Artwork of the Week

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Jan. 30 Art Minute: William Morris, ‘Suspended Artifact’

Posted on Monday, January 30th, 2017

To produce the fossilized effect of the two tusk–like blown–glass forms of this sculpture, William Morris first dipped the hot blown glass in cold water and then filled the resulting cracks with opaque colored glass powder and the chemical scavo. After annealing (slowly cooling) the forms, he coated the surfaces with acid, resulting in an […]

Jan. 23 Art Minute: Henri Matisse, ‘Flowers’

Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Flowers belongs to a series of sumptuous still lifes that Matisse painted in 1924–1925, each set in studio interiors. In these paintings, the principle subject—in this case, a ceramic vase of bright flowers—is arranged on a patterned tablecloth against a background decorated with patterned wallpaper and examples of Matisse’s work, here an unframed drawing of […]

Jan. 16 Art Minute: Ernest C. Withers, ‘First Desegregated Bus Ride’

Posted on Monday, January 16th, 2017

African American freelance photographer Ernest Withers documented many of the most important events of the Civil Rights era, from the galvanizing murder trial of Emmett Till in 1955 through the Montgomery bus boycott; the marches of Martin Luther King, Jr.; the rise of Black Power; and King’s assassination. His insightful images had a wide impact, […]

Jan. 9 Art Minute: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, ‘The Salutation of Beatrice’

Posted on Monday, January 9th, 2017

Pale faced, full–lipped, with a thick head of wavy chestnut hair, this image of medieval Florentine gentlewoman Beatrice Portinari embodies the Pre-Raphaelite ideal of beauty. The group of British artists and writers calling themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood aspired to an aesthetic based on early Italian Renaissance art and the direct observation of nature, in contrast […]

Jan. 2 Art Minute: R. B. Kitaj, ‘Notes Toward a Definition of Nobody—A Reverie’

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Nobody sits cross legged in high-top sneakers with a padlocked mouth, unable to verbally defend himself. R. B. Kitaj’s source for the image of Nobody was a German legend originating in the 1500s. Nobody was a scapegoat who would take the blame for any disharmony in the home. Centuries later, Nobody’s imposed silence was transformed […]

Dec. 30 Art Minute: Roman, ‘Bust of a Flavian Matron’

Posted on Friday, December 30th, 2016

This sculpted bust depicts an older woman, a matron, gazing off towards her right. The relatively advanced age of the woman is rare for this type of portrait, which can be dated on the basis of the hairstyle. Ornate, corkscrew curls were fashionable for women of the imperial court during the Flavian Dynasty (68–96 CE). […]

Dec. 23 Art Minute: Marisol, ‘The Party’

Posted on Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Long before The Party, Marisol’s largest group assemblage, came to the Museum, it traveled to the Venice Biennale in 1968 as a representative of Venezuela (Marisol was born in Paris to Venezuelan parents). As someone who always felt uncomfortable in the 1960s social scene, Marisol chose to display the figures in a setting where none of them […]

Dec. 16 Art Minute: Harvey K. Littleton, ‘Blue/Ruby Spray’

Posted on Friday, December 16th, 2016

Expanding the limits of glass as an art medium in the 1970s and 1980s, Harvey Littleton focused on sculptural forms. Describing his Crown series in 1978, he wrote, “in search of color in glass sculptures, I went to multiple cased overlays holding the forms to simple geometry.” Blue/Ruby Spray typifies this concept. Separate elements combine […]

Dec. 9 Art Minute: ‘Elizabeth I, Queen of England’

Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2016

Shakespeare’s characters and plays were dependent on patrons who supported the author financially. Elizabeth I loved theatre and was Shakespeare’s most famous supporter. As monarch of England for 45 years (1558–1603), Queen Elizabeth I’s reign, which coincided with Shakespeare’s time, is known as the Elizabethan Age. She understood the importance of the arts to life, […]

Dec. 2 Art Minute: Louis Léopold Boilly, ‘S’il Vous Plaît’

Posted on Friday, December 2nd, 2016

Through colors, styles, fabrics, and renderings, artists often use the representation of dress to give us clues to define nobility, significance, gender expectations, historical context, or socio–economic status of those depicted. Though green was often a color associated with the counter–revolutionary movement in France, the figures in Louis Léopold Boilly’s S’il Vous Plaît wear the […]