Sunday, March 30, 2014

Matisse's illustrated books on view at the Legion of Honor

Henri Matisse was 60 years old when he began to create original illustrations for livres d’artiste (artists’ books). By the time of his death, 25 years later, he had produced designs for 14 fully illustrated books, several of which are considered 20th-century masterpieces of the genre. View seven of these rare books, including Poésies (1932) and Pasiphaé (1944), in conjunction with the special exhibition "Matisse from SFMOMA" at the Legion of Honor.

More at:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekend Picks for March 28 - 30

The cosmic Buddha Ratnasambhva, approx 1275 - 1350

Asian Art Museum: "Enter the Mandala" - a small but powerful exhibit of 14th-century Buddhist paintings which are aligned in a 2nd floor gallery with the cardinal directions.

 The cosmic Buddha Vairochana, Tibet, Approx 1100- 1250

The space is transformed into an architectural mandala. Those who walk the patterned floor have a chance to experience the images in three dimensions and to dwell in the midst of the cosmic symbols and be transported to another world.

 Impressionists and more at:

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Salon Doré to reopen in April

Of of all the museums in the Bay Area, the Legion of Honor gives the strongest sense of being both French and 18th century. Of course it is not; the Legion's beautiful Beaux arts building was build to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I.

But so much in the collection is French and is reminiscent of the arts of living in 18th century France (if you were an aristocrat or/ had lots of money).

There is Francois Boucher's delicious painting of Marie-Louise O’Murphy, one of the many young mistresses of Louis XV.

Their collection of 18th century English and French porcelain

Prints such at Jean-Guillame Moiette's "Sacrafice to Diana." Pen and brown ink with white heightening on blue paper (later 18th century). Below

Or this anonymous drawing of a graceful beauty, red ink on cream laid paper.

Denis-Jean de La Villgueray may have been one of the urbane elite that visited the salon; we will never know.

Jean-Antoine Watteau (French, 1684–1721). The Foursome (La Partie Quarrée), ca. 1713. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, Mildred Anna Williams Collection. 1977.8 

Ranked among the greatest artists of France, Jean-Antoine Watteau’s enigmatic themes were popular, influential, and widely collected during his lifetime. Born in Valenciennes, then part of Flanders, his intensely personal style was informed by the Venetian masters, whom he studied in Paris, and by a deep affinity for music and theater.

In this painting, known as a fête galantes, the artist evokes an arcadian dreamland of music, conversation and amorous dalliance. Although the work’s title can be defined simply as a party with two couples, the risqué implications of The Foursome remains unchanged from the eighteenth century. This union of observation and fantasy, plus ambiguity of intent and erotic connotations is characteristic of Watteau’s best work.
Dalliance in the salon? Mais bien sûr! As well as politics, witty repartee and all the arts that made this era so delicious for the privileged.

But, lacking Dr. Who's telephone box or a time travel machine,  being at the Legion and walking through the elegant rooms is one of the only ways we have to mentally reconstruct that world at it's most gilded and sumptuous.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rudolf Bauer at Weinstein Gallery and more

I see that the works of Rudolf Bauer will be opening at Weinstein on March 15 - looks like a fascinating exhibit.

Realm of the Spirit runs March 15 to April 20 at Weinstein Gallery (383 Geary Street). Bauer runs March 18 to April 19 at the San Francisco Playhouse (450 Post Street).

Bunnies at Sorokko Gallery, nightlife at the museums and Pi day:
Realm of the Spirit runs March 15 to April 20 at Weinstein Gallery (383 Geary Street). Bauer runs March 18 to April 19 at the San Francisco Playhouse (450 Post Street).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bay Area art picks for the week of March 10

 Zachary Adams. Tiger Dance Party. Creativity Explored.

It's lions and tigers and bears (Oh my) at Creativity Explored, elephants at the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), paintings inspired by ancient Greece and Rome at the Italian Cultural Institute and an ongoing series of lectures and art demonstrations in honor of International Women's Week at the San Francisco Public Library.  The only thing the art viewer will need is good walking shoes and an extra dose of energy.