Leave a comment

Alberto Giacometti’s “The Chariot” – How an Artist Creates

New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30pm ET


Looking at Giacometti’s sculpture, The Chariot, we ask, “Where did this idea come from, Wwat influenced its creation?”  The creative process of an artist remains a mysterious thing beyond normal comprehension. Even when described directly by the artist, the process defies “rational” comprehension.


When we think of Giacometti’s sculptures, we think of them as grand, as almost life sized. Indeed,  the “Walking Man” series is just that – large, elongated, and somewhat abstract. However there was a significant period in the sculptor’s life when all the sculptures he made were tiny, so tiny that Giacometti carried several of them them in a match box at the same time!

According to the biographer, James Lord, Giacometti’s quest or compulsion at that time was due, in part, to his need to diminish the human figure to

“the least common denominator of the visible. It also withstood [his] destructive impulse which reduced most of the others to dust. All the sculptures made by Giacometti during the wartime years in Switzerland were tiny save one.That one is almost sized … The Chariot is the name the sculptor gave to this work.”   – James Lord, Giacometti: A Biography, 227 – 228, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1983).


As described by  ArtNet,

Alberto Giacometti, Chariot. Inscribed with the signature A. Giacometti, with foundry mark Alexis Rudier Fondeur Paris and numbered 2/6. Conceived and cast in 1950. Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's.

Alberto Giacometti, Chariot. Inscribed with the signature A. Giacometti, with foundry mark Alexis Rudier Fondeur Paris and numbered 2/6. Conceived and cast in 1950.
Photo: Courtesy Sotheby’s.


“Giacometti’s Chariot (conceived and cast in 1950) is a unique painted cast depicting a goddess perched  atop a chariot with large wheels. According to Sotheby’s, it is one of only two examples that remain in private hands and has been in the same private collection for over four decades. It will be the first Chariot to appear at auction in more than 30 years. Though Sotheby’s has not released a firm estimate, Simon Shaw cited the $104.3 million price achieved for Homme qui marche I in 2010, and said: “we believe that Chariot could sell for in excess of $100 million.” Ibid.

“In 1947, Giacometti told his dealer Pierre Matisse: “I saw the sculpture before me as if already done.” In addition to Surrealism, the artist was also inspired by antiquity, including an Egyptian chariot he had seen at the Archeological Museum in Florence. Six casts of Chariot were made during the artist’s lifetime, according to Sotheby’s. Giacometti embellished the patina of certain bronzes by painting directly on the sculpture’s surface. The cast for sale is one of only two painted examples.”


After all this explanation, perhaps the best we can say is that The Chariot speaks for itself. There is one at MoMA

H/T ArtNet

Leave a comment


Remember to Click to start the Video

New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday

The Philadelphia Museum of Art   presents PAUL STRAND: MASTER OF MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY
October 21, 2014 – January 4, 2015

“This major retrospective presents the work of a critical figure in the history of modern art, American photographer and filmmaker Paul Strand (1890–1976), whose archive of nearly 4,000 prints stands as a cornerstone of the Museum’s collection. Emphasizing the influential artist’s most important projects from the 1910s through the 1960s, the exhibition surveys Strand’s entire life’s work, including his breakthrough trials in abstraction and candid street portraits, close-ups of natural and machine forms, and extended explorations of the American Southwest, Mexico, New England, France, Italy, Scotland, Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, and Romania.”

Strand, Paul Wall_Street 1915
 Paul Strand Wall Street 1915
As described by Martha Chahroudi, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 230.
“Paul Strand’s 1915 photograph of Wall Street workers passing in front of the monolithic Morgan Trust Company can be seen as the quintessential representation of the uneasy relationship between early twentieth-century Americans and their new cities. Here the people are seen not as individuals but as abstract silhouettes trailing long shadows down the chasms of commerce.
The intuitive empathy that Strand demonstrates for these workers of New York’s financial district would be evident throughout the wide and varied career of this seminal American photographer and filmmaker, who increasingly became involved with the hardships of working people around the world. In this and his other early photographs of New York, Strand helped set a trend toward pure photography of subject and away from the pictorialist” imitation of painting. Wall Street is one of only two known vintage platinum prints of this image and one of the treasures of some five hundred photographs in the Museum’s Paul Strand Retrospective Collection.”


