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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Homer, Winslow


Girl and Laurel
1879
oil on canvas
53.8 x 4.8 cm
The Detroit Institute of Arts

Winslow Homer (1836 - 1910) was one of the most authentic and important American artists of the 19th century. He is remembered for his landscapes, many featuring scenes of the sea, boats, and coastlines. He did not receive formal art training. He began his art career as an apprentice for a commercial lithographer. In the late 1850's he began doing work for Harper's Weekly. His early work for Harper's was primarily to create line art drawings from photographs. At the time pictures were printed by "stamping" them from a large wood block.

Born in Boston, from a parent from long lines of New Englanders, he spent his adolescence in Cambridge, Massachusetts, surviving the absence of a father who rushed out to California to pan for gold. At nineteen he learned how to draw on the job at a lithography shop by illustrating or copying of photographs for sheet music covers of popular songs. He subsequently took up oil painting and produced major studio works characterized by the weight and density he exploited from the medium. He also worked extensively in watercolor, creating a fluid and prolific oeuvre, primarily chronicling his working vacations.

Homer's mother was a gifted amateur watercolorist and his first teacher, and she and her son had a close relationship throughout their lives. Homer took on many of her traits, including her quiet, strong-willed, terse, sociable nature; her dry sense of humor; and her artistic talent. He was an average student, but his art talent was evident in his early years.
His father was a volatile, restless businessman who was always looking to "make a killing". When he was thirteen, his father gave up the hardware store business to seek a fortune in the California gold rush. When that failed, his father left his family and went to Europe to raise capital for other get-rich-quick schemes that didn't materialize.

Homer's career as an illustrator lasted nearly twenty years. He contributed illustrations of Boston life and rural New England life to magazines, at a time when the market for illustrations was growing rapidly, and when fads and fashions were changing quickly. His early works, mostly commercial engravings of urban and country social scenes, are characterized by clean outlines, simplified forms, dramatic contrast of light and dark, and lively figure groupings - qualities that remained important throughout his career. His quick success was mostly due to this strong understanding of graphic design and also to the adaptability of his designs to wood engraving.
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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Magritte, René


The Menaced Assassin
1927
oil on canvas
150.4 x 195.2 cm
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

Magritte's Belgian brand of Surrealism deals in clear visions with unclear meanings. Unlike the fantastic dreamscapes of Paris Surrealists such as Salvador Dali, his settings are strangely normal, and his protagonists are bourgeois gentlemen in ties and bowler hats. Yet he specialized in permanent irresolution, in mysteries without a key. The Menaced Assassin must be rooted in detective novels and movies, which fascinated Magritte, but its studied frozen quality, the impassivity of its actors, puts it in another dimension from the dime thriller.

"If the dream is a translation of waking life, waking life is also a translation of the dream." (Magritte)

Rene Francois Ghislain Magritte (1898 - 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fell under the umbrella of surrealism. His work challenges observers' preconditioned perceptions of reality.

He was born on the 21st November, 1898 in Belgium. His father was a tailor and a merchant. As his business did not go well the family had to move often. Rene lost his mother early and tragically, she committed suicide by drowning herself in the River when Rene was only 14 years old. This was not her first attempt; she had made many over a number of years, driving her husband Leopold to lock her into her bedroom. One day she escaped, and was missing for days. She was later discovered a mile or so down the nearby river, dead.

After studying in the Royal Academy of Arts in Brussels, he became a wallpaper designer and commercial artist. His early painting works were executed under the influence of the Cubism and Futurism, then he was inspired by the Purists and Fernand Leger. The acquaintance with Giorgio de Chirico and Dadaistic poetry constituted an important artistic turning-point for Magritte. In 1927-30 Magritte lived in France, where he participated in the activities of the Surrealists, establishing a close friendship in particular with Max Ernst, Dali, Andre Breton and especially with Paul Eluard. In Paris, Magritte's system of conceptual painting was formed, it remained almost unchanged until the end of his life. His painting manner, intentionally dry and academic, "polished in the technical sense" with precise and clean draughtsmanship demonstrated a paradoxical ability to depict trustworthy an unreal, unthinkable reality. He was fond of philosophy and literature. Many of his paintings reflect his impressions of literature works, illusions and philosophical metaphors. Magritte died of pancreatic cancer on August 15, 1967 in his own bed in Brussels at the age of 69, and was interred in Schaerbeek Cemetery, Evere, Brussels. Popular interest in Magritte's work rose considerably in the 1960s, and his imagery has influenced pop, minimalist and conceptual art.

Magritte described his paintings as "visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, 'What does that mean?'. It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable."
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Degas, Edgar


Four Dancers
c. 1899
oil on canvas
151.1 x 180.2 cm (59 1/2 x 70 15/16 in.)
Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA

"In painting you must give the idea of the true by means of the false." "Art is vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it." (Degas)

Degas frequented the ballet and opera, where he found subjects not only in performance but also within the unexpected frames created by the angles of stage wings and practice-room mirrors. Four Dancers, one of the largest and most ambitious of his late works, exists in several variants that show different kinds and degrees of modification. As Degas' eyesight worsened, he increasingly preferred pastels to oil paints. In Four Dancers, Degas used oils to imitate the color effects and matte surface of pastels. The sketchy background of the stage set, painted in a broad, almost blurry manner, is typical of Degas' late works, but he trains a sudden sharp focus on the dancers' backs.

Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917) was a French artist famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist. A superb draughtsman, he is especially identified with the subject of the dance, and over half his works depict dancers. These display his mastery in the depiction of movement, as do his racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are considered to be among the finest in the history of art.

Early in his career, his ambition was to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art. In his early thirties he changed course, and by bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern life.

Certain features of his work remained the same throughout his life. He always painted indoors, preferring to work in his studio, either from memory or using models. The figure remained his primary subject; his few landscapes were produced from memory or imagination. It was not unusual for him to repeat a subject many times, varying the composition or treatment. He was a deliberative artist whose works were prepared, calculated, practiced, developed in stages. They were made up of parts. The adjustment of each part to the whole, their linear arrangement, was the occasion for infinite reflection and experiment.  "In art, nothing should look like chance, not even movement." (Degas)

In company he was known for his wit, which could often be cruel. He was characterized as an "old curmudgeon", and he deliberately cultivated his reputation as a misanthropic bachelor. Profoundly conservative in his political opinions, he opposed all social reforms and found little to admire in such technological advances as the telephone. He fired a model upon learning she was Protestant. "The artist must live alone, and his private life must remain unknown." (Degas)
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Mayer, Christof*


title: #1
year: 2013
technique: Acrylic
dimensions: h 58cm x w 75cm
style: Abstract Expressionism
location: Austria
description: yet another color composition
http://imaginary-museum.com/artist.html?id=farbkomposition

*Active Artist today is: Mayer, Christof
year of birth: 1969
nationality: Austria
work location: Lower Austria
biography: Chrisof Mayer was born in 1969 in Tulln on the Danube, Austria; technical basic education; activity in various

technical occupations until 2007. Since 1998, employment with clay and crafts; painting since 2008; exhibitions since 2012.

Color compositions since 2013.
et cetera:
http://www.farbkomposition.at
http://www.christofmayer.at

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Picasso, Pablo


Still Life with Skull, Leeks, and Pitcher
1945
oil on canvas
size unknown
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA, USA

"Painting is not there merely to decorate the walls of flats. It is a means of waging offensive and defensive war against the enemy." (Picasso)
Still lifes preoccupied Picasso at the time of the death of so many people in the last years of the Second World War. These works are powerful meditations on mortality, combining a sense of despair and melancholy with Picasso’s political resistance. Many of Picasso’s still lifes feature human and animal skulls, often those of goats, owls and bulls. Each has symbolic significance. Human skulls symbolise death from age, war, famine and pestilence. The goat is the scapegoat and the owl a symbol of death. The cockerel is the symbol of the free French.

"My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso." (Picasso)

"Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso", known as Pablo Picasso, (1881 - 1973) was a Spanish painter and sculptor, born in Malaga on the southern coast of Spain. One of the greatest, dynamic and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore.

He was exposed to art from a very young age by his father, who was a painter and art instructor. After studying at various art schools between 1892 and 1896, including academies in Barcelona and Madrid, he went on to the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid during the winter of 1896-1897. Picasso soon became bored with academics and set himself up as an independent artist. In Barcelona in 1899 Picasso’s circle of friends included young avantgarde artists and writers who traveled between Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris. Picasso also visited these cities and absorbed the local culture. His early works were influenced by old masters such as El Greco and Velazquez and by modern artists including Paul Gauguin, Edgar Degas, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Picasso moved to Paris in 1904 and settled in a dilapidated section of Montmartre, a working-class quarter. This area was home to many young artists and writers, and he was gradually assimilated into their stimulating intellectual community. Although Picasso benefited greatly from the artistic atmosphere in Paris and his circle of friends, he was often lonely, unhappy, and terribly poor.

Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a realistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. During the first decade of the 20th century his style changed 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. Based on sales of his works at auctions, he holds the title of top ranked artist. He was also a prolific artist with estimates of 50,000 works of art production in his lifetime, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc..

For the last three decades of his long life Picasso lived mostly in south of France. He worked up until the day he died at age 91; literally painting till 3 am on Sunday, April 8th, which was just hours before his death. He died while he and his wife Jacqueline Roque entertained friends for dinner. Jacqueline prevented his children Claude and Paloma from attending the funeral. Picasso was interred at the Chateau of Vauvenargues near Aix-en-Provence, a property he had acquired in 1958 and occupied with Jacqueline between 1959 and 1962.
Devastated and lonely after the death of Picasso, Jacqueline took her own life by gunshot in 1986 when she was 59 years old.
Pablo Picasso's final words were “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more.”
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Klee, Paul


Hot-Blooded Girl
1938
oil on Masonite
31.9 x 24.8 cm
Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Color possesses me. I don't have to pursue it. It will possess me always, I know it. That is the meaning of this happy hour: Color and I are one. I am a painter. (Klee)

Paul Klee (1879 - 1940) was born in Switzerland, into a family of musicians, and is considered both a German and a Swiss painter. His childhood love of music was always to remain profoundly important in his life and work.

His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. He was, as well, a student of orientalism. Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually mastered color theory, and wrote extensively about it; his lectures Writings on Form and Design Theory, published in English as the Paul Klee Notebooks, are considered so important for modern art that they are compared to the importance that Leonardo da Vinci's A Treatise on Painting had for Renaissance. He and his colleague, the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, both taught at the German Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture. His works reflect his dry humour and his sometimes childlike perspective, his personal moods and beliefs, and his musicality.

Klee went to Dusseldorf to teach at the Akademie in 1931, shortly before the Nazis closed the Bauhaus. Forced by the Nazis to leave his position in Dusseldorf in 1933, Klee settled in Bern the following year. Klee died on June 29, 1940, in Muralto-Locarno, Switzerland.
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Valetova, Nina Tokhtaman


Solar Wind
2011
oil on canvas
75 x 61cm

Nina Petrovna Valetova, or Nina Tokhtaman Valetova, born in 1958, is a Russian-American metaphysical realism painter.
She was born in Berdyash, Bashkir Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union and graduated as a Specialist from the Faculty of Arts and Graphics of Bashkir State Pedagogical Institute in Ufa. She immigrated to the United States in 1993.

Professional association membership
International Arts Fund

Representation
Amasin Art Gallery, Virginia Beach, VA, U.S.A.
RoGallery, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Selected Exhibitions
2011 "Art Beijing 2011", Beijing, China
2011 A. Jain Marunouchi Gallery, New York, NY, U.S.A.
2011 "Arte Pordenone", Artinvest SRL Torra della Filanda, Pordenone, Italy
2011 "Arte Genova 2011", Artinvest SRL Torra della Filanda, Fiera di Genova, Genova (Genoa), Italy
2011 Vernissage, Artinvest SRL Torra della Filanda, Rivoli, Torino (Turin), Italy
2010-2011 "From history to contemporary", jma Gallery / N Gallery / Euro-Asian Art and Culture Organization, Wien (Vienna), Austria
2009 "Metamorphosis", Agora Gallery, New York, NY, U.S.A.
2009 "Zolotoj Venec" ("Golden Tiara"), Chuvash State Art Museum, Cheboksary, Russia
2006 World Fine Art Gallery, New York, NY, U.S.A.
2001 "ArtManege 2001", Manege, Moskva (Moscow), Russia
2001 "Zolotaja Kist' 2001" ("Golden Brush 2001"), New Manege, Moskva (Moscow), Russia
1995 Arthaus Gallery, Dallas, TX, U.S.A.
1990-1991 Boulevard Galerie, Kopnhavn (Copenhagen), Denmark
1983 Republican Young Artists Exhibition, Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia

Bibliography
2011 "Fantasy and Visionary Art of Nina Tokhtaman Valetova", Amasin Art Gallery, U.S.A.
2011 "Collecion di obras Nina Tokhtaman Valetova", Suu Art Magazine, no.88 2011, Valencia, Spain
2011 "Alternative worlds of Nina Valetova", Sergey Kuskov Memorial Website, Moskva (Moscow), Russia
2011 "Artinvest s.r.l. Galleria d'Arte e casa d'aste", no.32 February-March 2011, p.154, Art&tra, Italy
2011 2011 International Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art [1] [2], Casa Editrice Alba, Ferrara, Italy
2010 "Torra della Filanda", Immagina Arte in Fiera Catalog, Italy
2009 Sourcebook to the Art World 2009 Guide, Art in America, U.S.A.
2009 "Nina Valetova", ArtisSpectrum, vol. 21, New York, NY, U.S.A.
2009 2009 International Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art, Casa Editrice Alba, Ferrara, Italy
Annually since 2006 "Unified Artists Catalog", Professional Artists Union, Moskva (Moscow), Russia
2002 Russian Artistic Guide 2002, London Contemporary Art, London, U.K.
2001 "Zvezda ArtManega" ("Star of ArtManege"), Kultura (Culture), no.48 (7305) 20-26 December 2001, Moskva (Moscow), Russia
2001 ArtManege Exhibition Center Catalog, ArtManege, Moskva (Moscow), Russia
2001 "Nina Valetova: World From the Other Side”, ArtYarmarka Gallery, Moskva (Moscow), Russia
Public Collections
Moscow Museum of Modern Art [1], [2-4 translation], Moskva (Moscow), Russia
Chuvash State Art Museum [1-3], Cheboksary, Russia
Novocheboksarsk Art Museum, Novocheboksarsk, Russia
Omsk Center of Contemporary Art, Omsk, Russia

Private Collections
Artwork is known to have been acquired for private collections in Denmark, Germany, Russia, and U.S.A.

et cetera: Metaphusical realism, fantasy and visionary artist
http://www.valetova.info
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Petrovna_Valetova

Monday, March 25, 2013

Klimt, Gustav


Portrait of Helene Klimt (his niece)
1898
oil on cardboard
60 x 40 cm
Museum of Fine Arts Berne, Switzerland, loan from private owner

The portrait of Helene Klimt shows the 6 year old niece of Klimt. He was the legal guardian of Helene. The composition is influenced by James Whistler.

"I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women...There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night...Who ever wants to know something about me... ought to look carefully at my pictures." (Klimt)

Gustav Klimt (1862 - 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. He was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna, Austria, the second of seven children. His father was a gold engraver and his mother had unrealized ambition to be a musical performer. He was educated at the Vienna Kunstgewerbe Art School. He lived in poverty for most of his childhood, as work was scarce and the economy difficult for immigrants.

Klimt's major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects. His primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. His work is distinguished by an elegant use of gold backgrounds and mosaic patterns. His elaborate, explicitly sensual works expressed themes of regeneration, love and death, and incorporated Egyptian, Classical Greek, Byzantine and Medieval styles. He was also inspired by engravings of Albrecht Durer, late medieval European painting, and Japanese Ukiyo-e. In synthesizing these diverse sources, his art achieved both individuality and extreme elegance. Throughout his life, although he was a controversial painter due to his subject matter, he was made an honorary member of the Universities of Vienna and of Munich. He was also a founding member and president of the Vienna Secession, which sought to create a platform for new and unconventional artists, bring new artists to Vienna, and created a magazine to showcase its member’ work.

Klimt lived a simple, cloistered life, in which he avoided other artists and cafe society. He often wore a long robe, sandals, and no undergarments. He also had many discreet affairs with women, and fathered at least 14 children. This may be an indication of his passion for women, their form and sexuality, which was the main focus of many of his works. The majority of his paintings were characterized by golden or colored swirling designs, spirals, and phallic shapes, depicting dominant women in erotic positions.

Klimt died of pneumonia in the influenza epidemic of 1918 and was interred at the Hietzing Cemetery, Vienna. He continued painting until the very end and many of his final works remained unfinished, leaving behind a posthumous legacy that few artists can rival. Laying the groundwork for Art Deco and Modernism, his creative influence can still be seen in today’s art, decorations and jewelry. Klimt's paintings have brought in the highest amounts ever paid at auction.
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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chagall, Marc


The Lovers
1914
oil on canvas
109.2 x 134.6cm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love. (Chagall)
Chagall's preoccupation with this theme which he addressed beginning from his early paintings, undoubtedly originates in his great love for his first wife Bella. From the moment they met, Bella instantly became his favorite model and greatest inspiration.

Marc Chagall (1887 - 1985), was a Belorussian-French artist and one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. Among the celebrated painters of the twentieth century, he is associated with the modern movements after impressionism, including fauvism and Cubism, a twentieth century avant-garde art movement that revolutionized European painting. In Cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, he depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to present the piece in a greater context. Often the surfaces intersect at seemingly random angles presenting no coherent sense of depth. However, he worked at the fringes of the different movements of modern art, also infusing his work with the folk art of his Belorussian roots as well as his Jewish heritage.

He studied in Saint Petersburg from 1907 to 1910 at the Imperial Society for the Protection of the Arts and later with Leon Bakst, then he moved to Paris in 1910, where he associated with Guillaume Apollinaire and encountered Fauvism and Cubism. There, he participated in the Salon des Independants and the Salon d'Automne. In 1914, he visited Russia, and was prevented from returning to Paris by the outbreak of war. He settled in Vitebsk, where he was appointed Commissar for Art, and he founded the Vitebsk Popular Art School directing it until disagreements with the Suprematists which resulted in his resignation in 1920. He moved to Moscow and executed his first stage design. After a sojourn in Berlin, he returned to Paris in 1923. During World War II, he fled to the United States, then he returned to and settled permanently in France in 1948. He died March 28, 1985, in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Raffaello Sanzio


La Donna Velata (Woman with a Veil)
c.1515
oil on canvas
82 x 60.5 cm
Galleria Palatina, Florence, Italy

The subject of this painting, La Fornarina was Raphael's preferred model and most probably his mistress. La Fornarina means "the bakers little wife or little daughter", she was from Siena and her name was Margherita Luti.

The "Donna Velata" is Raphael's answer to Leonardo's "Mona Lisa", together with the "Portrait of Maddalena Doni" in 1506 (see July 7, 2011 exhibit). This painting shows greater attention to color and to the rendering of skin and clothes in respect to previous female portraits. The regular oval of the young woman's face stands out against the dark background and her eyes hold an intense and penetrating look. The silk of her sleeves contrasts with her ivory-like skin, and is closely associated with the thin pleating of the dress, held up by a corset with golden embroidery. The figure radiates a sense of great dignity and restraint.

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483 - 1520), better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings and drawings. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period. He was a popular personality, famous, wealthy, and honored.

Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop, and despite his death at 37, a large body of his work remains. Many of his works are found in the Apostolic Palace of The Vatican, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his career. After his early years in Rome much of his work was self-designed, but for the most part executed by the workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality. He was extremely influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was mostly known from his collaborative printmaking.

He died on his thirty-seventh birthday, April 6, 1520, because of acute illness, which lasted fifteen days, and was buried the next day, at his request, in the Pantheon amidst universal mourning and acclaim. His funeral was extremely grand, very well attended by large crowds. It is said that Raphael's early death plunged into grief the entire papal court. Pope Leo X, who had an intention to make him a cardinal, wept bitterly when he died. The inscription in his marble sarcophagus reads: "Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die." He is said to have had many affairs, but he never married. The reason of his premature death is unknown.

Raphael's influence was widely spread even during his own lifetime. His posthumous reputation was even greater, for until the later 19th century he was regarded as the greatest painter who had ever lived - the artist who expressed the basic doctrines of the Christian Church through figures that have a physical beauty worthy of the antique. (it was against his authority that the Pre-Raphaelites revolted). He became the ideal of all academies, and today we approach him through a long tradition in which Raphaelesque forms and motifs have been used with a steady diminution of their values. In the modern era Raphael's past canonical status has counted against him and he has inevitably been compared, often unfavorably, to Leonardo and Michelangelo, whose personalities and artistic expression more readily accord with 20th-century sensibilities.

"While we may term other works paintings, those of Raphael are living things; the flesh palpitates, the breath comes and goes, every organ lives, life pulsates everywhere." (by Giorgio Vasari in the edition of Lives of the Artists, 1568)
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Friday, March 22, 2013

El Greco


Marie-Madeleine pénitente (La Penitencia de Maria Magdalena)
1578-1580
oil on canvas
108 x101 cm
Worcester Art Museum, USA

El Greco (1541 - 1614) was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance.
He was born on Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art.
He is the most unusual painter in 16th-century Europe. He combined the strict Byzantine style of his homeland, Greece, with influences received during his studies in Venice and the medieval tradition of the country where he worked, Spain.
 
His painting style always gave rise to much discussion. Proud and independent El Greco, who always signed his pictures by his Greek name, demanded constant self-assertion but he was valued and respected by the intellectuals of Toledo , being regarded as a "Man of eccentric habits and ideas, of tremendous determination, extraordinary reticence, and extreme devoutness".

El Greco did not have followers, and his art was forgotten for 300 years. The re-discovery of his painting was a sensation; he became one of the most popular masters of the past, his painting rose the interest of collectors, artists, lovers of art and art historians. El Greco is now regarded as one of the most important representatives of European Mannerism.
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Anker, Albert Samuel


La Reine Berthe et les fileuses (Queen Bertha and the Spinners)
1888
oil on canvas
86 x 126 cm
Musee Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland

Queen Bertha of Swabia (907 - c.966), Queen consort of Burgundy, sometimes called the "Spinning Queen", was renowned in her own time and beyond for her strong intellect , industry, and noble nature.

"One has to shape an ideal in one's imagination, and then one has to make that ideal accessible to the people." (Anker)
Albert Samuel Anker (1831 - 1910) was a Swiss painter who has been called the "national painter" of Switzerland because of his enduringly popular depictions of 19th-century Swiss village life.
His paintings depict his fellow citizens in an unpretentious and plain manner, without idealizing country life, but also without the critical examination of social conditions. His meticulous paintings of Swiss rural life endeared him to the public and during his heydays, he was considered as the most popular artist. His works captured the daily and social life of the rustics in the picturesque villages of Switzerland. He portrayed the social life of villagers as plain and unpretentious. He depicted men and women without any judgment or idealizing their social condition. Though he had a Christian world-view, he did not, in any way, impose his ideology on his paintings.
Anker was quick to reach his artistic objectives and never strayed from his chosen path. His works, though, exude a sense of conciliation and understanding as well as a calm trust in Swiss democracy; they are executed with great skill, providing brilliance to everyday scenes through subtle choices in coloring and lighting.

He had six children, two of whom died very early in life. he depicted his surviving children in some of his paintings. He died in 1910 at the age of 79 at his house in Anet, Switzerland. Many Swiss postage stamps and other media have incorporated Anker's work. His studio in Ins has been preserved as a museum by the Albert Anker Foundation.
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de


Berthe the Deaf in the Garden of Monsieur Forest (Woman with an Umbrella)
1889
Gouache, watercolor and tempera on cardboard
76.7 x 57.5 cm
The Hermitage, Saint Petersburg, Russia   

Berthe, who came from Brittany to make a living in Paris, wound up in the Green Parrot whorehouse that Lautrec used to visit. It was not hard to persuade her to pose. Berthe looks as if she dressed up for a formal portrait, with an expensive hat of fine straw, an umbrella, and a gown with lace trimming. She undoubtedly wants to look like a lady of society, and she almost succeeds, except the artist could not resist adding irony, however sympathetic. Berthe looks as if she is part of a masquerade here. Notice how she clutches the umbrella; there is none of the finesse about the hands of this daughter of a peasant that would have been characteristic of a lady of a higher society. But seldom can such wide-open eyes, shining with genuine interest in life, be seen in Lautrec's bordello dwellers.

"I paint things as they are. I don't comment." "I have tried to do what is true and not ideal." (Toulouse-Lautrec)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 - 1901) ,an aristocrat, was born in southern France. The son and heir of Comte Alphonse-Charles de Toulouse, he was the last in the line of an aristocratic family that dated back a thousand years. Today, the family estate houses the Musee Toulouse-Lautrec.

He is a painter and illustrator, whose immersion in the colorful and theatrical life yielded an oeuvre of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and sometimes decadent life of those times. He is known, along with Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin, as one of the greatest painters of the Post-Impressionist period. He observed and captured in his art the Parisian nightlife of the period.

Henri's father was rich, handsome, and eccentric. His mother was overly devoted to her only living child. They themselves were first cousins, and Henri suffered from a number of congenital health conditions attributed to this inbreeding. As a child, Henri was weak and often sick. But by the time he was 10 years old he had begun to draw and paint. At 12 young, he broke his left leg and at 14 his right leg. The bones failed to heal properly, and his legs stopped growing. He reached young adulthood with a body trunk of normal size but with abnormally short legs. He was only 4 1/2 feet (1.5 meters) tall.

Deprived of the physical life that a normal body would have permitted, Toulouse-Lautrec lived completely for his art. He dwelt in the Montmartre section of Paris, the center of the cabaret entertainment and bohemian life that he loved to depict in his work. Dance halls and nightclubs, racetracks, prostitutes - all these were memorialized on canvas or made into lithographs. He was very much an active part of this community. He would sit at a crowded nightclub table, laughing and drinking, meanwhile making swift sketches. The next morning in his studio he would expand the sketches into brightly colored paintings.

In order to join in the Montmartre life - as well as to fortify himself against the crowd's ridicule of his appearance - he began to drink heavily. By the 1890s the drinking was affecting his health. He was confined first to a sanatorium and then to his mother's care at home, but he could not stay away from alcohol. He died from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis at the age of 36, at the family chateau of Malrome. His last words were: "Le vieux con!" ("The old fool!", although the word "con" can be meant in both simple and vulgar terms). This was his goodbye to his father. Since after his death, his paintings and posters - particularly the Moulin Rouge group - have been in great demand and bring high prices at auctions and art sales. His mother contributed funds for a museum to be created in Albi, his birthplace, to house her deceased son's works. The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum now owns the world's largest collection of works by the painter.
His debt to the Impressionists, in particular the more figurative painters Manet and Degas, is apparent. His style was also influenced by the classical Japanese woodblock prints which became popular in art circles in Paris.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Macke, August


Indianer
1911
oil on canvas
88 x 70 cm
private collection

August Macke (1887 - 1914) was one of the leading members of the German Expressionist group The Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter). He was born in Westphalia. His father was a building contractor and his mother came from a farming family in  Westphalia. He lived during a particularly innovative time for German art which saw the development of the main German Expressionist movements as well as the arrival of the successive Avant-garde movements which were forming in the rest of Europe.

His style was formed within the mode of French Impressionism and Post-impressionism and later went through a Fauve period. In 1910, through his friendship with Franz Marc, he met Kandinsky and for a while shared the non-objective aesthetic and the mystical and symbolic interests of Der Blaue Reiter. Macke's meeting with Robert Delaunay in Paris in 1912 was to be a sort of revelation for him. Delaunay's chromatic Cubism, which Apollinaire had called Orphism, influenced Macke's art from that point onwards. His Shops Windows can be considered a personal interpretation of Delaunay's Windows, combined with the simultaneity of images found in Italian Futurism. The exotic atmosphere of Tunisia, where Macke traveled in 1914 with Paul Klee and Louis Moilliet was fundamental for the creation of the luminist approach of his final period, during which he produced a series of works now considered masterpieces. The paintings concentrate primarily on expressing feelings and moods rather than reproducing objective reality, usually distorting color and form.

Macke's career was cut short by his early death in September 1914, the second month of World War I. His final painting depicts the mood of gloom that settled after the outbreak of war.
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Klimt, Gustav


Farm Garden with Crucifix
1912
oil on canvas
110 x 110 cm
Destroyed in 1945 (private collection)

Farm Garden with Crucifix was destroyed by a fire set by retreating German forces in 1945 at Schloss Immendorf, Austria. This painting marks the beginning of a group of works where the tendency goes toward a transition of the individual form and color as well as an involvement with linearisme. The crucifix does not exist any more, but we know that it was situated near the snack-bar between Kammerl and Weyregg on Lake Atte.

"I have never painted a self-portrait. I am less interested in myself as a subject for a painting than I am in other people, above all women...There is nothing special about me. I am a painter who paints day after day from morning to night...Who ever wants to know something about me... ought to look carefully at my pictures." (Klimt)
Gustav Klimt (1862 - 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. He was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna, Austria and was educated at the Vienna Kunstgewerbe Art School. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism.

His work is distinguished by an elegant use of gold backgrounds and mosaic patterns. His elaborate, explicitly sensual works expressed themes of regeneration, love and death, and incorporated Egyptian, Classical Greek, Byzantine and Medieval styles. He was also inspired by engravings of Albrecht Durer, late medieval European painting, and Japanese Ukiyo-e. In synthesizing these diverse sources, Klimt's art achieved both individuality and extreme elegance.

Laying the groundwork for Art Deco and Modernism, Klimt’s creative influence can still be seen in today’s art, decorations and jewelry. He died in Vienna of pneumonia and was interred at the Hietzing Cemetery, Vienna.
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Seurat, Georges


Peasant Woman Seated in the Grass (Paysanne assise dans l'herbe)
1883
oil on canvas
38.1 x 46.2 cm (15 x 18 in.)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

"Some say they see poetry in my paintings; I see only science." (Seurat)

Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859 - 1891), Post-Impressionist painter, born into a very rich family in Paris, is one of the icons of 19th century painting. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and his teacher was a disciple of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Young Seurat was strongly influenced by Rembrandt and Francisco de Goya.

Seurat is the founder of the 19th-century French school of Neo-Impressionism whose technique for portraying the play of light using tiny brushstrokes of contrasting colors became known as Pointillism. He spent his life studying color theories and the effects of different linear structures. He is the ultimate example of the artist as scientist. Using Pointillism technique, he created huge compositions with tiny, detached strokes of pure color too small to be distinguished when looking
at the entire work but making his paintings shimmer with brilliance. In 1883, panels from his painting Bathing at Asnieres were refused by the Salon. After his painting was rejected by the Paris Salon, Seurat turned away from such establishments, instead allying himself with the independent artists of Paris. In 1884 he and other artists (including Maximilien Luce) formed the Societe des Artistes Independants. There he met and befriended fellow artist Paul Signac. Seurat shared his new ideas about pointillism with Signac, who subsequently painted in the same idiom.

Before actually painting the picture, he would sketch out parts of his artwork so that the models would not have to wait forever while he found the exact color. He took to heart the color theorists' notion of a scientific approach to painting. He believed that a painter could use color to create harmony and emotion in art in the same way that a musician uses counterpoint and variation to create harmony in music. He theorized that the scientific application of color was like any other natural law, and he was driven to prove this conjecture. He kept his private life very secret. On 29 March 1891, Seurat unexpectedly died. The cause of his death is uncertain. His last ambitious work, The Circus, was left unfinished at the time of his death.
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Monet, Claude


The Seine at Vetheuil
1879
oil on canvas
80.3 x 60 cm
Musee des Beaux-Arts et de la Ceramique, Rouen, France

Fascinated by water, by its transparency and its reflects, Claude MONET always lived close to the Seine  River. From Le Havre to Giverny he settled successively in Paris, Argenteuil, Poissy, and Vetheuil.

"I'm never finished with my paintings; the further I get, the more I seek the impossible and the more powerless I feel." (Monet)

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.

One day in 1871, legend says, Claude Monet walked into a food shop in Amsterdam, where he had gone to escape the Prussian siege of Paris. There he spotted some Japanese Ukiyo-e prints being used as wrapping paper. He was so taken by the engravings that he bought one on the spot. The purchase changed his life - and the history of Western art. Monet went on to collect 231 Japanese prints, which greatly influenced his work and that of other practitioners of Impressionism, the movement he helped create. Under the new Meiji Emperor, Japan in the 1870s was just opening to the outside world after centuries of isolation. Japanese handicrafts were flooding into European department stores and art galleries. Japonism, a fascination with all things Japanese, was soon the rage among French intellectuals and artists, among them Vincent van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro and the young Monet.

Perhaps the greatest gift Japan gave Monet, and Impressionism, was an incandescent obsession with getting the play of light and shadow, the balance of colors and the curve of a line, just right - not the way it is in reality, but the way it looks in the artist's imagination, like Hokusai's Ukiyo-e. At Giverny where Monet built a Japanese bridge over a Japanese pond in a Japanese garden, he spent the rest of his life painting the private paradise, his water lilies of the pond, again and again, until he lost his eyesight in quest of an elusive, transcendent perfection that might best be called Japanese. "I have slowly learned about the pattern of the grass, the trees, the structure of birds and other animals like insects and fish, so that when I am 80, I hope to be better," Hokusai wrote 16 years before his death at age 89. "At 90, I hope to have caught the very essence of things, so that at 100 I will have reached heavenly mysteries. At 110, every point and line will be living."
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Hassam, Childe


Boston Common at Twilight
1886
oil on canvas
106.7 x 152.4 cm
Museum of Fine arts, Boston, MA, USA

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859 - 1935) was a prominent and prolific American Impressionist painter, noted for his urban and coastal scenes. He was born in Dorchester (now part of Boston), into a family descended from settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Along with Mary Cassatt and John Henry Twachtman, he was instrumental in promulgating Impressionism to American collectors, dealers, and museums. He produced over 3,000 paintings, watercolors, etchings, and lithographs over the course of his career, and was an influential American artist of the early 20th century. With these works he achieved critical acclaim and commercial success, riding the great wave of enthusiasm for American Impressionism to fame and fortune. Throughout his career he garnered numerous awards and prizes and earned the attention of the collectors. His work was widely exhibited throughout the country.
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Durer, Albrecht


Adoration of the Magi
1504
oil on wood
100 x 114 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

The elector Frederick the Wise of Saxony ordered this painting for the church in the castle in Wittenberg. The three kings arrived at this slightly elevated space from the back and after having climbed two steps. The Madonna is clad in azure clothes and cape, a white veil covering her head. She is holding out the infant, who is wrapped in her white veil, to the eldest king. He is offering the infant a gold casket with the image of Saint George, which the infant has already taken with his right hand.

"Why has God given me such magnificent talent? It is a curse as well as a great blessing." (Durer)

Albrecht Durer (1471 - 1528) was a German painter and printmaker generally regarded as the greatest German Renaissance artist. His vast body of work includes altarpieces and religious works, numerous portraits and self-portraits, and copper engravings. His introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, have secured his reputation as the greatest Northern Renaissance artist. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions. Durer exerted a huge influence on the artists of succeeding generations, especially in printmaking, the medium through which his contemporaries mostly experienced his art, as his paintings were predominately in private collections located in only a few cities. His success in spreading his reputation across Europe through prints were undoubtedly an inspiration for major artists such as Raphael, Titian, and Parmigianino, all of whom collaborated with printmakers in order to promote and distribute their work.

Durer died in 1528 and was buried in the churchyard of Johanniskirchhof in Nuremberg. That he was one of his country's most influential artists is manifest in the impressive number of pupils and imitators that he had. The extent to which Durer was internationally celebrated is apparent in the literary testimony of the Florentine artist Giorgio Vasari (1511-74), in whose Lives of the Most Eminent Italian Architects, Painters and Sculptors, the importance of Albrecht Durer, the "truly great painter and creator of the most beautiful copper engravings," is repeatedly stressed. Durer probably felt himself to be an "artist-prince," and his self-portraits seem incontestably to show a man sure of his own genius.

There is a legendary story behind his picture "The Praying Hands"! (see Jan.4, 2012 exhibit)
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 ...no ...no ...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."
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jongh, Ludolf de



Scene in a Courtyard
c.1663
Oil on canvas
67 x 82 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

Ludolf Leendertsz de Jongh (1616 - 1679), the son of a shoemaker, was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He studied with Delft portraitist in Rotterdam and his work shows a strong influence from the Utrecht school of Caravaggio admirers. In 1650's he was one of the most fashionable painters of Rotterdam. He experimented with various innovations in portraiture in this period, both from a psychological perspective with expressions, but also with the use of space and lighting.

Unlike most Dutch painters of the 1600s, who were specialists, he painted portraits, genre paintings, landscapes, and historical subjects. As a result of this wide variety of subject matter, his works have frequently been attributed to others. Moreover, he signed few paintings, and his style often changed in response to new developments in Dutch painting. He married the daughter of a member of the highest circles of Rotterdam. and he gradually stopped painting after 1660 when he became involved with law enforcement in Rotterdam.
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vermeer, Johannes



Girl with the Red Hat
c.1666
oil on panel
23.2 × 18.1 cm (9.1 × 7.1 in)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA

"Truth is the daughter of time, and I feel no shame in being her midwife." (Vermeer)

Girl with a Red Hat is one of a number of Vermeer's tronies - Dutch term which refers to paintings of busts or heads, generally wearing hats or exotic clothes and depicting anonymous or fictive characters. Among all of Vermeer's paintings, this is perhaps the one which comes closest to the type of image produced by an instrument known as the camera obscura, an optical device which aroused the curiosity of Dutch scientists and artists in Vermeer's time. With the aid of a lens, it allowed the user to project an image from the exterior onto a wall in a dark room or on the surface of a small chamber specially prepared for it.

Johannes, Jan or Johan Vermeer (1632 - 1675) was a Dutch painter who specialized in exquisite, domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Relatively little is known for certain about his life and career. He was the son of a silk worker with a taste for buying and selling art. Vermeer himself was also active in the art trade. His works are largely genre pieces and portraits, with the exception of two cityscapes and two allegories. His subjects offer a cross-section of seventeenth century Dutch society, ranging from the portrayal of a simple milkmaid at work, to the luxury and splendor of rich notables and merchantmen in their roomy houses. He lived and worked in Delft all his life.

Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime. He seems never to have been particularly wealthy, leaving his wife and children in debt at his death, perhaps because he produced relatively few paintings. His works are rare. 35 or 36 paintings are generally attributed to him. All his works are admired for the sensitivity with which he rendered effects of light and color and for the poetic quality of his images.
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Karnauhov, Yuriy*



title: Spanish Patio
year: 2011
technique: Oil
dimensions: h 90cm x w 100cm
style: Impressionism
genre: Still life
location: Irkutsk, private collection
description: Сочинён в Испании В Албир .

*Active Artist today is: Karnauhov, Yuriy
year of birth: 1957
nationality: Russia
work location: Irkutsk
biography: Born in the city of Irkutsk in 1957. Irkutsk Art School in 1986. In 2005 he joined the "Union of Russian Artists' works are in the Irkutsk Regional Museum im.Sukacheva VP, as well as in private collections in Russia, USA, China, Japan, France, Germany, etc. etc. Awards: Medals and diplomas from the Union of Artists of Russia.
et cetera: The search and coloristic variety of plastic and solid vision.
http://imaginary-museum.com/artist.html?id=yuriy-ka

Monday, March 11, 2013

Kirchner, Ernst Ludwig


Artistin Marzella
1910
oil on canvas
101 x 76 cm
Brucke-Museum, Berlin, Germany

"A painter paints the appearance of things, not their objective correctness, in fact he creates new appearances of things." (Kirchner )

Kirchner was known for his energetic and emotive works, differentiated by an audacious use of colors, the vigor, and angular moulds. He wanted to avoid and stay away from existing creative traditions. He charted a new road, leading to fresh ideas and the novel modes of artistic expression, while cutting through the gap between the old & the new as well. "Artistin Marzella" is one such revolutionary work of Kirchner. Marzella, in reality, was one of the daughters of an artist's widow. Kirchner painted her both, clothed and nude.

The girl half-laying on a hunter green sofa has one foot on the floor and the other opposite her body on the cushion, her thighs still in contact. She rests her upper body on one arm, outstretched to the cushion, and the other arm propped across her body on the sofa arm, with her chin in her hand, hiding her mouth. The girl wears a dress striped in two shades of green, blue and black striped socks and red slippers. The walls and floor in the room are green and there are differently colored bottles behind the girl, in a doorway leading to a blue room. A white cat lays curled up next to her on the sofa. The girl appears to be in thought, with a bromidic expression. The girls skin appears dark, but lively and natural.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880 - 1938) was a German expressionist painter and one of the founders of the key artists group leading to the foundation of Expressionism in 20th century art. The group aimed to eschew the prevalent traditional academic style and find a new mode of artistic expression, which would form a bridge between the past and the present. They responded both to past artists such as Albrecht Durer, Matthias Grunewald and Lucas Cranach the Elder, as well as contemporary international avant-garde movements. As part of the affirmation of their national heritage, they revived older media, particularly woodcut prints.

He was born in Aschaffenburg, Bavaria. He studied architecture in Dresden. After finishing his studies, however, he opposed his father's wishes and decided to become a painter.

In 1911, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner settled in Berlin and founded a private art school with the aim of promoting the modern teachings of painting. Although the venture did not last long and ended the following year, here he discovered new motifs - city and street scenes. He painted them in a simplified manner, with sharply contoured forms, expressive features and clashing colors. The city paintings became incunables of Expressionism and made Kirchner one of the most important German artists of the 20th century.
At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, he volunteered for the military service, but left it soon enough suffering a nervous breakdown. He was released from the army at the end of 1915. In 1917, he left Germany for Switzerland, to settle in Frauenkirch near Davos. he lived in a farm house in the Alps, and mainly focused on the depiction of mountain scenery until the end of his life. There he was  appointed as the member of Prussian Academy of Fine Arts. Around 1920 his painting style calmed down, his paintings had a carpet-like two dimensionality. In 1923 he moved to the "Haus auf dem Wildboden" at the entrance of the Sertig Valley. In 1933, he was labelled a "degenerate artist" by the Nazis, over 600 of his works were confiscated from public museums in Germany and were sold or destroyed. In 1938, the psychological trauma of these events, along with the Nazi occupation of Austria, close to his Sertig Valley home, led him to commit suicide on June 15, 1938.
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Millais, John Everett


The Blind Girl
1856
oil on canvas
62.2 x 82.6 cm
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, UK

This painting depicts two itinerant beggars, presumed to be sisters, one of whom is a blind musician, her concertina on her lap. They are resting by the roadside after a rainstorm, before traveling to the town of Winchelsea, visible in the background. The elder of the two girls, with her eyes closed, is blind.  She is homeless and forced to beg for sustenance by playing her concertina, which we see on her lap. Her wretched plight is emphasized even more by the sheet of paper hanging around her neck with the words “PITY THE BLIND”. A tortoiseshell butterfly rests on the blind girl's shawl, implying that she is holding herself extremely still. The younger blonde girl, who is partly perched on the lap of the blind girl, is looking back at the double rainbow and the enchanting landscape below this phenomenon. Various buildings and some trees dot the skyline of the hill. Some art historians interpret Millais’ depiction of the double rainbow as a Christian symbol of hope and the Millais' belief at that time that there was a connection between the beauty of nature and the divine handiwork of God.

This painting has been interpreted as an allegory of the senses, contrasting the experiences of the blind and sighted sisters. The former feels the warmth of the sun on her face, and fondles a leaf of grass, while the latter shields her eyes from the sun or rain and looks at the unusual spectacle of a double rainbow that has just appeared. Millais has chosen as his subject for this painting the social evil of the day - vagrancy among children and the disabled.  Millais hoped that his painting would elicit sympathy from its viewers for the plight of this blind girl and those like her.
When the painting was first exhibited in 1856 it was pointed out to Millais that in double rainbows the inner rainbow inverts the order of the colors. Millais had originally painted the colors in the same order in both rainbows. He altered it for scientific accuracy.

Sir John Everett Millais (1829 - 1896) was born in Southampton, England. His family was of French descent. In 1838 he attended Henry Sass' Drawing School and the Royal Academy in 1840. While still a youth, he won various medals for his drawings. With Rossetti and Hunt, he founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. Ophelia,  exhibited in 1852 at the Royal Academy, marks the culmination of Millais' youthful period.

Endowed with a virtuoso technical skill, he rapidly outstripped his colleagues and won lasting fame. He was elected a member of the Royal Academy and served as President in 1896. Millais' works never failed to elicit praise. His remarkable technique lent his canvases a unique distinction, particularly in his last paintings, long after the exhilaration of the radiant Pre-Raphaelite period had died away. Towards the end of his life, he turned to portraiture. He was also a fine illustrator.
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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Leger, Fernand


Woman with a Book
1923
oil on canvas
116 x 81.4 cm (45 3/4 x 32 1/8")
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA

"I had broken down the human body, so I set about putting it together again," (Leger)
The smooth surfaces of this volumetric woman, bunch of flowers, and book evoke mechanical parts assembled together. The metallic sheen and tight geometry are stylistic treatments that recur in many of Leger's paintings of this period.
Leger believed that the mechanical age had the capability of curing the chaos that occurred during World War I, and reduced the figures in his paintings to mechanical shapes for this very purpose. In this painting, he has reduced the shape of the woman down to simple forms, which have been placed back together like a machine. This portrait thus gives of the impression that the woman is a mechanized version of herself. The simple, solidified forms were his attempt to use enduring images to recover from the devastation of the war.

Fernand Leger (1881-1955), painter, sculptor, and filmmaker, was born at Argentan, France. He began his career as a an artist by serving an apprenticeship in architecture and working as a architectural draughtsman. In 1900 he went to Paris and was admitted to the art school in 1903. The first profound influence on his work came from Cezanne. Leger became friends with Delaunay and maintained ties with great artists, including Matisse, Rousseau, Apollinaire and leading exponents of Cubism. As a painter Leger exerted an enormous influence on the development of Cubism, Constructivism and the modern advertising poster as well as various forms of applied art.

Leger's experiences in World War I had a significant effect on his work. Mobilized in 1914 for service in the French Army, he spent two years at the front in Argonne. He produced many sketches of artillery pieces, airplanes, and fellow soldiers while in the trenches, and painted Soldier with a Pipe (1916) while on furlough. In September 1916 he almost died after a mustard gas attack. During a period of convalescence he painted The Card Players (1917), a canvas whose robot-like, monstrous figures reflect the ambivalence of his experience of war. As he explained: ...I was stunned by the sight of the breech of a 75 millimeter in the sunlight. It was the magic of light on the white metal. That's all it took for me to forget the abstract art of 1912-1913. The crudeness, variety, humor, and downright perfection of certain men around me, their precise sense of utilitarian reality and its application in the midst of the life-and-death drama we were in...made me want to paint in slang with all its color and mobility.

After his experiences in the First World War, he became convinced that art should be accessible to all. He moved away from pure abstraction towards the stylized depiction of real objects, laying great emphasis on order, clarity and harmony. By 1920, Leger had achieved a mechanistic classicism, a precise, geometrically and harshly definitive monumental rendering of modern objects such as cog-wheels and screws, with the human figure incorporated as an equally machine-like being. Surrealismus left its mark on Leger in the 1930s, loosening up his style and making it more curvilinear.

Among the most prominent artists in Paris in the first half of the 20th century, Leger was prolific in many media and articulated a consistent position on the role of art in society in his many lectures and writings. His mature work underwent many changes, from a Cubist-derived abstraction in the 1910s to a distinctive realist imagery in the 1950s. Leger taught at Yale University from 1940 until 1945. He attracted numerous students to his various schools, and his ideas and philosophy were disseminated by modern artists throughout Europe and the Americas. By now his dominant motifs were drawn from the workplace and were post-Cubist in form, combined with the representational clarity of Realism.
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Miro, Joan


Still Life with Old Shoe
1937
oil on canvas
81.3 x 116.8 cm (32 x 46")
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA

When started the Spanish Civil War Miro was going to his house of Mont-roig del Camp in Catalonia, Spain for a while. Then Miro went to France. On 16 December 1936 he arrived in Paris with his wife and little daughter. They lived in a very small living space with a complete lack of a place to work. At the time, Miro could do nothing but collect ideas and write them to litle sketch cards.

Miro, though no studio or apartment, started working in a corner at the art gallery Pierre, and it took five months from January to May 1937, in produce one of the strangest and most important paintings of the his work, Still Life with Old Shoe, a oil painting where he expressed his anguish over the situation in Spain. Miro provides advertising and painted with great detail the rise of evil, the invasion of monsters, the metamorphic decline of the human figure.

"Perhaps the events of the moment, especially the drama of the war in Spain, I did feel the need to penetrate reality. I used to go every day to work at the Grande Chaumiere (art school in Paris) in nature. At that moment I felt a need to control things through the reality" (Miro)

Joan Miro i Ferra (1893 - 1983) was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona. He attended a commercial school and worked as an office clerk until a mental breakdown persuaded his artisan father to permit him to study art. From the beginning he sought to express concepts of nature metaphorically. From 1919 on he lived alternately in Spain and Paris, where he came under the influence of Dadaism and Surrealism. The influence of Paul Klee is apparent in his dream pictures and imaginary landscapes of the late 1920s, in which linear configurations and patches of color look almost as though they had been set down randomly. His mature style evolved from the tension between this fanciful, poetic impulse and his vision of the harshness of modern life.

Miro was never closely aligned with any movement and was too retiring in his manner to be the object of a personality cult, like his compatriot Picasso, but the formal and technical innovations that he sustained over a very long career guaranteed his influence on 20th-century art. A pre-eminent figure in the history of abstraction and an important example to several generations of artists around the world, he remained profoundly attached to the specific circumstances and environment that shaped his art in his early years. An acute balance of sophistication and innocence and a deeply rooted conviction about the relationship between art and nature lie behind all his work and account in good measure for the wide appeal that his art has continued to exercise across many of the usual barriers of style.

Earning international acclaim, Miro's work has been interpreted as a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride. In numerous interviews dating from the 1930s onwards, he expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, and famously declared an "assassination of painting" in favor of upsetting the visual elements of established painting.

Miro worked extensively in lithography and produced numerous murals, tapestries, and sculptures for public spaces. A museum dedicated to his work, the Fundacio Joan Miro, was established in his birth city in 1975.
"What I am seeking... is a motionless movement, something equivalent to what is called the eloquence of silence..." (Miro)
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Thursday, March 7, 2013

O'Keeffe, Georgia


Deer's Skull with Pedernal
1936
oil on canvas
91 x 77 cm (36 x 30 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA

"One can not be an American by going about saying that one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work." (O'Keeffe)

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (1887 - 1986) was an American artist. She was born in a farmhouse on a large dairy farm near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. She distinguished herself as one of America's most important modern artists, a position she maintained throughout her life.

Known for the flower paintings which encompass a quarter of her work, O’Keeffe was originally inspired by nature during her childhood in rural Wisconsin. Shunning her artistic education in favor of expressing her emotions, she enlarged flowers until they became abstract artforms whose sheer size commanded attention. "Precisionist", is the term most widely used to describe her 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. She was the first woman honored with her own exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. New York Times described her paintings as both "bold and hermetic, immediately appealing and unnervingly impassive." O’Keeffe's goal as a painter was to “make the unknown - known. By unknown I mean the thing that means so much to the person that he wants to put it down - clarify something he feels but does not clearly understand.” (O’Keeffe)

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. O'Keeffe, 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. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe opened in 1997.
"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not." "I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty." (O'Keeffe)
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lempicka, Tamara de


La clé et l'oeuf
1946
oil on canvasboard
27.8 x 21 cm
locaion unknown

In March 1939, Lempicka arrived in New York. After her last exhibition in Los Angeles, in 1941, the spread of war relegated such mundane events as opening receptions to the sidelines. Consequently, Lempicka withdrew to her country house in Connecticut. Here, she devoted herself to a series of still lifes comprised of commonplace objects, vegetables and fruits, affording her occasion to attain a state of peace far removed from the era's upheavals. She became less sharply precise, attending more to the solidity of her compositions, and using skilfully gradated contours to build up rounded volumes, which nonetheless retain their fullness.

"I liked to go out in the evenings and have a good-looking man tell me how beautiful I am or how great an artist I am." (Lempicka)

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".

She is best known for her Art Deco-styled portraits. Sexy, bedroom-eyed women in stylish dress are rendered in haunting poses. Perhaps it was her own dramatic life mirrored in her art. Married twice to wealthy, she moved from her native Poland to Russia, and then to Paris. In 1925 she exhibited her works at the first Art Deco show in Paris. She moved to America in 1939 with her second husband. Her works appeared exclusively at many galleries and museums, but her artistic output decreased. In 1960 she changed her style to abstract art and began creating works with a spatula. After her husband died in 1962 she ceased painting and 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.
American singer-songwriter Madonna is a huge fan and collector of her work.
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Picasso, Pablo


The Tragedy
1903
oil on wood
105.3 x 69.0 cm (41 7/16 x 27 3/16 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA

The Tragedy is done in the deep blue colors that Picasso became known for painting during what is called Picasso's Blue Period. This period started after a good friend of Picasso named Casagemas committed suicide. It depicts a man, woman, and child by the sea. It has a melancholy mood to it and what tragedy really occurred is not clear. Picasso often left visual clues on the surfaces of his paintings to suggest a hidden image underneath. A x-radiograph was used to examine the painting. Examinations showed that the panel was used a minimum of 4 times. Many artists would do this because of lack of funds or they were not satisfied with their work. They would usually scrape the panel and start over. However, Picasso did not do this.  He would often leave clues that other paintings existed on the same panel.

"My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso." (Picasso)

"Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso", known as Pablo Picasso, (1881 - 1973) was a Spanish painter and sculptor, born in Malaga on the southern coast of Spain. One of the greatest, dynamic and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore.

He was exposed to art from a very young age by his father, who was a painter and art instructor. After studying at various art schools between 1892 and 1896, including academies in Barcelona and Madrid, he went on to the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid during the winter of 1896-1897. Picasso soon became bored with academics and set himself up as an independent artist. In Barcelona in 1899 Picasso’s circle of friends included young avantgarde artists and writers who traveled between Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris. Picasso also visited these cities and absorbed the local culture. His early works were influenced by old masters such as El Greco and Velazquez and by modern artists including Paul Gauguin, Edgar Degas, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Picasso moved to Paris in 1904 and settled in a dilapidated section of Montmartre, a working-class quarter. This area was home to many young artists and writers, and he was gradually assimilated into their stimulating intellectual community. Although Picasso benefited greatly from the artistic atmosphere in Paris and his circle of friends, he was often lonely, unhappy, and terribly poor.

Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a realistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. During the first decade of the 20th century his style changed 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. Based on sales of his works at auctions, he holds the title of top ranked artist. He was also a prolific artist with estimates of 50,000 works of art production in his lifetime, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc..

For the last three decades of his long life Picasso lived mostly in south of France. He worked up until the day he died at age 91; literally painting till 3 am on Sunday, April 8th, which was just hours before his death. He died while he and his wife Jacqueline Roque entertained friends for dinner. Jacqueline prevented his children Claude and Paloma from attending the funeral. Picasso was interred at the Chateau of Vauvenargues near Aix-en-Provence, a property he had acquired in 1958 and occupied with Jacqueline between 1959 and 1962.
Devastated and lonely after the death of Picasso, Jacqueline took her own life by gunshot in 1986 when she was 59 years old.
Pablo Picasso's final words were “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more.”
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard

Tsai Chen Yin*


title: Permanent Memory
year: 2011
technique: oil on canvas
dimensions: h 107cm x w 125cm
description: This painting tends to show the fading tradition music of Malay tribes, hoping people cherish and continue their beautiful tradition of music.
http://imaginary-museum.com/gallery-s.html

*Active Artist today is: "Tsai Chen Yin"
year of birth: 1953
nationality: Taiwan
work location: Hualien
http://imaginary-museum.com/artist.html?id=tsaichenyin

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dongen, Kees van


Femme à cheval dans un paysage
year unknown
oil on canvas
50.6 x 65.4 cm
location unknown

"Painting is the most beautiful of lies." "The essential thing is to elongate the women and especially to make them slim. After that it just remains to enlarge their jewels. They are ravished." (Kees Van Dongen)

Cornelis Theodorus Maria van Dongen (1877 - 1968), usually known as Kees van Dongen, was a Dutch painter and one of the Fauves. He made oilpaintings, watercolors, pastels, drawings and lithographs. He gained a reputation for his sensuous, at times garish, portraits.

Dongen was born in Delfshaven, then on the outskirts, and today a borough, of Rotterdam, Netherlands. In 1892, at age 16, he started his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam. During this period he frequented a seaport area, where he drew scenes of sailors and prostitutes. In 1897, he lived in Paris for several months and again returned to Paris in 1899. He lived in the Montmartre district and worked as a house painter and illustrator for satirical magazines. He met Henri Matisse in his first years in Paris, and adopted the Fauve style of painting in bright colors and broad strokes. His paintings of women, dancers and nudes are composed of rich, vivid colors and bold outlines. The simplified forms and emotional distortions were used to express his passionate involvement with contemporary life in Paris. In 1908, Dongen was invited to join the German Expressionist group, and his Expressionist portraits were extremely popular throughout continental Europe through the war years. After 1918, Dongen became a popular society painter. His style became simpler and more realistic, although he continued to use vivid colors in his portraits.

In 1926, Dongen was awarded the Legion of Honour and in 1927 the Order of the Crown of Belgium. In 1929, he received French nationality, lived mainly in Paris but frequented Monaco where he lived later in life and where he died. He died in 1968 at the age of 91. In the waning years of his life, he was honored by frequent museum retrospectives. Until almost the end he sustained what Apollinaire called his blend of "opium, ambergris, and eroticism, " the fluid touch and exuberance that were his trademark whether he painted landscapes, nudes, or portraits. His work was exhibited many times all over the world. Many of his paintings are in various museums world wide or privately owned.
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard