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Archive for the ‘Paintings’ Category

John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778. Image: Courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington

John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778. Image: Courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington

On a warm day in 1749, 14-year-old Brook Watson dove into Havana Harbor for a swim. As he floated surrounded by merchant ships, a shark sank its teeth into his leg, pulling him beneath the waves in a vicious, sustained attack that severed his right foot. Bleeding and helpless, he struggled to stay above water as a group of sailors maneuvered a small skiff into position and pulled him from the toothy Behemoth’s mouth. His leg would have to be amputated at the knee, but he survived his ordeal. Nearly thirty years after the incident, John Singleton Copley historicized Watson’s attack in the monumental painting Watson and the Shark.

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Jan van Eyck. Portrait of Giovanni(?) Arnolfini and his Wife. 1434. The National Gallery, London

June is the most popular month to marry, an excellent reason to take a look at one of the world’s most famous wedding paintings–although we ended up wondering if that, indeed, was what we were seeing.

At first glance, Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait (1434) appears to be an exquisitely rendered but otherwise straightforward depiction of a wealthy merchant and his wife. But take a second look (or third or fourth), and a more intriguing image emerges. The room in which the Arnolfinis pose is laden with images that signal wealth, have religious implications, or are just plain… odd. (more…)

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Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture, Installation view; 2014. Image and original data contributed by Bard Graduate Center Gallery

Waterweavers: The River in Contemporary Colombian Visual and Material Culture, Installation view; 2014. Image and original data contributed by Bard Graduate Center Gallery

To mark the release of 2,600 images from Bard Graduate Center Gallery in the Artstor Digital Library, Bard’s curatorial team discusses the institute’s history and the importance of its Gallery exhibitions for expanding conventional notions of the art historical canon.

Bard Graduate Center Gallery is recognized nationally and internationally for groundbreaking exhibitions that highlight new scholarship in the fields of decorative arts, design history, and material culture. These feature rarely seen objects, drawings – including architectural renderings – and other exceptional works of art. Our research-driven interpretation materials provide visitors with in-depth labels and contextual photographs, and we translate curatorial thinking into display strategies that incorporate new media and film. As a non-collecting institution, our exhibitions are loan-based, drawing on a range of public and private collections around the world, and are celebrated for introducing the public to work that has never before been on view, or that is seldom exhibited in New York for reasons of rarity, accessibility, or condition. Located on West 86th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the Gallery occupies three stories of a landmarked townhouse, creating an intimate environment for engaging with stimulating ideas and objects, from the simplest artifacts of everyday life to the most extraordinary and exquisite artistic creations.

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William Blake; Pity; ca. 1795. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

William Blake; Pity; ca. 1795. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

William Blake is perhaps the most famous artist born out of the British Romantic period, mostly known for his writing, paintings, and printmaking. But much like Vincent Van Gogh and Henry Darger after him, Blake was largely unrecognized during his lifetime and was mostly seen by the art community as an amateur. And while his published poetry and his illustrations of those poems are wholly original works, Blake spent the majority of his career drawing and painting scenes from fictional stories written by other authors—such as Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, and Dante.

In fact, it might be said that Blake spent a lot of his time working on what we now call “fan art.”

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To celebrate the recent addition of nearly 500 images from SFMOMA’s permanent collection to the Artstor Digital Library, Nancy Minty, Artstor’s collections editor, examines more than 80 years of a pioneering institution.

Since 2009, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has partnered with Artstor to bring highlights of its collection to our community. The full collection of SFMOMA includes approximately 30,000 works of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture and design, and media arts. It represents artists from the early 20th century onwards, spanning Henri Matisse and Meret Oppenheim in the first decades, through Louise Bourgeois, Dorothea Lange, and Richard Diebenkorn at the century’s midpoint, and on to Sol Lewitt, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra in its later years. Most recently, iconoclasts like Doris Salcedo, Marilyn Minter, and Ai Weiwei have led the collection into the new century (more…)

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Edward Weston, Cabbage Leaf, 1931-1951. Image and data from SFMOMA; © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Edward Weston, Cabbage Leaf, 1931-1951. Image and data from SFMOMA; © 1981 Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Artstor and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) are making nearly 500 additional images of works from the Museum’s permanent collection available in the Artstor Digital Library. This collaboration brings the total number of images from the Museum within the Digital Library to approximately 1,800. Featuring photographic works by Sibyl Anikeef and Sonya Noskowiak, among others, this launch offers increased coverage of notable female photographers. Photographs by Edward Weston, drawings by Diego Rivera, Gunter Gunschel, and Wayne Thiebaud–as well as paintings by Clyfford Still, Frank Stella, and Josef Albers–round out the contribution. (more…)

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Artstor has recently made available images of commercial art, canonical works, and thousands of personal Polaroids from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Artstor’s Damian Shand speaks to Michael Hermann, the Foundation’s director of licensing, about the collection.

Damian Shand: 35,000 images from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts have just been made available in the Artstor Digital Library. What were the origins of the collection and how difficult was it to bring all the material together for digitization?

Michael Hermann: When Warhol passed away in 1987, he left his extensive inventory of artwork to the Foundation. In order to get such a large, complicated collection cataloged, archived, photographed and digitized, the Foundation embarked on what turned out to be an ongoing 30-year project. The endeavor has been time-consuming and expensive, but as stewards of Warhol’s legacy, we feel it was necessary. Traditional means were used to document the collection while adapting to technological advancements where necessary. In the case of the 28,000 photographs now available on the Artstor Digital Library, we used a crowd-sourcing model. The original 28,000 Warhol photographs were donated to over 180 college and university museums and galleries who in turn documented the artworks and sent the high-resolution digital images back to us.

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