Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress, is one of Frida Kahlo’s early portraits. This portrait implied the emotional tension as well as showing with her other paintings. This painting she used as a token of love to regain the affection from her lover. She started working on this painting during the late summer of 1926 when her relationship with Alejandro is turning sour because Alejandro thinks she is too liberal. She wrote letters to him and promised that she will be a better person to deserve him. And when she finished this portrait in September of 1926 she wrote a letter to: “Within a few days the portrait will be in your house. Forgive me for sending it without a frame. I implore you to put it in a low place where you can see it as if you were looking at me.”
In this self-portrait, Frida was wearing a wine-red velvet dress and looks like a princess in it. She sent it to Alejandro and hope he will keep her in his mind. This painting worked: after Alejandro received this paining, they went back to be together again. But he left for Europe in March 1927 because his parents didn’t want him to be together with Frida. She wrote a lot of letters after they are apart and in those letters she calls herself with her Self Portrait in a Velvet Dress, calling it “your ‘Boticeli’. She wrote this: “Alex, your ‘Boticeli’ has also become very sad, but I told her that until you come back, she should be the ‘sound asleep one’; in spite of this she remembers you always.” And in a few months on awaiting him coming back to Mexico, she wrote the letter with reference to this portrait: “You cannot imagine how marvelous it is to wait for you, serenely as in the portrait.” It was obvious Frida was hoping her self-portrait has the magical power that can win back her love.
Surrealism arose from Dadaist activities during the war. Centered in Paris, it quickly became a cultural movement, rather than only artistic. Perhaps the most influential of its forefathers, Andre Breton stressed the importance of Surrealism as a revolutionary movement. Believing that their works expressed the philosophy behind the period in which psychoanalysis was born, elements of surprise, juxtapositions, and importance of the dream-like worlds and the notion of thesubconscious dominated. In 1924, Breton published his Surrealist Manifesto and defined the thoughts of the time as pure psychic automatism. Next to Breton, the Spanish self-proclaimed Genius Salvador Dali, known for some of the most thought-provoking and often erotic images, is now revered as one of the crucial surrealist artists of the group.
The maturation of Salvador Dali through the twenties:
Today, Surrealism photography is considered one of the important trends of the medium while questions concerning the lowbrow art and pop surrealism would lead to a better understanding of the original Surrealism as well.
For many, the period of the 1920s art is seen as the first modern decade responsible for the creation of concepts that the world follows even today. As an endlessly fascinating time, artists pushed for the new and the revolutionary which helped create the art as we know it.
I’m including Diego Rivera’s famous mural since it was begun in the twenties, although most of it wasn’t completed until the mid-thirties.
Funded by the Mexican government, Diego Rivera’s mural took six years to complete, and can be found in the stairwell of The National Palace (Palacio Nacional) in Mexico City. Diego presented a narrative to the public which sympathetically portrayed Indians as the oppressed minority, brutalised by the Spaniards. Comprised of four sections, the largest mural pieces stand at 70 metres (229.7 feet) by 9 metres (29.5 feet).
The North Wall is dedicated to a representation of Aztec culture, incorporating a symbolic sun (the centre of Aztec religion) with a pyramid and an Aztec leader underneath it. The West Wall depicts the history of warfare, with Cortes and the Spanish armies defeating the opposing forces of the Indians and Aztecs. The South Wall represents all that Rivera loved and was inspired by, from the Red communist flag to socialist Karl Marx and artist and wife Frida Kahlo alongside her sister Cristina (Diego’s one-time lover). School children are represented in the section, symbolising peace, unity and future progress in society.
Edward Hopper’s picture of social realism is comprised from a composition of multi-coloured geometric rectangles and depicts a scene within a Chinese restaurant. In the centre foreground are two women (both believed to be based on Hopper’s wife, Josephine) who appear to have an ambiguous relationship. They mirror each other’s solitary and aloof demeanour across a bright table in green and purple cloche hats. There is no tactile interaction, and the lady in green hides her hands in a defensive manner under the table, suggesting uneasiness. The four figures depicted are meeting for a social event, but the irony lies in a mutual lack of interest and spontaneity, which leaks through their detached facial expressions. A man in the background talking with a female friend seems to enjoy his cigarette more than his date. Hopper catches the each person’s loneliness despite them being in a public, open space. A mixture of natural and artificial light is seen throughout the composition; the sun reflects off the billboard directly onto the white tables and the woman in green, giving her a ghostly pallor.
Will Longstaff’s depiction of the Menin Gate war memorial in Ypres (also known as Ghosts of Menin Gate) forms part of a collection at The Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The composition captures the spirits of soldiers marching in unison across a cornfield under an indigo evening sky. After attending the unveiling of Menin Gate in July 1927, Longfield claimed to have had an apparition of the steel-helmeted troops. The artist went home to London and completed his tribute in one sitting. The red poppies in the foreground represent the blood shed during World War I and the limestone memorial on the left shows a dark, sinister entrance. Buildings are dotted upon the far horizon (with intermittent light) suggesting that the area is under close scrutiny.
Missouri-born artist Thomas Hart Benton pays homage to his adoptive city of New York in this oil composition, presenting a bird’s-eye view of Madison Square Park. Internationally renowned as a pioneer of the regionalist art movement, Benton studied urban space within New York, Early Twenties (1920-24), depicting moving people who are painted as dark matchstick figures. Filing neatly past stationary vehicles, these figures weather the dark storm forming above the imposing skyscrapers and American flag. The tempestuous climate is set during a period of personal and professional unrest for Benton as a leftist sympathiser.