These two paintings were created three hundred years apart. The Vermeer was painted more than a hundred years before our revolutionary war, the Snyder as the Vietnam War was winding down. I love them both, and find them moving in different ways. The deep domestic beauty of the Vermeer… and I relate to the sleeping maid, because I am always sleepy. The Snyder’s bursting energy and wonderful colors, it has the vibrancy of a city and the beauty of a garden.
I've been thinking about still life's. More specifically painting them, which led me to seek some out on a recent trip to the Metropolitan Museum. Interesting to note how modern the Matisse, painted in 1914, is, compared to the other three, painted around 1880-1890. An entire revolution in painting took place in the imterim.
I keep thinking about this Gustav Klimt painting that is in the Unfinished show at Met Breuer. Posthumous Portrait of Maria Munk III, 1917-18, was commissioned by the subject's parents, after she committed suicide.
This was Klimt's third effort, as the first two portraits did not meet the family's approval. Klimt himself died before the portrait was complete.
Until now, Klimt wasn't a favorite of mine. I admired his work, but it always seemed a little sterile, lacking in soul. Maybe because in reproductions it can come off as decorative. In person you see the hand at work, feel the life.
The sad story behind this painting makes it of interest, but the unfinished part brings it to life for me. I'm certain that I like it more this way, than if it had been completed. I wonder what the first two, that the family rejected, looked like.
I did a little sketching, and took pictures, but mostly I was just trying to be there. To be, within those crazy geologic wonders. At some point I'd like to paint a New Mexico-inspired series, explore those shapes and colors, so different from the green Northeast where I live. Beyond the shapes and colors too--the history and culture, it's all intertwined.
The paintings of Mark Rothko were a big influence on my art, and on the way I look at art. It's spiritual, in the way that nature often is, when you are hiking up a mountain, and pause and breathe, when you gaze at the lake, the meadow of wildflowers, the waves on a winter beach, and you feel yourself falling into the landscape, becoming part of it. Rothko's work is like that--it breathes, it is alive, it pulls you in.
(When people look like the painting.)
Pictures taken at the Tate Modern.
Edward Hopper painted A Room in Brooklyn in 1926, but I look at this painting and see myself. On view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
When I was at the Whitney museum a couple of weeks ago I saw these paintings and played the game, 'Am I a Franz Kline or a Morris Louis?' I decided that when I was young I was a Morris Louis, but as I age I am more of a Franz Kline. In truth though I am the Helen Frankenthaler that is out of the frame.
This is a different Frankenthaler, but I think you'll what I mean.
Today is Winslow Homer's birthday. A few weeks ago I saw a fine selection of his work at the Clark Museum in Williamstown, MA. This painting, Saco Bay, painted in 1896, is one of the last ones he did with figures. I associate him with moody seascapes, but I like this image of the women with lobster trap and fishing net, isolated on the rocks. The description card accompanying a later seascapes begins "Completed in just one month..." That phrase really struck me--to spend a month, much less just a month, seems like such a luxury. But why not? I know that the length of time spent panting doesn't correlate to the quality. I get that. But the idea of it was like inhaling country air, like imagining traveling in a distant land without a cell phone or internet clutter.
When people look like the painting.
Agnes, Martin, Whitney Museum of American Art.