Art Insider September Edition


September Edition

~Back to School Promotion Ending Soon

~Therapeutic Mixed Media Collage 2-day workshop

~Local Artist Spotlight – Cynthia Rigden

~Ex – Natzi Collected Art Court Decision

~The Madness of Vincent Van Gogh

~Lost Heritage: Quake Deals Blow to Italy’s Art Treasures

~Moma rediscovers Guernica’s original stretchers

~Bob Ross had naturally straight hair?!

Our BTS Promo Ends Soon

bts fall 2016 first page flyer yellow

Final sales day is the 24th of September


Make your own sale! Use this coupon before or after our BTS promo is finished……but use it before it expires.

It seems everybody needs a little therapy now a days

For us, September brings us a month of new students from all school levels. It is also a month of healing for the rest of us. Our workshop spotlight is on expressing yourself with mixed media techniques being taught by certified art instructor, Lynn Underwood. child-art  This instructor received her BA in Psychology and teaching credential from Sonoma State University.  She also received her graduate degree in Expressive Arts Therapy  and Coaching with an emphasis in Education from European Graduate School, Switzerland.  Lynn is also a certified trauma practitioner as well as a certified yoga instructor.  She was a classroom teacher inclusive of arts education.  As an arts therapist, she has worked with a variety of populations to include abused and traumatized children and adolescents, domestic violence, and substance abuse, and trauma.

She has facilitated a variety of workshops to include creative expression, positive life changes,team building, and therapeutic art interventions for mental health professionals.  Lynn has conducted training for organizations inclusive of CA Arts Project and Betty Ford Clinic.  In her private practice she works with individuals and groups. This instructor has been a credentialed classroom teacher inclusive of art instructor.  She has facilitated numerous arts classes and workshops through various organizations.  These workshops have been focusing on expressive art therapy techniques.

This two-day (starting September 29th) therapeutic workshop will take attendees step by step through the creative layeringmask process that includes acrylic paints, collage materials, stencils, stamps, etc.; exploring different techniques and ending with a finished artwork. Students will be encouraged to use the multiple techniques presented and new found skills to express themselves in therapeutic ways. Each step of the process will be demonstrated for you and experimented with throughout this workshop.

At this time, only one more paid attendee is needed for this workshop to go! To view more details on this event feel free to visit our monthly scheduler or click on the image above or left.


To view our entire schedule of classes for October, please feel free to click the button below



Local Artist Spotlight – Cynthia Rigden

 Phoenix Home & Garden recently published an article written by David M. Brown about one of our local artists and long-time customer of the Art Store. As one of the more accomplished sculptors and painters in the area, she has referred much of her artwork to having great reference models, a large library of reference material as well as a great knowledge of art materials. Mrs. Rigden and the Art Store has had an awesome working relationship for over 20 years. – Keith K.


On her ranch, Cynthia Rigden enjoys spending time with two of her horses, (left and center) I Rate and Slewpy (Candlelighter), grandson of Seattle Slew, the 1977 Triple Crown winner.

Art Imitates Ranch Life for Renowned Sculptor and Painter Cynthia Rigden

photography by Garrett Cook, written by David M. Brown

Cynthia Rigden is fond of saying, “I’m an artist of the West, not a Western artist.” Her bronzes, watercolors and oils aren’t “cowboys and Indians and ‘shoot ’em ups.’ I am not limited to traditional Western themes,” she explains. Instead, the Arizona native is known to gallery owners, museum curators and collectors for her authentic depictions of horses and other livestock.

Her art strikes true because since 1955 she has lived on the 8,000-acre Rigden Ranch—which her grandfather acquired in 1902—in Kirkland Valley, about 45 minutes southwest of Prescott. While she spent the first 12 years of her life on her mother’s family ranch next door, she now manages the day-to-day operations of the large, historic working cattle ranch, assisted only by a small crew that she supplements when needed.


“Out of the Gate,” (oil, 18″H by 10″W) depicts longhorn crossbred cattle at Rigden Ranch.

“The most recurrent theme in her work revolves around her family ranch,” explains Joan M. Griffith, director of Trailside Galleries in Scottsdale, which has shown Rigden’s work since 1982. “She captures imagery inspired by the longhorn cattle; various breeds of horses, including quarter horses and thoroughbreds; calves; chickens; and roosters that live on the property, as well as the occasional resident dog or cat.”

