Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Modigliani, Amedeo

Nude Sitting on a Divan ("La Belle Romaine")
c. 1917
Oil on canvas
100 x 65 cm
Private collection

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (1884 – 1920), one of the most popular modern-time artists, was an Italian painter and sculptor who was born as the forth and the youngest child in the family, which belonged to the secularized Jewish bourgeoisie. He worked mainly in France.
In 1914, the First World War broke out and he wanted to enlist but was exempted from military service for health reasons. In 1917, he met the 19year old Jeanne Hébuterne (1898-1920), student of the academy and started to live together. “She was gentle, shy, quiet and delicate. A little bit depressive”. She became his major model until his death, he painted her no less than 25 times. In 1918, Modigliani and Jeanne left Paris, which was under the threat of occupation by Germans, and went for the southern coast. In Nice and its environments he produced most of the paintings that would later become his most popular and highest-priced works.
In November, 1918 in Nice, Jeanne  gave birth to a girl. After returning to Paris, by the end of 1919, he became seriously ill with tubercular meningitis, exacerbated by poverty, overwork and addiction to alcohol and narcotics, and he died on January 24, 1920. On the following day the pregnant Jeanne committed suicide. They were buried together in the Père Lachaise cemetery. Their orphan daughter was adopted by Modigliani’s sister in Florence; later she would write an important biography of her father Modigliani : Man and Myth.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

O' Keeffe, Georgia

Light Iris
Oil on Canvas
52" X 38"
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (1887 – 1986) was an American artist. She was born in a farmhouse on a large dairy farm in Wisconsin.
She distinguished herself as one of America's most important modern artists, a position she maintained throughout her life. She is chiefly known for paintings of flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones, and landscapes in which she synthesized abstraction and representation. Her paintings present crisply contoured forms that are replete with subtle tonal transitions of varying colors. She often transformed her subject matter into powerful abstract images. New York Times described her paintings as both "bold and hermetic, immediately appealing and unnervingly impassive."
She died in Santa Fe on March 6 at the age of 98. In accordance with her wishes, she was cremated and her ashes were scattered to the wind at the top of the Pedernal Mountain, over her beloved "faraway".

Monday, November 28, 2011


The Straw Manikin
Oil on canvas
267 x 160 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Goya (full name : Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes ;1746 – 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns, but his genius was slow in maturing and he was well into his thirties before he began producing work that set him apart from his contemporaries. He was a court painter to the Spanish Crown, and through his works was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive and imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint, provided a model for the work of later generations of artists, notably Manet, Picasso.

Goya completed some 500 oil paintings and murals, about 300 etchings and lithographs, and many hundreds of drawings. He was exceptionally versatile and his work expresses a very wide range of emotion. In his own day he was chiefly celebrated for his portraits, of which he painted more than 200; but his fame now rests equally on his other work.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Landscapes of Autumn and Winter
two hanging scrolls
#2 scroll
c. 1470–90
Ink wash painting on paper *
47.7 x 30.2 cm
Tokyo National Museum
National Treasure
*Ink wash painting is an East Asian type of brush painting.
Only black ink (the same as used in East Asian calligraphy) is used, in various concentrations.

Sesshū Tōyō (1420 – 1506) was the most prominent Japanese master of ink and wash painting from the middle Muromachi period. He was born into the samurai family, then brought up and educated to become a Zen Buddhist priest. However, early in life he displayed a talent for visual arts, and eventually became one of the greatest Japanese artists of his time, widely revered throughout Japan and China. In 1468–9 he undertook a voyage to Ming China, where too he was quickly recognized as an outstanding painter. Upon returning to Japan, Sesshū built himself a studio and established a large following, painters that are now referred to as the "School of Sesshū". Although many paintings survive that bear Sesshū's signature or seal, only a few can be securely attributed to him.


Landscapes of Autumn and Winter
two hanging scrolls
#1 scroll
c. 1470–90
Ink wash painting on paper *
47.7 x 30.2 cm
Tokyo National Museum
National Treasure
*Ink wash painting is an East Asian type of brush painting.
Only black ink (the same as used in East Asian calligraphy) is used, in various concentrations.

