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WESTERN ART AND POSTWAR ART
Impressionism and related trends
From Post-Impressionism to 20th century art
Modern European Sculpture
The Ishibashi Foundation Collection
1835-40, Oil on canvas Traditional narrative or historical painting would have a landscape in the background, but not necessarily an actual landscape. From the 1830s, however, the modern landscape painting genre was born as an increasing number of painters observed and painted landscapes out of doors. Camille Corot was one of the new genre's pioneers. The town of Ville d'Avray, on the outskirts of Paris, was blessed with a wealth of natural beauty, and Corot painted its landscapes, with its forests and lakes, again and again throughout his career. In this example, light filtered through the trees shines on a dimly lit grass-lined path. Behind the young woman standing in the middle of the path, the brightly lit copse of trees and the blue sky build a contrast between light and dark. On the lower left we are given a slight glimpse, between the trees, of the tranquil surface of a lake. The cow, rendered in reddish-brown, pulls the composition together as a whole.
Deer Running in the Snow
c.1856-57, Oil on canvas Gustave Courbet depicted social reality, dispassionately; his realist’s gaze was also directed at animals and the natural environment. Courbet, who enjoyed hunting, submitted a hunting scene to the Salon in 1857, which was at about the time that he painted this one, and received a favorable reception. He subsequently painted over 60 hunting scenes. Among them, the deer was his most prominent motif; he also made a specialty of painting snow scenes. Here the black stag, sensing danger approaching from the rear, is dashing across the white snowfield, baying; his form is filled with tension. Courbet has effectively expressed the rough feel of the snow and the light reflecting from it through use of the palette knife. His bold style violates the traditional norms of painting, in which the surface was to be cleanly finished, leaving no trace of the brush.
c. 1908, Oil on canvas In October of 1908, Monet visited Venice with his wife Alice, at the invitation of a friend. To Monet, distressed by his declining eyesight and worsening health, the trip provided a welcome change of scene. Venice, which had fascinated many artists from the Renaissance on, held Monet in its thrall. By December, he had produced over 30 paintings. He took them all back to his studio at Giverney, where he gradually completed them. In May of 1912, he held an exhibition consisting entirely of 29 paintings of Venice. In this member of that series, the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, which is located on an island, floats on a sea painted by the setting sun. From blue and green to orange and back to blue and green, the sky and sea are indeed a symphony of colors.
1878-79, Oil on canvas Manet created many splendid portraits, but only two self-portraits are known. Here we have a dignified full-length self portrait; the artist stands, hands in his pockets, one foot forward, in a dramatic contrast with the dark background. From it we comprehend the artist's sense of self and his pride. From the penetrating discernment of his gaze to his pinkish cheeks and ears, as though he is blushing, the face has been depicted meticulously. Manet's brushwork is coarser and bolder on the jacket and trousers. The hands and jacket clearly have areas left unpainted. At the time this portrait was painted, it was regarded as highly important, in traditional painting, to leave no brushstrokes visible in a finished work. Manet, however, did not care about giving his paintings a clean finish. His style, in which he dared to leave brushstrokes visible and areas of the canvas unpainted, influenced both the Impressionists and Vincent van Gogh.
Mlle Georgette Charpentier Seated
1876, Oil on canvas A girl wearing a blue dress and matching socks is seated on a large chair. The blue that dominates this painting is used in the shading around the girl’s eyes, her hair, and the carpet on the floor. Her pose, with her legs crossed, suggests a rather precocious little girl; Renoir used the same pose in a painting of a nude late in his career. The model for this work, which was shown in the third Impressionist exhibition, in 1877, was the eldest daughter, then four years old, of Renoir’s patron, the publisher Georges Charpentier. Charpentier, who had achieved a great success through publishing the novels of Zola and Maupassant, hosted a salon for artists and politicians in his home. Renoir, like Pissarro and Monet, painted landscapes en plein air, but his range of interests also included paintings of the human figure and genre scenes.
Young Man Playing the Piano
1876, Oil on canvas Caillebotte's model in this painting was his younger brother Martial, a composer. The setting is a room with a piano in their residence on rue de Miromesnil, in what is now the 8th arrondissement of Paris. The wall ornaments, curtains, carpets, chairs, and other furnishings are decorated with botanical motifs in this depiction of the refined interior of a wealthy citizen of Paris. The light entering from the window is reflected from the keyboard and a piano leg. The keyboard and Martial's fingers are also reflected in the fall board, while the red and gold wall treatment is reflected in the lid of the piano. Caillebotte's style of realistically depicting his subject within his representation of space to give a sense of depth is quite unusual among the Impressionists. His was, as we learn from this painting, one variation in the Impressionist pursuit of depictions of light and shadow. Caillebotte showed this painting in the second Impressionist exhibition, in 1876.
Mont Sainte-Victoire and Château Noir
c.1904-06, Oil on canvas Mont Sainte-Victoire is part of a range of limestone hills and mountains to the south of Aix-en- Provence, the town in which Cézanne was born. This mountain’s majestic presence symbolizes the region of Provence, and Cézanne painted it repeatedly, from his youth. This work, from the last years of his life, presents a gallant view of the mountain, looking eastward from a hill along the road to Thoronet, east of Aix. The yellow building in the left center of the painting is the Château Noir. A dense growth of trees occupies the foreground. The dark green above the mountain on the right is a cluster of pine needles from a branch of a large pine tree near the spot where Cézanne painted this work. The contrast between the cool colors of nature and the warm colors of artificial structures weaves a magnificent color symphony in this painting.
Vincent van GOGH
Windmills on Montmartre
1886, Oil on canvas Vincent van Gogh arrived in Paris from Antwerp early in the spring of 1886. His younger brother Theo had been living at the bottom of the hill of Montmartre, but, upon Vincent's arrival, rented a flat halfway up the hill to share with his brother. A famous dance hall, Le Moulin de la Galette, was near their flat. This work shows the landscape as seen from behind the dance hall, with windmills and the tricolor flags flying on them. This painting by van Gogh may seem subdued when compared with Renoir's lively, lavish painting of that same dance hall from about a decade earlier. Compared with the work van Gogh created while in the Netherlands, however, it is glowing with bright tones not found in those earlier paintings.
1889, Oil on canvas Gauguin made his third journey to Brittany in early 1889. By then, the region had become a favored destination for both artists painters and tourists. Disgusted with its popularity, Gauguin moved in October to the quiet village of Le Pouldu, near Pont-Aven. There he and Meyer de Haan, who joined him from the Netherlands, stayed at an inn run by a young woman known as “Marie Poupée” (Marie the Doll). Hay is one of the paintings with which Gauguin and de Haan decorated the dining room of the inn. The striking decorative effects visible in this work include the surface of the earth, delineated in horizontal bands, and the trees arranged in the middle distance and background. It was at about this time that Gauguin formally separated himself from the Impressionists.
Woman with Blue Bodice
1935, Oil on canvas Matisse had several favorite models during his career. Lydia Delectorskaya, who modeled for this painting, was hired in about 1934 as Matisse's studio assistant and to help Madame Matisse, who was ill. She ended up serving as Matisse's model and secretary until his death. It was also in the 1930s that Matisse began to photograph his work at each stage of production, as a means of rethinking its development and arriving at a satisfying result. Lydia would place the photographs in an album and date them. Three surviving photographs document the process by which this painting was created, showing how Matisse gradually altered it over the course, according to those notes, of not quite three weeks. The human figure was simplified and the colors made to contrast more boldly.
Saltimbanque Seated with Arms Crossed
1923, Oil on canvas© 2017 - Succession Pablo Picasso-SPDA(JAPAN) This painting is one that exemplifies Picasso's "Neoclassical period". Saltimbanques were the lowest order of entertainers; fairground performers, they moved from one fair to the next instead having a settled residence and place to perform. The term is also used to refer to professional acrobats and other performers who have failed in their calling. This depiction of a saltimbanque, rather than being born of Picasso's empathy for those on the periphery of society, may be a portrait of the artist himself. The face, with its air of Greek sculpture, indicates that possibility. On the left side of the painting, lines that suggest a human face are visible; scientific examination has revealed that a woman's form, nestling close to the saltimbanque, has also been painted over. One of the collectors who owned this work was the pianist Vladimir Horowitz.
1932, Oil and sand mixed plaster on panel Klee's passion for music is reflected in his use of symbols suggestive of notes and scores in his paintings. He also incorporated his interpretation of the musical method of polyphonic composition. Polyphony is a form of music in which distinct melodic lines proceed at the same time, each maintaining its independence. In this painting, three melodic lines are in play: areas of dilute red, blue, and yellow extend over the brown ground, a thick line defines the island, and dots cover the entire surface. While appreciating each of those melodies separately, we enjoy the counterpoint and harmony in the painting as whole. The dots in this painting, reminiscent of musical notation, are unrelated to the pointillist dots of color associated with Signac, Matisse, and Mondrian.
Washing Place in Grez-sur-Loing
1901 Asai created this painting during October, 1901, visit to the village of Grez-sur-Loing, in the outskirts of Paris, while studying in France. The group of works on autumn in Grez that he created during that visit is regarded as the crowning achievement of his time in Europe. Among them, this painting is regarded as one of his masterpieces in oils. Stimulated by the Impressionists, Asai was then at a major stylistic turning point sparked by his visit to Grez. In this painting, his focus on the washerwoman, a laborer, is quite characteristic of the pre-Grez Asai, who had studied with Fontanesi, an Italian artist influenced by the Barbizon school. Here, however, the artist’s interest seems to be directed more at depicting the reflections in the water and the light than the laborer herself. The brushwork and palette also call to mind Impressionist techniques.
Still Life with a Cat
1939-40© Fondation Foujita / ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR,
Tokyo, 2016 C1056 Fujita produced this work during his brief third visit to Paris, in 1939, before he returned to Japan shortly before Paris fell to the Germans. The table laden with all sorts of foods might suggest fond memories of an age of abundance, free of war, but the subject matter also has religious significance, as well as showing the influence of traditional still life painting in Western art. The bird in flight and the cat hunting for its prey, however, are depicted in a characteristically Japanese style, while the black background functions to emphasize the planar quality of the painting as a whole rather than a Baroque sense of light and shadow.
Cafe Terrace with Posters
1927 This work depicts a café near Saeki's studio, in Paris's 14th arrondissement. The inscription "UZO SAHEKI/ A PARIS/ NOV 27/ HOTEL DU MARCHE" at the upper right tells us that Saeki painted it in November of 1927, during his second visit to France. During that period, many of his works include lettering, in swift, dancing brushwork; some researchers of his work regard that brushwork as indicating the influence of Japanese calligraphy. Here the lettering has been recomposed decoratively to work within the painting as a whole and to serve an important function by adding motion to the composition. The vibrant colors of the posters and tables burst vigorously beyond their perimeters to create a bright, rhythmical effect.
1908-09 Fujishima painted this image of a woman, using a model, during his stay in Italy. He was evidently strongly attached to the painting, with its connections to his memories of Italy, and refused to part with it, keeping it in his studio until the end of his life. The white veil and black fan are thought to reflect the influence of a taste for things Spanish. The brushwork in the veil and fan are packed with a sense of speed and power, while the face, especially the nose and cheeks, are filled with a limpid gentleness. Fujishima used a translucent blue for the shadows and bright pink for the highlights of the left check. The red of the firm lips and blue of the eyes are also striking. While Fujishima worked with a restricted set of colors in this painting, the bright hues he deliberately placed here and there enhance its charm.
1932 Roses were one of Yasui's favorite subjects. Here the Imari vase and the vivid rose petals float against the plain black background. With his 1929 Seated Lady, Yasui achieved a style in which mellow colors cover the surface, differentiated into clear-cut contours. This work, painted three years later, illustrates his use of that new style in still life paintings as well. At first glance the brushwork seems offhand and bold, but the edge of the table, slightly angled upward towards the right, the subtle placement of the vase, tilting leftward, the rose petals, spreading in beautiful balance across the picture plane, the thickness of the gray tablecloth: all show us that Yasui had carefully worked out the composition and color plan. The result, however, is a painting free of rigid formality and brimming with robust beauty.
1919 Sekine is believed to have painted this portrait of his youngest brother, Takeo, then six, during the last six months of the artist's life, before his death at the age of 20 years and two months. The impoverished Sekine often painted over his old canvases, as he obviously did in this case. He had begun executing a design in which two women are walking side by side, but for some reason quit before finishing it, cut the canvas in two, and reused the lower half for this portrait. He had probably used the vivid cinnabar red in the first painting as well. It was his favorite color, one that became almost synonymous with him. The intense contrast between the red and the clear blue of the background gives a sense of the artist's longing for life.
Number 2, 1951
1951, Oil on canvas Pollock used his "dripping" technique, which simultaneously freed the pure energy of color and his own internal energy, through his actions, to produce "all-over" paintings, with the canvas as a whole covered with an all-over, even distribution of lines. Most of those were created from 1947 to 1950; they made Pollock the leading figure in Abstract Expressionism in postwar America. In this painting, Pollock has returned once again to figuration; he created it in a period in which he was alternating between the abstract and the figurative. Amidst the lines in black and various other colors are scattered astronomical motifs, as well as organic motifs that suggest bones and human limbs. Those motifs seem to evoke Picasso's Guernica, which had deeply impressed Pollock when it was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Head of Hostage
1945, Oil on paper mounted on canvas© ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2017 C1490 A tortured face, with several layers of eyes, is painted in thick impasto on a deep green background. During World War II, Fautrier took part in the Resistance and was arrested. His Hostage series, touched off by that ominous event, was created out of grief for those murdered under the German occupation. The twisted pigment, applied thickly, seems to express the very sounds of butchery by the occupiers. The tragedy is fused into the layers of paint. Fautrier did not try to express the horror and sadness of war through explanatory depictions but instead worked his layers of pigment to communicate through the sense of his material. He freed line and shape from conventional painting processes while declaring his and France's emancipation from the German military.
Solution of Continuities No.9
1964, Oil on canvas In 1962, after his third solo exhibition at the Galerie Stadler, Domoto cancelled his contract with that gallery and broke away from the Art Informel group. Leaving behind the style of his Informel period, with its ferocious, wild brushwork, he began producing was the Solutions of Continuities series the following year. In 1965, Domoto showed thirteen works from that series in the Venice Biennale. This is one of that group. The black pigment, applied in thick bands with a palette knife, overlaps in parallel bands, from bottom to top, and seems to continue beyond the picture plane. The cinnabar red base color peeks out in the areas not covered in black. The smooth red surface accentuates the thickness of the black pigment and our perception of its weighty matière.
1985, Oil on canvas© ZAO Wou-Ki ProLitteris Zurich The title of this painting indicates only the date on which it was completed and provides no clues to its content. All we have is a plane covered with oil paints. The lower quarter of this painting, which is much wider than it is long, is in graduated shades of gray and white, but upon closer inspection, many other colors are mingled there. Similarly, we see blue, dark blue, black, and pale green in the upper two-thirds of the painting. As we follow the active, unfettered motions of those colors, we may find ourselves imagining the ocean floor or an Antarctic night or perhaps even outer space. The scattering of such polysemy on color planes brimming with poetic associations may be what makes this work so compelling.
c.1902 The Thinker is not only the best known of Rodin's work but also the single most famous piece of modern sculpture. It was born from the concept for the never-completed "The Gates of Hell." Rodin developed it as an independent work from the figure that was to be situated in the center of the tympanum (the semicircular area above an entranceway). "The Gates of Hell" concept as a whole was based on The Inferno, one part of Dante's The Divine Comedy. This figure, which dominated the intended work, was planned to represent Dante himself, pondering the human fate while looking down at Hell. As Rodin worked on this piece, however, its significance changed, and it became a universal presence in everlasting meditation on the human fate. The Thinker was produced in three versions, large, medium, and small. The work in the Bridgestone Museum of Art is the small version, cast in about 1902.
1907-10© ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2017 C1490 The arms of the man and woman embracing and kissing are rendered schematically; their eyes, mouths, and wavy hair are finished in gentle line engraving. In about 1907, Brancusi began directly carving his materials, "from which the form evolves." He created sculptures on the theme of "The Kiss" in a variety of materials and sizes. This version, in plaster, is one example of the series, the pinnacle of which was the Gate of Kiss, which was built in Rumania. Each of the series maintains the image of the mass of stone and is composed of round pillars and rectangular solids. By using pure, fundamental forms, Brancusi expressed a sense of timelessness. Here the image and passion of an ideal union of man and woman are reduced to a mass that is geometric but far from cold.
1909 The billowing pleats of Penelope's robe create elegantly curved lines. Her pose, with her weight on her right foot, leaving her left foot free, creates a sense of stability and quiet movement in the Classicist manner. Above the massive lower body, the upper body is posed in grief, her chin on her hand. Penelope was the beautiful wife of Odysseus, hero of Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey. While Odysseus was away fighting the Trojan War, his wife was beset by a horde of suitors. Penelope announced that she would remarry only when she had finished weaving the tapestry to cover her husband's coffin; she then spent three years weaving it in the daytime and unraveling it at night. Penelope, who believed that her husband would return safely at last, has come to symbolize the dutiful and loyal spouse.
Mother and Child
1919© ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2017 C1490 This cement figure of a mother and child, colored brown, has an angular, bulging form, a simple style filled with gentleness and pathos. While three dimensional, the planar composition of the front of this work, which suggests carving in relief, is doubtless not unrelated to what Zadkine learned from Cubist painting as a whole. Compared, however, to the work of other Cubists, engaged in their intellectual quest for pure form, his work is more human and lyrical. This image of a mother and child is thought to have been based on a sculpture in marble on the same theme. Zadkine, at one period in his career, would use the sculptures he himself had created in stone or wood as the basis for recreating them in cement that contained small fragments of stone, as in this piece.
1914© Estate of Alexander Archipenko / ARS, New York / JASPAR, Tokyo, 2017 C1490 This work is a smaller version of the life-sized sculpture that Archipenko showed in the 1914 Salon des Indépendants in Paris, to general astonishment. The subject is a Venetian gondolier; one magazine scathingly criticized it as "a weather vane for a factory chimney from a Venetian bazaar." Between the radically simplified, machine-like form and the sense of the metal material, the human figure has been rendered inorganic and geometrical. The oar, which cuts across at an angle, implies the motion of the gondolier as he rows and the gliding motion of the gondola; it expresses the essence of those motions abstractly and compactly. In the 1910s, Archipenko, Zadkine, and other avant-garde sculptors sought new forms, unlike those of traditional Western sculpture, with its basis in imitating nature, and contributed to the development of Cubism.
14th century B.C. The body of a young woman and the head of a lioness are ingeniously combined by means of a headdress. The head is crowned with the solar disk and the uraeus or sacred snake, symbolizing a connection with the sun god, Ra; the scepter in her hand indicates that she was goddess of Lower Egypt. This statue of the goddess Sekhmet is characteristic of art from the reign of Amenhotep III, during the New Kingdom. Its stylized shapes and regular lines combine harmoniously form both bold and graceful. According to Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet (whose name means “Powerful Woman") was daughter of the sun god, Ra, consort of Ptah, the chief god of Memphis, and mother of the god Nefertem. Sekhmet was known as a goddess greatly to be feared: she could cause floods, pestilence, and massacres.
Hellenistic period (323-30 B.C.), The pure white marble from the island of Paros in the Aegean Sea used in this statue was regarded in ancient Greece as the ideal material for representations of Venus. The pose, in which the left hand holds her garment, which covers her from the hips on down, to keep it from fluttering in the wind, symbolizes Venus, who was born of the sea foam. In the Hellenistic period, extensive cultural contacts between Greek culture and that of the East, the result of the empire that Alexander the Great had built, led to the emergence of a new aesthetic. Statues were placed not only in temples but also in other public, urban structures and in private homes as well. As the connection between religion and art weakened, secular tendencies grew more pronounced. As in this work, the gods were presented in more human form. Greater dynamism replaced static postures that had indicated the eternal.
Head of a Philosopher
4th century B.C. This portrait sculpture from the fourth century B.C. is known as the “Head of a Philosopher.” Since the carving at the back is rough and the head lacks a right ear, it was probably part of a funerary sculpture composed of several figures placed in a box-like space. During the Hellenistic period, a naturalisti style that presented the human figure simply and honestly flourished. In this example, the slight tilt of the head, the intently staring eyes, the eyebrows drawn together in concern reveal the inner life and subtle feelings of a human being. It is characteristic of the arts of this period that they went beyond the earlier pursuit of an idealized form to achieve a dynamic expression of the full range of human feelings and the vigorous movements of the human body.
Painter of Boulogne 441, Attic Black-Figure Neck-Amphora
Herakles and Kerberos
520-510 B.C. An amphora is a vessel for serving wine. This example is decorated with a scene from the Labors of Hercules (Herakles) on the front and shows warriors and their retinues going off to battle on the rear. In the tale of the Labors of Hercules, a theme from Greek myth, Hercules, having aroused the enmity of Hera, consort of Zeus, was required to serve King Eurystheus for twelve years, during which the king ordered him to carry out twelve labors, twelve feats so difficult they seemed impossible to perform. Of them, the most challenging of all was to capture alive Cerberus (Kerberos), the multi-headed, serpent-tailed beast that guarded the entrance to Hades. The design on the amphora shows Hercules clothed in a lion's coat as, guided by Hermes and Athena, he brings Cerberus out of Hades. As this example shows, by the sixth century B.C., Greek ceramics had achieved a quite rational form. In black-figure painting, decorating was applied to a pot in a slip that would turn black in firing and details incised into the slip.