China Revisited – Art and Travel

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China Revisited – Art and Travel

On new site: JTArtRave2

JTArtRave2 is volume 2 of the continuing saga, a journal about art expeditions, travel, field trips, exhibitions, art lectures, seminars and symposia, and art practice.

19930913 Li River, Guilin19930917 West Lake Hangzhou19930922 Huangshan 119930924 Tunxi central China

 

 

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London – Art and Travel

Another foray into the deep past, travel journals, photos, related art experiences, always worth returning to the past to reignite the inspiration of first encounters, although in this case scant and meagre notes about this short sojourn, but the impact of such a short time not to be underestimated. Flight from New York to London late August 1983, flight delayed in Ireland, fog, but worth the wait to see the emerald isle up close, dazzling green from the air. London, art and theatre for six packed days, so packed very little writing about the experience or photographs, rather a list of places, galleries and museums. After travelling for a few weeks in the US, it was a culture shock, from the shock of the new to the shock of the old country, it took a couple of days to culturally acclimatise.
First stop Bloomsbury, in the West End, secured accommodated near the British Museum, then to New York Ballet that night. Next day morning bus tour of the city to get acquainted with the layout, then onto the National Gallery via Royal Academy of Arts. That night theatre at the Barbican Centre to see Much Ado About Nothing, Royal Shakespeare Company, including Derek Jacobi and Emma Thompson, so good, laughed and cried through the whole performance. Next day boat trip down the Thames to Hampton Court, that night opera Don Giovanni. Next day Tate Gallery, the memory of walking into the Turner Room still resonates, I was the only one in the room, stunned, after seeing so many reproductions in books to see the originals, a whole new level of experience and art appreciation. Then onto St Paul’s Cathedral, and a walk down Fleet Street. That night theatre Shakespeare again, Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, open air in Regent’s Park. Next day walk down Oxford Street and Kings Road then onto Portobello Markets. Theatre that night Glenda Jackson in Great and Small, sublime acting. Next day the Courtauld Collection, then onto the British Museum. Next day Serpentine Pavilion, and sculpture in Hyde Park, back to the National Gallery, and onto The Mall and Buckingham Palace. A packed week but lasting memories of the art and theatre, nothing compares to seeing original works. Next day flew to Amsterdam overloaded with enough art references to last down through the decades.
Places
London
Royal Academy of Arts
National Gallery
Hampton Court
Tate Gallery
St Paul’s Cathedral
Portobello Markets
Courtauld Collection
British Museum
Serpentine Pavilion

830825 Hampton Court 25.8.1983
Hampton Court, 25/8/1983

830826 Fleet Street London
Fleet Street, London, 26/8/1983
830826 St Pauls London
St Paul’s, London, 26/8/1983

830828 British Museum London
British Museum, London, 28/8/1983

830829 London
London, 29/8/1983

Art References
Turner
Nothing quite prepares you for walking into a room full of some of Turner’s masterpieces at the Tate, immediately hit by colour and light, the technical perfection, the inventiveness. Turner a gifted painter was in the right place at the right time when he entered the Royal Academy at the age of 24, on the career ladder that would take him to the top of the profession. With elevated effects to capture the raw power of nature, he was committed to raising the status of landscape painting. He had a lifelong involvement with the sea, and painted that sheer sublime power, and represented the fragility of human life. As his work progressed, intensification of colour, less and less detail, basically abstract painting, spatial ambiguity, more and more fascinated with light, disposed with shadows, but still naturalistic.1 Always experimental, used watercolour for its immediacy, especially when travelling. Viewed the landscape painter as an explorer, initially idealised landscapes based on the old masters, a voracious sketcher. Intense luminosity, development of atmospherics. Interiors at Petworth form dissolved almost completely, and light the main focus, power of light dissolving form to produce pure colour. Later used symbolic colour.2 Turner made several trips Italy, including Venice first trip in 1819, second in 1833, the works pure dissolving light.
Turner, Fishermen at Sea, 1796
Turner, Fishermen at Sea, 1796

Turner, The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons, 1810
Turner, The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons, 1810
Turner, Venice San Giorgio Maggiore Early Morning, 1819
Turner, Venice: San Giorgio Maggiore – Early Morning, 1819

Turner, The Long Cellar at Petworth, c.1835
Turner, The Long Cellar at Petworth, c.1835

Turner, Stormy Sea with Dolphins, 1835-40
Turner, Stormy Sea with Dolphins, 1835-40

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

Turner, Peace Burial at Sea, 1842
Turner, Peace Burial at Sea, 1842

Turner, Snow Storm Steam Boat off Harbour_s Mouth, 1842
Turner, Snow Storm Steam Boat off Harbour’s Mouth, 1842

British art – a selection
Narrative tradition has defined British art.3 A diverse range and yet a certain cultural connectivity.

William Hogarth, Marriage a la Mode 5. The Bagnio, 1745
William Hogarth, Marriage a la Mode 5. The Bagnio, 1745

Thomas Gainsborough, Charity Relieving Distress, 1784
Thomas Gainsborough, Charity Relieving Distress, 1784

Alexander Cozens, Landscape, 1785-86
Alexander Cozens, Landscape, 1785-86

John Cozens, A Cavern in the Campagna, 1786
John Cozens, A Cavern in the Campagna, 1786

Thomas Gainsborough, The Market Cart, 1786-7
Thomas Gainsborough, The Market Cart, 1786-7

Philip James De Loutherbourg, An Avalanche in the Alps, 1803
Philip James De Loutherbourg, An Avalanche in the Alps, 1803

John Constable, The White Horse oil sketch, 1818-1819
John Constable, The White Horse oil sketch, 1818-1819

William Blake, Beatrice Addressing Dante from the Car, 1824–7
William Blake, Beatrice Addressing Dante from the Car, 1824–7

John Everett Millais, Waterfall at Glenfinlas, 1853
John Everett Millais, Waterfall at Glenfinlas, 1853

James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne Blue and Silver-Chelsea, 1871
James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Nocturne: Blue and Silver – Chelsea, 1871

Edward Burne-Jones, King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid, 1884
Edward Burne-Jones, King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid, 1884

David Bomberg, The Mud Bath, 1914
David Bomberg, The Mud Bath, 1914

Stanley Spencer, Swan Upping at Cookham, 1915–19
Stanley Spencer, Swan Upping at Cookham, 1915–19

Ben Nicholson, 1934 (relief), 1934
Ben Nicholson, 1934 (relief), 1934

Henry Moore, Four-Piece Composition-Reclining Figure, 1934
Henry Moore, Four-Piece Composition: Reclining Figure, 1934

Francis Bacon, Figure in a Landscape, 1945
Francis Bacon, Figure in a Landscape, 1945

Frank Auerbach, Shell Building Site, 1959
Frank Auerbach, Shell Building Site, 1959

Leon Kossoff, City Building Site, 1961
Leon Kossoff, City Building Site, 1961

Anthony Caro, Early One Morning, 1962
Anthony Caro, Early One Morning, 1962

Anish Kapoor, As if to Celebrate, I Discovered a Mountain Blooming with Red Flowers, 1981
Anish Kapoor, As if to Celebrate, I Discovered a Mountain Blooming with Red Flowers, 1981

David Hockney, Pearblossom Highway, 1986
David Hockney, Pearblossom Highway, 1986

David Hockney, Garrowby Hill, 1998
David Hockney, Garrowby Hill, 1998

Lucian Freud, Standing by the Rags, 1988–9
Lucian Freud, Standing by the Rags, 1988–9

John Virtue, landscape No 647, 2002
John Virtue, landscape No 647, 2002

Grayson Perry, Our Mother, 2009
Grayson Perry, Our Mother, 2009

Grayson Perry, The Vanity of Small Differences, 2012
Grayson Perry, The Vanity of Small Differences, 2012 series of six tapestries inspired by William Hogarth’s moral tale A Rake’s Progress, with emphasis on the perils of the British class system.4

Other references
1 Turner at the Tate, Artsworld and Illuminations media DVD 200

2.Turner, The English Masters Series, Kultur DVD 2006

Turner, Michael Lloyd, National Gallery of Australia, 1996

Turner from the Tate, National Gallery of Australia exhibition 2013

The Tate Gallery, an illustrated companion to the National Collections of British & Modern Foreign Art, 1981

The National Gallery, London, Michael Wilson, 1978

Henry Moore, 60 Years of His Art, William s. Lieberman, 1983

John Virtue London Paintings, National Gallery London, 2005

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

Site specific: the power of place AGNSW lecture series 2017
JMW Turner and the Sea (Speaker: Jane Messenger)
David Hockney: a bigger splash in California (Speaker: Steven Miller, curator, AGNSW)Sir John Everett Millais – the Allure of Scotland (Speaker: Dr Alison Inglis, Professor of Art History, University of Melbourne)
Constable: Flatford Mill and the River Stour (Speaker: Lorraine Kypiotis)

The Hidden Language of Art: Symbol and Illusion AGNSW lecture series 2018
3Victorian painting: uncovering forgotten narratives (Speaker: Dr Alison Inglis, Department Art History, University of Melbourne
4Grayson Perry: truths and beliefs (Speaker: Rachel Kent, Chief Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney)
Desire, Devotion, Longing: Symbols of Love 1700-1900 (Speaker: Dr Angela Hesson, National Gallery of Victoria
Blindness in the Enlightenment (Speaker: Dr Georgina Cole, Art History and Theory, National Art School
Modern morality in Hogarth and Gainsborough (Speaker: Dr Georgina Cole, Art History and Theory, National Art School)

Robert Hughes, Nothing if Not Critical, 1990

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

Simon Schama, Hang-Ups, 2004

The Great Artists – The English Masters (DVD)

Anish Kapoor, Illuminations, 2002 (DVD)

Grayson Perry and the Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, BBC (DVD)

David Hockney and Martin Gayford, A History of Pictures, 2016

 

 

San Francisco and New York – art and travel

A recent exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia American Masters 1940–1980, and the related Symposium: Minimalist/Maximalist refocussed attention on the incredible foresight of the Gallery’s directors and curators back in the 1970s to start acquiring the best of American modern art. The purchase of arguably the masterpiece of Pollock’s oeuvre, Blue Poles, in 1973 caused a major national debate over the price (in retrospect an absolute bargain), suddenly everyone had an opinion on art. Just as much was later paid for de Kooning’s Woman V and Rothko’s 1957 # 20 but nobody noticed, probably because Pollock had that legendary intensity and energy, a rule breaking original. It was when art first hit the front pages and featured on radio and TV in Australia. Art was what everyone was talking about in 1973. Since then, the founding director’s connoisseurship has been vindicated, the NGA now has a world class collection of post-war American art. Like most Australians who were around at the time, the purchase of Blue Poles, had a big impact, piqued my interest in art and associated travel, and since then art addiction. As always the best way to get a heightened appreciation of an artist is to go to the source, the environment where the work was created, so back in 1983 I set off for New York, via San Francisco and Seattle. Some recollections of the experience from notebooks and photographs, another one for the archive.
Arrived San Francisco at the start August 1983 and stayed for a week. Drove up the west coast to Seattle, stayed a couple of days and then flew to New York stayed for ten days.
Arrived San Francisco late evening and walked around in the famous evening fog to find dinner in Chinatown. Next day walked to Polk Street, Van Ness, Union Street to Fisherman’s Wharf, then back to Fillmore Street. Spent the night out at the comedians’ clubhouse Holy City Zoo, a good start to the journey. Next day walked to City Lights Bookstore, and of course had to buy a book a poetry Ginsberg’s Reality Sandwiches (1963), the head poet of the beat generation, an excellent read for the duration of the journey, then onto Little Italy, Washington Square, Grant Street Galleries and a trolley back to Fillmore. Theatre that night Carol Channing in her famous role in Hello Dolly, a star entertainer, held the audience captivated for the whole show, even broke mid-song to deliver a speech on looking after young people. Next day trolley to the Golden Gate Bridge, then onto the Japanese Gardens, De Young Museum, then down to the beach Seal Rocks and Cliff House. Caught the trolley back to the Museum of Modern Art and spent the afternoon immersed in the collection. Next day ferry to Larkspur then back to Castro Street. Next day bus to Sausalito walk around the galleries and marina. Ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf, impressed with the buskers everywhere we went. Bus to Haight Street and historical society tour. Next day accidental encounter with Hawaiian hula in Market Street, then walk around Nob Hill, and bus to Sacramento Street with its iconic Victorian houses. That evening out to Kimbells for some Charlie Byrd music. Next day on the road to Seattle, through the redwoods Avenue of the Giants, stopped overnight at Eureka. Next day spectacular driving through Redwoods National Park, Oregon and then into Washington State. Stayed in Seattle for two nights with some time to explore downtown, in pouring rain, the markets, the original skid row, Japanese art exhibition, laser show and Imex film at the Science Centre (cutting edge technology back then). Early morning flight to New York, incredible view of the Rockies and Mount St Helens.
Arrived New York early evening, set out walking, 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Centre in preparation for the next ten days which were packed with visits to galleries, theatre, and Broadway shows, took it in turns each afternoon to line up for half price tickets for a show that evening. First day walked to Central Park, then to the Museum of Modern Art for the morning, then onto The Frick Collection for the afternoon, followed by walk to Washington Square. Next day subway to Columbus Square, the Whitney Museum of American Art, then spent the afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Next day walking, to Park Avenue, Bloomingdales, Greenwich Village, theatre that night, Broadway show Nine. Next day ferry to the Statue of Liberty and the Museum of Immigration, then back and walk along Wall Street, spent the afternoon at the Guggenheim Museum, that night outdoor theatre Non Pasquale in Central Park. Next day Macys, United Nations, that night’s Broadway show My One and Only. Next day to the Cloisters and the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries and medieval wooden sculptures, that night’s Broadway show Cats. Heatwave conditions the next day so most of the day spent in cafes. The next couple of days roaming mainly around the city, two more shows Little Shop of Horrors (off Broadway) and A Chorus Line. Next day back to Metropolitan Museum of Art. Last day Greenwich Village and SoHo before flight to London late evening. After such an intense couple of weeks, to say the least, returned with a deeper appreciation of the New York School artists, the immense energy and talent in the theatre, art, and culture.

Places

San Francisco
De Young Museum
Museum of Modern Art

Seattle

New York
Museum of Modern Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Frick Collection
Whitney Museum of American Art
Guggenheim Museum
Cloisters

19830802 San Fancisco 1
di Suvero in a park, San Francisco 2/8/1983

19830802 San Fancisco 2
Cityscape, San Francisco, 2/8/1983

19830802 San Fancisco 3 Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, 2/8/1983

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 3/8/1983

19830804 San Fancisco 7 Museum of Modern Art

19830804 San Fancisco 6 Museum of Modern Art

19830803 San Fancisco 5 Museum of Modern Art

19830804 San Fancisco 8 Museum of Modern Art

19830806 San Fancisco 9 Haight-Ashbury
Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco 6/8/1983

19830807 San Fancisco 10 Hula in the square
Hula in the square, San Francisco 7/8/1983

19830808 San Fancisco across the Golden Gate heading north
Across the Golden Gate heading north, San Francisco 8/8/1983

19830808 Valley of the Giants Northern California
Avenue of the Giants, Northern California 8/8/1983

19830812 New York 1 Times Square
Times Square, New York 12/8/1983
19830812 New York 2 Empire State Building from Greenwich Villia
Empire State Building, in the distance, from Greenwich Village, New York 12/8/1983

19830814 New York 4 Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 14/8/1983

19830814 New York 4 Metropolitan Museum of Art 2
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 14/8/1983

19830816 New York 8
On the ferry, New York 16/8/1983
19830817 New York 9 United Nations
United Nations, New York 17/8/1983
19830817 New York 7 42nd Street Crysler Building background
42nd Street Chrysler Building background, New York, 17/8/1983

Cloisters, New York 18/8/1983

19830818 New York 10 Cloisters

19830818 New York 12 Cloisters

19830818 New York 11 Cloisters0002

19830818 New York 13 Cloisters

Art References
San Francisco
Museum of Modern Art

SFMoA Rufino Tamayo, The Lovers 1943
Rufino Tamayo, The Lovers, 1943

SFMoA Jose Clemente Orozco, Sleeping 1930
Jose Clemente Orozco, Sleeping, 1930

New York
Museum of Modern Art

MOMA Paul Cezanne, Pines and Rocks, 1886-1899
Paul Cezanne, Pines and Rocks, 1886-1899

19830812 New York 3 MoMA Derain Bathers 1907
André Derain, Bathers, 1907

MOMA Henri Matisse, Dance (I), 1909
Henri Matisse, Dance (I), 1909

MOMA Henri Matisse, The Piano Lesson, 1916
Henri Matisse, The Piano Lesson, 1916

MOMA Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907
Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907

MOMA Marc Chagall, I and the Village, 1911
Marc Chagall, I and the Village, 1911

MOMA Chaim Soutine, The Old Mill, c1922-23
Chaim Soutine, The Old Mill, c1922-23

MOMA Max Beckman, Departure, 1932
Max Beckman, Departure, 1932

MOMA Jackson Pollock, The She-Wolf, 1943
Jackson Pollock, The She-Wolf, 1943

MOMA Arshile Gorky, Agony, 1947
Arshile Gorky, Agony, 1947

MOMA Franz Kline, Painting Number 2, 1954
Franz Kline, Painting Number 2, 1954

MOMA Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic, 108, 1965-67
Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic, 108, 1965-67

Guggenheim
Guggenheim Vasily Kandinsky Study for Composition II 1909-10
Vasily Kandinsky, Study for Composition II, 1909-10

Guggenheim František Kupka, Planes of Colors Large Nude, 1909
František Kupka, Planes of Colors Large Nude, 1909

Guggenheim Albert Gleizes, Brooklyn Bridge, 1915
Albert Gleizes, Brooklyn Bridge, 1915

Guggenheim Mikhail Larionov, Glass, 1912
Mikhail Larionov, Glass, 1912

Guggenheim Robert Rauschenberg, Red Painting, 1955
Robert Rauschenberg, Red Painting, 1955

Guggenheim Sam Francis, Shining Black, 1958
Sam Francis, Shining Black, 1958

Guggenheim Asger Jorn, Green Ballet, 1960
Asger Jorn, Green Ballet, 1960

Guggenheim Hans Hofmann, The Gate, 1959-60
Hans Hofmann, The Gate, 1959-60

19830815 New York 6 Guggenheim Enzo Cucchi The Mad Painter 1981
Enzo Cucchi, The Mad Painter, 1981

The Frick Collection

Frick NY Francisco de Goya The Forge
Francisco de Goya, The Forge, c 1815–20

Frick El Greco, Purification of the Temple, c1600
El Greco, Purification of the Temple, c1600

Whitney Museum of American Art

Whitney NY Max Weber Chinese Restaurant 1915
Max Weber, Chinese Restaurant, 1915

Whitney Arshile Gorky, Nighttime, Enigma and Nostalgia, c. 1931-32
Arshile Gorky, Nighttime, Enigma and Nostalgia, c. 1931-32

Whitney Ad Reinhardt, Untitled, 1947
Ad Reinhardt, Untitled, 1947

Whitney Louise Nevelson, Untitled, 1972
Louise Nevelson, Untitled, 1972

Metropolitan Museum of Art

MET Willem de Kooning, Attic, 1949
Willem de Kooning, Attic, 1949

Other references
American Masters, Exhibition Catalogue, National Gallery of Australia, 2018

The Guggenheim Museum Collection 1900-1980 Handbook

An Invitation to See 125 Paintings from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1973

The Frick Collection, Handbook of Paintings, 1978

Drawing Acquisitions 1978-1981 Whitney Museum of American Art, Paul Cummings 1981

Painters Painting – 1973 documentary directed by Emile de Antonio

Jackson Pollock documentary

Pablo Picasso Complete Documentary – The Art Story (2014)

Robert Motherwell and the New York School Storming the Citadel 1991 documentary

From the archives: Artist Richard Diebenkorn, CBS News

Robert Hughes, Shock of the New, 1980 documentary series, 8 episodes

Robert Hughes, Nothing If Not Critical, 1990

Allen Ginsberg, Reality Sandwiches, 1963

Kenneth Patchen, Poems of Humor & Protest, 1949-54

 

 

 

 

 

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

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