Wednesday, 31 December 2014

"La Vigne Rouge" by Vincent van Gogh - Arles 1888

The Belgian painter Anna Boch, whose brother Eugène Boch was a friend of Vincent Van Gogh, paid 400 franc for “La Vigne rouge” (The Red Vineyard) on an exhibition of Les XX in Brussels. It was the only painting by Van Gogh known that was sold during his lifetime.
Location: Poesjkinmuseum, Moskou – oil on canvas, 75 x 93 cm.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

"Composition No.8" by Piet Mondriaan - 1913

Jan Toorop, artist and friend of Piet Mondriaan, spoke about cubism as a 'striving for abstraction', a striving 'more and more towards spirituality', away from forms of nature. But Mondriaan saw something completely different, an opening into something new.
Mondriaan came to the conclusion he had to go to Paris if he wanted to know more. He needed direct contact with the Cubists, to achieve a kind of work in which he could accomplish his own ideas.
In 1911 he ends his rent-contract, broke up his engagement and stores his paintings with acquaintances and friends, sells as much work as possible and leaves the community of Amsterdam. At the end of January 1912 he moved to Paris. His famous oilpainting 'No.8' was made the following year. (Text source: In new perspective / Hans Janssen)

Painting No.4 / Composition No.8
Piet Mondriaan [1872-1944]
height 95 cm width 80 cm
1913 - oil on canvas
Location: Gemeentemuseum Denhaag: 0334317

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

"La-roche-guyon" by Georges Braque - 1909

“The subject is not the object; it is the unity, the lyricism which stems entirely from the means employed.”
> quote Georges Braque/Thoughts on Painting
Style: Analytical Cubism  - Technique: oil on canvas - Dimensions: 92 x 73 cm
Location: Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

"The Fall of the Damned" by Peter Paul Rubens - 1620

Peter Paul Rubens, a painter and draftsman from Antwerp, was the most important and celebrated 17-century artist from Northern Europe. His influence was particularly strong. From 1620 onwards the so-calledhigh baroque’ (maniera grande) was introduced in his work.
“The Fall of the Damned” is such a highly dramatic and monumental religious painting. It features a jumble of the bodies of the damned, hurled into abyss by archangel Michael and accompanying angels.
The sketch of The Fall of the Damned was made in black and red chalks, with a grey wash and is kept in the British Museum. It is assumed to be the work of a studio assistant, while Rubens then went over the drawing with brush and oil colour.
At the lower edges, a monk is pulled down, gnawed by demons. Above him, a huge woman is carried on the back of another devil, his tail wrapped around her legs. At all angles, twisting and turning, these unfortunate souls stare up in terror at their terrible fates, or cover their heads in shame. No need to tell that this painting impressed the viewer…

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

"Ecce Puer" (Behold!) by Medardo Rosso - 1906

“Nothing is at rest and everything is part
of the hurried and multiple improvisations of the universe.” 
quote by Medardo Rosso (IT 1858-1928)

Photo: collection Museum Vito Mele, Italy

Monday, 27 October 2014

"Before the Performance" by Edgard Degas - 1896

Edgard Degas went at the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris, in 1853, but applied little effort to his studies. In 1855 (age 21), Degas met Dominique Ingres, whom he revered, and whose advice he never forgot: "Draw lines, young man, and still more lines, both from life and from memory, and you will become a good artist."
Degas was often criticized for sloppy brushwork and lack of finish. Thank god he did what he did!
“Before the Performance” by Edgard Degas (1834-1917)
Oil on paper laid on canvas > 48mm x 62mm
Location: Scottish National Gallery - tekst Wikipedia
Self-portrait 1863 oil on cardbord, private collection (photo WikiArt)

Friday, 24 October 2014

"Unique Forms of Continuity in Space" by Boccioni - 1913

By the end of 1913, the Italian futurist Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916) had completed what is considered his masterpiece, “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space”, in wax. His goal for the work was to depict a "synthetic continuity" of motion. During his life, the work only existed as a plaster cast (photo 1913, private collection - Milan). It was first cast in bronze in 1931.
The writing of his Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture, published in April 1914, was Boccioni's intellectual and physical launch into sculpture, as there are no known works before this period. This sculpture has been the subject of extensive commentary, and in 1998 it was selected as the image to be engraved on the back of the Italian 20-cent Euro coin.

Friday, 17 October 2014

"The Slave Market" by Frank Brangwyn - 1920/21


slave market - frank brangwyn 1920


Beside paintings and drawings, Frank Brangwyn made stained glass, furniture, ceramics, carpets, glassware, jewelery, buildings and interiors. It is estimated he made over 12.000 artworks. “The work involved?” he said in an interview, “You have no idea!”

Thursday, 9 October 2014

"Improvisation 26" by Wassily Kandinsky - 1912

"Anyone who looks into the hidden inner treasures of his own art, is an enviable contributor to the spiritual pyramid which will reach unto heaven."

Quote from the publication ‘The Abstract in Art’ in 1912. Kandinsky is seen as one of the fathers of modern painting and the founder of abstract painting in the 20th century.

Photo: “Improvisation 26” - Oil on canvas, 1912 - 97 x 107cm
Location: Munchen, Städtische Galerie in Lenbachhaus

Monday, 6 October 2014

Reclining Figure by Henry Moore - 1951

Henry Moore was born in 1898 as a son of a coal miner in Castleford, West Yorkshire, England. He was the seventh of eight children in a family that often struggled with poverty. Despite his early promise, Moore's parents had been against him training as a sculptor, a vocation they considered manual labour with few career prospects.

The 'Festival Reclining Figure'  (length 228.5 cm) is located at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One, Edinburgh
This sculpture was commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain for the Festival of Britain exhibition (photo) in 1951. Moore was asked to make a carving of a family group symbolising 'Discovery', but he chose instead to make a large reclining figure in bronze. Moore explained his liking for reclining figures in typically rational terms, observing that large standing figures have a weak point at the ankles.  > Tekst: National Galleries Scotland

Friday, 3 October 2014

Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright - 1939

Fallingwater, a cubist villa located near Mill Run in Fayette County Pennsylvania, is designed by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939 for the Kaufmann family as a weekend getaway house.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Damascus(?) roses in Botticelli's Virgin and sleeping Christ - 1490

‘The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child’ by Botticelli (IT 1445-1510)
Sandro Botticelli's composition, inspired by the work of Filippo Lippi, is unusual in two respects: canvas paintings were still uncommon at this time and the Christ Child was rarely shown asleep. This variation could be interpreted as a reminder of Christ's death. His future suffering for Mankind may also be symbolised by the detailed plants and fruits. The red strawberries, for example, may refer to Christ's blood. They also complement the beautiful (*Damascus?)rose bower which forms an 'enclosed garden', a symbol of the Virgin derived from the Old Testament Song of Solomon. The painting was probably designed for a domestic setting.   > Tekst: National Galleries Scotland

*For centuries, the Damascus rose (Rosa damascena) has been considered a symbol of beauty and love. The fragrance of the rose has been captured and preserved in the form of rose water by a method that can be traced back to ancient times in the Middle East, and later to the Indian subcontinent. A Persian scientist, Avicenna, is credited with the invention of the process for extracting rose water from rose petals in the early 11th century. It takes about 60,000 roses (about 180 lb) to make one ounce ( 29.57 ml) of rose otto - or to put in a different way 40,000 kilograms to make 1 liter of rose otto.

Rosa damascena

Monday, 29 September 2014

Danaë's golden shower by Klimt 1907

Gustave Klimt loves to design textiles and models for Emilie Flöge’s  fashion salon. She is Klimts true love and compagnion until the end of his live.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

James Whistler 'Chez George Sauer' - 1858

At the age of 24, the American painter James McNeill Whistler, makes a drawing of George Sauer, the French pub owner of ‘Le Lion Rouge’ for a plate of soup ...  – source: Freer Gallery of Art

Friday, 26 September 2014

Detail painting Antonius Claeissens 1605

Antonius Claeissens (Bruges 1536-1613) paints 'Mars conquers Ignorance' in 1605.
Mars, surrounded by Art (holding her painters palette - photo detail) and Sciences, steps on Ingnorence depicted with long pointy ears. - Location Groeninge Museum Bruges

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Apprentice Pillar - Rosslyn Chapel


Roslin Glen, Scotland - The "Apprentice Pillar” gets its name from a legend dating from the 18th century involving the master mason in charge of the stonework in the Roslin chapel (°1446) and his young apprentice. According to the legend, the master mason did not believe that the apprentice could perform the complicated task of carving the column without seeing the original which formed the inspiration for the design.

The master mason travelled to see the original himself, but upon his return was enraged to find that the upstart apprentice had completed the column anyway. In a fit of jealous anger the mason took up his mallet and struck the apprentice on the head, killing him. The legend concludes that as punishment for his crime, the master mason's face was carved into the opposite corner to forever gaze upon his apprentice's pillar.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Georges Vantongerloo (Antwerp 1886 - Paris 1965)

"The disappearance of the function to depict opens the way to pure art." - 'Seeing, understanding, appreciating art', by Kurt Kranz 1964

georges vantongerloo

Composition (GV 10A)  -  1918
Oil on canvas, ca. 20 x 30 cm, collection Chantal & Jacob Bill, Swizerland
After Vantongerloo was wounded in World War I, he moved to Den Haag in Holland where he met Jules Smalzigaug, the only Belgian Futurist. Smalzigaug  introduced him to Modern Art. In 1918 Vantongerloo signed the ‘DE STIJL’ manifest.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

“The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.”  Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Michelangelo's signature on Pietà - 1499

The story goes that Michelangelo (at age 24) signed his pietà after it was placed in the Basilic because he could not endure that the public was guessing by whom it was made. Not only die he sign with his name but added his provenance ‘Florence’ as well: “Michael. Agelus. Bonarotus Florent Faciebat”.  He never signed his work again.
The Pietà (174cm x 195cm) from Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) is located in the St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.
(Image courtesy of:

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Gino Severini's Blue Dancer 1912

Out of its origin in Greek metaphysical thought, Vitalism favours the fluid state of ‘becoming’ over the state of completion suggested by the notion of ‘being’, it prefers movement to stillness, values action above inaction and enjoys more than structure. In short, Vitalism envisages life in terms of a force that arises from within and produces its own very special type of order. For this reason shades of Vitalist thinking frequently emerge in thinking of artist and this is particularly true when, like the Futurists, they are speaking on behalf of some imagined, new universal order.
As Carlo Carra wrote in 1913: ‘We Futurists seek to identify with the core of things through the power of intuition, so that our Ego will merge with their uniqueness in a complex whole. Thus we depict the planes of a picture like a spheric expansion in space, obtaining the sense of perpetual motion which is innate in every living thing. Only this way can we express the soul and atmosphere of all things.’ – source: ‘How to read Modern Painting’ by Jon Thompson /Thames & Hudson 2006

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Oscar Jespers 1929 - Woman's Head

In 1927 Oscar Jespers and his wive Mia moves from Antwerp to Brussels because of his nomination on the High Institute of Ter Kameren by director Henry van de Velde where he teaches sculpture. Because of international recession in 1929 several pieces of the collection are being auctioned …

(white marble - height 38 cm)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Peter Paul Rubens and World War I

27 august 1914 – World War I > After a Zeppelinbombardment Antwerp dicided to protect their treasures. ‘Ten-hemel-opneming-van-Maria’ (Maria rises to haven) of Peter Paul Rubens, the most famous Flemish 17th century Barok painter, is stored in the cellers of the Museum of Fine Arts.   source: de

Sunday, 24 August 2014

James Ensor - Les Gendarmes (The Patrolemen) 1892


Ostend fishermen had a rough time during the industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century. English boats had more speed and it made their fish cheaper. In 1887 it went wrong. Ostend fishermen threw English cargo overboard. Balance of the riod: three deaths , nine wounded. Ninety five fishermen were punished in the court of Bruges ...
> Collection Mu.zee, Ostend (Belgium)

Blog Archive