Fine art Friday

The Morning Greeting, Franz Schmid-Breitenbach (Crocker Art Museum)

I already feel like it’s been far too long since I wandered through an art museum; my most recent visit was to the de Young in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park last August. This morning I’ve been looking back at some images from both this outing and from my trip to the Crocker Museum in downtown Sacramento back in September 2019. With so many fine works of art on display, it can be difficult to pause and give each one the attention it deserves; I’m grateful to be allowed to photograph the artwork because otherwise I would miss so many great details in these paintings. As a knitter, the first thing I noticed about the painting above was the spinning wheel holding the large wool roving ready to be spun into yarn. But as a photographer I also appreciate the lighting and the expression of joy on the mother’s face as she sees her son through the window.

Yellow Lampshade, Elmer Bischoff (de Young Museum)

While the previous painting is a product of the 19th Century, the one above dates from 1969. As the museum information card explains, “Yellow Lampshade features a faceless man and woman in a light-filled, richly textured, and sparsely furnished interior space — their forms silhoutted against a looming gray city skyline.” The bright warmth of the foreground offers a sharp contrast with the chilly and distant background.

My World and Yours (And the Gods Created the World in Their Own Image), Irving Norman (Crocker)

I’m not really into abstract art, but I do enjoy surrealism; the unusual and the unexpected always draws me in for a closer look. Irving Norman’s piece may look like a piece of whimsy on first glance, but its message actually goes much deeper.

A potent critique on contemporary society, this painting is filled with references to war, the inequities of capitalism, and dehumanization. The composition is based on the double helix of DNA, which was discovered just a year before this painting was created. In Norman’s painting, as in life, everything is based on this foundation – Crocker Art Museum

Starlings, Caravans, Kay Sage (de Young)

I’m not sure what to think about the work of Kay Sage; I’m sure I don’t properly understand it, yet gazing at it fills me with an odd sense of satisfaction. Her later work was strongly influenced by fellow artist Yves Tanguy, which is probably why the de Young Museum chooses to display these last two pieces side by side.

As with other works by the artist, the painting deals with the theme of travel. Instead of depicting actual sailing though, or the path of flight in motion, Sage presents the aftermath of such activities. Debris, pieces of cloth, wood pieces or bones, of what appears to be a broken vessel hint to the prior presence of life in this now deserted landscape — Kay Sage Paintings

From One Night To Another, Yves Tanguy (de Young)

Yves Tanguy was in many respects the quintessential Surrealist. A sociable eccentric who ate spiders as a party trick, and a close friend of Andre Breton, Tanguy was best-known for his misshapen rocks and molten surfaces that lent definition to the Surrealist aesthetic. Self-taught but enormously skilled, Tanguy painted a hyper-real world with exacting precision. His landscapes, a high-octane blend of fact and fiction, captured the attention of important artists and thinkers from Salvador Dalí to Mark Rothko who admitted their debt to the older artist. And even Carl Gustav Jung used a canvas by Tanguy to illustrate his theory of the collective unconscious — Summary of Yves Tanguy