Maven of Modernism at the Norton Simon

September 23, 2017

Catching up on some travels with a visit to the Norton Simon in late August.  The Maven of Modernism is an exhibition of works collected by Galka Scheyer a dealer in Southern California.  She is credited with assembling the "Blue Four”—Lyonel Feininger, Alexei Jawlensky, Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky.

This show is a nice art history anecdote as I had really never heard of Galka, and it is interesting to see the process and history of the collection.

This a poor quality picture, but I always enjoy when exhibitions include correspondence letters and invoices like the one above.  Ridiculous prices for spectacular works of art.

Plenty of Kandinsky's to choose from!

 Another Kandinsky, Unequal, that has an interesting story about being lost for two decades.

From Cool Depths by Kandinsky drew my attention as it was clearly airbrushed.  The placard for the show says that Kandinsky employed a "splatter technique" that he had learned from Bauhaus artist Klee.  The work is from 1931 and airbrushes had been around for probably 40 years, with some Bauhaus artists using them. The work originally sold for $50.

Seeing this Kandinsky work, Heavy Circles, nearly coincided with the recent eclipse.

Blue Skyscraper by Lyonel Feininger.

 Abstract Head, Winter Ringing by Alexei Jawlensky 

I probably did not get as many iMages of Klee's work as I might liked. this one is Refuge from 1930

 I found this work by Klee, Aquarium Green-Red from 1920 interesting and maybe a bit out of character. Started as a single watercolor, it was cut in half and reassembled.  As the exhibition notes, Klee was a beloved pastime in Klee's life.

Not part of the "Blue Four" but from Scheyer's travels is this Imogene Cunningham print.  Of course Cunningham had Seattle ties.  She was also married to Artist Roi Partridge and the connection between he and Scheyer is documented in the exhibit.

The "cover image" for the show is this portrait by Emil Nolde.  As usual, the Norton Simon is worth a visit.  The show ends soon, September 25, so you'll need to hurry up.

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