Brushes With Art
Artists’ Personal Experiences
The Fauve Landscape by Julie Ressler
People tell me I have a joyous palette. I do. Color has power that is beyond understanding until you see its effects. The Fauve Landscape Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1991 was a perfect example of this transforming power. The night was bitterly cold and rainy. By some miracle we found parking on the street and traffic had not been terrible, but we were all really uncomfortable and exasperated by the time we got rid of our coats and umbrellas. My husband, a stoic museum-goer, even at the best of times was with people he did not care for and the evening was looming into never-ending tedium for him. I could see it clearly. He was just about to not say a word.
We navigated the brackish, beige stairs to the second floor. We turned the corner. Instantly we were seized by the fabulous reds and oranges, blues and brilliant yellows, turquoise and purples that these men made into their joyous palettes that had caused them to be called wild beasts or Les Fauves in the early 1900s. Their passion grabbed our faces and kissed our eyes over and over again until we were soon gasping, “Look at that! Have you ever seen that color before?” We were pulling each other from painting to painting. Very soon, our tired faces were transformed to that special clarity of wonder and renewal of being in color.
When Maps Were Art
by Julie Ressler with Nancy and Jack Monckton
Monckton Gallery, 913 Green Bay Road, Hubbard Woods
One of my favorite childhood memories was sitting on the floor in a sunny spot near the radiator in my grandfather’s study looking at his stacks of National Geographics. Sixty years ago we hadn’t experienced the explosion of images that now make the exotic seem almost ordinary. Then, bare breasts or ladies in chador with hennaed hands and wonderful maps that fold out into a huge expanse of possibilities were absolutely thrilling. This may be a love that is never outgrown.
When I asked Nancy Monckton what was her single most exciting art experience she said it was the magnificent antique map show that had been at the Field Museum last year. The grandeur of that exhibit had affected her for months. She pointed to several maps on her gallery walls and started to talk about what it must have meant to be an artist imagining and recreating what explorers and other artists had seen in distant lands.
Jack Monckton came in and began to tell us about dead reckoning, positional fixes and other elementary but effective tools that have been tused since a man’s foot was used for measuring. He showed the copper plate that had resulted in the reproduction of Rusch’s world map. He explained that our convention of north being up and south being down was not always so. It wasn’t even until 1884 at the International Meridian Conference in Washington DC. that it was agreed Greenwich, England would be prime. By that time Victorian England was the driving economic force. The whole morning went by with stories of how maps as we know them have evolved. We soon came to two wonderful maps that had been illustrated by NC Wyeth for the National Geographic Society in the late twenties, which can be purchased on ebay or exquisitely framed at Monckton Gallery.
Abraham Ortelius 1528-98
His Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
is considered the first atlas.
Picking up Deadwood
by Maurice de Vlaminck
Turning Road at L'Estaguecc
by Andre Derain
Boats at Collioure's Harbor
by Andre Derain