tag archives: contemporary art

 

joan mitchell: i carry my landscapes around with me

an exhibition of the artist’s panoramic, multi-paneled paintings

at david zwirner gallery in new york, ny

from  3 may-22 june 2019

 

front gallery | david zwirner | new york, NY

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

 

from ‘to joan mitchell’

 

‘…like her great canvas

in four panels,

continuous field so charged

as to fill the room in which it hangs

with an inaudible humming,

as if to erase the gallery over which it triumphs…’

-from ‘to joan mitchell’, a poem from ‘fire to fire: new and selected poems by mark doty

 

joan mitchell (1925-1992) | la seine | oil on canvas in four (4) parts | 1967

governor nelson a. rockefeller empire state plaza art collection, new york state, office of general services

one of mitchell’s first quadriptychs

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

in 1968, joan mitchell moved her primary studio from the city of paris to the french countryside.

 

‘with the move to vétheuil, joan’s paintings had grown larger, more expansive, and more often multi-paneled. 

at [rue] fremicourt [her studio in paris from 1958-1968] she had first become serious about diptychs and triptychs as a way of making large paintings in a small studio. 

bigger but never big enough, vétheuil could accommodate at most two moderately sized adjacent panels, no higher than nine feet two inches, however; because of the ceiling beams.

…the restrictions on width meant that she could not view large multi-paneled paintings-in-progress in their entirety but, rather, had to put the parts together in her mind.’

-from joan mitchell, lady painter by patricia albers (page 326)

 

joan mitchell (1925-1992) | rivière | oil on canvas in two (2) parts | 1990

collection of the joan mitchell foundation

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

joan mitchell (1925-1992) | minnesota | oil on canvas in four (4) parts | 1980

collection of the joan mitchell foundation

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

‘in the dyptychs and triptychs she grappled with likeness and difference,

wholeness and parts. 

moreover, the panels served as forms to go up against,

like stanzas in lyric poetry,

which also weds structure to emotional release.’

-from joan mitchell, lady painter by patricia albers (page 326)

 

joan mitchell (1925-1992) | untitled | oil on canvas in two (2) parts | 1972

collection of the joan mitchell foundation

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

‘joan’s favorite multi-panel format was the horizontal triptych composed of vertical modules;

she loved the way the cool vertical cuts between the panels undermined the landscape effect

and loved too everything she could make happen around those vertical cuts.’ 

 

‘unlike most artists, joan drew vertically, making use of the weight and drag mark of her hand.’

-from joan mitchell, lady painter by patricia albers (pages 326 and 357)

 

joan mitchell (1925-1992) | untitled | oil on canvas in three (3) parts | 1974-1975

private collection, minneapolis, MN

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

north gallery | david zwirner | new york, NY

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

 

in addition to her unusual technique, joan was not only eidetic, but also synesthetic, which affected her memory, her perception, and therefore her art.

she saw letters in color.  so, her perception of poetry was visual, as well as narrative.

she heard sounds in color.  so, she painted to classical or jazz music.

even people (or pets) emanated color.  so, when painting an homage to a loved one, such as her former psychoanalyst and long-time friend, edrita fried (1911-1981), she strategically selected the appropriate colors.

 

‘for the analyst’s daughter, jacqueline fried, in any case, the painting’s oranges nail her mother’s energy and rage, and its blues, her profound sadness. 

‘edrita fried’ appeared in the 1983 whitney biennial, which jaqui attended. 

when the museum’s elevator doors opened to reveal this twenty-six-foot-wide painting,

jaqui jumped, ‘because it was as if my mother were standing there…it was really my mother!’

-from joan mitchell: lady painter by patricia albers (page 367)

 

joan mitchell (1925-1992) | edrita fried | oil on canvas in four (4) parts | 1981

collection of the joan mitchell foundation

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

joan mitchell (1925-1992) | row row | oil on canvas in two (2) parts | 1982

collection of the joan mitchell foundation

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

joan mitchell (1925-1992) | untitled | oil on canvas in two (2) parts | 1992

collection of the joan mitchell foundation

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

her ‘photographic memory’ was not only visual, but also auditory, sensual, and emotional, not unlike virtual reality.

sometimes, she painted in cycles, from memories of the seine river, rivers and trees, fields and territories, or sunflowers.

 

joan mitchell (1925-1992) | sunflowers | oil on canvas in two (2) parts | 1991

collection of the joan mitchell foundation

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

‘i carry my landscapes around with me.

-joan mitchell (1925-1992)

-from mitchell paints a picture‘, an article from artnews by irving sandler, originally published in october 1957
click here to read the article

of the four case museo di milano (milan house museums), the casa museo boschi di stefano and the villa necchi campiglio are the most exceptional.

the casa museo boschi di stefano has the best salon style art installations that i have ever seen.

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salon style installation of works from the spazialisti (spatialist) and nucleari (nuclear) art movements

casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

architecture

both the necchi campiglio villa and the boschi di stefano apartment building were designed by architect piero portaluppi (1888-1967) during the 1930’s.

click here to read my previous post about the villa necchi campiglio.

portaluppi designed the apartment building in 1929-1931 for property developer, francesco di stefano.  at the time, di stefano was building a new development of apartment buildings in the neighborhood surrounding corso buenos aires.  as part of the development, di stefano built a five-story apartment building for his family.  the building included a one floor apartment for each of his five children.  his daughter, marieda di stefano (1901-1968), and her husband, antonio boschi (1896-1988), lived in the apartment on the second floor.

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piero portaluppi (1888-1967) | staircase in the di stefano family’s apartment building | via giorgio jan, 15 | milan, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

furniture

most of the furniture was purchased by the fondazione boschi di stefano, and is not original to the apartment.  consequently, most of the rooms are no longer furnished according to their original function.  instead, they are furnished with pieces from the same time period as the architecture and the art collection.

the foundation considers the credenza, dining table, and six chairs, designed by italian artist mario sironi (1885-1961) for the 1936 triennale di milano exhibition, as their most important acquisition.  other notable purchases include an art deco desk, bookcase, table, and bar (circa 1930), designed by sicilian architect ernesto basile (1857-1932), and six chairs (circa 1930), designed by portaluppi.

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mario sironi (1885-1961) | credenza, dining table, and six chairs | walnut, bronze, parchment, and ebony | designed for the 1936 triennale di milano exhibition

room 5 | sironi room | originally a study | casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

lighting

 the light fixtures acquired by the foundation for the apartment include the ‘who’s who’ of the italian glass industry.  most are classic murano glass light fixtures from 1925-1940 by barovier, giacomo cappelin (1887-1968), venini, or napoleone martinuzzi (1892-1977) for venini.  some are more modern, but from the same time period, such as the ceiling light in the sironi room by piero chiesa (1892-1948) for fontana arte.

art collection

boschi and di stefano collected over 2000 works of twentieth century italian art, which they donated to the city of milan in 1974 and 1988.  part of the boschi di stefano collection is on exhibit at the museo del novecento, a contemporary art museum established by the city of milan in 2010.

about 300 works of art from the boschi di stefano collection are chronologically displayed in their apartment, according to art movement.  there are entire rooms filled with works by novecento (1900’s) movement co-founder mario sironi (1885-1961) and spazialisti (spatialist) movement co-founder lucio fontana (1899-1968).

fontana white

fontana grey

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lucio fontana (1899-1968) | concetto spaziale, attese | 1958-1960

lucio fontana (1899-1968) | concetto spaziale, attese | 1958-1960

lucio fontana (1899-1968) | concetto spaziale | 1956

lucio fontana (1899-1968) | concetto spaziale, crocifissione | 1956

photo credits massi_most via instagram, massi_most via instagram, lisa walsh | innerspace, and lisa walsh | innerspace

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salviati | 14 light chandelier | glass | 20th century

piero portaluppi (1888-1967) | six chairs | walnut | 1930

room 9 | fontana room | originally antonio boschi’s study | casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

the boschi di stefano collection includes works by other well known artists, such as giorgio morandi (1890-1964) and giorgio de chirico (1888-1978).

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giorgio de chirico (1888-1978) | la scuola dei gladiatori: il combattimento | 1928

giorgio de chirico (1888-1978) | facitori di trofei | 1925-1928

photo credits sauvage27.blogspot.com via arte.it and lisa walsh | innerspace

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napoleone martinuzzi (1892-1977) for venini | 11 light chandelier | pagliesco (mercury) glass | 1925-1930

barovier | pair of floor lamps | pulegoso (bubbled) glass | 1935-1940

modern suite of upholstered furniture based on a design by piero portaluppi (1888-1967)

room 7 | paris school room | originally the living room | casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

plus, works from the gruppo di corrente (current group), the scuola di parigi (paris school), and the chiaristi (clear), nucleari (nuclear), and informale (informal) art movements.

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salon style installation of works from the spazialisti (spatialist) and nucleari (nuclear) art movements

giacomo cappelin (1887-1968) | six light chandelier | glass | 1925-1930

room 10 | spatialist and nuclear room | originally marieda di stefano’s studio | casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

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salon style installation of works from the informale (informal) art movement

gino levi montalcini (1902-1974) | table | oak with ceramic top | 1950

room 11 | informal room | originally the master bedroom | casa museo boschi di stefano | milan, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

aren’t the salon style art walls exceptional?