Photographic Portraits of Famous Artist’s Paint Palettes

via Colossal | An art, design, and visual culture blog... by Matthias Schaller

Since 2007 photographer Matthias Schaller has photographed raw, abstract paintings. The paintings however are not found on canvas, but rather smeared onto the tools used to craft each work of art—the palettes. His series, Das Meisterstück (The Masterpiece), claims these behind-the-scene objects as portraits of the artist, while also giving a direct insight into the detailed techniques performed by each painter.

Schaller was first inspired to begin his photographic collection during a visit to Cy Twombly’s late studio. During the visit he stumbled upon the artist’s palette, which he discovered to be an accurate reflection of the artist’s paintings. Encouraged to further discover the similarities between palette and painting, Schaller has gone on to photograph over two hundred of these historic portraits. His search has led him to collect palettes from all across Europe and the United States, finding the objects in major museums and private foundations and in the custody of artists’ relatives and collectors. The palettes he’s photographed so far in the series belong to seventy painters from both the 19th and 20th century, and include such artists as Monet, van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso. To accurately analyze the details from paint hue to brushstroke, Schaller presents the images in large format, each work existing at approximately 190 x 150 cm.

Through June 8, the Giorgio Cini Foundation will present Schaller’s Das Meisterstück alongside the Venice Biennale, an exhibition that will focus on 20 of Schaller’s palette photographs. (via Hyperallergic)

Paris in (Almost) Springtime

At the end of March my husband had to travel to Paris for work and guess who was able to tag along for a vacation? Before he had even finished telling me the plans, I emphatically said, “YES!” and had mentally packed my bags and made arrangements for the boys and the animals. Let’s just say he had me at, “Paris.”

Hotel Ares Eiffel (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

We left on a Friday redeye out of Detroit and landed in Paris about 8 a.m. Saturday, albeit tired, so ecstatic to be in “The City of Lovers”, “The City of Light“.

We stayed at Hotel Ares Eiffel a quaint boutique style hotel in the Grenelle neighborhood of the 15th Arrondissement. We stashed our luggage and quickly located the neighborhood Starbucks for some much needed caffeine and European croissant. Once our room was available we unpacked whatever would fit into the tiny hanging closet and crashed for a few hours.

In the evening we hopped on the Metro and headed out for dinner across town to the historic Brasserie Balzar located near the Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter of the 5th Arrondissement.

Brasserie Balzar
Bordeaux & L’Onion Soup

The brasserie opened it’s doors in 1890 and has been frequented by philosophers, artists, and intellectuals ever since. The brasserie, according to Sandra Gustafson’s Great Eats Paris, “..remains a favorite of Left-Bank intellectuals and would-be bohemian’s of all types.” French existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus were regulars at the Balzar. Actually, it is said that they had their last great argument here in the summer of 1952 which led to the demise of their friendship.

There was no such great drama in the air during our dinner; to the contrary, we met a nice family from California seated next to us and the L’onion soup and Bordeaux was delicious!


On Sunday we did a whirlwind tour of Paris. By the end of the day I was thoroughly exhausted and my legs were sore. I kept thinking about and thanking my surgeons. Without my new ankles and back, none of this would have been possible! I was feeling truly blessed and grateful.

After croissants and cappuccino’s, we caught the Metro and made our way along the Seine to the iconic Eiffel Tower in the 7th Arrondissement. It was much larger than I’d imagined and more beautiful in person.

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower

We followed the Parc du Champs de Mars East and wandered the nearby streets. I was on a mission to see the infamous building at 29 Avenue Rapp designed by French Art Nouveau architect Jules Lavirotte. On the way we spotted another one of his beautiful designs at 3 Square Rapp.

Next we headed over to view the Arc de Triomphe and shop on the world famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées in the 8th arrondissement. Around 9 p.m. we dragged ourselves into Pizza Pino for dinner and wine overlooking the streetlights of the boulevard.

Arc du Triomphe
Arc du Triomphe
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
Musee d'Orsay
Musee d’Orsay

Tuesday was cold and rainy – perfect for touring the Musée d’Orsay. After waiting in the cue for over an hour in the drizzling rain, it was a relief just to get inside and sit for a few minutes. The building itself is a beautiful piece of art. Set on the banks of the Seine, it houses art collections from 1848 to 1914.

Musee d'Orsay Clocktower Cafe
Musee d’Orsay Clocktower Cafe

The museum, which opened its door s in December of 1986, was installed in the former Orsay railway station built for the World Exposition in 1900.

The museum is home to some of the world’s most famous sculptures. The entire ground floor was sprinkled with giant marble monoliths from the past two centuries. Since I didn’t have too long, I started with the Impressionists’ paintings. To get there, you pass through the back of the museum cafe which is gorgeous! At the end of the cafe is an enormous clock window overlooking the Seine.

After hours of walking around the museum, I jumped on the Metro towards ‘home’, grabbed dinner at a local brasserie, drew up a steaming hot Hermes bubble bath back at the hotel, and called it a day – and what a great one it was!

Stay tuned for my adventures in Montmartre, Saint-Germain du Pres, and Louvre-Tuileries. Au Revoir for now.

Tribute to Van Gogh

I took a break for about a year and a half to be with my boys. Eventually, I ventured back to art class with Kathy. I missed everyone and I needed to do something for just me again. However, this time would prove more challenging as I now had a 5-year-old and a toddler at home.

Dylan was in preschool and speech therapy and Ethan was into everything! I was having a lot of problems with my arthritis, not to mention the sheer exhaustion of motherhood! I believe I only took one or two semesters this time and had to quit. It was too much! By the time class came around on Friday, all I wanted to do was sleep!

I did complete a few pieces of art; one being this replication of a Van Gogh painting in oil pastels. It was my first experience with Oil Pastels. I liked the waxy feel of the finished product but oil pastels do not blend like soft pastels, so the application process is a little different.

Tribute to Van Gogh
12″ x 14″ Oil Pastel on Black Cardboard adapted from Van Gogh Painting

The Bridge

The Bridge
9″x 12″ Tempera Painting on Cardboard Adapted from Photograph

My Junior year in high school we studied the Post-Impressionists. My favorite was Georges Seurat. I found his Pointillism technique fascinating – laying thousands of colored dots next to each other instead of the typical blending – and letting the observer’s eyes do the work of combining in order to achieve the right colors.

As part of the lesson, we had to research a well-known artist and create a painting in their style. “The Bridge” above was my feeble attempt to copy Seurat and his Pointillism.

In 1987 my mom and I took a trip to Chicago and visited the Art Institute of Chicago. What a wonderful place to see the Impressionist’s paintings! I was especially excited to see Georges Seurat’s paintings up close! When I spotted A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, I just starred in reverie for the longest time. It was incredible! Of course I’d seen pictures in books but nothing could compare to the real thing up close!

Buddha

My art education began in high school. I was fortunate to have a wonderful art teacher, Mrs. Susan Sturtevant. She was the picture of what I envisioned an artist should be: free-flowing wild curly blond hair with kind eyes and a gentle voice. She wore long, colorful, breathy skirts and was very knowledgeable about art. She taught us history and technique and was always encouraging. Thank you Mrs. Sturtevant, wherever you may be!

One of my favorite paintings is Buddha. I can still picture the projected image in the front of the classroom. Of course the medium was crackled tempera paints applied with overused, cheep paintbrushes. We had recently been introduced to the Impressionists and I thought they were magical! So, with old brush in hand, I tried to replicate what I had seen Monet, Renoir, and Degas create so effortlessly.

12″x 18″ Tempera on Cardboard Adapted from Photograph