Personal-Cir-Maria-Holz

MARY WOOD (HOLZ)

Kunstberater, Europa
Basel, Schweiz

Maria Holz ist Kunstberaterin mit Sitz in Basel, Schweiz, wo sie unsere europäische Beratung leitet. Basel beherbergt nicht nur die weltweit renommierte Kunstmesse Art Basel, sondern auch führende Kunstmuseen wie die Fondation Beyeler und das Kunstmuseum Basel. Außerhalb von Basel besucht Mary regelmäßigunsere Kunden in ganz Europa, um sie bei ihren Sammlerbedürfnissen zu unterstützen. In ihrer Zeit bei Heather James hat Mary für Heather James Fine Art Meisterwerke erworben und platziert, darunter Claude Monet, Alexander Calder, David Hockney, René Magritte, Robert Rauschenberg und Damien Hirst. 

"Ich liebe die Verbindung von Geschichte und Menschen aus aller Welt, die in der Schweiz leben. Wenn Sie die Strasse hinuntergehen, hören Sie viele verschiedene Sprachen und sehen die reiche und weitreichende Geschichte von Basel, wo immer Sie hinschauen - Mittlere Brücke im Stadtzentrum, eröffnet 1226! Mein Lieblingsort ist die Fondation Beyeler, weil ihre Ausstellungen, Architektur und ihr Gelände außergewöhnlich sind. Etwas ausserhalb von Basel gelegen, ist das Museum ein idyllischer Ort, um einen Nachmittag zu verbringen."

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Cottonwood Tree (Near Abiquiu), New Mexico (1943) by celebrated American artist Georgia O’Keeffe is exemplary of the airier, more naturalistic style that the desert inspired in her. O’Keeffe had great affinity for the distinctive beauty of the Southwest, and made her home there among the spindly trees, dramatic vistas, and bleached animal skulls that she so frequently painted. O’Keeffe took up residence at Ghost Ranch, a dude ranch twelve miles outside of the village of Abiquiú in northern New Mexico and painted this cottonwood tree around there. The softer style befitting this subject is a departure from her bold architectural landscapes and jewel-toned flowers.<br><br>The cottonwood tree is abstracted into soft patches of verdant greens through which more delineated branches are seen, spiraling in space against pockets of blue sky. The modeling of the trunk and delicate energy in the leaves carry forward past experimentations with the regional trees of the Northeast that had captivated O’Keeffe years earlier: maples, chestnuts, cedars, and poplars, among others. Two dramatic canvases from 1924, Autumn Trees, The Maple and The Chestnut Grey, are early instances of lyrical and resolute centrality, respectively. As seen in these early tree paintings, O’Keeffe exaggerated the sensibility of her subject with color and form.<br><br>In her 1974 book, O’Keeffe explained: “The meaning of a word— to me— is not as exact as the meaning of a color. Color and shapes make a more definite statement than words.” Her exacting, expressive color intrigued. The Precisionist painter Charles Demuth described how, in O’Keeffe’s work, “each color almost regains the fun it must have felt within itself on forming the first rainbow” (As quoted in C. Eldridge, Georgia O’Keeffe, New York, 1991, p. 33). As well, congruities between forms knit together her oeuvre. Subjects like hills and petals undulate alike, while antlers, trees, and tributaries correspond in their branching morphology.<br><br>The sinewy contours and gradated hues characteristic of O’Keeffe find an incredible range across decades of her tree paintings. In New Mexico, O’Keeffe returned to the cottonwood motif many times, and the seasonality of this desert tree inspired many forms. The vernal thrill of new growth was channeled into spiraling compositions like Spring Tree No.1 (1945). Then, cottonwood trees turned a vivid autumnal yellow provided a breathtaking compliment to the blue backdrop of Mount Pedernal. The ossified curves of Dead Cottonweed Tree (1943) contain dramatic pools of light and dark, providing a foil to the warm, breathing quality of this painting, Cottonwood Tree (Near Abiquiu). The aural quality of this feathered cottonwood compels a feeling guided by O’Keeffe’s use of form of color.

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE

<br>In Diego Rivera’s portrait of Enriqueta Dávila, the artist asserts a Mexicanidad, a quality of Mexican-ness, in the work along with his strong feelings towards the sitter. Moreover, this painting is unique amongst his portraiture in its use of symbolism, giving us a strong if opaque picture of the relationship between artist and sitter.<br><br>Enriqueta, a descendent of the prominent Goldbaum family, was married to the theater entrepreneur, José María Dávila. The two were close friends with Rivera, and the artist initially requested to paint Enriqueta’s portrait. Enriqueta found the request unconventional and relented on the condition that Rivera paints her daughter, Enriqueta “Quetita”. Rivera captures the spirit of the mother through the use of duality in different sections of the painting, from the floorboards to her hands, and even the flowers. Why the split in the horizon of the floorboard? Why the prominent cross while Enriqueta’s family is Jewish? Even her pose is interesting, showcasing a woman in control of her own power, highlighted by her hand on her hip which Rivera referred to as a claw, further complicating our understanding of her stature.<br><br>This use of flowers, along with her “rebozo” or shawl, asserts a Mexican identity. Rivera was adept at including and centering flowers in his works which became a kind of signature device. The flowers show bromeliads and roselles; the former is epiphytic and the latter known as flor de jamaica and often used in hibiscus tea and aguas frescas. There is a tension then between these two flowers, emphasizing the complicated relationship between Enriqueta and Rivera. On the one hand, Rivera demonstrates both his and the sitter’s Mexican identity despite the foreign root of Enriqueta’s family but there may be more pointed meaning revealing Rivera’s feelings to the subject. The flowers, as they often do in still life paintings, may also refer to the fleeting nature of life and beauty. The portrait for her daughter shares some similarities from the use of shawl and flowers, but through simple changes in gestures and type and placement of flowers, Rivera illuminates a stronger personality in Enriqueta and a more dynamic relationship as filtered through his lens.<br><br>A closer examination of even her clothing reveals profound meaning. Instead of a dress more in line for a socialite, Rivera has Enriqueta in a regional dress from Jalisco, emphasizing both of their Mexican identities. On the other hand, her coral jewelry, repeated in the color of her shoes, hints at multiple meanings from foreignness and exoticism to protection and vitality. From Ancient Egypt to Classical Rome to today, coral has been used for jewelry and to have been believed to have properties both real and symbolic. Coral jewelry is seen in Renaissance paintings indicating the vitality and purity of woman or as a protective amulet for infants. It is also used as a reminder, when paired with the infant Jesus, of his future sacrifice. Diego’s use of coral recalls these Renaissance portraits, supported by the plain background of the painting and the ribbon indicating the maker and date similar to Old Master works.<br><br>When combined in the portrait of Enriqueta, we get a layered and tense building of symbolism. Rivera both emphasizes her Mexican identity but also her foreign roots. He symbolizes her beauty and vitality but look closely at half of her face and it is as if Rivera has painted his own features onto hers. The richness of symbolism hints at the complex relationship between artist and sitter.

DIEGO RIVERA

Laut dem vom Brandywine River Museum of Art zusammengestellten Werkverzeichnis wurde die Vorzeichnung für Puritan Cod Fishers von N. C. Wyeth vor seinem Tod im Oktober 1945 fertiggestellt. Der Eintrag enthält eine Abbildung der Skizze sowie die Inschriften des Künstlers und den Titel Puritan Cod Fishers, der im Katalog als "alternativ" bezeichnet wird. In jedem Fall handelt es sich bei der großformatigen Leinwand um ein einzigartiges Werk, das, wie Andrew Wyeth sich später erinnerte, ausschließlich von seiner Hand gemalt wurde, eine abgegrenzte Zusammenarbeit von Entwurf und Komposition des Vaters, die von einem bemerkenswerten Sohn in die Tat umgesetzt wurde. Für Andrew Wyeth muss es eine tief empfundene und emotionale Erfahrung gewesen sein. Angesichts der Detailtreue und Authentizität seines Vaters stellen die Linien des kleinen Segelschiffs eine Schaluppe dar, wie sie im 16. Jahrhundert verwendet wurde. Jahrhundert gebräuchlich war. Andererseits hat Andrew die Farbtöne der unruhigen See wahrscheinlich stärker vertieft, als es sein Vater getan hätte - eine Wahl, die die Gefährlichkeit der Aufgabe angemessen unterstreicht.

Andrew Wyeth & N. C. Wyeth

WILLEM DE KOONING - Frau in einem Ruderboot - Öl auf Papier auf Masonit gelegt - 47 1/2 x 36 1/4 in.

