Looking at German artists

During a visit to Regensburg in the Bavarian part of Germany on the river Danube I visited many galleries.

It was cold and although initially there was some sun, the weather finally settled into snow clouds and freezing fog, and grey skies. The Bavarian buildings are large and austere. The weather and this dramatic setting coloured my emotional response to much of the art, which was itself quite dark and cold.

Hence, I was struck whilst in Germany with the general gravity of the art, which included drawings by

Grosz   (“Grosz’s works of the 1920s were influenced by a complicated political and economical situation in the post-war Germany and Europe and in one sentence can be characterized as political and social satire” ref:http://www.abcgallery.com/G/grosz/groszbio.html ),

Otto Dix( ” a story of modern war, its aftermath”   ref:http://www.ottodix.org/) and :

Kokoshka  (“Eight of his works were shown in the exhibition “Degenerate Art” in Munich in 1937  ref:http://www.kokoschka-oskar.com/) .

Some Gallery artists which were more colourful and impressive:

Fabian Bertelshofer


Very colourful and impressionistic images of mountains and nature. The buttery application of paint in patchs and dabs of bright colours.

Florian Pfab    http://www.art-affair.net/en/artists/pfab  (The scarecrow)-an interesting arrangement of people in contemporary dress looking at the back of a scarecrow across the open featureless space of a field. Similar to Hopper in style. It has a very flat picture frame and seems to have a deeper social meaning.

Jorg Schemmann  http://www.art-affair.net/en/artists/Schemmann

I like the interplay here between the subject matter, flowers or blossom on their stalks and the cast shadow, producing a pattern from the natural elements. *****************An idea for the development of my still life drawing for assignment five.


Gallery visit to Abbott Hall Kendal–the Radev collection of work by the Bloomsbury group

These pictures were from the private collections of the Sackville-Wests, Mattei Radev and Eardley Knollys This exhibition included work by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant but also John Piper, Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Graham Sutherland, Picasso,  Ivon Hitchens,Pissaro, by Cadell of the Scottish colourists as well as paintings by artists of whom I was less  aware such as Matthew Smith, Eardley Knollys, Roderic O’ Connor, Alexei Jawlensky, Emile Bernard and an  exhibition by Keith Grant whose paintings capture the dramatic contrasting tones of the aurora borealis and Northern landscapes.

Roderic O’Connor 1860-1940   An Irish artist who studied at Dublin and then in Paris  where he was influenced by impressionism. Went on to Pont Aven where he met with artists such as Gauguin. Some of his techniques are related to the Fauves or Expressionists and the painting that was in the exhibition in Kendal of the Pont Aven had very heavy thick buttery brush strokes typical of both these art movements and the impressionists. Houses at Lezaven Oil on canvas, 36¼ x 28¾ inches. Atelier stamp verso of canvas Inscribed on original stretcher: Roderic O’Conor 1898, Pont-Aven a Lezaven 1898 sourced on line (October 2013 ) from: http://www.mpfa.ie/oconorbrittany.htm

Eugene Boudin 1824-1898 A frame maker in Le Havre took up painitng at the advise of Millet.  Painting seascapes off the coast of France. ref: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/eugene-boudin-beach-scene-trouville Alexei Jawlensky 1864-1941  Jawlensky was an expressionist working in Germany and connected woth the Blaue Reiter.He was born in Russia and lived part of his youth in Moscow. He moved later to Germany where he met and worked with Kandinsky. Although it was his colourful images (which were very reminiscent of Chagall) influenced by folk art, which impressed me I have chosen to reproduce this drawing as it fits into the context of the drawing course at the present:

Alexei Jawlensky (Russian, 1864–1941)

Reclining Nude (Liegender Akt)  Date:1912

Medium:   Graphite pencil on paper
sourced on line (October 2013 ) from:http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A2896&page_number=2&template_id=1&sort_order=1

It is Matisse-esque in the shape of the model and the lines making up her body, Picassoesque in the mask like face, but the use of zig zag lines as shading I have not encountered before and I think help give the image a light hearted feel -perhaps consistent with the feel of the folk art.

Alexei Jawlensky (Russian, 1864–1941)

Head   Date: c. 1910?    Medium:    Oil on canvas over cardboard

sourced on line (October 2013 ) from:http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A2896&page_number=1&template_id=1&sort_order=1
This portrait is a splash of colour,large eyes and prominent eyebrows appear from a yellow lighted forehead above the darker image of the lower face as it blends into the neck and shoulders,patches of yellow highlighting the dark blue and brown/pink cheek and the opposite side of the orangey neck.

Maurice Denis  1870-1943 French and a member of the Nabis art movement  (The Nabis: “The term was coined by the poet Henri Cazalis who drew a parallel between the way these painters aimed to revitalize painting (as prophets of modern art) and the way the ancient prophets had rejuvenated Israel.) ref:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Nabis

Keith Grant paints the Northern Lights

This artists is contemporary and had an exhibition at Abbott Hall at the same time as the Radev collection in October 2013

His images are powerful, reflecting  the emotional impact of the subject matter.

The contrasting lights and darks and sweeps of paint as they follow the flow of light produces  drama. There is intense perspective or which makes the Scandinavian images powerful , the colours are deep and harmonious, producing a silence.

ref  http://www.chrisbeetles.com/gallery/landscapes/coastal/triptych-green-aurora.html:



Gallery Palais des Eveques St Lizier France

Guillame Pinard

Sans titre 137 (2010)  Encre sur papier (40,5 x 29,5 cm) sourced on line September 2013 from:http://www.musees-midi-pyrenees.fr/musees/musee-ingres/collections/ingres-et-les-modernes/guillaume-pinard/sans-titre-n-137-ou-la-source-daapres-ingres/

This image is a play with perspectives and lines with the figures contrasted against them. I’m sure it has a deeper meaning but unfortunately that is lost on me and because of the vagueness in the narrative, the image is not interesting.

Sans titre 146 (2011) Encre sur papier  (40,5 x 29,5 cm) sourced on line Septmeber 2013 from:   http://www.galerieannebarrault.com/guillaume_pinard/dispo-fr.html

Again this has little impact on me -I look at the drawing and think technically it is good but the image is cold and perhaps is meant to produce a feeling of disgust–against the killing of animals.


Toyin Odutola

Pen ink on paper (9 x 12 inches) sourced on line from  http://www.designboom.com/art/pen-ink-portraits-by-toyin-odutola/ These are great portraits of black people covered in light spots –the facial features are drawn in sections which reminds me of the muscles of the face -and in the more colourful drawings these are individually coloured. They are a great use of ink on the paper and I love the speckles of ? light across them.

Lea Lublin

A follower of Marcel Duchamp and a feminist artist


Artwork Description

Dimensions: 0.29 x 0.29
Medium: Acrylic
These images are noisy and harsh because of a use of line against colour and impersonal caractures like comic strip characters.  I do not like them, they are hard and impersonal, but feel very much of the 21 st century.
Pavel Tchelitchew
(Russian 1898-1957)
Bust Portrait of Seated Woman- 1931 sourced on line from:  http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/13874814_pavel-tchelitchew-russian-drawing-paris-1931
This softer image is more to my liking, both in the toning of the colours, the use of softer pencils and the downward look of the eyes.
Jan Fabre
The jewels of death and Schloss an image derived from biro drawn over photographic images. An imaginative, creative use of biro which to me brings it into the realms of art.
The  Jewels of Death: by Jan Fabre http://likeyou.com/en/node/25398
Mounir Fatmi Mounir Fatmi est un artiste marocain né à Tanger en 1970. Polymorphe, le sujet de son travail aborde, de manière directe à travers divers médias (sculpture, installation, photographie et peinture), la culture orientale en général, la religion musulmane en particulier.  sourced on line from  http://www.paris-art.com/marche-art/T%C3%AAte%20dure/T%C3%AAte%20dure/5021.html:
Jean Paul Albinet
” Codes/ corps publicitaires” Peinture acrylique sur toile. 1988. 60 x 120 cm   sourced on line (September 2013) from:  http://www.albinetworks.net/reve_promis/rev4.html
” L’innovation en action” Peinture acrylique sur toile. 1987. 81 x 116 cm   sourced on line from: http://www.albinetworks.net/reve_promis/rev3.html
These images amuse me because of their play on the bar coding system of the supermarlet and their apparent altering of everything, including human images to commodities. However I may be reading more or less into them than is meant.

