My virtual museum…

Corto Maltese during the Russian-Japanese war, c.1904-1905. Corto was born in 1887 in Malta, of a Gipsy mother and a sailor from Cornwalls. A “gentleman of fortune” as he called himself, Corto Maltese was an adventurer whose first story was published in Italy in 1967. “The ballad of the salty sea.” The author was an immense Italian artist, Hugo Pratt, (1927-1995), born in Italy, raised in Abyssinia (Ethiopia); Pratt started his career in Argentina, then went back to Italy and became a major author of European graphic novels. He was a master of ink and colour.

Klimt, Atelier des lumières, Paris, 2018. Klimt was born in Austria in 1862, died in 1918, of the Spanish Flu. A century before the expo. I sometimes wonder what the artists would say, seeing how new technologies amplify their art.

“Red, green and gold”, 1927, by Ernesto Cabral (1890-1968). Cabral was a Mexican artist, studied in Paris, as they all did then. Very popular in Mexico from the 20’s till his death in 1968. The modernity of his female subjects is amazing. Think about 1927 in a very conservative culture. He painted the newly acquired freedom of women. This year, in 2022, Oklahoma just banned abortion. The wheel of Progress is turning backward.

Klimt or Schiele. I’m not so sure. The Klimt show at Atelier des lumières featured both.

Montmartre, by Maurice Utrillo, son of Suzanne Valadon. (Musée Montmartre)

Bouche dorée (Golden mouth) by Hugo Pratt. Bouche Dorée is a high priestess of Candomblé, a form of Voodoo practiced by the descendants of slaves in Salvador da Bahia, north of Brazil. Bouche Dorée has hired, and possibly conned Corto Maltese, on a few occasions. This sketch was part of a magnificent expo on Hugo Pratt in Lyon, at the Musée des confluences. (I want to draw like Pratt when I grow up).

Klimt. Unmistakable. Some artists combine well with the use of light by Atelier des lumières. Klimt is one.

Queen Maya, the mother of Prince Siddharta, aka Buddha. Nepal, Katmandu valley, early 19th century. Musée Guimet, Paris. One of the finest Asian Art museums in the world.

A zouave soldier, by Van Gogh. 1888. (Atelier des lumières). The Zouaves were an elite corps of the French colonial infantry.

Profile by Dora Maar. I have mentioned Dora Maar before. She was Picasso’s mistress from 1936 to 1943. She was a talented photographer before. But her relationship with Picasso practically destroyed her. The model could be Jacqueline Lamba, wife of André Breton, one of the founders of Surrealism.

Buddha Maravijaya, Thailand, 14th-15th century. This style is very characteristic of Thailand. Musée Guimet, Paris.

Elizabeth II, c.1961, by Ernesto Cabral. See above for the variety of styles. Cabral was also a cartoonist for years at one of Mexico’s top magazines, La revista de revistas. This particular work was exposed at the Trotsky museum in Mexico.

Elizabeth I, by Erik Rivera, 2018. Rivera is a contemporary Mexican artist. He paints historical figures as children with huuuge eyes. Interesting work.

Monument to Cézanne, by Maillol, in the Tuileries gardens by the Louvre. (Got our tickets for Paris! Yay!)

Banksy expo in Paris a few years back. Where is he now? We. Need. Banksy. Now. (Free Ukraine 🇺🇦 )

“Papilla estelar”, Starry porridge, 1958, by Remedios Varo. Born in Spain in 1908, Varo fled the Spanish Civil War to Paris then to Mexico where she lived and painted the rest of her life until her death in 1963. She is considered one of the major surrealist painters of the 20th century. (This particular painting belongs to one of Coca-Cola’s major bottlers in Mexico and was shown at a great expo of Mexican artists in Bogotá, Colombia a few years back.)

Corto Maltese in “Una ballata del mare salato.” 1967. By Hugo Pratt. To be continued…

108 thoughts on “My virtual museum…

  1. Tu éveilles notre intérêt en nous faisant parcourir ta collection de photos sur les diverses formes d’art du XX ème siècle en Italie, France et Mexique . Merci, c’est très captivant

    • Avec grand plaisir Michel. Mes voyages m’ont probablement “ouvert” l’oeil. J’aime l’esthétique de choses très différentes.
      Ravi que ça t’ai (aie?) plu.

  2. I’m happy to have visited part 1 (?) of your museum, Brian. Hugo Pratt was a master! All three pictures are marvelous. Where you hesitate between Klimt and Schiele, I would suggest Klimt. I’m a huge fan of Egon Schiele and the faces of the women seem not particularly Schiele-like. Cabrals red, green and gold I find stunning. Mexican modernista, straight in the eye, beautiful.

    • Dag Peter. Part…n I think. As you may have noticed I create my “own” series. And I may have done or two “museums”.
      Pratt was a great master. You may have read some of his graphic novels as a kid if they were translated.
      I agree with your Klimt attribution. Schiele is different.
      Glad you liked my “museum” visit.
      Tot ziens.

  3. Absolutely fabulous!!! I loved this. Of course, I love Banksy, and we truly do need him now. We need a lot more radical art on the walls everywhere during these horrible times. All of the works were wonderful. Thank you. 🙂

  4. What a very gallery of wonders, Brian. I really like the first image. And while I’m here, I’ve discovered there’s a better version of Hemingway’s ‘True at first light’, one that seems more respectful, in a literary sense, of H’s first draft. Goes by the title: ‘Under Kilimanjaro’ eds Robert W Lewis and Robert E Fleming

    • Asante sana Tish. That watercolour of Corto Maltese is fantastic… I just love the way he coloured the coat.
      ‘Under Kilimandjaro’? I have a book by him in French called ‘les neiges du Kilimandjaro’, short stories from ‘The fifth column’ and the ‘The 49 first stories’. Will re-read that while I get the other.
      On another note, I just finished the complete digital version of my mother’s 8mm films. A strange feeling. We (you and I and a few others) did travel to another world…
      Kwaheri sassa

  5. J’adore le portrait d’ Élisabeth II, par Ernesto Cabral 🙂
    Mais aussi, dans un style différent, Corto Maltese, par Hugo Pratt et Banksy évidemment…
    Merci pour la visite guidée !
    Bonne soirée Brieuc

  6. I love your selection and especially that portrait of Corto Maltese. I do have a number of Corto books, but I love the paintings and merchandise too. I have a Corto Maltese calendar which I cherish and once was tempted by the Corto Maltese Tarot deck, but when I found out that the images do not really correspond to the meaning of the symbols, I lost interest. Hopefully, there will be something else to tempt me in future. That painting by Remedios Varo is also incredible and I didn’t know about its ownership at all.

    • Thank you Diana. Amazing to meet another Corto Maltese fan… Pratt was very popular in France and italy, not sure about other places… In addition to almost every book by Pratt, I have bought a few prints over the years, which one of my daughters has now…
      The Tarot deck has piqued my curiosity… Must be the one that Bouche Dorée uses. 😉
      And Varo was a great artist. Died too young.
      A contemporary of hers was Leonora Carrington. I have some pix of her work, not sure where. Take care Diana.

  7. Catching up,Senior B.

    Love this selection. It’s uplifting to be exposed to art that would otherwise not likely feature on my radar. Your erudite commentary always compliments the images.
    Mercy bow coop!

  8. Wow, what a magnificent feast. What a fascinating character Corto is. I do love Klimt. Royalty, bah! But Maillol – yes indeed, and papilla, such a fab artist, and of course Banksy. Many thanks Brian.

  9. I was just in Nice for a few days, Brian, and the place I stayed was decorated with pictures of Corto Maltese, Bouche Dorée and other creations of Hugo Pratt. Pure coincidence, but again the affection of Pratt’s work is big in this part of the world.

  10. Simply breathtaking and wonderful. Love each image and the words that go with it. Huuuge eyes look so cute. I’ve been to the Louvre and one needs several days to relish it. Unfortunately I couldn’t. But hope to return to it some day. Such wonderful sharing. Bahut khoob! 🙂

  11. A great virtual museum you have created there! I have also read Corto Maltese, not as a child, but later, when I had learned to appreciate good graphic novels. In spite of everything there is so much beauty in the world as well.

    • Thanks for the tip. I didn’t know about the expo. Will be for another time. Flying to paris this week-end. Had I known I might have taken some visiting friends from france. We went to Frida Kahlo’s house and Trotsky’s instead… 😉

    • Thank you.
      Art show. It’s a good question. There is an element of kitsch. Yet, the since the medium is pure light, it gives a new dimension to the paitings. Klimt was… out of this world. Dalí was… Dalí. (He probably invented Kitsch! 😉) Van Gogh was… pure light.
      I think it’s a good way to revisit some artists. A Picasso show would be totally Kitsch…

  12. Weird coincidence to be catching up with your posts the day after Queen Elizabeth’s death and there she is. I really like Pratt’s work as well. That’s the great thing about graphic novels. You get a story and art, two for the price of one. Hadn’t heard of Varo. I like the painting of hers that you show here.

    Remember the 70s commercial slogan, “Calgon take me away” where the busy homemaker finally finds a moment to relax in her tub? Your blog is kind of like that. It provides a short escape. Nice to be reading and looking again.

    • Weird indeed. She had a long life. Glad you like Pratt and Varo. (Just saw a couple of her works in London at Tate modern. Very nice works.
      Thank you for the parallel. “Take me away.” If my posts provide an (even short) escape, then my goal is achieved…
      Welcome back.

  13. Such a selection of incredible art and artists. Klimt is one of those artists who, when I see his work I’ve never seen before, I know it is his… and without question, I fall for it. Most of the pieces you have here I’ve never seen before, and most moved by “Bouche dorée (Golden mouth)” by Hugo Pratt. I would have to agree with you and your youthful desires “… I want to draw like Pratt when I grow up.” Splendid, and from the pieces you’ve shown, I think you will get there 🙂

    • Never seen before? Glad to contribute. Pratt was a master. I’m just having fun.
      Now going back to a previous discussion. Art is (one) manifestation of Beauty. Which is why it is so important.
      And yes, Klimt is unmistakable. I wonder where most of his works are? Vienna maybe?

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