Max Ernst’s favourites

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The cover for the Max Ernst number of View magazine (April, 1942) that appears in Charles Henri Ford’s View: Parade of the Avant-Garde was one I didn’t recall seeing before. This was a surprise when I’d spent some time searching for back issues of the magazine. The conjunction of Ernst with Buer, one of the perennially popular demons drawn by Louis Le Breton for De Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal, doubles the issue’s cult value in my eyes. I don’t know whether the demon was Ernst’s choice but I’d guess so when many of the De Plancy illustrations resemble the hybrid creatures rampaging through Ernst’s collages. Missing from the Ford book is the spread below which uses more De Plancy demons to decorate lists of the artist’s favourite poets and painters. I’d have preferred a selection of favourite novelists but Ford was a poet himself (he also co-wrote an early gay novel with Parker Tyler, The Young and Evil), and the list is still worth seeing.

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Poets: Charles Baudelaire, Friedrich Hölderlin, Alfred Jarry, Edgar Allan Poe, George Crabbe, Guillaume Apollinaire, Walt Whitman, Comte de Lautréamont, Robert Browning, Arthur Rimbaud, William Blake, Achim von Arnim, Victor Hugo, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, William Shakespeare, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lewis Carroll, Novalis, Heinrich Heine, Solomon (presumably the author of the Song of Solomon).

Painters: Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Giovanni Bellini, Hieronymus Bosch, Matthias Grünewald, Albrecht Altdorfer, Georges Seurat, Piero della Francesca, Paolo Uccello, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Hans Baldung, Vittore Carpaccio, Leonardo Da Vinci, Cosimo Tura, Carlo Crivelli, Giorgio de Chirico, Henri Rousseau, Francesco del Cossa, Piero di Cosimo, NM Deutsch (Niklaus Manuel), Vincent van Gogh.

I’ve filled out the names since some of the typography isn’t easy to read. Some of the choices are also uncommon, while one of them—NM Deutsch—is not only a difficult name to search for but the attribution has changed in recent years. The list of poets contains few surprises but it’s good to see that Poe made an impression on Ernst; the choice of painters is less predictable. Bruegel, Bosch and Rousseau are to be expected, and the same goes for the German artists—Grünewald, Baldung—whose work is frequently grotesque or erotic. But I wouldn’t have expected so many names from the Italian Renaissance, and Seurat is a genuine surprise. As for Ernst’s only living contemporary, Giorgio de Chirico, this isn’t a surprise at all but it reinforces De Chirico’s importance. If you removed Picasso from art history De Chirico might be the most influential painter of the 20th century; his Metaphysical works had a huge impact on the Dada generation, writers as well as artists, and also on René Magritte who was never a Dadaist but who lost interest in Futurism when he saw a reproduction of The Song of Love (1914). Picasso’s influence remains rooted in the art world while De Chirico’s disquieting dreams extend their shadows into film and literature, so it’s all the more surprising that this phase of his work was so short lived. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Viewing View
De Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal
Max Ernst album covers
Maximiliana oder die widerrechtliche Ausübung der Astronomie
Max and Dorothea
Dreams That Money Can Buy
La femme 100 têtes by Eric Duvivier

Weekend links 322

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• Cover art by the Quays for Inner Sanctums—Quay Brothers: The Collected Animated Films 1979–2013, a Blu-ray collection which will be released by the BFI next month. Being something of an obsessive where the Quays are concerned I have a lot of this material already (some of the films in multiple copies), but I’ve been hankering for a BR collection for some time. The new set will include everything that’s on the BFI’s DVD collection plus more recent films, some of which have been the subject of previous { feuilleton } posts.

• Aubrey Beardsley: “The subjects were quite mad and a little indecent. Strange hermaphroditic creatures wandering about in Pierrot costumes or modern dress; quite a new world of my own creation.” Alan Hollinghurst reviews the catalogue raisonné of Beardsley’s work.

• How to find the spirit of HP Lovecraft in Providence. Related: there’s now a funding page for the statue of Lovecraft by Gage Prentiss being proposed for downtown Providence. Read about it here.

• At The Quietus: Robert Barry on KPM and the history of library music, and James De Carteret on Mike Hodges’ underrated The Terminal Man (1974).

Michael Newton reviews Erica Wagner’s First Light, “a festschrift of essays, reminiscences, poems and stories dedicated to Alan Garner and his work”.

Cosey Fanni Tutti‘s forthcoming memoir Art Sex Music should prove more interesting than some of the recent music business autobiographies.

• Mixes of the week: A New Age mix by Matthewdavid, FACT mix 563 by Deerhoof, and Secret Thirteen Mix 193 by Nite Fields.

Underground music, echoes of war: using the vast Inchindown storage chamber for its resonant properties.

Totally Lost: a photographic and video exploration of abandoned European totalitarian architecture.

• More animation: Nonsense, Cartoons, and My Post-Soviet Adolescence by Naré Navasardyan.

Annie Rose on the allure of the predatory lesbian vampire in film.

• “Let’s write an encyclopedia of things blue,” says Bernd Brunner.

• Ferrets can be gods: Katherine Rundell on the inimitable Saki.

• The Mystery of Hieronymus Bosch by Ingrid D. Rowland.

iO-808: A TR-808 drum machine for browsers.

A Good Book

Terminal Hotel (1981) by Synergy | Sataan Is Real (1992) by Terminal Cheesecake | Terminal (1999) by Monolake

Weekend links 308

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Frank Herbert’s Dune receives a new cover design by Alex Trochut together with other notable works of science fiction and fantasy for a new series from Penguin.

• “…poet, scholar and biographer Sandeep Parmar…has raised the possibility that a long poem by Hope Mirrlees, titled Paris and published by the Hogarth Press in 1919, was a strong influence on The Waste Land.” Alfred Corn on new TS Eliot scholarship.

• “[Evolution‘s] strain of body horror brings to mind an ethereal HP Lovecraft mixed with David Cronenberg.” Rachel Bowles talks to the film’s director, Lucile Hadzihalilovic.

• Library music “is a sonic world of ‘weird beats, odd instrumentations, albums full of dark jazzy interludes or bizarre garage rock.'” Adrian Shaughnessy on innovation in banality.

Italy, which EM Forster called “the beautiful country where they say ‘yes’”, became another resort, especially the island of Capri, where a French poet staged a ceremonial flogging of his teenage Italian lover before the boy departed to do his military service and became the subject of a novel by his compatriot Roger Peyrefitte. In the Egyptian city of Alexandria, Forster observed the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy “standing absolutely motionless at a slight angle to the universe”, and the Australian novelist Patrick White met a local man who became his lifelong companion. For decades, the novelists Paul and Jane Bowles presided in Tangier, which Jack Kerouac was to call a “sinister international hive of queens”. William Burroughs arrived in 1954 with a teenage Spaniard named Kiki who, Woods writes, “was, famously, the boy who would blow smoke into his pubic hair and say ‘Abracadabra’ as his hardening cock emerged from the cloud”. Tangier was to figure in Burroughs’s novel Naked Lunch as a phantasmagoric, rubbery walled sex market called the Interzone.

Caleb Crain reviewing Homintern by Gregory Woods

• Beardsley biographer Matthew Sturgis reviews Aubrey Beardsley: A Catalogue Raisonné, a two-volume collection edited by Linda Gertner Zatlin.

• “He was the Bresson of Birkenhead.” Andrew Collins reviews the forthcoming collection of BBC dramas directed by Alan Clarke.

• “The postwar Hollywood western was more content to let strangeness be strange,” says Michael Newton.

• “Bosch’s work has always caused trouble for interpreters and critics,” says Morgan Meis.

Misplaced New York: a project by Anton Repponen and Jon Earle.

Wyrd Daze, Lvl2 Issue 6, is out, and as before is a free download.

Lessons we can learn from Robert Altman’s 3 Women.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 548 by Peder Mannerfelt.

Paris 1971 (1971) by Suzanne Ciani | Paris II (1987) by Jon Hassell | Dreaming Of Paris (2013) by Van Dyke Parks

Weekend links 299

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Starman (2016) by Nyahzul Blanco. From the Saint Bowie exhibition at Stephen Romano Gallery, NY.

• “…[Dashiel] Hammett’s first-hand experience of political sleaze, industrial violence and the everyday routine of an agent allowed for a realism that brought hard-boiled fiction to new heights.” Oliver Harris reviews a new life of Hammett, a history of the American detective, and a study of film noir.

• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 177 by Vladislav Dobrovolski, The After-School Club by Melmoth The Wanderer, and Perfect Monolake by Rich Ears.

Inside High-Rise: product designs by Michael Eaton and Felicity Hickson for Ben Wheatley’s feature film.

Yeats is not the only respected writer to make use of the tarot: Italo Calvino, Salvador Dalí, and even Charles Williams, a novelist and theologian who belonged to the Inklings literary circle, also drew on the cards. Still, the cards remain firmly associated with the occult—and, while [Jessa] Crispin is sympathetic to that tradition, she aims to bring tarot to those who may be skeptical of that way of thinking. Her references are more literary than arcane.

Peter Bebergal talks to Jessa Crispin about making the Tarot literary again

Legowelt’s best free paranormal synth samples, occult instruments and lo-fi effects.

• At Dangerous Minds: a smorgasbord of sorcerous bad taste via Vintage Occult.

• Free download: Cavern of Anti-Matter live at Acad, Berlin, 2015.

• Conversing with your Subconscious: The Art of Adrian Cherry.

Diagonal Science is the debut album from Black Helicopters.

111 Photographs of 111 Westminster Street in Providence, RI.

• More magick: occult documentaries of the 1970s.

• A Bosch-themed fashion feature by Tim Walker.

Cycloid Drawing Machine

Dark Star (1984) by Harold Budd | Dark Start (1994) by ELpH vs Coil | Dark Star Blues (2004) by Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.

Bosch details

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In which the indelible strangeness of Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1490–1510), is presented to us in the highest resolution. (I should say presented again since Google’s Art Project/Cultural Institute/whatever-it’s-called-this-week had a browsable version of their own in 2009 but this seems to have vanished. So much for the primacy of the Googleverse, etc, etc.) I’d always encourage people to see paintings in situ when possible but it remains a fact that very old and well-known works of art are difficult to study for any length of time in a crowded gallery. The more valuable works are also closely guarded by attendants who dissuade anyone from getting too close to those fragile surfaces, so it’s left to books or websites such as this one to give us the details. Not all paintings warrant this kind of attention, of course, but the crowded panels of Bosch and Brueghel the Elder certainly do. In addition to wandering among the figures you can also opt for a guided tour although bear in mind that the meaning (if any) of many of these details has never been resolved. Via MetaFilter.

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