Category: Art

Bernard Boutet de Monvel -- Art Of The Day

Bernard Boutet de Monvel — Art Of The Day

Bernard Boutet de Monvel — Art Of The Day

Today’s art of the day is from Bernard Boutet de Monvel.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel -- Art Of The Day art deco mrs warren pershing painting portrait design architecture rectilinear style nature background

Bernard Boutet de Monvel was the father of the ‘profile picture.’ See what I did there? A lot of his paintings of people were done in profile. His style was the precursor for the Art Deco movement in art and design. It’s something known now as ‘rectilinear’ painting. It’s a term reserved for architecture and drafting. If you remember my earlier posts, I’ve talked a bit about the bridging of the gap between art, science, and engineering.

What Bernard Boutet de Monvel did was bridge the gap between art, design, and architecture — a natural procession in my opinion. Art and design are very closely related, and the connection he made helped solidify him as an imperative figure in the art world.

The above portrait of Mrs. Warren Pershing is very seamless in my opinion. The background is further away, and it looks almost like she stepped into the shot, ‘photobombing’ this picture of a landscape. There is something very interesting about that. However, it doesn’t look forced or awkward. She seems to belong and fit in right where she’s standing.

There’s a lot of detail in the background, making it just as important as the subject. This confirms my earlier statement that Bernard Boutet de Monvel sought to connect art and design.

London calling Lucian Frdud kitty garman

London Calling — Art Of The Day

London Calling — Art Of The Day

For today’s art of the day, I wanted to take it back to the London Calling exhibit I saw at the Getty last summer. I loved his exhibit, all the artists were incredible. But what really grabbed my attention are the changes I noticed in Lucian Freud’s work.

London calling Lucian Freud kitty garman

London calling Lucie Freud portrait of bowery

The painting of Kitty Garman with her cat was painted in 1947, one of Freud’s earlier works. The portrait of Bowery was painted in 1991. Lucian Freud was a painter who questioned sexual identity and chose subjects whose sexuality was inconsistent or ‘fluid.’ Leigh Bowery was a gay icon who died shortly after this painting was made, from complications from AIDS. Freud himself was involved with both men and women throughout his life. What all of this says about Freud’s own sexuality is something his grandfather Sigmund would have to answer.

What grabbed my attention is the insane attention to detail in the portrait of Kitty, versus the harsh rendering of Bowery. The first painting was done in 1947, and other paintings of Kitty in the years to come were also done in the same style as the portraits of Bowery. It could be argued that Freud was just discovering his style. However, I think this was something more; perhaps another question for Freud’s grandfather. The ‘unflattering’ way he drew his later subjects is in direct juxtaposition with the almost manic attention to detail in his earlier works. I wonder what goes through an artist’s mind when they make these kinds of changes.

I can say that London Calling was one of the best exhibits of modern art that I have ever seen.

Mapplethorpe orchid shadows flowers

Some More Mapplethorpe

Some More Mapplethorpe

Today’s art of the day is some more Mapplethorpe. In my last post about him, I talked about his balance of delicacy and toughness by using flowers to render phallic objects. This photograph is from the same series. Mapplethorpe shows the delicacy of the flower, and it’s toughness in the shadow.

Mapplethorpe lily shadows flowers

It is amazing how something can look so different in the shadow.

The shadow of the orchid is so different in character from the original object.

Seeing this, I am reminded of perspective. Sometimes we get so lost in our thoughts, we get tunnel vision. Our problems seem unsolvable. Seeing this photograph reminds me to look at things from a different angle. There’s something quite beautiful casting this menacing shadow.

Things are not always as they seem.

michel leiris alberto Giacometti art drawing sketches

Alberto Giacometti — Art Of The Day

Alberto Giacometti — Art Of The Day

Today’s art of the day is Michel Leiris Frontal View, by Alberto Giacometti.

michel leiris alberto Giacometti art drawing sketches

Michel Leiris was a surrealist writer and later published magazine articles on his friends, one of whom was Alberto Giacometti. It’s interesting how the two friends ‘paid each other back.’ Leiris by sitting for him, and Giacometti for letting himself be interviewed.

