Archive for March, 2011

George Tooker, Reqcuiscat in Pace

Posted in 20th century, Gay, George Platt Lynes, George Tooker, Jared French, Paul Cadmus, Pierro della Francesca, Recquiscat in Pace, Reginald Marsh on March 31, 2011 by babylonbaroque

I was saddened to read that George Tooker had died Sunday.

I have only just begun to appreciate his work, and that of his circle, and now he has passed, link to NYT obituary.

George Clair Tooker Jr.

Self Portrait


b. 5th August 1920

d. 27th March 2011

age 90

Described as a Symbolist and  a Magic Realist, labels he eschewed ; I find in Tooker’s work  ( this is  certainly not an original thought ) a strong link to the Renaissance, in particular the work of Piero della Francesca. It is not just his medium,  egg tempera, that calls this association to mind, his sensibilities, though decidedly modern, have strong roots in the rich Renaissance tradition, a modernist Neo-Renaissance perhaps.

Pierro della Francesca

St. Sebastian and St. John the Baptist

George Tooker

Window XI

part of the Windows series, 1950-1960.

Having a strong determination to paint, which was contrary to parental desire, Tooker majored in English Literature at Harvard ( this boy was no slouch) yet continued to paint. His circle included Reginald Marsh, Paul Cadmus ( who introduced Tooker to egg tempera) and Jared French; fine company, tremendous inspiration.

George Tooker by George Platt Lynes



Difficult to ignore a certain resemblance.

Perhaps his most disturbing portrait is Children and Spastics , three effeminate men being pummeled by little monsters. Was this mocking? empathetic? or merely an observation?

It is striking, and quite modern.

Children and Spastics


Museum of Contemporary Art


I was first drawn to Tookers work due to the following image, it is easy to understand my attraction.

Coney Island


Difficult to ignore the Pieta reference.

As I mentioned with the earlier image, Tooker created a series, Windows, during the 50’s and 60’s; comely Puerto Rican neighbors being  his inspiration.

Window XIII

The Window


After his longtime partner the painter William Christopher died in 1973 ( they had met in ’49, quite a commitment ), Tooker was understandably devastated. He followed a path I can sympathize with, he found comfort in the arms of the Mother Church, and moved to Vermont. Seems quite sensible.

The following link is a recent interview he gave to Vermont Public Radio, it’s a treat to hear his thoughts.

sourced from the New York Times

I found a rather complete gallery of Tooker’s work, unfortunately much isn’t titled or dated, but the images are ravishing.

It is a great loss, we will miss out on new Tooker paintings, mysterious, gorgeous work; fortunately he left a large body of work to absorb, contemplate and enjoy.



Good Night,

Babylon Baroque

In Celebration of César Chávez, the murals of Boris Deutsch

Posted in 20th century, Boris Deutsch, WPA murals on March 31, 2011 by babylonbaroque

It appears odd to celebrate the Latino Chávez’s birth with the work of a Teuton, but such is the logic of Babylon.

Having recently visited  for the first time the Terminal Annex Post Office quite close to my home, I was struck by the WPA murals by the painter Boris Deutsch. His panels set into architectural lunettes are painted in the  odd Colonial-Latino-Indiginous-Deco sensibilities of the architecture; it is strange, not exactly beautiful, and thoroughly LA.

I thought they were a fitting tribute to man loved by so many here in the City of Angels.

Please pardon the quality, they were taken with my phone.

I really love the mask motif.



This is perhaps my favorite, the horned Kachina-like figure of particular interest .

This panel was barricaded off from the public, there might be other panels that are  also restricted from viewing.


César Chávez

b. 31st of March 1927

d. 23rd of April 1993


Happy Birthday Mr. Chávez.

Wishing all a pleasant day,

Babylon Baroque

Babylon Beefcake

Posted in 19th Century, Babylon Baroque, beefcake, Gay on March 25, 2011 by babylonbaroque

No rhyme or reason, just cute fellas long gone…

sourced from The Haunted Lamp

Love this guy, so damn cute!

Enjoy the weekend my friends,

warm wishes from  Babylon

Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor, Reqcuiscat in Pace

Posted in 20th century, 21st Century, Liz Taylor, R.I.P. on March 23, 2011 by babylonbaroque

We knew it was coming, but nonetheless…

She will always hold a special place in my heart, her beauty, her brashness, her talent.

She stuck by her “boys” during the dark hours , that isn’t easily forgotten.

God bless you Elizabeth.

more info


I wish I had posted this for St. Patrick’s Day

More perfection

yet more

We all have a favorite scene, my favorite is the high heel crush from Butterfield 8, one of my favorite films.

Wishing you a safe journey!

Love from Babylon

Just one more, I love this image and couldn’t locate it before.

off into the sunset…

Follow this link and this for more information concerning Miss Taylor.

Punch Amidst the Roses

Posted in 19th Century, 20th century, Babylon Baroque, Franz Bischoff, Kenny Scharf, Me on March 22, 2011 by babylonbaroque

A recent painting was accepted as part of a juried show here in LA at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, I was of course pleased.


by the author

colored pencil on paper

oil on canvas

Although only a student show, it is of course flattering to have your work hung upon  the unblemished white walls of a museum, a nifty nameplate puffs up one’s ego. Alas that was soon deflated.

The work most valued eluded my sensibilities, I do appreciate the notion of conceptual art, but I fear much of what is praised smacks of the Emperor’s newest wardrobe.

Or perhaps I am just griping about sour grapes.

Instead of being a pill I decided to explore the other galleries. I was pleased that I made that the decision, for I found a world quite separate from the bed-frames hanging from the ceiling, here in these empty galleries I found color, skill and the sort of painting that has long been out of fashion- the painting of lovely roses.

I know, rose paintings tend towards the insipid, but these were vibrant, strong, big juicy globs of oil truly capturing the essence of the rose.

These paintings were by an artist I was quite unfamiliar with, Franz A. Bischoff, an Austrian by birth, who  ultimately set root in Pasadena. Apparently successful enough with his lush paintings, delicate china decoration,  lessons to  society matrons and  even a line of supplies, that he was able to build a lavish neo-Renaissance home/studio enjoying fame and comfort.

Franz A. Bischoff

b. 9th January 1864

d. 5th February 1929

Tastes have certainly changed, but the Pasadena Museum put on quite a nice exhibition of his work, Gardens & Grandeur, porcelains and paintings of Franz A. Bischoff.

Unfortunately the show closed on the March 20th, but I revisited the gallery with the specific intention of sharing his paintings. He was known for his plein air work but I must confess I found them less exciting, at least en masse.

The roses seemed special.

They  reflect a time when painting for paintings sake was valued,when the craft of painting  was cultivated and admired.

Or perhaps I have adopted my grandmother’s taste…

Perla van Gadensberg Roses



watercolor on paper




detail of above

detail of same painting, I’m just very impressed with the thick use of paint and yet still a masterful control of his medium, tricky business.



A Bouquet of Roses


White and Pink Maman Cochet Roses


detail of above

Roses on a Tea Table


As the title of the show implies, Bischoff was gifted in the art of porcelain painting.

I admit, they may be an acquired taste.

Bischoff’s paintbox

Although the Bischoff show has ended, my painting, if you are inclined will be on view April 3rd through the 24th.


In some ways the museum’s  garage decorated by Kenny Scharf is as charmingly old fashioned as a Bischoff bouquet.

Difficult to not include it.

the author in a Scharfian fantasy

Wishing you all a pleasant evening,

Baroque Baroque


Posted in Jacob de Wit, James Tissot, Primavera on March 19, 2011 by babylonbaroque

In anticipation of tomorrow being  the first day of Spring, I thought a few images of hope would be appreciated by those still tormented by the last vestiges of winter.

Spring Morning

James Tissot


Metropolitan Museum of Art


poster by Sumner


Victoria & Albert


Still Life with Pansies

Henri Fantin-Latour


Metropolitan Museum of Art


Allegory of the Four Seasons-Spring

Jacob de Wit



Rosalba A Carriera


Wishing all a happy Vernal Equinox.

For my friends back home ( or any other civilized climate) please make sure to note the delicate beauty of the Spring ephemerals, I miss them terribly in this God-forsaken desert wasteland.

Trillium grandiflorum

Good night from Babylon

Léon Bonnat, more then a pretty face

Posted in 19th Century, Degas, Giotto, Jean-Frédéric Bazille, Léon Bonnat on March 17, 2011 by babylonbaroque

As is often the case, I was browsing through my only real guilty pleasure, the wonderful blog sissydude when I  stumbled upon this arresting face.

Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat

Self portrait ca. 1850


It is a self portrait  of the 17 year old Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat, aside from being sickened by his prodigious talent, I was of course struck by his great beauty.


age 22

b. 20th of June 1833

d, 9th of September 1922

I know of Bonnat from only one work, this very sexy image of Jacob wrestling with the tormenting angel.

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel


As I researched I began to realize I was far more familiar with his work then I had initially thought; I had seen images of his work, but hadn’t placed his pretty face as the author.



Like the painter Bazille there was this interconnection between Bonnat and his contemporaries; Bonnat sat for Degas, one can understand why Degas would want to record this face. It is difficult to not read a certain homo-social element to these portraits.

Edgar Degas

Léon Bonnat


aged 30


Of course I was fascinated to stumble upon this image of Bonnat’s studio.

It’s fun to see this image , with the painting of Job clearly visible.


Martyrdom of St.Denis

Le Barbier de Suez

Adam and Eve Mourning the Death of Abel


Aside from these frankly sexy images, Bonnat was well regarded as a painter of genre scenes.

Roman Girl at Fountain


Metropolitan Museum of Art

Giotto Gardant les Chèvres


I love this tale of Giotto, so I was particularly tickled to stumble upon this image.

I will certainly re-file it.

In addition to religious themed art, and genre painting, Bonnat was best known for his portraiture.

Madame Pasca


Musée d’ Orsay

Victor Hugo


All in all I  am terribly impressed with this painter, I admit I was drawn to that face, but his work satisfies long after his beauty has passed.

ca. 1890

age 57

As is so often the case , there is a Facebook page devoted to this great painter, please join me in and “like” the site.

I’m number 15, surely he deserves better then that!

Good night,

Babylon Baroque