Posts Tagged ‘Matisse’

Art | Beatriz Milhazes takes Rio to Hong Kong

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Turkish garden, 2014
Collage of various papers on cardboard

Beatriz Milhazes
White Cube Hong Kong
Hong Kong
People’s Republic of China
13 March > 30 May 2015

Beatriz Milhazes
Photo Christian Gaul

Beatriz Milhazes’ studio, where she has worked since 1987, is adjacent to Rio de Janeiro’s botanical gardens, and for this latest series of mixed media works, the artist has allowed the exuberant jungle foliage to creep inside, to spread over and mingle with her collection of collaging materials, carrying choice finds along with it to decorate – with her helping hand – the surfaces of the cardboard sheets she uses as her baseboard, thereby producing a group of multi-layered, remarkably vibrant works – a unique abstracted celebration of 21st century Brazil’s tropical splendour and the natural world – opulent compositions which blend mix all manner of influences, most noticeably in this instance from Matisse – in cut-out mode – whose presence extends across much of the show, and is perhaps most apparent in the combination of colours and cut-out shapes in O passeio, (The ride, or The tour).

Yellow sunshine, 2014
Mixed media – Collage of various papers
and acrylic paint on cardboard

Referencing the collage technique invented by the early 20th century cubists, Turkish garden, includes chocolate wafer biscuit wrappers, cut into leaf shapes, as well as rose-patterned, holographic, spotted and striped wrapping papers. The central, river-like horizontal axis of Yellow sunshine gives more than a nod to Sonia Delauney, and in Jardim Kadiwéu (Garden of the Kadiwéu) Milhazes pays homage to local and world-famous painter, printmaker, ecologist, naturalist, artist, musician and landscape architect, Roberto Burle Marx – designer of the undulating op art Copacabana promenade mosaic (completed 1970). Elsewhere, Emilio Pucci patterns reflecting 1960s and 70s glamour overlay radiant colours and textures suggestive of the wild exuberance of the Rio carnival.

Jardim Kadiwéu, 2014
Collage of various papers on cardboard

O Passeio, 2014
Collage of various papers on cardboard

Beatriz Milhazes (b 1960 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) has had numerous international solo exhibitions, including those at Pérez Art Museum / Miami /USA (2014 > 2015), Museu Oscar Niemeyer / Curbita / Brazil (2013), Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation / Lisbon / Portugal (2011), Fondation Cartier/ Paris / France (2009). In 2003, she represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale. As well as the forms and patterns of flowers and leaf shapes that find their way into her painting and mixed media oeuvre, Milhazes has incorporated the rich atmosphere of Rio via its cheap, colourful fabrics and jewellery, its embroidery and folk art, and references to its rich and multi-facetted urban architectural mix.

Mysterious and dream-like, there is no real centre to one of her works. For Milhazes, composition is never static. She wants the viewer’s eyes to move continually across her creations, ‘…That way’, she says, ‘I feel like you have communication with the entire world.’ And, perhaps, in these works in her eponymous show Beatriz Milhazes at White Cube Hong Kong, her intention is to do just that. Beneath the obvious ostentation, there would seem to lurk a far less frivolous intention. Through what might appear as her blithe inclusion of elements such as the mass-produced and ubiquitously discarded, biscuit wrappers, her purpose may be to draw attention, however subliminally, to the threat posed by man to his environment, in which much of the rarer flora is in danger of disappearing from the natural world, and is destined to survive only in our botanical gardens. Poignantly, the remaining 1,400 Kadiwéureferred to above in the title of the work Jardim Kadiwéu – are the last surviving group of Mbayá, a once large and powerful tribe that controlled large parts of Brazil and are now confined to life on a reservation.

All works © Beatriz Milhazes
All images Courtesy White Cube
All works photographed by Motivo,
except Yellow sunshine,
photographed by Pepe Schettino

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Art | Raoul & Jean Dufy

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Impressionist & Modern Art, Including Russian Art, Sale
Sotheby’s New York, USA. 14th March, 2012

Amongst a very mixed bag of artworks in the catalogue for today’s sale at Sotheby’s in New York are several outstanding pieces by Raoul and a number by Jean Dufy, some of which are shown above. Each is unmistakably by one brother or the other, yet they share a visual language: a family characteristic, if you like, that on the one hand separates their images from the other lots, and on the other, irrevocably links them.

There were nine children in the Dufy family of Le Havre a port city in the Normandy area of north west France. It was a particularly musical family, and the father, in addition to his profession as an accountant, was a talented amateur musician, which probably to some extent explains the fixation for musical productions and composers of the era that are the subjects of many of the brothers’ later creations.

Raoul (1877-1953) was 11 years older than Jean (1888-1964) and is the more famous. In 1900 he obtained a scholarship to study in Paris, where he enrolled at the very academic École des Baux-Arts, however, he was far more interested in impressionist painting. An early exhibition, in 1903, was in the impressionist style he soon afterwards abandoned in favour of the vivid colours and sweeping brush strokes of the fauvists. Impressed with Cézanne’s work, Raoul experimented with a more muted palette. He worked for a time with Georges Braque but never really got into the spirit of Cubism. Discovering the possibilities of wood-engraving at an expressionist exhibition he saw on a trip to Munich in 1909, he illustrated a number of books for his literary friends, including the poet, Guillaume Apollonaire, with woodcuts. Raoul’s woodcuts came to the attention of Paul Poiret, the fashion designer with whom he produced textile designs and for whom he designed the interiors of the designer’s three boats. In the 1920s and 30s he travelled widely, producing paintings in the bold, confident style – optimistic, fashionably decorative and illustrative – that he became recognised for and that characterised the era in which the aftermath of war and social concerns were banished, however briefly. Lively, colorful yachting scenes at Cowes in England, chic parties, musical events and the dazzling life on the French Riviera became the stock in trade of his output.

It had been Raoul who encouraged Jean, who worked as a clerk for an overseas import business and was for a time secretary on the transatlantic liner La Savoie, which linked Le Havre to New York, to paint. But it wasn’t until Jean visited an exhibition in Le Havre showing paintings by André Derain and Picasso, where he saw Matisse’s Fenêtre ouverte à Collioure, with it’s dazzling light and bright colours, that he decided to be an artist. In 1913, moving to Paris, he became acquainted with his brothers’ circle, meeting Derain, Braque, Picasso and Apollonaire. His first watercolors, which were shown at the Berthe Weill Gallery in 1914, were in muted tones: sombre browns, blues, and reds mingled with the hatching technique he inherited from Cézanne via Raoul. Shortly afterwards he was drafted into the army but was able to produce many sketches of landscapes and flowers whilst convalescing from an injury. When the war ended, Jean began decorating porcelain for a company in Limoges – a commission which lasted for many years – before returning to Paris in 1920 where he settled in Montmatre. He began to be recognised for his painting technique based on a kind of patchwork of coloured squares and bold lighting effects. A succession of exhibitions now began that led to his work being shown widely, first in Paris and then in New York. Over the next few years his subject matter would change dramatically to mirror his excitement at the lively Parisian cultural scene. He loved the theatre and came into contact with many famous actors, musicians and composers. Their life and energy became the subjects of his creations. There followed paintings of circuses, boldly coloured and filled with horses, clowns and acrobats.

Surprisingly, Last year’s exhibition, Raoul and Jean Dufy: Complicity and Disruption, at Paris’s Musée Marmottan Monet, was the first exhibition in France exclusively dedicated to showing the two brothers’ work together. They had been close, if not living in one another’s pockets, until a big brotherly bust up over the gigantic mural – 61m long x 10m high, 200ft x 33 ft, La Fee Electricité (The Electricity Fairy). They had been commissioned to produce it together as a hymn to electricity for the Paris International Exposition of 1937 but Raoul ended up executing the final painting by himself. However, rather than for their differences, it’s for their gay and colourful scenes for which the brothers are most remembered and for the sheer joie de vivre their work conveys to the viewer.

Works from top
Jean Dufy Bois de Boulogne, 1930
Oil on canvas

Jean Dufy Boulevard avec caleches
Oil on canvas laid down on masonite
Property of a private collector, Palm Beach, USA

Jean Dufy Port de Honfleur
Watercolor and gouache on paper

Raoul Dufy Reception aux lumieres & Double étude de nu. A double-sided work
Watercolor and gouache on paper recto, pen and ink on paper verso
Property of a Boston gentleman, USA

Raoul Dufy Carrefour en forêt
Watercolor on paper

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Printing Money

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

The 25th London Original Print Fair
The Royal Academy of Arts, London. 29th April – 23rd May

I felt sorry for the girl in her twenties leaning against a table, staring into space, in front of a white wall full of bright prints by an artist I’d never heard of, whose work I would never wish to own. She had a chair to sit on but I sensed she had already done a lot of sitting and had stood up to break the boredom with a change of perspective. It was the first day of the show and I hoped that for her sake things might pick up.

Much like the atmosphere in their often-busy book illustrations, the adjacent booth buzzed with Jean and Laurent de Brunoff’s Babar the Elephant fans. Elsewhere, not giving much away – every so often, though there expressions never changed, they mumbled quietly to one another – a well-dressed, elderly couple tottered from one booth to the next of the sixty seven crammed into the Academy’s main galleries. Whether they were more excited by Sean Sculley’s blocky abstracts, the dark Goya aquatints or by Allen Jones’ erotic editions was difficult to say.

Agents – the male ones – almost to the man, sported that Euro-look; dark blazer worn over a sky blue formal shirt, unbuttoned at the neck, with once-washed, dry-cleaned, dark denims, ironed but not creased, and brown slip-on leather shoes, probably from Bally or Gucci. Tanned, too, of course, they had well-coiffed hair – close-cut at the sides and back, quiffy at the front – sometimes with just a hint of blonde streaking. Incessantly talking loudly into their Blackberrys, now in English, then in German or French or perhaps Russian, it was difficult to guess at their origin. Exceptions were the two or three obviously English dandies, one in a cream linen suit and dark green shirt worn with a black tie, whose longish dark hair was swept straight back to reveal a good deal of forehead, whose booth was decorated with a big, square glass vase filled with the most exquisite, orange tulips.

Afraid they might already have missed the Matisse they saw earlier and weren’t sure about whether it would go with the drawing room carpet a rather plain, middle-aged couple darted quickly from one stall to the next. People all around me were actually buying Goyas, Picassos, Hockneys, Bridget Rileys and Kitajs. Arriving with the intention of whizzing around in about twenty minutes, I stayed almost an hour and a half, wandering around making the occasional note in my catalogue; I’m sure I was taken for a dealer. If I could have afforded anything it would have been one of Julian Opie’s 3D Lenticular prints, View of Mount Fuji with daisies from Route 300, 2009.

Did anyone visit the print fair? Please post a comment

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