Friday, June 2, 2017

Handmade Figure-Images from the early 20th century

Guy Pène du Bois (USA)
The Confidence-man
oil on panel
Brooklyn Museum

Kolomon Moser (Austria)
The Wayfarer
ca. 1914
oil on canvas
Leopold Museum, Vienna

"The creation of visual art is a contest with nature, not a desire for interchangeability with nature.  Man can never produce a perfect illusion or counterfeit of nature.  This is true with regard not only to animate natural beings, whose life breath the human creator cannot infuse into dead matter, but even to the shapes of dead matter itself.  If a crystal were to be artificially reproduced with the most meticulous accuracy, for example, microscopic investigation would still instantly reveal the arrangement of its most minuscule parts to be incompatible with those of a natural crystal.  Even in those works of art that strive explicitly to mimic the superficial impression of natural appearances (Impressionist landscape paintings, for instance) the desire for illusion is not an end in itself.  Rather, it is a means to accomplish the primary aesthetic goal: to demonstrate man's ability to conjure up a particular visual effect of nature. In so doing, the work of art does not seek to replicate actual nature  on the contrary; if the work were not immediately recognizable as a product of human hands, it would lose its entire purpose. Behind every work of art, then, we must presuppose the presence of a work of nature (or several such) with which the work of art is designed to compete.  It must be stressed that the human creator need not be conscious of that intent."

 from Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts, a course of lectures delivered by Aloïs Riegl in 1899 at the University of Vienna, translated by Jacqueline E. Jung and published in English by Zone Books in 2004

Ferdinand Hodler (Switzerland)
The Sacred Hour
ca. 1902-16
oil on canvas
Cincinnati Art Museum

Jean-Louis Forain (France)
Backstage―Symphony in Blue
before 1923
oil on panel
Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Japan

Eugène Jansson (Sweden)
oil on canvas
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Lovis Corinth (Germany)
oil on canvas
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

Childe Hassam (USA)
April (The Green Gown)
oil on canvas
Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina

Edvard Munch (Norway)
Consul Christen Sandberg
oil on canvas
Munch Museum, Oslo

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (Germany)
Seated woman in studio
pastel and ink on paper
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Carl Fredrik Hill (Sweden)
before 1911
crayon and coal on paper
Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden

Max Klinger (Germany)
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

Wilhelm Lehmbruck (Germany)
Standing youth
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

Georg Pauli (Sweden)
Mens sana in corpore sano
oil on canvas
Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden

Thomas Wilmer Dewing (USA)
Lady in Gold
ca. 1912
oil on canvas
Brooklyn Museum


I have had my dream  like others 
and it has come to nothing, so that
I remain now carelessly
with feet planted on the ground
and look up at the sky 
feeling my clothes about me,
the weight of my body in my shoes,
the rim of my hat, air passing in and out
at my nose  and decide to dream no more.

 William Carlos Williams (1921)