Paul Klee: Swiss? or German?

Paul Klee was born in 1879, in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, and grew up within a family of musicians. Instead of following his musical roots he chose to study art at the Munich Academy. However, his childhood love of music always remained important in his life and work.

In 1911, Klee met Alexej Jawlensky, Wassily Kandinsky, August Macke , Franz Marc , and other avant-garde figures and participated in important shows of avant-garde art, including the second Blaue Reiter exhibition at Galerie Hans Goltz, Munich, in 1912.

Paul Klee , Red and White Domes, 1914-15. Watercolour on Japanese Vellum. 14.6 x 13.7 cm. Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen , Duesseldorf, Germany

Primitive art, Surrealism and Cubism, all seem blended into his small-scale, delicate paintings of fantasy and satire. Klee’s art was also distinguished by an extraordinary diversity and technical innovation, with one of his most effective techniques being oil transfer. This involved the artist drawing with a sharp point on the reverse of a sheet coated in oil paint and laid down over another sheet.

Paul Klee , In the Quarry, 1913. Watercolour on paper mounted on cardboard, 22.3 x 35.2 cm. Klee Foundation, Kunstmuseum Bern
Paul Klee , Villa R, 1919. Oil on panel, 26 x 22 cm. Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel , Switzerland

Markings and smudges of pigment appeared as a side effect of the process but it meant Klee achieved, for many of his works, the effect of a “ghostly” impression. Klee was a teacher at the Bauhaus, Germany’s most advanced art school, from 1920 to 1931 and immensely productive.

Paul Klee , The Goldfish, 1925. Oil and watercolour on paper mounted on cardboard, 49.6 x 69.2 cm. Hamburger Kunsthalle , Hamburg, Germany

Finally, the seizure of power by the National Socialists drove him and his wife to leave Germany for his native Switzerland. Klee’s later works, in which simplified, archaic forms dominate, show a preoccupation with mortality. Klee died in 1940, after a long period of illness.

Expressionism , Paul KleeKunstsammlung Nordrhein-WestfalenWassily KandinskyAugust MackeFranz Marc , Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-WestfalenKunstmuseum BernÖffentliche Kunstsammlung BaselHamburger Kunsthalle , Parkstone InternationalArt , Painting , Ebook Gallery, Image-Bar, Amazon Australia , Amazon Italy, Amazon Japan , Amazon China , Amazon India , Amazon Mexico , Amazon UK , Amazon Canada, Amazon SpainAmazon France , Amazon Germany , Kobo , Douban , Google books , iTunes , Proquest , Scribd

 

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莫奈:寻找新的光(第二部分)

在生活中的艰难困顿中,莫奈和其他印象派画家都受到了朋友们的资助。印象主义者的朋友并不是很多,但是他们慷慨解囊,买下印象派的作品,为印象主义者提供了物质上的支持;更加重要的是,他们也带来了温暖的友谊。业余画家古斯塔夫·凯勒博特(Gustave Caillebotte)便是其中之一,他家境富裕,多次参与印象派的展出。巴黎歌剧院的男中音Jean-Baptiste Faur购买了马奈和其他印象主义者的画作,其中包括了许多莫奈的绘画作品。巴黎的市政官员Victor Chocque只要资金充裕,就会购买印象主义者的画作。Gachet博士也拥有不少莫奈及其友人的作品,他视为珍宝。《艺术时刻》(L’Art de la Mode)的出资人监编辑Ernest Hoschédé在购买了印象派作品之后,还会邀请画家去他的庄园做客。1876年7月,马奈在Hoschédé家中度假两周。Hoschédé的庄园位于巴黎南部的蒙日龙,马奈回赠了Hoschédé一些装饰画板,用来装饰他家城堡的主会客室。

克劳德·莫奈,《午餐》,装饰面板,1868年。油画布,160 x 201厘米。奥赛博物馆,巴黎。

装饰绘画对于莫奈来说并不是一个全新的领域。这些巨幅的方形帆布画不过是印象主义作品的扩大版,因为这种尺寸不太适合户外作画。莫奈在工作室研究作品,但是他的装饰画仍然具有户外写生的特点(蒙日龙花园的一角)。灌木花草由于在帆布的下缘而被裁剪,可以看到池塘里明亮的蓝色。这并不是古典风格的绘画,而是一种随机的选择。莫奈的另一幅作品是树荫下的池塘,池塘的面积占据了画面高度的2/3(池塘也位于蒙日龙)。眼睛几乎很难辨认出,树下有位女士拿着鱼竿,另一位女士则躺在草坪上,还有两人在走向远方。莫奈几乎推翻了所有古典主义的空中视角规则。

在1877年的第三次印象派展览中,莫奈首次展出了一系列的画作:圣拉扎尔火车站的七个场景。他从他所创作的十二幅车站主题的绘画中选出了七幅,其主题不仅与马奈的《铁路》相吻合,也有莫奈特色的阿让特伊的火车和站台,体现了铁路首次出现之后的趋势。

莫奈,《花园里的妇女》,油画布,255 x 205厘米。奥赛博物馆,巴黎。

19世纪70年代末是莫奈生活中最困难的时期。 1878年,莫奈一家不得不离开阿让特伊。尽管有朋友的资助,莫奈的经济状况仍然持续恶化。他仍然在塞纳河畔继续作画,他还发现了维特依,是一个离他不远的美丽的小镇。莫奈,Alice Hoschédé和她的六个孩子在1878年的时候搬到了维特依。孩子中最小的一个Jean-Pierre,几乎与Michel Monet同时出生。甚至有人猜测他是莫奈的儿子,因为在蒙特龙留宿过之后,他和Alice的关系便非常亲密了。1881年Hoschédé要求爱丽丝回来,但是为时已晚。莫奈非常高兴,将她的孩子视为己出。但是由于他们时常经济上困顿,于是被迫搬到了距离Vétheuil不远的Poissy。

莫奈的房子边儿上,有一个充满开花向日葵的花园。阳光穿过花园,照射在莫奈的帆布画上。虽然莫奈的作品并没有许多静物画,但他无法抗拒在花瓶中绘制向日葵花束的诱惑(纽约大都会艺术博物馆)。在他的笔刷下,黄色的花朵奇迹般地变成了阳光。 1879年卡米尔死亡。莫奈把她画在她的死亡之上,即使在他生命中的这样一个悲惨的时刻也无法抗拒色彩的倾注。在此期间,他经常画诺曼底,探索其美丽的海港:Fécamp,Dieppe和Varengeville。他每次都离开几个月,绘画的主题有时候让他离家很远。 1883年12月,莫奈和雷诺阿一起前往普罗旺斯,之后又去了热那亚。无论他在哪里工作,莫奈都没有忘记他的家人。但是,直到1 992年Ernest Hoschédé死后,他们的家庭生活都并不幸福。Alice和莫奈最终于1892年7月16日在吉维尼结为伉俪。

莫奈,1880年,《艺术家花园》,油画布,151.5 x 121厘米。国家美术馆,华盛顿特区。

在十年前的吉维尼,莫奈买了一座房子,系列绘画创作成为莫奈的主要工作之一。三十年后,他叙述了他是如何达成的。 “我画了一些吸引我眼球的干草堆,这是一个很棒的系列,距离这里也很近。有一天我注意到我的光线已经改变了。我对我的继女说:‘如果可以的话, 去房子里再给我那块画来。’她带了画布给我,但不久之后,它又不同了。另一块画布!还要一块!除非我有效果,否则我不会工作,就这样实现了”。干草堆成了他的工作中几乎无限的系列。他绘画了初夏绿草地上的干草堆,也画过冬雪覆盖的绿草堆。

在1892年,莫奈到鲁昂旅行。由于他不得不在鲁昂呆上一段时间,。他租了一间面向着名的哥特式大教堂的房间。他开始从他的窗户画大教堂,白天的,黑夜的,各种天气下的。雾蒙蒙的天气中阳光照射进来,大教堂似乎要在朦胧的热气中融化了。他的边缘开始模糊,建筑颜色明亮,几乎都要透明了。夜幕降临,蓝色的阴影渐深渐浓,哥特式花丝石雕在辉煌之中呈现。在现实中,莫奈的创作主题根根就不是鲁昂大教堂,而是诺曼底的光线和空气。创作的结果便是真正的色彩交响乐。至今为止,从来未有如此之艺术。在1895年的春天,莫奈进行了一次个人展览,展出了二十种不同的鲁昂大教堂。

英文系列画是莫奈绘画大气层的自然演变。莫奈在十九世纪末启程去伦敦,在二十世纪初,他创作了一系列的泰晤士河为主题的作品。滑铁卢桥系列41号帆布画,国会系列19号帆布画都是其中翘楚。莫奈现在明确地将著名的伦敦雾作为他作品的唯一主题。

莫奈最后的旅行中有一次是他于与Alice在1908年一起前往威尼斯。莫奈心情不好,甚至不想工作,他说威尼斯一切都太美了。尽管如此,与往常一样,他允许大自然来诱惑他。他在威尼斯的作品中充斥着振动的色彩。阳光柔软地反射在运河的水面上,沿着水面滑行,并在潮湿的阴霾中褪色,模糊地形成了教堂的形状。

在20世纪90年代,莫奈的生活充满了热情。他在吉维尼创作了自己的花园,因为他已经投入了系列作品的创作中。莫奈自己画了池塘的形状和横跨池塘的小桥梁。他画了大量的花园景观,对莫奈而言,花园成了一个真正的诱惑。当然,他最爱的主题是睡莲。

莫奈在1926年12月6日于吉维尼去世,他是印象主义画家中最长寿的一位。莫奈在1905年的秋季沙龙上看过马蒂斯和“矮子”,在1907年,他目睹了毕加索立体派的出现。他的儿子死于1914年,他目送自己的儿子去第一次世界大战的战场。他阅读过安德烈·布列塔尼发表的超现实主义宣言。我们可以看到,在莫奈的晚年,他已经不是一个印象主义者了。他仍然画睡莲,但是和他一贯的风格背道而驰了。画笔更粗了,闪烁的灯光黯淡下去,画面也暗了下去。这幅作品几乎是抽象的。但是在睡莲前,人们丧失了有关画布和色彩的感觉。自然的呼吸在印象派画家这里是如此的强烈,只有一个印象主义者才能创作出来。

 

更多阅读:当当京东,亚马逊,Parkstone International

George Grosz: Marshal Propaganda

George Grosz, who spent much of his childhood in a small town in the German province of Pomerania, was fascinated by big cities. Those that gripped his imagination most were the biggest and most frenetic – above all, Berlin and New York. He made Berlin his home until the rise of Nazism made Germany unbearable, but he dreamt of America, his youthful imagination fired by stories of cowboys and gold diggers. Grosz’s early work, made during the First World War, is his most “Expressionist”. His drawings and paintings of alienated individuals, rioting masses, furtive criminals, prostitutes and (very real) brutal mass violence are staged in the streets, tenements and back alleys of Berlin.

George Grosz , Metropolis, 1917. Oil on paperboard, 68 x 47.5 cm. Museum of Modern Art , New York
George Grosz , Suicide, 1916. Oil on canvas, 100 x 77.6 cm. Tate Gallery, London

He also absorbed some of the Italian Futurists’ dynamic, energy-laden compositional devices so well suited to conveying the more spectacular effects of modernity – electric lighting, mass transport and the surging movement of urban crowds. Described by a Dadaist colleague, Hans Richter, as a “savage boxer, fighter and hater,” Grosz became a key figure in the Berlin Dada movement. His pugnacious nature, his fearlessly irreverent sense for the absurd and dark humour were fuel for Dada’s political momentum as well as its anti-art stance. These aspects of Grosz, which infuse much of his work, made him resistant to many of the more literary, romantic and utopian aspects of Expressionism.

George Grosz , Sun Eclipse, 1926. Oil on canvas, 200 x 184 cm. Huntington Museum , New York
George Grosz , Beauty, Thee Will I Praise, 1919. Watercolour, pen and indian ink, 42 x 30.3 cm. Galerie Nierendorf , Berlin

However, what Grosz undeniably shares with Expressionist contemporaries is a fascinating sensitivity to the intoxicating life pulse and dynamism of the city. In 1933, to escape Nazi persecution, he emigrated with his wife to America. In 1959 he finally returned to Berlin, only to die barely a month later after a highspirited night out on the town.

ExpressionismGeorge Grosz , Museum of Modern Art , Tate Gallery ,  Huntington Museum , Galerie NierendorfParkstone InternationalArt , Painting , Ebook Gallery, Image-Bar, Amazon Australia , Amazon Italy, Amazon Japan , Amazon China , Amazon India , Amazon Mexico , Amazon UK , Amazon Canada, Amazon SpainAmazon France , Amazon Germany , Kobo , Douban , Google books , iTunes , Proquest , Scribd

Max Beckmann: The More Often We Die, The More Alive We Are

Max Beckmann was born in Leipzig. As a student in the cradle of Germany’s Enlightenment, Weimar, he read avidly the works of Schopenhauer and became interested in Kant, Hegel and Nietzsche. Having graduated in 1903, he painted his early canvases in Paris. Cézanne particularly impressed him.

Beckmann’s own early work was in a broadly Impressionist mode and could sometimes be quite traditional in its composition and treatment of historical or monumental subjects. Beckmann retained through his life an instinctive feel for the art of the past, gravitating towards images and epochs in which he saw powerful and simple expression. As his own distinctive style developed, this took the form especially of a creative engagement with the art of the Middle Ages and the Northern Renaissance.

