Archive for March, 2008
Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.March 29, 2008
Francisco Goya, considered to be “the Father of Modern Art,” began his painting career just after the late Baroque period. In expressing his thoughts and feelings frankly, as he did, he became the pioneer of new artistic tendencies which were to come to fruition in the 19th century. Two trends dominated the art of his contradictory; they actually were not. Together they represented the reaction against previous conceptions of art and the desire for a new form of expression. In order to understand the scope of Goya’s art, and to appreciate the principles which governed his development and tremendous versatility, it is essential to realise that his work extended over a period of more than 60 years, for he continued to draw and paint until his 82nd year.
The importance of this factor is evident between his attitude towards life in his youth, when he accepted the world as it was quite happily, in his manhood when he began to criticise it, and in his old age when he became embittered and disillusioned with people and society. Furthermore, the world changed completely during his lifetime. The society, in which he had achieved a great success disappeared during the Napoleonic war. Long before the end of the 18th century Goya had already turned towards his new ideals and expressed them in his graphic art and in his paintings.
As an artist, Goya was by temperament far removed from the classicals. In a few works he approached Classical style, but in the greater part of his work the Romantic triumphed.
Born in Zaragoza, Spain, he found employment as a young teenager under the mediocre artist José Luzán, from whom he learned to draw and as was customary, copied prints of several masters.
At the age of 17 he went to Madrid. His style was influenced by two painters who were working there. The last of the great Venetian painters—Tiepolo and the rather cold and efficient neo-classical painter—Antonio Raphael Mengs. In 1763 he entered a competition at the Royal Academy of San Fernando, and failed, as he did in the year 1766. In 1770, he want to Rome and survived by living off his works of art.
Happy Birthday Grace Hartigan
Grace Hartigan (b. March 28, 1922) is an Abstract Expressionist painter. She gained her reputation as part of the New York School of artists and painters that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 50s. She was a lively participant in the vibrant artistic and literary milieu of the times, and her friends included Jackson Pollock, Larry Rivers, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Frank O’Hara, and many other painters, artists, poets, and writers. She was the only woman artist in the Museum of Modern Art‘s legendary The New American Painting exhibition which toured Europe in the late 1950s.
Hartigan relocated to Baltimore, Maryland in the 1960s where she resides today. Over the years she has had dozens of solo exhibits, as well as participating in group shows for galleries such as Tibor de Nagy and Martha Jackson in New York, and her paintings are held by prestigious museums such as the Metropolitan Museum and the Whitney Museum of Art. Since 1965 she has worked at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) where she is the director of the Hoffberger Graduate School of Painting.
Happy Birthday Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies (March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969) was a German architect. In Germany, commonly referred to and addressed by his surname, Mies, by most of his American students and others.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. Mies, like many of his post World War I contemporaries, sought to establish a new architectural style that could represent modern times just as Classical and Gothic did for their own eras. He created an influential Twentieth-Century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define interior spaces. He strived towards an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of free-flowing open space. He called his buildings “skin and bones” architecture. He sought a rational approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design, and is known for his use of the aphorisms “less is more” and “God is in the details”.
You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.March 26, 2008
Mortimer Jerome Adler (December 28, 1902 – June 28, 2001) was an American Aristotelian philosopher and author. He was born in New York City, the son of an immigrant jewelry salesman. He dropped out of school at 14 years of age and went to work as a secretary and copy boy at the New York Sun, hoping to become a journalist. After a year, he took night classes at Columbia University to improve his writing. It was there that he became interested, after reading the autobiography of the great English philosopher John Stuart Mill, in the great philosophers and thinkers of Western civilization. Adler was driven to continue his reading after learning that Mill had read Plato when he was only five years old, while he had not read him at all. A book by Plato was lent to him by a neighbor and Adler became hooked. He then decided to study philosophy at Columbia, where he received a scholarship. Because he had not learned to swim and was otherwise non-athletic, Adler was unable to fulfill the requirement then in place of swimming laps in the College pool and was therefore unable to complete the requirements for his bachelors degree. It did not prevent him from enrolling in the graduate program, and Columbia awarded the B.A. to Adler in 1984 in recognition of his lifetime achievements.
(Jean Désiré) Gustave Courbet was an influential and prolific French painter, who, with his compatriots Honore Daumier and Jean Francois Millet, founded the mid-19th-century art movement called realism.
Courbet, a farmer’s son, was born June 10, 1819, in Ornans. He went to Paris about 1840, ostensibly to study law; instead, he taught himself to paint by copying masterpieces in the Louvre, Paris. In 1850 he exhibited The Stone Breakers (1849, formerly Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, destroyed 1945), a blunt, forthright depiction of laborers repairing a road. In it, Courbet deliberately flouted the precepts of the romantics—champions of emotionally charged exoticism—and of the powerful academics—guardians of the moralizing Beaux-Arts traditions. He further outraged them with his enormous Burial at Ornanš (1850, Musée d’Orsay, Paris), in which a frieze of poorly clad peasants surrounds a yawning grave. Courbet compounded his defiance of convention in another huge painting, The Artist’s Studio (1855, Musée d’Orsay), which he subtitled A True Allegory Concerning Seven Years of My Artistic Life. In it, Courbet sits painting a landscape center stage, attended by a small boy, a dog, and a voluptuous female nude; at left a listless, bored group studiously ignores him; at right a lively, spirited crowd of his friends admires his work. At the same time he issued a provocative manifesto detailing his social realist credo of art and life. By this time he enjoyed widespread popularity.
By then Courbet’s distinctive painting style was fully developed, marked by technical mastery, a bold and limited palette, compositional simplicity, strong and even harshly modeled figures (as in his nudes), and heavy impasto—thick layers of paint—often applied with a palette knife (particularly evident in his landscape and marine paintings).
As radical in politics as he was in painting, Courbet was placed in charge of all art museums under the revolutionary 1871 Commune of Paris and saved the city’s collections from looting mobs. Following the fall of the Commune, however, Courbet was accused of allowing the destruction of Napoleon’s triumphal column in the Place Vendôme; he was imprisoned and condemned to pay for its reconstruction. He fled to Vevey, Switzerland, in 1873, where he continued to paint until his death on December 31, 1877.
A man at work, making something which he feels will exist because he is working at it and wills it, is exercising the energies of his mind and soul as well as of his body. Memory and imagination help him as he works.March 24, 2008
Happy Birthday William Morris
William Morris (24 March 1834–3 October 1896) was an English artist, writer, and socialist. He was a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and one of the principal founders of the British Arts and Crafts movement, a pioneer of the socialist movement in Britain, and a writer of poetry and fiction. He is perhaps best known as a designer of wallpaper and patterned fabrics.
The Spanish artist Juan Gris, (March 23, 1887 – May 11, 1927),was, with Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, one of the first and greatest exponents of the cubist idiom in painting.
Originally named Jose Victoriano Gonzalez, he adopted the pseudonym by which he is known after moving (1906) to Paris, where he lived as Picasso’s friend and neighbor. Between 1907 and 1912 he watched closely the development of the cubist style and in 1912 exhibited his Homage to Picasso (collection of Mrs. and Mrs. Leigh Block, Chicago), which established his reputation as a painter of the first rank. He worked closely with Picasso and Braque until the outbreak of World War I, adapting what had been their intuitively generated innovations to his own methodical temperament.
In the 1920s, Gris designed costumes and scenery for Serge DIAGHILEV’s Ballets Russes. He also completed some of the boldest and most mature statements of his cubist style, with landscape-still lifes that compress interiors and exteriors into synthetic cubist compositions, such as Le Canigou (1921; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.), and figure paintings, especially the fine series of clowns that includes Two Pierrots (1922; collection of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hecht, Beverly Hills, Calif.).
Pioneer German Romantic poet. He wrote Hymnen an die Nacht/Hymns to the Night (1800), prompted by the death of his fiancée Sophie von Kühn. Feeling himself ecstatically united with his dead beloved, he tried to free his spirit from material things, and many of his poems contain a note of mysticism. He left two unfinished romances, Die Lehrlinge zu Sais/The Novices of Sais and Heinrich von Ofterdingen.
He was born in Oberwiederstedt, Thuringia, studied at Jena, Leipzig, and Wittenberg and then went to Armstadt, where he fell in love with Sophie von Kühn who was then 15. In 1795 he was made auditor of the Saxon Salt Works, of which his father was director. The death of Sophie, and of his brother Erasmus, both 1797, was a severe shock, but the tragedy aroused in Novalis a poetic and mystic strength. He began the romance Heinrich von Ofterdingen 1800 but died of consumption the following year; his Geistliche Lieder/Sacred Songs were posthumously published 1802.
Happy Birthday Hans Hoffman
Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) is one of the most important figures of postwar American art. Celebrated for his exuberant, color-filled canvases, and renowned as an influential teacher for generations of artists—first in his native Germany, then in New York and Provincetown—Hofmann played a pivotal role in the development of Abstract Expressionism.
As a teacher he brought to America direct knowledge of the work of a celebrated group of European modernists (prior to World War I he had lived and studied in Paris) and developed his own philosophy of art, which he expressed in essays which are among the most engaging discussions of painting in the twentieth century, including “The Color Problem in Pure Painting—Its Creative Origin.” Hofmann taught art for over four decades; his impressive list of students includes Helen Frankenthaler, Red Grooms, Alfred Jensen, Wolf Kahn, Lee Krasner, Louise Nevelson and Frank Stella. As an artist Hofmann tirelessly explored pictorial structure, spatial tensions and color relationships. In his earliest portraits done just years into the twentieth century, his interior scenes of the 1940s and his signature canvases of the late 1950s and the early 1960s, Hofmann brought to his paintings what art historian Karen Wilkin has described as a “range from loose accumulations of brushy strokes…to crisply tailored arrangements of rectangles…but that somehow seems less significant than their uniform intensity, their common pounding energy and their consistent physicality.”
Hofmann was born Johann Georg Hofmann in Weissenberg, in the Bavarian state of Germany in 1880 and raised and educated in Munich. After initial studies in science and mathematics, he began studying art in 1898. With the support of Berlin art patron Phillip Freudenberg, Hofmann was able to move to Paris in 1904, taking classes at both the Académie de la Grande Chaumière (with fellow student Henri Matisse) and the Académie Colarossi. In Paris Hofmann observed and absorbed the innovations of the most adventurous artists of the day including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Fernand Léger and Henri Matisse, many of whom he met and became friendly with. Hofmann would remain in Paris until 1914 when the advent of World War I required him to return to Germany. In 1915, unable to enroll in the military due to a respiratory ailment, Hofmann opened an innovative school for art in Munich, where he transmitted what he had learned from the avant-garde in Paris. The school’s reputation spread internationally, especially after the war, attracting students from Europe and the United States, thus beginning what was to be almost a lifetime of teaching for Hofmann.
Hofmann was close to 70 years old when, in a dazzling burst of energy he painted most of the large, highly recognizable canvases of the late 1950s and 1960s that assured his reputation. With their stacked, overlapping and floating rectangles and clear, saturated hues, these extraordinary paintings continued up until the end of his remarkable long career what Hofmann had first explored as an artist over six decades earlier.