Judith H. Dobrzynski
Judith H. Dobrzynski
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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Mapping Beauty Across the Americas
"Picturing the Americas: Landscapes from Tierra del Fuego to the Artic"

December 29, 2015  •  The Wall Street Journal

Bentonville, Ark.

With its craggy mountains, unspoiled forests, wild rivers, vast prairies and open sky, the immense territory that makes up the Americas was bound to kindle the imagination of artists. Notably, while early portraiture and history paintings on these shores mostly emulated European art traditions, the land inspired the first new movement—the idealized, luminous naturalism of the Hudson River School.

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Mysteries of a Danish Painter
"Painting Tranquility: Masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi"

November 3, 2015  •  The Wall Street Journal

If "fifty shades of gray" had not been co-opted in 2011 for the title of a poorly written erotic novel, the phrase might well have been applied to the art of Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916). No matter the subject, Hammershøi—renowned in Northern Europe, especially his native Denmark, but not well known in the U.S.—composed his paintings with muted colors; even his portrayal of skin is pinkish gray.

But he does so to great effect, as is illustrated by "Painting Tranquility: Masterworks by Vilhelm Hammershøi from SMK—The National Gallery of Denmark" at Scandinavia House through Feb. 27, 2016. In Hammershøi's hands, gray conveys not bleakness, but quietude, melancholy and mystery.

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Anatomy of An Art Auction
How Auction Houses Orchestrate Sales for Maximum Drama

November 1, 2015  •  The New York Times

The frenzy begins in days. Between Wednesday, Nov. 4, and Friday, Nov. 13, Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips will auction hundreds of Impressionist, Modern and contemporary artworks worth — they hope — nearly $2.8 billion, each one in a matter of a minute or two, sometimes in seconds. Dozens of people labor for months to put together and pull off these twice-a-year bellwether auctions.

"The buzz in the sale room is a high point," said Patti Wong, chairwoman of Sotheby's Asia, "but a lot goes on before the auction that leads to the evening."

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Denver Art Museum Strengthens Commitment to Native American Work

November 1, 2015  •  The New York Times

Early last month, the Denver Art Museum raised the curtain on "Super Indian: Fritz Scholder, 1967-1980," an exhibition featuring about 40 colorful, rarely seen artworks by a controversial figure who died in 2005. Mr. Scholder, who blended figurative and Pop Art influences into his own style, challenged the stereotypical depiction of American Indians as one-dimensional — showing them instead, for example, as real people with beer cans or draped in United States flags. And though he said he was not Native American (he was one-quarter Luiseño), Mr. Scholder was part of the New American Indian Art movement, which brought Native American artists into the contemporary art world and infused their work with more freedom, more possibility and more visibility.

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At the Getty Center, Black Bird Pies For Renaissance Foodies

November 1, 2015  •  The New York Times

If you've always thought the line about "four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie" was a bit of nonsense children's verse, an exhibition now at the J. Paul Getty Center will set you straight. In "The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals," you'll learn not only that such pies existed — with live birds encased — but also how to make pastry for them.

"That was a spectacle pie," said Marcia Reed, chief curator of the Getty Research Institute, who organized the exhibition. "There were pies that blew up, too. It was table entertainment."

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