Archive | June, 2011

Get to Know MFA Artist KESHA BRUCE

28 Jun

The Coronation is the latest series of work from artist Kesha Bruce. The series stems from the symbol of the Crown and explores the concept of power. Who gets to have power and who doesn’t.

Kesha Bruce is an American mixed-media artist living and working in the United States and France. She creates works that combine painting and collage to explore the connections between memory, personal mythology, and magical-spiritual belief.

A New Painting by Italian Master Caravaggio!

21 Jun

Caravaggio is one of my very favorite artists of all times. I’ve read art history books on his paintings, biographies on his infamous life story, and had the great pleasure of stumbling across one of his paintings in a cathedral in Malta (which I had long forgot was located there).

ARTINFO published the following story of a how a painting of Saint Augustine has been attributed to Caravaggio (c. 1600):

Courtesy National Gallery of Canada

Courtesy National Gallery of Canada

A portrait of Saint Augustine in a private British collection has been identified as the work of the Italian master Caravaggio, with art historian and dealer Clovis Whitfield making a persuasive case by locating documentary evidence to support the identification.

According to the Guardian, Whitfield managed to trace the painting to one of Caravaggio’s most powerful patrons, Vincenzo Guistiniani, by discovering that a portrait of Saint Augustine of similar dimensions was recorded in the 1638 inventory of his collection. The painting, produced around the year 1600, is now attributed to Caravaggio in “Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome,” an exhibition on view at the National Gallery of Canada through September 11, and will appear in a book with the same title to be published by Yale University Press.

“What looked like an anonymous 17th-century painting revealed its artistic qualities after restoration,” Sebastian Schütze, an art historian who is one of the book’s co-authors, told the Guardian. David Franklin, co-author and director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, noted that the portrait “shows a side of Caravaggio perhaps that is not as drastic and antagonistic as usual, but where he was working very closely with Giustiniani to try to create a much more quiet image of a saint.” Indeed, Caravaggio, who was known for his violent escapades, as revealed in detail by the recent discovery of his police file, was not a man naturally given to quiet reflection and contemplation.

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Fewer than 50 of Caravaggio’s works survive. According to the Telegraph, some have questioned whether the Saint Augustine portrait is really by Caravaggio, citing factors such as the unfamiliar use of color. A year ago, the Vatican rushed to identify “The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence” as a previously undiscovered Caravaggio work, but Vatican Museums head Antonio Paolucci disputed the claim.

Art Theft in Monoco, Police in Italy, and the Recovery of $3.6 Million in Stolen Art

14 Jun

This fascinating tale of $3,600,000 in stolen art recovered from a small suitcase after a routine traffic stop in Milan!  As reported by ARTINFO France:

How a Routine Traffic Stop Led Italian Police to $3.6 Million in Stolen Art


Published: June 13, 2011
When Italian police stopped a car near Milan last month, they discovered more than they bargained for. Not only was the driver driving without a license, but he and his companion both had criminal records, and, more shockingly still, they had a painting by Giorgio Morandi worth €200,000 ($291,500) in the trunk. By the time this curious tale had wended its way to its conclusion, 12 paintings belonging to collector Paola Folonof Monaco had been recovered.At first the two men, aged 46 and 50, claimed that the painting was a gift, but police officers soon figured out that it was on Interpol‘s list of stolen artworks, France Soir reports. This discovery led investigators to an apartment building in Albenga, an Italian town near the French border, where they found a container that held a red Samsonite suitcase. Inside it were two more Morandi works, two images of Mao by Andy Warhol, a Léger painting from 1935, a work by Italian painter Virginio Ghiringhelli, a Balthus portrait, a painting by a 19th-century Japanese artist, and a work by a 19th-century Indian artist. All told, the stash has been estimated at €2.5 million ($3.6 million).

The works were certainly chosen for their small size, which made them easier to transport, as well as for their artistic value. But they were quite easy to trace, since many still had labels on the back from museums including the Tate. The two men were arrested, along with a 36-year-old Romanian woman believed to be their accomplice.

The owner of the paintings, Paola Folon, is the daughter of the prominent Italian dealer Gino Ghiringhelli and the widow of Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon. According to Monaco-Matin, the works were taken from her house in Monte Carlo almost five years ago without any sign of a break-in.

ARTnews June 2011

9 Jun

New Paintings by Laurel Hausler

7 Jun

MFA is pleased to share three new pieces by DC native, Laurel Hausler (see slideshow below).

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Hausler oftentimes incorporates literary overlaps in her work.  She has created this oil on canvas painting (complete with x-rays)  titled Bluebeard’s Place. The painting is based on the French folktale Bluebeard which was written by Charles Perrault in 1697.  Bluebeard is one of eight tales by the author first published by Barbin in Paris in Histoires ou Contes du temps passe. The chilling story chronicles a violent noblemen who murders his wives and the attempts of one wife to avoid the fate of her predecessors.

American Contemporary Art, Hadieh Shafie & Art in DC

1 Jun

American Contemporary Art

May 2011
Letter from Washington, DC
by F. Lennox Campello

Around the District, artist Hadieh Shafie is on a good streak right now. To start, Bruce Helander, Editor-in-Chief of The Art Economist and a White House Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, recently picked ten artists to watch in an article for The Huffington Post and Hadieh Shafie was one of the chosen ten. Shafie is currently also nominated for the London’s Victoria & Albert Museum’s prestigious Jameel Prize 2011. She recently received the Franz Bader Award in the DC region. Finally, this talented artist’s solo exhibition titled The Sweet Turning of the Page, is currently on exhibition at Morton Fine Art (1781 Florida Ave, NW at 18th & U Street in DC) through June 3. This Iranian-born artist says that a constant element of her work has been “the significance of process, repetition and time all rooted in the influence of Islamic art & craft.” Her ink and paper paintings are the end result of tightly scrolled and brightly colored rolls of paper which often hide hand-written text by the artist. While one is initially tempted to associate her work with Op-Art, Hadieh’s intelligent and coherent marriage of pure color with a deeply personal cultural branding, pushes her artwork beyond the pure eye candy of that mode and begins to explore the process of adding a new contemporary dialogue to what can be lossely described as Islamic-influenced art. There’s something powerful in these works — the tightly coiled colored rolls hide words, much like women in the tightly coiled world of many Islamic nations are forced to hide their words and opinions, especially in the brutal theocracy of her native Iran. There’s an Orwellian aspect to these works with a touch of Washington Color School that makes them deliver an unique perspective to the spectacular artistic diversity of the nation’s capital. It is no accident that Hadieh’s works have come to national prominence originating from the DMV…
Continued on the following website: