Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cool Globe

Here's Ingrid Albrecht's entry into the Cool Globe project - apparently a promotional effort to help fight global warming.

Here at the Palette & Chisel, this summer, we're carrying on the struggle in own, small way (by air conditioning the gallery and 3rd floor studio !)

Friday, June 22, 2007

More Hansen

Hansen at work on the Hinsdale memorial

I can't help myself,
I'm obsessed with J.W. Hansen

Because I think he really was
a kind of visionary, prophetic character.

I didn't read anything about his going to art school
or working in the studio of an established sculptor -
nor have I found any mention of his work
being collected by art museums.

Could we call him ...
an "outsider artist "???

Here's the above war memorial.
still in the center of Hinsdale.

And it's just a bit weird.

Was he a fan of Mestrovic ?
And what is the gender of this warrior ?
(there seem to be some mixed signals here)

Here's his monument to the Wright Brothers.

He's really got this optimism,
this "America-I-Can" thing down cold.

The spirit of the white ribbons of highways,
and the great skyscrapers

and, of course, the great Boulder Dam.

Above is one of the concrete reliefs
he designed for that dam
(before he got the commission for the cherubim)

very high energy,
and a fine, young, American woman.

But what about those ugly men ?
They look like Mestrovic's Indians in Grant Park.

Here's his portrait of Joseph Medill
(with copies at the Tribune Tower,
Northwestern School of Journalism,
and McCormick's museum at Cantigny)

This is the severity and sincerity
of early American portraiture -
prior to the hegemony of the more naturalistic
Beaux-Arts school of Paris.

This is a fine portrait of a boy

And this portrait doesn't leave much doubt
concerning the profession of the client
(he was an attorney)

This is the figure
he was hired to make
to replace the one destroyed on the top
of the Yorktown Victory Monument.

(and for a guy who remains completely outside
the world of American art museums,
he certainly did seem to get
commissions that were
right at the heart of the
American mythic experience)

And couldn't this figure of "Liberty"
(at least below the neck)
serve as the body of the Virgin
atop a Catholic church ?

This monument to his countryman,
Leif Eriksen,
once stood at the southern edge
of Grant Park.

(but I'm doubting that it's still there)

It's ugly -- but I don't think
it's any worse than Polasek's
Masaryk memorial on University of Chicago Midway.

Here's sample of text
from his 1927 book,
"Chien-Mi-Lo : a satirical prose fantasy with interpretative sculpture"

For me,
this kind of writing is utterly incomprehensible
(but then, I have difficulty reading the
"Book of Mormon" as well)

Here's one of the
"interpretive sculptures"
from that book

This is a monument
in Minneapolis

and this is another one of
his strange collectibles.
The figure was cast in gold.

So what can we make of this guy ?
Does he belong in art museums ?
Did he have some kind of
spiritual connection to the
"Angels In America"

I think so.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oskar J. W. Hansen (1892-1971)

As recorded here earlier,
in 1926, there was one J.W. Hansen
who was accused by Emory Seidel
of refusing to pay his dining room bill to "Old Joe"

But further research has discovered
that Mr. Hansen and Mr. Seidel
were both distinguished sculptors
who served together on the Jury of Selection for the
46th Annual American Painting and Sculpture Exhibit
in 1935 at the Art Institute

and Mr. Hansen won the commission
to make some of the most famous statues of the time
as ornament for that massive monument
to modern America,
Hoover Dam

What an incredible
that must have been,
right in the middle of the Great Depression.

He also designed the relief sculpture on that site

and later, re-designed the figure at the top
of the Victory Memorial at Yorktown
(the earlier version had be struck by lightning)

But he was a man of many talents,
and he designed this silver fruit bowl well as this small brooch

..and this ornamental bust

He also was a writer ---
publishing this "how to" article
in "Amateur Mechanics"

and this essay
explaining the Victory statue
he designed for the lobby of the Hinsdale Memorial Building.

And did I mention that he published two books?

In 1927, the Nordic Society of Chicago published:

Chien-Mi-Lo : a satirical prose fantasy with interpretative sculpture

and in 1968, Vantage (a New York vanity press) published:

"Beyond the Cherubim"

When attempting to read these books,
it should be remembed that when he first arrived in
in Chicago, he attended Northwestern Divinity School --
so his prose might be called 'ecstatic'

Out in the western suburbs, he also modeled
the bust of Joseph Medill at the McCormick Museum in Cantigny.

There is also another winged figure
that he designed for the Rand Tower in Minneapolis.

Born in Norway, he spent his youth as a cabin boy
sailing around the world,
finally arriving in Chicago in 1910.

He might be considered the
most distinguished artist to have
ever joined the Palette and Chisel
(if only he had paid his tab to Old Joe!)

