As if the 4th of July weren’t exciting enough in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian host the annual Folklife Festival that week on the National Mall. Bringing together international musicians, storytellers and craftspeople, the Festival celebrates culture and the preservation of traditional arts throughout the world. Every year, three themes are selected for the festival and usually include a country, region, or collective community experience. This year the themes were 1) Hungary, 2) Endangered Languages and 3) African-American fashion.
The Hungarian Village section of the festival sought to celebrate traditional music, dance and crafts as well as the people who are revitalizing that culture today. There were informative museum-like exhibits, artisan demonstrations and lots of concerts. Ever the international traveler, I was so excited to explore the Hungarian portion of the festival!
The Peacock Tower designed by Transylvanian architect Gyule Szilegyi stood at the center of the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
For all the masterpieces at the Art Institute of Chicago, sometimes it is good to wander slowly and find new favorite paintings. Here’s a few works and details that jumped out at me this summer.
While in New York City this past weekend visiting friends, I happened across a lamp post advertisement featuring one of my favorite portraits ever, Femme au collier jaune (1946) by Pablo Picasso. (This image should be familiar to anyone who reads my blog!) Turns out this privately owned work is in New York as part of the exhibit, “Picasso and Françoise Gilot: Paris–Vallauris 1943–1953” at the Gagosian Gallery from May 2 – June 30, 2012. Having not previously heard about the exhibit, I stumbled upon the poster around the corner from the gallery; clearly this was fate!
Embossed logo on the cover of the Munich Secessionist catalog (Photo: Princeton University Library)
Having decided that Wahle was part of the Munich Secessionist art movement based on his circle of friends, I sought out the catalogs for the Secessionist exhibits to see if he ever did show his art with this group. While I didn’t find many specifics about this paintings, I did find some key biographical information.
This last Fall, I finally took the leap from lover of art history to art owner. The piece is beautifully executed with a cool palette and impressionistic brushwork. I was really drawn to the unusual, but clearly narrative subject matter. Unfortunately, there was very little information available about the work or its artist. I have therefore taken it upon myself to turn this painting into a little research project.
The oil on board painting was done by Friedrich Wahle. A quick pre-auction search told me that Wahle was born in 1863 in Prague and died in 1927 in Munich. He worked mainly as an illustrator. The date and title of my painting are unknown. (For the sake of the sale, it was titled “The Discourse”.)
The goals of this project seem pretty clear:
1. Biography – Friedrich Wahle is not a well known artist. I’d like to know more about his life, education, artistic influences and employers.
2. Develop a Catalog – Since I can’t find much information about his portfolio, I would like to build an authoritative Wahle catalog. I’ll start with auction records and published records of his paintings. I’m really curious to see how this piece fits into his body of work. Is the subject matter, size, style, color scheme, etc. of “The Discourse” typical? Did he even have a “style” or as an illustrator did Wahle adjust for the commission? How many paintings did he create? There are a lot of open questions here.
3. Find “The Discourse” – Looking at the two men in fine clothing talking, I can’t help but think that there is a story behind this. Since Wahle was an illustrator, there may very well likely be an actual “story” or text that accompanies the painting. I would be thrilled to find “The Discourse” printed in a book or periodical!
I plan to document my findings here as the Friedrich Wahle Project. I’m excited to dust off my researcher hat and hoping to find some interesting things!
***UPDATE: You can read all my subsequent Wahle discoveries by clicking here.***