are specific to an artist’s working life. This includes things such as palettes, canvases, mahl sticks (used by artists to keep their painting hand steady), drawing implements, and jewelry, which historically marked an artist’s inclusion in a professional guild or within a royal court.

One work in particular offers an intriguing example of this complex dynamic. Self-Portrait (Autoportret) by Koloman Sokol is this type of double self-portrait. Sokol, a Slovakian artist by birth who worked extensively in Mexico and the United States, probably created this self-portrait sometime in his 30s. In it, we see not only the completed self-portrait, but also the artist caught in the act of creating a self-portrait. At the bottom of the print, the outlines of this second self-portrait take shape. This second self-portrait is being created just as the first one was, through a printmaking process known as wood engraving. To help us identify the work he is doing, he includes his tools—the wood block he is carving on and a burin, a tool used in printmaking to cut into the metal plate or wood block.

Koloman Sokol, Self-Portrait (Autoportret) (detail), mid-20th c., wood engraving, Dallas Museum of Art, Anonymous gift, 1949.11

In the works that feature artist tools, like Sokol’s, the artists are manipulating their own image to ensure that we as an audience recognize the duality of their self-portrait, that we recognize the artist as an artist through both the self-portrait as a work of art and through the artist’s self-presentation as an artist.

For more about self-portraits, join me for a free Gallery Talk on Wednesday, May 3, at 12:15 p.m. in the exhibition. For another type of double self-portrait, be sure to visit The Two Fridas, now on view in the exhibition México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde on view only at the DMA.

Amy Wojciechowski is the Dedo and Barron Kidd McDermott Graduate Intern for European Art.

The Mondrian Brand

The abstract paintings of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian have become ubiquitous in pop culture, from architecture to designer fashions. In a sense his geometric, primary-colored compositions have become a brand. This proliferation and appropriation of an artistic style begs the question, what shapes an artist’s legacy? Why do some works of art become so intertwined with pop culture that they become icons instantly recognizable to mass audiences? Join us on Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. for The Mondrian Brand and hear from Dr. Nancy Troy, Victoria and Roger Sant Professor in Art at Stanford University and author of The Afterlife of Piet Mondrian.

Piet Mondrian, Place de la Concorde, 1938–1943, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation 1982.22.FA

To contemplate Mondrian’s pop culture legacy in my own way I thought it was finally time to attempt the complex and beautiful Mondrian Cake made famous by Caitlin Freeman in her book Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art.

The first three lines of the recipe are just a taste of what goes into this chocolate-soaked masterpiece:
Makes one 16 by 3 by 3-inch cake, serving 15
Hands-on time: 6 hours
From start to finish: 2 days


To begin, I had to make four velvety cakes: one white, one blue, one red, and one yellow. Freeman uses a delicious recipe with a shocking butter content (I made two trips to the store). As you might imagine, I ended up with a rainbow of leftover cake that I was too lazy to repurpose into another dessert.

After precisely cutting each section of the Mondrianesque composition I glued them together with 24 oz of bittersweet chocolate ganache and finished the cake with a shower of ganache. With two days of cake construction behind me I was impatient to see the finished product and did not let it set up in the fridge for the recommended three hours. Each slice revealed a mini Mondrian, if only slightly wonky and Easter-egg colored. We’ll never know if Mondrian would have approved of this culinary counterfeit, but I was certainly satisfied with my effort.

Jessie Frazier is the Manager of Adult Programming 

Listen Hear

The Center for Creative Connections (C3) has been working closely with our Manager of Access Programs, Emily Wiskera, to create new sensory activities at each of the Pop-Up Art Spots. This month we have added a new activity to our Pop-Up Art Spot in the 18th-Century European Gallery. The works of art on view in this gallery are so epic they feel like they are straight out of a movie. So, we invited local musicians Clint Niosi and Claire Hecko to compose one-minute “film scores” for four of the works of art on view. Here’s a sneak peek of two of them:

Claude-Joseph Vernet, A Mountain Landscape with an Approaching Storm, 1775, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund 1983.41.FA

Claude-Joseph Vernet, A Mountain Landscape with an Approaching Storm, 1775, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 1983.41.FA

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, The Harp Lesson, 1791, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund 2015.10.FA

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, The Harp Lesson, 1791, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2015.10.FA

Stop by the Pop-Up Art Spot on Saturdays between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. or on Late Night between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m., check out an iPod, and listen to these mesmerizing sounds as you look closely at these works of art.