Rather than to keep on writing about Paul Strand’s work, it’s better to actually see it.
Leave a comment

“THE HAND OF THE DANCER” * – Cave Paintings in Indonesia Change Ideas about the Origin and Age of Oldest Art

New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30pm ET

* “THE HAND OF THE DANCER” title supplied by Jack Dziamba, author – whitherthebook.

Telegraph Video

Maxime Aubert looking at cave art

Cave paintings change ideas about the origin of art

The artworks are in a rural area on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi.

Until now, paintings this old had been confirmed in caves only in Western Europe.

Researchers tell the journal Nature that the Indonesian discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.

Handprint 1

“Australian and Indonesian scientists have dated layers of stalactite-like growths that have formed over coloured outlines of human hands.

Early artists made them by carefully blowing paint around hands that were pressed tightly against the cave walls and ceilings. The oldest is at least 40,000 years old.”

Wild Pig
“This painting, from Bone, is of a variety a wild endemic dwarfed bovid found only in Sulawesi, which the inhabitants probably hunted

There are also human figures, and pictures of wild hoofed animals that are found only on the island. Dr Maxime Aubert, of Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, who dated the paintings found in Maros in Southern Sulawesi, explained that one of them (shown immediately below) was probably the earliest of its type.”

Oldest Art
“At the top of the worn painting is a faint outline of a human hand. Below it is possibly the earliest depiction of an animal

“The minimum age for (the outline of the hand) is 39,900 years old, which makes it the oldest hand stencil in the world,” said Dr Aubert.

“This find enables us to get away from this Euro-centric view of a creative explosion that was special to Europe.”Prof Chris Stringer Natural History Museum

“Next to it is a pig that has a minimum age of 35,400 years old, and this is one of the oldest figurative depictions in the world, if not the oldest one,” he told BBC News.

There are also paintings in the caves that are around 27,000 years old, which means that the inhabitants were painting for at least 13,000 years.

In addition, there are paintings in a cave in the regency of Bone, 100 km north of Maros. These cannot be dated because the stalactite-like growths used to determine the age of the art do not occur. But the researchers believe that they are probably the same age as the paintings in Maros because they are stylistically identical.

Truly human

Art and the ability to think of abstract concepts is what distinguishes our species from other animals – capabilities that also led us to use fire, develop the wheel and come up with the other technologies that have made our kind so successful.

Its emergence, therefore, marks one of the key moments when our species became truly human.

The dating of the art in Sulawesi will mean that ideas about when and where this pivotal moment in our evolution occurred will now have to be revised.”


“Compare the painting above from Bone with the one immediately below, which is from El Castillo cave in northern Spain, and dated to be 37,300 years old by researchers at Bristol University.”

Spanish Hands

“The Sulawesian and Spanish paintings look very similar, and they are both about the same age.

For decades, the only evidence of ancient cave art was in Spain and southern France. It led some to believe that the creative explosion that led to the art and science we know today began in Europe.

But the discovery of paintings of a similar age in Indonesia shatters this view, according to Prof Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

“It is a really important find; it enables us to get away from this Euro-centric view of a creative explosion that was special to Europe and did not develop in other parts of the world until much later,” he said.

The discovery of 40,000-year-old cave paintings at opposite ends of the globe suggests that the ability to create representational art had its origins further back in time in Africa, before modern humans spread across the rest of the world.”
How can cave pantings, thousands of years, and thousands of miles apart, be so similar?”

H/T Mark Dziamba

1 Comment



New Post Goes up Every Wednesday

The Only Footage of Mark Twain: The Original & Digitally Restored Films Shot by Thomas Edison via Open Culture:

“We know what Mark Twain looked like, and we think we know what he sounded like. Just above see what he looked like in motion, strolling around Stormfield, his house in Redding, Connecticut—signature white suit draped loosely around his frame, signature cigar puffing white smoke between his fingers. After Twain’s leisurely walk along the house’s façade, we see him with his daughters, Clara and Jean, seated indoors. Shot by Thomas Edison in 1909, the short film is most likely the only moving image of Twain in existence.”


