Alojz Klimo

Paintings by Alojz Klimo

Alojz Klimo was a Slovakian painter, graphic artist and sculptor who, along with Milan Dobeš and Miloš Urbásek, is considered to be the founding representative of geometrical and constructionist art in Slovakia. 

Born in Pieštany in 1922, Klimo attended the Department of Drawing and Painting of the Slovak Technical University from 1941 to 1945, where he studied under Maximillán Schurmann and Gustav Mallý, both influential in the development of Slovakian modern painting. From 1945 to 1948, he studied under painters Jan Bauch and Antonin Pelc at Prague’s University of Applied Arts. Klimo returned to Slovakia in 1948 and settled in the city of Bratislava where he lived and worked until his death in October of 2000. 

Alojz Klimo developed his expression of art gradually. Inspired by prewar European modernism, he was known for his expressive paintings by the end of the 1950s. The drawings and graphic work he produced in this period were influenced by the national and folk traditions of his native country. Fascinated by the progressive technology, architecture, and industrial landscape of the early 1960s, Klimo’s work moved progressively towards abstractionism. 

By the end of the 1960s, Klimo’s work was characterized by symbols, signs, and pictograms which served as commentaries on both the positive and negative manifestations of contemporary civilization. The basic building blocks of his artistic language were triangles, squares, rectangles and circles portrayed in multiple variations to form a wide spectrum of motifs. His dynamic paintings with their vivid colors and simple compositions  illustrated the possibilities of a formalized geometrical style. 

Alojz Klimo regularly used symbolic motifs of urban scenery in his work. The themes of streets, crossroads, and roofs of houses appear throughout his work, either as paintings on wood panels or graphics produced with linocuts. The image areas are divided into individual fields, designated by bold black lines. Klimo’s most significant and best known “Crossroads” series depicted fields created by accentuated diagonal lines; the fields of the “Windows” and “Roofs” series were formed by systems of rectangles and squares. Each segmented field in his work was depicted by specific colors of pure tones, a technique which was similar to that used by American artist Roy Lichtenstein. 

Since 1945, Klimo was a member of an artist group called August 29, and later, in 1967,  became a member of the Club of Concretists, an organization of geometrical abstract artists. . The Club of Concretists was banned in Czechoslovakia in 1970 during the period of political normalization, which was characterized by the loss of the reforms gained during the more liberal government of Alexander Dubček. For Alojz Klimo, it became difficult period in which to exhibit his works. As such, he devoted his time to illustrating books, particularly children’s books, and also creating monumental sculptures for architectural details.

During his lifetime, Alojz Klimo presented his work in twenty-five solo exhibitions in Slovakia and abroad. He also participated in more than two hundred collective exhibitions in Slovakia and other countries, including the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Egypt, Mexico, and the United States. In both 1958 and 1960, Klimo represented Czechoslovakia at the Twenty-Ninth and Thirtieth Venice Biennales. In 1970, he exhibited his large, moveable sculpture, entitled “Colored Transformations” at the Czechoslovak Pavilion of the World Expo in Osaka, Japan. 

Klimo’s works, which include paintings, wood cuts, graphic work, and sculptures, are represented in the galleries and private collections in Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany and Austria.

Image Insert: Alojz Klimo, Poster for Slovak Fund of Creative Arts, 1966, Serigraph on Paper, 28.5 x 20 cm, Private Collection

Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns, “0 Through 9”, 1960, Lithograph, 76.2 x 55.9 cm, Private Collection

Born in May of 1930 in Augusta, Georgia, Jasper Johns is an American painter, printmaker, and sculptor who is associated with Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and the Neo-Dada movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He is best known for his series of flags, targets, maps, letters and numbers. In 1954, after burning all his previous artwork, Johns started introducing numbers and text into his abstract paintings. Because he incorporated well-known motifs into his art, the work is defined as both abstraction for his use of stripes and circles, and representational for his use of targets and flags.

Jasper Johns spent his early years in South Carolina, an area he considered an artistic wasteland. After making the decision to become an artist, he studied for three semesters at the University of South Carolina; he later moved to New York City where he studied briefly at the Parsons School of Design in 1949. With the advent of the Korean War, Johns was stationed in Sendai, Japan, for a two year period from 1952 to 1953.

After his return to New York, Johns met artist Robert Rauschenberg in 1954 and soon began an intense, emotional relationship and artistic collaboration. Rauschenberg was an intense, spontaneous, energetic personality; while Johns was a more shy, intellectual personality with a slow deliberate style. This contrast led to private heated moments but also great creative accomplishments. In the 1950s, during the six years they were together, Johns and Rauschenberg produced many works which today are considered iconic masterpieces, such as Johns’ two series, “Flags” and “Targets”, and Rauschenberg’s “Combines” series.

In 1959, art dealer Leo Castelli met with Rauschenberg to discuss his upcoming gallery exhibition. This meeting led to Castelli’s discovery of Jasper Johns’ downstairs apartment with its trove of paintings from the “Flags” and “Targets” series. Castelli signed Johns immediately. In the years that followed, while Rauschenberg’s career waned and, for a time, faltered, Jasper Johns’ career thrived. His first solo exhibition in 1958, based on his series of American flags, sold out with four of the works being purchased by the Museum of Modern Art. By the beginning of the 1960s, Johns’ and Rauschenberg’s aesthetic, romantic, and professional conflicts led to the break in their relationship and a concentration on their individual careers.

Johns was introduced to lithography in 1960 through an invitation by Russian-American printmaker Tatyana Grosman to produce prints at her publishing company, Universal Limited Art Editions. Hesitant to work with what at that time was considered an antiquated medium, he was encouraged to proceed by friend and artist Larry Rivers. Since 1960, Jasper Johns has worked on developing various printmaking techniques to investigate and develop his existing compositions.

Johns’ first completed print was the 1960 “Target”; however, having been exploring numeric figures since 1955, his inaugural attempt at a printed series was based on the symmetrical and easily configured number zero. This initial lithograph series, entitled “0 Through 9”, consisted of the numbers 0 to 9 superimposed over each other to create numerous compositions. Although elements of all the numbers are visible, the individual numbers, removed from their original context, become difficult to distinguish.

This reduction of the combined numbers to a numeric motif places the attention of the viewer on the work’s pictorial composition and technique. It is the numeric motif to which Johns has returned most often, exploring it in paintings, drawings, print, and sculpture. He has produced more variations on it than any other subject matter.

Often regarded as one of the fathers of conceptual art, Jasper Johns received in 1960 the Vincent van Volkmer Prize, a highly endowed biennial art prize. In 1963, he and long-time friend, American avant-garde composer John Cage, founded New York City’s Foundation for Contemporary Arts. a non-profit foundation which offers financial support and recognition to performing and visual artists. Johns received the National Medal of Arts in 1990 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

Insert Images:

Fred W McDarrah, “Jasper Johns- Whitney Museum”, 1977, Gelatin Silver Print

Jasper Johns, “6”, Portfolio “0 t=-9”, 1963, Lithograph, Edition of 10, 52.1 x 40 cm, Private Collection

Rachel Rosenthal, “Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns- Pearl Street, New York City”, 1954, Gelatin Silver Print, Rachel Rosenthal Trust

Jan Muller

Jan Muller, “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian”, Detail, circa 1699, Engraving, 53.6 x 33.8 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

At the end of the sixteenth and early in the seventeenth century, Dutch Mannerist artists turned their attention to the German master Albrecht Dürer and other northern Renaissance artists, creating a revival of interest in their works. Printmakers copied these earlier designs or made new compositions emulating the style of their predecessors. 

Born in 1571 in Amsterdam, Jan Muller was one of these reproductive engravers. He most likely received his initial training in engraving from his father, Harmen Jansz Muller, an engraver and owner of The Gilded Compasses, a publishing business in Antwerp. Jan Muller’s work is generally associated with the school of Hendrick Goltzius, the most prominent of the Dutch Mannerist engravers, with whom Muller was employed until about 1589.

Though Jan Muller made engravings based on his own designs, he was essentially a reproductive engraver for works by Haarlem Mannerists or Prague artists, such as painter Bartholomeus Spranger and engraver Hendrick Goltzius. Muller had contact with many artists in the Prague area including, by relation through family marriage, Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries, who was working at Emperor Rudolf II’s court.

During the late 1590s, Muller would often be employed by Emperor  Rudolph to reproduce the designs of artists working at the royal court. The work he produced were characterized by an array of engraving techniques including areas of hatching and broad, sinuous lines. From 1594 through 1602. Muller traveled in Italy and lived in both Naples and Rome, where he continued to make engravings, including what are considered his most accomplished works. 

After 1602, Jan Muller continued to produce engraved portraits and a few other works. Upon his return to Amsterdam, he virtually abandoned his engraving and managed The Gilded Compasses, which he had inherited. Muller’s inheritance from his father included all his father’s engraved copperplates, artwork and printed paper along with the tools and their accessories. Between 1624 and his death in 1628, Jan Muller produced only four known compositions and one painting, whose provenance is  firmly attributed to him through his inventories and will.

Insert Image: Jan Muller, “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian”, Full Image, circa 1699, Engraving, 53.6 x 33.8 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 

Walter Stuempfig

Paintings by Walter Stuempfig

Walter Stuempfig was one of Philadelphia’s most highly regarded painters of the mid-twentieth century. He is known primarily for his landscapes of the Philadelphia area and the shores of New Jersey. Stuempfig’s work is often pervaded with a sense of poetic melancholy that has led to his frequent classification as a romantic realist.

Born in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia in January of 1914, Walter Stuempfig’s initial education was at the Germantown Academy from which he graduated in 1930. He spent a year studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania before enrolling, in October of 1931, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Stuempfig studied under modernist illustrator and painter Henry McCarter, the impressionist landscape painter Daniel Garber and realist landscape painter Francis Speight. 

In 1934, Stuempfig won the William Emlen Cresson Memorial Travel Scholarship for study abroad. He traveled frequently to Europe, and he was deeply influenced by the European masters, particularly Nicolas Poussin, Caravaggio, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. From his initial exhibition in 1932 until  1966, Stuempfig regularly exhibited in the annual exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy. He had his first successful exhibition, as an American realist painter, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 1942 “Artists for Victory” show. 

Discovered by art gallery director R. Kirk Askew, Stuempfig had his first one man show in 1943 at the Durlacher Brothers Gallery in New York. His show was sold out on opening night, with both the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art adding his work to their collections. Stuempfig continued to be represented by the Durlacher Brothers Gallery through 1961. In 1947, the Corcoran Gallery purchased his painting “Two Houses” which had won second prize in the biennial competition that year for contemporary American paintings.

Walter Stuempfig had married his wife Lila Hill, a sculptor who also studied at  the Pennsylvania Academy, in 1935. Upon his wife’s death in 1946, he concentrated more intensely on his artwork. working from his studio in the Chestnut Hill area of northwest Philadelphia. Stuempfig  would spend his summers painting at New Jersey’s shore area and the Manayunk area of Philadelphia. In 1948, he became an instructor in drawing and composition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, where he taught until his death, after a long illness, in November of 1970.  

As a painter, Walter Stuempfig worked independently, and remained outside the mainstream of the contemporary artistic movements. He was a prolific artist, producing over fifteen hundred works of figure compositions, landscapes and architectural subjects, portraits, and still lifes, all done in the style of romantic realism. Stuempfig had a subtle and polished painting technique; his figurative work had a great subjectivity, which was often infused with nostalgia and personal sentiment.

Walter Stuempfig’s paintings can be found in many private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Top Insert Image: Walter Stuempfig, “Queen of the Seas Casino”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 48.1 x 55.9 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Walter Stuempfig, “Sturgeon”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 45.7 x 35.6 cm, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Gregory Scofield: “Your Mouth Will Be the Web”

Photographers Unknown, The Parts and Pieces Making a Whole: Set Twelve

with the tip of my spring tongue, ayike          frog
your mouth will be the web
catching apihkêsis words,          spider
that cannot be translated.

hâw, pîkiskwê!          Now, speak!

I’ll teach you Cree, nêhiyawêwin          the Cree language
that is the taste
of pima êkwa saskarômina          fat and saskatoon
berries
Your mouth will be the branches
I am picking clean,
a summer heat ceremony
that cannot be translated.

hâw, pîkiskwê!          Now, speak!

I’ll teach you Cree
in the winter, pipon           winter
when the dogs curl against our backs.
Your mouth will be pawâcakinâsis-pîsim          the frost exploding
moon
that cannot be translated.
It will be a ceremony.

hâw, pîkiskwê!          Now, speak!

I’ll teach you Cree
ê-kohk mistake ê-sâkihitan.          because I love you a
lot
It will be in the fall, this ceremony.
You will have the mouth of a beaver,
thick and luminescent.

I will make my camp there
ê-kohk mistake ê-sâkihitan          because I love you a
lot
This cannot be translated.

hâw, pîkiskwê!          Now, speak!

Gregory Scofield, I’ll Teach You Cree, Kipocihkân, Nightwood Editions, 2009

Born in July of 1966 in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Gregory Scofield is a poet, playwright, and teacher whose work and activism is centered around the indigenous experience. He was born into a Métis family of Cree, Scottish, French and English descent, whose lineage can be traced back to the Hudson Bay fur trade and the Métis community of Kinosota, Manitoba. The Métis are a community of indigenous people in Canada and parts of the United States who are unique in being of mixed indigenous and European, primarily French, ancestry. 

Separated from his mother at age five and placed with strangers, Scofield grew up in northern Manitoba, northern Saskatchewan and the Yukon, where he struggled with poverty, substance abuse, racism, and his gay sexual identity. He has been writing poetry for over thirty years and has published multiple collections of his work, as well as novels and memoirs. Scofield is also a strong  advocate of social and racial justice for the indigenous communities.

Gregory Scofield’s first collection of poetry, “The Gathering: Stones for the Medicine Wheel “, published in 1994, provided insights into the lives of Canada’s Métis and was awarded the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. In 1996, he received the Air Canada Award which is given annually to a promising Canadian writer under age thirty. Scofield published a memoir in 1998, entitled “Thunder Through My Veins”, which told the story of his traumatic, yet hopeful, fight to rediscover his heritage and accept his position as a person molded by completely opposed backgrounds.

From 1999 to 2009, Scofield published several collections of his  poetry. His 1999 “I Knew Two Métis Women” celebrated the lives of his mother Dorothy Scofield and his aunt Georgina Houle Young through the interweaving of poems, tales, and sly humor with verses from country classics by Hank Williams and the Carter Family. Scofield is also the author of the 1996 “Native Canadiana: Songs from the Urban Rez”, a cultural perspective on urban street life, and the 1997 “Love Medicine and One Song”, a work in which Scofield melds ezplicitly erotic imagery with elements of the Canadian bush and the rhythm of Cree words and phrases. For his 2005 collection of poems, “Singing Home the Bones”, he referenced the personal stories from his memoir “Thunder Through My Veins”.

While living in Vancouver, Gregory Scofield worked with street youth and became involved with the Louis Riel Métis Council, an educational and support organization. He taught First Nations and Métis Poetry at Brandon University in Manitoba, and later taught Identity Narratives at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Scofield also served as writer-in-residence at the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, and the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

In 2016, Scofield became Assistant Professor in English at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, where he teaches Creative Writing.  He has been  increasingly involved in publicizing Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) on social media. Having lost an aunt and a cousin to racism and violence, Scofield honored their lives and the lives of other victims by making this topic the subject of many poems in his 2016 collection “Witness, I Am”. 

“With my poetry, I always begin with the title—the title becomes the sacred lodge of where the poems are going to be. “Witness, I Am” really came about with this idea of where we’re sitting right now, the contemporary reality of Indigenous people. It’s partly my own testimony as an Indigenous individual in this country. It’s the testimony of my auntie, who cannot speak. It’s the testimony of my mother, who cannot speak. It’s the testimony of generations of my family that were left voiceless. It’s also a ceremony of those things, of bringing the names together, of talking about the things that each of us witness.” – Gregory Scofield, CBC Radio Interview

An interesting read for those who want to explore Gregory Scofield’s work is Sara Jamieson’s treatise “Âyahkwêw Songs: AIDS and Mourning in Gregory Scofield’s “Urban Rez” Poems” which is located at: http://canadianpoetry.org/volumes/vol57/jamieson.html

Ted Shawn

Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers, “Kinetic Molpai”, 1935, Jacob’s Pillow, Music Added to Video in 1985 by Jess Meeker and John Sauer

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, in October of 1891, Ted Shawn was one of the first notable male pioneers of American modern dance. While attending the University of Denver, he contracted diphtheria at the age of nineteen, causing him temporary paralysis form the waist down. During his physical therapy in 1910, Shawn was introduced to the art of dance by Hazel Wallack, a former dancer with the Metropolitan Opera. He relocated to Los Angeles two years later, joining an exhibition ballroom dance troupe with dancer and choreographer Norma Gould as his partner. 

Ted Shawn moved to New York City in 1914 where he met Ruth St. Denis, a teacher and modern dance pioneer. They married in August of 1914, with St. Denis becoming a dance partner and a creative outlet for Shawn. Both artists, believing in dance as an art form integral to everyday life, combined their artistic vision and business knowledge to open the first Denishawn School in Los Angeles in 1915. Renowned for its influence on ballet and experimental dance, this school became the first dance academy in the United States to produce a professional dance company. 

Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Davis established an eclectic mix of dance techniques including a freeing of movement in the upper body and experimental ballet, often done without shoes. With the additions of North African, Spanish, and Amerindian influences to St. Denis’ eastern style, they broke with the established European tradition. Their choreography ushered in a new era of modern dance, drawing from these indigenous, ancient, and international dance traditions. 

In the early 1930s, due to marital problems and finances, Ted Shawn left to form an all-male dance company consisting of athletes he taught at Springfield College in Massachusetts. His mission was to fight for the acceptance of the American male dancer and to present a male perspective on the dance art form. On July 14, 1933, Ted Shawn and His Men Dancers had their premier performance at Shawn’s farm in Lee, Massachusetts. This event, known as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, would transform into the now existing dance school, retreat, and theater at the former farm.

Shawn produced many innovative and controversial choreographies with His Men Dancers, which included performances entitled “Ponca Indian Dance”, “Maori War Haka”, “Hopi Indian Eagle Dance” and “Kinetic Molpai”. Through these creative dance performances, Shawn showcased masculine and athletic movement which gained in popularity. The company toured more than 750 cities in the United States and Canada, and achieved international success in Havana, Cuba, and London. Their final show was a homecoming performance at Jacob’s Pillow on August 31, 1940, ending a seven year tour. 

During the years of the company,, Ted Shawn’s comradeship and interactions with the men in his troupe evolved into a love relationship with Barton Mumaw, one of the leading stars of the company, which lasted from 1931 to 1948. Shawn would later form a partnership with John Christian, the stage manager of the company, with whom he stayed from 1949 until his own death in January of 1972. Ted Shawn’s final appearance on stage was at the Ted Shawn Theater of Jacob’s Pillow in “Siddhas of the Upper Air”, where he reunited with Ruth St. Denis for their fiftieth anniversary. 

Ted Shawn was a Heritage Award recipient of the National Dance Association in 1965 and was inducted into the National Museum of Dance’s Hall of Fame, located in Saratoga Springs, in 1987. His works, including his nine published books providing a foundation for modern dance, are now in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and in the archives of Jacob’s Pillow.

Many thanks to the Jacob’s Pillow site: https://danceinteractive.jacobspillow.org

Italio Calvino: “Some Strange Animal”

Photographers Unknown, A Collection: Some Strange Animal

“In short, I often found myself in situations different from others, looked on as if I were some strange animal. I do not think this harmed me: one gets used to persisting in one’s habits, to finding oneself isolated for good reasons, to putting up with the discomfort that this causes, to finding the right way to hold on to positions which are not shared by the majority. 

But above all I grew up tolerant of others’ opinions, particularly in the field of religion, remembering how irksome it was to hear myself mocked because I did not follow the majority’s beliefs. And at the same time I have remained totally devoid of that taste for anticlericalism which is so common in those who are educated surrounded by religion. 

I have insisted on setting down these memories because I see that many non-believing friends let their children have a religious education ‘so as not to give them complexes’, ‘so that they don’t feel different from the others.’ I believe that this behavior displays a lack of courage which is totally damaging pedagogically. Why should a young child not begin to understand that you can face a small amount of discomfort in order to stay faithful to an idea? 

And in any case, who said that young people should not have complexes? Complexes arise through a natural attrition with the reality that surrounds us, and when you have complexes you try to overcome them. Life is in fact nothing but this triumphing over one’s own complexes, without which the formation of a character and personality does not happen.” 

—Italio Calvino, Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings

Henri Cartier-Bresson: “The Precise and Transitory Instant”

Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Set Eighteen

“Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes forever the precise and transitory instant. We photographers deal in things that are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory. The writer has time to reflect. He can accept and reject, accept again; and before committing his thoughts to paper he is able to tie the several relevant elements together. There is also a period when his brain “forgets,” and his subconscious works on classifying his thoughts. But for photographers, what has gone is gone forever.” 

—Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers

Busby Berkeley, “By a Waterfall”

Artist Unknown, Busby Berkeley,’s “By A Waterfall” Scene, Computer Graphics, “Footlight Parade” Film Gifs

Lyricist Irving Kahal and composer Sammy Fair had a sixteen year collaboration which started in 1926 and lasted until Kahal’s death in 1942. Among their many notable songs was the 1933 “By a Waterfall”, written for Warner Brothers Picture’s “Footlight Parade”, the third film in the 1933 Gold Diggers Trilogy. The vocal performances were done by actor-singer Dick Powell and actress-singer Ruby Keeler. 

Directed by Lloyd Bacon and presenting great cinematography by George Barnes, “Footlight Parade” contained opulent musical numbers created and directed by Busby Berkeley whose routines contributed to the film’s success. Berkeley’s extravagant arrangement features his trademark human waterfall with its synchroniised water ballet of diving and swimming chorus girls, who produce elaborate, geometric patterns in the water.

One entire sound stage was filled with a twelve by twenty-four meter swimming pool with walls and floor made of glass. Two weeks were required for the one hundred chorus girls to practice their routines in it before shooting began. The six days of actual filming required that twenty thousand gallons of water per minute be pumped across the set to produce the required effects.

Besides the placement and movement of the dancers, the cameras also had to be positioned to film the entire scope of the choreography. Berkeley set his cameras in motion on monorails and custom-built booms to get the correct angle of shot. Since Berkeley was not hampered by the need to shoot multiple images at once for continuity, he was able to expand his creative potential by fluid camera motion and the use of intricate editing, creating fantasy out of the movement.. 

Cornelius James McCarthy

Cornelius McCarthy, “The Great Façade”, 2007, Oil on Canvas

Cornelius “Neal” James McCarthy was born in 1935 into a family of Irish Catholic and Eastern European immigrant stock. 

McCarthy’s earliest artistic influence was probably through the artifacts and images used to promote Catholic devotion with which he grew up. Through these he became familiar with the compositions of the masters of the Italian Renaissance. Formal study was completed in the 1950s at Goldsmith’s School of Art, London, followed by a tour of Italy visiting all the principal art collections and monuments. 

McCarthy was greatly influenced by the work of Pablo Picasso after seeing the first post-war exhibition in London in 1960. Later he was influenced b British artist Keith Vaughan. Always painting, McCarthy developed his own style, alternating between a  near cubist approach to soft, almost two-dimensional handling of the paint strokes. He painted both individual portrait-like images as well as groups of men, clothed and unclothed. 

McCarthy’s paintings are sensual yet not erotic as though his drive was to maintain a dignity in the genre of male figurative painting. Many of his works included somewhat brittle statements of addressing the manner in which the stigma of admiration of the male nude by ‘corporate types’ carried a message beyond the canvas. While McCarthy’s paintings are for the most part tender and sensitive interactions between men, he was unafraid to make some important ‘political’ statements. And his importance as a twentieth-century painter is heightened by this discovery.

In 2007, the book “Cornelius McCarthy” was published by Adonis Art in London, with introduction and commentaries written by  American actor Peter Dobson. Now widely regarded as a true master of paintings depicting the male form, Cornelius McCarthy is widely collected in England, the rest of Europe, and especially the United States. 

He died unexpectedly in November of 2009.

Duane Michals

Duane Michals, “Narcissus”, 1986, Photo Shoot, Model Unknown

Duane Michals was born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, on February 18th, 1932. After taking art classes at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, he attended the University of Denver, receiving his undergraduate degree in 1953. In 1956 after his military service, Michals moved to New York where he studied at Parsons School of Design, later working as a graphic designer for magazines “Dance” and “Time”.

A 1958 Russian tour of portraiture photography started Michals’ artistic career. His photographs in the mid-1960s consisted of mainly deserted sites in New York. In 1966, Michals started to structure his photographs as multiframe compositions, with subjects enacting set narratives. The writing of captions in the margins of his photographs began in 1974 and, later in 1979 the incorporation of paint into his treatment of the printed images.

Duane Michals’s narrative pieces rely on the sequencing of multiple images to convey a sense of alienation and disequilibrium. In his world, the literal appearance of things is less important than the communication of a concept or story. In his portraiture, however, Michals relies wholly on his subjects’ appearance and self-chosen poses to establish their identity. He believes in a direct approach for his portraiture instead of his usual metaphoric approach.

André Castiagne

André Castaigne, “The Killing of Cleitus by Alexander”, 1898-1899, Engraving, The Century Magazine

Jean Alexandre Michel André was a French artist, engraver and book illustrator. He became an important artist in the Golden Age of Illustration in the United States, producing paintings and literary illustrations in both France and America. As a youth, Castaigne read prodigiously and studied classic Greek, Latin, French, and German literature. At the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, under Alexandre Cabanel and Jean-Léon Gérôme, he trained to become a painter in the Salon tradition. 

Castaigne’s interest in visually interpreting history led him to become an illustrator as well as a portrait painter. His first of many illustrations appeared in “The Century” magazine around 1891, followed by over 160 illustrations before the end of 1895. Castaigne created more than thirty-six engravings about Alexander the Great for the 1898 to 1899 twelve-part series of “The Century” magazine. 

André Castaigne’s engraving entitled “The Killing of Cleitus” shows the killing of Cleitus the Black, an officer of the Macedonian army led by Alexander the Great. At the Battle of the Granicus in 334 BC, Cleitus saved Alexander, who was under attack by the Persian commander Spithridates, by severing Spithridates’ hammer arm before he could strike the fatal blow. On the eve of the day he was to take possession of the Macedonian government, Alexander organized a banquet in the palace at Samarkand. During the drunken banquet, Cleitus, hearing he was to be posted in the steppes of Central Asia, uttered many grievances against Alexander and his royal legitimacy. This led to Alexander in anger throwing a javelin through Cleitus’ heart. In all four known texts of this story, it is shown that Alexander grieved for the death of Cleitus.