Monday, May 22, 2017

A WORLD OF EMOTIONS at Onassis Cultural Center: Review By Polly Guerin

WHY DO EMOTIONS MATTER?  Life would  be pretty dull without emotions that  penetrate every aspect of our lives, they are the background of every form of art and literature and are interwoven with memory, attention, cognition, and decision. Emotions are such heady stuff that they determine our interpersonal relations, our private life, the public sphere, and religious worship. 
      Perhaps we need more emotion in our lives, let's see how the ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTER'S stunning ancient Greek masterpieces bring emotions to the fore in a groundbreaking exhibition, A WORLD OF EMOTIONS Ancient Greece, 700 AD-200 AD on view through June 23, 2017, Free admission and public programs, Onassis Cultural Center New York, 645 Fifth Avenue at 51st Street.
     Image Right Features two heads: The Head of PENTHESILEA Marble, Roman copy of a Hellenistic original. (c) Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig. Second head ACHILLES, Marble, Roman copy  of a Hellenistic original. (c) Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig. 
      The exhibition brings together more than 130 masterpieces from world-renowned museums including the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum Athens, the Louvre, the British Museum, the Vatican museums and many more opening pathways to a wide world of unending, conflicting, universal emotions. A World of Emotions explores the ideas and attitudes of people in classical antiquity toward emotion and the ways in which the emotions are depicted, revealing how some are strikingly familiar to us and some shockingly alien.  It features vase paintings, sculptures, theatrical masks, amulets, coins, and votive offerings, among other artifacts, many on view in the United States for the firs time, and some for the first time outside of Greece.  

Angelos Chaniotis, Professor of  Ancient History and Classics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton wrote: "Emotions have a particular significance for Greek Culture. Greek  theorized emotions as early as the 5th century BC.  Emotions were personified and worshipped as divinities. The very first word of Greek (and European) literature describes an emotion: menis, "anger."  Emotions are manifest in every expression of Greek culture, in institutions and society, drama and poetry, rhetoric and history, art and philosophy." Image Left: Funerary Stele, Marble, early 3rd century BC, from the Cemetery of Ancient Thera. Archaeological Museum of Thera (c) Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports--Archaeological Receipts Fund. Photography Kostas Xenikakis.
     Think upon this: According to Aristotle's definition, tragic plays had a surging effect on spectators by arousing fear and compassion. The tragic poets drew their subjects from the passions of larger-than-life figures such as Euripides' Medea with themes of love, betrayal, jealousy, anger and revenge,  which become part of the world's cultural heritage. The myth of Medea inspired six operas, the best known being Luigi Cherubini's Medee of 1797. Maria Callas played this part in her only film role, in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Medea of 1969.  Presented on the theatrical stage, myths triggered fear and empathy that led audiences to catharsis, which according to Aristotle was the defining goal of tragedy.   
     Professor Chaniotis adds: "This exhibition presents an itinerary into a world of emotions. It confronts the visitor with question of timeless value: What were the means with which ancient artists represented emotions. How did images and texts arouse emotions that still resonate with a modern audience.
     A World of Emotions is the kind of exhibition that provides a timely opportunity to think about the role of feeling in our own personal, social, and political lives, and prompts questions about how we express control, manipulate or simulate feelings. Image Right
A marble votive relief of Greek mythology hero
Zeus from 340 BC.
     The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue of essays, available for purchase  at the Onassis Cultural Center New York.   Contact info:  
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!  This exhibition gives me cause of express my emotional reaction: Don't MISS this opportunity to revisit the Greek classics and immerse yourself in the emotional thrill  of seeing some Greek antiquities on view for the first time in the US.  Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs on, and n the left-hand column click on the subject that resonates with your interest on visionary men,  women determined to succeed, the fashion historian and poetry. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

POSTERS and PATRIOTISM at MCNY: Review By Polly Guerin

 As Memorial Day approaches, it is fitting to pause to remember those who served and made great sacrifices in all the wars to keep our nation free and safe.  
    Then too, it is interesting to look into the annals of war propaganda and to note that although New York City is located some 4,000 miles from Europe's bloodiest battlefields during World War I,  it played an important role in the conflict, particularly as a producer of all types of war propaganda.
     The Museum of the City of New York's "POSTERS and PATRIOTISM: Selling World War I in New York" displays sixty original illustrations to sell the war to Americans, on view through October 9, 2017.
    Why does this exhibition matter? Just the magnitude of the outpouring of Posters, Patriotism, and the Power of advertising, the persuasive method that was used to promote patriotic responses during World War I captures our collective interest.  
      In order to unite
Americans in the war effort, a formidable propaganda machine was set up in New York. Three hundred illustrators and admen were recruited with producing posters leaflets, magazine covers and sheet music covers.                  During the 20 months of American engagement in the war, 2,500 illustrations were designed , reproduced and posted over all 50 states. However, at first their image of the war was innocent and romantic; often portrayed as a glorious and exotic adventure. 
    To mobilize the home front New York became a theater of war. Vibrantly colored illustrations covered newsstands, subway stations and billboard all over the city and department stores dressed their windows simultaneously to reflect the propaganda.  Few people thought that the war would drag on but it did and as news of the fallen victims reached the citizens. the reality of the war set in and the vibrant message was darkened.     

Once the Armistice of November 11, 1918 was signed, New York entered the Jazz Age. Spared by the destruction of battle New York City transformed, admen and artists cast aside propaganda for the Dada art movement and Harlem became a mecca of new clubs inspired by African-American soldiers.  It was the roaring 20s and the city was the epicenter of freedom and frivolity.   
 It is interesting to note, that John W. Campbell, the railroad executive most well-known today for his gilded age office in Grand Central Terminal, lastly as the bar, Campbell Apartment (now closed) made substantial donations from his private collection of propaganda posters.
    Something to ponder: Would such a propaganda campaign work in today's society? 
    Ta Ta darlings!!! Let's remember the men and women who so gallantly served and revere their memory this Memorial Day, and lay a wreath at a statue in their memory or throw a wreath into the water for those lost at sea. Fan mail always welcome at  Visit Polly's Blogs at and in the left
hand column click on the Blog that resonates with your interest on visionary men, women determined to succeed, the fashion historian or poetry.

