Amongst the themes that have inspired many a creator since artistic expression began, whether it be in forms such as poetry, painting, music, sculpture, performance, songwriting, cave paintings or modern visuals, the celestial bodies of the moon and the sun have graced the myriad feather quills perhaps most of all. Universal in presence, unmatched in power, and unrestricted in interpretation, these two entities have been the mother and father, so to speak, of a wealth of artistic work whose timelessness spans across all eras of art. Shining ceaselessly in their own respective ways, they are always en vogue.
Marc Chagall – Couple Beside Tree, Mourlot stone lithograph 1963 Unknown Artist – Moon Phase, offset lithograph
Marc Chagall hints at the riveting magic that influences lovers in the night in his work Couple Beside Tree, a 1963 Mourlot-printed stone lithograph. It is easy to get lost in the magnetic, swimming composition, full of greenery and visions— hallmarks of Chagall’s allure.
This work Moon Phase by an unknown artist is reminiscent of lucid dreams, perhaps half awake and half asleep murmurings emanating from “the other side,” an illuminated place that could be inspired only by something as inexplicable as the moon.
Jim Buckels – Lago Maggiore, SIGNED silkscreen 1988 Erté – Moonlight, offset lithograph 1992
A signed silkscreen from Jim Buckels, Lago Maggiore encapsulates that early evening bliss, and references the full moon that seems to appear surprisingly large when seen near the horizon as it is rising— a sight that never wanes in amazement.
Erté’s Moonlight is perhaps the spirit of the dark new moon in human form, surrounded by the night sky as she is. Cool and clear, soothing and restorative, this interpretation is both demure and uplifting all at once.
Max Papart – Night Bird, SIGNED aquatint 1974
Max Papart’s Night Bird, a signed 1974 aquatint, dances with joy and grace, experimentation and lyricism. His bird looks as though it is floating rather than flying, something akin to the feeling of dreaming under a full moon.
Lorna Simpson – Backdrops Circa 1940, SIGNED silkscreen 1998
And Lorna Simpson’s Backdrops Circa 1940, a signed 1998 silkscreen, celebrates a distinctive adoration of the moon that has appeared many times in pop culture and its depictions— here as a set prop in a photography studio with a charming retro smile.
"Shining ceaselessly in their own respective ways, they are always en vogue."
Alexander Calder – Works in Progress, framed stone lithograph 1973
Alexander Calder’s Works in Progress features the glorious sun in his unmistakable geometric way. As a common theme for Calder in many of his works both 3-D and 2-D, this one is particularly radiating.
Claude Monet – Falaises a Pourville, Soleil Levant, offset lithograph 1992 Dan Christensen – Bright Skies Ahead, silkscreen 1980
Claude Monet’s reenvisioning of the way painters portrayed the atmosphere is amongst his most notable fortes, and in Falaises A Pourville, Soleil Levant he does no less than justice to the mysterious ways that sunlight transforms a landscape.
Dan Christensen’s 1980 silkscreen Bright Skies Ahead appears giddy with glee, a voicing of a seaside scene that seems to incorporate the full ambiance of the wind and its fledgeling sailboats, the sky and its inhabitant clouds, and the warm beach complete with roaming plantlife— all of which are influenced by the resounding brilliance of the overhead sun.
Joan Miró – Litografia Original III, Mourlot stone lithograph 1972 David Hockney – Sun from the Weather Series, offset lithograph 1981
Joan Miró’s Litografia Original III, though an abstract work, is likely a reference to the sun, as Miró was often drawing on inspiration from nature to infuse within his work. In this 1972 Mourlot stone lithograph it is hard not to feel the heat from this bright, expressive orb.
David Hockney’s Sun from the Weather Series makes concrete the cascading rays of light that spill into an interior from the window, changing the focal subject of this work to the effect of the sun itself rather than simply the potted plant in its path— something that seems somehow characteristically ‘Hockney.’
Erté – Sunrise, offset lithograph 1992
And for Erté again, his work Sunrise is warm and celebratory, golden glowing and pleasingly stylized, all keys that contribute to the lasting enchantment that distinguishes Erté’s unique nature.