Thursday, February 5, 2015

Paintings By Baila Cut Sheet

Baila Feldman, painter.
In Baila Feldman's last couple of years she produced a nice cut sheet explaining herself as an artist, plus listing her awards and exhibitions.  These were attached to the back of each painting she sold.  The last year listed for any exhibition is 1970 - so I believe the cut sheet was produced in that year or shortly afterwards.  Her last exhibition was the posthumous one in Winter of 1973 at the Judah Magnes museum.   Here's what the cut sheet looked like:

A detail of the text.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Joyous Street Scenes

Baila Feldman loved to paint images of everyday life.  There are canvasses of people playing cards, walking in the park, sitting in chairs, going to market, and - as seen here - simply walking on the street.  In these three late style naive primitivism examples (late 1960s-early 1970s), perspective is as a child would render it.  The cars are childish as well.  People are simple and joyous and the colors are radiant; jewel-like; over the top.  The buildings, hills, trees, and landscapes themselves seem to breathe and move.  In the example above, the red street is laced with a multitude of tiny lines indicating brickwork.  The bricks are all over the place: the grids obey no order whatsoever.  People and animals are in the foreground.

In the San Francisco scene below, it's the San Francisco hilly houses which are the population.  There is only a single person in view.  

In the scene of Los Angeles titled "Wilshire Boulevard" - courtesy of Jennifer Eastman Hansen, of Palos Heights, Illinois) - there is almost formal perspective.  But not quite.  The emphasis on joyous people is a constant.

San Franciso
Wilshire Boulevard - photo courtesy of Jennifer Eastman Hansen

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Moses in the Bullrushes

In Baila Feldman's later paintings she sometimes employed stylistic elements from other cultures.  In this painting "Moses in the Bullrushes" she experiments with ancient Egyptian motifs in a treatment of a story from the Old Testament Bible.  Baila's classic exhuberance is on display in the infant Moses' lifted arms and the riotous payri.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Feeding The Birds" 1960 - a Baila Feldman painting for sale.

The painting above, in Baila's very early impressionist style, is currently for sale by an outfit called "McNaughton Fine Art" where it is described as follows:
"An elegant and period oil park landscape with children feeding the birds. Signed lower right "Feldman" for Baila Feldman (American, 20th century), a listed artist and painted circa 1960. Feldman won the Vera Adams Davis Memorial Prize in oil painting at the 35th Annual San Francisco Women Artists Exhibition in 1960. Titled verso "Feeding the Birds". Original artist exhibition leaflet accompanies painting. Presented in a period carved gilt-wood frame. Painting size: 18' x 24'."

The asking price?  $799.00  Let me know if you are aware of other sales records.  I might keep a listing on a page I make here for reference by other painting owners.

On the listing a couple of details from the back are presented:
Baila's card, showing the address of her studio at the time and the title and price.

Baila's award listing at the time, showing she won the Vera Adams Davis
Memorial prize for "View from My Window"

Market Scenes

Baila Feldman frequently painted scenes from everyday life: people playing in the park; lovers, children, holiday celebrations, etc...  Some of her happiest works were market scenes.  The two examples shown here are in very different contexts.  Below is a Mexican market, with a gold leaf sky and a rural, tree filled location with cloth tents. Above is an urban scene that looks European with classic buildings in the background and a brilliant red sky.  But the feeling of joy and brilliant color is constant in both.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shepherds at Peace

Baila Feldman's later naive style included a number of paintings with themes from the Bible.  But one of the themes she returned to frequently was the shepherd.  I know of at least four paintings of this theme - and they all represent shepherds from the Old Testament.  In the two examples shown here we see the same peaceful energy and subject: the middle-eastern shepherd holding a small black sheep.  In each there is a major visual element behind the shepherd.  In the gold leaf sky version, above, it's Biblical Jericho (recognized from a canvas depicting Joshua at the gates of Jericho - in an upcoming post).  The sun shines in a six pointed star of David to underscore the Jewish Biblical context.  The scan above is taken from a proof for a Holiday card Baila had printed for sale at galleries and stationary shops.  I recognize the Holiday card format in the scale of her signature at lower right.  She made the name big for cards because she wanted it to be legible in the small format of a card.  

In the blue shepherd scene, below, the major element is the sinuous and astonishingly beautiful tree.  The dynamic energy in the flowing tree's limbs is a contrast to the stolid blocky forms of the animals and shepherd.  The contrast gives the lower figures a greater sense of repose.  Notice the dove of peace, bringing what appears to be a twig to her chicks in a nest in the tree.  Conflating nest building with feeding fledglings might be an error - or it might be a symbolic statement.  I just don't know.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Yom Kippur

Baila Feldman's art embraced many periods and styles.  Towards the end of her career her paintings showed a naive primitivism with a joyful feeling of motion reinforced by bright colors.  Many of these paintings had brilliant skies or backgrounds - sometimes using gleaming gold leaf like a medieval illuminated manuscript.  The painting at right, found on an auction site for Clars Auctions is part of the "Dancing Rabbis" series.

Baila wasn't particularly religious, but she celebrated cultural and ethnic traditions in her art.

Do you have any of her work?  Please let me know.  E-mail me a photograph and I'll post it here for other fans of Baila's work to see.

Photo credit:
...where it is described thus:
"Framed oil and gold leaf on canvas, ''Yom Kippur,'' by Baila Feldman, signed ''Baila'' lower right, inscribed verso, overall: 36.88''h x 22.19''w. Provenance: Deaccessioned from the Judah L. Magnes Museum."