Archive for April, 2012

Photography | NSPCC Iconic Images Charity Auction

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Photographs including the NSPCC Iconic Images Sale
Bonhams, Knightsbridge, London, UK
17th May, 2012

This week’s blog post is dedicated to leading charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s sale of 10 iconic photographs, donated by photographers and private collectors. The event is being hosted by international auction house, Bonhams, as part of their Photographs sale on 17th May. Funds raised from the 10 prints on offer will go to the NSPCC’s Rebuilding Childhoods Appeal, which provides therapy for children and young people who have suffered abuse.

Lot 74 Above
Nadav Kander (Israeli, born 1961) Florence Welch I, 2011
Archival pigment print, mounted. Signed, titled, dated and numbered ‘2/5’ in ink on a label on reverse of mount. Number 2 in an edition of 5. Framed. Paper 76 x 61.5cm, image 66 x 51.5cm. £1500-2000

Lot 70
Rankin (John Rankin Waddell) (British, born 1966) Untitled, from ‘Snog’, July 2000
C-type print, flush-mounted to board. Signed, dated and numbered ‘1/3’ in ink on the reverse. Number 1 in an edition of 3.122.3 x 122.3cm. £2,000-3,000

Lot 73
David Bailey (British, born 1938) Damien Hirst, 2006
Inkjet print, the reverse signed, dated and annotated in pencil, and with the photographer’s copyright stamp. Framed. Paper 33 x 48.3cm, image 29.4 x 39.2cm. £1,000-1,500

Lot 65
Alistair Morrison (British, born 1956) Oliver Reed, London, 1985
Silver bromide print, signed in ink in the margin and with the photographer’s blindstamp. Titled, dated and numbered ‘24/25’ on the reverse. Number 24 in an edition of 25. Printed later. Framed. Image 42.5 x 40cm. £2,000-3,000

Lot 72
Patrick Demarchelier (French, born 1943) Christy Turlington, New York, 1986
Digital print, mounted on foam board. Signed on a label on reverse of mount. Also on the mount a copyright label bearing print details and catalogue number 1066, and ‘Exposing Elegance’ exhibition stamp dated December 1997 – March 1998. Framed. Paper 94 x 89cm , image 77 x 76.5cm. £5,000-7,000

Lot 69
Martin Schoeller (German/American, born 1968) Valentino, 2005
C-type print, signed on a label on reverse of mount. Number 4 in an edition of 7. Framed. 109.2 x 88.9cm. £4,000-6,000

Lot 68
Barry Lategan (British, born 1935) Twiggy, 1966
Platinum-palladium print, signed, titled and dated in pencil in the margin and with the photographer’s studio blindstamp. Artist’s proof aside from the edition of 35. Printed later. Framed. Paper 83.2 x 64.1cm, image 60.4 x 50.6cm. £4,000-6,000

Lot 67
Terence Donovan (British, 1936-1996) Celia Hammond, c. 1966
Gelatin silver print, the reverse with the photographer’s copyright stamp and estate stamp signed by Diana Donovan in pencil and bearing print details. Number 6 in an edition of 50. Printed later. Framed. Paper 24 x 20cm , image 18 x 18cm. £1,500-2,000

Lot 66
Terry O’Neill (British, born 1938) Brigitte Bardot and Sean Connery on the set of Shalako, 1968
Gelatin silver print, signed and numbered ‘3/50’ in ink in the margin. Number 3 in an edition of 50. Printed later.
Framed. Image 30.5 x 45.3cm. £2,000-3,000

Lot 71
Miles Aldridge (British, born 1964) Extravagant, Sophisticated Lady #12, 2011
Lambda print, mounted on aluminium. Signed in ink on studio label on reverse of mount, which also bears print details. Reverse of mount also with Hamiltons Gallery label bearing print details. Number 2 in an edition of 6. Framed. Sight area 151 x 113.5cm. £3,000-5,000

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There Will be no Blog Post this Week

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Look out for the next post around 14.00 GMT on Friday 27th April.
Until then, have fun…

Climbing Frame at Goldhanger, 2012
©Pedro Silmon

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Art | Andrew Wyeth in China

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Andrew Wyeth in Beijing & Hong Kong
Yuan Space, Beijing, China
14th April – 12th May, 2012
Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center
24th – 30th May, 2012
Christie’s, New York, USA
Date to be announced, September, 2012

