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Showing posts from March, 2016

At the Musee Picasso, IV

For this visit, it's back to Picasso's printmaking. Several of the rooms on the upper floor of the museum have samples of Picasso's linocuts, including a few of the blocks themselves. The print show above is one of his reduction linocuts, a process that he invented, and which entails printing several colours from one block by successively cutting away portions of the block between colour runs. I actually teach classes using this process, and it usually produces great results.

The blocks show below are not reduction, but two blocks used for a four colour print, with an easy dividing line produced by the wavy line between hills and sky:



I notice something that carries over from his etchings: there is a freedom of mark-making, and a refusal to be afraid of simplicity, that lends itself particularly well to the creation of an image using a soft material like linoleum.

At the Musee Picasso, III

In the previous post in this series, I talked about the displays of Picasso's cubist, or immediately pre-cubist, era sketchbooks that are displayed at the Musee Picasso in Paris. What you also see from the many personal items on show is that Picasso used anything that was at hand as a thing to draw on. In the photo above, a Cubist sketch of two faces appears on the back of an insurance policy. An interesting biographical side note: this is probably from around 1910, certainly pre-1914, and although Picasso didn't leave the bohemian world of Montmartre for good until 1913, he was clearly earning enough by now, and amassing enough worldly goods, that he felt the need to have something as un-bohemian and positively bourgeois as an insurance policy.

I'm also amused by the fact that the policy covers damage to or accidents involving "automobiles and velocipedes."

Six of the Best, Part 36: Lynn Neuman

Part 36 of an interview series in which artists reply to the same six questions. Today's respondent is Lynn Neuman, a Chicago artist who makes Realist paintings that are nevertheless densely filled and overlaid with abstractly observed spaces. Her work is currently on show at Open House Contemporary Gallery, Chicago, through the end of March 2016.

PH: What medium/media do you chiefly use, and why?

LN: I love working with oil. I start by mixing a palette of fresh paint, usually a gray scale and any other colors I need. I get into a rhythm that relaxes me and eases any fears about approaching the canvas. I enjoy creating luminous, lifelike qualities that emerge from the development of translucent layers over time. A few weeks before my recent solo show, I tried to complete one more piece. It was a painting that I'd been planning to return to for a while. There were several structural elements to figure out and it required 2 - 3 more layers of paint and a week to dry in between eac…

At the Musee Picasso, Part II

The Musee Picasso in Paris displays many drawings and works on paper, including sketchbooks from about the time he was working on the Demoiselles d'Avignon, that is 1907. The pencil drawing, above, looks like it might be of the peasant Fontedevila, whom Picasso used as a model when he and Fernande Olivier stayed at Gosol, a Pyrennean village, in 1906. In all of the drawings at this time, we can see how Picasso was striving obsessively to simplify the figure into geometric shapes, in an attempt to synthesize what he saw in African sculptures and in Cezanne's painting "Bathers."


When we are now so used to this way of depicting the human figure. when this work by Picasso has been overtaken by so many cycles of art, we find it difficult to imagine how ground-breaking this was back in the early 1900s. Picasso himself was unsure of what he was doing, and he certainly received little encouragement from dealers, who wanted him to stick with the sentimental paintings of the B…