Photographs by Michel Koven
Photographs by Michel Koven
Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Trioson(1767-1824)
After his father’s death in 1784, Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Trioson joined the studio of Neoclassical titan Jacques-Louis David yet became a pioneer of French Romanticism. He won the Prix de Rome in 1789. Girodet’s Endymion Sleeping, painted in Rome and submitted to the Salon of 1793, showed the influence of Italian artists Antonio Canova and Correggio. Because Girodet’s paintings were coldly sensuous and atmospheric, rather than spartan and heroic like David’s, David disapproved. Girodet soon returned to Paris, where he earned his living by drawing illustrations and painting portraits. Although he scandalized the 1799 Salon with satirical sexual references in his portrait of a courtesan with her protector, Napoleon I nonetheless honored him with commissions. In 1810 Girodet won an important competition, beating out David’s famous masterpiece The Intervention of the Sabine Women.
A contemporary critic viewing Burial of Atalaof 1808 described Girodet’s style as having a “precision of drawing reminiscent of the masterpieces of antiquity, a fresh coloring, a studied effect, and a brush stroke at once generous, fluent, and delicate.” The picture won the Légion d’Honneur. In 1812 Girodet inherited a fortune, painted less, and dedicated himself increasingly to writing tedious poems on aesthetics in a house shuttered to daylight.
Born in Moravia in 1926, Tichý studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts (SVU) in Prague in the years immediately following the SecondWorldWar. After Czechoslovakia’s adoption of communism in 1948, he left the Academy and turned his back on the official art world, withdrawing from mainstream society, in part as a political response to the social and cultural repressions of the regime. Regarded as a talented painter and draftsman influenced by Picasso and the German Expressionists, Tichý did not agree with the prevailing socialistrealismoftheday, instead formingan artist collective knownastheBrněnskáPětka (Brno Five) with other likeminded SVU alumni. Constantly threatened and watched by the regime, the group took great risk in producing their work, even holding a clandestine exhibition in the Kyjov hospital in 1956. Tichý benefitted from the small, yet vibrant, cultural scene of Kyjov, taking in dance performances, plays, and beginning his first photographic experimentations with the artist Ladislav Víšek. Prone to mental breakdowns since his youth,Tichý worked alongside his peers until an apparen tpsychotic episode justbefor ea planned exhibitionin1957 from which he withdrew his images. His work was not exhibited again until nearly four decades later. Over the years, his deliberately nonconformist lifestyle—as well as his mental illness—landed him in trouble with the authorities and led to periods of confinement in psychiatric institutions and the loss of his studio in 1972.
Living in near isolation in his hometown of Kyjov, Tichý conceived a world populated by images of the local women, taking thousands of photographs from the 1960s through the late 1980s. Though he never stopped producing paintings and drawings, Tichý focused the majority of his attention on the photographic medium, practically reinventing it to suit his artistic vision of capturing the feminine essence with light. Save for the film, chemicals, and photographic paper he bought from a nearby drugstore, all his photographic equipment was self-made. Using cameras inventively constructed from found materials—shoeboxes, tin cans, clothing elastic, toilet paper rolls, even cigarette boxes—Tichý obsessively returns to the subject of the female form, whether viewed from afar with his makeshift telephoto lenses, or captured from the television screen. His intuitive method of photographing during daily walks about town might appear amateur in ambition, but the intensity, frequency, and regularity with which he creates reveal a unique and distinctly personal style of photography. Despite his camera’s crude optics—the lenses were cut from Plexiglas polished with sandpaper, toothpaste, and ashes—and skewed framing, the resulting images are formally complex, reflective of Tichý’s early art training, and vaguely reminiscent of the early works of the classical pictorial tradition. His images of women—often in bathing suits, bare-legged, or simply walking about town—are subtly erotic, taken from afar, often without the knowledge of the subjects. Tichý often embellished the surfaces and borders of these scratched, blurred, torn, and spotted images by drawing directly on them in pen or pencil, heightening the expressive quality created by his imperfect equipment. Sometimes framed or mounted on newspaper or cardboard, these highly personal objects were created for his own viewing pleasure, each negative printed only once with a homemade enlarger.
Agora IIYellow AbakanThe Group of SevenRed AlbakanPlecyMammal HeadThe Group of SevenKlatka i plecy
Magdalena Abakanowicz (Polish, b.1930) is best known for her textile sculptures of biomorphic forms. At the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts she studied drawing and painting in the Socialist Realist style, as well as textile design, screen printing, and fiber design. Her early work includes a series of gouaches and watercolors on linen sheets, which depict imaginary plants and animals. After she graduated, the Polish government was less strict about the form and content of art, and artists were allowed to travel to Western cities. Abakanowicz was particularly influenced by the geometric structures of Constructivist art. Her series Abakans, begun in 1967, are giant sculptures, woven from a variety of fibers, that hang a few inches off the ground.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Abakanowicz made several series of anthropomorphic textile sculptures. Backs (1976–1980) was a series of 80 versions of the human trunk made from burlap and resin, and Embryology (1978–1980) consisted of approximately 800 round forms of various sizes, made from burlap, gauze, and hemp. These organic sculptures examine the role of individual creativity within the crowd. In the late 1980s and 1990s, Abakanowicz produced sculptures in bronze, wood, stone, and clay, including her Bronze Crowd (1990) and Puellae (1992) series. For the War Games series, begun in 1987, Abakanowicz stripped off the bark of trees that were abandoned by foresters near Warsaw, and remodeled each trunk with metal parts. This series represents her life-long interest in nature, dismemberment, and regeneration.
Four seated figuresFour on a BenchCrowdCrowd IV,CoexistenceAgoraAgora III
Errante 1936Mythology Series. The cyclops 1939Mythology Series. 1939Untitled c1936TransvestiteThe Sleepwalker, 1935Jean Cocteau 1936Gloria Swanson 1939Mythology Series. Endymion and Selene 1939Mythology Series. Cyclopes 1939Untitled c1939
George Platt Lynes (April 15, 1907 – December 6, 1955) was an American fashion and commercial photographer.
Born in East Orange, New he spent his childhood in New Jersey but attended the Berkshire School in Massachusetts. He was sent to Paris in 1925 with the idea of better preparing him for college. His life was forever changed by the circle of friends that he would meet there. Gertrude Stein, Glenway Wescott, Monroe Wheeler and those that he met through them opened an entirely new world to the young artist. He returned to the United States with the idea of a literary career and he even opened a bookstore in Englewood, New Jersey in 1927. He first became interested in photography not with the idea of a career, but to take photographs of his friends and display them in his bookstore.
Returning to France the next year in the company of Wescott and Wheeler, he traveled around Europe for the next several years, always with his camera at hand. He developed close friendships within a larger circle of artists including Jean Cocteau and Julien Levy, the art dealer and critic.
While he continued to shoot fashion photographs, getting accounts with such major clients as Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue during the 1930s and 1940s he was losing interest and had started a series of photographs which interpreted characters and stories from Greek mythology.
By 1946, he grew disillusioned with New York and left for Hollywood, where he became chief photographer for the Vogue studios. He photographed Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Gloria Swanson and Orson Welles, from the film industry, as well as others in the arts among them Aldous Huxley, Igor Stravinsky, and Thomas Mann. While a success artistically, it was a financial failure.
During his lifetime, Lynes amassed a substantial body of work involving nude and homoerotic photography. In the 1930s, he began taking nudes of friends, performers and models, including a young Yul Brynner, although these remained private, unknown and unpublished for years. Over the following two decades, Lynes continued his work in this area passionately, albeit privately. “The depth and commitment he had in photographing the male nude, from the start of his career to the end, was astonishing. There was absolutely no commercial impulse involved — he couldn’t exhibit it, he couldn’t publish it.”
By May 1955, Lynes had been diagnosed terminally ill with lung cancer. He closed his studio and destroyed much of his print and negative archives, particularly his male nudes. However, it is now known that he had transferred many of these works to the Kinsey Institute.
Untitled c. 1943Untitled. 1935Mythology Series. Boreas 1939Mythology Series. Birth of Dionysus 1939Untiled 1951Mythology Series. Danæ and the Shower of Gold 1939
Achille Jacques-Jean-Marie Devéria (6 February 1800 – 23 December 1857) was a French painter and lithographer. In 1822, he began exhibiting at the Paris Salon. At some point, he opened an art school together with his brother Eugène, who was also a painter. By 1830 Devéria had become a successful illustrator and had published many lithographs in the form of notebooks and albums (e.g. his illustrations to Goethe’s Faust, 1828) and romantic novels. He also produced many engravings of libertine contents.
. His experience in the art of the vignette and Mezzotint influenced his numerous lithographs, most of which were issued by his father-in-law, Charles-Etienne Motte (1785–1836). Most of his work consisted of “pseudo-historical, pious, sentimental or erotic scenes.” Since he rarely depicted tragic or grave themes, he appears less Romantic than many other artists of the time.
Francesco Viscuso, born in Catania (Sicily) in November 1980, lives and works in Rome. He graduated from Art Institute in Catania – Architectural His art ranges from the fields of painting to installation and video, however photography is his main medium. The main themes of his work are Time, Memory and Trauma
Book of Life, 2000
Burn Season 2003
Cloud Cleaner 1999
Flying Lesson, 2000
Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison are a husband and wife duo who have been making photographs together for almost 20 years. Their work focuses on the relationship between humans and the environment—an idea that has only recently come to popularity with movements like the Go Green initiative and concepts like the carbon footprint. Using photogravure, collage, and painting techniques, the ParkeHarrisons create cinematic environments that explore how we interact with our natural surroundings.
Summoning the Storm
Tethered Sky, 2005
The Book of Life
The Clearing, 2001
The Navigator 2002
The Waiting, 2000
Turning to Spring
THE ORPHIC EGG-EL HUEVO ÓRFICO
THE ORACLE OF PROTEUS-EL ORACULO DE PROTEO
IN THE ARMS OF MORPHEUS-EN LOS BRAZOS DE MORFEO
AMPHITRITE III-ANFITRITE III
PROMETHEUS AND THE EAGLE OF ZEUS-PROMETEO Y LA AGUILA DE ZEUS
But Lately I Find a Sliver of a Mirror is Simply to Slice an Eyelid 1975
Providence Rhode Island III 1977
Self Deceit, Rome 1978Untitled (Providence) 1975-78
Untitled II, Rome, 1977–1978Untitled III Rome, 1977–1978
Untitled IV Rome, 1977-1978
Born in 1958 into a family of artists, Woodman began photographing at the age of 13. By the time she enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1975, she was already an accomplished artist with a remarkably mature and focused approach to her work. During her time at RISD, she spent a year in Rome, which proved an enormously fertile source of inspiration. After completing her degree, she moved to New York, where she made several large-scale personal projects and experimented with fashion photography. In 1981, at the age of 22, she committed suicide. Woodman’s untimely death is underscored by the startlingly compelling, complex, and artistically resolved body of work she produced during her short lifetime.
Self portrait talking to VinceProvidence Rhode Island II 1977Providence Rhode Island 1977From Eel series, Rome, 1977–1978Untitled Rome, 1977–1978UntitledUntitled V Rome, 1977-1978