When Snoopy’s dog house burned down in November 1966, sadly his Van Gogh was destroyed along with it, but the strip’s cartoonist, Charles M Schulz, saw to it that the painting was quickly replaced with one by the artist Andrew Wyeth, of whose work he was a great admirer. In 1977 Wyeth was the first American artist since John Singer Sargent to be elected to the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. A Wyeth retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2006, running over 15 weeks, drew more than 175,000 visitors, the museum’s highest-ever attendance for a living artist. In 2007 he received the National Medal of Arts from George W Bush and in the same year, in the Springfield Up episode of The Simpsons, Mr Burns has a painting of Wyeth’s iconic Christina’s World, 1948 – MoMA Collection, bought in 1948 for $1800 – in his den, except that in his version Burns lanky body replaces the more shapely female figure. The entire neighbourhood of Thunder Hill in the village of Oakland Mills, Columbia in Maryland has street names derived from his paintings. But although Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) was one of the most popular and revered artists in the history of American art, perhaps it was for this very popularity that he was also one of its most criticised, especially within the art world. According to Michael Kimmelman, who wrote Wyeth’s obituary in The New York Times: ‘Because of his popularity – a bad sign to many art world insiders – Wyeth came to represent middle-class values and ideals that modernism claimed to reject. ‘Kimmelman went on to say that art critics mostly heaped abuse on Wyeth’s work, saying he gave realism a bad name. Hopper’s realism was okay, apparently, but Wyeth’s wasn’t. Some experts regarded him as a facile realist, not an artist but merely an illustrator. Lashing out in all directions and perhaps further isolating himself, Wyeth expressed general disdain for the abstract expressionists. And so the antagonistic situation festered and boiled throughout the latter part of his life.

Andrew Wyeth was born into an artistic family in Chadds Ford, a small town in Pennsylania, about 30 miles from Philadelphia. His father NC Wyeth was a well-known illustrator, whose fame and talent in the 1920s attracted the attention of celebrities such as F Scott Fitzgerald who would come to visit him. NC drove his frail and ailing son – too feeble to attend school – hard, pushing him to develop drawing skills at an early age with the obsessive goal of making him follow in his father’s footsteps and become an illustrator. But Andrew resisted, preferring to paint the deserted landscapes he discovered on his wanderings. He liked the idea that figures could be implicit in his paintings but nevertheless went on to include in them his friends, a black handyman (A Crow Flew By 1949-50), and neighbours Karl and Anna Kuerner. Although he adapted portraits of others to include details of his father, who died in 1945, Wyatt never painted him. His ‘Helga‘ series of more than 200 paintings and sketches came with a whiff of scandal – he didn’t tell his wife about them until they were finished in 1985 – and received national publicity, travelling to major cities throughout the USA. These intimate studies – many of them full figure nudes – of neighbour Helga Testorf, made him very rich.

In Wyeth’s style of painting, that became known as ‘Magic’ Realism, everyday scenes are imbued with a dream-like air of mystery, coupled with barely concealed melancholy. He recorded the arid Pennsylvania and Maine landscapes, rural houses, and rickety shacks with great detail, painting in each tiny blade of grass, individual strands of hair, and every subtle nuance of light and shadow. The Brandywine River Museum, in Chadds Ford houses much of the Wyeth collection.

Wyeth’s work was as rural as Warhol’s was urban, his nudes as earthy as Warhol’s girls (and boys) were dirty, but while the rural can easily look picturesque to the city dweller, and might appear to pander even unintentionally to wide appeal, urban art is by nature of its situation radical and intended for a strictly limited, edgier audience. Ubiquity and the passage of time can render almost any image passé – The Mona Lisa, The Hay Wain, Van Gogh’s SunflowersThe Scream – and perhaps Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World has fallen victim to the same fate. But Warhol’s once iconoclastic Marilyn Diptych has, too – so far to a somewhat lesser extent – and The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone LivingDamien Hirst’s shark – will not be immune.

It’s not so surprising, then, that Wyeth’s work as opposed to Warhol’s and Pollock’s was deemed acceptable to the powers that be in 1980s China, where it became immensley popular. The press release for the forthcoming Andrew Wyeth in China exhibitions contains the following quote from Li Xian Ting – often called the godfather of Chinese contemporary avant-garde – academic consultant to the exhibition, who on this occasion may well be toeing the party line: ‘When Wyeth’s work first caught the eyes of artists of this generation, we were mainly under the influence of Socialist Realism from the 40s and (Russian) Peredvizhniki art in which the relation [sic] between the narrative and ideology featured heavily. Historically, young Chinese artists’ classical training was figurative and representational. At the time, the only way to rebel against Social Realism was to embrace Modernism, entailing a complete abandon [sic] of representation. This would have implied, starting from zero to reincarnate a new self under the banners of Cubism and Abstract Expressionism. And just as artists found themselves at this impasse, Wyeth’s works appeared. They were melancholic, poetic, but at the same time they developed on the skills and possibilities of representation. This deeply moved the burgeoning Chinese artists and inspired many to ask themselves the question: is it possible for us to hold on to the artistic training we grow up with, and still create something new that is different from Modernist art? And obviously, Wyeth provided them with such a possibility.’ Perhaps Chinese conservatism isn’t so far removed from Middle America’s. Meanwhile, Chinese conceptual artist, architect, designer and activist Ai Weiwei’s first solo exhibition in Italy wow’s the West at the Lisson gallery in Milan until 25th May, 2012.

Paintings from top
Study for ‘Lovers’, 1981
Drybrush and watercolor on paper
© Andrew Wyeth

Citizen Clark, 1957
Drybrush and watercolor on paper laid down on board
©Andrew Wyeth, Private Collection

Faraway, 1952
(Portrait of the artist’s son, Jamie)
Drybrush on paper
© Andrew Wyeth

The Works of Andrew Wyeth is organized by Yuan Space in cooperation with Christie’s and Adelson Galleries

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Photography | Giuseppe Cavalli: Master of Light?

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Giuseppe Cavalli: Master of Light
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London, UK
18th April to 17th June, 2012

Italy spawned great film directors, the names of whom: Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci, Luchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini, Franco Zeffirelli, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sergio Leone and Roberto Benigni, spring effortlessly to mind. But, try to to conjure up a list of the Italy’s great photographers to put alongside French, American, German and English ones, as well as the odd Brazilian and Japanese and it’s a different story.

Wikipedia lists 92 Italian photographers, the majority of whom I’ve never heard of with the exceptions of Romano Cagnoni, the reportage photographer, still life photographer Piero Gemelli, fashion photographer Marco Glaviano and the only ones I regard as worthy of being called great: Paolo Roversi, Oliviero Toscani and Gian Paolo Barbieri. The Magnum photographer, Ferdinando Scianna, isn’t on the list, nor does it mention the great eccentric architect and furniture designer, Carlo Mollino, who produced some interesting photographic images. For the record: Mario Testino isn’t Italian and was born in Lima, Peru into a family of Irish, Spanish and Italian origins. There’s also the prominent fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti, I suppose, who is based in New York but Italian-born and has certainly produces interesting work for many up-scale clients – but can he be ranked as as great?

In it’s modest way and while the name of the photographer, who is the subject of its current exhibition, Giuseppe Cavalli (1904-1961), is entirely new to me, North London’s Estorick Collection is to be applauded for making a tremendous effort to draw elements of Italian photography out of the darkness and into the light. In this context, who better to choose than Cavalli, evidently one of Italy’s key figures in 20th century photography, who chose light, over content, as the subject of his simple, thoughtful, occasionally almost abstract compositions. Born into a family of artists but opting to study law at Rome University – after which he practised for nine years as a lawyer – from 1935 he worked as a freelance photographer in the pleasant seaside town and port, Senigallia, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, north of Ancona, in the Marche region. Founding member of what are regarded as three of the country’s most influential photographic groups, Giuseppe Cavalli was the recipient of numerous international awards for his work, the constant gentle theme of which developed out of a reaction against the overblown imagery of Fascist era Italy. In the post war years, in marked contrast to the neo-realist aesthetic of directors such as Robert Rossellini that began to dominate Italian cinema and engaged with social and political themes, Cavalli and his companions rejected the perception of photography as a documentary tool in favour of their belief that the medium was an art form. All well and good but when set against those of his international, contemporary and accepted greats, for example: Brassai, Kertész and Man Ray, for me, Cavalli’s pallid prints, pale that little bit further.

Photographs from top
Untitled, undated
Gelatin silver print
35.2 x 28 cm

Composition, undated
Gelatin silver print
20.2 x 17.2 cm

The Little Ball, 1949
Gelatin silver print
30 x 24 cm

Waiting, 1948
Gelatin silver print
17.6 x 28.6 cm

The Black Pipe, 1951
Gelatin silver print
24 x 18 cm

All photographs by Giuseppe Cavalli (1904-1961) from the Prelz Oltramonti Collection, London

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