Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Male figurative art gallery : Mooiman gallery in Holland

The Mooiman gallery (Mooi in Dutch language means cute!)  in Holland is specialized in male art / gay art so you will be sure to see lots of male figurative art in all types of media in that commercial gallery, one of the very few in Europe. It is located in Groningen, 2 hours train North of Amsterdam.

Mooiman promotes close to 60 artists from many countries, and organizes regular exhibitions. They maintain an active presence at Art fairs.  Click here for their website.   


You will find below a few names of artists who created gay or male sculptures and are represented by Mooiman gallery.  I will come back in future posts to show more works of some of these sculptors.
Marcel Julius Joosen : Dutch, born in 1943, he considered being a priest but decided to pursue his passion for sculpture. He sculpts nude men, and a lot of African man, to celebrate their beauty. 

Ivo Blanck, German sculptor, made this 'Lust und Last"

Dennis Coenraad, Dutch sculptor, created this 'Approaching silence'.

Hay Wijnoven, Dutch artist, graphic designer, did many sculptures as well, such as this 'Huber' in bronze, sitting on a Belgian limestone.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gay male art galleries & museums : the Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art (MoGLA)

Today, male sculptures with a homoerotic/gay angle, and sculptures expressing male love, can also be seen in specialized art galleries and museums, either permanently or during specific shows and exhibitions, at least in USA and Europe, as we will see in some future posts.
Below contemporary male torso for example, has been done on marble by the American self-taught sculptor Douglas Holtquist, who is also an expert in the Ikebana art! (Japanese flower composition).
Holtquist work was displayed in the Spring 2008 edition of The Archive, which is the rich & interesting quarterly journal of the MoGLA.  MoGLA stands for Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art, the successful and patient tranformation of the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation.

Douglas Holtquist - Male torso - Picture from Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation -The Archive Spring 2008

Cover of the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation Spring 2008 edition of The Archive 
The first time I entered the Leslie-Lohman gay art foundation in New York (as it was called at that time, before to be transformed into the Mogla), was in the early 90's, twenty years ago, so well before I started sculpting. I was thrilled, as a young European man, to enter with my boyfriend in that building basement on Prince Street, to see so many drawings, paintings, watercolors, all gathered in one place, available to see, without commercial pressure and with such a gracious host.

We bought a very nice watercolor from Mc Willie Chambers that is still at our home today. We went back another year, still at their same initial location, and we bought another piece, from William Ronin, New York artist born in 1903.

In 2006, the foundation moved to a nice ground floor location on 26, Wooster Street (SoHo area). And has been transformed into the first Museum dedicated to Gay & Lesbian Art, officially recognized by the New York city.


The MoGLA main objective is to put together and exhibit art created by gay artists or art about gay world in general. The museum was created to provide a space for art that is clearly gay and frequently denied access to regular galleries, and regular exhinitions are programmed. This is facilitated by their impressive collection of 22000 paintings, drawings, photographies, prints and sculptures. Famous artists are part of it, like Andy Warhol, George Platt Lynes, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean Cocteau etc.
The 2 L in the above logo come from Frederic "Fritz" Lohman and Charles W. Leslie. They collected art for many years, organized their first exhibition of gay art in their loft in 1969 to help artist's friends lacking a space to display their work. This was a big success. Then they opened their art gallery, which closed in the 1980s because of aids affecting many of these artists and gay customers. Their foundation was created in 1989.
Click on their website if you want to know more, visit them, etc.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

George Minne and his kneeling youths (2)

(Below biography extracts are from Helke Lauwaert work.)

''With the Fountain with Kneeling Youths, Minne established his name abroad, thanks to Van de Velde and Meier-Graefe, specifically in Austria and Germany. He first presented the Fountain with the five identical youths for exhibition in 1899 in Brussels at La Libre Esthéthique. After this, the work is to be seen in an altered form at the exhibitions in Vienna, Budapest and Venice.

At the Wiener Secession of 1900, Minne is one of the main artists in the exhibition and in addition to the plaster model of The Fountain are also 12 sculptures by Minne to be seen, in plaster, marble, bronze and wood, in addition to one woodcut. With his delicate, inwardly turning youthful figures, Minne closely adhered to the Jugendstil and the art-nouveau aesthetic of the fin de siècle in Vienna. His influence on artists such as Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) and Egon Schiele (1890-1918) and later also on Wilhelm Lehmbruck (1881-1919) is unmistakable."
Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Head of a girl, Turning, 1913-1914, Museum of Fine Arts Ghent
Wilhelm Lehmbruck, 'Head of a girl, turning', 1913 - Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent.
"In the appreciation of Minne by the Viennese avant-garde, the Jewish mecenas and industrialist Fritz Waerndorfer played an important role. In addition to works by Klimt, Jan Toorop (1859-1928)and Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898), he possessed at the time the largest private collection of sculptures by Minne, plus a sketchbook of the artist. The sketchbook dates from ca. 1883-1888 and is now found in the Albertina in Vienna.

From 1900 on until World War I, Minne would be represented nearly annually at exhibitions in Germany: Berlin, Munich, Mannheim, Weimar and Dusseldorf. In leading, German newspapers such as Pan and Die Kunst, photos of his work appeared, through which his recognition abroad grew. With the help of Henry Van de Velde, the German industrial and mecenas Karl Ernst Osthaus gave Minne a project in 1900 for the Folkwang Museum in Hagen (now in the like-named Museum in Essen) to produce a marble version of the Fountain with Kneeling Youths. ''

Internationale Kunstausstellung Mannheim, 1907, Two Kneeling Youths by George Minne
2 Kneeling Young Men by George Minne, during Manheim Art exhibition, 1907
"After the war, Minne gave lessons at the Academy of Ghent for a year. The fame that he had gained before the war in his own country has not diminished. In 1930, the first published monograph on him by Leo Van Puyvelde appears, supplemented with a catalog of his oeuvre. On 25 April 1931, Minne is given the title of baron. Various official projects, such as the Queen Astrid Memorial in Antwerp, were entrusted to him. Minne remained active as a sculptor and drawer.
George Minne died on 18 February 1941 at the age of 74. A Woman and Child by his own hand adorns his grave in Sint-Martens-Latem. Also, in the same year a retrospective exhibition of his work was held in the Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels.''
Video : The link below allows you to see several of George Minne drawings and sculptures.
George Minne video                                  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

George Minne and his kneeling youths (1)

George Minne, Belgian sculptor, contemporary of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, was close from my grand father. I became aware of George Minne work and his kneeling naked young men thanks to my father. Although I would not classify this sculptor in the 'gay world', some of his sculpting work, which got international recognition, could be of interest by his strong ability to express a fragile masculine beauty with his famous naked kneeling young men sculptures, as seen below.

Detail - Fountain with Kneeling boys - Brussels, Belgium- Picture by Martin Beek
All biography extracts are strongly inspired from Helke Lauwaert excellent work (Art historian, she also wrote a book about Theo Van Rysselbergue).

George Minne was born in Ghent, Belgium, on 30 August, 1866 as the son of an architect. We do not know a lot about Minne's childhood years. He got a strict discipline at school, this may have given him his introverted nature. He did many drawings, and aged 13, he left the primary school and went to the Academy of Fine Arts of Ghent.

Aged 17, George Minne decided to take painting lessons at the Academy of Fine Arts of Ghent. His parents did not agree with this choice, and forced him to start architecture lessons which was supposed to provide more financial stability, and with a better social image. But George Minne quickly went back to his artistic inclination. As a student, he met the painter Valerius De Sadeleer who became a friend. 
Portrait of George Minne, Date unknown, Negatievenarchief uitgeverij Manteau
George Minne

Three years later, aged 20, he left the Academy and got a working artist studio in the old centre of Ghent. The artist developed a very expressive, direct, simple language. And as he became friend with key French speaking symbolists writers from Ghent, like Maurice Maeterlinck, they influenced each other and Minne started an ever more introverted kind of sculpture.

Minne first exhibition happened when he was 23, at the Tri-Annual Salon of Ghent. He presented two sculptures. One is shown below, called "Small Injured Figure". It was the first example of the sculptor's solitary naked youth with spread legs.This exhibition gave him very positive support from Emile Verhaeren in the leading art newspaper L'Art Moderne.

Minne liked Auguste Rodin style, and reportedly wanted to work with him, but it is said that Rodin, seeing some of Minne's work, mentioned he could not further teach the young artist any more.
Minne moved to Brussels end of 1895, were he started an exceptionally creative period, with for example the below sculptures.
The Prodigal Son, 1896

Man With a Waterskin, 1897, Museum of fine Arts, Ghent, Belgium.
His 'chef d'œuvre' is considered to be the 'Fountain with kneeling youths' from which many versions exist and were created (in plaster, bronze, stone). The first work was done in 1898.

George Minne - Fountain with kneeling boys

Fine Arts Museum - Ghent, Belgium

George Minne - Fontaine aux Agenouillés 1898 - Brussels, Belgium

Detail from George Minne - Fountain with Kneeling Boys - Brussels, Belgium
In Brussels he met famous people from the art world, like Henry Van de Velde one of the founder of the Art Nouveau in Belgium, he also met the sculptor Constantin Meunier, and the art critic and art nouveau expert Julius Meier-Graefe, who would play an important role in Minne's reputation abroad as we will see in our next post.