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  • our second speaker this morning is Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

  • A few of her recent exhibitions include the Splendid Stein's Collect Matisse, Picasso in the Parisian avant garde 75 Years of Looking Forward, the Anniversary Show at SFMOMA and Robert Bechtel.

  • A Retrospective.

  • Janet is currently at work on two major projects.

  • A Matisse Steven Korn exhibition, which she's co organizing with the Baltimore Museum of Art, and a retrospective of The Work of David Park, about whom you've already heard.

  • But you'll hear more today during SF Moments expansion.

  • She's overseeing the museum's offsite exhibition program, which will include the Project Matisse from SFMOMA, an exhibition that opens at the Legion of Honor on November the ninth.

  • This show will present 23 paintings, works on papers and sculptures from SF Moments collection alongside for Matisse paintings and drawings from the Finance Museum's holdings this morning What Janet will speak on the subject off painters looking at paintings are a Matisse, Richard Diebenkorn, Wayne Tebow and Robert Bechtel.

  • Please join me in welcoming gentlemen, Bishop.

  • So one of the great privileges as a curator is that we can put together exhibitions of things we want to see.

  • And so the exhibition that that Julian mentioned that I'm currently at work on Matisse.

  • Steven Korn is, um you were born out of, ah of an impulse to want to, um, to put these two artists work together in the same gallery spaces.

  • Of course, unlike many of the references that that Tim cited in his, um, his talk demon corns debt to Matisse is it was very well known.

  • It's something that really anyone writing about the artist would mention you.

  • Demon Matisse demon was very open about his his debt, too, Matisse and and the the evidence of that is really palpable throughout his body of work.

  • But our plan for an exhibitionist to bring these things into the same gallery space that we can really look at them side by side.

  • So I'm not speaking today.

  • You know about artists who, um, who were so close that they work side by side.

  • As as Tim mentioned the David Park Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, who conducted drawing sessions together, and I suspect Nancy may say more about that and her talk, but really about artists looking looking closely at other artists.

  • The private act of looking and studying and absorb, absorbing and then and then borrowing and really productively repurpose ing, too, to one's own ends.

  • And so we'll start with these two.

  • Um, so I'd say that the you know, the relationship between between divan corn and Matisse is one that sort of that comes to us readily.

  • And it was a thrill to see this painting in the exhibition here.

  • And, you know, for those of us who have looked at, you know, lots and lots of our history.

  • Some of the examples come readily to mind.

  • Like like this piece here, Matisse's red studio.

  • And there are others that one thing's of 11 one looks at divan corns.

  • Wonderful interior from 1963.

  • But it's felt really deeply in the abstract work as well.

  • And, um, and this is what we're you know.

  • We're just, uh, you know, starting to sort of assemble in thinking about what the what the exhibition might consist of.

  • So Matisse lived from 1969 to 1954.

  • He spent his career in France and came to the States a couple of times, making just one trip to California in 1930 when divan corn was eight and divan Corn first encountered Matisse's paintings in this house here at the home of Sara Stein, who had moved with her Great Matisse collection to Palo Alto in 1935.

  • Um, Sara Stein was one of the artists, most devoted collectors and friends.

  • And around 1943 when D.

  • Been, Corn was a student at Stanford.

  • His paintings teacher Daniel Mondello.

  • It's brought him to Sarah Stein's to see her.

  • Matisse is now a number of them never made their way Thio to the West Coast, but her holdings still included Matisse's famous one with the hat from 1905 Ah, the tea in the Garden, now in the collection of LACMA from 1919 and ah and Bay of Niece from 1918 and you can see it hanging there on the wall between the windows in the living room.

  • Sara Stein's home she had, like her sister in law, Gertrude Stein, been an incredible sort of proselytizer for the artist's work, and she welcomed people to her home to see and ah, and discuss Matisse and ah, that continued when she moved from Paris to Palo Alto and in the years after her husband passed away, Michael Stein.

  • She loved welcoming people to her home to continue to fuel interest in the artists who had really become a lifelong passion for her.

  • It was rare for undergraduates Thio to be able to do this, and, ah, and Phyllis remembers wishing that she had been able to go along.

  • Um, and on Demon Corn spoke about this visit with with Gerald Norland, although he didn't talk about the paintings.

  • You know, specifically, we just know what was hanging on the walls at the time and what he would have seen on.

  • It's not so hard to imagine, you know, the the impact of something like the Bay of Niece, you know, years later in the, uh in the Ocean Park paintings.

  • So you know it's Tim mentioned.

  • Demon Corn became a really serious student of Matisse when, when he was stationed at at Quantico in 1943 necking 44.

  • So really, directly after this visit to to Sarah Stein's he, he mentioned that he and Phyllis would spend their weekends taking it as much art as they could in the museums on the East Coast, especially in Washington, and, ah, and said that they really just feasted on the treasures that they hanging on the walls there, Uh, this the the bone art piece that that Tim just showed.

  • And, ah, and case on Michelle by Matisse were incredibly important to him.

  • Especially this piece de been corn remembering, you know, the nude on the couch in the room, the sun out the window, you know, noting, you know, as really only he could that that was a big one for me.

  • Um, so, you know, eventually we'd see this very legible influence of Matisse in pictures like the interior with doorway.

  • Um, now at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts that were made a couple of decades after this visual encounter, I would say that these, you know, these images become part of his reservoir, you know, his mental reservoir.

  • And in some cases, he had the occasion to see them again and again, as he would have shortly before, making this Orban a picture.

  • In 1952 the great Matisse retrospective that was organized by Alfred Barr for MoMA traveled after it's sort of official tour that brought it from New York, a couple of other places, including SFMOMA.

  • It then went down to the Element Municipal Art Galleries, where, where divan corn saw it in in the summer of 1952.

  • And this was a huge show.

  • It was.

  • There were 75 paintings, including the works that he had seen at Sarah Stein's house, which had since gone on to other collections, Um, and on many works in sculpture and on paper as well.

  • And Kay Song Michelle was there again.

  • So it kind of reinforcing what he'd seen and loved about it.

  • And, Ah, and while the kind of resonance in something like the Interior with Doorways is very, you know, it's it's very kind of easy to see with his fascination of interior and exterior light and the structure and the, um, and the palette, you know, you see it, you know, to me there's a very, you know, a close connection in between Matisse and what he was doing in er Banna, where it feels to me like he really starts to to, um, to embrace the palette in structure and learned so much from divan corns example even, um, you know, with that sort of patch of of pale blue at the upper right of the cabana picture.

  • He also would have seen the great group of paintings from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, including goldfish and palate from 1914 and inner band of the Archer.

  • I wouldn't even begin to suggest that that demon cornice incorporating goldfish into his composition, but he is activating his his peace with those flecks of color that that bright orange sort of persimmon red there with the with the cream in the blue and the black.

  • So, um, you know s oh, this this trip that the demon corn took Thio Thio to Russia as part of the State Department cultural Exchange program in 1964 could not have been more profound for him.

  • He and Phyllis traveled extensively.

  • They went to many European countries, spent a month in France is they were waiting their paperwork for their trip thio to Moscow and then Leningrad.

  • And he had the occasion to see this extraordinary group of paintings, many of which had been collected by by Shuqing had been one of the Stynes great rival early collectors in the in the first decade of Matisse's career.

  • Um, and as Steven Korn describes it, you know, the trip was a riel marker, just a great trip.

  • It changed my head in a lot of ways.

  • It came at a time when his work was in flux.

  • When, to you know, to his mind, the representational thing, the figure thing was kind of running its course.

  • It was getting tougher and tougher.

  • So recollect recollections of a visit to Leningrad, which Tim shared with you, made shortly after after his return is, is really, I think, the most overt homage to Matisse that you see over the course of his career, where he makes this use of this, these incredible arabesques of the of the wallpaper in.

  • And then these pared down spaces, the geometry of interior and exterior, um, the the the rectangular square of the window and on also in elements of Matisse's palette with that really intense blue and green that comes from, uh, you know, least that we also see in in the conversation from 1912 and even corn moved from Stanford to Santa Monica in September of 1966 and the paintings that he made both shortly before and shortly after.

  • The, um, the move really reflect a a kind of flattening out of space and something that the artist attributes to Matisse and his earlier figured of work.

  • He'd been showing much more depth, and, um and you know, he related this to the experience of Matisse.

