Monday, June 30, 2008

Indigenous Art

The Indigenous art of Australia is the part of oldest continuing living culture in the world and one of the two major art traditions operating within Australia today. The National Gallery of Australia collects art of the highest artistic merit and excellence created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (hereafter referred to as Indigenous) to document and represent the ongoing and developing traditions of art which reflect the diversity of Indigenous experience over time and from every region of the continent.

The collection aims to document the history of Indigenous art from the earliest collectable works to the most recent. Given the dynamic and innovative nature of Indigenous artistic practice, the Gallery aims to keep abreast of contemporary developments across all art forms including all media used by contemporary Indigenous artists.

Key works from the National Gallery of Australia’s collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art are exhibited in the Loti & Victor Smorgon Gallery on entrance level and in the broader context of Australian and international art throughout the building.

Among key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art works in the collection is The Aboriginal Memorial (1987–88), an installation of 200 painted hollow log coffins by the artists of Ramingining in Arnhem Land. The Memorial, a collaborative work involving 43 artists, is dedicated to all Indigenous Australians who have lost their lives defending their country since non-Indigenous settlement.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rubbo, Antonio Salvatore Dattilo (1870 - 1955)

RUBBO, ANTONIO SALVATORE DATTILO (1870-1955), artist, was born on 21 June 1870 at Naples, Italy, son of Luigi Raffaele Dattilo, grain merchant, and Raffaela Rubbo. Dattilo died during his son's infancy: until he was 8 Antonio was looked after by a great-aunt at Pontecorvo. At 14 he won a prize for drawing, which enabled him to study draughtsmanship in Rome where he gained a certificate in 1888. While serving as a conscript in the Italian army for the next four years, he managed to visit the major Italian galleries and paint portraits of his fellow-soldiers. From 1893 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Naples, he had a classical training based on drawing the antique, and also studied under Domenico Morelli and Filippo Palizzi, leaders of the liberal Neapolitan art movement. Morelli's eclecticism and method of sketching in the streets of Naples were an enduring influence on Rubbo's work. In 1896 he was awarded the academy's diploma of professor of drawing in public institutions.

Next year, after briefly trying to interest himself in the family business, Rubbo left for Sydney, and upon disembarking on 13 November was befriended by Eirene Mort. In return for accommodation and English lessons with the Mort family, Rubbo conducted an art class at their Strathfield home. In 1898 he began a studio class in Hunter Street, moving next year to Rowe Street, where he established his atelier. He offered life classes and his school became the main rival to Julian Ashton's Sydney Art School. From 1898 Rubbo taught at well-known Sydney schools—St Joseph's College, Kambala and Scots College and later at Kincoppal and Rose Bay Sacred Heart convents, Newington College and Homebush Grammar School. He was a council-member of the (Royal) Art Society of New South Wales from 1900 and from 1907 to 1934 taught at its school, where he became the longest-serving and most popular instructor. Throughout his long teaching career he vigorously campaigned for the inclusion of art (and a more professional approach to its teaching) in the school systems.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Eora First People

This exhibition takes us on a journey from Tasmania to far Northern Queensland and the Torres Strait, exploring the way in which the sea and waterways are intrinsically linked to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture. The Eora Gallery has been redeveloped and reopened on Friday 9 March, with an exciting new collection of objects on display.Eora means 'first people' in the language of the Darug, the traditional inhabitants of the land on which the museum now stands.

There are over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples or nations in Australia. One common thread they share is a strong connection to the land and to the sea. This exhibition takes us on a journey from Tasmania to far Northern Queensland and the Torres Strait, exploring the way in which the sea and waterways are intrinsically linked to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture.

Eora - First People features delicate shell work from Tasmania, elaborately carved and painted Pukumani burial poles of the Tiwi Islands, ceremonial sculptures and hand-woven works from Arnhem Land and Cape York and the spectacular headdresses, body ornaments and dance machines of the Torres Strait.

Also, featured are a selection of works from Saltwater - Yirrkala Bark Paintings of Sea Country, a series of paintings explaining the spiritual and legal basis of the Yolngu's claim on the Saltwater Country of northeast Arnhem land.

These stories were painted to educated the outside world, to teach the Balander (stranger or white people) about the lore and law of the Yolngu people. The result is a body of works that form a comprehensive map of the Saltwater Country; a record of sacred lore based on an accumulated wisdom that spans thousands of lifetimes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Preston, Margaret (1875 - 1963)

Margaret Rose McPherson born in 1875 in Adelaide, South Australia, died Sydney, 28 May 1963.

Margaret studied art in Sydney under W. Lister Lister, at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, and at the Adelaide School of Design. In 1904 she went to Munich to attend the Government Art School for Women, going to Paris where she studied at the Musee Guimet and exhibited still lifes. After a brief return to Adelaide in 1907 she left again for Europe, working with disabled soldiers in Devon. In 1919, after returning to Australia by way of North America, she married William George Preston, a businessman, and settled in Sydney. The couple travelled extensively throughout Australia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Pacific Islands.

