More Torn and Cut Paper, with Schubert

Someone said this (mostly) torn paper collage seemed summery, so given the summery (hot) day, I’ve put it up first.

The next is inspired by Joachim Beuckelaer’s Fish Market (1568), which I took in on my most recent visit to the Met Museum. Fish Market “was painted during the tumultuous times of the Iconoclasm (1566), which disrupted the art market and motivated a change from purely religious to more secular themes.” [cite]

“Which disrupted the art market” is an odd locution for what was actually going on, which was basically an anti-Catholic revolt:

In the late summer of 1566, serious public disturbances broke out throughout the Low Countries. The social unrest was driven by famine conditions in many cities but quickly took the form of a wave of Iconoclasm. Calvinist ministers drew large numbers of the common people to outdoor prayer gatherings. In August of 1566 Calvinist mobs took over local churches and smashed Catholic statues, stained glass windows and paintings. Known as the Beeldenstorm, or image breaking, the unrest spread throughout the Low Countries and became a fundamental challenge to the governments loyal to Phillip II and the Catholic Church. [cite]

Also incorporated into the collage are pages from a Carolingian Gospel Book, “Landscape with Buildings and Trees” (ca. 1800-10), an etching and acquatint by Goya, and “Boy with a Cat in His Arms Leaning against a Shop Window” (1934), a photograph by Dora Maar.

The elements included in this collage are Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s “Head of a Young Man” (1750-60), a breastplate from Fiji (early 19th C), and Alfred Stieglitz’s photograph, “The Steerage” (1907). The backdrop is from a 19th C textile.

Bits of torn magazines make up this one, with an effort to tear scraps in (mostly) single colors.

The last sets August Sander’s “Pastry Cook, Cologne” (1928), in the company of Victor Keppler’s “Housewife in Kitchen” (ca. 1940), against a backdrop of radiator images from Bharti Kher’s “The Hot Winds That Blow from the West” (2010-2011).

Listening List

Elisabeth Leonskaja performing Schubert’s Piano Sonata in C Minor, No. 19, D. 958 (1828)

Franz Schubert’s final three piano sonatas — stunning achievements that only began to grab a place in pianists’ repertoires during the latter half of the twentieth century — were all finished in September 1828, just two months before the composer died. The first of these three massive and challenging sonatas, at least as far as numbering goes, is the Piano Sonata in C minor, D. 958, sometimes called No. 19; like the other two piano sonatas of 1828, it is a work that Schubert dedicated to the pianist Johann Hummel. Hummel had a year earlier been present at a private evening of Schubert lieder and had expressed his admiration for the composer in the highest terms. The Sonata, however, was not published until 1839, a few years after Hummel’s death, and the publisher unjustly struck Schubert’s dedication from the piece and made a new one to Robert Schumann. [cite]

First movement, Allegro

Second movement, Adagio

Third movement, Menuetto/Allegro

Fourth movement, Allegro


Credits: The sources for the quotations are cited in the text. The photographs (and underlying collages) are mine.


14 thoughts on “More Torn and Cut Paper, with Schubert

  1. David Nice

    The mostly blue abstract one I love – you’ve hit some kind of high artistic mark there, I think. As for Lisa L, you know I think she’s the living best in Schubert. At the right hand of God the Father, Richter, though his heavenly (to me) lengths are an acquired taste.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Can’t thank you enough for introducing me to Leonskaja. I look forward to getting my hands on the complete Schubert piano sonatas. Pleased you enjoyed the mostly blue abstract. It’s fun to play around with bits of color like that, and every now and then it sort of works.

  2. Curt Barnes

    It’s got to be rare for a collagist to give detailed information about the ingredients of the art, but I think the trouble you took was interesting in its own right, Sue. (I’d forgotten Dora Maar took photographs) You vary from provocative historical mixes to the more purely visual, of course. I hadn’t heard of Leonskaja before but am glad I have now. Information you provide on those last three sonatas, probably my favorites, was interesting and poignant. Thanks!

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      I don’t always remember to note down images I use, but in this case I think I was as much interested in the underlying images as any sacrilege I performed on them! I think/hope you’ll enjoy Leonskaja’s Schubert.

  3. George Mattingly

    Nice pieces here, Sue (both the art and the music!). Especially like the “Fish Market.”

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      So nice to “see” you, George, and glad you enjoyed my cut-and-paste efforts. I may enjoy sorting through materials as much as I enjoy trying to piece something together with them. In the case of the Fish Market “source image,” I’ve always appreciated Netherlandish 16th-17th C art for its secular scenes, but little did I know what underlay the turn away from religious content!

  4. Mark Kerstetter

    Sue, it’s always a joy seeing your collages! What impresses me most about this group is how different they are. You’re not just doing the same thing over and over. That’s wonderful to see.

    The “Fish Market” one seems like the most static composition, almost like items pinned to a board, until I move back and notice the nice play of mostly black shapes with patches of other colors over that yellow field. The last one has a similar setup over red this time, but those great radiator images act like accordions wheezing in and out. And the other images are great fun. I especially like the imperious chef as contrasted with the meditative woman (who reminds me of Dorothy in the ‘Wizard of Oz’).

    The “Steerage” one is a solid picture, a great combination of images. I like the way you separated the Steiglitz image.

    I like the two blue ones most. They’re both beautiful and lyrical in similar and different ways. In the second one the torn technique is especially effective. The pieces remain clearly torn pieces of paper but at the same time seem to fly or float as in the air or on the ocean. But that “L” shape with the machine-like lines anchors the whole thing in a very pleasing way.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Mark, so pleased, as always, that you stopped by. Your observations are always perceptive. For one, I love that you spotted the scraps I arranged in the “Fish Market” collage. Because, as I built it, it seemed too “square,” I worked with the scraps leftover from the pieces I’d chosen to display to counteract that. It’s a bit of a hazard working with images, as it’s hard to break them apart, but then again, working in abstraction holds its own hazards, one of which is that every choice seems random. A note on “The Steerage” collage: I’d been wanting since forever to use the Tiepolo drawing–reminds me of something Ashbery might choose for a collage–and I wanted the Stieglitz to work with it simply, to give both works of art room to play off one another.

  5. newleafsite

    More of your collages, and not a moment too soon! I love the stream of consciousness aspect of your gatherings, and the music you join with them – like a chance to meander in your brain for a little while, and such a treat! — Elizabeth

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Elizabeth, it’s always a treat to hear from you! Am glad this little post could be a spur–though I do worry about you meandering in my peevish brain! You are a brave soul to do that . . .

  6. shoreacres

    Until I found this delightful post, I’d not connected the collage in my current post with your own work in the medium. I was pleased to find this post waiting for me; I think your approach to a collage is especially interesting; having some commentary to go along with them is a treat.

    It’s also occurred to me that, from time to time, both you and I produce posts that are collage-like by nature. The combination of music, words, art, and so on often is far more interesting and engaging than words alone, music alone, or art alone. Fitting the pieces together in a pleasing way takes thought and time, and you certainly excel at that, even when your posts focus on travel or gardens rather than collage per se.

    The first collage does seem summery. The largest piece reminds me of the sort of fabric used in vintage sundresses — the ne plus ultra of summer fashion a few decades ago. In the second, the boy with the cat in his arms brings to mind the woman with a chicken in her lap in my post. What is it about familiarity with animals, domestic or otherwise, that’s so appealing? Whatever it is, it probably could help to explain the popularity of cat videos on social media.

    The mostly blue one brought Matisse to mind, and the last one (perhaps my favorite) evoked the smell of wet and snowy woolen mittens drying on school radiators. The best part of all might be the careful cutting that surrounded that male chef with the seemingly puzzled or anxious 1950s housewife and her kitchen. That, my friend, is collage at its best.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Oh, my you are much too kind in your words–I am so lazy in what I do these days. And yet, it is true that I enjoy taking the time to connect elements in a way that goes beyond the boundaries of a single art or craft, hoping that others find resonances, too. Must now hop over your way to see what’s going on! (I’m not in the blogosphere so much anymore, so don’t often spot what’s new.)

  7. Friko

    ‘cut and paste’ jobs? Having been away for a long time I didn’t know you had discovered yet another string to your creative bow. Chapeau, dear lady.

    I think the last collage is probably my favourite although I like them all and the fish market would come next in line. The period of the iconoclasts was a catastrophe, I dread to think of the many irreplaceable works of art that were destroyed.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Friko: so pleased to “see” you here! I know I have been a poor correspondent as of late–as you can see I’m not blogging so much myself. But yes, I do while away a bit of time cutting and pasting–it’s quite enjoyable though, like everything else, I spend much more time thinking about doing it than actually sitting down and doing it. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the last collage. I do love August Sander’s photos and enjoyed putting his pastry cook in the middle of the “action.” Your historical footnote is spot on, too, thinking on the art that was lost as the result of the iconoclast.

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