Painting: La Mujer de los Caracoles by Jose Manuel Capuletti


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"To the extent that one may detect certain dominant values in different cultures, one could say the work of Capuletti has the passionate intensity of Spain, the elegance of France, and the joyous, benevolent freedom of America."

And, "...a dramatic economy of means, selectivity, precision and bold, pure colors are the dominant attributes of his style, made by a technique of such disciplined power that it appears effortlessly simple. There are no smears, no blurs, no dissolving shapes, no messy brush-strokes. The subtlest gradations of color are broken into distinct areas with discernible boundaries; one does not see them, at first glance: one sees only the effect of unusual clarity; but look closer, if you wish to observe a virtuoso technique."

Ellen mentioned that one of her favorite restaurants displays Capuletti's work. The name sounded vaguely familiar so I googled it. Jose Manuel Capuletti was one of Ayn Rand's favorite artists and I found this wonderful piece at Cordair. I like this piece and it reminds me a bit of the Dali style of handpainted dream landscapes. Very imaginative and well-crafted.

Enjoy!

Kat

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  • 7 years later...

The painting in the link of the preceding post is titled “Iris before the Gallery.” It is oil on canvas. Iris was the muse and life-partner of Capuletti. In the background of Iris, the gallery consists of four of his pictures. The one to our left is of Iris and daughter. Her name is Iris-Desirée. She is their only child and was born in 1975, three years before his death.

In the December 1966 issue of The Objectivist, Ayn Rand wrote of her visit to an exhibition of Capuletti’s work the preceding month in a midtown gallery. Rand wrote of his wife Pilar, who in that exhibit was his only female model (aside from portraits). His marriage with Pilar Lopez later ran aground. At a Mass in Frankfurt am Main, he met Iris Henrich, “his great love.”* There is a photo of Iris, third from top at the asterisk link just given.

One his paintings of Pilar is here (1955). Rand described her in person as “a small, graceful figure with a decisively rapid way of moving, a delicately traced, perfectly oval face with intensely brilliant eyes, with a look of childlike innocence and a hint of ageless sophistication.”

Paintings of Capuletti mentioned by Rand were Le Canal, Le Mur, Le Dernier Voeu, The Last Hour of Lady Godiva, and Central Park Lovers. The exhibition Rand saw was his fourth in New York, and she noted that his earlier somewhat surrealistic juxtapositions of incongruous objects into thematically incomprehensible arrangements had vanished by this fourth show. She reported that Capuletti acknowledged Velasquez and Vermeer as his two teachers.

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One his paintings of Pilar is here (1955). Rand described her in person as a small, graceful figure with a decisively rapid way of moving, a delicately traced, perfectly oval face with intensely brilliant eyes, with a look of childlike innocence and a hint of ageless sophistication.

Good description of Pilar, imo. :smile:

However, the face in the painting you linked isn't Pilar's.

Ellen

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There is some biography from the first half of his life here, which adds to the information at the two German sites. There is some information about him also here, but it is Spanish, and I cannot read it.

Ellen, did you see Pilar in person or perhaps in a photo? I think she is the model for Le Canal (El Canal). Do you think that is most likely correct? Do you know if the 1955 painting commonly shown as having the title Pilar on the internet is titled correctly, even if it is not of his wife? At one place, it is titled L’enjeu, la Musa del Pintor, which is The Stake, the Muse of the Painter. Do you know if the 1955 date appearing on the internet for that painting is likely correct? Rand was incorrect in reporting that his wife was his sole female model to 1966? Is the second painting here a likeness of Pilar?

Also, do you have an idea of where Rand got her biographical information about Capuletti? Could it have been from a brochure at the gallery show she visited? Might she have spoken with the artist there? From her report, she evidently saw Pilar there. I don’t know if Capuletti spoke English, but perhaps he spoke French.

There is another painting with Iris as the model here. Its title is “Iris with Palm Branch,” and it was painted in 1976, the same year as “Iris before the Gallery.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Capuletti and His Frigidaire

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Stephen,

I met Pilar twice, and sort of "talked" with her - using gestures and Larry's help with some French/English translation. Both times were in early 1970, one at the Hammer Gallery exhibit where the Desnudo Rand bought was on display and one at Allan Blumenthal's recital, which Capuletti and Pilar attended.

He spoke a bit of English. Rand and he mainly talked in French.

I don't know where Rand got her biographical information, maybe partly or entirely from him.

Currently on this screen is an oval cameo-shaped photograph of Capuletti and Pilar, fourth line down, blue background.

I'm not sure which of the canal paintings is called Le Canal. I think one of them has the blonde woman's face which is in an early painting just of a woman's face and clothed upper body. That painting is on the same line as the photo of Capuletti and Pilar, second over to the right.

Do you know if the 1955 painting commonly shown as having the title Pilar on the internet is titled correctly, even if it is not of his wife? At one place, it is titled Lenjeu, la Musa del Pintor, which is The Stake, the Muse of the Painter. Do you know if the 1955 date appearing on the internet for that painting is likely correct?

I don't know about either the name or the date. I think that 1955 is a likely date, and that "Lenjeu, la Musa del Pintor" (The Stake, the Muse of the Painter) is a likely Capuletti title. He had a sense of a twist similar to Rand's.

Rand was incorrect in reporting that his wife was his sole female model to 1966?

Pilar was the model for the body.

Is the second painting here a likeness of Pilar?

I've never seen that one before. Doesn't look like Pilar.

If you search on my posts on "Pilar" and on "Capuletti," you can find more.

Ellen

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Thanks, Ellen. I see there is a rough image of another Capuletti nude here at OL.

(Yes, bound, soon or sooner---sizzling.)

On 2/1/2007 at 4:44 PM, R. Christian Ross said:
Ellen Stuttle said:

Both are obviously influenced by Capuletti. But they both lack the sensuality, and the Spanish-masochism tension, which would be present in something similar by Capuletti himself. The first derives from the Desnudo -- the one AR bought and a photograph of which I have on my downstairs bedroom wall.


For reference...

Desnudo, by Capuletti
Link to painting


RCR
On 10/2/2009 at 3:08 AM, Ellen Stuttle said:
On 10/1/2009 at 3:28 PM, 'Brant Gaede said:

[...] why [Capuletti's] large female frontal nude, which I think Peikoff owns, a combo of Rand and an actress, had distracting asymmetrical breasts.


It doesn't have asymmetrical breasts. I have a photo of the painting in my downstairs bedroom. The photo is small, 7-1/2" by 9-1/2" with an inch-and-a-half frame all round. It's more attractive than the pictures of the painting which appear on the web. Although the photo loses the living-marble quality of the flesh in the real painting, its skin tones are glowing. I know you saw the painting at the original show, but I think you've been misled in memory over the years by seeing reproductions on the web. The appearance of asymmetry in the breast size is because of the angle of the shadows. The left breast (right side looking at the painting) is darkly shadowed. The breasts, however, aren't disproportional in size.

Leonard Peikoff owned the painting at least as of 10 or so years ago, when there was a picture of him in his living room on the front of a LFB book catalog. The painting was on the wall behind. I haven't heard any news of his selling it, so I assume he still has it.

I would love to have it. That and another one which was at the same show: The composition of the other one looks based on an imagined diagonal across from upper right to lower left. A woman in the lower right "triangle" is stretched on the stone of a courtyard, naked, face down, sensuously pressed against the stone. A Spanish-style house occupies the upper left "triangle" (edging over the imagined diagonal; the geometry I'm describing is approximate). On a balcony at the top of a stairs, a woman, fully clad and darkly malevolent of expression (the standard meaning of "malevolent") is looking down on the woman in the courtyard. Thinking what? Much to conjure as to possible stories behind the scene. An astrolabe is in the front right corner.

Ellen
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On 10/23/2013 at 10:38 AM, Stephen Boydstun said:

Thanks, Ellen. I see there is a rough image of another Capuletti nude here at OL.

(Yes, bound, soon or sooner---sizzling.)

On 2/1/2007 at 4:44 PM, R. Christian Ross said:
Ellen Stuttle said:

Both are obviously influenced by Capuletti. But they both lack the sensuality, and the Spanish-masochism tension, which would be present in something similar by Capuletti himself. The first derives from the Desnudo -- the one AR bought and a photograph of which I have on my downstairs bedroom wall.

For reference...

Desnudo, by Capuletti
Link to painting

RCR

On 10/2/2009 at 3:08 AM, Ellen Stuttle said:
On 10/1/2009 at 3:28 PM, 'Brant Gaede said:

[...] why [Capuletti's] large female frontal nude, which I think Peikoff owns, a combo of Rand and an actress, had distracting asymmetrical breasts.

It doesn't have asymmetrical breasts. I have a photo of the painting in my downstairs bedroom. The photo is small, 7-1/2" by 9-1/2" with an inch-and-a-half frame all round. It's more attractive than the pictures of the painting which appear on the web. Although the photo loses the living-marble quality of the flesh in the real painting, its skin tones are glowing. I know you saw the painting at the original show, but I think you've been misled in memory over the years by seeing reproductions on the web. The appearance of asymmetry in the breast size is because of the angle of the shadows. The left breast (right side looking at the painting) is darkly shadowed. The breasts, however, aren't disproportional in size.

Leonard Peikoff owned the painting at least as of 10 or so years ago, when there was a picture of him in his living room on the front of a LFB book catalog. The painting was on the wall behind. I haven't heard any news of his selling it, so I assume he still has it.

I would love to have it. That and another one which was at the same show: The composition of the other one looks based on an imagined diagonal across from upper right to lower left. A woman in the lower right "triangle" is stretched on the stone of a courtyard, naked, face down, sensuously pressed against the stone. A Spanish-style house occupies the upper left "triangle" (edging over the imagined diagonal; the geometry I'm describing is approximate). On a balcony at the top of a stairs, a woman, fully clad and darkly malevolent of expression (the standard meaning of "malevolent") is looking down on the woman in the courtyard. Thinking what? Much to conjure as to possible stories behind the scene. An astrolabe is in the front right corner.

Ellen

Neither you, nor, Stephen ever fail to amaze me, with your unique "views" of art.

It is a pleasure to read both of you here on OL.

Thanks.

A...

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  • 3 years later...
On 10/23/2013 at 8:38 AM, Guyau said:

Thanks, Ellen. I see there is a rough image of another Capuletti nude here at OL.

(Yes, bound, soon or sooner---sizzling.)

I saw the original in a NYC art gallery--Hammer--in 1970.

--Brant

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