Saturday, 8 July 2017

Arp: The Poetry of Forms

Fig.1 Jean Arp, Cloud Shepherd, 1953, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo,
photo: Marjon Gemmeke
Hans Arp (1886-1966) was born in Strasburg, a city where the cultures of France and Germany are intertwined. A fluent speaker of French and German, Arp started off as a poet, and went on to success as a sculptor and painter in France, Germany and Switzerland. The Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands is showing some 80 works of Arp, including sculptures, paintings, poetry and other publications in the exhibition “Arp: The Poetry of Forms.” (fig.2)。

Form and Poetry
Arp’s works are characterized by the sense of affection they conjure in the viewer and their wavy lines and poetic titles as seen in Sculpture to be Lost in the Forest and Pagoda Fruit. No shepherd can be identified in his representative work Cloud Shepherd (fig.1), but its ambiguous shaping and fairy tale-like title express the world view of Arp who loved poetry and a utopian world. The rounded form of the work and the protrusions that grows out from it remind one of a living creature or a growing fruit. One can sense Arp’s compassionate view of the creations and modifications that take place in the natural world.

The Universe of Arp
Fig.2 Overview Arp: The Poetry of Forms, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo,
photo: Marjon Gemmeke
World War I prompted Arp to take part in the founding of Dadaism that aimed to destroy existing values. Rejecting the machine civilization and anthropocentric thinking that gave rise to the war, Arp looked for inspiration in nature or the meaningless forms in nature. Recognizing plants, clouds, stars and all natural forms in the universe along the same lines as his works, Arp created his ideal universe through abstract and soft shapes and poetry.

Arp: The Poetry of Forms : Until Sept. 18 (Closed Mondays)

Kröller-Müller Museum
Houtkampweg 6
6731 AW Otterlo
The Netherlands
Opening times:
Tuesday through Sunday and national holidays* from 10:00 to 17:00. The sculpture garden is open until 16:30.
* Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost, Christmas, King’s Day 27 April, Liberation Day 5 May
Closed   Monday and on 1 January

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Gardens exhibition

The ambitious exhibition on the theme of gardens underway at the Grand Palais offers a comprehensive look at the convergence of art and gardens by examining botanical history and the background of the art of gardens. From a Pompei fresco created in the first half of the first century to installations from contemporary artists, the exhibition presents a variety of genres over a wide period of time, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, sketches and films.

Garden of the Virgin Mary
The depiction of gardens by artists dates back to the Middle Ages. They portrayed “the enclosed garden Hortus Conclusus,” based on the Canticles from the Old Testament which attest to the virginity of Mary, as a garden of an abbey with white lilies and wild strawberries that symbolize the Virgin Mary and utilitarian plants such as medicinal herbs.

 Origins of the Botanical Garden
Illustration© Rmn-Grand Palais, Paris 2017
The “enclosed garden” underwent a major change during the Renaissance. Plants that were cultivated for practical use became objects of scientific study and were observed and collected extensively. In 1545 the first garden was created in Padua, colored by various plants discovered by explorers. Beautifully shaped and flourishing with rare plants, the garden offered new scenery for artists and stimulated their creative appetite.

Gardens Created by Artists, Gardeners and Landscape Artists
Beginning with the Pompei fresco believed to be the oldest depiction of a garden, extending to the paintings of Dürer, Monet, Cezanne and Picasso, the botanical specimens of Klee and an installation by the Japanese artist Koichi Kurita who collected soil from various locations, the fascinating exhibition allows the viewer to enjoy the diverse works related to the garden. There is also a garden created with dried samples of flower and fruit and a section that displays design plans for gardens.

Garden, until July 24 (Closed Tuesdays)

※ Curator Laurent Le Bon talks about the exhibition (Auto-translation available)
Grand Palais
3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower
75008 Paris, France
Opening times:

Sun, Mon, Thu 10:00-20:00
Wed, Fri, Sat 10:00-22:00

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

World Traveling Exhibition: Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting

Johannes Vermeer, The Milkmaid, ca. 1657-1658. Oil on canvas. 45.5 x 41 cm. Amsterdam,
Rijksmuseum © Amsterdam, The Rijksmuseum

The world traveling exhibition “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting,” likely to be the most talked about art event of this year, has opened at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The exhibition displays 12, or about one third, of Vermeer’s works that exist today, including The Milkmaid , (fig. 1), A Woman Holding a Balance, and Allegory of Faith,. The exhibition was organized by the Louvre Museum, which owns one of the world’s leading collections of Dutch genre paintings including works by Vermeer, the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The exhibition will travel to each of these museums.

Enjoying Art in the 17th Century Dutch Republic
In the mid-17th century, the Netherlands entered an era of peak economic and cultural prosperity. Wealthy Dutch citizens bought paintings and displayed them in their homes. Friends and art lovers gathered to compare works, enjoying discussion of the characteristics and common themes and structures employed by the artists and the influences they had on each other. Vermeer’s works were also among those enjoyed in this manner.

Vermeer Amid Dutch Genre Painting
The exhibition “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting” displays Vermeer’s works alongside those of his contemporaries in an attempt to reassess Vermeer in the context of Dutch genre painting. Vermeer undoubtedly left great works, but in reality he was one of many Dutch painters who escaped the world of great, traditional themes such as religion and wars to depict the likes of the daily life of a wealthy merchant by the canal. At this exhibition one can perceive how Vermeer and his rival contemporaries influenced each other in the same way that 17th century art lovers did.

Characteristics of Vermeer
A careful observation of Vermeer and his contemporaries reveals the distinctive characteristics of Vermeer. The colors used by Vermeer contain more light than the other painters and create a fresher atmosphere. Vermeer distinguishes himself from the others with his use of such colors.

Vermeer list of exhibited works, in order of creation
  1. The Milkmaid around 1657-1658 Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
  2. Woman with a Lute around 1662-1664 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  3. Woman with a Pearl Necklace1663-1664 Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
  4. A Woman Holding a Balance around 1664 National Gallery of Art, Washington
  5. A Lady Writing a Letter around 1665 National Gallery of Art, Washington
  6. The Astronomer 1668 Louvre Museum
  7. The Geographer 1669 Städelsches Kunstinstitut museum, Frankfurt
  8. The Lacemaker around 1669-1670 Louvre Museum
  9. Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid around 1670 National Gallery of Ireland
  10. Allegory of Faith around 1670-1672 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  11. A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals around 1670-1672 The Leiden Collection,
    New York
  12. A Lady Seated at a Virginal around 1671-1674 National Gallery, London

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting
  - 2017 Feb. 20-May 22 Louvre Museum (*Advance reservations are required for all visitors)
  - 2017 Jun. 17-Sep. 17 National Gallery of Ireland
  - 2017 Oct. 22-2018 Jan. 21 National Gallery in Washington
Simultaneously with “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting,” the Louvre Museum is also showing the exhibitions “Masterpieces of the Leiden Collection – the Age of Rembrandt,” and “Drawing the Everyday Holland in the Golden Age.”

Musée du Louvre
75058 Paris
Opening times:
Mon, Thu, Sat, Sun 9:00-18:00
Wed, Fri 9:00-21:45
Tue, Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Musée de L’Orangerie in Paris exhibits “Masterpieces from Bridgestone Museum of Art – The Ishibashi Foundation Collection”

Pierre-Auguste RENOIR, Miss Georgette Charpentier Seated,
1876, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation
An exhibition of works from the Bridgestone Museum, known for its Ishibashi Foundation collection, will be held from April 5th to August 21st, 2017 for four months at the Musée de L’Orangerie in Paris. The Bridgestone Museum, together with Musée de L’Orangerie and Musée d’Orsay, held the exhibition “Debussy, Music and the Arts” in 2012, which led to the current endeavor proposed by the French side.

Common Features of the Collections
The Ishibashi Foundation collection was started with works gathered by Bridgestone founder Shojiro Ishibashi, while works owned by the art dealer and collector Paul Guillaume occupy a significant place in the Musée de L’Orangerie. The two collectors shared a passion to contribute to the world of art by offering magnificent works widely to the general public.

First Overseas Exhibition of “A Gift of the Sea”
A total of 76 works from the Bridgestone Museum will be shown, ranging from impressionist to post-war abstract paintings. They include modern Western-style paintings by Japanese artists such as Aoki Shigeru’s A Gift of the Sea, traveling overseas for the first time, and Black Fan by Takeji Fujishima who studied in France. Renoir’s Miss Georgette Charpentier Seated (fig. 1) and Picasso’s Saltimbanque Seated with Arms Crossed will also be displayed.

Resonance between Japan and France
As symbolized in the Water Lilies series that Monet painted for Musée de L’Orangerie, the impressionist painters were heavily influenced by Japanese art, particularly the ukiyoe paintings and prints. French painting, including impressionism, also had a strong effect on Japanese art. This exhibition will draw attention to the simultaneous influences that the art of Japan and France had on each other.

The Bridgestone Museum in Kyobashi, Tokyo, is currently closed for construction of the new museum building and is scheduled to re-open in the fall of 2019.

Masterpieces from Bridgestone Museum of Art – The Ishibashi Foundation Collection
April 5 (Wed) to Aug 21 (Mon), Closed Tuesdays, May 1, Jul 14, Dec 25.
Musée de l'Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries
75001 Paris, France
Opening times:
Mon, Wed to Sun 9:00-18:00
Tuesdays, 1 May, the morning of 14 July, and 25 December

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Mondrian to Dutch Design: 100 Years of De Stijl

2017 marks 100 years since the launch of De Stijl, the magazine that impacted modern art and modern design. To commemorate this anniversary, exhibitions and events that examine the path of De Stijl’s key figure Piet Mondrian to Dutch Design have begun around The Netherlands.
De Stijl in 1917
By tracing nature back to its most fundamental principles, Mondrian reached the unprecedented aesthetic concept of a combination of the composition of vertical and horizontal lines and the primary colors of red, yellow and blue. He left behind numerous works based on these principles and together with Theo van Doesburg, launched the magazine De Stijl. Painters, architects, designers and artists from other fields who approved of Mondrian’s aesthetic flocked to the magazine. In addition to art objects, they worked with furniture, household goods, housing and urban planning, and Mondrian’s aesthetic thus permeated daily life.
The Style of Dutch Design in 2017
In the 90s, design trends from the Netherlands created a new force in design worldwide and came to be called “Dutch design.” Emulating Gerrit Rietveld, these artists applied to manufactured goods, an individual style and sense of authorship typically found in artwork. They used a wide variety of colors and materials in experimental endeavors. The design group Droog, one of the driving forces of Dutch design, continues to lead the design world today. The revolution started by De Stijl artists lives on among the artists today of Dutch modern design.

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Mondrian to Dutch Design: 100 Years of De Stijl
Main Events (in chronological order)

Mondriaan and De Stijl 
All year, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Rietveld Schröder House
All year, Central Museum in Utrecht

Villa Mondrian
All year, Winterswijk (Gelderland)

De Stijl at the Stedelijk
Currently on show until May 21, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Rietveld’s Masterpiece; Long Live De Stijl
March 4 to June 11, Central Museum in Utrecht

The World of Piet Mondrian (permanent collection)
from March 7, Mondriaanhuis, Amersfoort

Discovery of Mondrian
June 3 to September 24, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

The Architecture and Interiors of De Stijl
6June 10 - Sept 17, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Droog – Ontdek het begin van Dutch Design (Finding the Beginning of Dutch Design)
Sept 23 – Dec 3, Central Museum in Utrecht

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*Other information

Monday, 23 January 2017

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Black Box

Overview Foam Museum
Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photography exhibit “Black Box” is underway in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Based in New York since the 1970s, Sugimoto has received international acclaim as an artist for his delicate and detailed photographic expression captured by large-format camera.

A Photograph as a Time Machine
The exhibition opens with the series “Seascapes.” The photographs show a sea that is barely discernible by quiet light and waves. It is scenery that has existed since long before the birth of humanity. Sugimoto calls the camera a “time machine.” In “Seascapes,” and in “Diorama” where he photographed taxidermied animals arranged in a staged setting, he projects an ancient scene. In “Henry VIII” he recreates the figures painted in Holbein’s 16th century portraits, and in “Lightening Fields” he reincarnates the experiments conducted by Fox Talbot who was one of the founders of photography to present before us a great discovery of the 19th century.

Capturing Time
Sugimoto incorporates the passage of time into his photographs that capture a single moment that cannot be followed by the eye. In the “Theaters” series he left the camera shutter open during a screening at a theater, photographing the light of an entire movie. The composition of a human eye and a camera are nearly the same. But a person will commit the story of a movie to memory while with the camera, the story disappears but it records the mood of the theater illuminated by light.
With sophisticated and elaborate craftsmanship, Sugimoto’s works gently glow and capture the passage of time amid tranquil light.

Sugimoto: Black Box Until March 8 (open daily)

Foam Museum
Museumeiland 1
Keizersgracht 609
1017 DS Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Opening times:
Monday through Sunday 10:00-18:00 (Monday and Friday until 21:00)

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Rodin – Genius at Work

Overview museum, Photo: Ralph Richter,
© Groninger Museum

Famed for his pieces The Gates of Hell and The Thinker, Auguste Rodin is regarded as the father of modern sculpture. Rodin paved the art form’s path into the 20th century through innovative experimentation and bold creation of shapes. The exhibition Rodin – Genius at Work currently at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands unravels the secrets of Rodin’s creativity with a display of 140 pieces.

Hand of God, Rodin
The exhibition starts with a room called “The Hand of God.” In the center, as if taken from the moment God was creating man, is The Hand of God. The walls are covered with photographs of Rodin’s atelier where more than fifty assistants worked to support the artist who holds the hand of God.

Different Materials
The exhibition displays works of varying materials such as marble, plaster, bronze and ceramics. Sculptures of the same theme impart different impressions depending on the materials and their process of creation. Rodin planned for Eve (fig. 1) together with Adam to stand as large statues at the sides of The Gates of Hell. The Bronze Eve emphasizes the interesting shape of arms encircling a twisted body while the marble figure highlights the female’s soft skin texture and figure’s curves.

Groninger Museum
Located in front of the Groningen train station, the Groninger Museum is a striking building designed by four architects led by the Italian Alessandro Mendini. The museum exhibits a wide-ranging collection, including world-renowned works of the local artists’ association De Ploeg and its collection of Chinese and Japanese ceramics.

Groninger Museum
Museumeiland 1
9711 ME Groningen
The Netherlands
Opening times:
Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-17:00

Every Monday, and Jan 1, Apr 27, Dec 25.