Thursday, November 24, 2011

"I don't like Cubism," he said...

We were talking about the current show of Georges Braque's work at Acquavella Galleries in New York, which is breaking attendance records.  There have been many big-name shows (that once would have been undertaken by museums) sponsored by galleries; we saw one, last year, of Monet's late large works, at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea. I read that William Acquavella is bringing these works to the public in his usual risk-taking vein:  early on, he brought Sotheby's in to help him buy the entire contents of Pierre Matisse's gallery (Pierre Matisse was Henri's son and, as you can imagine, his collection was unparalleled) -- there were nearly 4,700 works.  Later, Acquavella visited Lucien Freud and bought all of his portraits of the performance artist Leigh Bowery, at a time when no-one thought a naked man could be a painterly subject.  Here is a photograph of Lucien Freud and his model, with the famous "Seated Leigh Bowery" painting, in process:

I love the Leigh Bowery series; he is one of my odalisques (see post from October 6).  But I digress... my husband says he doesn't like Cubism... we talked a bit... (there are many "Cubisms."  I talked about the phases here on August 1).  My theory is that Picasso and Braque worked their way through the discovery of picture planes and all-sides-at-once and the pre-eminence of the line and came out on the other side, Picasso would continue to change styles, Braque would continue to refine a single way of seeing.  I think these later paintings, from 1936, (these are in the Acquavella show) gain from Braque's Cubist experimentation, but are wonderfully complete in themselves. The picture plane is filled -- and yet it still has air and light. Here is "Still Life with Guitar I (Red Tablecloth)":

And here is "Woman at Easel (Yellow Screen)":

You can see the echoes of the flattened and tilted planes, the patterned, collage-like background, and yet there are sources of light here that were not present in the early Cubist works. And by the way, my husband really likes these!!! Go and see the Acquavella show for me... it closes November 30! And Happy Thanksgiving!

No comments:

Post a Comment