Synagogue in Frankfurt-am-Main, 1919. Oil on canvas, 90 x 140 cm.
Städtischen Kunstinstitut , Francfort-am-Main.

Beckmann remained aloof from Expressionism’s core groupings and the impassioned programmes they issued. In many ways he was never a true “Expressionist”. However, his work between the war years and the mid-1920s constitutes a major contribution to avant-garde German art and to the development – and decline – of Expressionism. Beckmann produced some of his most important work in the form of self-portraiture. The relatively naturalistic Selbstbildnis als Krankenpfleger (Self-Portrait as Medical Orderly) is an early example.

Self-Portrait as Medical Orderly, 1915. Oil on canvas, 55.5 x 38.5 cm. Von der Heyt Museum , Wuppertal

Beckmann painted it during the war, in 1915 when he worked for the Red Cross at the Belgian Front. His letters home to his first wife, Minna, reveal that he was fascinated by the comings and goings in the hospitals, overwhelmed by the flood of impressions and experiences on which he felt his art could “gorge itself ”.

However, by July of 1915, the intensity of war had become too much. Beckmann suffered a serious nervous breakdown and was discharged. In 1919, in the aftermath of the war, Beckmann visited Berlin. This was in March, at the height of the street fighting between revolutionaries and Freikorps. He responded to the chaos and violence in Germany’s cities with two of his most significant works of the period: his painting Die Nacht (The Night), and the portfolio of large lithographs entitled Die Hölle (Hell).

The Night, 1918-1919. Oil on canvas, 133 x 154 cm, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen , Düsseldorf

The “darkness” of his vision and the blackness of his humour as he surveyed contemporary Germany is inescapable in both works. The title page of Die Hölle has Beckmann – wearing a kind of jester’s collar – in a fairground booth. A signcuminscription announces that “Hell” promises us “a great spectacle in ten pictures”. Berlin had become a hellish and tawdry circus of the macabre. The first of the print series is Der Nachhauseweg (The Way Home.) It shows Beckmann himself, accompanied by a large black dog, conversing on the night streets with a disfigured soldier.

Here, as on other sheets, he uses the device of allowing elements in the picture (his shoulder, the dog’s lolling tongue) to extend beyond the picture’s confines. This amplifies the sense that his series of vignettes are real windows onto a contemporary hell. Subsequent sheets reveal the city as a place of fighting, hunger, torture and chaos.

ExpressionismMax BeckmannThe Museum of Modern ArtVon der Heyt MuseumVon der Heyt Museum , Städtischen Kunstinstitut , Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen , Parkstone InternationalArt , Painting , Ebook Gallery, Image-Bar, Amazon Australia , Amazon Italy, Amazon Japan , Amazon China , Amazon India , Amazon Mexico , Amazon UK , Amazon Canada, Amazon SpainAmazon France , Amazon Germany , Kobo , Douban , Google books , iTunes , Proquest , Scribd

[Part 5/6] Expressionism: Make Love, Not War

When war broke out in Europe in the summer of 1914, four years of battle and years more of devastating crises lay ahead. One of Marc’s paintings that articulates a grim anticipation of war and foresees its origins in South-Eastern Europe was Das arme Land Tirol (The Unfortunate Land of Tirol) of 1913. In the same year he painted a pack of wolves and subtitled the work Balkankrieg (Balkan War). Ernst Barlach sculpted a furious, hurtling avenging angel just as the hostilities commenced. Yet in spite of a tide of apocalyptic prophecies, few could imagine the cold reality of modern, technological warfare, in “this endless, loveless war” as Marc was calling it by 1915 in a letter from the Front.

Franz Marc , Tyrol, 1914. Oil on canvas, 135.7 x 144.7 cm. Staatsgalerie Moderne Kunst , Munich

Dix was one of the most prolific artists of war. He was also a prodigious soldier. He served on both the Western and Eastern Fronts, throughout wartime, and was awarded the Iron Cross. In the latter months of the war he trained as a pilot. Dix took two books with him into battle: the Bible and a volume of Nietzsche.

When the fighting had been over for some years, he returned to the subject and his memories of it. He produced a masterly graphic cycle, Der Krieg (The War), in 1924 in the tradition of Goya’s Disasters of War. He painted monumental panels in the 1920s and early 1930s in the manner of medieval altarpieces. Taken together, this wide range of works encompasses a richness and diversity of war experience from the horrific to the banal, the tragic to the absurd.

Otto Dix, The War (Artillery), 1914. Oil on cardboard, 98 x 69 cm. Kunstmuseum , Dusseldorf

Dix painted himself as a soldier several times. In his 1914 self-portrait (on the reverse of which is another self-portrait, in a spiked artillery helmet), he appears as a pugnacious, thuggish figure, painted in the reds of the planet Mars – planet of war. His shaven head, thrusting forwards, is all male strength and carnal brutality. “14 DIX” marks the date and subject like a tattoo, piece of graffiti or a serial number. The effect of powerful physicality is doubly dramatized in the thick, gestural marks of the brush and smeared paint on paper.

An image of undifferentiated and undecorated masculinity in war came from Kirchner in 1915. In his Artillerymen, a crowd of naked soldiers, thin, sallow and strangely vulnerable are bombarded by steely jets of water from the communal shower. The officer to the right in uniform and jackboots creates a presence that both emphasizes the men’s’ nakedness, stripped of military regalia, and underlines these soldiers’ complete subjugation to authority.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Artillerymen, 1915. Oil on canvas, 140.5 x 152 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Beckmann volunteered for service as a medical orderly in order to avoid going into armed combat. He too was fascinated by war at the outset, but according to a friend, he said: “I’m not going to shoot at the French, I have learnt so much from them. Nor at the Russians, Dostoyevski is my friend”.

Kollwitz was a committed pacifist. She dreamt of Socialism as the answer to Europe’s suffering. Her son Peter was killed in the fighting. Mourning his death and the loss of millions of others, Kollwitz came to see the war years not only as “unspeakably hard” but also as a “terrible deception”.

After the war, inspired by the example of her friend and colleague Barlach, she created a moving cycle of seven woodcuts, titled Der Krieg (The War). They focus on the bereavement and suffering inflicted on ordinary people in war. In the second of them, Die Freiwilligen (The Volunteers), she envisages a surging crowd of young volunteers and the suffering, howling women from whom they are being pulled, inexorably towards destruction, by death as a drummer.

Grosz despised the war. Refusing to blame it only on the ruling classes, he reviled too, the mass hysteria that had fuelled it. He suffered a mental breakdown as a result of the horrors he witnessed and lived in terror of re-conscription. His bitterly ironic drawing, KV: The Faith Healers is a damning indictment of the insanity of war, the inhumanity of the bureaucratic war machine, and the absurdity of its processes. A jovial military doctor examines a bespectacled corpse, already in a state of advanced decay. His pronouncement is “KV”, “kriegsverwendungsfähig”, or “fit for active service”. With his characteristic economy of line and sharpness of wit, Grosz lines up for ridicule all the figures that embody the worst of military culture. Flat-headed generals enjoy a joke and a cigar in the foreground, ignoring the examination. Meek desk-bound pen-pushers record and officiate the process.

After the war was over, Dix depicted the officer ranks of the German army as degenerate and animalistic. In Memories of the Mirrored Halls in Brussels, a flushed, decorated soldier gropes a fleshy, falsely smiling prostitute.

Otto Dix, Memories of the Mirrored Halls in Brussels, 1920.

Dix exploits the disorientating, kaleidoscopic effects of a chamber that is mirrored on all sides – including floor and ceiling – for several purposes. The mirror facets reflect from multiple angles the different stages and positions of their erotic wrestling. The general appears to be drinking a toast, in selfcongratulation, to his own reflection…

ExpressionismFranz MarcErnst Ludwig KirchnerOtto DixKollwitz , Staatsgalerie Moderne KunstKunstmuseumSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum , Parkstone InternationalArt , Painting , Ebook Gallery, Image-Bar, Amazon Australia , Amazon Italy, Amazon Japan , Amazon China , Amazon India , Amazon Mexico , Amazon UK , Amazon Canada, Amazon SpainAmazon France , Amazon Germany , Kobo , Douban , Google books , iTunes , Proquest , Scribd

Book on Cezanne

THE BOOK: CEZANNE

Discover the work of Paul Cézanne, whose exploration of technique and form defined the Post-Impressionism movement in painting and set the artistic stage for the advent of Cubism. His bold use of strong colours influenced artists for generations to come and continues to surprise and delight us today. Mega Square offers a compact guide to this important French painter – the perfect gift for any art enthusiast.

BOOK SPECIFICATIONS

Author: Nathalia Brodskaya
Mega Square collection,
145 x 162 mm / 5.7 x 6.4 in.,
256 pages,
c. 120 illustrations.
Hardcover with dust jacket.

Book on Gauguin

THE BOOK: GAUGUIN

Gauguin invites the reader to follow the visionary painter Paul Gauguin
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Gauguin’s work.

BOOK SPECIFICATIONS