26.01.2018 Washington National Gallery of Art : Healy’s Portrait of President-Elect on Display

Healy’s Portrait of President-Elect on Display

“In November 1860, shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected president, George Peter Alexander Healy (1813-1894) began the portrait on view in this gallery. Healy’s painting was the first portrait for which Lincoln posed following his election and also the last to show him without a beard. Prior to the election, Lincoln had received a letter from an eleven-year-old girl, who wrote that his appearance — as well as his chances for winning — would be improved if he grew whiskers. Lincoln replied that since he had never worn whiskers, the change might be viewed as an “affectation.” Three months later, however, while traveling from Illinois to Washington for his inauguration, Lincoln made a point of stopping in the young girl’s hometown, where he delighted in showing her his newly grown beard. Healy’s empathetic portrait of the clean-shaven president-elect records Lincoln’s features before the outbreak of the Civil War and the radical change in his appearance that followed, as documented in these photographs.”

Access to the complete pdf in progress :Dossier Lincoln 0418


25.01.2018 PWT 04-2018 “Without friends, without intrigue, without fortune …” Louis Cabat Self-educated Painter and Photographer

Louis (Nicolas) Cabat (1812-1893)

Cabat, a French landscape painter, born at Paris Dec. 24, 1812; studied painting under M. Camille Flers (1802-1868), and visited the most picturesque parts of France. He first exhibited in the “salon” of 1833 some landscapes which the critics pronounced to be too realistic; but he persevered in this style of painting till 1837, and became the founder of a school. From that period till 1848 he only contributed twice to the annual exhibitions (in 1840 and 1841), but since 1848 he has been a regular contributor. M. Cabat was elected a member of the Academy of Fine Arts in 1867, and unanimously chosen Director, in Nov., 1878, of the French School of Painting at Rome.” (Thompson Cooper, Men of the Time, 1884)

When director of the Villa, a young artist, Henri Lucien Doucet (1856-1895), sent a piece considered too bold (scene of Harem) which entailed the non-renewal of Cabat at the head of the Villa.

Cabat is considered a self-educated artist like his friend of early days, Charles Jacque. “Charles Jacque had first been introduced to these Old Masters early in his career (he was 17 years old in 1830) when Louis Cabat, then a young porcelain painter who lived next door to Jacque (passage Saint-Antoine), took him to the Bibliothèque Nationale where they looked at prints by or after the work of Poussin, Lorrain, Dürer, and Rembrandt.” (Rehs Gallery)

PWT 04-2018 Louis Cabat

18.01.2018 PWT 03-2018 Doris Ulmann

Doris Ulmann’s position in history of photography keeps improving.

Born in 1882 in the Upper East side of Manhattan, she received intellectual and artistic formation from Felix Adler and Clarence White.

She was so rich and educated, she wound finally find harmony in her life frequenting the poor and the remote Southern communities with her camera after the mid 1920s, visiting South Carolina swamps in the Great Depression days on some luxurious chevrolet.

An independant character, she build her artistic life in then virgin directions, long before public surveys of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) , but was invited for dinner at the White House in March 1934 to show and report to the President and Mrs Roosevelt her work together with her companion John Jacob Niles.

Before she passed away in August 1934, she wrote her will in favor of institutions, communities and companions, for the great concern of her wealthy family who accepted nevertheless to negociate a fair agreement.

PWT 03-2018 Doris Ulmann

Niles on Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YIp0h7PIlo&list=PLA8pF1W70izQfW0c8PKJ88CmHVVdi7dj5&index=9

04.01.2018 PWT 1-2018: Last Chance to Square the Circle of the Art Market ?

“Squaring the circle is a problem proposed by ancient geometers. It is the challenge of constructing a square with the same area as a given circle by using only a finite number of steps with compass and straightedge.

In 1882, the task was proven to be impossible, as a consequence of the Lindemann–Weierstrass theorem which proves that pi (π) is a transcendental, rather than an algebraic irrational number; that is, it is not the root of any polynomial with rational coefficients. Approximate squaring to any given non-perfect accuracy, in contrast, is possible in a finite number of steps, since there are rational numbers arbitrarily close to π.

The expression “squaring the circle” is sometimes used as a metaphor for trying to do the impossible.” (Wikipedia)

178 years ago, the invention of photography opened the way to create images and also to reproduce art, giving access to the multitude, promoting the frame of a market. Photography also gave more and more freedom to the artists, allowing pictorial documentation and proof of ephemeral installations.

Now we are engaged in a great technological revolution, testing whether photography and art on paper or any archive so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure… (follow on page 25)

PWT 01-2018 Squaring the Circle

A modest 2018 New Year address (Tribute to the 1863 Gettysburg Address)

Eight scores and eighteen years ago our fathers brought forth on this world, a new invention, patiently conceived on several occasions and in several locations, and dedicated to the proposition that all men can create images.

Now we are engaged in a great technological revolution, testing whether those archives on metal and paper or any archive so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

We have reached a great battlefield of that revolution.

We have come to a situation where libraries and museums, many, will soon close or deaccess their collections soon after they have been digitally preserved.

For many in charge, it is altogether fitting and proper that they should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not control—we can not organize—we can not understand—the consequences of that dematerialization of our culture.

The brave artists and curators, living and dead, who struggled here, have created this grand legacy, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored creators we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these pictures shall not have been created in vain —that this material baggage, shall have a future — and that the cultural heritage of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.