Sunday, April 22, 2018

The price of “priceless” art in U.S. Museums

With the high end of the art market soaring to heights never seen before, the linked art-icle raises the interesting question for what price the major pieces from American museums could be sold if they were put on the market. The top 10, paintings that are estimated to raise from 350 million to 1.2 billion dollars each, includes pieces by da Vinci, Vermeer, van Gogh, Picasso, de Kooning and Pollock. An interesting read.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Mrs. Blue Sky

Another example of digital art made possible with the on-line program at the DeepArt site (blogged here). In this case, I took a photograph of a sculpture in the park of Museum 't Nijenhuis, Heino, and the van Gogh painting Noon - Rest from Work (after Millet) (link). The result is a surprising piece of art, with a title that of course references the ELO hit Mr. Blue Sky. The link leads to the original photograph.

Copyright statement: image created via the DeepArt site from one of my original images. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Do the strand

No particular reason to post this song today, but it came up recently on the car MP3 USB stick, and I marveled once more how well their music has aged. This is Roxy Music with a hit from the summer of 1973, with Bryan Ferry as lead singer and Brian Eno on keyboards. It was a minor hit in several European countries, but for some reason it was not released as a single in the UK. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).

Copyright statement: image screenshot from the video, considered fair use.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Never too late

I had never heard of the Dutch crossover prog band Tumbletown, but when I saw this cover of their latest album on the Prog Archives site, I immediately wanted to have it posted in the blog. No information on the designer.

Copyright statement: lower resolution images of album covers considered fair use.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Maria Ricotti in ‘The Temptress’

It's been a while since Dutch artist Kees van Dongen (1877-1968), originally one of the Fauvists, last featured in the blog. This portrait of actress Maria Ricotti was made in 1921, when he had started using more subdued colours. More on van Dongen in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Saturday Evening Post February 1922

A magazine that has not featured yet under this heading: The Saturday Evening Post, an American magazine published from 1897 until 1969. This particular cover depicts a beautiful flapper girl, an icon of that era.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Monday, April 16, 2018


The reactions at Flickr were less than I had hoped for, but this is my favourite shot of the year so far. The top of a ceramic sculpture spotted in the Leeuwarden Ceramics Museum Princessehof. It looks like a lava lake cascading over the rim - hence the title.

Camera: Nikon D7000 (Nikkor 18-300 mm), 16 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 77.7 mm
ISO Speed: 1400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Clean the Mona Lisa?

Given the spectacularly successful clean-up of other old paintings, It is inevitable that people are demanding that the most famous of them all, da Vinci's Mona Lisa, get a similar treatment. The linked art-icle explains in detail why that would not  be a good idea. A very interesting read.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Saturday, April 14, 2018


This vintage Renault poster from around 1930 reminds me of the time we drove a Scenic from that French brand (2004-2011). The poster was created by the famous illustrator Rene Vincent (1879-1936).

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Internet sites with my images as illustration

On our web site, I prepared an overview of various internet sites using my photographs. It does not include appearances in photography blogs, Instagram pages, Flickr groups and so on. The counter is at 28 for the time being, including an important site like Forbes. Click the link if you're interested.

Copyright statement: image created via the Photofunia site, who explicitly state that their images have no copyright issues. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

River with poplars

I first saw this painting on a cover of a classical CD. I searched a bit and found out it was River with poplars created in 1912 by the British painter Roger Fry (1866-1934), a new name for me. He is best known for introducing post-impressionism to the British isles. More about Fry in the linked Wikipedia article.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Monday, April 09, 2018


Details of art works can yield fine abstract images, and this is one of my favourite examples. I shot this detail of a ceramic sculpture recently in the Leeuwarden Ceramics Museum Princessehof. A nice combination of straight lines and curves, held together by the strong diagonal.

Camera: Nikon D7000 (Nikkor 18-300 mm), 16 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.02 sec (1/50)
Aperture: f/5.0
Focal Length: 43.6 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Copyright statement: image created by myself. Copyright Hennie Schaper.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

What's another year?

For this day, a shot of, oh, let's say a few decades ago. I must have been 7 or so when this was taken, most likely by my father.

Copyright statement: image from our family collection.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Boarding house reach

Honestly, I never cared too much for the White Stripes, and I have no inclination to follow the subsequent solo career of Jack White. That said, his recent third album comes with a cover that I think is beautiful. No text at all makes it extra effective. Art direction and design is credited to Tristan McNatt.

Copyright statement: lower resolution images of album covers considered fair use.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Classical music of the past 100 years [4] 1948-1957

Too many listeners of classical music think that over the past 100 years or so, nothing worthwhile has been composed. In this recurring series, I will be posting one composition per year from 1918 until 2017, with every selected composer featuring only once (and not necessarily with their imo best work). I'm aiming for composers who represent the more modern age, skipping many famous names from before 1918 who also composed in this time slot (such as Sibelius and Richard Strauss). Overall I wanted to get a reasonable mix of symphonies, concertos, other orchestral works, chamber music, solo instrumental compositions, and vocal creations, but excluding opera altogether. I have grouped the works per period of ten years, with one post per month for each subsequent decade. Youtube links are not included as they tend to disappear with time - they are easily googled anyway. If you like classical music, but are reluctant to explore the 20th and 21st century works, this series of posts might give you a bit of a nudge to start listening.
  • 1948 Cage - Sonatas and interludes for prepared piano
  • 1949 Finzi - Clarinet concerto
  • 1950 Arnold - English dances
  • 1951 Carter - String quartet 1
  • 1952 Vaughan Williams - Symphony 7 'Antartica'
  • 1953 Stravinsky - Septet
  • 1954 Alwyn - Harp concerto 'Lyra angelica'
  • 1955 Martinu - The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • 1956 Piston - Serenata for Orchestra
  • 1957 Tchaikovsky, B - Clarinet concerto
In this fourth helping, we have quite a mix. Igor Stravinsky is often promoted as the best composer of the 20th century (not true imho), and I have selected a less well-known work, the interesting Septet. Ralph Vaughan Williams is another big name - his 7th symphony draws upon his soundtrack work for the movie Scott of the Antarctic. John Cage is one of the most unfairly maligned 20th century composers, ridiculed for just one piece (4'33) by people who never even heard any of his other works. Especially his compositions for prepared piano are outstanding. Bohuslav Martinu is one of the most renowned Czech composers after Dvorak, and his Gilgamesh oratorio is generally seen as his masterpiece. One of many interesting American 20th century composers, Walter Piston is included with his fine Serenata and his compatriot Carter with his first string quartet. Englishman Malcolm Arnold deserves a place for one of his beautiful sets of dances. Staying in the UK, we have two of the most impressive concertos from that country, by Gerald Finzi and William Alwyn. Finally, there's an interesting clarinet concerto by Russian composer Tschaikowsky. No, not that one, but Boris (no relative).

Copyright statement: image in public domain.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Copyright beyond the grave: the Vivian Maier case

Copyright is a very tricky subject - even when the original copyright holder dies without apparent heirs. This is the case of Vivian Maier - a completely unknown amateur photographer. When John Maloof bought the contents of Maier's storage locker, he found around 100,000 negatives and slides, including thousands of undeveloped rolls of film. The quality of her work was so good that galleries became interested and started to show her work in exhibitions. And Maloof wanted to make a lot of money from this find - but that's where lawyers came in.... Read the full story in the linked art-icle.

Copyright statement: image created via the Photofunia site, who explicitly state that their images have no copyright issues. The original art work included in the image is thumbnail size and therefore considered fair us .

Wednesday, April 04, 2018


An astonishing take on Berlin's famous Holocaust Memorial by my Flickr friend Gert van der Meulen. The symmetrical composition, the depth, the large variation in grey tones, and a great title to boot - a fantastic photograph.

Copyright statement: posted with explicit permission of the creator who retains all rights.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Ripped in March

A selected overview of culture stars relevant to my own tastes who passed away this month. Rest in peace.

Bill Burkette (75), American singer. He was the lead singer of the Vogues, whose Five o'clock world remains a favourite.
Jesús López Cobos (78), Spanish conductor. We have several of his CD's.
David Ogden Stiers (75), American actor. He played Major Charles Emerson Winchester III in the sitcom MASH, one of my favourite TV series of the 70s and early 80s.
Russell Solomon (92), American business man. He was the founder of the Tower Records music stores - one of my CD hubs during our years in Singapore.
Gary Burden (84), American album cover designer. He was responsible for iconic covers by the Doors, CSNY, Eagles and many others.
Stephen Hawking (76), American scientist. The culture angle is in his cameo appearances in popular shows like The Simpsons and The big bang theory.
Livia Rev (101), Hungarian pianist. She is regarded as one of the prominent pianists of the 20th century. We have some of her CD's, most notably piano works by Debussy.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.