The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The View From My Pillow: A Personal Reflection

Alois Kasimir (1852-1930) Nude Boy Playing Flute


Each morning when the mutts decide it's time to get up, I turn my head and take in a simple tableau of drawings and bronzes set on an oak library table against the nearest wall. After having my heart restarted on three occasions last summer, having an electronic device embedded in my chest to restart it when it goes into overdrive again, I have started to really appreciate the very fact that I can open my eyes each morning and take in a small part of my collection of artworks. Each day waking up one more time becomes a reality that that particular day is indeed a celebration. That string holding the life force within each of our fragile bodies is so very delicate and fragile, and so taken for granted, a fact we sometimes overlook in our day to day rush. In this world that is in the process of going mad out of its mind we each must have some small event or place each day where we can take refuge for some kind of peace and self resolve. For me, it's in the beautiful creations of the various artists who produced the works around my home.

My mind is always spinning and thinking and the last couple of days I have been fascinated by the drawing of the young ephebe on the left (see the scanned image below and the photograph above), the Nude Boy playing the flute, by German artist Alois Kasimir (1852-1930). That drawing is actually a great example of the various drawing techniques prevalent in the 19th century academy. Drawing is technically observation, recognition, and translation. It is seeing what is out there on the human form and translating that into lights, darks, and mid-tones, all on a flat surface, in the process fooling the observers eye into believing your creation is reality. As I look at that drawing each morning I am amazed how the artist has managed, from the vantage point and distance of my pillow, to turn pencil marks on paper into three dimensional, fully modeled flesh. As I rise and get closer to the surface of that drawing, the lines that make up all that realistically modeled flesh (lights, darks, and mid-tones) start to become more obvious. The drawing becomes more about lines and less about moulded flesh. There is a point in distance from the surface of that drawing where the observers eye actually begins to complete the transition from line on paper into what appears to be real flesh and bone. I have taken that large drawing and scanned it life sized. I had to stitch the pieces together and because I did not want to damage the drawing further that in the shipping, some of the surface appears blurred so just ignore those areas and concentrate on the central figure itself. Take a look at the close up of the lines in that drawing and see if you can discern the various techniques the artist has used.

That drawing was started by means of a light contour drawing that the artist would go back into and refine in later stages of the drawing process. Three distinct methods of shading were used, often together in the same drawing: (1) hatching, which required the artist to apply distinct parallel strokes to model the form, and if necessary, a second set of strokes at the opposite angle on top, to produce cross-hatching; (2) graining, which means creating solid areas of shade with no separate stroke visible, the inflection of the actual grain of the surface of the paper showing through; and (3) stumping, which made use of a rolled-up piece of paper or leather to blend lights and darks. Graining and stumping were frequently taught as different forms of shading, to be distinguished from hatching. Contour, shading, and hatching, which comprised a three part vocabulary of representation. In effect, the model was viewed and transcribed in terms of separable pictorial elements, and each element carried as part of its meaning the academic context from which it was derived. Thus when viewed in context, hatching was learned from copying engravings and carried a reminder of two-dimensionality even as it was used to describe volume. Conversely, shading came into its own when copying from plaster casts; it continued to suggest smooth volume even when laid out in flat areas on the sheet of paper. The concept of half-tones in drawing was also learned from copying casts, which to the unpracticed eye simply look white under illumination and dark in shadow. If you look carefully you can see lost and found line in that drawing also. It has in reality become a symphony of line.

The aim of academic instruction that led to the creation of Kasimir's Nude Boy with Flute was to encourage students to see the not immediately apparent intermediate tones between light and dark, so as to create a more graduated effect of relief. A drawing like Kasimir's has made use of all these techniques to present the nude figure as if it were a kind of modeled sculptural relief when in truth it is nothing less than cleverly applied lines on a flat piece of paper.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

French Atelier Nude: 19th Century French Studio Male Nude

Well the auction ended with 59 total bids and a not so surprising total of Euro 2,210.00 ($3,135.78). What a beautiful work and what a beautiful addition to someone's art collection.
Just when my bank balance is approaching zero, look what pops up on eBay France! Holy Cow! The hand of a true master at work. Just makes you want to go out and get stinking drunk! To paraphrase Rick: "Of all the lousy gin joints in the world and you have to show up in mine!" I am sure it will look good on somebody's wall.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Active Auction Lots from Germany and Hungary: July 2011

I spent some time this weekend browsing through current Auction lots in Germany and Hungary for some new figurative offerings. I captured a few from Galleries also. Amongst these offerings are a few non-nudes but if you have been following the blog for any length of time then you know how impressed I get with brush work and the glorious technical use of color in a painting. So when I see something impressive I grab it for you. I found an original beautiful drawing by German Artist Ida Teichmann, she has been listed in my blog before, which is presently for sale at auction. Enjoy.

Unknown Danish Artist, early 20th century.. Nackter Knabe am Strand

Bruno Walpoth (1959- ) Waiting for Snow

18th Century Italian School.... Nackter Eremit

Dr. James Pittendrigh MacGillivray (1856-1917) Pen & Ink, Crucifixion Scene

Adolf Hiremy Hirschl (1860-1933) Nude Boy , Undated

Unknown.... Akstudie im Klassischen Stil, Kohlezeichnung

Josef Ehinger (1898-1955) Stehender Mannlicher Akt

Endre Rozsda (1913-1999) The Pebble Collector

Franz von Bayros (1866-1924) ... From the series Nacht

Franz von Bayros (1866-1924) Temptation ... 1921

Franz von Stuck (1863-1928) Fruhling

Adolf Frey-Moock (1881-1954) Frau mit nacktem Oberkorper mit 2 Weissen Tauben und Putto

Adolf Frey-Moock (1881-1954) Junger Knabe

Eduard von Genhardt (1838-1915) Romerin mit Statuette

H. Jedlitschka ... Stehender WeiblicherAkt

Hans Thoma (1839-1924) Two Boys

Max Hofer ...... Liegender weiblicher Akt

Max Hofer ..... Female Nude

Bela Ivanyi-Grunwald .... Nudes

Jozef Molnar (1821-1899) Spring

(?) Kranenberg ... The Holy Family

Franz L. Legrand ... Faustkampfer in bewegter Haltung

Lipot Herman (1884-1972) Allegory of Love

Lipot Herman (1884-1972) Bathers

Louis Moe (1857-1945) Playing Faun

Ludek Marold (1858-1898) Tennis Players

Hungarian Artist, circa 1920........ Female Nude

Maria Szantho (?) Nude in Blue

Max Klinger (1857-1920) Ex Libris design

Miklos Mihalovits (1888-1960) Nude at Boathouse

Miklos Mihalovits (1888-1960) Female Nude

Miklos Mihalovits (1888-1960) Sunbather (1)

Miklos Mihalovits (1888-1960) Sunbather at Balaton

Munich School circa 1900.... Landschaft im Vordergrund Faun

Otto Greiner (1869-1916) Female Nude

Otto Schmidt-Hofer (1873-1925) Archer

Pal Udvary (1900-1987) Fishermen on Balaton

richard Muller (1874-1954) Agony ... 1913

Arne Siegfried (1893-1985) Female Nude , 1932

Sir William Orpen (1838-1931)... Female Nude

Ida Teichmann (1875 - ?) Zartliche Umarmung