Friday, January 26, 2018

Jean and Raoul Dufy, two brothers that did well as artists

Modern Art of two brothers 

Here is the bio of the younger brother: "Jean Dufy was a French Art Deco painter best known for his colorful depictions of post-war Parisian society, notably Jazz musicians who arrived with American soldiers. He was born on March 12, 1888 in La Havre, France as the brother of the well-known French Fauvist painter Raoul Dufy, who would serve as a mentor to Dufy throughout his career. Though he had no formal training, he decided to become a painter after seeing a gallery exhibition of Modern Art in La Havre—he had his first show in 1914 at Galerie Berthe Weill. For almost 30 years, Dufy was employed at a porcelain manufacturer hand-painting decorative designs of animals and flowers, for which he would win a gold medal at the 1925 L’exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs—the very exhibition where the term Art Deco was first coined. Dufy was for a time the next-door neighbor to Georges Braque, who would encourage the younger artist to experiment with Cubism. He died on May 12, 1964 in La Boissière, France."

Raoul Dufy's Beautiful Paintings

 Raoul is the older brother.  He left school at the age of fourteen to work in a coffee-importing company. In 1895, when he was 18, he developed an interest in art and started taking evening classes in art at Le Havre's École des Beaux-Arts.

In 1900, after a year of military service, Dufy won a scholarship to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he concentrated on improving his drawing skills. The impressionist landscape painters, such as Monet and Pissaro influenced Dufy profoundly. His first exhibition (at the Exhibition of French Artists) took place in 1901. 
Henri Matisse's artwork which Dufy saw at the Salon des Indépendants in 1905, was a revelation to the young artist, and it directed his interests towards Fauvism. Les Fauves (the wild beasts) emphasized bright color and bold contours in their work. Dufy's painting reflected this aesthetic until about 1909, when contact with the work of Paul Cezanne led him to adopt a somewhat different technique. In 1920, Dufy developed his own distinctive approach. 
His work was very beautiful and decorative which caused some critics to not take him seriously.  His work has aged well and is popular today.  It is light, loose and easy to look at but that doesn't make it less significant. 

 By 1950, his hands were struck with rheumatoid arthritis and painting was difficult for him as he had to fasten the brush to his hand. In April he went to Boston to undergo an experimental treatment with cortisone. It proved successful, and some of his next works were dedicated to the doctors and researchers in the United States. Dufy died on 23 March 1953, of intestinal bleeding, which is a likely result of his continuous treatment. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Damien Hirst and His Unfortunate, Unbelievable Hoax

Recently, I watched a Netflix "documentary" on the recovery of an ancient shipwreck, "Unbelievable", that had been retrieved by an artist named Damien Hirst.  I watched over several days, knowing nothing about the film or Damien Hirst.  

The story line: a freed 1st-century slave named Cif Amotan II amassed a fortune, built an incredible collection of art and artifacts, and then lost it all when the ship ferrying it—with the Greek name Apistos, or Unbelievable, hence the show’s name: “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable”—to a private museum sank under the sea. "(

Once they started bringing up the sculptures, a few things seemed out of whack.  The work was odd, not fitting into any art history period. The "so called" experts didn't seem to know much. The features on the sculptures looked too modern and the placement on the ocean floor was suspect.  As the film went on, it got even more ridiculous.  There was a figure that looked like a transformer and the last straw was Mickey Mouse!     

The exhibit got scathing reviews.   "Damien Hirst’s doubleheader in Venice is undoubtedly one of the worst exhibitions of contemporary art staged in the past decade. It is devoid of ideas, aesthetically bland, and ultimately snooze-inducing—which, one has to concede, is a kind of achievement for a show with work that has taken ten years and untold millions of dollars to create."  (Art News 08/05/2017)

Since this sculpture of Mickey Mouse was part of the supposed loot from the fictitious shipwreck. I have no reasonable explanation of why he spent so much money on the film and the so called hoax.

3 Images from: