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.
Born in 1897 in Nagydobrony, now the Ukrainian city of Velyka Dobron, Géza Vörös was a Hungarian painter. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts under Ede Balló, a Hungarian graphic artist and painter best known for his portraits. After his studies, Balló lived and worked in Szolnok located on the Tisza River and the former mining town of Nagybánya (Baia Mare in Romania).
Géza Vörös painted landscapes, both rural and urban, still life arrangements, posed figurative works, and portraits. His stylized paintings reveal a keen sense of observation and subtle humor. Vörös’s work bears the objectivity of the Neo-Classical style as well as the elegant sensual aesthetic seen in works of Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts.
In the early twentieth-century, Szentendre was a small provincial town on the Danube River, approximately twenty miles north of Budapest. During the period between the two World Wars, its established artist colony provided a shelter for numerous artists and writers. With Vörös’s arrival at Szentendre in 1929, his paintings changed from their earlier uninspiring shades of color to palettes of warm, soft colors. Vörös remained in the city until the 1940s, after which there is very little information on his life.
Géza Vörös was a member of both the New Artists’ Association and the prestigious New Society of Artists. He was associated with Budapest-born painter Hugó Scheiber, a modernist painter whose work, initially executed in a post-Impressionist style, turned increasingly towards Futurism and German Expressionism. Scheiber was also a member of the New Society of Artists.
Géza Vörös died in Budapest in 1957. A memorial retrospective of his work was organized in 1961 and held at Budapest’s Mücsarnok Kunsthalle, its historic Neoclassical styled Hall of Art.
Note: If anyone has any additional biographical information on Géza Vörös, I would be interested in adding that to the biography. Please send it via my contact page.
Top Insert Image: Géza Vörös, “Self Portrait”, 1935, Oil on Canvas, 60.5 x 50 cm, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
Bottom Insert Image: Géza Vörös, “The Bird Preachers”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 70 x 70 cm, Private Collection
Born in February of 1836 in the Catalonian city of Reus, Josep Tapiró i Baró was a Spanish painter and one of the leading representatives of international Orientalism. Hewas the first painter from the Iberian Peninsula to settle in Tangier. Through his thirty-seven years in Tangier, Tapiró was a direct witness to North Africa’s urban and cultural transformation under European colonialism. He is best known for his series of half-length portraits of traditional characters and religious scenes.
The son of hardware retailers, Josep Tapiró i Baró displayed an affinity for drawing in his early years. He began his formal art training in 1849 under Domènec Soberano, a prosperous wine merchant and self-taught artist who had founded a drawing school in Reus. At the age of thirteen, Tapiró met fellow student Marià Josep Maria Bernat Fortuny i Marsal. These young men, both exceptionally talented painters, established a friendship that lasted their whole lives. In 1853, Tapiró and Fortuny were given the opportunity to exhibit their work at a show held by the cultural and recreational association Casino de Reussense.
In the latter part of 1853, Tapiró and Fortuny enrolled at Barcelona’s Escola de la Llotja where they studied under Claudi Lorenzale i Sugrañes, a Spanish painter associated with the German Nazarene movement for the revival of spirituality in art. Tapiró produced mainly historical and religious scenes during his time in Barcelona. In 1857, a group of four students, among whom were Tapiró and Fortuny, were given the opportunity to compete for a Rome study grant. The test was a portrait of Barcelona’s eleventh-century military hero Ramon Berenguer III.Marià Fortuny unanimously won the competition and left for Rome in 1858.
Josep Tapiró i Baró traveled to Madrid in 1858 and enrolled at the School of Painting and Engraving which was a branch of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Ferdinand. He studied under portrait and historical painter Federico de Madrazo until his return to Barcelona in 1860. Tapiró assisted with the decoration of the façade of the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, one of the few medieval buildings in Europe still functioning as a seat of government.
At his arrival in Rome in 1862, Tapiró joined his friend Fortuny and was introduced to Fortuny’s circle of artists who regularly frequented the Antico Caffè Greco. This café, the oldest in Rome, was a historic meeting place for such figures as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, George Gordon Byron, Franz Liszt, and John Keats. While in Italy, Tapiró visited Naples and Florence with Fortuny, took watercolor classes and painted works that focused more on genre themes. In 1871, he and Fortuny traveled to Tangier in Morocco where they spent most of a year. While Fortuny painted scenes of courtyards and Moroccan landscapes, Tapiró painted detailed watercolors of common people and beggars. Their trip ended in 1872 with his return to Rome and Fortuny’s return to his wife and son in Granada. In 1873, Tapiró exhibited his Orientalist works at the International Art Circle in Rome.
In November of 1874,Josep Tapiró i Baró was shocked to learn of Fortuny’s sudden death in Rome from malaria he had contracted painting in the open air in Naples. Rather than remain in Rome or Spain, Tapiró decided in 1876 to join a diplomatic mission to meet Sultan of Morocco Hassan bi Mohammed. He moved into a house near the historical district of Tangier and acquired an old theater as a studio. Although he traveled as far as New York and Saint Petersburg to exhibit his work, Tapiró lived in Tangier for the rest of his life. Returning to the medium of watercolor, he painted a series of detailed, brooding portraits that, instead of his previous dramatic Orientalist style, documented the humanity of the Moroccan people.
In 1886, Tapiró married a Tangier native of Italian ancestry, twenty-year old Maria Manuela Veleraga Cano. Shortly after the marriage, they adopted the orphaned son of Maria’s friend who had recently died. In 1903, Tapiró contracted a lung infection which caused respiratory and cardiovascular problems that led to lack of energy and, by 1905, a decline in his career. The decline was compounded by the decrease in foreign visitors to Tangier due to a kidnapping of two British nationals and a rebellion led by Bou Hmara, a pretender to the throne of Morocco.
In 1907, Josep Tapiró i Baró and his wife relocated to Madrid in order to promote his work at an exhibition held at the Circulo de Bellas Artes, a major cultural center. After their return to Tangier, Tapiró’s health problems worsened over time and led to his death, at the age of seventy-seven, in October of 1913. He initially was buried in Tangier; however, the government of Reus demanded in 1921 that he be recognized in his home town. Tapiró’s remains were moved to Reus in 1947 and reinterred near the burial space of his friend Marià Fotruny. The city of Reus placed a commemoration plaque on the house in which Tapiró was born.
Notes: The Catalan-speaking territories abide by the Spanish naming customs; however, the discrete surnames are usually joined with the word “i”, meaning and, instead of the Spanish “y”, a practice very common in formal contexts. Thus, Josep Tapiró i Baró’s first or paternal surname is Tapiró and the second or maternal family name is Baró.
Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti, “Warrior with Drawn Sword”, 1808, Oil on Canvas, 92.5 x 73 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Born in 1777 in the municipality of Maastricht in the southern Netherlands, Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti was a Dutch Neo-classical painter. The son of Italian lawyer Arnold Josua Joannes Alberti and his Belgian wife Maria Catharine Vogels, he was baptized on the 20th of June in 1777 in Maastricht’s Saint Martin’s Church.
At the age of five, Joannes Alberti moved with his parents to Amsterdam. He began his initial art training in 1796 at Amsterdam’s City Drawing Academy. For two chalk drawings of male nudes entered in competitions, Alberti won a third class prize in 1803 and a second class prize in 1804..These works are currently in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. In 1804, Alberti won the gold medal of honor at the Felix Meritis Society’s exhibition for his drawing “Marius Amid the Ruins of Carthage”. He won another gold medal in 1805 at the Felix Meritis Society for his drawing of the Greek Hellenistic king Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
In the beginning of 1807, Alberti received a four-year student pension from the Kingdom of Holland’s Ministry of the Arts for studies in Paris and Rome. He found residence in Paris on the Rue Bataves and, on the fifth of March, enrolled in the École des Beaux Arts where he studied under history painter Jacques-Louis David until 1809. Alberti painted copies after the work of Flemish artist Antoon (Anthony) van Dyck and Italian artist Guido Reni, who painted primarily religious works. As a favored artist of Louis I, the King of Holland, he sent some of his work to Amsterdam for exhibitions in 1808 and 1810,
In the middle of October in 1809, Joannes Alberti, along with fellow artists Josephus Augustus Knip and Peter Rudolf Kleijn, traveled to Rome, Italy. He met and took up residence with French painter and draftsman Claude Thiénon, who specialized in landscape scenery. Alberti made copies of old master paintings but also personal works. Among the works he shipped back to Holland in 1810 was his painting “Proculeius Prevents Cleopatra’s Suicide”. After returning to Paris, Alberti made engravings coped after master paintings. He also published an educational course on drawing entitled “Cours Complet Théorique et Pratique de l’Art du Dessin”.
From baptismal records, we know that, through Alberti’s union with Marie Catherine Joséphine Neumeyer, a son named Pierre Charles Antoine Raphaël Alberti was born in Paris on the 12th of December in 1807. From the Departmental Archives of Haute-Marne, a birth certificate shows that a second son, François Eliza Charles Prosper, was born in the town of Giey-sur-Aujon on the 26th of January in 1813.
Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti became a member of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1822. The Archives de Paris places his death in Paris on the 10th of May in 1832; he is buried in Paris’s Montparnasse Cemetery. Three of Alberti’s works are in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam: the 1808 “Warrior with Shield and Spear”, the 1808 “Warrior with a Sword” and the 1810 “Proculus Prevents Cleopatra’s Suicide”. His 1809 “Scene from the Polish Revolution” is housed in Berlin’s Staatliche Museum Preussischer KulturBesitz.
Top Insert Image: Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti, “Warrior with Lance and Shield”, 1808, Oil on Canvas, 72.5 x 91.5, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Second Insert Image: Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti, “The Preaching of John the Baptist”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 82 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti (Attributed), (Warrior with Spears and Shield), Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 112 x 88 cm, Private Collection
Jacques Charles Derrey, “Untitled (Taking a Swim)”, 1935, Engraving on Paper, Edition of 60, 37.7 x 39.4 cm, Private Collection
Born in Toulouse in September of 1907, Jacques-Charles Derrey was a French engraver, painter and educator. He spent most of childhood and youth from 1914 to 1929 in Nantes with his maternal grandfather Félix Pommier, a painter and the curator of the Musée des Beaux-Arts. As a student at the Georges Clemenceau high school in Nantes, Derrey won first prize in its 1925 general drawing competition. He began his formal art training at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nantes in 1927. Derrey relocated to Paris in 1930 and studied at its École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts under impressionist painter Lucien Simon and portraitist and engraver Louis Roger until his graduation in 1935.
In 1934, Derrey won the Prix Blumenthal, a stipend given to young French artists through the foundation supported by American philanthropist Florence Meyer Blumenthal. For his 1936 intaglio engraving “Job sur Son Fumier”, he was awarded the Grand Prix at the annual exhibition of the American Academy in Rome. For a period of three years beginning in 1937, Derrey was a resident at the French Academy in Rome located at the Villa Medici.
Jacques Derrey created twenty-five etchings for Belgian playwright and poet Maurice Masterlinck’s “Le Trésor des Humbles (The Humble Treasury)”, published in 1949 by Éditions Dancette. He produced illustrations, ten etchings and burin engravings, for the classic 1955 “Versailles”, which included historic text written by Louis XIV. Derry created original engravings for François-Albert Buisson’s 1960 “Le Cardinal de Retz: Portrait”, a biography of Jean François Paul de Gondi, an archbishop and agitator in the 1648 civil war in France.
Derrey also executed a series of illustrations depicting various aspects of an Lacq industrial plant owned by the National Society for Petroleum in Aquitaine. Starting in 1963, he provided engravings of stamp designs to be printed for several French departments and countries overseas, including Comoros, Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Senegal, Somalia, Upper Volta, and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon.
Along with his work as an engraver, Jacques Derrey drew and painted, using oils and gouaches, numerous landscapes in Italy, Corsica and the French provinces of Bearn and Brittany. He also executed work in fresco, most notably the fresco murals in the church of Sainte Marguerite located in the Paris commune of Perreux-sur-Marne. Derry’s work was exhibited in many salons and galleries including the 1936 Salon des Artistes Français where he won a gold medal, the Salon Comparaisons, the Salon Terre Latines, the Mignon-Massart Gallery in Nantes and Paris’s Marseille Gallery, among others. Derrey was a regular participant at the exhibitions of the Association de Deux Rives from 1970 to 1975.
In 1950, Derrey was appointed a Professor at the School of Fine Arts in Valenciennes and, two years later, became its Director until 1956. At that time, he became Drawing Master at the École Polytechnique in Paris where he founded an engraving workshop. He taught his vision of painting and general art at the school until his retirement in 1973. An ardent defender of contemporary Classicism, he was the author of several articles published in the magazine “La Peintre” and through publications of the school.
Jacques-Charles Derrey was awarded the position of Laureate of the Institut de France in 1950 and named a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1958. He died in Paris in May of 1975. Major retrospectives of Derrey’s work entitled “Entre Deux Rives” were held in January and February of 1988 at the Municipal Center for the Arts in Valenciennes and at the Musée National du Château de Pau from November of 1997 to March of 1998. An exhibition “Four Generations: A Family of Painters”, which included the work of Derrey, his grandfather Félix Pommier, his mother Juliette, and his son Charles, was held in the towns of Pénestin in 2004 and Saint-Marc-sur-Mer in 2012.
Middle Insert Image: Jacques-Charles Derrey, “Les Volets Bleus”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 46 x 55 cm, Private Collection
Born in Belfast in 1916, Francis Gerard Dillon was an Irish painter and designer. He was one of the most imaginative folk-inspired Irish painters of the twentieth-century. Except for a drawing class in London and a short period at the Belfast Art School in the early 1930s, Dillon was a self-taught artist who developed his own particular style.
Interested in art, film and theater since childhood, George Dillon left school at the age of fourteen and traveled to London. He supported himself with odd jobs during the early 1930s followed by a position with a London decorating firm from 1934 to 1939. Dillon began to paint in 1936 and frequently visited the Connemara region which played a major influence on his work. There he painted many landscapes and portraits of the local people working the land.
With the outbreak of World War II, Dillon returned to Belfast and, over the next five years, developed his skill as a painter in Dublin and Belfast. In 1942 with the support of his friend Mary Harriet “Mainie” Jellett, an early abstract painter and promoter of Irish modern art, he had his first solo exhibition at The Country Shop in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The paintings in the show, “Father Forgive Them Their Sins”, were focused on his concerns over the new war in Europe.
Beginning in 1943, Gerard Dillon was a regular contributor and committee member of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art. Founded by Mary Jellett, it was a yearly exhibition of Irish abstract expressionism and avant-garde art that challenged the traditionalist Irish art movements supported by the Royal Hibernian Academy and National College of Art. In 1944, Dillon presented his work alongside the work of fellow Belfast painter George Campbell at painter John Lamb’s Portadown Gallery.
Dillon relocated to London in 1945; however, he continued to return to Connemara in the late 1940s and during the 1950s so he could paint in his favorite town of Roundstone. In 1951, Dillon was introduced to Belfast painter Noreen Rice, who was also a self-taught artist of surrealistic and primitive style. For the support and guidance given in her early career, Noreen Rice would regard both Dillon and George Campbell as her mentors for decades.
In the late 1950s Gerard Dillon moved away from landscape painting and moved into complete abstraction. He was surrounded by the abstract expressionist movement and exposed to works by Mark Rothko, William de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Antonio Tàpies and Asger Jorn, all of whom were exhibiting at the Tate. It is possible that collage artist and painter Richard Hamilton, while staying with Dillon in London in 1950s, influenced Dillon who began working with collage, found objects, and repetitions of color and patterns for large-scale composition pieces. After moving to Dublin, Dillon received a double honor in 1958 with his representation of Ireland at New York City’s Guggenheim International Exhibition and his representation of Great Britain at Pittsburg’s International Exhibition.
Dillon’s three brothers tragically passed away within quick succession of one another between 1962 and 1966. This traumatic period gravely affected his state of mind; Dillon’s work turned into a form of escapist art as he tried to cope with the loss. Throughout this period he returned continuously to the motif of the clown and the figure of Pierrot, a theme also explored by other artists in the Ulster group. At the end of the 1960s, there was a pronounced shift in Dillon’s work. The impact of his loss followed by suffering a stroke in 1967 affected his artistic output. The reoccurring motifs of clown and Pierrot became submerged in surreal, fantastical landscapes and geometric patterns. Dillon was also struggling with finding a way to express his sexuality. His deep interest in self-analysis developed a series of symbolic motifs, most often masked figures, which came to represent himself within his art.
Gerard Dillon continued his painting, made tapestries, and designed theatrical sets and costumes for playwright Seán O’Casey’s 1968 “Juno and the Paycock”. During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Dillon withdrew his work from the Belfast branch of the Irish Exhibition of Living Art; however, he also gave work for gallery owner Sheelagh Flannigan’s October 1969 exhibition supporting relief for the victims of the Belfast riots. During his last years of illness, Francis Gerard Dillon continued to be actively involved in a children’s art workshop at Dublin’s National Gallery of Ireland. On the 14th of June in 1971, he died of a second stroke at the age of fifty-five. Dillon’s grave, as requested, is unmarked in Belfast’s Milltown Cemetery.
Note: Gerard Dillon was both a homosexual and a religious man. There is one entry in his diary of a homosexual encounter that resulted in a sense of guilt; that incident aside, there is no other empirical evidence concerning encounters in his life. Karen Reihill, the author of “Gerard Dillon: Art and Friendships”, points to a probable love on Dillon’s part for the painter Daniel O’Neill, another self-taught artist from Belfast who, along with Dillon and George Campbell, was a member of a small artists’ colony in Conlig, County Down. Reihill also pointed to Dillon’s association with two members of the modernist White Stag Group: British painters Basil Rákóczi, who was known to be bisexual, and Kenneth Hall, who was homosexual.
Top Insert Image: Gerard Dillon, “Self Portrait”, Date Unknown, Pen and Ink Drawing on Paper, 16.5 x 11.4 cm, Private Collection
Second Insert Image: Gerard Dillon, “Hole in the Hill”, circa 1959, Mixed Media and Collage, 45 x 59 cm, Private Collection
Third Insert Image: Gerard Dillon, “Self Portrait with Pierrot and Nude”, circa 1960s, Oil on Board, National Gallery of Ireland
Bottom Insert Image: Gerard Dillion, “Marine Movement”, Date Unknown, Mixed Media on Canvas, 40 x 51 cm, Private Collection
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
Gizan Katō, “Jigen”, 2019, Carved Wooden Figure, 110.2 cm without Metal Stand, Private Collection
Born in Tokyo in 1968, Gizan Katō is a contemporary Japanese sculptor that works with Buddhist themes and classical stories. He studied under the Busshi (sculptor of Buddist statues) Shubun Iwamatsu, who is descended from Takamura Koun. An Imperial Household Artist, Takamura was a modernist in the field of wood carving and greatly respected professor at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. It was he who created the statue of Japanese samurai Kusunoki Masashige which stands in front of the Tokyo Imperial Palace.
With the understanding that he is both Japanese and Busshi, Gizan Katō focuses his work on the aesthetic roots of Japan, its history, tradition and culture, and the Buddhist realization of material existence’s impermanence. Gizan, as a modern sculptor, explores though his work the meaning of these cultural roots to contemporary art.
Instead of a sketch on paper, Gizan’s creative process begins with a model in plaster or clay. He next employs calipers to make a point-to-point transfer of the model to the wood that will form the actual sculpture.This lengthly and exacting technique requires both concentration and patience. Through this time-absorbing process, Gizan is able to reflect on his work’s expression of both longevity and dignity.
Gizan Katō’s first show was at the Takashimaya Exhibition in 2008. In 2016, he presented work at the Hakuin Exhibition held at the Tohoku History Museum. Gizan exhibited his work in several shows in 2017 including the “Amazing Craftsmanship Exhibition” at Tokyo’s Mitsui Memorial Museum, the Gifu Prefectural Museum of Contemporary Ceramics, Osaka’s Abeno Harukas Museum, and the Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum. A solo exhibition of Gizan’s work was held at the Nihonbashi Takashimaya X Gallery in 2019.
In 2011, Gizan, with Buddhist master Miura Yayama, participated in the Buddha Statue Dedication Project, an activity pf prayer and remembrance that carried Buddha statues to the disaster area in Toboku. He was also active in the 2019 Typhoon Number Nineteen Charity Exhibition and the 2020 Signs of a New Era Charity Project.
Gizan Katō’s “Jigen (Manifestation)” is a 110.2 centimeter carved wooden figure which sits on a metal stand. He represents the physical form of an intangible subject, either religious need or secular interest, that a person deeply craves. This subject, need or interest, is that which supports a human being’s existence among greater humanity. Even in our age of accelerated development in technology, the subject supports each human and it will perpetually conserve humanity for years forward.
Gizan’s “Jigen” was auctioned at Christie’s in September of 2020 and sold for 312,500 USD. The figure was exhibited at the Hiratsuka Museum of Art in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan from April of 2022 to March of 2023.
Note: Japanese naming conventions arrange names with the surname first and the given name second. Thus, Gizan Katō is a member of the Gizan family and was given the birth name of Katō, meaning ‘increasing wisteria’.
Second Insert Image: Gizan Katō and Yozan Miura, Leafing by Miyoko Washio, “Buddha Statue”, Cypress Wood, Crystal, Red Agate, 70 x 95 x 80 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Gizan Katō, “Jigen”, 2019, Carved Wooden Figure, Detail, 110.2 cm without Metal Stand, Private Collection
Born in Romania in 1981, Alina Noir is an visual artist, author and choreographer. Her education in literature and art history was internationally based with studies in Romania, Germany, France, Sweden and New Zealand. Noir studied classical and contemporary dance at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and Lyon’s École Nationale de Musique de Danse et D’art Dramatique. This multi-cultural academic background has had strong influence on her work as a photographer.
Alina Noir maintains an artist studio in the Renaissance city of Lyon, France, where she works with a team of ballet dancers and actors. Her work is influenced by the city’s classical Renaissance and Baroque paintings, in particular the works of Michelangelo Caravaggio. Initially focused on color photography, Noir has incorporated black and white images and re-colored images into her oeuvre. She shoots both theatrical and nude photography with an emphasis on the interaction of bodies in a given space. A variety of emotions and situations, such as fragility, force, solitude, despair and connection, are expressed in Noir’s images.
For each of her photographic projets, Noir shoots a series of images that often contain an autobiographical dimension. An early project entitled “I Turned My Blood Into a River” was a personal anthology of legends and myths. Noir’s “Cathedrals” was an exploration of her favorite artistic themes presented more mathematically in concept. This project examined the intricate ways , other than sexual or emotional, in which human bodies connect in space. During the winter months of 2018 to 2019, Noir created “Sculptures in the City”, a series of sixty digital photographs of random constructions and urban landscapes in Montreal. Based on the 1930s Surrealist art form of objet trouvé (found objects), the project’s impersonal images evoked sensations of both strangeness and displacement.
In 2019, Alina Noir produced a two-part project “La Bal-Act One” and “La Bal-Act Two”. The first part was a series of photographs taken during May and June of 2019 in which characters were involved in scenes both improvised and choreographed. In the images, references to art history and popular culture were combined with contemporary issues, such as gender, identity and body control. The shooting for “Act Two” took place in Lyon between July and September of 2019. These images were studies of choreographed movements that examined how desire, vulnerability, and intimacy become motivating forces in one’s life. The figural gestures portrayed in the photographs draw upon gestures exhibited in Renaissance paintings.
In January of 2020, Noir created “The Magic Square” series at the Institute for Contemporary Art during Lyon’s fifteenth Biennial for Contemporary Art. Inspired by Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 engraving “Melencolia I”, this series of photographs explored the notion of contemporary masculinity and examined its relationship to the male image in western art. In 2021, Noir created the series “Ships Anchored in Fog”, a set of nine self-portraits visually inspired by statues from classical Antiquity. These photographs translated certain aspects of mathematical set theory into the art of dance. The uniqueness of the dance movements, reinterpreted through the choice of statues, became static choreography which allied the subliminal creative idea with infinite sets.
Alina Noir created a collection of twenty dance performances from 2018 to 2022 among which were “Keeping This Body Alive”, “Black Bird”, and “No Ghost Just A Bell”. Her “Chrysanthèmes” was a 2021 performance at Lyon’s Maison de la Danse that translated certain aspects of Ferdinand de Saussure’s Semiotics theory into dance movements. The Semiotics theory provides a framework for understanding how humans use signs to make meaning of the world around them; however, an important assumption of this theory is that signs do not convey meaning that is inherent to the object being represented. The performance piece is centered around the symbol of the chrysanthemum as seen in two different cultures, Alina Noir interpreted the chrysanthemum in Romania (a symbol of mourning, death and rebirth) and dancer Mio Fusho interpreted the flower in Japan (a symbol of light, hope and metamorphosis).
Alina Noir’s photography has been featured in many print and online publications. She has exhibited her work in both collective and solo exhibitions in Lyon, Paris, Berlin, Potsdam, Prague, and Geneva.
Alina Noir’s portfolio site, which contains contact information and images of her work including installations and performance videos, is located at: https://www.alinanoir.com/index.html
Born in Jasper, New York in June of 1929, Wade Reynolds was an American self-taught realist painter. He studied electronics during his service in the United States Navy and for a short period of time in Rochester, New York. Realizing he was in the wrong career, Reynolds relocated to New York City where he joined a local theater group and studied drama at the studio of director Herbert Bergoff.
Residing in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, Reynolds designed fabrics, glassware, china, and wallpaper before focusing on painting. In 1958, he began his professional art career with a commission for illustrations for Richard Mason’s novel “The World of Suzie Wong”. In May of the following year, Reynolds relocated to California where he successfully established himself as a technically skilled painter of portraits and figures.
Reynolds painted throughout the California area, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oceanside and Newport Beach. Among his many commissions are portraits of stage and film actress Agnes Moorehead and Broadway costume designer Noel Taylor. Reynolds also painted the official state portrait of California Governor George Deukmjian who served from 1983 to 1991.
Wade Reynolds was an instructor at the Laguna College of Art and Design, formerly the Art Institute of Southern California, and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. After a long fight with cancer, Wade Reynolds passed away in October of 2011.
Wade Reynolds’s work has been exhibited in galleries in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, New York City, and Santa Fe. His work has been shown at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the San Francisco Palace of the Legion of Honor. In addition to many private collections, Reynolds’s work is housed in the permanent collection of the University of Southern California’s Fisher Gallery.
Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Wade Reynolds”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print, Estate of Wade Reynolds
Bottom Insert Image: Wade Reynolds, “Boy on Chair”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 60.1 cm, Private Collection
Alexander Rothaug, “The Death of Achilles”, DateUnknown, Brown Ink and Oil en Grisaille Over Traces of Black Chalk on Canvas, 218.8 x 163.8 cm, Private Collection
Born in 1870, Alexander Rothaug was an Austrian painter, stage designer, and illustrator. He was active in Munich and his native Vienna during the end of the nineteenth- century and the first half of the twentieth. After his initial painting lessons with his father, Rothaug took the position of apprentice in 1884 with sculptor Johann Schindler.
Between 1885 and 1892, Alexander Rothaug received his training at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts primarily under Leopold Carl Müller, a painter who displayed his colorist talent to great advantage in Oriental subjects. At the academy, Rothaug also received lessons from genre and landscape painter Franz Rumpler and painter Christian Griepenkerl whose speciality was portraiture and allegorical work drawn from classical mythology. For his academic work, Rothaug was awarded the Lampi Prize in 1888, the Golden Füger Medal in 1889 and, for work during Müller’s historical painting school, the 1890 Special School Award.
After graduation, Rothaug relocated to Munich where he attended its Academy of Fine Arts. He took a position for several years as an illustrator for the satirical journal Fliegende Blätter (Flying Leafs). In 1896, Rothaug married Ottilie Lauterkorn and, a year later, returned to Vienna as a freelance painter. Based on his experience as a stage painter, Rothaug created monumental paintings for theater buildings, ceiling paintings, and a series of large wall-mounted paintings, scenes from Wagner’s “Ring Cycle”, for the Grand Hotel de l’Europe in the spa town of Bad Gastein, Salzburg.
Following a period of study trips to Dalmatia, Bosnia, Spain, Italy and Germany, Alexander Rothaug returned Vienna and became a member of the Vienna Künstlerhaus, an association representing Viennese painters, sculptors and architects. In 1911, an extensive article on Alexander Rothaug and his work was published in the journal Art Revue; two years later, he received the Drasche Award. Alexander Rothaug died in Vienna in 1946.
Rothaug had a lifelong interest in the depiction of ancient Roman, Greek, Germanic and Norse mythologies. His work blended the Classicism of Vienna’s Academic School with elements of Jugendstil, the German counterpart of Art Nouveau, and the mystic and nostalgic Symbolism of Franz von Stuck, a co-founder of the Munich Secession whose subject matter was primarily drawn from mythology.
As it is not signed, “The Death of Achilles” could be a preparatory work for a commissioned monumental painting. As the underdrawing can be seen in some areas, Rothaug was likely still working out the specifics of the composition. “The Death of Achilles” may have been part of a larger cycle of images, one either depicting the life of Achilles or events from the Trojan War. Rothaug paid particular attention in all of his works to the complex, carefully detailed musculature of the figures; he had previously published a treatise on the depiction of the human body titled “Statics and Dynamics of the Human Body” in 1933.
Born in August of 1915 in Cork, Patrick Anthony Hennessy was an Irish realist painter known for his landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and trompe l’oeil paintings. Often considered an outsider of latter day Irish painting, he developed a distinctive personal style of carefully observed realism executed with highly finished surfaces that he faithfully followedthroughout his career.
After his father’s battle death in 1917 during World War I, Hennessy’s mother remarried to John Duncan from Scotland in 1921; the family relocatedto Arbroath, a royal burgh on the coast of Scotland where Duncan’s relatives resided. During his primary education at the Arbroath High School, Hennessy showed an aptitude for art and graduated in 1933 with the honor, Dux for Art, and an accompanying medal. In the autumn of that year, he entered the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design at the University of Dundee where he studied drawing and painting under portrait painter Edward Baird and noted landscape painter James McIntosh Patrick.
Patrick Hennessy, in addition to his art studies, wrote a ballet entitled “Paradise Lost” which was performed at the college in 1935. In each year of his course, he gained a First Class Pass, as well as winning first prize in 1934 and 1936 for the work he produced during summer breaks. Hennessy graduated with a First Class Distinction in 1937 and, with a scholarship, earned his Post-Graduate Diploma in 1938. During his studies, Hennessy met his life-long partner, British-Irish landscape and portrait painter Harry Robertson Craig who was also attending courses at Dundee. Aside from the period between 1939 and 1946 when they were separated by the war, they spent the rest of their lives together.
A month after finishing his post-graduate work, Hennessy entered his paintings in a group exhibition at the Art Galleries in Arbroath. Awarded an Annual Traveling Scholarship for further studies in Italy and France, he traveled to Europe in June of 1938. In Paris, Hennessy reunited with two friends, Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde. whom he had met the previous year. Known as the two Roberts, these painters and theater set-designers had established both a lifelong romantic relationship and a professional collaboration in their art. Hennessy and the couple traveled together through the south of France until their arrival in Marseilles at the end of 1938.
Upon his return to Scotland, Patrick Hennessy was selected for the residential summer course at the historical arts center, Hospitalfield House, under painter James Cowie, an artist of detailed draftsmanship based on studies of the Old Masters. Two of Hennessy’s paintings from this period were accepted for the Annual Exhibition held by the Royal Scottish Academy. With war looming in the autumn of 1939 and feeling disenchanted by his time at Hospitalfield House, he made the decision to return to his native Ireland. On his arrival in Dublin, Hennessy was offered an exhibition in December of 1939 at abstract artist Mainie Jellett’s Country Shop gallery on St. Stephens Green in the city center.
After his well received exhibition, Hennessy was invited to join the Society of Dublin Painters with whom he would exhibit annually during the 1940s and early 1950s. Beginning in the early 1940s, a visual homosexual subtext began to be incorporated into some of Hennessy’s paintings. In addition to the work he produced for exhibition in this period, he also received many portrait commissions from clients. Hennessy began a long relationship with the Royal Hibernia Academy in 1941 with the acceptance of three of his paintings for their annual exhibition; he exhibited with the academy virtually every year from 1941 until his death.
In 1946, Patrick Hennessy reunited with Harry Robertson Craig who had recently been discharged from the intelligence branch of the British Army where he served during the Second World War. Prior to his service, Craig had extensively traveled throughout Europe where he painted landscapes and portraits. Hennessy and Craig soon moved to Crosshaven in Cork and later to the seaport town of Cobh on the southern coast of County Cork. In 1948, Hennessy had an exhibition at Dublin’s Victor Waddington Gallery, which had emerged as Ireland’s most important modern art venue. After a year as an associate, he became a full member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1949.
Hennessy’s work became noticed in North America when his published work “De Profundis” was included in the Contemporary Irish Painting Exhibition that toured various cities on the continent. The 1950s brought Hennessy a retrospective of his work from 1941 to 1951 at the Dublin Painters Society and several painting excursions to Italy and Sicily. One of his works at this time, “Bronze Horses of St. Marks”, was exhibited at London’s Royal Academy in 1954. In 1956, Hennessy had two major solo exhibitions of his work: London’s Thomas Agnew Gallery which showed thirty-eight paintings and Dublin’s Ritchie Hendriks Gallery which would be the main outlet for his work over twenty-two years.
In the winter of 1959, Patrick Hennessy became seriously ill with pneumonia. As a consequence, he and Harry Craig decided to spend the winter season in Morocco. After 1959, they never spent a full year in Ireland and increasingly spent time abroad. In the 1960s, Hennessy continued to be true to his personal style; however, as he did not follow the current trends in art, he began to receive less favorable reviews from the art critics. Finally in 1965, Chicago’s Guildhall Gallery, which had accepted his work for years, offered Hennessy a major exhibition in 1966. The success of which enabled him to become an artist with work on permanent display at the gallery and a scheduled annual exhibition.
In 1968, Hennessy made a permanent move to Tangier, Morocco where he painted prolifically for nine years to keep up with the demand from both the Hendriks and Guildhall Galleries as well as the Royal Hibernian Academy. A highly successful retrospective of Hennessy’s work was held in 1975 at the Guildhall Gallery. Three years later, he had his last show in Dublin at the Hendriks Gallery. After his move with Harry Craig to the Algarve in Portugal, Hennessy had little contact with Ireland and began to have health problems that soon grew more serious. In November of 1980, Craig brought him to a London hospital for treatment. Diagnosed with cancer, Patrick Hennessy died on the thirtieth of December in 1980.
Following cremation, Patrick Anthony Hennessy’s ashes were buried in London’s Golders Green Crematorium. He had left his entire estate to Harry Robertson Craig, with the proviso that on Craig’s death the Royal Hibernian Academy should be the beneficiary. Upon Craig’s death in 1984, this legacy was used to set up the biennial Hennessy Craig Scholarship for aspiring artists. Hennessy’s work, in addition to many private collections, can be found in major public collections including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Ireland, the University Colleges of both Cork and Dublin, and the Crawford Art Gallery, among others.
Born in Knowsley near Liverpool in April of 1901, Christopher Wood was an English painter who produced during his short life a well-crafted collection of vivid, personal canvases. Wood was one of few Englishmen who gained access to the fashionable Parisian art circles through which he developed a great friendship with Jean Cocteau. Like the artist Van Gogh, Wood experienced a level of emotional inner turmoil and over-sensitivity throughout his life.
The son of a primary healthcare doctor, Wood began to draw at the age of fourteen while recuperating from septicemia, blood poisoning caused by bacteria. By 1920, he had studied architecture briefly at Liverpool University and painted a series of canvases in Wiltshire where his father had set up practice. However, Wood was mainly untutored and, due to his use of unusual perspective and bold color, his work is considered faux naïve, primitive or childlike, with resemblance to the canvases by self-taught French painter Henri Rousseau. Although untutored, Wood learned from his acquaintances in France and, in particular, adopted the elegant line of Cocteau’s drawings.
In London in 1920, Christopher Wood was invited by the visiting French art collector Alphonse Kahn to Paris, where he began studying drawing at the Académie Julian. Within a short time, Wood met painter Augustus John and, in the early summer of 1921, the Chilean diplomat José Antonio de Gandarillas. Wood, who was bisexual, moved into Gandarilla’s house at 60 La Montaigne although he kept his studio on the Rue des Sant Peres. Although Gandarillas was a married homosexual fourteen years older than Wood, their relationship lasted through Wood’s life. In addition to financial support, Gandarillas introduced Wood to Pablo Picasso, Georges Auric and Jean Cocteau, and to the use of opium.
In his work, Wood always remained attached to the presence of the human figure in his compositions. His work included self-portraits and sensitive renderings of fishermen and local people; working people were often idealized in his paintings as heroic or spiritual figures. In this regard, Wood’s work had much in common with Paul Gauguin’s Brittany paintings and with images Van Gogh made throughout his career. Initially dedicated to portraying exactly what he saw, Wood’s later canvases with their added contrasting scenic aspects, such as the 1930 “Zebra and Parachute, suggest a look forward to the beginnings of the surrealist movement.
During the years between 1922 and 1924, Christopher Wood and José Gandarillastraveled extensively throughout Europe and visited the northern region of Africa. By 1926, Wood had established himself as an artist and was chosen to make set designs for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes adaption of “Romeo and Juliet”. This commission occurred after the successful presentation of Wood’s largest and most ambitious work, the 1925 “Beach Scene with Bathers, Pier and Ships’, which was sold immediately and reproduced in the art journal “Colour” and in “Vogue” magazine. When his set designs were abandoned, Wood returned to London where he became a member of the newly formed contemporary art associations, the London Group and the Seven and Five Society.
It was during this period that Wood met Ben and Winifred Nicholson, a married couple, both painters, who supported his work. He also shared an interest with the Nicholson couple in still life and surrounding landscapes. Wood and the Nicholsons, now close personally and artistically, traveled together in Northumberland and Cornwall; they exhibited their new work together in April and May of 1927 at London’s Beaux Arts Gallery. In 1928, Wood again joined Ben and Winifred Nicholson on a second painting trip to Northumberland and Cornwall. There in St. Ives Wood,he met primitive artist Alfred Wallis, whose work played an important influence onWood’s stylistic development.
Christopher Wood had a solo exhibition in April of 1929 at Tooth’s Gallery on London’s Bond Street where he met art patron Lucy Wertheim who purchased a painting and soon became one of his biggest supporters. In May of 1930, he had his next exhibition with Ben Nicholson that included paintings made in Brittany; this show at the George Bernheim Gallery in Paris was largely unsuccessful. Wood painted during a second stay in Brittany in June and July of 1930; these paintings were for an intended exhibition to open at London’s Wertheim Gallery in October.
In late July, Wood met his patron Lucy Wertheim in Paris to choose the paintings for the October exhibition at her gallery. At that meeting, there was a quarrel about guaranteed annual support from Wertheim. Traveling with his paintings, Wood met his mother and sister in Salisbury on the twenty-first day of August for lunch and a viewing of his new work. After saying his farewells and waiting for the train to London, Wood threw himself onto the tracks just as the train pulled into the station. He died immediately.
It was believed by many that, withdrawing from opium, Christopher Wood thought he was being pursued; he had been carrying a revolver with him at all times. In deference to his mother, Wood’s death was reported as accidental; however the jury at the inquest returned a verdict of suicide while of unsound mind. Ben and Winfred Nicholson, shaken by the event, hired a private detective to investigate the last days of Wood’s life. After reading the first report from the detective, they abandoned their investigation.
Christopher Wood was buried in the churchyard of All Saints Church in Broad Chalke, Wilshire, England. His headstone was carved by fellow artist Eric Gill. A posthumous exhibition of Wood’s work was held at the Wertheim Gallery in February of 1931; another exhibition followed in 1932 at the Lefevre Galley in London. In 1938, Wood’s work appeared at the Venice Biennale and a retrospective at the Redfern Gallery in the West End of London.
Born in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania in June of 1910, John Brock Lear Jr was an American artist best known for his figurative and landscape works. He attended the Chestnut Hill Academy, an all-male college preparatory school in Greater Philadelphia, where he showed an early talent in art. Inspired by two uncles who were painters, Lear studied at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, now the University of the Arts, under Thornton Oakley, a protege of illustrator Howard Pyle.
John Lear Jr’s work as an artist was centered on freelance illustration and creating paintings and drawings for exhibition. In 1931, he traveled to England for the first time and became drawn to the country’s landscapes. Lear continued his visits to England over the course of his life and, through memories and photos, created many striking landscapes in oils. He always referred to these works as ‘records’, the natural world captured with an artist’s eye.
Lear also produced what he described as ‘creations’, dreamlike landscapes, surrealistic or symbolic in content, composed of realistic and yet disparate images. Composition and color were the major emphasis in these works which he considered closer to rendering rather than painterly in quality. Lear’s creations were not dystopian but often whimsical and brightly colored. Central to most of these dreamlike landscapes are male figures rendered in a style that shows influences by mid-century artists such as George Tooker and Paul Cadmus.
During World War II, John Lear Jr served in the Army’s calvary division at Fort Reilly in Kansas. Recognized for his artistic talent, he was employed to illustrate Army training manuals, booklets and charts. During his service period, Lear also painted several portraits of generals and officers. Though he did not experience the horrors of war overseas, the destruction of life caused by that war influenced aspects of Lear’s surrealist work. After his military discharge, Lear returned to Chestnut Hill where he remained for the duration of his life. As an educator, he taught illustration at Pennsylvania’s Rosemont College and was an instructor at both Philadelphia’s Hussian School of Art and the University of the Arts.
A longtime associate of the many art organizations in the Philadelphia area, Lear never married and passed away at the age of ninety-eight in September of 2008 in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He is buried at Doylestown Cemetery in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
John B. Lear Jr exhibited his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions. His work appeared in many shows at Philadelphia’sHahn Gallery, known for its national and international contemporary work, and the Woodmere Art Museum, which houses a collection of Lear’s work. Other permanent collections of Lear’s work can be found in the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Florida Gulf Coast Art Center, and the Reading Public Museum, among others. In addition to public collections, Lear’s work is in many private collections in the United States and abroad.
Top Insert Image: John Brock Lear Jr, “Male Figure Study with Roman Helmet”, 1983, Graphite on Wove Paper, 31.8 x 22,2 cm, Private Collection
Second Insert Image: John Brock Lear Jr, “Landscape with Figures”, circa 1960, Watercolor, 64.8 x 45.7 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: John Brock Lear Jr, “Construction”, Date Unknown, Graphite on Wove Paper, Private Collection
There was a graven image of Desire
Painted with red blood on a ground of gold
Passing between the young men and the old,
And by him Pain, whose body shone like fire,
And Pleasure with gaunt hands that grasped their hire.
Of his left wrist, with fingers clenched and cold,
The insatiable Satiety kept hold,
Walking with feet unshod that pashed the mire.
The senses and the sorrows and the sins,
And the strange loves that suck the breasts of Hate
Till lips and teeth bite in their sharp indenture,
Followed like beasts with flap of wings and fins.
Death stood aloof behind a gaping grate,
Upon whose lock was written Peradventure.
Algernon Charles Swinburne, A Cameo, Poems and Ballads, 1866
Born in London in April of 1837, Algernon Charles Swinburne was an English poet, novelist, playwright and critic. He was one of the most accomplished lyric poets of the Victorian era and was a renowned symbol of rebellion against the conservative values of his time. The explicit and often obsessive sexual themes in some of his work shocked many readers; however, his primary preoccupation, implicit in his poetry and explicit in his critical writings, was the nature and creation of poetic beauty.
The eldest of six children of a wealthy Northumbrian family, Algernon Charles Swinburne grew up at the family’s home, East Dene, in Bonchurch on the Isle of Wright and the London home at Whitehall Gardens in Westminster. Considered frail and nervous as a child, he had fearlessness and energy to the point of being reckless. From 1849 to 1853, Swinburne attended Eton College where he wrote poetry and won prizes in both French and Italian. He later attended Oxford’s Balliol College from 1856 to 1860 with a brief period of expulsion in 1859for publicly supporting the attempted assassination of Napoleon III by Felice Orsini, a revolutionary leader who was convinced that Napoleon was the chief obstacle to Italian independence.
During his time at Oxford, Swinburne became a member of the painter Lady Pauline Trevelyan’s intellectual circle at her country house, Wellington Hall. He met the brothers William Michael and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painter Simeon Solomon, designer William Morris and other members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle of artists and writers. Swinburne spent his summer holidays at Capheaton Hall in Northumberland, which was the house of his grandfather, Sir John Swinburne, 6th Baronet. After his grandfather’s death in September of 1860, Algernon Charles Swinburne stayed with Scottish artist and poet William Bell Scott in Newcastle.
The following year, Algernon Charles Swinburne visited the French enclave of Menton on the Riviera and stayed at the Villa Laurenti to recover from excessive use of alcohol. In December of 1862, Swinburne traveled with William Scott and his guests to the coastal town of Tynemouth in northeast England and relocated to London where he began an active writing career. In 1866, Swinburne published his collection “Poems and Ballads” which brought him instant notoriety, especially the poems “Anactoria” and “Sapphos” written in homage of Sappho of Lesbos, the ancient Greek poet. Other poems in the volume include “The Leper”, “Hymn to Proserpine” and “The Triumph of Time”.
Swinburne is considered a poet of the Decadent Movement; centered in Western Europe, the movement followed the ideology of excess, the superiority of human fantasy and aesthetic hedonism over logic and the natural world. Many of Swinburne’s early works dealt with subjects considered taboo in the Victorian era and led to him becoming a person not welcomed in high society. Although he continued to write love and nature poetry, Swinbourne’s work after the first volume of “Poems and Ballads” became increasingly devoted to the issues of republicanism and revolutionary causes.
Algernon Charles Swinburne wrote in a variety of poetic forms, including Sapphic stanzas, an ancient Greek verse form of four unrhymed lines. He also devised a poetic variation, called the roundel, based on the medieval French Rondeau form. The roundel consists of nine lines each having the same number of syllables, plus a refrain after the third and last lines.The refrains are repeated to a certain stylized pattern: they must be identical to the beginning of the first line and must rhyme with the second line. Swinburne published a book of these particular poems entitled “A Century of Roundels” in 1883 dedicated to his poet friend Christina Rossetti, the sister of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
Through out the 1860s and 1870s, Swinburne drank excessively and often, until his forties, suffered random physical collapses for which he required care until his recovery. In 1879, his friend and literary agent, Theodore Watts-Duncan, intervened during a time when Swinburne was dangerously ill. Watts-Duncan isolated Swinburne at a suburban home in Putney where he gradually withdrew him from alcohol and association with many former friends and habits. Swinburne stayed thirty years with Watts-Duncan who is generally credited with saving Swinburne’s life and encouraging him to continue writing to his old age. During his time in Putney, nature and landscape poetry began to predominate, as well as poems about children. Among this period’s works were the 1889 “Poems and Ballads, Third Series” and the 1904 “A Channel Passage and Other Poems”.
In addition to his poetry, Algernon Charles Swinburne published volumes of literary criticism. His familiarity with a wide range of world literatures contributed to a critical style rich in quotation, allusion, and comparison. Swinburne is especially noted for his studies of Elizabethan dramatists and many poets and novelists of French and English origins. He also wrote witty and insightful essays, notably “Notes on Poems and Reviews” and “Under the Microscope”, that were responses to criticism of his own works. Swinburne wrote one serial novel published under a pseudonym, the 1901”Love’s Cross-Currents”. A second novel, “Lesbia Brandon”, was unfinished at his death and is theorized, inconclusively, to be a thinly disguised autobiography.
Algernon Charles Swinburne died in London on the tenth of April in 1909 at the age of seventy-two. Even early critics, who took exception to his subject matter, commended his intricate and evocative imagery, alliteration, and bold, complex rhythms.
Gerard van Honthorst, “Saint Sebastian”, circa 1623, Oil on Canvas, 101 x 117 cm, The National Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Born in November of 1592 in Utrecht, an important trade center of the Northern Netherlands, Gerard van Honthorst was a Dutch Golden Age painter who was known for his artificially lit scenes. In his early career in Rome, he had great success painting in a style influenced by the work of Caravaggio. Upon his return to the Netherlands, Honthorst became a prominent portrait and allegorical painter.
The son of a decorative painter, Gerard van Honthorst initially trained under his father and finished his education under painter and printmaker Abraham Bloemaert, a painter of historical subjects and an early advocate of the emerging Baroque style. Bloemaert was an important teacher who would train most of the Utrecht painters who were influenced by Caravaggio’s style. Upon completion of his education, Honthorst traveled to Rome where he lodged at the palace of Vincenzo Giustiniani, an aristocratic banker and art collector whose collected paintings and sculptures totaled over fifteen-hundred pieces.
Honthorst was influenced by the contemporary artists in Giustiniani’s collection, particularly those works by Caravaggio, Bartolomeo Manfredi and the Carracci family of artists. The technique used by these artists to depict light in their canvases strongly impressed the young artist. While lodged at Giustiniani’s palace, Honthorst painted his 1617 oil on canvas “Christ Before the High Priest”, a work in which lighting plays a particular importance. The scene of Jesus questioned by the priest Calaphas takes place at night with the only source of light being a candle in the center of the table. Jesus and Calphas are illuminated by that candle; all the secondary figures in the room are shrouded in darkness.
Gerard van Honthorst acquired an important patron in Rome, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a member of the Borghese family and also the patron of Caravaggio and Gian Lonrenzo Bernini. Through the Cardinal, Honthorst received important commissions at Monte Compatri and Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. He also received work from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo II de’ Medici. In 1620, Honthorst returned to Utrecht and through his new work increased his reputation in the Dutch Republic and abroad.
In 1623, the year of his marriage, Honthorst became president of Utrecht’s Guild of Saint Luke, a city guild of painters and other artists in early Europe. His reputation was such that the English envoy at the Hague, Sir Dudley Carleton, recommended his work to Lord Dorchester and the Earl of Arundel, courtier to King James I and King Charles I. Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, the sister of Charles I, commissioned Honthorst as portrait painter and as drawing-master for her children. He was invited to England in 1628 where he painted several portraits, a vast allegorical scene featuring Charles and his queen as Apollo and Diana, and an intimate group portrait “The Four Eldest Children of the King of Bohemia”.
Upon his return to Utrecht in 1652, Gerard van Honthorst, still retained by Charles I, painted a 1631 group portrait of the king and queen of Bohemia and all their children. He also painted scenes from “The Odeyssey” for Lord Dorchester, historical scenes in 1635 for Christian IV of Denmark, and a portrait of Countess Leonora during her visit to the Hague. Honthorst opened a second studio in the Hague where he painted portraits of the members of the court, employed a large number of assistants to make replicas of royal portraits, and taught students, each paying one hundred guilders a year.
A prolific artist, Gerard van Honthorst passed away in April of 1656. Many of his paintings, cultivated in the style of Caravaggio, involved tavern scenes with musicians, gamblers and people dining. He was very skilled in the art ofchiaroscuro, the strong use of contrasts between light and dark to affect the whole composition.
In November of 2013, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC purchased Honthorst’s 1623 “The Concert” from a private collection in France. The painting went on display for the first time in two-hundred and eighteen years at a special installation in the National Gallery’s West Building in November of 2013. It is now on permanent display in the museum’s Dutch and Flemish galleries.
Notes: Gerard van Honthorst was one of the first artists to portray Saint Sebastian as a half-length figure, slumped forward in a seated position. The pose was subsequently adopted by other followers of Caravaggio in Utrecht, including Hendrik te Brugghen and Jan van Bijlert in the mid-1620s. The painting “Saint Sebastian” was most likely painted shortly after Honthorst’s return to Utrecht from Rome in 1620.
Top Insert Image: Pieter de Jode II, “Gerrit (Gerard) van Honthorst”, Engraving, From Cornelis de Bie’s “Her Golden Cabinet”, Publisher Joannes Meyseens, Antwerp, 1661
Second Insert Image: Gerard van Honthorst, “Saint Peter Penitent”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 110.2 x 97.4 cm, Private Collection
Third Insert Image: Gerard van Honthorst, “Old Woman Examing a Coin”, 1623, Oil on Canvas, 75 x 60 cm, The Kremer Collection, Amsterdam
Bottom Insert Image: Gerard van Honthorst, “The Denial of St. Peter”, 1622, Oil on Canvas, 111 x 149 cm, Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1957, Michael Costello is an American realist painter. After graduating from Burlington High School, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University under figurative painter Barnett Rubinstein known primarily for his still life work. Costello’s work explores humankind’s anxiety in the twentieth-century through images that capture the human body’s vulnerability and celebrate its perceived flaws.
During his study years in Boston, Costello focused his work on twentieth-century objects and their place as icons in history. He moved in 1978 to Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he has shown his work for over three decades. While living there, Costello’s work was noticed and encouraged by the late figure painter Alice Neel, whose expressive work challenged the traditional, objectified nude depictions of women by her male predecessors.
In 1984, Michael Costello relocated his studio back to Boston and began working with the Barbara Singer Fine Art gallery through which his work was introduced to corporate art collections in the metropolitan area. In the mid-1980s, Costello began his annual European travels to work ‘plein air’ and in association with various artist residencies. In 2008, he became the first recipient of The Pollack-Krasner Masters to Byrdcliffe; the primary criterion for acceptance at Byrdcliffe is artistic excellence or demonstrated commitment to one’s field of endeavor.
Much of Costello’s inspiration springs from writings, in particular Umberto Eco’s essays “The History of Beauty” and “On Ugliness”, and from such classical figures of tragedy as Pagliacci, the clown figure of Italian opera, and Gilles, the male heraldic-dressed figures of Belgium carnivals. Costello works from life; he choses his models based on their ability to inspire empathy for the human condition. He paints them with emotional honesty, without flattery, and with recognition of any imperfections. Costello believes through the presentation of their nude bodies the psychology of the sitter overrides the formality of portraiture, thus revealing the sitter’s unconscious.
Michael Costello’s 2018 series “La Comedia é Finita” (The Comedy is Finished)” is a series of drawings in charcoal, pastel and Russian clay that depicts models as a twentieth-century Pierrot, the clown of pantomime and early comedy theater. Costello’s drawings, depicting clowns in various states of repose and undress, explore mankind’s relationship with the icons of jesters and fools. Reminding us that we are more than we appear on the outside, the figures of varying race, gender and orientation are a reflection of our own lives with its tragedies and hopes.
Costello has presented his work in both group and solo exhibitions since 1980. Among the over fifty group exhibitions in which he has exhibited are the 1980 and 1982 “Small Works Show” held by the Provincetown Art Association, the 1991 “Nuclear Solstice” and 1994 “Fantastically Real” at the Mills Gallery in conjunction with the Boston Center for the Arts, the 2008 “Byrdcliffe Pollock-Kransner Fellows” at the Kleinert/James Art Center, the 2013 “Off the Wall” at the Danforth Art Museum, and the 2018 “Three” at the Attleboro Arts Museum in Massachusetts.
Michael Costello has had over thirty solo exhibitions in galleries throughout the east coast of the United States, These exhibitions include, among others, multiple shows at The New East End Gallery in Provincetown; the Barbara Singer Fine Art gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts; The Schoolhouse Center in Provincetown; the A Street Gallery in Boston; Ashawagh Hall in East Hampton, New York; the 101 Exhibit in Miami; and The Lucky Street Gallery in Key West, Florida. Since 2015, Michael Costello has shown yearly at Provincetown’scontemporary William Scott Gallery with whom he is represented.
In addition to private collections, Costello’s work can be found in many corporate and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, the Federal Reserve, Chicago’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Boston Public Library, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and the headquarters of Wellington Management and Fidelity Investment, among others.
“For over thirty years I have worked with models to comment on our cultural heritage, both philosophical and theological, to acquaint all that is good with beauty. We focus on making clear definitions of what is ugly and what is beautiful, which often shuns both sides to the extreme, turning the beautiful, ugly and making ugly, beautiful. My work with the model as muse gives us a window into the individual soul. I intend to inspire the viewer to observe the subject with a level of pathos; to confront the truth within themselves, what they believe to be beautiful.” – Michael Costello, Boston Voyager Interview, March 2018
“Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars;
see that ye not be troubled;
all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet”
I escape the horrors of war
with a towel and a room
to Palestinian and Jewish boys
as a ‘piece’ to the Middle East
when I should be concerned with the untimely deaths
of dark-skinned babies
and the brutal murders
of light-skinned fathers
I’ve been more consumed with how to make
the cover of local fag rags
than how to open the minds
of angry little boys
trotting loaded guns
Helpless in finding words
that will stop the blood
from spilling like secrets into soil
where great prophets are buried
I return to the same spaces
where I once dealt drugs
a celebrated author gliding past velvet ropes
while my club kid friends are mostly dead
from an overdose or HIV-related symptoms
Marilyn wears the crown of thorns
while 4 out of the 5 weapons used to kill Columbine students
had been sold by the same police force
that came to their rescue
Not all terrorists have features too foreign
to be recognized in the mirror
Our mistakes are our responsibility
The skyline outside my window
is the only thing that has changed
Men still rape women
and blame them for their weaknesses
Children are still molested
by the perversion of Catholic guilt
My ex-boyfriend still takes comfort
in the other white powder-
the one used solely to destroy himself
and those around him
Not the one used to ignite and create carnage
or mailbox fear
It is said when skin is cut,
and then pressed together, it seals
but what about acid-burned skulls
engraved with the word ‘faggot’,
a foot bone with flesh
and other crushed body parts
It was a gay priest that read last rites
to firefighters as towers collapsed
It was a gay pilot that crashed a plane
into Pennsylvania fields
It was a gay couple that was responsible
for the tribute of light
in memory of the fallen
Taliban leaders would bury them
to their necks
and tumble walls to crush their heads
Catholic leaders simply condemn them
having offered nothing but sin
Queer blood is just rosaries scattered on tile
Heroes do not always get heaven
We all have wings . . .
some of us just don’t know why
Emanuel Xavier, War & Rumors of Wars, Selected Poems of Emanuel Xavier, 2021, Queer Mojo Publishing
Born in Brooklyn, New York in May of 1970, Emanuel Xavier is an American poet, author, editor, and LBGTQ activist. Associated with the East Village art scene of New York City, his roots include the underground ballroom pageant culture that originated in New York and the Nuyorican movement, a cultural and intellectual movement of poets, writers, musicians and artists of Puerto Rican descent. In addition to his success as a poet and a writer, Xavier is a strong advocate for gay youth programs and Latino gay literature.
Abandoned by a father he never knew, Emanuel Xavier was raised by his Ecuadorian mother and her live-in boyfriend. He grew up during the 1970s in the mostly immigrant community of Bushwick, a part of the Brooklyn community district. Xavier’s primary education was at a prdominantly white elementary school in Queens, where he experienced racism. Banished from his home at the age of sixteen after revealing that he was gay, Xavier survived on the streets as an underage prostitute at the Christopher Street piers by the West Side Highway.
While surviving on the streets, Xavier also became involved with the 1980s ball scene. This LBGTQ+ subculture of African-Americans and Latinos organized their own pageants in opposition to the racism experienced in the established drag queen pageant.Racially integrated houses, essentially alternative families of supportive friends, many estranged from their original homes, competed in multiple categories for trophies and cash prizes. Xavier befriended many members of the trans world and was active with the House of Xtravaganza. In 1998 with the help of dancer and choreographer Will Ninja, he established the House of Xavier and the Glam Slam, an annual downtown arts event.
Emanuel Xavier returned to his birth home under strict rules and graduated from the Grover Cleveland High School in Queens. He studied at St. John’s University where he received his BFA in communications. Xavier relocated to the West Village where he supported himself dealing at the city’s gay nightclubs and working at the local A Different Light, at that time one of a chain of four LGBT bookstores. In 1997, Xavier self-published his first volume of poetry, a chapbook entitled “Pier Queen” whose classic poems “Tradiciones” and “Nueva York” launched his career as a spoken word artist. This published collection became a trailblazing early example of a new generation of queer Latino writers. Xavier’s 1999 semi-autobiographical novel “Christ Like”, despite a small press run, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and reprinted in 2009 by Rebel Satori Press.
In 2001 after the collapse of the World Trade Center, Xavier helped create Words to Comfort, a poetry benefit held a the New School in Manhattan. His poem “September Song”, included as part of the initial National September 11 Memorial & Museum website, was later published in his 2002 collection “Americano”. As an editor, Xavier was nominated for the Anthologies category of the Lambda Literary Award for his work on the 2005 “Bullets and Butterflies: Queer Spoken Word Poetry”. He published his third full-length collection “If Jesus Was Gay” in 2010 which was followed two years later by “Nefarious”. Both of these collections were selected by the American Library Association for its Over the Rainbow Book List.
Emanuel Xavier’s website, which includes video interviews, spoken word performances, and available copies of Xavier’s blacklisted poetry collections, can be found at: https://www.emanuelxavier.org
Émile Friant, “L’Intérieur d’Atelier (The Studio Interior)”, 1879-1880, Oil on Apricot Panel, 46 x 38 cm, Private Collection
Born in Dieuze, a small city near Nancy in April of 1863, Émile Friant was a French artist who created works in oil and charcoal. Equally influenced by the culture and trends of Paris and Nancy, he rose to prominence with his version of Naturalism, an art form which appealed to the public both in France and abroad. Later after his exposure to the richness, beauty and architecture of the Orient, Friant’s naturalist style evolved into a latent Symbolism.
Born into a modest family, his father a locksmith and mother a dressmaker, Émile Friant began work as a dressmaker at the age of fourteen. One of his mother’s wealthy clients, Madame Parisot, who had born no children with her husband, took an early interest in the young Friant. With the defeat of the Second French Empire in 1870 as a result of the Franco-Prussian War, the now-widowed Madame Parisot fled in 1871 with Émile Friant to the city of Nancy which was still part of France; his biological family followed soon after. This became an important move for Friant as the city of Nancy and its art institute, École des Beaux-Arts, would become a prominent artistic center of production during the Art Nouveau period.
After drawing classes at the École de l’Est. Friant enrolled at Nancy’s Institute of Design and Painting and became a favorite student of the director Louis-Théodore Devilly who had studied under Eugene Delacroix. Under Devilly’s tutorage, Friant focused purely on painting and produced studies of landscapes, still lifes, and later portraits which he sold a thirty francs apiece. Due to his talent, he was allowed at the age of fifteen to enter his work in exhibitions at Nancy’s Salon des Amis des Arts. After a year, the city of Nancy granted Friant a scholarship which enabled him to relocate alone to Paris. There he settled in an apartment on the Notre Dame des Champs in the autumn of 1879 and entered the atelier of the established academic painter Alexandre Cabanel.
During his first year in Paris, Émile Friant formed a strong friendship with three other artists from the Lorraine region: Victor Prouvé, Jules Bastien-Lapage, and Aimé Morot who encouraged Friant to end his academic training and complete his first two paintings. These works were “Intérieur d’Atelier (Interior of the Studio)” and “L’Enfant Prodique (The Prodigal Son)” which would be exhibited at the 1882 Paris Salon. In 1883 Friant entered the Prix de Rome with his “Œdipe Maudissant son Fils Polynice (Oedipus Cursing His Son Polynice)” but won only second place. Already successfully established with commissions for portraits, he entered the 1885 Prix de Rome with his second “Intérieur d’Atelier” which won him a second medal and exempted his work from approval by the submitting jury, an accomplished feat for an artist at the age of twenty-two.
At the Paris Salon of 1886, Friant entered portraiture with his other entries and won a scholarship from the French government which enabled him to travel. His first journey was to Holland where he studied portrait miniatures; his second and more important trip was to Tunisia where Friant became fascinated by the entire new world surrounding him: the brilliant natural light, the costumes of the inhabitants, and the architecture. Among the paintings he produced after the voyage were “Souk des Tailleurs (Souk of the Tailors)”, and “Port d’Alger (Port of Algiers)”.
After his return to Paris, Émile Friant exhibited his 1887 “Réunion des Canotiers de la Meurthe (Reunion of the Meurthe Boating Party)”at the 1888 Paris Salon. This large work, 116 x 170 cm, did not win any awards but was very popular, which encouraged Friant to paint another large work. His “La Toussaint (All Saints’ Day)” won the grand prize at the 1889 Paris Salon. In the same year, Friant was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and won a gold medal and another traveling scholarship at the Universal Exposition in Paris. He also became part of the Société Nationale de Beaux-Arts which organized their own annual Salons on the Champ de Mars, thus aligning him with other more progressive artists of the period.
By the mid 1890s, Friant began introducing symbolic references into his work which had been a naturalistic and almost photographic representation of daily bourgeois life. He did however cater to the wishes of his affluent clientele; many of his later entries at the Salon were portraits commissioned by wealthy patrons. Friant also began to deal in the 1890s with American patrons who wanted to exhibit or commission a work. His “Les Fiançailles (The Engagements)” was chosen for the first Carnegie Annual Exhibition held in 1896 in Pittsburgh. Friant began working steadily with art dealer Roland Knoedler and art collector Henry Clay Frick, who would include Friant’s work in his newly established Frick Museum in New York City.
Émile Friant maintained a dedicated academic manner of creativity in his portraits even when this type of painting was attacked by the abstract modernists. He continued to exhibit through the years at the Salons in Paris and Nancy. In 1906, Friant was named professor of drawing at the École Nationale des Beaux Arts where he continued to teach the importance of the academic drawing method. He was appointed a professor of painting at the École des Beaux Arts in 1923 and was made a member of the Institut de France. A comprehensive retrospective of his work was published in 1930 by art critic Arséne Alexandre. At the age of sixty-nine, Émile Friant fell to his death in Paris on the 9th of June in 1932.
Top Insert Image: Émile Friant, “”Autoportrait, dit un Étudiant”, 1885, Oil on Panel, Museum of Fine Arts at Nancy, France
Second Insert Image: Émile Friant, “Portrait of William Rothenstein”, 1891, Pastel on Paper, 51 x 32.5 cm, Private Collection
Third Insert Image: Émile Friant, “Study for La Douleur”, 1899, Charcoal on Wove Paper, 47 x 40.6 cm, Dahesh Museum of Art, New York City
bottom Insert Image: Émile Friant, “The Meurthe Boating Party”, 1887, Oil on Canvas, 116 x 170 cm, Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy
Photographers Unknown, I Tried to Hold the Angel Underneath Me
I tried to hold the angel underneath me
to still the beating of his wings
with the beating of my heart
to part his lips with the sharp pink dagger of my tongue
to taste his ambrosia breath as it comes out
hard and fast from the purple pump of his lungs
to touch whatever I can of his density
somewhere between color and form
an almost intangible shimmering
to whisper in the wind of his ear
I want you inside and out
more than ever have I wanted
and see in this soft moving cloud/memory/
like fight through water
his trembling yes
that falls down into the yoke of my being and then I know
this silken cocoon
finely woven with my family fears
will one day relax
and i no longer caterpillar
will fly high, sweet and fast
into his invisible embrace
Franklin Abbott, The Golden Shadow, Mortal Love: Collected Poems, 1971-1992, 1996
Born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1950, Franklin Abbot is an American psychotherapist, writer, poet, artist and gay activist. His formative years were spent in the cities of Birmingham, Buffalo and Nashville. In his youth, Abbott was always very independent in exercising his own individuality and found an outlet for his creative energy in the Order of DelMolay, a character and leadership development organization for young men.
Abbott earned his undergraduate degree at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and his Master of Social Work at the University of Georgia. After college, he worked at a facility for mentally challenged adults and children and became active in other social activities. In 1979, Abbott became one of Atlanta’s first openly gay professionals when he began private practice as a psychotherapist specializing in individual, couples and family therapy.
During the 1970s, Franklin Abbott became associated with America’s radical faerie community. This community was a loose, global organization of mostly male queer people who shunned assimilation into mainstream society and focused on environmental issues, the numerous aspects of spirituality, and anarchism. Today, one of its main centers in the United States is a two-hundred acre faerie sanctuary/safe queer space at Short Mountain in central Tennessee, just southeast of Nashville. For twenty years, Abbott spent time at the community where he served as poetry editor of its unofficial journal “RFD” and worked with the journal “Changing Men”.
A leading organizer in Atlanta’s gay community, Abbott has facilitated many self-help and healing workshops on gay identity and other issues. He co-founded the Atlanta Circle of Healing and, in 2008, established the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival, now a year-round series of events, as well as a partnership with the Decatur Book Festival . Throughout the years, Abbott has maintained a close correspondence with many poets and activists, among these were Harry Hay, a co-founder of the Mattachine Society; San Francisco Renaissance poet James Broughton; and Haitian-born American poet Assotto Saint, who was a key figure in LGBT and African-American art and culture.
Franklin Abbott edited and published three anthologies on the issues of men and gender: the 1987 “New Men, New Minds: Breaking Male Tradition” discussing how men of today are changing the traditional roles of masculinity, the 1990 “Men and Intimacy: Personal Accounts of the Dilemmas of Modern Male Sexuality”, and the 1993 “Boyhood: Growing Up Male”, boyhood narratives and poems by accomplished writers from around the world. Abbott is the author of two books of poetry: the 2009 “Pink Zinnia” and “Mortal Love: Selected Poems, 1971-1998” published in 1996. As a songwriter and poet, he released in 2017 a compact disc entitled “Don’t Go Back to Sleep”.
A two-hour video of a 2018 interview between Franklin Abbott and film producer Kate Kunath on Abbott’s life and work can be found at the online site OUTWORDS which captures and preserves the stories of LBGTQ+ elders in order to build community and catalyze social change. The interview is located at: https://theoutwordsarchive.org/interview/abbott-franklin-2/
Born in 1992 in Mallorca, one of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, Gori Mora is a painter who currently lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2011, he moved to Barcelona where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Barcelona University. Mora relocated to Glasgow in 2017 to study the Master of Letters in Fine Art Practice at the Glasgow School of Art. After the completion of his Master’s program, he was awarded a John Kinross Scholarship by the Royal Scottish Academy of Edinburgh to spend research time in Florence. Mora’s 2018 project “My Florence Souvenir” is now part of the Royal Scottish Academy of Edinburgh collection.
The focus of Gori Mora’s work is the exploration of the myriad effects that technology has on our social interactions, our intrinsic values, and our self-identification. Through examining human interactions on social networks, the roles and eroticism involved and the current trends of the platforms, Mora explores in his paintings both the queer community’s history and the heightened effect that technology has on the nature of desire.
Mora’s compositions, systematic arrangements of stylized objects and figures, are painted in oils on the reverse side of transparent plastic sheets made of polymethyl methacrylate. The prominent figures and objects in the front layer are painted first with subsequent layers of background added later to increase the depth of the image. The finished work is viewed from the smooth, unpainted side of the perspex sheet, with the thickness of that sheet creating a curious sense of depth to the image.
In Gori Mora’s work, parts of his scenes are sectioned off with screens or framed within mirrors that offer perspectives seen from different angles. Many of the male figures are portrayed either complete or fragmented in form and often shown in various states of repose. Objects seen everyday, such as socks, belts, glasses, smoking cigarettes and electronic devices, are carefully arranged throughout most of his images. In Mora’s work, there is a strong sense of illustrative graphic design seen in his balanced compositions, stylized forms, and use of background patterns.
Mora had his first solo exhibition in Spain in March of 2022, entitled “Layering Intimacy” at the Galeria Pelaires in Mallorca. His work has been shown in such group exhibitions as the MUTUO Cultural Art Center in 2015, the 2015 “Konvent Punt Zero” held at Barcelona’s Centre Cultural d’Art, the Museu de Porreres in Majorca in 2017, the Casa de Cultura de Felanitz in Majorca in 2019, the 2019 TRAMWAY exhibition in Glasgow, the 2020 “V2React” exhibition in Miami, BEERS London Gallery in 2021, The Royal Scottish Academy exhibition in 2021, and the Tuesday to Friday Gallery in Valencia in 2022, among others.
Note: Reverse painting on glass is an historic art form. It has been popular in Europe since ancient times; glass painted using this technique has even been found in Assyrian and Phoenician civilizations. Qualified as a “scientific art”, reverse glass painting reached its peak during the Renaissance period when it had widely influenced art in Venice, Italy. It was favored since the eighteenth-century by the Church and nobility throughout Central Europe and was widely used for sacred paintings and icons in the Byzantine Empire.
The technique was used by the middle of the nineteenth-century on folk art from Bohemia and Bavaria, and such commercial products as clock faces. By the middle of the twentieth-century, the technique of reverse painting had fallen out of fashion and nearly disappeared. With the creation and rapid rise in use of polymer glazing, new paint compositions were made by combining oil and acrylic paints that made reverse painting possible on these supports.