A Gay-Oriented Collection of Art Works, Literary Quotes, Songs, Films, and Male Images. Please be aware thet there is mature content on this blog. Information and links to sources will be provided unless unknown. Enjoy your visit.
Carlo Farneti, Illustrations from “Les Fleurs du Mal” by French poet CharlesBaudlaire, 1935 Edition, Publisher Gibert Jeune, Paris
Born in Naples in January of 1892, Carlo Farneti was an Italian artist known for his illustrations. He moved to Paris in 1926 where he illustrated works by notable writers from Europe and the United States. It was in Naples, where he lived, that Farneti had his first solo exhibition at the Galleria Corona in 1924; however, he established his career as an illustrator in France.
Carlo Farneti illustrated a 1927 edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Nouvelles Histoires Extraordinaires (Extraordinary Tales)” with one-hundred forty-eight etchings. He next created original illustrations for Émile Zola’s 1928 “La Terra” which was published in a large quarto format with a limited edition of sixty. For the 1935 edition of poet Charles Baudelaire’s 1857 “Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil)”, Farneti created sixteen color plates and one hundred illustrations. Printed on vellum, the volume had a limited edition of three-thousand numbered copies. For a three volume limited edition set of Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary: Moeurs de Province” published by Javal and Bordeaux, Farneti created over one-hundred original drawings for volume three of this work.
During his career, Farneti provided at the request of wealthy amateurs an impressive number of original drawings. He would often add illustrations to already published works, as well as, augmenting literary volumes with larger compositions in accompanying folders.
In 1933 at the request of a patron, Farneti embellished an existing volume of Mirbeau’s 1927 work “The Garden of Supplices” with two-hundred thirty colored pencil drawings, placed in the margins or in the background of the texts. He also included a folio of ten large pastel compositions on gray Casson plates. In that same year, Carlo Farnet illuminated, with one-hundred five drawings, an original edition of novelist Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s 1932 “Voyage au Bout de la Nuit (Travel to the End of the Night)”.
An accomplished illustrator who worked with notable writers, Carlo Farneti’s died on the tenth of November in 1961.
Bottom Insert Image: Carlo Farneti, Illustration for Théatre du Grand Guignot, “Les Nuits du Bagne”, 1928, Vintage Poster, 58.4 x 38.1 cm, Publisher R. Balestrieri, Paris
Born in December of 1924 in Béziers, one of the oldest cities in France, Georges Noël was a French painter. His work was greatly influenced by two French avant-garde art movements: Nouveau Réalisme, founded in 1960 by art critic Pierre Restany and painters Raymond Hains and Yves Klein which made extensive use of collage and assemblage, and French Art Informel, an approach to abstraction in the !940s and 1950s that emphasized improvisation and highly gestural techniques.
Raised in the Castellón city of Pau, Georges Noël initially was an engineering student before his 1939 to 1945 studies of sculpture and painting. After his graduation, he worked for nine years as a draftsman and designer with the aeronautical firm Turboméca, a manufacturer of gas turbine turboshaft engines. In 1956, Noël relocated to Paris where, deeply impressed by the paintings of artists such as Jean Dubuffet and Paul Klee, he devoted his energies to painting.
Noël’s painting was associated with the French and Italian Informel movement. He was an admirer of the work by Lucio Fontana, an Argentine-Italian painter best known for his tagli, slashed, mostly monochromatic canvases. Noël was also friends with Nouveau Réalisme artists Raymond Hains, Jacques de la Villéglé and François Dufréne. He achieved recognition and commercial success through his representation with noted art dealer Paul Facchetti. Noël’s first solo exhibition was at the Facchetti gallery in 1960; he regularly exhibited there from 1957 to 1968.
During his stay in Paris, Georges Noël began to use paper laid down on canvas or torn and collaged newspaper as partial foundations for his painting. For his impasto, material paintings, he developeda mixture of powdery pigments, sand and polyvinyl glue which he layered onto canvas. In a gestural-automatic manner, Noël scratched symbolic signs or script into the partly hardened layer of paint to form the images he termed ‘Palimpseste’. With this term, he referred to the early stage of writing done by many cultures which involved the erasing and re-engraving of writen elements on stone or clay tablets. Noël’s wide vocabulary of signs showed his interest in the magic, symbolism and mystery of prehistoric, Mycenaean-Archaic and indigenous cultures.
In 1963 at a medieval abbey in Rowen, Noël met Margit Rowell who was training to be a medievalist. She would become his wife, life-time companion, and aveteran art historian and curator with key positions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York. Feeling restless and seeking a change in venue and style, Noël moved with Rowell to New York City in 1968. After research and experimentation, he found the visual, geometric language he wanted to express in his work. Noël was represented by and exhibited with two major New York galleries from 1969 to his return to France: the internationally-based Pace Gallery and the renowned Arnold Herstand Gallery on Fifty-Seventh Street.
In 1982, Georges Noël and Rowell returned to France where he had a major exhibition at the Abbaye de Senanque in Provence, which was followed in 1985 by a retrospective at the Centre National des Arts Plastiques in Paris. Noël’s late stylistic development showed a unification of the gestural painting of his early work and the more structural compositions of his New York period. From 1985 forward, he exhibited regularly in Italy, Germany, and Japan. Noël’s work is currently represented for France by the Galerie Christophe Gaillard.
Through all the unusual diversity of styles during his fifty-year career, Georges Noël’s textured canvases and graphic interventions remained constant. His works on paper show the same spontaneous scripts and signs, either on wash, collaged or built-up surfaces. Considered one of the most important representatives of the French Informel movement, Georges Noël passed away in Paris in 2010 at the age of eighty-six.
Noël’s work is found in private collections and institutions throughout the world, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bibliothèque National and the F.N.A.C. in Paris, and the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, among others.
Saturnino Herrán, “Our Ancient Gods”, 1916, Museo Colección Blaisten, Mexico City, Mexico.
Born in July of 1887 in the city of Aguascallentes, Saturnino Herrán Guinchard was a Mexican painter of indigenous Mexican and Swiss descent. One of the pioneers of Mexican Modernism, he was also an educator, muralist, book illustrator, draftsman, and a stained glass colorist. Herrán was the first Mexican artist to envision the concept of totally Mexican art; he also laid the foundation for the development of its muralist movement.
In 1901, Saturnino Herrán began his studies in drawing and painting at the Aguascallentes Academy of Science where his father was a Professor of Bookkeeping. He studied under Chlapas classical painter José Inés Tovilla and Severo Amador, a painter known for his Mexican Impressionist and Modern work. After the death of his father in 1903, Herrán and his mother relocated to Mexico City where heworked to support his mother and studied at the city’s Academy of San Carlos. At the Academy, he studied under Mexican Symbolist painter and printmaker Julio Ruelas; Catalan painter, sculptor and draftsman Antonio Fabres; and painter Germán Gedovius who taught color, composition and chiaroscuro, the use of strong contrasts between light and dark.
An outstanding student in his courses, Herrán’s work was strongly inspired by the European theories of modern art which included Greek and Roman aesthetics and naturalism, the depiction of objects with the least possible amount of distortion. Strongly drawn to Mexican art, he united this cultural heritage with his academic European training to create work that would produce a spiritual experience. Herrán’s first figurative works were presented as allegories of nature and Spanish mythology; he also painted scenes of working people in everyday life.
Saturnino Herrán painted using the techniques drawn from the cultures of Spain, including the Catalonian area, and Europe. He preferred dynamic imagery, balanced colors, and strong contours. Herrán used blurred background colors to create ambiance and used free brushwork over drawings to capture variations of light. Through his refined draftsmanship and use of color, he combined drawing and watercolor to produce naturalistic works, a technique he adapted from Spanish painters.
By 1908, Herrán had gained recognition within the artistic community and was receiving awards and scholarships. In 1909 at the age of twenty-two, he was appointed a Professor of Drawing at Mexico City’s National Institute of Fine Arts; among his pupils were the future fresco muralists Diego Rivera and Roberto Montenegro Nervo. In 1910 Herrán, along with painter Jose Orozco, founded the Society of Mexican Painters and Sculptors which, in opposition to the official art exhibition at Mexico’s 100th anniversary of independence, staged an alternative exhibition of purely Mexican art. In this exhibition, Herrán presented his “The Legend of the Volcanos”, a canvas triptych depicting figures of an Indian prince and a European princess.
This exhibition of work by Mexican artists made a strong impression on lawyer Jose Vasconcelos who was to become the Secretary of Education of post-revolution Mexico. He realized that painting was not only for the elite but could in the form of murals reached a wider audience. Herrán was among the first artists commissioned by Vasconcelos to do mural paintings. In August of 1911, he completed his first large-scale fresco mural in the auditorium of Mexico City’s School of Arts and Crafts. This work by Herrán would serve as a model for future muralists in the 1920s and 1930s.
In 1914, Saturnino Herrán, at age seventeen, was commissioned to create a triptych of fresco panels glorifying Mexican heritage for the walls of Mexico City’s Palace of Fine Arts which also housed the National Theater. He completed a small 101 x 112 centimeter oil study of one panel. From this small study, Herrán was able to complete the larger fresco wall panel, “Our Ancient Gods” in 1916, two years before his untimely death.
For this work, Herrán abandoned his earlier bright colors in favor of somber, earthly colors with muted nuances. He used West Mexican men for his modelsdue to their strong indigenous and ethnic facial features. He particularly chose local men around the Pre-Columbian archeological site of Xochicalco because of their strong Mayan, Teotihuacan and Matlatzinca ancestry. The warriors are portrayed lean and lithe with firm muscles; they stand in poses with a slight tension of impending action, caught in a balance of action and inaction.
The figures and objects in the fresco are heavily outlined with strong, thick and bold, black lines. Herrán used similar line-work in the illustrations and graphic work he had previously executed for books, magazines and stained glass panels. “Our Ancient Gods” contains images appropriate to elite members of Pre-Columbian society: among these are gold earrings, red feathers and leather sandals. Herrán’s extensive use of indigenous motifs, powerful style, and cultural richness elevate the figures in his fresco to a high godlike status.
A representative of both the Art Nouveau and the mural art movements in Mexico, Saturnino Herrán Guinchard, at the age of thirty-one, died suddenly from a gastric complication in Mexico City on the eighth of October in 1918.
Notes: An extensive article written by Deborah Dorotinsky Alperstein on Saturnino Herrán’s mural at the School of Arts and Crafts, its removal and relocation, and its restoration can be found at: http://www.dezenovevinte.net/uah2/dda_en.htm
Second Insert Image: Saturnino Herrán, “Alegoría”. 1915, Watercolor and Gouache on Paper, 34 x 21 cm, Museo Nacional de la Acuarela Alfredo Guati Rojo
Third Insert Image: Saturnino Herrán, “Study for Nuestros Dioses (Our Ancient Gods)”, 1915, Figures on the Left Panel
Fourth Insert Image: Saturnino Herrán, “Alegoria de la Construcción”, 1910, Oil on Canvas, 114 x 62 cm, Decorative Border for the School of Arts and Crafts, Mexico City
Bottom Insert Image: Saturnino Herrán, “La Ofrenda (The Offering)”, Study on Paper, 81 x 138 cm, Museo Nacional de Arte de la Cludad de Mexico
Born in Geneva in October of 1866, Charles de Sousy Ricketts was a versatile British illustrator, author and printer known for his work as a book designer, typographer, and designer of theatrical sets and costume. He was the only son of Charles Robert Ricketts, a Royal Navy veteran and amateur painter, and Héléne Cornélie de Sousy, daughter of the Marquis de Sousy. Ricketts spent his formative years mainly in France and received his education through his governesses.
After the death of his mother in 1880, Charles Ricketts relocated with his father to London where, considered too frail for school, he became largely self-educated through reading and visiting museums. In 1882, Ricketts entered the City and Guilds of London Art School where he apprenticed to wood-engraver Charles Roberts. Later that year, his father died and he became dependent on the modest support of his paternal grandfather. On his sixteenth birthday, he met his lifelong partner Charles Haslewood Shannon, a fellow student three years his senior who was studying painting and lithography. The two men lived together in both a personal and professional partnership until Ricketts’s death.
After finishing their studies, Ricketts became a commercial and magazine illustrator; Shannon took a teaching post at London’s newly founded Croyton School of Art. In 1888, Ricketts took possession of painter James Whistler’s former house, The Vale, in Chelsea which soon became a gathering place of contemporary artists. Starting in 1889 until its final issue in 1897, Ricketts and Shannon produced “The Dial”, a journal of poetry, prose, and English Pre-Raphaelite and French Symbolist illustrations. This portfolio became a major publication of the Aesthetic Movement.
Charles Ricketts, in collaboration with Shannon, illustrated their close friend Oscar Wilde’s 1891 ”A House of Pomegranates” and the 1894 “The Sphinx”. Ricketts and Shannon worked together on the type and illustrations for editions of “Daphnis and Chloe” in 1893 and “Hero and Leander” in 1894. After initially running a small press, they founded London’s Vale Press in 1896 which published more than seventy-five books including a thirty-nine volume edition of Shakespeare’s work. Ricketts designed illustrations as wells fonts, initials, and borders specific to Vale Press. He also executed woodcut illustrations of Art Nouveau design and androgynous figures for their publications. After a 1904 fire at their printer Ballantyne Press destroyed their engraving woodcuts, Ricketts and Shannon made the decision to abandon publishing; Ricketts destroyed all the typefaces he had designed for Vale Press.
Beginning in the early 1900s, Ricketts placed his focus on painting and sculpture. He had a deep knowledge of earlier painters and was particularly influenced by the works of the Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau and the French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix. Among Ricketts’s many paintings are the 1904 “Betrayal of Christ”, the 1911 “The Death of Don Juan”, “Bacchus in India” painted in 1913, “Jepthah’s Daughter” painted in 1924, and the 1915 “Montezuma”, now at the Manchester Art Gallery. Over the course of his career, Ricketts produced about twenty sculptures among which are “Silence”, a memorial to his friend Oscar Wilde, and two bronze works entitled “Paolo and Francesca” and “Orpheus and Eurydice”.
From 1906 to his death, Charles Ricketts was a celebrated theatrical set and costume designer. His first commission was for a private production of s double billing of Oscar Wilde’s plays, “Salome” and “A Florentine Tragedy”, at King’s Hall in Covent Garden. In 1907, he designed costumes and stage sets for Aeschylus’s “The Persians” also performed at King’s Hall. During the early 1900s, Ricketts designed both costume and sets for many commercial theater productions including Hugo Hofmannsthal’s “Electra” in 1908, “King Lear” at the Haymarket in 1909, and two of Bernard Shaw’s plays, “The Dark Lady of the Sonnets” in 1910 and “Annajanska, the Bolshevik Empress” in 1918.
After World War One, Ricketts continued his theatrical design with Shaw’s “Saint Joan” at the New Theater in 1924, “Henry VIII” at the Empire Theater in 1925 and “Macbeth” at the Princess Theater in 1926. He also designed costumes and sets for the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company’s 1926 production of “The Mikado” at the Savoy Theater. Most of Ricketts’s designs for “The Mikado” were retained by other designers of the company for more than fifty years. Ricketts final theater designs were for the 1931 production of Ferdinand Bruckner’s “Elizabeth of England” preformed at London’s Cambridge Theater and a production of Donald Tovey’s opera “The Bride of Dionysus” staged posthumously in Edinburgh after Ricketts’s death.
As a writer, Charles Ricketts published two monographs on art as well as essays and articleson a wide range of subjects for publications. Using the pen-name of Jean Paul Raymond, he wrote and designed two collections of short stories published in 1928 and 1933. Under the same pen-name, Ricketts wrote the 1932 “Recollections of Oscar Wilde”, an extremely personal memoir that was published after Ricketts’s death. Ricketts’s last years were were greatly effected by Charles Shannon’s serious fall and resulting permanent brain damage. The strain of the situation with the addition of overwork to finance the household contributed to the decline of Ricketts’s health and ultimately his death.
Charles de Sousy Ricketts died suddenly at age sixty-five from coronary heart disease on the 7th of October in 1931 at the Regent’s Park house. He was cremated and his ashes partly scattered in London’s Richmond Park, and the remainder buried at Arolo, Lake Maggiore in Italy. Charles Shannon outlived him by six years and died in March of 1937.
Top Insert Image: George Charles Beresford, “Charles de Sousy Ricketts”, October 1903, Sepia-Toned Platinotype Print, 15.5 x 10.7 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London
Second Insert Image: Charles de Sousy Ricketts, Page from Ricketts’s “The Prado and Its Masterpieces”, 1923, Published by E.P. Dutton and Company, New York, Private Collection
Third Insert Image: Charles de Sousy Ricketts, Illustration and Text from Michael Field’s “The Race of Leaves”, 1901, Woodcut, The Ballantyne Press, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: George Charles Beresford, “Charles Haslewood Shannon and Charles de Sousy Ricketts”, October 1903, Modern Print from Original Negative, 11 x 15.7 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London
Frank Steeley, “Lettering for Schools and Colleges”, 1902, G.W. Bacon and Company, Limited, London
Born in Birmingham in 1863, Frank Steeley was a draftsman and graphic designer. The son of a goldsmith who worked in the jewelry trade, he illustrated a set of thirty-six first grade drawing cards for the publisher G. W. Bacon and Company, Ltd, which was published circa 1893 as Bacon’s “Excelsior” Drawing Cards.
Steeley, in collaboration with Bernard H. Trotman, produced the 1901 design book “The New Art Geometry: or, Geometrical Drawing Applied to Design”, which was also published by Bacon and Company. The exercises in this book, which used common tools such as t-squares and protractors, formed a graduated syllabus for upper level elementary classes and for classes in schools of art.
In 1902, Frank Steeley produced the book “Lettering for Schools and Colleges”, a collection containing his designs for forty-two complete alphabets, with sets of numerals, initials, and monograms. Between 1903 and 1904, he published his two-volume series “Nature Drawing and Design”. These books, examples of early Art Nouveau design work, described the process of using the natural forms of flowers and leaves to create patterns and simple line drawings. Both the book and the two-volume series were published by G.W. Bacon and Company.
Frank Steeley passed away in 1951 at the age of eighty-eight. Due to the historical and artistic significance of the work, Steeley’s books have been reprinted frequently and are still used as a basis for design study.
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, “Toteninsel (Isle of the Dead)”, ca 1905, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150 cm, Private Collection
The son of a painter and teacher, Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach was born in the city of Hadamar, Germany,in February of 1851. He received his initial training in the arts from his father Leonard Diefenbach, but also worked as a design draftsman for several photo studios and a railroad construction company. In 1872, Diefenbach traveled to Munich where he gained employment with Hanfstaengel, a photography publishing house, and entered the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, under historical painter Wilhelm Lindenschmit the Younger. In his studies, he became inspired by the Symbolist movement, particularly by the works of Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin.
Stricken with typhus in 1873, Diefenbach began to develop an increasing interest in alternative lifestyles. After having a visionary experience, he founded the alternative community Humanitas in an abandoned stone quarry near Höllriegelskreuth, located nineteen kilometers south of Munich. This community was centered on a return to nature, the rejection of religion, a basic vegetarian diet, and the end of monogamy. In 1887, Symbolist painter and illustrator Hugo Höppener, known as Fidus, joined the community and, with Karl Diefenbach, worked on the sixty-eight meter, monumental silhouette frieze entitled “Per Aspera ad Astra”.
An oddity in the era due to his lifestyle, Karl Diefenbach, after repeated conflict with his social surroundings including local authorities, accepted the invitation of Salzburg’s Art Association and relocated with his family to Vienna.While in Vienna, he met and taught the Czech abstractionist painter and graphic artist Frantiek Kupka. Diefenbach’sunorthodox lifestyle forced a second relocation; this time he traveled to Egypt where his work focused on the ancient ruins and temples of the land. Returning to Vienna in 1897, he founded a country commune, Himmelhof, near Vienna, which disbanded after two years.
Despite the many exhibitions of his work, Karl Diefenbach was not successful commercially, which forced him to declare bankruptcy. He traveled to Italy in 1900 and settled on the island of Capri where he exhibited his works to visitors for a small fee, explained his philosophy of life, and sold small versions of his major works. The years Diefenbach spent on Capri were the most productive of his life. He produced many large scale depictions of the island’s landscapes, most were scenes of grottos and cliffs, but all were infused with reflections on his inner searching.
The Symbolist painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach died on the island of Capri in December of 1913. After years of obscurity, his work was honored in a successful 2009 exhibition held at Villa Stuck in Munich, and two years later at the Hermes Villa in Vienna. A museum of his work was founded in 1974 in Certosa di San Giacomo on Capri, and many of his works can be seen in the Jack Daulton Collection in Los Altos Hills, California.
Note: Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach’s 1905 “Isle of the Dead” was inspired by the famous painting of the same name by the Swiss symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin, whose work Diefenbach held in much esteem.
Arnold Böcklin painted five versions of his “Isle of the Dead” between 1880 and 1901. He provided no explanation for the painting’s image; the title was not specified by Böcklin, but was given by the art dealer Fritz Gurlitt in 1883. The inspiration for it was evoked, in part, by the landscape of the English Cemetery in Florence, Italy, where Böcklin resided for many years.
Top Insert Image:Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, Der Rettung Entgegen, 1900, Oil on Canvas, 65.5 x 90.5 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert mage:Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, The Great Sphinx of Giza, 1903, Oil on Canvas, 240 x 335 cm, Private Collection
Ludwig von Hofmann, “Die Quelle (The Source)”, 1913, Oil on Canvas, Thomas Mann Archives, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
A member of the avant-garde group “Eleven”, Ludwig von Hofmann was an active participant in the cultural movement “Berlin Succession”. He taught at the art school in Weimar, located in central Germany, and at the Dresden Academy of Arts, where he directed a course in monumental painting. Von Hoffman was a frequent illustrator for the arts and literary magazine “Pan”, which played an important role in the development of the Art Nouveau movement in Germany.
Working in a combination of Symbolist and Art Nouveau styles, Ludwig von Hofmann’s paintings included antique and biblical themes, and idyllic landscapes inhabited by surreal or mythological creatures. His work aspired to portray beauty in form, using unique and strong color combinations, and often presented a veiled eroticism in its figures.Von Hofmann’s symbolist work is both decorative and idealized, with verdant forests, blossoming fields, and naked or clothed figures whose skin or flowing garments are lit by the sun.
In 1903, von Hofmann was appointed a professor at the Weimar Saxon Grand Ducal Art School. He was later named a Professor at the Academy of Arts in Dresden in 1916, remaining there until 1931. In his later years, von Hofmann predominately worked in the Art Nouveau style, producing engravings and illustrations, and designing libraries, residential rooms and theaters.
The production of Ludwig von Hofmann’s work slowed in the 1930s, with some of his work labeled “degenerate art’ by the National Socialist Party in 1937. He retired to the town of Pillnitz, a section of east Dresden, where he died in August of 1945.
Insert Image: Ludwig von Hofmann, “Badende am Schwarzen Felsein ( Bathers on the Black Rock)”, 1930, Oil on Canvas