Giacometti was a draughtsman and I find it interesting how he chose to render the face. He treated this sketch as a draft with all the horizontal and vertical lines. This drawing is dissecting. Like my last post about Harold Edgerton, this drawing once again makes me think of a bridged gap between art and science, engineering.

The face is not something traditionally drawn with science in mind. A portrait is traditionally artistic, and conveys emotion. Giacometti showed a more scientific approach to portraiture. Even the title of the painting, “Frontal View,” conveys a scientific approach. This is the title of building drafts. Yet the artistry is not sacrificed. The emotion is still conveyed on Leiris’ face.

I think bridging the gap between science and art is an artist’s greatest strength.

on the beach at night walt whitman poetry poet view trees

On The Beach At Night

On The Beach At Night — Walt Whitman

Today’s poem of the day is Walt Whitman’s On The Beach At Night.

on the beach at night walt whitman poetry poet view trees

I probably should have taken this photo on the beach at night, but the light might not be too good :PPP

One of m favourite lines in poetry is found in this poem:

‘They are immortal, all those stars both silvery and golden
shall shine out again,
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again, they

Lately, I’ve been thinking aout how we feel we’re not getting what we want, like we’re not even close. I’ve had that feeling a lot, and I always remember that I don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. Everything we get can be thrown away if we think it’s not what we want. Or we can take everything we receive with gratitude and trust that it is a component of something much greater. And we will see only in the future how it all comes together.

I love that about art. How it makes us think and puts our lives in perspective.

Later on in the poem Walt Whitman changes his tone and style of the poem. He goes on to say that there is something much greater than all the stars, planets, and moons. What do you think he was talking about?

harold edgerton papa flash photography art motion critical moment

Harold Edgerton — Photo Of The Day

Harold Edgerton — Photo Of The Day

Today’s photo of the day is from none other than Harold Edgerton, the father of the flash. He was an engineer at MIT and created his photographs using cameras and flashes of his own invention. Without him, the compact flash we know and love today, would not exist.

harold edgerton papa flash photography art motion critical moment

It is always interesting to me when someone of a science background bridges the gap with art. It shows how close the two really are. This photo captures the ‘critical moment’ of photography. A lot of Harold Edgerton’s photographs deal with capturing motion. From an engineer’s perspective I can see the need to view motion broken down into separate parts.

But looking at this from an ‘art’ perspective I’m always interested in the photographer’s desire to capture this. Is it really necessary to see something as swift as motion or action broken down into small, digestible parts? And furthermore, why do people in general have a desire to have things explained and made clear to them?

I love reading too far into photography, and Harold Edgerton and his photos always make me think of the human need to know and understand the world around us. Is it a healthy desire or is it the hubris of humans to feel like we are superior?

There are so many unexplainable things around us every day. Just like the other day, we were talking about the Mandela effect and false memories. Sometimes it might be best to shrug and say, ‘This is just how it is.”

rothko house of cards lacma claire underwood

Rothko and House Of Cards

Rothko and House Of Cards

I’ve been watching House Of Cards and of course noticed (what I think is) the Rothko painting Claire Underwood got for her office. Then I found this article, which talks about how House of Cards has the rights to reproduce Rothko for season five (they don’t use originals in TV shows).

I thought the choice was interesting for this show. Rothko is one of the most symbolic artists, and I wondered what was the meaning behind Claire’s choice. Maybe it’s that she is tapping into her own darkness.

Ms. Davis mentioned that she preferred the reds, so I found this video I got at LACMA last month, of one of his reds. She also mentions he was a very depressive person.

It’s interesting to hear other people’s opinion on his art. A lot of them say ‘I could have painted that.’ Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Seeing this in person is very evoking. It’s almost like a piece of himself is in it, which is not something anyone could do.

This season of House of Cards is filled with symbolism. I don’t want to give it away in case you haven’t watched it, but maybe the Rothkos are in place to really force us to see how everything has some double meaning.

Have you seen this season? What did you think of it?

John Singer Sargent 1882 The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Art of the Day — John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent

For today’s art of the day, I decided to throw it back to an old post about some of my favourite John Singer Sargent paintings. This one is called The Daughters Of Edward Darley Boit.

John Singer Sargent 1882 The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit Museum of Fine Arts Boston

There’s something haunting in this painting. It makes me slightly uncomfortable. In fact, my first thought was that these aren’t ordinary happy children at all.

The two girls hidden almost entirely in the shadows, one of them not even looking forward, made me think of their attitude toward their father. Maybe earlier she was chastised for doing something wrong. Or maybe it is all much simpler, they’re just children embarrassed at having their portrait drawn. There’s been some discussion about the girls in the shadows being children of servants, not Boit himself. I don’t agree with that. The title clearly states they are his daughters. In person, it never occurred to me that they might not all be related.

The younger girl on the floor has an expression the perfect blend of curiosity and indifference, characteristic of children. John Singer Sargent is absolutely brilliant for having captured this.

The simplicity of the young girl’s expression is in direct juxtaposition with that of the girl on the left. When I saw this painting, I kept staring back and forth between their two faces. Her pose is stoic, as is her face, and she strikes me as someone who has been taught early on what is expected of her.

I thought, after seeing this, that Boit was a very strict father…Or maybe something much darker lurked beneath the surface.

Check out the rest of the post here. Or visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to see it in person!

Annenberg Space for photography century city exhibit generation wealth 1

Annenberg Space For Photography

Annenberg Space For Photography

I recently went to see the Lauren Greenfield exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography. It was a really interesting look at social class through retrospective.

Annenberg Space for photography century city exhibit generation wealth 3 Annenberg Space for photography century city exhibit generation wealth 1

This exhibit was meant to explore our obsession with wealth and celebrity. I always knew this was a real thing, but it shocked me how seriously some people take their desire to be rich and famous. A lot of the photographs were of people who’d be classified as ‘new money.’ Their lack of class was absolutely repulsive to me. They literally looked like garbage.

I’ve never been more repulsed by money or people who have it. Her photographs really moved something in me.

It seemed like the more money one has, the less class they get to keep. Or that one replaces the other. Their big houses were gawdy and tacky, missing any modicum of art or prestige.

The retrospective also addressed what happened when these same people lost everything. It was amazing to see how quickly people adjust to money, especially women who marry rich. They immediately become adjusted to being super wealthy. Yet as soon as something happens and they lose the money, it’s impossible for them to recover. It’s almost like Flowers for Algernon.

Annenberg Space for photography century city exhibit generation wealth 4

Money In Russia

One of the sections of the Annenberg Space that really stuck out to me was the one with the photographs of crazy rich Russians. It made me think about my own thoughts on money and wealth, and how it’s different from others’ due to my upbringing.
Money was so volatile after the collapse of the Soviet Union that its ‘societal’ meaning and value became very low. It was almost funny to see something that means so much go up and down so quickly. We had a lot of money during this time, and it ended up being the reason we had to leave. Overtime, money began to lose its’ meaning and value for me.

Some people in Russia saw it the other way, ‘now is our chance to have a lot more.’
I never put a lot of emphasis on money, and I think it was because of how quickly I realized it can lose its value, and become worthless. It just didn’t make sense to strive endlessly for something that may one day mean absolutely nothing. I understood wealth was fleeting, and it was better to spend my time and energy on a more worthy goal.

Annenberg Space for photography century city exhibit generation wealth 2

The retrospective runs through August 13, please check it out if you are in town!

Hermitage museum St. Petersburg

Hermitage Museum

Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is one of the oldest in the world.

Hermitage museum St. Petersburg

Here are some tiny photographs from the museum, by photographer B. Osenchakov, from 1974.


I recently had to empty out a lot of drawers in my house and came across this big box of vintage postcards and maps. Including these photos of the Hermitage Museum.

I hope everyone has a chance to visit this place, it has some of the most comprehensive collections of art in the world.


Let me know what you think I should do with all those postcards though!