Monday, May 8, 2017

NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S Center for Women's History: Review By Polly Guerin

Soaring Glass Grand Staircase by Norman S. Benzaquen 
Dazzling like sparkling colored gemstones, the custom-designed glass gallery of 100 illuminated Tiffany lamps displays works of artistic creation, many made by the "Tiffany Girls," who at last get their 15 minutes of fame in the groundbreaking new, CENTER FOR WOMEN'S HISTORY. The first of its kind I am told, in a major U.S. museum, the the fourth floor of THE NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY has been transformed into a space that tells women's stories and the impact women have made on American history.
     As the centerpiece on the fourth floor, the museum offers a rare opportunity to view a custom-designed glass gallery showcasing the Museum's preeminent collection of Tiffany lamps re-imagined in a permanent installation and displayed within a dramatically lit jewel-like space with its soaring glass Norman S. Benzaquen Grand staircase. 
      Quite true, the museum did have an earlier Tiffany exhibition but that was around 2005, and now the full scope of the museum's Tiffany lamp collection is on view in glorious drama, and to say the least, it is quite stunning, and tugs at one's mind to remember that many these faceted creations were designed and assembled by women.  
The fully renovated fourth floor reveals the often overlooked stories of women who had made an impact on American history.  Then too, the exhibition was inspired by the New-York Historical's discovery of the unknown story of Clara Driscoll, and her Women's Glass Cutting Department, who designed and created iconic Tiffany lampshades at the turn of the 20th century. It is interesting to note that Louis Comfort Tiffany so valued his
leading lady that he paid her the same salary as his employees in the men's glass cutting department.  Image right: The installation includes  multiple examples of the Dragonfly shade, a unique Dogwood floor lamp, a Wisteria Table Lamp, and a rare, elaborate Cobweb shades, among many others.
     With state-of-the-art interactive media, the visitor experience includes a hands-on "Design-a-Lamp" experience in the Tiffany gallery and a diorama that illustrates the rise of electrification. Putting it quite succinctly Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society said, "The reopening of our Henry Luce III Center on the fourth floor of our landmark building marks a new and dramatic phase in the museum's history. Many of the objects we now are able to have never been seen by the public before, others had not been seen for generations."  
Interactive Dolley Madison dining table invites visitors 
Of course, the The Women's Center, fourth floor, offers much more than the magnificent Tiffany gallery. SAVING WASHINGTON, for example, showcases the contributions of Dolley Madison and her female contemporaries to the fledgling democracy in early America. Image left: An interactive recreation of Dolley Madison's dining table invites visitors to practice their diplomacy skills. All photos by Corrado Serra.

     In the North Gallery the striking space presents treasures from the museum's holdings in 15 themes relating to the port of New York, Hudson River School artists, slavery in New York, and 9/11, among other objects on view. Highlights of early American silver include a display of silver and jewelry from the New York retailer Tiffany & Co.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!!  Here's to the women who made America great!!!  Visit the new Center for Women's History, where women take pride and place in American history.  Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and click in the left hand column on the links to visionary men, fashion, women determined to succeed or poetry.

Monday, May 1, 2017

FLORINE STETTHEIMER; Painting Poetry: at The Jewish Museum: Review By Polly Guerin

Picnic at Bedford Hills 1918
Jazz Age Manhattan's influential American painter, designer and poet, Florine Stettheimer's sharp satirical wit, places her centrally in the modern dialogue of  high and mass culture. Her whimsicality and pictorial depiction of society gives us pause to be enchanted, and why not, her work continues to provoke comment and curiosity. Florine gives us a peak through the magnifier at a life well lived and well loved. She was an astute commentator on her social milieu and the American scene, including icons of New York City.
     Then, too, the leading lights of the artistic vanguard were attracted to her.  One dandy, in particular, Marcel Duchamp, the flamboyant epicurean was an intimate friend, and frequent visitor, but her circle also included Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keefe, Elie Nadelman, Gaston Lachaise, and many others. Image Left: Picnic at Bedford Hills, 1918, oil on canvas. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Gift of Ettie Stettheimer, 1950.
Asbury Park 1920
By 1918,  Florine had articulated her unique style, typified in the painting Picnic at Bedford Hills. The figures are painted in a miniaturized, self-consciously naive manner that seemingly draws from folk art.  In other paintings she chronicled urban life---beauty contests, parties, the revelries of celebrities, gatherings, skyscrapers, Wall Street and consumer culture. Ahead of her time she anticipated many of the interests that would later animate Pop Art. Even Andy Warhol loved her art. Her oeuvre became a source of inspiration for some of the most fascinating artists working today.  At the height of her creative powers, the Manhattan salon she hosted with her sisters Carrie and Ettie,  attracted the best of the cognoscenti in society and the art world.

       Enchanting and  engaging your unique sensitivities deserve to view and first major U.S. exhibition in over 20 years focuses on Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944) at THE JEWISH MUSEUM, May 5, 2017 and remains on view through September 24, 2017. FLORINE STETTHEIMER: PAINTING POETRY showcases over 50 paintings and drawings in addition to costume and theater designs, photographs, and ephemera. Image Right: Stettheimer's satirical wit shines in Asbury Park South 1920. Against a golden background the lively movement of black and white beach goers intermingle on the New Jersey beach, when in reality, Asbury Park was a segregated beach. Here, Stettheimer depicts members of her inner circle including Duchamp in a pink suit, leading the actress Favia Marinoff. Carl Van Vechten is in the stand above it all, quietly examining the view of people, flirting, playing and promenading in their finest. Look deeper, Florine stands near the center of the archway, under a green umbrella. Oil on canvas. Collection of halley k harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, New York.     

Florine;s Unrealized Ballet 
In addition to her work as a painter, She was active as 
a and set designer and her vision for a ballet of her own. The exhibition includes many of Stettheimer's sketches, maquettes and sculptures of the designed for her unrealized ballet, Orpheus of the Four Acts. 
       Image Left: Procession Orpheus "Orphee of the Quat-z-ars, 1912, oil, fabric, and beads on canvas. Museum of Modern At, New York, Gift of Miss Ettie Stettheimer. Art Resources, New York.      A poet, too; at one time she offered an explanation of her strange, intoxicating, beguiling works in a poem, published after her death. She wrote: "For a long time, I gave myself, To the arrested moment, To the moment of quiet expectation, I painted the trance moment, The promise moment, The moment in the balance, In mellow golden tones, Then I saw, Time, Noise, Color, outside me, around me, knocking me, Jarring me, Hurling me, Rousing me, Sailing, singing, Forcing me in joy to paint them."
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! I can still visualize Florine in one of her stylish silk pajamas entering through the cellophane curtains in her studio high above Bryant Park. Take in the view and make a date to see Painting Poetry and awaken your child-like wonder.  Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Web Site: and in the left-hand column click on the Blog that resonates with your interest for a direct link to visionary men, women determined to succeed, poetryfromtheheart, and the fashion  historian. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

MUSEUM of the AMERICAN REVOLUTION, Philadelphia; Review By Polly Guerin

Oh, to be in Philadelphia on Wednesday, April 19th!!! It marks the 242nd anniversary of the "shot heard 'round the world" that ignited the American Revolutionary War in 1775 and quite appropriately it also marks the newest portal to Philadelphia's great historic landmarks, the MUSEUM of he AMERICAN REVOLUTION'S grand opening in the heart of historic Philadelphia this Wednesday. It is a logical location making Philadelphia the most exciting destination for those interested in exploring the birth of our nation.
      The museum tells the story of the founding of America in authentic and vivid interactive exhibitions. "We are very proud to tell that story in both its contradictions and its inspirations. At that time nothing seemed more improbable---first that roughly two million colonists spread across thirteen states could stand up to the full military might of the British empire," said Michael Quinn, president and CEO. "And, secondly that a society with slavery at its foundation and dispossession of Native Americans at its heart could articulate such powerful ideals as equality, dignity and freedom as its core."
        One of the premier collections of its kind, the Museum includes several thousand objects that span the Revolutionary era, from an elaborately decorated mug wishing "Liberty Forever" to the town of Boston, to a religious book owned by Martha Washington, and from a British military musket used during the opening battles of the Revolutionary War to the first newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence.

