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Monday, April 27, 2020

The Color Orange

Peeled orange, Marilyn McKing
Of all the primary and secondary colors I've discussed over the past weeks orange is probably my least favorite. That's apparently the feelings of a great many painters from the past because unlike most of the other major colors there are fewer works devoted mainly to this hue. If you eliminate those featuring sunsets and fall foliage you have fewer still. To my recollection, I don't think I've ever done more than one or two paintings in which orange has predominated. However, as you can see in the painting Peeled orange, (above) by Marilyn McKing, the color offers a wealth of possibilities. Of course it's impossible to paint a still life featuring an orange without using the various multiple shades and tints of available to the talented colorist. It's interesting to note how the artist uses so few areas of "pure" orange.

With such a narrow range of values between red and yellow
variations are bound to be quite subtle.
The color orange is a combination of red and yellow. It is a bright and warm color. It represents fire, sun, fun, warmth and tropical surroundings. Orange is considered a fun, light color with appetizing and delicious qualities. It also increases the oxygen supply to the brain and stimulates mental activity. A harmonious blend of red and yellow hues, orange is a color that oozes with delight. Bursting with energy and warmth. Orange is commonly associated with outdoor elements. It’s for this reason why tropical surroundings are frequently steeped in orange tones. From its playful shade to its inviting comfort, the color orange radiates a calm yet lively essence. With its fiery undertones, the color orange is often depicted in scenes where fire and sun are present. The deeper the shade, the more intense the setting. A blazing sun is thought to emit orange flames. Moreover, a crackling campfire is the pictorial definition of the color orange. In essence, while basking in the great outdoors, the color orange is likely to reveal itself. When it does, revel in its bright glow.
Orange very often swerves into what most people would term a shade of brown.
There's absolutely no consistency in the use of these titles.
Good luck curbing your hunger when the color orange is near. Hallmarked for its appetizing appeal, this reddish-yellow hue can trigger food cravings. Fortunately, these foods are generally healthy, with oranges being one of the most popular fruits. Some people add this color to their kitchen décor in hopes that it’ll stir up feelings of hunger. For those abiding by a strict diet, don’t be fooled by the edible desires that this color invokes. Characterized by orange leaves and warm tones, fall would lose its charm without the color orange. Adding a hint of warmth to traditional greenery, orange can literally alter the ambiance of the seasons. No doubt an impressive quality, orange is beloved for its subtle yet unique beauty.

There are a sizable number of feelings and meanings generated with orange.
In the throes of a difficult juncture, the color orange can offer security and strength. Unlike its color wheel neighbors, orange doesn’t evoke physical or mental responses. Instead, it inspires us to lean into our emotional understandings. By doing so, we dig deeper into our intuition. When feeling dispirited, find solace in the color orange. Clinging to this color will remind you that there’s light at the end of a depressingly dark tunnel. In keeping with the above theme, orange is known to uplift otherwise fallen spirits. Touted as one of the cheeriest colors, orange is the antithesis of darkness. Color psychology teaches us that seeing the color orange can ignite motivation, hope, and positivity. Given its ecstatic spirit, it’s no wonder orange helps us look on the bright side.

Still Life with Basket and Six Orange, 1888, Vincent van Gogh
It's interesting that while some artists have shunned the color orange in their works, others seem too have embraced it wholeheartedly. When it comes to the routine use of orange, Vincent van Gogh stand apart from most of the others as seen in his Still Life with Basket and Six Orange, (above) from the  year 1888. There are numerous other instances when some of his yellows might be termed orange. His near-red oranges are all the more brilliant as juxtaposed against the cool minty green environment. I wonder if he ate them after he was done.

Flaming June, 1895, Lord Frederic Leighton Lord Frederic Leighton's
An even more daring use of rampant orange can be found in a highly unusual figure by England's Lord Frederic Leighton which he has titled allegorically Flaming Jane. (He was a Romantic at heart.) Yet we shouldn't be so surprised at his use of orange in that it is quite often a component in flesh tones regardless of race. It's not so unusual to fine an orange basis for many warm portraits. One might say such figures are "light orange." The Norwegian Expressionist, Edvard Munch, also employs the color orange in his The Scream, from 1893, not in the figure, but in the fiery sunset beyond (below) from which the painting took its title. The painting was sometimes referred to by the artist as The Shriek.

Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature), 1893, Edvard Munch
When one begins to explore paintings with powerful oranges, we began to inch closer and closer to shades of reds as seen in Georgia O'Keeffe's Red Poppy (below). Obviously O'Keeffe has rejected the color orange as appropriate to a Poppy, but allows it to "take over." I'll let you judge as to whether this painting is orange enough. Are we to trust the title or the content insofar as "orangeness" is concerned.? One might say O'Keeffe "teases" us with her oranges and reds.

Red Poppy, 1927 Georgia, O'Keeffe
To only a slight lesser degree we find Salvador Dali's The Elephants (below) from 1944. Dali employs a narrow band of subtle gradations from yellow to red near his surrealist horizon. It first appeared in his 1944 work Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate, a Second Before Awakening. (How's that for a long title!) The elephants, were said to have been inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculpture base in Rome of an elephant carrying an ancient obelisk.

The Elephants, 1944, Salvador Dali


Monday, April 20, 2020

Hospital Architecture

Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Children, Orlando-Florida,
one of the most strikingly beautiful hospitals I've ever seen.
I've always considered myself to be, if not an expert, then quite knowledgeable about architecture. However, until this past week, I knew very little about hospitals. Just a few days ago I was released from the Cleveland Clinic and before that our local medium-size hospital. I won't go into any details as to why I was there, this is not the time or place for that. Suffice to say I have done some research into some of the more unique and attractive hospitals in the world. I began with Marietta (Ohio) Memorial Hospital (below) where I was their guest for about three days followed by about four days in one of the biggest hospitals in this country. Although there are many similarities, believe me not all hospitals were created equal.
Today, Marietta Memorial is attractive but with an architectural sameness found in most hospitals of its size around the country. The original structure (lower image) is still in use but has literally been swallowed up by numerous additions since its debut one hundred years ago.
I was born in the brick and stone structure you see just above back in 1945. Inside, this hospital is not quite as monotonous white on white with a touch of chrome that is the hallmark of most hospitals found today. There's a certain architectural flair of curved surfaces, stonework, a courtyard, and floor-to-ceiling glass all of which hides a virtual rat's maze of rambling rooms and corridors that is pretty much standard today. All this occurs in the name of comfort for the patients and efficiency for the staff. Although I've never been in a private hospital, I've yet to find one that wasn't understaffed and the medical professional weren't overworked. When I checked into Marietta Memorial, there was such a flu epidemic going around I spent about 36 hour in an area they called emergency overflow in a cold sterile basement. I had a tiny cubical all to myself with a shared bathroom. Worst of all though, my meals were all cold by the time they got to me. Upstairs, I had a semi-private room with a recliner.
Cleveland Clinic main entrance replete with fountain and reflective pool,
ranking the main structure very attractive.
I arrived at the Cleveland Clinic emergency room by ambulance about midnight. I was wheeled in on a gurney (I could have handled a wheelchair just as well), checked in, checked out, then taken to another semi-private room where their major concern was that I might fall on the way to the bathroom. The food was bland inasmuch as I was on a renal diet (salt free) but at least it wasn't cold. Fortunately I had my trusty laptop with me to while away the hours, though I also did a great deal of napping. I'm gifted in that I can drop off to sleep in less than a minute, which I did, again and again. I had so many blood tests my arms began to look like pin cushions. And, as in most hospitals today, my medications were meted out to me by computers. If I thought Marietta Memorial to be a maze, it was nothing compared to that in Cleveland rambling through no less than three buildings (or towers), each about eight stories tall on my way to a CAT scan. I left rested, well-informed, and anxious to get back home to my daily routine. My wife drove me home (three hours) through a pouring rain while I slept blissfully unaware of all my surroundings.
The Cleveland Clinic campus is something of a health care city within a city.
Hospitals are not places generally associated with pleasure. After all, most of us are usually only at one when we or a loved one are sick. Traditionally, they’re not nice to look at, either: we think of over-lit and sterile environments, with visual stimulation limited to small, wall-mounted televisions. However, a new generation of medical facilities is changing the face of the hospital, literally. These places take a more holistic approach to healthcare--one that takes the healing environment into consideration. As a result, many hospitals may be more welcoming and diverse than those with which many are familiar. And while patient care remains their primary objective, many have put almost equal care into their clients’ surroundings. The Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Children (top) in Orlando, Florida, is one such institution. With its striking looks, the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Children, located in Orlando, Florida, seems at first glance to be something else entirely. It is in fact, as conceptualized to be more like a hotel. The structure is made up of dark glass-covered towers, which rise from a triangle-shaped base. Worldwide architects Jonathan Bailey Associates say that this arrangement makes access to resources easier, helps the movement of patients and staff to become more efficient, and simplifies monitoring of activities. The hospital was completed in 2006, and it is now a distinctive landmark on the Orlando skyline.
Rush University Medical Center, Chicago Illinois
In 2012 the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago opened its transformed campus after a radical redesign of the 175-year-old institution’s complex. The educational hospital now presents a sleek, up-to-date exterior to match the cutting-edge methods of care within its walls. The Chicago branch of global architects Perkins & Will worked closely with the hospital and its users during the center’s design stage in order to create an optimal working environment. Its environmentally friendly construction also means that Rush is the biggest newly built health facility in the world to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
Akershus University Hospital, Nordbyhagen, Norway
With Akershus University Hospital, Scandinavian firm Arkitektfirmaet C. F. Møller created a friendly, welcoming environment for patients and their families. Each section is given its own unique treatment, differentiating it from the others and providing varied visual stimulation. The hospital, located in Nordbyhagen, Norway, utilizes geothermal heating for most of its warming requirements. Sustainability was also a factor in the facility’s construction, and materials were locally sourced. The new hospital opened in 2008, although work continued on the emergency department until 2014. In 2009 it won the award for Best International Design in the Building Better Healthcare Awards.
Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children, Birmingham, Alabama
The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham, Alabama is, in area, the third-biggest children’s hospital in America. Its shiny glass and white concrete façade is the work of global architectural firm HKS, Inc., which strove to make the facility a less frightening place for children than a traditional hospital would be. The interiors of the different levels are uniquely colored and easy to navigate, while windows provide both great views and natural lighting. The hospital, which opened in August 2012, is the first in Alabama to have won the LEED Silver certificate.
Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, East Norriton, Pennsylvania
The Einstein Medical Center Montgomery is a non-profit hospital located in East Norriton, Pennsylvania. The New York branch of global architects Perkins & Will designed the state-of-the art development, which was the region’s only new medical center to be constructed in more than ten years. The hospital was built on an old golf course, and the architects successfully retained 30 acres of green space, with the large windows of the structure allowing for great views of the setting. These surroundings include footpaths for patients, staff and the public to enjoy. Construction, which was completed in September 2012, used plenty of recycled and local materials, and the hospital achieved a LEED Silver certificate rating in 2013.
Rey Juan Carlos Hospital, Madrid, Spain
The Rey Juan Carlos Hospital in Madrid, Spain is more sleek and space age than dull and depressing. Designed by local architects Rafael de La-Hoz and completed in March 2012, the institution is intended to be a true healing space filled with “harmony and light.” An abundance of light, silence and efficiency was the desired result for the building, and we’d argue that pleasing aesthetics, too, seem to be part of the finished article. The two ovals on top were created to be peaceful spaces, without the noise or bustle of long, straight corridors. Plus, the hospital features a green roof garden and views from each room.
CHA Women and Children Hospital, Seongnam, South Korea
In designing the CHA Women and Children’s Hospital in Seongnam, South Korea, KMD Architects created a facility that fits in perfectly with its well-to-do area. The U.S.-based firm came up with a shiny, modern structure that has one whole level housing an extended stay spa. The facility is softened on the inside by the inclusion of plants, wood and water features, while its roof is also an area of plants as well as wooden decking. The hospital, which was finished in 2006, is made up of four stories above ground and four floors below, making it bigger than it first appears. In 2008 it picked up the American Institute of Architects National Healthcare Design Award.
Carol and Frank Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare, Tampa Florida
The Carol and Frank Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare is part of the University of South Florida’s healthcare learning program. The Tampa branch of Alfonso Architects designed the facility, which includes MRI, CT, X-ray and women’s diagnostics units, plus a surgery area and more. The building itself is sleek looking, with simple lines and a plain color scheme creating a calm, clean effect. The center was completed in July 2008.
South Tower Expansion for Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Mission Hills, California
The Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in California is no newcomer to design elements that can aid treatment. The hospital – opened in 1962 and designed by well-known architect Edward Durell Stone – already incorporated features like plentiful natural light and links to the natural world. Global architectural firm HOK’s Los Angeles branch added an expansion to the hospital, which was completed in three stages between 2006 and 2010. The designers were mindful of blending in with the hospital’s original architecture and also of the regulations of the municipal area in which it is located.
Harlem Hospital, New York, NY
And finally,some of the hospitals look like works of art, and this one more than most. The $325 million, 195,000 square-foot Harlem Hospital Pavilion, which was designed by global architects HOK, includes giant glass panels on its façade to form striking transparent murals. The huge, eye-catching frontage consists of reproduced historical murals by African American artists. Moreover, at night the artwork becomes even more engaging as it lights up softly from inside. The pavilion links the Martin Luther King, Jr. Pavilion and the Ronald H. Brown Ambulatory Care Pavilion, and it was completed in September 2012.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Berthe Weill

 Nude on a Blue Cisjiion, 1917, Amedeo Modigliani,
When we think of the so-called "art market," we usually think in terms of a single buyer, perhaps haggling over a price with a single individual artists. To some extent, that image is still viable, especially at the "low end" with local artists. However, as the artist becomes more famous and the prices for his or her work rises there is always a third person involved--an intermediary between the between the two whose job it is to line up buyers, advertise, set prices, and thus free the artist from the onerous job of selling. (Artists are usually terrible salesmen.) Usually this person is referred to as an agent, many of whom own a storefront gallery and promote the most highly salable artists. Many artists search all their lives for a reputable agent only to find themselves barely tolerating their presence a few years later. And for their efforts, agents take as much as 50% of the sales price. That sounds like an exorbitant fee but given their time, expenses, and risk, many agents barely break even.
She was the only one to expose unknowns and so many unfamiliar artists,
it was a very risky commercial bet.
Most such art dealers you've probably never heard of, but among the most successful were Charles Saatchi (Co-founder of Saatchi and Saatchi gallery in London); Ambroise Vollard (credited with providing exposure and emotional support to numerous then-unknown artists, including Paul Cézanne, Aristide Maillol, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Louis Valtat, Pablo Picasso, André Derain, Georges Rouault, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh); Betty Parsons (an American artist, art dealer, and collector known for her early promotion of Abstract Expressionism); and Paul Durand-Ruel (a French art dealer who is associated with the Impressionists and the Barbizon School). He was one of the first modern art dealers. As important as all these, and predating most of them, was an eccentric, relatively unsung Paris art dealer from 1901 to 1939, Berthe Weill.
Le Moulin de la Galette, 1900,  Pablo Picasso
Weill bought, exhibited, and sold Pablo Picasso’s work before he ever moved to Paris or painted any of the works for which he’s now considered a modernist legend. “This homely Jewish spinster with spectacles thick as goldfish bowls,” as Picasso biographer John Richardson described her, exhibited the artist many times, including in a 1902 show featuring 30 early works. It was then that she sold his Moulin de la Galette (above), now in the Guggenheim Museum collection, for 250 francs to collector and newspaper publisher Arthur Huc. Weill exhibited many future modern art titans when no one else would, and she did so for more than 400 then-emerging artists—including André Derain, Georges Braque, Aristide Maillol, Kees van Dongen, Maurice de Vlaminck, and Suzanne Valadon and Maurice Utrillo (coincidentally mother and son). She consistently identified stars on the rise and was the first to show Georges Rouault and Raoul Dufy. She was the only dealer to give Diego Rivera a solo exhibition during the Mexican muralist’s roughly decade-long stay in Paris.

25th anniversary of Galerie Berthe Weill, 1926
She was the first dealer for Dadaist Francis Picabia and Orphist Robert Delaunay. Midway through her 40-year career, she began devoting around half of her exhibitions to female artists including Emilie Charmy, Hermine David, Marie Laurencin, Jacqueline Marval, and Valentine Prax. Amadeo Modigliani work at the time included Nude on a Blue Cushion (top)from 1917. The list of artists Weill championed goes extraordinarily on, full of hundreds of names—some blue-chip, some forgotten. Between 1901, when she opened Galerie Berthe Weill, and 1941, when she shuttered the space due to rising anti-Semitism and the onset of World War II, she hosted countless shows. Her risk-taking was admirable, but it didn’t always pay off.

Exhibition poster for Pan! Dans L’oeil
There wasn’t a thriving market for artists who were just starting out or for women artists. And the painters Weill did manage to sell weren’t reliable sources of income, either. As her artists grew higher in profile thanks to shows with Weill, they left her shop for established dealers like Am-broise Vollard, Paul Rosenberg, and Dan-iel-Henry Kahnweiler. These gallery own-ers could offer stipends and the security of an exclusive contract —expenses Weill simply couldn’t afford without resorting to showing recognized, safe artists (some-thing the prickly and opinionated dealer was against). Weill was a discoverer, the first access point to the market for artists who were then spotted by galleries of larger sizes, which offer better prices. Weill was constantly replenishing her ros-ter as successful artists moved to more estab-lished galleries, a pattern still play-ing out for scrappy and visionary dealers today.

Berthe Weill as seen by Picasso.
Even after the artists Weill championed moved on from her gallery, they still revered her. “They were however all very grateful to her in later years,” Gertrude Stein wrote in The Auto-biography of Alice B. Toklas, “Practically every-body who later became famous sold their first little picture to her.” Weill’s art-historical cre-dentials were impressive, but her fame never reached the level of some of her fellow Parisian dealers. She was instrumental in giving artists their starts, but the tables eventually turned so that she’s rarely more than an aside in the biographies of artists like Picasso, Matisse, and Modigliani. How has she slipped through art history? The answer lies in the fact that she was she was a feminist Jew, poor, ugly, and short. People don’t want to know about her because she wasn’t a big success. She never made a lot of money.

Berthe Weill,1926, Édouard Goerg

Monday, April 6, 2020

1860s Art

Twilight in the Wilderness, 1860, Frederic Edwin Church,
As we wander through the archives of art history we find few sudden, revolutionary changes. Usually they are caused by major wars--WWI and WWII, for instances. The same holds true for American art during the 19th century with the upheavals in society--both north and south--resulting from our Civil War. Before the war, American art was fairly provincial, isolated from the greater art world of Europe and other environs. In many cases such art could almost be considered folk art. After the war, and for the remaining thirty years of the century American art lagged somewhat behind that of Europe, but never very far behind. The art itself usually didn't migrate to this country but the artists did migrate to Europe. Furthermore, they returned having absorbed the best their European counterparts had to offer. Among those making the journey to Europe to study art were James McNeill Whistler, Grant Wood, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, William Merritt Chase, and numerous others of lesser stature. However one of the greatest mid-century artists in America did not learn his craft in Europe--Frederic Edwin Church (above).
View of Chimney Rock, Ogalillah Sioux Village, 1860, Albert Bierstadt
Church was a New Englander, a graduate of the all-American Hudson River School, having studied under Thomas Cole. His Twilight in the Wilderness (top), is considered the best purely American work of art of the century. It joins his other masterpieces such as Hear of the Andes (1859), Niagara (1857), Cotopaxi, (1862), Tropical Scenery (1873) each of which he debut in one-painting exhibitions, garnering widespread critical acclaim and fame. The only other American artist of the 1860s of comparable importance is Albert Bierstadt as seen in his View of Chimney Rock, Ogalillah Sioux Village, 1860 (above). Though born in Prussia, Bierstadt came to this country at the age of one. He too, was a graduate of the Hudson River School, though unlike Church, he spent several years studying in Europe (Dusseldorf, Germany).
Interiors of the New Hermitage (1860), Edward Petrovich
Meanwhile, in Europe, the painting Interiors of the New Hermitage (above) from 1860, by Edward Petrovich Hau1 conveys some idea of the European developments in the art of this period. It was during this period that three major French artists were starting to make names for themselves, Claude Monet (below) Edouard Manet, and Auguste Dominique Ingres. Monet's major work from this period is his expansive Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe, 1866, a group portrait of Gustave Courbet, Frédéric Bazille and Camille Doncieux, first wife of the artist (below).
Dejeuner sur l'herbe, 1866, Claude Monet
Still more of a revolutionary figure in French art was works from this era by Edouard Manet such as his scandalous Olympia from 1863 and his The Spanish Singer from 1860 (below). Both works brought him into direct conflict with the high-minded aesthetics of the French Academy. In fact the list of Manet masterpieces from the 1860s seems endless--Boy Carrying a Sword, (1861), The Surprised Nymph, (1861), Mlle. Victorine in the Costume of a Matador (1862), The Dead Christ with Angels (1864), The Battle of the Kearsarge and the Alabama (1864), The Dead Matador (1864–65), Young Flautist, or The Fifer (1766), and as many as a dozen others.
Olympia (1863, upper image,) and The Spanish Singer (1860, lower image)
And representing the established academicism with whom both Monet and Manet did battle from time to time we find Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, represented here by his The Turkish Bath (below, 1862-63). After studying and working in Rome for several decades, with little or no acclaim, Ingres (pronounced Ang) returned to Paris in 1833 for a few years before returning once more to Rome to become the Director of the French Academy there. The Turkish Bath was one of his final paintings before his death in 1867. The Turkish Bath he painted at the ripe old age of 83.

The Turkish Bath, 1862-63, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
An early Lincoln photo.
The other art field making great strides during the 1860s and particularly during the war was that of photography. Matthew Brady was one of the earliest photographers in American history, best known for his scenes of the Civil War. He studied under inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, who pioneered the daguerreotype technique in America. Brady opened his own studio in New York in 1844, and photographed Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Abraham Lincoln, among other public figures. When the Civil War started, his use of a mobile studio and darkroom enabled vivid battlefield photographs that brought home the reality of war to the public. Thousands of war scenes were captured, as well as portraits of generals and politicians on both sides of the conflict, though most of these were taken by his assistants, rather than by Brady himself. His efforts to document the American Civil War on a grand scale by bringing his photographic studio onto the battlefields earned Brady his place in history. Despite the dangers, financial risk, and discouragement by his friends. His first popular photographs of the conflict were at the First Battle of Bull Run, in which he got so close to the action that he barely avoided capture. While most of the time the battle had ceased before pictures were taken, Brady came under direct fire at the First Battle of Bull Run, Petersburg, and Fredericksburg.

With the advent of the hoop skirt and miles upon miles of silk, linen, taffeta, and crinoline.
On the home front the war had only a modest effect on high fashion of the day in the North. In the South, however, as the war wore on, imported fabric became more and more expensive and then impossible to obtain. Gingham, calico, and even denim became more and more the norm. Poplin and flannel were popular on both sides of the battle lines. Hats were a rage then. These headdresses were big and heavily decorated with feathers of ostriches, pheasants, and bustards. These hats were sometimes made of straw, crinoline, which was often made out of horse hair. The hats were then added with bows or fur with respect to the weather--a bow in summer, and fur for the winter. For young children, the hats were kept very simple with small bows and decorated with either daisies or other small flowers.

Ladies' fashions for all ages.
Men during this time generally wore dark-colored three-piece suits, with a collar, vest, and an overcoat. The younger generation of men went for more colors while the older ones had a more conservative approach to dressing. The men had separate outfits for different occasions, just like the women. They had different outfits for walking, smoking, and a more formal suit for formal occasions. The men wore bell hats with the brims curved on the sides. They were made of different colors and materials to go with the outfit they were wearing.

Men's apparel of the 1860s--neat, trim, and slightly uncomfortable looking.