Archive for April, 2009

You shouldn’t be a prisoner of your own ideas.

April 30, 2009

Sol LeWitt

Brushstrokes in Different Colors in Two Directions 1993

Sol LeWitt (September 9, 1928 – April 8, 2007) was an American artist linked to various movements, including Conceptual art and Minimalism. LeWitt rose to fame in the late 1960s with his wall drawings and “structures” (a term he preferred instead of “sculptures”) but was prolific in a wide range of media including drawing, printmaking, and painting.

He has been the subject of hundreds of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world since 1965. His prolific two and three-dimensional work ranges from wall drawings (over 1200 of which have been executed) to hundreds of works on paper extending to structures in the form of towers, pyramids, geometric forms, and progressions. These works range in size from gallery-sized installations to monumental outdoor pieces. Sol LeWitt’s frequent use of open, modular structures originates from the cube, a form that influenced the artist’s thinking from the time that he first became an artist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sol_LeWitt

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Most artists like to think of themselves as rugged individualists, as independent characters.

April 29, 2009

Jack Levine

Adam and Eve: Expulsion  1981

Jack Levine (b. Boston, Massachusetts, January 3, 1915) is an American Social Realist painter and printmaker best known for his satires on modern life, political corruption, and biblical narratives.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Levine

In painting you must give the idea of the true by means of the false.

April 28, 2009

Edgar Degas

Blue Dancers 1899

Degas, (Hilaire-Germain-) Edgar (b. July 19, 1834, Paris, Fr.–d. Sept. 27, 1917, Paris)
French artist, acknowledged as the master of drawing the human figure in motion. Degas worked in many mediums, preferring pastel to all others. He is perhaps best known for his paintings, drawings, and bronzes of ballerinas and of race horses.

The art of Degas reflects a concern for the psychology of movement and expression and the harmony of line and continuity of contour. These characteristics set Degas apart from the other impressionist painters, although he took part in all but one of the 8 impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1886. Degas was the son of a wealthy banker, and his aristocratic family background instilled into his early art a haughty yet sensitive quality of detachment. As he grew up, his idol was the painter Jean Auguste Ingres, whose example pointed him in the direction of a classical draftsmanship, stressing balance and clarity of outline. After beginning his artistic studies with Louis Lamothes, a pupil of Ingres, he started classes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts but left in 1854 and went to Italy. He stayed there for 5 years, studying Italian art, especially Renaissance works.

Returning to Paris in 1859, he painted portraits of his family and friends and a number of historical subjects, in which he combined classical and romantic styles. In Paris, Degas came to know Édouard Manet, and in the late 1860s he turned to contemporary themes, painting both theatrical scenes and portraits with a strong emphasis on the social and intellectual implications of props and setting.

In the early 1870s the female ballet dancer became his favorite theme. He sketched from a live model in his studio and combined poses into groupings that depicted rehearsal and performance scenes in which dancers on stage, entering the stage, and resting or waiting to perform are shown simultaneously and in counterpoint, often from an oblique angle of vision. On a visit in 1872 to Louisiana, where he had relatives in the cotton business, he painted The Cotton Exchange at New Orleans (finished 1873; Musée Municipal, Pau, France), his only picture to be acquired by a museum in his lifetime. Other subjects from this period include the racetrack, the beach, and cafe interiors.

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/degas/

An artist’s early work is inevitably made up of a mixture of tendencies and interests, some of which are compatible and some of which are in conflict.

April 27, 2009

Bridget Riley

Edge of Light 1981-2003

Bridget Riley was born in 1931 at Norwood, London, the daughter of a businessman. Her childhood was spent in Cornwall and Lincolnshire. She studied at Goldsmiths College from 1949 to 1952, and at the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955. Riley has exhibited widely since her first solo show in 1962. Among numerous exhibitions, she was included in the 1968 Venice Biennial where she won the International Prize for painting.

http://www.mishabittleston.com/artists/bridget_riley/

It’s so rewarding when you hear the audience respond

April 26, 2009

RIP Bea Arthur

Beatrice “Bea” Arthur (May 13, 1922 – April 25, 2009) was an American comedienne, actress, and singer. In a career spanning seven decades, Arthur achieved success as the title character, Maude Findlay, on the 1970s sitcom Maude, and as Dorothy Zbornak on the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls; she won Emmys for both roles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Arthur

If a man devotes himself to art, much evil is avoided that happens otherwise if one is idle.

April 25, 2009

Albrecht Dürer

Praying Hands 1508

Albrecht Dürer is the greatest exponent of Northern European Renaissance art. While an important painter, in his own day Dürer was renowned foremost for his graphic works. Artists across Europe admired and copied Dürer’s innovative and powerful prints, ranging from religious and mythological scenes, to maps and exotic animals.

Technically, Dürer’s prints are exemplary for their detail and precision. The son of a goldsmith, Dürer was trained as a metalworker at a young age. He applied the same meticulous, exacting methods required in this delicate work to his woodcuts and engravings, notably the Four Horsemen of his Apocalypse series (1498), and his Knight, Death and Devil (1513).

Dürer’s training also involved travel and study abroad. He went to Italy in 1494, and returned again in 1505-6. Contact with Italian painters resonated deeply in his art. Influenced by Venetian artists, who were renowned for the richness of their palette, Dürer placed greater importance on colour in his paintings. His Feast of the Rose Garlands (1506), removed any doubt that, as well as a master of prints, he was an accomplished painter.

Dürer was also a great admirer of Leonardo da Vinci. He was intrigued by the Italian master’s studies of the human figure, and after 1506 applied and adapted Leonardo’s proportions to his own figures, as is evident in his drawings. Later in his life, in the 1520’s, he illustrated and wrote theoretical treatises instructing artists in perspective and proportion.

Dürer was a humanist and a creator. His awareness of his own role as an artist is apparent in his frontal, Christ-like Self Portrait, 1500, just one of many self portraits that he painted in his career. More than simply producing works for his own time, Dürer saw his fame and his contribution as enduring, and as part of history.

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/durer_albrecht.html

Though the artist must remain master of his craft, the surface, at times raised to the highest pitch of loveliness, should transmit to the beholder the sensation which possessed the artist.

April 22, 2009

Alfred Sisley

The Church at Moret 1894

Sisley, Alfred (b. Oct. 30, 1839, Paris, Fr.–d. Jan. 29, 1899, Moret-sur-Loing), painter who was one of the creators of French Impressionism.

Sisley was born in Paris of English parents. After his schooldays, his father, a merchant trading with the southern states of America, sent him to London for a business career, but finding this unpalatable, Sisley returned to Paris in 1862 with the aim of becoming an artist. His family gave him every support, sending him to Gleyre’s studio, where he met Renoir, Monet and Bazille. He spent some time painting in Fontainebleau, at Chailly with Monet, Bazille and Renoir, and later at Marlotte with Renoir. His style at this time was deeply influenced by Courbet and Daubigny, and when he first exhibited at the Salon in 1867 it was as the pupuil of Corot.

By this time, however, he had started to frequent the Café Guerbois, and was becoming more deeply influenced by the notions which were creating Impressionism. During the Franco-Prussian war and the period of the Commune, he spent some time in London and was introduced to Durand-Ruel by Pissarro, becoming part of that dealer’s stable. In the mean time, his father had lost all his money as a result of the war, and Sisley, with a family to support, was reduced to a state of penury, in which he was to stay until virtually the end of his life.

He now saw himself as a full-time professional painter and part of the Impressionist group, exhibiting with them in 1874, 1876, 1877 and 1882. His work had by this time achieved complete independance from the early influences that had affected him. In the 1870s he produced a remarkable series of landscapes of Argenteuil, where he was living, one of which, The Bridge at Argenteuil (1872; Brooks Memorial Gallery, Memphis, USA) was bought by Manet. Towards the end of the decade Monet was beginning to have a considerable influence on him, and a series of landscape paintings of the area around Paris, including Marly, Bougival and Louveciennes (1876; Floods at Port-Marly, Musée d’Orsay), shows the way in which his dominent and evident lyricism still respects the demands of the subject-matter. From his early admiration for Corot he retained a passionate interest in the sky, which nearly always dominates his paintings, and also in the effects of snow, the two interests often combining to create a strangely dramatic effect (1880; Snow at Véneux; Musée d’Orsay). Naturally different, he did not promote himself in the way that some of his fellow Impressionists did, and it was only towards the end of his life, when he was dying of cancer of the throat, that he received something approaching the recognition he deserved.

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/sisley/

Vision is the true creative rhythm.

April 21, 2009

Robert Delaunay

Eiffel Tower with Trees, 1910

Although trained in fine arts in Paris, Delaunay worked in set design before beginning his painting career in 1905. He found his initial influences in the Neo-Impressionists, but gradually moved on to join Der Blaue Reiter in 1911. His Paris cityscapes began to take on a distinctive style that studied the effect of contrasting color patterning. Delaunay’s unique method spurred friend and poet, Guillaume Apollinaire, to place his paintings in a new movement, which he called Orphism. Later in his career, Delaunay reverted back to theatre design, often collaborating with his wife, Sonia. Delaunay’s original approach to color and arrangement of forms encouraged the development of abstract art in the 1920’s.

http://wwar.com/masters/d/delaunay-robert.html

The attitude that nature is chaotic and that the artist puts order into it is a very absurd point of view, I think. All that we can hope for is to put some order into ourselves.

April 20, 2009

Willem de Kooning

Woman/Verso: Untitled, 1948

Willem de Kooning (April 24, 1904 – March 19, 1997) was an abstract expressionist artist, born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

In the post-World War II era, de Kooning painted in a style that came to be referred to variously as Abstract expressionism, Action painting, and the New York School. Other painters that developed this school of painting include Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston and Clyfford Still among others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willem_de_Kooning

The future is now.

April 19, 2009

Nam June Paik

Buddha Game 1991

Nam June Paik (July 20, 1932 – January 29, 2006) was a South Korean-born American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the first video artist. He is considered by some to have been the author of the phrase “Information Superhighway”, which, according to his own account, he used in a Rockefeller Foundation paper in 1974.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nam_June_Paik