Vienna and Budapest– art and travel

Still getting a lot of traction from travel notebooks and photographs from the distant past, revisiting places online, related art and artists. It is incredible how much can be packed into a short visit when time and resources are limited and yet still learn a lot. The memories of encounters with great art still inspirational, the significance of travel experience not to be underestimated. Another one for the archive, memory bank, and reference collection.
Overnight train from Zurich, Switzerland to Vienna, Austria in first week May 1980, arrived early morning. Sorted out accommodation and wandered, first impressions lots of theatres and music, beautiful jaded old city back then with flashes of past splendour. Next day visited the famous Spanish Riding School, dressage show, the horses true actors, superb music, chandeliers. Freezing cold rain, refuge in an old cafe straight from the 19th century, waiters in bow ties, elderly smoking cigars. Then onto a tour of the Vienna State Opera (Staatsoper), then to Stadtpark, an afternoon of Johann Strauss music in the tea rooms, soaking up the atmosphere, transported momentarily to another age, but thought there would be mass casualties when The Blue Danube was played, the dance floor packed with waltzing couples. Now that I’m probably at the lower end of their age range, I can emphasize with a bit of nostalgia, and can imagine a dance floor for breakdancing elders trying out their titanium hips and knees in the not too far distant future. After that waltzed down the road to the Viennese equivalent of a pub in 13th century catacombs, with mugs of red wine served with rye bread and cheese. Next day, again in freezing rain walked to Leopold’s Café then back to the Opera House to get our bearings on where we would be standing for that night’s performance, lined up early evening for bargain tickets, my first experience of opera, and where better to start. A Welsh chemistry professor standing next to us provided detailed instructions about saving a spot, but there was still a mad rush up the stairs, then once inside tied our scarves to the rail where we would be standing for that night’s performance of the Barber of Seville, great value, opera for the price a of a cup of coffee, even if we had to stand for the entire performance. To get to know the city, the next day wandered around in search of the house where Beethoven wrote Symphony No. 9, but alas when located it was, at that time, a massage parlour, but at least the walk there was interesting. Caught the train to the Danube River which wasn’t very blue due to the overcast sky. Stopped off at the fair and then caught the train back into the city. Went to the opera again, fantastic performance of Richard Strauss’ Electra, much more theatrical than the previous evening, the audience went wild at the end, clapping, whistling, stamping feet. Next day, on such a steep cultural learning curve we ploughed on to the Kunsthistorisches Museum and a major art experience including a range of old masters including Bruegel, Rubens, Rembrandt. Walked back past the Hofburg. Walked onto the Opera Museum, wonderful collection of photographs and costumes, designs from the 1920s, then onto Stadtpark to do some writing in the travel notebook, while listening to Strauss amongst the tulips, birds, peacocks, freshly cut grass, pansies, watching the ambling parade of the debutants of the 1930s. Later that evening onto Grinzing, beer gardens everywhere, charming quaint buildings, drinking mugs of red wine to the sound of a piano accordion.
Next day caught a train to across the border to Budapest, Hungary, arriving early afternoon. Major contrast to the experience of the previous few days. First impression, grime, few goods in the shops, although the handcrafts were impressive, still part of the Eastern Block countries in 1980. Dinner in a non-descript rumpled restaurant, old hotel 1920s, faded glory of a former era, wood panelling, marble, huge staircase, dust on the chandeliers, an offbeat orchestra, all seemed to be playing independently of one another, then a terrible racket of gypsy folk music. Only one other table of diners in a huge area. Spent the night in private accommodation. At that time when you arrived in Hungary your accommodation had to be arranged for you, luckily we followed the approved procedures, allocated accommodation as required, registration on arrival at the railway station. Given the address and somehow found an 8-9 storey apartment block in a sea of apartment blocks in the suburbs. Just how we found it a miracle, even with some help from locals who also had difficulty in locating it. Basic accommodation in a family’s living room, an education on how most of the population lived. The family were not expecting us but were required to accommodate us for the night, must have been punishment for some crime or misdemeanour. Next day bus to the River Danube, found some sort of ceremony in progress, full band with a heavy military presence, but spectacular view through the smog, haze, black clouds, grey scale day. Then back to the railway, queues everywhere in the shops. Caught early afternoon train back to Vienna, still coming to terms with the experience of the previous two days, stark contrast, from the train the countryside magnificent, even saw some deer, but modern technology had not reached the farming sector, ploughing with horses, horse drawn carts, then by complete contrast a train heading in the opposite direction loaded with military equipment and a count of 13 tanks, military seemed to be a heavy presence wherever we went. Arriving back in Vienna a relief, like coming home, the difference between the two cities difficult to comprehend. Caught another train that night to Trieste, Italy.

Places
Vienna
Kunsthistorisches Museum
Stadtpark
Vienna State Opera (Staatsoper)
Hofburg
Grinzing,
Budapest

19800506 Stadt Park Vienna 6 May 1980
Stadtpark, Vienna, 6/5/1980

19800506 Vienna 6 May 1980
Ludwig van Beethoven, Vienna, 6/5/1980

19800509 The Bridge Budapest 9 May 1980
The Bridge, Budapest, 9/5/1980

19800509 Budapest 9 May 1980
The Danube, Budapest, 9/5/1980

19800509 private accommodation Budapest 9 May 1980
Budapest, 9/5/1980

Art References
Austria has produced some interesting modern painters including Gustav Klimt, renowned shocking decorative symbolist society artist, Egon Schiele (protégé of Gustav Klimt) figurative works ‘anguished line work, magnetic nudes and contorted figures’, and Oskar Kokoschka, exceptional expressionist.

Gustav Klimt, Music 1, 1895
Gustav Klimt, Music 1, 1895

Gustav Klimt, Judith II, 1909
Gustav Klimt, Judith II, 1909

Gustav Klimt, Avenue of Schloss Kammer Park, 1912
Gustav Klimt, Avenue of Schloss Kammer Park, 1912

Gustav Klimt, Malcesine on Lake Garda, 1913
Gustav Klimt, Malcesine on Lake Garda, 1913

Egon Schiele, House Between Trees I, 1908
Egon Schiele, House Between Trees I, 1908

Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait with Black Vase and Spread Fingers, 1911
Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait with Black Vase and Spread Fingers, 1911

Oskar Kokoschka, Children Playing, 1909
Oskar Kokoschka, Children Playing, 1909

Oskar Kokoschka, Knight Errant (Self-Portrait), 1915
Oskar Kokoschka, Knight Errant (Self-Portrait), 1915

Oskar Kokoschka, View of the Thames, 1959
Oskar Kokoschka, View of the Thames, 1959

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
A couple of favourites

Bruegel Hunters in the Snow 1565
Pieter Bruegel, Hunters in the Snow, 1565

Reubens (Peter Paul) Philemon and Baucis 1620-25 (2)
Peter Paul Rubens, Philemon and Baucis 1620-25

Rembrandt Self Portrait 1655
Rembrandt, Self Portrait, 1657

Other references
Gustav Klimt, Alessandra Comini, 1975

The Tate Gallery, An Illustrated Companion, 1979

The Guggenheim Museum Collection 1900-1980, Handbook, Vivian Endicott Barnett, 1980

The Story of Art, E. H. Gombrich, 1972

The sinewy genius of Egon Schiele – in pictures, Didier Buchart, The Guardian, Tuesday 2 Oct 2018

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Heidelberg and Zurich – art and travel

Another dig into the deep past, travel notebooks and photos still spurring on writing and revisiting artists and artworks. Part of my travels in Europe in 1980, in late April caught overnight train from Paris to Heidelberg, Germany, arrived early morning and walked around the city centre, pouring rain, through cobble stone streets, past beer halls, to the sound of church bells. Next day hired pushbikes at the railway station and rode up to the Philosopher’s Walk, view across the River Necker to the old part of the city, the castle and surrounding woods, and further down to the new sprawling suburban areas. Rode down a deserted dirt track, trees with new Spring leaves, blossoms, tulips, and a squirrel, quaint houses at the bottom of the hill, rode over the bridge and up to the castle, but steep, stopped for lunch by the castle wall and stayed there in the sun, couldn’t make the effort to visit the ruins or the great vat. Rode back to the railway station and caught the afternoon train to Zurich, Switzerland, arrived early evening. Next day set out early only to find it a public holiday, May Day, everything closed, walked to the railway station and caught the train to Lucerne and a boat across the Lake Lucerne to Vitznau.
Always dreamed of going to the Swiss Alps but when I got there, a complete whiteout, worst luck but that’s travel. With no sign of the Alps and total cloud cover almost gave up, but every now and again the clouds parted and a brief glimpse from the boat of the awe inspiring mountains, but not enough time to take any photographs. From Vitznau train to Arth-Goldau, magnificent scenery along the way, lots of traditional ‘cuckoo clock’ houses, cows with bells, flowers everywhere, further up snow and fir trees, but couldn’t see much at the summit at Rigi Kulm, at least there was a classic Saint Bernard dog, with a small brandy cask around its neck to greet us, threw some snow balls around and caught the train back down to the cable car, but still too much cloud, arrived in the little town Weggis to wait for the boat back to Lucerne then train to Zurich. Probably the most memorable part of our short stop over were some of the characters we met along the way. Over dinner made the acquaintance of a pair of veteran travellers, elderly cousins from Connecticut, with plenty of travel stories for a captive and captivated audience, one had broken her arm and spent nine days in her girdle before her cousin arrived to help her out, another story about a hotel in Vienna recommended by nuns at a convent where they were supposed to stay, but when they arrived at the hotel it was obvious that the mother superior ‘hadn’t seen it since she was a debutant’. Spent the next day walking around the old part of Zurich, magnolia trees in full bloom. Spent the afternoon at the museum which had complete room reconstructions of time periods in history, plus a lot of costumes and jewellery, like everything in Zurich very well organised. Spent the rest of our time in side-walk cafes and then caught an evening train to Vienna, Austria.

Places
Heidelberg
Zurich
Lucerne
Lake Lucerne
Vitznau
Arth-Goldau
Weggis

A Brief Sense of Place

800430 Heidelberg Castle Wall
Sun, bikes, and Heidelberg Castle Wall 30/4/1980

800501 Lake of Lucerne to Vitznau
Lake of Lucerne, boat to Vitznau 1/5/1980

800502 Zurich
Walking around Zurich 2/5/1980

German artists references, a selection
Albrecht Durer, Melencolia I, 1514
Albrecht Durer, Melencolia I, 1514

Albrecht Durer, The Peasant Couple Dancing 1514
Albrecht Durer, The Peasant Couple Dancing, 1514

Friedrich (Caspar David) Wanderer above the sea of fog 1818 Hamburg, Kunsthalle (2)
Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the sea of fog, 1818

Kirchner Two Nudes with bath tub and stove 1911
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Two Nudes with bath tub and stove, 1911

Heckel Corpus Christi in Bruges 1914
Erich Heckel, Corpus Christi in Bruges, 1914

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Early Spring, 1911
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Early Spring, 1911

Max Pechstein red-houses 1923
Max Pechstein, Red Houses, 1923

Emil Nolde Autumn Sea XI, 1910
Emil Nolde, Autumn Sea XI, 1910

Franz Marc, Horse in a-landscape, 1910
Franz Marc, Horse in a-landscape, 1910

August Macke, Gilrs Under Trees, 1914
August Macke, Girls Under Trees, 1914

Kurt Schwitters, Das Undbild, 1919
Kurt Schwitters, Das Undbild, 1919

Max Beckmann, Small Landscape, Viareggio 1925
Max Beckmann, Small Landscape, Viareggio 1925

Max Ernst forest-and-dove 1927
Max Ernst, Forest and Dove, 1927

Lyonel Feininger market-church-in-halle 1929
Lyonel Feininger, Market Church in Halle, 1929

Otto Dix, Landscape with Blue Cabbage, 1947
Otto Dix, Landscape with Blue Cabbage, 1947

Gerhard Richter Lake Lucerne 1969
Gerhard Richter, Lake Lucerne, 1969

Gerhard Richter Teyde Landscape 1971
Gerhard Richter, Teyde Landscape, 1971

Sigmar Polke, Meteor II, 1988
Sigmar Polke, Meteor II, 1988

Untitled (Triptych) 2002 by Sigmar Polke 1941-2010
Sigmar Polke, Untitled (Triptych), 2002

Anselm Kiefer, Von den Verlorenen gerührt, die der Glaube nicht trug, erwachen die Trommeln im Fluss
Anselm Kiefer, Von den Verlorenen gerührt, die der Glaube nicht trug, erwachen die Trommeln im Fluss, other titles The drums in the river came alive, beaten by the lost ones, who were not supported by faith. The drums in the river came alive, touched by the lost ones, who were not supported by faith, 2004

Anselm Kiefer Nigredo-Morgenthau 2012
Anselm Kiefer, Nigredo-Morgenthau, 2012

Other references

Site specific: the power of place AGNSW lecture series 2017
Caspar David Friedich, Rugen and the Northern Sublime (Speaker: Mark Ledbury), 3 May 2017 

The Hidden Language of Art: Symbol and Illusion AGNSW lecture series 2018
The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer (Speaker: Alisa Bunbury, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne), 28 March 2018

Emile Nolde, Unpainted Picture – Watercolours 1938-1945, Hatje Cantz,, 2000

Expressionism – A Revolution in German Art, Dietmar Elger, 2002

Gerhard Richter Landscapes, Dietmar Elger (ed), 2012

Max Ernst, Ian Turpin, 1979

Durer – the Artist and His Drawings, Christopher White, 1971

Nature makes abstract visual art more captivating, Simon Cropper, The Conversation, 25 March 2014

The Idea of Art – Building a Contemporary International Art Collection, Anthony Bond, 2015

 

Barcelona – art and travel

Memory, interpretation, construction of the past from travel notebooks and photographs, reconnecting to great artists and artworks again. A brief visit but memorable. Caught an overnight train from Nice to Barcelona in mid-April 1980, only a couple of days but a good introduction to place and culture. Walked and sat in sidewalk cafes most of the time taking in the atmosphere. Next day went to the Picasso Museum, fascinated by the unfolding life story, transition, through works from each stage of his evolution, some periods better represented than others, his childhood, school days, training, the blue period (1901-04), cubism (1909-13), neoclassicism (1917), and series of las Meninas (1957)1. On the way back, despite intense aversion to the torment and mistreatment of animals, just how I ended up at a bullfight still defies explanation, except that perhaps at the time I thought it an ancient ritual, a tradition that could not be ignored, but also an entertainment spectacle, to prove the supremacy of a bipedal cape waving hypnotist where the bull has no chance. We were walking past the bull ring, deciding to go or not to go in, some locals with tickets invited us along, and we felt it would be impolite not to accept. Only hope the bull had a full and happy life before its theatrical demise, at least the end came quickly after the torment. The matador had the bull performing exactly to commands, to the sounds of blaring bugles, and a full brass band. The crowd went wild, waving handkerchiefs, clapping, the matador did a grand tour around the arena as people threw carnations, wine flasks, whole bunches of roses, the band played on, an official descended from the royal booth into the arena to embrace the matador several times. For an outsider it’s difficult to comprehend the cultural significance of the performance. To recover we went to a local theatre and spent a few hours listening to a classical Spanish guitar performance. On leaving, the cafes and streets packed with people, a fiesta of drinking, eating, and smoking. Next day in pouring rain, we caught the train back to France to Toulouse. Then shocked to realise we didn’t see Gaudi’s masterpiece Sagrada Família, another time, after all it is still under construction, has been since 1882.

Sense of Place

800413 Barcelona
Square in Barcelona, 13/4/1980
The only photo I could find, must have been too busy soaking up the atmosphere.

Picasso Museum of Barcelona 20001
Picasso Museum of Barcelona (copy)

Picasso Museum of Barcelona
Picasso Museum of Barcelona (copy)

Art References

Picasso, Science and Charity 1897
Picasso, Science and Charity, 1897
(painted when he was 15 years old)

Picasso, La Comida Frugal, 1904
Picasso, La Comida Frugal, 1904

Picasso, Portrait of Senora Canals, 1905
Picasso, Portrait of Senora Canals, 1905

Picasso, Figure on a chair, 1917
Picasso, Figure on a chair, 1917

Picasso, Minotauromachy, 1935
Picasso, Minotauromachy, 1935

Picasso, La Meninas No 1, 1957
Picasso, La Meninas No 1, 1957

Picasso, Bullfight Scene, 1960
Picasso, Bullfight Scene, 1960

Spanish artists references, a selection

El Greco, View of Toledo, 1597
El Greco, View of Toledo, 1597

Velázquez, Vieja friendo huevos (Old Woman Frying Eggs), 1618
Velázquez, Vieja friendo huevos (Old Woman Frying Eggs), 1618

Zurbaran, The defense of Cadiz against the English, 1635
Zurbaran, The defense of Cadiz against the English, 1635

Ribera, Jacob_s Dream, 1639
Ribera, Jacob’s Dream, 1639

Murillo, The Young Beggar, c. 1645
Murillo, The Young Beggar, c. 1645

Goya, Bullfight, Suerte de Varas, 1824
Goya, Bullfight, Suerte de Varas, 1824

Gaudi, The dragon gate at the Güell Pavilions, 1884 - 1887
Gaudi, The dragon gate at the Güell Pavilions, 1884 – 1887

Gris, The Painter's Window, 1925
Gris, The Painter’s Window, 1925

Dali, impressions-of-africa 1938
Dali, Impressions of Africa, 1938

Miro, Le lecon de ski, 1966
Miro, Le lecon de ski, 1966

Tapies, Llibertat, 1988
Tapies, Llibertat, 1988

Chillida, Monument to Tolerance, Seville, Spain 1992
Chillida, Monument to Tolerance, Seville, Spain 1992

Other references

1The Picasso Museum of Barcelona, Rosa Maria Subirana Torrent, 1975

Picasso, Hans L.C. Jaffé, 1980

Picasso, National Gallery of Victoria, 28 July – 23 September 1984, Catalogue

Picasso The Last Decades, Art Gallery of NSW, 9 November 2002 – 16 February 2003, Catalogue

Picasso, Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris, Art Gallery of NSW 12 November 2011 – 25 March 2012, Catalogue

Pablo Picasso, Artists of the 20th Century, Kultur DVD

Goya, Robert Hughes, 2003

Spain by the Horns, Tim Elliott, 2005

Picasso and The Unknown Masterpiece (Speaker: Terence Maloon, Director, Drill Hall Gallery, ANU), The Hidden Language of Art: Symbol and Illusion AGNSW lecture series 2018, Wednesday 15 August 2018

 

 

France – art and travel

Looking at art and connections to past travels, first impressions often out last the rest, connecting the pieces to recall places, artists and their masterpieces. Some recollections from travel notebooks and photos.
In mid-April 1980 slow train from Pisa, Italy to Nice, south-eastern France, the French Riviera, through some stunning Spring scenery, mountains, farms, the Mediterranean Sea in brilliant sunshine, about a seven and a half hour trip. Arrived late morning walked around the city centre taking in the first experience of French culture. Afternoon bus to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, jasmine and wisteria everywhere. St Paul a walled medieval town, cobblestones and winding laneways. Visited the Foundation Maeght, an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, Miro’s sculptures in a natural setting. Bus back to Nice and late evening overnight train to Barcelona, Spain. After several days in Barcelona, train back to France, full day train trip, one and half hours behind schedule, we missed our connection to Toulouse. We arrived late evening, with no local money it took some explaining to get a room. Spent a day walking around the well planned city in pouring rain. Next day train to Bordeaux about two and a half hours. Walked around the historic city centre and, it being in the major wine growing region, indulged in some very good red. Next day train to Rocheford, then late evening train to La Rochelle, a seaport on the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic coast, enchanted by the place on arrival. Dinner overlooking the harbour and parks on a perfect Spring evening. Next day walk around the town, the local gallery had a special exhibition of Matisse and Rouault works. Then a seafood platter at a café, huge plate arrived piled high with mussels, periwinkles, clams, oysters, and a crab, only problem none of the shells were open and we were supplied with various implements to open the shells, enormous problems much to the amusement of the local diners, after a crash course from the waiter managed to finish the meal but it took a very long time. On the positive side we struck up a conversation (more like mime or game of charades) with a non-English speaking Spanish couple and we embarked on a tour of the town by night in their four wheel drive, superb experience.
Next day morning train to Paris, for a stay of ten days. Arrived early afternoon. Secured a room in the Latin Quarter, on the West Bank of the Seine, opposite the Sorbonne. A room with ‘character’ and a slope to the west and slump in the ceiling. Dinner overlooking Notre Dame in freezing cold wind and rain but had to see the famous flying buttresses. Next day to the Louvre, not as crowded back then, and we saw all the famous iconic works up close including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory and a memorable room full of Corot’s paintings, but managed to get lost in the Egyptian antiquities. No chance of an early night, a couple of musicians upstairs, one on violin and the other on guitar, excellent harmony, particularly ‘Turkey in the Straw, Turkey in the Hay’ and ‘Mack the Knife’. Next day worked out the bus and train system, then to the markets Porte de Clignancourt, a hail storm stranded us in a sweets stall. Bus to Montmartre, Sacré-Coeur, the sun broke through, spectacular. Next day markets at Rue Mouffetard then a bus to Place de la Concorde, walked Champs-Élysées to Arc de Triomphe, through the parks in the rain, then walked back via Rue St Honoré. That evening went to the Folies Bergère, not sure what we were expecting, it was a music hall review with so many different set changes it became very amusing, couldn’t take it too seriously, too many tired feathers, sequins, and tinsel, particularly in the can-can finale. The show included a rendition of ‘Granada’ with flying capes, another group attired in purple satin jumpsuits and platform shoes sang ‘Quando, quando, quando’, best act was a comedian singing ‘Figaro’. Next day to the Rodin Museum, sculptures almost about to spring to life, the Burghers of Calais about to keep walking. Then onto the Eiffel Tower, the view from the top well worth the hassle of getting up there and back. Ballet later that evening Le Théâtre d’images and modern ballet Théâtre del’arche, superb. Next day Musée Jeu de Paume, impressionist art extravaganza (it later closed in 1986, with the majority of its collection transferred the Musée d’Orsay, fortunate to see many of the works again at an exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in 2010)1. Afternoon at Musée des Art Décoratifs, mainly Louis XIV-XVI and early twentieth century furniture. Next day onto George Pompidou Centre, a modern edifice, surrounding courtyard areas packed with buskers, mime, music, dancing. Inside the Musée National d’Art Moderne, vast collection. After dinner, onto Caveau des Oubliettes an old prison underneath a church where in times past prisoners were dropped down a shaft into the Seine. Excellent folk music but mood changed after a tour of the cells, one featuring a replica of la guillotine, difficult to imagine such a killing machine in use. Next day to Montmartre and Place de Tertre, stroll around the back streets then onto Sacré-Cœur but over-run with tourists, then bus to Place du Trocadéro and onto Musée de l’Homme, fascinating collection of costumes and artefacts from different nationalities from around the world. Walk back through the Bois de Boulogne parklands. Caught the metro back to Chalet and then onto Saint Chapelle with its incredible stained glass windows and then onto Notre Dame. That night some jazz and Memphis Slim at the Conciergerie, walked home at 3 am in the rain through shining streets. Next day to Versailles, unbelievable scale but the staff were on strike and it was closed, just strolling around the gardens worth the trip. Our last night in Paris, full moon over Notre Dame, and the Seine. Next day it was au revoir to our little lop-sided room to catch the train to Heidelberg, Germany.
Returned to Paris in September 1983 for a week to revisit the Louvre, Musée Marmottan Monet, Petit Palais, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Musée Jeu de Paume

Places
Nice
Saint-Paul-de-Vence
Toulouse
Bordeaux
La Rochelle
Paris

Memories of Time and Place

800411 Nice
Nice 11/4/1980

St Paul (postcard copy)
Saint-Paul-de-Vence (postcard copy) 11/4/1980

800411 Miro sculpture, Foundation Maeght, Saint-Paul800411 Miro sculpture, Foundation Maeght, Saint-Paul 3800411 Miro sculpture, Foundation Maeght, Saint-Paul 2
Miro sculptures, Foundation Maeght, Saint-Paul 11/4/1980

800417 La Rochelle
La Rochelle 17/4/1980

800421 Sacre Coeur, Paris
Sacré-Cœur, Paris 21/4/1980

Sacre Coeur (postcard copy)
Sacré-Cœur, Paris (postcard copy)

800423 Balzac, Rodin Museum, Paris
Rodin Museum, Paris 23/4/1980

Rodin, Monument to Balzac 1891 - 1897 (postcard copy)
Rodin, Monument to Balzac 1891 – 1897 (postcard copy)

800423 Paris
Paris 23/4/1980

800424 Rue Mouffetard, Paris
Rue Mouffetard, Paris 24/4/1980

800425 George Pompidou Centre, Paris
George Pompidou Centre 25/4/1980

800427 Versailles
Versailles 27/4/1980

800428 Notre Dame, Paris
Notre Dame, Paris 28/4/1980

Notre Dame (postcard copy)
Notre Dame (postcard copy)

830905 Aphrodite, Venus de Milo, Louvre, Paris
Aphrodite, Venus de Milo, Louvre, Paris 5/9/1983

830905 Place de la Concorde, Paris
Place de la Concorde, Paris 5/9/1983

Art References

Leonardo, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, c1503
Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, c1503

Poussin (Nicolas) Rebecca at the well (Rebecca and Eleazar), c. 1648
Poussin, Rebecca at the well (Rebecca and Eliezer), c. 1648

Lorrain (Claude), Landscape with Apollo and Mercury, 1660
Claude Lorrain, Landscape with Apollo and Mercury, 1660

David (Jacques-Louis ), The Death of Marat, 1793
David, The Death of Marat, 1793

Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1830
Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1830

Corot (Jean Baptiste Camille) La Promenade du Poussin 1825-28
Corot, La Promenade du Poussin 1825-28

Monet (Claude) Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), 1872
Monet, Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant), 1872

Renoir, Hillside path through tall grass (postcard copy)
Renoir, Path Leading Through Tall Grass, 1877

Rodin, The Bugers of Calais 1884-1895 (postcard copy)
Rodin, Burghers of Calais 1884-1895

Cezanne (Paul) The Bay of Marseilles from L'Estaque 1878 (2).gif
Cezanne, The Bay of Marseilles from L’Estaque, 1878

Gauguin, Vision after the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel), 1888
Gauguin, Vision after the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel), 1888

van Gogh (Vincent) The Langlois Bridge at Arles 1888
van Gogh, The Langlois Bridge at Arles, 1888

Matisse (Henri), L'Atelier Rouge, 1911
Matisse, L’Atelier Rouge, 1911

Soutine (Chaim) The Forest 1918
Soutine, The Forest, 1918

Monet (Claude) Le Bassin aux nympheas, 1907-1919
Monet, Le Bassin Aux Nymphéas, 1919

Rouault, Miserere (postcard copy)
Rouault, Miserere 1922-27

Bonnard (Pierre) The Garden 1937
Bonnard, The Garden, 1937

Picasso, Jug, candle and enamel pan, 1945
Picasso, Jug, candle and enamel pan, 1945

Soulages (Pierre) Painting 1957
Soulages, Painting, 1957

Chagall, Mosaique, Fondation Maeght (postcard copy)
Chagall, Mosaique, Foundation Maeght

Miro, Le lecon de ski. 1966, Fondation Maeght (postcard copy)
Miro, Le lecon de ski. 1966, Foundation Maeght

Other references

Site specific: the power of place AGNSW lecture series 2017
John Russell: Belle-Ile and Antibes in the fin-de-siècle (Speaker: Wayne Tunnicliffe), 14 June 2017
Matisse and the Golden Light of Collioure (Speaker: Lorraine Kypiotis), 26 July 2017
Monet and the Seine River (Speaker: Professor Anthea Callen, ANU and University of Nottingham), 11 October 2017
Cezanne & Provence (Speaker: Professor Anthea Callen, ANU and University of Nottingham), 18 October 2017

The Hidden Language of Art: Symbol and Illusion AGNSW lecture series 2018
Nicolas Poussin: Peintre-philosophe (Speaker: Dr Christopher Allen, classical scholar and art critic The Australian), Wednesday 17 May 2018
Vertu et Patrie: Jacques-Louis David, Neo-classicism and the French Revolution (Speaker: Professor Mark Ledbury, Art History, University of Sydney), Wednesday 13 June 2018

The Lady and the Unicorn, Exhibition, AGNSW 2018

1Masterpieces from Paris – Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and Beyond, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Australia, 2009

The Picasso Museum of Barcelona, Rosa Maria Subirana Torrent, 1975

Picasso, Hans L.C. Jaffé, 1980

Picasso, National Gallery of Victoria, 28 July – 23 September 1984, Catalogue

Picasso The Last Decades, Art Gallery of NSW, 9 November 2002 – 16 February 2003, Catalogue

Picasso, Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris, Art Gallery of NSW 12 November 2011 – 25 March 2012, Catalogue

Pablo Picasso, Artists of the 20th Century, Kultur DVD

Gauguin, Robert Goldwater, 2004

The Post Impressionists, Gauguin, Kultur DVD

Modern Masters, Monet to Matisse, exhibition catalogue, AGNSW, 1975

The Louvre, catalogue 1983

Samuel Courtauld’s Collection of French 19th Century Painting and Drawings, exhibition catalogue 1976

Rodin, by Iaonel Jianou, 1970

Paul Cézanne, Paintings from the Museums of the Soviet Union, by Anna Barskaya, 1983

Soutine, Catalogue Raisonné, by Maurice Tuchman, Esti Dunow, Klaus Perls, 2001

Poussin and Nature, by Pierre Rosenberg, MET exhibition, 2008

Matisse, by Frederick Brill, 1967

The Jeau de Paume Museum, Catalogue, 1980

Renoir Master Impressionist, by John House, 1994

Rouault, by Irina Fortunescu, 1975

Techniques of the Impressionists, Anthea Callen, 1980

 

Italy – Art and Travel

A recent series of lectures on the Renaissance and the Baroque sent me back to the art books again and connections to travel in Italy, transformative encounters with a slew of great artists and masterpieces, travel notebooks a storehouse of references, finding old photos to retrace the experience.
Arrived in Brindisi from Greece, part of my first trip overseas, a ten week trip around Europe in the northern Spring 1980. Caught a late evening over night train to Rome. Next day walked around, the Forum, Colosseum, Piazza Vanessa, the Pantheon sun shining brilliantly into the huge dome, Piazza della Rotonda, Trevi Fountain, everything shut between 1-4 pm for lunch and siesta, very civilised back then, then onto Via Veneto and later tour of Rome by night with some locals, best way to escape tourist hordes. St Peters Square at 2 am and a full moon, the Orange Garden overlooking the Tiber, magic. The next day the Vatican, and Sistine Chapel. Apparently Michelangelo insisted he was a sculptor not a painter and took on the commission begrudgingly1 but “in the final work, that would take four years, encompassed over 300 figures.” The Vatican Museum so overwhelming had to give up and move on. Then in the following days onto the National Museum, Basicilica of Santa Maria deli Angeli, Baths of Diocletian, Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona, Piazza Barberini, Cemetery of the Capuchins with elaborate artwork made from monks’ skeletons, weird but with artistic flare and flair.
Train from Rome to Florence, three and half hours through the countryside in Spring, vineyards, snow on the mountain peaks, brilliant green. Florence packed with people and nowhere to stay, spent most of the night at the railway station along with hundreds of other travellers, people in sleeping bags, playing cards, harmonicas, even a banjo, it was a long night. Luckily found lodgings early the next day, then onto Pointe Vecchio, Pitti Palace. The Florence Cathedral overpowering, almost oppressively ornate, onto Galleria dell’Accademia and Michelangelo’s David and the Prisoners, the Uffizi, Academic Di Belle Arti, Piazza St Croce.
Next day train to Pisa and the Leaning Tower. Back then you could walk up the very worn marble stairs to the top with a view of the snow capped mountains. From there caught the train to Nice. In some ways it was a relief to escape the high art theatricality, celestial geometry, the swirling swooning vortices of saints, angels, putti, and the damned, an overload of masterpieces. Returned to Italy by train via Vienna in May. Arrived in Trieste, in the far north-east, and then train to Venice and the obligatory ferry ride down the main canal and onto Piazza St Marco, but, as always the place was overrun with tourists. After the onslaught of Renaissance art in Rome and Florence, it was a relief to find the explosion of modern art at the Guggenheim Gallery. Peggy Guggenheim had a colourful personal reputation and major achievements, she was a “visionary, art patron, collector, philanthropist, had a crucial role in the careers of Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko, and Clifford Still. The collection embraces all major movements since 1910 including Dada, Suprematist, Cubist, Surrealist and Picasso, Kandinsky, Klee, and sculpture by Brancusi, Archipenko, Calder. Giacometti, Arp, Henry Moore”2 among many others (the website has the full list of works). It was an introduction and major educational experience in modern art all wrapped up in one gallery. After that art blast, a break via a day trip to Murano and huge range of handmade glass ware. Then travelled onwards down the Adriatic Coast to Ravenna, where our room was opposite an amusement park so caught the train to Bari the next day. It was pouring with rain so kept moving, to Brindisi to catch the ship to Corfu. Returned to Rome in September 1983, strolled around and revisited the major sites, including on my last day a trip to Capitoline Hill, and then it was Arrivederci, Roma.

Places
Rome
Florence
Pisa
Trieste
Venice
Ravenna
Brindisi

Memories of Time and Place

800403 Trevi Fountain, Rome
Rome 3/4/1980

Cemertery of the Capchins, 2nd Chapel, Rome (postcard copy)
Cemetery of the Capuchins, 2nd Chapel, Rome (postcard copy), 5/4/1980

800407 Florence
Florence, 7/4/1980

800407 Street scene Florence
Florence, 7/4/1980

800410 Leaning Tower of Pisa
Pisa, 10/4/1980

800410 View from the bell tower, Pisa
View from the bell tower, Pisa, 10/4/1980

830916 Spanish Steps, Rome
Spanish Steps, Rome, 16/9/1983

830916 Trevi Fountain, Rome
Trevi Fountain, Rome, 16/9/1983

830917 Piazza Nuvona, Rome
Piazza Navona, Rome, 17/9/1983

830917 Bernini Fountain, Piazza Nuvona, Rome
Piazza Navona, Rome, 17/9/1983

830917 Bridge of Angels, Rome
Bridge of Angels, Rome, 17/9/1983

830917 Some details, The Vatican, Rome
The Vatican, Rome, 17/9/1983

830918 Coloseum, Rome0002
Colosseum, Rome, 18/9/1983

830918 St Peters in the Field, Rome
St Peters in the Field, Rome, 18/9/1983

830918 The Forum, Rome
The Forum, Rome, 18/9/1983

830918 Villa Borgheze, Rome
Villa Borghese, Rome, 18/9/1983

830918 View from Mt Arentina, Rome
Rome, 18/9/1983

Art References

Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciation, c1472
Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciation, c1472

Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciation (detail), c1472
Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciation (detail), c1472

Michelangelo, The Libyan Sibyl, Sistine Chapel, 1511
Michelangelo, The Libyan Sibyl, Sistine Chapel, 1511

Parmigianino, Women Carrying Baskets and Amphorae
Francesco Mazzuola, called Parmigianino, Women Carrying Baskets and Amphorae, c1530, Janos Scholz Collection

Parmigianino, Profile di donna, Uffizi
Parmigianino, Profile di donna, Uffizi

Titian, Landscape with St. Theodore Overcoming the Dragon, ca. 1550s
Titian, Landscape with St. Theodore Overcoming the Dragon, ca. 1550s

Guercino, Landscape with Volcano0002
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Il Guercino, Landscape with Volcano, ca. 1635-40

Claude Lorrain – drawings and paintings of the Roman Campagna (the countryside around Rome)3.

Claude Lorrain, View of Tivoli, 1640
Claude Lorrain, View of Tivoli, 1640

Claude Lorrain, View of La Crescenza, 1648-50
Claude Lorrain, View of La Crescenza, 1648-50

Canaletto – Venice became a ‘pictorial genre’, he surveyed the city to create memory of place, for the British grand tourists (starting arriving around 1726)4

Canaletto, The Grand Canal near the Ponte del Rialto (1725)
Canaletto, The Grand Canal near the Ponte del Rialto (1725)

Canaletto, Bacino di S Marco From the Piazzetta, c 1750
Canaletto, Bacino di S. Marco: From the Piazzetta, c. 1750

Turner made several trips Italy, including Venice first trip in 1819, second in 1833

Turner, Venice San Giorgio Maggiore Early Morning, 1819
Turner, Venice: San Giorgio Maggiore – Early Morning, 1819

Turner, Venice, a Storm, 1840
Turner, Venice, a Storm, 1840

Italian Futurists – light, movement and speed.

Boccioni (Umberto) States of Mind I The Farewells, 1911
Umberto Boccioni, States of Mind I: The Farewells, 1911

Balla (Giacomo) Swifts' Flight 1913
Giacomo Balla, Swifts’ Flight, 1913

The Guggenheim Collection, Venice
A selection

George Braque, The Clarinet (La Clarinette), 1912
George Braque, The Clarinet (La Clarinette), 1912

Marcel Duchamp, Nude (Study), Sad Young Man on a Train, 1911
Marcel Duchamp, Nude (Study), Sad Young Man on a Train, 1911

Vasily Kandinsky, Landscape with Red Spots, No. 2, 1913
Vasily Kandinsky, Landscape with Red Spots, No. 2, 1913

El Lissitzky, Untitled, ca. 1919–20
El Lissitzky, Untitled, ca. 1919–20

Giorgio de Chirico, The Red Tower, 1913
Giorgio de Chirico, The Red Tower, 1913

Kurt Schwitters, Merz Drawing 75, 1920
Kurt Schwitters, Merz Drawing 75, 1920

Joan Miró, Seated Woman II, 1939
Joan Miró, Seated Woman II, 1939

Henry Moore, Three Standing Figures, 1953
Henry Moore, Three Standing Figures, 1953

Jackson Pollock, Eyes in the Heat, 1946
Jackson Pollock, Eyes in the Heat, 1946

Robert Motherwell, Personage (Autoportrait), 1943
Robert Motherwell, Personage (Autoportrait), 1943

Arshile Gorky, Untitled, 1944
Arshile Gorky, Untitled, 1944

Other references

The Hidden Language of Art: Symbol and Illusion AGNSW lecture series 2018:

Site specific: the power of place AGNSW lecture series 2017

  • 4Canaletto (speaker A/Professor David R Marshall), 22 February 2017
  • 3Claude Lorrain (speaker Dr Lisa Beaven), 15 February 2017 – Drawings and paintings of the Roman Campagna (the countryside around Rome).

2The Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice, Catalogue, July 1979

Italian Master Drawings 1350-1800 from the Janos Scholz Collection, Janos Scholz, 1976

XVI Century Italian Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection, 1979

Leonardo da Vinci, Bruno Santi, 1975

Leonardo The Artist and the Non-Artist, Cecil Gould, 1975

Turner, Michael Lloyd, NGA, 1996

150 Masterpieces of Drawing, Anthony Toney, 1963

How the Italian Futurists shaped the aesthetics of modernity in the 20th century, The Conversation, Selena Daly, 3 March 2017

 

 

 

Morocco – Art, Travel, and Painting

April/May 2018
This journey exceeded high expectations, stunning landscapes, architecture, medinas (old city centres), kasbahs (forts, citadels), souks (markets) and riads (traditional town houses). Arrived in Casablanca in time to meet up with a small group of painters over dinner to plan out our seventeen days in Morocco. The trip traversed the regions from Casablanca on the Atlantic coast, to Marrakech in mid-southwestern region, across the High Atlas mountains to Tinerhir and Todra Gorge, then onto Café Tissardmine near Rissani close to the Algerian border in the Sahara desert, then north back across the High Atlas to Fes in the Middle Atlas mountains, then further north to Chefchaouen in the Rif mountains, back to Fes then to Casablanca overnight before the flight home.
Some travel notes and references.

Casablanca the ‘commercial and financial capital, where tradition and modernity co-exist1 On the Atlantic coast, the Phoenicians established a small trading post in the 6th century BC’2 Arrived and departed from Casablanca. Incredible how one film can conjure up an image of place. What you get is a crowded, noisy, chaotic city but with hidden gems, French colonial architecture, restaurants and bars. Only overnight in Casablanca then onto Marrakech.

Marrakech a ‘Berber city at the point of interchange between the Sahara, the Atlas and the Anti Atlas mountains1. Almost 1,000 years after its founding the red city continues to evolve, where tradition and modernity merge.’2 Walking around the old medina a sensory overload, souks awash with a vivid colours, high quality handcrafted artisan goods of all descriptions including carpets, leather, ceramics, jewellery, lamps, woodwork, copper, metalwork, basketry, fabrics, dyed yarn, olives, spices. Three days to take in the city including the gardens around the Koutoubia Mosque, Museé de Marrakech, Palais Bahia, Maison de la Photographie, combined with sketching from rooftop cafes and in the main square Djemaa el-Fna.

After Marrakech, drove onto Tinerhir via Ait Benhaddou with its ancient earthen clay architecture, used as a location for many films. Striking contrasts of the green river courses and oasis in the desert, a product of the snow melt from the High Atlas mountains, the life line of the surprisingly large inland cities. Overnight in Tinerhir and the next morning sketching in Todra Gorge, eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains, where ‘sheer cliffs 300m (985ft) rise up each side of the gorge1. After the gorge drove onto Café Tissardmine, a cultural retreat and guest house near the town of Rissani. Time out for almost a week, to sketch and paint each day. The stay allowed time for a visit to the local Berber village, Tissardmine, to Erg Chebbi at sunset, massive sand dunes, an absolute highlight of the trip, next day an excellent performance by the musicians Gnaoua Khamlia, at Merzouga about 35 kilometres southeast of Rissani, then the following morning trip to the Rissani markets ‘The Rissani souk is one of the most famous in the area’1.

After a week of relative peace and quiet in the desert, a full day’s drive (eight hours) back across the High Atlas, snow-capped peaks in the distance, across the Middle Atlas, through expansive farmland, and a cedar forest to Fes. Fes the ‘oldest of the imperial cities, founded in 7891. The medina the world’s largest car free urban area”2 The souks like Marrakech, but without the motorbikes, packed with handmade goods of all descriptions. A photographers’ paradise. A morning at Madrasa Bou Inania, founded in 1351–56, location for some sketching until the tour groups arrived. Then onto Palais Galoui ‘18th-century palace is as fascinating for its state of disrepair as it is for its architectural Andalucian style magnificence’2, off the tourist routes and hence time out for a peaceful morning of sketching.

After three days in Fes, a four hour drive to Chefchaouen in the Rif mountains ‘located in the hollow of two mountains: ech-Chaoua (The Horns). White and indigo lime-washed buildings and red tile roofs1. The old medina a mix of Moroccan and Andalucian influence’2. Our guide assured us that it was impossible to get lost in such a small town, but after a while the lanes all started to look the same, and I found myself lost in the labyrinth of blue laneways, felt like I had walked up and down thousands of blue steps, but remembered the old bushwalkers code, the only way out, head to high ground to locate the landforms to get a sense of direction, in this case the twin peaks. Time for some sketching in the souk, and then back to do some painting on the rooftop terrace with expansive views. Time as always was too short and we drove back to Fes for an overnight stopover, and then onto Casablanca for our last rather chaotic night, the clocks changed over, end of daylight saving which threw the flight times out, but somehow it was possible to negotiate the airport mayhem.

Locations
Casablanca
Marrakech
Ait Benhaddou
Tinerhir
Todra Gorge
Café Tissardmine
Erg Chebbi
Rissani
Fes
Chefchaouen

Sense of Place

180426 Djemaa el-Fna (Main Square) Marrakech
Djemaa el-Fna (Main Square) Marrakech, 26/4/2018

180427 Musee de Marrakech
Museé de Marrakech, 27/4/2018

180427 Pigments in the souk, Marrakech
Pigments, souk in Marrakech, 27/4/2018

180427 Roof top cafe sketching, Marrakech
From roof top café, sketching location, Marrakech, 27/4/2018

180428 Jewelery in the souk, Marrakech
Jewellery, souk in Marrakech, 28/4/2018

180428 lamps, in the souk, Marrakech
Lamps, souk in Marrakech, 28/4/2018

180428 woodwork, in the souk, Marrakech
Woodwork, souk in Marrakech, 28/4/2018

180429 1 Road over the High Atlas Mountains Morocco
Road over the High Atlas Mountains, 29/4/2018

180429 2 Snow capped peaks High Atlas Mountains
Snow-capped peaks High Atlas Mountains, 29/4/2018

180429 3 Ait benhaddou, High Atlas Mountains
Ait benhaddou, 29/4/2018

180429 4 Entrance Ait benhaddou
Entrance Ait benhaddou, 29/4/2018

180430 1 Todra Gorge
Todra Gorge, 30/4/2018

180430 2 Goat stampede Todra Gorge
Goat stampede Todra Gorge, 30/4/2018

180430 3 lunch Tinerhir, Morocco
Tinerhir, 30/4/2018

180430 5 Cafe Tissardmine, Erg Chebbi in the distance
Cafe Tissardmine, Erg Chebbi in the distance, 30/4/2018

180501 1 a Tissardmine, Berber village
Tissardmine, Berber village, 1/5/2018

180501 3 Erg Chebbi sunset
Erg Chebbi at sunset, 1/5/2018

180501 4 Erg Chebbi sunset
Erg Chebbi at sunset, 1/5/2018

180502 Cafe Tissardmine from the roof terrace
Cafe Tissardmine from the roof terrace, 2/5/2018

180502 Courtyard, Cafe Tessardmine
Courtyard, Cafe Tessardmine, 2/5/2018

180502 Musician, Gnaoua Khamlia, Merzouga
Musician, Gnaoua Khamlia, Merzouga, 2/5/2018

180504 Cafe Tissardmine verandah 2
Cafe Tissardmine veranda, 4/5/2018

180505 Indoor studio, Cafe Tissardmine
Indoor studio, Cafe Tissardmine, 5/5/2018

180507 Fes the old medina view from the castle
Fes, the old medina, view from the castle 7/5/2018

180507 Laneway in the medina, Fes
Laneway in the medina, Fes 7/5/2018

180507 The tannery and dye pits, Fes 1
The tannery and dye pits, Fes 7/5/2018

180508 Madrasa Bouinania, Fes
Madrasa Bouinania, Fes 8/5/2018

180508 Minaret, Madrasa Bouinania, Fes
Minaret, Madrasa Bouinania, Fes 8/5/2018

180508 Palais Glaoui
Palais Glaoui, Fes 8/5/2018

180508 Palais Glaoui 2
Palais Glaoui, Fes 8/5/2018

180508 The artist's riad
The artist’s riad, Fes 8/5/2018

180508 View from the terrace, Hotal Merenides, Fes
View from the terrace, Hotel Merenides, Old Medina, Fes 8/5/2018

180509 View from the roof, Chefchaouen
View from the roof terrace, Chefchaouen 9/5/2018

180509 Doorway, Chefchaouen
Doorway, Chefchaouen 9/5/2018

180510 Laneway, Chefchaouen
Laneway, Chefchaouen 10/5/2018

180510 Work inprogress, Chefchaouen
Work in progress, Chefchaouen 10/5/2018

Sketches in ink, pigments, gouache, acrylics
Great to be in a different, culturally rich environment, a challenge, out of my comfort zone. However, difficult to focus, sustain concentration, find a rhythm with so many distractions, the hazards of attempting painting en plein air. Back to basics, drawing and painting over simplified, quick sketches and impressions, but useful for later work. The pigments bought in the souk in Marrakech another challenge to work with.

20180427 sketch from the roof top cafe, Marrakech (posca pen)
Sketch from the roof top café, carpets in the market, Marrakech 27/4/2018

20180430 Todra Gorge Morocco (posca pen)
Todra Gorge, before the goat stampede, 30/4/2018

20180501 Cafe Tessardmine courtyard 1 (gouache)
Cafe Tessardmine courtyard 1/5/2018

20180502 Cafe Tissardmine, Morocco (pen)
Cafe Tissardmine, 2/5/2018

20180502 z1 Cafe Tissardmine, Morocco, concertina book 1 (ink & pigment)
Messing about with pigments, Cafe Tissardmine, 2/5/2018

20180502 z4 Tissardmine Village, Morocco, concertina book p5 (ink & pigment)
Messing about with pigments, Cafe Tissardmine, 2/5/2018

20180508 Madrasa Bouinania, Fes, Morocco (posca pen)
Sketch, minaret, Madrasa Bouinania, Fes 8/5/2018

20180508 Palais Glaoui, Fes, Morocco (posca pen)
Sketch, Palais Glaoui, Fes 8/5/2018

20180508 Palais Glaoui, Fes, Morocco 2 (posca pen)
Sketch, Palais Glaoui, Fes 8/5/2018

20180508 from the roof terrace, Fes, Morocco 2 (posca pen)
Sketch of the view from the roof terrace, Riad Alya, Fes 8/5/2018

20180510 view from cafe, Chefchaouen, Morocco (posca pen)
This is what happens when you completely lose concentration, view from a café, Chefchaouen, 10/5/2018

Art References

Delacroix (Eugène ) sketchbook, Moroccan journey
Eugène Delacroix, sketchbook, Moroccan journey, 1832

Delacroix (Eugène) sketchbook, Moroccan journey, 1832 (2)
Eugène Delacroix, sketchbook, Moroccan journey, 1832

Roberts (Tom) A Moorish Doorway 1883
Tom Roberts, A Moorish Doorway, 1883

Kandinsky (Vassily) Arab Cemetery (1909)
Vassily Kandinsky Arab Cemetery, 1909

Klee (Paul) View towards the Harbour at Hammamet 1914
Paul Klee View towards the Harbour at Hammamet, 1914

Klee (Paul) Hammamet with Mosque (1914)
Paul Klee Hammamet with Mosque, 1914

Matisse (Henri) Moroccan Landscape (Acanthus), 1911-13
Henri Matisse, Moroccan Landscape (Acanthus), 1911-13

Matisse (henri) Entrance to the Kasbah, 1912, Hermitage Museum
Henri Matisse, Entrance to the Kasbah, 1912

Matisse (Henri) Window at Tangier, 1911-12 Pushkin Museum Fine Art
Henri Matisse, Window at Tangier, 1911-12

Matisse (Henri) The Moroccans, 1915-16, Museum of Modern Art
Henri Matisse, The Moroccans, 1915-16

Whiteley (Brett) Tangier Postcard 1967 (2)
Brett Whiteley, Tangier Postcard, 1967

Other references

1DK Eyewitness Travel – Morocco, travel guidebook, 2017

2Lonely Planet – Morocco, travel guidebook, 2017

Art Travel Adventures – Morocco

Kandinsky and Klee in Tunisia (Speaker: Professor Roger Benjamin, Art History, University of Sydney), Site specific: the power of place lecture series AGNSW, Wednesday 2 August 2017

The Heidelberg School: Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder, Jane Sutherland, Frederick McCubbin (Speaker: Georgina Cole, Art History, National Art School), Site specific: the power of place lecture series AGNSW, Wednesday 9 August 2017

Art, Culture and Landscapes of Morocco (Speaker: Kenneth Park) AGNSW, Thursday 27 July 2017

How the Spirit of Morocco Seized Matisse, by Michael Kimmelman, NYT

Brett Whiteley Art and Life, Barry Pearce, Bryan Robertson, Wendy Whiteley, 1995

 

Greece and some ancient and modern art

Another journey back in time, triggered by a recent session at the AGNSW Ancient Greece: the invention of the classical orders sent me digging back into art books, classicism and Picasso, and notebooks of travel around Greece. Returning to books and travel notes to reimagine the experience and art discoveries, retracing the journey through web links to places, still providing inspiration decades down the track. The faded photographs of the experience (below) are hardly ‘picture postcards’ but do help conjure up memories of time and place. Some travel notes and quotes (from old guide books needless to say everything has changed since, including spelling of place names).

Greece bookended ten weeks travelling around Europe, my first trip overseas, four days at the start (March) and fifteen days at the end (May), packed in as much as possible. Descent into Athens across the unbelievably blue Mediterranean, islands scattered in the blue haze. General pandemonium on the bus into Athens at the first sight of the Acropolis. As the sun set behind the Acropolis, strolling around the night markets where nearly everyone had relations or knew someone from Sydney or Melbourne. Visit to the Museum, sculpture so lifelike it was easy to imagine the subjects still walking around the Plaka. An afternoon clamouring all over the Acropolis. Train to Patras along the edge of the magnificent blue sea, orange and lemon orchards, green, yellow, blue, red poppies everywhere, donkeys loaded with oranges meandering through the orchards. Evening in Patras, ‘gateway for sailing to and from Italy’. Train to Olympia, mud brick houses along the way, rain and muted colours, flowers everywhere white, yellow, blue, red, travelling back at sunset, goats, donkeys, geese, sheep being herded into pens for the night, back in time to catch the ship to Brindisi, Italy, night on deck under a full bright moon.

Returned in mid-May on a ship from Brindisi bound for Corfu in pouring rain and what felt like gale force wind. A wild night, the ship pitching violently, everyone sea sick, the place a wreck. We made it up to the top deck and stayed in the fresh air singing ‘the long and winding road’, it kept the sea sickness on hold. Disembarking in Corfu a relief for everyone. Corfu, in the Ionian Islands, ‘gateway to the Adriatic. According to Homer, the last staging point on the journey home to Ithaca of Ulysses’. Bussed over to the other side of the island to the village of Pelekas. Fully recovered, found the best restaurant with the usual grand finale, everyone smashing all the plates to show appreciation. Riding around the island on mopeds, swimming along the way, hills covered in red poppies, old stone mills. After a couple of days, caught a ship back to Patras and then a train, we thought was going to Athens but found out thirty minutes into the journey we were heading in the wrong direction. The guard stopped the train and flagged down a train going the other way, excellent service. Alighted at Corinth and met by the proverbial little old lady at the station who found our accommodation and a well received tip. Complex history (to say the least), the place knocked down and rebuilt so many times in the end ‘it is essentially a Roman city’. Spectacular rugged scenery, train to Mycenae, to the Lions Gate (built 1250 BC1), and the domed temple of Agamemnon. That night’s sleep enhanced by the sounds of donkey, goat, rooster, fighting cats, turkeys, and trucks. Bus to Epidavros, ‘sanctuary dedicated to the healer god Asklepios. Ancient theatre designed by Polyklitos with amazing acoustics and able to seat 14,000 spectators’. Train back to Athens to offload gear and then train to Pireaus, in 1920s style wooden railway carriage, to catch a boat to Santorini, which took sixteen hours instead of twelve. Arriving so late, after midnight, an argument broke out between the captain and the wharf manager, a small tug boat pulled alongside and we were loaded aboard and ferried across the sea under a clear sky and bright moon, magic. Arriving at the old port there was no transport, the four legged vehicles locked up for the night, so we had to walk up the long and winding road, but the view was incredible. Sleepless waiting for sunrise, at first light the view even more stunning, the long climb was more than worth it. In the ‘Agean Islands south of Athens, thought to be the site of the lost city of Atlantis, a volcanic island rising sheer out the deep surrounding sea. Former home of the Phoenicians, Dorians, Romans, and Byzantines, with relics also of Minoan civilization’. Caught bus to the black beach Perissa and stayed there for a few days. Perissa: rugged beauty, blue sea and sun, room opposite the beach, but then the next day a gale blowing dust, no rain, shredded washing. Only way out, flight to Athens, one hour, then train to Livadeia, snow covered mountains in the distance. Bus to Delphi, ‘the ancient sanctuary, centre of the world’ narrow winding mountain roads, walk to the temple of Apollo, the stadium, the theatre ‘3rd century BC able to seat 5,000 spectators’. On the way to Thiva, the bus dropped us at a cross road and we had to walk 3k into a small town along the dusty road as the sun set behind the mountains. Bus to Eretria, then the Greek Rivera, but at that time of year empty and silent. After a week of travelling, lack of activity was hard to take, so caught a bus back to Athens. Sat by the fence on the Acropolis near the theatre with a play in progress, dinner on a rooftop with a floor show, cafes and folk singers. Walking through the little winding streets around the Plaka, away from the shops and tourists, old houses, cats, wisteria, with views over the chaos. On our last day sitting up on the Acropolis, under a tree, the Parthenon in view and then final glimpse from the bus on the way to the airport. End of our odyssey and from then on hooked on art and travel.

Places
Athens
Patras
Olympia
Corfu
Corinth
Mycenae
Epidavros
Pireaus
Santorini
Livadeia
Delphi
Thiva
Eretria

Memories of Time and Place

800329 Athens Acropolis theatre
Athens, Acropolis theatre 29/3/1980

800329 Athens the Parthenon
Athens, the Parthenon 29/3/1980

800329 Athens the Plaka
Athens, the Plaka 29/3/1980

800331 Olympia
Olympia 31/3/1980

800517 Pelekas, Corfu
Pelekas, Corfu 17/5/1980

800518 Pelekas, Corfu
Pelekas, Corfu 18/5/1980

800520 Korinthos
Corinth 20/5/1980

 

800521 Epidavros 2
Epidavros 21/5/1980

800521 Epidavros
Epidavros 21/5/1980

800524 Santorini (postcard copy)
Long and winding road, Santorini, 23/5/1980 (postcard copy)

800524 Santorini
Santorini 24/5/1980

800524 Perissa 2
Perissa, Santorini 24/5/1980

800524 Perissa Beach Santorini
Late afternoon, local trash and treasure collector, Perissa, Santorini 24/5/1980

800524 Perissa
Perissa Beach, Santorini, 24/5/1980

800525 Delphi 2
Delphi 25/5/1980

800525 Delphi
Delphi 25/5/1980

800525 Delphi The Theatre
Delphi, The Theatre 25/5/1980

800530 leaving Athens
Leaving Athens 30/5/1980

Art References – a sample

Greek Cycladic vase in the form of a bear2500-2200 BC
Cycladic vase in the form of a bear 2500-2200 BC1

Greek Cycladic marble idol 2000 BC
Cycladic marble idol 2000 BC1

Greek Cretan Faience statuette of Snake Goddess Palce of Knossos c 1600BC
Faience statuette of Snake Goddess Palace of Knossos c 1600 BC1

Greek Mycenaean Ivory group two goddesses and divine child from acropolis of Mycenae 14 century BC
Ivory group two goddesses and divine child from Acropolis of Mycenae 14 century BC1

Greek Archaic period Ivory two girls about 630
Ivory two girls about 630 BC Archaic Period2

Greek Archaic Period Kouros from Attica about 600-590
Kouros from Attica about 600-590 BC Archaic Period2

Greek Archaic Period Kore from the Acropolis about 500
Kore from the Acropolis about 500 BC, Archaic Period2

Greek Archaic Kore (the Peplos kore) from the Acropolis about 530 archa0006
Kore (the Peplos kore) from the Acropolis about 530 BC, Archaic Period2

Greek Archaic Period East frieze of the Siphnian treasuryAre,Aphrodite,Artemis
East frieze of the Siphnian treasury Ares, Aphrodite, Artemis, Archaic Period2

Greek Classical Period Heracles, Atlas, Athena - Olympia Temple of Zeus0002
Heracles, Atlas, Athena – Olympia Temple of Zeus, Classical Period3

Greek Classical Period Charioteer from Delphi about 478
Charioteer from Delphi about 478 BC, Classical Period3

Greek A Goddess of Victory from the balustrade around the Temple of Victory, Athens, erected 408 BCE
A Goddess of Victory from the balustrade around the Temple of Victory, Athens, erected 408 BC

Greek Classical Period Gravestone of Hegeso from Athens about 400
Gravestone of Hegeso from Athens about 400 BC, Classical Period3

All the above sent me back to the books, Classicism in modern art and Picasso. A selection.

Picasso, Seated Woman, 1920 Musee Picasso Paris
Seated Woman, 1920

Picasso (Pablo ) Three Women at the Spring, 1921
Three Women at the Spring, 1921

Picasso (Pablo) Two Women Running on the Beach (The Race), 1922
Two Women Running on the Beach (The Race), 1922

Picasso (Pablo) The Pan Pipes, 1923
The Pan Pipes, 1923

Picasso Femme nue assise devant un rideau. [Nude woman sitting in front of a curtain.], Vollard Suite, 1931
Femme nue assise devant un rideau. [Nude woman sitting in front of a curtain.], Vollard Suite, 1931

Picasso Jeune sculpteur au travail. [Young sculptor at work.] Vollard Suite, 1933
Jeune sculpteur au travail. [Young sculptor at work.] Vollard Suite, 1933

 Picasso Flûtiste et jeune fille au tambourin. [Flute-player and young girl with tambourine.], 1934
Flûtiste et jeune fille au tambourin. [Flute-player and young girl with tambourine.], 1934

Other references

1 Minoan and Mycenaean Art, Reynold Higgins, revised edition 1981

2Greek Sculpture – The Archaic Period, John Boardman, 1978

3Greek Sculpture – The Classical Period, John Boardman, 1985

The Picasso Museum of Barcelona, Rosa Maria Subirana Torrent, 1975

Picasso, Hans L.C. Jaffé, 1980

Picasso, National Gallery of Victoria, 28 July – 23 September 1984, Catalogue

Picasso The Last Decades, Art Gallery of NSW, 9 November 2002 – 16 February 2003, Catalogue

Picasso, Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris, Art Gallery of NSW 12 November 2011 – 25 March 2012, Catalogue

Pablo Picasso, Artists of the 20th Century, Kultur DVD

Amsterdam and Flemish art flashback

Following a recent visit to the AGNSW exhibition Rembrandt and the Dutch golden age – masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum, the brilliance of Rembrandt, his contemporaries, and those that followed, sent me digging deep into the past, travel notebooks, back to a journey in Europe and five days in Amsterdam in 1983. At the time an escape from frenzied life drawing more like scribbling classes. Amsterdam an art feast, as always the best way to get acquainted with a city was to walk as much as possible and catch public transport. However, footloose wandering without a plan did lead down some surrealist streets, past suspect shopfronts presented an ideal opportunity for some life drawing (inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec and Otto Dix), but decided to move on in case I was charged with loitering with intent to draw, and glad to make it back to the Leidseplein before dark.

Back then, I had the audacity to take a photo of Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night Watch with an old film Kodak Instamatic camera, but well I was there and nothing was the same again as the saying goes. Thick texture, composition rather than side by side, back to front, so life like figures almost about to leap out of the frame, blazing with light, three dimensional.1 Unlike reproductions in books, that photo although faded (see below) always continues to resonate, evoking memories of the time and place when the photo was taken, so I tend to defend taking pictures of artworks provided it does not intrude on other peoples’ space in an exhibition or gallery2.

Another highlight was the exceptional collection at the Kröller-Müller Museum and the challenge of getting there by train, bus, and then a bike ride for a couple of kilometres in the De Hoge Veluwe National Park. “Established in 1934 a private collection gift to the State”3 The Museum represents a range of works from all periods from ancient Greece to modern art. It “has the second largest collection of Van Gogh’s works in the world, as well as modern masters including Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian. The sculpture garden now has more than 160 sculptures by prominent artists, from Auguste Rodin to Henry Moore, and from Jean Dubuffet to Joep van Lieshout” Art heaven for a few hours, first time I had seen works by among others Arp, Dubuffet, Maillol, Marini, Oldenburg, Snelson (see snaps below), Serra, di Suvero, Fontana. Going back through the collection on the website a continuing inspiration.

Locations, galleries, museums
Rijksmuseum
Van Gogh Museum
Leidseplein
Stedelijk Museum
Museum Fodor
Arts and Crafts Centre
Marken
Volendam
Kröller-Müller Museum

Sense of Place
So busy looking at art, forgot to take any other photos of places

830831 Amsterdam canal tour
Amsterdam from the ferry, canal tour 31/8/1983

830831 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 1
Reminder of a neighbour, outside Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 31/8/1983

830831 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 2
Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam 31/8/1983

830901 Marken
Day trip to Marken, 1/9/1983

Kroller-Muller Museum, Otterlo 2/9/1983

830902 Marta Pan, Floating sculpture, 1960-61 Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo
Marta Pan, Floating sculpture, 1960-61

830902 Dubuffet Jardin d'email Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo
Jean Dubuffet, Jardin d’émail, 1973-74

830902 Maillol Air Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo
Aristide Maillol, The Sky, design 1939, cast in 1962

830902 Marini Rider Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo
Marino Marini, Horse and Rider, 1951-55

830902 Oldenburg Trowel Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo
Claes Oldenburg, Trowel, 1971

830902 Snelson Needle Tower Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo

830902 Snelson Needle Tower Kroller-Muller Museum Otterlo 2
Kenneth Snelson, Needle Tower, 1968

Art References landscapes – Flemish origins
A selection from my art reference collection

Bosch (Hieronymus) The Hearing Forest and the Seeing Field (1470s) Staatliche Museen Berlin
Hieronymus Bosch The Hearing Forest and the Seeing Field, 1470s

Brueghel (Pieter) Winter the Dark Day 1565
Pieter Bruegel Winter the Dark Day, 1565

Reubens (Peter Paul) Philemon and Baucis 1620-25
Peter Paul Rubens Philemon and Baucis, 1620-25

Rembrandt van Rijn The Mill 1645-48 NGA Washington 3
Rembrandt van Rijn The Mill, 1645-48

van Ruisdael (Jacob) Waterfall & Hilly Wooded Landscape 1655
Jacob van Ruisdael, Waterfall & Hilly Wooded Landscape, 1655

Vermeer (Johannes ) View of Delft, 1660-61
Johannes Vermeer, View of Delft, 1660-61

Van Gogh (Vincent) Wheat_Field_with_Cypresses 1889
Vincent van Gogh, Wheat Field with Cypresses, 1889

Willem de Kooning. Door to the River, 1960.
Willem de Kooning, Door to the River, 1960

Appel (Karel) Horizon of Tuscany #36, 1995
Karel Appel, Horizon of Tuscany n° 036, 1995

Other references
1 Simon Schama, Power of Art, 2006 (book and DVD)

Simon Schama, Rembrandt’s Eyes, 1999

 2 Instagram is changing the way we experience art, and that’s a good thing, Adam Suess and Kylie Budge, The Conversation, 31 January 2018

3 Kröller-Müller Museum, catalogue, 1981

Intensely Dutch: image, abstraction and the word post-war and beyond, exhibition catalogue, AGNSW 5 June-23 August 2009

Blue Mountains National Park, NSW – landscape painting

January 2018, a short trip from Sydney, so familiar it’s too easy to take this national park for granted. Sublime, distant stillness, with the ever present edge of danger, fires in summer. Several days mainly revisiting old haunts and lookouts each morning and some sketching before the thunderstorms rolled in at four o’clock each afternoon. Working en plein air, spontaneous and free, but the painting is going backwards trying to bring it all together, in pursuit of that elusive one shot action painting.
This trip a reminder of previous bushwalks to the Wollangambe River, inflatable rafting through the gorges and ravines, falling over a large rapid or small waterfall (depending on the vantage point), saved from injury by my backpack. The adventures the perfect artistic inspirational experience, light filtered through waterfall spray in a ravine. Black and white photos taken by a friend, still in use for reference, capture the mood of the special places along the river (see below).

Locations
Katoomba
The Three Sisters
Echo Point
Wentworth Falls
Govetts Leap
Blackheath
Wollangambe River

Sense of Place

z20180125_180744 The Three Sisters (2)The Three Sisters, Jamison Valley 25/1/2018

z20180125_180750 Echo Point (2)Echo Point, Jamison Valley 25/1/2018

z20180125_181026 Echo Point (2)Echo Point, Jamison Valley 25/1/2018

z20180125_192510 So drinking not painting local critic Dellmere Cottage (2)So drinking not painting…local critic, Katoomba 25/1/2018

z20180127_115647 Govetts Leap (2)Govetts Leap, Grose Valley 27/1/2018

z20180127_120134 Govetts Leap (2)Govetts Leap, Grose Valley 27/1/2018

z20180127_154631 Outdoor studio (2)The outdoor studio, work in progress, before the storm, Katoomba 27/1/2018

Sketches in ink, gouache, and acrylics
trying out colour mixes

z20180127_154646 Work in progress In Dellmere Garden (2)Work in progress, Katoomba 27/1/2018

z20180127_163740 The Red Shed Dellmere Garden (2)Work in progress, The Red Shed (before the storm), Katoomba 27/1/2018

Earlier, working with grey scale values

2014 Wollangambe ravine
Wollangambe Ravine (acrylic, January 2014)

2014 Wollangambe Ravine (oil)
Wollangambe Ravine (oil, 2014)

Wollongambe River – previous photography trips

 

Art References

Martens (Conrad) Interior of the Burrangalong Cavern 1843 AGNSW
Conrad Martens, Stalagmites, Burragalong Cavern (1843)

von Guerard (Eugene), Weatherboard Creek Falls, Jamieson's Valley, New South Wales (1862) NGV
Eugene von Guerard, Weatherboard Creek Falls, Jamieson’s Valley, New South Wales (1862)

von Guerard (Eugene), Govett's Leap and Grose River Valley, Blue Mountains, New South Wales (1873) NGA
Eugene von Guerard, Govett’s Leap and Grose River Valley, Blue Mountains, New South Wales (1873)

Hern (Charles Edward), Govett's Gorge, looking towards the valley of the Grose, New South Wales, 1879
Charles Edward Hern, Govett’s Gorge, looking towards the valley of the Grose, New South Wales, 1879

Streeton (Aurther Fires On 1891 AGNSW
Arthur Streeton, Fires On, 1891

Malherbe (Robert) Govetts Leap, 2013
Robert Malherbe, Govetts Leap, 2013

Tran (Sokquon ) Wombeyan Caves 2013
Sokquon Tran, Wombeyan Caves (2013)

20180131_171043 (2)
Blake Raymond, Flight 24/7, ArtExpress 2018 AGNSW
‘Flight_24/7 explores the natural beauty of the Blue Mountains landscape and the threat of the proposed development of Badgerys Creek airport. Red flight paths pierce the landscape, symbolising their possible impact on this world heritage site.’

 

 

 

Tahiti, Samoa, and the Art of Polynesia

Tahiti
Best way to spend New Year? Escape to the South Pacific, with added bonus of crossing the international date line and celebrating twice. Back in 1994, flight across the South Seas, sometime into the flight it was back to yesterday and arrived in Papeete, Tahiti, still a French outpost, at five minutes to midnight new year’s eve. It was a while ago, but recently reading about Oceanic Art brought back the memories and visual images so went on a photo and travel notebook hunt. Some recollections. The first two days were fine, allowing time to get a bit acquainted with paradise, walking, and a circle island tour. Then it started raining. It kept raining, torrential rain, for the next three days. Cyclone in the Austral Islands to the south of Tahiti. On an eight day trip, I was losing hope. I could have read novels at home. Dashing about in the deluge to get food, les roulettes (the food trailers), the cafes la Retro, Acajou, the Moulin Rouge, the Piano Bar, I could have been in Montmartre. Then the rain stopped. The colours emerged. Day trip across the Sea of the Moon by catamaran to Mo’orea. Tour of the island to Belvedere (the lookout), picture postcard view over Cooks Bay, Opunohu Bay, and Mount Rotui. Marae Titiroa, pearls, Tiki Village, the locals preparing for the evening show. An entertaining French speaking guide who kept referring to guidebooks to converse in several languages Japanese, German, English. I asked about the meaning of the tattoo around his right angle. He explained that traditionally tattoos in Polynesia reflected one’s social standing, and in his case? ‘Administrative assistant’. Later, bus trip up to Mount Maran to Viamahuta Cascade.

Samoa
Still enraptured with the South Pacific, late Christmas eve 1996 flew to Samoa. Arrived in the capital Apia, on the main island Upolu, on Christmas Day. Only problem, everything was closed except for the churches in full song ‘Go tell it on the mountain’ resonating near and far. A completely different experience to Tahiti. Back then Samoa was (and hopefully still is) the most traditionally Polynesian country, most of the islands owned communally1. Some recollections of time and place. The fales (homes) open plan living at its extreme, no walls and few possessions, large extended family gatherings, cooking on umus (earth ovens), graves of old chiefs out front next to the cricket pitch. Waking each morning to the sounds of snorting omnivorous ungulates and crowing roosters. Tour of the southeast and across Upolu to the north coast, Papapapaitai Falls, Mafa Pass, Fuipisia Falls, Latofoga Beach, Togitagiga Falls, next to the O Le Pupu-Pué National Park. Flying over the Pacific was reason enough for the visit. On the way back flying into the Kingdom of Tonga, the Pacific dead calm and crystal clear, it was like flying over land, the sea bed with hills, ridges, valleys, reefs in stunning colours.

Art References
Gauguin’s art is widely considered one of the foundations of modern art, he stepped away from observation of the real world (the impressionists and post-impressionists) towards symbolism,2 the breakthrough painting Vision After the Sermon (Jacob wrestling with the angel) (1888), scattered borrowings from East and West artistic traditions. After this painting he abandoned representation, use of colour and ideas dominated his technique, ideas and symbolism from form and subject, dreams and imaginary situations.3 Although he was of his time, an idealist colonial in search of a simple lifestyle, ‘less drawn to Polynesian art, than to their religion and what remained of their lifestyle’2 but, and like other later artists (Ernst, Lipchitz, Epstein, Hess, etc. drawn to the conceptual nature of traditional art forms), could be accused of cultural appropriation4. However for most artists its standard practice to get inspiration from anywhere and from everything, hence the disputed Picasso quote “Bad artists copy. Great artists steal”. Another apt Picasso quote “When I don’t have red, I use blue”. Despite his dubious reasons for being there, Gauguin’s Tahiti paintings are captivating, his use of bright complementary colours a passport to the South Seas.

Locations
Tahiti
Papeete
Venus Point
Blow Hole Arahono
Gauguin Museum
Maraa Caves
Mo’orea
Mt Maran

Samoa
Apia
Sinalei (rebuilt after the 2009 tsunami
Coconuts Beach (rebuilt after the 2009 tsunami)

Sense of Place
Tahiti
z950106 Papeete 1 (2)
Papeete 6/1/1995

z950106 Moorea Sea of the Moon 23 (2)
Mo’orea, across the Sea of the Moon 6/1/1995

z950106 Moorea 32 (2)
Mo’orea 6/1/1995

z950106 Moorea 20 Beachcomber (2)
Mo’orea 6/1/1995

z950106 Moorea 27 Tiki Village (2)
Mo’orea, Tiki Village 6/1/1995

z950106 Moorea 26 Tiki Village (2)
Mo’orea, Tiki Village 6/1/1995

z950107 Viamahuta Cascade Tahiti 7 (2)
Viamahuta Cascade, Tahiti, 7/1/1995

Samoa

z961225 Apia 5 (2)
Apia, Samoa 25/12/1996

z961226 Sinelei Resort 11 (2)
Sinalei Beach, Samoa 26/12/1996

z961228 Coconuts Beach 3 (2)
Coconuts Beach, Samoa 28/12/1996

z961229 Latofoga Beach Samoa
Latofoga Beach, Samoa 29/12/1996

z961229 Along the Coast Samoa Tour 5 (2)
Along the coast, Samoa 29/12/1996

z961229 Samoa Tour 16 (2)
‘Treasure Island’, Samoa 29/12/1996

z961229 Togitagigi Falls Samoa Tour 12 (2)
Togitagiga Falls, Samoa 29/12/1996

Art References

Web
Heva Mourning Dress, Society Islands, Australian Museum

Web
Ahu-parau – Pearl-cloth ornament, Society Islands, Australian Museum

Polynesian Hawaiian feather cloak Australian Museum
Hawaiian feather cloak, Australian Museum

Polynesian Bird-Man Relief, Easter Island, British Museum
Bird-Man Relief, Easter Island, British Museum

Polynesian Marquesas Islander with full body tattooing, drawing 1804

A Marquesas Islander with full body tattooing, drawing 1804, published in Captain A J von Krusenstern, Voyage around the world, London 1913

Polynesian Bird-Man figure, Easter Island, American Museum of National History
Bird-Man figure, Easter Island, American Museum of National History

Polynesian Soul-catcher, Pukapuka, Cook Islands, 1876, British Museum
Soul-catcher, Pukapuka, Cook Islands, 1876, British Museum

Polynesian Staff God Mauke, Cook Islands, Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Staff God Mauke, Cook Islands, Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Polynesian Figure, Tahiti, Society Islands, British Museum
Figure, Tahiti, Society Islands, British Museum

Polynesian Tiki, neck ornament, Maori New Zealand, British Museum
Tiki, neck ornament, Maori New Zealand, British Museum

Gauguin

Gauguin (Paul) Tahitian Landscape 1891
Tahitian Landscape, 1891, Minneapolis Institute of Art

Gauguin (Paul) Rue de Tahiti, 1891, Toledo Museum of Art, Oh
Rue de Tahiti, 1891, Toledo Museum of Art

Gauguin (Paul) Te Burao, 1888, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Te Burao (The Hibiscus Tree), 1892, Art Institute of Chicago

Gauguin (Paul) Parahi te maras, 1892
The Sacred Mountain (Parahi Te Marae), 1892, Museum of Art, Philadelphia

Gauguin (Paul) Mahana maa I Food Day I, 1892, Cincinnati Art Museum
Mahana ma’a, 1892, Cincinnati Art Museum

Gauguin (Paul) Matamoe (Landscape with peacocks), 1892, Pushkin Museum, Moscow
Matamoe (Landscape with peacocks), 1892, Pushkin Museum, Moscow

Modern Art references2

Ernst (Max) Inside the Sight The Egg 1929 Pompidou Centre
Max Ernst, Inside the Sight: The Egg, 1929, Musee National d’Art Moderne, Pompidou

Ernst (Max) Max Ernst, La Belle Jardinière, 1923
Max Ernst, La Belle Jardinière, 1923

Ernst (Max), After Us Motherhood, 1927
Max Ernst, After Us Motherhood, 1927

Hesse (Eva), One More than One, 1967
Eva Hesse, One More than One, 1967

Lipchitz (Jacques), Figure 1926-30, MoMA
Jacques Lipchitz, Figure, 1926-30, MoMA

Epstein (Jacob), Female Figure, 1913, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Jacob Epstein, Female Figure, 1913, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Gaudier-Brzeska (Henri), Doorknocker, 1914
Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Doorknocker, 1914

Other references

1 South Pacific Handbook, David Stanley, 5th edition 1993

2 Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art, Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern, MoMA, 1984

3 The Post Impressionists, Gauguin, Kultur DVD

4 Art History 101: Why Primitivism was Cultural Appropriation, Ellen Oredsson, 26 October 2016

The Art of Africa, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Fall 1981

Symbolism, José Pierre, 1979

Gauguin, Robert Goldwater, 2004

Masterpieces from Paris – Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and Beyond, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Australia, 2009