Sabtu, 23 Juni 2012

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Posted: 22 Jun 2012 08:50 PM PDT

The Jewish Museum Recaptures the Brilliance of a Vanguard Theater, Cut Short

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:58 PM PDT

artwork: Marc Chagall - Introduction to the Jewish Theater,(detail) 1920 - Tempera, gouache, and opaque white on canvas State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow -  © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris 

NEW YORK, NY.- During the artistic ferment following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, major artists joined actors, choreographers, writers, and musicians in creating a daring new theater. This collaboration gave rise to extraordinary productions with highly original stage designs that redefined the concept of theater itself, attracting large, diverse audiences and garnering international critical praise. In Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater, 1919-1949, on view from through March 22, 2009, The Jewish Museum tells the little-known and tumultuous story of this vanguard artistic flowering, which thrived on the stage for thirty years before being brutally extinguished during the Stalinist era.

artwork: Marc Chagall - Music, 1920 Tempera, gouache, & opaque white on canvas - State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.More than 200 works of art and ephemera, the majority never before exhibited, have been drawn from collections in Russia, France, Israel, and the United States for the showing. Marc Chagall's celebrated, monumental murals are featured, in addition to more than 100 watercolor, gouache and crayon drawings of costume and set designs, executed in the experimental modes of Cubism, Futurism, and Constructivism by such artists as Natan Altman, Robert Falk, Ignaty Nivinsky, Isaac Rabinovich, and Aleksandr Tyshler.

Rare film footage of early performances transports viewers back to another time. Fascinating archival materials such as music, posters, prints, programs, and period photographs of productions and actors in character help recapture extraordinary moments. Many items in the exhibition survived a 1953 blaze at Moscow's Bakhrushin State Central Theater Museum, the premier repository for archives of the Moscow State Yiddish Theater (GOSET), and a major lender to the exhibition. The fire, almost certainly intentional, was an attempt by the Soviets to stamp out the legacy of the Russian Jewish theater.

Following its showing in New York, Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater, 1919-1949 travels to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco where it will be on view from April 25 through September 7, 2009.

The exhibition has been organized by Susan Tumarkin Goodman, Senior Curator at The Jewish Museum. She first learned of the Bakhrushin's trove while researching another exhibition in Moscow nearly a decade and a half ago: "I became aware of the achievement of artists who, in the heady days after the revolution, embraced the avant-garde and the potential of a people's theater."

"These artists created a uniquely new theater, one that combined visual art and music with stylized expressionist performances. They also had an affinity for the grotesque and the comedic melodrama of Yiddish folklore," continues Goodman.

The Jewish theater movement in Russia was represented by two companies based in Moscow with very different approaches. Habima's productions, performed in Hebrew, emphasized the ideas of Zionism and Jewish national rebirth. Soviet ideologues soon deemed the theater's policies at odds with socialist ideals. In 1926, Habima left the Soviet Union to settle in Palestine, eventually becoming Israel's national theater. In contrast to Habima, GOSET, which performed in Yiddish, presented daring expressionistic dramas. With its innovative blending of Jewish folklore and literature, Constructivist-inspired sets, and expressionist acting techniques, GOSET was wildly popular with Jews and non-Jews alike.

The legendary murals created by Marc Chagall in 1920 to adorn the GOSET theater will be displayed in a gallery that replicates its original intimate size. Painted by the artist in a little over a month, Chagall's murals will cover the Museum's walls with engaging representations of GOSET's performers using vibrant color and geometric forms that dance across the surfaces.

Natan Altman's faux-naïve, yet sophisticated color drawings for the sets and costumes of one of Habima's most acclaimed productions, Solomon An-sky's The Dybbuk (1922) are another highlight. Already a leading avant-garde artist, Altman transformed familiar folkloric characters into a visual feast of exaggerated, distorted, and twisted forms. Rare photographs of the original production, directed by Evgeny Vakhtangov, a protégé of the renowned Konstantin Stanislavsky, will be shown on video, and the production's Constructivist set model (reconstructed), poster, handwritten score, and program also will be on view. Costume design drawings by the artist Robert Falk for GOSET's production of At Night in the Old Marketplace are animated with an angular visual vitality in portrayals of prostitutes and the walking dead.

In 1932 Stalin issued a decree stating that all artistic endeavors must conform to the goals of the Revolution. The only approved form of artistic expression was Socialist Realism. Thereafter, the avant-garde fell out of favor. Many in Russia's theatrical avant-garde feared for their lives and began to opt for "safe" works. In 1935 GOSET mounted Shakespeare's King Lear, which, rather ironically, became the company's greatest success due in large measure to the acclaimed performance of the brilliant actor Solomon Mikhoels. Helping to convey the gravitas of the production are emotive watercolors by set designer Aleksandr Tyshler and photographs of Mikhoels, by then GOSET's director, as Lear.

artwork: Natan Altman, Portrait of Mikhoels, 1927, Oil on canvas -  A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatrical  Museum, Moscow. © Estate of Natan Altman/RAO, Moscow/VAGA, New York.In 1948, Solomon Mikhoels was murdered at Stalin's direction, his brutal death staged as a truck accident. More than ten thousand people attended his funeral. GOSET was liquidated the following year. Exhibition visitors will be able to see the actor's broken eyeglasses, retrieved when his body was found on a snowy road, as well as film footage from Mikhoels's funeral.

Other productions to be featured in Chagall and the Russian Jewish Theater, 1919-1949 include Habima's The Golem (1925), and GOSET's The Sorceress: An Eccentric Jewish Play (1922), 200,000: A Musical Comedy (1923), and At Night in the Old Marketplace: Tragic Carnival (1925).

The catalogue was funded through the Dorot Foundation publications endowment.

About The Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum was established on January 20, 1904 when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, The Jewish Museum maintains an important collection of 26,000 objects—paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media. Widely admired for its exhibitions and educational programs that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is the preeminent institution exploring the intersection of 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture.

General Information

Museum hours are Saturday through Wednesday, 11am to 5:45pm; and Thursday, 11am to 8pm. Museum admission is $12.00 for adults, $10.00 for senior citizens, $7.50 for students, free for children under 12 and Jewish Museum members. Admission is free on Saturdays. For general information on The Jewish Museum, the public may visit the Museum's Web site at or call 212.423.3200. The Jewish Museum is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, Manhattan.

The École de Nancy Museum Presents the Art Nouveau Works of Jacques Gruber

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:57 PM PDT

artwork: Jacques Gruber - "Vitrail Roses et Mouettes (Stained Glass with Roses and Gulls)", 1904 - Created for the Villa Bergeret. © MEN/ Studio Image. The École de Nancy is showing "Jacques Gruber and Art Nouveau: A Decorative Path" at the Galeries Poirel, Nancy  until January 22nd 2012.

Nancy, France.- The École de Nancy Museum is proud to present "Jacques Gruber and Art Nouveau: A Decorative Path", on view at the Galeries Poirel from September 16th through January 22nd 2012. The museum has assembed more than 150 of Gruber's works, including posters and paintings, decorative pieces and furniture, but pride of place goes to the magnificent stained-glass works for which Gruber became most famous. Works have come from museums and private collectors in the Nancy area (where Gruber lived and worked), but also from major museum collections further afield, including Musée d'Orsay, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Royal Art and History in Brussels.

An Art is Born-Photography from Birth to 100 Years at Detroit Institute of Arts

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:56 PM PDT

artwork: Edward J. Steichen - Silverware Still Life, 1930 - Gelatin silver print. Detroit Institute of Arts.

DETROIT, MI.- Imagine a world without photography. Now imagine being alive when photography was invented, and how for the first time, it was possible to view the world through someone else's eyes. Photography—The First 100 Years: A Survey from the Detroit Institute of Arts DIA's Collection looks at the evolution of photography from its beginnings in the 1830s through the experimentation and innovations that led to its acceptance as an art form in the 1940s. The exhibition is on view from September 2, 2009 to January 3, 2010, and is free with museum admission.

Christie's to sell Elizabeth Taylor art including a Vincent van Gogh landscape

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:55 PM PDT

artwork: Vincent van Gogh's autumn landscape "Vue de l'Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy," which was once owned by actress Elizabeth Taylor and estimated to sell for 5 million to 7 million pounds ($7.6 million to $11 million) when auctioned in February 8th at Christie's auction in London.

