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Worth Watching
  • Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    A fascinating and highly entertaining look at one of the most important families of the Renaissance era--the Medici.
  • Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)
    Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)

    “Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters.” This set includes Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Simultaneously delightful and scholarly--this is a must have for anyone interested in art history.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    When British stencil artist Banksy traveled to Los Angeles to work, he came across obscure French filmmaker Thierry Guetta and his badly organized collection of videotapes involving the activities of graffiti artists. Inspired, Banksy assembled them with new footage to create this talked-about documentary, and the result is a mind-boggling and odd film (so strange as to be thought a hoax by some) about outsider artists and the definition of art itself.
  • The Impressionists
    The Impressionists
    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
  • The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.
Monday
Aug122019

Henry Percy Gray

Henry Percy Gray - Landscape with Oaks and Stream - 1927 - Watercolor on canvas - Private collection (click photo for larger image)American artist Henry Percy Gray (1869-1952) was born into a San Francisco family with broad literary and artistic tastes. He studied at the San Francisco School of Design. While he had some early Impressionistic tendencies, his basic approach to composition and color was derived from the Barbizon School and Tonalism, which were emphasized at the School of Design. 

In 1895 Gray moved to New York City where he spent 11 years working as head of the art department for the New York Journal.  While in NYC he studied at the Art Students League and with William Merritt Chase.  Gray returned to San Francisco in 1906 and joined the art department of the Examiner where he remained until about 1915.  By that time he had established himself as a professional landscape painter. 

From 1918-23 Gray maintained a studio in San Francisco's old Monkey Block (now the Transamerica Pyramid), which also served as his living quarters. Around 1910, he began signing his paintings in script instead of the block letters he had used since student days. 

In 1923 Gray married and settled in Monterey, where the newlyweds purchased for their home—and had rebuilt on another site—the historic Casa Bonifacio. Working from his studio attached to the house, Gray attained total mastery of his watercolor technique. In 1939 they sold the home, and after two years in San Francisco, settled in San Anselmo in Marin County. 

Gray is primarily known for his romantic and lush depictions of the Northern California landscape.

Friday
Jul192019

Vacation Notice

The What About Art? team will be on vacation from July 21st through August 11th. Posts will begin again on August 12th.


Friday
Jul192019

Barbara Hepworth: Relationships to Space

Barbara Hepworth - Rock Form (Porthcurno) - 1964 - Bronze, Edition of 6, Cast No. 3 - 99-3/4 x 42 x 17 in. (253.4 x 106.7 x 43.2 cm) - Norton Simon Museum - Pasadena, CABritish artist Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975) distinguished herself as a world-recognized sculptor during a period where female artists were rare. She evolved her ideas and her work as an influential part of an ongoing conversation with many other important artists of her time, working crucially in areas of greater abstraction while creating three dimensional objects. 

Hepworth’s development of sculptural vocabularies and ideas was complex and multi-faceted. It included the use of a wide range of physical materials for sculpting and an unprecedented sensitivity to the particular qualities of those materials in helping decide the ultimate results of her sculptures. The investigation of "absence" in sculpture as much as "presence," and deep considerations of the relationship of her sculptural forms to the larger spaces surrounding it were of keen interest to her.

The work featured here retains the curving planes of much of her work. She produced it at a time when an increased demand for her work led her away from stone sculpture to bronze. Hepworth had a prosperous career within the modernist movement in England.

Wednesday
Jul172019

Quote of the Day

"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.” - René Magritte


Monday
Jul152019

Giacometti: An Existentialist 

Alberto Giacometti - Three Men Walking - 1949 - Bronze - 30 1/8 x 13 x 12 3/4 in. (76.5 x 33 x 32.4 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkSwiss artist Alberto Giacometti  (1901-1966) had a remarkable career that traced the shifting enthusiasms of European art before and after the Second World War. As a Surrealist in the 1930s, he devised innovative sculptural forms, sometimes reminiscent of toys and games. As an Existentialist after the war, he led the way in creating a style that summed up the philosophy's interests in perception, alienation and anxiety.

In the late 1930s, Giacometti abandoned both abstraction and Surrealism, becoming more interested in how to represent the human figure in a convincing illusion of real space. He wanted to depict figures in such a way as to communicate a perceptual sense of spatial distance, so that viewers, might share in the artist's own sense of distance from his subject. The solution he arrived at involved whittling the figures down to the slenderest proportions.

Giacometti’s Surrealist works influenced such sculptors as Henry Moore (discussed elsewhere on What About Art?). His figurative work was instrumental in re-establishing the figure as a viable motif in the post-war period, at a time when abstract art dominated. 

“The rough, eroded, heavily worked surfaces of "Three Men Walking (II)" [featured here] typify his technique. Reduced, as they are, to their very core, these figures evoke lone trees in winter that have lost their foliage. Within this style, Giacometti would rarely deviate from the three themes that preoccupied him—the walking man; the standing, nude woman; and the bust—or all three, combined in various groupings.” (metmuseum.org)