Frauke Josenhans blogs "the work of three female artists who played a crucial role in the birth and evolution of Expressionism in the early 20th century" - Paula Modersohn-Becker, Gabriele Münter, and Marianne Werefkin. Works by all three are on view in the exhibition Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) (through September 14, 2014).
Anja Foerschner blogs about Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Apocalypse drawings which will be on view in the exhibition World War I: War of Images, Images of War in the Getty Research Institute Galleries from November 18, 2014 – April 19, 2015.
Foerschner writes: "The story of Revelation, as the Apocalypse is described in the bible, became a popular topic in European art. Many artists, including Otto Dix and Max Beckmann, addressed the theme of the apocalypse in a metaphorical way. German artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, however, approached the theme in a literal way. Kirchner’s miniature drawings of the Revelation from 1917 mirror not only his own hopes and fears, but that of an entire generation of modern artists at the beginning of the 20th century... In 1917, he created 11 drawings of the Apocalypse on the back of cigarette boxes and a Self-Portrait with Death, which precedes the series and reveals it to be deeply personal. These tiny watercolors—each only 2 ½ inches high—were bound into an album that is now held in the Special Collections of the Getty Research Institute."
McNay writes: "For Kerkovius, who is probably best known for her intensely rich pastel drawings, the two most important aspects of her work were always colour and form. She spoke frankly about her avoidance of details, saying they might destroy the overall composition, but recognising that some larger shapes nonetheless needed to be included. Learning from, and working alongside, Expressionists and abstract painters, she nevertheless kept figuration alive in her oeuvre, simplifying but not overlooking forms altogether. 'Pictures should be like a view from the window,' she once said, and she was also clear that every work, including her tapestries, must present a completed picture. Kerkovius learned to work in the open air and insisted on continuing this practice to the bitter end, often sitting outdoors in the hot sun for hours at a time, pastels in one hand, paper on a board on her knee."
Halasz writes that in Nolde's painting Phantasie (Drei Köpfe): "Everything is very definitively outlined. This is the only painting in the show whose label concedes it was made with graphite and ink in addition to watercolor. But the precise details of the outlines – and the way that they almost miraculously cleave to the edges of the different color areas in the painting – contrast with the common claims of the German Expressionists – and particularly with the claims of Die Brücke – that their art was made quickly and freely, that it was not only 'expressive' but 'spontaneous.' Expressive, I entirely agree. But spontaneous? To me, it’s pretty obvious that after the first fine careless rapture, a lot of care and dedication went into making these little pictures as perfect as possible."
Robert Cicetti reviews the exhibition George Grosz in Germany, curated by Karen Wilkin, on view at the New York Studio School Gallery through January 4, 2014.
Cicetti writes: "Grosz’s deranged yet graceful pen work might first appear as the aping of primitive or outsider art, but it is not merely an artistic affection. His cross-sectional surveying of a scene, marked by intersecting lines, suggests a sustained observation of a subject over time; despite looking like cartoons, they are not imaginary. Grosz’s fluid composition has added fluency in the era of the moving picture — his work unfolds across the paper. Harsh variance in line thickness, suggesting a depth-of-field, further emphasizes a cinematic perspective. In many works Grosz’s seemingly inexpert handling of facial features, the eyes and mouth in particular, gives each subject a distinct personality; however, his rendering of hands is most telling of all."
Arena rock power chords stir memories of Neo-Expressionist paintings for painter Ken Weathersby.
Weathersby writes: "As there is something signaling excess, even hinting at chaos in an overdriven distorted guitar on the edge of feedback, so there is in the touch of a gigantic brush dripping with a giant blob of mottled oil color. Each contains potential worlds within itself-- and each can present a virtuosic dishing out of monumental forms, fat floating slabs for the ears or the eyes. In both cases the expression is a presumption of intensity and power deployed. In both cases the awareness of the touch of a creating hand invites one to identify and emulate by miming a swinging gesture of a brush, or a thrash at an air guitar. It’s a seductive image of mastery, full of grandiosity."
A report on an interesting group of six recently discovered murals by Otto Dix.
The article notes that "Dix most likely made the artwork for a Karneval, or Mardi Gras, celebration on Feb. 19, 1966. In total there are six major pieces and painted door frames. The drawings include a monster, whose appendages each play a different instrument in a jazz band; figures from the region's traditional carnival festival; and scenes from the 1958 movie 'The Horse's Mouth,' in which Alec Guinness plays a painter. Previously, only small painting in the entry to the cellar that had apparently been done at the same time were known."
De Jong writes: "Unlike his friend Baselitz, whose career has attained stratospheric success, Schönebeck is little known outside of his native Germany, and according to David Nolan Gallery, this is his first exhibition in New York City. The thirty odd drawings and several paintings have a gritty, Germanic character, clearly in line with the Expressionist’s trauma that originated out of Germany’s first national tragedy, World War I. The pen and ink drawings display both a direct tachiste approach as well as a conscientious social satire. The paintings have a dirty, mixed in color quality that is reminiscent of early Baselitz and a representational-gestural approach in line with Lovis Corinth."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.