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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Gustave Baumann at the Pasadena Museum of California Art

Gustave Baumann, long a favorite of mine, just 'happened' to have an exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of Art where I had gone to see the Joseph Kleitsch show that I had read about in American Art Review. If you don't subscribe to this magazine (artists in particular) I highly recommend it for learning about not just American Artists, but the history of American Art through our founding. It is a magazine that compiles shows going on all across the US. I have learned so much over the years from this well written magazine. For instance, there was another article in this latest issue on Maynard Dixon and a show in Reno, NV of all places, currently going on. Since we were driving, I had hoped to get to that show as well, but I am grateful that I got to Pasadena, so I knew two stops, out or our way,would be pushing it.

For those who do not know Gustave Baumann's work a brief introduction. He was born (1881-1971) and raised in Germany. His family moved to the USA when he was 10, but he studied art and wood block print making back in Munich, Germany. He settled in Santa Fe, NM in 1918 thinking Taos was too crowded! His color wood block prints from NM are perhaps his best known. He also built marionettes.
Gustave's printing press.
There were a few of his gouache studies included. I had not realized that he did these studies for future block prints. The simple graphic shapes show that he is thinking all the time about how it will work in a block print.
I took this photo of one of his blocks (the finished print is below the tools) to show not only the size but the 'yellow' denoting the color of the block. Good reminder! Some of his prints had, and I am guessing, 8 individual blocks for color per print. I can only image having to register that many blocks on however many prints he was making! I struggled with 4 and my foray into block printing was nowhere near the level he took it to.
The tools of the trade. I liked the turquoise handles...
Gustave did love to do trees. I had not seen the mighty redwood print before. They showed this particular composition in each of its separate colors. I can't remember now if it was 6 or 7.
One of his early works from Germany. Simple, with only a few colors (3?) but I liked it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Reading on a Jet Plane

Reading On A Jet Plane, 20x16, oil on panel

Sung to the tune of "Leaving on a Jet Plane, Don't know when I'll be back again..." I could not help myself with this particular title.

Another more challenging painting for me as it is back lit which makes the figure a silhouette. And most importantly, painted from a 4x6 photograph as this image was taken BEFORE digital photography!  I just never got around to painting it before, being spoiled with technology. It doesn't seem that long ago but counting back, it has been 16 years since our family went to Germany. This is my son, with his sister by the window. It was to be part of a series I wanted to do on people reading. I think I have done a number of pieces on this theme but never have they been shown together as they do span 20 years now.
Lost in a Good Book, 18x24, oil on canvas, 1996ish with a few updates along the way
For giggles and grins, I will add a few others from this drawn out series. The above painting is of my daughter at 7 or 8 years old. I originally painted it sometime in the late 90's. I did work on it again after that.
@ The Metropolis, 20x16, oil on canvas, 2009
Another one of my daughter. She had agreed to be my model so I could paint her plein air for the Denver Plein Air Event back in 2009. I did a 9x12 while she patiently read a Charles Dickens novel (Great Expectations?) all for a cup of coffee. I did this larger piece in the studio and it won Best of Show at the 'Own an Original' juried show at the Littleton Museum. It also sold at that show, which is always a wonderful thing for an artist. The gentleman who bought her said she looks like his daughter.
The Butcher's Son, 6x6, oil on panel, 2012
To throw in a non-family member, here is a young boy reading at the Dijon, France Saturday market. His parents had a butcher shop and he was perched between to cases of prime meats of all kinds.
Liz Reading, 20x16, oil on canvas, 2009?
Here is another one of my daughter when she was in college. It may be 2009 as well (no date on the back). I did this one from life sitting on the couch opposite her in our living room.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Joseph Kleitsch at the Pasadena Museum of California Art

Joseph Kleitsch; who the heck is he? Most of us have never heard his name before. I sure hadn't. He was born in Hungry and immigrated to the US at the turn of the last century. He lived in Denver (who knew?), Cincinnati and settled in Chicago by 1912. He was a very well known portrait painter and made a decent living at it. I have included some portraits for that reason. He was called to California to do a few portraits of Hollywood starlets, and after enjoying the warm climate there, moved to Laguna Beach in 1920. (He became friends with Edgar Payne) There, he started to do landscapes, and noticing how fast Laguna Beach was changing, started to document those changes. He also loved painting the Missions of the area. After his untimely death in 1931 he was largely forgotten. This is the first exhibit of his works since his death. So happy that he has come to light again.

The Pasadena Museum of California Art has no permanent collection. It holds exhibits of artists who lived and/or painted in California. This show is up through August 6. A must see if you are in the LA area. The icing on this cake was that there was a second show, on Gustave Baumann, as well. I have always liked his work but have rarely seen his prints in person. The exhibit included some of his wood blocks and print proofs. That may be its own post. Stay tuned!
I particularly love the painting above; the commentary on it was that this could be his wife, but more than likely is an 'amour' from his stay in France. No matter; it is a a beautiful tribute not only to her but what a stunning view of the reflected windows and into the room as well.
Another one I liked; Who knows if she is looking at a portrait of herself or if she is evaluating her own work? It is so graphically pleasing overall and I like the color harmony. Joseph's use of windows to frame his subjects was evident in a number of his works.
I cannot remember who this gentleman is. But he looks like a banker. I liked the look on his face.
This is a detail of an early self-portrait of the artist. Who could resist those blue eyes? The commentary said you could tell by his portraits of women that he held them captive with his charm and good looks.

Another early painting from his time in Paris. Not his normal subject but I thought the composition particularly interesting.
 Here is one of his scenes from Laguna Beach. Notice what seems to be dirt streets. This is a crop of the scene. Below is another closer in view to see how he showed how bustling Laguna Beach was becoming in the late 1920's. And a third, closer detail below that one. I noticed a number of loosely, almost nude appearing females in his paintings of Laguna Beach. His later works did get looser with more paint texture.

Last but by no means least, another stunning portrait using the window to frame his subject.