Category Archives: An Artist’s Dwelling

Richard Diebenkorn – An Artist’s Dwelling (10)

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Richard Clifford Diebenkorn Jr. was born on April 22, 1922 in Portland, Oregon. His birth helped to “Keep Portland Weird” as they say. His family moved to San Francisco, California, when he was two years old. He was a wunderkind and was continually drawing from the age of four onward. He worked in hippie-dippie, liberal and idealistic locales ranging from New York City, Woodstock, New York to Albuquerque, New Mexico, Urbana, Illinois and Berkeley, California. Diebenkorn served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943 until 1945 but was stationed in Virginia and Hawaii during those years. His “wartime” work was comprised of vaguely humorous, dark charcoal sketches. He used the time he had while stationed to tour important museum collections and to internalize favorite traits and styles of artists such as Hopper, Matisse, and Gorky.

Richard Diebenkorn in Studio

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 Richard Diebenkorn in his studio by Manitoba Museum of Finds Art

Richard Diebenkorn in his studio by Manitoba Museum of Finds Art
Richard Diebenkorn Negatives or Polaroids
The many emotions, phases and figurative positioning of Richard Diebenkorn via Eye-Likey.

Once the war was over, he moved back West and came to define the California school of Abstract Expressionism of the early 1950s. The field of art was only just “invented” in the 1940’s, in New York City and was still a burgeoning field. Interestingly, for a modern artist, Diebenkorn embraced art’s academic institution, both as a student and teacher, holding numerous professorships all over the Midwest and West Coast. He even studied under the G.I. Bill.

In 2008, when the Obamas first were looking to update the storied White House art collection to include modern art and work by minorities and women, they approached The National Gallery of Art.  A large-scale painting by Diebenkorn titled “Berkeley No. 52” was in the mix.

A painting from Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series.

A painting from Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park series is in this neutral master suite. The interior designer, Douglas Durkin reinvented this San Francisco apartment and allowed it to be dictated by the art: “The interior design is about serving the collection.” Image via Architectural Digest.

Sheila Bridges in Elle DecorA Victorian townhouse  in New York City gets a museum worth update by Sheila Bridges. Artwork in the living room includes, from left, a photo by Mark Heithoff and prints by Richard Diebenkorn and Sonia Delaunay; the zebrawood cocktail table has a stainless-steel base.Image via Elle Decor.

Untitled work by Richard Diebenkorn. Photography by Scott Frances

Playing with architectural right angles, this many-rectangled room features an untitled work by Richard Diebenkorn. Photography by Scott Frances. Image via Architectural Digest.

Room & Board - Diebenkorn

Abstract artist Richard Diebenkorn’s work was an exploration of form, color and poetic metaphor. He combined landscape influence, aerial perspective, and a private, calligraphic language into a dynamic style that engages and excites the viewer. Framed Diebenkorn work “Ocean Park 116”, 1979 via Room & Board.

Ocean Park Series 23, Diebenkorn

Patsy Tarr in front of ‘Ocean Park Series 23’ by Richard Diebenkorn in the living room. The bronze coffee table is by Alberto Giacometti. I’ll take one of each please! Image via New York Social Diary.

Diebenkorn’s compositional strengths gather around distinct, sensually drawn lines. Many of his series feature overlapping, translucent and scraped colors and paint. A process that is discernible to both artist and viewer. Leaving one to wonder what exactly is underneath each layer. It’s hard to describe the artist’s breadth of work the artist created – they are both muted and bright, mechanical and organic, representational and abstract. Some are small, claustrophobic and intimate, others grid-like and huge, echoing with emotion. Regardless of style, his works are powerful investigations between the interaction of space, landscapes, color and light. All somehow yearning and lonely, hearkening on the confusion of a single atom in a large universe.

Richard Diebenkorn in his studio at Main Street and Ashland Avenue in Santa Monica, ca. 1970–71. Photo by Richard Grant. Courtesy of the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation and Richard Grant

Richard Diebenkorn in his studio at Main Street and Ashland Avenue in Santa Monica, ca. 1970–71. Photo by Richard Grant. Image from the Richard Diebenkorn Foundation and Richard Grant.

Diebenkorn c. 1980's

Diebenkorn c. 1980’s via Eye-Likey.

Diebenkorn by Lyon

Richard Diebenkorn  by Fred Lyon, 1958. Image via 1stdibs, here.

Richard Diebenkorn

The “Ocean Park” Series Via Lisa Call.

Over the years his palette changes: flesh tones and grays are replaced by kitten-tongue pinks and blues, and then by deeper and darker contrasts of yellow, poppy orange and grass green. “The idea is to get everything right—it’s not just color or form or space or line—it’s everything all at once.” —Richard Diebenkorn

How can you live inside the whitewashed, soft pastel, multifaceted, and transient world of Richard Diebenkorn? Take heed:

Diebenkorn_InteriorDesign

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K.V. (The Walkup)

 

Ben-Day Dots – An Artist’s Dwelling (9)

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The Ben-Day dots printing process, named after illustrator and printer Benjamin Henry Day, Jr. and is similar to Pointillism (Think of  Georges Seurat‘s The Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and how it changes from an amalgam of tiny dots to a fully shaded image based on one’s proximity to the canvas). Depending on the effect, color and optical illusion needed, small colored dots are closely spaced, widely spaced or overlapping to create the illusion of shadow, color, and dimension. These dots differ from the printing process in newspapers (ever notice those little dots on the edges of a page) – those are halftone dots or dot gain – and differ from the Ben-Day dot in that they come in many sizes, circumferences, spacing and diameters. Ben-Day dots are able to express an image while all dots on the page remain the same size.  Most people are familiar with Ben-day dots without even realizing. Why? The simple answer is Western-style comic books from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Puma 917 – Popart Pack – Roy Lichtenstein

Hi! I am a Ben-Day dot, all the circles above are the same size!

Hi! I am a Halftone dot, I help to create images with dots of different sizes. 

Pulp comic books used benday dots in primary colors to inexpensively create the secondary colors such as flesh tone. The dotting technique was also an inexpensive way for artists and printers to create shading and depth. Ben-Day dots were considered the hallmark of American pop-artist Roy Lichtenstein, who enlarged and exaggerated them in many of his paintings and sculptures. In addition to appropriating comic books’ melodramatic content, Lichtenstein manually simulated the Benday dots used in the mechanical reproduction of images. One is not supposed to actually “see the dots” in images however, in Lichtenstein’s paintings the dots are over-sized and a central tenant. In this way, the painter is taking something robotic and manual (and hidden) and forcing to be the organic, man-made focus of the canvas.

 Roy Lichtenstein, Drowning Girl, 1963

The artist himself explains, “I was interested in the fact that the cartoon faces and so forth were so unreal and that we took them, generally for realistic. If you go through the magazine, the girl looked pretty in the picture, you know. Then when you really look at what you’ve got—black lines and red lips—that there isn’t anything in this picture that’s real. I was interested in say, the style of, say, a pretty girl in a comic book, or a hero, whatever it was manufactured out of a kind of idealism as to what people should look like, modified by economies of the printing process.”  There is also a dark-humor inherent in Lichtenstein’s ability to make-fun of a character’s death, or the dramatic narrative of a comic book, by oversimplifying it in large format.

ROY LICHTENSTEIN’S STUDIO, AS PHOTOGRAPHED BY HORST; TAKEN FROM ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST’S “CELEBRITY HOMES II”, 1981.

Comic books and printing techniques are often very focused on properly recreating a human character by using mechanical means. However, I am more interested in how these “dots” can recreate the oeuvre and warmth of a living space. In Interior Series by Roy Lichtenstein the idea of a “home” is explored and mocked. The prints of the Interior Series are banal domestic environments inspired by furniture ads he found in telephone books. The Interiors are based on advertisements, most of which Lichtenstein cut from the Yellow Pages – further challenging the idea of and blurring the lines between “low art, commercial art, and high art”.

 

Photographer Laurie Lambrecht worked as a part-time assistant to Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein from 1990 to 1992, helping him to inventory his studio in preparation for his 1993 retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan.

The Interiors, one of the artist’s major final series, portray colorful magazine spreads of rooms for purchase. With the artist’s usual dry wit, they depict domestic spaces, occasionally occupied by Nudes from his other late series. his body of colorful paintings and prints reflects the excess of the 1980s. I was lucky enough to view one of these LARGE format paintings in person at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and let me tell you they are massive, mural sized pieces. They are almost the size of the room they are trying to portray and give the effect of actually being in a real room (which is incredible seeing as though they are all on a 2d plane). They hit you in the face like Whaam!

La Sortie by Roy Lichtenstein. Image found HERE.

Image found HERE. 

Roy Lichtenstein’s Interior with Skyline. I spy a Saarinen design.

Wallpaper with blue floor interior by Roy Lichtenstein. Image found HERE.

Modern Room by Roy Lichteinstein. Image found HERE. I spy mid-century modern and an homage to Warhol.

The Den by Roy Lichtenstein. Image found HERE.

Image from Roy Lichtenstein: Interiors, by  Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Fitzpatrick, Dorothy Lichtenstein printed by Hudson Hills, 1999., pg. 58

The Living Room by Roy Lichteinstein. Image found HERE.

Roy Lichtenstein – Interior with Red Wall – lot 47 – $7,026,500, est. $8 to 12 million via ArtNet. Roy Lichtenstein’s 10 foot tall Interior with Red Wall (1991), as seen above, sold to a telephone bidder for $6.2 million ($7,026,500 with fees) against a pre-sale estimate of $8 million-$10 million. I spy lots of Knoll inspired design items. Zap! Bang! Whoosh!

So how can you live in this mechanically produced Ben-Day dot world of excess, consumerism, pop and color? Have no fear! Zing! Swoosh! Zap! Hint: stick to CMKY or RGB tones, meaning Yellows, Reds, Green, Blue, and other primaries. Look here:

 

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Let the Rumpus Begin – An Artist’s Dwelling (8)

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Today’s post is in honor of Maurice Sendak, prolific artist, illustrator, and author. Sendak is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, first published in 1963. He is from Brooklyn, NY and was born to Jewish-Polish immigrant parents. During his childhood several of his family members were still in Europe and died during the Holocaust. He decided to become an illustrator after viewing Walt Disney’s film Fantasia at the age of twelve. To read a more complete life story and obituary, go to the New York Times, HERE. 

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Author/illustrator Maurice Sendak standing by an life-size scene from his book “Where The Wild Things Are” at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Credit: James Keyser/Time Life Pictures/Getty

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Actress Catherine Keener and director Spike Jonze on Maurice Sendak and Wild Things Way. The intersection commemorates where the book was written in Greenwich Village.  Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 was officially declared “Where The Wild Things Are Day” in New York City. Photo by Julienne Schaer courtesy of NYC & Company, found HERE. 

He has been quoted, during a PBS Interview, as saying, “My gods are Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Mozart. I believe in them with all my heart.” Elaborating further, he has explained that reading Emily Dickinson’s works helps him to remain calm in an otherwise hectic world: “And I have a little tiny Emily Dickinson so big that I carry in my pocket everywhere. And you just read three poems of Emily. She is so brave. She is so strong. She is such a passionate little woman. I feel better.” His work is just weird enough to be off-kilter!

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An organic and tree based canopy just like Max would have! Found HERE. 

Max can’t have all the fun, here’s a room for the Maxine in your life. Under the apple tree canopy bed  features a modern romantic Scandinavian design from Sleep Therapy. I would feel like a fairy or nymph in this woodland fairy tale scene.  Image found via Etsy, HERE.

Found in Belsay Hall in Northumberland. In 2007, the abandoned Belsay castle housed an exhibition called “The Picture House”.  Artists, film directors, actors and musicians were invited to fill Belsay Hall’s empty rooms with installations to delight and amuse the visitor. The above image is from Geraldine Pilgrim who imaged a tree growing directly through a bed. 

Verdant green walls, a convex mirror, branches, stars, and rustic wood make this feel like a hidden childhood jungle. Image found HERE, originally from Toula’s, a home-and-garden boutique that is now closed in Athens, Georgia

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In his New York Times obituary it is noted that Sendak’s work was the subject of critical studies and major exhibitions (recently at The Jewish Museum, in NYC); in the second half of his career, he was also renowned as a designer of theatrical sets. His art graced the writing of other eminent authors for children (Little Bear) and adults, including Hans Christian Andersen, Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, William Blake and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

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In the 70’s some really hip parents allowed this fantastic Where The Wild Things Are room-sized mural. The paint even camouflages the door and armoire!

Whole tree architecture is a form of building refined by Roald Gundersun that works with the local ecology and economy to allow buildings to be sustainable. To read more go HERE.

 Designed by Turkish Designer Asli Tunca.

Oh, to build a childhood fort, to live in a secret and private treehouse! Must have a password to enter and NO BOYS ALLOWED. Image found HERE. 

Or perhaps you like your tree canopy beds to be pine wood and a bit more minimal and sophisticated? Image found HERE.

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His work was dark, mangled, odd and yet somehow gentle and nostalgic. He Sendak grew up  lower class, Jewish,  and gay — permanently shunted to the margins of things. His images and text both celebrate and chastise humanity – the judgement on those with AIDS, the expectations of childhood, homeless children, the anxiety of separation and loss during childhood, and the dingy nightsscapes of New York. Sendak explained all with a sense of sharp humor, surrealism, observations, and imagination. His work has touched millions of children, adults, and those in between. Let the wild rumpus never end!

“And he sailed off through night and day

and in and out of weeks

and almost over a year

to where the wild things are.

There, Max leads the creatures in a frenzied rumpus before sailing home, anger spent,

to find his supper waiting, and it was still hot”

Sendak explains, “And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming wild things”, perhaps through a fantasy room of our own we can tame our “wild things” as well.

NOW HOW TO TAME THESE THINGS AND LIVE IN A WILD RUMPUS?

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