Tuesday, July 22, 2014

THE NORTON SIMON MUSEUM ... a little bit more.

There were so many wonderful paintings and interesting details about all of our favorite artists at the Norton Simon Museum, that I am going to spend one more blog entry on this visit.  

Something that we noticed several times was that one artist copied another.  For instance, here is a painting by Paul Cezanne, "Vase Of Flowers", painted in 1880 in his Paris Studio which is where his wife resided.  The vase and flowers are painted with thick brushstrokes to add volume and the background wallpaper was a thin application of paint.  This exaggerated depth presents two dimensions which lay at the heart of 20th century modernism.
And, here is a painting by Odilon Redon  "Vase Of Flowers, After Cezanne"   painted in 1896.  Redon was making a transition from the black and white "noirs" that had been his early trademark, to his second artistic period of painting luminous floral still lifes.  In 1896, Cezanne left his painting in Redon's care and Redon decided to paint his own version which was more vibrant and warmer in tone than that of the master.  Redon was not concerned with volume but instead played with the relationships between the colors.

Another example of one artist copying another was Picassso's "Woman With A Book" painted in 1932.  The model was his mistress and the painting is in his post cubist period.

He used the pose, the graceful lines, and the reflected image of an Ingres painting "Madame Moitessier", 1856 which now hangs in the London National Gallery.

As I mentioned in the last blog entry, there were so many Degas paintings, they had to have a special room just for the pastels.  
It would be nice if someone were to write a book on all the ways that Degas experimented with pastels, as we saw several different techniques just in this exhibit.
One of the pastel works that was considered by Degas to be one of the 20 most important drawings he had done through the year 1896 was Dancer (Battement in Second Position), 1894.  It is an exquisite example of his draftmanship in charcoal with wisps of white and yellow pastel.  Note the grid lines remaining.

In 1876, Degas painted "Dancers In The Wings".  The background was created by using a patchwork of squares and nine strips of paper glued down to form the physical composition.  Then the two dancers were painted in spontaneous poses of pastel and gouache with particular attention given to the dresses of the dancers.

Here is a detail of the pink dancers dress so that you can see the pastel work.

Degas also produced 25 fan paintings, done in pastel, around 1879 during the period when he was inspired by all things Japanese.

And in 1890 while on a trip to Burgundy, Degas produced a series of landscapes that were in pastel over monotype.  This landscape is "Wheat Field And Green Hill".  It was made in a two-step process.

First Degas applied oil paint to a metal plate using his fingers to wipe paint away and manipulate the image.
Then he ran the plate through a press onto wet paper. And second,  he worked up the printed image with pastel creating a contrast of textures.  See detail.

Although I have many more photos and lots more info, I will spare you and move on to something else for tomorrows blog.  In the meantime I leave you with one more statue of "Allan".

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