Peter Kogler
Ohne Titel
Medium Chalkmit gouache auf papier
Year of Work 1984

A visit to the Chagall exhibition at Tate Liverpool

What strikes me first about Chagall?

The colours, always first in my attention, are acidic-grey purples and greens,grey pinks-although very bright , and there is a quote in the exhibition that once Matisse died Chagall was the master of colour, but I don’t believe they ever reach the warmth of the colours of the impressionists-except one painting in the exhibition which was a family picture from 1926 “Bella and Ida at the table” or “Strawberries”.

sourved on line (July 2013):http://www.abcgallery.com/C/chagall/chagall145.html

Then his use of cubism. Chagall was friendly with Picasso and co-opted into the cubist movement but without becoming totally abstract, a fact which apparently lead (according to the information in the Tate) to his downfall as the commissioner of arts for Vitebsk (his home town in Russia). Chagall wanted to stay in touch with the real world. It is said in the Tate exhibition that he believed art’s primary function was to “interpret the world through iconography and allegory”(symbols of ideas) which to me, puts him into the “camp” of Kandinsky who was twenty years his senior.

sourced on line(July 2013) from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Knife_Grinder_Principle_of_Glittering_by_Kazimir_Malevich.jpeg
English: “The Knife Grinder (Principle of Glittering),” oil on canvas, by the Russian artist Kazimir Malevich. 31 5/16 in. x 31 5/16 in. Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Collection Société Anonyme. Courtesy of Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
Date 1912-1913
The third thing that draws my attention in the exhibition, are the images of people and animals -some large and some tiny in the same picture,some distorted , some apparently flying in the air.Without the help of the “translation” of these images I would find it difficult to comprehend and tend to pass them off without further thought. But, their sizes and positions express emotion an element assisted by the colours.The famous picture of Chagall holding the hand of his wife who flies through the air was paintedMarc Chagall. The Promenade (La promenade). 1917-18. Oil on canvas. 1sourced on line (July 2013) from:Olga’s gallery ref: http://www.abcgallery.com/C/chagall/chagall18.htmlto represent love not only of each other but also (as represented by the bird in Chagall’s hand) of his home, returning after travels, particularly to Paris.A painting “The sodlier drinks” 1912 reflects “through fragmented cubism the physical and mental (pain)…of a Tsarist soldier, taken from his home life -represented by the small people dancing on the table (memories of past).(taken from the description accompanying the picture display at Tate Liverpool)sourced on line (july 2103 ) from Olga’s gallery: reference: http://www.abcgallery.com/C/chagall/chagall74.htmlAnd in the painting”The mirror” of 1915 Chagall paints “tension and fear” and the “claustrophobia” of his and Bella’s lives when he avoided conscription. The mirror reflects “an alternative world where objects and colours are transformed becoming nightmarish”. (quote from Tate Liverpool exhibition accompanying the picture)again a tiny human image hides in the picture -his wife with her head buried in her arms on the table

The Mirror – Marc Chagall – Posters, Affiches d’Art

sourced on .line (July 2013) from     http://uk.search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&p=chagall+the+mirror

I am not sure if I wouild have known Chagall was Russian apart from the clothes depicted in the paintings.

Do his pictures reflect Russian folk art? Chagall originates from the west of Russia and would have had influences from the countries close but these are so diverse that it is a question not easy to answer.-In the depiction of people, animals and the Russian buildings, and in the variety in the sizes of the images of the people ,yes it reflects folk art-but folk art itself appears to be very busy in colour and pattern and I think this is lost in Chagall’s pictures. It must also be remembered that much Russian art depicted Christian ideals, as had a lot of the art in the West since Roman times and Chagall was of Jewish extract.

