My love of Grotesque ornament is long established. I love the symmetry, the complexity, and the inventiveness allowed in a pretty strict decorative formula. I can play with this form of ornament over and over. The 19th century ornamentist Michel Lienard was particularly adept at this form of expression, he really brought the grotesque to Grotesquerie. Demons, bound maidens, snarling lizards and lion, unchaste putti, and writhing dragons fill out his disturbingly elegant designs.
I have here a much more restrained panel I did for the Greystone Showcase in Beverly Hills a few years back. It is one of many panels I painted in quick succession. As is the nature of showcase houses you have a limited time to get the work out. It’s digested by the public, then re-done the following year. I relied on my stage painting skills for effect. I cringe a bit at some of the details, as I pride myself on minute brush work, but the overall impression was attractive.
The Frick Collection in NY has opened an exciting little show exploring Grotesque ornament, “Exuberant Grotesques:Renaissance Majolica From the Fontana Workshop”. The show runs until Jan. 17th, I hope I will be able to catch it.