Sunday, March 24, 2013

Artnotes: Not Vincent van Gogh

 Through the Trees    Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on linen  11 x 16 inches
 View toward Auguste Comte  Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on linen  11 x 16 inches

Fountain/Senat 19 March    Blair Pessemier   Acrylic on linen  13 x 18 inches 

 Cyclamen    Laurie Fox Pessemier   Monotype on Paper   about 9 x 9 inches  
 View to Observatoire  Blair Pessemier   Acrylic on linen 18 x 15 inches  
 Primroses    Laurie Fox Pessemier   Monotype on Paper   about 9 x 9 inches  
Orchid    Laurie Fox Pessemier   Monotype on Paper   about 9 x 9 inches

Ranunculas    Laurie Fox Pessemier   Monotype on Paper   about 9 x 9 inches  
ARTNOTES:  NOT Vincent van Gogh

TEFAF, the The European Fine Art Fair takes place every year in March.   It is one of my favorite events to attend:  like rummaging about, deluxe-style, in a museum basement.  In addition to the regular fare of the world’s best art and objects, this year there was a show of Van Gogh’s drawings.  We drove the 4 and a half hours to see it all last Sunday.

My favorite piece of art for sale was a painting of  Jawlensky’s:  Church in Prerow.  It is brilliant orange and green – just fabulous.     There were some other wonderful Jawlenskys, too.   But the artist I most liked for body of work was Kirchner.   Many different works of his  were shown,  from trees to flowers to people (extra good).   

The thing I noticed most at TEFAF was the marvelous curation of things.   I often notice that in museums now, the work seems to be chosen to make a good catalog, and is hung to accomadate giant crowds in a linear, chronological fashion.   Not so at TEFAF: art is arranged to catch your eye, to draw you in from one piece to another.  A furniture dealer in specializing in Hoffman hangs a hinged flower planter on a leading corner, your eye turns to the most important piece in the stand:  an armoire; one circulates around some rather odd statues.  All is illuminated by the best lighting I’ve seen.  I get an idea for making lampshades with silk scarves.   Right around the corner from them was a New York dealer, Jason Jaques, who sold outstanding ceramics. There were vases from the art nouveau period I’d never seen the likes of.  But more than just the work, he had the BEST display – art nouveau style iron work:  wall shelves, console tables.  It was so terrific we went in to tell him – and he said, “you guys present well yourselves”.  Which made me take a look around at people, and for one of the first times in my life, I realized our personal style fit in nicely with the crowd.

Holland is an intriguing place.  One knows instantly when leaving Belgium that you’ve arrived someplace far more interesting.  The houses – large painted brick mansions, square or rectangle, many windows, peaked pyramidal roofs with lyrical lanterns.   Sand is everywhere, along the many rivers – and the people are larger than I am.  It’s the only place I can go and feel short. There’s a boldness and confidence in them which allow them to wear bright colors, daring designs.  They are very open – they have to be because they’ve always been the traders of the world.

Soutine, my favorite artist, had two paintings in the show – a hunter, with an unusual blue background and a landscape.  I loved a bridge painted by Lyonel Feininger.   It’s humbling to return to our own gallery.

We had our first outdoor lesson on the 19 March.  Blair and I painted surprisingly similar pictures this time – and our brave Australian colleague toughed out the 35 degree day (no more than 2 Celsius).  Her husband, in shirtsleeves and down vest went with their son, in shorts to the catacombs.  Crocodile Dundee had nothing on him.

I spent the rest of the week in the gallery making prints.   While I was there, a family stopped by -- the older of the two girls, all of seven, asks how I made the butterfly prints.  I show her the technique.  She’d  like to buy one, she says, but this is the last day of her trip, and she’s spent all her money.  Her sister, about four years old, is examining the stairs to the basement.   I tell her Vincent is working down there.  She turns to her father,  and announces in a stage whisper, “THAT is NOT Vincent Van Gogh!”

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