Trips To the Museum

.An Art Appreciation Blog.
The Painter’s Family, Giorgio de Chirico, 1926
Oil paint on canvas
“In the mid-1920s de Chirico reworked many of the themes of his pre-war paintings in the light of his interest in the art of the old masters. In contrast to their pre-war counterparts, the mannequins in this work have a flesh-like solidity, while their grouping echoes traditional scenes of the Holy Family. The easel and painting stick appear to refer to the artist’s belief in the importance of old-fashioned technical skills. However, de Chirico’s attitude towards tradition and the past was always ambiguous and ironic. The building fragments that emerge from the mannequins’ stomachs, for example, seem vaguely classical but also suggest a child’s building blocks.”

The Painter’s Family, Giorgio de Chirico, 1926

Oil paint on canvas

In the mid-1920s de Chirico reworked many of the themes of his pre-war paintings in the light of his interest in the art of the old masters. In contrast to their pre-war counterparts, the mannequins in this work have a flesh-like solidity, while their grouping echoes traditional scenes of the Holy Family. The easel and painting stick appear to refer to the artist’s belief in the importance of old-fashioned technical skills. However, de Chirico’s attitude towards tradition and the past was always ambiguous and ironic. The building fragments that emerge from the mannequins’ stomachs, for example, seem vaguely classical but also suggest a child’s building blocks.”

Marguerite Kelsey, Meredith Frampton, 1928
Oil paint on canvasTate Modern
“A professional artist”s model in the 1920s and 1930s, Marguerite Kelsey (1908?-1995) was renowned for her gracefulness and ability to hold poses for a long time. Her dress and shoes were chosen and purchased by Frampton for this portrait. They are both classical and, being uncorseted, deliberately modern. The simple, short-sleeved pale tunic dress worn with low-heeled shoes and her straight hair were all essential elements of the fashionable ”garçonne style” created by the couturiers Coco Chanel and Jean Patou from the mid-1920s.”

Marguerite KelseyMeredith Frampton, 1928

Oil paint on canvas
Tate Modern

A professional artist”s model in the 1920s and 1930s, Marguerite Kelsey (1908?-1995) was renowned for her gracefulness and ability to hold poses for a long time. Her dress and shoes were chosen and purchased by Frampton for this portrait. They are both classical and, being uncorseted, deliberately modern. The simple, short-sleeved pale tunic dress worn with low-heeled shoes and her straight hair were all essential elements of the fashionable ”garçonne style” created by the couturiers Coco Chanel and Jean Patou from the mid-1920s.”

Self-Portrait, Christian Schad, 1927
Oil on woodTate Modern
“Schad’s Self-Portrait is a study of thinly-veiled display. The artist’s transparent shirt reveals his chest. He is positioned in front of the woman, but only partially conceals her nakedness. A diaphanous curtain separates them from the city. Schad’s precise realism is loaded with symbolism. A narcissus, indicating vanity, leans towards the artist. The woman’s face is scarred with a freggio, inflicted on Neapolitan women by their lovers to make them unattractive to others. It is a startling emblem of the potential violence underlying male possession of the female body.”

Self-Portrait, Christian Schad, 1927

Oil on wood
Tate Modern

Schad’s Self-Portrait is a study of thinly-veiled display. The artist’s transparent shirt reveals his chest. He is positioned in front of the woman, but only partially conceals her nakedness. A diaphanous curtain separates them from the city. Schad’s precise realism is loaded with symbolism. A narcissus, indicating vanity, leans towards the artist. The woman’s face is scarred with a freggio, inflicted on Neapolitan women by their lovers to make them unattractive to others. It is a startling emblem of the potential violence underlying male possession of the female body.”

Portrait of a Young Woman, Meredith Frampton, 1935
Oil paint on canvasTate Modern
“This work relates to the tradition of full-length portraits of women that is associated in particular with the work of earlier artists, such as Van Dyck and Gainsborough. However, it is executed with a clarity and precision that give it an unmistakeably modern feeling. Frampton said that he made this painting as ‘a relaxation from commissions, and to celebrate an assembly of objects… beautiful in their own right’. The sitter was Margaret Austin-Jones, then aged twenty three. Her dress was made up from a Vogue pattern by Frampton’s mother. The vase, made in mahogany, was designed by Frampton himself.”

Portrait of a Young Woman, Meredith Frampton, 1935

Oil paint on canvas
Tate Modern

This work relates to the tradition of full-length portraits of women that is associated in particular with the work of earlier artists, such as Van Dyck and Gainsborough. However, it is executed with a clarity and precision that give it an unmistakeably modern feeling. Frampton said that he made this painting as ‘a relaxation from commissions, and to celebrate an assembly of objects… beautiful in their own right’. The sitter was Margaret Austin-Jones, then aged twenty three. Her dress was made up from a Vogue pattern by Frampton’s mother. The vase, made in mahogany, was designed by Frampton himself.”

Untitled, Joseph Beuys, 1971
Photograph on canvas.Tate Modern
“Wearing his unmistakeable felt trilby hat, with his fishing vest poking through a luxuriant fur-lined jacket, this large image (over two metres square) shows Beuys at his most iconic. The clothes he wears here were part of his artist’s ‘uniform’, chosen for comfort and practicality (the multi-pocketed vest was particularly useful) but also as a way to create his image. Fittingly, he is depicted with one of his most distinctive sculptures. In the foreground is ‘The Pack’ (1969), a group of twenty-four sledges. Each one has its own survival kit including fat for sustenance, felt for warmth and a torch for navigation, making the artist’s signature materials part of this image too.”

Untitled, Joseph Beuys, 1971

Photograph on canvas.
Tate Modern

Wearing his unmistakeable felt trilby hat, with his fishing vest poking through a luxuriant fur-lined jacket, this large image (over two metres square) shows Beuys at his most iconic. The clothes he wears here were part of his artist’s ‘uniform’, chosen for comfort and practicality (the multi-pocketed vest was particularly useful) but also as a way to create his image. Fittingly, he is depicted with one of his most distinctive sculptures. In the foreground is ‘The Pack’ (1969), a group of twenty-four sledges. Each one has its own survival kit including fat for sustenance, felt for warmth and a torch for navigation, making the artist’s signature materials part of this image too.”

A Symposium, Julian Trevelyan, 1936
Oil paint and graphite on boardTate Modern
“Trevelyan became interested in Surrealism while at Cambridge, and came to know many of the movement’s leading artists when he lived in Paris in 1931-4. Influenced by Klee and encouraged by his friendship with Miró and Calder, he gradually developed his own mode of abstract Surrealism. In A Symposium Trevelyan combined painting and carving and attached parts to the wooden panel. He later recalled: ‘I had invented a sort of mythology of cities, of fragile structures carrying here and there a few waif-like inhabitants.’”

A Symposium, Julian Trevelyan, 1936

Oil paint and graphite on board
Tate Modern

Trevelyan became interested in Surrealism while at Cambridge, and came to know many of the movement’s leading artists when he lived in Paris in 1931-4. Influenced by Klee and encouraged by his friendship with Miró and Calder, he gradually developed his own mode of abstract Surrealism. In A Symposium Trevelyan combined painting and carving and attached parts to the wooden panel. He later recalled: ‘I had invented a sort of mythology of cities, of fragile structures carrying here and there a few waif-like inhabitants.’”