Archive for May, 2009

I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may, – light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful.

May 31, 2009

John Constable

 Study of the trunk of an elm tree, 1821

Constable, John (1776-1837). English painter, ranked with Turner as one of the greatest British landscape artists.

Although he showed an early talent for art and began painting his native Suffolk scenery before he left school, his great originality matured slowly. He committed himself to a career as an artist only in 1799, when he joined the Royal Academy Schools and it was not until 1829 that he was grudgingly made a full Academician, elected by a majority of only one vote. In 1816 he became financially secure on the death of his father and married Maria Bicknell after a seven-year courtship and in the fact of strong opposition from her family. During the 1820s he began to win recognition: The Hay Wain (National Gallery, London, 1821) won a gold medal at the Paris Salon of 1824 and Constable was admired by Delacroix and Bonington among others. His wife died in 1828, however, and the remaining years of his life were clouded by despondency.

After spending some years working in the picturesque tradition of landscape and the manner of Gainsborough, Constable developed his own original treatment from the attempt to render scenery more directly and realistically, carrying on but modifying in an individual way the tradition inherited from Ruisdael and the Dutch 17th-century landscape painters. Just as his contemporary William Wordsworth rejected what he called the `poetic diction’ of his predecessors, so Constable turned away from the pictorial conventions of 18th-century landscape painters, who, he said, were always `running after pictures and seeking the truth at second hand’. Constable thought that `No two days are alike, nor even two hours; neither were there ever two leaves of a tree alike since the creation of the world’, and in a then new way he represented in paint the atmospheric effects of changing light in the open air, the movement of clouds across the sky, and his excited delight at these phenomena, stemming from a profound love of the country: `The sound of water escaping from mill dams, willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts and brickwork, I love such things. These scenes made me a painter.’

He never went abroad, and his finest works are of the places he knew and loved best, particularly Suffolk and Hampstead, where he lived from 1821. To render the shifting flicker of light and weather he abandoned fine traditional finish, catching the sunlight in blobs of pure white or yellow, and the drama of storms with a rapid brush. Henry Fuseli was among the contemporaries who applauded the freshness of Constable’s approach, for C. R. Leslie records him as saying: `I like de landscapes of Constable; he is always picturesque, of a fine color, and de lights always in de right places; but he makes me call for my great coat and umbrella.’

Constable worked extensively in the open air, drawing and sketching in oils, but his finished pictures were produced in the studio. For his most ambitious works–`six-footers’ as he called them–he followed the unusual technical procedure of making a full-size oil sketch, and in the 20th century there has been a tendancy to praise these even more highly than the finished works because of their freedom and freshness of brushwork. (The full-size sketch for The Hay Wain is in the V&A, London, which has the finest collection of Constable’s work.)

In England Constable had no real sucessor and the many imitators (who included his son Lionel, 1825-87) turned rather to the formal compositions than to the more direct sketches. In France, however, he was a major influence on Romantics such as Delacroix, on the painters of the Barbizon School, and ultimately on the Impressionists.

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

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Well, as far as I’m concerned, I’m not here to live a normal life. I’m sent here on a mission.

May 30, 2009

Howard Finster

Coca Cola Bottle 1989

 Howard Finster (December 2, 1916 – October 22, 2001) was a Baptist Reverend and artist from Summerville, Georgia. He claimed to be inspired by God to spread the gospel through the environment of Paradise Garden and over 46,000 pieces of art. His creations overlap folk art, outsider art, naïve art, and visionary art.

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

I think that an artist is a bit like a computer. He receives information from the world around him and from his past and from his own experiences. And it all goes into the brain.

May 29, 2009

Gerald Scarf

Gerald Scarfe’s take on the “Queen of Hearts” – Princess Diana and the Press – pictures the late princess amidst baying paparazzi.

 Gerald Scarfe was born in London. He was asthmatic as a child and spent much time drawing and reading. After a brief period at the Royal College of Art in London, he established himself as a satirical cartoonist, working for Punch magazine and Private Eye during the early sixties. He has had many exhibitions worldwide, including New York, Osaka, Montreal, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago and London, and 50 one-man shows. He has designed the sets and costumes for plays, operas and musicals in London, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, and also in New Zealand. His film work includes designing and directing the animation for Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Scarfe has written, directed and appeared in many live action and documentary films for BBC and Channel 4 and has published many books of his work. His latest book, Monsters was published in 2008. Scarfe has been political cartoonist for the London Sunday Times for 42 years, and has worked for The New Yorker magazine for 17 years. His work regularly appears in many periodicals. Gerald Scarfe received a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2008.

http://www.geraldscarfe.com/about.asp

I want to cultivate the seed that was placed in me until the last small twig has grown.

May 28, 2009

Kathe Kollwitz

Die Pflüger 1906

Käthe Schmidt Kollwitz (July 8, 1867 – April 22, 1945) was a German painter, printmaker, and sculptor whose work offered an eloquent and often searing account of the human condition in the first half of the 20th century. Her empathy for the less fortunate, expressed most famously through the graphic means of drawing, etching, lithography, and woodcut, embraced the victims of poverty, hunger, and war. Initially her work was grounded in Naturalism, and later took on Expressionistic qualities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A4the_Kollwitz

I thought it would be very nice to become Picasso or Rembrandt, or a van Gogh.

May 27, 2009

Dick Bruna

Miffy

Dick Bruna (b. August 23, 1927, Utrecht, the Netherlands) is a Dutch author, artist, illustrator and graphic designer.

Bruna is best known for his children’s books which he authored and illustrated, now numbering over 200. His best known creation is Miffy, a small rabbit drawn with heavy graphic lines, simple shapes and primary colors. Other recurring characters include Boris the little boy bear and Barbara his girlfriend, Poppy the kind pig lady and Snuffy the dog. Additionally, Bruna has also created stories for characters such as Lottie, Farmer John, and Hettie Hedgehog.

Aside from his prolific catalog of children’s books, Bruna also illustrated and designed book covers, posters and promotional materials for his father’s publishing company A.W. Bruna and Zoon. His most popular designs graced the covers of the Zwarte Beertjes series of books.

Among his designs those for Simenon’s Maigret are quite famous. They are typified by graphic silhouettes of a pipe on various backgrounds.

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

I think of my peace paintings as one long poem, with each painting being a single stanza.

May 26, 2009

Robert Indiana

 

Four Diamond Peace 2003

 Robert Indiana (born as Robert Clark, September 13, 1928) is an American artist associated with the Pop Art movement.

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

I mean, art for art’s sake is ridiculous. Art is for the sake of one’s needs.

May 25, 2009

Carl Andre

Isoclast 2004

 (born Sept. 16, 1935, Quincy, Mass., U.S.) American sculptor associated with minimalism. Andre is known for abstract work made of repetitive blocks, bricks, and metal plates arranged directly on the floor. Like other minimalists of his generation, Andre constructed his works out of industrial materials that called attention to the inherent physical structure of the piece and to the architecture of the surrounding space. Eschewing metaphor and symbolism, Andre’s work operates as a set of purely physical and perceptual concerns.

Andre attended the Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., from 1951 to 1953. After serving in the army for a year, he moved in 1957 to New York City, where he met and later married the Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta. He became associated with Frank Stella in 1958 and worked in Stella’s studio while developing his own drawings and sculpture. Stella’s abstract paintings of that period were an important influence on Andre’s developing aesthetic. A number of experiences—including four years of work in railway yards in the early 1960s and a trip to the prehistoric archaeological site of Stonehenge in England—solidified Andre’s determination to work with modular units. Andre began his sculptural practice by carving into wood timbers, but then he became more interested in using the timber planks themselves as structural pieces. In 1965 he shifted from stacked wood pieces to commercially prefabricated materials—blocks and bricks—with the intent of demystifying the role of the artist’s hand. He next became interested in placing square metal tiles onto larger squares, and he invited viewers to walk on these. For museum- or gallerygoers, who were more accustomed to keeping their distance from artworks, the effect of walking on a sculpture could be jolting.In 1985 Mendieta fell to her death from a window in their New York City apartment. Andre was tried for murder but was acquitted. Naked by the Window: The Fatal Marriage of Carl Andre and Ana Mendieta (1990) by Robert Katz is an account of the events leading up to the incident and the trial.

http://www.biography.com/articles/Carl-Andre-9184691

The act of painting is not a duplication of experience but the extension of experience on the plane of formal invention.

May 24, 2009

Stuart Davis

  

Blips and Ifs 1963-64

Stuart Davis  grew up in an artistic environment, for his father was art director of a Philadelphia newspaper, who had employed Luks, Glackens, and other members of the Eight. He studied with Robert Henri 1910-13, made covers and drawings for the social realist periodical The Masses, which was associated with the Ash-can School, and exhibited watercolors in the Armory Show, which made an overwhelming impact on him. After a visit to Paris in 1928-29 he introduced a new note into US Cubism, basing himself on its Synthetic rather than its Analytical phase. Using natural forms, particularly forms suggesting the characteristic environment of American life, he rearranged them into flat poster-like patterns with precise outlines and sharply contrasting colors (House and Street, Whitney Museum, New York, 1931).

He later went over to pure abstract patterns, into which he often introduced lettering, suggestions of advertisements, posters, etc. (Owh! in San Pao, Whitney Museum, 1951). The zest and dynamism of such works reflect his interest in jazz. Davis is generally considered to be the outstanding American artist to work in a Cubist idiom. He made witty and original use of it and created a distinctive American style, for however abstract his works became he always claimed that every image he used had its source in observed reality: `I paint what I see in America, in other words I paint the American Scene.’

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

I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.

May 23, 2009

Le Corbusier

Chaise 1928

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and also painter, who is famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called Modern architecture or the International Style. He was born in Switzerland, but became a French citizen in his 30s.

He was a pioneer in studies of modern high design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. His career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout central Europe, India, Russia, and one each in North and South America. He was also an urban planner, painter, sculptor, writer, and modern furniture designer.

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

Do all the work you can; that is the whole philosophy of the good way of life

May 22, 2009

Eugène Delacroix

 Girl Seated in a Cemetery 1824

Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (26 April 1798 – 13 August 1863) was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school. Delacroix’s use of expressive brushstrokes and his study of the optical effects of colour profoundly shaped the work of the Impressionists, while his passion for the exotic inspired the artists of the Symbolist movement. A fine lithographer, Delacroix illustrated various works of William Shakespeare, the Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott and the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

In contrast to the Neoclassical perfectionism of his chief rival Ingres, Delacroix took for his inspiration the art of Rubens and painters of the Venetian Renaissance, with an attendant emphasis on color and movement rather than clarity of outline and carefully modeled form. Dramatic and romantic content characterized the central themes of his maturity, and led him not to the classical models of Greek and Roman art, but to travel in North Africa, in search of the exotic.Friend and spiritual heir to Théodore Géricault, Delacroix was also inspired by Byron, with whom he shared a strong identification with the “forces of the sublime”, of nature in often violent action.

However, Delacroix was given neither to sentimentality nor bombast, and his Romanticism was that of an individualist. In the words of Baudelaire, “Delacroix was passionately in love with passion, but coldly determined to express passion as clearly as possible.”