Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Art and My Hood ~ LACMA and Mid City

Color is a power
which directly influences the soul.
~Wassily Kandinsky

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

After getting back from New York (no I'm not done posting that trip) I made it just in time to see the Van Gogh to Kandinsky exhibition at LACMA. It showed the influence of post impressionists like Van Gogh (and that whole movement going on in France) and how it ended up influencing the German Expressionist movement.

It was such perfect timing that I had seen the Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937 Exhibition in New York at the Neue Gallery. Neue is near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Many There was definitely a crossover, with certain artists in the two exhibitions, like Emile Nolde and Kandinsky.

If you aren't aware of what was termed "Degenerate Art," in pre-WWII Germany, it's a fascinating period in art history. The Nazi party had a certain idea of what they considered art and what would show Germans (and Germany) in their best light, and it was definitely not the German Expressionists or pretty much any and all Modern Art, including Matisse, Van Gogh, Picasso, you name it.

They would poorly hang modern artists in a venue, with crummy lighting, cramming the walls with art, then pronounce the artists "Degenerate." Then, next door, they'd nicely hang a show with all the works that they considered the true "art" of that time.

Of course, most people would agree that much of the contemporary work that Hitler and his cronies liked, was pretty much crap.  The old school painters were another story. They liked the old masters, working in a realistic style, and stole and looted everything that that they could get their hands on. (Rent The Rape of Europa, if you haven't already.) I'm sure you know already about all the artworks they are still trying to return to families and museums to this day.

Cuno Amiet, Swiss
Portrait of violinist Emil Wittwer-Gelpke, 1905
Oil on Canvas

Anyway, the show in L.A. was very extensive, and totally fabulous. They allowed photography on a case by case basis. It was up to whomever loaned the painting. These were the pieces that I loved that I could actually photograph. (And that came out, with my my iPhone.)

As you will see, all the post impressionists weren't French, and the Expressionists weren't all German, but part of a larger movement of artists, influenced by one another and what came before them. 

Wassily Kandinsky
Russian, active Germany and France, 1866-1944
Flute, 1907
Heliogravures on Wove Paper

Henri Matisse
French, 1869-1954
the artists studio

This next piece was amazing and pretty much impossible to photograph, in part because of the varnish and crazy glare from the lights, but even so ... it's impossible to really experience it in a photo. I was with my parents and my dad and I kept coming back to it ...

Emil Nolde
German, 1867-1956
Ship in Dock, 1910?
Oil on Canvas

Here I'm trying to avoid the glare, taking it on an angle. How he painted this way, and made it so luscious and yummy, and not muddy, I'll never know. His brush strokes are so bold and loose ... ugh. I love it. 

Nolde was persecuted by the Nazis, wasn't aloud to do his art, so he did watercolors in secret during the war because, unlike oils, they don't smell. He had actually been a previous member of the Nazi party but that didn't matter ... he was a modern artist. I'm hoping he had a big come to Jesus moment, because I really love his work.

Anyway, because he was called "degenerate" and persecuted by the party, in the end, after the war, it actually helped his career that he was on that list.

Of course, any time I get the chance to see a Kandinsky, and be in its presence, I get this sort of  "art contact high." These colors ... they sing! Kandinsky was also considered "degenerate" by the Nazis. They only liked very realistic pieces, or goddesses, Arians and very horrid, flag waving, nationalistic pieces. Bleh.

Wassily Kandinsky
Arabian Cemetery, 1909
Oil on cardboard

Color provokes a psychic vibration.
Color hides a power still unknown but real,
which acts on every part of the human body.
~Wassily Kandinsky

This next piece was a small little gem, by Franz Marc. I usually only see his huge oils but seeing it scaled down gave me a whole new appreciation.

Franz Marc
German, 1880-1916
Colored Flowers, 1913-14
Tempera over graphite

I love how Cézanne messed with perspective, and somehow it all works and is completely stunning. I can never get over his fruit, and that grey/blue ceramic pot? Seriously.

Paul Cézanne
French, 18391906
Still Life with Apples 1893-94

Oh my gosh ... love her.

Kees van Dongen
Dutch, (1877-1968)
Modjesko, Soprano Singer, 1908

The layers of color ... see how they vibrate both on top of, and next to each other!? Looks like energy, no?

My dad and I take silly pics, kind of like what I do with my nephew. I know ... I'm such a nerd. Can't help myself. 

Edouard Vuillard
French, 1868-1940
Woman in a Striped Dress, 1895
Oil on canvas

Félix Vallotton
Swiss, 1865-1925
Laziness (La paresse), 1896
(see the kitty?)

Paul Gauguin
French, 1949-1903
The House of Pan-Du, 1890

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
German, 19=880-1938
(detail) Otto and Maschka Mueller in the Studio, 1911
Oil on Canvas

I zoomed in a little, on the Van Gogh, so you could see the beautiful bold strokes of his brush ...

Vincent van Gogh
Dutch, active France, 1853-1890
Pollard Willows at Sunset, 1888

The artist must train
not only his eye
but also his soul.
~Wassily Kandinsky

The Broad (BCAM) Building at LACMA, houses this giant piece by Richard Serra, on the first floor, called Band. Love the way that it changes and effects the way you feel as you walk around the piece ... as it undulates and leans toward you and then away.

If you want to read more about it, click here.

My folks. :)

Painted aluminum
by Tony Smith, (1912-1980)

I'm so behind on posting, I am combining posts!

These following photos were taken on several different walks in mid-city Los Angeles, from Hancock Park to just east of West Hollywood. Love the varied styles of architecture. I thought you might like to see some things I see walking around LA neighborhoods, if you've never been here.

Below, a very swanky apartment building on Beverly Blvd. ...


Alley off Melrose, some cool graffiti. I like the red shoes left behind!

My little car + cool graffiti 

OK, gotta run! Hope there aren't too many typos!
Can you believe October is winding down?
Hope you are all doing great!!!

Blessings and light!

That is beautiful which
is produced by the inner need,
which springs from the soul.
~Wassily Kandinsky


donna baker said...

Oh, what a rich life you lead in L.A.

Rick Forrestal said...

Almost too much in this post to take in . . .

Kadinsky is right . . . about the direct connection between COLOR and the soul. So important.

By the way, I've sat in that exact bench at LACMA.
So there!

I love which pieces you photographed. The brush strokes hypnotize me.

And I love how you can pose like van Dongen's piece. There's just too much to comment on.

Thanks for the tour of LA. I miss the west coast.

martinealison said...


Je viens de passer un moment fabuleux grâce à votre très joli billet...
Un moment artistique... sublime !
Vos photos sont magnifiques et c'est formidable que vous ayez été autorisée à prendre ces captures...

Merci encore...

Gros bisous ♡

Becky Jerdee said...

Oh me, oh my! what a heap of gems and jewels to ogle! Thanks for a Sunday morning trip through color and history!

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