According to Rigden, her art celebrates a passion for horses and other domesticated animals that began millennia ago with Paleolithic depictions, such as those at the Chauvet and Lascaux caves in France, continuing through to the artistry of ancient peoples at Tassili n’Ajjer in Algeria, Egypt and Greece. “Those early artists captured the essence of animals, and it meant a great deal to them,” she says. “Whether it was for magic or religion or fun, they were all very good at it. Although we are separated by style, technique and time, I see myself continuing that long artistic tradition.”

She’s also following a long family tradition. Her paternal grandmother, Ada Eldred Rigden, came to territorial Arizona as a schoolteacher and eventually became well-known as a watercolorist. Her mother, Margaret Hays Rigden, worked in oils and sculpted. Inspired by the family matriarchs, Rigden began drawing at age 2. After an early education at the still-standing one-room Peeples Valley School House, she entered Arizona State University as an art and agriculture double major, fulfilling her creative urge while preparing to assume responsibilities for the family ranch.

“When the classes I wanted were filled, I chose one in sculpting,” she recalls, smiling. “I soon found, though, that it was the medium I was looking for. It felt right, perhaps because it was in three dimensions, much like ranch life itself.”

On the ranch, she studied the animals and took photographs to which she could refer when creating. She also read and acquired books on such artists as renowned English equine painter Alfred James Munnings and French “animalier” (an artist who specializes in the realistic portrayal of animals) Antoine-Louis Barye.


“Firebrand” (bronze on a walnut base, 10″H by 12″L by 4″W) is based on a Spanish-style horse, a type that Rigden studied during her travels.

She traveled, too, visiting England 20 times to study Hereford and Angus stocks and to return to the homeland of her grandfather. She journeyed to the Mediterranean and the Greek Isles, to Italy and Spain, and to St. Petersburg, Russia. She took a European cattle breeders tour to see Gelbvieh in Germany, Charolais and Limousin breeds in France, and Simmental in Switzerland. She went as a rancher and returned inspired as an artist.

At the same time, she has always been influenced by the colors and lights of her home state. “We have a different set of colors here than back East, more earth tones, less green. Our light is clearer, too. I have always felt that you can’t try to portray anything without understanding the light and colors around it,” she says.

Her work on the ranch and her art share equal focus. For instance, when she’s not bringing cattle to market, she has more time to formulate and work on her oils and bronzes. She’ll often paint at night, too, when ranch affairs take more sunshine time.“I’ll often have a number of pieces started, just basic ideas, then I will go back and focus on one or two to get them in frame or ready for the foundry,” Rigden explains. She maintains two art studios in different ranch buildings, and she seldom paints “en plein air,” where she completes everyday ranch work. “The ideas come from my experiences outdoors; I complete them indoors,” she says.


Rigden’s affection for her ranch animals is an essential aspect of her ability to accurately portray them.

Completing a bronze can take up to three months or more from conception through clay or wax mold to casting. But, each piece features a special twist: “Say I’m doing a series of 15, which is usual for me,” she notes. “I’ll often change each of the pieces in some small way—a slightly different mane, for example. That way, each is unique, much like every animal.”

Rigden has been widely published, profiled and exhibited and is affiliated with the highly regarded American Academy of Equine Art in Lexington, Kentucky. And, for 23 consecutive years, she has been invited to the prestigious Prix de West show at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. “It’s very gratifying to be included in such a great group of artists every year,” she says with characteristic humility.


“Safe Place” (bronze, 6″H by 12″L by 10″W) is a vignette of a cow and her calf.

The Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg has displayed one of her major bronzes, a life-sized foal, “Wide Awake,” since 1991. She’s also shown at the museum’s “Cowgirl Up! Art from the Other Half of the West” since the annual exhibition’s inception in 2006. “She is one of only nine artists from across the country who’ve been invited by the selection committee every year,” says Mary Ann Igna, the museum’s deputy director and curator. Among Rigden’s many awards at “Cowgirl Up!” was a first-place for sculpture.

Rigden’s everyday experience with horses and cattle helps her to depict subtleties of movement, moods, personalities and psychology—aspects that only someone who has raised and cared for the animals since childhood can best understand.“I’ll watch the way a steer or horse moves,” she explains. “Riding a horse, you see how they think, and that allows you to be one step ahead. Same with a steer. If you don’t have an idea of what it’s going to do next, it can pick up and bolt in the dust.

”This ability to convey vignettes true to ranch life—with power, grace and accuracy—is a hallmark of


“Mustang Mama” (bronze, 10″H by 13″L by 5″W) depicts a recurrent ranch theme of mother with her filly protected beside her.

her work. In one of her well-known bronze pieces entitled “Taurus,” a longhorn bull stands defiant in sinewy presence. In “Safe Place,” a longhorn cow sits alert, watching over her calf that’s ensconced beside her. In yet another named “Mustang Mama,” a mare and her filly walk together, the younger in its mother’s protective shadow.

“One of the things people often say about my work is that it has


“My Kingdom for a Horse” (bronze on a granite base, 13″H by 9″L by 6″W) was inspired by the discovery of Richard III’s remains beneath a parking lot in England in 2012. Rigden imagined a powerful medieval war horse that the king might have rode into battle.

balance,” Rigden says. “What they mean, I think, is that the animals I depict appear fluid, not static—in one position and ready to move on to another.

“I don’t try to romanticize them,” she adds. “I believe the gracefulness and form of the horses and cattle speak for themselves. And, if I can capture that in my work, then I’ve captured their essence—as if you were seeing them here right on the ranch.”


White Stampede and black-and-white Hoodoo are just two of Rigden Ranch’s many longhorn steers.








“Study of Two Horses” (oil, 8”H by 16”W) celebrates Rigden’s own horses, Slewpy, foreground, and Luna.



Bee Paper 11″ x 14″ 93 lb. (150 gsm) AF Super Deluxe 60 Sheet Double Side Spiral Bound Padbee-808s60_series-mixed-media1

The only sketchbook you’ll ever need! Heavyweight 93 lb. (150 gsm) NpH archival quality drawing paper is well-rounded for mixed media. This natural white sheet has two distinct surfaces. The top side of the sheet has tooth for dry media and works well as a cold pressed watercolor sheet. The bottom side is fabulous with pen and ink and works well as a hot pressed sheet for watercolor and other mixed media. The double wire binding creates a flat surface, allowing the artist to draw across the page. The water-resistant cover can be personalized with acrylics to make your journal your own! Extra heavyweight 100% recycled chipboard back is perfect for field work.

Where do you see art in your world?

In Stunning Decision, Court Awards Museum Nazi‐Looted Cranach Paintings

The complex case has lasted nearly a decade.

In a stunning decision, a California judge has decided in favor of the Norton Simon Museum,
dismissing a claim made by Marei von Saher, the heir of Dutch collector Jacques Goudstikker, for Adam and Eve (c.1530), a pair of paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The restitution case has spent nearly a decade in the courts.

Judge John Walter ruled on August 15th that the Goudstikker family had not met the requisite filing deadlines for an ownership claim on the paintings, according to the Art Newspaper.

“The Norton Simon takes seriously the fiduciary responsibility to the public that our ownership of
such important artworks confers,” the Norton Simon Foundation said in a statement. “We have placed
the panels on near‐constant public display since 1971 and will continue to ensure they remain
accessible to the public for years to come.”

palette_9-7-16Jewish collector Jacques Goudstikker was forced to sell the paintings in question to Nazi leader
Hermann Göring during World War II. Goudstikker had bought the works, which had been put up for sale by the Soviet government, at auction in Berlin, in 1931 before feeling Germany for the
Netherlands, which fell under Nazi occupation in 1940. It was then that he was forced to make the sale to Göring; the works were returned to the Netherlands once the war had ended.

“Obviously, Ms. von Saher is disappointed with the court’s decision, and she intends to file an
appeal,” said Larry Kaye, of New York firm Herrick Feinstein, in a statement to artnet News. “Over the many years that she has sought justice for the theft of Jacques Goudstikker’s property by the Nazis, Ms. von Saher has been gratified by her many successes, especially when those in possession
of her artworks have done the right thing and returned the works to her without her having to
resort to litigation. Indeed, Ms. von Saher firmly believes that amicable negotiations are the best
way to handle Nazi‐looted art claims and has resolved dozens of claims with private individuals,
galleries and museums on that basis. Despite the fact that she has been met with resistance in this
case, she remains undaunted and is optimistic that she will prevail in the end.”e2d7a273576a4c33be9766653367be6d-4d4c167a853a4c868cb1eeeea23d232a-0

Desi Goudstikker, Jacques’s widow, was given the chance to make a claim on the paintings after the war, but never went through with the procedure, as she felt it would not be carried out fairly.

Then, in an unexpected turn of events, the previous Russian owners, the Stroganoffs, made a claim on Adam and Eve. In 1961, the then‐exiled George Stroganoff claimed that the Cranach paintings, as well as a Rembrandt and a Petrus Christus, were taken from his family following the Russian Revolution.

Goudstikker’s heir Marei von Saher, however, claims that the paintings had been taken by the Bolsheviks from a Church in Kiev. The Dutch government sold Adam and Eve and the Petrus Christus to Stroganoff for 60,000 guilders in 1966, after he had relinquished any claim on the Rembrandt. A few years later, in 1971, American collector Norton Simon bought Adam and Eve from Stroganoff for $800,000.

The Pasadena Museum of Modern Art was renamed after Norton Simon in 1975 and received his collection, including the Cranach paintings. Von Saher has been pursuing a restitution claim in US federal courts since 2007, but the fact that Desi Goudstikker never made a claim on the painting has always been used against her. The fact that the case was even heard after so much time has passed and the events occurred in so many different countries is remarkable in itself.

“There’s no disputing the actual provenance,” said E. Randol Schoenberg, a lawyer for Von Saher, speaking to TAN. “If
these paintings never go back, there’s a real problem in how we deal with Nazi‐looted art.” Von Saher plans to appeal the US District Court’s decision. – artnet news

New to the Art Store

M. Graham & Co. Desert Southwest 0.5 oz (15 ml) American Plein Air Series Artists’ Watercolor 5 Color Set


Part of the American Plein Air series, The Desert Southwest watercolor set features colors specially selected by award winning watercolor artist Ron Stocke that are reminiscent of the region. M. Graham watercolors are brilliant, highly pigmented and suitable for all traditional techniques with beautiful, even washes and no hard outlines. Made with exceptional amounts of pigment in an old fashioned binding medium of pure gum arabic and natural blackberry honey.
Set includes High Desert Red (Quinacridone Rust), Desert Floor (Yellow Ochre), Talavera Ceramic Yellow (Indian Yellow), Sunset Violet (Mineral Violet), Jewel of the West (Turquoise).
Art Store price until the 25th of September, $47.13! A savings of 40% off the MSRP.

The Madness of Vincent Van Gogh

Until now, the way of testing whether or not someone had good biographical knowledge of Vincent Van Gogh was to ask them aboutpalette_9-7-16-van-gogh the famous ear‐cutting incident. The answer ‘he cut off his ear’ informed you the speaker had only a hazy comprehension, whereas the knowledgeable person replied ‘in actuality, Van Gogh cut off only part of his ear’. Now new information suggests that Van Gogh did indeed cut off his whole left ear. On the Verge of Insanity: Van Gogh and His Illness, a new exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (closes 25 September), accompanied by an excellent catalogue, attempts to get as close as possible to the truth about Van Gogh’s physical and mental illnesses.
The confusion about the ear incident sprang up during Van Gogh’s lifetime. On the 23 December 1888, Van Gogh was living with Paul Gauguin at the Yellow House in Arles. Gauguin announced his intention to leave Arles after persistent rows with Van Gogh. Deeply anxious and depressed, Van Gogh slashed his ear with a razor. He presented the ear wrapped in newspaper to a prostitute at a local brothel. The next day police discovered Van Gogh unconscious in his house surrounded by blood. Vincent’s brother Theo (who supported him morally and financially) raced from Paris on Christmas Day to comfort Van Gogh in Arles hospital.

cypress-treeJo Van Gogh‐Bonger (Van Gogh’s sister‐in‐law and someone who met him several times after the incident) claimed it was part of the ear, whereas doctors, policemen and reporters in Arles claimed it was the entire ear. Van Gogh became ashamed of his mutilation and attempted to conceal it, leading to the contradictory statements of associates. Some witnesses may not have seen the injury clearly and others repeated what they had been told. What seems to be the clinching proof that he did cut off almost his whole ear (except a stump of the lobe) is a diagram made by Dr Felix Rey, the attending physician in Arles.While biographically interesting, the ear incident in no way helps us understand Van Gogh’s art. What does have more bearing on his artistic production and life is the multiple illnesses he suffered from. Irritable and melancholy by nature and prone to fixations on individuals and ideas, Van Gogh’s devotion to work led him to neglect his health. Though he spent on art materials, he ate poorly. The loss of most of his teeth in his early thirties led to gastric trouble. He suffered from insomnia. And he contracted gonorrhoea, and possibly syphilis.

Van Gogh’s poor diet, tiredness and overconsumption of alcohol and caffeine – plus his tendency to overwork – contributed to attacks of mania, which physicians at the time diagnosed as epileptic fugues. In these states, Van Gogh ate paint and attempted to drink turpentine and paraffin. He had seemingly no control over his actions and experiencedvisual and auditory hallucinations. After these attacks he would be overcome by lassitude, depression, his speech would be jumbled and he would fail to recognise familiar people. Even when not in these post‐manic phases, he suffered from extreme nervous tension and paranoia.

There have been numerous suggested diagnoses of Van Gogh’s mental illness, but none is without flaw. Psychosis, bipolar disorder, sunflowersborderline‐personality disorder, neurosyphilis, Meniere’s disease, poisoning and other suggestions have been put forward. Van Gogh never painted during his nervous attacks, but his illness and his (voluntary) confinement did influence his choice of artistic subjects and even his materials. During phases when he was considered at risk of relapse, he had no access to oil paint and was only allowed ink and watercolour. His attachment to religious subjects and the themes of family life and the life of prisoners were direct comments on his situation. In Arles hospital, Van Gogh was treated for his wound, but it was clear he was mentally ill. The local postman, a Protestant pastor and a cleaning lady all made strenuous efforts to support Van Gogh, regularly sending Theo updates after he returned to Paris, leaving his brother in Arles. Van Gogh’s condition fluctuated. Local residents in Arles started a petition and gave a verbal deposition to the effect that Van Gogh’s lewd and unpredictable behaviour frightened people, that he had inappropriately touched women and followed them into their residences. A document was drafted which would have committed him to an asylum. Van Gogh – fully aware that he was ill and a danger to himself – voluntarily committed himself to an asylum in nearby St Remy.

In May 1889, Van Gogh moved from St Remy to Auvers‐sur‐Oise, a small village near Paris, where he could be close to Theo, Theo’s wife Jo and their baby. Dr Gachet, a friend of painters, would take care of Van Gogh. Though isolated and nervous, he was productive over the summer and seemed to have achieved equilibrium. On 27 July 1890, Van Gogh apparently shot himself while out painting in a field. He staggered back to his boarding house. Doctors determined that the bullet wound to the abdomen was fatal and inoperable. He died in his brother’s arms on 29 July.

Included in the catalogue is a photograph of a pistol recovered in 1960 from a field near the site of Van Gogh’s shooting. It is a reasonable assumption this artifact is the fatal weapon. The catalogue’s authors do not discuss the idea put forward by biographers Gregory White Smith and Steven Naifeh that Van Gogh was shot by local teenage boy Rene Secretan, a theory that prominent Van Gogh experts consider improbable.

The curators and writers have commendably resisted translating Van Gogh’s illness into explanations for his art, but they do show how his conditions influenced his life and outlook. It is unlikely that new material will come to light that will permit clear diagnosis of his mental condition, but this exhibition and catalogue do bring us closer to understanding the distress of one of art’s greatest geniuses. – Spiked




A post share from the Frame & I by Ida Kendall~

More than just “custom”! Alder wood meets steel for one of a kind frames.
September 16, 2016

We put the “custom” in picture framing… Check out these gorgeous alder and stainless steel frames we’re making for abstract originals. The elements combine to create something greater than its parts. This is where the picture framing we do at The Frame & I is much more than just “custom”! When we introduced Alder wood to steel, they hit it off so well they decided to get married!    Picture framing for us is so much, much more than just nailing four sticks together. It’s about making the art the feature presentation. What we do is…
Sometimes we get to live the dream. A client comes to us and says, “Be as creative as possible!” and then lets us do what we do best. Oh joy, oh rapture! Oh frames!


Lots ‘o lumber! The alder was delivered in a huge stack of true 2″ x 4″ boards, sanded to 150 and beautifully milled with a sharp edge.

So what do we do for a client like this?  Well… our client David Syre is a prolific abstract acrylic artist who made a name for himself first in the timber industry.  Our thinking was that it would be really really cool to use northwest alder wood from his own company, Cascade Hardwoods. (Lumber junkies follow this link.)  We had him send us a pallet of beautifully milled alder boards. You should have seen our faces when it arrived!  OH WOW!!!
This alder was lonely though. It needed a partner. So we selected a simple and clean stainless steel frame from Larson-Juhl for the inner picture frame… here’s a stack of steel clad picture frames in progress in the workroom.

Francine milled all of the lumber to have the appropriate rabbet (that’s the little stairstep part) to hold the steel frames in. She built the frames to fit perfectly together, then Ida sanded them and clear coated them. The photo below shows a frame ready for color and the final finish.


This is our base frame. It’s been sanded to 220 grit and coated with a clear poly so the color washes added later don’t overpower the wood grain.


The second and third coats of paint are added after the first layer is mostly dry. They’re added on very thin and sheer to keep the quality of the wood visible.



The first coat of acrylic color goes on very thin and bright… we chose a permanent green mixed with thalo green. Even though this is fun and vivid, it’s not going to stay this way for long! We want to add some complexity and depth.

Once the sanding and clear coat was finished, it’s time for the really fun part! Adding color!  The best looks come from multiple layers of color. So sometimes these frames are in real ‘ugly duckling’ stages… but never fear… It’s not “hulking out”!

Paint, steel wool, paint, rag, paint, more steel wool… now we’re ready to wax it and stack the art and interior frame on.

Paint, steel wool, paint, rag, paint, more steel wool… now we’re ready to wax it and stack the art and interior frame on.

Starting to layer the colors. The second coat was a sheer, very bright red. Between each coat of paint fine steel wool is used to allow the grain to show back through.

Each layer is rubbed back down with steel wool to reveal the wood grain again and allow all of the colors to peek through. You can really see it in the next photo…

Voila! The finished frame is coated with a lustrous carnuba based wax that hardens up once it’s set. We slipped the steel frames in to give your eye a break between the colors of the frame and the colors in the art.  Did we mention we’re over the moon for this artist?  No two of these frames are exactly the same. We choose the colors based on the art going into the frames. Check out these three!


This vivid painting called for a more neutral frame, but there is still some green and red peeking through. The hard carnuba wax has a soft sheen that plays well with the brushed stainless steel stacked inside.


This frame is cool blues and rich rusts, designed to make the blue in the painting look really deep. If you look closely you can see the grain in the wood giving an overall flowing feeling.


Violet and gold look like cooling lava on this cerebral painting! This frame is toned in complimentary colors to give it an inner glow. The art really pops out!



Lost Heritage: Quake Deals Blow to Italy’s Art Treasures

ROME, ITALY: Within hours of last week’s devastating earthquake in central Italy, members of the national police squad of art expertspalette_9-7-16
were already exploring the mounds of rubble in several medieval hill towns.

They have photographed hundreds of centuries‐old churches with missing roofs, torn‐away frescoes or gaping holes where stained glass once filtered sunlight. The quake and several powerful aftershocks dealt the latest blow to Italy’s long‐deteriorating abundance of art and architecture.

Even without nature’s fury, monumental fountains, churches and ancient Roman ruins were already vulnerable to car exhaust fumes, vandalism and other human‐inflicted damage. Italy’s most urgent priorities are to ensure shelter for those needing a safe roof after Wednesday’s temblor and to keep digging for any more victims’ bodies. But the stricken region’s cultural heritage of medieval paintings, sculptures, bell towers and other monuments is vitally entwined with inhabitants’ daily lives and intrinsic to Italy’s international reputation as a treasure trove of art.

No artworks with the cachet of a Leonardo, Michelangelo or Giotto are among those lost in the quake. But art historians stress that local art of whatever pedigree helps to explain the cultural and artistic contexts that inspired the great masters. And just as importantly, local pride over this artistic heritage in churches or piazzas binds these centuries‐old towns to their past.

“The icons of these towns are dear to the hearts of the locals,” said Cristiana Collu, who trained as a medieval art historian and was recently named director of the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome. “Life is precious, but it’s also precious because of these memories” of the artistic past, Collu said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Quickly and methodically documenting the damage helps culture officials determine which basilicas or bell towers are beyond repair and must be razed for safety’s sake, and which are candidates for Italy’s internationally recognized trailblazers in art restoration.

Hardest hit was the medieval town of Amatrice, where collapsing houses claimed 229 of the nearly 300 lives taken in the quake. At the town’s St. Francis Basilica, a round window is now a hole. Heavy painting frames have crashed to the floor. The fate of the paintings cannot be determined until debris is cleared, which could take weeks or months.

Amatrice’s medieval bell tower has resisted collapse, although its huge bell dropped a few meters (yards) from its hook. With the clock’s hands stopped at 3:36 a.m. — the precise time of the quake — the tower instantly became a symbol of Amatrice’s will to be reborn.

Italy has long experience in repairing the artistic destruction wrought by natural disasters.

When a 1997 quake sent Giotto’s frescoes raining down in tiny fragments from the vaulted ceiling of the St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, restorers painstakingly pieced together much of the masterpiece. In 1966, a corps of global volunteers dubbed the “angels of the mud” rescued countless Florence artworks from Arno River floods.

The medieval hill towns that dot the countryside help to make Italy a magnet for tourists. Even the tiniest hamlet is home to priceless artwork — perhaps a 600‐year‐old crucifix in one, religious‐themed frescoes in another.

Art historian Alia Englen spent the better part of three years studying every monument and church in Amatrice, aided by the retired director of the town’s museum who perished in the quake. In an interview with La Stampa daily, Englen said Amatrice’s 115 churches contained around 3,500 artistically significant pieces.

Museum director Collu said that not rebuilding the towns would be a ”cancellation, a removal of the past.”

Italy chronically underspends on caring for its immense array of artworks, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque palazzi and ancient Roman ruins and often turns to corporate sponsors to help fund restorations. But these sponsors, ranging from Italian fashion houses to Japanese textile companies, typically favor associations with the most internationally prestigious monuments, such as Rome’s Colosseum or Trevi Fountain.

Following the quake, Italy’s culture minister announced that all revenue from ticket sales at national museums and galleries Sunday would be earmarked for reconstruction projects. Visitors with experience of post‐quake recovery elsewhere say Italy needs to mobilize global donations.

Jane Stafford, a New Zealander visiting a Rome art gallery, recalled how effective public appeals overseas helped the New Zealand city of Christchurch get back in order following its 2011 quake.

“The whole world helped,” she said, suggesting that Italy should launch a social media‐driven donation drive.

“The villages could maybe appeal to the world. I could be sitting at my computer in Auckland and sending money,” Stafford said. – The Salt Lake Tribune




September 7, 2016  |  Behind the Scenes, Conservation

Original Stretcher for Picasso’s Guernica Rediscovered in MoMA StoragePosted by Genevieve Lipinsky de Orlov, 12-Month Intern, Department of Painting and Sculpture

Stored away between the paintings and sculptures in MoMA’s storage facility lay a forgotten treasure from the Museum’s past: 11 disassembled pieces of the original stretcher from a Pablo Picasso masterpiece. Museum registrars rediscovered the group of stretcher bars during routine organization earlier this year, and since stretchers are occasionally replaced to ensure that a canvas is adequately supported, the discovery did not immediately strike them as significant. However, the large size and design of the parts of one stretcher were very unusual. With almost no identifying information, save for an old, torn sticker that included Picasso’s name, the stretcher was brought to the attention of longtime MoMA painting conservator Anny Aviram. To her mind there was only one painting that could possibly fit: Picasso’s massive antiwar mural Guernica, which had spent 42 years at the Museum on extended loan from the artist………to view more about this discovery, click the image below:



Can You Handle the Truth? Bob Ross’ Famous Curly Hair Was Actually Straight

The happy little trees are a little bit sadder and nothing will ever bepalette_9-7-16-ross the same again now that we know the truth about Bob Ross’ hair.

The majestic curly afro that had a bird’s eye view to all of his wonderful 30‐minute creations on “The Joy of Painting” in the 1980s and early 1990s was (gasp!) a perm.

On top of that, Ross hated it. Everything we know about the world is a lie.

“He got this bright idea that he could save money on haircuts,” his longtime business partner Annette Kowalski told NPR. “So he let his hair grow, he got a perm, and decided he would never need a haircut again.”

Ross had just retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service and was trying to make it as an artist when he left his straight hair in the dustbin of history.

As a young man, his pre‐perm hairstyle was more of an inspiration for the future Vanilla Ice.

And even his later hair was more of the “Is that real or a bad toupee?” variety. Let’s be honest, would you take soothing painting advice from that guy? In his defense, something had to be done.

Once Ross gained popularity, the ‘fro globe became such a part of his identity that it was even included in his company’s logo. There was no going back.

“He could never, ever, ever change his hair, and he was so mad about that,” Kowalski said. “He got tired of that curly hair.”

Ross, who died in 1995 at 52 years old, has lived on via Netflix to soothe another generation with his calming voice and talk of happy little trees and tranquil streams. All while secretly wanting to rip his hair out. – Today


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