One of the best things that I've done this year was to become a member of the Art Institute of Chicago - I love bypassing the long lines and going straight to one of the security guards and flashing my membership card. (I will update that to the AIC phone app soon.) I was downtown yesterday for another reason, but if I have any time left over, I will try to stop by the museum. I go there often, but yesterday I wanted to have a focus for my visit. And that was a loosely based objective, because I leave it up to serendipity. I said to myself, "I'll know what to do, once I get there." And that was certainly the case. I encountered vertical green & white stripes on the AIC's Grand Staircase steps. I'm not sure why they're placed there? Does it have anything to do with the new Gaugin exhibit? He utilizes green so much in his paintings ... could it be that? Anyway, the stripes led my way to my theme - GREEN. I sought out to find as much green as I could in my visit and once I set that to mind, it really opened my mind & eyes to things that I hadn't noticed before. I think when you 'deselect' your mind to your personal preferences, you open possibilities that you wouldn't exactly primarily consider. I'm lucky to have The Art Institute of Chicago's permanent collection within reach and here are my photos for my Theme: Green.
The Watermill with the Great Red Roof, Meindert Hobbema, Dutch, 1662/65, oil on canvas.
Landscape with the Ruins of the Castle of Egmond, Jacob van Ruisdael, Dutch, 1650/55, oil on canvas.
This section of the AIC has a small collection of artwork from South America, aptly named: A Voyage to South America: Andean Art in the Spanish Empire Exhibition. The Holy Family with Mercedarian Symbols, from the Workshop of Bernardo Rodriguez, Late 18th/early 19th century, oil on canvas.
Detail of The Holy Family with Mercedarian Symbols. The Virgin Mary wears her blue cloak and the white habit denotes. "...the order and a scapular showing its coat of arms." The AIC placard notes: "By the time this painting was created, devotion to the Virgin of Mercy, the patroness of the order, had reached all levels of South American society. The figure of Joseph wears green in this painting, but that isn't always associated with this saint ... his color is almost always, red.
Still Life with Game Fowl, Juan Sanchez Cotan, 1600/03, oil on canvas. The gorgeous green of the cabbage and the rest of the vegetables; also, the the green feathered head of the duck. Stunning painting.
Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist, Guido Reni, 1639/42, oil on canvas.
Difficult to get a good shot of this painting, because, you know, people. Ugh. Please move outta of the way.
Still Life with a Basket of Fruit and a Bunch of Asparagus, Louise Moillon, 1630, Oil on panel.
Landscape with Hunters, Paul Bril, 1619, Oil on canvas.
Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints, no artist noted, but it is South German, 1505/15. From the AIC placard: "In this triptych, the Virgin, crowned as the queen of heaven, is surrounded by virgin saints in a garden that evokes paradise." The color green in Gothic Art symbolizes peace, Spring, spiritual renewal, and rebirth.
Details of Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints
David Receiving the Cistern Water from Bethlehem, Antwerp Mannerist (Master of the Antwerp Adoration Group), 1515/20, Oil on panel.
Detail of David Receiving the Cistern Water from Bethlehem. Look at the gorgeous green of that canopy with tassles! There's SO much going on in this painting, that I could cite 'details of the details'!
Saint Martin and the Beggar, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), 1597/1600, Oil on canvas. The green cloak was given to a poor man from St. Martin, who was a Roman soldier. Later, Martin learned in a dream that the poor man was Christ himself! This was my favorite painting when I was younger visitor at the AIC. In this case, a good deed was rewarded. Beautiful gesture and painting. To date, there's been no one like El Greco in the history of art - he's a brilliant anomaly.
The Feast in the House of Simon, El Greco, 1608/14, Oil on canvas.
Detail of The Feast in the House of Simon. The AIC placard reads: 'During a meal in the house of Simon, a repentant woman, often assumed to be Mary Magdalene, anointed Christ with costly oil. Although Simon condemned her wasteful action, Christ commended her faith and the episode came to be associated with the sacrament of penance, whose value was reaffirmed by the Counter-Reformation." I'm assuming that Simon is the foreground figure dressed in green - his facial expression is very expressive. Apparently, Simon (the Pharisee), was rude to Christ upon his visit to his home and Mary Magdalene was trying to correct his inhospitable behavior.
Saint Lucy, Vergós Workshop, Spanish, about 1500, Oil and gold on panel. They were Roman-Sicilian martyrs and St. Lucy hold her attribute, eyes on a dish. This photo does not do this image justice ... the gold is thick and has mass like an emboss and her green cloak is still vibrant, as if it was created just recently. This artwork can be found in the new, impressive exhibition space, "The Deering Family Galleries of Medieval and Renaissance Art, Arms & Armor". Well worth the visit to the museum!
Adoration of the Shepherds, Benedetto Buglioni and the workshop, about 1515, Glazed terra-cotta.
Detail of 'Adoration of the Shepherds'. Overall beautiful application of the glaze and it is really astounding that this piece is quite large. How did they do it with their limited tools and equipment? Astounding!
Al Gore's Green Ring Pin
Green IS trending and it trends throughout art history ... I think that it get highlighted in the Art Nouveau era (see my previous post on French posters). Green is a revolutionary color - more than red, because green is more hopeful and not destructive or aggressive as the color red. In my recent consciousness, this image come to mind. Photo credit: Associated Press/Washington Times
The Deering Family Galleries: Arms & Armor
Armor for the Joust, about 1560, Italian. Steel, brass, leather, textile, silver-gilt thread, ostrich feathers and modern costume.
Armor for the Joust, back view. From the AIC placard: "Jousting tournaments were splendid occasions in which members of the nobility showed off their finest horses, armors, and costumes. Originally intended as training for war, by the mid-16th century these tournaments were entirely about appearances and sport."
Two Garnitures for Field and Foot Tournaments at the Barriers, about 1575. Italian; Milan. Steel, brass, gilding, leather, silk velvet textile, ostrich feathers, silver-gilt thread and modern costume.
Well, I had to look up what garnitures meant: a set of decorative accessories, in particular vases. Origin, French.
Loving this green detailed garniture!
Oh, but that green velvet tho! GORG! For a quick glance, I thought I saw the Adidas tri-stripe! Hmmm.
Green within Interiors
Armchair, about 1745, Venice. Caned, giltwood and modern upholstery. If you've ever been to Venice, then this chair should make perfect sense. Beautiful.
Green within Interiors
Chair, 1815/20. Vienna. Walnut and modern replacement upholstery.
Green within Interiors
Wine Ewer, 1785/90. Wedgwood Manufactory (England, founded 1759). Etruria, Staffordshire. Stoneware (jasperware). Wonderful facial expression on this muscular satyr that sits atop of this 'pitcher', if I can use a layman's term. I always thought that Wedgwood had a second 'e', but you learn something new every day! The Jasperware look dates back to ancient Roman techniques and it's so lovely.
Green within Interiors
Teapot, 1882. England. Designed by James Hadley (English, 1837-1903). made by Royal Worcester Porcelain Company. Glazed and enameled parian ware.
Aye, this curious little object! I'm not even sure what's going on here, to be honest. It's not the effeminate pose, because ANYONE would have to pose like this, if you're trying to be a teapot, for Pete's Sake. I wish they had more of a story on this object, because I have questions!
Vase, about 1900, Auguste Delaherche. Glazed stoneware.
Shell-Form Vase, Vase with Pinched Neck, Vase with Pinched Neck (model for a Large Vase). all three about 1900, glazed stoneware and all created by Adrien-Pierre Dalpayrat.
Grotesque Vase, c. 1893, England, Christopher Dresser. Lead-glazed earthernware.
Bowl, late 15th century, Timurid Dynasty (1370-1507), Iran. Fritware, painted in black under a transparent turquoise glaze.
Four Tiles with a Figural Scene, 17th century, Safavid Dynasty (1501-1722). Isfahan, Iran. Fritwars, ploychrome overglaze decoration (cuerda seca technique).
The AIC placard reads: "The practice of decorating tiles with bright colors outlined in black (cuerda seca) was developed for use in Islamic lands in Spain, Iran, and Central Asia at the end of the 14th century and remained popular in these regions for several centuries. The black line between colors allowed for carefully distinguished forms otherwise might have been muddled during the firing process. These tiles are a section of a larger scene depicting the life of the epic Persian hero Bahram Gur."
Vase, 1866/90. Fritz Heckert. Piechowice, Poland. Glass, polychrome enamel decoration.
A Sunday on La Grande Jatte – 1884, 1884-86, Oil on canvas. Georges Seurat. This is one of the most famous large-scale painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and it sits in the middle of the museum on the second level. It gets a bit congested with people taking pictures and selfies. The painting is made of painted dots, or, 'pointillism' and the Impressionists loved this technique. Please appreciate all the values of green - which of course, are comprised of yellow and blue dots!
Detail of A Sunday on La Grande Jatte – 1884. The woman holding a leash with a monkey was considering a sex worker back in the day, but that's art history lore. Who know, really? Only the monkey.
Arlésiennes (Mistral), 1888. Paul Gaugin. Oil on jute. I have always loved the work of Gaugin and that he really was so free about color. You will see SO much green in his work and he's not hesitant to paint someone green and not have it look like they're sick. I absolutely love this particular composition and the curious perspective. It's clear that there's something solemn going on here ... there's an uncertain quietness to the scene.
The Poet's Garden, 1888. Vincent Van Gogh. Oil on canvas. Sometimes I like random people in my photos just for scale.
Detail of The Poet's Garden. You can't get more green than this. It's so LUSCIOUS!
Madame Roulin Rocking the Cradle (La Berceuse), 1889. Oil on canvas.
The Drinkers, 1890. Vincent Van Gogh. Oil on canvas. Apparently, as practice, Van Gogh would copies artwork of the artists that he admired. This image is a knock-off of something that Honore Daumier made earlier. The AIC placard says: "The greenish palette may be an allusion to the notorious alcoholic drink absinthe." Oh, Vincent!
Detail of The Drinkers. The man on the left is almost entirely green, save his shirt and lower part of his sleeve. Please note that the child also drinking from the table, is seriously downing some pure white milk, thankfully.
At the Moulin Rouge, 1892/95, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Oil on canvas. The green-faced figure on the right was the singer, May Milton, who figures many times in Toulouse-Lautrec's work. Apparently, someone actually cut that part of the painting, because they felt that her face would scare off a buyer. By 1914, the painting was reassembled.
Detail of At the Moulin Rouge. You can sort of see the subtle fold in the canvas in which the green-faced woman was cut away. Art is business, let's not kid ourselves.
Ballet Dancers, 1883/86, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Oil on plaster, transferred to canvas.
Detail of Ballet Dancers. What an amazing risk to make the hand green and it WORKS!
Easter Mystery, 1891, Maurice Denis. Oil on canvas. Wonderful use of green in the mid-ground. Winter is coming.
No te aha oe riri (Why Are You Angry?), 1896. Paul Gaugin. Oil on jute canvas.
Peasant Woman Gathering Grass, 1881, Camille Pissarro. Oil on canvas.
In the Waves (OndineII), 1889. Paul Gauguin. Oil on canvas.
Head of a Tahitian Woman, 1892-93 with later additions in 1894/95. Paul Gauguin. Pen and brush and black ink, with GREEN, blue, yellow and white gouache, over pen and brown ink, and touches of graphite, on parchment.
Portrait of the Artist with the Idol, about 1893. Paul Gauguin. Oil on canvas.
Here, Gauguin is straddling his two worlds ... Tahiti and France. He knows the power of the island mythology and its idols, but he needs to assume his position of the civilized European ... so he wears the familiar blue and red striped French shirt with a suit jacket, but the Tahitian idol hovers in the background. I think at this point, he's trying to figure it all out. Fascinating life he led ... I'm not keen that he abandoned his family to do it, but that's what happened.
The Chicago Panels, 1989-99. Ellsworth Kelly. Six painted aluminum panels. That family walking away were slightly irked that their general admission ticket did not get them into the Gaugin exhibit and they went back to purchase their additional $7 ticket. I love the placement between the son and the Kelly painting.
Blue and Green Music, Georgia O'Keeffe, 1921. Oil on canvas. This is a visual representation of O'Keeffe's interpretation of sound/music ... it's really gorgeous in person.
Saw, 1923. Stuart Davis. Oil on canvas.
Calla Lilies, 1922/25. Arthur B. Carles. Oil on canvas.
Taking a break here and people watching. There was a child down there, out of sight, screaming his/her head off. And that scream carried throughout that part of the museum ... clear as a bell on the 2nd floor where I was. I looked over to other people near me and we all laughed nervously, because we knew something wasn't quite right. Anyway, HOPE YOU ARE FEELING BETTER NOW, BABY, WHOEVER YOU ARE! (quick three thump-thump's on chest)
for everyone a garden, 2013. David Hartt. Ink-jet prints (diptych) The AIC placard reads: "On the right, an apparently well-to-do-man utters an incongruous, politically radical statement. On the left, citizens protest under the banner of Safdie's slogan; Chaéac's spaces are not accessible to all. In both images, the ideal of a modular architecture for everyone goes unfulfilled. hartt glazed the black-and-white diptych using Plexiglas with colors taken from 1960s and '70's psychedelia, referencing another failed utopian idea."
Detail of 'for everyone a garden'
Bathers by a River, 1909-1917, Henri Matisse. il on canvas.
The Waterfall, 1910. Henri Rousseau. Oil on canvas. Rousseau was a self-taught painter and you'd think he lived in a forest, because most of his painting are about a lush, green environment. The truth is, he never stepped foot outside of Paris and he got his ideas for his paintings from visiting gardens and the Paris zoo.
Detail of 'The Waterfall'. Look at the beautiful gradation of colors! It's naive and yet so elegant; notice how he handled the water flowing from the rocks on the left.
The Geranium, 1906. Henri Matisse. Oil on canvas. While Matisse was painting bouquets of flowers, Picasso is about to launch his career with 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' (1907). Hey, someone has to paint the flowers.
The Philosopher's Conquest, 1913-14. Giorgio de Chirico. Oil on canvas. Trippy and weird painting, so the green sky in the background works perfectly. Are those artichokes?
The Checkerboard, 1915. Juan Gris. Oil on canvas.
Carnival in Arcueil, 1911. Lyonel Feininger. Oil on canvas. The main figure is dressed smartly in green trousers and frilly shirt. And that green is carried throughout the painting with little dabs here and there ... beautiful piece.
Max Herrmann-Neisse, 1913. Ludwig Meidner. Oil on canvas. Thick brushstrokes give the impression that the sitter's jacket is a lush velvet material. Powerful portrait of poet and theater critic, Herrmann-Neisse.
The Seine at Vernonnet, about 1930. Pierre Bonnard, oil on canvas.
Earthly Paradise, 1916-20. Pierre Bonnard. Oil on canvas. Apparently. Bonnard started to broaden his palette with bolder colors, as he observed Picasso and Matisse artworks. I was struck by these painting by Bonnard, because I was under the impression that his palette was much lighter and in the pastel realm.
The Red Armchair, 1931. Pable Picasso. Oil and Ripolin on panel. Of course I had to include a Picasso! Beautiful portrait of his 'baby-mama', Marie-Therese Walther ... she inspired him so much. The line-work is precise here and it's carefully painted ... she wears very natural colors like the umber and green. There's tenderness ... a loving treatment in this portrait and it shows that Picasso was definitely in love with this girl.
Detail of 'The Red Armchair' ... I love how he reduces her little hands into cones. It's handled so softly and tenderly - she becomes a feline, almost.
White Crucifixion, 1938. Marc Chagall. Oil on canvas. Heart-breaking and important work regarding the Holocaust. The fearful figure dressed in green runs for his life in this desolate landscape, which ironically has the Son of God as the central figure.
Detail of 'White Crucifixion'.
Self-Portrait, 1937. Max Beckmann. Oil on canvas. Green at the top and bottom ...big & bold strokes.
Detail of Max Beckmann's 'Self-Portrait'.
Study for the Muses (Eaglesmere Version), 1991-94, 1997-99. Brice Marden. Oil in linen.
Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, is where Mr. Marden had his studio and apparently the area is 'overgrown with moss and hemlock'.
Detail of 'Study for the Muses (Eaglesmere Version)'.
Sexy beast wearing green Adidas mid-top's ... I'm still researching. Hi.
Fuck You: From the Liz Taylor Series (after Bert Stern), 1984. Kathe Burkhart. Acrylic and composition leaf on canvas. This is a recent acquisition and every time I see it, I laugh.
Finnish Painting, 2015. William Pope.L. Oil, acrylic, flash paint, marker, Bic pen, collage, thumbtacks, and tape on torn paper.
The AIC placard reads: "William Pope.L is known for provocative, physical performances as well as for text-based drawings and paintings. The title Finnish Painting proposes a strangely specific - yet also enigmatic - evocation of national identity and offers a play of words by referencing the imperative to 'finish painting."
This resides across from the Liz taylor painting and I think it's perfect.
Artist's Studio: "Foot Medication", 1974. Roy Lichtenstein.
Detail of "Artist's Studio: "Foot Medication",
Self-Portrait, 1966. Andy Warhol. Acrylic, silkscreen ink and pencil on linen.
Train Landscape, 1953. Ellsworth Kelly. Oil on canvas; three joined panels. This is as minimal and simplified as you can get - his inspiration was the fields of lettuce, spinach and mustard zipping past his train window in France. THIS IS BRILLIANT.
Albino, 1986. Marlene Dumas. Oil on canvas. The AIC descriptions reads: " This representation of a black African albino suggests that race is a social construct that fails to correspond to idenity. By choosing a subject whose very existence defies conventional racial categories, and by rendering his skin tone and hair color in a sickly green hue, Dumas pictorially destablized the division between black and white."
Finished my museum tour with a rest in the Pritzker Garden and was happy to see these mint-colored chairs! A perfect end for this visit.