U.S.A. - WASHINGTON-W.DC - Pissarro on Paper


A Bather, 1894
plate: 12.8 x 17.8 cm (5 1/16 x 7 in.) sheet: 15.6 x 20.2 cm (6 1/8 x 7 15/16 in.)
Shapiro/Melot 1975, no. 1
Ruth and Jacob Kainen Collection

French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro first tried printmaking in his early thirties, and though he never stopped painting, printing became vital to his artistic enterprise. He valued the ease with which he could test new ideas, and he became increasingly innovative as he grew more comfortable with different printing techniques. The purchase of his own etching press in 1894 facilitated his efforts, which resulted in more than two hundred plates.

This installation highlights Pissarro’s spirited experimentation, as well as his gravitation—in all media—toward depicting landscape and the people who inhabited rural farms and towns. Rather than meticulously reproducing what he saw, he sought to capture the mood and essence of his subjects. On both paper and canvas, Pissarro masterfully played with surface textures and variations of compositional density to create descriptive and evocative visual imagery. His energetic methods for printmaking—dabbing, rubbing, dragging—and his range of materials for all media—palette knives, brushes of different sizes, even his bare hands—all contribute to the dynamism of his works.

National Gallery of Art   30.09.2012 - 31.03.2013

Website : National Gallery of Art

Website : Washington

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U.S.A. - MILWAUKEE-WISCONSIN - Freedom Of/For/To Photography from the Permanent Collection


In 1948 the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to guarantee respect for, and observance of, certain fundamental freedoms for all. Since then, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, the right to education, the right to vote, the right to citizenship, the right to own property, and the right to work, among others, have been codified and, theoretically, protected internationally.

The word "freedom" has been essential to how Americans understand themselves and their country since its founding, but in the post 9/11 era, the term has become particularly ubiquitous. Idealized, politicized, or played for applause, "freedom" resonates with the public, despite the fact that the abstract concept has no fixed meaning.

The exhibition Freedom Of/For/To is comprised of contemporary photographs from the museum's permanent collection that explore the fluid definition of the word and elicit questions about our collective (mis)understanding of freedom at home and abroad. The photographers represented in the exhibition, including Adam Bartos, Edward Burtynsky, William Clift, Stella Johnson, Miguel Rio Branco, Irina Rozovsky, and Joel Sternfeld, offer a variety of viewpoints that encourage us to consider how we define and protect freedom in a global context.

Haggerty Museum of Art     22.08.2012 - 22.12.2012

Website : Haggerty Museum of Art

Website :  City of Milwaukee

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U.S.A. - PASADENA-CALIFORNIA - Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life


An Arrangement of Flowers, c. 1620

Jan Brueghel the Younger
Flemish, 1601-1678
Oil on panel
21-15/16 x 16-7/8 in. (55.7 x 42.9 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation

The classical definition of a still life—a work of art depicting inanimate, typically commonplace objects that are either natural (food, flowers or game) or man-made (glasses, books, vases and other collectibles)—conveys little about the rich associations inherent to this genre. In the academic tradition of Western art, still life occupied the lowest position in the hierarchy of the arts, which recognized history painting, portraiture and landscape painting as superior. It was disparaged critically and theoretically as mere copying that lacked artistic imagination and placed no intellectual demands on the viewer. Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life posits that nothing could be further from the truth for this category of art, which hovers between mimesis and symbolism, and in which artistic skill and fantasy are tantamount to its success. Drawing on the spectacular resources of the Norton Simon collections, the exhibition explores the wealth of aesthetic and conceptual artistic strategies that challenge the shortsighted view of still life as simply an art of imitation. It also underscores why the still life continues to be an important vehicle of expression.

Significant Objects examines the genre from four perspectives designed to tease out the import of the still life, to identify the rich associational value of time, place or circumstance, and to encourage meaningful encounters with the objects.

The first section, Depiction & Desire, looks at the still life as a barometer of wonder and of the impulse to collect and display. Exacting portrayals of individual flowers or cubist abstractions that seize on the sensual elements of color, texture and weight are illustrative of the passion to capture, document and celebrate material pleasures and possessions through the counterfeit of the visual image. Virtuosity considers the exercise of skill and the mastery of technique as a means to create illusion and objects of imaginative, complex beauty. Still lifes rendered in oil, pastel, wood and various printing processes invite scrutiny as to how artists make the difficult look easy and where the boundaries lie between technical expertise and artistry. Decoding the Still Life approaches these arrangements as coded with meaning and allegory. From the popular and moralizing symbols embedded in 17th-century fruit and flower paintings to the political and personal meanings insinuated by 19th- and 20th-century artists, these implied secrets bring a mysterious resonance to the compositions and underscore their capacity to communicate intellectual insights. Finally, Still Life off the Table takes a liberal view of the genre, looking at radical variations that can be considered still-life related. Abstractions, assemblage and the deconstruction of the tabletop arrangement show how the genre stretches beyond the conventions of its historically conservative nature and yet is malleable enough to remain a vital instrument for provocative, contemporary innovations.

Still life occupies a special place in the Norton Simon Museum, with singular examples in a variety of media, including paintings, prints and photographs. Mr. Simon acquired his first still life in 1955. From that moment on, the genre maintained his attention much as any other he pursued, if it met his criteria for quality, rarity and beauty. Though cautious about revealing his favorite objects in the collection, Simon admitted a deep fondness for Paul Cézanne’s Tulips in a Vase, 1888–90, which is presented in the exhibition. Also included are stellar examples by the genre’s greatest practitioners: Jan Brueghel, Rembrandt and Francisco de Zurbarán, from the 17th century; Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin, Gustave Courbet, Henri Fantin-Latour and Vincent van Gogh, from the 18th and 19th centuries; and Pablo Picasso, Richard Diebenkorn, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston and George Herms, from the 20th century.

Norton Simon Museum      20.07.2012 - 21.01.2013

Website : Norton Simon Museum

Website : Pasadena

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