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

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'Pattern and Flow: A Golden Age of American Decorated Paper' Review: A Delicate Art's Delights
An exhibition at the Grolier Club highlights hand-made decorated papers from the 1960s to the 2000s.

February 2, 2023  •  The Wall Street Journal

New York

The bright, bold colors are perhaps the first thing visitors will notice upon entering "Pattern and Flow: A Golden Age of American Decorated Paper, 1960s to 2000s." Closer inspection reveals that the designs they form—swirls, waves, angel wings, peacock feathers, leaves, flowers and more—are even more enchanting. The handmade ornamental paper sheets by 53 artists on view in the Grolier Club's ground-floor gallery provide stunning evidence that there actually was a glittering "golden age." Who knew?

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ICONS: Picasso's Landscapes
A new exhibition makes the case that paintings of places were a crucial part of the artist's work.

January 21, 2023  •  The Wall Street Journal

The name of Pablo Picasso immediately brings to mind any number of paintings, styles and genres—his breakthrough African-influenced "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" (1907), the antiwar "Guernica" (1937), his Cubist still lifes, the surrealistic portraits of his lovers, and on and on. What doesn't usually surface? Landscapes. The genre comprises just a small proportion of Picasso's lifetime output, perhaps 200 of his estimated 13,500 paintings, and none are well-known to the public.

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The Stanley Museum of Art: More Than 'Mural'
Review: Though best known for its celebrated Jackson Pollock painting, the University of Iowa's museum—now in a new building after a disastrous 2008 flood—houses a host of other treasures.

January 10, 2023  •  The Wall Street Journal

Iowa City, Iowa

Chances are, many visitors to the Stanley Museum of Art at the University of Iowa have come especially to see its most famous painting—Jackson Pollock's "Mural" (1943). Commissioned by art patron and dealer Peggy Guggenheim, and later donated by her, the 8-by-20-foot painting, with its swirling black verticals and network of biomorphic yellow, gray, pink and red whirls, brims with energy. It was a breakthrough for Pollock, a bridge to his famous drip works, an arrow pointing to action painting and Abstract Expressionism.

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'She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia' Review: Ancient Civilization by First Known Author
The Morgan Library & Museum tells the entwined stories of Enheduanna—an innovative poet—and the women of the world in which she lived.

November 24, 2022  •  The Wall Street Journal

New York

I am Enheduanna, let me speak to you my prayer,
My tears flowing like some sweet intoxicant:
"O Holy Inanna, may I let you have your way?
I would have you judge the case."

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'Van Gogh in America' Review: Tracking an Acquired Taste
The Detroit Institute of Arts exhibit reveals how van Gogh became a superstar, showing 74 of his works and highlighting the Midwestern collections that took the risk of acquiring the initially controversial artist.

October 13, 2022  •  The Wall Street Journal

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) had been dead for 32 years before any American museum bought a painting by him. While he was famously (if exaggeratedly) unsuccessful in life, by then Europe had long since embraced him. Yet at the landmark 1913 Armory Show in New York—Van Gogh's public debut here, with at least 21 paintings on view—nothing of his sold, and one critic wrote that Van Gogh had "little if any sense of beauty and spoiled a lot of canvas with crude, quite unimportant pictures." In 1920, when New York's Montross Gallery gave him a retrospective, only three of 67 pictures sold, all to one collector. And when in 1921 the Metropolitan Museum of Art presented "A Loan Exhibition of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings," including seven Van Gogh loans, it was condemned by many as degenerate art.

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