Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chavannes, Pierre Puvis de

The Poor Fisherman
Oil on canvas
155 x 192.5 cm.
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824 – 1898) was the foremost French mural painter of the second half of the 19th century. He is the greatest French decorative painter who is noted for painting murals.
His paintings were done on canvas and then affixed to the walls, but their pale colors imitated the effect of fresco. His simplified forms, respect for the flatness of the picture surface, rhythmic line, and use of non-naturalistic color to evoke the mood of the painting appealed to both the Post-Impressionists and the Symbolists.

He had only modest success early in his career, but he went on to achieve an enormous reputation, and he was universally respected even by artists of very different aims and outlook from his own. Gauguin, Seurat, and Toulouse-Lautrec were among his professed admirers.
His reputation has since declined, his idealized depictions of antiquity or allegorical representations of abstract themes now often seeming rather anemic. He remains important, however, because of his influence on entire generation of painters and sculptors.
He became the president and co-founder of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Delacroix, Eugene

The Women of Algiers (in Their Apartment)
Oil on canvas
180 x 229 cm (71 x 90 1/4")
Musee du Louvre, Paris

 "Delacroix was passionately in love with passion, but coldly determined to express passion as clearly as possible." (Baudelaire)

Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863) was the most important of the French Romantic painters. His use of expressive brushstrokes and his study of the optical effects of color profoundly shaped the work of the Impressionists, while his passion for the exotic inspired the artists of the Symbolist movement.
He was inspired by Byron, with whom he shared a strong identification with the "forces of the sublime", of nature in often violent action.

This painting depicts Algerian concubines of a harem with a hookah, used to smoke hashish or opium. In the 19th century, it was known for its sexual content and its orientalism. The painting served as a source of inspiration to the later impressionists.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hammershøi, Vilhelm

Interior with Young Woman from Behind
Oil on canvas
61 x 50.5 cm
Randers Kunstmuseum, Denmark

Vilhelm Hammershøi, in English Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864 – 1916), was a Danish painter. He painted portraits, landscapes and many room interiors which frequently contained a single figure that was seated or standing.

He married Ida in 1891 and she provided the inspiration for many of his future works and is often the lone figure seen in his paintings. They lived a quiet life, apart from Ida's reported fiery temperament, and had no children. They often travelled together throughout Europe. Later in his life he lived in the old merchant house in Copenhagen and he painted the interior of this house more than sixty times. Hammershøi died of throat cancer in 1916 in Copenhagen at the age of 52.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mondrian, Piet

Image Composition with Gray and Light Brown
Oil on canvas
80.2 x 49.9 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

 "I've arranged these to make it more cheerful."'
Mondrian, Piet (1872 – 1944) is a Dutch painter.
He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism.
Mondrian seemed more a scientist or priest than an artist. Typical of his art are compositions employing only vertical and horizontal lines at 90° angles and using only the primary colors and sometimes grays or black against a white background. Sensuality, three-dimensionality, and representation are utterly eliminated from his works, as is the curved line. Within these restrictions, his paintings are executed with consummate perfection of design and craft.

His art and theory influenced the Bauhaus movement and the development of the International style in architecture.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Virgin Enthroned with Angels
424 x 276 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Cimabue (c. 1240–1302) was a Florentine painter and creator of mosaics.
Cimabue was the first artist to move away from the stylized and rigid conventions of Byzantine art. In doing this he actually paved the way for his pupil’s naturalism, which in turn forms the basis of the Italian art. He was the most famous and the outstanding master of Italian painters of his generation.

He is known as the teacher of Giotto, whom, according to the legend, Cimabue found when the latter was working as a shepherd, drawing a lamb on a flat stone, and took him to his workshop in Florence. Giotto is considered the first great artist of the Italian Renaissance.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sisley, Alfred

The Chemin de By through Woods at Roches-Courtaut, St. Martin's Summer
Oil on canvas
60 x 81 cm (23 1/2 x 32")
Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal

Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899), born and spent most of his life in France but retained British citizenship, was one of the creators of Impressionism. He never deviated into figure painting and, unlike Renoir and Pissarro, never found that Impressionism did not fulfill his artistic needs.

He was exclusively a landscape en plein air (i.e., outdoors) painter, who, in the line of Corot, and with Monet, best sought and succeeded in expressing the most subtle nuances of nature in Impressionist landscapes. 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.

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.
His death at the very end of the nineteenth assumes a symbolic resonance. It signals the dissolution of the kind of Impressionism to which he had devoted his working life.

Haskett, Thomas *(United Kingdom)

Pwllcrochan, Pembrokeshire
10" x 5"
Oil On Board
Oriel-Y-Felin, St Davids

Thomas Haskett (1981 - ) lives and works in Pembokeshire, UK. He first studied in Kent, and then at Falmouth College of Arts in Cornwall.
He thrives on the constant inspiration provided by his new surroundings. Deeply rooted in the landscape, and the sea, his work is a unique view of the ancient buildings of the British Isles, the countryside they exist in and the flora and fauna that inhabit it. Working in a traditional 'En Plein Air' fashion,  primarily in oils or watercolours, Thomas’ work is representational, accurate, detailed, and painted with a vigor and verve that only working direct from life can imbue.
The colours, light and mood are therefore unique to the day on which his work is produced.
He exhibits throughout the UK and his work is collected worldwide with pieces throughout Europe, America and as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Liotard, Jean-Étienne

Portrait of Maria Frederike van Reede-Athlone at the age of seven
pastel on vellum
22 1/2 x 18 1/2 in.
Getty Center, Los Angeles, USA

"Maria Frederike, the 7 year old daughter of an aristocratic Dutch family, lost in thought, she is composed yet somewhat shy in comparison to her dog, who stares out with unabashed curiosity. "

Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702 – 1789) was a Swiss-French miniature painter.
Liotard was an artist of great versatility, and was one of the most fascinating and idiosyncratic artists of the eighteenth century.
His fame depends largely on his graceful and delicate pastel drawings and his
 painting style intimately captured a tender and realistic representation of his subjects.
He grew a long beard and acquired the habit of dressing as a Turk, earning himself the nickname of "the Turkish painter." 
At the age of seventy-nine, he published a treatise on the principles of painting, in which he explained his belief that painting is and should be a mirror of nature.
He died at Geneva in 1789.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Balthus ; (Balthasar Klossowski de Rola)

The Cat in the Mirror
oil on canvas
195 x 220 cm
Private Collection

Count Balthasar Klossowski (or Kłossowski) de Rola (1908 – 2001), best known as Balthus, was an esteemed but controversial Polish-French modern artist. His mother engaged, under the name of Baladine, in a long-lasting relationship with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who acted as Balthus’s mentor, providing etchings to accompany many of his poems.

Throughout his career, Balthus rejected the usual conventions of the art world. He insisted that his paintings should be seen and not read about, and he resisted any attempts made to build a biographical profile. A telegram sent to the Tate Gallery as it prepared for its 1968 retrospective of his works read: "NO BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS. BEGIN: BALTHUS IS A PAINTER OF WHOM NOTHING IS KNOWN. NOW LET US LOOK AT THE PICTURES. REGARDS. B."

Appreciated for many years by only a handful of collectors, and ostensibly out of step with the modern movement, Balthus’s classically inspired work won the recognition and admiration of a wider public only late in his career.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rousseau, Henri

La charmeuse de serpents (The Snake Charmer)
Huile sur toile (oil on canvas)
169 × 190 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

"I hate books. They only teach us to talk about things we know nothing about."
Rousseau claimed he had "no teacher other than nature".

Henri Julien Felix Rousseau (1844 - 1910), French painter, was the most celebrated of naïve artists. He is known as Le Douanier (the customs officer) after his place of employment. Ridiculed during his life, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality.
His nickname refers to the job he held with the Paris Customs Office (1871-93), although he never actually rose to the rank of `Douanier' (Customs Officer). He took up painting as a hobby and accepted early retirement in 1893 so he could devote himself to art.

His character was extraordinarily ingenuous and he suffered much ridicule as well as enduring great poverty. However, his faith in his own abilities never wavered. He was a regular contributor to Paris exhibitions, but, during his lifetime, was viewed with amusement and condescension by both the public and fellow artists.
Rousseau was buried in a pauper's grave, but his greatness began to be widely acknowledged soon after his death.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Derain, Andre

Oil on canvas
52" x 6' 4 3/4" (132.1 x 195 cm)
William S. Paley and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Funds.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York

André Derain (1880 – 1954) was a French painter, sculptor and co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse.
Together with Henri Matisse, Derain was one of the major exponents of Fauvism from 1905 to 1908. Like the other artists who worked in this style, he painted landscapes and figure studies in brilliant, sometimes pure colors and used broken brushstrokes and impulsive lines to define his spontaneous compositions.
Derain broke with Fauvism in early 1908. He destroyed most of his work to concentrate on tightly constructed landscape paintings, which were a subtle investigation of the work of Cézanne. After World War I his work became more classical, influenced by the work of such artists as Camille Corot. His art underwent virtually no change after the 1920s, though his more conservative style brought him financial success.
In 1954 Derain was knocked down by a truck and was taken to hospital. At first it was thought he was not seriously injured, but the shock was too much for a man in his seventies. He failed to recover.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Leyster, Judith

c. 1630
oil on canvas
746 × 653 mm (29.37 × 25.71 in)
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Judith Jans Leyster (also Leijster) (1609 – 1660) was a Dutch Golden Age painter. She was born into the family of a Haarlem brewer.
She was one of three significant women artists in Dutch Golden Age painting.
Although well known during her lifetime and esteemed by her contemporaries, Leyster and her work were largely forgotten after her death. Leyster's rediscovery came in 1893. The Louvre had purchased a Frans Hals only to find it had been in fact painted by Judith Leyster. A dealer had changed the monogram that she used as a signature.

Her work was clearly influenced by the content and style of genre paintings created by the noted Haarlem artists Frans Hals. Like him, Leyster had a talent for painting lively scenes of people enjoying themselves in taverns, playing music, and the like. Such subjects were very popular with Holland's newly prosperous middle class.

Leyster largely gave up painting after her marriage, which produced five children.
Most of her dated works are from 1629–1635.
Only about a dozen works are generally attributed to her.
She died in 1660 at the age of 50.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Millet, Jean-Francois

Shepherdess with Her Flock
Oil on canvas
32 x 39 3/4 in. (81 x 101 cm)
Musee d'Orsay, Paris

Jean Francois Millet was born into a family of peasant farmers near Cherbourg. He was the first painter to endow rural life with a dignity and monumentality that transcend realism, making the peasant an almost heroic figure.

Calm, serenity and harmony triumph in this painting. Wearing a woollen cape and a red hood, the young shepherdess (perhaps the painter's own daughter) is standing in front of her flock. She is knitting, looking down at her work. In a monotonous landscape stretching, unbroken, to the horizon, she is alone with her animals. The flock forms a patch of undulating light, reflecting the rays of the setting sun. The scene is an admirable mixture of accuracy and melancholy. Millet observed the minutest details, like the small flowers in the foreground. He makes use of the perfect harmony of blues, reds and golds.

He never painted out-of-doors, and he had only a limited awareness of tonal values. Often accused of socialism because of his chosen subject, he was recognized as an important and original artist only after his death.
"To tell the truth, the peasant subjects suit my temperament best; for I must confess, even if you think me a socialist, that the human side of art is what touches me most." (Millet)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Monet, Claude

The Artist's House at Argenteuil
oil on canvas
60.2 × 73.3 cm (23.7 × 28.9 in)
Art Institute of Chicago

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting.
Monet found subjects in his immediate surroundings, as he painted the people and places he knew best. He rejected the traditional approach to landscape painting and instead of copying old masters he had been learning from his friends and the nature itself. He observed variations of color and light caused by the daily or seasonal changes.
His first wife, Camille, and his second wife, Alice, frequently served as models.
In his final years he was troubled by failing eyesight, but he painted until the end.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gentileschi, Orazio

The Annunciation
c. 1623
Oil on canvas
286 x 196 cm
Galleria Sabauda, Turin

Orazio Lomi Gentileschi (1563–1639) was an Italian Baroque painter, born in Pisa, who was one of the more important and successful painters influenced by Caravaggio (the so-called Caravaggisti). Though Gentileschi was one of the best followers of Caravaggio and was highly influenced by him, Gentileschi gradually developed a softer, more refined version of Caravaggio's dramatic style tending rather towards the lyrical and refined, and not having the power and uncompromising naturalism of Caravaggio. His graceful figures are stately and clearly disposed, with sharp-edged drapery-qualities recalling his Tuscan heritage of superb elegance and draughtsmanship.

The Annunciation, painted in Genoa, his masterpiece, is a work of consummate grace that shows a weakening of Caravaggio’s influence. The composition still depends on dramatic gestures, here of the Virgin and the angel, and there is still a strong immediacy to the incident and an absence of idealization. The mood, however, is more restrained and lyrical than in his earlier works, the colors are light, and the earlier chiaroscuro is absent.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gauguin, Paul

Where Are You Going? or Woman Holding a Fruit
oil on canvas
92.5 × 73.5 cm (36.4 × 28.9 in)
The Hermitage Museum

Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903) was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist.

Gauguin was a financially successful stockbroker when he began collecting works by the impressionists in the 1870s. Inspired by their example, he took up the study of painting under Camille Pissarro. In 1882, after a stock market crash and recession rendered him unemployed, Gauguin decided to abandon the business world to pursue life as a full-time artist. In 1891 his rejection of European urban values led him to Tahiti, where he expected to find an unspoiled culture. Instead, he was confronted with a world already transformed by western missionaries and colonial rule. Gauguin had to invent the world he sought and he interwove the images and mythology of island life with those of the west and other cultures.

Gauguin was an important figure in the Symbolist movement. His greatest innovation was the use of color, which he employed not for its ability to mimic nature but for its emotive qualities. He applied it in broad flat areas outlined with dark paint, which tended to flatten space and abstract form. This flattening of space and symbolic use of color would be important influences on early twentieth-century artists.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

O'Keeffe, Georgia

Yellow Hickory Leaves with Daisy
Oil on canvas
76.5 x 101.6 cm (29 7/8 x 39 7/8 in.)
Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, USA

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (1887 – 1986), an American artist, born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, not only carved out a significant place for women painters in an area of the American art community that had been exclusive to and is still dominated by men, but also she had become one of America’s most celebrated cultural icons well before her death at age 98.

"Precisionist", is the term most widely used to describe Georgia O’Keeffe’s work. O’Keeffe’s great clarity in painting is what identifies her well-known paintings of urban architecture, mountains, bones, and flowers. The simple, clear forms in her masterpieces made her a pioneer of a new modernism in the USA. Although O’Keeffe used her subject matter representationaly, the starkly linear quality, the thin, clear coloring, and boldly patterned compositions give the effect of an abstract design.

In her later years, she became totally blind and died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on March 6, 1986, at the age of 98.
In accordance with her wishes, her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered to the wind at the top of Pedernal Mountain, over her beloved "faraway". The brilliance of her art work has proven timeless. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe opened in 1997.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


"Night snow at Kanbara"
from the series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido
Woodblock Print
9-1/2 x 14-1/2 in. (24.1 x 36.8 cm)
Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College

"Night snow at Kanbara" is the one of Hiroshige Ando's monumental Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido. In The Fifty-three Stations on the Tokaido, he illustrates anecdotes from a comedy book describing the adventures of two bumbling travelers as they make their way along the Tokaido road.

Hiroshige Ando (1797? - 1858) is one of the last great artists in the Ukiyo-E tradition. He is also referred to as Hiroshige Udagawa. He was a member of the Udagawa school, which comprised dozens of artists, and stood at the forefront of nineteenth century woodblock prints.
In terms of style, he is especially noted for using unusual vantage points, seasonal allusions, and striking colors. He adapted Western principles of perspective and receding space to his own works in order to achieve a sense of realistic depth.
Hiroshige’s The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido greatly influenced French Impressionists such as Monet,  Vincent Van Gogh.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Delaroche, Paul

The Childhood of Pico della Mirandola
Oil on canvas
Musee des Beaux-Arts, Nantes, France

Paul Delaroche (1797 – 1856), in full Hippolyte-Paul Delaroche, born into a wealthy family in Paris, was one of the most popular French painters of the mid-19th-century.
Delaroche's painstakingly realistic historical subjects made him one of the most successful academic artists,  and during his lifetime his work received wider international acclaim than the paintings of Ingres and Delacroix , now considered greater masters. His subjects were painted with firm, solid, smooth surface and dramatic compositions, which gave an appearance of the highest finish.
Delaroche's sound but hard execution allowed no mystery to intervene between him and his metier, which was always intelligible to the million, so that he escaped all the waste of energy that painters who try to be poets on canvas suffer.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Greuze, Jean-Baptiste

The Spoiled Child
oil on canvas
66.5 x 56 cm
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725 - 1805) was a French genre and portrait painter who initiated a mid-18th-century vogue for sentimental and moralizing anecdotes in paintings.
He had a great success at the 1755 Salon and went on to win enormous popularity with similar sentimental and melodramatic genre scenes. His work was praised by Diderot as 'morality in paint', and as representing the highest ideal of painting in his day. Much of Greuze's later work consisted of titillating pictures of young girls, which contain thinly veiled sexual allusions under their surface appearance of mawkish innocence.

