Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Legs, Legs, Legs

Erwin Blumenfeld, 1940s

 Leonor Fini, Les Initiales, 1936

 Jean Moral, Female Nude in Lingerie and Boots, 1930s

 Bad Snow White

James Gillray, Fashionable Contrasts, or The Duchess's little Shoe yielding to the Magnitude of the Duke's Foot, published by Hannah Humphrey in 1792 (Frederick, Duke of York (1763-1827) with Frederica, Princess of Prussia (1767-1820)

 Nina Leen, Tulsa, OK, 1947

 Dali, Cannibalism of the Objects, 1937
There is no more unfortunate creature under the sun than a fetishist who yearns for a woman's shoe and has to settle for the whole woman - Karl Kraus 

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 Dubossarsky & Vinogradov, The Start of the Heating Season, 2006

 Nina Leen, 1951
"Lieber ein häßlicher Fuß verziehen, als ein häßlicher Strumpf!" - Karl Kraus

Colette Calascione, Tickle, 2000 

"In a word, my dear, I am an amphibious creature: I love everything, everyone, whatever it is, it amuses me; I should like to combine every species . . ." (Marquis de Sade, Philosophy in the Bedroom, 1795)

 John A.S. Coutts, Holly Faram, 1930s

 Rene Magritte, The Red Model, 1937

"The problem of the shoes demonstrates how easily the most frightful things can be made to appear completely harmless through the power of thoughtlessness. Thanks to the 'modele rouge' (Red Model), one senses that the union of the human foot and a shoe is in fact based upon a monstrous custom." - René Magritte

 Atelier Manassé, Dangerous Passion, 1930s

 Franois Boucher, The Toilette, 1742

"Everybody allows that to make a shoe you must have learned and practised the craft of the shoemaker, though every man has a model in his own foot, and possesses in his hands the natural endowments for the operations required. For philosophy alone, it seems to be imagined, such study, care, and application are not in the least requisite. This comfortable view of what is required for a philosopher has recently received corroboration through the theory of immediate or intuitive knowledge." (Hegel, Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830), Introduction §5)

 Shalva Kikodze, Artists' coffee-house in Paris, 1920

Ma belle, brise donc ce silence !
Regarde moi, je suis à tes pieds !
Jamais ta colère n'a été telle ! "
Comme l'époux parlait ains,
détournant ses yeux clos,
Elle laissa tomber des larmes abondantes,
Mais pas un mot.

Amaru, La Centurie. Poèmes amoureux, XXXIV.

 Gerda Wegener (1889-1940)

 Anom., A Woman hiding Cocain, Berlin, 1925

 Wilhelm Freddie, My Two Sisters, 1938

 Bill Brandt, Belgravia, 1951

 Martin Eder, The Performance, 2000s

  Paul-Émile Bécat (1885-1960)

 Dmitry Bulnigin, Tennis, 2007

 Juarez Machado, Arrivée, 1997

 Peter Stackpole, 1937
Professor Connie Fonzlau of the Gilbert School for Undressing demonstrating "How a Wife Should Not Undress"

 Karel Teige: "Collage Nr. 293", 1944

 Chas Krider, Dita: Night Stand, 1998

 Pierre Klossowski, L'Enlevement de Roberte

 Leo Fontan (1884-1965)

 Bernini, The Rape of Proserpina (Detail), 1622

 Georges Hugnet, La Vie amoureuse des Spumiferes, 1948

 Weimar Babe

Monday, November 29, 2010

Boris Kustodiev

Boris Kustodiev, Self-Portrait, 1912

Boris Kustodiev was born in Astrakhan into the family of a professor of philosophy. His father died young, and all financial and material burdens fell on his mother's shoulders. The Kustodiev family rented a small wing in a rich merchant's house. It was there that the boy's first impressions were formed of the way of life of the provincial merchant class. Kustodiev later wrote, "The whole tenor of the rich and plentiful merchant way of life was there right under my nose. It was like something out of an Ostrovsky play." He retained these childhood observations for years, recreating them later in oils and water-colours.

 Boris Kustodiev, The Merchant's Wife, 1918

Between 1893 and 1896, Boris studied in theological seminary and took private art lessons in Astrakhan from Pavel Vlasov, a pupil of Vasily Perov. Subsequently, from 1896 to 1903, he attended Ilya Repin’s studio at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. When Repin was commissioned to paint a large-scale canvas to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the State Council, he invited Kustodiev to be his assistant. The painting was extremely complex and involved a great deal of hard work. Together with his teacher, Kustodiev made portrait studies for the painting, and then executed the right-hand side of the final work. Also at this time, Kustodiev made a series of portraits of his spiritual comrades including the artist Ivan Bilibin .

Boris Kustodiev, Beauty, 1915

In 1903, Kustodiev married Julia Proshinskaya. One year later He visited France and Spain on a grant from the Imperial Academy of Arts. Also in 1904, he attended the private studio of René Ménard in Paris. After that he traveled to Spain, then, in 1907, to Italy, and in 1909 he visited Austria and Germany. The Russian Revolution of 1905, which shook the foundations of society, evoked Kustodiev's vivid response. He contributed to the satirical journals Zhupel (Bugbear) and Adskaya Pochta (Hell's Mail). At that time, he first met the artists of Mir Iskusstva (World of Art), a group of progressive Russian artists. He joined their association in 1910 and subsequently took part in all their exhibitions.

Boris Kustodiev, Portrait of Fyodor Chaliapin, 1921

In 1905, Kustodiev first turned to book illustrating, a genre in which he worked throughout his entire life. He illustrated many works of classical Russian literature, including Gogol's Dead Souls, Lermontov's The Lay of Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich, and Tolstoy's How the Devil Stole the Peasants Hunk of Bread. In 1909, he was elected into the Imperial Academy of Arts. He continued to work intensively, but a grave illness - tuberculosis of the spine - required urgent attention. On the advice of his doctors he went to Switzerland, where he spent a year undergoing treatment in a private clinic.

Boris Kustodiev, Fair, 1906

In 1916, Kustodiev became paraplegic. "Now my whole world is my room", he wrote. His colourful paintings and joyful genre pieces do not reveal his physical suffering, and on the contrary give the impression of a carefree life. His Maslenitsa was all painted from his memories. He meticulously restored his own childhood in the busy city on the Volga banks:

Boris Kustodiev, Maslenitsa, 1919

In the first years after the Russian Revolution of 1917 Kustodiev worked  in various fields. Contemporary themes became the basis for his work, being embodied in drawings for calendars and book covers, and in illustrations and sketches of street decorations, as well as some portraits (Portrait of Countess Grabowska). His covers for the journals The Red Cornfield and Red Panorama attracted attention. Kustodiev also worked in lithography, illustrating works by Nekrasov. His illustrations were landmarks in the history of Russian book designing, so well did they correspond to the literary images.

Boris Kustodiev, The Bolshevik, 1920

Kustodiev was also interested in designing stage scenery. He first started work in the theatre in 1911, when he designed the sets for Alexandr Ostrovskv's An Ardent Heart. Such was his success that further orders came pouring in. In 1913, he designed the sets and costumes for The Death of Pazukhin at the Moscow Art Theatre. His talent in this sphere was especially apparent in his work for Ostrovsky's plays; It's a Family Affair, A Stroke of Luck, Wolves and Sheep, and The Storm. The milieu of Ostrovsky's plays - provincial life and the world of the merchant class - was close to his own genre paintings, and he worked easily and quickly on the stage sets.

Boris Kustodiev, Russian Venus, 1925

In 1923, Kustodiev joined the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia. He continued to paint, make engravings, illustrate books, and design for the theater up until his death on May 28, 1927, in Leningrad.


Joop Moesman, The Rumour, 1941

Irina Polin, Butterfly 2009

 Mario De Biasi, Gli italiani si voltano, Milano, 1954

 Frantisek Kupka, Money, 1899

 Stéphane Lallemand, L'odalisque blonde (d'après Boucher), 2007

What. in ill thoughts again? Men must endure their going hence, even as their coming hither: Ripeness is all. Come on. (King Lear, Act V. Scene II)

 Warren Criswell, Departure of the Muse, 2005

 The other side of America

 Per Krohg (1889-1965), Søndagseftermiddag

 Ellen von Unwerth, Heidi, Kitzbühel, 2003

 Leon Kroll, Summer, 1931

 Brassaï, Matisse dessinant un nu couché dans l'atelier que lui avait prêté Mrs. Callery a la Villa d'Alesia, 1939

 Lucian Freud, Naked Man, Back View, 1991

 Fulvio Roiter, Solfatara, Sicily, 1953

 Hu Ming, Transparent Military, 2007

 Jan Saudek, The Dancer, 1997

 Edward Hopper, Excursion Into Philosophy, 1959

 Paul Outerbridge, Nude with mask and hat, c. 1936

 Christian Schad, Count St. Genois d’Anneaucourt, 1927

 Richard Müller, Moving clouds, 1919

 Will Cotton, Ice Cream Tavern, 2003

  Martin Eder, Weight, 2009

 Brassai, Washing in a Brothel, 1932

 Milo Manara

 Bill Brandt, Campden Hill, 1949