6 June 2008


Pictures taken last May. At times like these I really hate my cheap camera with its chronic incapacity to show detail. Still, one gets the idea these images try to convey.

5 April 2008

Sketchy nudes from unknown artist

Two female nudes from an unknown artist, taken from a 1920s-1930s sketchbook.
The left sketch "young girl with a monkey" rings a bell. I have seen this theme before. But where?

16 March 2008

Saint-Allouestre Brittany on March 9th 2008

click here for large picture

click here for large picture

click here for large picture

click here for large picture

Maria Nordman (1943-)

Maria Nordman, born in Görlitz, Germany, in 1943. Installation at the Domaine de Kerguéhennec in Brittany, France, entitled Fragment pour une cité nouvelle or Fragment for a new city, 1987-1989, executed in Bignan granite and slate in the old forge of the Kerguéhennec estate:

More on Maria Nordman here, here and on Google. From the New York Times article:
Ms. Nordman was born in Silesia and brought to the United States by her family when she was young. She works in a storefront and rides a bicycle; she cannot drive a car. She loves classical music and the Chartres cathedral. She shares an interest in light with Los Angeles artists like Robert Irwin and Larry Bell. The swollen silence and formal grace of her work brings to mind other artists of her generation like Martin Puryear and Vija Celmins.

10 February 2008

Sacha Zaliouk (1887-1971)

Still taken from Montparnasse, poème du café-crème, a 1929 short film by avant-gardist filmmaker Eugène Deslaw (pdf).

Alexander Davidovich Zaliouk, or Sacha Zaliouk, was born in 1887 in the small Jewish village of Radomyshl in Ukraine. From 1904 to 1910 he studied painting in Petrograd and at the Odessa School of Arts. After his studies he collaborated on a number of publications: the Odessa magazine Crocodile (1911-1912), South Week (1912-1913) and the South Thought newspaper (from 1911). Zaliouk also made drawings and illustrations for Odessa Stage Revue (1912). At the time he signed his work with "Sasha", "Sash" or "A.Z.". From 1908 to 1912 he took part in the exhibitions of the Society of South Russian Artists (Obshchestvo iuzhnorusskikh khudozhnikov) .
Round 1912 Sacha Zaliouk emigrated to Paris where he completed his art studies at the Paris École des Beaux-Arts. It is also believed, according to Odessa newspapers of the mid-1910s, that Zaliouk enlisted as a volunteer of the French Army and fought at Verdun. He lived and became known in the Paris area of Montparnasse, renowned for its artistic environment. Among his acquaintances we find fellow artist Leonard Foujita and his tutors Raphael Collin and François Flameng. His break-through came in 1919 when he exhibited his portraits of literary figures, artists and celebrities. The French newspapers at the time dubbed him le plus Montparno des Montparno. He also made a number of sculptures.

Below is another still from Montparnasse, poème du café-crème by Eugène Deslaw, this time showing a detail of Zaliouk's studio.

In the 1920s he made a name for himself as a gifted illustrator, cartoonist and portrait painter. He worked for satirical French magazines such as Fantasio, Sourire, Le Journal Amusant, La Parisienne and the more scabrous Paris-plaisirs. For the latter he illustrated Philantropie, a story by Georges Simenon (Paris-plaisirs, n°85 (90?), July 1929).

My apologies for the poor quality of the image above. I shall publish a better one as soon as I find a copy of the magazine. Below you'll find an illustration he did for the May 1925 issue of Fantasio. The satirical text translates as "Kiki, model for cubist painters. Or the woman who is about to be cut into pieces."


A few more examples of his illustration work can be found at artnet. On June 28th 2005 an auction house in Brittany, France, sold off a large part of his remaining works, among which many originals of known illustrations.

At this auction I acquired a few samples of his work myself, among which some very interesting sketches he made. Sketches are seldomly shown glimpses into the kitchen of an artist. Here is one example.

