MADRID, SPAIN.- More than 220 photographs were published by Electa in Anonymous: Enigmatic Images of Unknown Photographers. The photographs were selected by Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator of Prints, Achenbach Foundation, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. He has been an avid collector of anonymous photographs for many years. William Boyd is the author of A Good Man in Africa, Blue Afternoon, and Any Human Heart. In recent years, collectors and curators have begun to turn their attention to the great mass of anonymous photographs that excite our imagination with their seemingly random recording of public works and private lives. Like gold nuggets among worthless pebbles, the 200 classic images reproduced in this book include many of the transcendent beauty and psychological insight, all with the magical, mysterious charge that comes from using our own imagination to speculate on the circumstances in which they were taken. The number of collectors of anonymous photographs is growing exponentially: found objects in a flea market, available for a few dollars, the photos provide collectible visual narratives. Organized into the themes that govern our lives—from birth to death, from love to war, from travel to celebrity—the photographs gathered here are pleasurable and poignant, giving insight into the human secrets with which we can all identify.

Pieter Claesz. Breakfast piece with large roemer and silver salt, 1628, Private collection. HAARLEM, NETHERLANDS.- The Frans Hals Museum presents Pieter Claesz - Still Lifes, through April 3, 2005. Pieter Claesz portrays everyday objects, a rummer, a tin plate and a herring in such a way that they exude a spellbinding beauty. The artist Pieter Claesz, who was from Haarlem, was one of the most important still life painters in Holland. His work stands out because of his realistic presentation of objects - almost as if they could actually be touched. The food on display positively whets the appetite. A skull, a welcoming flower, a watch, a fallen glass and a guttering candle point to the ephemeral and fragile nature of life.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Driven into Paradise: L.A.’s European Jewish Émigrés of the 1930s and 1940s, the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the major contributions that Jewish exiles made to the cultural foundation of Los Angeles. The exhibition traces the dramatic and highly personal journeys of eleven talented men and women as they escaped from Nazi-dominated Europe, adjusted to life in the United States and became leading figures in the burgeoning cultural landscape of Los Angeles, in particular Hollywood. On display will be informative and interactive graphic panels exhibiting musical scores, manuscripts, novels, letters and photographs, along with film and music clips, drawn from archives in Los Angeles, Berlin and Vienna. Together these materials convey a profound sense of personal and artistic freedom made possible by the émigrés’ new surroundings of Southern California. The émigrés whose lives and careers are highlighted in the exhibition are filmmakers Michael Curtiz and Billy Wilder, composers Arnold Schoenberg and Ernst Toch, artists Otto and Gertrud Natzler, art collector Galka Scheyer and writers Vicki Baum, Lion Feuchtwanger, Salka Viertel and Franz Werfel. With the rise of Nazism, these luminaries, ranking among the cultural elite in their homelands, either fled Europe and sought refuge in Los Angeles or were living in Los Angeles and became political refugees when stripped of their European citizenship. For practical as well as creative reasons, many émigrés were compelled to work in the nascent, lucrative film industry of Hollywood. Yet, even as they found a safe haven in Los Angeles, some of them were officially considered “enemy aliens? by the U.S. government. As exiles, they were forced to re-conceptualize the very meaning of freedom. Starr said, “What they created had an impact that extended well beyond Los Angeles, influencing the world’s view of American cinema, music, literature and art. Given our institution’s mission to explore the connections between 4,000 years of Jewish heritage and the vitality of American democratic ideals, we are proud to explore the immigration experience of these political and cultural exiles and their means for artistic expression in a new land.?

