17 Jul 2014 | 1 Comments

Bacon’s Frank about Portraiture

Occasionally an artist's recorded thoughts give hints that their views on portraiture are not conventional. I have quite a collection of them. However someone just sent me this 1971 statement by Francis Bacon in which he completely rejects the standard view still widely held in the art world...

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21 May 2013

Plays on the Mind

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Richard Foreman, an experimental playwright for more than four decades "has presided over heady spectacles that mingle the conventions of theater with ... stroboscopic stage sets designed as embodiments of the working mind [my italics.]" In his...

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09 Mar 2013

Proust’s and Degas’ Disappearing Models

Literature and its methods are a useful yardstick by which to judge our knowledge and understanding of the visual arts. For instance, the known fact accepted by literary critics that many friends and acquaintances of Marcel Proust, the great French writer of the early 20th century, thought they...

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22 Jul 2012

Anthropomorphic Landscapes

Visual metamorphosis. It's my term to describe a compositional method long used by major artists but virtually unknown to the art world except in a few rare cases. The only major exceptions I can immediately think of are Martin Schöngauer, Albrecht Dürer and Gustave Courbet three centuries...

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31 May 2012

Francis Bacon on Portraits and Crosses

I’ve just been reading a series of essays on Francis Bacon and have come across two quotes that I must pass on. A young doctoral student had some long conversations with Bacon in 1975 in which Bacon was saying that when he looks at a great painting he often thinks about the artist more than...

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12 May 2012

Chaos as the Source of Creativity

Chaos is the source of creativity. Chaos – some might say “controlled chaos” – increases the likelihood that two disparate ideas or forms will merge to create something new. That’s at least one theory of orginality. I imagine that when two British artists – Walter Sickert (left) and Francis...

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14 Mar 2011

Bacon and Daumier

A recent entry on one of Daumier’s Don Quixote and Sancho Panza paintings showed that the knight’s lance and shield are really substitutes for the artist’s brush and palette.  Even the other way round, when Daumier depicted an artist in his studio, the painter's tools resemble the Don’s...

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