Monday, December 5, 2016

A visit to the Palazzo Mattei di Giove

Last summer in Rome John and I were passing the "turtle fountain" in Piazza Mattei in the Ghetto. 
We were exploring the area looking for undiscovered treasures and we found one -- at the corner of Via Caetani and Via dei Funari -- the portal into the fabulous Palazzo Mattei di Giove beckoned.
The palace was built in 1598 and now houses several scholarly libraries. The courtyard is lined in ancient bas-reliefs, busts and statues.
The far doorway
leads into the rear garden courtyard
with its fountain made up of a grotesque mask and a Roman sarcophagus.
Back in the main courtyard
we marvelled at the elegant decorations
and emblems of the Mattei family.
We were drawn to the second floor loggia
and meeting no resistance we climbed a marble stairwell lined with bas-reliefs 
and alcoves for sculpture.
The loggia was shut by a grill gate but one could see into the wonderful space.
We slipped back down the stairs to the street and continued exploring.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Roberto Burle Marx at the Jewish Museum

Back in September, in New York, John and I went to the Jewish Museum.
We entered beneath Beatrix Milhazes' chandelier-like Gamboa II (2013-16) to see the Roberto Burle Marx show.
Do you know Burle Marx -- the Brazilian landscape and textile designer?
I remember the buzz about him in the 1960's and loved being able to have a good look at his very recognizable work. Mr Burle Marx was a star of Mid-Century Modernism. 
 The ground floor gallery was filled with his drawings and maquettes.
 I particularly liked the huge Tapestry for Santo Andre Civic Centre (wool, 1969, right side).
It filled one whole wall (left side).
Burle Marx's Painted Ceramic Azulejo Tiles made in the late 1940s 
 and an organic drawing for the Juan Araujo Interior, 2015.
We loved this wooden maquette for an unexecuted Sculptural Fountain too (for São Paulo, Brazil, 1983). 
and of course his Avenida Atlântica -- Rio di Janeiro's Copacabana beach boulevard, 1970.
It was interesting to see some of Burle Marx' portrait paintings.
We'll leave you with this charcoal, Self-portrait, Berlin (1929).

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Expressionism at McMaster

John and I took the GO bus to Hamilton yesterday to see the "Art and Expressionism" show at McMaster University with our friend Roger Wood.
 The bus was fast and inexpensive and Fall was bursting the seams of the QEW.
Roger had arranged to meet us at the Hamilton GO station (1933).
He assured us it was a "Deco gem". 
 The interiors continue the Deco fantasy world.
 Roger drove us to the McMaster Museum of Art.
 The building has a nice retro-Deco style of the 1950s version.
The exhibition pairs German Expressionist work from the McMaster collection with contemporary art. Here's Joseph Beuys, Intellect Economy Law, 1984. 
 We both liked The Voice of the Turtle, 1984 by Stephen Andrews.
John caught a nice detail from centre-left of the piece.
We've seen a version of Jörg Immendorff's, Cafe Deutschland, 1983, in Europe. I guess he must have done a series of works with this title. Fun to see this one.
 One of Anselm Kiefer's dark pieces: Yggdrasil, 1985-1991.
A lady you want at your next party, Leonie, 1923 by Otto Dix.  
 I caught John taking a picture
of Chaim Soutine's Portrait of Richard X, 1915-1916. 
Loved the placement of Wilhelm  Lehmbruck's  bronze Storming Man, 1914, against Hermann Max Pechstein's 12 woodcuts called The Lord's Prayer, 1921
 and I loved Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's wonderful, crazy Acrobatic Dancers Cartwheeling, 1913.
 Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Female Head, 1915. The Denner Wallace Collection of German Expressionist and Weimar Period prints is utterly fascinating. Seems very NOW to me.
 I liked this little drawing of Bella, by Lucian Freud, 1987 -- his very distinctive style.
 George Grosz is such a great draughtsman. Self-portrait for Charlie Chaplin, 1919.
 John's detail from above.
August Sanders wonderful photo-portrait of Otto Dix and his wife Martha, 1925/26. Hip enough?
 Another piece by Stephen Andrews, Self-Portrait as Jim Black, 1985. I liked everything about this folded piece. Very inspiring!
 Sculptor and designer, Roger Wood, was looking dashing  in the Fall light
and after lunch in Dundas he took us up the Escarpment  
to enjoy views down on the East End of Hamilton
and over Dundas in the west. Thank you Roger for the wonderful day of adventure and fun!