Friday, October 7, 2016


We’ve all seen the classic young lady or old hag optical illusion, but these oil paintings by Oleg Shuplyak are on a whole other level. Famous faces emerge from seemingly normal landscape backgrounds, leaving viewers double taking each piece to fully understand the different perspectives. In some instances the faces are what the eye recognizes first and stepping back, the smaller details that make up the face can be appreciated. Other times the eye is drawn to the landscape and finding the face is more of a challenge.
Shuplyak, who was born in the Ukraine on September 23, 1967, studied architecture at the Lviv Polytechnic Institute, although painting was always his passion. His background in architecture helped him create the captivating illusions he is now famous for. Challenge yourself to see how many faces can you recognize then check out more of his work in Optical Spy’s gallery.

Join Linda Fisler for the next Art Chat as she welcomes Steven DaLuz for this exciting art discussion on exploring our imaginations when creating art!
Steven is an artist known for figurative works and imagined landscapes, employing a process he devised using metal leaf, oil and mixed media. His paintings often reflect upon the sublime and the expressive beauty of the human figure. We’ll chat with Steven about his process, how he employs his imagination to stretch his vision of the final work and also a little bit about the technique and tools he uses.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Northeast's tallest peak temporarily relocates to the Currier Museum of Art in New Hampshire

MANCHESTER, NH.- A persistent, often fierce wind blows across the barren stone peak that is Mount Washington. Above the tree line very little grows, and yet there’s always life here, as scientists, tourists and adventurers share the 6,288-foot mountain. For more than two centuries, the Northeast’s highest summit has captured the American imagination. Mount Washington: The Crown of New England, on view at the Currier Museum of Art from October 1, 2016 through January 16, 2017, brings together for the first time many of the most important early images of the Mount Washington region and it returns Albert Bierstadt’s monumental 10-foot-wide painting, The Emerald Pool (1870), to New England for the first time since it was painted.

The exhibition includes 40 paintings and a rich selection of historic prints, vintage photographs, scientific reports and guidebooks that helped make Mount Washington an international symbol of the American wilderness and its scenic wonders. The Crown of New England is a gorgeous love letter to the Northeast’s tallest mountain, and one of the largest exhibitions presented by the Currier.

“People are fascinated by the beauty and majesty of Mount Washington, and for good reason,” said Andrew Spahr, Currier director of collections and exhibitions. “This exhibition will present major paintings by Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and John Kensett (1816-1872) that helped alter the course of American art in the 19th century as well as prints, photographs and early guide books that made the region one of the most popular tourist attractions in America in the mid-1800s.”

The Art of Mount Washington
Images of the White Mountains began appearing in the early 1820s, but it was the paintings of Thomas Cole that first attracted the larger artistic community. Cole’s View in the White Mountains (1827) pictured a snowcapped Mount Washington rising above a verdant valley, the peak silhouetted against dark clouds. The image was infused with a sense of national pride, the mountain’s rough, craggy pinnacle named after America’s first national hero, represented a strong, confident America that could weather any storm.

The tremendous artistic potential of Mount Washington was fully realized in the early 1850s. New Hampshire-born artist Benjamin Champney (1817-1907) and New York painter John Kensett spent several weeks during the summer of 1850 sketching in and around North Conway. Their summer sketches were later worked up as oils for exhibition in New York and Boston, to strong critical acclaim. Kensett’s Mount Washington from the Valley of Conway (1851), became well known through a popular engraving of the time. In turn, these works of art helped boost tourism in the region, especially among individuals seeking adventures away from the city.

During the 1840s and 1850s, the region was also the subject of some of the first landscape photographs ever taken. These images were in some cases experiments with the newly invented and in others served as souvenirs of visits to the scenic White Mountains, further promoting the area. Soon, the availability of accommodations near Crawford and Pinkham Notch, the Conway Valley and eventually atop the mountain, meant artists, scientists and adventurous tourists could spend more time exploring the area.

The Science of Mount Washington
Mount Washington is known internationally for being the home of the world’s worst weather. It regularly records winds that can change from a light breeze to hurricane strength within hours. One wicked 231 mph wind in April 1934 retains the world record for highest wind ever observed on land. Artists often worked together in partnership with scientists, botanists, geologists and meteorologists, who needed accurate yet evocative images that would help bring their research to life visually. Text-based descriptions were enlivened with drawings, some reproduced using the newly invented mediums chromolithography and photography. Artists, many of whom studied sciences such as geology, in turn benefitted from understanding the specific processes that shaped the White Mountain landscape, giving them a more accurate sense of the scenes they committed to paper or canvas.

The exhibition includes 146 works of art and related historical objects, presented in mostly chronological order across all three of the Museum’s special exhibition galleries. It begins with the first major paintings and prints of the region, dating back to 1827.

The exhibition concludes with a dramatic presentation of Bierstadt’s The Emerald Pool, much as it would have been displayed in late-19th century venues as it toured the United States and Europe. The painting won a medal at the International Exposition in Vienna in 1873.

A fascinating interactive space will offer visitors of all ages opportunities to explore the art and science of the region. It will include displays of real-time weather conditions atop Mount Washington, as well as incredible videos taken from the summit, thanks to our collaboration with the Mount Washington Observatory in North Conway, N.H. Visitors can view stereographs, make art, read colorful tales of the region from period guidebooks and the exhibition includes a fun family guide.

Largest-ever retrospective in the Netherlands of Jean Tinguely opens at the Stedelijk Museum

AMSTERDAM.- Swiss artist Jean Tinguely (1925–1991) is famous for his playful, boldly kinetic machines and explosive performances. Everything had to be different, everything had to move. Precisely twenty-five years after his death, on October 1st, the Stedelijk opens a Tinguely retrospective: the largest-ever exhibition of the artist to be mounted in a Dutch museum. With over a hundred machine sculptures, most of which are in working order, paired with films, photos, drawings, and archive materials, the presentation takes the public on a chronological and thematic journey of Tinguely’s artistic development and ideas, from his love of absurd play to his fascination for destruction and ephemerality.

The presentation features his early wire sculptures and reliefs, in which Tinguely imitated and animated the abstract paintings of artists such as Malevich, Miró, and Klee; the interactive drawing machines and wild dancing installations constructed from salvaged metal, waste materials, and discarded clothing; and his streamlined, military-looking black sculptures.

First-ever presentation in the Netherlands: the imposing Mengele-Totentanz installation
Tinguely’s self-destructive performances are a special feature of the Stedelijk presentation. The enormous installations Tinguely created between 1960–1970 (Homage to New York, Étude pour une fin du monde No. 1, Study for an End of the World No. 2, and La Vittoria) were designed to spectacularly disintegrate in a barrage of sound. The presentation also spotlights the exhibitions Tinguely organized at the Stedelijk, Bewogen Beweging (1961) and Dylaby (1962), and the gigantic sculptures he later produced: HON – en katedral (“SHE – a cathedral,” 1966), Crocrodrome (1977) and the extraordinary Le Cyclop (1969–1994), which is still on display outside Paris. The survey ends with a dramatic grand finale, the remarkable, room-filling installation, Mengele-Totentanz (1986), a disturbing display of light and shadow never previously shown in the Netherlands. Tinguely realized the work after witnessing a devastating fire, reclaiming objects from the ashes to piece together his installation: scorched beams, agricultural machinery (made by the Mengele company), and animal skeletons. The final piece is a gigantic memento mori, yet also an invocation of the Nazi concentration camps. Its juddering movements and piercing sounds evoke a haunting, grisly mood.

Play, interaction, spectacle!
Jean Tinguely created his work as a rejection of the static, conventional art world; he sought to emphasize play and experiment. For Tinguely, art was not about standing in a sterile white space, distantly gazing at a silent painting. He produced kinetic sculptures to set art and art history in motion, in works that animated the boundary between art and life. With his do-it-yourself drawing machines, Tinguely critiqued th
e role of the artist and the elitist position of art in society. He renounced the unicity of “the artist’s hand” by encouraging visitors to produce work themselves.

Collaboration was integral to Tinguely’s career. He worked extensively with artists like Daniel Spoerri, Niki de Saint Phalle (also his wife), Yves Klein, and others from the ZERO network, as well as museum directors such as Pontus Hultén, Willem Sandberg, and Paul Wember. Thanks to his charismatic, vibrant personality and the dazzling success with which he presented his work (and himself) in the public sphere, Tinguely was a vital figure within these networks, acting as leader, inspirator, and connector.

