Friday, October 26, 2018

POP Goes the World

14 x 11", acrylic on gessoed mounted aluminium panel
painting #267, 2018

Frederic Tuten (b.1936) is an American novelist, writer, art and film critic. Tuten was a friend of both Hergé and Roy Lichtenstein. He has published several essays on the work of Lichtenstein as well as catalogues of other artists such as Eric Fischl. With the permission of Hergé, Tuten took Tintin and plunged him into a coming of age adventure, this time going to Machu Picchu with Captain Haddock and Snowy. The narrative follows Tintin as he meets and falls in love with Clavdia Chauchat, which for the first time in his life will awaken and arouse sexual desires. During this process, a metamorphoses occurs as he shed his physical image of a boy-man. This dream-like escapade with political overtones included four characters taken from Thomas Mann’s 1924 novel, “The Magic Mountain”, of which Clavdia Chauchat is among the cast. Prior to this novel, Tintin had always retain the image of being asexual throughout the comic book series

The novel, “Tintin in the New World” was published in 1993, a decade after the passing of Hergé. However, chapters of Tintin in the New World had first appeared in it's entire form in Fiction (1975), Tri-quarterly (1975),  Syntaxis (1984), Artform (1984) and De Brakke Hond (1984). It is perhaps Tuten's best known and most critically acclaimed work. It has been translated into six languages and has gone through several print runs. I had a chance to read the novel during a recent vacation and am in agreement with several critiques I've read on-line which were mixed. Tuten will be publishing a memoir, My Young Life, slated to arrive in bookstores in March 2019.

Roy Lichtenstein had previously done artwork for a book cover of Tuten’s 1971 novel, The Adventures of Mao on the Long March. The artwork that appears on the cover of Tintin in the New World was especially done for the novel in 1993 and is entitled “Tintin Reading”. I only discovered the existence of the Tuten/Lichtenstein collaboration this past August by happenstance. 

I had acquired the collectible figure of Tintin reading in the big red armchair 2 years ago upon visiting the Tintin Boutique in Brussels, Belgium. "Coffret at home" was inspired from the pages of the comic book “L’oreille cassée" (The Broken Ear), published in 1937, page 10 and 11. Tintin was originally holding a book entitled “Voyages aux Amériques” by Ch. J. Walker, Graveau éditeur, 1875. I decided to play with the narrative and have Tintin read his own adventure in Tuten's novel instead.

In the beginning of the novel, it is revealed that Tintin is an art collector and is amassing a collection which includes Danse by Henri Matisse which appears in the artwork. 
Capitain Haddock: "What about your art collecting? Have you given that up, too? All those unopened crates of paintings you've left unexamined: that Matisse you spent ages to acquire- that one with all those naked dancing people- still in its shipping case."
 Photographed during a visit at the MOMA, NYC, Dec. 2015

Lichtenstein had previously drawn inspiration from Matisse's masterwork when in 1973, he incorporated The Dance in a very large scale painting entitled, Artist's Studio- The Dance.

Artist's studio - The Dance, 1973
magna, oil on canvas, 243.8 x 325.1 cm
collection of the MOMA, NYC

Sculptor Seward Johnson is another artist whom was inspired by Matisse's The Dance and created multi-pieces 3-dimension bronze sculptures that included Matisse himself painting on a canvas and models. 

Seward Johnson
photographed during a trip to Key West, Florida
March 2011. 

This painting marks the first time that I have use the camera from my iPod Touch to do the photo study for the painting.
Trivia- Lichtenstein's Tintin Reading was also used for a retrospective of his work held at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montreal in 1994.

This is my second of two paintings that will exhibited at Art Toronto with La Galerie de Bellefeuille of Montreal. The exhibition will be held from October 26 to 29, 2018 at Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, 255 Front Street West, Toronto.