Posts Tagged ‘modern art’

Collection Mystery Drawing…Who is the Artist?

 
WAM Collection mystery drawing...who is the artist?

WAM Collection mystery drawing...who is the artist?

Stieg Larsson’s investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist definitely has talents I don’t possess.  For the last two weeks I have been trying intermittently to determine who drew this portrait.  It came to us as part of the Etta and Claribel Cone collection in 1950 and has been attributed to Mersyes based on the inscription. Unfortunately no such artist exists. Is the inscription a signature or a title? The drawing is in the style of Jacques Villon, whose work the Cones collected and the Weatherspoon owns, but he typically signed his work. Likewise the inscription is not in the style of Jean Metzinger, a fellow cubist. The drawing is adhered to a mat that has the words “Safsa (Trinini)” inscribed on it (by whom?) as well as the date 1926. The face looks Algerian or Moroccan and I’ve learned that there is a place in Algeria called Safsaf, but what does Trinini mean? The only other clue is the word Tefúgahe (?) inscribed in pencil on the drawing’s upper right corner. I’m not giving up yet, but I hope some Lisbeth Salander will read this post and provide some much needed help.

UPDATE:

Mystery Solved!!

This was a good week for art sleuths out there, and thus for WAM.  While visiting the Museum for another project, paper conservator Jane Sugarman looked at the mystery drawing and figured out that the inscription did not read “Trinini,” but rather the country Tunisia. From that, I was able to decipher part of the upper right inscription to read “Gafsa.”  The town of Gafsa, also spelled Qafsah, has been around since Roman times when it was known as Capsa.

The next day, I got a post from the Ackland Art Museum’s Chief Curator, Peter Nisbet, who identified the signature as “Medgyes.” Better known as a furniture and stage designer than as an artist, Ladislas Medgyes was born in Hungary but worked in New York from the 1920s until his death sometime in the late 1940s.

Many, many thanks to both Jane and Peter for helping identify this wonderful drawing and for confirming that a career in the visual arts is never dull.

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Artist Helen Frankenthaler

 
Artist Helen Frankenthaler

"Snow Pines" by Helen Frankenthaler, from the Weatherspoon's collection; the artist at work in her studio.

During the bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to lose track of important news events. The death of pioneering post-World War II artist, Helen Frankenthaler on December 27 may have been such an event, but her achievements deserve to be acknowledged.

Beginning in 1952 Frankenthaler took abstract art in a new direction by pouring thinned paint directly onto unprimed canvases.  Applauded for its lyricism and luminous color, Frankenthaler’s work not only gave rise to the Color Field movement, but also has remained vital throughout the years.

Frankenthaler was equally talented as a printmaker, and the Weatherspoon is privileged to own a 34-color Ukiyo-e style woodcut entitled Snow Pines, 2004.  The art world definitely has lost a significant talent.

Image:  Helen Frankenthaler, Snow Pines, 2004, 34-color Ukiyo-e style woodcut, Ed. 6 out of 65, 37 1/2 x 26 in. Museum purchase with funds from the Weatherspoon Art Museum Acquisition Endowment, the Louise D. and Herbert S. Falk Acquisition Endowment, the Lynn Richardson Prickett Acquisition Endowment, the Weatherspoon Guild Acquisition Endowment, and a bequest by Hubert Humphrey, 2011.

Read about this new WAM acquisition in our Winter newsletter on page 9 here.

Wikipedia article about Frankenthaler.

More photos of Helen and her work on the blog Habitually Chic.

And more on the site TheArtStory.org.

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The 70th Anniversary Book Wins Two Awards this Fall!

 
The exhibition, Weatherspoon Art Museum: 70 Years of Collecting was a great success and now its companion publication received two awards this Fall

The exhibition, Weatherspoon Art Museum: 70 Years of Collecting was a great success and now its companion publication received two awards this Fall

The exhibition, Weatherspoon Art Museum: 70 Years of Collecting was a great success in 2011, and now its companion publication has received two design awards this Fall: “Outstanding Exhibition and Catalogue of Historical Materials” from the Southeastern College Art Conference and “2011 Silver Award for Outstanding Design” from the Southeastern Museums Conference.

The Weatherspoon published the catalog early in 2011.  Weatherspoon Art Museum: 70 Years of Collecting included a history of the Museum and full-color reproductions and entries on each of the 100 featured works.  The entries are written by the art history faculty in the UNCG Department of Art, and the Museum’s director and curators: K. Porter Aichele, George Dimock, Nancy M. Doll, Xandra Eden, Richard Gantt, Carl Goldstein, Ann Grimaldi, Elaine D. Gustafson, Heather Holian, Elizabeth Perrill, and Will South.

The objects included in the book represent each decade from the turn of the twentieth century to the first decade of this century. Among those showcased are works by Henri Matisse, David Smith, Willem de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Eva Hesse, Robert Rauschenberg, and Elizabeth Murray.  Although the majority of the artists represented in the Weatherspoon’s collection are recognized for their long, successful careers, the inclusion of a few younger artists demonstrates the museum’s commitment to “promising new voices.”  The first significant publication to focus on the Weatherpoon’s collections70 Years of Collecting guarantees to be an informative and enjoyable read.

In 1941 Gregory D. Ivy, an artist, teacher, and the first head of the art department at Woman’s College, founded the Weatherspoon Art Gallery. Ivy was motivated by his belief that students should have firsthand experience of the art of their time. During the seven decades following his astute vision, the Weatherspoon has evolved from a small teaching gallery to a fully accredited museum with a national reputation that still places education at the heart of its mission.

Ivy also felt the gallery would benefit the community, and he needed its support. This award-winning handbook, 70 Years of Collecting, begins with a history woven from a collection of stories about the museum’s growth.  Over the years, the Weatherspoon has been the most fortunate recipient of remarkable support, both moral and financial, from the university and the greater Greensboro community. It also has benefitted from a host of dedicated employees and key events that have shaped it into a modern and contemporary art museum with a significant collection.  Visit the 70 Years special exhibition website for a sampling of the works featured in the catalog.

The new handbook is currently available for purchase at the museum’s gift store.

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WAM Teen Art Guides Get Guilford County Art Teachers Talking

 
WAM Teen Art Guides were present to lead their first official tour of the season

WAM Teen Art Guides were present to lead their first official tour of the season

On Thursday, November 17, eight of the WAM Teen Art Guides were present to lead their first official tour of the season—for the Guilford County School’s middle and secondary art teachers. Students worked in teams to engage the teachers in looking at and discovering the art works in Persona: a Body in Parts—an exhibition about identity, how we present ourselves to others and how others perceive us.

Being an effective tour guide is not as simple as it may appear. One has to know how to ask the right questions to get people looking—and then talking. One has to be an active and sensitive listener to know when to impart information.

WAM’s Teen Art Guides are from Grimsley High School and Weaver Academy.  Some have been Guides for almost a year, and others started with the group in October.  In addition to learning how to get others as excited about art as they themselves are, these teens are having a variety of experiences in the museum. Over the course of the year they will have the opportunity to meet museum staff, interview visiting artists, create audio guides for visitors, and volunteer at a variety of fun museum events. Be sure to look for them when you visit the Weatherspoon!

Pictured left to right:  Claire Foust, Kevin Walser, Olya  Sheikina, Shamira Azlan, Matthew Ribar, and Maura Hatzman.  Not pictured: Emery Kiefer, Angele Gray

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YES! Weekly article on recent visiting Public Art Lecturer

 

Article by Brian Clarey "The Controversy Behind Public Art"
Article by Brian Clarey “The Controversy Behind Public Art”

Read Brian Clarey’s recent article in YES! Weekly about visiting speaker Jack Becker who spoke last week at both the Community Foundation and at the Weatherspoon Art Museum.  Becker is the director of Forecast Public Art and publisher of Public Art Review magazine.

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