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Bespoke is a bed and breakfast where our students can stay plus…….. an amazing cafe to eat or have coffee and there own rolls. I am in love.
Scottsdale Artists’ School’s Eugene Daub on Creating the Rosa Parks sculpture…on NBC Nightly News (quick ad first)
Wall Street Journal Article …. Aug. 11, 2012
By ARIAN CAMPO-FLORES And JEANNE WHALEN
LONDON—Figure skater Peggy Fleming may best be remembered for her three World Championship titles and her gold medal in the 1968 Winter Olympics. These days, she says, she’s hoping to become known for something else: her art.
Inspired by one of her son’s art classes, she took up painting five years ago and got hooked. “It’s scary to jump in for the first time,” she says. But “I thought, ‘Come on, just do it.’” She started off painting simple stuff—peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, spools of thread, Olympic rings—often mixing acrylic with burlap or sand to add texture.
Now, Ms. Fleming, 64 years old, lives in Los Gatos, Calif., and until recently ran a winery with her husband. She says she’s working on a more ambitious landscape of a vineyard featuring workers picking grapes and a barn in the background. “I’m doing my vanishing-point thing,” she says. “I’m not so good at it, but I’m determined I’m going to do this.”
Peter SchifrinPeter Schifrin, a member of the U.S. fencing team in the 1984 Olympics, stands by a model of one of his ‘Wings’ sculptures.
“I don’t like representing a nose or fingers or things,” he says. “I’m going right to the focus, which is movement, only movement.” His pieces depict athletes, dancers and bullfighters in motion, with energetic, sweeping strokes.
Works by these athletes—and 20 more—have been on display in London throughout the Games. The pieces form part of the collection of the Art of the Olympians museum in Fort Myers, Fla., a two-year-old institution celebrating the creative talents of Olympians past and present.
It also pays homage to an often-forgotten piece of Olympic history: Art was a competitive event in the early period of the Games, from 1912 to 1948. Medals were given in architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture.
Some athletes, like Mr. Klouchi, were already experimenting with art at the time they competed, then dedicated themselves more fully to it when their sports careers ended. After the 1992 Games, Mr. Klouchi says, “I was full of energy as an athlete, and I needed to express myself another way, through art.”
Others, like Tony Moore, a 60-year-old Fijian track athlete who competed in the 1976 Olympics and now writes poetry, found their outlet later in life. In the mid-1990s, “I began to experience sudden surges of creativity,” he says. “I experienced a pressing need to write.”
In 2008, before the Fort Myers museum was completed, organizers sent 30 pieces to the Beijing Olympics. But they were housed in a distant location and partly outdoors, prompting museum officials to send replicas instead of originals.
Among them was Leslie Tucker, an American who stopped by last week and expressed surprise that so many Olympic athletes dabble in art. “I had no idea,” she said. “I was the artist in my family, and my brother was the swimmer, so they were separate in my mind.”
The Art of the Olympians museum was the brainchild of the late Al Oerter, who won gold medals in the discus competition in four consecutive Olympic Games, from 1956 to 1968. He first tried painting in 1980, when the company now known as Anheuser-Busch InBev NV sponsored an art project and asked him to create something representative of his sport.
“He tried to draw the grass and the sky, and it was just pathetic,” says his widow, Cathy Oerter. So he came up with another idea. He poured blobs of paint on a canvas and hurled a discus at it, sending paint flying everywhere. That became his signature style for a while, with a series titled “Impact.”
When the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers, where the Oerters had settled, asked him to exhibit some of his pieces in 2005, he decided to recruit some fellow Olympians who also were artists. That led him to the idea of founding a museum. When he died of heart failure in 2007, Ms. Oerter continued to work on the project. Today, the museum’s collection includes nearly 300 artworks by about 70 Olympians.
Pierre de Coubertin, considered the father of the modern Olympic Games, would be pleased. A proponent of marrying sport and art, he insisted that Olympic host cities, starting with Stockholm in 1912, include art competitions in five categories.
The events weren’t exactly a hit, says Richard Stanton, author of “The Forgotten Olympic Art Competitions.” Professional artists were barred from competing. Aspiring artists didn’t express much interest. And critics sneered that the work was mediocre. Organizers eliminated the art competitions after the 1948 Games.
“Did Mona Lisa proceed from those events? No,” Mr. Stanton says. But “was it great occasionally? Yes.” Among the winners was Mr. Coubertin himself, who, under a pseudonym, won a gold medal in literature in 1912 for his “Ode to Sport.”
Whether the growing collection at the Art of the Olympians museum elicits critical acclaim remains to be seen. The bar to admission is not high. “Right now, we’re not judging,” says Sandy Talaga, director of operations, though “it does have to be considered somewhat good art.”
While some works might seem rudimentary, a number of Olympians have built successful careers as artists. Peter Schifrin, a member of the U.S. fencing team in the 1984 Olympics, is a longtime sculptor who has done numerous commissioned pieces and teaches sculpture at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Jean-Blaise Evequoz, 59, a Swiss fencer who competed in the 1976 Olympics, has exhibited his paintings all over the world and has several shows coming up in Italy. He’s sort of the philosopher of the group. “When you see my works, it seems they change a lot,” he says, with a thick French accent. “But in reality, they go for the same aim: universality.”
By KAREN WILKIN
The National Gallery, London. Bought, 1904 © The National Gallery, LondonA solemn portrait from afar, Titian’s great talent and inventiveness reveal themselves in the details.
In the 1568 edition of “The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects,” Giorgio Vasari describes a particularly notable work made by Titian during his formative years. Gaston du C. De Vere’s early 20th-century translation tells us that “At the time when he first began to follow the manner of Giorgione, not being more than eighteen years of age, he made the portrait of a gentleman of the Barberigo [sic] family, his friend, which was held to be very beautiful, the likeness of the flesh-colouring being true and natural, and all the hairs so well distinguished from one another, that they might have been counted, as also might have been the stitches in a doublet of silvered satin that he painted in that work. In short, it was held to be so well done, and with such diligence, that if Tiziano had not written his name on a dark ground, it would have been taken for the work of Giorgione.”
Today the most likely candidate for this celebrated picture hangs at the National Gallery, London, cautiously identified as “Portrait of Gerolamo (?) Barbarigo” (c. 1509). (It was formerly thought to be the poet Ludovico Ariosto.) The signature is not “on a dark ground,” as Vasari specifies, but on the edge of a stone lintel, but everything else fits. Whoever it is, the painting still astonishes. Time has blurred those countable dark hairs and turned the “silvered satin” of the doublet pewter gray, yet the portrait remains a masterpiece of economy and vivid characterization. The elegant, dark-haired, bearded subject is seated in profile, resting his arm on a stone sill; he turns his head slightly to look at us, gazing out of the corner of his eye, as if taking our measure to see if we are worth the effort of turning any farther.
If the sitter was Gerolamo Barbarigo, he was certainly aware of his own merits, as a member of an aristocratic Venetian family with many literary and political connections—the two doges who ruled Venice between 1485 and 1501 were Barbarighi. If the portrait was a commission, it suggests that Gerolamo, age 30 in 1509, already had the measure of his gifted friend Titian, about a decade younger (born 1488-90 in Pieve di Cadore, he died in 1576 in Venice). Or perhaps it was a canny offering from the ambitious youngster to a potentially important patron. If so, the stratagem worked; it is believed that Barbarigo’s support was very helpful to Titian at the start of his long, distinguished life as an artist. The international acclaim and patronage that Titian came to enjoy was achieved and sustained by his extraordinary ability, but at the beginning of the cinquecento, as now, even extraordinary ability could benefit from the attention of the right people.
“Finding new ways to manipulate color and paving the way for Manet some 300 years later.”
Barbarigo’s appraising, self-confident glance first draws our attention, yet we soon go on to appreciate the strong blade of the nose, the sensuous lips and the skeptical lift of the eyebrows. But the picture’s true focal point is the enormous, padded satin sleeve of the doublet, with its sheen, its deep, punctuating folds and “incised” patterns conjured up by loose, rapid strokes. Like many of Titian’s virtuoso passages—more often in his late work—the sleeve seems to wrench itself out of its own century, pointing to new possibilities for how pigment can be manipulated for visual and expressive effect. Edouard Manet strove all of his early years to achieve this kind of fusion of paint-as-paint, generous “handwriting” and convincing illusion. The swelling, swooping sleeve fills much of the lower half of the canvas, off-center, but seeming to expand into our field of vision. The framing curves of Barbarigo’s dark brown hair and beard against his pale face and neck echo the shape of the sleeve, while a dark cloak draped over the sitter’s far shoulder, in turn, restates the hair and beard, with minor variations of scale and shape. A white linen shirt, the tight gathers rendered with stabs of the brush, peeks out above the doublet, adding a highlight and a change of texture.
Such details, evoking diverse substances with an amazing range of paint handling and gestures, reward close attention as evidence of the precocious painter’s preternatural talent and inventiveness. Skin, hair, silk, linen and stone are suggested with touches specific to each but never literal; together they create a subtext, at once playful and opulent, visible only from an intimate vantage point. From farther away, the portrait seems solemn and graphic, constructed with a few big, curved shapes against a neutral background. The interrelationships of these deliberately limited elements slowly reveal themselves: the rhyme of the curved strip of shirt with a barely glimpsed fragment of a hand and the curving beard, for example. Titian’s palette is just as deliberately limited and similarly complex, a lush orchestration of nonchromatic colors: pale flesh, dark brown, black, ochre-gray and blue-gray, set against an expanse of cool, slightly muddy gray.
The massive sleeve projects a little over the stone sill of the fictive opening through which Barbarigo gazes—dissolving the picture plane, seeming to penetrate our own space, and creating an immediacy that still seems radical. All this by the time Titian was 20 (or less, if we believe Vasari). No wonder he became the most sought after painter of his day in Europe.
—Ms. Wilkin writes about art for the Journal’s Leisure & Arts page.
A version of this article appeared June 2, 2012, on page C13 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: The Master’s Talent on His Sleeve.
Thank you to the Gregory’s and their support of Scottsdale Artists’ School and to Ruth for sharing her home and for all she has done for our school. Thank You!!!!!
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