Andreas Feininger

Andreas Feininger, “Dragon Fly Wing”, 1937, Photogram

Andreas Feininger, born in 1906, is the oldest son of famous painter Lyonel Feininger, and belongs to a generation of artists who, following the First World War, discovered photography anew and developed novel photographic approaches. Andreas Feininger’s lifework has been defined by two main thematic areas: cityscapes and nature studies. The architecture and life in his adopted hometown, New York, have captured imaginations for decades. And again and again, Feininger captured the poetry of the Manhattan skyline, its urban canyons, its skyscrapers, its bridges and elevated trains in images rich with atmosphere. With equal enthusiasm he also dedicated himself to nature photography. His images, which capture in minute detail insects, flowers, mussels, wood, and stone, bestow an almost sculptural character upon natural forms.

Andreas Feininger died on February 18th, 1999 at the age of 92 in New York. He lived for photography and is remembered as one of the most significant artists in the history of photography.

Note: A photogram is a photographic image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a light-sensitive material such as photographic paper and then exposing it to light. The usual result is a negative shadow image that shows variations in tone that depends upon the transparency of the objects used. Areas of the paper that have received no light appear white; those exposed for a shorter time or through transparent or semi-transparent objects appear grey, while fully-exposed areas are black in the final print.

Anna Hyatt Huntington

The Sculptural Work of Anna Hyatt Huntington

A master of naturalistic animal sculputes, Anna Hyatt Huntington was born in 1876 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Adiella Hyatt, an amateur landscape artist, and Alpheus Hyatt, a professor of paleontology and zoology at Harvard University and MIT. During her childhood years, she developed a passion for drawing and an extensive knowledge of anatomy and animal behavior.

After studying several years to become a concert violinist, Huntington switched her studies to sculpture under portrait sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson at his Boston studio. Her first one-woman show, consisting of forty animal sculptures, was held in 1900 at the Boston Arts Club. During this year, Huntington produced her first commissioned work; two Great Danes cut from blue granite for wealthy Boston merchant Thomas Lawson.

After the death of her father and marriage of her sister, Huntington  left Boston, moving to New York City. She attended the city’s Art Students League, studying under marble sculptor George Grey Barnard and Hermon MacNeil, whose sculptures concentrated on American Indian subjects. Huntington studied briefly under Gutzon Borgium, the designer of Mount Rushmore, but left after criticizing his knowledge of animal anatomy. Choosing to be more independent, she started spending most of her time at the Bronx Park Zoo and circuses to model animals. The result of her observations there were her first major works: the 1902 equestrian work “Winter Moon” and the 1908 “Reaching Jaguar”.

Anna Huntington shared a studio with sculptor Abasteria St. Leger Eberle for several years, collaborating in partnership on works for two years. Two of their collaborative works were: “Men and Bull”, which won a bronze medal at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and “”Boy and Goat Playing” which was exhibited at the gallery of the Society of American Artists in 1906. Between 1906 and 1910, Anna Huntington, confident of her skills, traveled several times between New York, Paris and Naples, working on commissions and exhibiting her works.

After an early model of a Joan of Arc equestrian statue gained honorable mention in the 1910 Paris Salon, Huntington received a commission by the City of New York to produce a life-sized bronze statue from the model. After extensive research on medieval armor at the Metropolitan Museum and a search for the perfect horse model, Huntington finished the large-scale “Joan of Arc” clad in a full suit of medieval armor. The unvieling occurred on December 6th of 1915, marking it as New York City’s first monument made by a woman, and the first monument to feature a real woman of history as its subject.

In 1923 Anna Huntington married her husband, railroad heir and philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington, who supported her work both financially and emotionally. Anna Huntington continued to work on her sculptures, winning new commissions including the equestrian work “El Cid Campeador”, the cast-aluminum “Fighting Stallions” at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina, and “Diana” installed in 1948 at the National Academy of Design. 

In the late 1930s, Anna and Archer Huntington donated their Fifth Avenue townhouse to the National Academy of Design. A few years later, as Archer Huntington became quite ill, they donated their Haverstraw, New York, estate and zoo to the state of New York. In 1931, Anna and Archer Huntington established  Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in the United States. 

Following Archer Huntington’s death in 1955, Anna Huntington returned to full-time art work, despite being in her 80s. Between 1959 and 1966, she completed five more equestrian statues, including one of the late nineteenth century writer and activist  José Marti, one of a young Abraham Lincoln, and one of a young Andrew Jackson. On Huntington’s ninetieth birthday in 1966 she was still working, reportedly on a bust of the composer Charles Ives. Around the end of the 1960s, Huntington finally retired from creative work. She died on October 4, 1973, in Redding, Connecticut, following a series of strokes at the age of 97.

Note:  The Brookgreen Gardens contain many of Huntington’s works and many figures by other artists, the acquisitions being a boon to struggling artists of the Depression era. Now a National Historic Landmark, it is the most significant collection of figurative sculpture, in an outdoor setting, by American artists in the world. It also has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and contains thousands of acres of Wildlife Preserve.

Calathea Majestica

Photographer Unknown, Calathea Majestica

The tropical plant Calathea Majestica is native to South America’s countries of Colombia and Venezuela. Calathea plants are part of the family of plants known as Marantaceae, which is a species of flowering plants from tropical areas such as Africa and South America. Calathea are famous for their wide, green, colorful leaves with stripes of very light green. In nature, these plants, being very tolerant of low light, are found in jungles and at the base of trees

 

Dolphin Sails

Photographer Unknown, Title Unknown, (Dolphin Sails)

“Nowhere else than upon the sea do the days, weeks and months fall away quicker into the past. They seem to be left astern as easily as the light air-bubbles in the swirls of the ship’s wake, and vanish into a great silence in which your ship moves on with a sort of magical effect.”
Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea

Edward Julius Detmold

Wasps by Edward Julius Detmold

Edward Julius Detmold, “Common Wasps”, From “Fabre’s Book of Insects”, 1935, Tudor Publishing Company

Painter, printmaker and illustrator Edward Julius Detmold was born in London in 1883 along with his twin brother Charles Maurice Detmold. Provided patronage by their uncle Edward Shuldhan, the two brothers studied painting and printmaking under the tutelage of their uncle Henry Detmold, also an artist. In 1898, at the age of 13, the twins exhibited watercolors at the Royal Academy, and issued a portfolio of color etchings that same year that quickly sold out and brought them notoriety. In 1899 Edward and Charles began illustrating books jointly, begining with “Pictures from Birdland”, which was commissioned and published by J.M. Dent. This was followed by a portfolio of watercolors inspired by Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”.

The brothers’ tandem success, however, was ended with the sudden death by suicide of Charles in 1908. Edward Detmold threw himself into his work, beginning with an illustrated ” Aesop’s Fables” that included 23 color plates and numerous pen and ink drawings. This began a decade of intense productivity, in which the Detmold’s execptional eye for the detail and complexities of nature allowed him to achieve his place among the best illustrators of the Victorian era.

Edward Detmold continued to illustrate numerous books, including Maurice Maeterlinck’s “The Life of the Bee”, Camille Lemonnier’s “Birds and Beasts”, his own “Twenty Four Nature Pieces”, and Jean-Henri Fabre’s “Book of Insects”. However by 1921, after witnessing the horrific results of World War I and feeling a disillusionment with his own art, he had reached the end of his zenith. Though Edward Detmold went on to illustrate one last edition of “The Arabian Nights” in 1924, he had effectively ended his career with the publishing of a literary book of aphorisms entitled “Life”. He retired to Montgomeryshire, England, and died in 1957, also from suicide.

The Dragon Tree

Photographer Unknown, The Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco)

The Dracaena draco, or the Dragon tree, is a subtropical tree in the genus Dracaena, native to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira, and locally in western Morocco. It has been introduced to the Azores. The tree  is a nmoncot with a branching growth pattern currently placed in the asparagus family. When young it has a single stem. At about ten to fifteen years of age, the stem stops growing and produces a first flower spike with white, lily-like perfumed flowers, followed by coral berries. Soon a crown of terminal buds appears and the plant starts branching. Each branch grows for about ten to fifteen years and re-branches, so a mature plant has an umbrella-like habit. It grows slowly, requiring about ten years to reach 1.2 metres (4 ft) in height but can grow much faster.

Victoria Crowe

 

Victoria Crowe, “Ferragosta: Fireworks and Crocosmia Lucifer”, 2017, Oil on Linen, 22 x 24 Inches

Born in London, Victoria Crowe trained at the Kingston School of Art and the Royal College of Art. She moved to Scotland in 1968 and began teaching at Edinburgh College of Art. Crowe is a painter of still life, interiors, landscapes and portraits, and works in oil and in watercolour.

Crowe’s  work is often autobiographical and visits to Italy, Madeira, Egypt and India have influenced her work. She has several portraits in the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection, the National Portrait Gallery of London, and the Royal Scottish Academy..

Summer Storm

Photographer Unknown, (The Storm Upon Us)

“By early evening all the sky to the north had darkened and the spare terrain they trod had turned a neuter gray as far as the eye could see. They grouped in the road at the top of a rise and looked back. The storm front towered above them and the wind was cool on their sweating faces. They slumped bleary-eyed in their saddles and looked at one another. Shrouded in the black thunderheads the distant lightning glowed mutely like welding seen through foundry smoke. As if repairs were under way at some flawed place n the iron dark of the world.”
Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei, “He Xie (River Crab)”, 2010, Porcelain

The installation “He Xie” consists of 3,200 porcelain crab sculptures. They were created after Chinese authorities ransacked and destroyed Weiwei’s studio in 2010. Following that event, a feast of real river crabs was hosted by Weiwei, who was unable to attend, due to his house arrest. The term “He Xie” is a homophone for “harmonious” in Chinese and has also become a term for internet censorship.