     Then, too, there more than 20 life-like figures that appear individually or in historical vignettes, or tableaux, that re-create particular moments during the American Revolution. These include the statue of King George III as it is about to be torn down by a mob of angry New Yorkers, a pair of Loyalist cavalry troopers in the South (pictured left) and a conversation between enslaved Virginian and a black Loyalist soldier in 1781 (Above Right: picture MOAR jpg.) It is interesting to note that many enslaved African Americans joined the Loyalists because they were promised their freedom.
    While major skirmishes and battles of the War have their historic prominence, consideration is given to the Oneida Indians. There are lifelike figures of men and women wearing authentic 18th century apparel featured in a multimedia gallery dedicated to the Oneida Indian nation who supported the American Revolution. Sadly of note,  American leaders had promised that they would not forget their contributions, but after the war the tribe was pushed off its land and the Oneida scattered West to Wisconsin.
    The Museum is quite a treasure trove, recording as it does with such deep research and authenticity  Location 101 South Third Street (Corner of Third and Chestnut Streets).  All tickets are valid for two consecutive days and that is a good thing because you would need ta second visit; there is a wealth of information and a breathtaking number of visual enactments.
For ticket info: 267. 858.3308. A restaurant and gift shop on the premises.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! Stop first and see the introductory film on the first floor and throughout the exhibitions there are mini theater filmings.  Did I mention WASHINGTON'S HEADQUARTERS TENT? A must see, it is one of the most iconic surviving artifacts of the Revolution. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's other Blogs at

Monday, April 10, 2017

JAZZ AGE: AMERICAN STYLE 1920s: Review By Polly Guerin

Muse with Violen Screen, Rose Iron Works
The Jazz Age conjures up a spirit of modernity, a time between the first and second World Wars when Art Deco came into vogue and Scott Fitzgerald's Daisy was kicking up her heels in celebration of a new era of streamlined chic and futuristic yearning
    The  Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum's exhibition "THE JAZZ AGE: AMERICAN STYLE IN THE 1920s, on view through January 14, 2018, is the first major museum exhibition to focus on American taste in design during the exhilarating years of the 1920s, a period in which this decade provided the pivotal inspiration for new modernistic ideas in design, art and lifestyle.      With a nostalgic nod to the Jazz Age came extraordinary furniture, textiles, tableware, paintings, posters, jewelry and architecture in bold colors and geometric forms that defined this age. The popularity of Jazz provided the era's African-American sound track as did entertainers such as Josephine Baker who captured Paris with her banana dance.  Stop and watch a film that captures her talent in black and white modernity. Film clips of Duke Ellington and other Cotton Club performers and "The Jazz Singer" illustrate how cinema introduced modern interiors, graphic design and fashion to the American public. Image Left: Muse with Violin (detail) 1930, Rose Iron Works, Inc. (American, Cleveland, est. 1904). Paul Heher (Hungarian, 1895-1990), designer. Wrought iron brass, silver and gold plating. 156.2 x 156.2 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art. On Loan from the Rose Iron Works Collections, LLC, 352.1996 (c) Rose Iron Works Collections, LLC. Photo: Howard Agriesti.   
Gorham Manufacturing Company, American 1927
Then too, there was the immense international design exposition in Paris in 1925---Exposition International des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes (whence Art Deco distilled its name)---a monumental exhibition where world designers, craftsmen, artists and manufacturers exhibited. One wonders why the United States declined to participate in this hallmark event. However, the Paris exhibition's innovative design influence quickly spread to New York and other major cities in department store furnishings and home decor, art galleries, in private collections and in high-end shops such as Cartier with its Art Deco inspired jewelry.
Image Right: Gorham Manufacturing Company, American 1927.  Master of modern silver, Eric Magnussen's iconic "cubic"silver coffee service with tray with patinated gilt decoration, which he did for "Gotham Lights and Shadows of  Manhattan." The Gorham Collection, Museum of Art, Rhode Island, School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island.

Through a rich array of more than 400 works drawn from both public and private collections, the new look included works by French makers such as Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, who used lavish veneers and modified traditional forms and influenced American makers such as the W.&J Sloan's Company of Master Craftsmen.
    Designers trained in Austria and Germany, who later immigrated to the United States, brought a new aesthetic to American decorative arts, combined with an appreciation of American forms such as the skyscraper. Furnishings assumed a new modernity and skyscraper influence can be seen in a desk by Paul T. Frank while the abstract geometry of screen design reflected the streamlined chic of geometric forms. Image Left: A chair, from left by Walter von Nessen, a wood desk and chair by Paul T. Frank, and a pair of lacquered doors by Seraphin Soudbinine and Jean Dunand for the residence of Solomon R. Guggenheim. Late 1920s. Artists Rights Society (ARS) , NewYork.  Photo Chang W. Lee/The New York Times.
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! NOT TO BE MISSED: Running concurrently with the blockbuster exhibit is an exquisite, intimate and personal exhibit "Jeweled Splendors of the Art Deco Era, The Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection installed in the Carnegie Mansion's Teak Room with over 100 luxury vanity and cigarette cases, compacts and clocks all from prestigious houses including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron and Bulgari.  Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and click in the left-hand column to the Blog that resonates with your interest on visionary men, amazing art deco divas, fashion historian and poetry.

Monday, April 3, 2017


Chariot Model (Modern Replica) Qin dynasty (221-206 B.C.)
There is a popular adage"You can't take it with you," but the rulers of the Qin and Han dynasties thought differently and their view of their afterlife meant taking their entire household, artifacts and vast army with them.
      Fortunately for us the preservation of these artifacts affords a rare opportunity today to see some of the most remarkable objects and archaeology excavated in China. WHERE? At the LANDMARK EXHIBITION OF ANCIENT CHINESE ART--FEATURING TERRACOTTA WARRIOR SCULPTURES AND RECENTLY EXCAVATED TREASURES NEVER BEFORE SCENE IN THE UNITED STATES.
     Age of Empires: Chinese Art o the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C.- A.D. 220) explores  the unprecedented role of art in creating a new and lasting Chinese cultural identity. The exhibit opens today and is on view through July 16, 2017 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gallery 899, The Tisch Galleries.
     The ancient works in the exhibition include extremely rare ceramics, metalwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, and architectural models, all drawn fro 32 museums and archaeological institutions in the Peoples Republic of China, but a majority of the works have never before been seen in the West. 
       In the first gallery, you'll stop in your tracks. Along with the warriors, are bronze chariots complete with braces of well matched horses. However, take note that these in the exhibit are modern replicas created half the size of actual chariot groups found in the emperor's tomb. One of the chariots replicated here was probably used in battle or on the emperor's inspection tours. Image above: Chariot Model (Modern Replica, half-size of original), China. Original Qin dynasty (221-206 B. C.) Bronze with pigments lent by Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum. 
Kneeling Crossbow Archer, Qin Dynasty
The Qin and Han dynasties together make up the classical period of Chinese art and culture, when the basic forms of political organization and intellectual and paradigms were formed. The central theme of this period, and of this exhibition, is unification of the vast territory of China under the powerful Qin emperor, Qinshihuang, and its maintenance and expansion in the Han dynasty. 

     In his foresighted wisdom and desire to preserve his dynasty before Qinshihuang died, maybe he thought, "why go alone to the afterlife?  He took with him to his tomb an army of life-size terracotta warriors, over 700 archers, cavalry, infantry and officers, all in full armor made of stone (representing the iron armor used by the emperor's army).       They were buried with him in the emperor's mausoleum. The archer (right) had to shoot from a kneeling position, rather than standing. Take note, a modern replica of a crossbow such as he would have held is near by. 
     In creating the terracotta army, molds were used, in different arrangements, to compose the bodies of the warriors, but the faces were created with such diverse individuality that one can only stand in awe at the accuracy of their life-like expressions.
Image right: Kneeing Crossbow Archer, China, Qin dynasty (221-206 B.C.) terracotta with trades of pigments, H48 in. Lent by Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum. All photos Robert Ruben and Yvonne Korshak)
Female Dancer Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 9)
Though the army was high priority the emperor had a greater plan in mind. He made sure he had in his mausoleum everything he needed and most enjoyed in life. Believing that the soul could continue to enjoy in the afterlife all of he pleasures of living, he created a tomb that resembled underground palace--replete with entourages of favorite followers and entertainers, particularly images of court dancers, rare personal treasures, artifacts and even a dog.

     The highlights of the Han Dynasty in the exhibition include a monumental stone sculpture of a crouching lion, a a creature not native to China; a towering stone fluted column with dragons and a fluted silver box.  Luxury trade artifacts include necklaces made of amethyst, aquamarine, beryl, and rock crystal. Please note a small group of small, animal sculptures in carnelian and multifaceted gold beads. Image left: Female Dancer China, Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 9) Earthenware with pigment. H. 17 5/8 in. Lent by Xuzhou City Museum.
     The exhibition is accompanied by a full illustrated catalogue, written by leading Chinese and Western scholars in the field. A full program and a scholarly symposium is offered during the course of the exhibition. Or
      Ta Ta Darlings!!!  No need to travel.  This exhibition brings such remarkable treasures to our doorstep it's worth the visit just to see the Terracotta Warriors.  Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and click on the links in the left hand column to fashion, beauty, Art Deco Divas, visionary men and poetry.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

ALEXEI JAWLENSKY at Neue Galerie: Review by Polly Guerin

Byzantine Woman (Bright Lips) 1913
The twists and turns of destiny weave interesting stories and Alexei Jawlensky's is worth the telling. Destined for a life in the military, he was the son of a Colonel in the Imperial Russian Army.
     Yet it took one decisive incident to change that prospect when Alexei Jawlensky's life (1864-1941) was forever altered by a visit to the 1880 Moscow World Exposition, which introduced him to painting. After attending school in Moscow he ventured forward and studied painting with the Russian realist painter llya Repin in St. Petersburg.
     For anyone unfamiliar with this Russian-born artist's oeuvre, the first full museum retrospective devoted to the expressionist artist to be held in the United States, is on view at the NEUE GALERIE in New York through May 29, 2017. Image Right: Byzantine Woman (Bright Lips), 1913, oil on board. Centre Pompidou, Musee National d'Art Moderne/Centre de creation industrielle. Donation de M. Robert Haas in 1982.
    Often women paved the way to support Jawlensky's artistic endeavors.  After growing increasingly disenchanted with realism, and after meeting Marianne von Werefkin in 1896, Jawlensky moved to Munich, where he and Vasily Kandinsky studied with Anton Azbe. At this time, Jawlensky became an integral member of the artistic avant-garde that advanced important developments in Expressionism and abstraction.     
Oberstdorf Mountains 1912
Then, too, Jawlensky became deeply influenced by the work of the Fauves after several trips to France, where he became familiar with the work of Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse and Vincent van Gogh. His companion Marianne von Werefkin, a wealthy artist in her own right, eventually gave up her own career to promote his work and provide him with a comfortable life. 

     In 1908 Jawlensky and Werefkin joined Kandinsky and his companion Gabriele Munter for several weeks to paint in the Bavarian town of Murnau, south of Munich, where they lived. The following year, Jawlensky, Kandinsky and others formed the Neue Kunstiervereinigung Munchen, an artists' association. With his newly established status among peers Jewlensky was friendly with Paul Klee, August Macke, Franz Marc, and artists associated with Der Blaue Reiter. Image: Artists Rights Society (ARS) , New York. Murnau, depicting the Bavarian village he visited with Kndinsky).    At the start of World War I, Jawlensky fled to Switzerland, where he met another artist, Emmy Scheyer in 1916, who abandoned her own work to champion his in the United States. 
     The exhibition includes approximately 75 paintings ranging in date from 1900 to 1937 and explores the chronological and thematic development of Jawlensky's work. The exhibition begins with early figure paintings, still-lifes, and landscapes, and continues with a series of paintings created between 1914 and 1921 known as Variations.  
Abstract Head Late Summer 1928
Take note of the semi-abstract works known as Mystical Heads, Savior's Faces and Abstract Heads, which reduce the human face to simple geometric forms and contrasting colors. These created during the Art Deco we noted for its streamlined and architectural sensibilities and modernism.

     Jawlensky's life work, which spanned evolving styles, may be considered a meditation on the process of change in his personal life from representation to abstraction. 
      Image Right: Abstract Head, Late Summer (Crescent Moon) 1928 from the collection of Long Beach Museum of Art, Milton Wichner Collection 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS).
      The exhibition concludes with the artists' late Meditations and Still-Lifes, a series of spiritual paintings created towards the end of his life, which stem from the piety of his Russian Orthodoxy.  In 1921, Jawlensky relocated to Wiesbaden in southern Germany, where he lived and worked until his death in 1941. Though Jawlensky's oeuvre is not well known in the United States, he did, however, during his time, exhibit widely in world circles and exerted a strong influence on key developments in modern art. A fully-illustrated catalogue, published by Prestal Verlag, accompanies the exhibition. Neue Galerie New York, 1048 Fifth Avenue @ 86th Street. 212-628-6200.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!  I love the way Jawlensky progressed from realism to abstraction and particularly his Deco heads.  Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at  In the left hand column click on the subject that resonates with your interest on visionary men, women determined to succeed, the fashion historian and poetry from the heart.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

MARSDEN HARTLEY'S MAINE at Met Breuer: Review by Polly Guerin

The Lighthouse (1940-1941) Marsden Hartley 
The rugged simplicity of his hardy subjects, the sound of the crashing sea against Maine's rugged coastal terrain and the magisterial Mount Katahdin epitomize the American Artist Marsden Hartley's lifelong artistic engagement with his home state of Maine.  
     The exhibition, MARSDEN HARTLEY'S MAINE, at The Met Breuer, through June 18, 2017, gives us pause to revisit Maine through Harley's creative lens.  On view are some 90 paintings and drawings that illuminate Hartley's extraordinarily expressive range that captures his Post-Impressionist interpretations to seasonal change in the inland Maine of the early 1900s. His folk-inspired depictions of salt--of- the-earth men---country hunks, lumberjacks, lobster men and loggers permeated his artistic world as did the rugged Maine coast, a theme that resonated with the wild and the majestic but brutal sea.  
Lobster Fisherman (1940-1941) The Metropolitan Museum of Art
NATIVE SON Born in Lewiston, Maine, in 1877, Hartley became known for his peripatetic nature, especially his time spent in Paris and Berlin, where he participated in the European avant-garde. Over the course of his career, his home state tugged at his heart strings and he returned to it repeatedly, painting Maine subjects even while living abroad.In the final chapter of his life Hartley proclaimed himself, "The Painter from Maine."  To Hartley Maine was a springboard to imagination and creative inspiration, a focus of memory and longing, a refuge, and a place for communion with earlier artists who painted there, especially Winslow Homer, the most famous American Artist associated with the State. 
Marsden Hartley,s Hunk at Old Orchard Beach 
Hartley began his career by painting and exhibiting views of the state's western hills in a vibrant painterly style, seen in works such as The Silence of High Noon--Midsummer (1907-1908), which he debuted in 1909 at his first solo exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz's art gallery, 291.  One entire gallery is devoted to Hartley's bold, audacious figure paintings, such as Man Hunk, a sex symbol of the man culture and a homage to Cezanne's 'The Bather.'  
The Met's presentation of the exhibition includes select works from the Museum's collection by other artists who shaped Hartley's vision, including Cezanne,and American painters Winslow Homer and Albert Pinkham Ryder.
     A series of related programs is planned in conjunction with the exhibition, includes a lecture, exhibition tours, a series of talks, a Teen Studio Workshop, and a Picture This! program for adults who are blind or partially sighted.  For futher details visit: Hartley. The exhibition is also featured on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via the hashtag #MarsenHartley.
     The performance IVES & HARTLEY LANDSCAPES OF MODERNISM---Sight and Sound Series with Leon Boststein and The Orchestra NOW, will take place on Sunday, May 21, 2017, at 2:00 pm in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at The Met Fifth Avenue. In this orchestral set---titled "Ives's Three Places in New England and the Artwork of Marsden Hartley---Connecticut-born composer Charles Ives set out to evoke through music the atmosphere and history of three locations in New England. Marsden Hartley, his contemporary was himself deeply attached to music. The artist returned to Maine in his final years and applied his modernist aesthetic to its landscapes. Hartley died in Ellsworth, Maine in 1943.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! Take a vicarious trip to Maine and upon alighting on the 3rd floor be welcomed by a panoramic pulsating film of the Maine's coasting with the relentless raging sea in cold gray visions of brutal nature. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's BLOGS at and click in the left-hand column to links to visionary men, women determined to succeed, poetry from the heart and the fashion historian.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

SMALL WONDERS: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures at The Cloisters: Review by Polly Guerin

The Boxwood Rosary 
The execution of miniature prayer beads and diminutive altarpieces is as miraculous as the stories they tell, yet today we can behold them with sense of wonder and awe at The Met Cloisters in the recently opened exhibition SMALL WONDERS: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures. In the Glass Gallery, Gallery #10 through May 21, 2017. 
     Small in scale, yet teaming with life, miniature boxwood carvings have been a source of wonder since their creation in the Netherlands in the 16th century.  We are at once amazed and stunned by the miracles of the Bible that unfold on a tiny stage, and  the artists who created these treasures, surely for Kings and only the wealthy could afford to own. These intricately carved objects require intense scrutiny. Some measure a mere two inches (five centimeters) in diameter  and hold stories and legends in the intriguing depth and articulation of their creation. Image Left: Rosary of Floris van Egmond and Margaretha van Glymes, Netherlands 1500-1539. (c) Musee du Louvre, Department des Objects d'art, Paris. Photo: Craig Boyko/Ian Lefebvre.
      Take a peak at another boxwood rosary made for King Henry VIII of England and his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, before his notorious efforts to dissolve the marriage and his break from the Catholic church. From the Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth, Trustees of Chatsworth Settlement complex bears the Royal Arms of England as well as the tiny letters "He8" and "Ka" abbrevations for King Henry the VIII and his first wife, who he married in 1509.
TRANSFORMING BOXWOOD:  The artists transformed boxwood into something utterly new, tiny, intricate carvings, the likes of which had never been seen or imagined before.  These creative geniuses took a material understood today merely as an ornamental plant and exploited its sculptural potential. In their hands entire worlds emerged from dense and fine-grained wood. The ingenious techniques of the artists who created these precious panoramas have defied comprehension for centuries.  Now, through the joint efforts of the conservators at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the carvers' secrets have at last been revealed. 
A closeup articulation of a Battle Scene
The exhibition, the first of its kind, features nearly 50 of these tiny treasures that offer us access not by travel but through the eyes of prayer and a sense of wonder. The original owners of these works of art had the luxury of cradling them in their own hands, and oh what tales are told!  There are men on horseback wielding spears, dogs and camels and chained monkeys, women fainting, saints enduring devils tormenting, and angels singing. All composed with the exceptional skill of the carver then, they demand close observation on your part now.

Prayer Bead Adoration of the Magi 
A video revealing the intricacies of the carver's merit accompanies the exhibition but no adjective has ever been adequate to express the sense of wonder and amazement that the miniatures elicit. In addition to the exquisite collection an installation with sculpture, tools, and eyeglasses deserves your attention. It celebrates the work of the Italian woodcarver Ottaviano Jannella renowned for his masterful and ingenious manipulation of boxwood. While later in date than the Netherlandish works featured here, the assemblage of carvings, tools and materials bears witness to the extraordinary technical accomplishment of sculptors who created intricate worlds from modest blocks of wood.

BIBLE IN MINIATURE: In a miniature altarpiece with the Adoration of the Magi, Netherlands, early 16th century, the entourage of the Wise Men pay homage of Jesus including camels and an elephant. The names of these magi are spelled out beneath: Casper, Melchior, and Balthasar Images of lions had long served as supports for altarpieces and reliquaries.  Here they give a sense of ferociousness or even vigilance, rather they appear well fed and sleep. Image Left: Prayer Bead with the Adoration of the Magi and the Crucifixion Netherlandish, early 16th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan 1917. Photo: Peter Zeray.
     Patience is required to fully appreciate these incredible treasures. As the visitor gently lean over window cases they observe remarkable Biblical stories in boxwood carvings that tell intricate stories of saints and sinners. The exhibition is accompanied by a visitor's guide published by the Art Gallery of Ontario and a catalogue published by the Rijksmuseum. Both books are available in The Met Store. 
     Ta Ta Darlings!!!  It's a challenging exhibition, but one that will leave you stunned by its
diminutive beauty and in awe by the skilled workmanship of the carvers. Fan mail welcome at Visit Pollys Blogs at

Monday, March 6, 2017

PASSAGES THROUGH TIME: Turner Port Scenes: Review By Polly Guerin

Picture brilliant luminosity, turbulent seascapes drenched with sunlit brilliance and mesmerizing atmospheric effects,  and the work of Britain's greatest land- and seascape painter of the nineteenth century, Joseph Mallord William Turner, comes to mind.  We are at first stunned by the dazzling treatment of light and color. The paintings urge use to look deep into the longstanding subject in art, the port, a place of arrival and departure that links the city interior and the open water beyond, evoking a sense of journey and the passage of time.    Image Left: Harbor of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile, J..M.W. Turner, exhibited 1825, subsequently dated 1826. Oil on Canvas, 68 3/8 x 88 3/4 inches, The Frick Collection. Photo: Michael Bodycomb.
'Turner's Modern and Ancient Ports: PASSAGES THROUGH TIME' at the Frick Collection, through May 14, 2017, brings together paintings, watercolors, sketchbooks and prints of the master painter. The exhibition has tremendous impact as it is organized around three large-scale port scenes, with the Frick's grand scale Harbor  of Dieppe and Cologne, both painted by the artist in the mid-1820s and unites them for the first time publicly with a closely related yet unfinished work from the Tate, London, that depicts the harbor of Brest, in Brittany.
      The harbors of Dieppe and Cologne, purchased more than a hundred years ago by Henry Clay Frick, having been restricted from travel, they have not been exhibited elsewhere for the past century.           Grace Galassi, Senior Curator commented:
"We are thrilled to provide our audiences with insight into Turner's masterful technique and process by reuniting the Frick's ports, which themselves have never been the focus of an exhibition, with a third harbor scene fro the Tate on a similar scale, along with other port scenes---both imagined and set in the present---in oil and watercolor that reveal how the artist developed over time." This trio of port scenes is accompanied by more than thirty of Turner's oil paintings, watercolors, sketchbooks, and prints, among them other contemporary views of France, Germany and England, as well as imagined scenes set in ancient Carthage and Rome.  Image Right: J.M.W, Turner: The arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening, Exhibited in 1826-1828, oil on canvas. 66 3/8 x 88 1/4 inches, The Frick Collection. Photo: Michael  Bodycomb.
 TURNER and TRAVEL With Napoleon' decisive defeat at Waterloo in 1815, a new era of tourism began. Travel restrictions between England and France that have been in place since 1797 were lifted, and contact with the Continent was renewed. British artists, writers, and the public took the opportunity and crossed the Channel in droves to rediscover it. English ports were now being transformed into commercial hubs and seaside resorts. 
    It is interesting to note that the central decades of Turner's career coincided with political, technological and cultural developments that created a new context for his depictions of ports. The advent of he steamboat and high speed carriages as well as improved roads made travel easier and more accessible to a larger segment of the population, including the middle class.      
As a market developed for images of the picturesque sights that travelers had seen or planned to visit and Turner as an insatiable traveler and the foremost topographical artist of the period, was well equipped to meet the demand. On his extensive trips he filled notebooks with sketches of land formations, architecture, ships and people of the era at both work and play. Image Left: J.M.W. Turner, Dover Castle from the Sea, for Marine Views, 1822, Watercolor and gouache on paper, 15 15/16 x 23 5/8 inches, Museum of Find Arts, Boston, Bequest of David P. Kimball, in memory of his wife, Clara Bertram Kimball (c) Museum of Fine Arts,
The accompanying book, published by Yale University Press is available in the Museum Shop, hardcover $45, Softcover $25.  FIRST FRIDAYS: Museum admission and gallery programs are FREE from 6 to 9 pm o the first Friday of the month (except January). For additional information contact 212.288.0700.
     Ta Ta Darlings!!! An adjacent room to the exhibited has a continuous running narrated film that coincides with the exhibit. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's BLOGS at and click in the left hand column on the link that resonates with your interest on visionary men,  amazing art deco women, fashion historian and poetry.

Monday, February 27, 2017

VISIONARIES: Creating A Modern Guggenheim: Review by Polly Guerin

Solomon R. Guggenheim with White Fugue by Rudolf Bauer
To the public cognoscenti and art world, the name Guggenheim is synonymous with the iconic Guggenheim Museum but few know that museum founder and visionary Solomon R. Guggenheim (1861-1949) only turned to contemporary art later in life, when he was 68 years old.  He once said, As it grew on me...I wished others to share my joy."
     This is a rare opportunity to view The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation's formative collection, which was subsequently shaped through major acquisitions from contemporaries who shared Guggenheim's pioneering spirit. These acquisitions include prized impressionist and early School of Paris masterworks from Justin K. Thannhauser, the expressionist inventory of emigre art dealer Karl Nierendorf, the rich holdings of abstract and Surrealist paintings and sculpture from the self-proclaimed "art addict: Peggy Guggenheim, (Venice Italy) Solomon's niece, and key examples from the estates of artists Katherine S. Dreier and Hilla Rebay, both pivotal in promoting modern art in America.
     Fortuitously museum visitors can view more than 170 modern works by nearly 70 artists, from Camille Pissarro to Jackson Pollock. Image left: Solomon R. Guggenheim standing next to Rudolf Bauer's White Fugue (Weisse Fuge, 1926-27), oil on canvas Solomon R Guggenheim Founding Collection.
    VISIONARIES: Creating a Modern Guggenheim, on view through September 6, 2017, explores the history of Avant-Garde through the museum founder and patrons who shaped the Guggenheim permanent collection. With this exhibition the Guggenheim Foundation celebrates 80 years of innovation and preservation. VISIONARIES includes a wealth of innovations of the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries,, as well as the ground breaking activities of six pioneering arts patrons some of the most significant arts of their day and established the Guggenheim Foundation's identity as a forward-looking institution. VISIONARIES includes important works by celebrated artists such as Alexander Calder, Paul Cezanne, Marc Chagall, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Fernand Leger, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Vincent van Gogh.
Vasily Kandinsky 'Several Circles' 1925
HILLA REBAY and GUGGENHEIM. Having collected art privately since the 1890s, Guggenheim was ripe for fresh inspiration when he fatefully encountered the German-born artist Hilla Rebay (1890-1967). With he support of his trusted advisor, Guggenheim set aside a more traditional collecting focus to become a great champion of nonobjective art--- a strand if abstraction with spiritual aims, epitomized by the work of Vasily Kandinsky.
       The collection, amassed against the back-ground of economic crisis and war in the l930s and l940s, Guggenheim's unparalleled modern holdings formed the basis of his foundation, established 80 years ago with the goal of encouraging art, art education, and enlightenment for the public. This defining focus distinguished the eponymous foundation Guggenheim, established in New York in 1937. Two years later the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, the forerunner of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum debuted in New York. Image right:
Vasily Kandinsky, 'Several Circles' (Einige Kreise) 1926, oil on canvas, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection.

Robert Delaunay 'Circular Form' 1930

ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION Several conservation projects have been initiated as art of the planning of this anniversary exhibition. RED LILY PADS (1956(, a painted steel sculpture by Alexander Calder, Manet's Woman in Evening Dress (1877-80) and Luciano Pensabene Buemi, Conservator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection cleaned The Studio (L'Atelier), 1928, an oil ad crayon by Picasso. Image left: Robert Delaunay (1885-1941) Circular Forms (Formes Circulaires) 1930., oil on canvas Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection
SPECIAL EVENTS; Look-Long Wednesdays, February-August: Each Wednesday during the run of Visionaries, museum visitors have the opportunity to explore the Guggenheim collection, including one-hour focused experiences with a single work, in specialist and learning experiences. For other program schedules visit:
    Ta Ta darlings!!! I'm going to see the film PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT, you should too. Shown Fridays and Saturdays, March 3-25, l pm in the New Media Theater. FREE with admission. Fan mail welcome at  Visit Polly's Blogs at and click on the Blog links in the left-hand column to fashion, men, visionaries, and poetry from the heart.

Monday, February 20, 2017

I'M NOBODY! WHO ARE YOU? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson: Review by Polly Guerin

Emily Dickinson ca. 1847
"I'm Nobody! Who Are You? is a provocative poem that solicits personal interpretation as do so many other poems by Emily Dickinson (b, 1830), the celebrated American writer with almost 1800 poems attributed to her legacy.
     Sadly, her prolific work was essentially unknown to contemporary readers and only a handful of her poems were published during her lifetime, and a vast trove of her manuscripts was not discovered until her death in 1886.
     For aficionados of Emily Dickinson's poetry, and for that matter anyone who appreciates poetry at its best, there is a rare opportunity to get in touch with at least twenty-four of her poems in various draft states, with corresponding audio stops at the exhibition I'M NOBODY! WHO ARE YOU? The life and Poetry of Emily  Dickinson on view at the Morgan Library & Museum,  through May 21, 2017.  The exhibition is organized in conjunction with Amherst College. It also features an array of visual material including hand-cut silhouettes, photographs and daguerreotypes, contemporary illustrations and other items that speak to the rich intellectual and cultural environment in which Dickinson lived and worked. Image Left: The only authenticated image of Emily Dickinson, Daguerreotype, ca. 1847. Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Gift of Millicent Todd Bingham,
Emily Dickinson Poems Roberts Brothers 1890
This compelling exhibition brings together nearly one hundred rarely seen items, including manuscripts and letters, I'm Nobody! Who are you? --- a title taken from her popular poem---is the most ambitious exhibition on Dickinson to date.
EMILY DICKINSON REDISCOVERED Often typecast as a recluse who rarely left her Amherst home, it is surprising to discover that Dickinson was, in fact, socially active as a young woman and maintained a broad network of friends and correspondents even as she grew older and retreated into seclusion. The exhibition explores a side of her life that is seldom acknowledged: one filled with rich friendships and long-lasting friendships with mentors and editors. Image Right: Emily Dickinson Poems Boston: Roberts Brothers 1890, Amherst College Archives & Special Collections  and Second Series 1891, The Morgan Library & Museum; gift of W. H. McCarthy, Jr.
The Morgan's exhibition explores a less well-known aspect of Dickinson's personal and professional friendships that Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum said, "Will surely delight and surprise exhibition-goers."  The exhibition covers Dickinson's Childhood years, A year at Mount Holyoke, Literary Influences & Connections, Lifetime Publications, and Posthumous Publications & Legacy.
GALLERY TALKS: I'm Nobody, Who Are You? Jan 27 at 6 pm and March 3 at 1 pm with Carolyn Vega, Assistant Curator, Literary and Historical Manuscripts. Tickets Free with museum admission, no tickets or reservations necessary.
      In Poetry and Song: An Evening with Patti Smith and Jesse Paris Smith inspired by the works of Emily Dickinson, Tuesday, March 21, 7:30 pm. Tickets $45, $35 for members. FILM: A Quiet Passion Tuesday, March 28, 7 pm. Tickets $15; $10 members.
     "THIS IS MY LETTER TO THE WORLD": Writing Poetry with Emily Dickinson, Friday, April 7, 7-9 pm. Tickets: $20; $15 members. Check out the Morgan website: Spring Family Fair , Sunday, April 30, 2-4:30 pm. Tickets free with museum admission.
      Ta Ta Darlings!!! Being the poet that I am, of course no match to Dickinson, I plan to attend the workshop Writing Poetry with Emily Dickinson April 7th. Hope to see you there!!!  Fan mail always welcome at  Visit Polly's Blogs at and click in the left-hand column to the Blog link that resonates with your interest: for example, men remarkable visionaries, the fashion historian, amazingartdecodivas and just in case your are curious about my poetry go to

Monday, February 6, 2017

Treasures from the Nationalmusem of Sweden: The Collections of Count Tessin: Review By Polly Guerin

The Triumph of Venus, 1740  
Collectors are noted for assembling magnificent art collections, but then there is Count Carl Gustaf Tessin (1696-1770), someone you probably have never heard of before, who tops the scales when it comes to the acquisition of the great works of art by legendary painters.  
     Tessin, a diplomat and one of the great art collectors of his day was driven by a passion for art from a young age. His foray into collecting escalated during his travels at which time he established a monumental collection that eventually became part of the celebrated holdings of the Nationalmuseum of Sweden. This extraordinary new exhibition brings more than seventy-five masterpieces from Sweden exhibited in collaboration with the Morgan Library & Museum through May 14, 2017. Image Left: Francois Boucher's most beautiful mythological paintings, still in its original frame, was made for Tessin and exhibited at the 1740 Paris Salon. Venus emerges from the waves, accompanied by languorous Nereids and robust Triton's.  The Triumph of Venus was the most expensive of paintings Tessin acquired during his Paris sojourn and one of his most prized possessions, but it was among the works he was driven to sell to King Frederick I in 1749.
     TREASURES FROM THE NATIONALmuseum of Sweden: The collections of Count Carl Gustaf Tessin, a diplomat and one of the great art collectors of his day. The son and grandson of architects Tessin held posts in Vienna, Berlin and Paris, where he came into contact with the leading Parisian artists of the time and commissioned many works from them.  By the time he left Paris in 1742, he had amassed an impressive collection of paintings and drawings.
The Milliner 1746
In addition to Francois Boucher the exhibition features works by such artists as Albrecht Durer, Raphael, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt van Rijn, Antoine Watteau.  It is interesting to note that most of the paintings are in their original handcrafted elegant wood frames. It is the first collaboration between the Morgan Library and Museum and and the Nationalmuseum, Sweden's largest and most distinguished art institution. Image Left: In this celebration of feminine  luxury, adornment, and conspicuous consumption, a fashionably dressed milliner is paying a morning call on her well-to-do client who is seated in her bedroom having just completed her morning toilette. Tessin commissioned this painting from Boucher in 1745 on behalf of the twenty-five-year-old crown princess Louisa Ulrika.  
     Do take time to examine the drawings in the exhibition including works by Italian masters such as Domenico Ghirlandaio, Raphael, Giulio Romano and Annibale Carracci. Northern European artists are also represented by Durer, Hendrick Goltzius, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, Anthony van Dyck and others.
Tessin Sells His Collection to the Royal Family Tessin's longest stay in Paris was from 1739 until 1742, when he served as Sweden's unofficial ambassador to the French Court. The cost of maintaining his lifestyle in Paris would, however, leave him with lasting financial difficulty after his return to Stockholm. As a result, in 1749, Tessin was forced to sell part of his collection to the royal family of Sweden. He sold 243 paintings to King Frederick I, who then presented them to his daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Louisa Ulrika. The series of sales to the royal family helped to form the core of the royal collection of old master drawings and paintings.  
Count Carl Gustaf Tessin , 1740
Adolf Frederick died in 1771 and was succeeded by his son King Gustav III, who had been tutored by Tessin and became an acclaimed patron of the arts.  Gustav's ambition was to establish a royal collection open to the public. After his assassination in 1792, a Royal Museum, was founded in his memory and the collection eventually formed the core of the Nationalmuseum's holdings. The Nationalmuseum opened its doors in 1866.
     This rare and legendary collection on view at the Morgan is made possible due to the fact that the Nationalmuseum is currently closed for renovations and it therefore was able to loan out treasures from Tessin collection. The Nationalmuseum will reopen in 2018. Image Left: Jacques-Andre-Joseph Aved (French, 1702-1766) portrait of Count Carl Gustaf Tessin, 1740. Oil on canvas. 
Photo credit: THE THREE IMAGES IN THIS REVIEW BY CeciliaHeisser/Nationalmuseum, Stockholm..
    Ta Ta Darlings!!! The Nationalmuseum's Tessin treasures a worth a visit to the Morgan Library & Museum where you will find unique examples of the prevalent taste during the rococo period. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly's Blogs at and click on the links in the left-hand column to subjects that resonate with your interest.

Monday, January 30, 2017

PARIS REFASHIONED, 1957-1968 at FIT: Review By Polly Guerin

Does French Haute Couture Matter? Mais, pourquoi pas? Why not? As Marcel Proust wrote, "Recherche du temps perdu!" (Remembrance of Lost Time) Fashion also continues to reflect on its glorious past. In its latest exhibit The Museum at FIT examines the combined influences of French Haute Couture, ready-to-wear, and popular culture of the era. The exhibit spans eleven years of style innovation and unforgettable design with particular emphasis on how fashion was perceived and promoted by the American fashion press.
      In order to rediscover one of the most ground breaking time periods in fashion History The Museum at FIT's exhibition PARIS REFASHIONED, 1957-1968 reassures us that while this era positioned London as the center of innovative, youth-orientated design, this limited perspective overlooks the significant role Paris continued to play in the fashion industry. Designers featured in the show include Christian Dior, Lanvin, Karl Lagerfeld, Hubert de Givenchy, Nina Ricci, Yves Saint Laurent and others,  Associate curator of accessories Coleen Hill and colleagues have selected all the objects on view from the Museum of FIT's permanent collection of more than 50,000 objects. The exhibition on view from February 10 - April 15, 2017.
A 1950s COUTURE SALON The exhibition's introductory gallery includes a selection of more than 30 haute couture garments and accessories from the era. Let your imagination soar and vicariously imagine you are in Paris. The clothing is arranged in a setting designed to resemble a 1950's couture salon when the then 21-year old Yves Saint Laurent, promoted creative director in 1957 of Christian Dior, ushered in a demarcation, a shift toward a more relaxed and, ultimately, more youthful design.
Balenciaga "Baby Doll"dress---Chanel  1959---Andre Courreges suit
Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's iconic suit includes a 1959 version in red wool tweed with artfully notched "tulip"-shaped pockets. Her suits were made in endless variations and became a signature of her work during the 1950's-60s. It is interesting to note that women of all ages embraced Chanel's modern, easy-to-wear clothing. Even the working gal embraced the look wearing copies manufactured by cheap imitators. Caption: Cristobal Balenciaga, "Baby Doll" dress, circa, 1957 gift of "The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art from the estate of Ann E. Woodward. Chanel, suit, fall 1959, gift of Mrs Walter Eytan and Andre Courreges, suit, 1961. donated in the memory of Isabel Eberstadt by her family.

VISITING A PARIS BOUTIQUE While the introduction of 1950s haute couture is essential to the history of French fashion, the majority of the exhibition is devoted to the dynamic designs of the 1960s  Let's go shopping; the larger gallery space, designed to evoke a 1960s boutique, highlights a number of fashions by Andre Courreges, a protege of Balenciaga including a three-piece suit, which includes a wool jacket cut in a unique, scultpural silhouette.  Space Age fashion include his famous white leather boots and a dress trimmed in black vinyl. With Pierre Cardin revisit his "Cosmos" collection including a mini dress that features cutouts over the breastbone. The look of knee-length boots, and a helmet-style hat, helped to further Cardin's reputation as an avant-garde couturier.
Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, raincoat
FRENCH READY-TO-WEAR The success of Pret-a-Porter, French ready-to-wear,  had a profound impact on the couture industry. The exhibit features one of Saint Laurent's earliest Rive Gauche creations, a raincoat made from bright yellow vinyl with chunky, knitted wool sleeves.  Looks familiar?  A black version version of this raincoat was worn by Catherine Deveuve in the 1967 film Belle de Jour, for which Saint Laurent designed the costumes. Caption: Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, raincoat, 1966, gift of Ethel Scull.
     Paris Refashioned concludes in 1968, the year Courreges opened his first ready-to-wear boutique in New York Meanwhile, his mentor, the great couturier Balenciaga, decided to close his house after more than 30 years.
   The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same title, to be published by Yale University Press in spring 2017.
     FREE admission. The Museum at FIT is located at 27th Street and Seventh Avenue. Hours Tuesday-Friday, noon-8pm. Saturday, 10-5pm, Closed Sunday, Monday and Legal Holidays.
    Ta Ta Darlings!!!  It's deja vu, it's time to revisit fashion in all its innovative glory and to relive the time when fashionable women made the world so elegant and charming.  Fan mail always welcome at  Visit Polly's other Blogs as and click in the left-hand column the links to women determined to succeed (amazingartdecowomen), men remarkable visionaries, poetry from the heart and the fashion historian.