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One from the archive, an article about the artist John Craxton, taken from the New Statesman.

First Night Design

via The world of private mystery in John Craxton’s paintings.

Islands of edgy light: Galatas (1947)Islands of edgy light: Galatas (1947)

They may not like it but it is the fate of artists, as with all interesting creatures, to be labelled. John Craxton, a friend of Graham Sutherland, Paul Nash and John Piper, has duly been filed under “neo-Romantic”. These were the painters who in the years before the Second World War rediscovered the mystical work of Samuel Palmer and William Blake and reacted to the lowering mood of the times by conjuring up a British Eden of shepherds and overgrown green lanes among billowing hills that could be pulled close like an eiderdown. Craxton refuted the label, but grudgingly accepted a more accurate one: “Arcadian”.

Dark and fecund lands: Llanthony Abbey (1942)Dark and fecund lands: Llanthony Abbey (1942)

This separation from his fellows was not just a question of taxonomy. From 1946 he lived largely in Greece, a place…

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Léon Bakst 1867-1924 — Self Portrait 1893

Léon Bakst 1867-1924 — Self Portrait 1893 [Wikipedia]

Who can resist the work of Léon Bakst? Not I. The Russian artist was responsible for the gloriously exotic costumes worn by the dancers of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes and the accompanying illustrations that adorned the programmes.

If you’ve come to know me at all, you will not be surprised that I have now restored the Wikimedia image of the Schéhérazade programme that I uploaded for yesterday’s post about Diaghilev and have made it available on cards, posters and prints.

The programme is for the 1913 production of Shéhérazade with Michel Fokine and Vera Fokina. While I’m sure that the original background was as white as could be achieved at that time, the patina of age has its own charm. I have restored it to a certain extent such as blocking in the border where it had faded and enhancing the colours and contrast but I decided not to make the background white but simply even out the dirt of decades into a yellowy cream.

A final treat —

Photograph from 1914 of Fokine and Fokina in Scherezade

Photograph from 1914 of Fokine and Fokina in Schéhérazade [Wikimedia]

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


via The world of private mystery in John Craxton’s paintings.

They may not like it but it is the fate of artists, as with all interesting creatures, to be labelled. John Craxton, a friend of Graham Sutherland, Paul Nash and John Piper, has duly been filed under “neo-Romantic”. These were the painters who in the years before the Second World War rediscovered the mystical work of Samuel Palmer and William Blake and reacted to the lowering mood of the times by conjuring up a British Eden of shepherds and overgrown green lanes among billowing hills that could be pulled close like an eiderdown. Craxton refuted the label, but grudgingly accepted a more accurate one: “Arcadian”.

This separation from his fellows was not just a question of taxonomy. From 1946 he lived largely in Greece, a place where, he wrote, “I find it’s possible to feel a real person – real people, real elements, real windows – real sun above all. In a life of reality my imagination really works. I feel like an émigré in London and squashed FLAT.” But in finding an authentic Arcadia in Crete he also distanced himself from the art and artists of the postwar world and so slipped out of the story. “A World of Private Mystery: John Craxton RA (1922-2009)”, a small but choice exhibition at the Fitzwilliam, is an overview and reminder of the career of this unfashionably joyous painter.

Read more…

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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Sharing Secrets, 1928

Sharing Secrets, 1928 – Tamara de Lempicka – www.tamara-de-lempicka.org

Tamara De Lempicka is an artist whose work I wish was in the public domain so that I could sell it at First Night Vintage.  Alas, she died in 1980 so that unless my business becomes a worldwide success in the near future (stranger things have happened!), I cannot afford to licence any of the images.

Wikipedia
Born into a wealthy and prominent family, her father was a Polish lawyer, her mother, the former Malvina Decler, a Polish socialite. Maria was the middle child with two siblings. She attended boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland, and spent the winter of 1911 with her grandmother in Italy and the French Riviera, where she was treated to her first taste of the Great Masters of Italian painting. In 1912, her parents divorced and Maria went to live with her wealthy Aunt Stefa in St. Petersburg, Russia. When her mother remarried, she became determined to break away to a life of her own. In 1913, at the age of fifteen, while attending the opera, Maria spotted the man she became determined to marry. She promoted her campaign through her well-connected uncle and in 1916 she married Tadeusz Lempicki in St. Petersburg; a well-known ladies man, gadabout, and lawyer by title, who was tempted by the significant dowry.… Read more…

Portrait of Mrs Allan Bott, 1930

Portrait of Mrs Allan Bott, 1930

Woman with Dove, 1931

Woman with Dove, 1931

Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti

Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti

The Green Turban, 1929

The Green Turban, 1929

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


kandinsky-4

Waldina

Today is the 147th birthday of Wassily Kandinsky.  I just love his work, I always have since my first exposure to it.  I used to read/look through large old art books in the library over my summers at Interlochen Center For The Arts.  I am sure it started out as being a quiet cool place to hang out, but quickly turned into a place that I looked forward to going to every day on my breaks.  I read books, all the art magazines, and flipped through art books.  I thought it was so odd when the old ones would have black and white photographs of the artwork.  It was a great way to introduce you to artwork, yet not completely satisfy you with knowing it.  I know that wasn’t the reason behind the black and white photography, but it worked that way for me.

 

NAME: Wassily Kandinsky
OCCUPATION

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‘Why should you be disappointed, or think less of a work of art, if it is created digitally or by a computer program? Does that make it somehow less “authentic”? The computer is just a tool, like paint is a tool…’ Renata Bernal on Tumblr

Birds of the Jungle

I have no choice but to create art digitally because of an autoimmune condition that affects my dexterity and mobility.  However, it has taken a long time for me to acknowledge that whatever medium is used, the result is still art. Even now there is a part of me that feels I am cheating so that when I read the thoughts of an established artist such as Renata Bernal, it is exactly the affirmation I need to boost my confidence. Thank you, Ms Bernal.

Architectural Oddity

Cubist Shutters Doors And Windows

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Reblogged from Pippa Rathborne’s CONTRAblog

part four of The Character of Light
John Keats, Thomas Lawrence and the Brilliance Feminine

Thomas-Lawrence croft

Sir Thomas Lawrence. Mrs. Jens Wolff, 1803 – 1815.
© The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kimball Collection.

We feed on the human drama; it stirs and nourishes us. The painting suddenly looks better. We must forget….

While Pre-Raphaelite female beauty is impassive, the women in Thomas Lawrence’s Regency society portraits are animated, with parted lips, sparkling eyes, and “flush of welcome ever on the cheek”.[1] Lawrence, though dependent on “the wolfsbane of fashion and foppery and tattle” that Keats claimed to despise,[2] captured likenesses in what he referred to as“the fleeting moment of Expression”,[3] the same as  “the instant feeling”[4] admired by Keats in Kean’s acting.

In “his elegant affetuosa style”, the genuine tender feeling underlying his swagger discerned by Constable, [5]Lawrence portrayed women as intelligent, sexually confident individuals and imbued his male sitters with feminine sensitivity, transforming the most prosaic of politicians and bloated of princes into Byronic heroes.

Under the suave surface, he untied his own Gordian self-identity in his paintings, the fundamental subject of art being the artist, in manifold identities. As if enthralled by Keats’ three passing “figures on a marble urn” in Ode on Indolence, sometimes, led by fame, rather than art, Lawrence was cloyingly flattering, but when moved by love, for man or woman, he painted like a poet…

Read more…

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


This fascinating post has been re-blogged from Pippa Rathborne’s CONTRAblog.  Enjoy!

Sarah Martha Siddons, c.1795, portrayed and betrayed by the Romantic painter, Thomas Lawrence.
Private Collection. Image source: Wikipedia
“Whenever I meet his eyes…it is like an electric shock to me”

SALLY SIDDONS

Sally (1775-1803) and her sister Maria (1779 -1798) were both in love with the gifted and ambitious portrait painter Thomas Lawrence, a friend of their mother’s, the actress Sarah Siddons. The whole family had known him well for several years. In his mid-twenties, he looked like a romantic hero, graceful, dark and delicately featured, complete with soul-piercing eyes, and behaved with the destructive emotional immaturity to which many former child prodigies are susceptible. He courted both girls in turn, initially forming an attachment to Sally, then announcing that he was in love with the younger girl, Maria, who was already showing symptoms of consumption. Months later, he confessed that it was really Sally he had loved all along, and his engagement to Maria was broken off. He seems to have been genuinely confused about his feelings – Mrs Siddons, always indulgent of him, thought he was quixotic – but that wasn’t really the point, and entirely escaped the egotist.

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Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


A nod to my vintage store on Zazzle with this marvellous portrait by August Macke.

Portrait of the Artist’s Wife by August Macke

Portrait of the Artist’s wife Elisabeth with a Hat (Frau des Kunstlers mit Hut) 1909. August Macke (3 January 1887 – 26 September 1914) was one of the leading members of the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). He lived during a particularly innovative time for German art which saw the development of the main German Expressionist movements as well as the arrival of the successive avant-garde movements which were forming in the rest of Europe. Like a true artist of his time, Macke knew how to integrate into his painting the elements of the avant-garde which most interested him. [Wikimedia] 

Enjoy!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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