Jessica Fuentes is the Manager of Gallery Interpretation and the Center for Creative Connections at the DMA.

A Fête to Remember

Tomorrow evening the DMA will kick off an Annual Fête celebrating 18th-century French masterpieces from the Michael L. Rosenberg Collection and the release of a new publication, French Art of the Eighteenth Century: The Michael L. Rosenberg Lecture Series at the Dallas Museum of Art. Join us for performances, talks, art making, and a tres magnifique menu.

Before we step back in time and party like it’s 1799, I asked each of the past and present curators of the Rosenberg Collection to share a favorite work of art or a fond memory of working with this group of objects. Catch up with them at the Annual Fête, where they will be available to answer questions about your favorite Rosenberg artworks.

Nicky Myers, The Lillian and James H. Clark Curator of European Painting and Sculpture, DMA

“It is truly a privilege to be able to display and study such an important collection of 18th-century French artwork. Beyond its art historical significance, beyond its extraordinary quality and condition, the Rosenberg Collection is simply stunning. Lush colors, sumptuous costumes, and elegant figures welcome you to the Michael L. Rosenberg Galleries of 18th-Century Art, some of my favorite rooms in the Museum. When we enter these spaces, we are instantly transported back in time to a rare moment when the decorative and fine arts shared the same aesthetic, and when patrons and artists shared similar sensibilities. It is hard for me to choose a favorite work within the Rosenberg Collection, but I’m particularly drawn to the Greuze, Boilly, and Largillière paintings.”

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, The Dreamer, 1765–1769, 29.2004.10, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, The Dreamer, 1765–69, oil on canvas, lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation, 29.2004.10

Heather MacDonald, Program Officer, Getty Foundation

“What I enjoyed most about working with the Michael L. Rosenberg Collection and its annual lecture series was the opportunity to invite amazing scholars, whose work I’ve admired for years, to come to Dallas and share their research. They’re like historical detectives, piecing together bits of evidence gathered over a lifetime of research and close looking.

I don’t like to choose favorites among works of art in the galleries, but I will confess to an adoration of François-André Vincent’s portrait of the playwright Desforges. It’s such a modern, informal portrait: Desforges is shown in his (beautifully painted) shirtsleeves, with a five-o’clock shadow, looking off in the distance as if caught in a moment of creative inspiration. Vincent painted Desforges on the cusp of the Revolution, which offered new kinds of individual freedoms to French citizens, but this portrait also says so much about how the modern individual had been reimagined by the Enlightenment. There is a whole story about the 18th century contained in this image!”

François André Vincent, Portrait of Pierre-Jean-Baptiste Choudard (called Desforges), 1789, 29.2004.1, Lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation

François André Vincent, Portrait of Pierre-Jean-Baptiste Choudard (called Desforges), 1789, oil on canvas, lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation, 29.2004.1

Eik Kahng, Assistant Director and Chief Curator, Santa Barbara Museum of Art

“What I remember most fondly about Michael was his sincere love for the works of art that he collected. Before it came to the DMA, the collection was installed at Michael’s house. He very kindly allowed for private tours from time to time, which everyone greatly enjoyed. Michael would routinely ask me to lead the tours, starting in the living room, where the great Lemoyne Bather and the wonderful Oudry animal painting of a water spaniel confronting a heron were on view. However, about five minutes into my talk, Michael would invariably interrupt and start adding his own, detailed commentary. He was so passionate about each and every object and could speak eloquently and informatively about each one. I always teased him that he didn’t need me to be there at all, since he was more than capable of providing his own overview of the collection. It’s always such a pleasure to listen to collectors who really love their art.”

Jean–Baptiste Oudry, Water Spaniel Confronting a Heron, 1722, 29.2004.8, 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, 29.2004.8

 

Jessie Frazier is the Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Off the Wall: A New Experience

What do David Bowie, James Bond, The Karate Kid, Bon Jovi, and dragons have in common? They all served as inspiration for our newest program, Off the Wall.

This spring and summer, the Adult Programming team spent many hours brainstorming themes, program ideas, and the best format for a new evening event. We wanted to be playful in our approach, making sure everyone would have a fun and unexpected experience—thus Off the Wall was born.

From 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month, Off the Wall will offer a unique way to explore our collection with a pop culture twist. We will launch Off the Wall tomorrow with an exploration of space, astronomy, and the 60s with our take on Space Oddity.

