Archive for March, 2009

Man needs colour to live; it’s just as necessary an element as fire and water

March 31, 2009

Fernand Leger

Woman with a Cat  1921

The French painter Fernand Leger {lay-zhay’, fer-nahn’}, b. Argentan, Feb. 4, 1881, d. Aug. 17, 1955, was a major figure in the development of cubism and a prime expositor of modern urban and technological culture.

After moving (1900) to Paris he worked as an architectural draftsman and a photographic retoucher and also studied informally at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julien. By 1911, Leger had become a key member of the evolving cubist movement. His personal style of cubism is characterized by tubular, fractured forms and bright colors highlighted by juxtaposition with cool whites — a decorative scheme that conveys a sense of form in relief. Major works of this cubist period include La Noce (1911-12; Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris), Woman in Blue (1912; Oeffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel), and Contrasts of Forms (1913; Philadelphia Museum of Art).

Following World War I, Leger concentrated more and more on urban and machine imagery, which led logically to his association (1919-c.1925) with the purism of Le Corbusier and Amedee Ozenfant. In paintings such as The Mechanic (1920; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa) and Three Women (1921; Museum of Modern Art, New York City), he favored sharply delineated, flat shapes, unmodeled color areas, and combinations of human and machine forms. After 1930, Leger’s style favored precisely delineated and monumental forms modeled in planes and set in shallow space, and he concentrated on depicting scenes of proletarian life, such as his Great Parade (1954; Guggenheim Museum, New York City).

The idea is in my head to put it down is nothing.

March 30, 2009

Milton Avery

Untitled no date

Milton Avery (March 7, 1885 – January 3, 1965) was an American modern painter. Although born in Altmar, New York, he moved to Connecticut in 1898 and later to New York City.

It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover to your surprise that you have rendered something in its true character.

March 29, 2009

Camille Pissarro

Brouillard à l’Hermitage, Pontoise  1879

(b. July 10, 1830, St. Thomas, Danish West Indies–d. Nov. 13, 1903, Paris)
French Impressionist painter, who endured prolonged financial hardship in keeping faith with the aims of Impressionism. Despite acute eye trouble, his later years were his most prolific. The Parisian and provincial scenes of this period include Place du Théâtre Français (1898) and Bridge at Bruges (1903).

Art is creative for the sake of realization, not for amusement… for transfiguration, not for the sake of play.

March 28, 2009

Max Beckman

Christ & the Woman Taken in Adultery 1917

Max Beckmann (February 12, 1884 – December 28, 1950) was a German painter, draftsman, printmaker, sculptor, and writer. Although he is usually classified as an Expressionist artist, he rejected both the term and the movement.[1] In the 1920s he was associated with the New Objectivity (Neue Sachlichkeit), an outgrowth of Expressionism that opposed its introverted emotionalism.

The relationship between the public and the artist is complex and difficult to explain. There is a fine line between using this critical energy creatively and pandering to it.

March 27, 2009

Andy Goldsworthy

Rain Shadow 1984

Andy Goldsworthy is a brilliant British artist who collaborates with nature to make his creations. Besides England and Scotland, his work has been created at the North Pole, in Japan, the Australian Outback, and in the U.S.

Goldsworthy regards all his creations as transient, or ephemeral. He photographs each piece once right after he makes it. His goal is to understand nature by directly participating in nature as intimately as he can. He generally works with whatever comes to hand: twigs, leaves, stones, snow and ice, reeds and thorns.

Art is never finished, only abandoned.

March 26, 2009

Leonardo da Vinci

Lady with an Ermine 1489-1490

Leonardo da Vinci was a Florentine artist, one of the great masters of the High Renaissance, who was also celebrated as a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and scientist. His profound love of knowledge and research was the keynote of both his artistic and scientific endeavors. His innovations in the field of painting influenced the course of Italian art for more than a century after his death, and his scientific studies—particularly in the fields of anatomy, optics, and hydraulics—anticipated many of the developments of modern science.

The Myth is in art.

March 25, 2009

Yves Klein

Anthropometry 1961

Yves Klein (28 April 1928 – 6 June 1962) was a French artist and is considered an important figure in post-war European art. New York critics of Klein’s time classify him as neo-Dada, but other critics, such as Thomas McEvilley in an essay submitted to Artforum in 1982, have since classified Klein as an early, though “enigmatic,” Post-Modernist.

Draw your pleasure, paint your pleasure, and express your pleasure strongly

March 22, 2009

Pierre Bonnard

Nude in Bath and Small Dog 1941-46

Pierre Bonnard {baw-nar’}, b. Oct. 3, 1867, d. Jan. 23, 1947, began his long painting career in Paris in the early 1890s. He was one of the first artists to use pure color in flat patterns enlivened by decorative linear arabesques in paintings, posters, and designs for stained-glass windows and books. Together with his friend Edouard Vuillard and the other members of the group known as the Nabis (Hebrew for “prophets”), he helped establish a new, modern style of decoration that was important for the emergence of Art Nouveau in the late 1890s.

The paintings of Paul Gauguin and Claude Monet done in the late 1880s were the principal source for the new style of the Nabis. Bonnard, “the very Japanese Nabi,” also drew on Japanese prints for his striking simplifications of form and his bold use of bright colors. In 1894, however, he turned to more somber colors and restricted his subject matter to intimate views of domestic life. When, around 1900, he again began to use bright hues, he adopted the impressionist broken brushstroke and abandoned the linear configurations of his earlier work.

Throughout the remainder of his career, Bonnard continued and expanded the impressionists’ concern for depicting the personal environment of the artist. His naturalism, however, was merely a starting point for striking innovations in color and the construction of perspective. After 1920 intense colors dissolve forms yet celebrate the painter’s sensuous delight in the lush southern French landscape and, above all, the beauty of the female nude.

Bonnard’s entire stylistic evolution offers a transition from impressionism to a coloristic, abstract art. Critics now recognize the importance of Bonnard’s contribution to the development of abstraction. During his lifetime, however, they often found his work old-fashioned, because of his commitment to figuration and the narrow scope of his themes. Dining Room on the Garden (1934-35; Guggenheim Museum, New York) is an excellent example of Bonnard’s late style.

I do not innovate. I transmit.

March 21, 2009

Andre Derain

The Dancer  1906

André Derain studied alongside Maurice de Vlaminck in Paris. After meeting Matisse together in 1899 and receiving encouragement to further their studies in color, Derain and de Vlaminck both adapted Fauvism. In 1905 at the prompting of art dealer, Ambroise Vollard, Derain traveled to England to paint the Pool of London, creating some of his finest pieces. His later landscapes adapted the lesser tonalities of Impressionism because of Cézanne’s influence. He also designed theatre sets and book illustrations.

Originality depends only on the character of the drawing and the vision peculiar to each artist.

March 20, 2009

Georges Seurat

The Side Show 1888

Painter, founder of the 19th-century French school of Neo-Impressionism whose technique for portraying the play of light using tiny brushstrokes of contrasting colours became known as Pointillism. Using this techique, he created huge compositions with tiny, detached strokes of pure colour too small to be distinguished when looking at the entire work but making his paintings shimmer with brilliance. Works in this style include Une Baignade (1883-84) and Un dimanche après-midi à l’Ile de la Grande Jatte (1884-86).

A French painter who was a leader in the neo-impressionist movement of the late 19th century, Georges Seurat is the ultimate example of the artist as scientist. He spent his life studying color theories and the effects of different linear structures. His 500 drawings alone establish Seurat as a great master, but he will be remembered for his technique called pointillism, or divisionism, which uses small dots or strokes of contrasting color to create subtle changes in form.

Georges-Pierre Seurat was born on Dec. 2, 1859, in Paris. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1878 and 1879. His teacher was a disciple of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Young Seurat was strongly influenced by Rembrandt and Francisco de Goya.

After a year of military service at Brest, Seurat exhibited his drawing Aman-Jean at the official Salon in 1883. Panels from his painting Bathing at Asnieres were refused by the Salon the next year, so Seurat and several other artists founded the Societe des Artistes Independants. His famous canvas Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte was the centerpiece of an exhibition in 1886. By then Seurat was spending his winters in Paris, drawing and producing one large painting each year, and his summers on France’s northern coast. In his short life Seurat produced seven monumental paintings, 60 smaller ones, drawings, and sketchbooks. He kept his private life very secret, and not until his sudden death in Paris on March 29, 1891, did his friends learn of his mistress, who was the model for his painting Young Woman Holding a Powder Puff.