Wednesday, 21 January 2015

#602 Paris: The menagerie at the Jardin des Plantes

Please see the previous blog for more information about this post.

The Jardin de Plantes in Paris which includes the menagerie (zoo) expanded dramatically
 in the early years of the 19th century and the definitive sculptor of animals,
 Antoine-Louis Barye was a frequent visitor.  Throughout his life it was a source of
 reference and inspiration and provided the basis for his scientific approach to sculpture.

At various times, the menagerie had exotic animals such as Asian elephants and lions.  When the animals died, he would attend their dissections, make a multitude of drawings
and spend hours taking measurements and recording detailed proportions.

He put his years of self-study at the zoo and his knowledge of anatomy to good use . . . emphasizing the musculature of animals in a bold and energetic manner.
 His idealized, stylized, and dramatized sculptures of animals are without equal.

Below, is an image of Barye's sculpture taken in the menagerie
at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris last month.

While exploring the menagerie and experiencing the animals, I was consumed
with the realization that Barye, his good friend, Delacroix, and many other great artists
such as Bugatti and Fremiet, walked the same paths and trails in years past.

 Below, are images.

Below, I'm concluding every blog about our trip to Paris last month with a glimpse of life in the beautiful city.

Christmas time in Paris is magic!  One sunny morning, Trish and I walked from the Place Concord
along the Champs Elysees to the Petit Palace Museum.  After our museum visit,
 we continued to the Arc Triomphe then back to the Tuileries.

The Champs Elysees is lined on both sides with kiosks and outdoor kitchens serving every food and drink imaginable.
We enjoyed a hot wine and a raclette, which is a sandwich served by warming the top of a large cheese wheel
with a heating device then scraping the melted cheese onto a baguette with ham and optional potatoes.
The long walk back to the metro was welcome after a late lunch!

Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information. 

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish

Sunday, 18 January 2015

#601: Paris: Barye, Fremiet and the Natural History Museum of Paris

While in Paris last month, Trish and I spent most of the three-week stay in museums and tracking down the 
notable sculpture and monuments that the beautiful city is famous for.   While all art viewed was meaningful, 
we concentrated on Greek sculpture and art from antiquity and importantly,
 the work of the French Animaliers of the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

The focus of this blog is the Natural History Museum of Paris and two important Parisian born Animaliers:
 Antoine-Louis Barye (1796 - 1875}, and Emmanuel Fremiet ( 1824 - 1910).  Historians regard the Romantic sculptor Barye, as having the premier position as the finest and most original in the field of animal bronzes and I'll return 
to his sculpture in upcoming posts.   Additional info can be obtained by going to Post #593, Dec. 21, 2014.  
Many books have been written about his work and much can be learned about him by going online.    

Below, are sculptures by Barye.

The Jardin des Plantes or great botanical gardens of Paris
was founded in 1626 and is located on the left bank in a
complex that includes the Natural History Museum of Paris,
the zoo or menagerie of wild animals,  the Museum of Comparative Anatomy, Museums of Evolution,
of Palenontology, of Entomology, Museum of Zoology,  
and other libraries, laboratories, exhibits, and lecture rooms.
The Jardin was high on our list of places to visit and we spent several days there.  Had we spent the entire three weeks,
we would have only seen a small part of it. 

More about the zoo in next Wednesday's post.

Both Barye and Fremiet were frequent visitors to the Jardin des Plantes and the Natural History Museum of Paris 
and spent many hours, studying and modeling their sculpture from zoo animals, skeletons, and taxidermy.   
During the last years of his life, Barye was professor of animal drawing at the Natural History Museum of Paris 
and was succeeded by Fremiet in 1892, several years after Barye's death.  

Fremiet's most famous sculpture is the gilded "Joan of Arc", erected in the Place des Pyramides in Paris. 
 My personal favorite is his sculpture of an elephant in front of the Musee d'Orsay. 

Below, are images.


As in previous posts about last month's trip to Paris,
I'm concluding the blog with a glimpse
of life in the elegant and inspiring city.

Travel in the winter and off-season definitely has advantages.
We took a boat ride on the Seine on a rainy day
 and were the only passengers on the boat . . .
just us and the bartender, captain, and mate! 

Below, are images taken from the railing.

Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information. 

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

#600: Throw on another log . . . the influence of Bugatti, con't

Throw on another log is a commentary and opinion about art
and this blog is a continuation of the previous post . . . 
Please scroll back to blog # 599,  posted Jan. 11, 2015.

I welcome your comments and observations.

Since the last post,  I've received several comments and inquiries from
former students and others about the influence of Bugatti regarding my
 work.  Years ago, I purchased the big Bugatti book - cover shown at right -
and while it had a definite presence in the studio, it was not a
"go-to" source of reference during the early, formative years . . .
 There's no clay on the pages which attests to the fact.

 The trip to Paris last month has directed my attention to this incomparable sculptor of animals.  I was mesmerized by his plasters at the Musee d'Orsay,  (shown in the previous post),  and spent hours in the Petit Palais,
(also shown),  with his sculptures . . . captivated and influenced.

Bugatti died young - he committed suicide at age 31 - and during his short life he created over 300 sculptures. 
 He explored many different methods and styles while creating a multitude of masterpieces . . . each one a classic observation of the animal . . . in gesture and in spirit.  Every sculptor would be well-served to study his work.   

While I can't say my work has been grounded and influenced by Bugatti over the years, since returning from Paris,
 I'm haunted by the memory of experiencing his sculpture in the museums.  This morning, I created a study of a walking panther - shown below -  that would not have been on my radar to do without being under his spell.  

Every artist is the sum total of their interests, experience, knowledge, and feelings.
Artists and their styles evolve naturally while searching various possibilities of design.

Style, like feelings, cannot be forced.

Shown below, are images of Bugatti's cats.  Note the various surface treatments and styles.

I'm concluding each art blog about our trip to Paris last month with a glimpse of life in the beautiful city.

Below, the morning sun streams through the window of the upper level cafe as Trish and i enjoy coffee,
a baguette, and cheese at the Musee d'Orsay . . . an enlightening day, experiencing Bugatti.

Also shown is the incredible Sorolla painting that is close to the cafe.

Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information. 

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish

Sunday, 11 January 2015

#599: Throw on another log . . . the influence of Bugatti

Throw on another log is a commentary and opinion about art.
It is directed toward students, artists, collectors, galleries,
museums, and those interested in the visual arts.
I welcome your comments on this blog and on Facebook.

I've learned through my association with painters over the years and by engaging in social media such as Facebook and artist's blogs that without a doubt, the two non-living painters who have had the greatest influence on representational painters are
John Singer Sargent and Joquim Sorolla.  Among the living painters, the most influential is certainly, Richard Schmid.

Among anamaliers - or sculptors of animals - one name prevails:  Rembrandt Bugatti (1884 - 1916).  
He was Italian, came from the famous Bugatti family, designers of art nouveau furniture and automobiles, 
and lived and worked in Paris and Antwerp.  He worked from zoo animals.

 Bugatti has, by far, had the most influence on today's animal sculptors . . . even more than Barye.
Bugatti was fairly obscure when I directed my attention toward sculpture in the late 1970s'
 and early 1980s'.  I had seen and remembered his work from an early trip to Paris but it 
was my friend and fellow sculptor, Ken Bunn who turned me on to his incredible work early on.  
Many sculptors were certainly aware of Bugatti's work back then and were influenced by his loose, 
juicy, thumby, and impressionistic surfaces coupled with his heightened sense of form and structure.  

The enormous amount of time he spent at the zoo facilitated his understanding of the animals he modeled
 and his great ability to find the pose and gesture, captured his subject's essence.   
Below, are images of Bugatti's sculpture.

Today, every sculptor I know is aware of Rembrandt Bugatti.  Books have been written about him and his works 
are coveted by museums and sell in the millions.  He produced over 300 works in his short life,
 before committing suicide at age 31.  Much more can be learned about him online.  

To me,  Bugatti is style, simplicity, and elegance . . . the subject, beautifully observed.
I read that he would tear down and start over if he could not complete a study in a day at the zoo.
Incredibly, some of Bugatti's works are mannered, tight, and art nouveau in concept and execution.  
His work is usually based on a perfectly flat plate like the zoo cage surfaces he knew so well.

Below, are images of Bugatti's plasters in the Musee d'Orsay.  Note the careful modeling of the lion.
Bugatti's "Pelicans" are located in the Petit Palais Museum.

   The good sculptors, like Bunn and others, developed their own statements under Bugatti's influence. 
Sadly, there are those who continue to misunderstand anatomy and structure and misinterpret what they
 are seeing when they look at spontaneous, active surfaces such as Bugattis' or Rodins' for that matter.

 Misunderstood form and sloppy, meaningless surface continues to be put out there in the name of "loose".

Below, is an image of Ken Bunn's "Drinking Lion" and "Jackie" by Richard Schmid 
from my collection.

I'm concluding each art blog about our trip to Paris last month with a glimpse of life in the beautiful city.

Below, crepes are being made in a little open- air kitchen in Montmartre.  The batter is ladled onto the
hot cooking surface and after the crepe is cooked, it is fill with Nutella, or the sweet filling of your choice.
We stayed in Monmartre and I eventually had to avoid this place.  As I emerged from the metro, the aroma filled the air . . .  they're too good and eating one meant no supper for me.
The skinny guy cooking them obviously doesn't eat them.

Go to the BLOG INDEX on the right for more information. 

Blog, text, photos, drawings, and sculpture . . . © Sandy Scott and Trish