Art History with Anne

Live lectures for November

Finlandia: Jugendstil to Modernism in the far North

Like many visitors my first glimpse of Helsinki was from the sea, sailing into the port while enjoying a Baltic cruise. Standing out on the horizon are the white silhouette of the Lutheran Cathedral,  built as a tribute to the Grand Duke of FinlandTsar Nicholas I of Russia, and the green dome of the Eastern Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral inaugurated in 1868. Both remind us that Finland was a grand duchy of the Russian Empire until December 1917. Once landed, tourists usually head for the market in search of souvenirs or Senate Square to admire a unified ensemble of early 19th century Neoclassical buildings created by Carl Ludvig Engel: Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the University of Helsinki, and the National Library of Finland. The centre of Senate Square is dominated by a statue to Alexander II who envisioned a stylish modern capital along the lines of St. Petersburg.

However, as a dedicated seeker of Jugendstil architecture, the German term for Art Nouveau also used in northern climes, I headed for the city centre in search of the Central Railway Station designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1904 and finally inaugurated in 1919. Initially conceived in a National Romantic style, Saarinen modified his plans in 1909, after a European study tour.  The famous Ernst Ludwig Haus, at the centre of Darmstadt’s Jugendstil colony (1901), certainly influenced the final conception dominated by Emil Wikström’s iconic Lantern Carriers.   

However, as I soon discovered, the Central Station represents the tip of an iceberg as Helsinki boasts some 500 National Romantic/ Jugendstil buildings. My favourite remains the fantastic Pohjola Insurance Building, on Aleksanterinkatu, dating to 1901, designed by Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren, and Saarinen. Resembling a gigantic castle, the building is amusingly covered with dangerous beasts- wolves, bears and trolls- that it would be wise to insure against! In the famous Finnish epic, the Kalevala, Pohjola is the evil land of the North. It was Kalevala and Karelianism that shaped the art of Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Finland’s great symbolist painter.

Over a series of three lectures, I will explore the fantastic art and architecture of Helsinki encompassing not only the city’s Jugendstil buildings but also the paintings of Akseli Gallen-Kallela and the furniture and glass designs of Alvar and Anio Aalto.

Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Karelianism

Delivered live on Monday 14th November 2022 at 11am and repeated at 7pm BST

Finland’s remarkable Jugendstil pavilion took centre stage at the 1900 Paris World Fair. Created by Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren, and Eliel Saarinen the pavilion was an expression of Finnish nationalism in the face of Russification.

A committed patriot, who changed his name from Swedish to Finnish, Gallen-Kallela decorated the central dome with scenes from the Kalevala, Finland’s national epic published in 1835. Compiled from Finnish and Karelian folk lore, the Kalevala was central to Karelianism. This romantic nationalistic movement saw Karelia, an area which straddles Finland and Russia, as a refuge for ‘Finnishness’, where the true spirit of the people had maintained its authenticity across centuries. Many artists, writers and musicians supported Karelianism; Gallen-Kallela was joined by Louis Sparre, sculptor Emil Wikström and Jean Sibelius.  Gallen-Kallela drew on the Kalevala for his themes as seen in the Aino Myth, Triptych (1891), Lemminkäinen’s Mother (1897) and Joukahainen’s Revenge (1897). From 1926-8 Gallen-Kallela recreated his Kalevala frescoes, originally painted for the 1900 Finnish Pavilion, for the entrance of National Museum, Finland, as a telling statement of Finnish identity: The Forging of the Sampo, The Defense of the Sampo,Ilmarinen Plowing the Field of Vipers, and Killing the Great Pike.

Clearly the Kalevala held a deeply personal meaning for the artist, his vision becoming darker after the death of his young daughter Impi Marjatta. Yet alongside these ideologically complex works, Gallen-Kallela also perfectly captures the beauty of the wild Finnish landscape- his evocative images of snow laden trees, as seen in The Lair of the Lynx (1906), are beyond compare.

Finnish Jugendstil: National Romanticism blends with Arts and Crafts

Delivered live on Monday 21st November 2022 at 11am and repeated at 7pm BST

There is no doubt that the campaigns of Russification, instigated from1899–1905 and again from 1908–1917, swelled the desire to create a national Finnish architecture. Onni Tarjanne’s Finnish National Theatre (1902), with its rough granite façade and twin towers, exemplifies the National Romanticism of the era. However, its Romanesque arcade betrays an influence from far beyond Europe, so-called ‘Richardsonian Romanesque’. Architect Henry Hobson Richardson freely blended 11th and 12th century French, Spanish, and Italian Romanesque characteristics to create an American style! In addition to round-headed Romanesque arches, often springing from short squat columns, the style incorporated cylindrical towers with conical caps embedded in the walling and rich rustication. Lars Sonck’s Headquarters of the Helsinki Telephone Association (1903-07) echoes these features.

By 1904 Sonck had fully embraced Jugendstil, as seen in his remarkable Jugend Hall (1904), originally a banking hall which now functions as a café.

Coinciding with a massive expansion of the city’s population, large fortress like apartment block sprung up coming to dominate entire streets: Korkeavuorenkatu, Huvilakatu and Kauppiaankatu, the latterfound in a new neighbourhood just east of the city centre, Katajanokka.  Although they can appear quite brutal, they are softened by decoration notably around the doors, windows and under the eaves. Alongside apartments by the famous architectural triumvirate of Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren, and Eliel Saarinen, other buildings stand out:

Torilinna building 1906 by master builder Gustaf Wilhelm Nyberg and Edv. Löppönen

Sirius building, Fabianinkatu 4, 1905 by Knut Wasastjerna and Gustaf Lindberg

Kastén building, Korkeavuorenkatu 31, 1907 by Emil Svensson and Emil Holm.

