Tag Archives: Degas

Bonjour 2020!


I thought I’d begin 2020 as I ended 2019 – writing in French!

Why? I have no idea.

Plus, it’s a tad late for New Year salutations.

I’ve wanted to write a post about Saul Leiter for many a moon.

Why? I have no idea.

Wait, I do. Because I love his work, that’s why. And I thought it only right and proper I shared the love.

I am intrigued by his voyeuristic style. Apart from Leiter being a pioneer of early colour photography, he managed to capture slices of the Big Apple’s social and cultural life in 1940s and 50s America. I think the compositions are very cinematic and each character could inspire a short story.

He said his early influences were the Impressionists Degas, Bonnard and Vuillard. But I’d venture to chuck Toulouse-Lautrec into the pot as well.

And he wasn’t just a dab hand at photography. He was pretty good at dabbing with a paint brush too. (Quite a few of his paintings are over-painted photographs.)

I’m not going to blather on giving you his life story, you can do that here. I just want to show you some pretty pictures. So, here you go…

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Things for which I am grateful #233 – 274 – Art.


As you’ve probably gathered, the arts are a huge part of my life. And this is my mantra:

 

Without the arts,

We have no culture.

Without culture,

We have no society.

Without society,

We have no civilisation.

And without civilisation,

We have anarchy.

 

Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists are viewed as rebels to society. To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers. They show us new ways of interpreting the world.

Art galleries are my cathedrals. They are the places I go to escape from reality and immerse myself in the presence of their genius.

Here are a few of my favourite artists. (I haven’t included ones that I’ve already written individual posts about, such as Modigliani, Chang or Lautrec.)

As you can see, I’m quite traditional in a lot of respects. What I love about much of the impressionistic work is the space, light, colour, composition and texture. Quite a lot of them have a simple, graphic quality, too. Which, perhaps, is no surprise considering that that is what I studied at art college.

Some famous names missing. Who are your favourites?

Michael McGinn

Michael McGinn

Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith

Yup, Banksy.

Yup, Banksy.

Edouard Vuillard

Edouard Vuillard

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

Gaugin

Gaugin

Igor Shipilin

Igor Shipilin

John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent

Kees van Dongen

Kees van Dongen

Kris Kuksi 1

Kris Kuksi 1

Kris Kuksi 2

Kris Kuksi 2

Manet

Manet

Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt

Matisse

Matisse

Yes, Monet.

Yes, Monet.

Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry

Picasso 1

Picasso 1

Picasso 2

Picasso 2

Pierre et Gilles

Pierre et Gilles

Renoir

Renoir

Sergey Rimashevsky

Sergey Rimashevsky

Sorolla

Sorolla

The chapman bros

The chapman brothers 1

The Chapman Brothers 2

The Chapman Brothers 2

Van Gogh

Van Gogh

Vermeer

Vermeer

Degas

Degas

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon

Egon Schielle

Egon Schielle

Gustave Klimt

Gustave Klimt

Pierre Bonnard

Pierre Bonnard

Antonio Canova

Antonio Canova

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne

William Merritt Chase

William Merritt Chase

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali

Richard Estes

Richard Estes

Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper

Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell

Jan van Eyck

Jan van Eyck

Foujita

Foujita

Wilhelm Hammershøi

Wilhelm Hammershøi

Frederick Childe Hassam

Frederick Childe Hassam

Peder Severin Krøyer

Peder Severin Krøyer

Berthe Morisot

Berthe Morisot

Camille Pissarro

Camille Pissarro

 

By the way, if any late-comers are wondering what the hell all the numbers are about in the titles of these posts, the reason is: I decided, at the back end of 2013, to write 365 things for which I am grateful – one for every day of the year.

Why? Because, I think a lot of us in the ‘West’, (including me), sometimes forget how lucky we are and take too many things for granted. Which people in other parts of the world would die for, and do so, on a regular basis.

 

 

 

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If I can do it, it’s not art.


I went to visit my mate, Markham and his lovely wife, Sarah, in our nation’s fair capital last week. (That’s Londinium, if you don’t know where I live.)

Anyhoop, apart from drinking copious amounts of alcohol – as is our wont – and eating my own body weight in Rogan Josh, I took the liberty of culturising my soul by visiting a few galleries.

I managed to get to The National Portrait Gallery, The National Gallery and The Tate Modern.

I don’t know about you, but I always feel reinvigorated and inspired after a jaunt to a gallery. And, whilst Manchester has a fair few decent galleries, there’s nothing quite like a visit to a capital city to see the top-banana stuff.

The highlights for me, (apart from the boozing), were the BP Portrait Awards at the NPG. Some fantastically refreshing stuff on show. I even saw that portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge. (Or, Kate, as I prefer to call her.) I know she looks a tad tired in the piccie, but you have to admit, she’s still one of the most beautiful women in the world. (Up the republic!)

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Did someone ask for a restorer?

Actually, I think it was this one.

Actually, I think it was this one.

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Jamie Routley

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John Devane

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Miseon Lee

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Geert Schless

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Antonio Laglia

Now, the National Gallery is pretty vast, and time was pressing, so I just visited a couple of rooms – mainly the 19th Century galleries, where I got see works by: Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Cézanne, Picasso, Pissarro, Klimt, Vuillard, Degas, Sisley, Seurat, Gaugin and Matisse. My artistic soul was well and truly satiated. Here are a few highlights for your delectation.

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Morisot

Renoir

Renoir

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Degas

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Monet

Seurat

Seurat

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Picasso

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Monet

I also took a sneaky peek in a section where they had some medieval paintings of Anne Boleyn, King Dicky 3, Lizzie 1, and a whole host of others. It wasn’t so much the paintings that fascinated me, but being in the presence of work that was commissioned while these historic people were alive. (Or not, as the case may be.)

Buried under a bloody car park, indeed.

Buried under a bloody car park, indeed.

Anne_boleyn2

Last up, was The Tate Modern. And, whilst I’m all up for a bit of modern art, it was the ‘older’ fraternity that appealed to me the most – Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Miro, Giacometti, Picasso, Turner, Warhol, Hockney, Kandinsky et al.

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Turner

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Bacon

But, I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed with the majority of the works. So much so, that I remarked to my mate, Markham, that – if I can do it, it’s not art.

Pause button by Rothco. I could do that.

Pause button by Rothco. I could do that.

Yves Klein. You're having a Turkish, mate.

Yves Klein. You’re having a Turkish, mate.

Pollock's.

Pollock’s.

Very graciously, he said that I should make a note of that remark because it was profound. (He always says nice things to me. That’s why he’s my mate.)

He also said that if I were to scrawl it on a piece of paper it would probably get hung in the gallery.

So, here we are. Profundity or Luddite. It’s your call.

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My other mate, Mike McGinn, is an artist based in Edinburgh. (I have a thing about friends who’s name begins with ‘M’ – sorry, Zebediah.) And I reckon his work should be in the Tate. It’s miles better than some of the stuff they have in there.

Don’t get me wrong, the Tate Modern is a fantastic art gallery and it has some wonderful works in its collection. Just not enough of it on show at this moment in time. Maybe I’m just a traditionalist.

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By Mike McGinn

The other thing that gets my goat is Contemporary Art Photographers. Not all of them, mind. I love Cindy Sherman and Ansel Adams just to name a couple. But there are so many art photographers out there that are technically inept. They may have an eye for a composition and an idea, but too many of them lack the technical skills to make them good photographs. I’m talking mainly about lighting, contrast, colour and depth. It’s one thing to have a concept. Taking it to the next level and being able to bring that concept to life through technical wizardry, is what makes it art.

The key is: Know your medium – then surpass it.

I’ve had the good fortune to work with many brilliant commercial photographers over the past 30 years in the ad industry. And a great many of them would be (and are) better artists than those who ply their trade doing it. I suspect that the reason many of them aren’t famous is because they are tarnished by the word “commercial”.

FFS

Eggleston. Contemporary art? FFS.

Sri Lanka by DMC

Sri Lanka by DMC

Fishermen, Sri Lanka by DMC

Fishermen, Sri Lanka by DMC

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