Friday 3 February 2012

Richard Pousette-Dart - part 2

This is part 2of a 2-part post on the works of Abstract Expressionist Richard Pousette-Dart ( 1916-1992 ). For biographical notes and for earlier works, see part 1 also.

All images © The Estate of Richard Pousette-Dart

1960 The Fountain 
oil on canvas 192 x 142 cm

1961 White Gothic No 5 
oil on canvas 194 x  143 cm

1961-62 Eye of the Small Suns 
oil on linen 192 x 142 cm

1961-64 Cavernous Earth with 27 Folds of Opaqueness 
oil on canvas 201 x 292 cm

1962 Possible Oval 
oil on linen 192 x 142 cm

1965 Garden Ablaze 
oil on paper 28 x 28 cm

1967 Imploding Light 
acrylic on canvas 203 x 203 cm

1969 Earth Shadow in Time 
oil on canvas 111 x 145 cm

1969-71 Night Landscape 
oil on linen 117 x 152 cm

1970 Calambra 
acrylic on linen 84 x 107 cm

1970 Moving Stillness 
oil on canvas 109 x 215 cm

1974 Hieroglyph #2 Black 
acrylic on canvas 229 x 229 cm

1974 Presence Amaranth Garden 
oil on canvas 229 x 229 cm

1976 Celebration, Birth 
acrylic on linen 183 x 305 cm

c1980 Untitled 
acrylic and ink on paper 57 x 76 cm

1982 Sacred Square 
oil on linen 203 x 203 cm

1984-85 Window of Fire 
acrylic on linen 183 x 183 cm

1985 Cerchio di Dante 
acrylic on linen 183 x 183 cm

1986 Imploding Black 
acrylic on canvas 183 x 183 cm

1990 Flowers Not Before While Tossing 
acrylic on canvas 183 x 183 cm

1990 Golden Door 
acrylic on linen 183 x 183 cm

1990 The Peacock Has Not Asked Me 
acrylic on linen 183 x 183 cm

1991 On the Other Side of Thought 
acrylic on linen 87 x 166 cm

1992 Alpha Forming 
acrylic on linen 107 x 216 cm

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Richard Pousette-Dart - part 1

Richard Pousette-Dart (1916–1992) was a founding member of the New York School, which included Willem de Kooning, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. 

Active in New York from the early 1940s, Pousette-Dart made important contributions to the Abstract Expressionist movement. He was the first of the Abstract Expressionist group to break through and paint mural-size canvases, e.g., Symphony No.1, The Transcendental (1941–42), and Undulation, (1941–42), which anticipated Jackson Pollock’s mural scale work in 1943.

During this period Pousette-Dart’s technique began to emphasize gesture, layers of paint, and evocative subject matter that were the first pictorial statements of what came to be known as “action painting” as seen in Comprehension of the Atom, Crucifixion (1944). In 1950, Pousette-Dart appeared in the historic photograph The Irascibles, depicting fifteen New York School abstract painters.

In 1947 Peggy Guggenheim gave him a solo exhibition at her New York gallery, Art of This Century, where the artist's best-known masterpiece and first large-scale Abstract Expressionist painting, Symphony No 1, The Transcendental, was able to be shown for the first time. 

1941-2 Symphony No 1, The Transcendental 
oil on canvas 22 x 36 cm

Pousette-Dart drew inspiration from Native American, African, and Oceanic art, as well as European and American artistic trends, and the writings of Freud and Jung. He was influenced by Oriental philosophy and American Transcendentalism and held to the conviction that the abstract symbols of painting could reveal universal truths by suggesting the mysterious realm of the spirit. In 1947 he wrote, “I strive to express the spiritual nature of the universe. Painting for me is a dynamic balance and wholeness of life; it is mysterious and transcending, yet solid and real.” 

1951 White Garden, Sky 
oil and graphite on linen 136 x 154 cm

Pousette-Dart’s work in the 1960s contributed to the colour field and lyrical abstraction that were an important evolution of Abstract Expressionism. His later works transpose the bright light and brushwork of Impressionism into abstract meditations, suggesting the frontier of the unconscious which Jung had described. These paintings have titles evoking the magic of their radiant, pulsating, and subtly colored surfaces such as Amaranth Garden, Night Landscape, Golden Presence, Byzantine Cathedral, and Lost in the Beginnings of Infinity.

Richard Pousette-Dart’s paintings and drawings have been exhibited nationally and internationally in solo exhibitions organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1969–70), the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1963, 1974, and 1998), the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1986), the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana (1990), the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan (1991), the Columbus Museum, Ohio (1991–92), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1997), the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2001), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2006), the Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco (2006), and the Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio (2007), in addition to innumerable group exhibitions.

All images © The Estate of Richard Pousette-Dart

c1930 Untitled 
oil on canvas 15 x 20 cm

1935 Head of Persephone 
oil on linen 61 x 51 cm

1939 Bird Woman 
oil on linen 183 x 102 cm

1939 River Metamorphosis 
oil on linen 95 x 114 cm

1940 Desert 
oil on canvas 109 x 183 cm

1940 Head of a King 
oil on canvas 25 x 23 cm

1942 Undulation 
oil on linen 122 x 239 cm

1943 Fugue No. 2 
oil and sand on canvas 104 x 270 cm

1943 The Centre 
oil on linen 141 x 121 cm

1944 Comprehension of the Atom, Crucifixion 
oil on linen 196 x 125 cm

1944-5 Figure 
oil on canvas 210 x 124 cm

1947-48 The Atom, One World 
oil on linen 128 x 136 cm

1950 Entrance 
oil on canvas 97 x 267 cm

1950-1 The Magnificent 
oil on canvas 220 x 112 cm

1952 Cascella II 
oil on canvas 166 x 114 cm

1952 Golden Dawn 
oil and graphite on linen 237 x 131 cm

1957 White Gothic #3 
oil on canvas 235 x 166 cm

1958 Blood Wedding 
oil on linen 183 x 284 cm

1958 Illumination Gothic 
oil on canvas 183 x 136 cm

Monday 30 January 2012

William Morris wallpaper & textiles

William Morris by George Frederic Watts 1870

William Morris's name and reputation are indissolubly linked to wallpaper design, but there is a tendency to over-estimate the influence he had in this field, at least in his own lifetime. In fact, despite his much repeated belief in 'art for all', his wallpapers, like most of the products of Morris and Co., were hand-made and expensive, and consequently had a relatively limited take-up. His papers were slow to find a market beyond fellow artists, and were positively disliked by some influential figures, such as Oscar Wilde. However, he has had a long-lived effect on wallpaper design and consumption, creating designs which have enjoyed lasting appeal.

Morris's first wallpaper design was Trellis, a pattern suggested by the rose-trellis in the garden of his house in Bexleyheath, Kent.

Trellis wallpaper 1864

 Designed in 1862, it was not issued until 1864, a delay that was due to Morris's unsuccessful experiments with printing from zinc plates. The first pattern to be issued, in 1864, was Daisy, a simple design of naively drawn meadow flowers.

Daisy wallpaper 1864

The source was a wall-hanging illustrated in a 15th-century version of Froissart's Chronicles, but similar flower forms can be seen in late medieval 'mille-fleurs' tapestries and in early printed herbals. These two designs, and the next pattern Fruit (also known as Pomegranate), share a medieval character that links Morris's early work in the decorative arts with the Pre-Raphaelite painters, and with Ruskin.

Fruit wallpaper 1866

His sources were plants themselves, observed in his gardens or on country walks, and also images of plants in 16th-century woodcuts (he owned copies of several 16th- and 17th-century herbals, including Gerard's famous Herball), illuminated manuscripts, tapestries and other textiles incorporating floral imagery. Although he advised those designing wallpapers to 'accept their mechanical nature frankly, to avoid falling into the trap of trying to make your paper look as if it were painted by hand', he also encouraged intricacy and elaboration so that the repeat itself was disguised. 

Morris designed over 50 wallpapers, and his firm produced a further 49 by other designers. Despite his involvement with wallpapers and his decided views on their design and use, Morris always regarded wallpaper as a 'makeshift' decoration, a tolerable substitute for more luxurious wall coverings. Some of the old snobbery about wallpaper as an imitative material, a cheap option, still persisted, and Morris, as a wealthy man, preferred woven textile hangings for his own home. Helena Maria Sickert described the drawing room at Kelmscott House, Hammersmith, thus: 'beautiful blue tapestry hangings all around the big living room ... the atmosphere was deliciously homely'.

Though Morris himself made little use of wallpapers in his own domestic surroundings, a number of wealthy clients commissioned decorative schemes from Morris & Co. By the 1880s Morris papers were being recommended in many home decorating guides, including the affordable Art at Home series (1876-8). Pages of each were devoted to a discussion of wallpapers, with advice on how to select the best of the latest styles. Morris's papers were too expensive for most, but by the 1880s their growing appeal had been recognised by other designers and manufacturers who began to produce cheaper papers in the Morris style. By the late 1890s Morris wallpapers were commonly found in 'artistic' middle-class homes.

Morris designs seem to have satisfied a widespread desire for pattern in a way which the more formal and didactic designs of the reformers such as Jones and Pugin never did. The next generation of designers were conscious of working with Morris's legacy. For example, Charles Voysey, later described by Essex & Co. in advertisements as 'the Genius of Pattern', produced designs which show clear evidence of Morris's influence in the mastery of flat but complex patterns and in the preference for stylised organic forms and motifs from nature.

Acanthus wallpaper 1875

Bird and Pomegranate wallpaper 
late C19th

Blackthorn wallpaper 
late C19th

Borage ceiling paper 1888-9

Compton wallpaper 
late C19th

Corncockle furnishing fabric 1883

Cray furnishing fabric 1885

Daffodil wallpaper 
late C19th

Ispahan furnishing fabric 
late C19th

Pink and Rose wallpaper 
late C19th

The Strawberry Thief textile

Wandle wallpaper 1883-4

Wallpaper design 1896

Jasmine wallpaper 1872

Wey printed textile design c1883

Snakeshead printed textile design 1876

Peacock and Dragon fabric 1878

Woodpecker tapestry 1885

Artichoke embroidery 1890