Blanche Hoschede Monet (1865 - 1947)
Blanche Hoschede Monet, Claude Monet’s stepdaughter and daughter-inlaw, was born in Paris in 1865. She moved with her family in Giverny in 1883. There she met and began painting with Claude Monet. She studied at Monet’s school and would end up painting alongside Claude for 45 years. By age 17, she had become close with Claude Monet and became his assistant. She often painted outdoors with him and they painted many of the same subject. She was also exposed to many influential American artist who came to study at Giverny including John Leslie Breck and Theodore Earl Butler.
Blanche Hoschede Monet is best known for landscapes scenes such as Pines, Poplars, and meadows along the Risle’s river and of course gardens. She followed Claude’s technique of painting in its purest form of impressionism. Some experts have difficulty distinguishing her work from Claude’s. It is possible the two artists worked on paintings together. Blanche Monet died at Giverny in 1947. She was 82 years old.
Irma Stern (1894-1966)
Irma Stern was born in 1894, in the small South African town of Schwiezer-Reneke. In 1917, she studied with Max Pechstein. She was associated with the German Expressionist during this period. She held her first exhibition in Berlin in 1919 and really became established by 1940. Her first show in South Africa, in 1922, was startling to viewers because of her clearly modern style. She was given close to 100 solo exhibitions throughout the world during her lifetime.
She traveled all her life, both as a child with family and as an adult. These trips gave endless inspiration for subject matter. Her method of working was very intense. She did not want to be disturbed while painting. Stern would study her portrait sitters carefully and then would change her perspective by looking at them with half closed eyes. She often completed paintings in one sitting. Strong black coffee kept her going.
She is known for her strong and emotional use of color and her idealization of subjects inspired by Africa. She died in 1966 and has since been referred to as the Grande Dame of South African painting. The Irma Stern Museum was established in 1971 in the house she lived in for almost 40 years. She holds a strong place in modern South African art history. Her work can be found in galleries and public collections around the world.
Stanton Macdonald-Wright (1890 - 1973)
Stanton Macdonald-Wright was born in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1890. He began studying painting at just five years old. His studies continued in Paris as a teenage where he attended the Sorbonne and the Beaux Arts, Colarossi and Julian Academies. While there, he and an artist friend developed an style of art in which color generates form they called Synchromism. He once commented “I strive to divest my art of all anecdote and illustration and to purify it to the point where the emotions of the spectator will be wholly aesthetic, as when listening to good music….I cast aside as nugatory all natural representation in my art. However, I still adhered to the fundamental laws of compsiition (placements and displacements of mass, as in the human body in movement) and created my pictures by means of color-form, which, by its organization in three dimensions, resulted in rhythm.”
Upon returning to the United States, he changed his to an Oriental style of art. In 1935, he was the director of the Southern California division of the federal Works Project Administration. He completed many major civic art projects with the WPA, including the murals in Santa Monica City Hall. Beginning in the late 1950’s, museums started showing his work are part of a renewed interest in American Modernism. His work can be seen in many permanent museums collections today. He was an important force in developing American modern art. He died in 1973.
Conrad Wise Chapman (1842 - 1910)
Conrad Wise Chapman is known for his depictions of the Civil War. His work is considered an important historical record of the time.
Francis Picabia (1879-1953)
Francis Picabia was born to a prominent family in Paris, France. He was fortunate to be financially independent and was able to begin his career as an artist early. He would become an important contributor to the Dada Movement in France and United States.
By the age of fifteen, Picabia began studying under Fernand Cormon whom had also taught artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Émile Bernard and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at his academy known as the Atelier Cormon. He continued his studies at Ecole des Beaux-Arts and The École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and like most artists in that era focused on Impressionism. He continued to paint in this style until around 1908.
In 1909, Francis Picabia met and married Gabrielle Buffet and became affiliated with the cubist artists and the Section d’Or. He became close friends with artists Marcel Duchamp and Guillaume Apollinaire. Picabia traveled to New York in 1913 and participated in the Armory Show where he showed his new abstract works. He loved the New York art scene of the day. During his Dada period Picabia’s popularity soared. But his popularity came with a price, and alcohol and drugs caused his health to deteriorate.
By the early 1920’s, Francis Picabia completely broke away from the Dada movement, even denouncing it and began moving towards Surrealism. By the late 1940’s, he had returned to abstract art and poetry writing. Picabia passed away in his hometown of Paris in 1953 at the age of sixty-four.
His art is included in collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and many others.
Georges Valmier (1885 - 1937)
Martha Walter ((1875-1976))
Peter Doig (1959 -)
Renowned figurative painter Peter Doig born in Edinburgh, Scotland, travelled globally with his parents during his early childhood years. He attended the Wimbledon School of Art and received his Bachelor’s Degree at St Martin’s School of Art and his Masters at Chelsea School of Art in London, England. Peter Doig first gained public recognition in 1991 upon winning the Whitechapel Art Gallery’s Artist Award. Doig’s work possesses a magical realism of images such as figures and building combined with a metaphorical sense of mirror images and reflections.
Peter Doig received the Prix Elliette von Karajan in 1994 and was also nominated for the Turner Prize that very same year. He has been awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize of the Society for Modern Art Museum in Ludwig, Cologne. Recently Doig has had solo exhibitions at the Gallery Met at the Metropolitan Opera, New York in 2011, the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh and Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montreal in 2013.
Carlos Enriquez (1900 - 1957)
Cuban Avant Garde artist Carlos Enriquez became known as one of the most successful masters of his time. His work combined both surrealism and modernism comparable to artists such as Víctor Manuel. He was born in 1900 to a wealthy Cuban family in Zulueta. His parents originally sent him to the United States in 1920 to study commerce in Philadelphia, but 4 years later, at his insistence, he began to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy. He never finished his coursework and decided to return to Cuba with fellow painter Alice Neel, whom he married for a short period of time. His first exhibition was in 1925 in Cuba. He travelled back to the States during the 1920’s to pursue his art. Always considered extreme and highly controversial, many of Carlos Enriquez’s were banned. His realism at that time was highly exaggerated. By his mid 30’s he developed a modern pictorial style depicting the Cuban countryside which became known as his signature.
He once stated “My work is in a constant state of evolution towards the interpretation of images produced between vigilance and sleep, Nevertheless, I am not a surrealist. Currently, I am interested in interpreting the sensibility of a Cuban, American or continental atmosphere but removed from the methods of the European schools. To do otherwise would be like trying to resolve that which is ours with foreign formulas, for oriental art is as distant from my sensibility (though it may move me) as is the art of Picasso”.
Carlos Enriquez attained worldwide recognition and his work is permanently displayed at the National Museum of Havana; the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Cuban Museum of Art and Culture, Miami; the Cuban Foundation Museum, Daytona Beach.
Horace Pippin (1888 - 1946)
Born in Pennsylvania in 1888, African-American artist Horace Pippin’s art began early in a world where segregation and injustice still figured prominently in the United States. His family moved to New York while he was still young and he would make drawing of the horse racetrack near his home. He submitted artworks in neighborhood art competitions.
During World War I, Pippin served in the 369th infantry. He was injured by a sniper which caused him to lose the use of his right arm. But Pippin continued with his art to help strengthen it. He received the French Croix de Guerre following his service and left the army in 1919. Pippin completed his first oil painting in 1930 ‘The End of the War: Starting Home’. Eight years later, Horace Pippin made his national debut at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Much of Pippin’s primitive style art centers on warfare, political injustice and religion. During his lifetime he only painted approximately 140 pieces of art which now appear in the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA the Brandywine River Museum, Chaddsforth, PA; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA. He passed away in his hometown of West Chester Pennsylvania at the age of fifty-eight.
Will R. Barnet (1911 - 2012)
Will. R. Barnet was born in 1911 in Massachusetts. He loved art even as a young child. He recalled late in life, ““At the age of 10 or 12, I discovered that being an artist would give me an ability to create something which would live on after death.”
He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with acclaimed artist Philip Leslie Hale. He continued his studies in 1930 at the Art Students League of New York, with Stuart Davis and Charles Locke. Later, Barnet would become a teacher there and would be an influencing force to such students as James Rosenquist and Cy Twombly.
Will Barnet would become known for his paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints depicting stylized human figure and animals. His early works started out in a Social Realist style as he responded to ordinary people struggling during the Depression. Barnet created graphic arts for the Depression-era Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project.
His first solo show was in 1935 at the Eighth Street Playhouse in Manhattan and, in 1938 Barnet was given his first gallery show at the Hudson Walker Gallery. During the 40’s, his style evolved to be more Modernist and abstract. He eventually went back to his representational style until around 2003 when his style returned to abstraction.
Throughout his long career, Will R. Barnet exhibited in galleries and museums including the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, and the Mint Museum. His works are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. He died in 2012.
Chris Ofili (1968 -)
Born in Manchester, England, Chris Ofili studied at the Chelsea School of Art from 1988-91 and the Royal College of Art from 1991-93. Ofili was influenced by artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Philip Guston and Georg Baselitz as well as Peter Doig whom he met while attending school. His art which reflects African music, culture, religion and textiles began when he was awarded a scholarship to Zimbabwe.
Ofili’s art form is often seen as very meticulous and complex through his experimentation with African textiles and most notably elephant dung, for which he has become famous. He uses this to explore ideals, black history and self-awareness. Ofili’s use of elephant dung, which is chemically treated to avoid putrefaction, he states “Somehow it makes the painting feel more relaxed, instead of being pinned upon the wall like its being crucified.”
In recent years, Chris Ofili was involved with the Freeness Project consisting of musicians and artists from minority ethnic groups. His worked has caused controversy. In 1999 Ofili’s painting title ‘The Holy Virgin Mary’ was part of an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art which led to a lawsuit between the museum and Mayor Giuliani due to its depiction of the Virgin Mary. The painting is now owned by Davis Walsh and hangs in the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania. Ofili’s work has been exhibited at the Walker Art Center, the Arts Club of Chicago, Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover, Germany, and numerous others. His most extensive exhibition was at the Tate Britain in 2010. Chris Ofili currently works and resides in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Andre Masson (1896 - 1987)
Surrealist André Masson was the pioneer of automatic drawing. He used it as a means of subconscious expression and many followed his technique such as Joan Miró, Jean Arp, Salvador Dali and even Pablo Picasso in his later years. Masson along with friends Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miró, and Georges Malkine and others were also known to have experimented with the use of drugs and reduced state of consciousness in order to express themselves freely in their artistic medium.
Born in Balagny-sur-Thérain, France, André Masson began painting at the age of eleven. His family had moved to Belgium and he enrolled at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts and then went on to study at the Paul Baudoin studio at ‘Ecole National Superieure des Beaux-Arts’ in Paris. Enlisted the Army in World War I, he was injured and spent months in a military hospital. Masson continued his technique of automatic drawing throughout the 1920’s, but his work became more structured by the 1930’s and took on a more erotic and even terrifying nature.
