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Posted in Art, Art & Archives, Getty Research Institute, Scholarship

Treasures from the Vault: The Guerrilla Girls Archive

Props used in the Guerrilla Girls' actions: plastic gun, bananas, and gorilla fingers with nail polish
Copyright © Guerrilla Girls, courtesy guerrillagirls.com

Why did art professionals put on gorilla masks and take to the streets? More»

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Posted in Art & Archives, Education, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum

Question of the Week: Is It Still a Man’s World?

Car Hood / Judy Chicago

In 1964, while a student in UCLA’s graduate program in painting and sculpture, artist Judy Chicago enrolled in auto-body school—the only woman in a class of 250 men. They were all there to learn how to custom-paint cars with candy-colored… More»

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Posted in Art, Art & Archives, Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute, Photographs, Film, and Video

Treasures from the Vault: Sam Francis and Mako Idemitsu

Untitled (Mako Series) / Sam Francis
Untitled (Mako Series), 1967, Sam Francis. Oil on canvas. 120 x 95 11/16 in. Collection of The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, museum purchase, The Benjamin J. Tillar Memorial Trust. © 2011 Sam Francis Foundation, California / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Those accustomed to thinking of Sam Francis as a major figure in a local art scene will be surprised to find that he was quite the internationalist, even before it became compulsory for Los Angeles artists to be so. A… More»

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      A Brief History of the Fleur-de-lis in Art

      The fleur-de-lis, a familiar symbol with varied meanings and a rather obscure origin.

      If you read the labels of objects in museums bearing the fleur-de-lis (in French, fleur de lys, pronounced with the final “s”), you might notice that they were all made in France before the French Revolution of 1789. 

      What’s less apparent is that the fleur-de-lis marks objects that bear witness to a dramatic history of monarchy, democracy, and war: they speak to the inherent power of trappings commissioned for and by France’s pre-revolutionary kings.

      Adopted as a royal emblem in France by the 1100s, the fleur-de-lis can be traced to early Frankish monarchs including Clovis I, who converted to Christianity in 496, and the renowned Charlemagne. 

      A French word, fleur-de-lis translates literally to “lily flower.” This is appropriate given the association of lilies with purity (and the Virgin Mary) and given that France has long been known as the “Eldest Daughter of the Church.” In truth, the stylized flower most closely resembles a yellow iris. 

      As a heraldic symbol used in the arms of the French monarchy, the fleur-de-lis often appears in yellow or gold tones and set on a blue shield. 

      Given its intimate royal associations, the fleur-de-lis invoked the ire of revolutionaries even before the fall of the monarchy in 1792. In addition to toppling royal statues, vandals chipped away at crowns and fleurs-de-lis adorning the façades of buildings.

      Full blog post on the Getty Iris here.

      04/28/16

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