Thursday, December 8, 2016

Roland Heyder's Sexy Surrealism

Roland H. Heyder (1956 - ) is a German painter who, according to the latest information I could find, is based in Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

There are plenty of images of his work on the internet, but little in the way of biographical information. His web site is here, and from there you can link to "vita" for a few details. Heyder says he is self-taught and early-on was inspired by Salvador Dalí and Surrealism as well as Magical Realism.

I find his art more difficult to pigeonhole. Like Dalí, Heyder paints in a smooth, hard-edge style. But his subjects are seldom distorted in a Dalíesque manner. Nor is there any claim that he is tapping into his Freudian subconscious, as the actual Surrealists claimed (largely falsely, I think).

What Heyder does do is juxtapose items in wide-open settings that evoke the spatial feeling of Dalí and some other Surrealists. He also usually includes gorgeous, nude or partly-clad women in psychologically ambiguous situations.

It takes a lot of work to create paintings like Heyder's. Yet he has created a large number of them, so he's clearly a hard worker. Click on the images below to enlarge.


Photo of Roland Heyder at work
His website states: "In terms of technique, I generally work on canvas prepared with at least two coats of gesso. I do a pencil sketch on paper, then on the canvas before painting with acrylic and then in oil." But this photo shows him painting directly in what seems to be oil in a top-down "window shade" manner. To do this, he would have to have spent time clearly defining his images and carefully establishing colors and their placement before staring the final painting.

4000 Miles from the Washington coast - 1986
Juxtapositions with a Surrealist feeling.

Bedrohtes Stilleben (Threatened Still Life) - 1995
More of the same, but with a whiff of Magical Realist Giorgio de Chirico.

Kapitulation - 1986

Museumseinbruch (Museum Break-In) - 1996

Die neue Welt (The New World) - 1990

Das Bild vom Frieren (Picture of Freezing) - 1984
Note the expression on the face of the woman at the left; this enlivens what otherwise would have been a static scene.

Das Castell - 2011
This is about as Surrealistic as Heyder gets.

Der alte Mann und das Meer (The Old Man and the Sea) - 1997
The title is the same as that of an Ernest Hemingway novella, though its subject was entirely different from what Heyder shows here.

Die Königin (The Queen) - 1998
Chess allegory.

Viktoria - 2012
Something to do with her -- or the African falls?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Jules Rolshoven: From Expatriate to Taos

Julius Rolshoven (1888-1930) spent about 40 years of his life in Italy, as this Wikipedia entry states. He was born in Detroit, studied art at Cooper Union, and then went off to Germany for a while before going to Italy where he studied under Frank Duveneck. After Italy entered the Great War, he moved to Taos, New Mexico where he soon became part of its art colony scene. Postwar, he continued to travel between Taos and Florence.

A somewhat different take on his biography is here. It says he was in Paris studying at the Académie Julian and didn't move to Florence more or less permanently until 1902. It mentions that he was "forced" to leave Italy. Perhaps that had to do with family ties to Germany.

Although there is little information about him on the internet and not many examples of his work, Rolshoven's lifestyle indicates that he was either a commercially successful painter or else had independent wealth, perhaps coming from his father's jewelry business.

His European-oriented paintings are usually pleasing and skillfully done. In Taos, his style shifted, perhaps due to the surroundings or maybe because of influence by other artists. I prefer his traditional works.


The Singer Lady Lillian Hune Henschel (née Bailey) - 1896

Nude Model Reading a Sketchbook - c.1900

Young Woman in Florence

Assisi Market Girls

Dona Tosca - 1923

Taos War Chief

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Which Victor Guerrier Painted These Pictures?

Not long ago I came across some frothy paintings of elegant women in various Paris settings. By their costumes, the period of those settings is the Belle Époque of the 1890s and early 1900s.

The artist was Victor Guerrier. Various web sites credit those paintings to a Victor Guerrier whose dates are 1893-1968. But there seems to have been another French painter named Victor Guerrier who lived 1858-1953. There is essentially no biographical information about either man.

Given his dates and the Belle Époque settings, it would seem that the earlier Guerrier should have been the artist. The style of the signatures on the paintings hints at that as well. But if all those art auction, etc. websites state that the 1893-1968 Guerrier was the artist, then he would have to have concentrated on the Belle Époque as an artistic faux-sentimentalist, having been a boy in those times.

If anyone knows the truth about this puzzling matter, please let us know in Comments.

Here are some of those paintings.


À la terrasse

Cafe sociery
This looks to be set just before or after the Great War.

Élégantes à Paris
By the Luxembourg grounds, the Panthéon in the background. I don't notice the McDonald's I sometimes visit that should be at the far right of the image.

Femme Élégante

Flower shopping
Guerrier painted several flower shopping scenes.

La Brasserie Mollard

La promenade
Is that the Café de la Paix in the background?

The Terrace

Le menu

Scene on the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne (now the Avenue Foch)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Edward Okuń , Polish Nouveau-Symbolist

Around the time I visited Poland's National Museum, a few paintings by Edward Okuń (1872–1945) were in the same room as many of those by the more famous Symbolist Jacek Malczewski. But the gallery guidebook stressed that in portraits, his style tended to be Art Nouveau. His Wikipedia entry does not categorize him.

Okuń came from what the entry calls an aristocratic family, and he had an inheritance that probably left him free to pursue art pretty much as he desired. He began his training in Czarist Warsaw and them moved on to Munich and Paris. During the first two decades of the 20th century he was in Italy, thereby avoiding the Great War battles in Poland and only returned to Warsaw after the 1920-21 Soviet-Polish war. He continued to visit Italy and painted there. Okuń was not able to escape World War 2 and was in Warsaw during the 1944 uprising and German retaliation.


Portrait of the Artist's Wife - 1904

Philistines - 1904

View Through Window - 1905

The Winner - 1910

Self-Portrait - 1913

Musica Sacra - 1915

The War and Us - 1923

Naples Bay and Vesuvio - 1937

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Last Look at the Waldorf Before Renovation

New York City's famed Waldorf-Astoria hotel (1931 version) is set to be closed early in 2017 for renovation and partial conversion to condominiums. That's what this Wikipedia entry mentions as of the time this post is being drafted (5 October 2016).

My wife and I decided to stay at the Waldorf to experience it before its closure. She had stayed there as a college student on her way to a European tour and I spent a few nights there in the late 1970s while on a business trip.

Below are some photos I took of present details. I suppose most of these will be preserved, but don't know for sure.


An architectural rendering of the hotel from before it was built. It's on display on the lobby floor. Some reflections are on its protective glass, so the image is slightly degraded.

The Park Avenue entrance.

A closer look at the exterior ornamentation.

View towards Park Avenue from inside that entrance.

Panning to the left of the previous image, we find this.

Foyer view opposite from the previous photo.

Opposite the entrance is this hallway and elevator lobby leading to the main lobby.

Inside the main lobby. The elaborate clock was from the original Waldorf-Astoria located on the present site of the Empire State Building.

Two views of Peacock Alley, located on the north side of the main lobby. It's a bar and restaurant, but the original was a passage in the old Waldorf-Astoria where elegant ladies could and would promenade.

Door grillwork on the lobby level.

Tower elevator door decorations.

This was our room in the Towers. I include this photo because, unlike the public areas pictured above, this is likely to disappear during the renovation.

As you probably noticed, the Waldorf-Astoria is an example of Art Deco architecture and ornamentation. Very little of the geometric kind of Art Deco here, but more of the "organic" style seen in the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (Wikipedia entry here), which had its roots in Art Nouveau.