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From Devils Dyke by Philip Tyler
The landscape is a real one, not imagined but translated – interview wi...
Philip Tyler
Philip Tyler self-portrait

Philip Tyler is an English artist and teacher of visual research and colour theory, who in one of his interviews said about himself: “I draw, paint, make prints and work digitally as well as take photographs”.

He has a track record of exhibiting work both nationally and internationally since the mid 1980s and his work has exhibited in The Ruth Borchard Self portrait prize,  ING Discerning Eye, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, The Lynn Painter-Stainers prize, The Garrick Milne Prize, The Royal Overseas league, East, The National Open and the Whitworth young contemporary’s competitions.

His work is in both public and private collections in this country as well as in America Australia Finland Hong Kong and Sweden, including Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Peterborough Museum as well as being collected by Brian Sewell

Campanent by Philip Tyler
Campanent by Philip Tyler

Since May, Philip Tyler has been a member of the BeArte Gallery and together with other English artists has been presenting his landscapes on canvas.

What is most amazing is that Philip creates such unique landscapes with eye-catching colour combinations, despite the fact that he is colour blind.

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Beata Piechocka: Can you tell our visitors how your adventure with art began, why did you become an artist?

Philip Tyler: The decision to become an artist was not one which happened quickly. I began drawing properly about the age of 7 and I took my studies very seriously once I went to secondary school. I was lucky enough to have two fantastic art teachers who guided me through my final years at school and onto and Art Foundation in east London. As a working-class kid, the idea of being an artist was outside of my experience, so I was focusing on becoming an art teacher. It was only in the final year of my degree at Loughborough College of Art and design that the idea of being an artist became a serious one I have strived to push myself and my work ever since.

BP: With what direction, the trend of art you identify or associate yourself the most?

PhT: I am really not interested in trends or fashion in the art world. The internet is full of images of people adopting mannerisms and approaches to look current. I’m only really interested in responding to the emotional situations I find myself in.

BP: What motivates you to make artistic work?

PhT: Of course, I am inspired by the work of other artists.  I want to be the best artist that I can be and the only way I can do that is to match myself against the very best.  When I am painting I completely lose myself, It’s the place where I can truly be me and forget my concerns.

Overlooking Findon by Philip Tylor
Overlooking Findon by Philip Tylor

BP: You cover many topics in your artworks, self-portraits, also portraits of stars, landscapes, and views of cities. Which of these topics is the closest to you and why?

PhT: I tend to work in series and at any one time I am completely absorbed by the subject. When I am painting landscapes I am obsessed by them, when painting portraits, I am obsessed with that.  But my self-portraits are probably the things that I am the most obsessed with, whilst the landscape have a real emotional resonance with me because they were made after my father died.

BP: In one of your interviews, to the question about an experience in your life which influenced your art, you mentioned the loss of loved ones and the birth of your daughter. These are different occasions which bring different emotions, sadness, loss and joy. Just like life. How these personal events influenced your art? Can you share a bit more about it with our readers?

PhT: Painting can be used as a cypher fore complex ideas. The ability to channel whatever ones feels into work is challenging, but if one is able to do this then one will always work, whether you are happy, sad or indifferent, you can always make work

BP. When I look at your work, I feel that regardless of whether you are painting the sky, face or streets of cities, you are painting a portrait. I mean, it’s not just a physical resemblance or an impression of reality on the canvas. It seems to me that you want to convey the essence of the object you paint, both physically and mentally or maybe even metaphysically, even if it concerns the clouds. What do you think about my interpretation of your art, how compatible is it with what you paint?

PhT: Yes, I think that I want to capture the essence and the spirit of a place or a person.

BP: Great Britain has a beautiful tradition of landscape painting. The most famous and known to the world are Turner, Gainsborough and Constable. Turner,  painted the impressions even before the Impressionists, Gainsborough is known for his portraits of the landed gentry, also dreamed about the rural village and painted romantic, often creating, idyllic landscapes. Constable went away from embellishing of what he saw and painted the truth: realistic, natural and chaotic landscapes. Among these three artists, whose style is the closest to you and why?

PhT: I think that I feel more of a connection with Constable in terms of his directness of approach.

Philip Tylers’ self-portraits

Philip Tyler
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Philip Tyler Selfportrait

BP: When I first saw your paintings, these were landscapes. However, I admire, for example; Your self-portraits, but most of my attention was caught by your way of depicting clouds. In my mind, maybe a little funny, I was calling you Lord of the Clouds, because that was my strongest impression after reviewing your artworks. What intrigues you in the landscapes that you want to paint them?

PhT: I grew up in London surrounded by tower blocks.  The landscape has poetic and romantic connotations for me as I first really got to grips with landscape painting once I left home for the first time.  The landscape also reminds me of the few family holidays I had as a child with my mum and dad. In more recent times landscape has a real emotional connection to me, especially after I lost my father and had to come to terms with the impact that had on me. I think that there is something uplifting and perhaps spiritual about being in a massive cloud and space it inhabits.

BP: Most artists paint other fragments of landscapes, e.g trees, groves, rivers. Why did you soar higher and have chosen clouds? What does the sky have in itself that Earth doesn’t?

PhT: I think that it is the sky that seems to capture everything I want, especially if there is a storm brewing, or has just dissipated.

Auctions

BP. Looking at your paintings, I can see that you’re using a unique palette. The colours, although not intensive, but are light. This is not a typical palette for the UK landscape, which is associated mainly with grey. Your landscapes remind me more of Italian views. Have you always been accompanied by such colours? Where does the intention of using this palette come from?

PhT: I think that there is a real difference between the colour that you see on the screen and the colour you see in the actual paintings. I am obsessed by colour and I teach colour, but I am also colour blind, so rather than thinking about what the colour is in the landscape, I am much more interested in what the colour can be.

BP: Do the colours you are using result from what you see or are they the result of a conscious and analytical decision? For example, for strengthening and balancing the composition?

PhT: Colour is explored in a systematic way in terms of my choice of the palette, but also used in an intuitive emotional way. The colours you see if often the top layer or many other colour decisions.

BP. The composition of your landscapes is for 70% of the sky and 30% of the land. It is also mainly horizontal. Is this a way to strengthen the effect of the presence of the clouds?

PhT: Yes I Iove the tension between opposites, empty space and gestural areas, hot against cold, soft against hard.

BP. In your paintings, it is difficult to look for some significant dominant elements, the main “heroes” of the landscape so to say. It’s hard to decide which element is important, except for the clouds. Is this your way of achieving the illusory effect, where space enclosed in the image format?

PhT: The landscape is a real one, not imagined but translated. I am often drawn to those Sussex views which disappear away toward the horizon, where not one thing is the single protagonist, but all parts contribute to the whole.

The cityscapes of London by Philip Tyler

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Phty1

BP: At prestigious auctions of modern art, it is difficult to find many examples of landscape paintings. However, as the reports show, the landscapes are selling as one of the best topics among individual art lovers. What do you think, why landscapes are still so popular?

PhT: Landscape evokes many things in the viewer.  Whenever I have tried to paint a picture to sell I have failed.  I only seem to sell the paintings that come from my emotional response to the subject.

BP: Can you share your way of painting your landscapes? Do you paint in the open air, do you use photos or memory? Can you describe the stages of work?

PhT: All things are permissible and used. I draw and paint in the landscape, take thousands of photographs, make print and loads of colour studies. All of this then gets synthesized into a large painting.

BP: In which technique do you paint? Is it glaze, verdacio, alla prima, inpasto? And why?

PhT: All techniques are used to achieve different effects, vaporous clouds, trees, shadows, paths, rain, sunlight. You achieve these phenomena by adapting how the paint is applied, but the process of painting a landscape usually starts off in an explosive way with lots of energy being thrown at the canvas.

BP: How do you build the illusion of space on the image?

PhT: Physicality of paint, thinness, thickness, saturation, tonal contrast all of these things are the formal elements used to create space as well as the perspective of course.

BP: You wrote the book “Drawing and painting the landscape”. Lisa Takahashi gave an excellent review of this book. What prompted you to write a book about painting landscapes?

PhT: I have really enjoyed the process of writing and the books are an attempt to share my knowledge.  One day I am going to die and it is nice to think that alongside the paintings I leave behind my thoughts on drawing and painting have been recorded as well

BP: In the book, you give examples of your favourite artists. Can you tell our readers who they are and why you include them in a book about landscapes?

PhT: Virtually all the artists in my books are either artists I know personally, have shown at the same galleries or have admired online.  There are many good artists out there who do not always get the coverage they deserve.  The books provide an opportunity to promote their work

BP. Do you have any advice, suggestions for the beginner landscape painters

PhT Buy my second book and be prepared for failure. You learn from your mistakes, so the more that goes wrong the more you can learn from these.  You do not have to have a studio, not copious amounts of time.  You have to work with what you have but you will learn by making painting after painting

BP. What does a great painted landscape mean for you?

PhT: When you encounter a great painting, you are brought into contact with the person who made the work, you touch their spirit and their humanity.

Drawing and Painting the Landscape: A course of 50 lessons

Drawing and Painting the Landscape: A course of 50 lessons
By Philip Tyler
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd (1 Sept. 2017)
Language: English

Contact us for purchase

Fulking escarpment by Philip Tyler
Fulking escarpment by Philip Tyler

BP: Does the process of teaching others to help you to develop your artistic skills? If it does, in what ways?

PhT: Sometimes, but equally teaching is very difficult. It is not always about what I do, more often than not I have to out my head into what the student is doing and figure out a way of working through their problem.  I have to be aware of a lot of art and design and a lot of ways of working if I am to guide the student in the right direction.

BP: Will you describe the fact that your works are in many foreign galleries around the world as the final artistic success? Or does it mean something different for you?

PhT: It is exciting to see that one’s work is spread around the world, but success is elusive.  How is this measured?  Is this about appearing in a major show, appearing in important magazines, being bought by major collectors?  If this is a success then I am a long way from this. If success is not having to teach every day, then that is what I am working toward

BP: What we as BeArte Gallery can wish you on your artistic path?

Ph.T. Having a more international presence and having worked in some museums and art galleries would be nice.

BP: Looking at your artworks, I’m sure it will happen.  Thank you for your time and we wish you will soon fulfil your plans.

From Devils Dyke by Philip Tyler
From Devils Dyke by Philip Tyler
Visit Philip Tyler

Explore landscapes from other artists at BeArte Gallery

Clouds by Ilona Primus - Ziarnowska
Clouds by Ilona Primus - Ziarnowska
Inverno I by J.Malinowski
Inverno I by J.Malinowski
After Battle by J.Haluch
After Battle by J.Haluch
Landscape with a Lake Agnieszka Rogowska Gallery BeArte
Landscape with a lake. Agnieszka Rogowska. Oil. 80 x 65 cm. 2018
Forest, March 2018 by David Harrison
Forest, March 2018 by David Harrison
Featured Image Ingrid Bugge 1
The Essence of Ballet from Ingrid Bugge

How did everything Start?

In 2012 Nikolaj Hübbe (artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet) invited Ingrid Bugge, to follow The Royal Danish Ballet so that she could create her soul-image of the ballet. Moments that would otherwise disappear. Nicolai experienced that her interpretations of the ballet created magical moments. As well as uniting dance, story, time and place which, as a result, became secured and cultivated.

The photographic collages visualize the nerve and soul of ballet and resemble the classical painting in their expression. The intention of the ballet photography art project was to capture and condense moments from the ballet performances. In order to reveal the essence of ballet.

Ingrid’s thoughts of the performance and her project

“There they are, the dancers. So fine and gracious, with makeup and dressed in elf clothing and troll fur, beetle wings and rococo wigs. It’s an enchanting sight. I carefully take the camera from my bag. I do not dare to press too hard on the release button or stand to close. I feel like a stranger here, trying to settle in. I have permission to photograph from the auditorium, the rigging loft and behind the scenes. From where the light technicians work. Looking through my viewfinder, I constantly discover new expressions in the movement, captivating me. Lights glide poetically over the magical scenery. The orchestra fills the theatre. The skin of the dancers; their challenges, their victories, the stories they so passionately tell with their bodies. And the secret adventures that happens behind the curtain.

I got a deep understanding of the world of ballet and the classic tales the dancers unfold. As a result my art project The Essence of Ballet came to life”

– Ingrid Bugge 

The Poet of The Ballet

Nicolaj Hübbe described the Art Project as:

“A ballet performance, from the first glimpse behind the carpet of Acropolis and masking the stage with the curtain fall after each act. You can compare it with the technical magic of the camera. The stroke on the bar by the stage manager matches the photographer pressing the camera shutter. 

With curtain rise, a myriad of visual and auditory expressions appear which seeps into the consciousness of the audience. In the end the technicians lower Acropolis. From what we have seen, the memories are now embedded in our memory. Different movements created in time and space can now develop through something similar.

These internal images reflect what we have seen or perhaps what we think we have seen! The audience leaves and the theatre closes. However, the camera moves faster than the 2½ hour performance and capture moments from the ballet before the shutter time. Therefore, it has come to capture moments that people do not see. 

Throughout the year Bugge has worked with The Royal Ballet. She has captured these moments in a sensitive and poetic way and composed them in photographic commentaries.  In like manner, she reflects the ballet with a personal approach and with sensitivity to the performances. The images we see through Ingrid’s lens are like the strange and wonderful recollections. In fact, they have gathered in our consciousness after the final curtain fall.” 

-Nicolaj Hübbe

Auctions 2

About Artbook

The art book is a rare and fascinating window to the enchanting world of ballet. Including 63 photographic collages from The Royal Danish Ballet. Also, it includes interviews with ballet master Nikolaj Hübbe, writer and ballet reviewer Erik Aschengreen and photographer Lars Schwander.

Nikolaj Hübbe poetically describes three important events in his life. Especially, his experiences as a ballet dancer and Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Ballet. Erik Aschengreen tells the story of his lifelong fascination with and love for ballet. In particular how he made ballet his profession. Lars Schwander, the founder of Fotografisk Center describes the art of photography and ballet. And how Bugge’s photographs occupy a space in between the two. Furthermore, Ingrid Bugge tells about her encounter with the ballet as well as the artistic process behind the art project.

Overall, the book’s purpose is to accompany the reader into the poetic nerve of the ballet. Its soul and its presence. The Essence of Ballet addresses those who are fascinated by or perhaps in love with the poetic essence of the ballet. Much like the contributors to this book.

Balletbog01 Ingrid Bugge

Pages: 138
Format: 34 x 30 cm
Language: Danish and English
Hardcover with an extra plastic cover
Price: 60 EUR – plus shipping
Contact us for purchase

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Painting with My Camera – Multitouch Ibook

IBook Billeder 1

Go behind the process of the Art project The Essence of Ballet with this interactive multi-touch ebook. Through explanatory videos, texts and images you will get to the finest detail of Ingrid Bugge’s photographs. Bugge made these photographs in 2012 and 2013 at The Royal Danish Ballet.

Delve into the details of the photographs, learn about some of The Royal Danish Ballets many stories. And listen in on how Bugge made the Photographs. This is a unique chance to discover the art-project come to life. From the very beginning to Ingrid’s finished photographic collages.

Art Exhibition

The exhibition, The Essence of Ballet was on display for the first time in Artcentre Silkeborg Bad’s ten halls.  Balletmaster Nikolaj Hübbe opened the exhibition on the 3rd of May 2014. It lasted from the 3rd of May to the 7th of September 2014.

A total of 39 huge pieces of ballet photography were on display. Meanwhile, the visitors had an opportunity to get a look into my work process, through a showing of a movie. In continuation of the exhibit, the Royal Ballet Silkeborg made an appearance on the 13th of June 2014. It was during their sommer-tour of Denmark. While the exhibition was open, it was also possible to see a 30 meter long frieze with selected pieces in Silkeborg.

Afterwards, Galleri Kunsthuset, Galleri Lejre and Galleri Belle exhibited selected pieces from the art project. Likewise, Bugge chose 20 pieces for a specially curated exhibition in Perm, Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2016/17.

Make sure to check the Ingrid Bugge‘s profile and her wonderful Art Photography here.

BeArte Gallery expresses great gratitude to Ingrid for providing the materials for the article.

storytelling
How Storytelling Can Bring Art To Life

How the death of an old oak tree inspired artist Dorothy Berry-Lound to create a series of images and a story, narrated with her own voice, in memory of the tree.

Love Attraction
Love, attraction and influence

To fall in love
or just to feel addicted

How art affects us and influences our everyday lives

Warning! This article is about emotions. Maybe it will be too fierce to call it a love story. But it’s close. Perhaps it is better to describe the feelings as an addiction. At least it is even closer. It’s about your first art purchase. Your first crush and falling in love. It’s also a little about the influence of Art on society. But let’s get into the influence a bit later.
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Art is alluring. It is a kind of magical magnet that switches on our possessive primeval instinct. We watch and immediately our brain is bombarded with signals that push us toward the moment of purchase: ‘It’s incredible; It’s so beautiful. It awakens deep feelings in me. I MUST OWN IT!’
After your first art purchase, you are on the hook. There is no way back. Suddenly, the old wall decor, posters and whatever else you have had hanging over the couch, become strangely tame. It is as if they seem false. At least boring. They do not contain the excitement that you have just experienced. It is mass production, and even though the colours fit the curtains, they somehow bleach next to your newly purchased artwork. Out of nowhere, some of your needs disappear so that everything must fit together as in a Laura Ashley showroom. Lines, patterns and colours can be broken because what entered the room is ‘art’ and it encourages you to dare break out. Something more valuable than matching pillows, blankets and vases has entered your life. Art simply pushes you beyond the edge where the colour composition in the living room determines the decor.

Art has a specific energy. It is as if the artist’s feelings become our own feelings. Unknowingly, we notice how she or he has worked and conveyed their thoughts and emotions from the painter’s palette to the canvas. We are often not aware of it, but deep within us, we feel connected with the artist. We haven’t just bought a painting; We have been given insight into another person’s inner universe, and this insight seems like a tremendous value.
The fewest people will be aware they think it as described. But it is often the underlying feelings we have inside of us. Our ownership has become a bond between the artist and us. We have bought something ‘genuine’ that has a massive impact on us, and it immediately starts to change us and our perspectives.

“Gegenständlich”:

representational; objective; figurative; graphical

Andreas Wiese
Profession: Painter
Nationality: German
Art direction: Contemporary Art

Processed By: Helicon Filter;

Our artist Andreas M. Wiese is a wise person. He will not feel happy for me giving him this label, of being wise. But I do it anyway for many reasons. When we visited him a week ago, he once again repeated his mantra; that he does not paint anything realistic but only transform to the canvas what he has inside his head. It is we who make it realistic, with the story we create. With the fear of his anger, I translate it as described before, that we receive his thoughts and feelings, and make the artwork special, with the story we give it. We too become creators. The artist creates the artwork, and we create its story. This is how we take ownership of the artwork, and that is the way we become connected with the artwork and the artist.

The influence of Art

Art can have a huge impact on us. If we go back in time we will see art as a single form, it has often been the music and theatre that has started new cultural directions. In my last article, I wrote about the censorship of the artwork ‘Consumer Art’ by Natalia LL. A girl provokes us by performing fellatio with a banana. Itself it may seem both inappropriate and exciting depending on the eyes that see it and not least in what context and time it appears. But when we look back into history, we start to understand why it came up and how it affected us.

After World War II, society had to be rebuilt in most of the world. The industry was about to start again manufacturing consumer products rather than bombs and weapons, and cities were to re-emerge from ashes. Suburbs popped up, and society with father, mother, children and cars were created everywhere. Peace spread in pace with uniformity and fixed rhythms. All seem idyllic until the music began to play. A new kind of music. More wild and untamed. And through the 50s and 60s, first the young generation was affected, and with the total emancipation in the 70s, the established middle class was also drawn into the new era. The beard began to grow, the hair grew longer, and the sexual release grew fast. In that light and in that context, Natalia LL’s art video makes good sense. Because art always puts things at the head. It always pushes us a little further than we would have dared to walk ourselves. It gives us the courage to become part of a new direction. It makes us free. Someone is leading the art, and we follow.

So even the government of Poland, with pressure on the management of the National Museum of Warsaw, dislike the artwork of Natalia LL today, no one can take away the influence it was part of and the importance the artwork had when it was exhibited.

There is nothing that art can not express.

Oscar Wilde

The fascinating thing about art is its way of changing our perspective. We become more focused when we see something different from the normal. We get more curiosity in life. We seek more profound into the worlds of others and dare more. Because art gives us the courage and that is what has always been the most excellent power of art. To show us new ways in life and provide us with the courage to change ourselves. Whether, as written before, it’s music, theatre, literature, visual paintings, architecture or sculptures, art has always been the force that has pushed our society in a new direction.

So, when you get your first crush, it’s not just feelings and emotions you have exclusively. It makes you part of a movement. You have recognized something. You feel and listen and everything you receive from the artist, will become part of your behaviour, so you, along with the art, can change the world. It might sound crazy, but you are not alone. Every other art lover gets affected today as you do, and together, you change our culture and society.

My first artworks were four beautiful paintings by the Spanish artist Luis Frutos. I have added them at the top of the article. This was where my love story started and where art started to affect me. I hope you still remember yours.

Here is how art has changed our life

In the more dramatic part of the changes art has given, we have Leonardo da Vinci. Many titles can be put on Leonardo, but common to all his interests was a search for the underlying. Therefore, he also broke the law autopsy as many deceased as he could get hold of, so that he could better understand human anatomy. With his ‘Studies of the foetus in the womb’ from 1510, challenged moral and artistic convention and with his discoveries of the human body and organs and dramatically methods, he changes the way that both artists and scientists studied the human body.

Leonardo Da Vinci Studies Of The Foetus In The Womb
Leonardo Da Vinci Studies Of The Fetus In The Womb

A marvellous example on how Leonardo changed our life is to look at how the UK heart surgeon Francis Wells pioneered a new way to repair damaged hearts after being inspired by Leonardo’s 500 years old medical drawings. The drawings allowed him to work out how to restore normal opening and closing function of the mitral valve. You may ask if Leonardo’s drawings were art. Maybe not the one we would like to hang in the living room, though his drawings came out of his creativity and need to be able to create perfection. Feelings and needs that all artists have.

At Leonardo’s time, he shook and offended many. Today we love his work and, in many ways, they have changed our perception and our lives.

Georges Braque, 1908, Maisons Et Arbre, Oil On Canvas, 40.5 X 32.5 Cm, Lille Métropole Museum Of Modern, Contemporary And Outsider Art
Georges Braque 1908 Maisons Et Arbre Lille Métropole Museum Of Modern, Contemporary And Outsider Art
Pablo Picasso, 1910, Girl With A Mandolin (Fanny Tellier), Oil On Canvas, 100.3 X 73.6 Cm, Museum Of Modern Art New York.
Pablo Picasso, 1910, Girl With A Mandolin (Fanny Tellier), Oil On Canvas, 100.3 X 73.6 Cm, Museum Of Modern Art New York.

Later in history, Georges Braque started a new direction; cubism. Throughout the history of painting, there was no other such a great break with the classic achievements of art as was done by the Cubists. Until the arrival of Cubism, paintings were supposed to reflect reality, but Cubists wanted to define reality in a new way. They saw the object first geometrized and then broken into smaller elements of rolls, cones, balls, etc. So, the basis of cubism is the principle that the object is broken into a series of separate planes, viewed in different lighting, which is then presented side by side on canvas.

In 1915, a few years after Georges Braque and Picasso started their Cubistic movement, Kazimir Malevich painted the Black Square, which has been the basis on which abstract and conceptual art movements are widely built in our days and probably the reason we have the minimalistic style and design in architecture and furniture, to make some examples.

So, when we understand Braque, Picasso and Kazimir, we also understand why our furniture’s, cars, architecture and even cloth are more simple today, why everything we find around us is shaped into squares, circles and strict lines from toilets to cutlery.

Cubism may not directly have changed us as individuals, but the direction affected us all, including fashion designers, architects, industrial designers and more, which meant our everyday lives and our impressions were also changed and continue to be.

Marcel Duchamp, 1917, Fountain, Photograph By Alfred Stieglitz
Marcel Duchamp, 1917, Fountain, Photograph By Alfred Stieglitz

When Marcel Duchamp in 1917 presenting his Fountain, a urinal signed with the pseudonym “R. Mutt”, it shocked the art world but was later, in 2004 selected as “the most influential artwork of the 20th century”. From this time the term “Readymades” created a moment where everyone could expect a beautiful design in every simplest and most miserable object or material.

Thanks to this fountain, contemporary design and fine arts were created using various means of expression and forms known to us as obvious and encountered every day. No rules or directions applied any longer. Artists take full advantage of the achievements of their predecessors, and the users can enjoy various proposals for decoration, items, shapes of furniture and even cars.

Duchamp’s Fountain, in one way, became the starting point for how we behave today, where everything is allowed and where we do not need to follow specific directions or indoctrinations to be accepted. Striped pants for the dotted shirt make you avant-garde and not tasteless. You decide for yourself, partly because a French-American artist chose to break the norm and exhibit a toilet at the exhibition at The Grand Central Palace in New York in 1917.

You can fall in love with art but be aware, it affects you more than you know.

Censured
When art is censored

When art is censored

Has history taught us nothing?

Or is it only the elite of power that,
contrary to art, continues to live in the Middle Ages?

banana

Who should decide whether art should be allowed and published or not? And what significance does censorship of art have? Everyone can have their own opinions on art, but for us at BeArte, it is a fact, that art should never be censored by anyone other than the eyes who see it. Your eye’s.

Art has always suffered due to censorship for political or religious reasons. Today, we also experience that the social media sets limits for what can be displayed and what must be censored. Is it acceptable? Should religious men, obscure politicians and robots ruled by men like Mark Zuckerberg decide what we can see? Of course not. It is grotesque and a limitation of our right to develop.

Dalia Split Left
Dalia Split Right

For several years an art video by the polish artist Natalia LL has been displayed at the National Museum in Warsaw, you can watch it here: https://nataliall.com/en/. The title is ‘Consumer Art’ and it was made in 1973 and showed a woman eating a banana. Last week, the artwork was taken down by the museum’s new head, Jerzy Miziolek, after he was summoned to the ministry of culture. In addition a separate 2005 video by another controversial female artist, Katarzyna Kozyra, showing a woman walking two men on all fours, dressed as dogs on a lead, was also removed.

Polish Minister of Culture, Piotr Glinski, may in some ways recall a lighter version of the German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Besides Glinski’s absurd way of trying to create a picture of Poland and the world in the (low) height of his beloved leader Jarosław Kaczyński, he must of course not be compared to Nazism. Unfortunately, however, the approach is the same when art, culture and media are to be censored and pushed in one narrow direction.

I myself have seen ‘Consumer Art’ and the artwork did not make me happier or put tragic traces in my soul. Perhaps the work of art does not have a great influence today, as it used to, or perhaps it does not fall into my taste. All of this really doesn’t matter. The artwork is an expression of its time and a way of making us think. It is important for this purpose. In the same way as Monet’s colours and works of light were important at the end of the 19th century, where he was also seen as a provocateur with his paintings.

The greater meaning of the art performed today, we will probably not understand before many years ahead. For what is it, that art is doing and why is it so important? It makes us dare more in life and make us take longer steps in our development as a species. Steps in other directions that we would take usually. It gives us the courage to try new and ask questions about the existing. And therefore, it is dangerous for politicians and religious leaders and therefore it’s important for us as humans. Once art is published, it can no longer be tamed. It makes an impression and creates development, our development.

In a way head of Warsaw National Museum, Jerzy Miziolek is correct when he claims that art affects us. But it is not harmful and when he claims that the art ‘could irritate sensitive young people’, he tries to apologise for his abuse of power. When the particular artwork was performed and presented in 1973, it was part of liberation from rigid old conservative values. The same values as Jerzy Miziolek, Piotr Glinski and Jarosław Kaczyński love today. But do we really want to go back in time? If so, why not go back to the 1930s, where we are already on the road to go with the rising nationalism and totalism, or back to the Stone Age, where we will end if we do not care. The art cannot save our world against stupid old men. But it can make us look out with different perspectives. It can open our minds and it can make us follow other ideas and goals in life. That’s the reason some politicians want to limit art and for the same reason, we fight to keep it free. We believe in freedom; for humans, the art and our development.

Below you can find examples of erotic art from our artists.

Bullet Lips
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Free spirit Svetoslav Stoyanov at BeArte Gallery
Frida HD
Frida Kahlo’s Largest Collection – Free Exhibition
Frida Kahlo Portrait

This may sound insane and unbelievable, but it is true. Google Arts and Culture app launched their incredible virtual exhibition “Faces of Frida” which is totally free for all the art lovers.

Frida Kahlo was considered one of Mexico’s greatest artists. Being a talented artist she also was known for her political activities. As even having major issues with health she never stopped her political activism.

Frida Kahlo became a world known figure thanks to a movie. In 2002 film entitled “Frida”, starring Salma Hayek was directed by Julie Taymor. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards and won for Best Makeup and Original Score.

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So Google Arts and Culture decided to make a huge present for all those who love and support the art of a magnificent Frida Kahlo by creating the exhibition which is considered as “a closer look at the many faces of Frida Kahlo through her life, art and legacy.”

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The exhibition allows us to looks from all the possible angles at life, often tragic, of the artist. Undoubtedly, the huge work was done, as to present such an exhibition, the several years of cooperation with the network of museums and galleries needed to be managed.

Enjoy the collection from seven different countries which contain around 800 exhibits. And some of them have never been presented yet. So you will definitely open and face Frida from a new side.

The source of the exhibition can be found here: https://artsandculture.google.com/project/frida-kahlo 

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The Bayswater Road Sunday Art Exhibition
Wally The Organ Grinder With His Parrot Was A Regular Attraction. This Drawing By Joan Dawson From The Old Days Shows Diane Elson's Work. Diane Still Exhibits At Bayswater To This Day!

Nestling deep in the centre of one of London’s most genteel residential districts lies the Bayswater Road Sunday Art Exhibition. Bordering the glorious Royal Parks, visitors can lap up the atmosphere of one of the world’s most famous open-air exhibitions, literally every Sunday of the year. Haydn Dickenson tells the living history of a vibrant part of London’s heritage.

In the 1950’s, the London County Council set up the Embankment Art Show in May each year. The self-representing artists wanted a regular exhibiting area though, so a band of them set up near Hyde Park Corner, not being moved on until roadworks in the 1960’s when they decided to decamp to Green Park, just off Piccadilly. In time, that spot overflowed, so the maverick band tried Bayswater Road opposite Queensway on the old Kensington Gardens wire fence (the ornate iron railings, now reinstated, had been torn down to be melted up for the war effort).

As the pioneering show grew, getting space to exhibit meant a night sleeping in the car. Parking on Bayswater Road was permitted from 6.30pm on Saturday, so artists would arrive the night before to secure their spot by marking their pitch with a painting or sign.  Groups of artists organised themselves by taking turns to stake a pitch for each other on alternate weekends, but it was not a safe place to be – assaults by drunks on the road were not uncommon. Many artists wore pyjamas under their day clothes for warmth, evidenced by two or three inches of stripy material flopping about the ankles when the time came to ply their wares the following morning!

Inevitably there was conflict over spaces, sometimes violent and involving money. The London Mob became involved, roping off large stretches of Bayswater Road, patrolling them with dogs and demanding money from artists for a pitch.

By the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the show had mushroomed into a cornucopia of diverse items. Bric-a-brac, trinkets and cheap reproductions jostled for space alongside the genuine art, and brass-rubbing prints, paper flowers, clothing and even ladies’ underwear were all to be found. Hot-dog sellers, card tricksters and the like also made their presence known, and the fraud squad investigated the potential fencing of stolen art through the exhibition.

By now, the exhibition ran from Queensway to Marble Arch and beyond into Park Lane and local residents, unhappy at the increasingly ramshackle mess, tried to have the show shut down. Crisis meetings with the local council were held, and licensing was introduced in January 1973 to establish the exhibition as one with real credentials for the display of original art by self-representing artists only, a tradition which the Bayswater Road Art Association is proud to uphold to this day.

Headed up by David James (one of the Bayswater pioneers), Haydn Dickenson and a small committee, the Bayswater Road Sunday Art Exhibition will shortly celebrate its sixtieth birthday. Though smaller in recent years – due to the escalating ages of some exhibitors, and the changing shopping habits of the general public – the exhibition still packs a bohemian punch on a fine summer’s day, bursting with atmosphere and offering to the discerning public a huge variety of art across many genres. All exhibitors are self-representing artists – no dealers are permitted – so you can be sure you are buying original art, direct from the artist at studio prices. There is easy (and free) parking on the road, and many exhibitors offer chip-and-pin card payment facilities.

Many artists have been ‘discovered’ at Bayswater, being snapped up by agents or publishers to go on to bigger things – they often return to ‘Bays’ however, even if only to greet their old friends and relive a little of the Bayswater magic that they no doubt miss.

Alongside Montmarte, Bayswater surely ranks as one of the world’s most renowned open-air art events, and as it runs every single Sunday of the year from 0800 until it gets too cold or dark, there’s ample opportunity to pay a visit. Locals, whether buyers or just loyal supporters, become well-known to the artists, and overseas visitors return year after year.

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Haydn runs Social Media pages at @BayswaterART (Twitter) and at @BayswaterRoadArt (Facebook), together with a website https://www.bayswater-road-artists.co.uk/  where you can contact him with inquiries and see what the show is doing from week to week. Several new artists are lined up to join this spring, and with plenty of vacancies for newcomers available, artists are actively encouraged to apply. The cost is low, the profile is high, and the camaraderie is second to none!

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Maybe you’ll even get a bit of Bayswater-60th-birthday-cake in a couple of years’ time!

The article was created by our great talented artist Haydn Dickenson. Don’t forget to visit his profile. 

Artmuc 2018 1500x680
ARTMUC 2019! This May, 1 – 5 and October, 17 – 20 in Munich

Are you an Art Lover?

Then do not miss a great 4-day event in Munich. After a great success and a huge amount of visitors in the previous year, ARTMUC will be held 2 times this year. In May, from 1 – 5 and October, 17 – 20.

It won’t be a lie to say that it has become Bavaria’s biggest art event for contemporary art. Around 100 individual artists and galleries and projects from all over Europe are going to present current positions of contemporary art.

ARTMUC will represent all possible manifestations of art – paintings, illustrations, photographs, digital art, sculptures, installations and much more. So you definitely will have a great time and things to observe.

The event will take place in the Isarforum at the Dt.Museum and on the beautiful Praterinsel in the heart of Munich.

For the detailed information visit the official website of the ARTMUC https://www.artmuc.info/

Take a look at how it was last year

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The Last Supper of Leonardo, Easter topic which is Never Enough

Religion and Art

Religious themes are an inseparable subject in most early art paintings. Because the Church has been the patron of art in past centuries, it is not surprising that the religious subject was one of the most frequently undertaken by artists. In the Middle Ages, the artists were creating only on religion and for God topics, and then from the Renaissance to modern times, this relationship between art and the church has gradually disappeared.

At present, painters who referring to biblical scenes are very rarely encountered, and this subject has become a kind of a separate niche. It cannot be concealed, however, that one of the greatest masterpieces of art arose from the Biblical inspiration.

All the New Testament’s themes strongly influenced the imagination of painters. At the same time, they were also an inspiration to communicate various contents, meanings, and symbols directly related not only to the topic itself but also indirectly to the existence of every human being. Such subjects as treason, pain, suffering, sacrifice, redemption, and victory accompany man on various levels of his existence and in various dimensions.

The Last Supper - Facts

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The most famous painting connected with the Easter subject is, of course, the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Almost every year, new revelations and appear.

Amateurs and experts, they can’t get enough and still continuing to discover new meanings. The new chapters of the Last Supper are being opened every year. No wonder, eventually, that great artwork came out of the genius hands.

All known facts are that the Last Supper, or Il Cenacolo, is a fresco made by Leonardo da Vinci. The mural was created in the years 1495-1498. Its dimensions are impressive – 4.60 m to 8.80 m. Leonardo created it commissioned by Prince Ludovico Sforza, the fresco was made for the dining room of the Dominican monastery, in the Basilica of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, in Milan.

From my point of view, such valuable work should be immediately hung in the museum under special protection. I write this with a pinch of salt, but the fact remains that at the time when Leonardo created a fresco, was the same as for us buy a decoration to match the colour of the sofa. Of course, an exclusive sofa, because only such sofas could have the prince of Milan.

In the Last Supper, the artist used an innovative technique, which unfortunately proved to be unstable and despite the repeated renovations (21 years of renovation), the fresco is still in a very poor condition. Some people suggest that it is the attempts of restorations have done more harm to the artwork than the time. It can be easily counted that the renovation lasted longer than the process of painting the fresco.

Leonardo used the technique of combining tempera and oil paint. This allowed him to paint on dry plaster and what it involves – a slow refinement of details. He tried to find the intermediate way between the drying time of oil paints and tempera. The paints were put directly on the primed wall and not as it was before – on a wet surface.

The humidity of the air present in the Dominican monastery was not good for the fresco. Another element that contributed to the destruction of the work of art was the forging in 1652 of the door to the monastery kitchen, thus permanently damaging the fragment of Jesus’ feet and part of the table.

Other consequences and damages were during the Napoleonic wars, the stationing of the soldiers in Mediolan who organized the stable inside the monastery. I hope that the horses appreciated the surroundings of the artwork because the soldiers apparently did not. Unfortunately, looking on fresco damages, I am sure that artwork did not do well in this company either. The Second World War, in turn, and the bombing destroyed the part of the refectory.

The Last Supper - What it really represents?

In general, the Last Supper represents the apostles surrounding Christ and eating the last meal together. According to Christian tradition, this is the moment of the first Eucharist consumed in the form of bread and wine. However, in the Last Supper Leonardo Da Vinci illustrates this part of the New Testament:

“[…] After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” (John 13, 21-24).

Leonardo introduced Saint Peter and Saint John who banded over towards each other. They are talking behind Judas. That is the way in which he describes the text of the Gospel. Peter, according to the text, could not sit next to Christ, although he was the successor of Jesus. Therefore, at the right hand of Jesus, Leonardo painted John.

Holy Trinities on the Fresco

All the apostles are depicted in trinities. On the left of Jesus, we see the figures of John, Peter and Judas. The next three are Bartłomiej, Jakub Mniej and Andrzej.

At the right hand of Jesus, the first three are Thomas, James the Greater and Philip the Apostle. Next to them, engaged in a discussion, were sitting Mateusz-Lewi, or later Matthew the Evangelist, and Szymon and Tadeusz.

Last Supper Trinities

Jesus sits in the middle as a central figure. His character symbolizes succumb and acceptance of the inevitable. Jesus divides the table and interlocutors into two parts. Interpreters of Leonardo’s artworks convince us that everything on the left side of the table is all that concerns divine thinking, and everything the right side takes place on human grounds.

He combines these two approaches. The figure of Jesus focuses the viewer’s attention. It is static compared to live gesticulating apostles. The very figure of Jesus is inscribed in an equilateral triangle.

Dalia Split Left
Dalia Split Right

Why is it a Masterpiece?

From an artistic point of view, what impresses in the depicted scene is the mastery of the perspective that Leonardo used. The interior on the painting is an illusionistic extension of the monastery’s dining room.

All lines connecting the heads of the apostles, tapestries and beams would all converge in the person of Christ.

The artist expertly introduced the depth of the refectory. Leonardo, as an inquisitive researcher, was not only an artist but also an inventor, researcher. He sought to paint the space between objects. He tried to recreate a 3d effect on a flat surface. He studied with mathematical accuracy all the issues to present the depth. He was designing the composition based on the legacy of the great Greek geometers.

Last supper perfect lines

Everyone, regardless of their knowledge of art, can admire the illusion of perspective. Also, the way in which he showed the characters. Their naturalness and realism. The viewer can feel like a participant in the scene he is looking at. Characters are not rigidly posed, they are not embellished, everything has the dimension of a real event taking place.

Looking at the fresco, we can almost feel how each of the apostles reacts vividly to Jesus’ words. We can easily notice the individual psychological features in each of the represented forms.

Leonardo spent months searching for models for the Last Supper, refining every gesture and the smallest detail. Rumor has it that he devoted the most time searching for Judah and apparently found such a figure in the criminal districts.

Another curiosity is that Leonardo did not like to paint halo, that’s why on the fresco the halo was replaced by the daylight entering the room. Thanks to this solution, the viewer has the impression that light is spreading from Christ. So nothing on this fresco is accidental.

The artist also depicted all the details of the presented scene with a great accuracy. Experts believe that in the presented pewter vessels, Leonardo painted the reflections of the figures of the supper participants. Unfortunately, this reflection hardly survived to our times.

All the above-described elements, such as realism of the depicted characters, attention to the details, ability to present the psychological character of the figure, mastery in painting the perspective, perfect knowledge of geometry and the great ability to juggle the meaning, make the Last Supper a true masterpiece.

It is also one of the most frequently reproduced religious paintings.

Codes and Theories

This famous Leonardo’s fresco still evokes many emotions and pseudo-scientific theories. According to many, it contains innumerable mysteries and allusions, what assures us Dan Brown in his book “Leonardo da Vinci’s Code”.

In addition, according to Giovanni Maria Pale, who is both a musician and computer scientist specializing at the Last Supper, the musical record of the short requiem is hidden.

Another curiosity is the additional hand with a knife, which is hidden among the first Trinity from the left side of Jesus. On the image, you can see a hand holding a knife, just behind Judas. Initially, it was considered a mistake, if genius Leonardo could be so wrong. Currently, researchers believe that it is Peter’s hand. It is interpreted as a violent reaction of Peter to the words of Jesus regarding the events in the Garden of Olives.

There are numerous references to astrology and the placement of the Trinities of the apostles according to the seasons or constellations. One of the most intriguing is, of course, the theory that Mary Magdalene is depicted on the fresco too, that it is her and not John the apostle, and the knife held by Piotr is, in fact, meant for her. Even more, Peter’s second hand is aiming at Magdalene’s neck.

Last Supper Theory

Processing of the Last Supper

The Last Supper has had many modifications and depending on the modifying needs, the fresco was modified into a funny, shocking or carrying a deeper message.

The apostles could be changed into pop-culture characters or fictitious characters. Sometimes, even erotic items or other pop-culture items appear on the table.

An example of this is the work of Susan Dorothy White, an Australian artist who painted the First Supper in 1988. The da Vinci painting inspired the artist to raise the problem of human rights and especially women rights.

Many speaking version of Last Supper by Rauf Mamedov as a good example too. His interpretation speaks volumes about the loneliness of Jesus facing inevitable death. About loneliness as a general problem of each of human beings.

And maybe this is a true reason why Leonardo is genius – he intrigues and inspires despite the time.

Notre Dame Fire article
Fire of the Century – Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral Was Destroyed

Yesterday the whole world was observing with beating hearts the fire of the century.

Horrible news caught Paris yesterday evening, famous Notre Dame Cathedral was burning. Flames burst through the roof and started to spread quite fast. The fire was unstoppable as quite quickly it engulfed the tower, which soon collapsed.
Police were saying it began accidentally and may be linked to building work at the cathedral. Indisputable masterpiece and one of the favorite touristic places with vivid history faced yesterday the hardest burden in its 850 years.
After many hours of hard work of more than 400 firefighters, it is still hard to say how bad are the destructions.
French President Emmanuel Macron posted in his Twitter compassionate message:
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Our history is based on our culture, which has been developed in the architecture, music, sculptures, visual arts, theatres and literature. Losing a part of its culture is like losing part of its identity. There may not be many voters in spending money on art and preserving our culture. But it is absurd that even the same politicians who oppose any kind of immigration. and integration of the same people never fights for the preservation of our own culture. With a strong culture, no one needs to be ‘afraid’ of foreign cultures.
The truth is, it is not cultural influences that we must fear, but corrupt and/or incompetent politicians, from every continent, populists, suppressive religions, greed, inequality and censorship that keep people from developing. Without all of this, we could all live happily and our cultural heritage would survive, no matter if we live in North, South, East or West.
Our support goes to the French people.
Stanislaw Szukalski Portrait
The Szukalski Struggle

The life and struggles of
Stanisław Szukalski

Showing The Way 1978 Desa Unicum Auction March 2019
Showing The Way 1978 | Desa Unicum | Auction March 2019

One day, looking through the resources of Polish art, I came across Stanisław Szukalski’s works. This time my attention was caught by the acrylic painting “Showing the Way”. This is the artwork depicting the King of Saudi Arabia, Khalid and his son Fahd. Szukalski performed it on order in 1978. As soon as I saw this image the pieces of information began to emerge in the depths of my memory.

First of all, I reached for the film about Szukalski, realized by Leonardo DiCaprio “Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski”. The premiere of this movie was in December 2018 on Netflix, directed by Ireneusz Dobrowolski and screenplay by Stephen Cooper and Ireneusz Dobrowolski.

I do not know why, but when the information about this film appeared, I did not pay much attention to it. Now, consciously, I decided to go back to the movie.

Genius or Madman?

Szukalski, considered by many to be a visionary of his time, for some reasons, disappeared for years from the art scene. By some, he was considered as a genius, by others as a crazy sculptor with an ego. There are also critics who believe that the discoverers of his talent really let him lose his head. Critics emphasize his pseudo-scientific views on the origin of humanity and nationalism as part of his youth artistic way. He was also the creator of the pseudoscience of Zermatism.
Well, sometimes genius is accompanied by madness. Watching the documentary about Szukalski and collecting the materials about him, I wanted to find out which of these theories are closer to the truth – a genius or a weirdo, and what Szukalski was struggling with?

When I watched the movie and explored his artworks, I saw a man whose life and artistic career were directed by events completely independent of him. Which at the end of his life led him to the struggle of the constant feeling of unappreciation and unnecessity.

Szukalski was overwhelmed by the sense of the great loss, as according to his assumptions his talent was underestimated. He saw the loss rather in the context of his life, as he was feeling the lack of opportunities for creating, than through the prism of a personal career.

He struggled with regret that the achievements of his life would be lost and that he would not be able to accomplish all his monumental projects. Szukalski’s life is a true material for a biographical film, not just a documentary.

You certainly can not understand Szukalski without delving into his fate, intertwined with the fate of his homeland. Szukalski was a live mixture of talent, great ego and the times in which he lived – the formation of Polish independence, escape to the USA during the Second World War, the fight against the communistic Polish government for the return of the survived works and peripheral life in Los Angeles.

A great talent that fell into oblivion. Fell because of the successes in the USA and in Poland, where he was hailed as a national artist – after being nothing in an adopted homeland. In my opinion, it is impossible to fully assess and understand Szukalski’s attitudes without even understanding the times in which he lived.

Watching the movie, we see an old man full of regret about the world that did not appreciate his artistic contribution to the development of humanity.

Auction 04 2019

At the same time, a man of certain strength and self-confidence, a visionary, convinced of his importance to art. Sure, Szukalski was overwhelmed by the conviction that he is more valuable than other artists, such as Picasso, whom he, by the way, called the Pic-asshole.

Art was to bring content to him, to symbolize and serving ideas, free his emotions. It was supposed to evoke an unforgettable impression and not be a theory or decoration.

Szukalski was known for his indiscriminate criticism of works of other artists during visits to exhibitions and museums. He did not hide his thoughts and did not win because of that trait friends.

Overwhelmed by incomprehensible ideas, on the verge of nationalism and pseudo-scientific theories, obsessed with the Slavic issues and searching after the mother of all languages, he wanted to become the greatest Polish artist in history.

Most of these ideas were evolving in him. You can see how Szukalski changes after the Second World War. His nationalism gives way to cosmopolitanism, his approach to the Jewish question changes. This resulted in the attribution of some of his artworks to the Jewish people.

Looking at a certain distance on the artist’s life, one can notice several points that undoubtedly influenced the development of his personality and the fate of the artist.

His father – Dyonizy Szukalski. It was because of him that the family appeared in the USA. Great authority for the artist, the man with whom Stanisław was very connected. Dyonizy, who was involved in political affairs as a socialist, had to flee with his wife Konstancja from occupied Poland. They fled to Brazil looking for a better life. After a few years, they came back. Their financial situation was not the best one.

Dyonizy was looking for the opportunity to be able to contain the family, which at that time were already of two children, Alfreda and Stanisław. He left for South Africa. There he took part in the Second Boer War against the British Empire. The political views of Dyonizi will be reflected later in Stanisław’s views. After returning from Africa, his father had a chance to buy some land in Poland. The situation of the family still did not improve much. Dyonizy decided to move to the United States this time, where he took all his family.

Stanislaw Szukalski
Stanislaw Szukalski

Between America and Poland

Stanisław attended school in Radomsko, Poland. As a very young boy, his first steps in art were in sculpting figures. Which he handed out to the local favourite girls. But it was in the Art Institute of Chicago, where he was first time recognized as a great talent in sculptors. However, later his skills will be recognized as a great talent for sculpturing at the Art Institute of Chicago.
He studies further artistic studies in Poland. The father, at the instigation of the Polish sculptor Antoni Sublima, sends a 15-year-old boy to Krakow. We can imagine this youngster away from the family during a great journey through the huge Atlantic. It was not the first time when Stanislaw learned how to be independent.

Krakow and first successes

In Krakow, Stanislaw undertakes examinations to which, despite his young age, he is exceptionally admitted. He is accepted, first recognition from the professors was in the words “There is something special about him”.

Recognized by others as exceptionally talented and seeing himself as a genius, Stanisław had the honor of being in touch with the greatest artists of that time. He was rebeling against the traditional teaching system. And he even was suspended in the student’s rights. You could say that he was seduced by his own ego.

Jacek Malczewski, one of the greatest Polish artists of the era, took him under his protection. After some time, forced by the situation Szukalski matured for the decision, and he apologized to the professors. Eventually, he returned to the Krakov Art Academy. His works are rewarded and staged equally with other great artists.

The first rewards for the sculpturing he received in 1910. He organized his first exhibition in 1912. Another success was during the presentation of his sculptures in 1913 at the exhibition along with the works of mature artists. Around 1914, he created sculptures in bronze: the Orator, the Bust of David and the One-Handed Man in the Wind.

Let us remind that he was a young 20-year-old artist at that time. Probably this whole situation strengthen Stanisław’s ideas of his absolute uniqueness. Certainly rightly. But the maturity of the personality didn’t accompany the ego. In the following years the overly bloated ego did not bring him supporters or allies in the artistic world.

Young Stanisław Szukalski
Young Stanisław Szukalski (With courtesy of Netflix)

Again America

In 1913, his father’s fate affected his life again. The artist, worried about his father’s condition and family situation, returned to the USA. He was doing odd jobs and continued his studies at the Chicago Art Institute. He was receiving awards and had the chances to organize exhibitions. At that time he created the first sculptures in bronze. It was then, the artworks as Work, Dream, Man’s Fall, Fight of quantity with quality or Atlantis were created.
A few months later, Dyonyzy was killed by a car. In DiCaprio’s documentary, Szukalski described himself the dramatic situation that he went through. He described how his father was lying on the street, how he carried his body, how he could not let his body be taken away. After years Szukalski will be asked where he learned anatomy for his sculptures, he would answer that it was the body in his hands that taught him human anatomy. It was a great personal tragedy for the artist.
With the death of his father, his material situation deteriorates even more. Stanisław was starving, he tried to seize any work, he even worked in slaughterhouses. Nevertheless, he happened to meet significant figures for the Chicago Renaissance and finally entered the artistic circles.
Among others, Ben Hecht, who met Szukalski in 1914, and who wrote about the artist in his autobiography “A Child of the Century”: “For twenty years my friend … experienced disasters which would have killed off a dozen businessmen. Sickness, poverty and hunger yipped everlasting at his heels. … during his struggles he heard only the catcalls of critics and the voices of derision. Yet when I saw him in 1934, I saw a man who had feasted on power and whose eyes smiled with triumph.”

Tagore. Szukalski. NAC
Tagore by Szukalski. NAC, 1929

Hindu threads

In 1917, Szukalski met the Nobel laureate, the Hindu poet Rabindranath Tagore. Rabindranath was a prose writer, philosopher, composer, painter, and teacher. Szukalski, at his invitation, was to organize an institute of fine arts in India. Szukalski also carved a portrait of Tagore, the copy by an Indian sculptor – was placed at the University of Calcutta.

According to the Tagore proposal, the artist tried to get to India at the invitation of Rabindranath. Unfortunately, the repeated fate of Szukalski happened, everything seemed to be according to the plan but at the very last moment, decisions independent from him ruined the artistic development.

First, his visit was prevented by the war in India and then by the British embassy who refused to issue a visa due to political views. This mutual reluctance, the Empire to Szukalski and Szukalski to the Empire, will be reflected in the artist’s works.

Such circumstances were in a way a synonym of his life. Whatever Szukalski decide to do, it’s destroyed either in an embryo or after the realization of the project. This is what happens with the full of impressive designs of monuments, buildings, medals and coins. Something was always on his way, either making it impossible to implement or just destroying artistic achievements.

John Biro

Personal happiness, rest and further successes

Finally, after years of struggling with reality, there was a breakthrough. The personal and financial situations of Szukalski’s life improved. In 1923, he married Helena Walker, an artist and daughter of Dr. Samuel J. Walker, an outstanding member of the Chicago community.

Chicaco Society Egagement H.Walker And Szukalski

The New York Times
MAY 28, 1922: SZUKALSKI TO MARRY CHICAGO SOCIETY GIRL; Engagement of Miss Helen Walker to Sculptor of Tortured Figures Causes a Stir.
May 27, 1922: Stanislaus Szukalski, a long-haired radical Polish sculptor, “son of a blacksmith, arrived here today and announced his intention of marrying Miss Helen Walker, daughter of Dr. Samuel J. Walker, a prominent physician.
In this abstract, we see the clash of two worlds. The artist was described: “a long-haired radical” and a daughter of local high society. Szukalski was perceived as the Cinderella who met the princess.

NYT, Chicago Society

Newlyweds were travelling around Europe. The sculptor gained international recognition and prizes. Spouses lived in Italy and France. This applied more successes. He was able to take a break or focus on work.

In 1925, at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Art in Paris, the artist received the Grand Prix for sculptures in bronze and the Honorary Diploma for architectural designs and the Gold Medal for stone sculpture.

He is also appreciated in America. The famous “Vanity Fair” wrote about him: “with his talent, he put Chicago on the art plains and in sculpting he is like Dante and Edgar Allan Poe in literature”

However, his personal life did not work so well in spite of the coming to the world of Elżbieta Kalinka, his daughter. In fact, not much is known about her. We get some information in DiCaprio’s movie.

Leonardo in his documentary raises the issues of incompatibility of spouses in their marriage life.  He suggested that it was about sex which that was not important for Szukalski and completely irrelevant to Helen. They divorced in 1938 and after a year he married his daughter’s kindergarten teacher – Joan Lee Donavan.

I did not find any information about contacts between him and his daughter. Elżbieta Kalinka disappeared from Stanisław’s life. Perhaps, what I can not be sure, such broken, because of the divorce, relations with a few-year-old daughter were never to be renewed.

I am convinced that divorce also affected the image of the artist, in the eyes of the apex of contemporary social society. Perhaps many doors were closed in front of Szukalski.

Szukalski Krakow 1936 Exhibition 2
Szukalski exhibition in Krakow 1936

Polish national artist - back in Poland

Another event that influenced the development of Szukalski’s personality and his talent was the arrival to Poland in 1929 at the invitation of the Polish government.
Polish independence lasted only 11 years. The young state after years of non-existence wanted to have its national artist. Stanisław Szukalski undertook this mission. He was feeling honoured, appreciated and very much sensing his historical mission.
He brought all his works to the National Museum. The artist received orders and task for the workshop. His personal life with his new wife, Joan, was also thriving. It was one of the happiest periods in the life of the spouses.

Szukalski exhibited 98 drawings and 34 sculptures in Krakow. He gathered a group of students from the Krakow School of Decorative Arts and the Art Industry, who later attempted to imitate Szukalski’s art. He lectured and gave speeches. He resented because of imitating Western designs. He criticized the way of teaching at traditional universities.

At last, he founded his own art school, so-called “Twórcownia” and an artistic group called “The Horned Heart”, whose main postulate was to cut off Western influences and establish into national, Slavic roots in art.

Szukalski wanted Poland to have its own native art after years of occupation by three countries. He criticized copying trends from the west.

He referred to the Slavic roots, he issued appeals for the reconciliation of the Slavs, among others to Ukrainians, Slovaks, Czechs, Russians and others.

Boleslaw The Brave
Boleslaw The Brave 1972

Los Angeles - the beginning of the oblivion

The artist was also involved in writing as a result of which in 1938 he staged the play “Krak, Ludola’s son”.

Stanisław Szukalski, seduced by the narrative independence of the young state, begins a dangerous flirt with nationalism and anti-Semitism. He is a co-creator of the nationalistic newspaper Krak, in which aggressive slogans appear. I am convinced that, after many years, this episode will contribute to the rejection of Szukalski by the American art world.

The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 is, in my opinion, one of the most eventful events that completely re-evaluated the artist’s views and also shattered his further artistic career.

During the air raids, the artist’s studio was completely destroyed. Many sculptures and drawings have been destroyed or lost. Almost all the achievements of the artist have been lost. Stanisław himself barely escaped. It was actually the beginning of his fall.

Szukalski and his wife hid in the American embassy. They managed to return to the USA with a few suitcases. Szukalski had nothing.

In 1940 he and his wife settled in Los Angeles. They sometimes lived on the edge of poverty. In addition to the dirty jobs he managed to find, he wrote over 40 volumes of typescript about the mysteries of the origin of humanity and the language, including Zermatism.His family was living in a one-room house. The movie shows how small this room is. Cluttered space, scarcely enough room for the remains of his sculptures, drawings and books. There is no room for where to continue artistic work.

The Los Angeles authorities granted the artist a pension of 250$ US per month, which barely allowed the rent to be paid. The artist tried to get income for selling drawings or postcards or from occasional medal events.

Friends are trying to help Szukalski. However, the attempts fail. Museum curators are enchanted by his sculptural achievements, but at the same time do not want to get involved in the artist’s promotions. Nobody was interested in showing Szukalski’s works in galleries. The artist was considered too politically involved, for not cooperating, but criticizing the artistic world, for the lack of adequate facilities in the USA and for being crazy. Stanisław Szukalski also tried to deliver his works from Poland to the USA. However, the communist government was not willing to cooperate with someone who fled from Poland to the USA. The relations between the two political blocs were solely hostile.

Convinced of his exceptional talent, and unable to find a job or bring his works from Poland, that could become his surviving, he fell into deep bitterness.
Looking at this man who with tears in his eyes says into the camera that he is a stranger in the USA even though he is a citizen of this country, that they laugh at his name, that Poles are guilty of losing his works – I see a man painfully treated by the fate. “I am a patriot without the country” – he shouted with tears in his eyes.
Sculptor more and more often fell ill. He felt underestimated by both his homelands. After the death of his second wife, his situation had deteriorated. Joan was his good guardian spirit, she cared for Stanisław. They were both very close to each other. They never argued. This death was a very painful loss for Szukalski
In spite of this situation he still worked, even after several hours a day, he drew and wrote and carved.
The weakening artist was sent to hospitals or to social welfare institutions. He died on May 19, 1987 in a hospital. Glenn Bray took Szukalski’s death very badly.
It was Glenn who fulfilled the last will of the spouses and on July 30, 1988 their ashes were scattered on Easter Island, on the island which according to Szukalski was the beginning of humanity.

Szukalski, Kopernikus, 1973
Szukalski, Kopernikus, 1973

Evaluation of Szukalski's art and his artistic heritage

In the early years of his creating life, the artist was influenced by Young Poland’s modernism. Particularly noteworthy were the busts, at which he was able to skillfully show the characteristic features of his models. These were often small format works, moody with soft modelling.
Later, his work begins to combine many styles. There are elements of modernism as well as expressionism, cubism and futurism. Many of his works have folklore features or reminding similar to the art of pre-Columbian America.

Especially in the USA after 1915, his expressive compositions, symbolic sculptures, patriotism and eclecticism of styles met the great interest. The American press wrote that his artworks are full of life and imagination.

According to art critics, Szukalski possesses a unique ability to combine styles of different eras or even different cultures. For example, he combined American Indian style with Slavic elements. Images of poets, kings or politicians looked like Aztec leaders or priests in a modern version.

However, despite the fact his art seemed cosmopolitan, it was still accompanying his strive for creating Polish art. Perhaps in a mix of these styles, he wanted to find something that would be characteristic and unique. Therefore, he boldly used elements deeply rooted in the early Polish folk and pagan traditions.

After the Artist’s death, Glenn Bray dealt with artistic legacy. He and his wife, Lena Zwalve, administered and maintained artist’s achievements, for example, in the form of photographs and manuscripts under the name “Archiwa Szukalski”. Currently, Glenn works in the foundry in Hollywood, which deals with the production of subsequent editions of Szukalski’s works.

The artist’s surviving works are owned by the heir and the Polish Museum in America, the National Museum in Warsaw, and the Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom.

However, Leonardo Di Caprio became a valuable collector of sculptures of Stanisław Szukalski. In 2000, he funded a posthumous and retrospective exhibition of sculptor’s works. The exhibition took place at Laguna Art. Museum in Laguna Beach, entitled “Struggle”.

Examples of the most important sculptor’s works in the last years of his 75-year-old life:

  • Struggle – the hand carving is finished
  • Monument to Bolesław Chrobry, the first Polish project – destroyed in a bombardment.
  • The monument to Adam Mickiewicz – the greatest Polish poet – did not come to fruition
  • Prometheus (1943), designed for Paris in tribute to the French partisans;
  • Copernicus – Polish astronomer
  • Gaul’s Rooster (1960), a gigantic and complex structure that he wanted the US to give France in thanksgiving for the Statue of Liberty.
  • Katyń (1979), a monument commemorating the deaths of over 20,000 Polish officers and intellectuals killed by the Soviets during World War II;
  • a monument to John Paul II, intended for the city of Venice (1982).

Szukalski is not an unambiguous character. Great talent is often accompanied by a pinch of madness. Eclecticism and combining of the ideas were very popular in the artist’s sculptures, but not necessarily in the ideas, he proclaimed.  The whole was made of contradictions. This man can not be described in one word.

He stood on the verge of several realities: pre-war, war and post-war. And in none of them, he was allowed to settle in for longer, grow in roots and develop. Fate insisted on throwing logs at his feet from which he failed to build the stairs to success.

These logs he often threw by himself through the lack of humbleness and excessive criticism of current trends in art. Living in an adopted country, he felt a second-class citizen. His real homeland turns away from him like from a “pariah”. Like many other artists before and after him, Szukalski is alone in his struggle with the grey and often brutal reality, in his fight for being allowed to create.

We can multiply the assumption of why DiCaprio and Ben Glenn were interested in Szukalski. Leonardo is a collector, Ben is in possession of an archive and works in a company dealing with casting versions of Szukalski’s sculptures.
Paying attention to the sculptor’s art is certainly in their interest. However, why it should be important compared to the fact that they enable Stanisław Szukalski’s art to see the daylight again. The most important is that this undoubtedly talented artist has a chance to re-enter the consciousness of art lovers. It is a pity that it happens so many years after his death.

Notice:

Photos we attached to the article are used for a non-commercial reason. They serve to illustrate the content of the article.

Bibliography
● https://www.szukalski.com
● https://www.counter-currents.com/2019/01/a-patriot-without-a-country/
● https://culture.pl/pl/tworca/stanislaw-szukalski
● https://www.nytimes.com/1922/05/28/archives/szukalski-to-marry-chicago-society-girl-engagement-of-miss-helen.html
Official trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPkoW4cmqT8
Agnieszka Rogowska, Landscape 24x30cm, Oil On Canvas Copy
Interview with Agnieszka Rogowska

Colourful planes just create and talk about something, building a kind of tension

Interview with Agnieszka Rogowska

VV. You say you are interested mainly in colour and the way it can be a creativity tool. Tell us more about your attitude toward colour.

AR. It is interesting what you say as on the whole we are used giving importance rather to “the idea” than to the means leading to it.

VV. Do you think art can be purely observed?

AR. Yes, in my opinion, art could be purely observed, as you put it. It could be very decorative, very aesthetic; putting aside serious contents, religious, social or political contexts. ension.

Agnieszka Rogowska Interview

VV. Is there then art for art’s sake?

AR. I think the art cannot exist in isolation from the man; I look, feel and admire what emotions can a painting stir. Regardless of its content and form, art creates certain reactions in man, which means it does not exist apart from him.

AR. The essence hence results not from the subject but – as Piotr Potworowski put it – “man’s inner strength.” It is really about whether the artist is able to convince observer; whether we are authentic in what we do. The creative process is the struggle with oneself; it is a kind of ordering one’s own emotions.

The colour stands first in my work. In my quest, using a few primary colours, I invent and compose a whole palette that suits my needs. It is through the colour that I build the image content. In my work colour does not bear any symbolical meaning, nor does it introduce a metaphysical one. Colourful planes just create and talk about something, building a kind of tension.

Landscape II, Agnieszka Rogowska, 90x90cm, Oil On Canvas Copy

VV. How do you approach your paintings, how do you see them after being finished? What does it mean for you to “complete” a painting?

AR. I am often dissatisfied with the results of my work; there is always something to improve, add or remove. That is why hardly ever I do have a sense of a “complete” painting. I happen to repaint my works many times, I like this effect of many layers of paint and besides, the old work often becomes a perfect basis for a new one.

I also like very raw canvas left or peeping through a thin layer of transparent paint. I am constantly looking for my own language in painting. Right now, I am interested in building a painting by the colour and through the colour and I do care to make my works paintings utmost.

AR. Everything becomes my inspiration: what I live, I see, I recognize every day. I like to reach for nature which is a bottomless well of ideas; one can draw from it forever, free to transform and simplify without losing its subtleness and clarity. It remains graceful and tranquil. I believe that the secret of art is that a mere trifle may become much more important, passing the inner transformation of the artist.

For me, painting is a kind of escape from everyday life, to the world of idyll. Struggling with the plane of the canvas I happen to completely lose the sense of time, lose contact with reality, and then fall into euphoria for a brief when the whole world is reduced to this one painting, I am working on. It’s exhausting, but a wonderful feeling!

Seascape, Agnieszka Rogowska, 100x100cm, Oil On Canvas Copy
Seascape, Agnieszka Rogowska, Logo Interior 1

VV. Can you name a few contemporary Polish painters whose art you find fascinating? In what way are they different?

AR. I really like to look, admire the art works of contemporary indigenous artists. But to be honest, I am more inspired by the elderly artists and most unfortunately late, like Teresa PagowskaJacek SienickiArtur Nacht-Samborski, Leon Tarasin, Jerzy NowosielskiTadeusz Dominik, and of course Piotr Potworowski. These are very important names in Polish art of the XX century; in vast majority representing the Colourism school by Pankiewicz or being its heirs.

Polish young art – at least that is how I see that – those who tend to analyze a human or rather to analyze anatomy get the loudest applause. Many artists show the dark side of life, using adequate means of expression. I remain true to the pure painting and I hope that is expressive and optimistic.

Flowers 06 Agnieszka Rogowska, 100x80cm, Oil On Canvas

Author: The interview supervised by Velina Vateva original text: http://www.public-republic.net/artist-of-the-week-agnieszka-rogowska/

At BeArte Gallery you can find wonderful oil on canvas artworks by Agnieszka Rogowska: