Fantastical and dreamlike paintings filled with detail and color that suggests some sort of narrative.
The “suggestivism” style was something he started in graduate school and he describes it as “an intuitive process of allowing ideas to pool and then connecting with the more innovative or strong moments and nurturing them into reality.”
In the larger sense, the work as a series is opening up a narrative about a world being created and explored by a young boy and girl.
I see the girl creating the world around her as she sleeps, dreams, thinks and grows.
The boy is more or less discovering the land and engaging its mystery. I am starting to see it as more than a simple boy meets girl story, which is how I’d begun to see it the first few years.
Well, either I’m going to over-explain what I can’t really explain, or we just admit that my mind travels to some other amazing place at night and these are images that I attempt to faithfully capture from those times.
The Egg Dance (ca. 1620), Pieter Brueghel the Younger.
The egg dance was a traditional Easter game involving the laying down of eggs on the ground and dancing among them whilst trying to break as few as possible. Another variation (depicted in many of the images featured here) involved tipping an egg from a bowl, and then trying to flip the bowl over on top of it, all with only using one’s feet and staying within a chalk circle drawn on the ground.
Although, as shown in many of its depictions in art, the pastime is associated with peasant villages of the 16th and 17th century, one of the earliest references to egg-dancing relates to the marriage of Margaret of Austria and Philibert of Savoy on Easter Monday in 1498. The event was described in an 1895 issue of American Magazine:
Then the great egg dance, the special dance of the season, began. A hundred eggs were scattered over a level space covered with sand, and a young couple, taking hands, began the dance. If they finished without breaking an egg they were betrothed, and not even an obdurate parent could oppose the marriage.
After three couples had failed, midst the laughter and shouts of derision of the on-lookers, Philibert of Savoy, bending on his knee before Marguerite, begged her consent to try the dance with him. The admiring crowd of retainers shouted in approval, “Savoy and Austria!” When the dance was ended and no eggs were broken the enthusiasm was unbounded.
In his The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England (1801), Joseph Strutt describes how an “indication of such a performance occurs in an old comedy, entitled The longer thou livest, the more Foole thou art, by William Wager in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, where we meet with these lines: Upon my one foote pretely I can hoppe./ And daunce it trimley about an egge.” He then goes onto describe a more elaborate performance he saw in Sadler’s Wells in the 1770s.
This performance was common enough about thirty years back and was well received at Sadler’s Wells; where I saw it exhibited, not by simply hopping round a single egg, but in a manner that much increased the difficulty.
A number of eggs, I do not precisely recollect how many, but I believe about twelve or fourteen, were placed at certain distances marked upon the stage; the dancer, taking his stand, was blind-folded, and a hornpipe being played in the orchestra, he went through all the paces and figures of the dance, passing backwards and forwards between the eggs without breaking them.
Photo: Peter Lorre played the serial killer in “M”.
M is supposedly based on the real-life case of serial killer Peter Kürten, the “Vampire of Düsseldorf”, whose crimes took place in the 1920s, although Lang denied that he drew from this case.
“At the time I decided to use the subject matter of M there were many serial killers terrorizing Germany — Haarmann, Grossmann, Kürten, Denke,” Lang told film historian Gero Gandert in a 1963 interview.
In 1930, when Lang placed an ad in the newspaper stating that his next film would be Mörder unter uns (Murderer Among Us) and was about a child murderer, he immediately began receiving threatening letters in the mail.
He was also denied a studio space to shoot the film at Stakken studio.
When Lang confronted the head of Stakken studio to find out why he was being denied access to the studio, the studio head informed Lang that he was a member of the Nazi party and that the party suspected that the film was meant to depict the Nazis.
This assumption was based entirely on the film’s original title and the Nazi party relented when informed of the film’s plot.
M was eventually shot in six weeks at a Stanken Zeppelinhalle studio just outside of Berlin. Lang also made the film for Nero-Film instead of UFA or his own production company.
It was produced by Nero studio head Seymour Nebenzal, who later produced Lang’s The Testament of Doctor Mabuse.
Other titles given to the film before “M” were Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (A City searches for a Murderer) and Dein Mörder sieht Dich an (Your Killer Looks At You).
While researching for the film Lang spent eight days inside a mental institution in Germany and met several real child murderers, including Peter Kürten.
He later used several real criminals as extras in the film and eventually 25 cast members were arrested during the film’s shooting.
Peter Lorre was cast in the lead role of Hans Beckert, the mentally ill child murderer.
During filming, Lorre acted in the film during the day while appearing onstage in Valentine Katayev’s Squaring the Circle at night.
Lorre’s character whistles the tune “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1.
However, Peter Lorre himself could not whistle – it is actually Lang’s wife and co-writer Thea von Harbou who is heard.
The film was one of the first to use a leitmotif, associating “In the Hall of the Mountain King” with the Lorre character.
Later in the film, the mere sound of the song lets the audience know that he is nearby, off-screen.
This association of a musical theme with a particular character or situation, a technique borrowed from opera, is now a film staple.
Signed, dated, and inscribed (left center): HRegnault [initials in monogram] / Rome 1870
Gift of George F. Baker, 1916 (16.95)
Regnault initially represented this Italian model as an African woman, but later enlarged the canvas at the bottom and right and transformed it into a representation of Salomé.
She is shown after having danced for her stepfather, Herod Antipas, governor of Judaea. The platter and knife allude to the reward she claimed for her performance: the severed head of John the Baptist.
Regnault was killed during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), just months after this picture was exhibited to great acclaim at the Salon of 1870.
For years, the painting was considered a masterpiece of contemporary art.
In 1912, when it was announced that it would be sold from a private collection, Baron Henri de Rothschild initiated a campaign to keep it in France.
He was unsuccessful; Salomé was presented to the Metropolitan by one of the Museum’s trustees in 1916.