Book AKFrida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera
Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954) is perhaps best known for her self-portraits. While self-portraits are a common theme for many artists, Kahlo brought her unique style to the form, including not only a representation of herself but often depicting other items that were significant to her and/or the particular point in her life during which she created each work.
If one can accurately read a self-portrait by Kahlo, he or she will understand a great deal about the artist. This is true of the 1938 painting Self-Portrait with Monkey in the Collection of the Albright-Knox. In this work, Kahlo depicts herself in front of a lush background of tropical leaves which are native to Mexico, her home country. The bone-like necklace she wears around her neck is also typical and helps to show the viewer how Kahlo embraced and celebrated Mexican traditions, not only in her art but in her everyday life.
Perhaps the most noticeable feature of this painting besides Kahlo herself is the small monkey whose arm is draped across the artist’s shoulder. Kahlo often included depictions of her many pets in her work, including many representations of her favorite pet spider monkey, Fulang-Chang, seen here. One of the great disappointments of Kahlo’s life was her inability to bear children, and pets became substitute children for the artist. The comforting gesture of the monkey has also been interpreted as a substitute for both her husband and as a symbol of promiscuity. Kahlo created this painting during the period in which she and her husband, painter Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886–1957), were divorced. While they later remarried, both led active romantic lives while apart from each other, and the depiction of the monkey could be a representation of this time in their lives.
Learn more about Frida Kahlo by reading the current Book AK selection, Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera. Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954). Self-Portrait with Monkey, 1938. Oil on Masonite, 16 x 12 (40.64 x 30.48 cm). Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear, 1966. © 2010 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Book AK
Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954) is perhaps best known for her self-portraits. While self-portraits are a common theme for many artists, Kahlo brought her unique style to the form, including not only a representation of herself but often depicting other items that were significant to her and/or the particular point in her life during which she created each work.

If one can accurately read a self-portrait by Kahlo, he or she will understand a great deal about the artist. This is true of the 1938 painting Self-Portrait with Monkey in the Collection of the Albright-Knox. In this work, Kahlo depicts herself in front of a lush background of tropical leaves which are native to Mexico, her home country. The bone-like necklace she wears around her neck is also typical and helps to show the viewer how Kahlo embraced and celebrated Mexican traditions, not only in her art but in her everyday life.

Perhaps the most noticeable feature of this painting besides Kahlo herself is the small monkey whose arm is draped across the artist’s shoulder. Kahlo often included depictions of her many pets in her work, including many representations of her favorite pet spider monkey, Fulang-Chang, seen here. One of the great disappointments of Kahlo’s life was her inability to bear children, and pets became substitute children for the artist. The comforting gesture of the monkey has also been interpreted as a substitute for both her husband and as a symbol of promiscuity. Kahlo created this painting during the period in which she and her husband, painter Diego Rivera (Mexican, 18861957), were divorced. While they later remarried, both led active romantic lives while apart from each other, and the depiction of the monkey could be a representation of this time in their lives.

Learn more about Frida Kahlo by reading the current Book AK selection, Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera. 

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907–1954). Self-Portrait with Monkey, 1938. Oil on Masonite, 16 x 12 (40.64 x 30.48 cm). Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear, 1966. © 2010 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Henri Matisse, La Musique, 1939
The female figure was a recurring theme in many of Henri Matisse’s paintings, as can be seen in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s 1939 painting La Musique. 
The painting is all about balance and repetition. The simplicity of appearance masks a work that was a challenge to create compositionally. To construct a harmonious balance between the two figures, Matisse used a series of repeating lines and forms in the objects around them. For instance, the diagonal line of the woman’s legs in the lower left corner of the painting continues up through the guitar. The shape and pattern of the piece of fruit is repeated in both the hole of the guitar and the seat cushion. The attention to compositional detail in this work supports Matisse’s artistic philosophy, the belief that every detail is expressive and every element of a painting—the figures, the objects, and the empty spaces around them—plays a part in the work as a whole.
Learn more about Matisse and his friendship with the artist Pablo Picasso by reading the next Book AK selection, Matisse and Picasso: The Story of Their Rivalry and Friendship by Jack Flam. The discussion of this book will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2014, from 10:15 to 11:30 am. Learn More 

Henri Matisse, La Musique, 1939

The female figure was a recurring theme in many of Henri Matisse’s paintings, as can be seen in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s 1939 painting La Musique

The painting is all about balance and repetition. The simplicity of appearance masks a work that was a challenge to create compositionally. To construct a harmonious balance between the two figures, Matisse used a series of repeating lines and forms in the objects around them. For instance, the diagonal line of the woman’s legs in the lower left corner of the painting continues up through the guitar. The shape and pattern of the piece of fruit is repeated in both the hole of the guitar and the seat cushion. The attention to compositional detail in this work supports Matisse’s artistic philosophy, the belief that every detail is expressive and every element of a painting—the figures, the objects, and the empty spaces around them—plays a part in the work as a whole.

Learn more about Matisse and his friendship with the artist Pablo Picasso by reading the next Book AK selection, Matisse and Picasso: The Story of Their Rivalry and Friendship by Jack Flam. The discussion of this book will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2014, from 10:15 to 11:30 am. Learn More 

Pablo Picasso, Nude Figure, 1909–10Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) worked in many styles throughout his career as an artist. He was one of the founders of an artistic movement known as Analytic Cubism, a style based on the principle that a human eye cannot take in an object fully in one glance, but rather in a series of shorter glances which the brain then builds into the full image. In this style, the objects depicted are broken up into small geometric forms.
In the work Nude Figure, 1909–10, in the Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Picasso depicts a human figure in the Analytic Cubist style, as a series of small geometric forms. By depicting the figure in this way, Picasso is able to represent the eye’s multiple views in one form.
Learn more about Picasso and his friendship with the artist Henri Matisse by reading the next Book AK selection, Matisse and Picasso: The Story of Their Rivalry and Friendship by Jack Flam. The Book AK discussion will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2014, from 10:15 to 11:30 am. Learn more
Image: Nude Figure, 1909–10. Oil on canvas. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery. General Purchase Funds, 1954.

Pablo Picasso, Nude Figure, 1909–10

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) worked in many styles throughout his career as an artist. He was one of the founders of an artistic movement known as Analytic Cubism, a style based on the principle that a human eye cannot take in an object fully in one glance, but rather in a series of shorter glances which the brain then builds into the full image. In this style, the objects depicted are broken up into small geometric forms.

In the work Nude Figure, 1909–10, in the Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Picasso depicts a human figure in the Analytic Cubist style, as a series of small geometric forms. By depicting the figure in this way, Picasso is able to represent the eye’s multiple views in one form.

Learn more about Picasso and his friendship with the artist Henri Matisse by reading the next Book AK selection, Matisse and Picasso: The Story of Their Rivalry and Friendship by Jack Flam. The Book AK discussion will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2014, from 10:15 to 11:30 am. Learn more

ImageNude Figure, 1909–10. Oil on canvas. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery. General Purchase Funds, 1954.
Book AK—The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel.December 7, 2013
During World War II, the Monuments and Fine Arts Division was a special branch of the soldiers fighting to prevent the appropriation and destruction of Europe’s great art by Adolf Hitler. The men who served in this division, known as the Monuments Men, were primarily art historians, museum directors, curators, and soldiers from America and Britain. Among the individuals was Dr. Andrew Carnduff Ritchie.  
Born in Bellshill, Scotland in 1907, Ritchie spent his career as a scholar, art historian, and museum professional.  In 1942 he was appointed the fifth director of the then Albright Art Gallery. As the war was taking place overseas, Ritchie did much to support the war effort in Buffalo. In 1945 he took a leave of absence from his director duties to serve in the Monuments and Fine Arts section of the US Army. Ritchie served until May 1946 as a representative of the Commanding General in Austria and as a civilian was given the rank of colonel. His bravery and actions during the war led to subsequent honors being bestowed by both France and the Netherlands.
After returning from the war, Ritchie continued to serve as director of the Albright Art Gallery until 1949 when he left to become the Director of the Painting and Sculpture Department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He also served as Director of the Yale Art Gallery from 1957 until 1971.  Ritchie died on August 12, 1978 in Sharon, Connecticut.
Learn more about this moment in history by becoming part of Book AK, a museum-hosted book club, and reading the next selection, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel.  The discussion will take place on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 10:15 am and will last until 11:30 am. To learn more about this program including details about registration, please visit the Book AK website.

Book AKThe Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel.
December 7, 2013

During World War II, the Monuments and Fine Arts Division was a special branch of the soldiers fighting to prevent the appropriation and destruction of Europe’s great art by Adolf Hitler. The men who served in this division, known as the Monuments Men, were primarily art historians, museum directors, curators, and soldiers from America and Britain. Among the individuals was Dr. Andrew Carnduff Ritchie. 

Born in Bellshill, Scotland in 1907, Ritchie spent his career as a scholar, art historian, and museum professional.  In 1942 he was appointed the fifth director of the then Albright Art Gallery. As the war was taking place overseas, Ritchie did much to support the war effort in Buffalo. In 1945 he took a leave of absence from his director duties to serve in the Monuments and Fine Arts section of the US Army. Ritchie served until May 1946 as a representative of the Commanding General in Austria and as a civilian was given the rank of colonel. His bravery and actions during the war led to subsequent honors being bestowed by both France and the Netherlands.

After returning from the war, Ritchie continued to serve as director of the Albright Art Gallery until 1949 when he left to become the Director of the Painting and Sculpture Department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He also served as Director of the Yale Art Gallery from 1957 until 1971.  Ritchie died on August 12, 1978 in Sharon, Connecticut.

Learn more about this moment in history by becoming part of Book AK, a museum-hosted book club, and reading the next selection, The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel.  The discussion will take place on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 10:15 am and will last until 11:30 am. To learn more about this program including details about registration, please visit the Book AK website.

Book AK—The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History

During World War II, Adolf Hitler made it his personal mission to seek out Europe’s greatest works of art. His intent was to both build a personal collection of the best art in the world and destroy all works that he considered to be “degenerate” art.

Stopping Hitler was not an easy task. The Herculean effort was the result of a group known as the Monuments Men, a special force of American and British art historians, museum directors, curators, and soldiers who worked together to prevent the appropriation and destruction of Europe’s great art. In The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, author Robert Edsel details this period in history through the moving personal accounts of six of these brave men.

Learn more about this historic effort by becoming part of the museum-hosted book club Book AK. The Book AK discussion about The Monuments Men will take place on Saturday, December 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register

Book AK: The Pop Revolution
Spotlight on Eduardo Paolozzi 

Eduardo Paolozzi (Scottish, 1924–2005) was one of the founders of the British art movement called the Independent Group in 1952. Composed of artists, sculptors, architects, and critics, this group was driven by a desire to change the modernist approach to high art through the incorporation of mass culture. The Independent Group is considered the precursor to the Pop art movement, which developed in the 1950s in Britain and the United States.

While Paolozzi worked with a variety of media throughout his career, he is best known for his sculptures, including the Albright-Knox’s 1958 work Japanese War God. Among the many achievements in the artist’s long career was his knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988.

Learn more about Eduardo Paolozzi and the Pop art movement by reading The Pop Revolution as part of the Book AK program. A discussion will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register

Book AK: The Pop Revolution
Spotlight on Robert Rauschenberg

For more than five decades, Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925–2008) was a leading figure in the art world and was associated with many periods of art history, including the Pop art movement. He is perhaps best known for his Combines, which he began creating in the 1950s and worked on throughout his career. In essence a hybrid of painting and sculpture, these works involved combining non-traditional materials and objects—such as wood, bits of metal, newspaper, and even stuffed birds—on a painted canvas.

Throughout his prolific career, Rauschenberg also designed sets and costumes for dance productions, including many for the company of his friend Merce Cunningham (American, 1919–2009).