Now a hotel, Vanha Poli, the former Polytechnic Students’ Union byKarl Lindahl and Valter Thome dating to 1903, makes your stay in Helsinki unique and memorable!

From Jugendstil to Modernism: Saarinen and Aalto

Delivered live on Monday 28th November 2022 at 11am and repeated at 7pm BST

Although Saarinen is best known for the Central Railway Station, many go in search of his rural retreat Hvitträsk, on lake Vitträsk, Kirkkonummi, a few miles outside Helsinki. Originally built as a residence for the three architectural partners and their families, Armas Lindgren soon returned to Helsinki. With the premature death of Herman Gesellius in 1916, Saarinen became sole owner.  Although Saarinen moved to America in 1923, he regularly returned to Hvitträsk during the summer months. Although changes were made to Hvitträsk, the central house retains its original Jugendstil spirit. 

When the property was sold, just before Saarinen’s death in 1950, Hvitträsk was an anomaly. By this time the leading Finnish architect wasAlvar Aalto. He was initially influenced by Bauhaus Modernism as exemplified by his Tuberculosis Sanatorium Paimio, (1928-1933).

Moving away from strictly functional modernist forms, by the 1950s he had developed a personal style based on natural curving lines. The Hall of Culture in Helsinki (1955-58), designed for Finnish Communist cultural organizations, best expresses this phase of his career.

In 1959 work began on a grand new monumental centre for Helsinki around the Töölö Bay area. Aalto’s Finlandia Hall (1962-71) and its Congress wing (1970-75) were the only parts of the plan to be completed. The concert hall’s monolithic tower-like section was intended to create a high empty space that would provide better acoustics. However, cladding the surface in Carrara marble has proved problematic in the harsh Finnish winters.  While Aalto claimed he wanted to bring Mediterranean culture to the north, this great white edifice standing on the edge of the lake resembles an iceberg!

Despite these architectural achievements, beyond Finland Aalto is best remembered for founding the design company Artek with his wife and collaborator Aino MariaMarsio-Aalto. As Artek’s first artistic director, Aino’s creative output spanned textiles, lamps, glassware, and interior design. Rather than following a modernist ideology, Aino favoured comfort and homeliness, her ideas perfectly expressed in the Aalto’s own home at Munkkiniemi.

Dates to remember

Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Karelianism

Delivered on Monday 14th November 2022 at 11am and repeated at 7pm BST

Finnish Jugendstil: National Romanticism blends with Arts and Crafts

Delivered on Monday 21st November 2022 at 11am and repeated at 7pm BST

From Jugendstil to Modernism: Saarinen and Aalto

Delivered on Monday 28th November 2022 at 11am and repeated at 7pm BST

How to book

The cost of each lecture is £10. Book all three lectures for £25.

You can book this live lecture for either the morning or the evening presentation. Please state your preferred time, Morning Lecture or Evening Lecture, for the zoom link as they different codes.

Once you register and pay, you will be sent a separate email with your link. You will need this link to access the lecture on the day so please do not delete it.

As the lectures will be delivered live by Zoom, you will be able to ask your questions in person at the end. You can also use the ‘Chat’ function.

After the lecture you will be sent another private link so you can access the lecture on my YouTube Channel. To book your place please email Susan Branfield at susanbranfield@waitrose.com

You can pay by cheque or BACS (details will be supplied). Cheques should be made payable to ‘Anne Anderson’.

Or you can pay by PayPal

img_1004

Lecture 1

Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Karelianism

£10.00

img_0451

Lecture 2

Finnish Jugendstil: National Romanticism blends with Arts and Crafts

£10.00

img_0360-2

Lecture 3

From Jugendstil to Modernism: Saarinen and Aalto

£10.00

img_0359-2

Three Lectures

Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Karelianism Finnish Jugendstil: National Romanticism blends with Arts and Crafts From Jugendstil to Modernism: Saarinen and Aalto

£25.00

Please join me to discover the unique character of Finnish Jugendstil.

Please check out my AMAZON page to find my book on Art Nouveau Architecture published by Crowood.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

The Wilde Years: 1870-1900

now added to the archive library of lectures

Max Beerbohm, “Caricature of Aubrey Beardsley.” The Savoy, vol. 2, April 1896

On 21st August 2022 academics and enthusiasts, including myself, gathered to wish Aubrey Beardsley Happy Birthday.  Celebrating 150 years since his birth, it is sad to recall that Beardsley died aged only twenty-five from tuberculosis.  Yet he seemed to pack a whole lifetime into a career that spanned some six years. Inspired by this event, and eagerly anticipating the re-opening of Lord Leighton’s Studio-House, Kensington, in October, I will be offering a series of three lectures on my favourite topic the Aesthetic Movement. Having studied this era for many years, I often joke that I know more about the 1870s and 1880s than my own epoch. For my perfect dinner party, I would invite Oscar Wilde and Jemmy Whistler and allow them to do all the talking!

That was an awfully good joke you made last night. I wish I had made it. / ‘You will my boy. You will. 1894. Art Institute of Chicago. Reproduced in Phil May’s Sketch-book, first issued in 1895. 

Given my association with Leighton House, its reopening after being closed for some two years will be my highlight this autumn. In 2009-2010, I worked on Closer to Home: The Restoration of Leighton House, an exhibition marking the ambition to return the studio-house to its former glory.  With Victorian art and culture out of fashion for many decades, Leighton House had been rather neglected. Much of the original contents, paintings by Leighton and his circle of friends, furniture and ceramics, had been sold after Leighton’s death.  While it was impossible to recover all the lost works of art, the auction catalogue provided the basis for a reconstruction. The massive dresser in the dining room, designed by Leighton’s architect George Atchison, has been reconstructed.  The glory of the house remains the Arab Hall a unique blend of Western and Eastern art with genuine Islamic tiles, a mosaic by Walter Crane and carvings by Randolph Caldicott. A visit to Leighton’s ‘Palace of Art’ will transport you back to a time when artists lived like princes.

The Arab Hall, Leighton House, Kensington

I have been a fan of OW for many years publishing several papers in The Wildean, a Journal of Oscar Wilde Studies. So, my trilogy of lectures will begin with Oscar, the High Priest of the Aestheticism!

Oscar Wilde and the Cult of Beauty

Sheet Music Cover, The High Art Maiden, c.1881/82

While still a student at Oxford, Oscar declared ‘Somehow or other I’ll be famous, and if not famous, I’ll be notorious.’ How prophetic! As the self-appointed High Priest of Aestheticism, Wilde achieved notoriety early in his career. Oscar made his debut as an art critic with a review of the Grosvenor Gallery, which opened its doors as an alternative exhibition space to the Royal Academy in 1877.  He already preferred Burne-Jones to Millais but did not yet appreciate Whistler’s nocturns and symphonies! Posing as an art critic, Oscar’s pretensions and affectations, especially finding it hard to ‘live up’ to his Old Blue china, brought accusations of being a sham.  Apparently, Wilde had no real love for art, he merely courted fame. Ridiculing the Aesthetes proved easy and lucrative for George du Maurier, cartoonist for Punch, and Gilbert and Sullivan, whose comic opera Patience popularised Aestheticism; in 1882 Oscar was despatched to America to bolster the success of Patience and pontificate on how to achieve the ‘House Beautiful’.   On his return he made money lecturing on his experiences in America; he married and settled in Tite Street, Chelsea, creating his own ideal home.  He had yet to write anything of real significance; the late 1880s saw him editing The Woman’s World.  But the 1890s witnessed the publication of his only novel, Dorian Gray, and the stage plays that have secured his posthumous fame as a writer. But just as success was in his grasp, nemesis appeared in the form of the Marquis of Queensbury.

George Du Maurier’s famous cartoon published in Punch in 1880.

Lord Leighton’s Palace of Art: Artist’s Studio-Houses in London

For some 16 years, until his death in 1896, Lord Leighton ruled the roost as President of the Royal Academy.  He headed an elite group of Victorian painters who colonised Holland Park- George Frederick Watts, William Holman Hunt, Luke Fildes, Marcus Stone, William Burges, Hamo Thorneycroft and Valentine Prinsep.  On the fringe of this clique lived Linley Sambourne, the Punch cartoonist, who did his best to keep up with the ‘Burne-Joneses’!  How was all this finery paid for? Leighton and his rivals were working in a boom period for British art.  The newly moneyed wanted contemporary art to hang on their walls- trophies confirming their entrepreneurial and social success. Leighton was ranked among the so-called Olympian painters also numbering G.F. Watts and Alma Tadema. They opted for Classical subjects drawing on both ancient history and mythology.  Leighton and Watts were rather high-minded; Alma Tadema less so, opting instead for ‘Victorians in Togas’. They all established their status as ‘gentlemen of the brush’ by creating prestigious studio-houses, veritable Palaces of Art.

Mosaic by Walter Crane in the Arab Hall, Leighton House

Aubrey Beardsley: Enfant Terrible of the 1890s

The Beardsley style is now synonymous with the so-called decadence of the 1890s, when poets and painters appeared to find beauty in morbid, deviant and degenerate subjects. His first major publication, illustrating Sir Thomas Malory‘s Le Morte d’Arthur appeared in 1893. His early style draws very heavily on the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones. However, for Oscar Wilde’s Salome (1894) he shifted to emulating Japanese wood block prints as well as paying homage to James Whistler’s infamous ‘Peacock Room’ (1877), the archetypal aesthetic movement interior.  The launch of the quarterly magazine the Yellow Book (1894) provided Beardsley with a platform for both his drawings and his literary ambitions. But at the height of this success disaster struck with the conviction of Oscar Wilde for ‘gross indecency’. The decadents were forced ‘underground’, with Leonard Smithers backing the Savoy magazine which ran for only one year, from January to December 1896. The Lysistrata of Aristophanes was also privately printed and issued by Smithers, with Beardsley’s style now aping Greek vase painting. One can only wonder how Beardsley’s style would have evolved had he lived but he was such a child of the Nineties it seems fitting that his flame was extinguished in 1898.

Frontis to Salome with Oscar the Man in the Moon

Now available from the archived library, you will be sent a code for direct access to my You Tube channel- Anne Anderson Art and Design History Channel. You can pay by cheque or BACS (details will be supplied). Cheques should be made payable to ‘Anne Anderson’.

Or you can pay by PayPal

One lecture Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde and the Cult of Beauty

£7.00

One Lecture Leighton House

Lord Leighton’s Palace of Art: Artist’s Studio-Houses in London

£7.00

One Lecture Aubrey Beardsley

Aubrey Beardsley: Enfant Terrible of the 1890s

£7.00

Three Lectures

Oscar Wilde and the Cult of Beauty Lord Leighton’s Palace of Art: Artist’s Studio-Houses in London Aubrey Beardsley: Enfant Terrible of the 1890s

£20.00

August lecture added to the archive

Arte Nova and Art Deco in Porto and Aveiro, Portugal

Looking down on Porto

Like many countries enjoying great prosperity at the end of the 19th century, Portuguese architects and designers developed their own variant of Art Nouveau.  Arte Nova buildings are invariably distinguished by their Azulejos or hand painted tile panels.  Azulejo comes from the Arabic zellige meaning ‘polished stone’ as the original idea was to imitate Roman mosaics. The earliest azulejos dating to the 13th century were alicatados, panels of tile-mosaic. Single colour tin-glazed earthenware tiles were cut into geometric shapes and assembled to form geometric patterns. This technique was introduced into Portugal by Manuel I after a visit to Seville in 1503.  Adopting the Moorish tradition of horror vacui (‘fear of empty spaces’), the Portuguese covered walls entirely with azulejos. They were not merely ornamental; they also kept interiors cool. Azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of every type of building from churches to railway stations, the most notably example being the 20,000 or so azulejo tiles used to decorate the vestibule of Porto’s São Bento railway station. Built in 1905-16, by the architect Marques da Silva, this is good place to start our Arte Nova tour of Porto.

Porto’s São Bento railway station

Many of the late 19th century apartments around the Mercado do Bolhão, Porto’s central market dating back to the 1850s, are covered with azulejos creating a rainbow of colours: green, pink and yellow.  Another group can be found around the famousLivraria Lello & Irmão bookstore. Thousands visit the bookshop every year, as the quirky staircase, which rather alarmingly hangs in the centre, is said to have inspired the moving staircases of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. The prettiest Arte Nova house in Porto can be found on Rua Cândido dos Rei.

Tiles were also used extensively in Aveiro, where most of the Arte Nova buildings are built in adobe (sun-dried clay bricks).  The Casa Mário Pessoa (1906-09), the most striking building in Averio, is attributed to Francisco Augusto da Silva Rocha, who headed the local Arte Nova school, and the Swiss born, Ernesto Korrodi. Built for the entrepreneur Mário Belmonte Pessoa, the residence is a riot of colour as well as tiles. Behind a wrought-iron grill of sunflowers, the entrance dramatically stretches its curvilinear forms across the width of the façade. The Vila Africa in nearby Ílhavo (1907-08), is equally eye-catching.

The Casa Mário Pessoa
The Vila Africa, in nearby Ílhavo

Returning to Porto our virtual tour ends with the Villa Serralves, the finest Art Deco residence in Portugal. Affectionately known as the ‘Pink House’, this ‘Streamline Modern’ villa reflects the sophisticated taste of its owner, Carlos Alberto Cabral, 2nd Count of Vizela. Visiting the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts held in Paris, Cabral became acquainted with the leading architects and designers of the day. His personal vision was realised by architect Charles Siclis, interior designer ÉmileJacques Ruhlmann, and landscape architect Jacques Gréber, who designed the stunning gardens.

Please join me to discover the Arte Nova and Art Deco delights Portugal has to offer!

Villa Serralves, the finest Art Deco residence in Portugal

If you wish to purchase this lecture, you can pay by PayPal

One Lecture August

Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Porto and Aveiro

£7.00

Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Ljubljana

July lecture added to the archive Library

Cuden House

One of the tasks I find most enjoyable is researching new art tours. Back in 2019, following a successful tour looking at Liberty style architecture in Turin and Milan, I began looking further afield for cities that offered a wealth of Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings.  Having a good knowledge of the Vienna Secession I was already familiar with the Slovenia born architects Max Fabiani and Jože Plečnik.  A protégé of Otto Wagner, Fabiani cultivated his interest in town planning. Badly damaged in a devastating earthquake in 1895, Fabiani was appointed the principal planner for the rebuilding of the Slovenian capital.  Ljubljana was transformed from a sleepy provincial town into a modern city. In 1899-1902 Fabiani laid out Miklošicev park (or Miklošic Park) and conceived the surrounding buildings; Bamberger house and the Krisper house are very pretty Art Nouveau houses. Ciril Metod Koch added the Cuden house, making this area a must for the Art Nouveau tourist.

Krisper House

However, it was Giorgio Zaninovich who designed the iconic Dragon Bridge (1901), one of the city’s most famous attractions, offering tourists a perfect photographic opportunity.

Dragon Bridge

After the First World War, it was Plečnik who completed the transformation of the national capital.

Plečnik’s legacy in Vienna includes the Zacherlhaus, one of the first modern buildings erected in the city centre and the remarkable Church of the Holy Spirit constructed from concrete. Following this success, Plečnik left for Prague having been appointed chief architect for the renovation of Prague Castle. When the Ljubljana School of Architecture was established in 1921, Plečnik was called home. He then set about transforming the capital with a series of monumental projects with the famous Tromostvoje (or Triple Bridge) and Central Market at the heart of his urban planning. The National and University Library, considered his masterpiece, was completed after the Second World War. I was able to take my first Travel Editions tour to Ljubljana in last March.  Hopefully you will be able to join me for this one-hour live lecture which will take you around the best Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings in the Slovenian capital.

Central Market

The National and University Library, considered his masterpiece, was completed after the Second World War.

National and University Library

To purchase this lecture you can pay by cheque or BACS (details will be supplied). Cheques should be made payable to Anne Anderson.

