Emilio Baz Vlaud

The Artwork of Emilio Baz Vlaud

Born in Mexico City in 1918, Emilio Baz Vlaud was a painter whose work mostly included portraiture and scenes in the style of  Costumbrismo, images of local Hispanic life, customs, and mannerisms executed in  both artistic Realism and Romanticism.  Influenced by the Magical Realism movement that spread through the art and literary worlds after the first World War, Vlaud was known for his meticulous brushwork and his trompe-d’oeil technique. 

Emilio Baz Vlaud, at a very early age, had great skill in the arts. He would often watch his older gay brother, Ben-Hur Baz Vlaud, a 1926 graduate of the Academy de San Carlos and twelve years his senior, working on his own precisionist drawings and paintings. At the age of seventeen, Emilio Vlaud executed his first self-portrait, the 1935 “Self Portrait as a Teenager”, a highly refined work that is closely related to a self-portrait painted by his brother in the same year. In his self-portrait, Emilio shows himself with perfectly combed hair and dressed in a white shirt. He is  holding a green pencil at an angle, a position which visually divides the canvas in two,  and is shown gripping his elbow with his left hand. 

Emilio Baz Vlaud entered the Academia de San Carlos in 1938 where he initially studied architecture before changing his vocation to painting. He later took courses at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, where he studied under the strict training of painter Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, an openly gay artist whose work is often linked to the works of metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico. Vlaud made several visits over the years to his older brother who had moved to New York City and was working as a successful commercial illustrator for magazines, such as Newsweek and Time. 

In 1950, Emilio Vlaud relocated to San Miguel Allende, situated in the far eastern part of Guanajuato. He exhibited his work in several collective exhibitions, where he showed his work alongside such prominent artists as painters and muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. In 1951, Vlaud had his first solo exhibition; his flamenco-inspired technique of applying dry oil paints to surfaces by means of small strokes of a short brush were praised by critics and his fellow artists. During his eight year stay in San Miguel Allende, he received a gold medal for artistic merit from the University of Guanajuato. 

In 1962, Emilio Baz Vlaud entered the Monastery of Santa María de la Resurrecion for the purpose of studying psychoanalysis. After several years, he abandoned these studies to return to his vocation as a painter. Although Vlaud is mostly know for his portraiture and scenes done before 1955, he also went through an intense period of abstraction during the 1970s. In 1984, his work was presented at a collective exhibition entitled “Siete Pintores (Seven Painters)” at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Emilio Baz Vlaud died in 1991. 

Insert Images:

Emilio Baz Viaud, “Self Portrait as a Teenager”, 1925, Watercolor, Pencil and Dry Brush on Board, 60 x 39.7 cm, Private Collection

Emilio Baz Vlaud, “El Coco”, circa 1955, Oil on Masonite, 50 x 40 cm, Blaisten Collection

Emilio Baz Vlaud, “Self Portrait in Blue Shirt”, 1941, Watercolor, Pencil and Dry Brush on Board, 100 x 65.5 cm, Blaisten Collection, Mexico City

 

Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg, “Self Portrait, Black Mountain (1)”, 1952, Gelatin Silver Print, 14.3 x 8.3 cm, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

While studying at Black Mountain College in North Carolina between 1948 and 1952, Robert Rauschenberg focused his attention on mid-century experimental and abstract photography. His exploration of this medium was influenced by the works of photographer Aaron Siskind, whose detailed images created an innovation in abstract photography; Harry Callahan, a prolific photographer who rigorously curated his work; and educator and photographer Hazel Larson Archer, whose work captured life at Black Mountain.

Rauschenberg used a bold mixture of abstraction, double exposures, experiments with light and shadow, and used blueprint paper to produce photographs with a camera. Many of his earliest photographic experiments were portraits of close companions and people he met in conversations; these include artists such as choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham and painter Cy Twombly.

A recurring subject of his experimental work was the self portrait, of which the double-exposure image above, “Self Portrait, Black Mountain (1)”, is an example. Shot in 1952, it features Rauschenberg seated on a wooden chair with his hands folded. Ghostly images of weeds and chairs are superimposed over his body.This photograph is a singular work in a portfolio edition of seven related photographs taken during the summer of 1952 at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina.

Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

The Artwork of Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

Born in November of 1887 in the town of Manhule, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso was one of the first generation of Portuguese modernist painters. Known for the exceptional quality of his work, his short career covered all the historical avant-garde movements of the early twentieth=century. 

The son of a wealthy landowner and vintner, Amadeo, at the age of eighteen, traveled to Lisbon and entered the Superior School of Fine Arts where he developed his skills as a designer and caricaturist. In November of 1906, he traveled to Paris with his friend and painter Francisco Smith and lived in an apartment on the Boulevard de Montparnasse. After a caricature he had drawn during a dinner was published  in Portugal’s “O Primerro de Jameiro” newspaper, Amadeo decided to devote himself to painting. 

In 1908, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso established himself at a studio located at 14 Cité Falguière , which became a social gathering place for Portuguese artists including Manuel Bentes, Eduardo Viana, and Domingos Rebelo, among others. At this time, Amadeo began to attend the ateliers of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Viti, where he studied under the Spanish painter Angalada Camarasa, whose use of intense coloring presaged the arrival of Fauvism. 

In 1911, Amadeo exhibited his work in the Salon des Indépendents and soon became close friends with writers and artists such as Gertrude Stein, Amedeo Modigliani, Alexander Archipenko, Robert Delaunay, and the Italian Futurists Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini.  In 1912, Amadeo published his album, “XX Dessuab”, containing twenty drawings with a forward written by author Jerome Doucet, and republished Gustave Flaubert’s “La Légende de Saint Julien to l’Hospitalier” in a calligraphic manuscript with illustrations. Amadeo de Souza Cardoso participated in two important exhibitions in 1913: the Armory Show in the United States that traveled to New York City, Boston and Chicago, and the Erste Deutsche Herbstsalon held at the Galerie Der Strum in Berlin. These two exhibitions were the first to present the new wave of modern art to the public. Seven of the eight works Amadeo displayed at the Armory show sold; three of these were purchased by lawyer and art critic Arthur Jerome Eddy, a prominent member of the first generation of American modern art collectors.

Returning to Portugal in 1914, Amadeo began experimentation in all the new forms of artistic expression, and married Lucia Pecetto, whom he had previously met during his 1908 stay in Paris. In April of 1914, he sent three new works for an exhibition at the London Salon; however, due to the outbreak of World War I, the show was canceled. During the war years, Amadeo maintained contact with other Portuguese artists and poets and reunited with Robert and Sonia Delaunay who had relocated to Portugal. In 1916, he published his “Twelve Reproductions” through Tipografia Santos in Porto and exhibited a collection of one hundred-fourteen works at a solo exhibition in Oporto and later in Lisbon, entitled “Abstraccionism”. 

At this time, the Cubist movement had  expanded throughout Europe and was an important influence to Amadeo de Souza Cardoso’s  style of analytical cubism. He continued to explore expressionism and, in his last works, experimented with many new techniques. In 1918, Amadeo was stricken with a skin disease which impeded his painting. On the 25th of October in 1918, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso died, at the age of thirty, in Espinho, Portugal, of the Spanish influenza, a pandemic which savaged the world at the end of World War I. 

After his death, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso’s work was shown in a 1925 retrospective in France which was well received by both critics and the public. Ten years later, the Souza-Cardoso Prize was established in Portugal to distinguish modern painters. Amadeo’s work remained relatively unknown until 1952, when a exhibition of his work in Portugal regained the public’s attention. Since then, only two retrospectives have been held, one in 1958 and one in 2016, both at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Tope Insert Image: Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, “The Hawks”, 1912, India Ink on Paper, 27 x 24.3 cm, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Bottom Insert Image: Amadeo de Souza Cordoso, “Self Portrait”, 1913, Graphite on Paper, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Mati Gelman

Mati Gelman, “Joel”, Date Unknown, Trending Deities Series, Photograph, Computer Graphics

Born in Hungary, Mati Gelman is a commercial and fine art photographer who spent his early years living in Israel. Interested in the processes of nature and humans’ interaction with them, he initially pursued a vocation in the field of science and earned a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and a Masters of Science in Chemistry from the Bar Han University in Tel Aviv. Upon moving to New York City in 2015, Gelman decided to enhance his self-taught photographic skills with technical courses at the International Center for Photography and the Pratt Institute, both located in Manhattan.

Gelman’s work aesthetic focuses on the connections between the forces of nature and the human body. His images explore the issues of human integration with nature, sexuality, and queerness; they are heavily influenced by legends and fairytales, which have had a lasting impact on human society. Gelman tends to create scenes which provoke an ominous sensation in order to induce a sense of the unknown. As human beings are pattern recognizers and often prescribe meaning to unaccustomed phenomena, the elements of Gelman’s works are intentionally left open to the viewers’ interpretations.

Mati Gelman creates stories and shapes his characters through both his imagination and his life experiences. His work is a blend of photography and computer graphics. Using a Sony a7R11 with a 24-70 lens, Gelman photographs his posed subjects and continues his work with Lightroom for minor adjustments and Photoshop for the basic effects. Gelman won the ViewPoint Gallery International Photography competition for his work entitled “Flight”, an image of a figure mid-air surrounded by billowing cloth in the light of a sunset. His “Entangled”, a figure seemingly suspended by strips of white cloth, won first place in the 2018 Chromatic Awards. Gelman has also won awards at the Annual Fine Art Photography Awards, FAPA, in 2019 and 2020.

Besides his fine art photography, Gelman has executed photo shoots for off-Broadway theater productions. He shot the promotional images for playwright and director Asher Gelman’s 2018 theater production, “Afterglow”, a character study which explored the dynamics of an open gay relationship involving three personality archetypes. Mati Gelman’s work also includes photo shoots for the following plays: “Diaspora”, “Safeword”, “Eco Village”, “Counting Sheep”, “We Are the Tigers”, and “Medusa”.

The title image “Joel” and the middle insert image, title unknown, are from Mati Gelman’s “Trending Deities” series which explores the parallels between ritual and worship in both religion and social media. Using both modern and traditional references throughout the series, Gelman’s work uses cinematic proportions as a reference to smartphone screens and, by multiplying the characters and placing them in ritualistic activities, depicts the virtual cult-like following that is adherent on social media platforms. The color palettes and compositions were inspired by Renaissance, Greco-Roman, and Medieval art.

The work of Mati Gelman can be found at the artist’s sites: https://www.matigelman.com and Instagram @matigelman .

Denis Dailleux

Photography by Denis Dailleux

Born in Angers, France in 1958, Denis Dailleux is a portraiture photographer who has been documenting life in Egypt for the past thirty years. His works, done in classical black and white as well as in subtle colors, equally capture Egypt’s famous residents and the anonymous subjects in the slums of Cairo with the same passion and the same distinctive sensitivity.

Dailleux has published a series of photographic books, all of which  portray the settings and people of Egypt, the city of Cairo, and his impressions of the 2011 January Revolution in Egypt. After the publishing of his 2008 “Fils de Roi: Portraits of Egypt”, Dailleux took an exploratory trip to Sub-Saharan Africa in search of new sources of inspiration. This expedition led to a portrait series on the village residents in the country of Ghana.

Denis Dailleux has been awarded several international prizes, including the 1997 Monographies Award, the 2000 World Press Photo Award in the portraits category, the 2000 City of Vevey Hasselblad Award in Switzerland, and the 2001 Fuji Film Award given at Biarritz’s Festival Terre d’Images. Dailleux’s series “Egypt, Mother and Son”, portraits of Egyptian bodybuilders with their mothers, won second prize at the 2014 World Press Photo Awards in the staged portraits category. 

A member of Agence VU, Denis Dailleux currently lives in Cairo, Egypt, where he works as a portrait photographer. His website is located at: https://www.denisdailleux.com/index.php?/

The images above contain photographs from several of Dailleux’s series: “Ghana” and “Egypt“; “Egypt, Mother and Son”,  and “Les Conducteurs de Tuk-Tuk du Cairo”.

John Giorno

 

Photographers Unknown, Thirteen Men Who Traveled Here

An unemployed
machinist
An unemployed machinist
who travelled
here
who travelled here
from Georgia
from Georgia 10 days ago
10 days ago
and could not find
a job
and could not find a job
walked
into a police station
walking into a police station
yesterday and said
yesterday
and said:

“I’m tired
of being scared
I’m tired of being scared.”

—John Giorno, An Unemployed Machinist, Balling Buddha, 1970

Born in New York City in December of 1936, John Giorno was a poet and performance artist. Raised in both Brooklyn and Roslyn Heights, Long Island, he graduated from New York’s Columbia University in 1958. In his early life, Giorno was a muse to and entered into romantic relationships with other artists, among them Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, whom he met in 1963 during Warhol’s first solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery in New York City. Giorno starred in Warhol’s 1963 four-minute film entitled “John Washing” and also appeared in Warhol’s eight-hour 1964 silent film, “Sleep”, the plot of which entailed Giorno sleeping on camera.

Inspired by his associations with Rauschenberg, Warhol, and Jasper Johns, Giorno began to appropriate found textual imagery to his poetry. An example of this can be found in the1964 poem “The American Book of the Dead”. Portions of this poem were used in works contained in Giorno’s first full collection “Poems”, published in 1967. Later meetings with sound poet and performance artist Brion Gysin and writer William S. Burroughs led to Giorno applying cut-up and montage techniques to found texts, and, influenced by the work of Gysin, the recording of his first audio poem pieces.

Established as an active presence in New York’s art scene, John Giorno collaborated with Brion Gysin on “Subway Sound” in 1965, and with Robert Rauschenberg in 1966 on “Nine Evenings of Theater and Engineering”. From 1967 to 1969, John Giorno presented his “Electronic Sensory Poetry Environments”, a series produced in collaboration with synthesizer creator Robert Moog and other artists. These psychedelic happenings and poetry installations were shown at St. Marks Church in Manhattan. In 1965, Giorno founded Giorno Poetry Systems, a non-profit production company that connected new audiences to poetry by the use of new technologies, engaged in political organizing, and created new artworks.

Giorno organized the first Dial-A-Poem event in 1968 at the non-profit Architectural League of New York. This poetic event was repeated at the Museum of Modern Art from 1969 to 1970, and resulted in a series of long-playing records issued by Giorno Poetry Systems. Poets who participated in these events included Patti Smith, William Burroughs, Eldridge Cleaver, and Bobby Seale. John Giorno was unapologetic in his use of politically-charged and sexually salacious content; he used his work to draw attention to his own status as a gay man, police violence in America, and the countless deaths caused by the war in Vietnam.