Although well known for her decorative still lifes, she was also a skilful wood engraver and linocut printer. Her woodcut and linocut prints featuring Australian native plants have become very popular in recent years. A writer and lecturer of art, she was a champion of and influenced by Aboriginal bark paintings. She was a member of the Society of Artists, the Australian Art Association and the Contemporary Group, Sydney. At the Paris International Exhibition in 1937 she was awarded a silver medal.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Museum & Art Gallery
Opened in 1885, the collections cover fine art and applied arts, archaelogy and ethnography, natural history, social history. The Museum has the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite works in the world, as well as Old Masters and Impressionists.Recently the modern and contemporary collections have had a new home created in the Waterhall Gallery of Modern Art, positioned just at the rear of the Museum.

The Museum and Art Gallery has an ever changing programme of temporary exhibitions in the main gallery and in the Gas Hall. For a full and up to date listing of events please visit the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery website.

Entrance to the Museum and Art Gallery is free,though some exhibitions in the Gas Hall may have an entrance charge. The Shop stocks a wide range of souvenirs and gifts and the Edwardian Tea Room provides refreshments in magnificent surroundings.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chinese Fine Art collection

The Chinese Fine Art collection houses the museum's collection of modern Chinese art and Guangdong paintings and calligraphy, the beginnings of which date back to 1964. The rich catalogue of works is the result of many purchases made by the museum itself, but its establishment has also depended on the invaluable support of several collectors, including Mr He Zizhong and Mr Wong Po-yeh (Guangdong paintings), Mr Lau Siu Lui (works from the Taiyilou collection of modern Chinese painting and calligraphy), Mr Wu Guanzhong (Wu Guanzhong's paintings) and Ms Linda Chang (the New Literati paintings). These generous donations have immeasurably enhanced the museum's collection, which now comprises over 4,000 works. The collection is mainly divided into four categories: (1) paintings from Guangdong, (2) calligraphy from Guangdong, (3) the Lingnan School of painting and (4) modern Chinese painting. Representative items from the collection are selected for exhibition to depict how the art of Chinese painting and calligraphy has evolved in Guangdong, with a special focus on developments, also in modern Chinese art, in the 20th century.

Many artists in Guangdong have had an almost innate inclination to modernize. This propensity for change is exemplified in works by artists such as Zhang Mu, Li Jian, Su Renshan and Su Liupeng, whose unique personal styles and alternative modes of expression have served to inspire subsequent generations of artists throughout the twentieth century. Guangdong has also seen the emergence of a succession of talented calligraphers like Chen Xianzhang, Kuang Lu, Song Xiang, Luo Shuzhong, He Shaoji and Jian Jinglun, etc. These artists sketch the development of Guangdong calligraphy from the middle of the Ming dynasty to the present day.

The Lingnan School has played an important role in the development of modern Chinese painting. The artistic origins of the School can be traced back to the Jiansu painters Song Guangbao and Meng Jinyi, who lived in Guangdong during the middle of the Qing dynasty, and their students Ju Chao and Ju Lian, also from Guangdong, in the late Qing. The founders of the Lingnan School, Gao Jianfu, Gao Qifeng and Chen Shuren, advocated a movement for "New Chinese Painting", and their theory and practice of blending Western techniques with Chinese art prompted an enthusiastic and stimulating response.

The impact of the Western tide of art that flooded into China in the 20th century triggered a transformation in modern Chinese art. Many artists tried to learn from Western styles and techniques, while others pursued studies in traditional painting, and these two currents gave birth to a new era in China. The works of Huang Binhong, Zhang Daqian, Lin Fengmian, Wu Guanzhong, Nie Ou and Zhang Yu are characterized by their unique styles that reveal the diverse developments in modern Chinese painting.

Friday, June 13, 2008

United States Senate Catalogue of Fine Art

The United States Capitol is recognized around the world both as a symbol of our country and for the momentous events that have taken place there. However, the building’s interior is far less well known. Visitors are often surprised by the Capitol's stunning architectural details and the impressive art complementing the interior spaces. Now, those works of art–ranging from portraits of prominent senators to depictions of significant events in U.S. history–are accessible to everyone through the publication of the United States Senate Catalogue of Fine Art. Prepared by the Office of Senate Curator, the catalogue represents the first comprehensive effort to illustrate and interpret this rich collection of paintings and sculpture.

The United States Senate Catalogue of Fine Art highlights 160 works of art, including 82 sculptures, 75 paintings, 2 enameled mosaics, and 1 stained glass window. Each work is illustrated with a color photograph and accompanied by essays and secondary images that place the work in historical and aesthetic context. These secondary images include other works of art that inspired or served as a model for the work in the Senate collection, as well as photographs that display the art in its current location. There is also an introductory essay that analyzes the art in the Senate and its place in American art history.

The catalogue is a result of a lengthy tradition of art in the Senate, a tradition that primarily dates from the establishment of the Joint Committee on the Library in 1802. In addition to maintaining the Library of Congress, this committee was also responsible for supervising the acquisition of art for the Capitol, the White House, and the public squares of Washington, D.C. After the middle of the nineteenth century, the joint committee became especially active in the selection of sculpture and painting. When the Capitol was expanded by adding the new dome and two new chambers for the legislature, a campaign was undertaken to decorate the building to reflect the United States’s newfound importance in world affairs.

Over the years, the Senate’s art collection has taken shape through several means. Some pieces have been purchased and others specially commissioned. Donors have also offered important works of historical significance that have become welcomed additions to the collection.

A review of the catalogue illustrates the broad sweep of U.S. history and the diversity of the Senate’s art collection. The 160 pieces in the catalogue represent the work of 111 artists, including such celebrated figures as Gilbert Stuart, Alexander Calder, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Thomas Sully, and Daniel Chester French. Many of the works feature prominent senators, including portraits of Everett McKinley Dirksen, Mike Mansfield, and Robert A. Taft, and small bronze sculptures of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. Many of the subjects are immediately recognizable; there are depictions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Benjamin Franklin. Lesser-known figures include the Native American chief Be sheekee and Senate employee Isaac Bassett, who came to the Senate in 1831 as one of the first pages and stayed until 1895, when he was an elderly doorkeeper. Although portraits dominate the collection, the American landscape is represented by an oil painting of Niagara Falls in winter. Major events are also documented, such as the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln and the first manned moon landing. There are two special collections: a series of paintings of major U.S. army posts completed by Seth Eastman between 1870 and 1875, and a collection of vice presidential busts.

In the catalogue’s introductory essay, art historian William Kloss points to the Senate’s art collection as a “paradigm of public art in the United States,” saying that the collection “was intended to serve a grander purpose . . . to commit to posterity the persons and events of our national history, centered upon the institution of the Senate and on the founding of the Republic.” The United States Senate Catalogue of Fine Art offers readers an opportunity to see how this purpose was met.

The catalogue is available online through the Government Printing Office (GPO). It can be purchased from the Senate Gift Shop in the Dirksen Senate Office Building or the GPO bookstore. The catalogue may also be available at a federal depository library in your state.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Chariot of Fame wooden sea chest

Wooden sea chest with iron handles and latch. Painted on the front is 'Mrs. J. Anderson/Per Chariot of Fame Mr. A. Mitchell/Uralla by Bendemere/New England/New South Wales Not Wanted on the Voyage.'

The Chariot of Fame was a three-masted, square-rigged 'medium clipper' ship, built at East Boston, Massachusetts, by Donald McKay, for Enoch Train & Co., Boston, for their White Diamond packet line between Boston and Liverpool, and launched in April 1853. For the first year the Chariot of Fame sailed out of American ports as a packet vessel. After this the vessel was chartered by the White Star Line of Australian packets and made a number of good passages to Australia from England in 1854 and 1855. In 1862 the vessel was sold in London and the vessel came out to Australia on several more voyages. The Chariot of Fame was reported abandoned at sea in 1876.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Russell Cotes Art Gallery & museum

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth, UK, is one of the most fascinating and unique museums in the world. It comprises art galleries and museum, a licensed café, a shop and a children’s area and is an ideal place for learning, exploring and socialising. It is situated on the dramatic cliff top over-looking seven miles of award-winning beaches and is housed in one of the last Victorian villas in Bournemouth, East Cliff Hall. The exhibitions and displays in the galleries, along with events and activities, offer something for everyone.a

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Marine Art of Geoff Hunt

Readers who have admired the covers of Patrick O'Brian's works (the recent editions) will appreciate Hunt's other realistic oil paintings depicting 18th-century ships at sea and sometimes in battle. Hunt, a member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists (and currently its president), also includes case studies which follow the progress of five paintings from start to finish; a section of paintings of scenes from the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812; book cover illustrations for authors such as Miles Smeeton and for reprints of Patrick O'Brian's works; and a few paintings of modern naval vessels, merchant ships, and yachts.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


The National Gallery's collection of prints, drawings, and illustrated books consists of almost 100,000 Western European and American works on paper and vellum dating from the eleventh century to the present day. It began with just 400 prints donated in 1941 by five collectors: W. G. Russell Allen, Paul Sachs, Philip Hofer, Ellen Bullard, and Lessing J. Rosenwald. Their gifts of important works by Mantegna, Schongauer, Dürer, Canaletto, Blake, and a variety of other fine printmakers were intended to lay a strong foundation for a national collection that would enhance and complement the collections of painting and sculpture installed in the public galleries. The first sizable gifts of graphics, nearly 2,000 works, came the very next year with the donation of the entire collection of Joseph E. Widener, including an extraordinary array of French eighteenth-century prints, illustrated books, and related drawings.

Lessing Rosenwald ensured the future of the Gallery's graphics collection in 1943 by giving the museum his collection of some 8,000 old master and modern prints and drawings. In the ensuing thirty-six years he donated almost 14,000 more, supplemented by such fascinating technical materials as carved woodblocks and engraved copperplates. His collection brought to the Gallery the finest gathering in America of rare German woodcuts and engravings from the fifteenth century; comprehensive surveys of the prints and some select drawings by Dürer, Rembrandt, Nanteuil, Daumier, Whistler, and Cassatt; watercolors, drawings, prints, and engraved copperplates by Blake; and a collection of prints by early twentieth-century printmakers.