Enfilade

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions, films, online learning by Editor on February 6, 2021

The exhibition Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection opened briefly at Harvard, before the museum was forced to close due to the pandemic. The catalogue of the collection, however, is scheduled to be published next month, and online programming continues, including a discussion of the film Edo Avant Garde.

Film Discussion: Edo Avant-Garde
Online, Tuesday, 9 February 2021, 7pm (EST)

Still from ‘Edo Avant-Garde’ (2019). Master of the I’nen Seal (1600–1630), Sōtatsu school, Trees, Japanese, Edo period, mid-17th century; pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, colors, and gold on paper (Washington, D.C.: Freer Gallery of Art, F1962.30).

Join us on Zoom for a discussion of the film Edo Avant-Garde with curator Rachel Saunders and director Linda Hoaglund, presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection.

Edo Avant-Garde (2019) reveals the story of how Japanese artists of the explosively creative Edo period (1615–1868) pioneered innovative approaches to painting that many in the west associate most readily with so-called modern art of the 20th century. Through groundbreaking interviews with scholars, priests, art dealers, and collectors in Japan and the United States, the film explores how the concepts of abstraction, minimalism, and surrealism are all to be found in Edo painting. The film’s exquisite cinematography and outstanding original soundtrack, composed in response to individual paintings, present a remarkable immersive experience of some of Japan’s most celebrated and yet least-filmed paintings, many of them outside traditional museum and gallery settings. Simultaneously dynamic and mesmerizing, at its heart Edo Avant-Garde offers a unique opportunity to look closely and see differently.

This conversation will take place online via Zoom. Free admission, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

Edo Avant-Garde will be available to stream for free through the Harvard Art Museums from Friday, February 5 to Friday, February 12. Upon registration, you will receive a link and password to access the film. We encourage you to view the film in advance of the discussion! The film is also available to rent through the Pacific Film Archive at the Berkeley Art Museum (BAMPFA). Please click here for further details.

If you have any questions, please contact am_register@harvard.edu.

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Distributed by Yale University Press:

Rachel Saunders, ed., Catalogue of the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art (Cambridge: Harvard Art Museums, 2021), 264 pages, ISBN: 978-0300250909, $65.

The sophistication and variety of painting in Japan’s Edo period, as seen through a preeminent US collection.

Over more than four decades, Robert and Betsy Feinberg have assembled the finest private collection of Edo-period Japanese painting in the United States. The collection is notable for its size, its remarkable quality, and its comprehensiveness. It represents virtually every stylistic lineage of the Edo-period (1615–1868)—from the gorgeous decorative works of the Rinpa school to the luminous clarity of the Maruyama-Shijo school, from the ‘pictures of the floating world’ (ukiyo-e) to the inky innovations of the so-called eccentrics—in addition to sculpture from the medieval and early modern periods. Hanging scrolls, folding screens, handscrolls, albums, and fan paintings: the objects are as breathtaking as they are varied. This catalogue’s twelve contributors, including established names in the field alongside emerging voices, use the latest scholarship to offer sensitive close readings that bring these remarkable works to life.

Rachel Saunders is the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Associate Curator of Asian Art at the Harvard Art Museums.

Film | Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Posted in films by Editor on February 22, 2020

From the official website for the film, which opened in France last fall:

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu, directed by Céline Sciamma and starring Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel, 120 minutes, 2019.

France, 1760. Marianne (Noémie Merlant) is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), a young woman who has just left the convent. Because Héloïse is a reluctant bride-to-be, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse’s first moments of freedom. The portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love.

Winner of a coveted Cannes prize and one of the best reviewed films of the year, Portrait of a Lady on Fire solidifies Céline Sciamma as one of the most exciting filmmakers working in the world today. Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel turn the subtle act of looking into a dangerous, engrossing thrill, crafting the most breathtaking and elegant performances of the year. To watch Marianne and Héloïse fall in love is to see love itself invented onscreen.

Television | Helen Mirren to Play Catherine the Great

Posted in films by Editor on August 3, 2019

Coming this fall, from HBO:

Oscar-winner Helen Mirren will lead miniseries Catherine the Great as the tumultuous monarch and politician who ruled the Russian empire and transformed its place in the world in the 18th century. The four-part historical drama [directed by Philip Martin] will follow the end of Catherine’s reign and her affair with Russian military leader Grigory Potemkin [played by Jason Clarke] that helped shape the future of Russian politics. Mirren, who won an Academy Award for embodying Queen Elizabeth in The Queen, offered her remarks on the project: “She rewrote the rules of governance by a woman, and succeeded to the extent of having the word ‘Great’ attached to her name.”

Catherine the Great is the latest project in the partnership between HBO and Sky (the network behind The Young Pope) and will begin filming later this year. It is produced by Origin Pictures and New Pictures and will be made available on HBO in the US and distributed to Canada through Bell Media. It will also be available air on Sky Atlantic, NOW TV in the UK and Ireland, and on Sky Atlantic in Italy, Germany, Austria and Spain.

Exhibition | Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor

Posted in exhibitions, films, lectures (to attend) by Editor on May 6, 2019

Press release for the exhibition:

Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 24 May — 22 September 2019

Curated by Jennifer Tonkovich

William Hogarth, Gin Street, 1750–51, red chalk, some graphite, on paper, incised with stylus (New York: The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased by Pierpont Morgan in 1909).

The Morgan Library & Museum announces a new exhibition of satirical drawings and prints by renowned artist William Hogarth (1697–1764). Best known for his humorous political commentary, Hogarth’s work engaged a broad audience and agitated for legislative and social change. His intricate drawings and richly anecdotal scenes depict the ills and injustices of eighteenth-century urban life, exploring the connections between violence, crime, alcohol abuse, and cruelty to animals. He hoped his graphic work would amuse, shock, and ultimately edify his audience. Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor tells the story of Hogarth’s iconic images and the social realities of life in Georgian London that inspired him to advocate for reform through popular works of art. It is the first show at the Morgan devoted to this artist, whose style was so influential in British art that the word ‘Hogarthian’ remains a recognizable way of describing works of satire.

Featuring over twenty works, the show investigates Hogarth’s creative process and examines his embrace of humor, highlighting the Morgan’s exceptional cache of preparatory drawings for his two most acclaimed print series from 1751: Beer Street and Gin Lane, and The Stages of Cruelty. Hogarth’s prints documenting the dangerous impact of the gin craze, Beer Street and Gin Lane, generated popular support for the 1751 Gin Act and other reform efforts, while the Stages of Cruelty reflects the growing anxiety about episodes of human brutality in London. Included in the show are the only other two known studies related to the Stages of Cruelty; these works reveal the complex generative process of the series. Also on view are drawings from The Royal Collection Trust that represent Hogarth’s first and last forays into satire.

Fiercely independent, Hogarth was driven to innovate in order to elevate the status of British art, creating new genres and modes of expression in his painting, printmaking, and drawing. His compositions are rich with narrative detail. It was his adoption of such ‘low’ subjects, no less than his use of humor, that led him to struggle to be taken seriously throughout his career.

“William Hogarth’s works should be enjoyed for their artistry, humor, and activism, and as such hold a special place in our drawings and prints collection,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the museum. “The artist was a keen observer of his city, and his visual anecdotes were a brilliant means of communicating to a wider public.”

“Looking closely at Hogarth’s passion for socially relevant subjects reveals the challenges he faced in being known as a satirical artist,” said Jennifer Tonkovich, Eugene and Clare Thaw Curator of Drawings and Prints. “I think our current appetite for satire allows us to appreciate Hogarth’s tremendous intelligence and ambition in constructing narratives that he hoped would change the world around him.”

S E L E C T E D  P R O G R A M M I N G

Laurel Peterson, Crafting Cruelty: Hogarth’s Innovative Drawing Methods
Tuesday, June 18, noon

William Hogarth achieved substantial artistic and commercial success in his lifetime, both as a printmaker and as a painter. Despite his enduring fame, Hogarth’s drawings are today little known and rarely studied. Laurel Peterson, Moore Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Drawings and Prints, will offer new insights into Hogarth’s practice as a draftsman, shedding light on the evolution of his drawing style and the role played by drawings in the development of his most iconic satirical prints. Co-sponsored by the Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation.

