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Look At This If You Love Great Art: A critical curation of 100 essential artworks • Packed with links to further reading, listening and viewing to take your enjoyment to the next level Hardcover – April 6 2021
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Look At This If You Love Great Art
Room in the Country 1913
Although the title of this painting is Dining Room in the Country, the real subject is colour. The figurative structure of the work wavers – like the sunken fabric of the golden-yellow chair on the right, the edges of the door, window and walls bend and blur.
Spaces are delineated less by line and more by hue, the exterior a mottled mass of pastel blues, greys and yellows, the interior a fuzzy
wash of saturated apricots and reds. The lone figure in the scene – Bonnard’s wife, Marthe de Méligny, leaning lazily over the windowsill in a crimson blouse – acts as a bridge between the dining room and wild garden of the couple’s country house at Vernonnet. Bonnard’s handling of colour was as controversial as it was innovative – while Henri Matisse called him ‘a rare and courageous painter’, Pablo Picasso described his paintings, with skies that pulsed from blue to mauve to pink, as a ‘potpourri of indecision’.
Colour was a tool with which Bonnard attempted to piece together his past; his paintings are hot and cold time warps. Working largely from memory, with the odd sketch for reference, he didn’t feel obliged to replicate reality. Instead, he used colour subjectively to capture time, emotion and the spirit of a moment. In his art, Bonnard gave us many glimpses of his married life with De Méligny.
Here we see only her torso; elsewhere she’s semisubmerged in the bath or partially reflected in a mirror. The moment depicted in Dining Room in the Country is sunset, the foliage infused with an evening glow that’s filtering through the thrown-open window and door, the white tablecloth just out of reach.
- ARTIST BIO French, 1867–1947
- SEE THIS In Bonnard’s Nude in the Bath (1925)
- VISIT THIS Dining Room in the Country can be found in the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
- Like This? Try These: Maurice Denis, Paul Sérusier, Édouard Vuillard
PUMPKIN [WUTIU] 2018
Some artists stick to a certain style throughout their career. Others never stray far from a particular palette. For Kusama, it’s all about compulsively repetitive patterns and images more often than not, polka dots and pumpkins.
Like most of her work, this intricate piece flits between figuration and abstraction. The pumpkin floats in front of a decorative backdrop that vaguely resembles netting. There’s something comical about the gourd’s bulbous bodily form and its top hat-like stem. Stare for long enough at the rhythmic dots that bloom and wither on each lobe and the pumpkin will begin to pulse before your eyes. The experience is both therapeutic and disconcerting.
The celebrated Japanese artist suffered from hallucinations as a child and has been fascinated with inner vision and optical illusions ever since. Pumpkins are for her a source of comfort, partly because she grew up with them.
They first cropped up in her work in the 1940s, before she moved to Kyoto to study at the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts. Drawn to its postwar art scene, Kusama then moved to New York in 1958 and swiftly made a name for herself with her Infinity Nets, a series of abstract paintings composed of obsessively repeated brushstrokes.
She then combined them with the pumpkin motif in various media and colour variations. By the time she exhibited Mirror Room (Pumpkin) (1991) in the Japanese pavilion at the forty-fifth Venice Biennale, Kusama was back in Japan– living by her own choice in a psychiatric hospital – and the pumpkin was truly embedded in her practice.
- ARTIST BIO Japanese, b. 1929
- VISIT THIS In 2017, the five-storey Yayoi Kusama Museum opened in Tokyo.
- Like This? Try These: Takashi Murakami, Yoko OnoYoshitomo Nara,
|Look At This If You Love Great Photography||Look At This If You Love Great Art||Listen to This If You Love Great Music|
|Features:||100 of the best photographs ever captured on camera, Gemma Padley offers concise, insightful summaries on just what it is that makes each one so special.||100 of the best artworks ever produced, inside is a collection of insightful summaries on just what it is that makes each one so vital.||100 of the best albums from the last four decades, clashmusic.com editor Robin Murray shares his passion for exceptional music and offers insightful takes on what elevates these records above the competition.|
About the Author
Chloë Ashby is a writer and editor. Since graduating from the Courtauld Institute of Art, she has written about art and culture for the TLS, Guardian, FT Life & Arts, Spectator, Apollo, frieze and others. She is the author of The Colours of Art: The Story of Art in 80 Colour Palettes, which will be published by Frances Lincoln in spring 2022. Her short fiction has appeared in The London Magazine and The Fairlight Book of Short Stories. Her first novel, Wet Paint, will be published by Trapeze, also in spring 2022.
- Publisher : Ivy Press (April 6 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0711256063
- ISBN-13 : 978-0711256064
- Item weight : 680 g
- Dimensions : 17.15 x 2.54 x 23.11 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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