Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Earlier this week, a woman observed the work of art Green-Blue, by German artist Gerhard Richter, at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. I love the contrast of the work with the empty museum - and that I recognized straight away that this beautiful art was by Richter.

All rights retained by the photographer (Juan Carlos Hidalgo/EPA).

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Fuchs, the serenading teacher

One of my main discoveries of recent months: the Austrian composer Robert Fuchs (1847 – 1927) is practically forgotten nowadays, but the usually so critical Brahms thought very highly of him ("Fuchs is a splendid musician, everything is so fine and so skillful, so charmingly invented, that one is always pleased"). Moreover, the list of his students is jaw-dropping: it includes Enescu, Mahler, Wolf, Sibelius, von Zemlinsky, Korngold, Schmidt, and Schreker. His piano concerto (recorded in the Hyperion Romantic Piano concerto series) and organ music (available on Motette) are well worth listening to, but Fuchs was especially renowned for his five orchestral serenades. These are wonderful late romantic compositions that should be programmed far more than they are. The Naxos CD I selected as an introduction includes the first two serenades (composed probably in the 1870's), as well as a charming Andante grazioso and Capriccio, dating from much later. Impeccable playing by the Cologne Chamber Orchestra under Christian Ludwig. Warmly recommended.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to move a masterpiece

A first for this blog: the article I link to was written especially for Art for Art's Sake. Freelance writer Izzy Woods contributed an interesting piece about transporting art, inspired by the impending move of the Barnes Foundation art collection, and focusing on the moving of the main part of the art collection of the Louvre in the beginning of World War II. She included a number of fascinating photographs as illustration. Highly recommended.

web site

Motion Picture Classic September 1928

Another wonderful nostalgic cover from this movie magazine, this one featuring the amazingly beautiful actress Sue Carol. I had never heard of her, but she is a real looker.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Abstract photographs at Advanced Photography

Advanced Photography is a great site for photographers, featuring both tips (technical and composition) and themed selections. It was brought to my attention because I saw several of my photographs being visited via their site. It turns out that their latest subject matter, abstracts, is illustrated by 35 photographs including no less than five of mine (the bottom row in the mosaic I created above).

web site

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I have heard of this 1991 movie by director Joe Johnston, but I have never seen it - and the story line does not really appeal to me. The poster on the other hand is one of the best I have seen, a brilliant piece of neo art deco.

More on this movie in the IMDB article linked to below.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Unusual concertos [13]: Ondes Martenot

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - aiming for 50+ this time.

The thirteenth concerto deals with the ondes martenot, the electronic beast invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot. It is probably better known for horror movie soundtracks, but serious composers have writen for it, probably the best known example being Messiaen's Turangalila symphony. Concertos for this very unusual instrument are rare though - at least by composers with reasonably well known names. I have selected the concerto by Andre Jolivet from 1947, which demonstrates the concertante possibilities of this instrument very well. It is played by Jeanne Loriod and the Orchestre Philharmonique de l'ORTF under the composer, from a CD box that is no longer available.

Go here

Friday, November 25, 2011

Andre Kertesz

I was surprised to see that I had not featured Hungarian grandmaster Andre Kertesz (1894-1985) yet after the re-start three years ago. He was famous for (at that time) unorthodox compositions and themes, including still life shots and photojournalism. I think this photograph from 1939, beautifully titled Melancholic Tulip, is definitely one of his best.

More on Kertesz in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's only natural

Wonderfully imaginative photo art by New York-based artist Matt Wisniewski. He mixes images of people and nature into a surreal creation that is definitely worth paying attention to. Warmly recommended to click the link and see more of his art.

All rights retained by the creator.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mai Tai - Inspired

High time to feature my Flickr friend missnoma (Claire) again in my blog. This is probably the best shot I have seen of her so far - and certainly one of the best uses of the technique of textures, which turns a good flower shot into an exquisite one.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Heartattack in a layby

Today marks the one year anniversary of my heart attack. For the occasion, one of my favourite and very fitting Porcupine Tree songs.

The album In Absentia is really an embarrassment of riches, and I keep finding new nuggets every time I play it. By early 2007, this was the fifth track of the album that makes my list of greatest songs - and then it still took half a year to get moved to 10/10 status. A deceivingly simple, highly melodic track, Heartattack in a layby evokes a profound sadness that suits its lyrics of a man who is planning to make up with his wife, but is suffering a heart attack on the side of the road. The multi-layered vocals and beautiful acoustic guitar play suit the atmosphere particularly well.
Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant masterpiece, one of 200 best songs of all time)


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vogue March 1929

Another marvelous vintage Vogue cover of years gone by - wonderful art deco rendition of the popular image of a woman in a car. Love the font used for the Vogue letters as well.


Monday, November 21, 2011


One ring to bind them all? Guess what this is? No? It is a telephone, and quite possibly the most beautiful I have ever seen. The Eclipse was designed by Sebastien Sauvage, and in spite of its sleek minimal appearance, it is fully functional. I want one.

web site

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where a little girl used to be

This portrait is absolutely gorgeous. The model is of course a stunner, but the way her face is framed by the scarf is brilliant. Add top notch lighting, and this is a real magazine quality photograph. However, what lifts it to a further level is the personal factor. The model is Laura, the teenage daughter of the photographer, my esteemed Flickr friend andy_57. And his feelings about seeing his little girl grow up into a confident young woman are summed up perfectly by the title.

All rights retained by the photographer.


Links [13]

Once more an overview of interesting links on topics related to the blog, that I encountered recently (some undoubtedly via a Jenny Downing buzz), but that will probably not make the blog as separate entries. The picture above is by myself.

The Five Best Crossovers of Art and Fashion.
New York in Black and White (1936-1951).
Spectacular Scenery of Magnificent Milford Sound.
18 Places to Feel Dwarfed by Nature.
Huge Wooden Art Structure Comes Crashing Down.
Alternative Photoshoot for Bowie's Heroes.
New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Aerial Photos of the Netherlands.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Back home again

A lovely news photograph, and the art angle makes it indispensable for this blog. Two years after it was stolen in Switzerland, this Picasso was returned to the Hanover Museum in Germany earlier this week.

All rights retained by the photographer (Jochen Luebke/EPA).

web site

The kitten covers

This may seem a bit light for my art blog and more suited for Potpourri, but I love how this site takes iconic album covers and "catifies" them. I could have picked many others to show, but this take on the John and Yoko classic is a good example. I created an animated gif including the original for comparison. Click and have fun.

web site

Friday, November 18, 2011

Photoplay July 1920

The American movie magazine Photoplay is another one that will feature more often the coming months. This beautiful edition features actress Martha Mansfield.


Thursday, November 17, 2011


Strolling through a top class museum like London's Tate Modern has two main attractions: finally coming face to face with paintings you already know and admire, or discovering new treasures. Here is an example of the latter category. Arshile Gorky (1904-1948) was born in Armenia, but had to flee Turkish persecution, and in 1920 settled in the USA. Among his work is this beautiful piece, where amorphous shapes and drips of liquid paint suggest the fluidity of the waterfall. More on Gorky in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Drowning in pictures by Erik Kessels

Here is one of those rare pieces of conceptual art that does appeal to me. Erik Kessels created an installation featuring prints of every single photograph uploaded to Flickr within a 24-hour period (most likely one of mine included as well). This resulted in over one million photo prints, piled up in an exhibition hall, and open for the public to "swim in" - thus illustrating how digital photography and the Internet is causing us to “drown in pictures”. Food for thought.

All rights retained by the artist.

web site

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ye Olde Eye

A London contribution in my ongoing series of creating surreal landscapes by making a modern architecture shot look ancient with selected post-processing. This is of course the famous London Eye, as seen from the North bank. The shot itself was nothing special (it is included in the link), but adding a texture (taken from the stream of fellow Flickrite SkeletalMess) really makes it unique. One of my own favourites of the year so far.

Camera: Canon EOS 400D Digital 10 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture: f/8.0
Focal Length: 18 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0, texture


Monday, November 14, 2011

Surreal fashion

Fashion shots of a different kind. The photo art of UK-based fashion photographer Natalie "Miss Aniela" Dybisz bring fantastical dreams to life, inspired by her own experiences and dreams, as well as literature and film, these are truly fine art versions of fashion photographs.

All rights retained by the creator.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Unusual concertos [12]: Harpsichord

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - aiming for 50+ this time.

The twelfth concerto deals with the harpsichord, which was widely used in Renaissance and Baroque music, only to gradually disappear from the musical scene with the rise of the piano. A few composers have resurrected this elegant instrument in the past century, with concertos having been composed by inter alia Poulenc, de Falla, Nyman, Martinu and Glass. I have selected the short two movement concerto by Henryk Gorecki from 1980, a brilliant extrovert showpiece, totally unlike his famous (and magnificent) third symphony. It is played by Elzbieta Chojnacka and the London Sinfonietta under Markus Stenz on a Nonesuch CD.

Go here

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lest we forget

One more for Armistice day - and we do not often see the East European angle of it. This beautiful photograph was taken in Minsk: a red carnation lies between the names of victims at a World War I memorial.

All rights retained by the photographer (Sergei Grits/AP).

web site

Armistice day in London

A beautiful topical shot of a child placing one more paper poppy in London's Trafalgar Square fountains yesterday, in the yearly remembrance of those slain in armed conflicts. Rest in peace.

All rights retained by the photographer (Undisclosed/PA).

web site

Friday, November 11, 2011

Repost: What passing bells for those who die as cattle?

A re-post from the artchives (original posting date 11 Nov 2008) - with the blog in its current form over three years old, I intend to dig up some of the older posts once in a while.

Further to the theme of Armistice and World War I. Benjamin Britten's 1962 War Requiem, one of the most important works in 20th century classical music, was inspired by it as well. Although writen for the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral destroyed in World War II, Britten found his inspiration in that earlier clash. For the text of the War Requiem, Britten interspersed the Latin Mass for the Dead with nine mindshattering poems written by Wilfred Owen, a World War I footsoldier who was killed a week before the Armistice. Both the orginal version led by the composer and the 1983 version under Rattle are excellent versions of this modern masterpiece. For this blog entry, I link to a fascinating documentary on the War Requiem. Highly recommended.