Posts Tagged ‘degas’


Photo: Purple
Jean-Philippe Delhomme, an artist, was hired by the Musée d’Orsay to bring humor to promotion on the museum’s Instagram account.

Back in January, Lanre Bakare wrote at the Guardian about an artist that the Musée d’Orsay in Paris hired to make weekly contributions to its Instagram account. Naturally I wondered how Covid-19 had affected this effort. Answer: Not at all.

Bakare wrote, “One of France’s most celebrated and august art institutions has taken a novel approach to embracing technology while breathing new life into its collection – by installing an Instagram artist-in-residence who imagines the social media accounts of famous artists from history.

“The Paris museum Musée d’Orsay has invited the illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme to take over its Instagram account every Monday during 2020. On the account he will post a different drawing each week, depicting an artist as a contemporary social media user. …

“The Orsay president, Laurence des Cars, told Le Figaro that the purpose of the project was to bring more visibility to its artists from centuries ago. ‘The aim [of the residency] is to bring these artists of the second half of the 19th century closer by enrolling them in today’s interactions.’ …

“The idea was not to ‘desecrate works’ but to draw attention to a particular moment in an artist’s biography, and through ‘contemporary commentaries, fictitious or not, to evoke the adhesions or antagonisms aroused.’

“Delhomme released a book last year called Artists’ Instagrams: The Never Seen Instagrams of the Greatest Artists, in which he depicted the social media accounts of Jackson Pollock, Frida Kahlo and Paul Gauguin. ‘If Instagram had existed a century ago, there would be no art criticism today,’ he told the Guardian at the time. ‘Only thumbs-ups and emojis.’ …

“He wanted to focus on artists who were famous to the ‘point of creating mythologies around themselves. … That’s what was fun about it. They’re the gods of art. It’s like doing the Instagram of Mount Olympus. Artists want to be seen – even the most serious ones. Why wouldn’t they show off like everyone else?’ …

“Orsay was widely praised last year for its ground-breaking exhibition Black Models: From Géricault to Matisse, which displayed French masterpieces but renamed them in honour of the black subjects in the pictures but absent from the narratives.”

More at the Guardian.

There’s also a nice interview with Delhomme at ArtNews.

ARTNEWS: “Since you do a weekly post, do you plan out in advance which works to tackle?

DELHOMME: “No, no, no — I don’t plan ahead of time. At the beginning of this collaboration, I took walks in the museum with Sylvie Patry, the museum’s head of collections and conservation. It was wonderful.

“I started looking at the paintings in a much more intimate way. Obviously I can’t go back there for a while, but I have my own memories and I’m reading biographies of artists, trying to deepen my knowledge of nineteenth–century art history.

“I’m reading Michael Fried on Manet. Thinking of the current lockdown situation, one of the posts I did was on Henri Fantin-Latour’s ‘La Liseuse’ [‘The Reader,’ 1861] — and of course it speaks to us today: we’re in our rooms, we can’t go out. It’s a challenge to be absorbed by at-home activities.”

If you’re on Instagram, check out @Jean-Philippe Delhomme and @museeorsay.

Art: Jean-Philippe Delhomme
Delhomme knows that artists must adapt to changing media tastes, like using Instagram to promote their work. What if the Greats had to do that? he asks.


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Photo from FBI site: An empty frame in the Dutch Room of the Gardner Museum, where Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and A Lady and Gentleman in Black once hung.

The agent overseeing the FBI investigation into the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist spoke at my workplace today (a real perk of my job).

I learned a lot. Did you know, for example, that because Mrs. Gardner’s will specified that no art was to be moved, sold, or replaced, the paintings had no insurance? They were not be replaced. The agent said that the usual scenario is that stolen art is held for ransom from the insurance company. The thieves probably didn’t dream that there was no insurance on Rembrandts and Vermeers.

Our speaker was quite entertaining (for example, showing a slide from the Simpsons cartoon in which Vermeer’s The Concert is found in Montgomery Burns’s mansion ). He answered many questions and punted others as the investigation is ongoing.

As you may have seen recently, the FBI announced that they knew who had stolen the art and at least two of the places it had been seen. They have not announced the names of the thieves but may do so once they work through all the leads the latest announcement has brought. The statute of limitations ran out on the theft after five years (Mass. Senator Ted Kennedy subsequently pushed through a federal law extending the limit to 20 years), but possession of stolen art is a crime not subject to time limits.

I learned that the museum had good security. As most locals know, the guards let the thieves in believing they were cops. When you have a Trojan Horse inside, security doesn’t help, the agent said. Nowadays guards in different museums call each other every 20 minutes just to check.

Extensive research has shown there has never been a museum theft like this, where the thieves stole so much of value and also so much of little value and took a leisurely 81 minutes to do so.

And perhaps there has never been a crime at a major museum where the paintings were not insured.

The agent believes the art will be recovered one day. Read the FBI dedicated site, here.

Photo: Simpsons

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