Recent links of note: 

“Wayne Thiebaud Dies at 101”
Brenda Cronin, The Wall Street Journal

The California-based artist Wayne Thiebaud has died at the age of 101. Best known for his oil paintings of pastel-colored desserts, including iced donuts and lemon meringue pie, he often depicted everyday objects using some of the techniques he had learned as an advertising illustrator, such as outlining his confections with thin bands of dark paint. While many have grouped him with Pop artists such as Andy Warhol, who also rose to prominence in the 1960s, Thiebaud disliked the comparison as he often painted non-man-made subjects, eschewed the Pop-artist persona, and counted the work of Bruegel, Vermeer, and Goya among his inspirations. Look out for an article on his career by Julia Friedman in our February issue.

“Astride the world: Albrecht Dürer’s restless sense of wonder”
Gabriel Josipovici, Times Literary Supplement

“Albrecht Dürer was the most restless and travel-hungry of all the major Renaissance artists,” reports Gabriel Josipovici in this week’s Times Literary Supplement. The subject of a new exhibition at the British Museum, the Nuremberg-born artist best known for his etchings and woodcuts made trips to Strasbourg, Colmar, Basel, and the Low Countries, as well as two trips to Venice (possibly to escape a plague raging across southern Germany). As Josipovici explains, he was also the earliest artist to have kept a travel notebook that survives to this day, in which he painted watercolors of the Alps (crossing them on his way to and from Venice), the lions at a Brussels zoo, and any buildings that caught his fancy, as well as the costumes of local women. Dürer was one of the few artists who managed to free himself from the need for a patron, thanks to the wide dissemination of his prints, and one of the purposes of these trips was to sell his artwork. As he noted in his journal, not all of his customers were pleased: “Lady Margaret [of Austria, daughter of the Emperor of the Low Countries] in particular gave me nothing for what I made and presented to her.”

“Is Gauguin redeemable? No. Would he have wanted to be redeemed? Absolutely not”
Laura Gascoigne, The Spectator

Another artist whose journals remain with us is Gauguin, who continued scribbling on the Marquesas Islands until a few months before his death in 1903. Last year, the original manuscript of Avant et Après, the last part of Gauguin’s memoirs, turned up when it was offered under the “Acceptance in Lieu” scheme to London’s Courtauld Gallery, which has now displayed it beside two of Gauguin’s Tahitian paintings. The gallery has also released the text online with a new English translation. Laura Gascoigne in The Spectator discusses the history of this book made up of a “haphazard sequence of non-sequiturs” and is best known for its account of the artist’s fraught relationship with Van Gogh, culminating in the infamous ear incident. Gascoigne concludes, “if you’re prepared to suspend conventional moral judgment—it’s very entertaining.”

Podcast:

“Music for a While #57: Hold out your light.”Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion’s music critic, talks music—but, more important, plays music.

Dispatch:

“The jester returns” by Jay Nordlinger.A new Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera

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