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Dance-Related and Music-Related Art at The Art Institute of Chicago
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(Renoir Bio) (Degas Bio) (Picasso Bio) (Lautrec Bio)

By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower and Jessie
March 22, 2003

(See Review of Edgar Degas, Philadelphia Museum of Art). Second in a series of dance-related art: At The Art Institute of Chicago, one of my favorite art museums, due to the vast and easily accessible, Impressionist Art collections, I recently wandered the galleries with my 9 year old niece, Jessie, an artist, by hobby, and an art enthusiast. When I wear my other hat, as an educational administrator or consultant, I have led many school groups through art museum galleries, to explore styles, textures, themes, colors, and the lives and personalities of famous artists, who may have painted with different techniques or about different subjects, at various points in their careers.

Jessie and I looked for dance-related art in the various permanent galleries at The Art Institute of Chicago, and, occasionally, perused art for art's sake, as well. The following are Jessie's findings on this first of our explorations (Some of the titles may be approximate here):

Note: The Henri Matisse paintings and collages, relating to dance, may have been on loan to MoMA, Matisse Picasso exhibit, soon to be reviewed.

Gustave Caillebotte's painting, Paris Street, Rainy Day, 1877, in the Pritzker Galleries. The rain was dancing.

Pierre Auguste Renoir's Woman at the Piano, 1875-76, oil on canvas, from a Private Collection. The piano music must have been beautiful.

Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist, 1903-4, (See Photo). In this blue and brown painting, there seems to be a ghost near the man's head. The canvas had been previously used by Picasso for another painting, and the formerly painted head is emerging through the canvas.

Bernardo Martorell's, 1430-35, Ste. George Killing the Dragon. This could have been a ballet or opera theme, of a rescue of the maiden by a wonderful Saint or Prince, who prevents the dragon from eating her alive.

Jean Louis Forains', 1880, The Tightrope Walker, oil on canvas, of a circus scene, a dance in mid-air.

Edgar Degas' The Star, pastel on paper, 1879-81, which "looks very graceful".

Degas' Café Singer, 1879, and his bronze sculpture, Spanish Dance, 1919-21.

The following are Roberta's findings, not including the above:

Renoir's Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando, 1879, about 2 young sisters, juggling orange balls in a circus, and wearing ballet costumes of gold and yellow.

Raymond Duchamp-Villon's Song, 1908-9, a bronze sculpture of 2 women holding hands and perhaps singing together.

In the Barker Gallery, Degas' Two Dancers, 1890, pastel on paper, green, pink, and orange, with hands on hips, looking out from the stage curtain, bent forward, one face discernible, and one diffuse.

Berthe Morisot's Woman at her Toilette, 1875, a relaxed rear view, looks somewhat like a Degas, in a white evening gown, fixing her hair.

Degas bronze sculptures, Dancer Putting on Stockings, cast 1919-21, as she stands on one leg to dress for dance, and Arabesque, cast 1919-21, a dancer also stands on one leg, but this time in dance.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's Ballet Dancers, 1885, oil on plaster transferred to canvas, with yellow arms and hollow green eyes, a row of dancers become more and more abstract, behind the hands of the conductor.

Toulouse-Lautrec's Equestrienne, 1887-88, also at the Circus Fernando, wears ballet slippers, rides a horse, and looks like a Lautrec dancer in a Moulin Rouge Nightclub painting.

Toulouse-Lautrec's At the Moulin Rouge, 1895, oil on canvas, takes place in a Dance Hall, with the figures fixing their hair, with garish clothes and hats, green faces, and heavy makeup.

Lyonel Feininger's (a former cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune) Carnival in Arcueil, 1911, oil on canvas, a parade of masked, grotesque characters blow horns and march through the street, like Mardi Gras, without the floats.

Photos by Barbara Morgan, such as Desperate Heart, 1944, Gelatin Silver Print (my favorite), and the dancer is Valerie Bettis, with a huge swirling skirt that covers her face and arms, reminding me of a Martha Graham costume.

Photos by Dennis Stock, such as The Dancer Janet Collins, no date, Gelatin Silver Print, in 6 poses, arms outstretched, barefoot in the graham style of contract-release.

Photos by Harold Eugene Edgarton, such as Gus Solomon, no date, gelatin Silver Print, a multiple exposure work, with hands and arms in repeated movement against a stationary torso.

I highly recommend a visit to The Art Institute of Chicago, when you're in town, to explore these fantastic galleries and one of the best Museum Shops, worldwide.


Photos by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower with Guest Photographer, Jessie


An Edgar Degas Ballet Dancer (Photo by Jessie)


Picasso's The Old Guitarist (Photo by Jessie)


Jessie at Work in The Art Institute of Chicago


Barry Weinrebe (Roberta's Brother), Jessie, Susan Weinrebe, Outside The Art Institute of Chicago

 

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net