Monday, November 29, 2010

Digging Daura: letters from Émile Bernard

This installment of the “Digging Daura” blog series comes from Joanna Reising, an art history major and intern in the Daura Center. The image above is a drawing by Bernard on the back of the first of the two letters discussed below. (Lynn Boland)

In a follow up to my post that I wrote in July (which you can read here), I will talk more specifically about the letters sent to Pierre from Émile Bernard. Many thanks to Martha Randolph Daura, who was able to provide a complete transcription of the letters. How she got through the undotted I’s and uncrossed T’s I will never know!

There is not much to add to my description of the first letter, undated but written around 1914. Émile had dropped by to visit Pierre and to see a frame on which Pierre had apparently been working, but no one was there. Émile insists that Pierre stop by his studio the next day at five o’clock, saying that he will send five francs to cover the cost of the trip. He also says that he doesn’t have the 500 francs to pay Pierre, but that he will give what he can to last until Thursday. Maybe Thursday is payday? Maybe Thursday is the next time Émile will get money? Whatever the case, Émile owed Pierre 500 francs (which would equal approximately 100 US dollars in 1914) and couldn’t immediately get the full sum to Pierre.

I was able to understand more of the second letter, undated but written in 1919, with the help of the new transcription. If you remember from my last post, Pierre was fulfilling his compulsory military duty on the island of Minorca around this time. By reading Émile’s letter, it is obvious that Pierre was worried or upset about something. It is possible that he was frustrated by not being able to paint or that he was going through some sort of artistic crisis in which he was questioning his own abilities. Émile states that he has faith in Pierre and in his abilities. He wants Pierre to forget the traditional views of nature and to “pass the rest off as non-existent.” Émile believes that because Pierre has pride and soul he will not betray his cause. Finally, Émile encourages Pierre to see everything easily and straightforwardly. These uplifting words are followed by entreaties for Pierre to write to and visit Émile whenever he has the chance.

By reading these letters, one is able to see the evolution of the relationship between the two artists. Pierre begins as a worker in Émile’s studio to becoming a close and dear friend of the artist. Émile’s own insights into painting are evident in his advice to Pierre, giving us a first-hand account of the style of the time and of a personal style that was an important source for Pierre.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trecento 2010: An Enriching Weekend of Early Italian Art

Paul Manoguerra, chief curator and curator of American art, and Judith Ellis attend the Alfred Heber Holbrook Lecture

Laura Rhicard, who works in our Daura department, wrote up a wonderful account of our recent Trecento Conference, which took place November 11-13:
The weekend before last, the Georgia Museum of Art and the Lamar Dodd School of Art played host to the biennial Trecento Conference in Memory of Andrew Ladis. Scholars and enthusiasts of early Italian Renaissance and late Medieval art from around the world and the United States gathered at the art school to discuss a wide range of topics on the trecento period of Italian art history. Click here to view a full list of the presentations.

Marvin Trachtenberg, of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, opened the conference on Thursday evening with the 2010 Alfred Heber Holbrook Memorial Lecture. His topic, “Building-in-Time: Thinking and Making Architecture in the Premodern Era” was based on his newly published, similarly titled book, which explores the role of temporality in architectural theory and practice in 14th-century Italy.

Friday and Saturday were filled with presentations. Intern Joanna Reising especially enjoyed the presentation of a paper by Peter Scholz of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, “Creating Space and Constructing Identity: the Painted Architectures of Giusto de’ Menabuoi and Altichiero.” Joanna found the topic interesting in light of the research she’s been doing in our curatorial department:
This lecture is important for our own research on our Giusto panels, which are part of a dismembered polyptych. Not only did the lecture give us a better idea of Giusto's style, but it also gave us a lead on reconstructing the polyptych: the altarpiece of the baptistry seen in the third slide of the lecture looks very similar to the reconstruction that I have done on our polyptych. This could give us a better idea of what the polyptych looked like before it was dismembered.
Curator of education Carissa DiCindio found interest in a presentation by Cecilia Frosinini of Opificio delle Pietre Dure e Laboratori di Restauro in Florence, entitled “New results on Giotto's panel paintings and wall paintings restoration at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure: the Ognissanti Crucifix and some preliminary remarks on the Peruzzi Chapel.” Said Carissa, “It was fascinating to see how the works of art are being restored, and the discoveries made through these restorations are very exciting.” She also noted that the highlight this year was knowing that the conference will now be named for Dr. Ladis, “because I cannot think about this event without thinking of his presence there.”

The relatively small size of the conference made it easy for seasoned international scholars and new graduate students alike to converse on their shared passion. To sustain the sense of community, participants were treated to dinner at local homes each night. Several visitors from Italy were complimentary of the food, particularly the Low Country Boil! For lunch, conference participants got a taste of today’s college dining experience at the Harris Commons dining hall, and coffee and tea breaks were delivered by local café Big City Bread. Toward the end of one break, a comment was overheard that could have been either “This is the best conference around,” or “the best coffee around….” Either way, we’ll take the compliment!

For Dale Couch, curator of decorative arts, last weekend was his first time attending the Trecento Conference. He provided this assessment that nicely sums up the weekend: “It was an enriching experience both to be around so much trecento art history, so many art historians, and such incredible diversity of languages and culture. The Trecento conference was a case study in a successful academic conference. I believe it brought something special to Athens.”

Friday, November 19, 2010

American International Fine Art Fair

The 15th American International Fine Art Fair (AIFAF) will take place in February 2011 in Palm Beach, Fla. This annual event brings well-known international fine art and antique galleries together.

This year’s event “features international dealers representing disciplines of fine art from classical antiquity to contemporary, and the world’s finest collection of haute and period jewelry.” The vetting committee comprises top museum curators and experts. The schedule consists of exhibitions and daily activities, such as lectures, cocktail parties and social events.

Richard Green Fine Art, Hammer Galleries and Graff Diamonds are among the fair’s many participants. Highlights of the fair include a Renoir exhibition and works by Pablo Picasso, John Duncan Fergusson and Sir Alfred Munning.

David and Lee Ann Lester are the owners of International Fine Art Expositions (IFAE) and have organized the fair since 1997. The Lesters also established Art Miami and Artpalmbeach. Click here and here for more information about AIFAF 2011.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Be a Part of NPR's Postal Service Series

NPR is taking submissions to include in their upcoming series on the U.S. Postal Service. Check out this information from their Tumblr on how to enter your postage memories:

Have you ever received a letter or postcard in the mail that you keep close to your heart — a love letter, a postcard from abroad, a note from a dear relative, a reply to fan mail? NPR would like to hear from you.

Please share scans or photos of your postcard (front and back) or letter (and envelope, if you have it) and tell us your story. Upload your images to Flickr and tag them NPRPostal.

We will select some to accompany our upcoming series on the U.S. Postal Service.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Decade of RxArt

RxArt, a nonprofit organization that puts fine art in health care facilities, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a gala tonight in New York. The event will include a cocktail party, a contemporary art auction and music by guest DJs.

The mission of RxArt is “to improve otherwise sterile environments through contemporary art, promote healing, and inspire hope in patients, families, and staff.” RxArt’s projects include Jeff Koons’ CT Scanner at Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., and an installation of lithographs by Ed Baynard leading to the operating room at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.

In addition to art installations, RxArt has published two volumes of its coloring book, “Between the Lines: A Coloring Book of Drawings by Contemporary Artists,” which is given to children in the hospitals that have RxArt projects.

Click here to see photos on RxArt's Flickr page and here to read an interview with Diane Brown, the president and founder of the organization.

Amazing Water Balloon Photographs

Check out these amazing images from London photographer Edward Horsford. By mastering the techniques of high-speed photography, he has been able to capture the moment when a water balloon pops, right before the water falls out of its spherical shape.

The trick, Horsford explains, is timing the flash perfectly. Working alone, he uses a contraption that sets off the camera’s flash when it detects the pop of the balloon. The photographs are taken at night, allowing the flash to illuminate the shots.

Check out this article from NPR for more of these amazing images, and this article provides a more in-depth description of his technical process.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Art on the Wall"

The Art Factory, a nonprofit arts education organization in Augusta, Ga., has been working with the Augusta Utilities Department on a three-phase project called “Art on the Wall.” This project has been covering the walls of the Highland Avenue Water Department with murals.

The first two phases have been completed. The wall on Highland Avenue (phase one) illustrates a mural of the Savannah River. In the second phase, six artists from the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) were chosen to create water-themed art for the wall on Wrightsboro Road.

Phase three is currently taking place at the wall on Iris Street and will include four murals. This section has been “a ‘Working Wall’ for students to discover the art of mural painting.” The artists for this wall are local teens from the Boys & Girls Clubs and other organizations. So far, the wall includes fish swimming in water around well-known Augusta locations, such as the Sacred Heart Cultural Center and Sconyers Bar-B-Que.

After the teens are finished with their murals, art students at Augusta State University will complete the project. Click here and here to see more photos of the “Art on the Wall” murals.

The Art Factory aims to “provide the children of the Augusta community with high quality fine arts educational experiences that also promote the development of positive life skills.” Click here to read more about the organization.

Slotin Folk Art Festival this Weekend

Photo courtesy of

Got a taste for folk art?

This Saturday and Sunday, nearly 1,200 works of self-taught art will be auctioned off at the Slotin Folk Art Auction in Buford, Ga. Pieces include southern folk pottery, African American quilts and decorative arts, Appalachian art, American Indian pieces, art from the civil rights struggle, religious art, furniture, photography, industrial molds and antique and anonymous folk art.

The festival begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday at Historic Buford Hall, 112 E. Shadburn Ave., Buford, GA 30518.

For more information, please visit the event's website.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Live Install!

You can't see much right now, as the sun is peeking over the building and it's very bright this morning, but if you check out our live webcam today, you should be able to see a bit of the installation of Icelandic artist Steinnun Thorarinsdottir's sculpture "Horizons" (a shot from which appears above) in the Jane and Harry Willson Sculpture Garden. Read more about the artist here.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Conference on Trecento Art

The Georgia Museum of Art and the Lamar Dodd School of Art are hosting their biennial conference on trecento art, which this time is being held in memory of Andrew Ladis. The conference will be held from November 11 to 13 at the Lamar Dodd School of Art.

Twenty-eight speakers from around the world (Russia, Poland, Germany, England, France, Italy, Canada) and the United States will present papers addressing issues related to the 14th century in Italy and the Mediterranean Basin.

The conference will begin on November 11 with greetings and welcome from the Association of Graduate Art Students representative, Kathryn Hall, and GMOA’s director, William U. Eiland.

Following the introductions, Marvin Trachtenberg, of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, will present the 2010 Alfred Heber Holbrook Memorial Lecture. This year, the topic is “Building-in-Time: Thinking and Making Architecture in the Premodern Era.”

The Trecento Conference is free and open to the public. A full schedule for all three days can be found on the Lamar Dodd website.

The Lamar Dodd School of Art is located at 270 River Road at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.

Friday, November 05, 2010

New Show at Trace Gallery

Trace Gallery’s next show will feature artists Michaelene Walsh and Debbie Kupinsky. Beginning with an opening reception on November 12, from 7 to 9 p.m., this exhibition will run through December 3.

Michaelene Walsh is a ceramic artist and associate professor of art at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She draws inspiration from poetry, striving to “bring seemingly disparate, ordinary, or unremarkable images together to form something memorable,” much like a poet does with words.

Debbie Kupinsky works with the figure. She is ultimately interested in “how we reconcile the beauty and innocence in the world with the inevitable loss of innocence.” To symbolize this, Kupinsky chooses to incorporate “objects of nostalgia” such as thimbles, teacups, doll parts and pillboxes.

Trace Gallery is located in Athens at 160 Tracy St., in the Chase Park Warehouses. The gallery is open Thursday through Saturday, 2 to 6 p.m.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fabulous Student!

We love to brag about our wonderful students at the Georgia Museum of Art, who include interns, volunteers and Federal Work-Studies. With a lean staff and a lot to get ready for the grand reopening at the end of January, we couldn't do it without them, and they learn a lot, too, working in every department at the museum, from curatorial to special events to PR and more. Wassim Mentouri is a Federal Work-Study in our business office, and he's being inducted today into Beta Alpha Psi, the national accounting scholastic and professional fraternity, which is why he's all dressed up. The students in BAP are the best of the best in accounting, and it's definitely an achievement for him to be recognized as such. Congrats, Wassim!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Upcoming Lamar Dodd School of Art Events

As UGA is nearing the end of the semester, Lamar Dodd students will be showcasing their work. Here are two upcoming events.

Advanced Print Show

The opening reception for the advanced printmaking class show will take place tomorrow night from 6 to 8 p.m. at Walker’s Coffee Shop & Pub. The pieces will be on view at Walker’s through November.

Drawing & Painting BFA Exhibition

The opening reception for the drawing and painting seniors will take place next Friday, November 12, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Gallery 307 of Lamar Dodd. The work will be on display through November 29.

GMOA in the News

Julie Phillips, the arts and entertainment editor for the Athens Banner-Herald, wrote a great blog post about all the awards GMOA received at the Southeastern Museums Conference in Baton Rouge, La. Click here to see our blog post about the awards or here for the full news release.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

GMOA Curator to Lecture on Dalí

Image courtesy of the High Museum of Art

Lynn Boland, Pierre Daura Curator of European Art at the Georgia Museum of Art and adjunct professor of art history at the University of Georgia, will lecture on Salvador Dalí and his connections to Surrealism at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

In “The Supreme Pleasure of Being Salvador Dalí: Hand-painted Dreams and Surrealism Nightmares,” Boland will speak about the Surrealist movement as well as an overview of Dalí’s art. He will cover Dalí’s relationship with other Surrealists and how they affected his later career.

The lecture will be held in the Hill Auditorium on Thursday, November 4th, at 7 PM.

Tickets are free but limited to 2 per person. They are available through the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404-733-5000. Tickets to the Museum are sold separately.

Reinstallation of Chagall’s America Windows

Image from the Art Institute of Chicago

Yesterday, Marc Chagall’s America Windows were reinstalled at the Art Institute of Chicago. The panels of stained glass went unseen during five years of research and conservation treatment. According to the Art Institute, this work is “one of the most beloved treasures in [the museum’s] vast collection.”

The America Windows, originally dedicated in May 1977, were made in honor of Mayor Richard J. Daley (1902–1976) and celebrated the U.S. Bicentennial. Chagall visited Chicago in 1974 and learned that the Art Institute was planning a gallery in his honor for its expansion program. He then decided to design the windows especially for the Art Institute.

Chagall collaborated with French stained-glass artist Charles Marq to create the windows. Marq made 36 glass panels, and Chagall painted the glass using metallic oxide paints. The windows are more than 8 feet high and 30 feet wide with 12 different sections.

In May 2005, the windows were taken down during museum construction. “Curators and conservators were able to work extensively on the windows during these years to clean, examine, restore, and research Chagall’s masterpiece,” according to Art Daily. Click here to read more.

And now for a little movie trivia—Chagall’s windows made an appearance in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” during the characters’ trip to the museum.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Art of: Wine

Join the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art on Sunday, November 14, 2010, for a day trip to Tiger Mountain Vineyards in Tiger, Ga., where we will enjoy lunch, a wine tasting and tours of the vineyard.

The group will depart at 10:30 a.m. from the parking lot of the UGA Softball and Soccer Stadium, located at 2330 S. Milledge Avenue, where we will leave our cars for the day. We will return to Athens at approximately 4 p.m.

$65 per person/ $120 per couple, Friends of the Museum
$75 per person/ $140 per couple, non-members
$55 per person/ $120 per couple, new members who join through this event

Price includes transportation, lunch, wine tasting and vineyard tour.

To make a reservation, please call 706.542.0437.

Special thanks to event hosts and sponsors Tiger Mountain Vineyards as well as event chairs Chris Peterson and Michele Turner.

Botanical Garden Art Competition

The University of Georgia State Botanical Garden is conducting an art competition to find a design that will be used to create signature items, such as journals, scarves, t-shirts and other gift items, for the garden’s gift shop. The deadline for submissions is Friday, December 10, at 2 p.m.

This competition is open to all Georgia college and high school students, ninth grade and up, regardless of age. Submissions must be two-dimensional and no larger than 24 by 36 inches. Artists are allowed two entries, and each one should be original, signed work. Natural themes, especially related to the state of Georgia, are encouraged.

Prizes will be awarded to the first- ($1000), second- ($500) and third-place ($250) designs. Judges may also award Certificates of Merit.

The competition is funded by the J.A. and H.G. Woodruff Jr. Charitable Trust.

For the complete guidelines, click here.