Thursday, December 31, 2015

Vogue October 1957

A Vogue cover from a little later than usual, but let's face it, 1957 was a very good year. And it is both a strikingly original image, and eminently suited for New Year's Eve. Cheers all!

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Culture stars who died in 2015

The Daily Telegraph has posted an article with short in memoriams for over one hundred culture stars who passed away this year (albeit with an almost unavoidable bias for English stars). It includes the likes of Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek TV series and movies), Patrick McNee (Avengers and New Avengers TV series) and Terry Pratchett (my favourite author). Rest in peace.

web site

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The most viewed posts of 2015

With the year coming to an end, I thought it might be fun to look once more at the statistics of this blog and see which are the most viewed posts per category over the past 12 months (provided that they had more than five posts in the year). I realize that most viewed does not equal most popular, as other factors (such as showing up in Google searches) definitely play a role here. Still, here they are (image sourced from here).

Anything goes: Celanese Fabrics.
Architectural aspects: Louis Vuitton Foundation Paris.
Beautiful album covers: Schoolyard ghosts (No-Man).
Beautiful single covers: Shesmovedon (Porcupine Tree).
En Vogue: Cover April 1934.
Flickr favourites: Galapagos.
Movie posters Khamoshiyan.
My digital art: Legs.
My photography: Breakthrough.
Photographers: Erwin Blumenfeld.
Photojournalism: Commencement ceremony.
The art of Lu Schaper: Dynamics.
The best of Potpourri: Journey into microworld.
Unusual concertos: Celesta.
Vintage posters: Lido Luzern.
Web sites: Shanghailus.
Worth1000: Baby dragon.
YouTube: Wedding day.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Keepers Zero

This is the time of year that I usually select my Keeper Dozen, the 12 best photographs I took during the year. There have been years where it has been a real struggle to eliminate many shots I liked to get down to the 12. This year, I found it impossible to select even 6 that I was really satisfied with - honestly I would probably pick just one as a real keeper. It is symptomatic for a lack of inspiration that has troubled me all year, and that spoiled the fun of photography as a hobby. Oh well, maybe next year will be better. The photograph above is by myself, taken in a more inspired time.

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Flapper Joan

When a blog like Vintage Everyday posts a topic like "Old Portraits of 20 Flappers with Sad Eyes", of course I have to look. This one stood out for me - a beautiful portrait of movie star Joan Bennett, probably from the mid thirties. I could not find information on the photographer, so Anything Goes it is.

web site

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: Bonus. Lonely this Christmas (Mud)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I have posted my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits, reaching #1 last Saturday. As a bonus, and to conclude this year-long exercise, here we have the best Dutch #1 Christmas hit to my taste: Mud's Lonely this Christmas. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).

YouTube

Friday, December 25, 2015

Theatre Magazine January 1924

There are many vintage magazine covers with a Christmas theme, but few that are so subtle: just look at her earrings.... Merry Christmas everybody!

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Driving home for Christmas

This seasonal Chris Rea hit is not a personal favourite, but it is not bad either. The cover for the single is far better than most holiday hits. More about Chris Rea on the linked Wikipedia page.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Luminous

Another example of my digital art, created with the free software SuperPhoto that came with my laptop. This suitably seasonal showpiece is based on a picture I took seven years ago of a large Christmas ornament at my brother's home. The treatment used is called "Colored metal". The link leads to the original photograph.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Potpourri: A different Christmas ornament

From time to time I will be highlighting some of my own favourite posts in my parallel blog, Art's Potpourri. These can be recent or from some time ago. This one was originally posted 14 December 2012. And quite fitting for this time of the year of course.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Polar Express

What makes this holidays  movie poster so effective is its use of perspective and strong diagonal composition. I have never seen this 2004 Zemeckis movie, but it comes with decent reviews.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cathay Magazine December 1935

The first of a series of Christmas themed posts the coming days. It turned out to be difficult to find information on Cathay Magazine, or the designer of this cover. I love it, especially because it features the Art Deco style Peace Hotel where we celebrated our Shanghai wedding in 2000.

link

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 1. Private investigations (Dire Straits)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #1, we find Dire Straits with Private investigations (#1 in 1982). Close to seven minutes of gloomy chords, with guitars and marimba dominating, and an almost mumbled text. The whole thing perfectly evokes an old black and white detective movie, with Humphrey Bogart in the leading role, disillusioned and disgusted by the lives and the lies of the people he is paid to watch: "What have you got at the end of the day? What have you got to take away? A bottle of whiskey, and a new set of lies, blinds on the windows and a pain behind the eyes." Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Thursday, December 17, 2015

QI

The BBC show QI (which stands for Quite Interesting) debuted in 2003 and is currently in its 13th season. It is one of my favourite TV programmes of the century: a brilliant combination of (often surprising) information and entertainment, due to the interaction of host Stephen Fry with the rotating panellists. The show's logo is brilliant as well in its simplicity, with the letter Q depicted as a Sherlock Holmes style magnifying glass.

web site

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Moving waves

One of the few shots I have uploaded to Flickr in recent weeks - and with rather positive reactions. This fuzzy abstract shot was created by shooting a detail of one of my wife's painting through the bottom of a drinking glass.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.0 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Delahaye municipal vehicles

A stunning Art Deco poster advertising the range of Delahaye municipal vehicles - in particular fire engines and ambulances. I could not find information on the designer.

Vintage Posters

Monday, December 14, 2015

World Air Games 2015

A news photograph combining balloons and architecture - a must for the blog. This is such a beautiful combination of the many colourful balloons and the Dubai skyline. As always, all rights retained by the photographer (Karim Sahib/AFP).

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Verde

A fairly recent painting by my wife - and one of the few that is so dominated by various shades of green.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 2. The winner takes it all (ABBA)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #2, we find ABBA with The winner takes it all (#1 in 1980). Partially inspired by the real-life divorce of members Bjorn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Faltskog, this great song presents a first-person account of the inevitable, painful feelings of loss that follow the end of a romance. The lyrics have a no-nonsense tone of dark emotion, which is further enhanced by an almost gothic melody. The recording pushes it into the realm of the truly unforgettable thanks to a heartrending lead vocal from Agnetha and an arrangement that builds from soft piano lines and background vocals to a grand operatic coda. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dream chaser

Dream chaser is the latest album by Clemens Krijger. The cover is special, not least because my Flickr friend Carmen Gonsalez (Solea) was very much involved in its creation. It is a combination of a stock photograph of an old Dutch town (probably Haarlem) and a model, shot by Carmen. The combined effect is excellent, helped by the selective colouring obtained this way.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Unusual concertos [97]: Suona

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 - realizing 90+ this time.

The ninety-seventh concerto deals with the suona (image credit). This traditional Chinese instrument is a bit like the western oboe. I have in my CD collection one concerto for it, composed by Kwan Nai Chung, and in a performance by Kwok Chin Chye and the Kaohsiung City Chinese Orchestra under the composer. It is available on a rare Hugo CD.

Go here

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Khamoshiyan

This Indian horror movie by Karan Darra stood out in an overview of this year's best movie posters. A slight echo of the famous Silence of the lambs poster, but still very original and highly effective in its use of selective colouring.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Bathing beauty in Cassis

I had not encountered this painter before, but I quite like what I saw of his work yesterday. Henri Manguin (1874-1949) was a French artist associated with the Fauvist movement. I selected this beautiful portrait of his wife Jeanne, created in 1912. More about Manguin in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Vogue October 1933

Georges Lepape is without a doubt one of the greatest designers of Vogue magazine covers in the jazz age. This is one of his best, a cover that just says: class.

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