(note:  more about Hansen is written here )



This air medal was brought to our attention
by the comment left below

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Exhibition: Pastels Chicago

This is the first Biennial National Show
of the Chicago Pastel Painters ,
a pastel society based in the greater Chicago area,
but open to artists from anywhere.
(currently with members in 13 states)

There was a total of $8,000 in awards.

The show was juried and judged by
Margaret Dyer .

(the following is a personal selection
of favorites,
with no correlation
to the awards that were given)

John Sagaz (North Carolina) : "Calm Morning"

Nancie King Mertz: "Colorado Calling"

Jerry Power (Michigan): "Heavy Snow"

John Sagarz (North Carolina) "Marshland"

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

50 Years of American Art

J. Jeffrey Grant "The Ghetto"

In November, 1939, the Art Institute of Chicago
opened "Half a Century of American Art"
a selective retrospective of the
of the 13,237 paintings and 3643 sculptures
that had been shown in the annual
"Exhibits of American Painting and Sculpture"
from 1888-1938

This exhibit included all the most famous names in American art
from that period: Sargent, Eakins, Cassatt, Bellows etc.

Wilson Irvine

Albin Polasek

Walter Ufer

All of the pieces shown above were
included in the exhibition catalog,
and in addition,
the following P&C members were also included in the exhibit:

Frank Dudley
Ruth Van Sickle Ford
Victor Higgins
Emory Seidel

Museum Director and Curator of Painting and Sculpture,
Daniel Catton Rich,
wrote a brief history of those 50
years in the exhibition catalog

concluding it with the following sentence:

"When Chicago stages its century of American art in 1988,
what a different story it will tell !"

But as we now know,
the last Art Institute exhibit of
American Painting and Sculpture
occurred in 1986,
so that 1988 centenary exhibit never took place.

Why did this extraordinary series
of national exhibits come to an end ?

Daniel Catton Rich's introductory essay to the 1947 exhibition
catalog possibly gives an explanation:

"In theory, a survey of various contemporary points of view within a single frame is admirable. But in the past, the large annual museum shows, here and elsewhere, have been far from representative. At their best, they have become unequal samplings of
what is going on, and at their worst they have presented a jumbled and confused aspect to the public. Too often they have been distilled and re-distilled from other national exhibits until the final products is both tasteless and thin."

So rather than have the large cross-sections of American art
that filled the entire museum in the early decades
of the 20th Century,
the museum would now fill
just one or two rooms with
"the leading tendencies in American painting and sculpture"

At the end of that 1947 essay,
Catton Rich again looked to the future,
promising that:

"the Art Institute expects to follow this exhibit with others given to dominant themes such as Traditionalism, Realism, and Expressionism in American Art."

But, as we know, that never happened either,
and the AIC national shows
just became a satellite of the New York modern art world.
(and why not just go to New York to see that ?)

The A.I.C. exhibits of "American Painting and Sculpture"
didn't end in 1986,
they actually ended almost 50 years earlier.

(and I don't think it's any coincidence,
that when the decline began
after the 1939 retrospective,
the show was juried by curators,
and never again
by painters and sculptors,
as it had been for the previous 50 years)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Gustave Baumann

Gustave Baumann (1881-1971)
is famous for his prints
of Western scenes.

But before he moved to Santa Fe,
he lived in Chicago for a few years,
studied at the Art Institute,
painted in Brown County,
and joined the Palette and Chisel.

The above piece was displayed
in the Art Institute's Chicago Artist show
of 1916

Here's a view of Harden Hollow,
in Brown County, Indiana,
done the same year

But here's what he's famous for (1920)

An interesting presentation
of his ephemera
can be found

Art Institute 1916: now online

Gustave Baumann "Grannie's Garden"

The Art Institute of Chicago
is now showing an online index
of its entire exhibition history
from 1883 through 2004

Oskar Gross "Portrait of Frederick Baumann"

And the catalogs of some of their own juried exhibits
are being reproduced in their entirety.

Edgar Payne "Rendezvous"

The pictures shown here were pulled from the
1916 exhibits of the
20th Annual Chicago Artists Show
and the
28th Annual Exhibit of American Painting and Sculpture

Walter Ufer

So far --
these are the only P&C members whose works were printed
in those two catalogs
(though many others were listed by name)

Hopefully, over the coming months, more complete
membership rosters will be entered into this website,
so more members can found in these online catalogs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Exhibit: Summer Suite II

Joan Stachnik

Joan Stachnik

Joan Stachnik

Bodo Stolczenberger

Bodo Stolczenberger

Mary Klug

Mary Klug

Mary Klug

Mary Klug

Mary Klug
(Self portrait)

Mary Palmer

Mary Palmer

Mary Palmer