Each member of the team brought her own area of geeky pop culture knowledge to the table, for example, but not limited to, 80s TV, movies, and music (Stacey); movies and all things sci-fi and fantasy (Jessie); Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and over the top action movies (Katie); and all things 90s with a specialty in rap from the early 2000s (Madeleine).

So stop by and geek out with us, revel in the pop culture madness with us, and boldly go on this new adventure in the DMA collection with us.

October 13: Space Oddity 

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, 1986.8.a-b, (c) Rauschenberg Estate/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY 

November 10: Gogh Your Own Way 

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, 1985.R.80

December 8: Winter Is Coming

Finial: Dragon head, 11th–14th century, Bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1963.24

Finial: dragon head, Iran, 11th–14th century, bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1963.24

January 12: Plot Twist

Thinking Bodhisattva, Asian, 4th-6th century C.E., terracotta, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendover Fund, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, and General Acquisitions Fund, 2010.17

Thinking Bodhisattva, Afghanistan, 4th-6th century C.E., terracotta, Dallas Museum of Art, Wendover Fund, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, and General Acquisitions Fund, 2010.17

February 9: Shot Through the Heart

Yinka Shonibare, M.B.E., A Masked Ball (Un ballo mascherd), 2004, high-definition digital video, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.26

Yinka Shonibare, M.B.E., A Masked Ball (Un ballo mascherd), 2004, high-definition digital video, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.26, (c) Yinka Shonibare

March 9: Et Tu, Brute?

Ceremonial Knife (Metal Inlaid Grip), African, 19th-20th century, wood, steel, nickel-silver, Dallas Museum of Art, The Clark and Frances Stillman Collection of Congo Sculpture, gift of Eugene and Margaret McDermott, 1969.S.79

Ceremonial knife, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 19th-20th century, wood, steel, and nickel-silver, Dallas Museum of Art, The Clark and Frances Stillman Collection of Congo Sculpture, gift of Eugene and Margaret McDermott, 1969.S.79

April 13: Shaken, Not Stirred

William Waldo Dodge, Jr., “Skyscraper” cocktail shaker with cups, c. 1928-1931, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange, 2008.48.1-12

Skyscraper cocktail shaker with cups, William Waldo Dodge, Jr., designer, c. 1928-31, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange, 2008.48.1-12

May 11: Wax On, Wax Off

Wraparound skirt, (kain panjang) [pointed-ends cloud motif (megamenlang), Indonesia: Java, c. 1910, Cotton, commercial dye (?), Textile Purchase Fund, 1991.58

Wraparound skirt (kain panjang): cloud design (megamenlang), Indonesia, Java, c. 1910, cotton and commercial dye (?), Textile Purchase Fund, 1991.58

June 8: Make It Work!   

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, c. 1867-1868, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.59

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Lise Sewing, c. 1867-68, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.59

 

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA.

Let Them Eat Cake!

Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, © L & M Services B. V., Amsterdam, 1981.105

Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1924, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, 1981. 105, © L & M Services B. V., Amsterdam

Bastille Day is this Thursday, but the revolution will last an extra day as we continue the festivities during our July Late Night.

marie antoinette 2

To help you practice your French numbers, here are some things you can experience that evening:

Un – The number of movies starring Kirsten Dunst that will be screened (spoiler alert: it’s Marie Antoinette).

Deux – The number of people facing off against each other in our fencing and dueling demonstrations.

Trois  The number of hours DJ Wild in the Streets will spin a mix of eclectic French music.

Quatre – The number of tours that will explore the French Revolution, fashion, and portraiture.

Cinq – The number of hours you can hear live French music performed by local musicians.  

Six – The time that Late Night starts, so don’t être en retard!

Sept – The start time for our Late Night Talk sharing a quick history of the French Revolution.  

Huit – The number of selfies you should take in front of French portraits in our Rosenberg Collection, and then share them on our Instagram with #DMAnights.  

Neuf – The number of rogue mimes you might see walking around.

Dix – The number of times DMA staff might yell “vive la DMA!” during the evening.

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, The Harp Lesson (La leçon de Harpe), 1791, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund -

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, The Harp Lesson, 1791, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2015.10.FA

In addition to our Late Night, Bastille Day Dallas will expand its annual celebration and bring more French culture to the Dallas Arts District with outdoor activities on Flora Street. So put on your beret, grab a baguette, and join us!

Bastille on Flora

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA.

After Hours

Have you ever wondered what museum curators do to relax and unwind at the end of their day? For Olivier Meslay, the DMA’s Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, one of his favorite things is to look through online versions of auction house and gallery catalogs. What seems like a bit of a “busman’s holiday” worked to our advantage a few months ago.

Cover to Audap & Mirabaud’s catalog for 21 November 2014 auction

Cover of Audap & Mirabaud’s catalog for November 21, 2014, auction

It all started on a stormy night early last November when he clicked on the website for the Parisian auction house Audap & Mirabaud. On their homepage was the lovely self-portrait by Paul Claude-Michel Carpentier (1787-1877), a lesser-known French painter, sculptor, and engraver who had exhibited at the Salon between 1817 and 1838.

The painting that caught Olivier’s attention is signed and dated 1833, and Carpentier exhibited it at the Salon the following year. For some time, the DMA had been seeking to purchase a large-scale 19th-century Salon portrait, and this one fit the bill. It was to be auctioned in Paris on November 21, and, as it happened, Olivier would be in France on the day of the sale, but not in Paris. Luckily, he had plans to be in the glorious city a few days beforehand and found an occasion to examine the painting.

Paul Claude-Michel Carpentier, Self-portrait of the artist and his family in his studio, 1833, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund, 2014.38.FA

Paul Claude-Michel Carpentier, Self-portrait of the artist and his family in his studio, 1833, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2014.38.FA

It was as impressive as he had hoped, and so he registered to bid. The only remaining problem was that at the precise time of the sale he was to be at a conference in a city four hours away. About mid-morning on November 21, he discreetly slipped out of his meeting for a few minutes to bid by telephone on the artwork. To our great fortune, he was the high bidder. All of his maneuverings were worthwhile.

When he returned to Paris a few days later, to his great surprise, he learned from an agent with Audap & Mirabaud that a small, fully realized preliminary drawing of the portrait had become available. He bought it on the spot.

(left) Study for “Self-Portrait of the Artist and his Family in his Studio,” c. 1833, pencil on paper, private collection (right) Paul Claude-Michel Carpentier, Self-portrait of the artist and his family in his studio, 1833, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund, 2014.38.FA

(left) Study for Self-portrait of the artist and his family in his studio, c. 1833, pencil on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Olivier Meslay, 2015.20.FA; (right) Paul Claude-Michel Carpentier, Self-portrait of the artist and his family in his studio, 1833, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2014.38.FA

Having the opportunity to place a highly detailed drawing next to the executed painting is quite rare. It provides us with the chance to delve into the artist’s creative process and study any last-minute compositional changes made between the two works. In this case, we learn that in the completed painting, Carpentier rearranged the sculptures in the background, while in the foreground he added the yellow and red paisley shawl draped over the back of the chair on which his daughter,r wearing a blue dress, rests her arm.

Another exciting aspect of these purchases is that it presented us with an opportunity to learn about Carpentier’s life. One of the most immediate revelations happened shortly after the painting arrived at the DMA. Much to our surprise, we discovered a small slip of paper affixed to the back of the frame. On the very old sheet were handwritten details (in French, of course) about Carpentier; his wife, Adèle; and daughter Clémence.

Note

Slip of paper affixed to upper rail of the back of the frame with details of the artist’s immediate family and descendants.

As our research about Carpentier progressed, we unearthed some very intriguing discoveries. While he was quite active in the Society des Beaux-Arts, advocating for various artistic mutual aid societies, he was also an accomplished theoretician and technician of encaustic painting. The ancient process of adding pigment to melted beeswax, which dates back to antiquity, fascinated Carpentier throughout his lifetime and culminated in his authoring a detailed treatise about the technique that artists still consult today.

Notes en cire

Cover of Notes sur la peinture: a la cire cautérisée procédé encaustique by Paul Carpentier

Most interestingly, we discovered that one of his closest friends was Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851), the French artist and photographer recognized for inventing the eponymous process of photography. As a testament to their mutual admiration, Carpentier made a painting and bust of his good friend, but more importantly, in 1855 he wrote a monograph about Daguerre that to this day remains the single greatest firsthand contemporary account on the birth of photography.

Knowing more about Carpentier, and turning back to his self-portrait, we see that in it he brought together people and things that held an important place in his life. While we discovered valuable information about the painting and artist, we also learned that we all gain when our Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs relaxes at the end of a busy day by surfing the Web. Visit the newly conserved painting in the DMA’s Level 2 European Art Galleries, included in free general admission, today!

Martha MacLeod is the Assistant to the Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curatorial Administrative Assistant for the European and American Art Department at the DMA.


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