In the late 1960s, John Giorno’s work evolved to include the appropriation of entire texts from newspapers, the development of double-column poems, montages of diverse and often radically different texts, and the extensive use of repetition both across and down the page.This use of repetitive words and phrases reproduced textually the echos and distortions which occurred in Giorno’s vocal performances. Several of these poems were included in his 1970 “Balling Buddha”.

After traveling to India in 1971 and meeting His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, Giorno became one of the early Western students of Tibetan Buddhism, a practice in which he participated for several decades. His early poetic works occasionally reflect Asian religious themes; but those after the 1970 collection, “Cancer in My Left Ball”, are a mixture of Buddhist and Western practices and poetic techniques seen through Giorno’s original interpretation. For instance in his 1970-72 poem “Guru Rinpoche”, Giorno mixed pop imagery with sacred sutras and portrayed gay eroticism as a form of spiritual devotion.

In 1972, John Giorno began releasing compilation records under the newly incorporated Giorno Poetry Systems media label. Presented through cassettes, long-playing records and compact discs, these audio works included new wave and punk music, and an assortment of vocal artists, musicians, and poets. Giorno Poetry Systems expanded in 1984 with the establishment of the AIDS Treatment Project, an emergency response to the impacts of the epidemic on artists’ lives. This project provided funds for artists living with AIDS through the early 2000s, when it was officially transformed into the Poets and Artists Fund.

Retired from performing in 2017, Giorno spent the last two years of his life in meditation, composing his poetry, and editing his memoir “Great Demon Kings”. John Giorno died of a heart attack at age eighty-two in October of 2019 at his home in Lower Manhattan. At the time of his death, he was married to Swiss-born Ugo Rondinone, a mixed-media artist known for his paintings and large-scale land-art sculptures.

Notes:
The john Giorno Foundation can be found at: https://www.giornofoundation.org/the-foundation
There are two interesting reads for those interested in John Giorno and his work. The first is an interview between journalist and essayist Marcus Boon and John Giorno, which is presented by Bomb Magazine, It can be found at: https://bombmagazine.org/articles/john-giorno-1/

The second is an article, written in 1994, by journalist and author Robert Coe and entitled “Becoming Buddha: John Giorno”. This more extensive biographical piece can be found at The Buddhist Review, Tricycle, located at: https://tricycle.org/magazine/becoming-buddha/

Oscar Santasusagna

The Artwork of Oscar Santasusagna

Born in Barcelona in 1973, Oscar Santasusagna is a self-taught Spanish artist who began drawing and painting at an early age. The style and techniques of his work have been influenced by the many artists he has studied, including illustrators and painters Andrew and Newell Conners Wyeth; narrative painter Hernan Bas, best known for his scenes of dandies and waifs; painter and draftsman David Hockney; and printmaker and landscape painter Winslow Homer, among others.

Santasusagna believes that a well-executed painting must make a connection with the viewer and produce an emotional response. His work is narrative in style, with each painting accompanied by  a poem or text that relays a personal message to the viewer. The source of these messages are derived from either a song heard, an image seen, or a personal  experience he has had. The subjects most often presented in Santasusagna’s work are the issues of loneliness, friendship, freedom and equality, homosexuality, and man’s relationship to the natural world.

Since 2015, Oscar Santasusagna has exhibited his paintings at many solo exhibitions throughout Spain. These include his 2015 exhibition “Desperta de la Realitat” and his 2016 “Apunts Dispersos” , both of which were held at Barcelona’s Galeria Moraima. In 2018, Santasusagna had a solo exhibition, entitled “Wanderlust”, at the Galeria Departure located in Barcelona and, in 2021, an exhibition in the United States,  entitled “Fables Keeper”, at the Contemporanco Art Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina.

Santasusagna has exhibited in several collective exhibitions, including  the 2015 Seleccio d’Artistes held at Galeria Escolà in Barcelona, the 2021 Una Mirada LGBTI+ exhibition held at the Taller Balam Gallery in Barcelona, and the 2021 Fundació Barcelona Olimpica, where he won third prize for his painting “Sempre hay un Comienso para cada Historia”. He  has also been finalist at the Sanvicens Painting Contest in Sitges, the Concurs FMPC held in Tarragona, and the annual Premium Painting Contest held in the city of Centelles.

Oscar Santasusagna collaborated with theater playwright Bill Lattanzi on his musical comedy production “Jenny Must Die”, which was premiered at the Providence, Rhode Island, Fringe Festival in 2020. He also painted the book cover illustration for “Projecto Wemen”, published by Madrid’s Editorial Silex in 2018. Santasusagna’s paintings on in many private collections in Spain, Belgium, Canada and the United States.

Top Insert Image: Oscar Santasusagna, “Ode for Tenderness”, 2015, Acrylic on Paper 

Oscar Santasusagna’s work can be found at his website located at https://www.santasusagna.com and at https://www.flickr.com/photos/santasusagna .

Peder Severin Krøyer

Peder Severin Krøyer, “Hunters of Skagen”, 1898, Oil on Canvas, 85 x 139 cm, Private Collection

Peder Severin Krøyer, “Italian Field Laborers, Abruzzo”, 1880, Oil on Canvas, 124.3 x 186 cm, Funen’s Art Museum, Odense, Denmark

Born in July of 1851 in Stavanger, Peder Severin Krøyer was one of the foremost Impressionist painters from Denmark. After moving to Copenhagen at a young age, he began studying painting at the Royal Danish Academy, under realist portrait painter Frederik Vermehren. Kreyer completed his studies in 1870. 

Krøyer had his first exhibition in 1871 at the Charlottenborg Palace, where he presented a portrait of his friend, painter Frans Schwartz. In 1873, he was awarded a gold medal for his work and also received a scholarship. Establishing a long-standing patronage, Danish art collector Heinrich Hirschsprung bought in 1874 the first of many paintings by Krøyer.

From 1877 to 1881, Peder Krøyer traveled throughout Europe where he studied, met artists and developed his skills at painting. Staying in Paris under the patronage of Hirschsprung, he studied under portrait and religious painter Léon Bonnat and exhibited his work in Denmark. Krøyer, during his stay in Paris, became acquainted with the works of the impressionists such as Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, and Georges Seurat. Impressed with their work, he kept his palette light in tones and loosened his brushstroke. 

Returning to Denmark in 1882, Krøyer became associated with the Skagen artist colony, a group influenced by the French Impressionists. The colony’s artists placed an emphasis on the effects of light and open-air scenes of local life. Krøyer divided his time between Copenhagen, where he continued his portraiture work, and Skagan, where he painted the artist colony and local landscape.

Peder Krøyer encountered painter Marie Martha Triepcke on a trip to Paris in 1888. They married in July of 1889 at her parents’ residence in Germany. Settled with his wife in the Skagen colony, Krøyer executed his first major oil painting, the 1888 “Hip Hip Hurrah! Artists Party at Skagen”. Inspired by a gathering at painter Michael Ancher’s residence, the painting depicts men and women toasting with champagne amid lush trees; gentle sunlight is seen being cast upon the participants and their table.

A champion of plein air painting, Krøyer is best known for his carefree images of life in Skagen. He was fascinated with the depiction of light; his main study was the depiction of the “blue hour”, that point as the day becomes evening when the sky and sea merge in the same tone of blue. Examples of this light depiction are the 1892 “Summer Evening at Skagen” and the 1893 “Summer Evening on Skagen’s South Beach with Anna Ancher ad Marie Krøyer”. 