ISSAQUAH, WA.- Costo, US retailer, sld an original Pablo Picasso artwork through its website. The work, signed and dated 29 November 1970, had a price tag of $39,999, and was sold on Wednesday.
This is an original crayon on paper drawing by Pablo Picasso. The front of the work is signed and dated (November 29, 1970) by Pablo Picasso. The authentication is a hand written and signed declaration by Picasso's daughter, Maya on a photograph of the actual drawing. She is the world's utmost authority. Hand-made in Italy, the solid wood frame is hand-gilted with 22K gold leaf to complement the work. The work of art is then surrounded by hand-stretched linen.
Art dealer Jim Tutwiler sold the artwork to the store's website. He said, "He was a barterer. He hated to spend money."
This is an original crayon on paper drawing by Pablo Picasso. The front of the work is signed and dated (November 29, 1970) by Pablo Picasso.  

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Signs that Salvador Dali is about to take over Philadelphia are popping up everywhere. In the city's 30th Street Station, massive banners and posters bearing the artist's likeness adorn its walls, floors and platforms. And that's only the beginning. Slowly, the entire City of Philadelphia is being transformed into a surreal setting to promote the landmark retrospective Salvador Dali exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from February 16 through May 15, 2005. Soon, a giant likeness of Salvador Dali's face will be installed on the famed steps of the art museum. The city's hotels, shops, restaurants and other businesses will get into the act too with specially decorated trolleys, banners and balloons; Dali-related restaurant menus; and lavishly decorated retail window displays - all in an effort to create Surreal Philadelphia: The Dali Experience. Advanta, the exhibition's sponsor, is taking a lead role in making the project a city-wide celebration. In addition to hosting special events throughout the run of the exhibition at various Center City locations, the company has also created the Advanta Dali Deals Surreal Saver Card to provide premium discounts at more than 150 of the city's restaurants, shops and cultural attractions. The card is available for free at brochure racks and tourist attractions throughout the region. Many of the participating restaurants and bars will serve Dali-related drinks and menus, such as The Vertigo, a hot alcoholic beverage with whipped cream, at Twenty Manning and the Four Seasons Fountain Restaurant's Surreal Meal. Retailers will get creative too as Joan Shepp and others create lavish Dali-themed window displays.

Dutch painter (b. 1610, Diepen, d. 1652, Amsterdam)

Dutch Italianate landscape painter (also spelled Asselijn) probably a pupil of Esaias van de Velde but whose style was formed on the Arcadian landscapes of Claude, and on the Roman Campagna: hence his work resembles that of Berchem, Both and Dujardin. He spent about ten years in Italy c.1634-44. He specialized in real and imaginary scenes of the Roman Campagna, his most famous painting, however, is not a landscape, but The Threatened Swan (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), an unusual work - showing a bird defending its nest against a dog - that is said to be an allegory of Dutch nationalism. Rembrandt, who was Asselyn's friend etched his portrait. Because of a crippled hand he was nicknamed 'Crabbetje' (Little Crab)

German sculptor/architect (b. 1692, Tegernsee, d. 1750, Mannheim)

Bavarian architect and decorator who worked together with his brother Cosmas Damian (1686-1739). They studied in Rome (1711-14) and developed further the dramatic effects of light and illusionism with which Italian Baroque artists, notably Bernini and Pozzo, had experimented. Both men worked as architects, but Cosmas Damian was also a prolific fresco painter, and Egin Quirin was a sculptor and stuccoist. They worked best as a team, and their ecclesiastical buildings were the supreme expression of the Bavarian delight in decorative display; architecture, painting and sculpture unite to set a scene in which light and colour are the chief actors. The best known of their churches is that of St John Nepomuk, Munich (1733-46). The brothers themselves paid for the building (which was attached to Egid Quirin's house), and it is often referred to simply as the 'Asamkirche'.

Italian painter (b. ca. 1530, Milano, d. 1593, Milano)

Italian painter. In the middle of the sixteenth century Arcimboldo made a normal debut with youthful works including designs for window s and tapestries respectively in Milan and Monza cathedrals and frescos for the cathedral of Como. None of these gave any inkling of the bizarre originality he would soon develop. In 1562 he was summoned to the Imperial court in Prague and almost immediately his original and grotesque fantasy was unleashed. He invented a portrait type consisting of painted animals, flowers, fruit, and objects composed to form a human likeness. Some are satiric portraits of court personages, and others are allegorical personifications.

Arcimboldo's style has been so often imitated over the centuries that it is sometimes difficult to make exact attributions. He has been seen by some as the forerunner of Surrealism in the 20th century, but, more to the point, he should be seen in his own context at the end of the Renaissance. This was a time when people (collectors and scientists alike) were beginning to pay more attention to nature. Arcimboldo really created the fantastic image of the court in Prague, creating costumes, set designs, and decorations. Emperor Rudolf II set him the task of researching and buying works of art and natural curiosities, as well as giving him countless commissions for paintings. In 1587 Arcimboldo went back to Milan but stayed in contact with the Emperor. Towards the end of his life, he sent the Emperor the idiosyncratic portrait of him in the guise of the Greek god Vertemnus.

Italian painter, Southern Italian school (b. ca. 1430, Messina, d 1479, Messina)

Italian painter who probably introduced oil painting and Flemish pictorial techniques into mid-15th-century Venetian art. Vasari says that Antonello brought the 'secret' of oil painting to Venice. While this is probably untrue, his San Cassiano altarpiece was certainly influential, for several younger Venetian artists borrowed directly from it and Giovanni Bellini admired the modelling of its figures. His practice of building form with colour rather than line and shade greatly influenced the subsequent development of Venetian painting.

Little is known of Antonello's early life, but it is clear that he was trained in Naples, then a cosmopolitan art centre, where he studied the work of Provençal and Flemish artists, especially that of Jan van Eyck. His earliest known works, a Crucifixion (c. 1455; Museum of Art, Sibiu) and St Jerome in His Study (c. 1460; National Gallery, London), already show Antonello's characteristic combination of Flemish technique and realism with typically Italian modelling of forms and clarity of spatial arrangement.

In 1457 Antonello returned to Messina, where he worked until 1474. The chief works of this period, the polyptych of 1473 and the Annunciation of 1474 (both in the Museo Nazionale, Messina), are relatively conservative altarpieces commissioned by the church, but the Salvator Mundi (1465; National Gallery, London), intended for private devotions, is bold and simple, showing a thorough understanding of the human form and the depiction of personality. It was but a short step from the Salvator Mundi to such incisive characterizations of human psychology as seen in Portrait of a Man (c. 1475; National Gallery, London), a work that presaged the uncanny vitality and meticulous realism of such panels as Portrait of a Condottiere (1475; Louvre, Paris), which established his reputation in northern Italy.

Italian painter, Florentine school (b. 1423, Castagno, d. 1457, Firenze)

Andrea del Castagno (originally Andrea di Bartolodi Bargilla), one of the most influential 15th-century Italian Renaissance painters, best known for the emotional power and naturalistic treatment of figures in his work.

Little is known of Castagno's early life, and it is also difficult to ascertain the stages of his artistic development owing to the loss of many of his paintings. As a youth, he was precocious. He executed a mural of Cosimo de' Medici's adversaries (rebels hanging by their heels) at the Palazzo del Podestà in Florence, earning him the byname Andreino degli Impiccati ("Little Andrea of the Hanged Men"). It is known that he went to Venice in 1442, and frescoes in San Zaccaria are signed and dated by both him and Francesco da Faenza.

His first notable works were a Last Supper and three scenes from the Passion of Christ, all for the former Convent of Sant'Apollonia in Florence, now known as the Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia and also as the Castagno Museum. These monumental frescoes, revealing the influence of Masaccio's pictorial illusionism and Castagno's own use of scientific perspective, received wide acclaim. In his altarpiece painting of the Assumption of the Virgin for San Miniato fra le Torri in Florence, Castagno's style more closely resembled International Gothic.

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Pause For Thought

Brancusi on Architecture

"Architecture is inhabited sculpture."