Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coming Soon: Howard Hodgkin

Flag, 2006 - 2010, 34-1/2" x 43-3/8". Private Collection. 
Today in the gallery, we're saying farewell to a great show as the nice fellows from ARTEX Fine Art Services are packing up Carol Brown Goldberg's drawings and sculptures. Mark your calendars for our next opening of Howard Hodgkin: Paintings on May 16, 2012!

Gallery Website
Howard Hodgkin's Website

Friday, April 20, 2012

Exhibition Closing - "Carol Brown Goldberg: Sculpture and Works on Paper"



Today is the final day of our exhibition, Carol Brown Goldberg: Sculpture and Works on Paper. Goldberg's bronzed assemblage sculptures have lots of personality, and her biomorphic drawings are beautifully engaging in their abstraction. Stop by the gallery before 5:00 PM to catch them before they're gone!

We are located on The George Washington University campus, in the second floor of the Media & Public Affairs Building at 805 21st Street, NW.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Battle Scene by Il Bourgognone


One might think that a battle painting must be large in size and bright in color to show the grand chaos of the fray, but this small piece by Courtois demonstrates otherwise. The dynamic energy of the forms and brushwork hold power even four centuries later.


Work of interest: Untitled battle scene with cavalry painted by Jacques Courtois, (a.k.a. Giacomo / Jacopo Cortese, Le Bourguignon, or Il Borgognone), oil on canvas, ca. 1645-1655, 22” x 30” framed, 16” x 25” sight

Provenance: This work came to George Washington University as a donation with the founding of the Eleanor and Michael Burda Collection, which was dedicated in 2003. Mr. Burda had served as an intelligence officer in Europe in WWII before going into the insurance business, and some evidence suggests that he may have acquired the work while on his tour of duty. Although he is neither an alumnus nor a faculty member, he has made contributions to the G.W. Hospital, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the university’s art collection, especially in honor of the doctors who cared for President Reagan after his assassination attempt in 1981.[1] More investigative work could be done on where Burda acquired the painting and where it had been in the previous centuries, though we do know that he thought the work to be of some value. (Read more about Michael Burda and his collection through the Gelman Library’s Special Collections Research Center.)

Conservation notes: There are significant regions of paint loss, especially in the lower right corner. While the painting may have been cleaned in the past, it also retains a layer of varnish, which in some areas has created a muddied effect on the old canvas. This work is in need of some careful cleaning in order to counteract the effects of the varnish, paint loss, and general grime due to age.

Details: fighter riding towards the tower; a painterly horse's head

Who was Jacques Courtois?
Born in Burgundy in 1621 as son of the painter Jean Courtois, Jacques Courtois (along with his younger brother Guillaume) would become known in Italy as Le Bourguignon or Il Bourgognone.[2] After studying under their father, the brothers traveled to Italy around 1637. Guillaume, the younger of the two, immediately began studying art in Rome and Bologna, while Jacques spent time with a fellow Burgundian in Milan and served in the French military for three years. According to a 1910 biographer, Guillaume’s “draughtsmanship is better than that of Jacques, whom he did not, however, rival in spirit, colour or composition.”[3] Apparently, some images of battles rekindled his interest in art, and Jacques Courtois also began to study art in earnest.

In Rome, he painted the subject of the Miracle of the Loaves in the Cistercian monastery but soon gained recognition for his skilled renderings of battle scenes. In Tuscany, Venice, and Florence he worked successfully on battle paintings commissioned by military patrons and also completed a series of twelve etchings of a similar subject. Later in his life, Jacques Courtois took the habit of the Jesuits in Rome in 1655, possibly to avoid trouble after it was rumored that he had poisoned his own wife.[4] As a Jesuit father, he worked primarily in the churches and monasteries around Italy until his death in 1676. Nevertheless, Jacques Courtois is most well-known for his scenes of contemporary battles in small yet energetic paintings, made in a style that departs from the neat definitions of French and Italian art in the Baroque era.

Details: some horsemen in the smoky distance; the central combatants

The battle scene:
Despite its size and aged appearance, this particular battle scene captivates the eyes in shades of red, rust, blue gray, and gleaming white.  The composition centers on a jumble of no more than a dozen mounted soldiers who clash and charge through clouds of smoke towards a fortification on the left. In the center, one cavalryman on a white horse engages another on a dark horse as their armor and swords catch the light. Below them, a fallen steed and crumpled rider lie on the ground near discarded armor and weapons. The robust strength of Courtois’s figures, men and horses alike, takes the forefront and creates a landscape of strong, jostling bodies heavily influenced by the Italian style. The land around them is difficult to distinguish, and one glimpses a horizon only on the right in the distance, where two small riders race away on the plain. Though murky at first glance, this battle scene gives viewers the sense of the effort of a battle, the movement over ground, through smoke, and against other bodies.

