Protean-rich Richter

Richter seascape

Image: Gerhard Richter, “Seascape”

“The cataloguing of the art of Gerhard Richter (born 1932) has reached the years 1968-76. By this time an established international artist and leading teacher, he began to move away from the collective group activities of his early years. The period was also when Richter started painting series in different styles in fairly quick cycles. Blurred black and white photo paintings were superseded by colour variants, often with landscapes as subjects. At the same time, he was formulating abstract paintings of colour charts, painterly multicolour works and monochrome pieces. Fortunately for the reader, the paintings are listed in their different series as groups, so the sequence of images is not bewilderingly various.

“Gerhard Richter: Catalogue Raisonné Volume 2shows Richter at his most Romantic and most austerely modern. Colour paintings of clouds, seascapes and landscapes are mostly derived from his own photographs. They are contemporary Romantic landscapes: plangent, attractive, absent of figures. Sometimes single compositions are combinations of different photographs. The landscapes are flat and resist any Romantic immersion of the viewer in an environment. They are not picture-postcard pretty, but landscapes as seen from car or train window or viewed from a hotel balcony. The paintings have the disappointment of holiday photographs that fail to capture majestic panoramas and instead produce something lacking energy, depth and intensity. In that sense, these are landscapes of the snapshot generation. This is not a failure on Richter’s part but a deliberate choice and an intelligent one.

“Richter engaged with the Old Masters by painting versions of Titian’s Annunciation, obscuring the Virgin and angel under a queasy flurry of brushmarks. In later years, he approached Old Masters indirectly by lifting poses and echoing compositions…”

Read the full review online at The Art Newspaper, 30 August 2017 here:

http://theartnewspaper.com/review/protean-rich-on-the-gerhard-richter-catalogue-raisonne

Advertisements

Review: Francis Bacon catalogue raisonne

francis-bacon-figure-with-meat

“It was an absurdity that until June of this year Francis Bacon (1909-92), the foremost British painter of the 20th century and one of the giants of Modernist art, did not have a catalogue raisonné. Researchers had to scour miscellaneous catalogues (including the incomplete 1964 catalogue raisonné compiled by Ronald Alley) in search of images and data. Now, Francis Bacon: Catalogue Raisonné, a grand five-volume affair (boxed and bound in dark-grey cloth) documents 584 paintings by Bacon…”

Full review in The Art Newspaper, 21 July 2016

[link removed due to page on site unavailable]

Review: Aubrey Beardsley catalogue raisonne

 

beardsley salome

“During his short career, the English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98) gained a formidable reputation as an unwholesome genius – a brilliantly original draughtsman intent on corrupting and scandalising. He should be a peripheral figure working in a minor medium (illustration) on the fringes of art movements that were stronger in applied art than in fine art, yet Beardsley’s art is not only unforgettable, it is the defining graphic manifestation of Aestheticism, Decadent art and Art Nouveau, and constitutes some of the world’s most remarkable illustrations.

“While a schoolboy in Brighton, Beardsley had a passion for theatre and designed puppet theatres, which foreshadows his later choices of subjects…”

 

Published in The Art Newspaper. Link removed due to page being inaccessible.

Asger Jorn books

“A number of exhibitions and publications marked the centenary of Denmark’s most celebrated artist, Asger Jorn (1914-1973). Jorn was a complex artist whose output exists in at least ten different media; that is even before one considers his political, philosophical, architectural and ethnographic activities.

“Jorn joined the Communist Party in Denmark when he was about 16. He later completed his education in Paris under Fernand Léger and Le Corbusier. After the Second World War, which he spent in Denmark assisting the resistance, he cofounded the Cobra avant-garde movement. In 1957, seeking to emphasise the political dimension to his activities, Jorn became a prominent member of the Situationist International group. Jorn published short texts and books, theorising on topics ranging fr om the artistic to the political and philosophical. The urgent question for socially minded artists in the immediate post-war period was how to operate in the Cold War; should they assimilate or oppose the domination of Western European Modernism? Jorn suggested that two Modernist strands could co-exist: the mainstream derived from French art and Mediterranean cultures and another, assertively Nordic in culture and form….

Read the full review at THE ART NEWSPAPER, 1 April 2015 here: http://www.theartnewspaper.com/comment/reviews/books/17185/

Gustave Moreau

“”Moreau’s diverse and often paradoxical oeuvre lies at the crossroads of apparently contradictory trends in 19th-century art”, Peter Cooke observes at the end of his monographic study of Gustave Moreau (1826-98). Often described as a proto-Symbolist—and less often as a history painter—Moreau has proved hard to classify. The best of his elaborate biblical and mythological tableaux are hauntingly memorable but they are difficult to decode. Gustave Moreau: History Painting, Spirituality and Symbolism succeeds in illuminating a very peculiar and compelling figure on the margins of French art.

“Moreau’s classic oil compositions feature figures in isolated areas of light surrounded by large areas dark enlivened with coloured highlights, bestowing these grottoes and throne rooms with a bejewelled appearance. The expressions of the characters are restrained and their gestures anti-naturalistic and hieratic. Intricate decoration covers garments and architecture, causing paintings to exude a pseudo-organic quality.

“By the end of the Second Empire salon history painting had sometimes become an exercise in sensationalism, titillating with visions of gratuitous horror and nudity. It is difficult not to see Moreau as—to some degree—wilfully martyring himself by adhering to the history-painting tradition which he suspected was moribund…”

Read the full review at THE ART NEWSPAPER, 1 May 2015 here:

http://www.theartnewspaper.com/comment/reviews/books/155001/

Hans Hofmann: catalogue raisonne

“Biographies of almost any first- or second-generation Abstract Expressionist artist almost always mention Hans Hofmann. Teaching at his own school in New York City and Provincetown during the 1930s to 1950s, Hofmann influenced a generation of artists, including Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell, as well as dozens of other significant painters. Hofmann (along with Josef Albers) was one of the most important teachers of abstract art in the US. His ideas provided an intellectual and aesthetic foundation for the rise of abstraction in mid-century America. Until now his own art has been accorded a patchy reception, which Hans Hofmann: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings is likely only partially to remedy.

“Hans Hofmann grew up in Bavaria before working in an office in Munich and studying art part-time. In 1905 he moved to Paris and came into contact with the avant-garde of the École de Paris, exhibiting infrequently and receiving little attention. At the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, Hofmann and his future wife Miz were caught in Germany and consequently lost all his Paris paintings…”

Read the full review here at THE ART NEWSPAPER, 2 June 2015:

http://www.theartnewspaper.com/comment/reviews/books/156121/