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Notes from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, DC

Detail of a Terry Winters painting:
Degas' 'Dance Studio': the paint looks like it as smeared and daubed on with cloth here and there. Contrasts with the sharp precise edges of the paint on the red fan lying on the floor. Shockingly realistic when exhibited, it has a classical use of subdued tones to make the flashes of colour stand out more brightly.

Daumier 'At The Print Studio' and Bellows '47 kids': both were illustrators, caricaturists, but Bellows' figures and faces are far more exaggerated and cartoonish. Daumier looks like a mainstream Impressionist by comparison.

Stuart Davis, 'Study for a Swing Landscape', 1938: the texture of paint in all the abstract shapes really catches the eye. makes it a sensual and not a mechanical exercise.

Sargent, portrait from 1883: Such a technically brilliant painter, like Manet & Velazquez combined. The overlaying of thick flourishes of white paint on top of warm grey glazes keeps the surface alive while conveying the textures of fabrics and things by the minimum number of touches.

Sketch of the Sargent ptg. from my notebook page
'Salut Tom' by Joan Mitchell: Even more splendid than high-def photos of it. Large enough to make you feel you could swim in it. The first impression of brilliant light becomes combined when you get within a few inches of it, with an appreciation of all the subtle textures: gobs of paint dried on the surface like snails, a spray of dots where a wide wet brush made a turn, bristles still embedded in the dried paint.

American painting from 1942 on is so infinitely superior to what came before it. But I wonder what all those pictures by De Kooning, Pollock, Still, Hoffman, Mitchell, Frankenthaler, et al would look like if they'd all been told they could only paint on canvasses no bigger than 18" x 24"?

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“Why do you say Degas can’t get it up properly? Degas lives like some petty lawyer and doesn’t like women, knowing very well that if he did like them and bedded them frequently, he’d go to seed and be in no position to paint any longer. The very reason why Degas’s painting is virile and impersonal is that he has resigned himself to being nothing more than a petty lawyer with a horror of kicking over the traces. He observes human animals who are stronger than him screwing and f—ing away and he paints them so well for the very reason that he isn’t all that keen on it himself.”
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