Over the last ten years of his life, Krøyer’s  eyesight gradually failed him until he was totally blind. He painted almost to the end, even executing masterpieces while half-blind. One of his last important large-scale works was the 1906 “Midsummer’s Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach”, now in the Skagens Museum. After many visits to the hospital suffering from bouts of mental illness, Peder Severin Krøyer passed away in Skagen at the age of fifty-eight in November of 1909.

Peder Krøyer achieved many prestigious awards during his lifetime, including induction into the Legion of Honor in 1888. The largest collection of Krøyer’s work can be found in the Skagens Museum; other museum collections include the Danish National Gallery, the Frederiksborg Museum, the Musée d’Orsey in Paris, the Philadelphia Museum, and the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen.

Insert Images: Peder Severin Krøyer, “Self Portrait”, 1897, Oil on Panel, 40.9 x 31.6 cm, Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark

Peder Severin Krøyer,, “The Artist’s House”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas

Photographer Unknown, “Peder Severin Krøyer:, Date Unknown

Hector de Gregorio

Paintings by Hector de Gregorio

Born in Valencia, Hector de Gregorio is a Spanish painter and digital artist. He had his foundational fine art taining at Camberwell Art College in London. Between 2004 and 2007, De Gregorio studied Fine Art at London’s Central Saint Martin’s, where he earned his BA in 2007. He later earned his MFA in Printmaking at the Royal College of Art in London in 2009. 

Hector de Gregorio was influenced in his formative years by his Catholic upbringing, which furthered his interests in devotional art from different religions, and by his mother, a dressmaker who taught him the skills of design and tailoring. He was also interested in European art: the sensuality of Filippo Lippi’s figures, the realism and dramatic lighting of Caravaggio’s work, the religious narrative works of Hieronymus Bosch, and the surrealist work of  Salvador Dali. All these elements combine to give de Gregorio’s work, although contemporary in appearance,  a familiar medieval atmosphere with overtones of a mythological or religious nature.

De Gregorio’s work is both meticulous and labor intensive. Each image entails extensive costume design research, photographic shoots, digital imaging, and hand finishing of the final image. De Gregorio begins by photographing his friends, dressed in personally made elaborate costumes, at his studio. Taking a number of photos from the shoot, he fashions a collage that distorts the perspective of the image. To these images, de Gregorio digitally adds elements such as colored backdrops, Latin phrases, and other motifs with either mythical or religious references. This finished product is printed on either canvas or fine art paper, and overlaid with waxes, oil paints, gold leaf and varnish.

Hector de Gregorio has exhibited widely, with exhibitions in London, Berlin, Milan, New York, Miami and Chicago.  In November 2009, he won the prestigious annual Young Masters Art Prize for his inspiring contemporary portraiture. In 2012 Hector de Gregorio exhibited his “Absinthes” in  “The Perfect Place to Grow”, an exhibition of work by the alumni of the Royal College of Art to celebrate its 175th anniversary.

Imre Szobotka

Imre Szobotka, “Fiatalkori Onarckép (Self Portrait as a Young Man)”, 1912-14, Oil on Canvas, 45.5 x 38.2 cm, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Born in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, in September of 1890, Imre Szobotka was a painter and engraver. Between 1905 and 1910, he studied at Budapest’s School of Design under painter Ignác Újváry. Szobotka traveled to Venice in 1908 for a study trip and traveled to Rome in 1909, this time accompanied by his friend Ervin Bossámyl. He relocated to Paris in 1911, where he lived at the residence of avant-garde sculptor and graphic artist József Csáky, one of the first Parisian sculptors to apply pictorial Cubism to his art.

Szobotka attended the 1911 Independent Salon in Paris, where he viewed the works of the Cubist painters. Inspired by their work and with the encouragement of his friend, the Cubist painter József Csáky, he enrolled at the La Palette School of Art in 1912, where he studied under Cubist painters Jean Metzinger and Henri Le Fauconnier. By the spring of 1913, Szobotka’s works, exhibited in the Independent Salon, were already noticed by the French critics, including writer and critic Guillaume Apollinaire. 

During World War I, Imre Szobotka was interned as a prisoner of war, starting in 1914 in Bretagne and later, at Saint Brieuc, France, until his release in 1919. The landscapes, still lifes, and portraits made in the internment period were experiments in cubism, symbolism, and orphism, a cubist offshoot that focused on abstraction and bright colors. These works, rare examples of Hungarian Cubism,  included his 1914 “Pipe Smoker”, the 1916 “Sailor”, and watercolor illustrations he produced for poet Paul Claude’s “Revelation”.

After his return to Paris in 1919, Szobotka’s paintings contained a more naturalistic expression. He exhibited this new work first in 1921 in Belvedere, a commune in the Vesubie Valley north of Nice, and, between 1929 and 1944, in shows at the Tamás Gallery, the Fränkel Salon, and the Mária Valéria Street gallery. The solid, defined construction of these landscape works by Szobotka insured him a place among the Nagybánya artists, whose work was focused on plain-air painting.

Imre Szobotka was a founding member of Képzőművészek Új Társasága, the New Society of Fine Artists, and presented his work in its exhibitions. For his 1929 “Mill in Nagybánya”, he won the landscape award presented by the Szinyei Society, an artistic association founded after painter and educator Pál Szinyei Merse’s death to promote new artists. Szobotka would later enter the “Mill in Nagybánya” at the 1938 Venice Biennial. In 1941, he won the Szinyei Society’s grand award for his exhibited work. 

From 1945 onward, Szobotka produced some graphic work; however, his main concentration was on his landscapes. He spent his last summers in the countryside near the village of Zsemmye where he painted pastoral landscapes. Szobotka became president of the painting division of the Fine and Applied Arts Alliance in 1952. For the body of his work, he received the Munkácsy Award in 1954 and the Socialis Work Order of Merit in 1960. Imre Szobotka died in March of 1961, at the age of seventy, in the city of Budapest.

Imre Szobotka’s “Self Portrait as a Young Man” is one of the key creations of his Parisian years. It shows his embrace of the elements of cubism, particularly the coloring and abstraction of its orphism branch. The main emphasis of the work is not the formal structure with its conventionally postured figure, but rather the way the light breaks its components into prisms of color. Szobotka emphasized his sense of light value and his translucent colorization to form a refined play of reflections, which cut the painting’s solid forms into colored shards.

Insert Images:

Imre Szobotka, “Sailor”, 1916, Oil on Canvas, 35 x 29 cm, Janus Pannonius Museum, Péca

Imre Szobotka, “Gathering Apples”, 1930, Oil on Canvas, 55 x 76 cm, Henman ottó Museum, Miskolc

Imre Sobotka, “Self Portrait”, 1912, Oil on Cardboard, 53 x 45 cm, Private Collection

Lucien Freud

Lucien Freud, “Rabbit on a Chair”, 1944, Pencil and Crayon on Paper, 48 x 31 cm, Private Collection

Born in Berlin in December of 1922, Lucien Michael Freud was a British painter and draftsman. He was the son of British architect Ernst L. Freud and the grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Lucien Freud’s “Rabbit on a Chair”, a pencil and crayon drawing executed in 1944, is one of his most refined and charming early works. It is a good example of his fascination with nature and his ability to express tone, texture, and shape.

Due to his upbringing and studies at London’s Central School of Art, Freud was probably familiar with Jean-Baptiste-Saméon Chardin’s finely executed watercolor and gouache depictions of rabbits or hares. and Albrecht Dürer’s 1502 “Young Hare”, widely produced in the early twentieth-century as a print. Dürer gradually animated his hare’s body by the use of a dry, small paintbrush to slowly build up the hair. Freud’s rabbit is executed with clean lines outlining the body of the animal and small pencil marks which move and curtl in the various directions of real fur.

Every fine detail of the rabbit, from its black whiskers and white tail to its mottled, golden-brown pelt, is a testament to Lucien Freud’s skilled draftsmanship. He used equal care in the execution of the rabbit’s resting place, a cane chair with its broken cane fronds and fallen shadows. Completed in two tones of mustard yellow and brown, the chair seat makes a geometrical and patterned backdrop for the rabbit. The seat’s vertical and horizontal lines fix the rabbit in place and draw the viewers’ eyes to the center of the picture plane. This use of background pattern also appears in Freud’s 1987 “Blonde Girl on a Bed”, in which the figure is depicted resting on a patterned bedspread.

Note: A short biography on the life and art of Lucien Freud, which included an image of his 1967-1968 “Two Men”, was published on this site in October of 2020. 

Insert Image: Clifford Coffin, “Lucien Freud”, March 1947 Studio Shoot, Silver Gelatin Print, Vogue Online September 2019

Felice Casorati

The Paintings of Felice Casorati

Born in December of 1883 in Novara, Felice Casorati was an Italian artist known for his sculptures and paintings, which were rendered from unusual perspectives and often featured obscure symbols. He spent his formative years in the northeastern city of Padua where he developed an interest in literature and music. Casorati studied law at the University of Padua, graduating in 1906, and frequented the atelier of  painter and sculptor Giovanni Viannello.  

Casorati began painting in 1902; his earliest paintings were influenced by the symbolism of the Vienna Secession, a movement, closely related to Art Nouveau, which sought to unite all the disciplines of art into one movement. These early works of Casorati were exhibited at the 1907 Venice Biennale. Casorati’s adherence to symbolist ideals was reinforced after meeting and seeing the work of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, one of the founders of the Vienna Secession, at the 1910 Vienna Biennale. 

Felice Casorati spent the years between 1908 and 1911 in Naples, where he often visited the Museo di Capodimonte and viewed the work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the Dutch Renaissance painter whom he particularly admired. Casorati relocated to Verona in 1911, where, along with poet and engraver Umberto Zerbinati and painter and graphic artist Pino Tedeschi, he founded the periodical “La Via Lattea (The Milky Way)”, for which he executed several symbolist woodcuts. For a brief period between 1914 and 1915, he abandoned his secessionist style and made expressionist woodcuts in the manner of Tuscan artists, such as Lorenzo Viani and Moses Levy.

Casorati’s first solo exhibition of his symbolist-influenced work was at the 1915 Secession III show held in Rome. Before being drafted into the Italian Army in 1915, he also executed his first sculptures in varnished terra cotta, a medium also favored by his friend, the sculptor Arturo Martini. After the end of World War I, Casorati settled at Turin in 1918 and became a prominent figure in the intellectual and artistic circles, including the conservative Return to Order movement which called for the rejection of the avant-garde in favor of a more traditionalist approach. 

In Turin, Felice Casorati established friendships with composer and pianist Alfredo Casella and with the anti-fascist, political activist Piero Gobetti, who founded in February of 1922 the weekly magazine “De Rivoluzione Liberale”. Casorati supported the magazine and Gobetti , in return, championed Casorati’s work in Marxist writer and journalist Antonio Gramsci’s weekly newspaper, the “Ordine Nuovo”. Due to his radical associations, Casorati was arrested with an anti-Fascist group by the authorities for a brief period in 1923 and, subsequently, avoided antagonizing the regime.

The work Casorati produced in the 1920s was radically different from his pre-war work, which he now considered to be immature. The figures in his new work were solidly constructed and set securely in spaces organized by linear perspective theories established in the Italian Renaissance period of the fifteenth-century. Casorati was also influenced by Italian painter Andrea Mantegna’s work with its dramatically foreshortened figures, and the work of painter Piero della Francesca, known for his mathematical treatises and geometrically-composed paintings. 

In 1922, Felice Casorati painted what is considered his most famous work “Silvana Cenni”, a portrait inspired by the work of Piero della Francesca, which features a stern woman in a seated, symmetrical,  frontal view positioned in front of an open window. This tempera work on canvas, composed of carefully rendered volumes, became an iconic portrait of the traditional and period art of Italy which is now known as Magical Realism. 

Beginning in 1923, Casotati opened his atelier to young art students in Turin, many of who would form Torino’s Group of Six, and emerging artists such as self-taught artist and writer Quinto Martini. He was also the co-founder of the Antonio Fontanesi Fine Arts Society, which organized exhibitions of both nineteenth-century and contemporary Italian and foreign art. Casorati was appointed a Professor of Interior Design in 1928 at Turin’s Accademia Albertina, a post he held until appointed as its Chair of Painting in 1941.  

Felice Casorati was commissioned by his patron, Turin industrialist Ricardo Gualino, to work with architect Alberto Sartoris on the Piccolo Teatro in Milan and other decorative works. Casorati also designed costumes and sets for Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and the Maggio Musicale, the annual arts festival in Florence. Once again working with Sartoris, he  designed a building for part of the Piedmontese Pavilion at the 1927 International Biennale in the city of Monza. Casorati  exhibited his work widely throughout Italy and won the First Prize at the 1939 Venice Biennale.

The majority of Casorati’s later paintings were done in a softer palette with  a more gentle perspective. He produced over one hundred-fifty prints in his lifetime, in which he experimented with a variety of techniques that incorporated slate, papyrus and terra cotta matrixes. The simplified mannequin-like figures, which featured in Casorati’s prints of the late 1920s, remained in his etchings, linocuts, and lithographs for the length of his career.

Felice Casorati passed away on March 1, 1963. Most of his important works are in Italian private and public collections, including Trieste’s Modern Art Revoltella Museum and  Rome’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Museums holding Casorati’s art in their collections include the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Musrum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others.

 

Enrique Toribio

Enrique Toribio, Red Series, Limited Edition Series, Model Unknown

Enrique Toribio is a Spanish photographer who currently lives and works in Madrid. He studied Design at Madrid’s School of Arts and Crafts and later earned a degree in Industrial Pattern Design. Since the mid-1980s, Toribio has been involved in couture costume design for theatrical productions of work by Chekhov, Ibsen, and Tennessee Williams. He has also designed costumes for cabaret and dance productions, both Spanish and classical. 

Beginning in 2003, Toribio has concentrated on his photography with an emphasis in figurative and portraiture work. Particularly interested in the aesthetic treatment of body and facial expressions and textures, he endeavors to recreate the appearance of mid-twentieth century photography with the use of digital technology.

Enrique Toribio has participated in several international photography exhibitions, including the Second Great LGBT Photo Show at Leslie & Lohman in New York City, and multiple exhibitions in Spain, including “ABRAZOS” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Conde Duque in Madrid. He has received recognition for his work at Argentina’s FotoRevista competitions in both 2017 and 2018, and received Third Prize at FotoRevista in February of 2018. Toribio’s work has also appeared in several digital photographic magazines and has been included in Joris Buiks’ 2011 phtotographic anthology “Turnon: Tattos”, published by Bruno Gmunder.

Enrique Toribio’s photographic work is available through Saatchi Art: https://www.saatchiart.com/etoribio

The artist’s website is located at:  https://etoribio.com

 

Étienne-Jules Marey

Motion-Analyses by Étienne-Jules Marey

Born in March of 1830 in Beaune, Étienne-Jules Marey was a French scientist, physiologist, and chronophotographer. The results of his work were significant for the development of aviation, cardiology, laboratory photography, cinematography, and instruments for precise measurement.

