Tag Archives: Rembrandt

Print Month!

I know, isn’t every month Print Month?   ( I remember, as a child,  asking my Mum,  Why isn’t there a Kids’ Day, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day?  Of course she said, Every day is Kids’ Day.)

For The Art Caravan and many art afficiandos, original, hand made, fine art prints are irresistible.  Once you get some familiarity with the world of printmakers, print studios and print shops, it’s easy to become a fan, and collector.

Each October, the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) hosts a Print Week in New York City.   This year, Print Week has become a very accessible  Print Month of (not surprisingly) online programming and exhibitions.

Last year, The Art Caravan happily traveled to NYC to meet friends, and celebrate Print Week.  The main event was held at the Jacob K. Jarvits Center.  To say we were thrilled to attend is an understatement.  I felt like I was on a pilgrimage.

Javits Center NYC, T. Vatrt image

Javits Center NYC, T. Vatrt image

The second floor of the conference centre was devoted to booths from international and North American galleries and museums.  Artwork from Dürer and Rembrandt to contemporary artists such as Swoon were on display, and for sale.  It was exciting, inspiring and provided abundant choices for the IF You could have any Artwork on Display? game.  A few happy hours were spent wandering up and down the aisles, viewing artwork and talking to the dealers.  Here’s a link to this year’s list of exhibitors.

International Fine Print Fair, 2019, NYC, T. Vatrt image

New York being New York, the art community embraces Print Week.  What I assumed would be the main event is, in reality, one of many print-rich opportunities available in both commercial and public art galleries and museums.  Because of New York based printmaker Elizabeth McAlpin‘s knowledgable recommendation, The Art Caravan also visited the E/AB Fair. This year the E/AB Fair is sponsored by the Lower East Side Printshop.

Editions / Art Book Fair, NYC, 2019, T. Vatrt image

The Editions / Art Book Fair featured hand made print editions from individual printmakers, as well as print shops. The Art Book portion is dedicated to artists creating handmade books. Many of the artists and printmakers were present, and happy to talk about printmaking.  The Art Caravan spent several hours, over two afternoons, talking shop with printers and studying the artworks.  Click here for this year’s viewing room…..and enjoy!

Leviathian V, Marion MacPhee, 2019

Levithian II (etching), Marion MacPhee, 2016

I was particularly smitten by these gorgeous etchings by Marion MacPhee from the Glasgow Print Studio It was a highlight to talk with her about the studio, and her fabulous etchings.

Viewing prints online is not the same as seeing them in person.  The textures, the marks, the depth achieved in printmaking doesn’t easily translate via photography.  (Another example of ambiguous loss.)  This year, the experience will be virtual.  Maybe next year we’ll be attending in person.  Perhaps.  In the meantime, enjoy the multiple offerings of everything print at this year’s Print Month.

 

 

Swoon worthy art

Do you have a favourite piece of artwork that you make a point of visiting, whenever you find yourself in a certain gallery, or in another city?  I have several;  they seem to act as touchstones for me.  Perhaps they give me a sense of familiarity in a foreign setting  as I explore new things.  This impulse certainly speaks to the power of good art to inspire me, and reassure me.

At one of my favourite small art museums in New York City,  The Frick Collection (I know, I know, it’s impossible to choose favourites in NYC!) is a Rembrandt van Rijn self portrait from 1658.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self Portrait, 1658, The Frick Collection

This painting almost makes me swoon….and I don’t swoon easily.   In person, it appears luminous. Technically speaking, it is gorgeous: the rich colours, the play of light and dark, and the composition guide our attention to his hands, and his steady gaze.

Rembrandt was about 50 years old when he painted this self portrait.  Not only does the painting reflect his technical virtuosity , but it provokes a strong emotional response.  He portrays himself confidently.  He is dressed sumptuously.  With a staff and his hat, he seems ready to meet anyone and any challenge in the world.

He looks directly at the viewer.  He certainly engages this viewer, who feels an uncanny connection to this man.  His gaze seems open, and honest.  It appears that he acknowledges, and accepts, the complexity of life.  Does the set of his mouth suggest a bemused attitude, or a resigned one?  Whatever the interpretation, the portrait exudes humanity, warmth and  life.

The next time you’re in New York, you might want to drop into the Frick, and experience this portrait.  As far as I know, it’s on permanent display….and rightfully so.