April Offerings – Part IX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of V: Scott Noel

According to one writer, “Scott Noel received his BFA from Washington University. He has had numerous one-person exhibitions in Philadelphia at the Gross McCleaf Gallery and at the More Gallery. His paintings are included in the collections of the Pennsylvania Academy, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, the Arkansas Art Center and the Woodmere Museum. Reviews of and articles on his work have appeared in Art in America and American Artist and his paintings have been reproduced in New American Paintings. Scott Noel teaches painting at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.”

American Art – Part II of V: Frank Lloyd Wright

“Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.” – Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator, who died 9 April 1959.

Some quotes from Frank Lloyd Wright:

“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.”
“A free America… means just this: individual freedom for all, rich or poor, or else this system of government we call democracy is only an expedient to enslave man to the machine and make him like it.”
“Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.”
“TV is chewing gum for the eyes.”
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
“The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines – so they should go as far as possible from home to build their first buildings.”
“Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”
“Less is only more where more is no good.”
“An architect’s most useful tools are an eraser at the drafting board, and a wrecking bar at the site.”
“There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.”
“The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.”
“A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart.”
“Art for art’s sake is a philosophy of the well-fed.”
“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.”
“Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art.”
“The architect must be a prophet… a prophet in the true sense of the term… if he can’t see at least ten years ahead, don’t call him an architect.”
“The architect should strive continually to simplify; the ensemble of the rooms should then be carefully considered that comfort and utility may go hand in hand with beauty.”
“A man is a fool if he drinks before he reaches the age of 50, and a fool if he doesn’t afterward.”
“All fine architectural values are human values, else not valuable.”
“Buildings, too, are children of Earth and Sun.”
“Space is the breath of art.”
“The present is the ever-moving shadow that divides yesterday from tomorrow. In that lies hope.”
“An idea is salvation by imagination.”
“Toleration and liberty are the foundations of a great republic.”
“Freedom is from within.”
“Get the habit of analysis – analysis will in time enable synthesis to become your habit of mind.”
“Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders’ spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground.”
“Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.”
“Bureaucrats: they are dead at 30 and buried at 60. They are like custard pies; you can’t nail them to a wall.”
“Life always rides in strength to victory, not through internationalism… but only through the direct responsibility of the individual.”
“Mechanization best serves mediocrity.”
“No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.”
“Respect the masterpiece. It is true reverence to man. There is no quality so great, none so much needed now.”
“The heart is the chief feature of a functioning mind.”
“Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.”
“New York City is a great monument to the power of money and greed… a race for rent.”
“No stream rises higher than its source. What ever man might build could never express or reflect more than he was. He could record neither more nor less than he had learned of life when the buildings were built.”
“Noble life demands a noble architecture for noble uses of noble men. Lack of culture means what it has always meant: ignoble civilization and therefore imminent downfall.”
“The Lincoln Memorial is related to the toga and the civilization that wore it.”
“The space within becomes the reality of the building.”
“Youth is a quality, not a matter of circumstances.”

Above – Frank Lloyd Wright, recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time.”
Below – Fallingwater; the Guggenheim Museum.

“The price of empire is America’s soul, and that price is too high.” – J. William Fulbright, United States Senator from Arkansas (1945-1975), who was born 9 April 1905.

British Art – Part I of IV: Charles Holroyd

Born 9 April 1861 – Charles Holroyd, an English painter and etcher.

Below – “Wooded Landscape”; “The Salute, Venice”; “Nymphs by the Sea”; “Villa Torlonia, Frascati”; “The Rialto, Venice”; “Sketch of Alphonse Legros.”

Wooded Landscape circa 1906 by Sir Charles Holroyd 1861-1917
The Salute, Venice 1902 by Sir Charles Holroyd 1861-1917
Sketch of Alphonse Legros by Sir Charles Holroyd 1861-1917

British Art – Part II of IV: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

“Love is the last relay and ultimate outposts of eternity.” – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, English poet, painter, and a founding member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who died 9 April 1882.

“Sudden Light”

I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

You have been mine before,—
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow’s soar
Your neck turn’d so,
Some veil did fall,—I knew it all of yore.

Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time’s eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death’s despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?

Below – “The Blue Closet”; “The Blessed Damozel”; “The Bower Meadow”; “The Tune of the Seven Towers”; “The Daydream”; “Proserpine”; “Venus Verticordia”; Sibylla Palmifera”; “Astarte Syriaca.”
The Tune of the Seven Towers 1857 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882

British Art – Part III of IV: Julia Heseltine

Here is part of the Artist Statement of British painter Julia Heseltine: “My aim is to reach somewhere below the surface and to bring out in the picture the real character of the subject as I see it, so that whether you know them or not the portrait will come over as a whole person with depth. I am concerned that the picture is not just a true portrait but above all a painting worth looking at in terms of composition, colour, atmosphere etc, irrespective of who it is.”

British Art – Part IV of IV: Peter Layzell

Artist Statement: “Collecting images together for this website has proved a challenging exercise. The paintings take a long time to paint and once they are sold I rarely review them. This is partly because they are on the easel for so long, the appetite for looking at them again has diminished. I feared that the experience would be akin to finding a forgotten diary; curiosity at what my younger self thought instantly replaced with embarrassment at what the thoughts actually were.”
(c) Peter Layzell; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Peter Layzell; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

“The root of all superstition is that men observe when a thing hits, but not when it misses.” – Francis Bacon, English scientist, philosopher, statesman, jurist, and author, who died 9 April 1626.

Anyone interested in learning about the many contributions Francis Bacon made to the cause of human enlightenment should read “The Man Who Saw Through Time: Francis Bacon and the Modern Dilemma,” by Loren Eiseley.

Some quotes from the work of Francis Bacon:

“Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.”
“There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.”
“Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.”
“Knowledge is power.”
“He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.”
“It is impossible to love and to be wise.”
“A bachelor’s life is a fine breakfast, a flat lunch, and a miserable dinner.”
“I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.”
“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.”
“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”
“If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.”
“Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.”
“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”
“Money is like manure, of very little use except it be spread.”
“There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying.”
“Things alter for the worse spontaneously, if they be not altered for the better designedly.”
“The joys of parents are secret, and so are their grieves and fears.”
“Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority.”
“Wives are young men’s mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men’s nurses.”
“Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.”
“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.”
“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”
“It is natural to die as to be born.”
“Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”
“Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.”
“Truth is so hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible.”
“If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world.”
“People usually think according to their inclinations, speak according to their learning and ingrained opinions, but generally act according to custom.”
“Who ever is out of patience is out of possession of their soul.”
“Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.”
“Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted… but to weigh and consider.”
“Truth is a good dog; but always beware of barking too close to the heels of an error, lest you get your brains kicked out.”
“Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time.”
“Children sweeten labours, but they make misfortunes more bitter.”
“Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased by tales, so is the other.”
“Science is but an image of the truth.”
“Seek ye first the good things of the mind, and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt.”
“Studies perfect nature and are perfected still by experience.”
“The correlative to loving our neighbors as ourselves is hating ourselves as we hate our neighbors.”
“They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.”
“It is as hard and severe a thing to be a true politician as to be truly moral.”
“Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety.”
“The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding.”
“There is as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth, and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend and of a flatterer. For there is no such flatterer as is a man’s self.”
“We are much beholden to Machiavelli and others, that write what men do, and not what they ought to do.”
“When a man laughs at his troubles he loses a great many friends. They never forgive the loss of their prerogative.”

Vietnamese painter Vu Tuan (born 1973) graduated from Hanoi Fine Arts University.
Vu Tuan
Vu Tuan
Vu Tuan
Vu Tuan

The art of Mexican painter Fidel Garcia blends figurative realism and abstract expressionism. In the words of one critic, “His paintings call upon the viewer to experience the concurrency of our corporeal and spiritual selves, the coincidence of reality and fantasy, and the simultaneous existence of the physical and the metaphysical.”

Here is part of the Artist Statement of Canadian painter Susan G. Scott: “My work exists within the tradition of narrative figure painting, forming a contemporary extension of this classical format.
My studio practice incorporates working from direct observation as well as working from photographs of scenes which I stage using live models and costumes. The live action models provide immediacy and direct attention away from images which otherwise might become too generic. The process of working back and forth from model to photograph to canvas can continue for many months, creating a layering of reality and narrative interpretation.
Technically my work is based loosely on the pre-impressionist oil painting process of laying glazes over a well-delineated underpainting. Beyond the deep sense of continuity with the past which this technique provides me, I am involved in the dramatic effects of light and dark which underpainting and glazing allow. In recent series I have pushed this technique beyond its tradition to incorporate layers of acrylic and a pumice medium which provide an increased awareness of the surface as its own narrative.”
Susan G. Scott
Susan G. Scott
Susan G. Scott
Susan G. Scott
Susan G. Scott

“I have come to the borders of sleep,
The unfathomable deep
Forest where all must lose
Their way.” – Edward Thomas, Anglo-Welsh poet, essayist, and soldier, who was killed in action during the Battle of Arras on 9 April 1917, shortly after he arrived in France.

“The Owl”

Downhill I came, hungry, and yet not starved;
Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof
Against the North wind; tired, yet so that rest
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof.

Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest,
Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I.
All of the night was quite barred out except
An owl’s cry, a most melancholy cry

Shaken out long and clear upon the hill,
No merry note, nor cause of merriment,
But one telling me plain what I escaped
And others could not, that night, as in I went.

And salted was my food, and my repose,
Salted and sobered, too, by the bird’s voice
Speaking for all who lay under the stars,
Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Urkrainian painter
Katya Gridnewa (born 1965): “Katya Gridneva works mainly in oils, pastels and charcoal, focusing on figurative subjects. Her very skillful, characterful and attractive compositions are painted from life. Her work not only captures the flow of light across her subjects, but also exhibits her in-depth knowledge of the anatomical structure of the human body. She takes a special delight in painting the working bodies of dancers, capturing their grace and elegance.”
Katya Gridnewa lives and works in England.

Polish artist Bartosz Fraczek (born 1974) graduated from the Painting Department of the Faculty of Art at the Pedagogical University in Czestochowa.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Australian painter Angus McDonald: “With great concentration and ever burgeoning talent, McDonald paints the God of small things, working a sense of calm and intimacy into his art. The breadth of McDonald’s subject matter has imaginatively crept under his studio door. Consistent in his work however are the golden threads of quality and intimacy, threads that have defined McDonald’s oeuvre, and which he continues to cultivate.”
And another critic: “There is an obsessive presence to Angus McDonald’s still life paintings that goes well beyond reality. Such paintings unfold slowly; they de-accelerate at a time when the very essence of now is hype and speed. Ceramic glaze is depicted here seamlessly, around which the softness of drape caresses the form rather than arguing with it. These paintings have been imagined by an artist in search of universal truths and as such, they float away from time, period and place, offering illusionistic windows for contemplation.”

Here is part of the Artist Statement of Dutch painter Annelies Jonkhart: “I prefer to use enamel objects in the traditional Dutch colors of a crisp blue and white, just like it could have been sitting on a farmers shelf in years gone by. Sometimes the objects will have been damaged or rusted, but the expression is still there. That is what I am trying to convey on the panel, the color balance and the material expression have the highest priority.”

“Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.” – Tom Lehrer, American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, and mathematician, who was born 9 April 1928.

Some quotes from Tom Lehrer:

“Bad weather always looks worse through a window.”
“An actress must never lose her ego – without it she has no talent.”
“I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up.”
“Apart from that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”
“On my income tax 1040 it says ‘Check this box if you are blind.’ I wanted to put a check mark about three inches away.”
“It is a sobering thought that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.”
“Think as you work, for in the final analysis, your worth to your company comes not only in solving problems, but also in anticipating them.”
“Be prepared, and be careful not to do your good deeds when there’s no one watching you.”
“I know that there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that!”
“I went from adolescence to senility, trying to bypass maturity.”
“I’m not tempted to write a song about George W. Bush. I couldn’t figure out what sort of song I would write. That’s the problem: I don’t want to satirize George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporize them.”
“In my youth there were words you couldn’t say in front of a girl; now you can’t say ‘girl.’”
“You can’t be satirical and not be offensive to somebody.”
“Irreverence is easy – what’s hard is wit.”
“The Army has carried the American ideal to its logical conclusion. Not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed and color, but also on ability.”
“Political satire became obsolete when they awarded Henry Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize.”

American Art – Part III of IV: Matthew Peak

Artist Statement (partial): “The Start: I was born into a world revolving around art. My father was the renowned illustrator Bob Peak. With his artwork gracing major magazines and movie posters, coupled with my parents having met in art school, artistic exposure was a large aspect of my upbringing. By the time I was four years old I was spending a lot of time in my dad’s studio sitting on the rug drawing pictures and watching him paint. Little did I know this would lead to art becoming my lifetime pursuit.
Inspirations: Everyday there are countless miracles occurring around us. Only through our awareness and ability to feel to the fullest can we receive the pleasure these miracles have to offer. I feel that my social participation in art is to help increase the appreciation and awareness level of these miracles. Nature with all its beautiful relationships is the forefront of my artistic appreciation and expression. Whether it be the predominate subject itself, or a backdrop for figurative compositions, nature plays an integral role in virtually all of my artwork. Most of the master works that have inspired me are figurative in subject, whether they are paintings, drawings or sculptures.”
Matthew Peake
Matthew Peake
Matthew Peake

From the American History Archives: Lee Surrenders to Grant

9 April 1865 – General Robert E. Lee surrenders to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, effectively ending the American Civil War. The signing of the surrender documents occurred in the parlor of the house owned by William McLean.

Above – The McLean House in April 1865.
Below – The parlor of the (reconstructed) McLean House. Lee sat at the marble-topped table on the left, Grant at the table on the right.

American Art – Part IV of V: Bruce Cohen

Here is one critic describing the artistry of American painter Bruce Cohen: “Bruce Cohen is known for engaging his viewers with intriguing interiors in his distinctive, crisp, realist style. Influenced by Dutch still-life painting and Surrealism he orchestrates compositions which include fruit, books, vases and always flowers from his garden. These items are placed in geometric interiors devoid of human beings but haunted by a human presence.”
Bruce Cohen
Bruce Cohen
Bruce Cohen
Bruce Cohen
Bruce Cohen
Bruce Cohen

A Poem for Today

“The Reliquaries,”
By Valerie Martinez

Seaside, and the fragment of one running—
calves, ribs, green eyes into water.
There he goes. Waves. Buoying up
as into sky. And the seagulls fly,
seeing it as relief, a story. Once

they were there, two on a white blanket.
The circumference of a shadow.
Sunlight around that shadow.
The relation of two: bathers,
robed figures configured as one.
And she touches him—tender—and it is done.

(I’ve gone back to it. I’ve, I’ve—
it’s not where I am. I give it away again.)
You’re there. It’s still in the sand.
It’s trying to chisel it in.

How it comes forth: the story.
Wanting it, carving it down to vision.
Architecture, a coliseum of bent light,
the beautiful scatter of broken stones.
(And I can turn it into stones.)
Love, love: a portico, a labyrinth.

And his simple aquatics, legs and arms
in the brackish, etched against white fish.

The song, under there, of how he’ll leave,
and naturally, like all living things:
animals, summer, daylight for the eves.

And the buildings, all shadows and beings:
block, angels, curves. With the love,
memory of all loves. The pediments,
these reliquaries.

It’s our landscape, artifact—it might hurt.
(Run to, run away from it.)


American Art – Part V of V: Gwen Gorby

Artist Statement: “In my work, I want to bring the attention of a busy world to something or someone that might otherwise be overlooked…to share those hidden treasures.”

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