LONDON - A Vincent van Gogh landscape and other paintings from the collection of Elizabeth Taylor are up for auction in London next month. Christie's auction house says 38 works belonging to the late actress will be included in Impressionist and modern sales Feb. 7 and 8. They include van Gogh's autumn landscape "Vue de l'Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy," estimated at 5 million to 7 million pounds ($7.6 million to $11 million), as well as an Edgar Degas self-portrait and works by Camille Pissarro and Auguste Renoir. The screen goddess — whose films included "Cleopatra," ''Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" — died in March aged 79.

Edinburgh Printmakers features 'Kirsty Whiten: Breeder Badlands'

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:52 PM PDT

artwork: Kirsty Whiten - "Feral Family", 2011 - Oil and varnish on canvas - 122 x 152 cm. - Courtesy Edinburgh Printmakers. On view  now in "Kirsty Whiten: Breeder Badlands"

Edinburgh, Scotland - Edinburgh Printmakers is pleased to present "Kirsty Whiten: Breeder Badlands" on view now. This engaging solo exhibition by Kirsty Whiten deals with the complexities of the new familial unit and contains both large works on canvas and a new series of stone lithographs commissioned and co-published by Edinburgh Printmakers. Entrance is free. Keenly rendered figures, faces and gestures are examined in detail and placed in an unsettling context. The exhibition showcases a body of work spanning nearly two years, from small-scale drawings, through life size oil and varnish paintings shot through with Day-Glo, to new prints. These are bare and essential images; mothers, fathers and infants in knotted groups, travelling and resting in imagined woodlands and badlands. Stripped of clothes and technology, these families are none the less robustly connected, and surviving.

Whiten works first with models and photography, acting out scenarios and interpreting ideas. Drawing and painting from these photographs, sketches and other found images forms the basis of her practice. During this co-publishing project with Edinburgh Printmakers, Whiten has discovered an affinity with stone lithography. Her direct drawing works well in this medium, as the materials demand that marks must be made with confidence. The resulting prints are bold and intricate; the figures condensed by a sense of epic narrative pressing in from outside the frame. Kirsty Whiten studied at ECA, spent a year in Paris and is now based near Edinburgh. She has been producing her distinctive, warped drawings and paintings for over 10 years, exhibiting internationally, most recently at Bold Hype in New York and Stolenspace in London. Whiten's imagery divides opinion; it's finely crafted and sensitively rendered but the subjects are challenging and the humour dark. Whiten first made co-published prints with Edinburgh Printmakers in 2008, and found her technique translated well into stone lithography. The tight drawings and richly coloured paintings in her recent London show Feral Family have grown into this new sprawling, fecund series of stone lithographs.

artwork: Kirsty Whiten - "Mammalian Pastoral", 2011 - Oil and varnish on canvas - 125 x 125 cm. Courtesy Edinburgh Printmakers.  - Now on view in "Kirsty Whiten: Breeder Badlands"

Established in 1967 as the first open access studio in Britain, Edinburgh Printmakers (EP) is dedicated to the promotion of contemporary printmaking practice. It achieves this by providing, maintaining and staffing an entrance free gallery and inexpensive, open access print studio, where artists and members of the public can use equipment and source technical expertise in order to develop their hands on printmaking skills. As a not for profit organisation that is also a registered charity, EP receives approximately 50% of it's funding through revenue and project funding from the Scottish Arts Council as well as support from the City of Edinburgh Council. This enables the organisation to highly subsidise the cost of using the print studio, making access to creative facilities affordable to a wide range of people. This includes professional artists, students, community groups and members of the public, who wish to develop new or existing skills. To complement the work on show by the resident artists they have a rolling programme of exhibitions representing the whole spectrum of contemporary graphic art. Previous exhibitions have ranged from the graphic works of artists such as Marc Chagall, David Hockney, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to contemporary American prints by such artists as Andy Warhol and Jim Dine as well as showcasing the wealth of talent that exists in Scotland itself. The Gallery and Studio are very centrally situated being only a few minutes walk from both the railway station, central bus station and the main shopping and cafe areas. Visit Edinburgh Printmakers website at ...

Pablo Picasso painting of Notre-Dame to highlight Bonhams Impressionist & Modern Art auction

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:50 PM PDT

artwork: Pablo Picasso - "Notre-Dame de Paris". Dated 1954, it is one of his later landscapes, showing the influence of his earlier experiments with Cubism. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

LONDON.- Alongside the beautiful Jeune fille aux cheveux noirs by Amedeo Modigliani (£700,000-1,000,000), Bonhams Impressionist & Modern Art auction on 7th February 2012 at 101 New Bond Street, London, includes an exciting selection of works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Raoul Dufy, Marc Chagall, Candido Portinari and Carlos Nadal. A stunning painting of Notre Dame de Paris by Pablo Picasso is a highlight. Here Picasso has taken a subject he knows well, via his walks to, and the view from, his studio, but he chooses to challenge the truth in order to explore artistic aims other than realism. He toys with the artistic conventions of perspective and scale to leave the viewer separated from reality and immersed instead into Picasso's own pictorial truth. Dated 1954, it is one of his later landscapes, but it shows the influence of his earlier experiments with Cubism. By October 1954, when it was completed, the artist was falling in love with a woman who would later become his wife - Jacqueline Roque.

The Latvian National Art Museum Presents Boris Berzins Landscapes

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:48 PM PDT

artwork: Boris Berzins - "Autumn", 1990 - Oil on canvas - Collection of the Latvian National Art Museum On view in "Boris Berzins: Landscapes" until August 14th.

Riga, Latvia.- The Latvian National Art Museum is proud to present "Boris Berzins: Landscapes" through August 14th. Boris Berzins (1930-2002) is one of the best known Latvian painters of the 20th century and the Latvian National Art Museum holds his bequest - a creative legacy spanning paintings, graphic works and thousands of drawings. The size of the bequest meant that it took some time to catalogue and sort everything, but since 2007, the museum have been hosting themed exhibitions that allow them to show some of Boris Berzins works. Berzins studied at the Rozentals art school (1947–9), the Riga College of Applied Art (1949–52) and the Latvian Academy of Arts (1952–9) in the painting studio of Eduards Kalnins (1904–88).

Museo de Arte de Ponce announces "Treasures of the Collection : The Pre-Raphaelites"

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:33 PM PDT

artwork: Edward Coley Burne-Jones - "The Sleeping Beauty" from the small Briar Rose series. - Oil on canvas, 60 x 115 cm. Courtesy of Museo de Arte de Ponce, San Juan de Puerto Rico

PONCE, PR.- In an unprecedented event for Puerto Rico, on Saturday, February 4, 2012, Museo de Arte de Ponce will host an international symposium titled "Treasures of the Collection in Context: The Pre-Raphaelites in the Museo de Arte de Ponce Collection." From 10 am to 5 pm, renowned specialists in art history and Victorian literature will meet in this south-coast Puerto Rico city to discuss the artists and works contained in the museum's world-famed collection. This conference represents the most important academic event ever held on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in Puerto Rico. The symposium is made possible by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Among the scholars specializing in Victorian England expected to take part in the conference are Tim Barringer (Yale University), Sally Huxtable (Northumbria University), Franny Moyle (author and BBC producer), Jason Rosenfeld (Marymount Manhattan College), Alison Smith (Tate Britain), and Madeleine Vala (University of Puerto Rico).

artwork: William Holman Hunt - "Miss Gladis M. Holman Hunt" (The School of Nature). Oil on panel, 122.5 x 982 cm. San Juan de Puerto Rico, Museo de Arte de Ponce.Their presentations will be in English, with simultaneous interpretation into Spanish. The speakers promise to throw light on the creative processes of the young artists who founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848, their sources of inspiration, and the recurrent themes and subject-matter of the movement, and there will be panels on the artistic and literary exchanges that occurred as a result of the movement's sweeping influence and popularity. Also to be discussed are the curatorial approaches that have been taken in Pre-Raphaelite exhibitions organized since 1980.

The remarkable collective of painters and poets that comprised the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood decried the formulaic nature of the art promulgated by the Royal Academy in London, and proposed instead to return to an "honest" art—the sort that existed, in their view, prior to Raphael. And so the Brotherhood's name: the Pre-Raphaelites.

Museo de Arte de Ponce's British Collection consists of sixty-six objects dating from 1760 to 1905. Forty of these works are Pre-Raphaelite paintings, drawings, and a photograph. It represents one of the clear strengths among its holdings, and the nucleus of Victorian works in the British Collection has been called one of the most important outside London itself.

"This symposium will be a milestone in the Museum's history, as it will offer, for the first time, a broad look at these wonderful works of art outside the context in which they were created," said Agustín Arteaga, the museum's director and chief executive officer, who then added, "Through this international symposium we will be bringing this important group of works to the attention of a broader public and continuing to promote our permanent collection as an object of study and intercultural dialogue."

The conference will serve as a preamble to the publication, in the summer of 2012, of a bilingual (English/Spanish) catalog of the Museo de Arte de Ponce's British Collection, which is being co-edited by Cheryl Hartup (the museum's curator-in-chief), Alison Smith, and Sally Anne Huxtable. This collection, which has traveled to the Tate Britain, the Prado Museum in Madrid, the Gemeente Museum in The Hague, and the Belvedere Museum in Vienna, among many others, contains such masterpieces as The Sleep of King Arthur in Avalon (1881–1898) by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Flaming June (c. 1895) by Frederic, Lord Leighton. The catalog of the British Collection is planned as the first in a series of volumes on specific areas of the museum's permanent collection, specifically those that solidify its position as an institution of great international prestige.

artwork: Dante Gabriel Rossetti - " Roman Widow" (Tell Manibus). Oil on canvas, 103.7 x 91 / 2 cm.  -   San Juan de Puerto Rico, Museo de Arte de Ponce.

The Museum is offering financial aid for graduate students in Art History or Victorian Literature who wish to take part in the symposium for academic purposes. Those interested in applying for this aid (which will be given on a competitive basis) should send a current curriculum vitae accompanied by a letter of interest explaining how their participation in the symposium is related to the museum's collection, and how it would further their studies and possible or ongoing research. The letter should be addressed to, and should specify the university where they are studying and their year of study. Deadline for application is January 7, 2012.

To complement this academic event, on the evening of February 4, the museum's restaurant Al Sur will offer a prix-fixe menu designed especially for the symposium. Chef Ariel has drawn inspiration from the Romanticism that was a part of the age of the Pre-Raphaelites, and he is making preparations to delight diners with foods known in the culinary world for their relationship to love and passion. And coincidentally, that dizzying passion of the time is at the heart of the BBC-produced mini-series "Desperate Romantics," based on the best-selling novel by one of the symposium's speakers, Franny Moyle.

Post-War & Contemporary Evening Auction at Christie's Realises $68.6 Million

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:31 PM PDT

artwork: "Silver Liz" 1963 portrait of actress Elizabeth Taylor by late artist Andy Warhol, unseen in over 20 years, at Christie's auction house in London. Christie's estimated the painting would bring 6 - 8 million pounds (8.7 to 11.6 million US dollars) at auction on June 30. The painting sold for £6,761,250 ($10,168,920).

LONDON.- The Post-War and Contemporary Evening Auction took place 30 June at Christie's and realised £45,640,200 /$68,642,861/ €56,091,806, selling 84% by lot and 85% by value. The top price was paid for Silver Liz, 1963, by Andy Warhol (1928-1987), one of only two paintings by the artist to depict the celebrated actress and Hollywood icon with her legendary violet eyes. It sold to an anonymous bidder for £6,762,150 / $10,168,920 / €3,354,248. Further highlights of the evening included Loopy, 1999, by Jeff Koons (b. 1955), showing childhood motifs from the artist's Easyfun series, which sold for £3,401,250/$5,115,480/€4,180,136 (estimate: £2.5 million to £3.5 million), a record for a painting by the artist.

The Menil Collection presents Hedda Sterne and Saul Steinberg

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:29 PM PDT

artwork: Saul Steinberg - The Spiral, 1966 - Ink on paper - 19 x 25 1?4 inches - The Menil Collection, Houston  © The Saul Steinberg Foundation/ARS, NY

Houston, Texas - Paired in a single museum exhibition, Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) and Hedda Sterne (b. 1910) may at first look like an odd couple. The two Romanian-born artists met in New York City in 1943 after the Nazi occupation forced them to flee Europe. They became U.S. citizens and married in 1944. Despite occupying the same domestic space, as well as exhibiting at the same gallery, the artists had little aesthetic ground in common: most art historians and critics would be hard pressed to trace stylistic influences between the two. Yet Sterne and Steinberg did share an important artistic perspective: each questioned the ability of an artist's personal aesthetic style to communicate a stable identity.

The Weatherspoon Art Museum to present "Matisse and the Decorative Impulse"

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:20 PM PDT

artwork: Louise August - "Europa and the Bull", undated - Woodcut on paper - 12 ¼" x 16 7/8" - Collection of the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. -  On view in "Matisse and the Decorative Impulse" from April 14th until July 8th.

Greensboro, North Carolina.- The Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is pleased to present "Matisse and the Decorative Impulse", on view at the museum from April 14th through July 8th. Attracted to bold patterning throughout his career, Henri Matisse explored in both prints and paintings the decorative possibilities of simplified forms and areas of flat surface design mixed with volumetric representation. Matisse's proliferation of patterning served to unify his compositions—and also inspired a succeeding generation of artists. Following the French master's precedent, the artists featured in this exhibition likewise examine the possibilities of robust design and the restorative contemplation of beauty.

Sotheby's in New York to Auction Rare Synagogue Interiors by Marc Chagall

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:16 PM PDT

artwork: Three rare oil paintings of synagogue interiors by Marc Chagall are going on the auction block at Sotheby's in New York City on 14 Dec. The paintings came to the market for the first time in 66 years from a descendent of art collector and original owner Max Cottin, who acquired them from the 1945 exhibition at the Gallery of Jewish Art in New York.- Only six finished oil paintings of synagogues by Chagall are known to exist.

NEW YORK, N.Y.- Sotheby's New York announces that it will present for sale three exceptionally rare oil paintings of synagogue interiors by Marc Chagall (1887-1985). In all, only six finished oils of synagogues by the artist are known to exist. These three paintings come to market for the first time in 66 years from a descendent of the original owner Max Cottin, who acquired them from the 1945 exhibition at the Gallery of Jewish Art in New York. Leading this offering in the forthcoming Israeli & International Art auction on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 is Chagall's 1931 Interior of the Yemenite HaGoral Synagogue, Jerusalem, illustrated below, which carries an estimate of $400/600,000..

Commenting on the sale of these rare and revealing paintings, Jennifer Roth, Senior Vice President and Head of the Sotheby's Israeli & International Art Department, said: "Documentary paintings by Chagall are remarkably rare and only six finished oils of synagogues by Chagall are known to exist. The sale this coming December represents a truly unique opportunity for collectors of Chagall to acquire works from this little known aspect of his oeuvre. Fitting testimony to their importance and rarity, two of the other three synagogue paintings reside in Museum collections: one painting is in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; one is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem; and the third is in a Private Collection, on extended loan to Musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme ."

A clue to the significance of these three paintings was found in a small cache of letters, written in the 1960s and 1970s, between Chagall and Max Cottin. The correspondence demonstrates Chagall's great attachment to the paintings that Mr Cottin had acquired and eventually Chagall asks if he can buy them back or arrange a "mutually advantageous" exchange. The request was poignantly but firmly declined. 

In the spring of 1931, Chagall and his family spent three months in the Holy Land, a trip he undertook to gather material for his Bible etchings. While Ambrose Vollard – his dealer – had commissioned this project, Vollard did not support or understand Chagall's desire to travel to the land of the Bible and see it for himself. Ultimately, this trip brought Chagall closer to his Jewish roots and was to be the first of many visits there. In the mystical hill town of Safed, the seat of Kabbalah , Chagall painted two views of the Ha'Ari Sephardi Synagogue (now in the Israel Museum and the Stedelijk Museum) and one of the Ha'Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue, which is included for sale. Interior of the Ashkenazi Ha'Ari Synagogue, Safed, 1931, is estimated at $300/500,000 and the synagogue depicted, with its elaborate Ark with ornate carving by Galician craftsmen, is still in use today. It is no surprise that Chagall, raised in the Hassidic tradition, would have been drawn to synagogues dedicated to the Ha'Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-72), who had a profound impact on mystical Judaism.

artwork: Marc Chagall - Interior of the Yemenite HaGoral Synagogue, Jerusalem. Est. $400/600,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

The largest of the three Cottin paintings, Interior of the Yemenite HaGoral Synagogue, Jerusalem, is more enigmatic and is estimated at $400/600,000. Discussing her research into this work, Jennifer Roth, commented: "Unable to discover any photo of the synagogue, I was determined to find the structure itself, to explore whether it still resembled Chagall's delicate and exquisite depiction. A scholar of Jerusalem synagogues provided the address and instructed me to simply go there, as there was no phone. In the old Yemenite neighborhood in Nachla'ot, through a maze of winding pedestrian streets, impassable to motor traffic, I finally spotted a small plaque with the name of the synagogue. Within moments we were standing in the small upstairs room, in the footsteps of Chagall, admiring the tri-partite wooden Torah Ark surmounted by delicate carving, which had been so lovingly portrayed."

artwork: Marc Chagall - Interior of the Ashkenazi Ha'Ari Synagogue, Safed, 1931 -  Est. $300/500,000. Photo: Sotheby's.The third of the synagogue works was painted in Vilna, Lithuania, in 1935, where Chagall was invited to open the Museum of Jewish Art. The painting has a more somber feel than the others, perhaps an indication of the gathering clouds of the 1930s. Beneath the glow of the beautiful stained glass windows, the synagogue is shown empty. It depicts the "Kloyz" or study hall of the Vilna Gaon. Remarkably, the painting appears to be the only extant record of the Torah Ark of this small but important synagogue, which was destroyed just a few years later in the ashes of the Holocaust. Synagogue in Vilna, the "Kloyz" of the Vilna Gaon, 1935, is estimated at $300/500,000.

All three oil paintings were shown in 1945 at the Gallery of Jewish Art in New York, where Mr. Cottin bought his treasured artworks. The exhibition opened as World War II was finally drawing to a close and the full impact of the destruction of European Jewry was becoming known.

Among the other highlights of the sale on 14 December are several works by Reuven Rubin , including The Drummer of Meron from 1929, as well as several landscapes and still lifes; Nahum Gutmann , the other founding father of Israeli art, is represented by two brightly colored harbor scenes of Jaffa and Haifa. Other exceptional works include oils by Mordecai Ardon, Ori Reisman and Michael Gross and a large-scale steel sculpture by Yaacov Agam . The Contemporary art section includes a video by Sigalit Landau , who represented Israel at this year's Venice Biennale .

Marc Chagall,. (24 June 1887 – 28 March 1985), was a Russian-French artist associated with several major artistic styles and one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. He was an early modernist, and created works in virtually every artistic medium, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints.

Art critic Robert Hughes referred to Chagall as "the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century." According to art historian Michael J. Lewis, Chagall was considered to be "the last survivor of the first generation of European modernists." For decades, he "had also been respected as the world's preeminent Jewish artist." Using the medium of stained glass, he produced windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, windows for the UN, and the Jerusalem Windows in Israel. He also did large-scale paintings, including part of the ceiling of the Paris Opéra.

'Photography Behind the Berlin Wall' at UH Galleries

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:14 PM PDT

artwork: Sybille Bergemann Hoppenrade 

Hatfield, UK - While on a visit to the exhibition Art of the GDR in Berlin in 2003, Matthew Shaul, Curator at the University of Hertfordshire Galleries discovered amongst the hackneyed, ideological offerings from East Germany's artistic past, a beautiful and almost entirely unknown chapter in the history post-war European photography. On exhibition November 9 - December 21, 2007.

The de Young Museum opens a Retrospective of the Work of Yves Saint Laurent

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:12 PM PDT

artwork: Yves Saint Laurent design - Marina Schiano in Evening Gown. Fall-Winter 1970 - © The Estate of Jeanloup Sieff

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Virtuoso. Visionary. Genius. These are just some of the words used to describe the late Yves Saint Laurent, master couturier and fashion pioneer. On November 1, 2008, the de Young opens the exclusive United States presentation of the special exhibition, Yves Saint Laurent, which celebrates the life of Yves Saint Laurent and showcases forty years of creativity by the Maison Haute Couture Yves Saint Laurent, whose unique style blends references to the world of art with allusions to pop culture and social revolutions. Structured around four themes, the exhibition develops the revolutionary nature of his body of work that presents a new definition of femininity and a signature that transcends fashion.

Crime and Punishment Explored in Exhibition at Musée d'Orsay in Paris

Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:07 PM PDT

artwork: René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967) - The Menaced Assassin, 1927 - Oil on canvas,150.4 x 195.2 cm. Kay Sage Tanguy Fund. © 2010 C. Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / © 2010, Digital Image, the MOMA, New York

PARIS.- On 30 September 1981, the French Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, Robert Badinter, successfully brought about the abolition of the death penalty in France. It had taken two hundred years of discussion to reach this point: from 1791, when Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau addressed the Constituent Assembly and called for the abolition of capital punishment. From 1791 to 1981, from the French Revolution to the present day, there had been two hundred years of passionate debate about the sense and the value of a penalty which, having once depended on the omnipotence of a god or on a king's absolute power - tempered by grace – would now only be meted out, in the philosophy of the Enlightenment, by man, and man alone. But can man be the judge of his fellow man's actions?