And, finally, two more finished works. The first one is a detail of a portrait of a man. The original measures 32 x 40 cm. It was sold in a frame made by the artist and is executed in pastel. Unfortunately, I have not been able to identify the sitter yet.

The second work is a watercolour and pastel of a nude sitting man.
The size of the original is 26 x 18 cm.

I shall expand on this post whenever I find more information on Sacha Zaliouk. The main source for the current information was the catalogue of the June 28th 2005 sale Atelier Sacha Zaliouk (1887-1971) at Bretagne Enchères. Please note that my own contributions, notably the images showing the url of this diary, are not to be reproduced for commercial purposes.

Here is the Wikipedia entry on Zaliouk


28 January 2008

Dreary weather

Photo of Antwerp taken with a camera worth 20 euros. Atrocious detail, yet the grainy aspect of the image is very invocative of the greyish weather at the time the photo was taken. Almost impressionistic.


17 January 2008

Antal Weiss

pastel on paper 28 x 37 cm

Antal Weiss (1886-1963), portrait of a young Hungarian lady, 1918

Very little is known on the internet about Antal Weiss. From what I have found on-line so far he was a Hungarian graphic artist and illustrator. There are a few references to him working as a designer of posters, both civilian and military.

On the Imperial War Museum website we find one example of a wartime poster of his advertising war loans in WW I. And on an Hungarian auction site I found the following image of another war poster he made in 1915. The text, contrary to what you might think if you do not speak Hungarian, has nothing to do with war. Boldog uj évet simply means Happy New Year.

On this site you'll find a civilian advertising poster by Antal Weiss. I am not reproducing it here for reasons of copyright. Weiss also seems to have been involved in the design of Hungarian banknotes and the illustration of books and book covers, as evidenced by this monetary style book cover or this book here. By the looks of it he must have been a well-established artist in his time.

I also have an ex libris, signed and dated 1912, actual size 55 x 55 mm, designed for one Mérei Emil. The word könyve means book or volume.

That is all for the time being. Admittedly, the information presented here is still rather flimsy. Yet, the quality of the portrait in my possession motivates me to continue my research on Antal Weiss. The internet won't be of much assistance in this case, apart from this handy online Hungarian to English translator or even this one, so I'll be forced to delve into real paper archives as soon as I get a chance to do so.

By publishing my findings so far I am also hoping, through Google, to meet people who know more about Antal Weiss. No matter the eventual results, the search itself will prove as interesting as the artist himself undoubtedly used to be. To be continued.


15 January 2008

Unknown artist

Oil on panel (possibly Belgian)

Artist unknown


If you have anything interesting to offer Phryne, you can tell her in the comment sections to the posts on the main page. If it is really good, she'll bare her breasts... I mean, reveal her e-mail to you.

Links open in new windows and lead to webpages in different languages. Over time there should be enough eye candy in here to satisfy even the hardiest monolinguist. Of course, should you be that generous, you can always suggest links in the comment sections to the posts on the main page.


Only retrospect will be able to tell what this diary was all about. For the moment, all I can say is that it won't be political nor will it deal with current events. Most of the time it will centre around things NOT bought by the masses. There is a great amount of forgotten beauty out there in small things, I aim to create a collection of them here. Since, like most people, I have a normal daytime job posts will develop over time. When you see the phrase "later more" it simply means the affected post will be elaborated on whenever I have some time to spare. Even though this weblog, like most others, takes on the form of a diary, posting will not respect the timeline imposed by the format. It will grow organically, jumping back and forth in time.

By the way, Phryne was an ancient Greek model who was tried for heresy and then got away scott free because a devoted friend showed the judges her naked breasts. They were so impressed with her beauty that they dropped all charges against her. I suppose they dropped even more than that, but you never know for sure with these ancient Greeks.

PS: All pictures on this blog were taken with a very cheap camera. The challenge is not to buy a better one, which I cannot afford, but to make the most of what I have.