Art Of The Day Weekly
#143 - from 24 September 2009 to 30 September 2009
IN THE AIR
Happy Anniversary Acadia
The 50th anniversary of the museum of New-Brunswick, one of the «maritime provinces» of Canada, 1000 kilometers from Montreal, could easily not be noticed. But the first fifty years of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, located in Fredericton, its charming capital, was accompanied by such a beautiful gift that it opened the way to fame. Founded by a press tycoon, the museum has a beautiful fund of Canadian landscape artists such as Anthony Flower or George Neilson Smith. As well as a remarkable set of old masters among them Reynolds, Gainsborough, Turner and contemporary stars such as Lucien Freud and Graham Sutherland. There was along trial between the museum and the American Lord Beaverbrook foundation that believed these were only loans and not gifts, and that 136 paintings worth various hundreds millions of dollars were theirs. There is no Grand Dérangement in sight, as during the forced exile of 1755: the judge has ruled out the foundation, and only granted it some forty paintings. The others will remain in New-Brunswick. This will put the province on the tourism map for other reasons than for its wealthy Acadian past.
Moctezuma, the twilight of an Empire
LONDON – He is one of the great defeated of history. In 1518, Moctezuma was at the head of an immense empire that stretched between two oceans. In 1520, he is nothing more than a cadaver and his land has fallen to the hands of a handful of Spanish conquistadors led by Cortés. It is this destiny that the exhibition at the British Museum gives us in detail, bringing together pieces from America and Europe: masterpieces in mosaic of hard stone such as this two-headed serpent, as well as representations of gods, the stone on which the sovereign was crowned or ritual weapons. The model of the great temple of Tenochtitlán helps us understand the importance of Mexico three centuries before it was conquered. Colonial paintings and Aztec objects used for other functions than the original ones show how the myth of Moctezuma finished by taking roots in Europe more than in America.
Renoir's last period
PARIS - Monet and Renoir are in the minds of the public at large through the world the musketeers of Impressionism. By producing the Water lilies at the end of his life, Monet widened his pedigree. Though he lived to be as old as his friend, Renoir was not as lucky and he continues to be classified in one single block with the revolutionaries of the 1860-70s. Very few people know what he did at the beginning of the XXth century, at the time he appeared as an old bearded gentleman with glittering eyes who declared « I am starting to know how to paint ». The exhibition at the Grand Palais intends to correct this wrong. Though he abandoned certain precepts of Impressionism, he put aside landscapes and portraits in favor of ornamentation and large nudes, even if he places himself light years away from Cubism, Renoir continued to mark his contemporaries such as Picasso or Apollinaire.
Pelez, the hidden side of the Belle Epoque
PARIS – A few years ago, he was very well placed in the exhibition on the universe of the circus at the Grand Palais, between the movie Freaks and the portrait of Charlie Chaplin by Fernand Léger. Yet, though his Parade opened the exhibition, who really knows Fernand Pelez (1848-1913)? This painter trained by Cabanel dedicated himself to tell, in a naturalist pallet in a very sober colors, the existence of the little people of Paris during the Third Republic, children and women off the street, vendors of violets and beggars who calm their hunger at the cafeteria of the Bouchée de Pain. A worthy heir of the Commune, Pelez teaches the backside of the mirage of the Belle Epoque: there is «mud in his paintbrush» as Emile Henriot wrote. And the Opera, one of his favorite themes, is a lot less glamour than the one painted by Degas…
Art of the day also suggests
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Shirin Neshat, Games of Desire, 2009, encre sur tirage couleur marouflé sur Dibond Format unique 127,3 x 84,7 cm Edition à 5 exemplaires et 2 épreuves d’artiste (c) Shirin Neshat. Courtesy Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris.
Shirin Neshat makes Laos sing
Ten years ago she won the Gold Lion at the Biennale of Venice with her video installation Turbulent, that staged a man and a woman in Iran, he singing in front of a lively public, she with a veil, vocalizing, alone. Obviously Shirin Neshat’s works have a political context that sometimes has hidden their aesthetic dimension. In her last creation, the artist picked up again the motif of the singing confrontation, under the form of poetic duels that were common to us in the past. She went to Laos to dig up these strange ritual duals, practiced during weddings where the participants, under very respectable appearances, pronounce words increasingly daring, be it obscene. The video side is accompanied by a photographic dimension in the form of large portraits of the singers on a background of calligraphy.
Five centuries of stained glass
PARIS - It is undoubtedly with prestigious sales, as well as with others based on themes, that the Hôtel-Drouot can confirm its «difference» in regard to the major Anglo-Saxon homes. This auction, dedicated to stained glass with nearly 300 lots, is a perfect example of this procedure. Few sales at very high prices: the limit is expected to be superior to 35 000 euros for a large landscape that decorated a mansion in Versailles towards 1900. For the rest, a few thousand euros, sometimes less, will suffice to take home some excellent examples of decorative art from the XIXth century, motifs that decorated a great brasserie in Saumur up to evocations from the medieval universe, back in fashion with Viollet-le-Duc. Cameos, grisaille, multichrome stained-glass windows: the whole range of the specialty is represented, with certain lots going back to the Renaissance.
Wallpaper through the ages
We all go to IKEA, since today wallpaper is not at all expensive. But how did the bourgeois in the past do in their time? The book by Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz, a well-known specialist in her field, takes us on a trip through time. We learn how, in the Renaissance, the arrival of Italian wives at wealthy homes in France pushed them to search for more sophisticated interiors. If the tapestries from Flandres or the leathers from Cordova seemed too expensive people would turn towards the hangings produced by the artists recognized by a special edict of Henri IV in 1597. The Remondini from Bassano, the Zuber manufacturer in Mulhouse or Révillon in Paris (where the French Revolution started!) are some of the most outstanding names. But we also discover Chinese hand-painted paper, panoramic prints on plate by Dufour at Mâcon in 1804, Japanese-style creations by Walter Crane, trials by Andy Warhol with Nixon as a head board or those by Leonor Fini with fish skeletons: all the audacities of contemporary art can be found on walls…
FLORENCE-The 26th International Biennale of antique dealers will be held from 26 September to 4 October 2009.
MONTROUGE-The Biennale of young creators will be held from 26 September to 25 October 2009.
MOSCOW-The 3rd Biennale of contemporary art of Moscow will be held from 25 September to 25 October 2009
NIMES-The contemporary art fair Artenim will be held from 25 to 28 September 2009.
TOULOUSE-The Spring of September, a pluri-disciplinary event, to be held from 25 September to 18 October 2009, offers various exhibitions on the theme of «Where I am does not exist».