Sesshū Tōyō (1420 – 1506) was the most prominent Japanese master of ink and wash painting from the middle Muromachi period. He was born into the samurai family, then brought up and educated to become a Zen Buddhist priest. However, early in life he displayed a talent for visual arts, and eventually became one of the greatest Japanese artists of his time, widely revered throughout Japan and China.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


A Sibyl
Oil on canvas, 123 x 89 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome

Domenico Zampieri (or Domenichino; 1581 – 1641) was an Italian Baroque painter and was one of the finest draughtsmen of his generation and also an excellent portraitist.
His work, developed principally from Raphael's examples, represents what would become known as classic-idealist art, which aims to surpass the imperfections of nature by developing an "Idea of Beauty" through the study and imitation of the best examples of ancient and Renaissance art. The dignified frieze-like composition of the figures reflects his study of Raphael's tapestries.
In the 18th century his reputation was enormous - his Last Communion of St Jerome was generally regarded as one of the greatest pictures ever painted - but he fell from grace in the 19th century.
In addition to his interest in the theory of painting (he was well educated and bookish), he was devoted to music, not as a performer but to the invention of instruments.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Compe, Jan ten

Delft: A View of the Town Hall Seen from the Grote Markt
Oil on panel
29 x 37 cm
Private collection

Dutch painter
Compe, Jan ten (1713 - 1761)
One of the best topographical artists of his generation, he worked in a detailed, controlled and elegant manner.
He painted mostly topographically accurate views, with its impressive town hall building dominating the scene.
The town hall in Delft, as seen in this painting, and which still stands today, is positioned on the Grote Markt opposite the Nieuwe Kerk. It was built in 1620 by the famous architect Hendrick de Keijser (1565-1621).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Leger, Fernand

Still Life with a Beer Mug
Oil on canvas
921 x 600 mm
Tate museum, London

Leger, Fernand (1881 – 1955)
French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker.
In his early works he created a personal form of Cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style.
After his experiences in the First World War, Léger became convinced that art should be accessible to all. He moved away from pure abstraction towards the stylised depiction of real objects, laying great emphasis on order, clarity and harmony.
This painting shows a relatively naturalistic still life of a workman's lunch on a table.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ochtervelt, Jacob

Street Musicians at the Doorway of a House
Oil on canvas
Art Museum, Saint Louis

Jacob Ochtervelt (1634 - 1682) was a Dutch genre painter born in Rotterdam and spent the majority of his career there. However, he initially studied in Haarlem under Berchem and towards the end of his life, he moved to Amsterdam.
He was influenced by Pieter de Hooch and through him by Vermeer.
He produced a number of portraits and hunting-party genre scenes, but is mainly remembered for his interior paintings. These works depicted the luxurious living quarters and lifestyle of the upper class. His figures are extremely refined and he showed off a skill in painting silks and satins in elegant upper-class interiors.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Besnard, Paul-Albert

Under the Willows
91 x 61 cm
Oil on Canvas
Private Collection

Paul-Albert Besnard (1849 – 1934) was born in Paris and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts.
Until about 1880 he followed the academic tradition, but then broke away completely, and devoted himself to the study of color and light as conceived by the Impressionists. The realism of this group never appealed to his bold imagination, but he applied their technical method to ideological and decorative works on a large scale.

Marui, Kingei

Gathering In Front Of The Wall Painting
color on paper, four-fold screens
Yanaka M-Louis.(R)/1f, Tokyo

Kingei Marui(1909 - 1979) was born in Japan.
During the social upheavals of wartime (World War 2), he, all of a sudden, stopped painting at the age of 29 (reason still unknown). After the war, he became a teacher of a senior high school to teach the younger generation. His bio is not known in detail.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban

Virgin and Child with St Rosalina of Palermo
c. 1670
Oil on canvas
190 cm (74.8 in) x 147 cm (57.9 in)
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 - 1682) was born in Seville, Spain, where he lived until his death. He was the youngest son in a family of fourteen and his father was a barber and surgeon (his parents died when he was still very young, and he was largely brought up by his aunt and uncle).
He was the first Spanish painter to achieve renown throughout Europe. In addition to the enormous popularity of his works in Spain, he was much admired in other countries, particularly England. Although he is best known for his religious works, his lively, realist portraits of flower girls and beggars constitute an extensive and appealing record of the everyday life of his times.

He had many pupils and followers. The prolific imitation of his paintings ensured his reputation in Spain and fame throughout Europe, and prior to the 19th century his work was more widely known than that of any other Spanish artist.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stokes, Marianne Preindelsberger

The Passing Train
oil on canvas
61 x 76.2cm
Private collection

Marianne Prendlsberger Stokes (1855 – 1927) , born in Austria, settled in England after her marriage, was considered one of the leading artists in Victorian England.
She began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1884. Her figure and "fancy" subjects demonstrated her charm, sensitivity and skill as a painter. She was an Associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours. She was a pleasant person whose work, with its "curiously subtle appeal, deserves remembrance." Having no children, she regularly travelled abroad with her husband (landscape painter) , frequently to the Tyrol. She had been ill for some time.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Avercamp, Hendrick

Winter Landscape with Skaters
c. 1608
Oil on wood
78 x 132 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The setting may be the quiet village of  northeast of Amsterdam. Very successful financially, Avercamp was called  “the mute of Kampen.” It is known he was deaf throughout his life.

Hendrick Avercamp (1585 - 1634), Dutch painter, was the most famous exponent of the winter landscape. His paintings are colorful and lively, with carefully observed skaters, tobogganers, golfers, and pedestrians.
Avercamp's work enjoyed great popularity and he sold his drawings, many of which are tinted with water-color, as finished pictures to be pasted into the albums of collectors (an outstanding collection is at Windsor Castle).

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Basket of Fruit
c. 1597
Oil on canvas
31 cm (12.2 in) x 47 cm (18.5 in)
Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan

It shows a wicker basket perched on the edge of a ledge which contains a selection of summer fruit, with extraordinary quasi-photographic realism of the observation which underlies the illusionism.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571 – 1610) was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque school of painting.

He was forgotten almost immediately after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. Despite this, his influence was profound. It can be seen in the work of Rubens, Rembrandt, and artists in the following generation. Heavily under his influence were called the "Caravaggisti" or "Caravagesques". It is said, "What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kanō, Eitoku

Birds and flowers of the four seasons
16th century
Ink on paper
Jukōin of Daitoku-ji (Zen temple), Kyoto, Japan

Kanō Eitoku (1543 - 1590) was a Japanese painter who lived during the Azuchi–Momoyama period of Japanese history and one of the most prominent patriarchs of the Kanō school of Japanese painting.
He was recognized for his artistic talent at a very young age, and his standing screen, sliding door, wall, and ceiling paintings decorated his patrons castle including the Oda Nobunaga's Azuchi castle and Toyotomi Hideyoshi's residence in Kyoto and Osaka castle.
Contemporary critics indicate that he was one of the most highly sought-after artists of his time, and received many wealthy and powerful patrons.

This painting, a collaboration with his father Shōei, is a part of the Paintings on room partitions in the abbot's quarters of Jukōin of Daitoku-ji (Zen temple), Kyoto, Japan. This picture shows four of 16 panels on sliding doors in the ritual room. The paintings have been designated as National Treasure of Japan.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Weyden, Rogier van der

Magdalen (right wing of the Braque family triptych)
oil on panel
41 x 34 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Rogier van der Weyden  (1399 or 1400 – 1464) was an Early Flemish painter. He was highly successful and famous in his lifetime. However his fame lasted only until the 17th century, and was almost totally forgotten by the mid 18th century. His reputation was slowly rebuilt during the following 2 centuries and today he is known as one of the three great Early Flemish artists. His vigorous, subtle, expressive painting and popular religious conceptions had considerable influence on European painting.

This may be the finest Flemish 15th century portrait existing. View Mary's elegant posture, splendid clothes and delicate face. In her hand is her usual attribute; the jar with ointment with which she has anointed Jesus' feet. The text in the top refers to that act. It reads "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus".
Mary Magdalene, from an Christian tradition, is three different women combined: the unnamed sinner who smears the Lord’s feet with perfume and dries them with her hair; Mary of Bethany, who joined Jesus’ followers, received him in her house and persuaded him to raise her brother from the dead; and finally Mary of the town of Mandela, who is present both at the Crucifixion and at the Entombment, and whom Christ graces with his first appearance as a Redeemer in the episode known as the Noli me tangere. Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of prostitutes, hairdressers, perfumers, and of gardeners. In fine art she is presented with long loose hair; perfume or ointment pot, crown of thorns, mirror are sometimes also present.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Memling, Hans

The Resurrection, with the Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian and the Ascension (Triptych of the Resurrection)
c. 1490
oil on panel
central panel:61.5 x 44.5 cm, side panel:61.5 x 18.5 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Hans Memling, whose name is sometimes spelled Memlinc (c. 1435 – 1494) was a German-born Early Netherlandish painter. Memling was a master of portraiture. He painted with glowing colors and fine craftsmanship and unlike most artists, his style varied little throughout his career. The faces he painted with careful detail glow with life. The character of each is subtly suggested. In addition to the portraits Memling painted for the notables of Brugge, he also received commissions from foreign visitors such as Tommaso Portinari of the Florentine Medici.
Memling died in Brugge on Aug. 11, 1494.

The three panels in this painting show the Resurrection (central), the martyrdom of St Sebastian (left) and the Ascension (right). The Risen Christ steps from the tomb while the soldiers sleep on, unaware of what has happened  (central). St Sebastian has been condemned to death by the emperor Diocletian because of his faith in Christ (left).
 Mary, mother of Jesus and the disciples watching as the Risen Jesus ascends into the sky, leaving them forever (right).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mucha, Alphonse Maria

31 x 41 cm (12.2" x 16.14")
Private collection

Alphonse Maria Mucha (1860 - 1939, Czechoslovakia) was a prominent figure of the Art Nouveau Movement. Although most famous for his posters and paintings, Mucha worked in a variety of media, including jewelry, textiles, furniture, sculpture, and stage sets.

He worked on his most famous work, The Slav Epic, which consisted of 20 paintings that featured major points in Czech history and of other Slavic countries.
In 1938, Czechoslovakia was taken over by Nazi Germany and, in 1939, since the suppression of nationalism was high on the agenda of the conquerors, Mucha, with his history of patriotism and Pan-Slavism, was arrested and incarcerated by the Gestapo at the onset of World War II. During his interrogation, he became ill with pneumonia. Though released eventually, he died in Prague on 14 July 1939, of a lung infection.
His son, author, devoted much of his life to writing about him and bringing attention to his art.
Interest in Mucha's distinctive style experienced a strong revival in the 1960's with a general interest in Art Nouveau.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


The Great Wave Off Kanagawa (Japan)
c. 1829–32
color woodblock print
25.7 cm × 37.8 cm (10.1 in × 14.9 in)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Ukiyo-e art (woodblock print), The Great Wave off Kanagawa was published sometime between 1829 and 1833 (during the Edo Period). This particular woodblock is one of the most recognized works of Japanese art in the world. It depicts an enormous wave threatening boats. This woodblock prints are in many Western collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the British Museum in London, The Art Institute of Chicago, and in Claude Monet's house in Giverny, France.

Hokusai was born in 1760 as a son of a mirror maker to the shōgun and started painting at six.  He died at the age of 89, in 1849 and some years before his death he is reported to have stated:
"At the age of five years I had the habit of sketching things. At the age of fifty I had produced a large number of pictures, but for all that, none of them had any merit until the age of seventy. At seventy-three finally I learned something about the true nature of things, birds, animals, insects, fish, the grasses and the trees. So at the age of eighty years I will have made some progress, at ninety I will have penetrated the deepest significance of things, at a hundred I will make real wonders and at a hundred and ten, every point, every line, will have a life of its own."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Corot, Jean-Baptiste Camille

Morning at Beauvais
c. 1860
Oil on canvas
36 x 42 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 – 1875) was a French landscape painter.
He was arguably the most respected  & influential of all French landscape painters, a complete  generation before the birth of Impressionism. He spent most of his time in and around Rome, where he developed, through painting on the spot, his sensitive treatment of light, form and distance in terms of tonal values rather than by color and drawing.

“What there is to see in painting, or rather what I am looking for, is the form, the whole, the value of the tones…That is why for me the color comes after, because I love more than anything else the overall effect, the harmony of the tones, while color gives you a kind of shock that I don’t like. Perhaps it is the excess of this principal that makes people say I have leaden tones.” In his aversion to shocking color, Corot sharply diverged from the up-and-coming Impressionists, who embraced experimentation with vivid hues. "Corot is not a simple landscapist—he is a painter, a true painter; he is a rare and exceptional genius." (Delacroix)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lempicka, Tamara de

Tamara in the Green Bugatti (Self-Portrait)
oil on canvas
Private Collection

Tamara de Lempicka (1898 - 1980), born in Moscow, in the Russian Empire, was a Polish Art Deco painter and "the first woman artist to be a glamour star."
She took advantage of the growing interest in women who were entering the arts following the First World War, and indeed, she strongly believed that she stood out among them. She wrote, "I was the first woman who did clear painting---and that was the success of my painting. Among a hundred paintings, you could recognize mine. And the galleries began to put me in the best rooms, always in the center, because my painting attracted people. It was neat, it was finished".

In 1978 she moved to Mexico permanently, buying a beautiful house in Cuernavaca, built by a Japanese architect. She despaired of growing old and in her last years sought the company of young people. She mourned at the loss of her beauty and was cantankerous to the end. She died in her sleep on March 18, 1980 with her daughter at her side. Her wish to be cremated and have her ashes spread on the top of the volcano Popocatepetl was carried out.
Tamara never owned a green Bugatti.
American singer-songwriter Madonna is a huge fan and collector of her work.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Redon, Odilon

c. 1900-05
Pastel on paper mounted on board
50.5 x 67.3 cm (19.7/8 x 26.1/2 in)
The Woodner Collection
"A collector requires only two basic qualities, taste and boldness: The ability to see a good work and the willingness to buy it on his own judgment alone." (Mr. Woodner : Real estate developer)

Bertrand-Jean Redon, better known as Odilon Redon (1840 – 1916) was a French symbolist painter and pastellist.
His aim was to represent pictorially the ghosts of his own mind. His work represents an exploration of his internal feelings and psyche. He himself wanted to place the visible at the service of the invisible. "My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined."

The depiction of Ophelia seems not at all tragic, but rather an idyllic scene of a naked bather in a limpid pool of flowers. The design and color scheme is masterly and original, being merely suggestive of the tragedy of death after rejection and madness.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gogh, Vincent van

Cafe Terrace at Night (Terrasse du café le soir, Place du forum, Arles)
Oil on canvas
80.7 cm × 65.3 cm (31.8 in × 25.7 in)
Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands

Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853 – 1890) was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty, and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died at the age of 37 from a gunshot wound. His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still.
The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. According to an art critic, van Gogh's late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and "longing for concision and grace".

Café Terrace at Night is an colored oil painting executed by van Gogh in Arles, France, mid September 1888. The painting is not signed. After finishing, he wrote a letter to his sister :  “Here you have a night painting without black, with nothing but beautiful blue and violet and green and in this surrounding the illuminated area colors itself sulfur pale yellow and citron green. It amuses me enormously to paint the night right on the spot. ” “It is the only way to get away from our conventional night with poor pale whitish light, while even a simple candle already provides us with the richest of yellows and oranges.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

Constable, John

Stour Valley and Dedham Church
Oil on canvas
21 7/8 x 30 5/8 in.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

John Constable (1776 – 1837) was an English Romantic painter. He is known principally for his landscape paintings of the area surrounding his home which he invested with an intensity of affection. "I should paint my own places best", he wrote, "painting is but another word for feeling".
Although his paintings are now among the most popular and valuable in British art, he was never financially successful. He sold more paintings in France than in his native England.

Constable spent the summer and early autumn of 1814 in Suffolk, painting directly from nature. In this work he depicted a panoramic view over the Valley. He wanted to catch the ever changing lights and colors.
He wrote 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." He wanted to catch this never-static world and he developed new techniques to represent in paint the atmospheric effects of changing light in the open air, the movement of clouds across the sky, the interplay of open air and trees.
Not long after he painted Constable wrote: ‘This charming season … occupies me entirely in the feilds and I beleive I have made some landscapes that are better than is usual with me – at least that is the opinion of all here‘.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Boucher, François

Madame de Pompadour
Oil on canvas
91 × 68 cm (35.8 × 26.8 in)
The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London

François Boucher (1703 – 1770) was a French painter, a proponent of Rococo taste, known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes. He painted several portraits of his illustrious patroness, Madame de Pompadour.

Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, also known as Madame de Pompadour (1721 – 1764) was a member of the French court, and was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to her death. Louis XV was devoted to her until her death from tuberculosis in 1764 at the age of forty-two. Looking at the rain during the departure of his mistress' coffin from Versailles, the King said: "The marquise won't have good weather for her journey."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Klimt, Gustav

Litzlberg am Attersee (Litzlberg on the Attersee)
oil on canvas
110 by 110 cm (43.25 by 43.25 in.)
Private Collection

A Gustav Klimt landscape painting, depicting a pastoral scene of towering, wooded hills rising from water into a bright sky, was stolen by the Nazis from its Jewish owner.
When Hitler, who had incorporated Austria into the German Reich in 1938, decreed the “Final Solution” three years later, the lady owner of this painting and her daughter, who were Jewish, were deported to Poland. There, they vanished, dying — perhaps murdered — in circumstances unknown. By 1944, the Klimt was hanging on the walls of the Museum der Moderne Rupertinum in Salzburg. It was only returned this spring (2011) to the grandson of the lady who owned it until the Nazis came.
This painting was sold for a huge $40.4 million on Wednesday (Nov.2, 2011) at Sotheby’s in New York.

Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. Klimt died in Vienna on February 6, 1918, having suffered a stroke and pneumonia due to the influenza epidemic of 1918. He was buried at the Hietzing Cemetery in Vienna. Numerous paintings were left unfinished.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Renoir, Pierre-Auguste

On the Terrasse (Sur la terrasse)
Oil on canvas
100.5 x 81 cm (39 1/2 x 31 7/8")
The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Collection

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919), was a French painter originally associated with the Impressionist movement. His early works were typically Impressionist snapshots of real life, full of sparkling colour and light, as a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality. By the mid-1880s, however, he had broken with the movement to apply a more disciplined, formal technique to portraits and figure paintings, particularly of women.
In characteristic impressionist style, Renoir suggested the details of a scene through freely brushed touches of color, so that his figures softly fuse with one another and their surroundings.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

The Girlhood of Mary Virgin
Oil on canvas
83.2 x 65.4 cm
Tate Gallery, London

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882) was an English poet and painter.
His art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti's work. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement. Rossetti's personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses.

Rossetti regarded the Virgin Mary as the highest type of female virtue.
The Virgin Mary is shown here as a young girl, working on an embroidery with her mother, St Anne. Her father, St Joachim, is pruning a vine.
Some of the main symbols include: the lily for purity, the vine for the Truth, the dove for the Holy Spirit, the lamp is a symbol of piety, the rose is associated with the Virgin, the books, each a different color, represent the three theological virtues and three of the four cardinal virtues (Justice being omitted) - gold for Charity, blue for Faith, green for Hope, buff for Prudence, white for Temperance and brown for fortitude.
This was Rossetti’s first completed oil painting and the first picture to be exhibited with the initials ‘PRB’, for Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, inscribed on it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent

The Slippers of Cinderella
Indian ink and wash
Private collection
(Beardsley illustration of a beautiful girl with long blond hair in an ornate dress standing out in the nighttime gardens.)

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (1872 – 1898) was an English illustrator and author. His drawings, done in black ink and influenced by the style of Japanese woodcuts, emphasized the grotesque, the decadent, and the erotic.

He was a leading figure in the Aesthetic movement and his contribution to the development of the Art Nouveau was significant, despite the brevity of his career before his early death from tuberculosis at the age of 25 on 16 March 1898.

Beardsley was a public as well as private eccentric. He said, "I have one aim—the grotesque. If I am not grotesque I am nothing." Oscar Wilde said he had "a face like a silver hatchet, and grass green hair." Beardsley was meticulous about his attire: dove-grey suits, hats, ties; yellow gloves. He would appear at his publisher's in a morning coat and patent leather pumps.
'His work shows a delicate sense of line, and a bold, decorative use of solid blacks, as well as an extraordinarily weird fancy and grotesque imagination, which seems occasionally inclined to run in a morbid direction. Although, as in the case of most artists, one can trace certain influences which have helped in the formation of their style, there can be no doubt of his individuality and power... there appears to be a strong mediaeval decorative feeling, mixed with a curious weird Japanese-like spirit of diablerie and grotesque, as of the opium-dream, about his work...' (Walter Crane 1845-1915)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Poussin, Nicolas

Summer, or Ruth and Boaz (L'été ou Ruth et Booz)
Oil on canvas
1.18 × 1.6 m (1.3 × 1.7 yd)
Louvre Museum, France
Louis XIV Collection, acquired from the duke of Richelieu in 1665.

Nicolas Poussin (1594 – 1665) , the greatest French artist of the 17th century, is considered one of the founders of European classicism, a movement in art, based on antique and Renaissance heritage.
He spent most of his working life in Rome, except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France to serve as First Painter to the King, Louis XIV.
Poussin's work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. His paintings had a profound influence on many later artists, in particular such classical and classicizing painters as Paul Cézanne, and Pablo Picasso.

Ruth, a poor Moabite servant, gains permission from Boaz to glean in his fields. She becomes his wife and bears him a son, Obed, the grand-father of David, the ancestor of Christ. This painting is associated with a Biblical scene from the Old Testament and shows a particular time of day. Summer is characterized by the harvest and presents the story of Ruth and Boaz with the sun at its zenith.