Hogarth’s Gin Craze Festival
Friday, July 19, 6:00pm

Join us for an evening of revelry inspired by the Gin Craze of the 1750s! Enjoy gin-inspired bites and craft cocktails at Morgan Café and curatorial gallery talks at 6:00 and 7:30pm in the exhibition Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor. At 7:00pm we will screen the 1946 film Bedlam, which was inspired by William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress.

Bedlam, directed by Mark Robson (1946, 79 minutes)
Friday, July 19, 7:00pm

In 1760s London, an actress campaigns to reform a horrific hospital for the insane, but instead finds herself committed to the institution by the corrupt head of the asylum. Starring Boris Karloff and Anna Lee, Bedlam was the last in a series of stylish horror films produced by Val Lewton for RKO Radio Pictures.

Meredith Gamer, Hogarth: Cruelty and Crime
Thursday, 12 September, 6:30pm

Meredith Gamer, Assistant Professor of Art History at Columbia University, will explore the origins, evolution, and multi-layered meanings of William Hogarth’s The Four Stages of Cruelty (1751). A tale of neglect and abuse, murder and punishment, the series was—by eighteenth-century standards—one of Hogarth’s ‘lowest’ works. Paradoxically, however, it is also one of his most ambitious, for it aims to combat some of our most basic human frailties through the medium of art. Co-sponsored by the Sir John Soane’s Museum Foundation.

 

 

Thomas Chippendale: Silent ‘Biopic’, ca. 1925

Posted in films by Editor on November 13, 2018

During the 300th anniversary of Thomas Chippendale’s birth, we might also mark his 1779 death (he was buried in the grounds of St Martin’s in the Fields on 13 November) by attending to this film, recently discovered by Katie Hay (see below for a link with more information). CH

In 2017 a set of film canisters were rediscovered in the V&A stores, which turned out to contain 1920s silent ‘biopics’ of the furniture designers Thomas Chippendale and Thomas Sheraton. Both films are imaginative re-enactments of scenes from their lives. They were probably made for the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1925. The Chippendale film is particularly ambitious, charting his rise to prominence and major commissions. A cast of character actors in 18th-century costumes perform on studio sets dressed with antique furniture, and out on location. It includes scenes from two moments in his career: the first in 1760, when he was elected as a member of the Royal Society of Arts, and the second in 1772, the date of his major commissions for the actor David Garrick at Adelphi Terrace and for Edwin Lascelles at Harewood House in Yorkshire. The films were transferred to the British Film Institute and are shown courtesy of the BFI National Archive.

Katie Hay, writing for the V&A Blog (7 August 2018) provides the full story of the discovery of the films with additional information about their 1920s’ context.

New Book (and Film) | Peterloo

Posted in books, films by Editor on October 4, 2018

From Head of Zeus Books:

Jacqueline Riding, Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre (London: Head of Zeus, 2018), 400 pages, 400 pages, ISBN: 978-1786695833, £30.

Manchester, August 1819: 60,000 people had gathered in the cause of parliamentary reform. To those defending the status quo, the vote was not a universal right, but a privilege of wealth and land ownership. To radical reformers the fundamental overhaul of a corrupt system was long overdue. The people had come to hear one such reformer, Henry Hunt, from all over Lancashire, walking to the sound of hymns and folk songs. By the end of the day fifteen of them, including two women and a child, were dead or mortally wounded, and 650 injured, hacked down by drunken yeomanry after local magistrates panicked at the scale of the meeting. The British state, four years after defeating the ‘tyrant’ Bonaparte at Waterloo, had turned its forces against its own people, as they peaceably exercised their liberties.

Dr Jacqueline Riding’s compelling book ties in to Mike Leigh’s forthcoming film Peterloo, for which the author was historical advisor, in advance of the bicentenary of Peterloo in 2019.

Jacqueline Riding is author of the award-winning Jacobites: A New History of the ‘45 Rebellion. She is a consultant for museums, galleries and historic buildings, and an historical adviser on feature films.

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According to Wikipedia, the film is “scheduled to be released in the United Kingdom on 2 November 2018, by Entertainment One, and in the United States on 9 November 2018, by Amazon Studios.”

Exhibition on Screen | Canaletto & the Art of Venice

Posted in exhibitions, films by Editor on July 24, 2017

As noted at Art Daily (23 July 2017) . . .

Exhibition on Screen open its fifth season with Canaletto & the Art of Venice, an immersive journey into the life and art of Venice’s famous view-painter.

No artist better captures the essence and allure of Venice than Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto. Despite Canaletto’s close relationship with the city in which he lived and died, the world’s largest collection of his works resides not in Italy, but in Britain as part of the Royal Collection. In 1762, George III purchased almost the entire collection amassed by Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice and Canaletto’s principal agent.

Exhibition on Screen’s latest release will grant unique access to the Royal Collection’s exceptional holdings of Canaletto’s work, much of which is on display as part of the exhibition Canaletto & the Art of Venice at The Queen’s Gallery in London (19 May — 12 November 2017). The remarkable group of over 200 paintings, drawings, and prints on display offer unparalleled insight into the artistry of Canaletto and his contemporaries and the city he became a master at capturing. The film also offers the chance to step inside two official royal residences—Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle—to learn more about the artist and Joseph Smith, the man who introduced Canaletto to Britain.

From London, Canaletto & the Art of Venice travels to the great Italian city to explore the origins of Canaletto’s art. Whilst appearing to be faithful representations of the city, Canaletto’s skill came from his manipulation of reality. He moved buildings around or opened up vistas to create the perfect composition, and his paintings of Venice were highly sought after by Grand Tourists. His playful imagination extended into a new genre in which he excelled. The capriccio combined real and fantasy architecture into imagined views. In this sense, Canaletto is more than a topographical artist—he is a master storyteller.

Cinema-goers will embark on their very own 21st-century Grand Tour, visiting the sites enjoyed by their 18th-century counterparts and immortalised in Canaletto’s views—from the Rialto Bridge to the Piazza San Marco, and the Palazzo Ducale to the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Guided by Royal Collection Trust curators and the world’s leading experts in Venetian history, the film is not only a wonderful way to see the exhibition, but an opportunity to get closer to Canaletto and the city that inspired him.

Earlier films from Exhibition on Screen are now available for purchase here»

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Film | La Mort de Louis XIV

Posted in films by Editor on June 22, 2016

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La Mort de Louis XIV, directed by Albert Serra with Jean-Pierre Leaud, Patrick D’Assumcao, Marc Susini, Irene Silvagni, Bernard Belin, and Jacques Henric. Capricci Production, 112 minutes.

August 1715. After going for a walk, Louis XIV feels a pain in his leg. The next days, the King keeps fulfilling his duties and obligations, but his sleep is troubled and he has a serious fever. He barely eats and weakens increasingly. This is the start of the slow agony of the greatest King of France, surrounded by his relatives and doctors.

The agony of Louis XIV starts on August 9th 1715, and lasts until September 1st. It marks the end of a personal reign that lasted 72 years—the longest in French history. The of official diary of the Health of the King, which was held by its successive doctors, reveal that Louis XIV had a fragile health and almost died on numerous occasions: from syphilis at the age of  five, from a maligned fever at thirty-five, from a fistula at forty-five, and from diabetes with gangrene complications at seventy. This time, at the start of August 1715, Louis XIV suffers from an embolism in his leg due to cardiac arrhythmia, which will start the gangrene.

The press kit is available as a PDF file here»

From Boyd van Hoeij’s review (19 May 2016) for The Hollywood Reporter:

tumblr_o6yhhsmVyr1rw4bsao1_1280The good news is that The Death of Louis XIV (La Mort de Louis XIV) isn’t only the ultra-arthouse director’s first feature in which he works with professional actors instead of amateurs, but it’s also by far Serra’s most accessible work to date. Buyers and programmers familiar with the auteur will of course understand this hardly puts the film, essentially a death-chamber piece, in Avengers territory, though commercial prospects are certainly better than usual.

The film’s only exterior sequence comes at the very start, as the 76-year-old Louis XIV (French New Wave legend Jean-Pierre Leaud) surveys his famous gardens at Versailles, which were partially constructed during his 72-year reign. He’s in a proto-wheelchair because his leg already hurts and it certainly can’t be a coincidence that the monarch’s overlooking his estate in the twilight hours before retiring to the palace, a place he’ll only leave again a fortnight later, a dead man.

For almost the entire film that follows, Serra keeps the viewers inside the king’s bedroom, with practically no expeditions to even the adjacent room and corridors. The claustrophobic setting within what viewers presumably know is a vast expanse of real estate (which in turn was a tiny fleck of property within the Kingdom of France), is clearly meant to humanize the man who believed he ruled France by divine right but who, in his waning days and hours, looked just like millions of others on their deathbed.  .  .

The full review is available here»

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Saving Mr. Turner’s Country Retreat

Posted in films, on site by Editor on November 3, 2014

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With the UK release of Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner, the Turner House Trust hopes to raise the profile of the painter’s house in Twickenham, which badly needs restoration. From the press release (14 October 2014) . . .

There cannot be many people who are unaware of the imminent general release of Mike Leigh’s award-winning Mr Turner, the biographical film of one of the supreme masters of landscape, England’s JMW Turner. What is less widely known is that Turner might have pursued a different career as an architect and that he designed and built a country villa for use by himself and his father. Completed in 1813, Sandycombe Lodge near the Thames between Richmond and Twickenham, was Turner’s retreat to escape the hectic London art world and the hurly-burly of his own household.

Mike Leigh together with actors Timothy Spall, highly praised for his portrayal of Turner, Paul Jesson as Turner’s father and Nick Jones as Sir John Soane, visited this three-dimensional Turner creation in the early stages of their work on the film.

Although the film is set later in Turner’s life, the director and actors wanted to learn as much as possible about the man behind the pictures. From here he would sketch along the Thames on foot, fish on the river and occasionally entertain his friends including Sir John Soane, architect and fellow-fisherman, whose influence is apparent throughout Sandycombe.

Grade 2* listed Turner’s House is largely unspoilt apart from some later additions, but seriously threatened by damp and long neglect it is now on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk Register and badly in need of restoration.

Turner’s House Trust is appealing to the nation for help to save it from dereliction. “With additional damage caused by extreme weather conditions in recent years, this is now urgent. We have generous promises of grants and funding, which we must match in order to proceed,” said Catherine Parry-Wingfield, chairman of Turner’s House Trust. “With every pound we are closer to saving this Turner ‘treasure’ for future generations, but we still have a long way to go. We hope that, as this new film will no doubt inspire people to visit the artist’s wonderful masterpieces in our galleries, they will also support a lasting legacy for his country home to be enjoyed by future generations.”

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Note (added 7 January 2016) An update on the project is available here: Farah Nayerijan, “An Effort to Save J.M.W. Turner’s Country House,” The New York Times (4 January 2016).

Film | National Gallery

Posted in films, museums by Editor on November 2, 2014

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Frederick Wiseman’s new documentary from Zipporah Films has its US premier in New York this month at Film Forum (November 5–18), with the director himself appearing at several of the early screenings (November 5, 7, and 8). The DVD release is scheduled for early 2015.

Frederick Wiseman, National Gallery (Zipporah Films, 2014), 181 minutes.

London’s National Gallery, one of the world’s foremost art institutions, is itself portrayed as a brilliant work of art in this, Frederick Wiseman’s 39th documentary and counting. Wiseman listens raptly as a panoply of docents decode the great canvases of Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Turner; he visits with the museum’s restorers as they use magnifying glasses, tiny eye-droppers, scalpels, and Q-tips to repair an infinitesimal chip; he attends administrative meetings in which senior executives do (polite) battle with younger ones who want the museum to become less stodgy and more welcoming to a larger cross-section of the public. But most of all, we experience the joy of spending time with the aforementioned masters as well as Vermeer and Caravaggio, Titian and Velázquez, Pissarro, and Rubens and listen to the connoisseurs who discourse upon the aesthetic, historical, religious, and psychological underpinnings of these masterpieces.

More information is available from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).