  • Because, of course, the Matisse painting was much flatter in its conception than than his own representational painting had been had been.

  • And here, you see, um, the window and, uh and you know, the conversation that he'd seen in Russia along with the piano lesson, which which had just been presented in 1966 show at U.

  • C.

  • L A.

  • Where where'd even corn was teaching.

  • And then here, you know, another piece that he saw in in Russia's or on the terrace.

  • You know, it's, you know, you really only have to put your thumb in front of the image of Zorro yourself toe to see how close the relationship is between what Matisse was doing.

  • And, uh, and what deep in corn, Um, uh, sort of gleaned from that, that work over the course of his career.

  • E mean really it demon core looked at Matisse again and again and again and again on Dhe, uh, and, you know, in collections in exhibitions but also in reproduction.

  • And Phyllis mentioned how any time there was a new a new exhibition, she was very excited because she'd get the cattle, look for it and and give it to him as a Christmas gift.

  • Um, and and so that two became part of what he could turn to a swell a ce the the images that he kept in his head.

  • So have lots more to say about this in a couple of years when we present our exhibition with the B m A.

  • And, uh, and if you stay tuned, um, that will happen in the summer of 2016.

  • So So I also wanted to look at a couple of other artists who who looks so so carefully at D been corn for whom he was, as as he has been to so many, really a great hero within within their work.

  • And first is Wayne Tebow.

  • As as you know, this piece, um, is owned by Tebow and is in is in the exhibition, um, Wayne Tebow and Richard even Corner about the same age.

  • Wayne was born two years prior in 1920 in Mesa, Arizona, and grew up in Southern California.

  • And he moved in 1950 to Sacramento in order to attend.

  • Ah, to attend college.

  • Um, and I'd say, you know, Tebow is as open as any artist could possibly be in acknowledging the huge importance of looking another artist in his painting.

  • The first time I heard Tebow give a talk, I was absolutely stunned because he must have shown 200 images.

  • He came with two packed Paracels and not a single.

  • One of the images was of his own work.

  • Eso It wasn't what anyone who hadn't heard him before was expecting, but but but spoke thio the importance of him.

  • Um, you know his his very sort of humble way of saying things like, I steal from the Japanese.

  • I steal from the Chinese I steal from de Kooning.

  • I steal from divan corn and try not to insult them at the same time.

  • So eso shortly before, they're Certainly after this exhibition opened, the L A Times interview interviewed Tebow about his relationship to divan corn, and, uh, and you might expect Tebow tone a demon Corn City City escape.

  • He's been very open about the extent to which those pieces have influenced him.

  • I found it fascinating and really, and that this is the piece that he lives within his foyer when it's not on view here at the De Young.

  • One of the things Steven Korn mentioned really loving about the piece is its freshness, calling it a beautiful direct encounter.

  • And, ah, and there's a kind of Christmas to the paint application that you that you see in in Tebow Zone work.

  • Um, Tebow began really tracking divan corns work in the 19 fifties, around the time that this still life was made.

  • In fact, um, he had seen and admired the really great Paul Mills exhibition at the Oakland Museum, the 1957 Bay Area figured of painting show that featured Elmer Bischoff on the cover.

  • It's catalog and included many works by Elmer by Richard Diebenkorn, David Park and others who were committed to representation at a time when most over avant garde painting in the United States was abstract and demon Corn was also noticing what Tebow was doing, Um, and actually gave him a prize for a beach scene in a juried show in 1961 at the Oakland Museum.

  • But the exhibition that Tebow specifically recalls going to see uh, where he was able to take in a really intense concentration of the artist's work was the 1960 divan corn show at the Legion of Honor that had 42 paintings from the period 1957 to 1960.

  • So, in speaking to the value of presenting a very focused concentration of an artist's work, this was huge.

  • It was incredible that Deven Corn had produced that volume of work in just those just those few years.

  • And what Tebow recalls when he went to see the exhibition is that he would make some nail drawings of everything in the show that he spent three hours going through the exhibition, sitting and looking at them um, sitting for quite a few hours, he said, making diagram attic rather careful, analytical, schematic drawings of the work and talked about how he could then use the character of what he sketched in his own work.

  • And so when you look at a woman on the porch, which was reproduced in the catalogue and featured prominently in the exhibition and how it how it might relate to the kinds of things that that Tebow was doing shortly thereafter.

  • You know, it's it's, you know, it's interesting to look at the at the at the relationship, the way he's organized those those bands of, um, you know, of color team ago Tebow working sort of in the gray scale and and, uh, and even corn in these rich chromatic tones.

  • Even the things that you know show up on top of the counter in Tebow seemed to have a relationship to what might be on the other side of that body of water picking up above the above the horizon line.

  • So they would actually meet Ah, the, um at Crown Point Press.

  • And, uh, in 1964 when both of them were making prints and nearly so, like I said nearly 50 years ago, um, and then ah, and became friends, visiting each other's, you know, homes and and studios getting together in San Francisco, you know, on various occasions.

  • And Tebow said the divan corn was something that he really, really loved.

  • Talking Thio about about painting, and he he found especially of thrilling the city paintings.

  • And, you know, like divan corn made extraordinarily productive use of San Francisco's kind of uniquely dramatic topography, a situation where a grid has basically been laid directly on the hills without too much attempt to circumvent them.

  • But just going straight over them as a CZ Tebow sort of dramatically captures in the 24th Street intersection around this time.

  • You know, actually, 1972 when he ran the time he was first started making these paintings, um, he established a second residence in Potrero Hill, one of the sort of notoriously hilly parts of the city.

  • And I think in both artists work you see in this great interest in geometry and abstraction and organizing visual information around the kind of the needs of the pictures, Um, both of them, you know, upend the street in the city escape that Tim showed.

  • And in Debo Tebow, Sunset Streets from 1985 you see the way that the street, you know, presented just left of centre M in both compositions, kind of divides the various zones of the painting.

  • You know, Tebow kind of ah, turning his the blacktop, almost putting it almost in relationship to the picture plane, Um, where it becomes nearly a sheer vertical drop and, uh, and including, you know, sort of activating the the composition with cars and with a really sort of dense, uh, cluster of buildings, both both left and right, He would go on to make even Maur kind of fantastical streetscapes.

  • It's become one of the the the main sort of bodies of work within his career.

  • And yet, I think demon corns example makes itself felt not only through the cityscapes, which Tebow has acknowledged as a source of inspiration, but also in paintings like this.

  • The girl looking at landscape where you think look at the structure of it.

  • Both of them are.

  • Both of them are views their their views out to something else.

  • That's certainly the case in the piece on the right as well, the figure implied by the by the table set and ready to go in a view out of an apartment window.

  • Um and ah, and they they share the use of those vertical columns to both divide space, sort of foreground and background, as well as a cz.

  • Well, it's left to right as Tebow saw it, both he and even corn were interested in some of the same kinds of processes, Um, and the same kinds of artists bone yard, Matisse, Indian miniature paintings, Steven Korn collected and noting that that's where the light comes from, a spectral relationship within the painting itself.

  • And lastly, I just want to show Berkeley Number 57 by divan Corn alongside Thibault's Waterland from 1996.

  • In recent years, Tebow spent more and more time in Sacramento, less time in San Francisco, as has explored the whole California Delta region in um, in his, um, some of his more recent paintings.

  • And, uh and well, there's it's a totally different sort of painterly energy than what you see in the cityscapes there.

  • Ah, there's this intense attention to detail about how you put the various elements of a painting together, you know, to make a hole and, um, and in looking at alongside Berkeley number 57 by divan Corn, I see so many of the same ways of approaching you know, shape and color and and texture and the different ways of putting that together to make to make it really extraordinary.

  • Picture So, um, the the last artist that I want to talk about in relationship to deepen corn is is Robert Bechtel, and I'll start with the cityscapes just because we've we've seen them already.

  • Um, Bechtel was born in 1932.

  • So making him a decade younger than Richard, even corn.

  • And he grew up.

  • He was born in San Francisco and, uh, spent a little bit of time in Sacramento, is a kid and then mostly grew up in Alameda.

  • Um, and his work, you know, rose to prominence in the night late 19 sixties and early 19 seventies when he became known for these very tightly controlled paintings based on kind of snapshot like photographs, especially photographs of single cars.

  • And in the second half of the seventies, and he started to kind of back up and taken more of the street.

  • Um, where that became, you know, subject in and of itself.

  • And especially after 1980 when he moved to Patrol Hill with Whitney Chadwick.

  • Um, you see this become a really prominent theme within his body of work.

  • Um, so there's a and there's a really sort of direct lineage back again.

  • Thio, you know to divan corn.

  • Um, you can.

  • By comparison, Demon Corn himself made relatively few of these paintings by comparison to, you know, say, Bechtel or Tebow, where the subject has become really primary.

  • I love looking at the upper left hander of the upper right hand, part of the Texas street intersection that you see in Bechtel's worth and the way that those triangular shadow, sort of, um, form themselves stack themselves on the sidewalk in a way, you know, in a way that's not so dissimilar from that upper part of the cityscape painting with its shadows, the shadows that we cast from the building up.

  • You know, across that that upper passage of the road, Um, and and in this painting, Bechtel managed to find the, you know, the kind of the dramatic view, even when the street was relatively flat with this very, very pronounced, kind of renaissance perspective with, and he's got, his house is organized around the street and the sidewalk, and, um and you know, I can't I'm you know, I'm sure that he would have had, you know, the city escape, you know, in mind in the way that the those those sort of, you know, painfully little carefully tended patches of green out in front of the houses on the right form.

  • These sort of trap trap is a little blocks along along that side of the composition.

  • Tebow, love Thio, upend the landscape divan corn, you know, showed landscapes vertical.

  • And that you see the extension of that in the ocean park paintings Bechtel almost always pervert and a even sort of slightly stretched horizontal format.

  • And ah, and And what he would do is use the camera to kind of frame thes dramatic views and then cropped kind of s miss as might best suit is composition, but but tended to stay away from fantasy.

  • You don't have the kind of exaggeration, except as it sort of captured by bye bye.

  • His photograph as we were working on the retrospective exhibition That s a poem a presented in 2005.

  • You know, Bechtel acknowledged to me that demon corn had been huge for him, and it was something that that in despite some overlapping interests in subject matter, it wasn't something that was so intuitive for May.

  • I hadn't seen that immediately.

  • I knew that they both like painting, seated figures, for instance, and on the city views.

  • But the touch is so different, the paint handling is so different.

  • Um, and you know, in fact, the berry figured of painters were not the the artists that that Bechtel, 10 years younger again was showing with and you know, when he had his work first rose to prominence, for instance, showing in documented five in 1972 he was shown alongside Richard STS and Chuck Close.

  • Even Gerhard Richter.

  • A cz well, a cz.

  • Other artists associated with voter realism like, you know, Ralph Goings or Richard McClane.

  • So it wasn't the berry figured of artists that were that were either quite his peers or the artists that people tended to kind of think of him, I think of him with on DSO It was it was really through kind of a period of looking that that that I began to better understand the extent of of Bechtel's debt thio to deepen corn, and, uh, the the first encounter was really when, um, when Bechtel enrolled at um at C C.

  • A.

  • For graduate school, he'd been there is an under graduate undergraduate, went off to the Army came back in 1956 and even Horn had joined the faculty.

  • Now it would seem obvious to to take a class with him, but he was too intimidated to do that.

  • And he said it was just a, you know, in retrospect, one of the most ridiculous decisions of his young life because he d been court had become such a powerhouse and had such influence over what students were doing that he felt like he didn't want to get caught up in that.

  • And so he didn't He didn't feel I could really pull it off.

  • You know, that the sort of paint handling that the deep in corn was so gifted in.

  • And so he be picked up the camera as a way to sort of distance himself, intentionally distance himself from, um, from what the Bay Area figured of painters were doing.

  • Um, so, uh, you know so again, do you know, despite the really obvious connection and subject matter and the feel of some of the paintings, you know, the handling was just so different that it was hard to see.

  • So with this piece, for instance, which has this really, um, overt sort of snapshot like feel.

  • And one of the things about Bechtel's work is when you see it in reproduction, you really aren't sure immediately whether you're looking at a at A at a photograph, we're looking at a painting.

  • Um, you know this piece, you know, completely embraces that.

  • That that casual, you know, aesthetic, that this