Mark Twain is subject of a new Library of Congress publication: via Art Daily:

Mark Twain's America

 “We know Mark Twain as the author of American classics such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and its sequel, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” But in his time, Twain was a controversial satirist and popular public figure who traveled the world and helped heal post-Civil War America with his pithy wisdom, tall tales and humor.

A new work published by Little, Brown and Company in association with the Library of Congress reveals why Twain remains as relevant today as he was in his own time. With a lively narrative and 300 visual gems discovered in the Library’s collections, “Mark Twain’s America: A Celebration in Words and Images” by Harry L. Katz reveals the lasting impact that the author made on American culture—and vice versa. Writing was just one facet of Twain’s rich life. He was also a Mississippi riverboat pilot, a California gold prospector and a public speaker extraordinaire.

Katz shows us the many sides of Twain through rare illustrations, vintage photographs, caricatures and more. The accompanying text, which is enriched with excerpts from Twain’s novels and travel-writing text, puts Twain in historical context. Through letters, political cartoons, photographs and two illustrated timelines, “Mark Twain’s America” offers a unique perspective on the life of one of America’s most beloved humorists and illuminates literary, social and political life in the nation during his time.

Katz will discuss “Mark Twain’s America” at the Library at noon on Oct. 22 in the Mumford Room, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

“Mark Twain’s America,” a 256-page hardcover book, with 300 color and black-and-white images, is available for $40 in bookstores nationwide and in the Library of Congress Shop, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., 20540-4985. Credit-card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557 or www.loc.gov/shop/. “


Hal Holbrook – Mark Twain Tonight

William Gillette – Mark Twain’s Voice


Leave a comment

The Pyramids of Giza – via Street View

Pyramids Night

New Weekly Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30 pm ET

This Blog is devoted to the Book and Fine Art in the New Media, and reviews those sites that use the tools of the New Media to make Art and Literature available to all.

Google’s Street View of the Pyramids of Giza via  makes these spectacular wonders accessible to anyone in the world with an internet connection..

(October 1, 2014)  H/T to today’s GOOGLE Home Page for the following:

The Pyramids of Giza via Street View

Visit the last standing Wonder of the Ancient World


“The Pyramids of Giza were built to survive eternity. So far, they’ve succeeded: the Great Pyramid is the last standing wonder of the ancient world.

The architecture of these structures is so extraordinary that historians are still unsure exactly how ancient Egyptians built them without the help of modern engineering. After 4,500 years of exposure to the elements, the Pyramids still stand like man-made mountains, reflecting the ingenuity of the people who built them. The legacy of ancient Egypt is preserved through these monuments.

Now, with Street View, the Pyramids are preserved in a whole new way. Whether you’re at home, work or school, simply drag your finger or cursor across the screen and let modern technology take you on a 360-degree tour of ancient technology.

Millions of people have traveled down this road to visit one of the most famous landmarks on Earth. In the distance you can see the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure rising like man-made mountains. Explore this place.

Travel back in time

Nearly 5,000 years ago, outside the ancient city of Memphis, Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for their kings.

           These monuments are still standing today in the city of Giza. Zoom in to explore them.

Leave a comment

The Guggenheim Puts 109 Free Modern Art Books Online

The Guggenheim Puts 109 Free Modern Art Books Online

Via Open Culture                                                                                                                                                      New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30pm ET



“Back in January, 2012, we mentioned that the Guggenheim (the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed modern art museum in NYC) had put 65 art catalogues on the web, all free of charge.

We’re happy to report that, between then and now, the number of free texts has grown to 109. Published between 1937 and 1999, the art books/catalogues offer an intellectual and visual introduction to the work of Alexander Calder, Edvard Munch, Francis BaconGustav Klimt & Egon Schiele, Fernand Léger, and Kandinsky. Plus there are other texts (e.g., Masterpieces of Modern Art and Abstract Expressionists Imagists) that tackle meta movements and themes.