Or you can pay directly through Paypal

One lecture

Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Ljubljana

£7.00

Join me to enjoy some of the historic culture that this city has to offer.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
June Lecture added to the archive Library
Art Nouveau and Art Deco in Lille, northern France
Guimard at his most eccentric

The last time I was in Lille, in 2007, my viewpoint was rather unconventional being from a wheelchair!  In dramatic fashion I had busted my ankle.  Taking an unexpected tour this May to Lille and the neighbouring town of Roubaix, in northern France, I rediscovered a wealth of Art Nouveau and Art Deco architecture.  In Lille, by the creator of the famous Parisian Metro stations, Hector Guimard’s eccentric Maison Coilliot was conceived as an advert for a ceramics manufacturer. It stands out on an otherwise conventional side street. Although a triumph of Art Nouveau architecture, probably, it would not get planning permission today.

Sadly, the equally eye-catching Art Deco façade of L’ Huîtrière, once Lillie’s best-known restaurant, now fronts Louis Vuitton’s flag-ship boutique.  Although much of the interior décor has survived, you will have to join the queue to get in.  

L’ Huîtrière, Lille

However, at the Villa Cavrois, Croix, an Art Deco masterpiece by Robert Mallet-Stevens, you can enjoy (without pretending to buy a scarf) the beautifully reconstructed interiors. Rescued from dereliction, the villa was opened to the public in 2015.  Over the last few years, the rooms have been fitted with period furniture, rugs and sculptures.  

Villia Cavrois

The Art Deco theme continues in Roubaix.  La Piscinethe municipal swimming pool built in 1932, has been transformed into a stunning art gallery. The main section, originally the pool, is lit by stunning sunburst glass windows.  Cabinets running down one side are filled with Sevres porcelain and pottery from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras. But what really catches the eye are the sculptures lining the edges of the pool. One can easily appreciate why this is one of the most visited museums in France.

Purchase this lecture to enjoy some of the historic culture that this area has to offer.

La Piscine


You can pay directly through PayPal

one lecture

Art Nouveau and Art Deco Lille

£7.00

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Modern art comes to Scotland:

From the Glasgow Boys and to the Scottish Colourists 1880-1930

George Henry, Playmates, 1884.

In my last series of lectures, I considered the impact of Naturalism and en plein air painting on Scandinavian artists. Now coming closer to home, my next series of three inter-connected lectures concentrates on Scotland. This is not an easy story to tell for while the Glasgow Boys and Scottish Colourists were influenced by progressive French painting, the Glasgow Four, led by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, were not interested in en plein air painting or rural life. Rather they were integral to the emergence of European Symbolism in the 1890s. While the Boys and the Colourists could be deemed ‘followers’, the Four were leaders shaping the development of the Viennese Secession.

Glasgow Boys: Followers of Bastien-Lepage’s Naturalism

During the 1880s the city of Glasgow emerged as a major cultural centre rivalling the nation’s capital, Edinburgh.  New money and a determination to collect modern art provided great opportunities for a generation of up-and-coming artists.  Now known collectively as the Glasgow Boys this loose confederation of artists numbered James Guthrie, Edward Atkinson Hornel, George Henry, and the Irish Glasgow Boy, John Lavery.  Influenced by Japan, and contemporary French and Dutch painting, notably Jules Bastien-Lepage, these, artists brought a breath of fresh air to Glasgow.  They adopted en plein air painting, working from nature directly out of doors, and escaped to the countryside in search of rural life. They paved the way for the city’s renaissance during the 1890s, laying the foundations for the Glasgow school, led by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four. 

Jules Bastien-Lepage, October Gathering Potatoes 1878
James Paterson, The Last Turning, Winter, Moniaive, 1885

‘The Spook School’: Mackintosh and the Glasgow Girls

The Four, who numbered Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s talented wife Margaret Macdonald and her sister, Francis MacDonald McNair, worked across different mediums: watercolours, gesso plaster panels and metalwork.  Nicknamed the Spook school, due to their elongated, ethereal human figures, symbolic meaning lay at the heart of their work. At the cutting edge, their influence in Europe was profound, forging a new design ethos that blended symbolism with decorative pattern.  Absorbing elements from Aubrey Beardsley and 1890s Decadence, their art has been labelled subversive and even, in the case of the girls, categorised as Feminist.   Whereas progressive French painters influenced the Glasgow Boys, the Four inspired their European contemporaries, especially Gustave Klimt.

Frances Macdonald McNair, Tis a Long Path which Wanders to Desire, after 1911
Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, Seven Princesses, 1906

Scottish Colourists: Peploe, Ferguson, Hunter, and Cadell

The work of the Four seems but an interlude, when we come to the Scottish Colourists, who once again turned to French painters, notably Matisse, and the bright colours of the Fauve (Wilde Beast) painters. The Scottish Colourists, Samuel Peploe, John Duncan Ferguson, George Leslie Hunter, and Francis Cadell were a loose grouping.   They never issued a manifesto and they rarely painted together.  But when they exhibited as a group their debt to French painting became clear.   Even more than the Glasgow Boys, the Colourists were concerned with the art of painting and the impact of pure colour.  Their paintings are tactile, the paint thick and creamy. The subjects, landscape and still life, are easily understandable- there is no deep, hidden meaning, just a celebration of light and colour that all can appreciate.

Samuel Peploe, Tulips and Fruit, c. 1919.
John Duncan Ferguson, The Blue Hat, (Closerie des Lilas), 1909
 


You can pay directly through Paypal to gain access to these recorded lectures

Glasgow Boys

One lecture

£7.00

The Spook School

One lecture

£7.00

Scottish Colourists

One lecture

£7.00

Three lectures Modern Art Comes to Scotland

Glasgow Boys The Spook School Scottish Colourists

£20.00

Art History with Anne

March 2022

The Spirit of the North:

Modern Painting comes to Scandinavia

A series of lectures for Spring

After many years of planning and construction the new Munchmuseet opened in Oslo last October.  Placed right on the water, near to the magnificent Opera house, clearly the new museum hopes to attract cruise passengers.  Given the demanding character of most of Munch’s art one can imagine a ‘G&T’ will help to lighten the mood upon returning to the ship. Nevertheless, if you wish to understand the Nordic spirit you will have to grapple with both the paintings of Munch and the plays of Henrik Ibsen. I wholehearted embarked on my Nordic learning curve when I was asked to lecture on board Swan Hellenic’s Minerva.  I have now sailed around the Baltic several times discovering the wonderful collections of art in Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen.  I have also discovered that there are many more artists, alongside Munch, who revolutionized Scandinavian painting at the turn of the 20th century. With this I mind I will be offering a series of three interconnected lectures on Modern art coming to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

The Scream

Modern Art comes to Sweden: Anders Zorn and his Circle

Anders Zorn’s (1860-1920) bravado portraits in the grand manner have led to comparisons with the American superstar John Singer Sargent. Acclaimed internationally, Zorn was Sweden’s most famous artist at the turn of the century. While he made his name with scenes of modern life, from peasants in the fields to the bustle of city life, he made his fortune painting portraits of the great and the good. He took America by storm in the 1890s painting President William Taft and ‘grand dame’ Isabella Stewart Gardner.  Travelling the world, spending several years in Paris, Zorn finally returned to his native land to create Zorngården, Mora, Dalarna.  Zorn’s studio-house draws on the Arts and Crafts spirit and folk-art traditions of the area.  Fearing the loss of these traditions Zorn created Gammelgården in the southern part of Mora, a collection of around 40 timber houses that he bought and moved to make sure that the old art of building such houses would not be forgotten. Compared to a comet that quickly burnt out, his repute was eclipsed by the rise of Modernism. But like Sorolla and Krøyer his reputation has been revived in the 21st century.

Anders Zorn
Anders Zorn

Modern Art Comes to Denmark: Peder Krøyer and the Skagen group

The calm serenity of Peder Krøyer’s Summer Evening on Skagen’s Southern Beach, reproductions of which are said to hang on many Danish walls, captures the ‘blue hour’ of a midsummer night when the water and sky seem to optically merge.  From 1882 Krøyer (1851-1909) spent most of his summers painting at Skagen, then a remote fishing village on the northern tip of Jutland, Denmark. Artists were drawn to Skagen by the special local light, the vast sandy beaches, and the life of the local fishermen. The international artists’ colony that developed at Skagen has been likened to our Newlyn School.  Members of the group include fellow Danes Anna and Michael Anchor,  Oscar Björck and Johan Krouthen from Sweden and Christian Krogh and Eilif Peterssen from Norway. Gathering  regularly at the Brondums Inn, they often painted scenes of their own social gatherings, playing cards, celebrating a special event or simply eating a meal together.Krøyer finally settled in Skagen after marrying artist Marie Triepcke in 1889. Cushioned by the patronage of tobacco manufacturerHeinrich Hirschsprung, Krøyer was able to travel extensively, visiting art galleries, meeting artists, and developing his skills. In Paris, studying under Leon Bonnat, he was influenced by the French Impressionists and adopted ‘en plein air’, painting directly from nature out of doors.  His naturalism brought a breath of fresh air to Demark.

Peder Kroyer
Peder Kroyer

Modern Art comes to Norway: Munch and his Circle

No one captured the angst of the era more effectively than Edvard Munch (1863-1944); imitated, copied, and parodied, his iconic Scream (1893) is as famed as Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. Munch was profoundly influenced by the playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906). In his plays A Doll’s House, Ghosts and Hedda Gabler, Ibsen exposed double standards, revealing the truths that lay behind the façade of respectable domesticity. Ibsen deals, like Munch, with complex human relations. Munch wrote in a letter of 1908, “I am reading Ibsen again and I read him as me [myself].” Ghosts became Munch’s own drama. He saw the tragedy of the painter Osvald Alving, lusting for life yet unable to work, standing under the curse of heredity illness and madness, and feeling condemned to ruin, as a self-portrait. Nevertheless, Munch confessed “My fear of life is necessary to me… Without anxiety and illness, I am a ship without a rudder…. My sufferings are part of myself and my art.” Due to censorship and hostility Munch spent much of his life outside Norway. He moved in avant-garde circles in Paris and Berlin with Fritz Thaulow, Christian Krohg and Swedish dramatist August Strindberg among his friends.

Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch


The lectures last for around an hour. 


You can pay directly through Paypal to receive the code for each lecture

One lecture

Anders Zorn and his Circle

£7.00

One lecture

Peder Kroyer and the Skagen group

£7.00

One lecture

Edvard Munch and his Circle

£7.00

Three lectures

Anders Zorn and his Circle

Peder Kroyer and the Skagen Group

Munch and his Circle

Three lectures Modern Art comes to Scandinavia

Anders Zorn Peder Kroyer Edvard Munch

£20.00

A Once- in- a-Century Opportunity:

Gainsborough’s Blue Boy returns to London

National Gallery 25 January – 15 May 2022

In the winter of 1922, Gainsborough’s ‘The Blue Boy’ hung at the National Gallery for three weeks before it sailed across the Atlantic to its new home in the Huntington Mansion, San Marino, California. It was a public farewell to a beloved painting.

100 years later (to the day), Gainsborough’s masterpiece will return to the Gallery to go on display in Trafalgar Square once again. This is the first time the painting has been loaned by The Huntington. To celebrate this wonderful opportunity, I will be offering three inter-linked lectures entitled California Dreaming.

I have been very privileged to have been awarded two fellowships at the Huntington Library to study the collection of Chelsea Porcelain purchased by Huntington to complement his English portraits.  He had the best English paintings and the best English porcelain! Working in the library I would take time out in the galleries, looking at the Blue Boy and musing on how it arrived in California.  Many of the wonderful images you will see in my lectures were taken either by Scott or myself during our stay in Pasadena.

Gainsborough’s Blue Boy: Super Collectors Henry Edwards Huntington and Arabella Huntington

Although many great works of art are now institutionalised in galleries, American collectors initially bought art to enrich and decorate their homes; paintings were ‘household gods’. Hearst Castle, Saint Simeon is the supreme example of this desire to surround oneself with beauty. Randolph Hearst, media mogul, collected on an unprecedented scale, paintings, sculpture and even entire rooms and buildings which were shipped to California to fulfil his dream of creating a country estate.  Likewise, the Huntington Mansion became a showcase for Henry Huntington’s eighteenth-century British portraits by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Romney, largely acquired through the art dealer Lord Duveen. Gainsborough’s Blue Boy, which normally hangs opposite Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie, would be joined by Turner’s Grand Canal and Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral, a slice of English culture ironically not far from downtown Los Angeles!  For the American super-rich collecting offered status and the expression of good taste. However, above all it promised immortality.

Thomas Lawrence ‘Pinkie’, Sarah Goodin Barrett Moulton, 1794
Thomas Gainsborough, ‘The Blue Boy”, c. 1770.

The Meanest Millionaire: John Paul Getty, the Getty Villa, and the Getty Foundation

A millionaire by the time he was twenty-three, Getty initially collected works of art on a modest scale, housing his treasures in his Ranch House in Malibu. However, Getty could not resist a bargain and there were plenty to be had following the Wall Street Crash in November 1929. He purchased his first Dutch Old Master, Jan van Goyen’s View of Duurstede Castle at Wijk bij Duurstede in 1931.  Leasing Sutton Place South, a penthouse, from Mrs Frederick Guest in 1936, gave Getty a taste for French and English 18th century furniture. He acquired many exquisite pieces of French furniture at the John Mortimer Schiff sale 1938.  

Hearst’s audacity spurred Getty to recreate a Roman villa at Malibu to house his growing collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities. This opened to the public in 1974, two years before Getty’s death. His companion in later life, Penelope Kitson, said ‘Paul was really too mean ever to allow himself to buy a great painting.’ Nonetheless, at the time of his death he owned more than 600 items valued at more than $4 million, including paintings by Rubens, Titian, Gainsborough, Renoir, Degas, and Monet. It was his legacy that provided the finance for the Getty Centre, an architectural work of art by Richard Meier, which opened to the public in December 1997at a cost of   $1.3 billion.

Van Gough’s Irises

Norton Simon: Old Masters, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism in Pasadena

Norton Simon made his fortune backing Hunt’s Tomato Sauce, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Avis Car Rental and Max Factor cosmetics!  A learned connoisseur, Norton was also a shrewd businessman. In the mid 1960’s, he acquired the whole inventory of the Duveen Brothers Gallery, New York, around 800 objects. He also bought the gallery building, with its library and archives all for $4 million!  His collection holds three autographed Rembrandt paintings, an early Raphael, and famous works by Gudio Reni and Guercino. He undoubtedly had a better eye that Getty and was prepared to pay the price for a great painting. Norton eventually assembled one of the most comprehensive collections of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists in the world, including five works by Van Gogh.  You can trace the entire history of French avant-garde art from Courbet to Braque. With works by Henry Moore arranged around a tranquil pool, the sculpture garden is breathtakingly beautiful, a quiet oasis in the bustle of Pasadena.



You can pay directly through Paypal for these one hour lectures

One lecture Huntington

The Huntington Collection of 18th century portraits

£7.00

One Lecture Getty

The Getty Villa and the Getty Centre

£7.00

One Lecture Norton Simon

Norton Simon Museum Pasadena

£7.00

Three Lectures Californian Dreaming

Huntington Getty Norton Simon

£20.00

Lectures recently added to the library

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-7.png

It’s that time of the year when we start to think about Christmas.  I expect we have all dreamt of the ultimate present, a Tiffany diamond bracelet, a Rene Lalique Art Nouveau jewel, or a Faberge trinket (as above!).  While such baubles are beyond my modest pocket, I have still been able to enjoy seeing such treasures in museums across the world.  Lecturing on a Fred Olsen cruise I visited the awesome Fabergé Museum in St Petersburg.  This private collection is housed in the beautiful Shuvalov Palace, on the Fontanka River Embankment.  I have chased Tiffany across world, from the New York Historical Society, where the glittering Tiffany lamps do indeed resemble baubles, to the National Gallery, Canberra.  On my Travel Editions tour, based in Metz, I have been privileged to visit the Lalique Museum in Wingen-sur-Moder several times. I confess in the gift shop I have marked my visit with yet more books and a commemorative fridge magnet.  Drawing on the extensive collection of images that I have accrued over the years, I hope to take you via Zoom to see these wonderful collections in St Petersburg, New York, and Eastern France.  Hopefully in 2022 it will be easier to travel and this series of three lectures will inspire you!

Carl Fabergé: Imperial Presents

Tiffany & Co: from Diamonds to Art Glass

Rene Lalique: Master of Art Nouveau Jewellery

Contact anne.anderson99@talk21.com to pay by bank transfer or cheque

Or pay directly using PayPal

One zoom lecture Carl Faberge

£7.00

One zoom lecture Tiffany

£7.00

One zoom Lalique

£7.00

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

More lectures in the Library

l’Ecole de Nancy: this series of three lectures continues my theme of Art Partnerships.

L’Ecole de Nancy, a consortium of architects, artists, and designers, was officially launched in 1901 following success at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900.  While ‘the school of Nancy’ is at times relegated to provincial status, it was the powerhouse of Art Nouveau, second only to Paris in terms of initiating new technologies and improving the quality of the decorative arts.   Émile Gallé, the first president of L’Ecole de Nancy, specialised in pottery, glass and furniture; the Daum brothers, Auguste and Antonine concentrated on glass, collaborating with stained glass designer Jacques Gruber, while Louis Majorelle was the premier furniture maker and metalworker. Yet this Golden Age had only come about due to a disastrous war and mass-migration.  The city’s destiny, and that of France, had been determined by the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71).

Contact anne.anderson99@talk21.com to pay by bank transfer or cheque

Or pay directly using PayPal



Émile Gallé: father of l’École de Nancy

Gallé (1846-1904) took over the family firm in 1874, transforming the business into one of the world’s leading art industries.  In addition to glass, Gallé manufactured ceramics and furniture, the latter primarily for his creations to stand on.  He was a brilliant innovator, constantly perfecting new techniques.  Beginning with enamelling on clear glass, inspired by Islamic precursors, he progressed to hand carved, and acid etched cameo glass. His ultimate technique ‘glass marquetry’ was perfected for Paris 1900.  Following his premature death in 1904, the Daum brothers were Galle’s natural successors.  

One lecture Galle

£5.00

Daum Frères Cristalleries: glass and stained glassMigrating from the territory annexed to Germany, Jean Daum (1825-85) took the risky step of investing in the Sainte-Catherine glassworks in Nancy. It was his sons, Auguste (1853-1909) and Antoine (1864-1930), who turned around the fortunes of the cristalleries by developing art glass.  By collaborating with stained glass artist Jacques Gruber (1870-1936), ‘France’s Tifffany’, and Almeric Walter (1870-1959), who perfected pâtes de verre (glass casting), Daum enhanced its artistic reputation. Thanks to such partnerships, Daum survived the 1930s depression and continues to be a leading manufacturer of Art Glass.

One Lecture Daum

£5.00

Louis Majorelle: Furniture and Metalwork

Louis Majorelle (1859-1926), who collaborated with both Gallé and Daum, secured his reputation with a range of superb Art Nouveau furniture.  Diversifying into metalwork, he fashioned lamp bases (with Daum Frères shades), spectacular glazed canopies and breath-taking staircase railings. Acquiring Samuel Bing’s famous gallery Maison de l’Art Nouveau in 1904, Majorelle secured a Parisian outlet for l’École de Nancy. However, Marjorelle’s legacy is the Villa Jika, named after his wife, the stunning studio-house created for him by the young Parisian architect Henri Sauvage. This exemplary ‘total work of art’, now fully restored, provided a showcase for the creative talents of Majorelle and Gruber.

One Lecture Majorelle

£5.00

More Art Patnerships….

William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, creators of the Pre-Raphaelite Interior

With their friendship established at Oxford, Morris and Burne-Jones collaborated on numerous projects.  After 1875 Burne-Jones designed all the stained glass windows for the firm with commissions going as far afield as the USA. In the 1890s they collaborated on the great tapestry cycle, the Holy Grail.  When Morris predeceased him, Burne-Jones simply declared ‘the king is dead’.

One Lecture Morris and Burne-Jones

£5.00

Josef Hoffmann and Kolo Moser, founders of the Wiener Werkstätte

Inspired by Morris’ firm, Hoffmann and Moser founded the Wiener Werkstätte (Viennese workshops) in 1903. Working on joint architectural projects, it is often impossible to distinguish their work stylistically.  They developed a radically new design ethos based on strict geometric forms.

One Lecture Hoffmann and Moser

£5.00

Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll, the perfect Arts and Crafts House and Garden

Both wedded to the native architecture of Surrey, with its picturesque half- timbering and tile hanging, Lutyens provided the architectural framework which Jekyll filled with a profusion of flowers. Together they worked on numerous projects, both great and small, establishing a pattern governed by pergolas, rills, and herbaceous borders, that define the Arts and Crafts garden.

One Lecture Lutyens and Jekyll

£5.00

Also available

William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Interior

Christopher Dresser and the Aesthetic Interior

Ernest Gimson and the Cotswold Arts and Crafts Interior

Victor Horta and the Art Nouveau Interior

James Tissot: Fashionable London

James McNeill Whistler: An American Abroad

Lawrence Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity

Gustav Klimt: ‘All Art is Erotic’

Art Nouveau in Budapest: the Hungarian Secession

These lectures are available on open access:

Monet: Impressionism in Normandy

Victorian Art Pottery: William de Morgan

How did we get IKEA? Scandinavian Design c. 1880-1960

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four

Art Deco: High Style in the Roaring Twenties

The Bauhaus 1919-2019: A Hundred Years of Modern Design

Art and Crafts Gardens: A Haven for our Troubled Times

Everything Stops for Tea! A Social History of Tea Drinking

Art Nouveau Cities

Nordic Vision: Scandinavian Painting 1880-1914

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: