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‘Nightconcert’ by Erroll Garner Review: A Little Midnight Music

By 1964,Erroll Garner’s popularity in the U.S. had softened. The jazz pianist had stopped recording for Columbia Records in 1958 during his bitter legal battle with the label over his pay and the company’s unauthorized release of his early work.

To make up the lost income, Garner toured relentlessly, especially abroad. In Europe, sizable concert halls sold out within 48 hours as audiences of mixed ages jammed venues to hear his mischievous approach to standards and such originals as “Misty.” In March 1964, Billboard magazine noted that he had become as popular abroad as Louis Armstrong.

Now Garner’s Nov. 7, 1964, performance at Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw has finally been released in the U.S. for the first time by Mack Avenue. The label worked with the Garner estate, which found the master tapes in its archives.

This new album, “Nightconcert,” follows two recent estate-blessed Garner reissues—the complete 1955 “Concert by the Sea” (2015) and “Ready Take One” (2016), with previously unreleased studio material from 1967, 1969 and 1971.

Garner’s Amsterdam concert began at midnight, since the Concertgebouw had hosted a classical performance earlier in the evening. Despite the late hour, all 2,000 seats were filled, including the hall’s three unusual stepped galleries on stage.

The music is remarkable for several reasons, chief among them Garner’s lengthy and elaborately disguised solo introductions. During concerts, Garner did not share song lists with his bassist Eddie Calhoun and drummer Kelly Martin. Instead, he made song choices on the fly, masking them with elaborately improvised openings. Garner’s audiences and fellow musicians were left to guess what familiar song would emerge, thrilling his fans and leaving Calhoun and Martin just seconds to jump in.

On the 16 tracks of “Nightconcert” (1 hour and 20 minutes of music), Garner’s piano introductions are especially robust and ambiguous. A dreamy 34-second Debussy-like opening melts away to reveal the movie ballad “Laura.” On another song, Garner invents a 64-second gospel-stride opening that turns into “When Your Lover Has Gone.”

Another highlight is Garner’s inclusion of “All Yours,” his lesser-known 1963 theme written for “A New Kind of Love,” a film starring Paul Newman. Garner opens the song with a 58-second solo sprinkled with flecks of “I Surrender Dear.” The movie ballad is easily on par with “Misty,” his 1955 hit.

Most songs on “Nightconcert” also feature daring treatments by Garner. For instance, “My Funny Valentine” lasts more than eight minutes and is brilliantly intertwined with the tip-toeing feel of Neal Hefti’s “Girl Talk.”

What made Garner so captivating for sophisticated European ears was his swing and rococo chord configurations. Self-taught, Garner as a teen had been denied admittance to the musicians’ union in Pittsburgh because he couldn’t read music. Upset, he vowed to play like “a whole band.”

Garner made good on his promise. As pianist Dick Hyman explained in his 1999 “Century of Jazz Piano” instructional CD-DVD series, Garner’s magical “sound” typically featured his right hand playing the melody in octaves, with two or three notes filling in to emulate a brass section. Meanwhile, his left hand played the lower keys as if strumming a rhythm guitar.

Garner also was a highly engaging stage presence. Listening to the music on “Nightconcert,” one imagines the sharply dressed and diminutive performer perched on a telephone book, his hair lacquered with pomade to give it a reflective shine. We hear his expressive grunts in places and visualize him turning to the audience periodically with a confident, elfin grin.

Less than a year after the Concertgebouw performance, Garner signed a deal with MGM Records to distribute albums recorded on his newly formed Octave label. But despite assuming full control of his recording output, Garner, up until his death at 53 in 1977, never regained his 1950s and early ’60s popularity at home.

With “Nightconcert,” we now have a Garner performance spring-loaded with his most captivating keyboard tricks. As evidenced by the recording, he made sure his fans left delighted.

Mr. Myers, the author of “Anatomy of a Song” (Grove), is a Wall Street Journal contributor who writes daily about music and the arts at JazzWax.com.

Ninja Clarifies Statements About Not Playing With Female Streamers

It was revealed over the weekend that popular Fortnite player, Ninja has some very specific reasons for not streaming with female gamers. Given the fallout over those comments, he’s since offered clarification. According to Ninja, his stance on not streaming with women is not intended to be a sexist move, but rather a protective one for his family.

Following this weekend’s report on Polygon explaining why Tyler “Ninja” Blevins does not stream with female gamers, the king of Fortnite has been called out for everything from overreacting to being sexist. He offered a follow-up comment on Twitter, as he felt the situation needed further explanation.

This is a sentiment Ninja tried to get across during his initial interview. He notes further down in the follow-up tweet that he and his wife are celebrating their one-year anniversary and his choices concerning who he streams with are an effort to protect his family. He goes on to list a handful of female streamers who are “a few of our favorites” and states he looks forward to playing with “all kinds of Fortnite players” in upcoming tournaments and events. In other words, his stance is that he has no issue playing with anyone, but he worries about the image his playing with women on streams might create.

This is certainly a tricky needle to thread with a lot of baggage attached. On the one hand, we fully believe folks should be able to see a woman and a man streaming together and not automatically start making assumptions about their relationship. And the only way we’re going to get to that point is if more prominent streamers actually engage in these types of relationships. But on the other side of the spectrum, I can understand where Ninja is coming from. He has earned tremendous success at an early stage in his life and has every reason to worry about protecting that. More importantly, though, we are citizens of the internet and are well aware how people act in cyberspace. He’s terrified of these types of rumors brewing in his life because he’s seen how they impact the lives of others.

According to Ninja’s initial interview, he feels that the only way to stop negative rumors about streaming with a woman from starting is simply to never stream with a woman in the first place. But, again, while he’s in a prime position to combat terrible behavior on the internet by showcasing the way things should be, he also stands to lose the most if folks behave like children.

Avengers: Infinity War’s Honest Trailer Highlights The Marvel Movie’s Astounding Number Of Characters

Although Avengers: Infinity War wasn’t the final installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s Phase 3, it very much marked the beginning of the end of not just of this MCU phase, but everything that this franchise has been building towards ever since Iron Man came out in 2008. So with a movie this ambitious and large in scope, naturally you need to fit in as many important MCU players as possible, and Infinity War did just that. And now that Infinity War is available on home media, the Honest Trailer folks have selected it as its latest target, highlighting just how packed the movie’s cast is and much more.

Looking at Avengers: Infinity War‘s critical reactions, many might consider it to be the best movie Marvel has ever made, but as this Honest Trailer points out, it is most definitely “the most movie Marvel has ever made.” The explosive visual effects certainly help accomplish that, but it’s the number of characters that really show how big a deal Infinity War is. From Iron Man and Doctor Strange to Thor and Spider-Man, nearly all of the major players were brought back to participate in the battle against Thanos and his minions. Even supporting characters like Maria Hill, Thunderbolt Ross and Ned cameoed. That said, naturally with this many people under one “roof,” not everyone gets to be equally as important to the story. Sorry, Steve Rogers, for this go-around, your role is to be the “guy who knows a guy” and who kills Outriders with a cool Wakandan shield.

Of course, if you haven’t caught most or all of the MCU movies that have come out over the last 10 years, then you’ll definitely feel lost watching Avengers: Infinity War. But for those who’ve been following along since the beginning, many of Infinity War‘s moments are treats, like Tony Stark’s first exposure to magic (which, surprisingly, he takes in stride) and Winter Soldier swinging Rocket Raccoon around as they both gun down Outriders. But the thing people are still talking about regarding Infinity War is Thanos (who’s changed shades of purple twice since he was introduced in The Avengers) snapping his Infinity Stones-powered fingers and erasing half of all life in the universe. Longtime comic book readers know that death is really permanent in these stories, so you can count on most, if not all, of the heroes who turned to dust to return in Avengers 4 next year. Still, that didn’t mean it wasn’t heartbreaking seeing them fade away as their friends and family watched.

You can buy your copy of Avengers: Infinity War now on Blu-ray, DVD and/or Digital HD. The MCU wrapped up its 2018 theatrical offerings last month with Ant-Man and the Wasp, but the franchise will pick back up with Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019. Two months after that, Avengers 4 will pick up where Infinity War left off.

Nicki Minaj Got Into Major Beef With DJ Self, And It’s All Over Twitter

Nicki Minaj is stirring up trouble on Twitter. The female rap superstar recently unveiled her latest studio album, Queen, over the weekend, and the artist isn’t amused by Power 105.1’s DJ Self for claiming Cardi B released the best rap album. As Nicki claimed in some since-deleted tweets, the DJ is just jealous that the female artist didn’t give him proper attention earlier this year. Minaj also went so far as to call the radio personality a “reality TV hoe” and claimed he wasn’t respected. Here’s what Nicki Minaj said to DJ Self in the exchange.

The feud was pushed by DJ Self in an Instagram he posted and deleted before Nicki Minaj’s tweet, according to XXL. In the DJ’s Instagram post, he asked Minaj to talk to him after she was “really mad who got the best female album out now.” And boy, did she ever. More than the radio personality maybe thought the musician would, most likely. Minaj can be ruthless when she’s feuding, and she didn’t provide any mercy to the Power 105.1 voice. As she claimed in the response above, Minaj believes DJ Self is just looking to get under Nicki Minaj’s skin since she wouldn’t respond to his requests.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Once you get Nicki Minaj’s started, she’s going to bring hellfire. The artist claimed DJ Self was in the studio during her appearance on DJ Clue’s show, claiming he was trying to hug her. That’s what she believes that is what caused the hard feelings from DJ Self. She also claims the radio personality holds “no weight in the city” and made her attacks personal by bringing up this recent radio appearance diss.

And that wasn’t the end of it either. Nicki Minaj went further by claiming DJ Self was also speaking unkindly about Cardi B in private, but he’s not going to reveal what he said publicly. Minaj threatened to tell her followers what DJ Self said about Cardi B, souring his relationship with both female rappers.

Eventually, DJ Self did comment on Nicki Minaj’s comments, claiming they were all fabricated and that she was only saying these things to promote her new studio album, which she has been trying to hype up since the spring. Evidently, these heated personalities might not find any peace anytime soon.

We’ll keep you posted on DJ Self and Nicki Minaj‘s ongoing social media feud right here at CinemaBlend.

Why Star Trek 4 Doesn’t Need Chris Pine

Odds are that, one way or another, this issue will be dealt with and Star Trek 4 will get back on track, but if it doesn’t, it’s simply not the end of the world. James T. Kirk is an important part of Star Trek, but he’s not the only part. Star Trek doesn’t need to be a star vehicle for anybody. If the story is strong enough, the other actors are more than capable of making a Star Trek movie that’s worth seeing and worthy of being called Star Trek.

Bull Season 3 Casts New Character Following Annabelle Attanasio’s Exit

The third season of Bull has been shaken up by the departure of actress Annabelle Attanasio, who left the show following the end of Season 2. Attanasio played TAC’s research expert Cable McCrory on the series. Now comes the news fans of the show have undoubtedly been awaiting. Bull has found a replacement to fill the void left by Cable, and as a result, a new member for Trial Analysis Corporation’s team will enter the fray.

That lucky actress is Vinyl‘s MacKenzie Meehan, per THR. Meehan is joining the cast in a recurring capacity. And her character sounds like she could be a real firebrand. TAC’s new team member is Taylor, a single mom who is in no way Jason’s acolyte. She treats her job on the team as a job only, and you are probably not going to find her working overtime. Taylor is described as expecting to leave TAC at an agreed upon time with her weekends free.

Those are not the only things we know about Taylor. She has a history with Marissa. They used to be colleagues at the Department of Homeland Security. As for Cable’s expert abilities in coding and hacking, do not worry. Taylor will have that covered as she is also an expert in those fields. It sounds like Bull has created a highly qualified character to take over Cable’s beat on the series, although fans will miss the character.

In case you are wondering why Annabelle Attanasio decided to leave the CBS drama, there is a good reason. She left the show to direct her first feature film. It is unclear if her exit is permanent. Her character was still alive at the end of Season 2, so the door is theoretically open for her to return to the show as Cable. As for the actress taking over Cable’s spot on the series, MacKenzie Meehan may be a familiar face.

Instead of leaving you to wrack your brain or Google, CinemaBlend is here to save you some time. As well as starring on HBO’s Vinyl, MacKenzie Meehan starred in The Wolf of Wall Street, and in a pretty pivotal role. Meehan portrayed Hildy Azoff, the wife of Jonah Hill’s Donnie.

In that role, MacKenzie Meehan demonstrated some major scene-stealing abilities, so Bull fans are in for a treat with her joining the show. Find out how Taylor joins the team, how Cable’s absence is explained, and what the show is “Cable-bull” of without her when Bull returns.

The third season of Bull premieres Monday, September 24 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. For new television shows set to arrive this fall, check out CinemaBlend’s guide to TV’s fall premieres. If you are solely curious about what’s coming up on CBS’s lineup alone, you can check out the network’s fall schedule here.

A Nun Jump Scare Ad Got Pulled After It Freaked People Out

The universe of The Conjuring continues its expansion next month with the release of the horror film, The Nun. We’ve seen the creepy first trailer, and now the marketing campaign is beginning to ramp up to sell audiences on the scares they will experience in the film. But the advertising has already proven a bit too effective. A YouTube ad for The Nun with a killer jump scare has actually been pulled, after it freaked a bunch of people out. Just remember the headline of this article, steel your nerves and give it a watch below:

Yeah, that will give you a jolt. This jump scare proved upsetting for some who saw it, which led to YouTube taking a look at it. Team YouTube addressed the ad on Twitter, letting followers know that the spot for The Nun will no longer be running as an ad on the platform because it apparently violates YouTube’s shocking content policy. Knowing that a jump scare is coming in advance makes the trailer kind of funny as you await something crazy to happen, but I can see how this freaked some people out.

This wasn’t like a trailer that you click on and choose to watch, but was one of the ads that was playing before other videos on YouTube. So I imagine most people who saw it were completely unprepared, especially since it lulls you into a false sense of security with the Mac volume adjustments going to mute before a demon nun with gross teeth starts screaming in your face. On the bright side, the ad was only six seconds, which is in some ways less traumatizing than the long ads you often have to endure.

You can definitely understand how an ad like this might not be appropriate to run in front of certain videos so it is makes sense that YouTube covered itself by removing it as an ad entirely. While that might seem like a negative for The Nun, I kind of think that this unintended consequence will prove a great bit of press for the film. Although some have said that the use of the jump scare ad has made them want to see the movie less, I still think that the message coming out of this is that The Nun had a 6-second ad that was so scary it had to be pulled. For the curious and horror fans who got a kick out of it, that message certainly sets up The Nun as a horror movie you have to see to find out just how scary it actually is.

The Nun terrorizes audiences when it opens in theaters on September 7th. Check out our premiere guide for all of the biggest movies releasing this year and for all the latest in terrifying ads, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.

Donald Trump’s History of Calling Women ‘Dogs’ Just Got Longer With New Omarosa Tweet

On Tuesday, Donald Trump went on Twitter to blast his former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, calling her a “lowlife” and a “dog.” Manigault Newman—currently promoting a tell-all, Unhinged, about her time working for the president—has said in recent days that she plans to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion and also has released recordings of Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly firing her in the White House Situation Room.

“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out,” Donald Trump tweeted. “Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

Shocking, certainly, but even more so: This isn’t the first time Donald Trump has referred to women as animals. Throughout his career, he’s hurled the “dog” insults at people he doesn’t agree with, and while his list includes a few men (Steve Bannon and Mitt Romney), it’s also stacked with women including journalist and entrepreneur Arianna Huffington (“…she is a dog who wrongfully comments on me”) and actress Kristen Stewart (“Robert Pattinson should not take back Kristen Stewart. She cheated on him like a dog & will do it again–just watch.”) Writer Gail Collins also once claimed that Trump wrote “The Face of a Dog!” over her picture after seeing a column he thought unflattering.

Trump has also repeatedly called women pigs and commented on their looks. During the first Republican debate, moderator Megyn Kelly commented, “You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account …” Trump interrupted to say, to laughter, “Only Rosie O’Donnell.” (He’d said O’Donnell was a “big, fat pig,” a “disgusting pig” and a “real loser” after a disagreement they had in 2006). The women whose physical appearances he’s judged ranges from his former political rival Carly Fiorina and Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski to celebrities like Heidi Klum and Angelina Jolie. And let’s not forget the time he was caught on a 2005 hot mic saying he could grab women “by the pussy.”

Trump’s disrespectful cracks and hostility against women may be nothing new, but many critics quickly pointed out that calling Newman a dog could also read as racially charged. The insult comes after Trump has attacked other women of color, including Maxine Waters, whom he has referred to as having a low IQ. It also seemed to add fuel to Newman’s allegations that she’s heard tape of the president using the N-word while he was on his former reality show ,The Apprentice, on which Newman competed in 2004.

Trump denied the allegations in a series of tweets on Monday, writing, “.@MarkBurnettTV called to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa. I don’t have that word in my vocabulary and never have. She made it up. Look at her MANY recent quotes saying….such wonderful and powerful things about me – a true Champion of Civil Rights – until she got fired. Omarosa had Zero credibility with the Media (they didn’t want interviews) when she worked in the White House. Now that she says bad about me, they will talk to her. Fake News!”

‘This Is Us’ Season 3: What We Know So Far

The season two finale of This Is Us left us with multiple cliff-hangers. Toby has severe depression; Kevin’s now dating Beth’s cousin, Zoe; and far into the future, Adult Tess and Old Man Randall are dreading visiting a woman whose identity isn’t known right now. It could be Beth, or Deja, or Annie, or maybe the spirit that lives inside Rebecca’s grandma wig—we have no idea. Your guess is as good as ours.

In fact, much of This Is Us‘ third season is still shrouded in secrecy. The show-runners did reveal a smidgen of what’s to come to Glamour, but there are still so many things we don’t know. Will Jack play a big role? Are Toby and Kate going to run into newlywed problems? How many times will Kevin take his shirt off? These are pressing questions we need answers to.

So, we scoured the Internet and asked the cast and crew of This Is Us to tell us everything they can about what’s to come in season three. We’ll periodically update this post when more tea comes out, but, for now, here’s what we know:

It will premiere on September 25. NBC confirmed this on June 19, 2018.

There will be 18 episodes. Season two also had 18 episodes.

Season three will be big. Fogelman told us it’s the show’s “most ambitious yet.” “We’re going for it in season three, and it’s really ambitious and really surprising,” he said.

Kevin and Zoe’s relationship is a central story. “There’s a very interesting familial dynamic there, as well as a racial dynamic that’s going to be interesting to explore,” Fogelman also explained to us at SXSW.

Rebecca and Miguel’s backstory will be fleshed out more. Co-showrunner Elizabeth Berger told TV Line the new season delves into the interesting romance between Rebecca and Jack’s best friend, including “its origins, and what Miguel and Rebecca’s life in present times is like a little bit more behind closed doors.”

We’ll also learn more about Jack. “I think season two was so much about Jack’s death obviously, and I think season three, in a really cool way, is going to be more about his life and sort of focusing on these chapters that we haven’t yet seen,” Berger revealed in the This Is Us finale after show, according to E! Online. “I think Jack has alluded to Rebecca that he has a lot of secrets and there are parts of his life that even she hasn’t been privy to, and we’re going go get to really explore those parts in a really exciting way.”

And the Present-Day Jack hypotheticals will play out more, too. We first saw this in the finale, when Kate dreamed about what Jack and Rebecca’s 40-year renewal ceremony would’ve been life if Jack were alive. This same format will continue. “Obviously a wedding is going to bring up so much for Kate especially in regards to her dad not being there, so we were sort of like how can we incorporate him into this and make him part of this day?” Berger said, also according to E! Online.

The year after Jack’s death won’t go unnoticed. “[Jack’s death] happened in February of [the Big Three’s] senior year of high school, which is a seminal time no matter what,” executive producer Isaac Aptaker and co-show runner told Glamour. “They also had this tragedy occur, which affects the rest of their lives, so we’re going to dive into that year where there’re so many stories to tell about the decisions they make[,] and the way they react to their father’s death shaped the trajectory for the next 20 years of their lives.”

Vietnam is a big part of the next season. Remember, we saw Kevin and his girlfriend, Zoe (Beth’s cousin), fly there at the end of the finale for unknown reasons, and this is where Jack served time in the military. “[Season two is] big Vietnam season for us. We’re doing some cool stuff. Milo will get a real showcase as younger Jack and there will be more Jack and Rebecca origin stories,” show creator Dan Fogelman said at SXSW, per Deadline.

Beth and Randall will run into more relationship problems. “There will be a bit of an exploration of marriage with regards to Randall and Beth going through times that aren’t all sunshine and rainbows,” Sterling K. Brown told People. “That’s not to say that they are in danger of parting ways, but marriage is real and takes work.”

We’ll get to meet Déjà’s father, too. “Obviously, Déjà has had almost no relationship with him, but she may know more about him than we previously let on,” Berger told Entertainment Weekly. “So, we’ll get to know a little bit more about what that relationship is moving forward.”

We don’t know who Adult Tess and Old Man Randall are talking to in that flash-forward,. “It’s safe to say they’re talking about someone extremely close to them, but I don’t think [the audience] is meant to think any particular person is dead or alive or ill,” Fogelman told us at SXSW. Hopefully this puts all those “Beth is dead” rumors to rest. “There’s a lot of possibilities of what Randall and Tess are talking about,” he added. “I think by the end of next season, you’ll have a general consensus where it’s going.”

Speaking of which, there are no deaths planned for the third season as of now. “We don’t have any other deaths coming in a present day storyline anytime soon,” Fogelman also told us. Thank God.

Randall and Kevin will get more screen time together. Looks like their little road trip from the season finale paid off. “There is something about the two brothers together, you see a lot of it in the finale, there is something so real about them as brothers,” Fogelman said at SXSW, according to People. “So I go ‘Sh*t, we need to get Randall and Kevin on camera more.’”

Kevin will most likely remain sober. “He seems to be headed in the right direction,” Hartley said at SXSW. “It’s part of who he is, and stuff doesn’t go away, but it’s about managing and figuring it out. He’s got a great support system.”

We’ll learn more about Toby, as well. Including why his brother didn’t attend his wedding. We also saw in a flash-forward that Toby’s suffering from severe depression, so that will be addressed as well.

More characters will receive backstories, too. “Chris Sullivan, and we’re going to be going into [Toby’s] backstory and we’re really excited about it,” Berger told Glamour at the TCAs in August 2018. “We’re going to be going into Susan’s (Beth’s) backstory for the first time, which we’re really excited about. It’s the pitfall of having such a brilliant cast is you’re always, ‘give them more, give them more!’”

They’re changing up episode structures. “A typical episode of This Is Us has three sibling storylines and then a past episode, and every now and then we’ll devote one [episode] solely to one character, but this season we’re really throwing everything out the window and saying all bets are off, so maybe we’ll do an episode where every act is a different time. Maybe we’ll have something that jumps five timelines in an episode. We’re just really pushing the limits of what people can comprehend,” Isaac Aptaker, a writer on This Is Us, told Glamour.

We’ll learn about Toby’s depression quickly. “Sort of within the first half of our season, we’re going to be seeing Kate and Toby go through various challenge,” Berger said. “Obviously last season we showed their journey to have a family…that’s a journey that we’re going to be continuing this season and there’s going to be the stresses of your first year of marriage. It’s something we’re going to be building towards.”

And we’ll learn why Deja acted out in the finale. “The immediate question for Beth and Randall is what do you do with this foster child who you’ve fallen in love with deeply who does something like, pretty frightening like that? (She smashed the windshield of Randall’s car with a baseball bat at Kate/Toby’s wedding),” Berger said. “And that’s one of the immediate things we’re picking up with in season three. [We’ll explore why she did it], absolutely.”

One thing you won’t see: Toby and Kate’s honeymoon. “I was really trying to [push for a honeymoon]! Like, can’t we go on a little trip?” Chrissy Metz tells us. “It’s alluded to that we went on one.”

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‘Devotion to Drawing: The Karen B. Cohen Collection of Eugène Delacroix’ Review: A Master off the Canvas

New York

In 1822, Adolphe Thiers, the journalist and, later, the second elected president of France, wrote the first glowing review of Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), in whom he recognized “the boldness of Michelangelo and the fecundity of Rubens.” No faint praise, and these accolades—and then some—bear themselves out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s enthralling exhibition “Devotion to Drawing: The Karen B. Cohen Collection of Eugène Delacroix.”

Devotion to Drawing: The Karen B. Cohen Collection of Eugène Delacroix

The Met Fifth Avenue
Through Nov. 12

More Art Reviews

This is the kind of show that gets your heart racing—that starts at a trot and builds almost immediately to a gallop. Organized by Met curator Ashley Dunn, “Devotion to Drawing” comprises more than 100 drawings, watercolors, sketchbooks, preparatory studies and copies from old masters. Intimate yet comprehensive, it reveals a ravenous, omnivorous and inventive artist, a painter dedicated to tradition and innovation; a superb colorist and draftsman stimulated as much by his imagination as by other artists and cultures; a Romanticist, Neoclassicist and pioneering modernist—a prolific and daring painter expressing himself through a full range of approaches, media and temperaments.

Art history’s “isms” tend to pigeonhole artists—most of whom defy classification. Delacroix is seen as the leading French master of Romanticism. His dynamic pictures’ broken contours, liberated, tactile and impassioned color and brushwork are considered the fiery antithesis of the symmetrical compositions, closed contours and crystal-clear, sensuous line of his cool-headed contemporary, the leading French master of Neoclassicism, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Despite Ingres’s willful distortions and expressive color, he was understood to be the embodiment of the rational draftsman-painter; whereas Delacroix was believed to be an emotive and dramatic colorist—a painter, not a draftsman. But that was until Delacroix’s death, when 8,000 staggeringly diverse, previously unknown works on paper were found in his studio.

“Devotion to Drawing” celebrates the promised gift to the Met of the Cohen collection of Delacroix—a gathering of some of these posthumously discovered works on paper that amounts to a career-spanning drawing retrospective. The show, conveying that painting and drawing are symbiotic, is doubly welcome because it will soon overlap with the Met’s much-anticipated “Delacroix” (Sept. 17 through Jan. 6, 2019), the first comprehensive survey mounted in North America.

Installed thematically, “Devotion to Drawing” swings wonderfully between precise renderings from nature and lively, whiplashing compositions as it traces Delacroix’s diverse interests and pathways, his training, development and increasing mastery. Establishing Delacroix’s commitment to fundamentals, it opens with early academic studies of classical sculpture, the nude, antique coins, human limbs and torsos, as well as cadavers, weaponry and armor, and copies of Neoclassical illustrations by John Flaxman. Here, Delacroix hones his skills of perception, as he explores graphite, chalk and pen-and-ink, moving from nature studies concerned with structure, form, mark-making and composition to vigorous, crowded sheets depicting numerous heads, animals and tumbling figures.

In gorgeous, creative interpretations after Raphael, Paolo Veronese, Peter Paul Rubens and Théodore Géricault, Delacroix—finding his voice among the gods—doesn’t so much copy but consume and reincarnate these artists. In expressionistic works such as “Battle Scene With a Prisoner Being Bound, After Raphael” (c. 1823), Delacroix gives us movement, thrust and counterthrust, the fall and lift of figures whose roiling limbs become interchangeable. In “Figures From Raphael’s Vatican Loggia” (c. 1833-35), he focuses on the sculptural solidity of facial features and folds of cloth, which evoke carved stone. In “Drunken Silenus, After Rubens” (1840), Delacroix treats line and form with varying openness, weight and density, creating gritty, shimmering edges and silvery grays.

The exhibition also includes figure studies for his masterpieces “Liberty Leading the People” (1830) and “The Sultan of Morocco and His Entourage” (1845). Here, also, are architectural renderings, caricatures, satirical cartoons, travel sketches, drawings from a performance of “Othello,” and studies for his prints illustrating “Hamlet” and Goethe’s “Faust.” The watercolor “A Moroccan Couple on Their Terrace” (1832) glows like a Persian miniature painted on ivory. The sublime, cloud-stacked, yellow-and-violet-pastel “Sunset” (c. 1850), roughly eight by ten inches, evokes Jacob van Ruysdael, J.M.W. Turner, John Constable and Gustave Courbet, and anticipates Arthur Dove. Beautifully expansive, it refutes the notion that heroism increases with scale.

The most spirited and engaging works here, however, are Delacroix’s animals. “Four Studies of Horses (recto)” and “Four Studies of Galloping Horses and Riders (verso)” (1824-25) reveal the creatures’ strength, dignity and restlessness, their glistening coats. In the explosive “The Giaour on Horseback (recto)” (1824-26), you can almost hear the snorting beast and clanking armor. The animals in “Studies of a Rearing Horse Attacked by a Lion and a Lion Wrestling With a Serpent” (1830s)—looping and soaring—are nearly indistinguishable. In “Crouching Tiger” (1839), fur shivers, and taut musculature, like a coiled spring, feels ready to strike. And in the crisp pen-and-ink drawing “A Lioness and a Caricature of Ingres” (1850s)—executed when tensions between Delacroix and Ingres were heightened—ink runs out of the feline’s mouth like drool. It is impossible, really, to know if Delacroix is honoring Ingres or salivating to devour him. Perhaps it is both.