Retelling the Story of Art
Solo show at the Hammerfriar Gallery in Healdsburg, California
July and August 2022
For the past four years, I have been working on a single project. At the center of the project is Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s famous 1853 portrait of the Princesse de Broglie, which hangs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Each of the 36 pieces in the exhibition relate to a different aspect of Ingres’s portrait, fitting together like a puzzle which then reveals a larger narrative.
As with all of my work, it is personal at its core.
In January of 2018, I was looking for something, but I didn’t know exactly what it was. I felt lost. My marriage had ended but even more devastating to me, was the fact that my understanding of my marriage had been a false one.
On some level, I had to remake who I understood myself to be. I needed a mirror, I needed a window. As I often do, I looked for that in art.
And thus I found the original of the portrait that had hung as a postcard in my childhood bedroom, Ingres’s portrait of the Princesse de Broglie. An image which for me captures, calm, sadness, introspection and strength, the exact talisman I needed.
I became captivated by the image and wanted to understand its greatness.
I was at the end of one of our culture’s great linear narratives, “happily ever after”. But Pauline de Broglie was at the beginning of another, the story of modern art.
Every piece in this exhibit shows a relationship between Ingres's portrait of Pauline de Broglie and a more contemporary artist. Many visitors to the show have requested copies of the wall tags in the exhibition.
In the narrative that is modern art, each generation vanquishes the one before. De Kooning loses sleep because he must out-do Picasso. A few years later Rauschenberg erases one of De Kooning’s drawings, to put his notch in the post of art history. This is the narrative that we have been told to pay attention to.
It is not an exaggeration to say that this long straight line that is the story of modernism began as a reaction against Ingres.
And so at a point in my life when I had good reason to question linear narratives, I turned my thoughts to the linear story that has been modernism.
This project is a reassertion of some of the elements which have been shed over the course of modernism and which are so important in my own work: the personal, narrative, an assertion of meaning, a fluency of of style, an opening out, rather than a closing in. An understanding of art as a tree with many and varied branches, all of them important.
Allentown Art Museum. A delicate art: Flemish lace, 1700-1940 : an exhibition selected from the collection of the Allentown Art Museum, June 29-October 19, 1986 / Margaret Vincent.
Baudelaire, Charles. The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays.
Betzer, Sarah E. Ingres and the studio : women, painting, history.
Bryson, Norman. Tradition and desire: from David to Delacroix.
Calasso, Roberto. La Folie Baudelaire.
Dumas, Marlene. The portrait of Josephine-Eleonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Bearn, Princesse de Broglie.
Fairweather, Maria. Madame de Staël. The life of leading French intellectual and grandmother-in-law to the Princesse de Broglie. Great insights and first-hand accounts of French politics from the time of the Revolution to Napoleon's rise and fall.
Gablik, Suzi. Has Modernism Failed?
Gilligan, Carol. The Birth of Pleasure. Gilligan is renowned as a psychologist for her study of women's voices.
Kantor, Sybil Gordon. Alfred H. Barr, Jr. and the Intellectual Origins of the Museum of Modern Art.
Lloyd, Rosemary. Charles Baudelaire. Poet, early modernist and seminal art critic with great antipathy for Ingres.
Rosenblum, Robert. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Rosenblum 'pushes aside the old opposition between classicism and romanticism and savors the incongruities within and across the full range of Ingres’s production.'
Shelton, Andrew Carrington. Ingres.
Shelton, Andrew Carrington. Ingres and his critics. Fine-grained analysis of Ingres's career and relationship to the critics of his day.
Have read portions of these books:
Bougainville, Louis-Antoine de. A Voyage Around the World. 1772. The French captain who circumnavigated the globe was an early visitor to the island of Tahiti. His descriptions of Tahiti as an idyllic culture influenced both Rousseau and Gauguin.
Naef, Hans. Die Bildniszeichnungen von J.A.D. Ingres. A five volume collection of biographies for everyone who had their portrait done by Ingres.
Am currently reading:
de Broglie, Pauline-Elèonore. Les Vertus Chrétiennes Expliquées par des Récits Tirés de la Vie des Saints. Written by the subject of the painting, the Princesse de Broglie.
Merriman, John. A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present. Second Edition, 2004.
Moxey, Keith. The Practice of Persuasion: Paradox & Power in Art History.
Munhall, Edgar. Ingres and the Comtesse d’Haussonville. The Frick Museum's in depth research on Ingres’s portrait of the Pauline de Broglie’s sister-in-law, the Comtesse d’Haussonville, who was born Pauline de Broglie.
Preziosi, Donald. The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology.
Siegfried, Susan L. Ingres: Painting reimagined.
Siegfried, Susan L and Rifkin, Adam. Fingering Ingres. Essays reassessing Ingres’s work. 2001.