Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A Place Of Contemplation:  

The Buddhist Shrine Room
Installation view of The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room 
(October 26, 2018 - September 16, 2019)
The Rubin Museum of Art, New York
Photo:  David De Armas

The need for a period of quiet reflection may always be there but is especially true for the holiday season when life becomes more hectic.  It helps to find a time and place to do it.   The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room at The Rubin Museum of Art provides space for it. 

Since the museum opened in 2004, the shrine room has been a permanent exhibit. Objects in the room are changed periodically to conform with the observance of a specific Buddhist practice.  Presently the room is set up according to the Sakya tradition, developed in the 11th century and one of Tibetan Buddhism's four major schools.



Installation view of The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room 
(October 26, 2018 - September 16, 2019)
The Rubin Museum of Art, New York
Photo:  Hillary Ganton

Visitors may sit and gaze upon the variety of artifacts set before them and listen to a continuous recording of chanting of hymns, prayers and sounds of ritual instruments.  The throaty, sonorous and singsong utterances have a soothing effect enhancing a mood for ruminations.

Jangjya (lcang skya) Lhakhang (lha khang), interior, shrine,
view with villager lighting butter lamps, 2002, 
Jangjya village, Rebgong District, Amdo (Qinghai province)
Photo:  Artstor

Tibetan Buddhist shrines are located in a variety of places such as domestic households, temples and monastic complexes in addition to caves and public village buildings.  They are sacred spaces dedicated to worship and devotional rituals.  Whether the space is filled with a few objects or hundreds, all senses are engaged:  Butter lamps and incense address the sense of smell; painted and sculptural images involve sight; sounds of chanting and musical instruments engages hearing; the taking of blessed liquids entails taste; the use of prayer beads relates to touch and, consciousness, considered the sixth sense in Buddhism, is invoked by thought.  Offerings of food, money and religious items accumulate among the layered, sometimes crowded placement of many types of artifacts.  


Installation view of The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room 
(October 26, 2018 - September 16, 2019)
The Rubin Museum of Art, New York
Photo:  Hillary Ganton

The Rubin's shrine room displays over 100 objects including paintings, sculptures, bowls, lamps, textiles, manuscripts, furniture and musical instruments.  Such a room would have belonged to a wealthy home. Mostly everything on view is from the museum's own collection while other items are from private collectors and other museums. Lenders include Robert and Lois Baylis, the Newark Museum, New Jersey and the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, Staten Island. The two latter museums have extensive collections of art from Tibet and the Himalayan region.


   Installation view of The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room 
(October 26, 2018 - September 16, 2019)
The Rubin Museum of Art, New York 
Photo:  Hillary Ganton


In the museum, lamps are not lit by a flame in clarified butter nor is incense burnt but the flickering electric lights give the impression of illumination encountered in an actual traditional shrine room. All things in the room are symbolic and meaningful.  Light focuses the mind and aids meditation.  It symbolizes the elimination of darkness and represents wisdom.  Prayer beads, available for visitors, are used to mark the repetitions of prayers and devotions.  

To help with understanding, there is an interactive screen outside of the room that identifies and explains what is on view.  The museum's Web site also has an interactive section on the installation with videos of actual temple chanting sessions and a domestic shrine offering.

You may want to take a pause in your life and visit The Rubin Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room.   

The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room
October 26, 2018 - September 16, 2019

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Franz Gertsch: The Virtuosity Of A Swiss Painter

Installation view of exhibition, Franz Gertsch:  Polygonal Allover,
September 19 - December 2, 2018, Swiss Institute, New York
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

It is rare when a gallery show entices prolonged viewing - a desire to sit and look and think about what attracts.  The exhibition Franz Gertsch: Polygonal Allover at the Swiss Institute in the East Village does just that in an overview of the Swiss artist's decades of virtuoso works in painting and woodcut.

Franz Gertsch (1930 - ) focuses on portraiture that is a modern take on art historical sources, specifically the Baroque portrait tradition and old master techniques. In the 1970s Gertsch made huge portraits of young friends who were living together in Lucerne, Switzerland.  These youths included the now admired artists Luciano Castelli (1951 - ) and Urs Lüthi (1947 -).  

Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), At Luciano's House, 1973, 
acrylic on unprimed cotton, 95 3/4 x 139 3/4 in. (243.21 x 354.97 cm)
The Sander Collection
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

The painting At Luciano's House, 1973, captures three friends in preparation for going out. The young lady on the right, Marina, Luciano's girlfriend at the time, is looking off to the right apparently regarding herself in a mirror located outside of the picture space.  She adjusts her fur-trimmed jacket under which she wears a blouse patterned in the red, white and blue "stars and stripes" of the American flag.  This was a period of strong American influence on Swiss youth. The blond on the left, Barbara, who was an art student in Lucerne, seems to be tucking her top into her pants.  The kneeling center figure, Luciano, picks up some type of garment lying on what appears to be an odd-shapped shag rug popular in the 1960s and 1970s and associated with a bohemian lifestyle.  

Detail of Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), At Luciano's House, 1973, 
acrylic on unprimed cotton, 95 3/4 x 139 3/4 in. (243.21 x 354.97 cm)
The Sander Collection
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

The threesome wore elaborate make-up and an unusual mixture of clothing - Luciano wears a skirt and his girlfriend jeans.  (A silkscreen in the exhibit shows the flamboyant clothes of the people in At Luciano's House hanging out to dry on a clothesline with Marina's "stars and stripes"  blouse prominent. )  

The outcome of all the preening is the self they would present to the outside world.  There is an androgynous quality to these young people who work their way into trying to find their identity and what they would like to become.  Scattered like debris on the wooden floor are such items as records including a recently released Rolling Stone album, a book, knickknacks and ornaments which give hints to their interests and lifestyle. 

Gertsch painted a butterfly with distinctive markings on the far wall which seems to make an analogy between its vibrant coloration and the youth's decorative dress.  

Detail of Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), At Luciano's House, 1973, 
acrylic on unprimed cotton, 95 3/4 x 139 3/4 in. (243.21 x 354.97 cm)
The Sander Collection
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

The painting's saturated colors are intense and the details prominent. Passages such as Luciano's hair and the pattern of the curtains highlight the artist's ability in the rendering of different textures and forms. 

Gertsch achieves all this by employing an unusual technique. He takes photographs of his subjects with a flash and projects the image onto an unprimed canvas.  He paints in the dark relying on his color memory. The method is not too different from the way the camera obscura was used as a painting aide by artists such as the Dutch Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675).  Gertsch's methodology, like the camera obscura, made visible optical phenomena which couldn't be seen with the naked eye, particularly specs of brightness on objects, multiple-viewpoints and the blurring effects captured by mechanical means.  The raking light produced by the flash illuminates everything equally and brings to the fore the surface of things.  


Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), Luciano II, 1976, 
acrylic on unprimed cotton, 95 3/4 x 136 1/4 in. (243.21 x 346.11 cm)
Private Collection
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

Gertsch has been called a photorealist referring to the photorealism art movement in vogue in the 1960s and early 1970s in the USA. Photorealists took everyday reality as their subjects and developed a style based on photographic images.  They made their art look like a photograph often working with an airbrush instead of a paint brush to eliminate any suggestion of brushstrokes.  Viewers may confuse a photorealistically painted work with a photo.  With Gertsch's art, this confusion does not occur.  He never lets the viewers forget his paintings are paintings.  

Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), Detail of Luciano II, 1976, 
acrylic on unprimed cotton, 95 3/4 x 136 1/4 in. (243.21 x 346.11 cm)
Private Collection
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

Gertsch painted some thirteen portraits of Luciano attracted no doubt to his beauty, way of life and play on gender fluidity.  A detail of the large portrait Luciano II, 1976, reveals how the paint seeps into the unprimed cotton canvas and the way irregular lines and dabs of paint make obvious the artist's touch.  


Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), Luciano's Leibchen, 1977, 
oil on canvas. 20 1/4 inches x 20 1/4 in.  (51.44 x 51.44 cm)
Private Collection
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

That Gertsch was interested in the means of visualization as opposed to exact replication of reality is communicated in Luciano's Leibchen, 1977, a fragment of a version of the Luciano II portrait. Unsatisfied with this earlier Luciano likeness, he cut up the canvas but retained four parts of the young man's striped shirt.  Framed, the fragment became a study in abstraction formed in part by the shirt, a bit of neck, hair, chair and wall. 


Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), Portrait of Urs Lüthi, 1970,
acrylic on unprimed cotton, 67 x 98 1/4  in. (170.18 x 249.56 cm)
Art Collection EFG Private Banking
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

The paintings Portrait of Urs Lüthi, 1970, and Luciano I, 1976, are other monumental canvases in the show.  Lüthi works in many media including photography illustrated by his camera set on a table in Gertsch's portrait.  


Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), Detail of Portrait of Urs Lüthi, 1970,
acrylic on unprimed cotton, 67 x 98 1/4  in. (170.18 x 249.56 cm)
Art Collection EFG Private Banking
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

The camera, the half-filled glass of beer and the sitter's dark glasses are a tour-de-force of reflections.

Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), Luciano I, 1976,
acrylic on unprimed cotton, 78 x 117 1/4  in. (198.28 x 297.82 cm)
Private Collection Switzerland
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

Luciano I depicts the end of a dinner party.  The remnants of a meal are on the table.  The many cigarette butts left in a dish used as an ashtray suggest a long repast.

Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), Detail of Luciano I, 1976,
acrylic on unprimed cotton, 78 x 117 1/4  in. (198.28 x 297.82 cm) 
Private Collectin Switzerland
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

The table is in disarray:  dirty dishes are piled up, broken glass remains and cups lie on their sides.  The tablecloth is covered with stains of spilled food and drink as well as paint marks indicative of the youth's vocation.  


Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), Detail of Luciano I, 1976,
acrylic on unprimed cotton, 78 x 117 1/4  in. (198.28 x 297.82 cm)
Private Collection Switzerland
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

Objects and areas of note include a partially filled wine glass which rests precariously at the table's right edge, the broken glass and the room's walls and doors along with their hardware.  The triangular shaped space formed by Luciano's arms and knees through which is seen part of his chair's wooden top rail, some wallpaper and a small slice of the door, echoes the painting's compositional structure.  

The work's indebtedness to the moralizing domestic scenes of 17th-century Dutch genre paintings does not take away from the appreciation and pleasures of Gertsch's work.  


Installation view of exhibition, Franz Gertsch:  Polygonal Allover,
September 19 - December 2, 2018, Swiss Institute, New York
l. to r.  Natascha IV (1988), Natascha IV (1988), Natascha IV (1988), Schwarzwasser (1991)
hand-printed woodcut prints on Japanese paper, 108 1/4 x 85 1/4 in. (274.96 x 216.54 cm)
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

Between 1986 and 1995 Gertsch stopped painting and worked exclusively in the print medium.  The show includes three large-sized woodcuts from the series he made of a young woman, Natascha IV, 1988. These prints sought to create realistic representation using a limited number of colors.  Here he utilized Japanese blue ink.  The woman's three-quarter view with an ear pierced by a small hoop earring is reminiscent of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring, Mauritshuis, The Hague.  

The Natascha IV prints are installed next to Schwarzwasser, 1991, a woodcut study of a water surface where enlarged details become a form of landscape.  By pairing the particulars of a face with the particulars of nature as is the artist's practice, Gertsch points to the relationship between the two.  Both are the uppermost layer of something and a part of a larger whole.  Both are part of the natural world.

The two printing blocks used to print Natascha IV, also on exhibit, answer questions concerning how these works were accomplished.   The blocks inspire awe.  


Franz Gertsch (1930 - ), Spiegel, 1961,
oil on canvas,  29 1/4 x 40 in. (74.30x 101.6 cm)
Franz Gertsch Family
Photo:  Daniel Perez
Courtesy of Swiss Institute

Early paintings, drawings and woodcut prints demonstrate the artist's enduring consideration of the mirror as a means of identity perception. You can see these in the small gallery at the back of the first floor.  I suggest you begin your viewing here.  

A word about the Swiss Institute: The Swiss Institute is an independent, non-profit  art institution founded in 1986 by a group of Swiss living in the United States.  It showcases artists from all over the world who work in a variety of media.  The Institute's current home, its fifth, opened in June 2018.  Designed by Selldorf Architects, the 7,500 square foot space covers four floors including a basement and roof garden.  Printed Matters/St. Marks, a satellite of Printed Matters, the bookstore dedicated to artist' books and related publications, is located in the lobby.

Franz Gertsch:  Polygonal Allover
September 19 - December 2, 2018
38 St. Marks Place, Manhattan
Hours:
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Saturday, 12 noon - 8:00 pm
Sunday, 12 noon - 6:00 pm




Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Draftsmanship of Eugène Delacroix

Eugène Delacroix (1798 - 1863), Lion Lying on His Side, Lion couché sur le flanc
pastel on paper, 3 3/4 x 8 ins. (9.8 x 20.3 cm), Private Collection
On view at the exhibition Eugène Delacroix Drawings, Watercolors, Pastels, 
and Small Oils, Jill Newhouse Gallery, New York, October 16 - November 20, 2018
Photo:  Courtesy of Jill Newhouse Gallery


When the French artist Eugène Delacroix (1798 - 1863) died, he left thousands of drawings in his workshop.  These were relatively unknown to the public while he was alive.  They consist of studies, plans for projects, sketches, copies of old masters' works, doodles and more.  These artworks provide an insight into the artist's learning and creative process.  

New York presently has an abundance of Delacroix works.  There are two exhibitions at the  Metropolitan Museum of Art.  One is a comprehensive retrospective and the other a selection of over 100 works on paper from the Karen B. Cohen collection of Delacroix drawings.  Also on display is a Delacroix painting from a private collection at Richard L. Feigen & Co..  It can be seen in the gallery's show Richard Parkes Bonington (1802 - 1828), Delacroix's friend and companion who tutored him in the art of watercolor.  

The most intimate viewing experience, however, can be enjoyed at the Jill Newhouse Gallery.  Some 40 works in a variety of media and subject matter are presented in Eugène Delacroix Drawings, Watercolors, Pastels, and Small Oils.  


The Jill Newhouse exhibit offers an excellent introduction into the artist's interests and the diverse materials he explored throughout his prolific career.  The show is well organized into six groups:  Figures, Portraits, Écorchés; Trip to Morocco and Spain, 1832; Drawings after Old Masters; Drawings in Preparation for other Projects; Animals; Landscapes and Architectural Studies.  

This first section includes male and female nudes.  Delacroix worked from both live models and  stock photographs of nudes that were sold to artists for use in their practice.  For the écorché drawings, renderings of the body's musculature without skin, artists commonly worked from cadavers although écorché sculptures made from materials such as wax, plaster or wood were available in addition to illustrations in anatomical treatises.  Delacroix is known to have drawn from corpses. These images may appear gruesome but were typical artistic exercises used to enhance the understanding of the body's structure and subsequently improve the ability to depict the human form.    One study (catalogue # 6) in pen and brown ink over traces of pencil and brown wash,  illustrates how Delacroix varied the thickness of his brush strokes, ink amounts, shades of washes and hatching (parallel lines for tonal effects) to render a leg and arm muscle.  The drawing appears almost abstract with lines that are activated and seem alive, stretching into forms although they describe something lifeless.


Eugène Delacroix (1798 - 1863), Military Chief ben Abou in a Moroccan Interior
Le Caïd  ben Abou chief Militaire dans un Intérieur dans maison Morocaine, 1832
 watercolor  on paper, 5 3/8 x 8 1/2 ins. (13.9 x 20.7 cm), signed lower left
On view at the exhibition Eugène Delacroix Drawings, Watercolors, Pastels, 
and Small Oils, Jill Newhouse Gallery, New York, October 16 - November 20, 2018
Photo:  Courtesy of Jill Newhouse Gallery


In 1832, Delacroix went to Morocco with a diplomatic mission as the official artist.  For about six months he traveled in North Africa with a stopover in Spain, filling seven notebooks with drawings and watercolors of figures, costumes, architecture and the accoutrements of Moroccan life.  Four watercolors and one pen and ink drawing in the exhibit relate to this trip.   Military Chief ben Abou is portrayed in a Moroccan interior seated in a relaxed pose on a patterned floor. His left hand rests on a cushion and his weapons hang on the wall.  On his right, a wall cabinet with one wooden door open reveals everyday functional vessels.  On the floor to his right is a raised tray on which rests an ewer and near it a small bowl or cup.  On the same side near the sheet's edge there is a chest partially covered by what appears to be some kind of full-length, cloak-like garment. A colorful cushion, a small chest and  a leopard skin fill the right foreground.  Leopards were hunted in Morocco as sport well into the 20th century.  The scene was unlike anything that the artist would encounter in his contemporary French society.

Delacroix made the watercolor over pencil view of Algeciras, Spain (catalogue # 10) while on a sailing ship.    Algeciras, a large port city on the Bay of Gibraltar, links Spain to Africa.  The artist proficiently manipulates the medium to capture the different textures of sea, sky and land.  For the city with its white Moorish architecture, he left an irregular area of  the paper dry and simply dabbed touches of color for windows, doors and roofs.  Watercolor was a medium Delacroix excelled in although it was unpopular in 19th-century France.  



Eugène Delacroix (1798 - 1863), Figures after Goya's Caprices
Feuille d'études d'après Les Caprices de Goya
 pen and brown ink with wash on paper, 
8 7/8 x 13 1/2 ins. (22.6 x 34.5 cm)
On view at the exhibition Eugène Delacroix Drawings, Watercolors, Pastels, and Small Oils,
Jill Newhouse Gallery, New York, October 16 - November 20, 2018
Photo:  Courtesy of Jill Newhouse Gallery

The study of old masters was central to Delacroix's development.  He spent hours looking and sketching in the Louvre which presented an abundance of masterpieces to work from.  He also drew from sculptures, paintings and decorations in their original locations as well as from prints of original art by old masters.  When Delacroix was a student in 1816, he registered with the Print Room at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris.  Through prints, he studied and learned from such artists as Raphael (1483 -1520), Peter Paul Rubens (1577 - 1640) and Rembrandt (1606 - 1669).  When he copied, which he never lost interest in doing, he selected parts not the whole of the original to reproduce.

A good example is Delacroix's ink and wash sketch of figures from two prints by Francisco de Goya (1746 -1828).  The Goya prints were part of an 80 plate etching and aquatint series called Los Caprichos published in 1799, criticizing the foibles of humanity.  Delacroix had a sizable print collection and probably owned a set of the series.  In the sketch, he copies figures from two prints on one sheet concentrating on the tones and contours of the Goya originals.  On the left, two figures are reproduced from plate 31, She prays for her:  the seated young woman baring her leg and her attendant combing her hair.  In the original print, Goya had depicted an old, wrinkled-faced woman clutching rosary beads crouched behind the young woman. Delacroix eliminated the older woman's upper body but kept her lower dress seen between the young lady's legs.  He also included the bowl and vase of the Goya print.  

On the sheet's right side, Delacroix represents the woman in Goya's plate 32, Because she was susceptible. This plate was the only one of the series done solely in aquatint resulting in an image without any hard-edged lines akin to a watercolor.   It portrays a woman in prison and was based on an actual scandal that took place at that time.  It was about a woman who had been convicted of helping her lover kill her husband. She was executed.  Delacroix redraws the doomed woman who lies on the ground with legs outstretched before her and her back leaning against the cell's wall. With eyes closed and mouth slightly open, she appears despondent.  Her feet and what looks like a bunch of grapes are sketched on the lower part of the sheet and a blotch of wash on the upper left.  



Eugène Delacroix (1798 - 1863), St. Sebastian Tended by the Holy Women
St. Sébastien secouru par les Saintes Femmes,  1852 - 1854, 
pastel on paper, 7 1/8 x 10 3/8 ins. (18.1 x 26.4 cm)
Inscribed in ink on the back:  
Donné par moi à Jenny Leguillou / le 25 mars 1855 / Eug Delacroix
On view at the exhibition Eugène Delacroix Drawings, Watercolors, Pastels, and Small Oils,
Jill Newhouse Gallery, New York, October 16 - November 20, 2018
Photo:  Courtesy of Jill Newhouse Gallery

The large oil on canvas Saint Sebastian Tended by the Holy Women, 1836, Church of Saint-Michel, Nantua, France, is one of Delacroix's most acclaimed paintings and is presently on view in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Delacroix retrospective.  The painting's figures are enormous - the saint's foot alone is about 11 1/2 by 5 inches.  Sebastian was a Roman soldier who was shot with arrows for his Christian beliefs. Delacroix represented the moments after Sebastian's torture when a woman tenderly removes the arrows from his body.  The position of Sebastian and the way the three figures take up most of the pictorial space was derived from Rubens's Lamentation over the Dead Christ, c. 1612, Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna.  


As was his practice, Delacroix made preparatory studies for, as well as studies after, his work.  Seven smaller variants of the Saint Sebastian painting exist, done between 1836 and 1858.  The pastel at Jill Newhouse Gallery is particularly beautiful.  Delacroix probably thought this variation one of his best for he gave it to his housekeeper and lover Jenny.


Pastels, like watercolors, were not much admired in France at his time. Yet, Delacroix pursued the medium.  He developed a technique to keep the intensity, lucidity and brightness of hues which would have been reduced using the conventional method of blending colors. Delacroix did not blend.  He placed individual strokes close together so that the eye combined colors.  This handling anticipated the methods of the Impressionists.  

The pastel on paper Lion Lying on His Side, Lion couché sur le flanc, is a superb illustration of his proficiency.  The work also demonstrates the artist's keen observation skills.  The lion  is so realistically rendered, viewers may expect the feline's chest to move as the animal breathes. His soft fur and relaxed pose attests to Delacroix's familiarity with the subject. Indeed, the artist made numerous visits to the zoo in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris with its variety of animals and species.  He records his joy for the time he spent there in his journals.  In one entry, he writes about the coloration of lions.  He notes the differentiation of browns throughout the body "light tones noticeably under the stomach, under the paws...The color of the ears are brown but only on the outside."* Color annotations sometimes appear on sketches such as on one 1841 lion study (A Lion, Full Face, August 30, 1841, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Delacroix drawing show) which indicates "lighter brown" near the nose and "slightly brown" for the mane.

Eugène Delacroix (1798 - 1863), Four Studies of the Head of a Lioness
Etudes de Tête de Lionnes,  1852 - 1854, 
pencil and watercolor on paper, 11 x 8 ins. (28.2 x 20.6 cm)
Estate sale stamp lower right:  Lugt 838a
On view at the exhibition Eugène Delacroix Drawings, Watercolors, Pastels, and Small Oils,
Jill Newhouse Gallery, New York, October 16 - November 20, 2018
Photo:  Courtesy of Jill Newhouse Gallery

Whether on large oil canvases or small works on paper, Delacroix's animals have an anthropomorphic quality that enhances their realism and encourages spectator's empathy. Just take a look at the expressive faces on the sketch with four studies of a lioness's head.  A critic once wrote that Delacroix "...never painted a man who looks like a man in the way his tigers look like a tiger."  


Eugène Delacroix (1798 - 1863), Sheet of Studies of Horses, a Moroccan Man in a Turban,
and a Landscape Drawing on Stationary from the French Ministry of the Interior
Feuille d'études de chevaux, tête d'oriental, nu féminin et passage exécuté 
sur papier du Ministère de l'Intérieur
pen and brown ink on paper, 9 1/4 x 7 1/8 ins. (23.8 x 18.2 cm)
On view at the exhibition Eugène Delacroix Drawings, Watercolors, Pastels, and Small Oils,
Jill Newhouse Gallery, New York, October 16 - November 20, 2018  
Photo:  Courtesy of Jill Newhouse Gallery

Delacroix never ceased to draw and would tend to fill a sheet with sketches often unrelated and drawn at different times.  One piece of stationary he took from the French Ministry of the Interior is covered with with delightful sketches:  three heads of horses, the back of a female nude, a small water scene of a fisherman and passenger in a skiff and the head, arm and upper back of a turbaned man.  Delacroix had turned the paper counterclockwise to make the seascape and clockwise to draw the man in a turban.  If the sheet is upright, the man's arm, shoulder and back appear as decorative doodles but if rotated to the right, the scribbles are seen correctly as the man's  upper back, left shoulder and arm.

Although the gallery has made available the show's fully illustrated catalogue on their Web site, the works should be experienced first hand. Digital images cannot replicate the quality of confronting artworks directly.  This is especially true of works on paper.  Go see the exhibit.

*Delacroix journal entry June 7, 1855

Eugène Delacroix Drawings, Watercolors, Pastels, and Small Oils
October 16 - November 20, 2018
4 East 81st Street, Manhattan
Hours:  
Monday - Friday 10:00 am  - 5:30 pm

Delacroix
September 17, 2018 - January 6, 2019
1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Hours:  
Open Seven Days a Week
Sunday – Thursday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Friday and Saturday 10:00 am – 9 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, January 1, and the first Monday in May.


Devotion to Drawing:  
The Karen B. Cohen Collection of Eugène Delacroix
July 17 - November 11, 2018
1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Hours:  
Open Seven Days a Week
Sunday – Thursday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Friday and Saturday 10:00 am – 9 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, January 1, and the first Monday in May.


Richard Parkes Bonington
October 23 - December 18, 2018
16 East 77th street, Manhattan
Hours:
Monday - Friday 10:00 am  - 5:00 pm