Classically Speaking

Mar 232015
 

In 1968 Henry Hope Reed created  Classical America, which is now called the  Institute of Classical Architecture and Art.   At that time,  he had in mind the many ways our nation exhibited a classical heritage in art, architecture, political philosophy, and general cultural values. In the  early years the organization did focus on architecture almost exclusively but today the organization has come to embrace the classical tradition more broadly.  They have grown from a small  New York core with a budding branch in Philadelphia, to a  national organization with 15 chapters around the country and can now say that the New American Renaissance is underway.

The Philadelphia chapter has designed a program of recognition for individuals and organizations of various sorts who embody Henry’s vision of renewal and growth in the classical tradition of America called “The Golden Reed,” recalling Henry’s seminal book The Golden City.

This year the award went to Lorraine Reisenbach, Director of Artists House Gallery  for her successful, commendable work over the years “to introduce, nurture, and mentor outstanding emerging artists in the best of Western tradition.”  This amazing work from the current exhibition Young Visions.

Still Life by Evan Schukis

evan-schukis

In the history of American architecture and the arts, the American Renaissance was the period from 1876–1917  which was characterized by renewed national self-confidence and a feeling that the United States was the heir to Greek democracy, Roman law, and Renaissance humanism. It expressed its self-confidence in new technologies, such as the wire cables of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. It found its cultural outlets in both Prairie School houses and in Beaux-Arts architecture and sculpture, in the “City Beautiful” movement, and “also the creation of the American empire.”  Politically and economically, this era coincides with the Gilded Age.

The classical architecture of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893, was a demonstration that impressed Henry Adams, who wrote that people “would some day talk about Hunt and Richardson, La Farge and Saint-Gaudens, Burnham and McKim and Stanford White when their politicians and millionaires were quite forgotten.”

Columbian Exposition in Chacago

In the dome of the reading room at the Library of Congress, Edwin Blashfield’s murals were on the given theme, The Progress of Civilization.

LibraryofCongressReadingRoomDomeMural

America and Egypt detail

close up of half of the dome mural

center of the dome mural

Here is a link to a post I did after visiting the magnificent Library of Congress.

Today’s Classical Realism is characterized by love for the visible world and the great traditions of Western art, including Classicism, Realism and Impressionism. The movement’s aesthetic is Classical in that it exhibits a preference for order, beauty, harmony and completeness; it is Realist because its primary subject matter comes from the representation of nature based on the artist’s observation.  Artists in this genre strive to draw and paint from the direct observation of nature, and eschew the use of photography or other mechanical aids. In this regard, Classical Realism differs from the art movements of Photorealism and Hyperrealism. Stylistically, classical realists employ methods used by both Impressionist and Academic artists.

Classical Realist painters have attempted to restore curricula of training that develop a sensitive, artistic eye and methods of representing nature that pre-date Modern Art. They seek to create paintings that are personal, expressive, beautiful, and skillful. Their subject matter includes all of the traditional categories within Western Art: figurative, landscape, portraiture, indoor and outdoor genre and still life paintings.

A central idea of Classical Realism is the belief that the Modern Art movements of the 20th century opposed the tenets and production of traditional art and caused a general loss of the skills and methods needed to produce it. Modernism was antagonistic to art as it was conceived by the Greeks, resurrected in the Renaissance, and carried on by the academies of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Classical Realist artists attempt to revive the idea of art production as it was traditionally understood: mastery of a craft in order to make objects that gratify and ennoble those who see them. This craftsmanship is then applied to drawing, painting or sculpting contemporary subjects which the artist observes in the modern world.

Gandy Gallery of Contemporary Classical Realists

Carl Sampson

Carl Samson

Carl Samson

Paul S. Brown, Classical Realist

contemporary-paul-s-brown-du-vin-du-pain-et-du-fromage-18-x-30-in-oil-on-panel-2007

Paul Brown still life

Paul Brown White

 

Jacob Collins (born 1964) is an American realist painter working in New York, NY. He is a leading figure of the contemporary classical art revival. 

Fire Island

Jacob Collins

Interesting article The Contemporary Realist Movement.

“….contemporary realists felt mankind was best served by depicting through art, the qualities in life that unite us as people, rather than the debasement of civilization.

Nothing says more about a culture than the art it idolizes. Art represents what a culture values, what its people think about, and essentially what they deem worth remembering. Art is the representation of a people, encapsulating their essence on every level.”

Max Ginsburg, Foreclosure

Foreclosure

Duffy Sheridan

Promise of Renewal

Duffy Sheridan

Self Portrait

Sheridan self portrait

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, 1887
US abolitionist & clergyman (1813 – 1887)

The Internet has become the most important tool for the realist movement. It allowed the movement to gain serious traction about 10 years ago by linking like-minded people together, enabling them to find each other and promote their thoughts to others.

Through groups such as good GoodArt, the Art Renewal Center (A.R.C.) which was founded as a center for Realism. It became the largest online museum and the only one at that time dedicated to traditional art.

ARC searched out the remaining few atelier schools that still used the training methods of the old masters. Finding only 14 in existence at that time, with less than 200 students, ARC advertised them to the public.

Since that time, the atelier schools have grown dramatically, with more and more created every year. On the Art Renewal website, 72 atelier schools and workshops are now listed, with many times the number of students, and more are out there that are not listed.

Magazines now exist that are dedicated to Realism, such as Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air, Artist Advocate, American Arts Quarterly, Art of the West, and others.

Head instructor of the Ani Art Academy Waichulis, Anthony Waichulis, says: “Over the past few years, I have found that applications and program inquiries have increased tenfold. It seems that this ever-growing resurgence in Realism is encouraging new aspiring artists to enthusiastically pursue fundamental skill building on a scale I have not seen before.

“This is truly a wonderful thing, as I believe that effective education is one of the most powerful tools we have to shape the future,” he said.

These groups are all united, figuratively if not literally, in their goal to bring realist painting, drawing, and sculpture back to the forefront of contemporary art

The atelier schools are the foundation of the movement. They are the source of the proper training that is denied in most university and college art curriculums.

James Oliver wrote: “I am an artist who has been disenchanted with the art world to such a degree that I have pursued a science education instead. I think this site is the first real indication that the madness is beginning to clear as humankind rediscovers the beautiful.”

“As an artist and teacher, I believe that the future will only be possible if we infuse the arts back where they always belonged, at the heart of human education,” Jean Corbeil wrote.”

 March 23, 2015  Posted by at 2:16 pm Art, Classically Speaking Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
May 202014
 

This years Kips Bay Show House is in the Villard Mansion at 457 Madison Avenue.  When I  visited in 1987 it was The Helmsley Palace Hotel.  A lot has changed since then.

villard mansion

 

In 1882, Henry Villard, a well-known railroad financier, hired McKim, Mead, and White to create six private brownstone townhouses surrounding a courtyard on Madison Avenue. The prominent architectural firm created the houses in the neo-Italian Renaissance tradition, after the Palazzo della Cancellaria in Rome.

villard mansion

In the spring of 1974, the developer Harry Helmsley proposed a 55-story hotel for the site of the Villard Houses called The Helmsley Palace Hotel. To construct his hotel tower, Helmsley hired Emery Roth & Sons, who created its design of dark bronze reflective glass and anodized aluminum to blend with the Villard Houses and Manhattan’s surrounding skyline. The Helmsley Palace Hotel opened in 1981 and was operated by Helmsley until 1992, when the hotel came under the management of a private New York limited partnership, changing its name to The New York Palace.

During Helmsley’s ownership his wife,  Leona Helmsley,  maintained a strict and intolerant management style which involved her firing staff members for trivial mistakes, an act which gave her the nickname, “Queen of Mean.” The hotel reverted to its bond holders from Leona Helmsley and was ultimately purchased by The Sultan of Brunei with the concurrence of the US Bankruptcy Court. The Sultan of Brunei, through its development company, Amedeo Limited, hired Lee Jablin of Harman Jablin Architects for the complete renovation of the hotel and Villard Houses.

Northwood Investors bought the hotel from the Sultan of Brunei in 2011.

The Kips Bay Show House is in the townhouse on the left of the courtyard.  I was disappointed with the townhouse and the interior decoration with the exception of a few rooms.  No photography was permitted, but I had seen two of the rooms in Habitually Chic, which I loved.  They were the best rooms.

Love this paneled sitting room by Carrier and Company with custom gilt wallpaper.  It is quite a small room, but the furnishings and design gave it a spacious while intimate feeling.

gilt marblelized custom paper

Sitting Room

Alexa Hampton’s Sitting Room also had fabulous panels and custom printed wallcovering from Duggal.  The large tile pattern is wonderful.  The smaller version below the chair rail not so much.  Duggal is a wonderful source for digitized media.  Trend alert – Utilize digital images for unique patterns, large format photography and lenticular holographic imagery.

panels with tile pattern wall paper

The kitchen done by Matthew Quinn was excellent.  The Dacor refrigerator doors in stainless and brass were amazing.  The Helix Silestone countertops in a suede finish were perfect with the stainless and gray color palette.  The designer said the view of St. Patricks through the kitchen window was his inspiration for the lights (incense burners) and window treatment (organ pipes).

kitchen by Matthew Quinn

kitchen Matthew Quinn

St. Patricks

I had really chosen to see this years Kips Bay Show House because of the location.  I fell in love with the Gold Tea Room in the Helmsley, the grand lobby with beautiful marble and all the architectural features.  The show house rooms really did not have a backdrop of grand features I expected to see.  Some designers even chose to cover some grand features.  Over the years, the changes that have been made to the Villard in my view are not all improvements.

Lobby Before.

Villard Lobby Before

  Architectural features and columns were eliminated. Marble panels were painted. The lighting updated.  Getting rid of the yellow gold on the walls was a good idea. New floors look great.  The marble panels could have remained since they repeated the stone for the focal point fireplace.  Not all bad but……
Villard Lobby today

The New York Palace Hotel Michel Richard Bistro.  Amazing room with fabulous stone columns, pilasters, niches and crown.

Villard Michel Richard Bistro

marble

villard-20

villard restaurant

Today the restaurant has this huge wine display.

villard restaurant with wine display

villard restaurant

 

 

The Tea Room which I looked forward to seeing again is now a restaurant with huge images propped against the walls covering really beautiful artistry.  The ceiling is still beautiful.

gold room ceiling

The common areas are still original.    Check out the marble balustrades.  There are several different designs.

marble balustrades

villard-14

villard stairway

marble walls

 

Banquet Room

New York Palace Hotel Banquet Room

Ceiling Detail

Ceiling Corner

Strapwork ceiling design

More to follow.  Next we visited the Mansion in May Show House,  The Blairsden Mansion,  in Peapack, New Jersey.  The seventh largest home in the US.  An impressive Beaux Arts style home.

 

Reminder to submit your ugly grille image to Beaux-Artes’ Second Annual Ugliest Grille Contest.  All you have to do is send a picture of the grille you would like to replace with one of Beaux-Artes decorative grilles, to [email protected]  Deadline for submissions is May 30th, 2014.  The winners will be announced June 4th, 2014.   Visit here for contest details.

melanie-classical-addiction-sm

 

 

Dec 092013
 

Just bought a great book on the Empire Period Empire by Madeleine Deschamps. Here is some food for thought from the Introduction.   “The end of the eighteenth century was a tumultuous and remarkably rich period that laid the foundations of modern times.”  This can be said of our times,  the end of the twentieth century laying the foundations of the new age.   “In the course of the century the philosophy of Enlightenment had opened minds to realities veiled until then, and it had awakened hopes of social and political change in many lands.”  Once again, this can be said of our times with the expansion of knowledge, technology and physics all contributing to powers we could not have imagined just 30 years ago.  “In France this new consciousness culminated in a major cultural rupture, the Revolution.  The fall of the Bastille in 1789 and the death of Louis XVI in 1793 marked the end of a monarchy that had shaped France, its society, and its economy for ten centuries.”

It goes on to establish that the Revolution did not immediately find a language to express the social order they were striving to establish.  So there was no real break in the styles and art forms that characterized the reign of Louis XVI and the subsequent Directoire, Consulat and Empire Styles. The Empire style was a natural development of the neoclassical art born in the preceding decades, which explains why Empire also includes styles that predate the coronation of Napoleon.  “Despite a strong connection to its stylistic preedecessors, the Empire style was highly influenced by the personality of one man, Napoleon Bonaparte.napoleon Once in power he not only wished to dominate European countries but also to control their trade. “He also wished to give grandeur and splendor to his reign, a purpose best served by the arts. Thus the short years of his rule were a period of extraordinary development for arts and crafts in France and in the countries he controlled.”

What will be said of this time in terms of the development of the arts and crafts.  The decorative arts business had products and technologies which will enable today’s artists, artisans, architects and designers to surpass anything that has been created.  Hopefully there will always be patrons to support today’s masterpieces and with the advantage of technology the middle class will be able to create interiors rich with artistry.

“When Napoleon came to power he found a country that had been torn apart by civil war and lay in partial ruin. He also inherited royal residences that had been stripped bare by the Revolution.  Today’s interiors are in a sense are stripped bare with large expanses of drywall.  In his ten years as emperor he not only refurbished palaces and chateaux throughout France and Europe but also gave France one of its most superb collections of decorative arts. To accomplish this he provided massive help to workshops and nascent industries, encouraged and publicized technical inventions, and instituted schools, competitions and prizes. No one since Louis XIV’s minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert had been so concerned with the economic status of France and the international image of its arts and crafts.  Just as Napoleon knew how to surround himself with the best political and military counselors, so too did he call some of the best artists in Europe to his service.”

Let’s look at the glory of the Empire Period and dream about our expression of the decorative arts in the 21st Century.

The Chateau de Malmaison, Paris is a country house in the city of Rueil-Malmaison about 12 km from Paris. It was formerly the residence of Joséphine de Beauharnais, and with the Tuileries, was from 1800 to 1802 the headquarters of the French government.

Chateau_de_Malmaison

Mythological Frieze, Chateau de Malmaison

chateau-de-malmaison-mythological-frieze

Josephine’s  Bedroom

Chateau de Malmaison-Josephine's bedroom-2

Chateau de Malmaison-Josephine's bedroom--3787628155_4595c69647_z

Today’s Mansion - The Enchanted Home

enchantaed-home

enchanted-home-rear

enchanted-home-kitchen-2

enchanted-home-great-room

 

 

Hotel de Beauharnais, Paris

Beauharnais

Salon of the Four Seasons – The paintings of the four seasons were formerly attributed to Pierre-Paul Prud’hon and now to Anne-Louis Girodet, who painted works on the same theme for the Platinum Study in the Casa del Labrador in Aranjuez, Spain.

Salon of The Four Seasons

Salon of The Four Seasons

 

Hôtel-de-Beauharnais

HHofParis-HotelDe-Beauharnais-Salon-of-the-four-seasons-2

Bathroom at Hotel de Beauharmais

beauharnais-bathroom

The Turkish bath in the Hotel de Beauharnais

hotel-be-beauharnais-Feau292012T20522

Beaux-Artes designed and executed this Powder Room using technology to create the pietre dure design on the vanity and reproduce it below the chair rail with venetian plaster.

prm_coverphoto

Inspiration vanity.

prm_inspiration

Empire has a section on wallpaper since it was becoming a convenient and attractive way to decorate an interior.  Manufacturers as Jacquemart et Benard, Dufour and Zuber made papers of great artistic and technical quality in lavish colors.  It was a young industry when the Revolution broke out.  Wallpaper answered the demand of a clientele that could not afford expensive silks for decorating the home.  The extension of the Empire opened Europe to their production.

Great article by Barbara Clark in Artisphere Online showcasing the work of Alan Carroll

“My old business partner, Mark Kusek, really opened my eyes to the digital world. Without him I never would have embraced computers as a tool for decorative artists in the same way. More importantly, he taught me that you can be true to the same creative spirit that flowed through the old guys while at the same time embracing new technology.

You don’t have to be mired in the past, trying to copy stuff that was done way better hundreds of years ago. ”

panel-art-alan-carroll

“Imagine you have a piece of artwork on your computer. You’ve either painted and scanned it, or created it directly on the computer. Want to make fabric? Wallpaper? Flooring? ceiling murals? Area rugs? verre eglomisé? You can do all those and tons more from the same piece of artwork now by combining the power of digital printing with traditional skills. We are only beginning to touch on the possibilities.”

“We even developed a way to print gold size. You could get a sheet of ebony veneer for example, and literally print from any design you have on your computer screen in gold size right onto the wood – no masking/stencilling necessary – then gild it. The computer is used just to expedite the hand-done finish, not to supplant it. It’s still a hand-gilded product.

Or forget about printing the size. What about printing the ‘painted’ image on the reverse of glass before you gild it? Mark is now in the middle of printing verre eglomisé polychrome designs right onto glass from ornamental panels that I painted using a Wacom tablet and some computer software. This is groundbreaking stuff. Print the image onto the reverse of the glass, and then gild it. He even printed the patina onto the sheet of glass before gilding it. Time savings are huge, and that’s just with this one thing!

“I think that’ll be my theme for the future: exploring how to expand and truly incorporate digital technology into the decorative artist’s toolkit. I don’t mean simply painting something by hand, then selling prints. But how about this other experiment we did with the Glass department of OSU in Ohio: We printed our gold size directly onto paper in super-detailed ornate designs. then we simply applied leaf, and dusted off the design. The gold only sticks to the areas we printed. Then we took these gold leaf designs on paper to the glass furnace. The guy blows a vase out of molten glass, then rolls it carefully across our design. The paper burns off completely, and the gold design is instantly transferred to the glass. Never been done before, but we just came up with it by experimenting.

It’s not just about coming up with ways that save time over traditional methods. It’s also about creating new hybrid techniques that could not be conceived of any other way. That’s the future.”

Josephine and her Entourage at Lake Garda, 1805-6 by Hippolyte Lecomte.  Available as a 12″ x 15″ print for $181.

empire-Empress-Josephine-xx-Hippolyte-Lecomte

Chateau de Compiegne

 

Chateau de Compiegne

Chateau de Compiegne

 

The Ballroom

chateau-de-compiegne-Ballroom

Empress Marie-Louise’s Second Salon later called the Salon of Flowers.  Would love to do a variation of the panel art in this room.  The Book Empire has a wonderful closeup of the panels.

chateau-de-compiegne-salon-of-flowers

Hotel de Charost

Hotel de Charost

Hotel de Charost

hotel-de-charost-ceiling

Hôtel_de_Charost_JP2010,_Dorure_salle_à_manger

The Sala di Marte near Naples

Sala di Marte

Sala di Marte

Beaux-Artes Arabesque Panel

arabesque-panel-installed-full-best

 

Casita del Principe, El Escorial, Spain

Casita del Principe-El Escorial-Spain

Platinum study in the Casa del Labrador, Aranjuez, Spain

casa-del-labrador-platinum study

Charlottenburg Castle, Berlin

Charlottenburg_Palace_by_night_Berlin

Queen Luise’s Bedroomcharlottenburg-castle-queen-luise-bedroom

melanie-classical-addiction-sm