Relationship with Amsterdam and the Stedelijk
Amsterdam has enjoyed a dynamic history with Tinguely. The exhibitions Bewogen Beweging (1961) and Dylaby (1962), for which Tinguely was (co)curator, particularly underline the extraordinarily close relationship that sprang up between the museum and the artist. Not only did he bring his kinetic Méta machines to the Netherlands, he also brought his international, avant-garde network, leaving an enduring impression on museumgoers who flocked to see these experimental exhibitions. Close relationships with Willem Sandberg, then director of the Stedelijk Museum, and curator Ad Petersen prompted various retrospectives and acquisitions for the collection: thirteen sculptures, including his famous drawing machine, Méta-Matic No. 10 (1959), Gismo (1960), and the enormous Méta II (1971).

Masterpiece by de Kooning highlights Post-War and Contemporary Evening sale in New York

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s will present Willem de Kooning’s 1977 masterpiece, Untitled XXV, in its November 15 Evening sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art in New York. Estimated in the region of $40 million, Untitled XXV comes to the auction market for the first time since setting the world auction record for any example of Post-War Art in the very same saleroom exactly ten-years ago to the date.

Brett Gorvy, Chairman and International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “Untitled XXV is an unequivocal Abstract Expressionist tour de force. We are very proud to be unveiling this work in London, where the extraordinary international presence of the Royal Academy’s Abstract Expressionist show has been so well received. Untitled XXV is a pinnacle picture from one of the most remarkable years in de Kooning’s career. Its vivid colors and painterly dynamism come together to form a totality of expression, resulting in a consummate example of the artist’s approach to abstraction.”

Untitled XXV comes from a remarkable series of large canvases that de Kooning made in a sudden burst of activity in the mid-1970s. In the spring of 1975, a comparatively long dry spell of painterly inactivity for the artist suddenly came to an end. In a flood of creativity that lasted until 1978, de Kooning found himself once again reveling in the act of painting. Fresh and re-vitalized by his recent exploration into sculpture and rejuvenated by an ever-deepening love affair with a young woman, Emilie Kilgore, de Kooning was able to sustain this output for a period of nearly four years. "I made those paintings one after the other, no trouble at all," he said. "I couldn't miss. It's a nice feeling. It's strange. It's a man at a gambling table (who) feels that he can't lose. But when he walks away with the dough, he knows that he can't do that again.”

These years are now viewed by critics as the apex of de Kooning’s painterly oeuvre, and 1977 a particular highpoint amongst them. The celebrated critic, David Sylvester called this year de Kooning’s annus mirabilis, writing that the works from 1977 “belong with the paintings made at the same age by artists such as Monet and Renoir and Bonnard and, of course, Titian.”

The artist’s surroundings are often attributed in part to the fruitfulness of this period. When he had first moved to the Springs on Long Island, de Kooning had enjoyed the unique landscape of the area and this in many ways had entered and informed his work. However, in the mid-'70s he became increasingly preoccupied with his immediate environment, its light and topography as well as, in particular, the wateriness of the landscape around a spot called Louse Point.

At Louse Point, de Kooning spent hours observing the water and its effects. He became captivated by the shimmering surface of water and its ability to reflect and merge the imagery of the land, sky, figures and itself in a constantly shifting abstract surface of color and form. It was this mercurial effect that he began again to try to emulate in his paintings, attempting to translate these relationships into the equally fluid but more materially substantial and plastic medium of paint.

Untitled XXV is a joyous and heavily material painterly expression. Layer after layer of painted form and color is built up and overlaid within the square canvas to maintain a dynamic and tenuous balance. Somehow rooted in nature yet seemingly absent of any figurative appearance, the painting articulates a landscape of painterly form brought alive with a sense of the human through the length and scale, as well as the emotive power of the artist's vigorous brushwork and twisted painterly gesture.

Flemish landscape paintings on view at Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau

DRESDEN.- Dizzying vistas of river valleys and mountain peaks, the impenetrable thicket of a forest bustling with countless animals, the idyllic quiet of a lake in the evening light. What we now call landscapes weren’t always seen that way – and they certainly weren’t depicted that way either. In the special exhibition ‘Paradise on Earth: Flemish Landscape Painting from Bruegel to Rubens’, which opened on 1 October in the Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, nature takes over the surfaces of the paintings on display. Initially appearing as backgrounds and vistas, nature gradually spread over the panels and canvases, eventually taking centre stage in such a convincing manner that, for the first time, nature became a natural part of the artistic canon.

Flanders, with its important trading ports in Antwerp and Brussels, is both the centre and the turning point of this dynamic, which began in the sixteenth century. It is the era of great discoveries, of the increasing cartographic measurement of the world, and of the establishment of trade routes that would bring wealth and prosperity to the Flemish regions. Nature came to be viewed in this period from the perspective both of the scientific, detached explorer, and of the astonished believers who had been unsettled by denominational conflicts. The desire for paradise – a place of unity between humans and creation – is expressed in this emerging genre of art, as are spiritual abysses that individuals might encounter in the course of their lives.

In this sense, the artists featured in this presentation did not paint landscape portraits but rather ideal representations they composed in their workshops. They drew on the repertoire of forms found in nature for the paradises they devised in their heads. Incredibly multifaceted images of natural space unfold before the viewer – spaces that are, for the most part, artistic inventions.

With 160 artworks, the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) in Dresden possesses one of the world’s most important collections of Flemish landscape paintings. Only a small part of this collection has previously been on display in the permanent exhibition. With this special exhibition, the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden reveals the findings of a three-year research project in which scholars investigated the entire collection of Flemish paintings.

In an exhibition space of more than 500 square metres, visitors are led through an earthly paradise. The show is divided into various thematic areas that illustrate the emergence of the new genre through an exceptionally high-calibre selection of artworks. One section is comprised of early landscape backgrounds – both in miniature paintings from the late Middle Ages, and in altarpieces and devotional paintings. The development of this artistic lineage led landscape genres to emerge that continuously distinguished themselves from one another. They include the postcard-sized cabinet paintings of country and forest landscapes and lake scenes by Hans Bol (1534–1593), and the large-scale animal landscapes of Roelant Savery (1576–1639). The video installation ‘Travel, 1996–2013’ by the contemporary artist David Claerbout (born 1969 in Kortrijk, Belgium), bridges the gap between the show’s older works and the twenty-first century, taking visitors on a pictorial voyage. The exhibition also includes documentary videos that show the technical and restoration work done on two important paintings in the show.

In an interdisciplinary collaboration, art historians, conservators, and scientists carried out extensive investigations for this exhibition. These included material analyses and various diagnostic procedures using radiation, like infrared reflectography and digital x-radiography. Such procedures yielded insights that, in many cases, amount to a rediscovery of the works studied. Images that had been painted over were made visible, and new attributions of the artists behind the works could be made.

The exhibition brings together 141 works, including prized items on loan from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam, and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. In addition to paintings, there are drawings and prints from the Kupferstich-Kabinett (Cabinet of Prints, Drawings and Photographs), and a precious globe from the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments).

In cooperation with the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, part of this exhibition will be displayed in adapted form in the Museum Rockoxhuis in Antwerp from March to June, 2017. This staging of the exhibition will bring the Dresden artworks back to their place of origin.

Pablo Picasso Painting Fetches $31 Million in New York Auction

NEW YORK:  Pablo Picasso's 1932 oil painting "Le Sauvetage" sold at auction for more than $31 million on Wednesday after a bidding war at Sotheby's in New York which saw it surge past its estimated pre-sale price.

The surrealist master's enigmatic work - which was last sold a decade ago - went under the hammer for $31.525 million following frenzied bidding over several minutes.

The painting had been expected to fetch between $14 million and $18 million.

The painting was part of 14 Picasso works offered by Sotheby's as part of its auction of Impressionist and Modern Art.

In total, eight lots were sold for an aggregate $62.088 million

However one of the lots expected to generate most activity - Picasso's "Tete de Marie-Therese" ("Head of Marie-Therese"), valued between $15 million and $20 million, failed to find a buyer.

Another important work "La Seance du Matin" by French master Henri Matisse, sold for $19.205 million, just below its lower estimate of $20 million.

A canvas by French impressionist Claude Monet, "Le Pont Japonais" ("The Japanese Bridge") meanwhile fetched $15.845 million, in line with its estimated range of between $12 million and $18 million.

Sotheby's reported total sales of just under $219 million.