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Roundup: The Visual and the Unspoken

Post #1724 • November 10, 2014, 6:39 PM

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Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche by Edvard Munch, c. 1906; Munch-museet, Oslo, Norway; De Agostini Picture Library/Bridgeman Images

Suggest, never describe proclaimed the Symbolists, a motley group of poets, essayists, artists, and philosophers active during the final decades of the nineteenth century. Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944) was one of this number along with writers Maurice Maeterlinck, August Strindberg, Henrik Ibsen, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, and Charles Baudelaire and artists Paul Gauguin, James Ensor, Gustav Klimt, and Edouard Vuillard, among others. Munch's c.1906 portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, which appears in our fall issue, offers a unique interpretation of the Symbolist aesthetic as well as Nietzsche's ideas about art and physiology and the eternal return. Leann Davis Alspaugh on Munch's portrait of Nietzsche

Rembrandt: The Late Works, an exhibition now on view at London's National Gallery, will linger long in the mind of anyone who has the pleasure to see it. Bringing together approximately ninety paintings, prints, and drawings Rembrandt made at the end of his life, it reveals a great artist working with unprecedented technical command and emotional power, even as the world closes in around him. Andrew Butterfield on Rembrandt

At MoMA, in the first rooms of the exhibition, where smaller works dominate, there is an attempt to arrange some of the compositions as they were situated by Matisse's assistants, under his direction, in his apartments. This is followed by the extraordinary blue nudes, which this exhibition (here as well as at the Tate) collects together for the first time. One then proceeds to the refurbished The Swimming Pool (1952) that once wrapped around three walls and over the doorway of one of the artists' rooms in the Hôtel Régina in Nice. Joe Fyfe on Matisse

In a statement about her life and work written a few years back, Dozier Bell started off by highlighting her roots in Maine, which stretch back seven generations, and the role they play in the way she perceives the world. Physical isolation, the cultural tendency to reticence, and the prominence of the natural world in day-to-day experience, Bell noted, fostered habits of thought in which the visual and the unspoken carried a great deal of weight. Carl Little on Dozier Bell

Despite its inclusion of more than 130 works on paper and canvas, the ravishing retrospective Egon Schiele: Portraits, occupying the third floor of New York's Neue Galerie, leaves you hungry. Not for more art, because there's plenty of that, but for something else, something to make whole an ineffable absence — a deficit attributable not to the artist, nor to the exhibition or curator, but to time and fate. Thomas Micchelli on Egon Schiele

The 1950 Chaim Soutine retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art was arguably the most influential museum exhibition of that decade. Numerous artists, including Willem De Kooning, Jack Tworkov, and Milton Resnick, found in Soutine's paintings the “qualities of composition" and "attitudes towards paint" they were wrestling with in their own work. 1 Perhaps more importantly, Soutine connected their concerns with the tradition of western art, something particularly important to de Kooning. Brett Baker on Soutine

The return of Adam to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is an exciting moment in the cultural scene in New York — and in more ways than one. The statue, by the Venetian Renaissance master Tullio Lombardo, is the first free-standing male nude of the Common Era. The pedestal on which it was resting at the Met collapsed in 2002, and the six-foot-three-inch tall statue shattered. It will go back on display Tuesday. Putting it back together that took more than a decade. The New York Sun on Tullio Lombardo

Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) painted things as well as anybody. One of the great artists of Spain's Golden Age, he gave baskets, fruits, cups and plates rock-solid form. Cloth was his specialty. When Zurbarán's Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose was exhibited at the Frick in 2009, the highlight of Masterpieces of European Painting from the Norton Simon Museum, his simple still life bewitched museumgoers, catching the viewer's eye and not letting go. Xico Greenwald on Zurbaran

The Art Institute of Chicago is about to lead us into Temptation—in this case, the dystopian world of James Ensor, his artwork and some newly disclosed letters that the famous Belgian artist wrote describing his struggles in gruesome detail. Ellen Gamerman on James Ensor

Irish-American artist Sean Scully, 69, has some health advice for older fathers: if you engage in trampoline jumping with your progeny, watch your back. Mary M. Lane on Sean Scully

After a first visit, every tourist to a famous place begins to turn from the hot spots, the three-star must-sees and the crowds—to yearn for intimacy, something out of the way. Nowhere is this quest more natural or essential than in Venice. Forget St. Mark's Square, the Doge's Palace and the Rialto. Forget Murano and its glass. Look for the big rewards that come from small packages. Willard Spiegelman on Vittore Carpaccio

Matisse was the king of color. I first met him in February 1946 with Picasso, when he was living at his house, Villa le Rêve, in Vence [France]. I expected his house to be bright, but the shutters were pulled shut so as to let in just the smallest amount of light. It was a complete surprise, this darkness. In the first room, when we entered, there was a big cage of birds. I thought, Poor little birds that are not allowed to see the sun. Françoise Gilot on Matisse

Frank Stella has been around a long time: a working artist in New York since 1958 and a part of the conversation, albeit in varying degrees, since the following year, when his sober Black Paintings, with their wide black stripes alternating with unpainted lines of raw canvas, first shocked the art world. His cool, seemingly unemotional approach teamed with his Andover-Princeton pedigree to make him an intellectual of the downtown scene. As he has aggressively, continually reinvented himself, from pared down and rational to flamboyant and sensual, from two dimensions to three—eventually producing a massive, if uneven, body of work—Stella has championed art as a cerebral endeavor. He can be a polarizing figure, but no one has ever challenged his mental rigor. Julie L. Belcove on Frank Stella

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