Examles of Russian folk art:

I came across this image on a web site:ref (sourced on line (July2013) http://www.masterjules.net/folkart.htm        there is no reference as to when or by whom it was painted or in which country but it’s image, the distortion of the body and the depiction of small houses in the background have reverberations of some of Chagall’s art.
Chagall was part of the large Jewish poppulation of Vitebsk which did not approve of painting or of making images of people, consistent with a taboo inherent in the second commandement, (his uncle  was afraid to offer Chagall his hand-(ref: book: ” Bohm-Duchen M. Tate Introductions Chagall 2013 Tate Introductions Tate Publishing ISBN: 978-1-84976-037-9) Much of his work may reflect Jewish sayings

The Dead Man Surrealism Expressionism Marc Chagall  sourced on line (July 2013) from : http://www.oilpaintingfactory.com/english/oil-painting-92077.htm

This earl painting of 1908 , according to the Tate book, was based on a woman running through the streets screaming for help for a dying husband. The fiddler on the roof and the boot in the air allude to the fact that in times of danger people escaped to the rooftops.  So Chagall pictorialises linguistic idioms in this early painting and continues to do so through out his career.

e.g his depiction of the poet Mazin whose head is upside down “turned in giddiness or craziness” after “drink and a love poem transport him to the realms of creativity” ref: quote from information accompanying painting at Tate Liverpool

Half-Past Three (The Poet)


sourced on line (July 2013) from :http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/51267.html

Chagall was born in 1887 in Vitebsk,Belarusa (close to Poland Lithuania and Latvia)and died in 1985 in France. He lived through the Russian revolution of 1917, the first world war of 1914, and the second world war. He lived in America from 1941 to 1948, having escaped German occupied Europe, the Nazi’s being both antiSemitic and against modern art.

His early painting career was helped by the Jewish artist Yehuda Pen who opened an art school in Vitebsk.

The Watch Maker

by Yehuda Pen  sourced on line (July 2013) from:http://www.allposters.co.uk/-sp/The-Watch-Maker-Posters_i9088955_.htm

He became ever more interested in French art of impressionism and moved to Paris. In Paris he painted many colourful happy pictures in various styles and developed friendships with Delaunay and Apollinaire (the poet).

IN this painting “Paris through the window”   ” Marc Chagall talks about a mysterious and indecipherable Paris in which nothing -or nobody- is really what they appear to be” reference on line (July 2013) :http://www.theartwolf.com/masterworks/chagall.htm.

Paris through the window  1913

MARC CHAGALL (Russia, 1887-1985)

sourced on line (July 2013) from:http://www.theartwolf.com/masterworks/chagall.htm

This picture according to the Tate information represented Orphism,a form of abstract cubism popular with Delaunay.

Robert Delaunay, Simultaneous Windows on the City, 1912

sourced on line as an example of Delaunay’s Orphism from :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphism_%28art%29

This painting of 1911-1912 done to commemorate his friendship with Apollinaire takes the figures from Massacio’s “Expulsion from the garden of Eden”, I am not sure why he chose these figures but the names of his Parisians friends appear in the corner.

Homage to Apollinaire / Hommage à Apollinaire 1911 – 1912

Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Netherland

sourced on line (July 2013) from:http://www.friendsofart.net/en/art/marc-chagall/homage-to-apollinaire_hommage-%C3%A0-apollinaire

Whilst in Paris he produced art work which reflected his memories of his homeland :

Marc Chagall (1887‑1985)

The Green Donkey
L’Ane vert
Date 1911
MediumGouache on board   sourced on line (July 2013 ) from http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/chagall-the-green-donkey-n05758
This painting is described in the Tate exhibition as having strong feelings through its pure colour and primitve flat forms, evoking a fantastical scene due to its ambigious space. Of note are the small figures and buildings in the background-both often found in Chagall’s art work.
I and the Village


sourced on line (July 2013) from  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_and_the_Village

This is described by the TATE ” as a surface covered with representative things in which logic and illustration have no importance”…He abandons natural colour, scale, perspective and gravity to make the picture dreamilke” He upholds trhe link between man and nature-(perhaps not so obvious in Paris) and introduces metaphor.

