Thursday, November 14, 2013

Six Degrees of Separation

Mortimer Luddington Menpes, Piazzetta and Ducal Palace, c. 1910. 
Etching and drypoint. Private collection. 
The close ties with each of the artists in the Ernest Roth printmaking is an interesting web of associations of friends, colleagues, students, and teachers. I think one of the curiosities about the exhibition is the long-standing and passionate interest in Venice as a focused subject. Certainly it is an interesting city full of architectural interests on varied scales, processions and parades, trattorias, alleys and bridges, beautiful light and elaborate festivals. It's no wonder artists are attracted to its pleasures and tourists are interested in souvenirs of their visit.

The vedute paintings and prints of the 17th century made a point of capturing many monuments and points of interest within one image, sometimes sacrificing accuracy light, precise locations and other details. The artists in this exhibition, Reflections and Undercurrents: Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940, direct their attentions to favorite cafes, back alleys, hidden paths and courtyards--places visitors would have either no interest or access to in their pilgrimage--ideas of displaying Venice in the eyes of the Venetians. The influences of each artist on one another other are evident and, as mentioned in a previous blog, Whistler as the keystone, launches the inspiration for several generations.

The web between them is well-connected, as sort of a "who begat whom."

James McNeill Whistler:                 Joseph Pennell
                                                          Clifford Addams (American)
                                                          Mortimer Menpes
                                                          Frank Duveneck
Frank Duveneck                             (American) and established  the Duveneck "boys"
                                                        Otto Bacher

Roth, familiar with Whistler's work, travels to Venice, and he becomes associated with other artists.

Ernest Roth's friends:                     Jules Andre Smith (British, architect)
                                                          John Taylor Arms (American, architect)
                                                          Louis Rosenberg (American, architect)
                                                          Jan Charles Vondrous (a student with Roth at the National
                                                           Academy of Design
                                                          Fabio Mauroner (Italian by birth, longtime resident of Venice)

Fabio Mauroner                             Emanuel Brugnoli (friend)
                                                         Edward Millington Synge (Mauroner's printmaking instructor)

There are other artists in the exhibition who are not included in Roth's personal associations, and they too are inspired by Whistler's vision and technique.

There are many sources for these artists, but for starters, check out  Menpes "Facebook" page and compare source ideas and images.