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Modern Art History

               Modern Art History Film Clips


He Posed for Auguste Rodin (People Today Magazine, 1955)

Sixty years before this article was published, Libero Nardonne, who posed for the Rodin's celebrated sculpture, "The Kiss" (1885), enjoyed a life as one of the most popular artist's model in all of Paris - at a time when the greatest artist's in the world were residences of that famous burg. Jump forward to 1955 and you would find him a broke and broken man who lived on the streets - nonetheless, he showed the American photographers through the art museums to point out all the masterpieces he had played a part in creating.

 

Resourceful Robert Motherwell (Quick Magazine, 1951)

The ink-stained editors at QUICK MAGAZINE rarely ever concerned themselves with the Bohemian-happenings of the New York art world, but when the abstract expressionist painter Robert Motherwell (1915 – 1991) strayed from the standard-issue art supply tools and used a reflective fabric called Scotchlite in the creation of a 12 foot, three-paneled mural - the editors thought it was news.

 

Picasso Painted Me ('48 Magazine, 1948)

Artist and poet Jaime Sabartés (1881 – 1968) had been among the oldest and closest friends of Pablo Picasso since the two of them were 19-year-old artists in Barcelona. Throughout the course of their 40-year friendship Picasso had painted and drawn his pal on numerous occasions - Sabartés' comments about those six portraits and his memories of those isolated moments appear on the attached pages. He recalled a day when Picasso energetically encouraged him to write down his thoughts, which in time lead to this article, that appeared in his 1948 book, PICASSO: an Intimate Portrait:

"I decided, therefore, to take these portraits as texts, to try to imbue with warmth Picasso's pictures of me, to make them live anew, to enrich them with fragments from the life of their creator and shreds of my own."

A Picasso poem is included among the reminiscence (translator unknown).

A forgotten article from 1913 that degraded Picasso and other assorted Modernists can be read here.

 

Explaining Abstract Art (Pageant Magazine, 1950)

WHY DO THEY DISTORT THINGS? CAN'T THEY DRAW? WHY DO THEY PAINT SQUARES AND CUBES?

In an effort to help answer these and many other similar questions that are overheard in the modern art museums around the world, authors Mary Rathbun and Bartlett Hayes put their noodles together and dreamed up the book (that is available at Amazon) Layman's Guide to Modern Art, and we have posted some of the more helpful portions here, as well as 17 assorted illustrations to help illustrate their explanations.

The authors point out that abstract images are not simply confined to museums and galleries but surround us every day and we willingly recognize their meanings without hesitation:

"Lines picturing the force and direction of motion are a familiar device in cartoons... The cartoonist frequently draws a head in several positions to represent motion. Everybody understands it. The painter multiplies the features in the same way... Everybody abstracts. The snapshot you take with your [camera] is an abstraction - it leaves out color, depth, motion and presents only black-and-white shapes. Yet its simple enough to recognize this arrangement of shapes as your baby or your mother-in-law or whatever..."

 

Lenin, Rockefeller and Diego Rivera (The Literay Digest, 1933)

When it was made known to Nelson Rockefeller that the muralist he retained to decorate the lobby of his New York Building (Rockefeller Plaza) had taken the liberty of painting the likeness of Lenin in the work, letters were exchanged between the two men. The attached column is an excerpt from a longer piece that pertains to the dust-up.

 

Isamu Noguchi (Creative Art, 1933)

A profile of the twenty-eight year old artist Isamu Noguchi (1904 – 1988).

 


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