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Mark Rothko (1903-1970)….Walls of light

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I discovered that in the over 1000 blogs i published i never have written one about Mark Rothko and you must know that Rothko is one of the painters i admire most. There are several exhibItions i have seen on Rothko  . The first one was the Spiritual In Art, which had some Rothko’s within the exhibition and then there was recently the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag which i liked very much and which had a near perfect chronological overview of his painting including the one he just made before his suicide, which was presented next to Piet Mondrian’s final painting,

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but the exhibition which impressed me most was the Rothko special exhibition at the Guggenheim Bilbao (2004). I did not know it was there and when Linda and I entered the room we both were overwhelmed with the paintings on show.

Large scale paintings, executed in colors which were either very bright or very close to each other with hardly any contrast in them. It was the first time we visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and on show were large scale works by Oldenburg which on another occasion were replaced for the Richard Serra work MATTER OF TIME and then , surprise….. one of the greatest and best overviews of Rothko paintings imaginable. Here is the text belonging to the announcement by the Guggenheim Museum

MARK ROTHKO

WALLS OF LIGHT

June 8, 2004 – October 24, 2004

Born Marcus Rothkovitz in Dvinsk, Russia, in 1903, Mark Rothko emigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1913, settling in Portland, Oregon. Rothko attended Yale University on scholarship from 1921 to 1923, when he left without a degree and moved to New York. He began to paint in 1925 and had his first solo show in 1933. He continued to refine his technique as he developed his famous mature style in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Since his tragic death in 1970, his art has continued to enjoy undiminished popularity. Today Rothko counts among the great pioneers of American postwar art and, alongside Barnett Newman and Jackson Pollock, as one of the major representatives of Abstract Expressionism.

In 2003, to mark the hundredth anniversary of Rothko’s birth, the Beyeler Foundation, Basel, in collaboration with the artist’s children Kate R. Prizel and Christopher Rothko, installed a sequence of Rothko rooms, now on view in an extended version at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The exhibition features a representative cross-section of works from all phases of Rothko’s career and provides a moving homage to the artist and his work.

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The Mark Rothko exhibition is still in our minds and we have on our wishlist to go at one time to the Rothko chapel and experience once again the timeless abstract art by Mark Rothko. Rothko is truly timeless and undoubtedly one of the greatest painters the art world has given humanity. There are several Rothko titles available at www.ftn-books.com

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Gerrit Benner (1897-1981)

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One of my first blogs was devoted to the museum Belvedere where i encountered some wonderful paintings by Gerrit Benner. This blog is solely devoted to Benner because he deserves it. His paintings are among the first abstract paintings which still hold a link with realism in the Netherlands . These paintings are definitely inspired by nature. Skies, meadows and even an abstract cow can be determined in the compositions. Benner is a painter “pur sang” who’s works are rooted in the dutch tradition of abstract paintings. For instance Mondrian used these abstracted landscapes in his own painting from the early 20th century.

on the left a painting by Benner with Red cloud on the right Landscape with Red cloud by Piet Mondriaan

Benner is a great painter who deserves to be known outside the Netherlands and for those visiting the Netherlands. When you visit the Stedelijk, Gemeentemuseum, Belvedere and Museum Twente you surely will encounter a Benner painting in their permanent collections.

There are some very nice Benner publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Museum Voorlinden…first visit

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It took us two months to finally visit the recently opened museum Voorlinden. Why so long….because we agreed to visit this together with friends and have dinner afterwards. The visit was postponed because of other obligations a few weeks earlier, but finally yesterday 11/11 the visit was there. It was late in the afternoon and still quite busy. Both parkings were more than half filled with cars and people were walking the park. We were early and walked around the museum building and saw the plants and garden layout by Piet Oudolf and both of us imagined how this must look like when early summer has arrived. A colorful “painting” of plants which can be admired from within the building, because one of the qualities of the architecture is that the “outside” is brought into the building by huge windows which show the garden by Oudolf as a work of art on its own.

What about the collection and the special exhibition? The museum feels more like an experience than  a thoroughly prepared exhibition which teaches the visitor some aspects of art. Every museum room is such an experience. The Mueck and the Serra are excellent examples of this approach. You can compare yourself with the giant figures by Mueck and the Serra is one of the very best and impressive”mazes” he ever has made. It is like a smalle MATTER OF TIME ( see earlier post) Even the special exhibition with the works by Ellsworth Kelly feels like an experience. These works are extremely large and because of their sheer size you can only look at them thoroughly when you take your distance from them. Still it is almost unbelievable to see so many impressive and beautiful Kelly paintings in one exhibition and it will be a very long time before these will be brought together again.

It was a nice visit. The building is impressive and the architecture is almost as good as the Beyeler Museum in Basel. The Landscape is a highlight, the collection is worth visiting, The Kelly’s are a dream, but i am very curious about the future. This is at the moment one of the very best museums in the Netherlands, situated in arguably the best location and surroundings. Wim Pijbes the former director of the Rijksmuseum made the transfer to this museum, but resigned within 3 months. So this  makes me curious what the next exhibitions will be without the guidance of Pijbes. Joop van Caldenborgh , the initiator of the museum , has a very large modern art collection, but it would be nice to not only show the established names, but to show the “young” in Modern art in relation to this establishment.  I am hoping for exhibitions on Sol LeWitt and Anish Kapoor ( both in the Caldic collection), but also for lesser names like Ossip  and Broszat . This is a quality museum and one of the very best museums in Europe supported by the Caldic collection…one of the most important private collections in the world

Conclusion: A Must visit …and do not skip this one when you come to the Netherlands.

 

btw. Dinner we had afterwards was great;-)

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Francis Bacon and Berlinde de Bruyckere

 

In my blog from Sunday you noticed that we visited the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag to have a look at the Riley CURVES exhibition. During this visit we walked the first floor of the museum with part of their permanent collection. Since the Bacon exhibition from 2001 , several painting are “on loan ” from other museums and they have now completed this room with a sculpture on loan from the Hauser & Wirth collection…and placed this in the same room as the Bacon’s….result….one of the most exciting and stunning Museum rooms i have ever seen.

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Sometimes there are artists who look like brothers/sisters of each other, same approach to their subjects and this room is an example how closely both these artists are related in their art to each other. Here is the text the Gemeentemuseum published on their site www.gemeentemuseum.nl on Berlinde de Bruyckere.

Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere (b. 1964) creates sculptures that reveal the human body and human life in all its frailty. Her installations of equine and human bodies evoke feelings of love and consolation, but also of terror and violence. The work is both emotionally immersive and provocative, regularly creating controversy. De Brucykere’s bitter-sweet images unite pain and suffering with a strong aesthetic appeal. Her Cripplewood presentation attracted great public attention at the 55th Venice Biennale. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag acquired her sculpture Into One – Another II, To P.P.P., 2010-2011 in 2011 and is now about to hold a major retrospective of her work, much of it never previously exhibited in the Netherlands.

The human body and its visible suffering is the key theme in De Bruyckere’s whole oeuvre. We are now almost immune to images of suffering; the constant stream of ghastly pictures fed to us by the mass media has seen to that. Berlinde De Bruyckere seeks to restore our sensitivity to the suffering that is a timeless and universal part of the human condition. She makes us stop and look at it but leaves us free to make of her work what we will. In doing so, she unerringly explores the limits of the visual representation of physical and emotional pain. 

De Bruyckere constructs her sculptures of wax, resin, rope and worn leather or textile and strings together separate wax casts to create single bodies. She is concerned solely with bodies; faces are concealed behind shocks of hair or cloths; heads are often completely missing. Using special pigments, she transforms wax into pallid skin with vague glimpses of blood, veins and contusions. Red patches and ‘wounds’ give the impression of a tortured body and suggest associations with the religious symbolism surrounding martyrs like St. Sebastian – a figure of great significance to Cripplewood. In addition to these religious elements, classical mythology also has a place in De Bruyckere’s work. Ovid’s Metamorphoses are a constant source of inspiration.

Horses are also an important symbol in her oeuvre, used primarily as a metaphor to express profound human emotions surrounding death and mortality.

In addition to her sculpture, the forthcoming exhibition will also feature drawings and early works in textile. De Bruyckere uses her drawings – often made in a combination of watercolour and gouache on recycled paper or cardboard – as exploratory studies relating to the themes of her sculptures. In this respect, she frequently seeks inspiration in the bodies of dancers. The development of ideas with dancers in the studio is a technique of great importance to her and has resulted in various wax sculptures, as well as a number of different series of drawings. These series are not preparatory studies, but function as works of art in their own right, underlining the themes that together form the leitmotif of her entire oeuvre. De Bruyckere’s sketches, drawings, watercolours and sculptures are all interlinked and together constitute a single ‘body of work’.

De Bruyckere trained at the LUCA School of Arts in Ghent. Her work was first exhibited in the Italian Pavilion at the 2003 Venice Biennale. This led to immediate international recognition and her work has since been acquired by major museums, foundations and private collectors around the world. She returned to Venice in 2013 to represent her own country in the Belgian Pavilion.

 

For books on both these artists visit www.ftn-books.com

wilfried