Learn more about Robert Rauschenberg and the Pop art movement by reading The Pop Revolution as part of the Book AK program. A discussion will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register

Book AK: The Pop Revolution
Spotlight on Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns (American, born 1930) has been a leading figure in the art world for more than sixty years and has been a part of many key movements, including Pop art. While he is known to work in a variety of two- and three-dimensional forms, it is the artist’s highly texturized paintings that are most easily recognizable. He achieves this texture by incorporating wax and plaster with the paint he applies to the canvas.

Johns often re-creates iconic images such as targets, numbers, letters, and maps of the United States in his works. He is perhaps best known for his images incorporating the American flag, which has been a consistent theme in his work from the 1950s through today.

Learn more about Jasper Johns and the Pop art movement by reading The Pop Revolution as part of the Book AK program. A discussion will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register

Book AK: The Pop RevolutionSpotlight on Andy Warhol
There is perhaps no artist who better embodies the Pop art movement than Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). Beginning his career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol went on to become a celebrated artist, making paintings and sculptures of items from American pop culture, including soup cans and boxes of soap.
Warhol was fascinated by celebrities for much of his life. He painted many portraits—in his brightly colored signature Pop style—of famous figures, including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jacqueline Kennedy. Fascinated by the notion of fame, Warhol worked almost as hard at creating his persona as he did his paintings.
Learn more about Andy Warhol and the Pop art movement by reading The Pop Revolution as part of the Book AK program. A discussion will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register
IMAGE: Andy Warhol’s 100 Cans, 1962. © 2010 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Campbell’s trademarks used with permission of Campbell Soup Company.

Book AK: The Pop Revolution
Spotlight on Andy Warhol

There is perhaps no artist who better embodies the Pop art movement than Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). Beginning his career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol went on to become a celebrated artist, making paintings and sculptures of items from American pop culture, including soup cans and boxes of soap.

Warhol was fascinated by celebrities for much of his life. He painted many portraits—in his brightly colored signature Pop style—of famous figures, including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jacqueline Kennedy. Fascinated by the notion of fame, Warhol worked almost as hard at creating his persona as he did his paintings.

Learn more about Andy Warhol and the Pop art movement by reading The Pop Revolution as part of the Book AK program. A discussion will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register

IMAGE: Andy Warhol’s 100 Cans, 1962. © 2010 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Campbell’s trademarks used with permission of Campbell Soup Company.

Book AK: The Pop RevolutionSpotlight on Claes Oldenburg
Pop artist Claes Oldenburg (American, born Sweden, 1929) is best known for his two- and three-dimensional replicas of everyday items such as hamburgers, tubes of lipstick, clothespins, and the two slices of wedding cake in the Albright-Knox’s 1966 sculpture Wedding Souvenir. Oldenburg attracted attention early in his career with his series “The Store,” which included soft canvas reproductions of everyday items from neighborhood shops. Many of the artist’s large-scale works—which were created in collaboration with his late wife, the artist Coosje van Bruggen—can be seen in public outdoor spaces around the world.
Learn more about Claes Oldenburg and the Pop art movement by reading The Pop Revolution as part of the Book AK program. A discussion will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register
 

Book AK: The Pop Revolution
Spotlight on Claes Oldenburg

Pop artist Claes Oldenburg (American, born Sweden, 1929) is best known for his two- and three-dimensional replicas of everyday items such as hamburgers, tubes of lipstick, clothespins, and the two slices of wedding cake in the Albright-Knox’s 1966 sculpture Wedding Souvenir. Oldenburg attracted attention early in his career with his series “The Store,” which included soft canvas reproductions of everyday items from neighborhood shops. Many of the artist’s large-scale works—which were created in collaboration with his late wife, the artist Coosje van Bruggen—can be seen in public outdoor spaces around the world.

Learn more about Claes Oldenburg and the Pop art movement by reading The Pop Revolution as part of the Book AK program. A discussion will take place on Saturday, September 7, 2013, at 10:15 am. Learn More and Register