With the swing of taste towards Neoclassicism his work went out of fashion and he sank into obscurity at the Revolution in 1789. The reaction against his sentimental genre paintings resulted in critical neglect of his drawings and portraits, in which Greuze’s superb technical gifts are displayed with great integrity. At the very end of his career he received a commission to paint a portrait of Napoleon (Versailles, 1804-05), but he died in poverty.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kokoschka, Oskar

The Tempest; The Bride of the Wind (Die Windsbraut)
Oil on canvas
181 x 220 cm (71.1/4 x 86.5/8 in.)
Kunstmuseum Basel, Germany

Oskar Kokoschka (1886 – 1980) was an Austrian painter, illustrator, poet, and playwright, who is credited with founding Expressionist drama, best known for his intense expressionistic portraits and landscapes. He is the third in the great trio of Viennese artists (Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele), and the one whose reputation is currently hardest to assess. On the outbreak of the First World War he volunteered to join the cavalry. While on patrol, he was machine-gunned and bayoneted but was eventually rescued. As an artist Kokoschka started to gain international fame in the 1920. In the Nazi Germany his works were banned by the authorities, and mocked as examples of degenerate art. Kokoschka's last years were somewhat embittered, as he found himself marginalized as a curious footnote to art history.

Kokoschka had a passionate, often stormy affair with Alma Mahler (widow of composer Gustav Mahler). After several years together, Alma rejected him, explaining that she was afraid of being too overcome with passion. He continued to love her his entire life, and this self-portrait, one of his greatest works, is a tribute to her, expressing his unrequited love for Alma Mahler.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Redon, Odilon

The Chariot of Apollo
oil embellished with pastel on canvas
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Redon, Odilon (1840-1916) is a French painter and graphic artist born in Bordeaux, one of the outstanding figures of Symbolism.

He had a retiring life, first in his native Bordeaux, then in Paris, and until he was in his fifties he worked almost exclusively in black and white, in charcoal drawings and lithographs. In these he developed a highly distinctive repertoire of strange creatures, insects, and plants with human heads, etc., influenced by the writings of Edgar Allen Poe. He remained virtually unknown to the public until the publication of J.K. Huysmans's novel A Rebours in 1884; the book's hero who lives in a private world of perverse delights, collects Redon's drawings, and with his mention in this classic expression of decadence, Redon too became associated with the movement.

He showed equal facility in oils and pastel. The flower pieces, in particular, were much admired by Matisse, and the Surrealists regarded Redon as one of their precursors. He was a distinguished figure by the end of his life, although still a very private person.

Moreno Rosas Ismael, Eliane *(Brazil)

"Spatulated Boat"
Oil on canvas
40 x 60 cm

ELIANE MORENO ROSAS ISMAEL nasceu em Sao Paulo (Brasil) em 1971 e desde pequena sua vida foi relacionada com arte, pois dos 6 aos 12 anos de idade cursou ballet classico. Sempre gostou de danca.
Quando crianca, por conta propria arriscava a pintar estatuetas de gesso, panos de prato, etc. Depois seguiu seus estudos habituais como todo mundo e sua vida tomou um outro rumo: formou-se em Quimica na Faculdade Mackenzie, e por intermedio de uma amiga sua, conheceu seu futuro marido, Ronaldo.
Hoje ela reside em Barretos-SP, cidade onde seu conjuge ja morava, e aos 29 anos, em setembro de 2000, comecou a dedicar-se as artes plasticas.
Comecou fazendo curso em um dos clubes da cidade e desde 2005 continua se aperfeicoando cada vez mais, com outros professores, pois segundo ela “a vida e sempre um constante aprendizado; por mais que se saiba, ha sempre algo novo a aprender”.
Ela adora pintar, gosta de aprender novas tecnicas e diversificar e o seu lema. Nos seus quadros retrata paisagens, casarios, florais, natureza-morta, marinhas, tecnica mista (moderno)e figuras humanas. A maioria de seus quadros sao academicos.

Para ela, a pintura e qualquer tipo de arte, e a expressao da alma. O importante e faze-la com amor e muito carinho porque as pessoas que admiram as obras sentem essa vibracao, pois o que a arte quer demonstrar, nada mais e o que esta oculto no interior de cada ser humano.
“Uma boa obra e aquela que faz a pessoa viajar sem sair do lugar”. (Eliane)

<Digest of above self-introduction written in Portuguese>
The work of ELIANE MORENO ROSAS ISMAEL, who was born in Sao Paulo (Brazil) in 1971.
She graduated from Chemistry in College Mackenzie, and through a friend, met her future husband, Ronaldo. Today she resides in Barretos-SP, the city where the spouse already lived, and in 2000, she began to devote herself to the plastic arts.
She began making progress in one of the city's clubs and since 2005 continues improving increasingly, with other teachers, because she says: "Life is always a constant learning; as we know, there's always something new to learn. "
She loves painting, enjoy learning new techniques and diversify is her motto. In her paintings she depicts floral, landscapes, houses, nature-dead seascapes, mixed media (modern) and human figures.
For her, the paint and any kind of art is the expression of the soul. The important thing is to do it with love and affection because people who admire the works feel this vibration, because what the art wants to demonstrate, nothing more is what is hidden within each human being.
"A good work is one that makes the person traveling without leaving the place". (Eliane)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Schiele, Egon

Gouache and pencil on paper
19 1/4 x 12 5/8 in. (48.8 x 32.2 cm)
Private collection

Egon Schiele (1890 - 1918)  was regarded by many of his contemporaries as the predestined successor to Gustav Klimt, but died before he could fulfil his promise. He was an Austrian painter and a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. Schiele's body of work is noted for the intensity and the large number of self-portraits he produced. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize his paintings and drawings make the artist an early exponent of Expressionism.
'All beautiful and noble qualities have been united in me ... I shall be the fruit which will leave eternal vitality behind even after its decay. How great must be your joy, therefore, to have given birth to me.' (Egon Schiele)

On 19 October 1918 Edith, his pregnant wife, fell ill with Spanish influenza, then sweeping Europe. On 28 October she died. Schiele, who seems never to have written her a real love-letter, and who in the midst of her illness wrote his mother a very cool letter to say that she would probably not survive, was devastated by the loss. Almost immediately he came down with the same sickness, and died on 31 October, three days after his wife.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Picasso, Pablo

Le Moulin de la Galette, Paris
Oil on canvas
34 3/4 x 45 1/2 inches (88.2 x 115.5 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Moulin de la Galette was Picasso's earliest masterpiece, and one that shaped for several years to come the creative direction taken by the 19 year old artist, when he painted this, who had arrived to conquer Paris.
He was living in Barcelona when the 1900 World’s Fair drew him to Paris for the first time. During his two-month stay in Paris, he immersed himself in the bohemian cafés, night-clubs, and dance halls of Montmartre. Le Moulin de la Galette, his first Parisian painting, reflects his fascination with the lusty decadence and gaudy glamour of the famous dance hall, where bourgeois patrons and prostitutes rubbed shoulders. Picasso had yet to develop a unique style, but Le Moulin de la Galette is nonetheless a startling production for an young artist at the age of 19.

Pablo Picasso, (1881 – 1973, Spanish) is one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century who demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent. He changed his style as he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. His revolutionary artistic accomplishments brought him universal renown and immense fortune, making him one of the best-known figures in 20th century art.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Anderson, Sophie Gengembre

The Time Of The Lilacs
Oil on canvas
43.8 × 54 cm (17.2 × 21.3 in)
Private collection

Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1823 – 1903) was a French born British artist who specialised in genre painting of children and women, typically in rural settings.
Anderson's technique was excellent and she was quite adept at depicting fabrics and drapery with outstanding light effects. Her work was widely exhibited at venues including the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of British Artists, the British Institution, Grosvenor Gallery and many regional galleries in England. She also exhibited in the USA.
She died at home in Falmouth, Cornwall in 1903.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Renoir, Pierre-Auguste

Bal du moulin de la Galette
oil on canvas
131 × 175 cm (51.6 × 68.9 in)
Musée d'Orsay

Renoir delighted in the people's Paris, of which the Moulin de la Galette near the top of Montmartre was a characteristic place of entertainment, and his picture of the Sunday afternoon dance in its acacia-shaded courtyard is one of his happiest compositions.  Young people from the north of Paris contributed in the dance-hall and in the courtyard behind it, every Sunday afternoon, in fine weather.

The girl in the striped dress in the middle foreground was said to be Estelle, the sister of Renoir's model, Jeanne. Another of Renoir's models, Margot, is seen to the left dancing with the Cuban painter, Cardenas. At the foreground table at the right are the artist's friends, Frank Lamy, Norbert Goeneutte and Georges Rivière, who in the short-lived publication L'Impressionniste extolled the Moulin de la Galette as "a page of history, a precious monument of Parisian life depicted with rigorous exactness. Nobody before him had thought of capturing some aspect of daily life in a canvas of such large dimensions."

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919) was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau."
Pierre-Auguste was the father of actor Pierre Renoir and filmmaker Jean Renoir.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gogh, Vincent van

Portrait of the old farmer Patience Escalier
oil on canvas
69 × 56 cm
Sammlung Mr. und Mrs. Stavros Niarchos, Athen

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.
He loved art from an early age. He began to draw as a child, and he continued making drawings throughout the years leading to his decision to become an artist. He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during his last two years. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints. His work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes of flowers, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.
After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died at the age of 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted. His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Durer, Albrecht

The Praying Hands
c. 1508
Pen-and-ink drawing
29.1 cm × 19.7 cm (11.5 in × 7.8 in)
Albertina Museum, Graphische Sammlung in Vienna, Austria

There is a legendary story behind this picture!
In the 15th century, in a village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father, a goldsmith, worked almost eighteen hours a day.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of his children, Albrecht and Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Instead, Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, Albrecht, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. His etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When Albrecht returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate his triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother, Albert, for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No"

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew the hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528) was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Matisse, Henri

Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life)
Oil on canvas
175 x 241 cm (69 1/8 x 94 7/8 in)
Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA

Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954) was a French artist. Matisse loved pattern, and pattern within pattern: not only the suave and decorative forms of his own compositions but also the reproduction of tapestries, embroideries, silks, striped awnings, curlicues, mottles, dots, and spots, the bright clutter of over-furnished rooms, within the painting. In particular he loved Islamic art. Islamic pattern offers the illusion of a completely full world, where everything from far to near is pressed with equal urgency against the eye. Matisse admired that, and wanted to transpose it into terms of pure color.
Picasso destroyed his fear of women in his art, while Matisse coaxed his nervous tension into serenity.
"Instinct must be thwarted just as one prunes the branches of a tree so that it will grow better."(Henri Matisse)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Maruyama, Ōkyo

Snow and Pine trees
Ink and colors on paper, a pair of six-fold screens
The Mitsui Memorial Museum, Tokyo, Japan

Maruyama, Ōkyo (1733 – 1795) was a Japanese master painter active in the late 18th century. Although born into a farming family, he showed an early talent for drawing. His parents, after trying unsuccessfully to have him become a monk, apprenticed him first to a clothing shop in Kyoto and then to a toymaker there, for whom he painted dolls. Ōkyo frequented a cosmetics shop for which he designed accessories, and it was at the instigation of the shop's customers that he undertook formal training as a painter.

Pine Trees in Snow, executed for the wealthy Mitsui family, is realistic despite being in the Japanese idiom of ink on a gold background. Two six-panel screens show tree bark and pine needles separated by differing brush strokes, and the white snow seems to weigh down the branches. The bark is painted in the tsuketate technique, which uses no outlines, just dark and light shades to create the illusion of volume.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Jakuchu Ito

Two Gibbons Reaching for the Moon
Hanging scroll, ink on paper, Edo period, Japan
Kimbell Art Museum, Texas, USA

Jakuchu (1716 - 1800) was a Japanese painter of the mid-Edo Shogun period when Japan had closed its doors to the outside world. Many of his paintings concern traditionally Japanese subjects, particularly chickens and other birds. Many of his otherwise traditional works display a great degree of experimentation with perspective, and with other very modern stylistic elements.
He is said to have been very calm, restrained, and professional. He held strong ties to Zen Buddhist ideals, and was considered a lay brother.

Two Gibbons Reaching for the Moon, it plays an important role in coming to terms with the human condition. If you notice, the two gibbons are not reaching for the moon itself, but its reflection. Of course, many other philosophers have alluded to this phenomenon; cf., Plato, with his allegory of the cave in the Republic. As human beings, we naturally see things in a narrowing point-of-view. Some of us attempt to see the world as objectively as possible, given our human condition and the limitations of the body, but many seem quite satisfied viewing the world with blinders on.
This scroll represents all the best in Zen Buddhism, and really, all the best in most of western philosophy as well. As human beings, we will always have a limited ability to know anything empirically. But if we truly attempt to view the physical world, objectively, we may see the moon.