With a long history of dark inspiration, modern literature has resounded with these struggles, and created many, memorable criminal characters, in works ranging from Sade to Baudelaire and Barbey d'Aurevilly, from Dostoyevsky, whence the title of the exhibition, to Camus' The Outsider... The figure of the murderer, with all his negative energy and complexity, is the dark side of the hero, his ambiguous double, the part of him that transgresses and becomes all the more disturbing for being so seductive. A source of stories for magazines (from Lacenaire to Violette Nozières), and soon after, for illustrated daily newspapers, the powerful fantasy of violent crime was greatly increased through novels and the theatre. Linking murder to sexual abuse even became a must in pulp fiction and in the images this conveyed or evoked.

In fact, the contamination of the visual arts by the theme of crime, by newspaper articles, and even by images in the popular press, was another great feature of the century. There are many example of this in painting: from Prud'hon's Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime [Justice et la Vengeance divine poursuivant le Crime] to Valloton's Nemesis, from the Fualdès Affair that so fascinated Géricault, to Delacroix's Louvel, from Victor Hugo's hanged men to Warhol's electric chairs. New subjects, such as the female criminal, appeared and caught the imagination. Condemned by David, rehabilitated by Baudry, then presented once again as a dark character by Edvard Munch, Charlotte Corday joined the ranks of mythical figures, from Lady Macbeth to Lucie de Lamermoor. The issue was also raised of the relationship between madness, genius and crime, from Delacroix's prisoners to those of Egon Schiele.

artwork: Pierre-Paul Prud'hon - "Justice and Devine Vengeance" - RMN Daniel Arnaudet

The greatest painters are those whose heightened representations of crime or of capital punishment result in the most striking works. These range from Goya and Géricault to Lautrec and Picasso. Like opera, the cinema was not slow to assimilate the equivocal charms of extreme violence, transformed by its representation into something pleasurable, perhaps even into sensual pleasure.

artwork: Theatrical posters on display during the exhibition 'Crime and   Punishment' at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.At the end of the 19th century, a new theory appeared purporting to establish a scientific approach to the criminal mind. It was Lombroso - 2009 marks the two hundredth anniversary of his death – who developed this school of anthropology, setting out not only the character traits he claimed were found in criminals, but also the physiological features, like stigmata, all transmitted genetically, in his view, through atavism. Acceptance of this theory also decriminalised the individual to some extent and criminalised his social class and then his race, or at least made them open to scientific investigation, the procedures for which Bertillon would later develop. This theory of anthropology concluded that a man whose fate is preordained by his anatomy, could not be held fully accountable. Theories such as these would have a considerable influence on images in painting, sculpture and photography.

As a regular visitor to the courts, like Daumier whom he greatly admired, Degas liked to examine and decipher the faces of the accused, hoping to detect the " science" of the criminologists. And his little Rat in a tutu (The adolescent corps de ballet at the Paris Opera were known as petits rats), far from being an innocent young girl, is a dangerous, plague-mongering animal. Sexual violence also haunted Degas; it could well have led to the excesses of Neo Baroque freneticism in Cézanne's early works; it then appeared in Picasso's work, before finding its full expression in the works of Dix, Grosz and the later works of Munch.

Finally we should remember that the motif of the gibbet, the garrotte and the guillotine was ever-present, even though architects were creating panoptic designs for prisons where the individual could be observed at any time. For several years now, a new issue has arisen in relation to crime and punishment: the crime of passion, the compulsive crime of the serial killer, should they be subject to psychiatric investigation and commitment to an asylum, or to the judgement of the court and imprisonment? Beyond crime, there is still the perpetual problem of Evil, and beyond social circumstances, metaphysical anxiety. Art, particularly art between 1820 and1920, can provide a spectacular expression of this. The aesthetic of violence and the violence of the aesthetic - the exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay aims to bring them together through music, literature and a wide range of images. Visit :

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Posted: 22 Jun 2012 07:06 PM PDT

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