Recent links of note:
“On the Grand Canal, this crumbling Venetian palazzo has been given a new lease of life”
Emma Park, Apollo Magazine
Photos of an empty Piazza San Marco in Venice were among the many bizarre and startling images to emerge in the spring of 2020. Last week, there were mixed emotions as the first large cruise ship returned to the city, causing some local residents to protest what they considered an unwelcome source of pollution. In any case, members of the Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro will be pleased with the increased foot traffic, as they have just opened a new house museum on the Grand Canal. This group of financiers and arts professionals has worked since 2019 to restore a partially dilapidated palazzo once owned by a minor branch of the ancient Grimani family, which counts several doges among its members. The first two floors, stocked with loaned historic paintings and contemporary photographs, are now open to the public, while the top floor is a workspace for artists. The Fondazione hopes to collect works once owned by the family, but it is an ambitious task—many of the original items now rest in important museums, including a Canova at the Hermitage. Emma Park in Apollo gives a wonderfully evocative description of the palazzo for those not yet able to book their own European vacation.
“Roland Petit: A French Choreographer, Most Savored in France”
Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times
In Le Jeune Homme et la Mort (1946)—one of the French choreographer Roland Petit’s signature works, with a libretto by Jean Cocteau—a tormented young artist in a shabby apartment awaits the arrival of his unfaithful lover, who, between cigarette puffs and sly over-the-shoulder glances, pushes him to the brink of despair. There are table flips and dramatic hair clutches, heightened by the unrelenting intensity of Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor. Among its most famous interpreters were Rudolf Nureyev and Petit’s wife, the pixie-haired Zizi Jeanmaire, who starred in a filmed version in 1966. Outside Jeune Homme and his full-length 1949 ballet Carmen, however, most of Petit’s 170 works are unknown outside his home country. In this article commemorating the tenth anniversary of his death, Roslyn Sulcas discusses a COVID-stalled production of Petit’s Notre-Dame de Paris (1967) at the Paris Opera Ballet and suggests that his dip in popularity has to do with his preference for narrative, which became unfashionable in the decades following the 1960s. Perhaps now that a number of major choreographers, such as Arthur Pita, are making new story ballets, we might see more companies explore Petit’s fierce repertoire.
“After disputed sale at Sotheby's, Thomas Cole’s The Arch of Nero will go on view at Philadelphia Museum of Art”
Nancy Kenney, The Art Newspaper
Thomas Cole (1801–48), the subject of major exhibitions that were hailed as triumphs at London’s National Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2018, developed what he called a “higher style of landscape,” creating detailed oil paintings of rugged mountains, cliffs, forests, and ruins, often with literary or Biblical themes. Many of his works contain moral undertones alluding to the impermanence of human civilizations, such as the five-painting series The Course of Empire (1833–36), which shows an imaginary civilization’s rise and decay. The Arch of Nero (1846), depicting an enormous ruined monument overgrown with shrubs and surrounded by peasants, is an excellent example of his later work, so it was a surprise when the Newark Museum of Art announced that the painting would be among those deaccessioned in 2021. Despite significant pushback from art scholars, the painting went up for sale at Sotheby’s on May 19 and was purchased by the Jacobsen Foundation, which researches and restores historic American art. The Foundation has organized a long-term loan of the painting to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it will remain available for public viewing.
“Shostakovich with a smile,” by Jay Nordlinger. On the Piano Concerto no. 2.