27 thoughts on “Gastro-art: 1. In vino ars

  1. An interesting comparison ~ the prepared mind & all that

    I found some info about the above painting HERE:

    Feininger based his painting on a charcoal drawing, “Die Regler Kirche, Erfurt” (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri), which he had completed in 1924. However, he did not paint “Regler Church, Erfurt” until 1930, after the Bauhaus had moved from nearby Weimar to Dessau.

    Feininger felt that he needed an interval of time between the immediate experience of the motifs and the final completion of his paintings, explaining that in this way, he would not be “bound too closely to the object”

    So… I had assumed the picture JAC posted above was in pastels, but it’s an oil painted ‘re-imagining’ (mostly from memory) of a charcoal he had done six years earlier.

    Unfortunately I can’t track down an image of the charcoal version, but HERE is a photograph of the Erfurt Reglerkirche itself ~ the oil is vastly superior to the stone

    The oil painting is gorgeous

      1. Do you know about Entasis ?

        An observer standing close to the base of an absolutely vertical line or plane which is taller than she is, will think that the line/surface is ‘looming’ over her ~ it will appear to be falling on her. This is due to a spherical geometry effect. A subtle curve away from the observer will counteract this ~ the line or plane looks straightest when it is curved!

        You can see this effect even when you are not near the base. Look at the edge of a tall building that’s down the way from you & it seems to be leaning over towards the tall building on the opposite side of the way ~ like the paired trees in a boulevard.

        1. Thanks! I supposed there was a term for it, but didn’t know it. Interesting that on the Wikipedia page, the only German reference is from 1915, which surely post-dates the church. Was it considered Teutonic to avoid taking entasis into account?

        2. The pillars on the four corners of the Taj Mahal are built leaning inwards slightly to stop that illusion that they are falling outwards, which such towers are prey to. I guess this is a similar problem.

      2. No. Take the Prussian Karl Friedrich Schinkel who designed the Iron Cross. He was an architect who designed in the Neoclassical Greek revival style in the 1820s where he would have used entasis in the same way as the Greeks. A little later on he turned to the Gothic revival where there was no tradition of entasis, but…

        Look at his Gothic Friedrichswerder Church ~ You will notice how the walls step back at each level & the towers get slimmer. This is the nature of this style of construction where the walls are thinner at each level up. This sound engineering has the effect of curving the lines away from the eye, but that was not the reason it was done.

  2. hmm, some bad wine, a fractured painting done from “memory” – perhaps Feininger was figuratively looking out from inside a bottle himself? 🙂 Just a joke, I quite like his work too.

  3. “I was quaffing a glass of 1989 Chateau Meyney…”

    Unless you were gulping down big mouthfuls, you weren’t quaffing. Typically you sip wine, and you quaff beer.

    1. Quaffing means to drink heartily, It doesn’t mean gulping. It refers more to enjoyment and probably quantity. I do think you need to drink rather a lot for it to be quaffing.

      A ‘quaffing’ wine is an everyday wine you can drink in large quantities due to it’s moderate price.

  4. In 1991, right after Germany’s reunification, I spent several weeks in Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt on the Feininger trail in the company of a collector whose family had rescued a few Feininger paintings and drawings though the Nazi era and the war. The paintings were from the village of Vollersroda, near Weimar. My friend and employer aimed at documenting the villages around Weimar represented in Feininger’s work from 1906 until 1937, before boom, concrete, and bust would irremediably disfigure them. My job was tilt-shift-photography and photogrammetry.
    Even when the architectural features and the available documentation were absolutely clear, it was very difficult to reconstruct Feininger’s exact viewpoint. The breakthrough came with an accidental double exposure due to a faulty film transport. Apparently, Feininger shifted viewpoints and perspectives already during the preliminary sketching: the polyprismatic refractions were, we surmised, inherent in his sight from the very inception. Oh, and to our dismay, most of the buildings immortalised by Feininger were unspeakably dull when seen with a Beotian’s eye.
    Many years later, T. Lux Feininger, Lyonel’s last surviving son (he died this summer at the age of 101) told my friend that a small key to Feininger’s inner eye might be found in his experimental photographs. Feininger took to photography only late in life, close to his sixties, long after his sons Andreas and T. Lux.
    But his photographic work has some of the same crystallographer’s-dream-like, multi-facetted quality as his painting. His multiple exposures are particularly notable in that respect.

    I understand a retrospective of Feininger’s photographic experiments is presented right now at the Getty in Los Angeles, and will travel to Harvard next spring. A catalogue is published by Hatje Cantz.

    1. I’ve just discovered that he drew The Kin-der-Kids and Wee Willie Winkie’s World for the Chicago Sunday Tribune in 1906-07

      See HERE for more details ~ a very strange cast of cartoon characters indeed. I think he drew inspiration from traditional Russian childrens fairy tales for some of the plots judging by the house on legs for example. Weird stuff.

      The link also says that Art Spiegelman, editor of RAW and author of Maus, praises the Kin-der-Kids as Feininger’s crowning achievement:

      “Feininger’s visually poetic formal concerns collided comically with the fishwrap disposability of news print… The cartoonist, a New Yorker who had emigrated to Germany at sixteen and returned to safe harbor in America in 1937 became a celebrated second-generation cubist, one of the Bauhaus boys, but his handful of Sunday pages — testing the uncharted waters between the high and low arts, between European and American graphic traditions–remains his greatest aesthetic triumph”

      I don’t agree with that! He studied sculpture prior to turning to fine art ~ I think that must have been a major reason for his crystalline inner eye

        1. Deeply unimpressed.
          Hertfordshire, Herefordshire and Hampshire, famous for their low incidence of hurricanes (frequency inversely correlated with rainfall in the Spanish lowlands, cf. Henry Higgins database), are less noted for their wine culture.

          “People were unable to tell expensive from inexpensive wines,” according to Wiseman. Wrong problem. A study of wine prices will reveal a roughly logarithmic relation between gustatory ratings on hedonic scales and price. Wine tasters educated in differentiating wines will be able to tell what taste differences are, and why they prefer specific samples; casual, careless drinkers won’t. Some taste preferences are acquired, and apt to change over time. Wiseman’s study just shows that there is no linear correlation between taste and price among his subjects. Who’s to say the cheap wine was plonk? His conclusion: “the inexpensive wines we tested tasted the same as their expensive counterparts” is, based on the evidence, unwarranted. Bad science.

          Which brings me back to faith:
          Everybody should believe in something;
          I believe I’ll have another drink.

      1. If you like Feininger, the Kin-Der-Kids are a delightful must. There was a very affordable collected re-issue some 15 or so years ago. I tested them on the kids of my said friend. The kids, then in their rebellious teens and very much into underground comics, found an immediate rapport to Feininger, and revealed us a wealth of visual trouvailles we would otherwise have missed. Hyperbole or tongue-in-cheek, Art Spiegelman has a point: the Kin-Der-Kids are a highly original contribution to the genre. Also very funny — Feininger had a wicked sense of humour.

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