WILLEM DE KOONING

Having unwittingly inserted himself into the Pop Art conversation with his Great American Nude series, Tom Wesselmann spent the rest of his career explaining that his motivation was not to focus excessively on a subject matter or to generate social commentary but instead, to give form to what titillated him most as beautiful and exciting. His disembodied Mouth series of 1965 established that an image did not have to rely on extraneous elements to communicate meaning. But it was his follow-up performances with the Smoker series and its seductive, fetish allure that raised his standing among true sybarites everywhere. Apart from perceiving smoking as cool and chic, a painting such as Smoker #21 is the consummate celebration of Wesselmann’s abilities as a painter. Enticed by the undulating smoke, Wesselmann took great pains to accurately depict its sinuous movements and observe the momentary pauses that heightened his appreciation of its sensual nature. Like all of Wesselmann’s prodigious scaled artworks, Smoker #21 has the commanding presence of an altarpiece. It was produced during long hours in his impressive Manhattan studio in Cooper Square, and the result is one of sultry dynamism — evocative, sensual, alluring, sleek, luscious, and perhaps, even sinister — a painting that flaunts his graphic supremacy and potent realism varnished with his patented sex appeal flair.<br><br>Tom Wesselmann expanded upon the success of his Great American Nudes by focusing on singular features of his subjects and began painting his Mouth series in 1965. In 1967, Wesselmann’s friend Peggy Sarno paused for a cigarette while modeling for Wesselmann’s Mouth series, inspiring his Smoker paintings. The whisps of smoke were challenging to paint and required Wesselmann to utilize photographs as source material to capture the smoke’s ephemeral nature properly. The images here show Wesselmann photographing his friend, the screenwriter Danièle Thompson, as she posed for some of Wesselmann’s source images.

TOM WESSELMANN

Between Île-de-France and Burgundy and on the edge of the Fontainebleau Forest lies the medieval village of Moret-sur-Loing, established in the 12th century. When Alfred Sisley described its character to Monet in a letter dated 31 August 1881 as “a chocolate-box landscape…” he meant it as a memento of enticement; that its keep, the ramparts, the church, the fortified gates, and the ornate facades nestled along the river were, for a painter, a setting of unmatched charm. An ancient church, always the most striking townscape feature along the Seine Valley, would be a presence in Sisley’s townscape views as it was for Corot, and for Monet at Vétheuil. But unlike Monet whose thirty views of Rouen Cathedral were executed so he could trace the play of light and shadow across the cathedral façade and capture the ephemeral nature of moment-to-moment changes of light and atmosphere, Sisley set out to affirm the permanent nature of the church of Notre-Dame at Moret-sur-Loing.  Monet’s sole concern was air and light, and Sisley’s appears to be an homage keepsake. The painting exudes respect for the original architects and builders of a structure so impregnable and resolute, it stood then as it did in those medieval times, and which for us, stands today, as it will, for time immemorial.<br><br>Nevertheless, Sisley strived to show the changing appearance of the motif through a series of atmospheric changes. He gave the works titles such as “In Sunshine”, “Under Frost”, and “In Rain” and exhibited them as a group at the Salon du Champ-de-Mars in 1894, factors that suggest he thought of them as serial interpretations. Nevertheless, unlike Monet’s work, l’église de Moret, le Soir reveals that Sisley chose to display the motif within a spatial context that accentuates its compositional attributes — the plunging perspective of the narrow street at left, the strong diagonal recession of the building lines as a counterbalance to the right, and the imposing weight of the stony building above the line of sight.

ALFRED SISLEY

Alexander Calder executed a surprising number of oil paintings during the second half of the 1940s and early 1950s. By this time, the shock of his 1930 visit to Mondrian’s studio, where he was impressed not by the paintings but by the environment, had developed into an artistic language of Calder’s own. So, as Calder was painting The Cross in 1948, he was already on the cusp of international recognition and on his way to winning the XX VI Venice Biennale’s grand prize for sculpture in 1952. Working on his paintings in concert with his sculptural practice, Calder approached both mediums with the same formal language and mastery of shape and color.<br><br>Calder was deeply intrigued by the unseen forces that keep objects in motion. Taking this interest from sculpture to canvas, we see that Calder built a sense of torque within The Cross by shifting its planes and balance. Using these elements, he created implied motion suggesting that the figure is pressing forward or even descending from the skies above. The Cross’s determined momentum is further amplified by details such as the subject’s emphatically outstretched arms, the fist-like curlicue vector on the left, and the silhouetted serpentine figure.<br><br>Calder also adopts a strong thread of poetic abandon throughout The Cross’s surface. It resonates with his good friend Miró’s hieratic and distinctly personal visual language, but it is all Calder in the effective animation of this painting’s various elements. No artist has earned more poetic license than Calder, and throughout his career, the artist remained convivially flexible in his understanding of form and composition. He even welcomed the myriad interpretations of others, writing in 1951, “That others grasp what I have in mind seems unessential, at least as long as they have something else in theirs.”<br><br>Either way, it is important to remember that The Cross was painted shortly after the upheaval of the Second World War and to some appears to be a sobering reflection of the time. Most of all, The Cross proves that Alexander Calder loaded his brush first to work out ideas about form, structure, relationships in space, and most importantly, movement.

ALEXANDER KALANDER

Trained as a woodcarver, Emil Nolde was almost 30 years old before he made his first paintings. The early paintings resembled his drawings and woodcuts: grotesque figures with bold lines and strong contrasts. The style was new, and it inspired the nascent movement Die Brücke (The Bridge), whose members invited Nolde to join them in 1906.  But, it was not until the garden became his locus operandi by 1915 that he built upon his mastery of contrasting luminosities to focus on color as the supreme means of expression.  Later, Nolde claimed “color is strength, strength is life,” and he could not have better characterized why his flower paintings reinvigorate our perception of color.<br><br>Much of the strength of Nolde’s dramatic, Wagnerian-like color sensibilities is the effect of staging primary colors, such as the deep reds and golden yellows of Sonnenblumen, Abend II, against a somber palette. The contrast highlights and deepens the luminosity of the flowers, not just visually, but emotionally as well. In 1937, when Nolde’s art was rejected, confiscated, and defiled, his paintings were paraded as “degenerate art” throughout Nazi Germany in dimly lit galleries. Despite that treatment, Nolde’s status as a degenerate artist gave his art more breathing space because he seized the opportunity to produce more than 1,300 watercolors, which he called “unpainted pictures.” No novice in handling watercolor, his free-flowing style of painting had been a hallmark of his highly-charge, transparent washes since 1918. Sonnenblumen, Abend II, painted in 1944, is a rare wartime oil. He let his imagination run wild with this work, and his utilization of wet-on-wet techniques heightened the drama of each petal.<br><br>Nolde’s intense preoccupation with color and flowers, particularly sunflowers, reflects his continuing devotion to van Gogh.  He was aware of van Gogh as early as 1899 and, during the 1920s and early 1930s, visited several exhibitions of the Dutch artist’s work.  They shared a profound love of nature. Nolde’s dedication to expression and the symbolic use of color found fullness in the sunflower subject, and it became a personal symbol for him, as it did for Van Gogh.

EMIL NOLDE

In den frühen 1870er Jahren malte Winslow Homer häufig Szenen des Landlebens in der Nähe eines kleinen Bauerndorfes, das seit Generationen für seine bemerkenswerten Weizenbestände bekannt ist und zwischen dem Hudson River und den Catskills im Bundesstaat New York liegt. Heute ist Hurley weitaus bekannter als Inspiration für eines von Homers größten Werken, Snap the Whip, das im Sommer 1872 entstand. Unter den vielen anderen Gemälden, die von der Region inspiriert wurden, ist Girl Standing in the Wheatfield reich an Gefühlen, aber nicht übermäßig sentimental. Es steht in direktem Zusammenhang mit einer 1866 in Frankreich gemalten Studie mit dem Titel In the Wheatfields und einem weiteren Gemälde, das er im Jahr darauf nach seiner Rückkehr nach Amerika malte. Aber auf dieses Bild wäre Homer zweifellos am stolzesten gewesen. Es ist ein Porträt, eine Kostümstudie, ein Genrebild in der großen Tradition der europäischen Pastoralmalerei und eine dramatisch beleuchtete, stimmungsvolle Tour de Force, durchdrungen vom schnell schwindenden Licht der Abenddämmerung, aufgelockert durch zarte, blumige Noten und einen Hauch von Weizenähren. Im Jahr 1874 schickte Homer vier Gemälde zur Ausstellung der National Academy of Design. Eines trug den Titel "Mädchen". Könnte es sich nicht um dieses Gemälde handeln?

WINSLOW HOMER

Emerging at the end of the Gilded Age, N.C. Wyeth was one of the most important American artists and illustrators. His paintings and illustrations brought life to classic literature from Treasure Island to The Boy’s King Arthur and more. He is most remembered for his ability to capture crucial moments in narratives, fleshing out just a few words into a visual representation of deep drama and tension. Patriarch of the Wyeth artistic dynasty which includes his son Andrew and grandson Jamie, his influence touched future illustrators and artists.<br><br>Perhaps his most important legacy is how he shaped American imagination – of America itself and of wild possibilities. Wyeth’s powerful paintings gave life to many of the stories America told of itself. His early paintings captured life of the American West and some of his most beloved illustrations were for novels such as The Last of the Mohicans or short stories like “Rip Van Winkle”. Despite this success, Wyeth struggled with the commercialism of illustrations and advertisements, seeking his work to be accepted as fine art. Throughout his career, he experimented with different styles shifting from Impressionism to Divisionism to Regionalism.<br><br>N.C. Wyeth produced over 3,000 paintings and illustrated 112 books. His illustrations for the publisher Charles Scribner’s Sons were so popular they became known as Scribner’s Classics and remain in print to this day.<br><br>This quietly powerful painting of a Native American forms part of a quartet of paintings, inspired by and a metaphor for the four seasons. The paintings were used to illustrate George T. Marsh’s set of poems “The Moods”. Wyeth recognized that the series came at a crucial moment in his career in which the paintings go beyond realism to capture atmosphere and mood, an internal world of emotion made external. He even contemplated and attempted to write his own poems based on these paintings.<br> <br><br>Summer, Hush is a striking example of Wyeth pulling from his imagination and melding it with careful observation of nature. As noted in a letter to his mother, Wyeth combined the fictional subject with natural effects as in the sky. Native Americans were a subject he returned to numerous times; these paintings reflect not only Wyeth’s fascination but also of America. As observed by art historian Krstine Ronan, Wyeth was part of a larger dialogue that developed around Native Americans, cementing a general Native American culture in the imagination of the United States. Thus, the painting operates on numerous levels simultaneously. How do we relate to this painting and its conception of the four seasons? How do we interpret Wyeth’s depiction of a Native American? What role do Native Americans play in America’s imagination?<br><br>We must also not forget that these works were first used to illustrate the poems of George T. Marsh. Marsh, a poet born in New York who often also wrote of the Canadian wilderness, provides subtle evocations of the seasons hinted at in the series title “The Moods”. This painting was used alongside “Hush,” which ends:<br><br>Are they runes of summers perished<br><br>That the fisher hears –and ceases—<br><br>Or the voice of one he cherished.<br><br>Within these few lines, Wyeth gives us a thoughtful and restrained painting that stirs from within. The poem and the painting avoid obvious clichés to represent the seasons. They develop a profound interpretation filled with sensitivity.<br><br>These paintings were important to Wyeth who hoped that “they may suggest to some architect the idea that such decorations would be appropriate in a library or capitol or some public building.” Summer, Hush demonstrates Wyeth’s control of color and composition so that small touches such as the ripples of water or the towering cloud that envelopes the figure are in service to sketch out the feeling of summer and of the poem. Through exploring this rich and complex painting, we are better able to appreciate NC Wyeth as an artist and the role this specific painting plays in the context of art history.

N.C. WYETH

The frame of reference for Irish American Sean Scully’s signature blocks and stripes is vast. From Malevich’s central premise that geometry can provide the means for universal understanding to Rothko’s impassioned approach to color and rendering of the dramatic sublime, Scully learned how to condense the splendor of the natural world into simple modes of color, light, and composition. Born in Dublin in 1945 and London-raised, Scully was well-schooled in figurative drawing when he decided to catch the spirit of his lodestar, Henri Matisse, by visiting Morocco in 1969. He was captivated by the dazzling tessellated mosaics and richly dyed fabrics and began to paint grids and stipes of color. Subsequent adventures provided further inspiration as the play of intense light on the reflective surfaces of Mayan ruins and the ancient slabs of stone at Stonehenge brought the sensation of light, space, and geometric movement to Scully’s paintings. The ability to trace the impact of Scully’s travels throughout his paintings reaffirms the value of abstract art as a touchstone for real-life experience.<br><br><br>Painted in rich, deep hues and layered, nuanced surfaces, Grey Red is both poetic and full of muscular formalism. Scully appropriately refers to these elemental forms as ‘bricks,’ suggesting the formal calculations of an architect. As he explained, “these relationships that I see in the street doorways, in windows between buildings, and in the traces of structures that were once full of life, I take for my work. I use these colors and forms and put them together in a way that perhaps reminds you of something, though you’re not sure of that” (David Carrier, Sean Scully, 2004, pg. 98). His approach is organic, less formulaic; intuitive painter’s choices are layering one color upon another so that contrasting hues and colors vibrate with subliminal energy. Diebenkorn comes to mind in his pursuit of radiant light. But here, the radiant bands of terracotta red, gray, taupe, and black of Grey Red resonate with deep, smoldering energy and evoke far more affecting passion than you would think it could impart. As his good friend, Bono wrote, “Sean approaches the canvas like a kickboxer, a plasterer, a builder. The quality of painting screams of a life being lived.”

SEAN SCULLY

Die Welt von Marc Chagall lässt sich nicht eindämmen oder begrenzen durch die Etiketten, die wir ihr anheften. Es ist eine Welt der Bilder und Bedeutungen, die ihren eigenen, herrlich mystischen Diskurs bilden. Les Mariés sous le baldaquin (Die Braut und der Bräutigam unter dem Baldachin) entstand zu Beginn des 90. Lebensjahres des Künstlers, eines Mannes, der Tragödien und Kämpfe erlebt hatte, der aber nie die Momente der Freude im Leben vergaß. Hier werden uns die träumerischen Freuden einer russischen Dorfhochzeit mit ihren Arrangements aus altgedienten Teilnehmern mit so viel fröhlichem Witz und heiterer Unschuld vor Augen geführt, dass man sich ihrem Charme nicht entziehen kann. Durch die Verwendung einer goldfarbenen Emulsion, die eine Kombination aus Öl und opaker Gouache auf Wasserbasis darstellt, wird die Wärme, das Glück und der Optimismus von Chagalls üblichem Positivismus in einen leuchtenden Glanz gehüllt, der an den Einfluss von religiösen Ikonen mit Blattgold oder an die Malerei der Frührenaissance erinnert, die den Eindruck von göttlichem Licht oder spiritueller Erleuchtung vermitteln wollte. Die Kombination von Öl und Gouache kann eine Herausforderung sein. Aber hier, in Les Mariés sous le baldaquin, setzt Chagall sie ein, um der Szene eine jenseitige Qualität zu verleihen, fast so, als ob sie sich vor seinem geistigen Auge materialisiert hätte. Die zarte Textur erweckt den Eindruck, dass das Licht vom Werk selbst ausgeht, und verleiht den im Himmel schwebenden Figuren eine gespenstische Qualität.

MARC CHAGALL

Tom Wesselmann will undoubtedly be remembered for associating his erotic themes with the colors of the American flag. But Wesselmann had considerable gifts as a draftsman, and the line was his principal preoccupation, first as a cartoonist and later as an ardent admirer of Matisse. That he also pioneered a method of turning drawings into laser-cut steel wall reliefs proved a revelation. He began to focus ever more on drawing for the sake of drawing, enchanted that the new medium could be lifted and held: “It really is like being able to pick up a delicate line drawing from the paper.”<br><br>The Steel Drawings caused both excitement and confusion in the art world. After acquiring one of the ground-breaking works in 1985, the Whitney Museum of American Art wrote Wesselmann wondering if it should be cataloged as a drawing or a sculpture. The work had caused such a stir that when Eric Fischl visited Wesselmann at his studio and saw steel-cut works for the first time, he remembered feeling jealous. He wanted to try it but dared not. It was clear: ‘Tom owned the technique completely.’<br><br>Wesselmann owed much of that technique to his year-long collaboration with metalwork fabricator Alfred Lippincott. Together, in 1984 they honed a method for cutting the steel with a laser that provided the precision he needed to show the spontaneity of his sketches. Wesselmann called it ‘the best year of my life’, elated at the results that he never fully achieved with aluminum that required each shape be hand-cut.  “I anticipated how exciting it would be for me to get a drawing back in steel. I could hold it in my hands. I could pick it up by the lines…it was so exciting…a kind of near ecstasy, anyway, but there’s really been something about the new work that grabbed me.”<br><br>Bedroom Brunette with Irises is a Steel Drawing masterwork that despite its uber-generous scale, utilizes tight cropping to provide an unimposing intimacy while maintaining a free and spontaneous quality. The figure’s outstretched arms and limbs and body intertwine with the petals and the interior elements providing a flowing investigative foray of black lines and white ‘drop out’ shapes provided by the wall. It recalls Matisse and any number of his reclining odalisque paintings. Wesselmann often tested monochromatic values to discover the extent to which color would transform his hybrid objects into newly developed Steel Drawing works and, in this case, continued with a color steel-cut version of the composition Bedroom Blonde with Irises (1987) and later still, in 1993 with a large-scale drawing in charcoal and pastel on paper.

TOM WESSELMANN

Shortly after arriving in Paris by April 1912, Marsden Hartley received an invitation. It had come from Gertrude Stein and what he saw at her 27 rue de Fleurus flat stunned him. Despite his presumptions and preparedness, “I had to get used to so much of everything all at once…a room full of staggering pictures, a room full of strangers and two remarkable looking women, Alice and Gertrude Stein…I went often I think after that on Saturday evenings — always thinking, in my reserved New England tone, ‘ how do people do things like that — let everyone in off the street to look at their pictures?… So one got to see a vast array of astounding pictures — all burning with life and new ideas — and as strange as the ideas seemed to be — all of them terrifically stimulating — a new kind of words for an old theme.” (Susan Elizabeth Ryan, The Autobiography of Marsden Hartley, pg. 77)<br><br>The repeated visits had a profound effect. Later that year, Hartley was clearly disappointed when Arthur B. Davies and Walt Kuhn chose two of his still-life paintings for the upcoming New York Armory show in February 1913. “He (Kuhn) speaks highly of them (but) I would not have chosen them myself chiefly because I am so interested at this time in the directly abstract things of the present. But Davies says that no American has done this kind of thing and they would (not) serve me and the exhibition best at this time.” (Correspondence, Marsden Hartley to Alfred Stieglitz, early November 1912) A month later, he announced his departure from formal representationalism in “favor of intuitive abstraction…a variety of expression I find to be closest to my temperament and ideals. It is not like anything here. It is not like Picasso, it is not like Kandinsky, not like any cubism. For want of a better name, subliminal or cosmic cubism.” (Correspondence, Marsden Hartley to Alfred Stieglitz, December 1912)<br><br>At the time, Hartley consumed Wassily Kandinsky’s recently published treatise Uber das Geistige in der Kunst (The Art of Spiritual Harmony) and Stieglitz followed the artist’s thoughts with great interest. For certain, they both embraced musical analogy as an opportunity for establishing a new visual language of abstraction. Their shared interest in the synergetic effects of music and art can be traced to at least 1909 when Hartley exhibited landscape paintings of Maine under titles such as “Songs of Autumn” and “Songs of Winter” at the 291 Gallery. The gravity of Hartley’s response to the treatise likely sparked Stieglitz’s determination to purchase Kandinsky’s seminal painting Improvisation no. 27 (Garden of Love II) at the Armory Show. As for Hartley, he announced to his niece his conviction that an aural/vision synesthetic pairing of art and music was a way forward for modern art. “Did you ever hear of anyone trying to paint music — or the equivalent of sound in color?…there is only one artist in Europe working on it (Wassily Kandinsky) and he is a pure theorist and his work is quite without feeling — whereas I work wholly from intuition and the subliminal.” (D. Cassidy, Painting the Musical City: Jazz and Cultural Identity in American Art, Washington, D.C., pg. 6)<br><br>In Paris, during 1912 and 1913 Hartley was inspired to create a series of six musically themed oil paintings, the first of which, Bach Preludes et Fugues, no. 1 (Musical Theme), incorporates strong Cubist elements as well as Kandinsky’s essential spirituality and synesthesia. Here, incorporating both elements seems particularly appropriate. Whereas Kandinsky’s concepts were inspired by Arnold Schoenberg’s twelve-tone method of composition whereby no note could be reused until the other eleven had been played, Hartley chose Bach’s highly structured, rigorously controlled twenty-four Preludes and Fugues from his Well-Tempered Clavier, each of which establishes an absolute tonality. The towering grid of Bach Preludes et Fugues, no. 1 suggests the formal structure of an organ, its pipes ever-rising under a high, vaulted church ceiling to which Hartley extends an invitation to stand within the lower portion of the picture plane amongst the triangular and circular ‘sound tesserae’ and absorb its essential sonority and deeply reverberating sound. All of it is cast with gradients of color that conjures an impression of Cézanne’s conceptual approach rather than Picasso’s, Analytic Cubism. Yet Bach Preludes et Fugues, no. 1, in its entirety suggests the formal structural of Picasso’s Maisons à Horta (Houses on the Hill, Horta de Ebro), one of the many Picasso paintings Gertrude Stein owned and presumably staged in her residence on the many occasions he came to visit.

MARSDEN HARTLEY

Théo van Rysselberghes Portrait de Sylvie Lacombe aus dem Jahr 1906 ist ein klassisches Meisterwerk eines der raffiniertesten und konsequentesten Porträtmaler seiner Zeit. Die Farben sind harmonisch, der Pinselstrich kraftvoll und auf seine Aufgabe zugeschnitten, Körper und Antlitz wahrhaftig und freizügig. Bei der Dargestellten handelt es sich um die Tochter seines guten Freundes, des Malers Georges Lacombe, der eng mit Gauguin befreundet war und mit den Künstlern Bonnard, Denis, Vuillard u. a. zu den Nabis gehörte. Wir wissen jetzt über Sylvie Lacombe Bescheid, weil Van Rysselberghe so geschickt darin ist, subtile Gesichtsausdrücke wiederzugeben und durch sorgfältige Beobachtung und Liebe zum Detail Einblicke in ihre innere Welt zu geben. Er wählte einen direkten Blick, ihre Augen auf die des Betrachters, eine unausweichliche Verbindung zwischen Subjekt und Betrachter, unabhängig von unserer physischen Beziehung zum Bild. Van Rysselberghe hatte die pointillistische Technik weitgehend aufgegeben, als er dieses Porträt malte. Er wandte jedoch weiterhin die Richtlinien der Farbtheorie an, indem er Rottöne - Rosatöne und Mauvetöne - gegen Grüntöne einsetzte, um eine harmonisch abgestimmte Palette von Komplementärfarben zu schaffen, denen er einen starken Akzent hinzufügte, um den Blick auf sich zu ziehen - eine intensiv gesättigte, rote Schleife, die asymmetrisch an der Seite ihres Kopfes angebracht ist.

THÉO VAN RYSSELBERGHE

Es ist nicht schwer zu begreifen, wie Robert Indiana mit seiner brillanten zweireihigen Anordnung von vier Buchstaben in den 1960er Jahren eine Bewegung beflügeln konnte. Es entstand aus einer tief empfundenen Auseinandersetzung mit der Religion und mit seinem Freund und Mentor Ellsworth Kelly, dessen kantiger Stil und sinnliche, unakzentuierte Farben einen bleibenden Eindruck hinterließen. Aber wie Indiana sagte, war es ein Moment des Kismet, der einfach passierte, als "LOVE mich biss" und das Design scharf und konzentriert zu ihm kam. Indiana testete den Entwurf natürlich auf Herz und Nieren, und dann begann das Logo überall zu sprießen. Die Botschaft, die am besten in Form einer Skulptur vermittelt wird, steht in Städten auf der ganzen Welt und wurde in mehrere Sprachen übersetzt, nicht zuletzt in die italienische Version "Amor" mit dem zufälligen, ebenfalls nach rechts geneigten "O". Doch anstatt vom Fuß des "L" getreten zu werden, verleiht diese Version dem "A" darüber einen schön inszenierten Wipp-Effekt. So entsteht ein neuer, aber nicht weniger tiefgründiger Eindruck von der Liebe und ihrer emotionalen Ausstrahlung.  In jedem Fall verleiht das gekippte "O" von Love einem ansonsten stabilen Entwurf Instabilität, eine tiefgreifende Projektion von Indianas impliziter Kritik an "der oft hohlen Sentimentalität, die mit dem Wort verbunden ist und metaphorisch eher unerwiderte Sehnsucht und Enttäuschung als zuckersüße Zuneigung suggeriert" (Robert Indiana's Best: A Mini Retrospective, New York Times, 24. Mai 2018). Wiederholungen haben natürlich die unangenehme Angewohnheit, unsere Wertschätzung für die Genialität der Einfachheit und des bahnbrechenden Designs zu dämpfen. In seinem späten Leben beklagte Indiana, dass "es eine wunderbare Idee, aber auch ein schrecklicher Fehler war. Sie wurde zu populär. Und es gibt Leute, die keine Popularität mögen. Aber wir, die Bewohner einer Welt, die von Zwietracht und Aufruhr geprägt ist, danken Ihnen. "Love" und seine vielen Versionen erinnern uns daran, dass wir zur Liebe fähig sind, und das ist unsere beste, immerwährende Hoffnung auf eine bessere Zukunft.

ROBERT INDIANA

FRANK STELLA - Die Muskete - Mischtechnik auf Aluminium - 74 1/2 x 77 1/2 x 33 Zoll.

FRANK STELLA

SALOMON VAN RUYSDAEL - Eine Dünenlandschaft mit rastenden Figuren und einem Paar zu Pferd, dahinter ein Blick auf die Kathedrale von Nimwegen - Öl auf Leinwand - 26 1/2 x 41 1/2 Zoll.

SALOMON VAN RUYSDAEL

JOAN MIRO - L'Oiseau - Bronze und Ziegelstein - 23 7/8 x 20 x 16 1/8 in.

JOAN MIRO

JAN JOSEPHSZOON VAN GOYEN - Flusslandschaft mit einer Windmühle und einer Kapelle - Öl auf Platte - 22 1/2 x 31 3/4 Zoll.

JAN JOSEPHSZOON VAN GOYEN