Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Two Picasso paintings stolen

Two Picasso paintings stolen from his granddaughter Diana Widmaier-Picasso's house in Paris,police said Wednesday. The paintings are Maya and the Doll and Portrait of Jacqueline.

Though police only mentioned the two paintings, the director of the Picasso Museum, Anne Baldassari, said several paintings and drawings were stolen.

Picasso family lawyer, Céline Astolfe said in a telephone interview that Ms. Widmaier-Picasso and her mother, Maya, the daughter of Picasso’s longtime mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, were asleep in the house when the theft occurred.

“They heard a noise, went downstairs and saw nothing,” Ms. Astolfe said. “They went to bed and the following morning they saw that two paintings were missing.”

The lawyer said the theft appeared to be the work of professionals because the home’s alarms were neutralized and there were no signs of a break-in. “They blocked the alarm, and they had either the code or keys,” she said.

"It was a very large theft," she said, without giving details.

The value of the two paintings is estimated to be about $66 million

The Pictures:

The burglars cut the edges of "Maya and the Doll," to take it out of its frame.

"Maya and the Doll" is a colorful portrait of a young blonde girl in pigtails, eyes askew in a Cubist perspective. Another version of the painting hangs in the Picasso Museum. It portrays Maya Widmaier, the daughter of Picasso and Marie-Therese Walter, his companion from 1924-1944.

The painting had sentimental value for Widmaier-Picasso: It shows her mother, Maya, as a young girl in pigtails, eyes askew in an off-kilter Cubist perspective. A similar version of the painting hangs in the Picasso Museum in Paris.

Maya was the artist's daughter with Marie-Therese Walter, whom he met when she was a fresh-faced, blonde teenage girl. Their affair did not last.

Four years after Picasso died in 1973, Walter committed suicide by hanging herself.

Maya married Pierre Widmaier had three children, Olivier, Richard and Diana Widmaier-Picasso, an art historian and author of a book called Art Can Only be Erotic.

The other missing painting was "Portrait of Jacqueline," and the burglars took the frame with it, police said. That painting showed Picasso's second wife Jacqueline.

Neither Diana Widmaier-Picasso nor her mother could be reached on Wednesday.

Other missing Picaso's

The Art Loss Register, which maintains the world's largest database on stolen, missing and looted art, currently lists 444 missing Picasso pieces, including paintings, lithographs, drawings and ceramics.

Among recent missing Picasso's reported to the register was the theft of an abstract watercolor stolen in Mexico, said staff member Antonia Kimbell.

The number of missing Picasso's is so high simply because Picasso was so prolific, Kimbell said. She said the Paris theft was "definitely quite significant."

Picasso's treasured paintings

After Picasso died of a heart attack in 1973, his heirs divided up the paintings that he treasured over the years - which might explain why Widmaier-Picasso ended up with a painting of a woman who was not her mother.

The stolen paintings were important because they were works Picasso chose to keep, said Pepe Karmel, an associate professor at New York University and the author of "Picasso and the Invention of Cubism."

"They were meaningful to him, so he didn't sell them," he said.

The artist’s descendants have had artworks stolen before. One famous theft involved pieces worth about $17 million, taken from the Cannes home of Marina Picasso, another of his granddaughters, in 1989. Those were later recovered.

Books mentioned in article:

Friday, February 23, 2007

A nice little video tour of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute, for its extensive collections of 19th-century French painting (Impressionist works and the work of Claude Monet in particular) and 20th-century European and American painting. Among its best-known works are Georges Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on La Grand Jatte — 1884 (1884--86), Grant Wood's American Gothic (1930), and Edward Hopper's Nighthawks (1942)

posted by ghaile123 on YouTube

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Seven works of John Brewster A Deaf Artist in Early America

A travelling exhibit- now showing in Portland Maine. January 25, 2007 - March 25, 2007

A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster, Jr.

The first comprehensive exhibition on the important American painter John Brewster, Jr. (1766-1854), this show features 50 outstanding paintings illustrating the full range of Brewster’s long and successful career. Brewster was not an artist who incidentally was Deaf but rather a Deaf artist, one in a long tradition that owes many of its features and achievements to the fact that Deaf people are, as scholars have noted, visual people. The exhibition and companion book provide a major assessment of Brewster’s life and art within his four worlds: his artistic influences, his distinctive painting style and techniques, his elite clientele, and the world of the Deaf in early America. He is particularly noted for his portraits of children, who are depicted with an angelic innocence rarely achieved in portrait painting.

John Brewster Jr. (1766-1854), born a deaf-mute in rural Connecticut, was an itinerant portrait artist who created images of American life during the formative period of the nation, images of haunting beauty. He was a key formulator of a style of American folk portraiture that came to dominate rural New England, a striking adaptation of the English Grand Manner filtered through the works of Connecticut portraitist Ralph Earl. The Grand Manner style entailed a romanticized view of the sitter, with rich colors and an exploration of detail in the sitter’s features, costume and setting. Working in a folk art style that emphasized simpler settings, broad, flat areas of color, and soft, expressive facial features, Brewster achieved a directness and intensity of vision rarely equaled.

The exhibition was organized by the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, and is funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the American Folk Art Society, Robert and Katharine Booth, and Jon and Rebecca Zoler. This exhibition has been made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the American Masterpieces program.

*/ /* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */