Thursday, December 20, 2007

Laura Roulet's Fave Artwork

Laura Roulet is an art historian and a terrific independent curator and writer, and she responds to my request for readers' favorite artworks. Laura writes:

Asking an art historian for her favorite art work is like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. Impossible!

But here are three Washington DC masterpieces that I love to revisit, always finding more to see and ponder: Leonardo da Vinci, Ginervra de Benci (the only da Vinci painting in the Americas) in the National Gallery of Art, Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), also the NGA and Maya Lin, the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

Ginevra de' Benci by Leonardo
Ginevra de' Benci, c. 1474-1478, Leonardo da Vinci

Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) by Jackson Pollock
Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950 by Jackson Pollock (American, 1912 - 1956)

Jeffry Cudlin's Fave Artwork

Jeffry Cudlin is a talented painter, the hard-to-please award-winning art critic for the Washington City Paper, a fellow blogger, and the curator at the Arlington Arts Center and he responds to my request for readers' favorite artworks. Jeffry writes:

None of the that answers I come up with seem sufficient. Maybe Bonnard's The Open Window at the Phillips -- or, really, any Diebenkorn that's handy. Bonnard's sense of light and temperature, the way he leans on saturated colors and analogous/complementary harmonies instead of tonal contrast --very tasty. Diebenkorn's compositions and ways of massing in color are just perfect -- he only makes a handful of decisions in every piece, and they're all correct.

At the NGA: El Greco's Laocoon, or maybe a Chardin -- Soap Bubbles? I always liked thinking of that Mannerist strategy of modelling your figures in clay before you paint them. I don't know if that's what El Greco did here, but his bodies have that strangely compelling unreality -- like lumpy, lighted figurines in a diorama. Chardin's just exquisite, period.

Wait, wait, maybe I want a Cezanne from the NGA instead -- I'll take either House in Provence or Chateau Noir.

And for purely sentimental reasons, a creepy painting from the Hirshhorn: The Golden Days, by Balthus. Wait, wait; maybe that painting of Leigh Bowery by Freud instead. Or those two studies for a portrait of Van Gogh by Bacon. None of those have anything to do with what I like about painting now, but when I first saw them, many years ago as an art undergrad, they made quite an impact on me.

Well, there you have it: ten paintings I can't really decide between, for wildly divergent and/or irrational reasons.

El greco - Laocoon
Laoco├Ân, early 1610s, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek-Spanish, 1541–1614)

Bonnard - The Open Window
The Open Window, 1921, Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867-1947)

Save the Date

WPA Auction

As it has been widely announced, the Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) is returning to its roots and is separating from the Corcoran Gallery of Art as of December 31.

Another date to save is the 2008 WPA Art Auction Gala, which will take place on Friday, March 7, 7:00 pm – midnight at the Katzen Arts Center of American University.

The WPA Art Auctions are easily one of the DC region's top art nights with eclectic and interesting events that offers 150 works of new and established artistic talent , and more than 500 artists, collectors, patrons, business leaders and contemporaries for a night of fun and fundraising, and each year they sell out!

They are currently looking for advanced patrons; to get the Advance Patron Registration Form with options for participation, visit the WPA website or call them at 202/639-1828.