Art Of The Day Weekly
#52 - from 21 June 2007 to 27 June 2007
IN THE AIR
Back to Versailles
This is what we would call respecting a schedule! Vinci, one of the first groups in public buildings and works in the world, is probably used to clients who do not beat around the bush when it comes to delivery deadlines. In spite of the recent disruptions in its management (with the departure of the chairman Antoine Zacharias, who had signed the corporate sponsorship contract with the State), it respected its commitments. The mirror gallery, totaly renewed, will be inaugurated at the end of the Spring of 2007, following three years of works and a financial commitment of 12 million euros ( a great part of these services were in kind by specialised companies in the group). One of the happiest persons at the opening on June 25 of this site that symbolises French «grandeur», with its 357 mirrors, will certainly be Jean-Jacques Aillagon. The operation had been launched when he was the Minister of Culture. And it is he, following a brief Venitian interlude, who will cut the ribbon, as the new president of the public Establishment of Versailles. The game of musical chairs does not only concern the Ministry of the Ecology and sustainable Development…
Berardo, the Pinault of Portugal
LISBON – In the field of fine arts, the Portugese capital had one flagship, the Gulbenkian foundation. Last year a new private institution opened in Cascais, the Ellipse foundation, presenting contemporary art in the minimalist setting of a former warehouse. The cultural offer is further growing in size with the opening, on June 25, of the Berardo museum. It stands in the Cultural center of Belem, designed by architect Vittorio Gregotti, just two steps away from the tower of Belem, and it will host a part of the modern and contemporary works of collector José Berardo. The fund, marked by a certain eclecticism in its nearly one thousand pieces (not all of which will be exposed) includes the avant-gardes of the XXth century (Picasso or Mondrian), the post war movements (Pop Art and the New Realists) as well as Portuguese artists (in particular two Helena: Vieira da Silva and Almeida). The director of the Berardo museum is Jean-François Chougnet, who previously presided over the destinies of the Parc de la Villette.
Weegee, the famous
PARIS – «Weegee the Famous»: this is the way in which he signed his photographs at the time of his splendor, which reached its climax when The Naked City appeared, right after World War II. The 220 photographs exhibited at the musée Maillol, from the Berinson collection, could all be qualified as such since they are all «vintage», i.e. prints made during the life of Weegee, alias Arthur Fellig. Born in 1899 in Austria-Hungary, died in 1968 in New York, where he knew fame, he is the perfect illustration of the self-made man, going from the small closets of the working class districts in the Lower East Side to rubbing elbows with celebritis – actors, musicians or… murderers. Before his portraits of stars, Weegee had indeed specialized in the violent side of New York, the crimes, of the gangsters of the lower strata he had befriended during his youth. He is a master in lighting (the overtly present flash) and reframing (to enhance a significant detail), always at the right place at the right moment. Weegee is one of the emblematic photographers of modern photostories.
The art of the Dutch portrait
LONDON – Two names on their own are enough to symbolise the grandeur of Dutch painting in the XVIIth century: Rembrandt and Frans Hals. They are obviously present in the exhibition the National Gallery (in collaboration with the Mauritshuis where it will head for after London) dedicates to Dutch portrait artists. Sixty works by some thirty artists show how the emergence of a new business bourgeoisie, following Spain's independance, was accompanied by new artistic expressions. Proud of their success, and concerned with a trace for posterity or of showing their work in front of the citizens they administered, these enlightened bourgeois put in a commission for various portraits: posing, in full activity (the famous Lesson of anatomy by doctor Tulp by Rembrandt, (that will be present), with their families(The twins Clara and Aelbert by Salomon de Bray), or with their peers. In the span of time chosen, from 1599 (middle of the reign of Maurice of Orange, three years prior to the foundation of the East India Company) in 1683, numerous other less known painters officiated. It will be a perfect opportunity to discover some of them.
Pierre & Gilles, creating together
PARIS – They contributed to bringing back to fashion the kitsch aesthetics, of the marshmallow tendency: from portraits overloaded with sequences and small pearls, to loud colors, worked over like photos from the Studio Harcourt, in baroque frames. The Jeu de paume museum will dedicate a complete retrospective, including the most recent creation and all of their self-portraits. Thirty years have gone by since Pierre -from the Vendée region-, and Gilles -from Le Havre - met at a party at Kenzo's. They combined their talents, photography for the first, painting for the second. Throughout their career (that experienced another international high last Spring with the large retrospective at the Manège in Moscow), they worked on movie stars and singers (Mireille Mathieu, Nina Hagen) but also worked by series on the saints or the figures of Greek mythology. While work continues to be divided in the same way, the technical evolutions have on the contrary been integrated: photographs are now retouched with software on a screen rather than with a paintbrush…
Tastes and colors
Here is a book impossible to classify. In the beginning, his intention may seem very narrow - the pigments from precious stones - and intended only for specialists. The final pages on the «oil held» (the volume of oil needed in the mass of pigment to have colours that may be used in painting) reinforce this fear. Now, behind the serious speech one can find a little jewel of style, in which words themselves are precious (reremember, the notwithstanding) and the phrases worked like antique jewels (the rendering of the « prune over each raisin» demands the use of rubis). Without being heavy, the master in pigmentation draws up a brief treaty without our realizing that we are really very uncapable of creating colours (in any case, these degrees with the ten shades of blue, from «minore» to «sopra maggiore» used by Mignard), that we have no idea how they are manufactured, and that all this ignorance is very harmful to our appreciation of art. From the complete lapis-lazuli, which costs ten times more than gold, to the mysterious azurite, so very much in fashion in the XVIIIth century, to the properties of malachite, which Rosalba Carriera used with great talent, we dig paths across fields in the history of art. In doing so, the author, the mysterious G. Bodenstein, affirms strong and loud that the only really divine French painter is Le Sueur. One has more questions after reading the book than before, and that is very good.
ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Lautréamont would have liked him for his unexpected and funny crossings. Like a certain number of contemporary artists, the work of Eric Duyckaerts (born in 1953 in Liège, now stelleed in Nice), the fruit of performance, of conceptual art and of semantics, is totally impossible to summerize. One finds x-rays of museum walls, variations on the hopscotch board in school playgrounds, drawings of scissors or sketches of anatomy as well as carrousels of suspended objects (globes, rubber figures, squares, serpentines) or prints of geometric figures (knot of Salomon, ring of Soury).
Duyckaerts has fun recreating analogies between objects and concepts, between words and things, in following a definition, or digging at the sens of a word until it is absurd. Born in 1953 in Liège, Eric Duyckaerts lives and works in Nice.
BASEL – Samuel Keller, the director of Art Basel will be leaving the event at the end of the year to go to the Beyeler foundation. He will be replaced by a triumvirat: Marc Spiegler for strategy and development, Cay Sophie Rabinowitz as artistic director and Annette Schönholzer for the organisation and the finances.
CLEVELAND – The city's authorities are considering destroying the Cleveland Trust Tower, the only skyscraper designed by Marcel Breuer, the famous Bauhaus architect and the author of the Whitney Museum in New York.
FLORENCE – Villa Bardini, to the South of the city, had been neglected for over fifty years. It has now been entirely restaured at a cost of 13 million €, through the sponsorship of the Florence Savings bank. The building now hosts various cultural institutions( Capucci museum, Annigoni museum, Bardini foundation, Tuscan horticulture Society)and a restaurant.
LONDON – During the auctions on 18 and 19 June, Nymphéas (1904) by Monet was sold for 27.3 million € at Sotheby’s. Waterloo Bridge, temps couvert, by the same artist and from the same year, was sold for 26.5 million € at Christie’s.
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PARIS – The sale of Asian art at Christie's on June 13 brought in 17 million € with a record for an object in cloisonnés enamels (imperial individuals from the Qiang dynasty, Qianlong period) that sold for 6.5 million €.
PARIS – The first Drouot litterature prize will be awarded in September for a novel on the theme of the art world. Nine works have been selected, among them Le plus grand peintre vivant est mort(The greatest living painter is dead) by Pierre-Jean Remy, Carré noir(Black square) by Harry Bellet and Intrigue à l’anglaise (British plot) by Adrien Goetz.