Étienne-Jules Marey traveled to Paris in 1849 and enrolled at the Faculty of Medicine to study surgery and physiology. After qualifying as a doctor in 1859, he established a small Parisian laboratory in 1864 where he studied the circulation of blood in the human body. From these studies, Marey published the 1868 “Le Mouvement dans les Fonctions de la Vie”. This book discussed the importance of recording devices in biology, Marey’s graphic method, the origin of movement, muscle contractility and elasticity, artificial stimulations of movement, and descriptions of many medical recording devices.

Beginning in 1862, Marey perfected the first elements of his graph methodology, which studied movement using recording instruments and graphs. He succeeded in analyzing through diagrams the walk of man and a horse, and the flight of birds and insects. The published results of this work, the 1873 “La Machine Animals”, led Eadweard Muybridge and Leland Stanford to pursue their own photographic researches into animal movement. 

Although Étienne-Jules Marey admired the results of Muybridge’s work done at the Palo Alto studio, he was dissatisfied with the lack of precision in Muybridge’s bird movement images. Inspired by previous photographic work done by astronomer Jules Janssen, Marey, in 1882, perfected the ‘photographic gun’ with a revolving cylinder containing photographic plates that was capable of taking twelve exposures in one second. Using this instrument, he was able to shoot multiple images of a subject quickly from different angles. Later in the same year, Muray invented the chronophotographic fixed-plate camera which was equipped with a timed shutter. 

Unlike the motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, who depicted movement as a series of discrete moments on separate, sequential negatives, Marey’s analyses of motion, captured by his chronophotographic camera, are characterized by multiple exposures on a single photographic glass plate. He made improvements to his invention in 1888 by replacing the glass plate with a long strip of sensitized paper. Marey’s first multiple-exposure “film” on paper, produced by moving the strip intermittently in the camera by an electromagnet at the speed of twenty images a second, was presented at the Academy des Science on October 29th in 1888. 

Two years later, Étienne-Jules Marey replaced the paper strip with a transparent celluloid film ninety millimeters wide with a length of one meter or more. A pressure-plate immobilized the film; a spring restarted the film when the pressure was released. All following cameras produced were based on the principles first applied by Marey: the intermittent movement of a sensitive film behind an objective lens  and the film’s static moments corresponding with the opening of the shutter. 

Between 1890 and 1900, assisted by inventor and photographer  Georges Demenÿ, and later by photographers Lucien Bull and Pierre Nogues, Marey made a large number of motion analysis filmstrips of high aesthetic and technical quality. These filmstrips were subsequently  processed and archived by the Cinématheque Francaise, the French non-profit film organization founded in 1936, and totaled over four- hundred original negatives, a collection which included the recording of a moving hand, self-portraits of Demenÿ and Marey, and the now-famous falling cat filmstrip, taken in 1894. 

In 1894, Étienne-Jules Marey published his collective research work under the title “Le Mouvement”. Towards the end of his life, he returned to studying the movement of more abstract forms. Marey’s  last great work was the observation and photography of smoke trails, partially funded by American astronomer and inventor Samuel Pierpont Langley under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institute. In 1901 Marey built a smoke machine with fifty-eight smoke trails; this machine became one of the first aerodynamic wind tunnels. 

The founding father of technical cinematic photography, Étienne-Jules Marey died on May 15th of 1904 in Paris. His research was continued by his assistants Lucien Bull and Pierre Nogues at the Marey Institute, built at the request of the International Society of Physiology by Marey to house a commission for the control of graphic instruments dedicated to physiology.  At this institute, Bull and Nogues made microscopic, X-Ray and high-speed analysis films.

Gabriel Morcillo Raya

The Paintings of Gabriel Morcillo Raya

Born in Granada, Spain, in February of 1887, Gabriel Morcillo Raya was a painter and teacher. His oeuvre is composed mainly of figurative works and landscapes influenced by Orientalism, a movement which was particularly influential in Spain, due to Spain’s exceedingly dense and complex  relations with Islamic culture.

Gabriel Raya initially studied painting under the tutorage of his aunt Paquita Raya. He later attended Granada’s School of Fine Arts, where he studied under landscape and genre painters Miguel Vico Hernández and José de Larrocha González. In 1907, Raya relocated in Madrid to continue his studies under Valencian painter and illustrator Cecilio Plá y Gallardo: however, due to financial reasons, he was impelled to return to his hometown of Granada. In 1910, Raya received a grant from the Granada Provincial Council which enabled him to travel back to Madrid for further studies. 

Raya exhibited his work during his years in Madrid and earned in 1912 an honorable mention for the work he presented at National Exhibition of Fine Arts. In the same year, he was appointed director of the Residence of Painters of the Alhambra. Two years later, Raya returned to Granada and, in 1918, was awarded a scholarship to the Academy of Painting in Rome, which he did not accept. His work began to challenge the pictorial content of the time with its more concrete detail and use of movement and color.

In 1925, Gabriel Raya became an academician of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Granada’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at San Telmo. He accepted the position as Professor of Decorative Painting and Natural Figure in 1927 at Granada’s School of Arts and Crafts, where he influenced several generations of local artists, among whom was the painter José Guerrero whose later work  became known for its chromatic masses of color, and Miguel Pérez Aguilera, whose development of his own pictorial language played an important role in contemporary Spanish art.

Raya had his first exhibition of his orientalist works in 1944 in Granada and achieved great success at exhibitions held in Buenos Aires, New York City, and Venice, Italy. During the period from  1955 to 1960,  he traveled to Madrid to paint portraits of Francisco Franco and his wife, and Admiral Carrero Blanco and other members of Madrid’s high bourgeoisie. Raya received the Silver Medal of the Red Cross, a decoration for those people whose voluntary actions supported the Spanish Red Cross, and, in 1951, the Grand Cross of the Order of Alfonso X the Wise for merit in the field of culture. 

Gabriel Morcillo Raya passed away in Granada in December of 1973, at the age of eighty-five. Several of his works, including the 1916 “Dwarf El Puerto Real”, can be seen in the collection of Granada’s Museum of Fine Arts. 

Note: An interesting article on the orientalist movement is “Editorial: Spain and Orientalism” by Anna McSweeney and Claudia Hopkins which is located at Taylor & Francis Online:  https://doi.org/10.1080/17561310.2017.1316039

Insert Images: 

Gabriel Morcillo Raya, “Muchachos”, Initial Stucy, Date Unknown, Watercolor on Paper, 57 x 47 cm, Private Collection

Gabriel Morcillo Raya, “Self Portrait”, Date Unkonw, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Herbert List

Photography by Herbert List

Herbert List was a classically educated artist who combined his fascination with  Surrealism and Classicism with his love for photography. His austere, classically posed black and white compositions, particularly his Greek and Italian homoerotic nudes, became a prominent influence on both fashion and contemporary photography. 

Born in Hamburg, Germany, in October of 1903 to a wealthy business family, Herbert List  studied art and literature between 1921 and 1923 at the University of Heidelberg. In 1923, he began to travel for the family’s coffee business, Kaffee-Import Firma List & Heineken. List made contacts and visited plantations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil and El Salvador; during this four year period, he began to record his travels photographically.  

Through his connections to the European avant-garde, List became associated with  American photographer Andreas Bernhard, known for his dynamic black and white city scenes and natural structures. Bernhard  introduced him to the Rolleiflex camera which allowed for more sophisticated compositions. Beginning in 1930, influenced by the Bauhaus artists and  the emerging surrealist movement, List began photographing still life and portraits of friends, often employing draped fabrics, masks, and double exposures. 

