Recent MAM/FA News
Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art will exhibit three original artist’s sketchbooks. Please visit us in booth A4 at the Park Avenue Armory, February 28 – March 4. The following sketchbooks will be on view.
Diego Rivera, The Italian Sketchbook, 1920-21
At the conclusion of the Mexican Revolution in 1920, José Vasconcelos, the new Secretary of Public Education, devised a plan to promote the ideals of the revolutionary government through an ambitious program of mural painting. Diego Rivera was asked to head the movement, and accepted on the condition that that he could first tour Italy in order to study first hand the fresco paintings of the Renaissance. Traveling in Italy, Rivera sketched as he viewed the frescoes and paintings of artists such as Giotto, Uccello, Mantegna, and Tintoretto, making handwritten notes in several languages directly on his drawings. He was keenly interested in the relationship between painting and architecture, later putting his observations to brilliant use in the murals that he painted. In translating the formal ideas and techniques of the Renaissance painters to his mural projects in Mexico and the United States, Rivera provided the historical link between the Italian Renaissance and Twentieth Century Muralism in the Americas.
Gunther Gerzso, The Surrealist Sketchbook, 1943-46
This sketchbook was created in 1943-46 when the young artist was strongly influenced by the circle of Benjamin Péret, a small group of European artists exiled in Mexico during the 1940s. The book presents a striking record of Gerzso’s close ties to Leonora Carrington, Wolfgang Paalen, André Breton, Remedios Varo, César Moro and Alice Rahon. Many of the drawings in the sketchbook were made through the carbon paper transfer method, which the Surrealists used to stimulate automatic drawing and “subconscious” creativity. Another group of drawings was inspired by the discovery of the Pre-Columbian village of Tlatilco. Pre-Columbian art and archeological sites had a profound impact on Gerzso’s own artistic output, as it helped him move away from European ideals to create his own artistic style deeply rooted in the landscape, culture, and history of Mexico.
Leonora Carrington, Sketches from “Down Below,” October 1940
This rare original sketchbook was drawn in October 1940 while the 23 year old artist was involuntarily committed to the Sanatario Morales, a psychiatric institution in Santander, Spain. Following the forced separation from her lover Max Ernst and the onset of World War II, Carrington suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized by her British parents. While she was suffering through drug-induced seizures, the chemical equivalent of shock therapy, she was also provided with art materials by her doctor, Luis Morales, and encouraged to draw as part of the healing process. The sketches bear witness to Carrington’s exquisite draftsmanship, imagination and creativity. Several of them relate directly to paintings she completed in 1941- 42 following her release from the hospital, her journey to New York and reconnection with expatriate surrealist friends, including André and Jacqueline Breton, Stella Snead, Luis Buñuel, Amédée Ozenfant, Max Ernst and Peggy Guggenheim. It is being exhibited to the public for the first time.