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Five paintings that really should be movies

Post #972 • March 19, 2007, 1:17 PM • 22 Comments

Picking up the ball. Hey, it's Monday.

Balthus: La Rue. David Lynch directs.

David Park: Bus Stop. Starring Adrien Brody.

Lucien Freud: Painter and Model. Starring Tilda Swinton.

Hiroshige: People on a Bridge Surprised by Rain.

Decamps: The Monkey Painter. Pixar produces, Clint Eastwood directs; I see a sort of The Agony and the Ecstacy meets Fistful of Dollars meets Planet of the Apes.




March 19, 2007, 2:40 PM

If a monkey really created a painting, what would it go for in today's market and what style would it resemble?



March 19, 2007, 2:46 PM

Seriously though, how could you make a painting into a movie? Unless it surrounded the making of that painting or the artist himself. Or would it be an interpretation of what is going on within the canvas? or an abstract mood piece inspired by one.

I know a lot of hollywood cinematographers grab inspiration from paintings.

Anyone ever see Kurosawa's "dreams" with Marty Scorsese as Van Gogh? Bizarre.



March 19, 2007, 3:41 PM

In the 50s and 60s there was a fad for paintings painted by monkeys. they were sold as novelties. They look like Abstract Expressionist paintings (what else?) and were an implicit satire on that style. There are collectors of these pictures and they can sell in the thousands, especially those painted by a monkey named "Congo".



March 19, 2007, 4:00 PM

A painting by "Congo":
Congo was the name of a chimpanzee who learned to paint on paper and canvas, under the aegis of zoologist, ethologist, and surrealist painter Desmond Morris. He was most productive in the late 1950s. His style has been identified with abstract impressionism.

Reactions of contemporary art critics to his paintings ranged from scorn to skepticism. However, Pablo Picasso is said to have hung a painting of Congo's in his studio.

Bizarrely, Congo's paintings have outsold works by Renoir and Warhol in a recent auction. American collector Howard Hong recently purchased three of Congo's works for US$26,000.



March 19, 2007, 5:41 PM

Didn't DeKooning famously say "That's one talented monkey"?


Rene Barge

March 19, 2007, 5:58 PM

I cozzy up to the screen with a cold beer, and it's not quite often I get to do this, and this is the post I get.

At least the last post, "Road," had me rushing to study a plate, #69, from Los Caprichos titled "Sopla." Young boys are the object of a thousand obscenities...

I think I'm going to go have coffee!



March 19, 2007, 6:47 PM

Susan Seidelman made a short film The Dutch Master (27min), in 1994, it was nominated for an Oscar as the Best Short Film, Live Action

The plot centered around a basically normal New York woman who visits an art museum and becomes fascinated by a painting depicting a 17th-century household. It becomes an obsession and she imagines herself walking into the world of the painting…

I helped build the "17th-century Dutch interior" set and the scenic managed to make a not so little "Dutch master painting", from its photograph in just 3 days.

So… I had to wrap my head around this...

- The set designer designed a set from a composite of Dutch period paintings.
- We used his drawing to build and decorate a set of the period Dutch room.
- The actors were staged in the set we made, and a photograph was taken.
- This photograph was made into a painting.
- The painting was filmed in a set, with the illusion of the actress ‘walking into the painting’
- Which of course was only the set we made, and the whole thing was caught on film



March 19, 2007, 7:06 PM

Franklin, try to resist this sort of gee-whiz silliness, regardless of its source (or maybe because of its source). There's no need to discuss Goya's dark paintings every day or anything, but this is the kind of stuff I'd expect to see in, oh, Ocean Drive (or New Times, but perhaps that's too cruel).



March 19, 2007, 8:34 PM

I dunno, Jack. You never know what might come up out a discussion of monkey paintings.


Marc Country

March 19, 2007, 9:14 PM

Can sculpture be made into a film, or perhaps would opera be the more appropriate translatory medium? I was looking at images of the Laocoon group today... maybe Wagner could have done something with that.
Any thoughts, Jack?



March 19, 2007, 9:31 PM

Whaddabout all those Japanese robot movies?


Rene Barge

March 19, 2007, 9:35 PM

There is a sculpture, made to indulge popular taste in France at the time; dramatic subject matter with an erotic element, titled Gorilla Carrying off a Woman by Emmanuel Fremiet, 1887. Perhaps this sculpture spawned the movie King Kong? It is a hideous sculpture.



March 19, 2007, 10:14 PM

Spawned off the uber-dumb idea of making a movie about Thomas Kinkade, this whole idea is also dumb.

As a philosophical exercise we are meditating on media mediating differences in the degree of dumbness, it is meta dumb. One could say, dang! it’s darn dumb, a delightfully dopey diddling direction doing da vinchy.

The best things about movies is that they turn the lights out first.


Yule Heibel

March 19, 2007, 10:47 PM

What an interesting exercise (and not that easy to commit to, either...).

I just wanted to point out that Balthus's The Street would come with its own novel (English translation, paperback version) on which to base the screenplay: it's used for the cover illustration of Georges Perec's 1978 novel, La vie, mode d'emploi (which has an English wikipedia page here.



March 19, 2007, 10:50 PM

Ware put together a damn nice group of horizontal paintings at Dorsch. I'm surprised that nobody has commented on this yet.



March 20, 2007, 5:49 AM

i agree with jm, especially the two on the end walls. The one on the left was very lively with a hint of styll- something to go with, possible. On the right wall, the best imo, just horizontal bands of clean color, very eloquent.



March 20, 2007, 8:55 AM

I tried to see the show at Dorsch this past Friday evening, since I'd missed the opening, but the gallery was closed.



March 20, 2007, 9:39 AM

I was actually at the Gallery for a few hours Friday night and had a few people come by. Did you knock or ring the bell? I had only stepped out only for a breif moment to see the show at Deluxe Art, but left someone at the Gallery while I was out. There were no cars out front of the Gallery so it looked closed, but I was there.

Sorry, but the neighborhood is still a little scary for me to just leave the big door wide open. I am usually there, so feel free to ring the bell.



March 20, 2007, 11:52 AM

I almost rang the doorbell, but there was no sign of activity, so I figured there was nobody home.



March 26, 2007, 5:10 PM

Anyone care to flip this around and choose a movie that should be a painting. Name a movie and a painter of your choice. My knowledge of painters isn't as strong as most of yours, but I'll take a shot.

E.T. by Norman Rockwell.

2001 (the ending) by Jackson Pollack and/or Mondrian.

Blue Velvet by Hopper.

Wizard of Oz by Van Gogh (imagine those fields of Poppies)

Citizen Kane by Andy Warhol.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg by Macke.


Marc Country

March 27, 2007, 10:45 AM

ET's a little spacey for Rockwell. I think he'd have done better with Forrest Gump.

And I think Hopper is already IN Blue Velvet...

But, back to sculpture... The Rock Drill by Epstein would likely have made a better science fiction movie that a sculpture. That might be true of most futurist work, though.



March 27, 2007, 11:11 AM

I'm just thinking that look or merriment and wonder when Elliot is flying on his bicycle would have fit Rockwell quite nice, but I agree with the Forrest Gump/Rockwell comment.



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