Once the National Socialist Party was in control of Germany, the Gestapo began to pay attention to Herbert List’s openly gay lifestyle and Jewish heritage. In 1936, he left Germany for Paris and decided to begin a professional career as a photographer. During 1937 List maintained a studio in London and held his first solo show at Galerie du Chasseur d’Images, the first Paris gallery dedicated to photography.  Starting in 1936 with a reference from fashion photographer George Hoyningen-Huene to Harper’s Bazaar magazine, List began a three year period working as a fashion photographer for various magazines, including Verve, Vogue, and Life.

Dissatisfied  with fashion photography, List returned to his still life and portraiture  work. He traveled throughout Greece from 1937 to 1939 where he took photographs of ancient temples, sculptures and landscapes; two hundred of these photographs would be published in his 1953 “Licht Über Hellas: Eine Symphonie in Bildern”. During this time, List supported himself with work for magazines and the press, and by doing portraiture work. 

Working in Athens, Herbert List hoped to escape World War II; however, when troops invaded Greece, he was forced in 1941 to return to Germany, where, due to a grandparent’s Jewish heritage, he was denied the ability to work or publish professionally. Near the end of the war in 1944, despite his Jewish heritage, he was drafted into the German military and served in Norway as a map designer. A trip to Paris during his military service allowed him the opportunity to photograph images of Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, and other artists.

After the war, List continued to live in Munich until 1960, where he photographed its ruins and produced freelance photo essays for newspapers and magazines such as Look, Picture Post, Heute, and Harper’s Bazaar. List was made art editor in 1948 for the Swiss-German language, daily free newspaper Heute, which was published by the Allied Forces. In 1951 through an invitation by photojournalist Robert Capa, he started contributing photographs to Magnum, an international photographic cooperative. 

Through the next decade Herbert List focused his interest on photographing life in Italy. where he shot photo essays, street scenes, architectural views, and portraits using a 35 mm camera and a telephoto lens. His work became more spontaneous and was influenced by the Italian neorealist film movement and the work of his Magnum colleague Henri Cartier-Bresson. List ’s travels for his photographic work was extensive, including trips to Spain, France, Mexico, and the Caribbean. 

List’s publications include “Rom”, a collection of his work in Rome, published in Munich in 1950:“Caribia”, his Caribbean Island series published in 1958: “Nigeria”, published in 1963; and “Napoli”,  a 1962  collaboration with Italian director Vittorio de Sica. List is best known for his  1988 book “Junge Männer”, a collection of seventy images of young men lounging in the sun, wrestling, or gazing at the camera. The introduction of the book was written by English novelist Stephen Spender, who fictionalized List as Joachim Lenz in his novel “The Temple”. 

Herbert List passed away in Munich on the 4th of April in 1975. His archive of photographs, originally part of the Ratjen Collection, is now housed in the National Gallery in Washington DC. His work is held in many private and public collections, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston’s Museum of Fine Art, Kunsthaus Zürich, Cologne’s Museum Ludwig, Munich;s Stadtmaueum, and the Musée Picasso in Paris.

Insert Images:

Herbert List, “Self Portrait, Herrsching”, 1947, Silver Gelatin Print

Herbert List, “Man and Dog”, 1939, Gelatin Silver Print

Photographer Unknown, “Herbert List and Max Scheler, Venice”, 1952, Silver Gelatin Print, Mas Scheler Estate

Herbert List, “Young Man Under Reed Roof, Torremolinos”, 1951, Gelatin Silver Print

Lee Friedlander

Lee Friedlander, Photographs from the “The Little Screens” Series

Born in Aberdeen, Washington, in July of 1934, Lee Friedlander is an artist and photographer known for his innovative images depicting America’s city streets. His candid street photography captured the light and content in the country’s urban landscapes.

At the age of eighteen, Friedlander began his formal studies of photography at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. In 1956, he settled in New York City, where he photographed jazz musicians for record album covers. Friedlander’s early work was influenced by Swiss photographer and documentary film maker Robert Frank, best known for his 1958 book “The Americans”; Walker Evans, known for his Depression Era images taken with a large-format view camera; and the French pioneer of documentary photography Eugène Atget, known for his scenes of Paris’ streets and architecture. 

Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1960, Lee Friedlander was able to focus on his photography, which is primarily executed with hand-held Leica 35 mm cameras and black and white film. Friedlander’s street photography featured detached images of ordinary urban life, including structures framed by fences, gas stations, parking lots, store fronts, churches and commercial signs and posters. In his work, he cleverly used reflections and shadows, often shooting images at strange angles or through car windshields. Friedlander has also used car mirrors to frame an image within an image. 

Friedlander is constantly aware of the photographer’s relationship to the picture plane; and he places at least as much importance on it as on the image’s apparent subject which could be an empty street, a store window, or an unremarkable piece of town statuary. Friedlander’s photographs often contain his shadow and/or his reflection, a self-portrait which lends an odd edge to his observations.

Friedlander had his first solo exhibition in 1963 at the International Museum of Photography located at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. Along with photographers Diane Arbus and Garry Winogrand, he was a key figure at curator John Szarkowski’s 1967 “New Documents” exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, an influential exhibition which generated a new look in documentary photography. 

Lee Friedlander has published books regularly: the 1969 “Work from the Same House”, a collaborative effort with artist Jim Dine; “Self-Portrait” published in 1970; the 1981 “Flowers and Trees”; the 1985 retrospective “Lee Friedlander: Portraits”; “Nudes” published in 1991; and the 1992 “The Jazz People of New Orleans”. Friedlander has received a number of awards for his photography, including three Guggenheim Fellowships, five National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and a MacArthur Foundation Award. 

Friedlander is also responsible for rescuing and printing the negatives of early twentieth-century New Orleans photographer Ernest Joseph Bellocq, remembered for his haunting photographs taken in Storyville, New Orleans’ legalized red-light district. These photographs were published in the 1996 “Bellocq: Photographs from Storyville”, with an introduction by photographer Susan Sontag.

Note: In the early 1960s, Lee Friedlander’s attention was drawn to television sets, a relatively recent luxury appliance. His series “The Little Screens” first appeared as a 1963 picture essay in Harper’s Bazaar magazine, with a commentary by photographer Walker Evans. Six untitled photographs showed television screens broadcasting glowing images of faces and figures into unoccupied rooms in homes and motels across America. 

Between 1963 and 1969, “The Little Screens” series grew and, in 2001, was exhibited in full at the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. The series documented not only iconographic ghostly rooms filled with bland furnishings of the period; it also revealed an emerging future reality of omnipresent television screens, and droning television voices and personalities that filled space in an increasing isolationist culture.

Insert Images: Lee Friedlander, “Self Portraits”, 1960s, Gelatin Silver Prints

Károly Ferenczy

Paintings by Károly Ferenczy

Born into a Viennese Hungarian-Jewish family in February of 1862, Károly Ferenczy was a teacher and a productive painter. He initially studied law and completed a degree at Vienna’s College of Economy. Encouraged by wife and painter, Olga Fialka, Ferenczy decided to explore painting and traveled to Italy. In 1887, he studied painting in Paris at the Académie Julain and began his painting career in Hungary, where he started painting in a naturalistic style, influenced by French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage. . 

In 1893, Ferenczy took his  family to Munich, where he attended free classes given by the Hungarian painter Simon Hollósy, a leading proponent of Realism and the Naturalist Movement.  Hollósy encouraged, among his students, an appreciation for the French painters and their techniques, particularly the practice of open air painting. Returning with his family to Hungary in 1896, Ferencsy joined fellow artists István Réti and János Thorma at Nagybánya, now called Baia Mare, a municipality on the Săsar River.

In 1896, Károly Ferenczy, along with Réti and Thorma, founded a summer retreat for artists at Nagybánya. This eventually developed into an artist colony which attracted many artists from Hungary interested in learning the open-air style taught by Simon Hollósy. Ferenczy has his first exhibition in Budapest in 1903, which began his career as an artist. Three years later, he accepted a teaching position at the Royal Hungarian Drawing School, now known as the Hungarian University of Fine Art. Ferenczy, however, remained strongly associated with the artist colony, where he would return in the summers to teach.

Considered the leader of Hungarian impressionism and post-impressionism, Ferenczy concentrated on mostly studio paintings, which consisted of a traditional array of genres, including nudes, urban scenes of circus performers, and still life paintings. In his later years, his work ranged from portraits to nudes and Biblical scenes. A highly productive artist in both lithography and painting, Károly Ferenczy died in March of 1917.

The Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest holds a collection of fifty-one paintings. The museum held a major retrospective of his work in November of 2011 which included nearly one hundred-fifty paintings, eighty prints and drawings, as well as photographs, letters, and catalogues related to his life and art. His work is held in other regional institutions, including the Frenczy Károly Museum, and in many private collections.

Insert Image: Károly ferenczy, “Self Portrait”, 1893, Oil on Canvas, 69 x 52 cm, Hungarian National Gallery

Egyptian Arched Harp

Egyptian Arched Harp (Shoulder Harp), circa 1390-1295 BCE, Wood, Diagonal Length 82 cm, Soundbox Length 36 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, spanning the period from 1550 to 1292 BCE,  is classified as the first dynasty of the New Kingdom, which was the era when ancient Egypt reached the peak of its power. This dynasty included the reigns of pharaohs such as Tutankhamun who ruled Egypt at a young age; Hatshepsut, the longest reigning woman pharaoh of an indigenous dynasty; and Akhenaten, the heretic pharaoh, who ruled with  his principle wife Nefertiti. Unique among the Egyptian dynasties, the Eighteenth Dynasty had two women who ruled as sole pharaoh: Hatshepsut, who ruled from 1470 to 1458 BCE, and Neferneferuaten, usually identified as Nefertiti, whose short reign extended from 1334 to 1332 BCE.

Arched harps were already in use during the Old Kingdom and remained the foremost string instruments until the end of the Middle Kingdom. From the New Kingdom onward, Egyptian arched harps co-existed with a great variety of harps in different shapes and sizes. During the later part of the New Kingdom, musicians experimented with new forms which could accommodate more  strings, eventually progressing from the arched bow harp with four or five strings to the classic full-sized arched harp with a leather soundboard and twenty-two strings. 

The smaller, more portable ancient Egyptian bowed shoulder harp became briefly more popular from about the reign of Tuthmosis III, who ruled from 1479 to 1425 BCE. The arched shoulder harp with the curved neck, preserved in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, is dated from 1390 to 1295 BCE. This harp has twelve strings and an open, slightly waisted sound box, whose opening was once covered with skin. Rope tuning rings under each string gave a buzzing sound to the soft-sounding tone produced. Topping the arched frame of the harp is a carved head of a Nubian captive who appears to be bound by the strings of the harp. 

This type of portable, boat-shaped arched harp was a favorite during the New Kingdom and is shown in the hands of processional female musicians performing alone or in ensembles with singers, wind instruments, rattles, and sistrums, small rattling percussion instruments made of brass or bronze. Prior to the Middle Kingdom, depictions of harpists feature men as the chief musicians. Harps and other instruments were used for praise singing and entertainment at festivals, temple rituals, court functions, funerals, and military events. Today, arched harps derived from these ancient Egyptian forms are still used in parts of Africa and Asia

Chris Plytas

Photography by Chris Plytas

Born in 1953 in London, Chris Plytas is an established contemporary visual artist whose work covers the psychology of self-image and identity. His photographic portraiture works have been admired often for their way of unearthing the primal and sensual core of their subjects, and the way they sometimes straddle the borderline between beatific innocence and animal rage.

From 1974 to 1977, Plytas studied fine art, painting and sculpture at St. Martins School of Art in London and earned a BFA with honors. After graduation, he developed his darkroom skills on landscape and portraiture photography.Plytas also  did reportage photography for publications, in which he covered  events such as night clubs, concerts, fashion shows, the Royal Wedding, and the Cannes Film Festival.

During the period form 1977 to 1985, Chris  Plytas did photographic printing, layouts, and personal design realization in London for Vivienne Westwood, the English fashion designer largely responsible for bringing punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream. In 1982, he became Director of Berwick Universal Pictures, Limited, an award-winning documentary film company based in Soho, London.  Starting in 1985, Plytas began concentrating on his own personal, black and white, fine art photography, shot with Hasselblad cameras, for exhibition and personal archives. 

Chris Plytas’ first series, entitled “Australia”, was shot over a six month period mostly in the New South Wales and Victoria provinces of Australia. This large body of work, consisting of landscape and portraiture, was exhibited in 1987 at London’s Photographers Gallery and toured Europe for six years with support from Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, a public collection of France’s contemporary art. 

Starting in 1987, Plytas engaged in a six-year shoot for his series “Hadrian: The Violence and Sexuality of Adolescence” series, a coming of age story shot in real time. His next series “Le Corps Enjeux (The Body)” was shown as part of the Mois de la Photo exhibition, sponsored by Audiovisuel and Kodak,  held in Paris in 1988. Plytas spent a year from 1992 to 1993 in the Xi’an and the Yannan regions of China, where he shot his “China: Voyage to the East” portfolio, a series which he dedicated to Sun Wukong, the trickster Monkey King.

Known for his exhibited photographic series, Chris Plytas began to receive commissions for portraiture work. His “Family Portraits” series was commissioned by the De Ganay Archives and, at present, consists of forty-eight individual portraits of members of the French aristocratic family. He has also received portraiture commissions from various  other European  and American families 

After shooting his “Miami Beach” series in  1994.  Plytas  has continued working, throughout his career, on multiple personal portfolios, some of which have been exhibited and published. These include his “The Burden of Classicism”; “Nature and Nurture”; “Youth: A Retrospective” shot in Italy; “Beach-Scapes” shot in  Italy and Sicily; a series entitled “Allegorical Portraits”; and “Blood Ties”, a portfolio documenting family member connections.

In addition to his participation in numerous group exhibitions, Plytas  has shown his work in solo gallery exhibitions, including  Paris’ Galerie PONS in 1995, Paris’ Galerie Serge Aboukrat in 2000, a 2002 exhibition in Italy entitled “Frascati Doc”, an exhibition project at the Chateau de Courances in France in 2004, and in 2015 a Paris exhibition entitled “What is Erotic?”. 

Chris Plytas’ work is available in limited editions and custom portfolios. Private individual or family portraits can be commissioned. His website is located at: https://www.chrisplytas.com/index

Insert Images:

Chris Plytas,, Title Unknown (Slogan on Wall), 1992-93, China, Voyage to the East Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Chris Plytas,, “Boy and Girl Entwined”, 1986-2003, The Body Series, Silver Gelatin Print