His love of Bella back in Vitebsk lead to a return to Russia in 1914 where he became trapped by the first world war.

He married in 1915 and painted many pictures of home life and of his daughter and wife during this period. He aimed to develop Jewish art in his home country.

In 1917 the Russian revolution gave hope to the Jewish communities and he became involved in the restructuring of the Russian art world until he was usurped by Malevich. Chagall then moved to Moscow to work with the Jewish theatre.

From the group of paintings done around the theatre, on display in the Tate Liverpool exhibition, I was impressed by “Love on the stage” (1920)

XLove On The Stage painted 1920

sourced on line (July 2013 ) from :http://www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/Culture/Arts/Review-Chagall-Tate-Liverpool

“Etheral dancers emerge fromtransparent shapes” quote –the TATE

Perhaps it has a feminine lightness about this image, the soft colours, the hint of two people in a dance embrace and the 1920s style elegance of the woman, the lace of her dress and the pointed ballet foot. The cubist overlay and background seems to me to add masculinity to a light feminine picture and detracts from the sensation although seems to put the picturein an art nouveau era.

In 1922 Chagall and family went to Berlin where he started to printmake and developed many black and white images.

In 1923 he went back to Paris but due to the rise of Nazism and the eventaul German occupation of France he fled to America in 1941. Here he became obsessed with hapenings at home, to relatives and his homeland and painted pictures of Jewish suffering and effects of war.

His painting, exhibited in the Tate, Red Roof tops (1953), shows Chagall floating over his old house-in which he introduces black in contrast to brighter colours to express a warmth and passion for things lost.

In 1964 his depiction of war links the suffering of Jews in both Jewish and Christian imagery.

War by Marc Chagall   sourced on line (July 2103) from:  http://www.friendsofart.net/en/art/marc-chagall/war

The white cow in this picture depicts purity.

Bellla died in 1944 and Chagall lived on in France until the age of 97,dying in 1985…the last remaining memebr of artists who included Picasso, Matisse and Braque.

gallery visit Gawthorpe Hall Burnley portraiture by William Dobson

A few months ago I watched a BBC documentary by Waldemar Januszczak on William Dobson-one of the first of the British portrait artists, working at the time of Charles the first following in the footsteps of  Van Dyck (who was Flemish) and Holbein (who was German).

Gawthorpe Hall had a Dobson portrait of a Sir Thomas Aylesbury.

sourced on line (July 2013) from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sir_Thomas_Aylesbury.jpg

gallery visit: Gawthorpe Hall Burnley the art of Marianne North

During a visit to the textiles of Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth at Gawthorpe Hall in Burnley, I was struck by a painting which I was informed by the room’s warden was by Marianne North who was a great traveller and painter of botany in context, in the 19th century.

Marianne North (24 October 1830 – 30 August 1890) was a prolific English Victorian naturalist and botanical artist, notable for her plant and landscape paintings, her extensive foreign travels, her writings, her plant discoveries and the creation of her gallery at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.” Sourced on line (June 2013): from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marianne_North

I like her depictions of plants as they are used to produce a pattern and picture, rather than being just a botanical record-I aslo admire her gusto fand drawing in an era when women rarely travelled the world alone.

Abyssinian Aloe picture available at Kew Gardens -sourced on line (June 2013) from:http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/artists/marianne-north/paintings/slideshow#/67

WaterLily,Parrot and BullRushes on a Gold background by Marianne North :

sourced on line (June 2013) from http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/artists/marianne-north/paintings/slideshow?page=10#/71

I like the fresh clarity of her paintings, the focus on botany but with background reference turmimg the study into a picture rather than a study, and I love the colours.

She was an adventurous woman in an era when many women did not get the opportunity to travel alone and I admire her for that.