Author Archives: Susan Scheid

Early Mondrian, with Sheep

As I suppose is true of many, I knew Mondrian’s oeuvre only through later works like Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942-43). I knew I was supposed to grasp their brilliance, but I couldn’t pretend. They sorta left me cold.

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Further Explorations of Martha Dix’s Hair

OK, it was probably a mistake even to try this, but as Martha Dix’s hair continued to intrigue me, I wasn’t ready to leave well enough alone. Egon Schiele’s Mountain Torrent (1918) sets the stage for the collage at the head of this post, with Martha Dix’s hair rendered twice from John Perceval’s Ocean Beach, Sorrento (1957) and once more from van Gogh’s A Crab on its Back (1887) to round out the set of three.

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The Avant-Gardist Haircut of Martha Dix

Quite by accident, as is usually the case, I ran across a portrait Otto Dix painted of “Mrs. Martha Dix (1928).” Above you’ll see the two of them, as photographed by August Sander. The haircut in this magnificent photograph is, however, but a pale reflection of Otto Dix’s representation of his wife’s hair.

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Men’s Fashion

John Laver, in his 1925 book “Portraits in Oil and Vinegar,” wrote of Sir Walter Russell:

“He might be described as a typical ‘New English” painter, typical, that is, of its earlier, more traditional days, before it had begun to open its gates to some of the more eccentric young men whose work has been seen at its recent exhibitions. He has always been admired by his fellow-artists, but until the success of Mr. Minney, his 1920 Academy picture now in the Tate Gallery, he was scarcely even a name among the philistines.

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Faces in Profile

I recently had cause to think back to a trip to Florence, Italy, decades ago, and to Piero della Francesca’s “Diptych of Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza” (c1465), which I had seen at the Uffizi Gallery. At the time, it was the fellow’s nose that caught my eye first. Not sure, way back then, I got far beyond that, other than remarking to myself on the effect of seeing the two facing off in profile.

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