Anyone interested in the history of the Guggenheim will want to spend time with a collection called “The Syllabus.” It contains five books by Hilla Rebay, the museum’s first director and curator. Together, they let you take a close look at the art originally housed in the Guggenheim when the museum first opened its doors in 1939.

To read any of these 109 free art books, you will just need to follow these simple instructions. 1.) Select a text from the collection. 2.) Click the “Read Catalogue Online” button. 3.) Start reading the book in the pop-up browser, and use the controls at the very bottom of the pop-up browser to move through the book. 4.) If you have any problems accessing these texts, you can find alternate versions on Archive.org.”

Leave a comment

Extensive Archive of Avant-Garde & Modernist Magazines, (1890-1939), Now Available Online

New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday at 8:30pm ET


 “The successful product of a collaborative effort to establish an Arts Magazine will represent a living community of artists, writers, editors, and other masters of technique who subordinate their individual wills, temporarily, to the will of a collective, creating new gestalt identities from conceptual atoms. As Monoskop—“a wiki for collaborative studies of art, media and the humanities”—points out, “the whole” of an arts magazine, “could become greater than the sum of its parts.” Often when this happens, a publication can serve as the platform or nucleus of an entirely new movement.

Monoskop maintains a digital archive of printed avant-garde and modernist magazines dating from the late-19th century to the late 1930s, published in locales from Arad to Bucharest, Copenhagen to Warsaw, in addition to the expected New York and Paris. From the latter city comes the 1924 first issue of Surrealisme at the top of the post. From the much smaller city of Arad in Romania comes the March, 1925 issue 1 of Periszkóp above, published in Hungarian and featuring works by Picasso, Marc Chagal, and many lesser-known Eastern European artists. Just below, see another Paris publication: the first, 1929 issue of Documents, a surrealist journal edited by Georges Bataille and featuring such luminaries as Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier and artists Georges Braque, Giorgio De Chirico, Salvador Dali, Marchel Duchamp, Paul Klee, Joan Miro, and Pablo Picasso. Further down, see the first, 1926, issue of the Bauhaus journal, vehicle of the famous arts movement founded by Walter Gropius in 1919.”


“The variety of modernist and avant garde publications archived at Monoskop “provide us with a historical record of several generations of artists and writers.” They also “remind us that our lenses matter.” In an age of “the relentless linearity of digital bits and the UX of the glowing screen” we tend to lose sight of such critically important matters as design, typography, layout, writing, and the “techniques of printing and mechanical reproduction.” Anyone can build a website, fill it with “content,” and propagate it globally, giving little or no thought to aesthetic choices and editorial framing. But the magazines represented in Monoskop’s archive are specialized creations, the products of very deliberate choices made by groups of highly skilled individuals with very specific aesthetic agendas.”


“A majority of the publications represented come from the explosive period of modernist experimentation between the wars, but several, like the journal Rhythm: Art Music Literature—first published in 1911—offer glimpses of the early stirrings of modernist innovation in the Anglophone world. Others like the 1890-93 Parisian Entretiens politiques et littéraires showcase the work of pioneering early French modernist forebears like Jules Laforgue (a great influence upon T.S. Eliot) and also André Gide and Stéphane Mallarmé. Some of the publications here are already famous, like The Little Review, many much lesser-known. Most published only a handful of issues.”


“With a few exceptions—such as the 1923 Japanese publication MAVO shown above—almost all of the journals represented at Monoskop’s archive hail from Eastern and Western Europe and the U.S.. While “only a few journals had any significant impact outside the avant-garde circles in their time,” the ripples of that impact have spread outward to encompass the art and design worlds that surround us today. These examples of the literary and design culture of early 20th century modernist magazines, like those of late 20th century postmodern ‘zines, provide us with a distillation of minor movements that came to have major significance in decades hence.”

via Hyperallergic and Open Culture


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 112 other followers

%d bloggers like this: