Sunday, November 4, 2012

Getting dressed for Sunday morning...

Pauline Amelie Dohn (American artist, 1866–1934) Village Belle

Pauline Amalie Dohn was born in Chicago. Her father Adolph W. Dohn was the 1st conductor of the Apollo Musical Club & a founder of the Chicago Orchestral Association.  She graduated from high school at 13 & entered the Chicago Academy of Design, graduating in 1882.  She studied with Thomas Anshutz & Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1883 to 1885.  Between 1885 & 1887, she traveled throughout Europe before enrolling at the Academie Julian under Gustave Clarence Radolphe Boulanger, Gustave Courtois, & Jules-Joseph Lefebvre in 1887.  From 1887 to 1889, she also studied with Luc Oliver Merson and Charles Lasar.  While in Paris, she earned an honorable mention at the Salon Societe des Artistes Francais in 1888.  Upon her return to Chicago in 1890, she began to teach at the School of the Art Institute & established a studio with artist Annie Weaver Jones.  They were both in the Palette Club, an organization for women artists in Chicago.  Pauline visited Europe 3 more times before the turn of the century; and in 1895, she studied with Gari Melchers & George Hitchcock in Holland.  She ceased exhibiting at the age of 40, perhaps because of her marriage to businessman Frank Rudolph in 1901. 

Fashion Illustrator Eduardo Benito 1891 - 1981

Eduardo Garcia Benito (1891 - 1981), a master of illustration during the Art Deco period, went to Paris at the age of 19, where he established himself as a fashion artist.

His style is reminiscent of the Cubist paintings of Picasso & the sculptures of Brancusi & Modigliani.

The artist was born the town of Valladolid, Spain, & showed artistic talent from very early on.

In 1912, he won a scholarship to study at L’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris; & by 1915, he had participated in his first group exhibition, at the Galerie du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

Over the next 5 years, he continued to exhibit his artwork, culminating in 1921 with his prestigious ascension to the title of “Sociétaire of the Salon.”

Benito made his living in Paris by painting society portraits & illustrating fashions in the Gazette du Bon Ton, a Parisian fashion journal published by Lucien Vogel.

Conde Nast met Benito in 1920. Within a year, Benito was one of Vogue & Vanity Fair’s most important artists.

Benito’s signature style – what Condé Nast referred to as the “Big Head” – captures the look & spirit of art deco. Art movements of the day such as Cubism & Constructivism inspired his iconic & stylized geometric forms.

His illustrations of fashionable women, reduced down to a few strokes of the pen, often feature long necks topped with heads resembling the African-figure sculptures of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, a friend of Benito’s in Paris.

The typical Benito cover features stark backgrounds with solid planes & few colors.

Self-Taught Southern Artist - TIME on the Images of Thornton Dial

These images of Thornton Dial and his work appeared as a photo essay accompanying the article Outside the Lines, TIME Magazine, published March 14, 2011, written by Richard Lacayo and photographed by Mark Mahaney.

"Born in 1928 in rural Alabama, Thornton Dial began making "things" (as he called them) as a younger man. "I started picking up stuff," he says. "Beer cans, plastic bottles. I was making stuff to sell." He made a lot of it, until it filled up the house he shared with his wife Clara Mae Murrow and their five children. "My wife told me, If you don't get this junk out of the house, I'm going to leave you," he says.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) Stars of Everything 2004

"With virtually no education (Dial cannot read or write), he crafted materials largely for his own pleasure until the 1980s, when he found himself out of a job. Another self-taught artist introduced him to Will Arnett, an Atlanta-based collector who holds a passion for "vernacular" southern black artists. Arnett helped Dial think of himself as an artist and placed his work in collections and on public view.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) All the Cats in Town 1993

"The tiger is an image Dial uses often to symbolize the survival strategies that African Americans must master to get by in life, though here the multicolored cats may be meant to stand in for people of many different races and backgrounds.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) The Last Day of Martin Luther King 1992

"Dial uses the black-and-white-striped tiger here to represent King on the day of his assassination. But this time, the tiger is made of painted mop strings, a symbol of both the menial labor that African Americans were so often confined to and King's mission to "cleanse" the historical sin of racism. In the upper left corner, Christ comforts King's widow. Dial further connects King's death to Christ's by the painted frying pans in the lower left corner that imply a Last Supper.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) Eye of the Fabric 2007

"In this tribute to Southern-women quilters, which might have involved a very sentimental treatment, Dial opts instead for near abstraction. He suggests the women through a webwork of braided cloth, a kind of sewing circle that also represents bonds of community (and women's braided hair). But he paints it all over in a leaden gray to suggest how that way of life has already receded into the dusty sediment of the past.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) The Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle 2003

"Perhaps because Dial operates free of the standard postures of contemporary art — irony being the most obvious — what he can do is reach, when he wants and without apology or ironic distance, for euphoria. It is hard to imagine another contemporary artist attempting, much less getting away with, the sincere effulgence of The Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle, this lush take on the first stirrings of the world.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) The Art of Alabama 2004

"In many parts of the rural South, it's still possible to see "yardshows" on the property of modest homes — decorative assemblages of found materials put together in imaginative ways. Here Dial, whose work found inspiration in folk-art assemblages, pairs one of his own making with a painted concrete garden statue of the mythical Greek figure Pandora to create a face-off between conventional ideas about "high" and "low" art.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) Don't Matter How Raggly the Flag, It Still Got to Tie Us Together 2003

"In a work that Dial created just after the start of the Iraq war, the flag becomes a tangled battlefield. Embedded within its folds is the remnant of a can of motor oil, a reminder of the resource always at the heart of American policy choices in the Middle East.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) Seasoned 2004

"Dial takes on Abstract Expressionism. After seeing a exhibition of work by the abstract painter Joan Mitchell, he produced this work in reply. Strips of painted metal stand in for the famously flamboyant AbEx brushstroke. By suggesting a field of flames, the work also connects to the idea of life's trials and the "seasoning" they produce.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) Out of Control 2003

"Another work made around the start of the war in Iraq, this assemblage of wood, tin, soil and other materials was inspired by reports of wildfires in California but at the same time refers to global chaos of all kinds.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) Setting the Table 2003

"This is Dial's rethinking of a 19th century painting by William Merritt Chase, Still Life with Watermelon. Whereas Chase deployed an almost photographic realism, Dial goes for a gleeful Expressionist reimagining of the arranged foods, with a grape cluster made from a beaded car seat and a real frying pan holding painted eggs. Look closely and you can make out Dial himself in the upper right-hand corner, slanting leftward while he runs across the canvas banging a pan, a rural Southern tradition for calling everyone to the table.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) High and Wide (Carrying the Rats to the Man) 2002

"Dial even manages to inject new life into one of the most cliched images of postwar America. In this complex assemblange, a stuffed Mickey Mouse doll, the white portions of its face smeared in black, hangs in chains in the midst of a wire-and-rod construction meant to signify a slave ship with goat-hide sails. With one compact gesture, Dial invokes the atrocity of the Atlantic slave trade and the minstrel-show culture the descendants of those slaves adopted to entertain and outwit their oppressors. It would all be funny if the laughs didn't come so hard.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) Surviving the Frost 2007

"As a tribute to his late wife Clara, Dial made this painted assemblage of roses surviving on a cold, gray rock, a symbol of the nurturing persistence of women in an inhospitable world.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) African Athlete 1998

"The he is best known for his assemblanges, Dial also works on paper, making drawings and watercolors with gleeful, springing lines.

Thornton Dial (American artist, 1928-) Lost Cows 2000-2001

"The bones here are the skeletons of a small herd of cows that died soon after Dial bought them. "Lost cows" refers to Dial's lost investment and also to the vanished world of the rural South. Tucked among the skeletons is a leather golf bag, a wry notion of the cows' "rebirth" in another form."

More from TIME here.

Self-Taught Southern Artist - TIME Essay on Thornton Dial

Outside the Lines, TIME Magazine, Published: March 14, 2011
By Richard Lacayo

"American artists do not have to be licensed-a good thing, that-but they do tend to be credentialed. The art world is bristling with degrees from Yale and Cal Arts and Hundreds of other academies. In That world, Thornton Dial stands out. He has no formal training and very little schooling of any kind. To be blunt, he can not read or write. But sometime during his long years as a metalworker in Alabama, he turned to making what he at first simply called " things, "Because it would be a long time before he or anybody else, Realized That Those Things are better described as art. And not just That, but some of the most assured, delightful and powerful art around.

"Dial's work has sometimes Been described as outsider art, a term That attempts to cover the product of everyone from naïve painters like Grandma Moses to institutionalized lost souls like Martín Ramírez and full-bore obsessives like Henry Darger, the Chicago janitor who spent a lifetime secretly producing a private fantasy of little girls in peril. But if there's one lesson to take away from "Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial," a triumphant new retrospective at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, it's that Dial, 82, does' t even belong Within the broad confines of That category. The show-which is on view in Indianapolis through Sept. 18, then travels to New Orleans, Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta-it is a sign That after blackberries than Two Decades in cui His work has gradually settled into the collections of a number of major museums, he may at last be a kind of cultural and achieving escape velocity. What he does can be discussed as art, just art, no surplus notions of outsiderness required. When I asked Dial recently what led him to make His work in the first place, he gave me a sideways answer: "I put it out there for somebody to like." People do. People will.

"This is not to say Dial's backstory will not always Sept. him apart from other prominent African-American artists like Martin Puryear, Kara Walker, Glenn Ligon and Lorna Simpson, who are University- and art-school-educated. He was born in 1928 a cornfield in rural Sumter County, Alabama. His mother, an unwed teenager from a sharecropper family, gave him up to be raised by female relatives. Working in the fields by the age of 6, Dial got little in the way of a formal education. When he left school for good at the age of 12, he was still in the third grade.

"It was about that time, after the death of His great-grandmother, That Dial and his younger half-brother went to live with another relative in Bessemer, a midsize industrial town near Birmingham. He worked there in a succession of jobs until he found the one he would hold for years, as a metalworker with the Pullman railway-car company. After starting a family of His Own, he Began to produce "things" of all kinds at home. Some were practical, like fishing gear, grave markers , decorative fences and furniture. Some were blackberries Explicitly art objects, like animal sculptures. All were made ​​with scavenged materials: rope, metal, plastic, tin. "I started picking up stuff," he says. "Beer cans, plastic bottles. I was making stuff to sell. " He made ​​a lot of it-until it was piling up everywhere in the house he shared with His Wife Clara Mae Murrow and Their five children. "My wife Told me, If you do not get this junk out of the house, I'm going to leave you, " he says.

"In 1981, the Pullman plant shut down, and Dial, in his early 50s, found himself out of a job. But as His son Richard says, "It was probably the best thing That ever happened to him. He kept getting up at 7, going into the backyard and making something. " Another self-taught artist, Lonnie Holley, brought` Dial to the attention of Will Arnett, a white Atlanta-based collector focused on the work of Southern black vernacular artists. Dial Arnett credits with making him think of himself as an artist, helping His work find its way into the collections of people like Jane Fonda and launching him into public view.

"Sometimes it was too public. In November 1993 When Dial was the subject of two simultaneous one-man museum shows in New York City, Morley Safer did a segment on 60 Minutes That asked Whether Arnett had questionable financial dealings with the artists he collected . Dial, who Appeared on room briefly, felt That Safer's questions for him were condescending and That the broadcast led museums and collectors to shy away from His work at the very moment it had Begun to take off. If it did, the show-Indianapolis drawn largely from the collection of Arnett's Souls Grown Deep Foundation, Which has right or first refusal on Dial's work-is a sign That momentum is back in his favor.

"Though he makes work on paper-drawings and watercolors with a gleeful, springing line, like African Athlete-Dial's main medium is assemblage, mostly three-dimensional wall pieces made by gluing or welding found materials and painting over and under them. What That Is that means he arrived at On His Own in practice That, in terms of conventional art history, had its origins in century needle in the welded sculptures of Picasso and Georges Braque and the collages of Kurt Schwitters, then came back strongly after World War II , When Joseph Cornell, David Smith, Isamu Noguchi, Louise Nevelson and Cy Twombly all took it up. No one went at assemblage with blackberries devilish abandon than Robert Rauschenberg, Dial's near contemporary, Whose Combines of the 1950s and '60s could make a persuasive ménage à trois out of a stuffed goat, a tire and rubber tennis ball.

"When Dial came to assemblage, he was unaware of any of this history. He had never Sept. foot in a museum. What he had by way of guidance were the traditions of African-American folk art all around him, in cui combining scrap- heap materials was standard practice long before Picasso ever picked up a blowtorch. In the show's catalog, Joanne Cubbs, the curator who organized "Hard Truths," reminds us That just like Dial, Rauschenberg, who grew up in the largely black town of Port Arthur, Texas, was influenced by the "yardshow" assemblages he saw as a boy. The memory banks of a small-town African America, yardshows were pieced together from things discarded without losing Their residual of personal history, the kind from Which the larger varieties of history are built.

"History is very much the point here. Dial spent most of His life in an Alabama That was brutally segregated, a battleground of the civil rights movement where the Klan was a force to be reckoned with and Governor George Wallace was the hero of diehards everywhere . Dial's work is a memory bank too, an attempt to come to grips with the struggles of black people over the years and the predicaments and ragged glories of American life Generally.

"With That as His goal, Dial His art wants to be legible without being obvious. I know he Operates by developing images with dense but graspable layers of reference. In some works, he lets tigers symbolize the black strategies men and women use to get by . But Those coiled, slinky cats may turn out to be made from carpet remnants That-a reminder for all Their wiles, These beasts get stepped on. In The Last Day of Martin Luther King, from 1992 the tiger Appears again, as a stand-in for King, but now it's made from painted-over mop strings, I know it simultaneously Refers to the cleanup work to Which so many African Americans were restricted and to King's great historical task of cleansing the stain of racism from American life.

"When Dial is at his best, he even managed to inject new life into one of the most clichéd images of postwar art. Mickey Mouse, usually you who gets dragged into service as a symbol of the trivial strain in American culture, does much more complicated double duty in High and Wide (Carrying the Rats to the Man). A stuffed Mickey doll, the white portions of its face smeared in black, hangs in chains in the midst of a wire-and-rod construction meant to signify a slave ship with goat-hide sails. With one compact gesture, Dial invokes the atrocity of the Atlantic slave trade and the minstrel-show cultures the descendants of slaves ADOPTED Those to entertain and outwit Their oppressors. It would all be funny if the laughs did not I know how hard

"In a piece like that, Dial claims in place Within the line of painters history stretching back to the 18th and 19th centuries. He does not try to call on Their high visual rhetoric-who would anymore? -but At the same time there's very little in his work you could call folkloric. There's no easy charm, no appeal to whatever is left of our collective fantasy about country innocence. But maybe Because He Operates free of the standard postures of contemporary art-irony being the most obvious-what he can do is reach, When He wants to and without apology or ironic distance, for euphoria. It's hard to imagine another contemporary artist Attempting, much less getting away with, the Candid effulgence of The Beginning of Life in the Yellow Jungle, Dial's lush take on the first stirrings of the world.

"Rauschenberg once said, "Art does not come out of art." What he meant, and Dial would Surely agree, Is that it comes out of life. If anything, art is a word so contaminated These Days by hype and misunderstanding sales talk, it's sometimes tempting to think We Should try doing without it. Until you remember That it's the one word spacious enough to Contain Dial what does. "

Self-Taught Southern Artist - A TIME Photographer Visits Thornton Dial

"At the end of February, I visited Alabama on assignment for TIME to photograph artist Thornton Dial for Richard Lacayo’s article on Dial’s retrospective at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Before heading south, I got some bad news. My grandfather, Bill Mahaney, who had been ill, had taken a turn for the worse and had gone into a coma-like state. I’d spent time with my grandfather a few weeks before, so after talking it over with my sister, I decided to go ahead with the shoot and join my family immediately after.

"When I met up with Dial, 82, at his home outside Bessemer, Alabama, I found a family that where possibly the kindest I’ve ever encountered in my young career. As Dial sat for his portrait, his sons, daughters, and grandchildren watched. The love they felt for each other was palpable, and the tenderness they radiated for Dial was incredibly touching. Naturally, it made me think of my own grandfather. I was wondering if he would make it one more day, so I could get one more moment with him.

"After we finished, I found saying goodbye to Dial’s family really difficult—they’re the kind of people you end up saying goodbye to multiple times, because you don’t want to say goodbye at all. But I could feel my own family was waiting for me.

"Delayed by an odyssey of bomb scares, canceled flights and mechanical difficulties, I did finally get to Albuquerque in time to hold my grandfather’s hand, and say good bye. But while I made it, not all of the film my assistant Josh took charge of—including shots of Dial holding these gnarled paintbrushes I’d found at his studio—had made it back to New York. I love pairing portraits with detail photographs, so I was upset at the thought of losing them.

"The days after my Grandfather died were filled with tension. But I kept thinking back to my experience with Dial and his family, and felt inspired by the love they expressed to one another. As Dial says, “all truth is hard truth. We are in the darkness now, and we got to accept the hard truth to bring on the light. When truth come out in the light, we get the beauty of the world.”

"Sometimes that truth means death, loss, confusion, and chaos. Sometimes that truth is full of canceled flights, bomb scares, and lost film. But Dial taught me, you can’t hide the truth. We can only accept it.

"As it turns out, we were able to find those two missing rolls of film in a couple of camera backs and publish them here. Every shoot has a story."

The author of this article is Mark Mahaney, a portrait photographer living in New York City.

Richard Lacayo’s article with Mark Mahaney's photos on Thornton Dial ran in TIME ‘s March 14th, 2011 Culture section.  

Read more here.

A Leisurely Weekend Breakfast for You

George Crisp (British artist, 1875-1916) Still Life with Strawberries 1882

Give thanks, relax, enjoy...