- M. Whitman

You can view more works by Jacques and Guillaume Courtois at these sites and elsewhere::

References:
“Courtois, Jacques.” Web Gallery of Art. Created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx. http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/bio/c/courtois/jacques/biograph.html.

“Courtois, Jacques (1621-1676)  and Guillaume (1628-1679).” The Encyclopædia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information, Eleventh edition, Vol. 7. Edited by Hugh Chisholm. New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company, 1910. Google eBook. http://books.google.com/books?id=CioOAQAAMAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false. 329.

“Jacques Courtois [French Baroque Era Painter, 1621-1676].” Artcyclopedia. John Maylon, Specifica Inc., 2011. http://www.http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/courtois_jacques.html.com/artists/courtois_jacques.html.

Kinniff, Jennifer. "December Collection of the Month: Michael Burda/Ronald Reagan Inaugural Materials Collection, 1969-2003." The George Washington University Libraries, Special Collections News and Notes, December 5, 2011. http://www.gelman.gwu.edu/collections/SCRC/current-events/december-collection-of-the-month-michael-burda-ronald-reagan-inaugural-materials-collection-1969-2003.





[1] Jennifer Kinniff, "December Collection of the Month: Michael Burda/Ronald Reagan Inaugural Materials Collection, 1969-2003," The George Washington University Libraries, Special Collections News and Notes, December 5, 2011. 
[2] “Courtois, Jacques,” Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.
[3] “Courtois, Jacques (1621-1676)  and Guillaume (1628-1679),” The Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh edition, Vol. 7, Ed.  Hugh Chisholm, New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company, 1910, Google eBook.
[4]  “Courtois, Jacques (1621-1676)  and Guillaume (1628-1679),” The Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh edition, Vol. 7, Ed.  Hugh Chisholm, New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company, 1910, Google eBook. 

About the Blog

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Covering exhibits at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery and giving you a peek into the Permanent Collection of the George Washington University.

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Coming Soon...

Coming Soon...
Howard Hodgkin: Paintings - May 16, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coming Soon: Howard Hodgkin

Flag, 2006 - 2010, 34-1/2" x 43-3/8". Private Collection. 
Today in the gallery, we're saying farewell to a great show as the nice fellows from ARTEX Fine Art Services are packing up Carol Brown Goldberg's drawings and sculptures. Mark your calendars for our next opening of Howard Hodgkin: Paintings on May 16, 2012!

Gallery Website
Howard Hodgkin's Website

Friday, April 20, 2012

Exhibition Closing - "Carol Brown Goldberg: Sculpture and Works on Paper"



Today is the final day of our exhibition, Carol Brown Goldberg: Sculpture and Works on Paper. Goldberg's bronzed assemblage sculptures have lots of personality, and her biomorphic drawings are beautifully engaging in their abstraction. Stop by the gallery before 5:00 PM to catch them before they're gone!

We are located on The George Washington University campus, in the second floor of the Media & Public Affairs Building at 805 21st Street, NW.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Battle Scene by Il Bourgognone


One might think that a battle painting must be large in size and bright in color to show the grand chaos of the fray, but this small piece by Courtois demonstrates otherwise. The dynamic energy of the forms and brushwork hold power even four centuries later.


Work of interest: Untitled battle scene with cavalry painted by Jacques Courtois, (a.k.a. Giacomo / Jacopo Cortese, Le Bourguignon, or Il Borgognone), oil on canvas, ca. 1645-1655, 22” x 30” framed, 16” x 25” sight

Provenance: This work came to George Washington University as a donation with the founding of the Eleanor and Michael Burda Collection, which was dedicated in 2003. Mr. Burda had served as an intelligence officer in Europe in WWII before going into the insurance business, and some evidence suggests that he may have acquired the work while on his tour of duty. Although he is neither an alumnus nor a faculty member, he has made contributions to the G.W. Hospital, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the university’s art collection, especially in honor of the doctors who cared for President Reagan after his assassination attempt in 1981.[1] More investigative work could be done on where Burda acquired the painting and where it had been in the previous centuries, though we do know that he thought the work to be of some value. (Read more about Michael Burda and his collection through the Gelman Library’s Special Collections Research Center.)

Conservation notes: There are significant regions of paint loss, especially in the lower right corner. While the painting may have been cleaned in the past, it also retains a layer of varnish, which in some areas has created a muddied effect on the old canvas. This work is in need of some careful cleaning in order to counteract the effects of the varnish, paint loss, and general grime due to age.

Details: fighter riding towards the tower; a painterly horse's head

Who was Jacques Courtois?
Born in Burgundy in 1621 as son of the painter Jean Courtois, Jacques Courtois (along with his younger brother Guillaume) would become known in Italy as Le Bourguignon or Il Bourgognone.[2] After studying under their father, the brothers traveled to Italy around 1637. Guillaume, the younger of the two, immediately began studying art in Rome and Bologna, while Jacques spent time with a fellow Burgundian in Milan and served in the French military for three years. According to a 1910 biographer, Guillaume’s “draughtsmanship is better than that of Jacques, whom he did not, however, rival in spirit, colour or composition.”[3] Apparently, some images of battles rekindled his interest in art, and Jacques Courtois also began to study art in earnest.

In Rome, he painted the subject of the Miracle of the Loaves in the Cistercian monastery but soon gained recognition for his skilled renderings of battle scenes. In Tuscany, Venice, and Florence he worked successfully on battle paintings commissioned by military patrons and also completed a series of twelve etchings of a similar subject. Later in his life, Jacques Courtois took the habit of the Jesuits in Rome in 1655, possibly to avoid trouble after it was rumored that he had poisoned his own wife.[4] As a Jesuit father, he worked primarily in the churches and monasteries around Italy until his death in 1676. Nevertheless, Jacques Courtois is most well-known for his scenes of contemporary battles in small yet energetic paintings, made in a style that departs from the neat definitions of French and Italian art in the Baroque era.

Details: some horsemen in the smoky distance; the central combatants

The battle scene:
Despite its size and aged appearance, this particular battle scene captivates the eyes in shades of red, rust, blue gray, and gleaming white.  The composition centers on a jumble of no more than a dozen mounted soldiers who clash and charge through clouds of smoke towards a fortification on the left. In the center, one cavalryman on a white horse engages another on a dark horse as their armor and swords catch the light. Below them, a fallen steed and crumpled rider lie on the ground near discarded armor and weapons. The robust strength of Courtois’s figures, men and horses alike, takes the forefront and creates a landscape of strong, jostling bodies heavily influenced by the Italian style. The land around them is difficult to distinguish, and one glimpses a horizon only on the right in the distance, where two small riders race away on the plain. Though murky at first glance, this battle scene gives viewers the sense of the effort of a battle, the movement over ground, through smoke, and against other bodies.

- M. Whitman

You can view more works by Jacques and Guillaume Courtois at these sites and elsewhere::

References:
“Courtois, Jacques.” Web Gallery of Art. Created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx. http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/bio/c/courtois/jacques/biograph.html.

“Courtois, Jacques (1621-1676)  and Guillaume (1628-1679).” The Encyclopædia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information, Eleventh edition, Vol. 7. Edited by Hugh Chisholm. New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company, 1910. Google eBook. http://books.google.com/books?id=CioOAQAAMAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false. 329.

“Jacques Courtois [French Baroque Era Painter, 1621-1676].” Artcyclopedia. John Maylon, Specifica Inc., 2011. http://www.http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/courtois_jacques.html.com/artists/courtois_jacques.html.

Kinniff, Jennifer. "December Collection of the Month: Michael Burda/Ronald Reagan Inaugural Materials Collection, 1969-2003." The George Washington University Libraries, Special Collections News and Notes, December 5, 2011. http://www.gelman.gwu.edu/collections/SCRC/current-events/december-collection-of-the-month-michael-burda-ronald-reagan-inaugural-materials-collection-1969-2003.





[1] Jennifer Kinniff, "December Collection of the Month: Michael Burda/Ronald Reagan Inaugural Materials Collection, 1969-2003," The George Washington University Libraries, Special Collections News and Notes, December 5, 2011. 
[2] “Courtois, Jacques,” Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.
[3] “Courtois, Jacques (1621-1676)  and Guillaume (1628-1679),” The Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh edition, Vol. 7, Ed.  Hugh Chisholm, New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company, 1910, Google eBook.
[4]  “Courtois, Jacques (1621-1676)  and Guillaume (1628-1679),” The Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh edition, Vol. 7, Ed.  Hugh Chisholm, New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company, 1910, Google eBook. 

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Washington, District of Columbia, United States
"Found In Collection" or simply "FIC" is the way many museums classify the more mysterious items in their possession that have little or no documentation. Here at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery of the George Washington University, we do keep extensive records of our collection, but some of the items we come across in academic buildings or our own storage can leave us wondering. This blog is an effort to showcase some of the more curious examples and their stories, and to provide a glimpse of the great variety of art pieces within the collection. To learn more about the Brady Gallery's history, recent exhibitions, or the George Washington University, take a look at the links below.

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