Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Elite Eight: Sargent v. Vermeer

This is the last of the four "Elite Eight" featuring the last eight undefeated artists from the original field of 512.  To recap: Bruegel/Degas, van Gogh/Varo, Leonardo/Monet, and today: Sargent/Vermeer.  All of these matches are still open for voting, if you haven't got to 'em yet.

John Singer Sargent
1856 - 1925
Although Sargent painted, showed, and won praise for both portraits and subject pictures at the Salons between 1877 and 1882, commissions for portraits increasingly demanded his attention and defined his reputation. Sargent’s best-known portrait, Madame X, which he undertook without a commission, enlisted a palette and brushwork derived from Velázquez; a profile view that recalls Titian; and an unmodulated treatment of the face and figure inspired by the style of Édouard Manet and Japanese prints. The picture’s novelty and quality notwithstanding, it was a succès de scandale in the 1884 Salon, provoking criticism for Sargent’s indifference to conventions of pose, modeling, and treatment of space, even twenty years after Manet’s pioneering efforts.
- The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
  • Beat Juan Sánchez Cotán easily despite crowd support in Round 1.
  • Skunked Roelandt Savery in Round 2.
  • Skunked Dutch still-life master Rachel Ruysch in Round 3.
  • Crushed Henri Rousseau in Round 4 by a two-vote swing.
  • Encountered some resistance, but prevailed, against Rembrandt in Round 5.
  • Scorched Charles Sheeler in Round 6.

Jan Vermeer
1632 - 1675
With Rembrandt and Frans Hals, Vermeer ranks among the most admired of all Dutch artists, but he was much less well known in his own day and remained relatively obscure until the end of the nineteenth century. The main reason for this is that he produced a small number of pictures, perhaps about forty-five (of which thirty-six are known today), primarily for a small circle of patrons in Delft.... His compositions are mostly invented and exhibit the most discriminating formal relationships, including those of color. In addition, Vermeer’s application of paint reveals extraordinary technical ability and time-consuming care.
- The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
  • Beat Veronese easily in Round 1.
  • Vanquished Maria Elena Vieira da Silva in Round 2.
  • Trounced Félix Vallotton in Round 3.
  • Beat Turner in Round 4 by a single vote. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!
  • Got past Jan Steen in Round 5.
  • Beat Michaelangelo in Round 6.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Left Bracket Sixth Round: Homer v. Eakins!

Winslow Homer (9-1, 90-35, .720) has kept hope alive by winning an amazing eight straight in the Left Bracket, and becomes only the second artist to enter an eleventh match.  He'll take on an American eight years his junior in Thomas Eakins (5-1, 46-23, .667), who fell to Van Gogh to end up here in the Left Bracket.  Only one of them will survive to take on the winner of the Gentileschi v. Benton contest!

Winslow Homer
1836 - 1910
...this great painter of the American scene did not lose the edge when it came to the probity and drama of his art.... In works such as Fox Hunt (1893) and Right and Left (1909), Homer dealt with profound issues of existence, while in his paintings of the pounding surf of the Maine coast he brought nature to center stage.
- Smithsonian

Thomas Eakins
1844 - 1916
Thomas Eakins (1844–1916), America’s greatest, most uncompromising realist, dedicated his career to depicting the human figure—in oil and watercolor, sculpture and photography. ...Eakins was in the vanguard of young painters who would shift the focus of American art from landscape to the figural subjects favored by the European academies.
- The Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
  • Crushed German pioneer Adam Elsheimer in Round 1.
  • Soundly defeated Belgian James Ensor in Round 2.
  • Racked up a strong victory on late votes against Jan Van Eyck in Round 3.
  • Beat Lyonel Feininger in Round 4.
  • Beat Caspar David Friedrich easily in Round 5
  • Lost to Van Gogh in Round 6.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Songs of the Fifty States: North Dakota

(What is "The Songs of the Fifty States"?)

Crawling Shadows, by North Dakota
artist Sarah Hultin
North Dakota!

Size: 183,843 km2 (19th)

2017 Population: 755,393 (47th)

Statehood: 1889 (39th or 40th).

(Cute story there, apparently: "North Dakota and South Dakota became states simultaneously on November 2, 1889. President Harrison had the papers shuffled to obscure which one was signed first and the order went unrecorded.")

American Human Development Index: 5.23 (19th)

Art Mecca:

Mrs.5000 and I had occasion to try to scope out the North Dakota art scene in October, when we journeyed roughly southeast to northwest across the state.  That meant that we didn't catch the North Dakota Museum of Art, which certainly seems to claiming the top-dog position with a name like that.  NDMA is a semi-independent college-campus museum at the University of North Dakota, and that's in Grand Forks.  We were pulled sleeping through Grand Forks in the middle of the night -- on a train, that is -- but we didn't pass through on the more flexible return trip.  The NDMA, which was founded in the 1980s, focuses on work from the 1970s forward, as well as on regional pieces.  I applaud this in principal, but I can't say it lures me in, which may be why we veered west before we got to Grand Forks.

There's also the Plains Art Museum, probably the #2 show.  It's in Fargo, which we did visit, but we didn't go there.  I think because we were in town on a Monday, when it's closed?

Michael 5000's North Dakota

First Visited: July 13, 2005 (48th)
Most Recently Visited: October 23, 2018 (5th)

First Run In: 10/22/18 (26th)
Best Run: 4.07 miles, Carrington, 10/22/18.

Have Admired the Visual Arts In: No.

Have Slept Overnight In: Yes.

Counties Visited: 24/53 (30th)
% Complete: 45.3% (24th)

Mrs. 5000's Counties Visited: 28/53 (14th)
% Complete: 52.8% (18th)
Mrs.5000 First Visited: November 1963 (2nd)
Mrs.5000 Most Recently Visited: October 23, 2018 (5th)

Atlas of All Roads Travelled

Purple indicates travel by rail; orange by car.

Plans and Aspirations

North Dakota was a pleasant surprise in the crisp October light.  No active return plans are on the calendar, however.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Ladder of Art -- Week #9

Cast your votes for up to four of these seven artists by Friday Feb 1.  For clarifications, consult the Ladder of Art FAQ.

Last Week's Results

This Week's Contest

Pietro da Cortona
1596 - 1669

Tournament Record: Placed 484th. Lowest voting average of anyone who did not have a 0-2 record. Lost to Piero di Cosimo, beat Piero della Francesca (who went 0-2, but tied for 412th), then lost to Picabia. 7 votes for, 24 votes against (.226).

Roy Lichtenstein
1923 - 1997

Tournament Record: Placed 486th (tie). Lost to the Limbourg Brothers and Sol LeWitt. 5 votes for, 18 votes against (.217).
  • Placed Fourth in Ladder Week #8.

Edward Wadsworth
1889 - 1949

Tournament Record: Placed 490th. Lost to Édouard Vuillard and Alfred Wallis. 4 votes for, 16 votes against (.200).
  • Tied for Third in Ladder Week #6.
  • Tied for First in Ladder Week #7. 

Baron Antoine-Jean Gros
1771 - 1835

Tournament Record: Placed 492th (tie). Lost to Juan Gris and Greuze. 4 votes for, 20 votes against (.167).
  • Placed Third in Ladder Week #5.
  • Tied for Third in Ladder Week #6.
  • Tied for Fourth in Ladder Week #7.
  • Third Place, Week #8.

Lucas van Leyden
1494 - 1533

Tournament Record: Placed 494th (tie). Lost to L.S. Lowry and Tony Cragg. 4 votes for, 21 votes against (.160).
  • Tied for First, Week #5.
  • Tied for First, Week #7.

Fra Bartolomeo
c.1474 - c.1517
Italian (Florentine)

Tournament Record: Placed 494th (tie). Lost to Balthus and Hans Baldung. 4 votes for, 21 votes against (.160).
  • Tied for Third, Ladder Week #5.
  • Tied for Third in Ladder Week #6.
  • Tied for First, Ladder Week #7.

1581 - 1641

Tournament Record: Placed 507th (tie).  Lost to Donatello and Dosso Dossi. 3 votes for, 21 votes against (.125).
  • Tied for First, Ladder Rung #1.
  • First Place, Week #3.
  • Tied for First, Week #5.
  • Tied for Fourth in Week #7.
  • Second Place, Week #8.

Cast up to four votes in the comments by Friday morning!