--Dan Cummins (Board President)
With the official start of summer, nature is in full bloom, with flowers popping open and vegetables almost ready for harvest. The ArtiFactory is blooming, too, with new programs and exhibits (see below) in addition to several exciting offerings for later this year.  Keep your eyes peeled for further notices.

We enthusiastically welcome your ideas for anything you think would be of interest to the community; just drop us an email.

Enjoy this month's newsletter!
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Let’s Dance in the Alley!
An afternoon with performances, talks and audience participation in the alley on Sept 19 @ 1pm by the ArtiFactory at 120 N. Dubuque St. Bring a lawn chair.
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Art in the Afternoon is a showcase of local artists usually held on the third Sunday of the month. It is an opportunity for the community to discover their journey and see the artwork they have created along the way. Look back at the list of presenters.
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--Beppie Weiss

Hello and happy summer to all of you Art friends.

This has been a very busy month for the ArtiFactory. We have a lovely show of board members art hanging in Ginsberg’s store on Washington St. If you didn’t make it to Gallery Walk you can still view most of the pieces until the end of July.
We have started activities at our new location in the Wesley House on Dubuque St. We have had two sessions of Thursday night life drawing, 6:30-8:30 in the “Phil Dorothy Drawing Studio”. These have been heavily attended. No need to try to draw your nude spouse in your living room! Register for June 24th and come join us. We have great models, many of whom have modeled for us in years past.

I have come across a few news stories that I would like to bring to your attention.
One involves the ongoing problem of resolving ownership of Art stolen by the Nazis. In 1941 the art collection of a Jewish family was stolen and for the last many years their step daughter Leone Noelle Meyer has been trying to get it back. A painting by Pissarro was located at the art museum of the University of Oklahoma. After years of wrangling it has been legally decided that the painting will travel between the U of O and France every three years……a far from satisfactory solution in my mind. For more on this sad story google Oklahoma Nazi Art.
The next story I came across that I found fascinating was published in the NYTimes magazine, April 14 and 23. “The Woman Who Made  van Gogh, Jo Bonger” by Russel Shorto. Jo was Vincent’s sister in law and it is because of her persistence that we even know of his art work today.  It is a lengthy read and made me wonder of all the other unknown artists who might be on coffee mugs today had they had such a devoted promoter as Vincent had.
My last item of ArtiFactory news is that we have published our first Activity Book. Seventeen local artists are included in this book which is available for free to you at area libraries. It is also being distributed at Arts Fest in August and to local residential sites such as the Ronald McDonald house, Shelter House, care centers and schools. This beautiful book was made possible in part by a grant from the Iowa City Public Art Program.
And lastly to answer all the questions you ever had about the origins of the #2 pencil, I close with this info toon.
All from me this month, and thanks to my art toon man, Jeff Allen.
So this is all from me this month.
Please send any news you would like to share to me by clicking here. Keep a sketch book with you and fill it. You never know when it will come in handy.

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--John McGlinn
A Special Landscape Painter: George Inness
Here’s an exhaustive review of George Inness’ artwork. If you are not familiar with his output, you will be surprised. A 19th century American artist who produced 1,150 works and each is uniquely expressive, different and special. As an abstract artist, I can appreciate his compositional skills enhanced by lighting that together render me speechless because there is so much to see and feel.
And the video is also voluminous, so do not be disappointed that you will not view all in one sitting.

George Inness in Review­
Monet at Chicago Art Institute: “Monet and Chicago”
Brand new virtual tour almost 24 minutes long, but with so many paintings. Many of his I have never seen even having lived in Chicago and as an Art Institute member for 25+ years. If you didn’t go (it just ended), then this is the next best thing. It feels like a walk through the galleries, but please do not expect it to be interactive as is the Des Moines Art Center tour below. Still a real treat. 

Monet Masterpieces at Art Institute
Our Des Moines Art Center Visit and its Virtual Tours
We visited the Art Center in the state’s capital a few weeks ago, and upon viewing even a few works, I was flabbergasted! Such quality, such diversity, such architecture, and so cool.

Many of my favorite artists are represented there. I ask: how did that happen in the capital of Iowa? Each gallery was an “ooh & aah” moment for me. I made so much noise, the security personnel knew someone with a verbal opinion was just around the corner! 

Presented here are two images showing the range of works: a John Singer Sargent and a Gene Davis. Both beautiful in my humble opinion. Also evident in the video is a dot on the description card that is a call-out of the work! So cool. Using the mouse buttons for panning and zooming as in Google Earth, one can move though, and up close, in the range of rooms of any specific tour, and there are several on the page below.

What a trip!

Des Moines Art Center Virtual Tours
David Hockney Exhibition at Royal Academy of Arts, London
This exhibition is a surprise since the most recent David Hockney videos seen by me have been the artist setup outside painting his landscapes. These in the video are landscapes to be sure, but they’re all digital. The galleries are full of monitors, large monitors showing his works. Wow!

A quick aside: I have been using Microsoft Paint for 30 years with all of its limitations, and this year I converted to ArtRage for more functionality to edit my paintings. Late in a painting’s evolution I need to decide those final steps but don’t know what they are without trying. The cognitive ideas show up first as “I should do this or that”, but I need to get beyond those dumb imperatives to natural impulses. That’s too much painting on the actual painting to get it right. Hence digital import of the painting’s current status, and layers of revisions are accomplished in ArtRage. Then back to the real painting.

And now back to Hockney.
Here Hockney is making art works that are completely digital. Not exactly new, but he is older than I by 10 years. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? There is even an instructional sequence of a painting’s development.

28+ minutes long and fascinating the whole way through.
Hockney Digital at Royal Academy
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--Phil Beck

Paul Gauguin

Donald Sutherland played the painter in Oviri or Wolf at the Door.
June is the birthday month of Paul Gauguin, an artist I’ve previously written a little about, though only in the context of his stormy friendship with Vincent Van Gogh (“Artists in the Movies,” March newsletter). That’s because, as revered as he is in the art world for his unique Post-Impressionist creations, in film he’s mostly been overshadowed by his more famous pal Van Gogh and relegated to the role of sidekick, albeit a troublesome one. In 1956’s Lust for Life, the Vincent Minnelli-directed Hollywood biopic about Van Gogh, star Kirk Douglas was outshone by Anthony Quinn’s Oscar-winning turn as a rough-and-tumble Gauguin. The two are terrific in their scenes together, though, bringing out each other’s best work, and a film that plods a bit up to their meeting suddenly explodes with the energy of two macho actors trying to outdo each other playing painters.

Gaugin doesn’t fare so well, however, in Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate from 2018. Oscar Isaac’s anemic portrayal pales next to Willem Dafoe’s ferocious performance as Van Gogh, and rather than being a formidable rival, his Gaugin comes off more like a petulant scold. I don’t even remember French-Bulgarian actor Wladimir Yordanoff as Gauguin in Robert Altman’s 1990 paeon to brotherly love, Vincent and Theo, which is probably all that needs to be said.

Gauguin does take the lead in a handful of films, however, including a couple that, interestingly, match father and son performers. In 1986, Donald Sutherland played the painter in Oviri or Wolf at the Door, which depicts Gauguin’s return from his first sojourn in Tahiti and his futile attempts to reconcile with the family he left behind. I have not seen this Danish-French co-production, but it sounds promising. Perhaps a bit less promising is the unimaginatively titled Paradise Found (2003) starring Donald’s son Kiefer, of 24 fame, as a younger version of the artist, giving up his comfortable life as a stockbroker and moving first to Paris and then the South Seas to fulfill his dream of becoming a full-time painter.

Perhaps the most interesting Gauguin film of all, however, is one that’s based on British novelist W. Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence, in which the central character, an English stockbroker named Charles Strickland, abandons his family to paint in Tahiti--a thinly disguised, highly romanticized, version of Gauguin. The novel was published in 1919, met with critical and financial success, and was turned into a movie in 1942 starring George Sanders as the driven, iconoclastic painter. It’s a moody, dark film that never quite finds its rhythm, but it’s one that gave Sanders a rare chance to play something other than a suave, shallow cad. This time the cad has hidden depths. Following the book, the film earnestly delves into solving the mystery of the painter’s uncontrollable urge to create, even to the point of self-destruction, but falls short of an answer. Maugham was careful to note that his protagonist was not a biographical portrait but only inspired by Gauguin. Nevertheless, it fed into the image of Gauguin as a rebellious, misunderstood genius that the artist himself promoted before his untimely death at 54. The movie, though never completely successful, is an intriguing footnote to this attempt at self-legend-making.
Seen any of these films?  Tell us what you think of them, or suggest others not covered in the newsletter. Click here to contact Phil Beck with your movie comments or suggestions.

Gaugin on Film:

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Art in the Afternoon on YouTube

Recordings of the the recent Art in the Afternoon programs on Zoom are now available on the ArtiFactory YouTube channel.

Watch on YouTube

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