At the onset of World War II, the Nazi’s labeled Masson as a degenerate and he fled the country eventually arriving in New York to remain until the end of the war. He resided in Connecticut and was a great influence on the American Abstract Expressionist movement. Following World War II, Masson was able to return to France for the remainder of his lifetime. He had completely broken away from surrealism at this point, but his work continued to portray cruelty and terror. Masson’s art was in many publications and Galleries worldwide during his lifetime.
Frank Stella (1936 - )
Jasper Johns (1930 -)
American Contemporary artist, painter and printmaker Jasper Johns is most known for the use of imagery and modern materials and Abstract Expressionism. Johns was born in Augusta, Georgia but raised in different areas of the Carolinas by family members after his parents divorced. Following his High School graduation, he attended the University of South Carolina for three semesters before moving to New York and briefly attending the Parsons School of Design in 1948 at the advice of his teachers. Johns didn’t fit in well with his fellow classmates and stopped attending Parsons. He was drafted into the Korean war in 1951. He served only 2 years before receiving an honorable discharge and Johns returned home to New York.
Upon his return, Jasper Johns met fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg who not only introduced him into the art world of New York, but also formed an intense romantic relationship as well. They lived together and deeply influenced each others. After their break up in 1961 is when his work shifted from more colorful works to the use of grays, black and whites.
His painting, “Flag”, created in 1955 is what helped earn him attention of the art world and get his career going. He had his first solo exhibition in 1958 at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. He painted many flags and it may be is most recognized work. By the early 1960s, Jasper Johns paintings became more abstract and his color pallet became bolder with letters and symbols as part of the composition. This was part of the influence of Surrealism and Dadaism.
John’s work is currently part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Greenville County Museum of Art in South Carolina. Jasper Johns received artist of the Year in 1988 at the Venice Biennale in Italy. He has also been elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Design, was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1990 as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
Damien Hirst (1965 -)
Known as the United Kingdom’s richest living artist, Damien Steven Hirst was born and raised in Bristol, England. He was fascinated by morbid things early on as a child and developed an interest in the more gruesome aspects of life. According to his mother, Damien Hirst liked to read books on pathology and diseases. Although he lead a troubled youth, he went on to attend Goldsmith’s College at the University of London to study art and became part of the emerging movement of the Young British Artists or YBAs known for their challenging art concepts. While attending the University his first big exhibition entitled “Freeze” was in 1988 and one of his earliest pieces entitled “With Dead Head” showed him posing next to a severed head in a morgue, illustrating his fascination with morbidity.
Damien Hirst’s first solo exhibition came in 1991 at the Woodstock Street Gallery in London and at the Saatchi Gallery the following year in which he displayed “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” a 14-foot-long glass tank with a shark preserved in formaldehyde. He also ventured into paintings and sculptures but along with being considered a visionary, he also became a very savvy and successful businessman. His fame and notoriety have allowed him to put large values on his art work. In 2008, he brought in nearly $198 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London entitled “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” breaking the record for a one-artist auction. Damien Hirst still participates in exhibitions worldwide and shows no signs of decline in the art world.
Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954)
Born Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse on December 31, 1869, in Le Cateau, France to an affluent grain merchant, Henri Matisse originally studied Law at his father’s insistence. While he did become certified and practice in the courts, by the age of 21, he began painting while in recovery from appendicitis and that officially marked the beginning of his career as an artist. Matisse then moved to Paris and studied under William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Gustave Moreau at the Académie Julian as well as taking classes at École des Beaux-Arts.
Matisse’s breakthrough came on a trip to Saint-Tropez in 1904-1905 following his first solo exhibition at the Gallery of Ambroise Vollard in Paris. His paintings took on a brighter form known as Fauvism, of which Open Window and Woman with a Hat brought him much acclaim at the 1905 Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris. Due to his success, he was able to travel throughout Europe and set up a studio in Paris. Matisse was also able to teach classes which were known as Académie Matisse from 1907 to 1911 to students with the backing of many friends in the art community. By 1909, Matisse’s was receiving commissions and his work was being purchased by prominent collectors such as Gertrude Stein. During this period, he experimented with Cubism like rival artist Picasso, but he continued to paint traditional themes of landscapes and portraits. In 1920 the first book was published regarding his work signifying his place in art history.
In 1941, Henri Matisse became hospitalized and following a colostomy he began working from a bed in his studio. He continued to experiment with different art forms including collages and illustrations. One of his last projects was for the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence (1948-51), where he designed stained-glass windows, murals, furnishings, and sacred vestments for the church’s priests. Matisse died on November 3, 1954, at the age of 84, in Nice, France.
Takanori Oguiss (1901 - 1986)
Takanori Oguiss was a Japanese Expressionist painter. He was born in Inazawa, Japan in 1901. He studied art at the Beaux-Arts de Tokyo and traveled to Paris in 1927 to study under Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita. His paintings captured the picturesque streets of Paris. It has been compared to that Maurice Utrillo’s style and technique. It was in Paris that he began signing his work “Oguiss”. By 1933, Oguiss had become a part of the Parisian art clique and began working at the Montmartre aux artistes.
Oguiss returned to Japan at the onset of World War II and continued exhibiting his work. He earned a great deal of recognition from his native country, but he decided to return to Paris in 1948 to establish permanent residency. Takanori Oguiss also wrote and illustrated many publications in France such as “Nouvelles de Paris”. By the mid 1950’s, retrospectives were already being held for Oguiss and in 1983 a museum was opened and dedicated to him in his hometown of Inazawa, Japan. Takanori Oquiss’ last exhibition was held at the Museum of Saint-Denis just outside of Paris shortly before his death in 1986.
Mark Tansey (1949 -)
Rob Pruitt (1964 -)
Robert “Rob” Pruitt was born in 1964 in Washington DC. He studied art at both the Corcoran College of Art and Design and Parsons School of Design. He began showing his work in the early 1990’s. But after a few controversial exhibitions, he was essentially thrown out of the art world and no gallery would give him a solo show. He worked briefly for Martha Stewart Living creating DYI crafts.
But in 1998, Rob Pruitt was given a solo show that included instruction on how to DYI art in a humorous way. It wasn’t in 2001 that his panda paintings were shown and they have become what he is most known for to date. This body of work is very stylized and uses different techniques and glitter. Pruitt also creates installations and sculptures in addition to painting.
Rob Pruitt’s work is all about risky investigations and commentary around American popular culture. His style has been called Post-Pop and often has a playfully satire regarding the art world. His work has been shown internationally at many of the world’s finest contemporary museums including Tate Modern, London, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Le Consortium, Dijon, France and the Shanghai Biennale.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925 - 2008)
Robert Rauschenberg, born in 1925, was raised with a strict upbringing in a small refinery town. Rauschenberg had originally set his sights on becoming a minister, but found their beliefs not to coincide with his own. By the age of sixteen, Rauschenberg was already accepted into the University of Texas in Austin to study pharmacology, but was drafted into the military in 1943.
Rauschenberg served as a medical technician in the Navy Hospital Corps and then became stationed at a hospital caring for combat survivors in San Diego. He viewed oil paintings in person for the first time at the Huntington Art Gallery in California. Following his enlistment, Rauschenberg enrolled at Kansas State University and was able to travel to Paris under the GI Bill to begin his art studies. He returned to Black Mountain College in North Carolina with Susan Weil, a close friend he made while studying in Paris. He held his first solo show at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York. During the early 1950’s he would split his time between Black Mountain College and the Art Students League.
Rauschenberg’s art was always experimental and on the cutting edge. The work he did during the 1950’s and 1960’s influenced many of the newer modern artists such as Any Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. He became one of the most important artists of his generation. and is credited as of the artists that helped move American art away from Abstract Expressionism towards Pop Art. Robert Rauschenberg was best known for assemblage and conceptualist images. He experimented with non-artistic materials, which was a major innovation of the time. Rauschenberg lived and worked in New York City as well as on Captiva Island, Florida.
Robert Rauschenberg was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1993 and became the recipient of Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts in 1995 in recognition of his more than 40 years of art work. He passed away from heart failure in 2008. His legacy can now be viewed at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum, Manhattan, New York; the National Gallery of Australia; and numerous others.
Alexander Calder (1898 - 1976)
Alexander “Sandy” Calder was born in Pennsylvania in 1898. His father and grandfather were also accomplished sculptors. His mother was painter. Always fascinated with machines, he studied mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in 1919. In 1923, he began studying at the Art Students League in New York City. Some of his teachers were noted artists John Sloan and Guy Pene Du Bois.
He lived and worked in Paris for seven years and it is here that he first began creating wire sculptures. Soon to follow were his famous mobile pieces. The term “mobile”, used to describe a hanging kinetic sculpture, was first coined by fellow artist and friend, Marcel Duchamp.
By the 1950s, Alexander Calder was back in the United States and was beginning to receive commissions for more monumental public works. He also continued to paint, illustrate and make jewelry.
Alexander Calder revolutionized sculpture by adding movement. He was also an artist that helped shape the development of abstract art. By the 1960’s, he was widely respected worldwide. The Guggenheim Museum showed a retrospective of his work in 1964. That would be first of many during his career. Alexander Calder died in 1976.
Aaron Douglas (1899 - 1979)
Aaron Douglas was born in 1899 in Topeka, Kansas. He would become on of the American artist most closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance. In 1925, Douglas moved to Harlem, New York to be part of the New Negro Movement, which expressed African Americans’ new pride in their African heritage.
Shortly after his arrival in New York, he began creating illustrations for two important magazines associated with the Harlem Renaissance, The Crisis and Opportunity. Aaron Douglas also studied art under German artist, Winold Reiss. Reiss introduced and help develop a modernist style for Douglas’s work.
In 1928–29, Douglas studied African and Modern European art at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania . By 1931, he studied in Paris at the Academie Scandinave traditional French painting and drawing techniques. Back in the United States, in 1940, he founded the Art Department at Fisk University and taught there for almost 30 years.
Aaron Douglas is often considered the “Father of African American arts.” He depicted black Americans and their tie with their African past. His work highlighted black contributions to society long before the civil rights movement. Aaron Douglas’s work has had powerful influence on future generations of black artists.
Jacob Lawrence (1917 - 2000)
Raised in New York City’s Harlem, modern African-American artist Jacob Lawrence’s work depicts the struggles of African-Americans throughout history. Born in New Jersey his family moved to New York when he was in his early teens. Lawrence began taking art classes shortly thereafter at the Utopia Children’s Center and by the age of sixteen he had quit school, but continued taking his art classes studying under artist Charles Alston at the Harlem Art Workshop.
In 1937, Jacob Lawrence received a scholarship to the American Artists School in New York and upon graduation he received funding for the WPA Federal Art Project. By 1941 he completed what came to be his best-known series consisting of 60 panels painted on cardboard titled Migration of the Negro or simply The Migration Series and exhibited it at the Edith Halpert’s Downtown Gallery the following year. It earned Lawrence national recognition and was featured in Fortune Magazine.
Jacob Lawrence also married fellow art student Gwendolyn Knight, a sculpture and painter, in 1941. Two years later he was drafted into the Coast Guard following the onset of World War II. He was given assignment as an artist to document the war. Following his return, Lawrence and his wife spent a brief period of time in the Carolina’s where he had received a Guggenheim Fellowship and taught classes at Black Mountain College.
By 1949, Lawrence had returned to New York. Suffering from depression he entered a more subdued period associated with his paintings and was institutionalized for 11 months. At the age of 54 he accepted a position as professor at the University of Washington where he remained until his retirement in 1986. Lawrence passed away in 2000 at the age of 82, but he had continued to paint until shortly before his death. His work now appears in numerous collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and many others as well as his painting entitled The Builders, which Jacob Lawrence completed in 1947, now hangs in the White House Green Room in Washington, D.C.
Lee Krasner (1908 - 1984)
Born Lena Krassner in Brooklyn, New York, Lee Krasner came to be known as one of the most influential American Abstract Expressionist of her time. She began her art studies at the The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan and the National Academy Museum and School both in New York City in the 1930’s. Krasner also helped with the Federal Art Project (FAP) during it’s brief existence from 1935 to 1943 helping to create visual-arts programs during the Depression. During that same period she was influenced by fellow classmate Hans Hoffman and her technique began taking on a neo-cubist abstract form.
Following World War II, Lee Krasner married fellow Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollack in October of 1945. Both were very supportive of one another during a period in their lives where Abstract Expressionism wasn’t fully appreciated. Being a woman, she also struggled with her identity as well as being married to a successful artist such as Pollack. While Pollack passed away at the early age of 44 in 1956 due to a car accident. She continued to build her legacy until she passed away in 1984. Shortly after her death a retrospective was given at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. To date there are only three other female artists to have held that honor: Louise Bourgeois in 1982, Helen Frankenthaler in 1989 and Elizabeth Murray in 2004. Lee Krasner’s writing and notes are also currently located at the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C.
Edward Ruscha (1937 -)
Born Edward Joseph Rusch IV in Omaha, Nebraska, American Pop Artist Edward Ruscha moved to Los Angeles, California to study at the Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts) at the age of eighteen, studying under Robert Erwin and Emerson Woelffer. To support himself, he took a job as a commercial artist at the Carson-Roberts Advertising Agency following his graduation in 1960.
Inspired by abstract expressionist Jasper Johns, Ruscha had moved away from his interest in graphic arts and instead began incorporating words and phrases into his paintings by 1956. Edward Ruscha almost immediately became associated with the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles and began receiving recognition for his photography, collages and paintings. In 1962, Ruscha’s exhibited his work at the Pasadena Art Museum. The historical exhibition entitled New Painting of Common Objects also included artists Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Dowd, Jim Dine, and Wayne Thiebaud and is considered one of the first American Pop Art exhibitions.
Edward Ruscha is well known for his paintings incorporating words. He is also known for creating books featuring documentary photographs of American gasoline stations, houses, and swimming pools and many other subjects.
Ruscha’s work now appears in numerous collections worldwide. He was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971 and currently resides in Culver City, California.
Mark Rothko (1903 - 1970)
Mark Rothko, born in Dvinsk, Russia, was raised in Oregon where his father had immigrated for work in 1910. He enrolled at the Art’s Students League in New York in 1924. Rothko became influenced by many of the modern artists such as Max Weber and Paul Cezanne, pointing him in the direction of Abstract Expressionism.
Rothko continued to work numerous odd jobs including teaching art classes to support himself, but by the 1930’s he held his first exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Gallery in New York followed by participating in a group exhibition at the Galerie Bonaparte in France. Like many artists, he participated in the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Prior to the onset of World War II, Rothko became a US citizen in 1938 and through fear of anti-Semitism he changed his name from Marcus Rothkowitz to Mark Rothko as he is now known.
In 1947 Rothko began a series of paintings called “multiforms” or sometimes referred to as colorfield paintings. These are some of his most recognizable works of irregularly shaped areas of color. He painted in this style for the remainder of his life with increasingly larger canvas sizes.
Mark Rothko’s work has broken many record sales at auctions in recent years. His paintings now appear at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the Nation Gallery of Art Washington; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY; the Rothko Chapel, Houston, TX; the Mark Rothko Art Center, Latvia; and numerous others.
Théo van Rysselberghe (1876 - 1958)
Theo Van Rysselberghe was born in 1862 in Ghent, Belgium. He studied art at Academie Royale dew Beaux-Arts in Brussels. While attending school, he worked under its director, Jean-Francois Portaels. Portaels was known for Orientalist works and Van Rysselbergh was among his admirers. This inspired him to travel to Spain and Morocco, like Portaels, for inspiration. During his travels, he recorded pleasant scenes of life abroad.
Upon his return, Van Rysselberghe became acquainted with the raising European art scene. Neo-Impressionism was the newest and most provocative movements of the time. It had originated in France as Impressionism’s successor. The goal of Impressionism was to record a stylistic, but realistic depiction of the scene. Neo-Impressionism went a step further and focused more on light and color than realism.
This movement was divided into two schools of thought, Pointillism and Divisionism. Van Rysselberghe was more interested in Pointillism, which is characterized by precise dots, or points, of paint. Typically, a Pointillist artist would use primary colors and mix them into other shades within each brushstroke.
Theo Van Rysselberghe helped found two of the most important Neo-Impressionistic associations – Les XX (Twenty) and La Libre Esthetique (Free Aesthetics). Among his most influential works was a series of portraits he crafted in both indoor and outdoor settings. These works showcase his brilliant use of light and talent at recreating reality in fine, intricate dots.
Near the end of the 19th century, Theo Van Rysselberghe moved away from Pointillism and towards decorative art. During this phase, he primarily created jewelry, stained glass, and murals. This included a commission of a mural in Victor Horta’s Hotel Solvay House in Brussels. Despite this shift, he is still recalled as among the most influential of the Pointillist artists.
James Rosenquist (1933 -)
James Rosenquist was born in 1933 in North Dakota. At 15, he began to study art at the Minneapolis Art Institute and later studied painting at the University of Minnesota. In 1955, Rosenquist was awarded a scholarship to the Art Students’ League, New York. This opportunity would have a great influence on his work. He met other artists such as Robert Indiana. Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg and Claes Oldenburg while living and working in New York.
In the early ‘60s he worked creating billboards. The influence from this experience can be seen in his fine art and the style in which he became known for, by combining unrelated pop culture imagery to create poignant statements. The Green Gallery, in 1962, gave Rosenquist his first solo show and it sold out. In 1965 he started creating lithographs.
James Rosenquist has received numerous honors, including the Art in America Young Talent Painter in 1963, serving on the Board of the National Council on the Arts in 1978, and nominated as a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1987. Rosenquist also joined the board of The American Friends of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2007
In 1968, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa held his first retrospective exhibition.
By the mid 80’s, James Rosenquist was given retrospective exhibitions at six American museums that showcased his career and it’s development. His work has continued to be exhibited in museums worldwide. He is considered to be an important artist in the development of pop art.
Georg Kern Baselitz (1938 - )
Georg Kern Baselitz was born in 1938. He studied art at the East Berlin Academy of Fine Arts from 1956-57, and Akademie der Kunste in West Berlin from 1957 to 1964.
Baselitz is considered a leading Neo-Expressionist. He was part of a group of German painters who rejected abstraction for very expressive paintings with recognizable subjects. But he displayed his works upside down to emphasize surface over subject matter. He was focusing on subject and the vibrancy of the colors. Georg Baselitz also created etchings, woodcuts, and wood sculptures that are every bit as expressive has his paintings.
He is a revolutionary painter who had the ability to acquire the viewer’s attention with his works and make them think. In 1995, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City held his first American retrospective. Georg Baselitz currently lives and works near Munich and in Imperia.
Sigmar Polke (1941 - 2010)
Sigmar Polke was born in 1941 in Germany. As a child, his family was forced to escape from East to West Berlin in 1953. In 1961, he went to study art at the Düsseldorf Arts Academy. Düsseldorf at this time was a thriving artistic and cultural city. In 1963, Polke and fellow artist Gerhard Richter founded an art movement called “Capitalist realism. This term is meant to refer to the modern art of the West.
Polke’s early work is often called European Pop art because he depicts everyday items along with images found in mass media in post war Germany. Later Sigmar Polke created works that are referred to as his “raster drawings”, which creates the image via a series of dots, similar to the way Roy Litchenstein worked. .
He also used industrial printed fabrics as a background for his subjects. His experimenting continues with the use of photo-chemicals which allows colors in works to change over time with different exposures to light or temperatures.
Sigmar Polke is known for experimenting with his style and medium. This makes him as an artist difficult to categorize in a particular art movement. He was always innovative.
Brett Whiteley (1939 - 1992)
Brett Whiteley was born in 1939. He is a reknowned Australian avant-garde artist. He began creating art as a teenage painting and studied drawing at the National Art School in East Sydney. Soon he met the director of the Whitechapel Gallery and got his work included in an exhibition of new Austrailian painting. The Tate gallery purchased a piece from that show.
In the early 1960s, Brett Whiteley moved to London. The work from this time period reflects the influence of Modernist British abstract art. This work propelled his career forward and he began earning recognition. In 1967, Whiteley won a Harkness Fellowship Scholarship to study and work in New York. He lived at the Chelsea Hotel along with other artists. He traded paintings with the hotel for rent. One of those traded painting recently sold for just over a million US dollars. Brett Whiteley had become political and also began drinking and taking drugs, which would plague him for the rest of his life.
By the time he returned to Sydney in the early 70s, he was well known and admired. Brett Whiteley continues to painting and collaborate with other artists on projects throughout the 70s and 80s. His work receives several awards including the Archibald Prize and Wynne Prize. Unfortunately, his drug and alcohol abuse would catch up with him and he dies in 1992 from a heroin overdose. He was 53 years old.
Charles Camoin (1897-1965)
Charles Camoin was born in France in 1897. He studied art under Gustave Moreau at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. There he met some influential friends and together they formed the Fauve art movement. This group consisted of artists Henri Manguin, Henri Matisse, André Derain, Georges Rouault and Maurice de Vlaminck. Fauve, meaning “Wild Beasts”, is known for its wild expressionist color pallet that broke away from the Impressionist pastels of the time.
In 1903, Charles Camoin exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Independants. This lead to his first solo show the following year in Paris at the Galerie Berthe Weill. By 1913, his work was shown in three retrospective shows. He also participated in the landmark Armory Show in New York in 1913. Another major retrospective was held in 1971 in Nice, France.
Camoin painted a variety of subjects, including still lifes, landscapes, nudes and portraits. Today, his style is considered to be a blend of both post-Impressionism and Fauvism. He was the last surviving member of the Fauves and died in 1965. His work is found in museums around the globe and are highly prized by collectors, as Charles Camoin made a significant contribution to the history of art and influenced countless artist that followed.
Morris Louis (1912 - 1962)
Morris Louis was born in 1912. He studied art at the Maryland Institute of Fine and Applied Arts. He lived in New York for a few years and worked for the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project. He returned to Maryland in 1940 and began using a new paint created for him called Magna paint. It was a special oil based acrylic paint.
By the 1950s, Morris Louis had moved to Washington D.C. Along with other artists friends, Louis developed Color Field painting. This style of painting used large areas of raw canvas with solid planes of fluid paint. It had an expressive and psychological affect on the work with flat, intense color and repetitive patterns.
After a visit to Helen Frankenthaler’s New York studio, Morris Louis began to experiment with his technique by applying very diluted paint to an unprimed, unstretched canvas. He tilted the surface to allow the color to flow over the raw surface and sometimes creating translucent color veils. These became his veil paintings.
Morris Louis died of lung cancer in 1962. Retrospective exhibitions of his work have show in museums since his death.
Norman Bluhm (1921 - 1999)
An Abstract Expressionist and action painter, Norman Bluhm was born in Chicago in 1921. He studied art in Florence before moving to Paris in 1947 to continue studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He lived there until 1956 and moved in a circle of other expatriate artists and writers. After Paris he moved to New York. Bluhm became an important figure of Second Generation Abstract Expressionism.
Norman Bluhm’s use of impasto and dripped paint are a spatial exploration of form and color. His first solo exhibition was in 1957 at the Leo Castelli Gallery. He continued to show there for several more years. Bluhm disliked the commercial art world. Towards the end of his career, he and his wife moved to Vermont and he continued to paint.
Norman Bluhm enjoyed critical success during his lifetime. His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney and the Museum of Modern Art.
Robert Burns Motherwell (1915-1991)
Robert Motherwell was born in Aberdeen, Washington in 1915. He graduated from Stanford University in 1937. He also studied philosophy at Harvard and continued his education at Columbia University. It was during his time at Columbia that he was encouraged to paint. After traveling to Mexico in 1941 and meeting Surrealist painter Matta, he decided to devote himself to becoming a full time artist.
By 1944, his work was exhibited in a solo exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery. Robert Motherwell became a champion of avant-garde art in America. In the 1950s, his work was being shown in museums and galleries throughout American and Europe.
He had a long and accomplished career. Robert Burns Motherwell received numerous awards and honors. Today, his works are included in museum collections throughout the world.
Kazuo Shiraga (1924 - 2008)
Kazuo Shiraga was born in Japan in 1924. He studied art at the Kyoto City Specialist School of Arts. Shortly after graduating in 1948, he formed the Zero Group with a small group of other like minded artists. The group’s philosophy was every work of art is created from nothing. Later, the group joined another avant garde art movement called the Gutai Art Association. This association’s philosophy would greatly influence the work Kazuo Shiraga would create throughout his career. They believed art should strive to combine human creative ability with the characteristics of the material. They wanted to avoid both social engagement and pure abstraction.
To practice this philosophy, Shiraga’s painting method was dripping paint onto the canvas and creating strokes with his feet while hanging from the ceiling. His work expresses feeling of power and speed. Kazuo Shiraga has earned a place in the history of Japanese avant-garde art.
Yayoi Kusama (1929)
Yayoi Kusama was born in, Japan in 1929. Her artistic career has spanned many mediums including painting, collage, sculpture and performance art. Kusama is best known for her paintings incorporating psychedelic colors and repetitious patterns.
As a child she suffered from hallucinations and obsessive thoughts. She studied art in Japan Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts, but did not like the formal style that was being taught. In the late 1950s, she began a body of work called Infinity Net Paintings. This series used dots, nets and flowers that took inspiration from her hallucinations. She continued with this theme and covered household items with dots, such as chairs, shoes and ladders.
She moved to the United States at the age of 27, first living in Seattle and then New York. It didn’t take long for Kusama to become a colorful personality in the New York art world and she collaborated with Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenberg, and Robert Morris. By the early 1970s, Yayoi Kusama moved back to Japan and was largely forgotten in New York, but today is recognized as an important avant-garde artist and has influenced many artists.
Henri Edmond Cross (1856 - 1910)
Henri Edmond Cross was born in France in 1856 with the name Henri-Edmond-Joseph Delacroix. He studied art at the École des Beaux-Arts and Écoles Académiques de Dessin et d’Architecture. In 1881, he changed his last name from Delacroix to Cross to distinguish himself from the Romantic painter, Eugène Delacroix.
His early work is distinguished by his darker color pallet and subjects of portraits and still life. Around 1883, Cross had the opportunity to meet Claude Monet and be exposed to the impressionistic style. As a result of the meeting, Henri Cross gradually changed his style to reflect the softer and brighter color pallet that he is best known for today.
In 1884, Henri Edmond Cross co-founded, along with George Seurat, the Société des Artistes Indépendants. Society members were artists who disagreed with the practices of the official Salon. Over the the remainder of his career, his work would reflect varying styles such as Neo-Impressionism, Pointism and Fauvist styles. Cross and Paul Signac were close friends throughout their lives and later in life they would host gatherings in Cross’s garden, with such artist attending as Matisse, André Derain, and Albert Marquet.
Cross is most known for being as a master of Neo-Impressionist works. He contributed greatly to that movement and influenced future generations of artists. Cross’s belief in Neo-Impressionist philosophy extended to include political philosophies as well. Henri Edmond Cross believed in anarchist principles, with hope for a Utopian society.
Today his work can be found in important collections around the world including The Art Institute of Chicago, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Harvard University Art Museums,the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Grenoble (Grenoble, France), Musée d’Orsay (Paris), the Museum of Modern Art (New York City), the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), New Art Gallery (Walsall, England), the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and many more.
Georges Braque (1882-1963)
Georges Braque was born in 1882. His art studies began with night classes at École des Beaux-Arts, in Le Havre, and later he attended Académie Humbert, in Paris. Braque became one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Over the course of his career he painted in the style of the Fauvist and Cubist. He was a contributor to the development of both of these art movements.
Braque painted with the fellow artists Raoul Dufy and Othon Friesz, and together they developed a more subdued Fauvist style. In 1907, he exhibited works in the Salon des Indépendants of the Fauve style.
By 1908, Georges Braque’s work was influenced by Pablo Picasso and the Cubist movement. His work reflected his interest in geometry and multiple perspectives. Picasso and Braque collaborated on works and theory until WWI.
“The things that Picasso and I said to one another during those years will never be said again, and even if they were, no one would understand them anymore. It was like being roped together on a mountain.” – Georges Braque
After the war, he continued to paint, but softened his lines and abstraction. He died in 1963 in Paris.
Martin Kippenberger (1953 - 1997)
Martin Kippenberger was born in 1953 in Dortmund. He left school in his early teens and wondered through communes and various art schools. Kippenberger worked in multiple forms of art, including painting, sculpture, installation, drawing, photography and collage. Influences can be seen in works by Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter. His work is clearly a commentary on many issues regarding the role of the artist in our culture and within the system of art. It is often designed at shocking and disturbing the viewer.
He has had solo exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. While Martin Kippenberger’s artwork has risen since his death in 1997, his market has evolved in stages. Today he is highly sought after by collectors.
Maurice Denis (1870 - 1943)
Maurice Denis was born in 1870, in a coastal town of the Normandy, France. He studied art both the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian. Against the naturalism of Impressionism, Denis instead admired to work and style of Paul Gauguin. Along with class mates, Paul Sérusier, Édouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, and Ker Xavier Roussel, they formed an influential but short lived artist group called Nabis. Maurice Denise was 19 years old at this time.
He painted in light and color and is known for his flat painting planes and simplified forms. Denis was against much of modern painting of the time and once said “It should be remembered that a picture—before being a warhorse, a nude, or an anecdote of some sort—is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order.”
Maurice Denis was a deeply religious man and many of subjects feature religious iconography and symbolism. He wrote extensively on the theory of art and about sacred art. He died in Paris in 1943 after an automobile accident.
Carlos Nadal (1917 - 1998)
Carlos Nadal was born in Paris in 1917, but in 1921 his family moved to Barcelona. His father was a commercial artist and exposed his son to art and artist such as Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy and Maurice Utrillo. His art training came from both his father and by attending art school. He would continue his art education throughout his life.
Nadal was heavily influenced by Matisse and George Braque. His work is of the Fauvist style and incorporates wild colors, bold lines and unusual perspectives. He got his first solo exhibition at La Pinacoteca in Barcelona in 1942. He also lived in Montparnasse in Paris that was buzzing with artist in the day.
His early work captured scenes in Spain or Belgium. Once Carlos Nadal became established, he traveled and expanded his subjects to interiors as well as leisure scenes of coastal towns. By the 1960s, Nadal’s paintings were in great demand and exhibited throughout Europe. While abstraction soon became the fashion in art, Nadal never left his Fauvist roots. Today his works are still highly prized by collectors and museums around the world.
Giorgio De Chirico (1888 - 1978)
Giorgio de Chirico was an Italian surrealist painter who was born in 1888. He studied art in Italy and Greece and then moved to Germany to continue his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 1911, he traveled to Paris and became influenced by poet-critic Apollinaire, who helped introduce de Chirico to the important annual art salons. He exhibited his paintings in 1913 at the Salon des Independants.
De Chirico was the first artist to incorporate confrontations of inanimate objects as his subjects for art. His work was unrelated to any other art movement and he was critically against modern art. This bold direction Giorgio de Chirico took with his work influenced the generation of artists who emerged later called the Surrealists, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dali among them.
By 1939, his work was of a neo-Baroque style and influenced by Peter Paul Rubens. These works were not received well and in revenge De Chirico created back-dated forgeries of his own works, and denounced many of his earlier paintings as forgeries. Still today, his best work is what was created before WWI.
Giorgio De Chirico is known as the founder of the Metaphysical art movement,whose work was intended to question of reality.
Gino Severini (1883 - 1966)
Cubist-Futurist painter Gino Severini was born in 1883. In 1899, already an artist, he went to Rome to study at the Villa Medici. There he was introduced to the divisionistic color technique that was being used by Neo-Impressionists artists. In 1906, Severini went to Paris and was able to study the Impressionists. He was particularly intrigued by Seurat’s painting style. He was also influenced by the works of Braque, Modigliani, Picasso and Gris. Soon, at the encouragement of some of his artist friends, he joined the Futurist-movement and signed the ‘Manifesto of Futurist Painting’. He is considered to be one of the co-founders of this style.
Gino Severini in known for works that depict the human body in motion. He painted cabaret scenes and dancers. By 1912, Severini was exhibiting works in Futurist exhibitions in Paris, London and Berlin. After 1915 however, his work became Cubist in style with geometric constructions making up his compositions. His subjects changed to favor still lifes with musical instruments and scenes from the Commedia dell’ Arte.
Severini was commissioned to paint several murals and mosaics. He was an accomplished artist that contributed to the history of art and it’s development. In 1950, Gino Severini was awarded the Grand Prize of the Biennale in Venice. Today his works are found in important private and public collections around the world.
John Philip Falter (1910 - 1982)
John Philip Falter is best known for his Illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post Covers and images of frontier life.
Grandma (Anna Robertson) Moses (1860 - 1961)
Grandma Moses is a self taught or primative artist. Born in Greenwich, New York in 1860, Anna Robertson was best known by her friends and family as Grandma Moses. She did not begin seriously painting until she was well into her 70’s, prior to which her work consisted of embroidered compositions. Grandma Moses painted mostly scenes depicting her rural life in New England. Her first painting Fireboard, circa 1918, currently resides at the Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont.
Grandma Moses’ popularity surged in the 1950’s with sell out exhibitions and numerous awards and commendations all over the world. In the 2001 publication ‘Grandma Moses in the Twenty-First Century’, art historian Judith Stein noted Grandma Moses as “A cultural icon, the spry, productive nonagenarian was continually cited as an inspiration for housewives, widows and retirees. Her images of America’s rural past were transferred to curtains, dresses, cookie jars, and dinner ware, and used to pitch cigarettes, cameras, lipstick and instant coffee.”
She was loved and respected by all. A U.S. commemorative stamp was even issued in her honor in 1969 and friend and fellow artist Norman Rockwell depicted her on the far left edge of his painting ‘Christmas Homecoming’. Shortly before Grandma Moses’ death at the age of 101, as an homage to her, the character Granny on the popular 1960s rural comedy television series ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ was named Daisy Moses.
Anselm Kiefer (1945 - )
Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945 in Donaueschingen , Germany. Initially he studied Law but he began his art education at The University of Freiburg and then attended an art academy in Karlsruhe, Germany. While there, he studied under well known realist and figurative painter Peter Dreher. He also informally studied under Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Kiefer’s work addresses controversial issues from German history. He is known for incorporating German mythology into his paintings as well as symbolism and mysticism to reflect his ideas on Germany and society overall. He began incorporating glass, lead, clay, wood, straw and dried flowers into his pieces. The works grew to an increasingly larger scale and the frailness of his materials creates a fascinating contrast to his hard subject matter. His style is considered Neo-Expressionist. Anselm Kiefer’s work spans across different mediums including photography, painting, sculpture and installation pieces. Kiefer’s artistic style has been linked to New Symbolism.
Anselm Kiefer’s first solo exhibition was in 1969 at Galerie am Kaiserplatz while he was in Karlsruhe, Germany. Since then his work has been collected by numerous museums, including; the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the San Francisco Museum of Art; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Kiefer also inaugurated the “Monumenta” program at the Grand Palais, Paris in 2007 with a vast site-specific installation of sculptures and paintings. He was the first living artist to do this since 1953 when Georges Braque completed his installation. Throughout his career, Anselm Kiefer has been awarded with prestigious art prizes in recognition of his accomplishments.
Joan Mitchell (1926 - 1992)
Joan Mitchell was born in Chicago in 1925. She was an important member of the American Abstract expressionist movement. She was a pioneer for women artists working at the time along with Lee Krasner, Grace Hartigan, and Helen Frankenthaler and enjoyed critical acclaim.
She studied at Smith College in Massachusetts and The Art Institute of Chicago. She received a $2,000 travel fellowship that allowed her to study in Paris and Provence in 1948-49. Landscapes were a favorite influence on her subject matter. She painted on unprimed canvas with expressive gestural,brushstrokes. She has described a painting as, “an organism that turns in space”.
After moving to Paris in 1959, she moved away from the bright colors of her earlier compositions, instead using more sombre hues. Her compositions also became more dense with central masses of color. Mitchell’s work is included in many museum collections including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Tate Gallery, London; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
To view a video about Joan Mitchell, click here.
Manolo Valdes (1942 -)
Spanish artist Manolo Valdes. Born in 1942 Artist Manolo Valdes 1957 Entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts San Carlos of Valencia, Spain.Valdes left in 1958 to devote his life to painting. 1964 Valdes formed the group Equipo Cranica, which was influenced by American and British Pop Art.
Manolo Valdés is one of the few contemporary artists to successfully master the disciplines of drawing, painting, sculpture and print making. His work is found in public collections worldwide, including the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy; Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; Modern Museet Art in Stockholm, Sweden; Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, France; Museo Nacional Centre de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York.
Max Ernst (1891 - 1976)
Max Ernst was a German artist—in painting, sculpture and collage—who was a key figure in the Dadaist and Surrealist art movements. He was born on April 2, 1891 in a small Rhineland town called Bruhl, outside Cologne. In 1922 Ernst moved to Paris, where, two years later, he became a founding member of the Surrealists, a group of artists and writers whose work grew out of fantasies evoked from the unconscious. After 1934 Ernst increasingly focused on sculpture.
At the outbreak of World War II, Ernst moved to the United States, where he joined his third wife, the collector and gallery owner Peggy Guggenheim. After the war ended, he divorced Peggy and married artist Dorothea Tanning. The built a house in Arizona and Ernst found inspiration is the setting. He created a wonderful series of Arizona’s mountains. He did eventually return to Europe and continued to create art. He was always experiment and reinventing his work.
Paul Cezanne (1839 - 1906)
Paul Cezanne was born on January 19, 1839 in Aix-en-Provence in France. In 1852, he studied at the Collège Bourbon, where he met and befriended writer Émile Zola. He went on to study painting and drawing at the École des Beaux-Arts (School of Design) in Aix in 1856. He used thick brush strokes to give his early works a sculptural quality. He soon met the Impressionists and exhibited his work to horrible reviews, after which he stopped exhibiting for thirteen years.
Still lifes, landscapes, portraits, and bathers were his preferred subjects. Paul Cezanne’s paintings underwent continual adjustment; many were reworked and he never really considered them finished.
Paul Cezanne was one of the most influential artists in the history of twentieth-century painting and he influenced generations of artists that came after him in art history.
Juan Gris (1887 - 1927)
Juan Gris born in Madrid. He studied mechanical drawing and contributed drawings to local publications. He then went on to study painting with the academic artist José Maria Carbonero.
In 1906 he moved to Paris. He was only 19 years old. There he became friends with artists Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger and Amedeo Modigliani. He also became friends with Picasso and considered him his teacher. Gertrude Stein once said that Juan Gris “was the one person that Picasso would have willingly wiped off the map.” By 1912 Gris had created his own personal Cubist style. Unlike Picasso and Braque, whose Cubist works were monochromatic, Gris painted with bright harmonious colors in daring, novel combinations in the manner of his friend Matisse.
Gris articulated most of his aesthetic theories during 1924 and 1925. Important exhibitions of his work took place at the Galerie Simon in Paris and the Galerie Flechtheim in Berlin in 1923, and at the Galerie Flechtheim in Dusseldorf in 1925.
Auguste Herbin (1882 - 1960)
Auguste Herbin was born in 1882 in Quievy, Nord, France. Early in his career, he joined the Impressionists and then the Fauves. His studio was next to Braque’s and Picasso’s. This was a wonderful introduction to Cubism and he began to experiment with the style. In 1917, he evolved again to an abstract style before discovering Constructivism. His work was exhibited in the same room as that of Jean Metzinger, Albert Gleizes and Fernand Léger in the Salon des Indépendants of 1910, and in 1912 he participated in the influential Section d’Or exhibition. By 1922, he began to paint figures.
Auguste Herbin is best know for his pure geometrical shapes and bright colors of his later abstract works. He has had tremendous influence on many younger abstract painters.
Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903)
French Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin was born in Paris, France in 1848. During his very early years, the family moved to Peru. The culture and colors there would later influence his art. He served in the French Merchant Marines and the French Navy for his military service. After his tour of duty and became a highly successful Parisian stockbroker.
In 1879, Paul Gauguin met Camille Pissarro and became a pupil and patron. Pissarro later invited him to exhibit with the Impressionists. It was during that period he began painting full time. He had become close friends with the impressionist and also found inspiration that would help shape his artistic expression through Paul Cézanne, Van Gogh and Émile Bernard . During the 1880’s Gauguin’s work began to shift away from traditional European Impressionism and became more mystical and symbolic.
Paul Gauguin made his first trip to Tahiti in 1891, after a failed exhibition left him longing for a more exotic location and inspiration for subjects. He decided to move there permanently in 1895. But even in such a paradise the Westernization and colonial corruption of Tahiti left Gauguin disenchanted and in 1901 he moved to the Marquesan island of Hiva Oa. He was in search of a lost paradise. He died there in 1903. His work and style had become an inspiration for a new generation of artists in Paris.
Paul Gauguin’s work had been very influential to artists including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse during the late 19th century French avant-garde movement and well into the 20th century following his death. His bold use of non-naturalistic color, formal distortion and the figures within his primitive works was important to the Symbolist art movement and to the birth of modern art.
Georges Seurat (1859 - 1891)
Georges Seurat was born on December 2, 1859, in Paris. In 1878, he studied at Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He became very interested in scientific theories about color perception and studied Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colors. This knowledge would play in an important role in his development of the style called Pointillism, which broke down colors into their constituent hues and applying them side by side on canvas.
The first pointillism painting he did that fused design and color into a composition was “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte”. This has become one of his most famous works and resides in the collection of the Chicago Art Institute. Throughout the late 1880s, he worked outdoors painting landscapes inspired by Impressionism subject matter. Seurat late painted depictions of upper-class Parisian life, circuses and cabarets.
George Seurat died in 1891 in Paris, after suffering with pneumonia or meningitis. The contents of Seurat’s studio cataloged and offered to the Louvre, but they refused. A group of followers continued his style of work including Camille Pissarro and Paul Signac.
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (1884 - 1976)
Karl Schmidt-Rottluff was born in 1884 in Germany. His early creative output was as part of a group of German architecture students who exhibited under the name Die Brucke or The Bridge. The group wanted to “bridge” their modernist, avant-garde style with traditional movements from the past. Other members of The Bridge included Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Work such as this contributed to the acceptance of 20th Century modernist art movements. The group stayed together until around 1913.
In the fall of 1911, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff moved to Berlin . In 1912, he had his first solo exhibition in Hamburg. During World War I Schmidt-Rottluff volunteered for service, and created wood sculpture in his spare time. His work during this time reflect the terrors of war that he was exposed to. In 1937, over six hundred of his paintings were seized by the Nazis and exhibited as “degenerate art”.
After the war, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff worked as a professor at the Hochschule der Bildenden Künste in West Berlin, where he had an important influence on a new generation of artists. He went on to found the Brucke Museum in Berlin with an endowment.
He died in Berlin in 1976.
Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 - 1904)
Henri Fantin-Latour was a well known painter and lithographer. His work was done in the traditional style of the Old Masters.
In 1841 he moved to Paris and began to study art under his father, Théodore Fantin-Latour. He later studied at Ecole des Beaux Arts and then studied under the artist Gustave Courbet. He worked for a time copying Old Master paintings at the Louvre. There he became acquaintance of Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and Berthe Morisot. He became close friends with James McNeill Whistler and with Whistler and Alphonse Legros, formed the Société des Trois.
Fantin-Latour made several trips to London. He exhibited his work at the Royal Academy in London and became noticed by collectors for still lifes and mythological scenes. He also received many portrait commissions. Fantin-Latour received the critical acclaim for a series of group portraits of the most renowned artists, writers, and musicians of his day.
John Frost (1890 - 1937)
Like his father, renowned American illustrator, graphic artist and painter Arthur B. Frost, John Frost chose to take up painting very early on in life. As a child while travelling overseas, John Frost, studied under Jean Paul Laurens at Academie Julian. During that period of his life he often traveled to Giverny, the home of Claude Monet with fellow artist Richard Miller. Although born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Frost developed a French Impressionist style to his paintings which he carried over into his American Western works depicting colorful views of the desert landscapes in Arizona, the Sierra Mountains and western villages.
John Frost developed tuberculosis by the age of 22 and was a patient in a tuberculosis sanitarium in Switzerland from 1912-1914. Shortly thereafter he returned to the United States at the onset of World War I and became a successful illustrator in New York. Due to his declining health Frost chose the warmer dryer climate out west and settled in Pasadena, California to live with his family where he became a member of the California Art Club and the Pasadena Society of Fine Arts. John Frost passed away early at the age of 47 and his paintings still remain popular but scarce.
John Duncan Fergusson (1874 - 1961)
Known as a renowned artist of the Scottish Colourists school of painting, John Duncan Fergusson passion for impressionism began when he took his first trip to Paris to study at the Louvre in 1898. There he began to develop his artistic style through rich use of colors and his sculptural quality that was influenced by Fauvism and fauvistic principles.
In the early twentieth century Paris became very popular among the Café society artists. John Duncan Fergusson would spend time with other artists such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Samuel Peploe. In the 1920’s he settled in London, England and opened a studio following World War I. Fergusson held his first solo exhibition in 1923. He traveled all over Europe and held many successful exhibitions, but returned to his native Scotland just prior to World War II. Fergusson was a prominent member of the Glasgow Art Club and founded the New Art Club in 1940. His work remains prominent today. In 1968, 14 of John Duncan Fergusson paintings were given to the University of Stirling when it opened and a permanent gallery was opened in Perth on the banks of the River Tay in 1992.
Leon Kossoff (1926 -)
Post war British Expressionist Leon Kossoff was born in 1927 just outside of London, England to Russian Jewish parents. He was encouraged as a child to create art. By 1943, he had enrolled in the Saint Martin’s School of Art in London to study commercial art. He completed his studies and joined the Royal Fusiliers and served in Germany, Belgium, Italy and Holland. At the end of WWII, Kossoff returned to London to take more classes at St. Martin’s and then continued at Borough Polytechnic.
Influenced by his instructors David Bomberg and Frank Auerbach, he began using a heavy painting technique known as impasto. Earlier works have earthy colors, but his color pallet got brighter throughout his career. His subject matter revolves around urban scenes from familiar London. He is also known for his figurative paintings. Subjects are frequently his family and friends. Kossoff’s paintings and portraits are known to be very intense and full of emotion.
A retrospective of his work was held at the Tate Gallery in London in 1996 showcasing paintings from all phases of his lifetime. In the last decade, “Leon Kossoff: Drawing from Painting” was held at the National Gallery in London in 2007.
Charles Wilbert White (1918 - 1979)
Wassily Kandinsky (1866 - 1944)
Wassily Kandinsky, born in Moscow in 1866. Known mostly for his Abstract art he was very well educated. He studied law and economics at the University of Moscow. At the age of 30 he decided to begin art studies. Kandinsky moved to Munich in 1896 and began his studies at a private school founded by Anton Ažbe and also the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.
Following World War I, Wassily Kandinsky moved to Germany where he taught at the Bauhaus School of Art and Architecture until it was closed by the Nazis. Kandinsky’s earliest work depicted Fauvism (he used colors as a form of expression) and pointillism. His tendency towards abstract art perhaps began when he released The Blue Mountain (1908–1909), one of his most famous earlier pieces. While teaching advanced theory at Bauhaus geometric elements began to take on increased importance. In 1926, Wassily Kandinsky published a theoretical book ‘Point and Line to Plane’.
During Kandinsky’s later years he ended up living in Paris and using his living room as a studio where he produced some of his most prominent works combining characteristics he had learned throughout his lifetime. Today he is considered to be the first paint purely abstract works.
William J. McCloskey (1859 - 1941)
American artist William J. McClosky studied under the renowned realist Thomas Eakins and American portrait artist Christian Schussele at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1877-1882. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania he moved to Denver, Colorado following his study’s and began teaching at the Denver Academy of Art where he met artist Alberta Binford whom he married in 1883.
Both focused on portraits and still life painting and together the following year they set up a portrait studio in Los Angeles. By 1886, both had become very prominent and successful among the artists in Los Angeles. They moved to New York where they worked independently as well as collaborated with their art focused on still life paintings, both fruits and floral of rich contrast and deep colors. McClosky and his wife set up a studio at 58 West 57th Street near Central Park and the center of the art district. They had a successful exhibit at the National Academy of Design Annual Exhibition in 1888. McClosky also participated in exhibitions such as the Prize Fund exhibitions, The American Art Galleries, and the American Watercolor Society.
William McClosky traveled extensively throughout his career from San Francisco to New York as well as London and Paris. By 1924, McClosky retired to his daughter’s home in Oregon. By the 1940’s he had returned to California and passed away in December 1941. William McClosky’s paintings are relatively rare today. He is best known for citrus fruit wrapped in tissue paper in the trompe l’oeil manner. His work in included in the collections at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, California Historical Society, and Hudson River Museum.
Gilbert C. Stuart (1755 - 1828)
Peter Saul (1934 - )
Peter Saul was born in California in 1934. He studied art at the California School of Fine Arts and at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1958, he first introduced cartoon characters and super heros such as Donald Duck and Superman into his paintings.
His style can be tied with several art movements including Pop Art, Surrealism,and Expressionism, but it does not fit neatly into any of those categories. His work is often a commentary on aspects of contemporary life, art, history and politics. His paintings have become recognizable for the Day-Glo colors and exaggerated forms.
“I have tried very hard to be a “crazy artist,” in painting pictures, since the late 1950’s when I first got the idea. I love doing it. Being against the majority of intelligent viewers and on the side of the stupid, the obvious and the insolent really gives me a thrill and makes me laugh too.” - Peter Saul
In 2010, he was elected to the American Academy of Art and Letters. Peter Saul’s work can be found in several museums around the world including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Art Institute, Chicago, IL; The Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Mons, Belgium; Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France; and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.
Henri Julian Rousseau (1844 - 1910)
French Post-Impressionist, Henri Julien Félix Rousseau was born to an working class family in the Loire Valley of France. His grades in school were mediocre, but he excelled in music and art. Following high school he studied law, but enlisted in the Army in 1863. Following his military service, he moved to Paris in 1868 and became a government employee and was promoted to a tax collector position at the toll collector’s office.
At the age of 49, Henri Rousseau began seriously painting and in 1893 he retired completed from his government position to work on his art. He was able to open a studio in Montparnasse where he remained until his death. Inspired by illustrated books and the botanical gardens in Paris, Henri Rousseau became best known for his paintings of animals and jungle scenes. Interestingly, he never left France or ever saw a jungle in person. His painting style was naive or primitive. He passed away at the age of 56 from a blood clot following surgery.
A retrospective was held in 1911, the year following his death at Société des Artistes Indépendants. Henri Julian Rousseau’s work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Tate Modern, London, England; the Grand Palais, Paris, France; the Musée Maillol, Paris, France; the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia; and numerous others.
Odilon Redon (1840 - 1916)
Odilon Redon was born in Bordeaux, France in 1840. He gained a lot of inspiration from the estate he grew up on, which provided subjects from nature and a catalyst for fantasy. Other influences include works by Rembrandt, Corot, and especially to Delacroix.
After serving in the Franco-Prussian War, he settled in Paris and began to focus on his artistic development. He created many highly original charcoal drawings, he called his Noirs. He also created many lithographs during the 1880s and 1890s. Redon’s reputation until 1890 was based solely on his work in black and white, but he had been using color in landscape studies that were not exhibited at this point. These works often repeated or developed the subjects of the Noirs.
In 1899 Redon exhibited works with Nabis artists. These works influenced young painters at the time such as Bonnard and Vuillard. A large selection of his works was shown at the Salon d’Automne in 1904. Odilon Redon’s work contributed to the advent of Fauvism.
Redon died on July 6, 1916. In 2005 the Museum of Modern Art launched an exhibition entitled “Beyond The Visible”, a comprehensive overview of Redon’s work showcasing more than 100 paintings, drawings, prints and books.
Julian Schnabel (1951 - )
Julian Schnabel was born October 26, 1951 in Brooklyn, New York. His family moved to Brownville, Texas when he was very young. He came from a Jewish background. His mother was president of the Brooklyn chapter of Hadassah in the late 1940’s and he grew up wanting to become an artist. He received his BFA at the University of Houston and also studied at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Julian Schnabel became known for his large ‘Plate Paintings’ consisting of broken ceramic pieces in the early 80’s.
Schnabel was a leader in the Neo-expressionism movement, modern art portraying recognizable objects, usually abstract and vivid with colors. Known for his bold statements and boisterous personality, he claimed to be ‘The closest thing to Picasso…’, and was heavily criticized by the public in the mid 1980’s. Although he has always considered himself a painter he is much better known for his writing and directing of films.
Julian Schnabel just recently reemerged in the art world in 2013 and is currently exhibiting in the United States. He lives in New York and has studios on Long Island and in New York City.
William McGregor Paxton (1869 - 1941)
American portrait painter William McGregor Paxton, born in Baltimore, Maryland began his art studies at the Cowles Art School in Boston, Massachusetts where he had been awarded a scholarship. Within a few years, he was able to travel overseas to Paris and study at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts under painter and sculpture Jean-Léon Gérôme. By the late 1800’s, William Paxton returned to Boston to teach at the Cowles Art School. Inspired by artist Johannes Vermeer, Paxton became known for his extraordinary attention to the effects of light and detail in the skin tones, scenery and fabric in his work. He used the effect of focusing on one point in his paintings with a blurred effect throughout the rest of the composition.
William McGregor Paxton passed away at the age of 72 at his home in Newton, Massachusetts. He co-founded the Guild of Boston Artists and his portrait paintings include Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Grover Cleveland. His art now appears at the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The National Academy and Museum School, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey; and numerous others.
Marianne Werefkin (1860 - 1938)
Max Weber (1881 - 1961)
Alfons Walde (1891 - 1958)
Victor Manuel (1897 - 1969)
Born Víctor Manuel García Valdés in Havana, Cuba he became known as one of the Cuban Avant-garde artists in the 1920’s. Manuel began his art studies and showed his talents very early. By the age of twelve, he was studying at the San Alejandro National School of Fine Arts in Havana. Two years later, Manuel was asked to conduct drawing classes acting as an ‘unofficial’ professor at San Alejandro. He held his first solo exhibition at the Gallery of San Rafael in Havana at the age of twenty six.
He was finally able to travel abroad in 1925 to study in France. It was while working with artists in France that he was urged to begin signing his art as Victor Manual. Until that time had been signing it as his full name Víctor Manuel García Valdés. His signature was never consistent through his lifetime ranging from not signing his work at all to even the use of pseudonyms.
Victor Manuel continued to travel extensively throughout has lifetime. The evolution of his work reflected the influenced of Cezanne and Gauguin. He used a combination of primitive form with the European style he learned overseas. The landscape paintings he created depicted both rural and urban scenery. Victor Manuel passed away in his hometown of Havana on February 1, 1969. A retrospective was held at the National Museum of Fine Arts in 1997.
George Tooker (1920 - 2011)
Vitaly Tikhov (1876 - 1939)
Yves Tanguy ((1900 - 1955)
Stanley Spencer (1881 - 1959)
Growing up in the village of Cookham, just west of London, England, Sir Stanley Spencer was born into a large family with eight children. His father was a music teacher and prominent member of the church where he played the organ. Spencer was taught school at home by his sisters and both he and his younger brother Gilbert, who also became a painter, were able to take classes from local artist Dorothy Bailey and attend classes at the Maidenhead Technical Institute. At the age of 17 he enrolled into the Slade School of Art at the University College in London where he attended classes from 1908-1912.
Sir Stanley Spencer participated in his first exhibition in 1912 at a Post-Impressionist Exhibition in London and in the Contemporary Arts Exhibition in 1914. At the onset of World War I, he volunteered with the Royal Army Medical Corps serving time at both the hospital and on the front line in Macedonia. The war profoundly impacted him and the effects can be seen in his paintings. After serving two and half years he returned home after suffering from malaria as well as losing a brother and numerous friends on the battlefield. Throughout the 1920’s he traveled around England doing commissioned work and held his first solo exhibition in 1927 at the Goupil Gallery in London. By 1932 he had returned to his hometown of Cookham; painting landscapes and scenery of the countryside.
Diagnosed with cancer in 1958, Sir Stanley Spencer passed away in December, 1959 while staying at Cliveden near his childhood residence of ‘Fernlea’ in Cookham. During his final year, he became knighted by the Queen of England. The Tate Gallery acquired much of his art in 1973 and is work continues to appear in exhibitions worldwide.
William Louis Sonntag, Sr. (1822 - 1900)
American Landscape artist William Louis Sonntag, Sr. was born in a small town just outside of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in 1822. He would become an important figure of the Hudson River Valley School of art. He studied art at the Cincinnati Academy of Fine Arts under Godfrey Frankenstein. Sonntag created many paintings in the Ohio River Valley and the mountains of West Virginia and Kentucky. He is well known for his grand style and dramatic landscapes that was influenced by Thomas Cole.
Like other artists associated with the Hudson River School William Louis Sonntag, Sr. became influenced with the landscapes and maritime scenes of New England in the Hudson River Valley. The focus was on romanticism and industrial changes during the second half of the 19th century.
Many of William Louis Sonntag’s famous landscape pieces were also strictly based of photographs of places he had never actually traveled to, such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. Sonntag’s work has received much acclaim and has been exhibited at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD; the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and numerous others.
Charles Sheeler (1883 - 1965)
Born in Philadelphia, PA, Charles Sheeler went on to become one of the most influential photographers and modern artists of the twentieth century. He studied industrial drawing and applied arts at the School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and drawing and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. While studying at the Academy he also became friends with American Impressionist, William Merritt Chase. He was also able to travel overseas during his studies both with fellow students and with his family where he developed an interest in Renaissance Art and Italian painters such as Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, and Giotto. Charles Sheeler held his first exhibit in 1908 at the MacBeth Gallery in New York City and upon visiting Paris the following year; he developed a cubist style as seen in his work for many years to follow.
Sheeler’s photography, like his paintings, focused on linear precision as seen in his work in the coming decades. His subject matter was usually focused on commercial plants, buildings and machinery. By 1940 Fortune Magazine published a series of articles based on six of his paintings in order to ‘reflect life through forms’ which he prepared for by traveling for a year taking photographs.
Charles Sheeler’s work is included in the collections at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and numerous others. He passed away at the age of 81 in Dobbs Ferry, New York.
Ben Shahn (1898 - 1969)
Social realist painter, photographer and graphic artist Ben Shahn, born in Kaunas, Lithuania. His family immigrated to the United States in 1906. By his mid-teens, he apprenticed for a lithographer in New York. He studied at New York University (1919), City College of New York (1924), and followed it with two years of study at the National Academy of Design, New York. By 1929, Shahn held his first one man show and traveled overseas to Europe and North Africa.
Ben Shahn’s work emphasized social themes during the depression in the 1930’s. One of his most famous works, Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti, he painted in 1932 as part of a set of murals based on the Sacco and Vanzetti case. Following his successful mural projects working with labor leader Tom Mooney, Shahn was hired by Diego Rivera to work as his assistant on his mural project at the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center, New York City.
Throughout the 1930’s, his work focused on anti-Semitism and unfair labor laws associated with the economic Depression. By 1947 his first retrospective was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. During the 1950’s, his art form took on a more personal realism which he symbolized through allegory and lines. Ben Shahn only accepted commissioned work based on his political beliefs and social values.
By the 1960’s Shahn worked as a commercial artist for CBS, was elected into the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze in Florence, Italy. He also received honorary Doctorates from both Princeton and Harvard University. Ben Shahn’s art has appeared in numerous exhibitions and are part of permanent collections worldwide including Yale University, New Haven, CN; the Whitney Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY; the Federal Security Building, Washington, D.C.; the Tate Gallery, London, England; the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium; and the Galleria Nazionale D’arte Moderna, Rome, Italy.
Mariano Rodriguez (1912 - 1990)
Mariano Rodriguez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1912. He developed an interest in drawing and painting as a very young child. While in his early twenties, he moved to Mexico and studied under muralist’s Pablo O’Higgins and Manuel Rodríguez Lozano. Returning to Cuba, his art began receiving recognition almost immediately.
He received honors at the National Exhibit of Painting and Sculpture in Havana in 1938 for “UNIDAD” and was also invited to participate in the ‘Modern Cuban painters’ exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1944. Mariano Rodriguez had broken away from the tradition Academics of Cuban Artists and became influenced by modern avant-garde artists Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Over the course of decades Rodriguez’s art continually revolved around the theme of roosters and their virility was the focus of his paintings.
The most recent retrospective of Mariano Rodriguez’s work was held from September through November of 2013 at Havana’s La Acacia Gallery as part of the show Mariano en Contemporáne. His paintings are also currently on permanent exhibition at Guayaquil University, Ecuador; Cali, Colombia; Mexico City; Havana; the Managua, Nicaragua; the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York; in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Chicago Art Institute just to name a few.
Gerhard Richter (1932 -)
Gerhard Richter was born to a middle class family in Dresden, Germany. Richter’s passion for art began to develop around the age of fifteen while attending summer camp. By 1948, he left the family home in Waltersdorf, Germany and moved to Zittau near the Czech border to study. His first job was as a member of a team producing banners for the German Democratic Republic government as well as working as an assistant painter in the theater. It was soon thereafter that Richter was accepted into the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts (HfBK Dresden), a vocational university of visual arts in his hometown of Dresden, Germany in 1951.
Richter studied mural painting under Heinz Lohmar and was authorized to be able to travel to West Germany and Europe which allowed him access to photography, books, films, museums and the theater. His first major commissioned piece was to paint a mural for the German Hygiene Museum [Deutsches Hygienemuseum] where he received much praise for his work. Following graduation, Richter taught at HfBK Dresden in exchange for the use of a studio where he was subsequently awarded numerous mural commissions during the next few years.
Viewing the work of artists Jackson Pollock, Jean Fautrier and Lucio Fontana in part caused Richter to defect on April 6, 1961 because he felted too restricted in East Germany. He attended Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, the Arts Academy of the city of Düsseldorf, Germany from 1961 to 1964 in order to expand his studies into the Western art world. He developed an interest in society and current affairs which was becoming evident in his paintings. During the 1960’s and early 1970’s Gerhard Richter created various painting from black-and-white photographs. He began exploring abstract art during the 1970’s and carried it with him well into the 1980’s and 1990’s along with international acclaim and success. He is considered to be a pioneer of the New European Painting, a movement in art involving incorporating oil painting and drawings with new media such as photography.
Gerhard Richter has held numerous retrospectives including one of his most recent major exhibitions Forty Years of Painting at MoMA in New York in 2002. In 2007 he was made an honorary citizen of Cologne, Germany and he has also been the recipient of numerous distinguished awards, including the State Prize of the state North Rhine-Westphalia in 2000; the Wexner Prize, 1998; the Praemium Imperiale, Japan, 1997; the Golden Lion of the 47th Biennale, Venice, 1997; the Wolf Prize in Israel in 1994/5; the Kaiserring Prize der Stadt Goslar, Mönchehaus-Museum für Moderne Kunst, Goslar, Germany, 1988; the Oskar Kokoschka Prize, Vienna, 1985; the Arnold Bode Prize, Kassel, 1981; and the Junger Western Art Prize, Germany, 1961.
Milton Resnick (1917 - 2004)
Milton Resnick was born in Bratslav (Ukraine), Russia just after the turn of the century in 1917. By the age of five his family immigrated to the United States and became residents in Brooklyn, New York. As a child he attended classes at the Pratt Institute and the American Artists’ School in New York City where he met and became friends with artist Ad Reinhardt, both who later became Abstract Expressionist’s. Resnick moved out of his parent’s home by the age of 17 due to the disapproval of his father and continued with his painting and art classes while working part-time. During the Great Depression he worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and by 1938 opened his own private studio in New York and became close friends with Willem de Kooning who was working nearby. While working in New York City, Milton Resnick was able to use his GI Benefits to enroll in Hans Hofmann School in 1948 where he met and became friends with artists Jackson Pollack and Franz Kline as well as his future wife Pat Passlof.
Milton Resnick earned great respect for his distinctive style during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Some refer to it as Abstract Impressionism due to his figurative painting and more personal style in contrast to the younger modern Contemporary Artists of that time period. In the mid-1970’s Resnick purchased a building on 87 Eldridge Street on the lower east side of New York City where he worked until his death in 2004. It is now the headquarters for The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation established in 2013 in accordance with the Will of Resnick’s wife.
Resnick’s work appears in numerous public collections including the Akron Art Museum, the Arizona State University Art Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Museum of New Mexico, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Ad Reinhardt (1913 - 1967)
American Abstract Expressionist Adolph Frederick (Ad) Reinhardt was born to an immigrant family in Buffalo, New York. Reinhardt had an early passion for art and excelled in school as a child. By the time he was ready for college he had been accepted to many Universities on scholarship and chose to attend Columbia University from 1931-1935. Following his accreditation as an artist, he worked for the WPA Federal Art Project for four years. Ad Reinhardt became a member of the American Abstract Artists group which allowed him to participate in numerous group and solo exhibitions with the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery and the Betty Parsons Gallery.
By 1947, Ad Reinhardt completed his studies at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts and began teaching at The Brooklyn College in New York. He also traveled periodically to teach at Yale University, the University of Wyoming, the California School of Fine Arts and the Hunter College in New York.
Ad Reinhardt’s art became more minimal and focused on geometric abstraction over the course of his career. His use of grid structures and single color variations separated him from the growing trend among contemporary artists. Considered his most crowning achievement were his Black Paintings (1954-1967). He once stated “My painting represents the victory of the forces of darkness and peace over the powers of light and evil.” Exhibitions of Reinhardt’s work have recently appeared at the Guggenheim Museum, Manhattan, NY in 2008 and the Joseph Albers Museum, Bottrop, Germany in 2011.
Robert Lewis Reid (1862 - 1929)
Muralist and American impressionist Painter, Robert Reid was born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. During the 1880’s, Reid studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He also taught classes at the Arts Students League and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan, New York. Like many American art students, he traveled overseas to Paris to study at the Académie Julian. Influenced by artists Boulanger and Jules Joseph Lefebvre while studying there Reid began his career as a portrait painter.
By 1889, Robert Reid settled permanently in New York City working on his portraits and continuing to teach. He became best known for painting large murals and stained glass design. In 1893, he participated in the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, painting a mural in the dome of the Liberal Arts Building. Reid had also become a member of the “The Ten”, group of American Impressionist painters who exhibited from 1898 to 1919. He was also a full member of the National Academy of Design in 1906.
Throughout his lifetime he continued with many large projects in the state of New York. Reid’s “The Martyrdom of St. Paul” is now located at the southwestern end of the nave of the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City. His work also appears in the Congressional Library, Washington, D.C., The Detroit Institute of Arts and his stained glass adorns the windows of the Unitarian Memorial Church in Fairhaven, MA
Robert Reid passed away in Clifton Springs, New York in 1929.
Paula Rego (1935 -)
Portuguese artist Paula Rego was born in Lisbon, Portugal. She attended the Slade School of Fine Arts in London, England from 1952-1956 where she also met her husband, Victor Willing. They returned to Portugal to marry, but settled in Camden Town just outside of London. Her earlier work in the sixties reflected her influence by Joan Miro’s surrealism, but transformed into a more semi-abstract style.
By 1965, she held her first solo show at the Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes in Lisbon, Portugal. Since that time Rego has participated in many groups including The London Group and The Institute of Contemporary Arts. Throughout much of her career she has worked with mostly pastels rather than oils and collage. Paula Rego is well known for her paintings and prints based on folk tales. In 1990, when Rego was appointed to be the first ‘Associate Artist’ of the National Gallery in London, her style began to change again. Much of the National Gallery collection reflects the ‘Old Masters’ and for the first time Rego began tightening up her art towards the way she had learned at the Slade School of Fine Arts.
Architect Eduardo Souto de Moura designed a museum for Rego dedicated to her work in Cascais, Portugal in 2009 featuring several key pieces. Her artwork can now be seen at public and private collections including 43 works in the collection of the British Council, 10 in the collection of the Arts Council of England, 46 works of art in the Tate Gallery, London; and many other institutions worldwide. Judged by some as Britain’s greatest living female painter, Paula Rego was made Dame Commander by the Queen of England in October 2010.
Richard Pousette-Dart (1916 - 1992)
American Abstract Expressionist Richard Warren Pousette-Dart was born into a life of art. His father Nathaniel Jermund Pousette-Dart was a painter and writer and his mother Flora Pousette-Dart was a poet and musician. By the age of eight Richard Pousette-Dart had already begun to paint and draw. As a child his parents enrolled him the private Scarborough Day School in New York and later studied briefly at the Bard College following high school.
Influenced by artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Pousette-Dart initially concentrated on sculpting with stone, bronze and brass. By the 1930’s, he began to develop a deep interest in African, Oceanic and Native American art both formally and spiritually. He once stated “I strive to express the spiritual nature of the Universe. Painting for me is a dynamic balance and wholeness of life; it is mysterious and transcending, yet solid and real.”
Richard Pousette-Dart held his first solo exhibition in 1941 at the Artists’ Gallery in New York. During that same year the Museum of Modern Art purchased his oil painting Desert completed in 1940. Shortly thereafter Pousette-Dart set up a studio in Manhattan, New York. During the 1940’s and 1950’s he experimented with various artistic mediums and art forms. His first retrospective was held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1963. By the time of his death in 1992 he had gained worldwide recognition. Richard Pousette-Dart’s work now appears in numerous galleries and collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel; and the Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy.
Fairfield Porter (1907 - 1975)
Renowned artist, critic, theorist and scholar, Fairfield Porter rose to become one of the most influential painters of the 20th century. Porter was born in Winnetka, Illinois. His father was a prominent architect and his mother was a poet. They gave him a childhood environment where art and literature were considered very important. Porter studied fine art at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA from 1924-1928 earning his Bachelor in Fine Arts and moved to New York City to continue his art education at the Arts Student League from 1928-1930. In both his writing and his painting, Porter’s work was felt more of the late 19th century classification than the 20th century.
Influenced by his favorite artist such as Willem de Kooning, Pierre Bonnard, and Edouard Vuillard, Porters work evolved into a realist and representational style vs. the Abstract Expressional which was gaining in popularity. As stated by Justin Wolf in the Art Story ‘In the role of art critic, Porter believed that the true purpose of art criticism was to accurately describe how something looked, which may lead to discovering some truth within the artwork.
Fairfield Porter’s writing, papers and records are now held at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C. At the time of his death a large portion of his Estate was left to the Parrish Art Museum. His art also included in the collections at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Whitney Museum, New York; and numerous others. Fairfield Porter passed away at the age of 68 in Southampton, New York.
Elizabeth Peyton (1965 -)
American contemporary painter Elizabeth Peyton is known for her wonderfully stylized portraits. She was born and raised in Danbury, Connecticut and developed a passion for art when she was very young. In 1987, she earned her BFA at the School for Visual Arts in New York.
Peyton’s early charcoal and pencil sketches of famous figures such as Marie Antoinette Choosing her Clothes, Napoleon and Queen Elizabeth II were shown at one of her first exhibitions in 1993 at the Hotel Chelsea in New York City. Throughout her career, Peyton has created a broad range of prints, including monotypes, lithographs, and woodcuts. Experimenting with various techniques, Peyton uses a variety of handmade papers and inks to create her work.
Inspired by photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz, Robert Mapplethorpe and Nadar Peyton, her portraits include many celebrities including David Bowie, Keith Richards, John Lennon, and more recently a portrait of Michelle and Sasha Obama.
Elizabeth Peytons work now graces the collections of The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg, PA; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; and numerous others. She currently resides in Long Island, New York and Berlin, Germany.
Photo by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin
Richard Pettibone (1938 -)
Richard Pettibone is known for creating miniature versions of many well known art icons which have included Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Marcel Duchamp, Frank Stella and many others. He reduced the works in size to be the size they might be reproduced in a magazine.
He attended the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and received his MFA in 1962. Pettibone’s paintings and sculptures are miniature replicas of many famous artists whose work ironically was replicated as well. Questions regarding this issue have been raised about authorship, craftsmanship, and the original pieces of art and are still being debated today. Ken Johnson stated in The New York Times, “There is a comical asymmetry between his efforts and theirs, but also something mysterious, as if his were made for a voodoo dollhouse.”
Richard Pettibone is currently based in New York and his work has been exhibited at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami and the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, CA.
Samuel Peploe (1871 - 1935)
Post impressionist and still life artists Samuel John Peploe was born in Edinburg, Scotland. During the 1920’s he co-founded the Scottish Colourists group known for the rich bold use of color along with Leslie Hunter, John Duncan Fergusson and Franci Cadell. In 1893-94, he attended the Edinburg Collage of Art at the Royal Scottish Academy and then went to Paris to study at the Académie Julian under Adolphe William Bouguereau.
Inspired by artists such as Paul Cezanne, Gustave Courbet and Diego Velázquez, Samuel John Peploe set up his first studio back in Edinburg at Shandwick Place in 1896. By the turn of the century, Peploe had already begun traveling throughout France and the Netherlands. His still lifes and landscapes became known for their meticulous execution and strong use of color. Samuel John Peploe became a member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1927 and exhibited at the Allied Artists’ Association in London. He passed away at the age of 64 in Edinburg.
Julian Onderdonk (1882 - 1922)
Julian Onderdonk was born into an artistic environment. His father, Robert Jenkins Onderdonk, was a prominent artist who studied at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in New York. Raised in the rolling hills of central Texas Julian Onderdonk attended the West Texas Military Academy in 1898-99 and already began his art training while in his early teens. By the age of 19, he moved to New York City to attend classes at the Art Students League. The vigorous training in a highly structured environment was something that did not fare well with Onderdonk. He enrolled at the Shinnecock School of Art on Long Island where he studied under American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. Julian Onderdonk had a passion for painting landscapes and did an excellent job in Chase’s classes. As a birthday gift to Onderdonk in 1901 Chase painted a portrait of him as an example to the class.
While studying on Long Island Julian Onderdonk met his wife Gertrude Shipman. By 1909, they returned to his hometown of San Antonio. He continued with his painting and produced his best work while living in Texas. Unfortunately his life was taken early. He was rushed to the emergency room in October of 1922 with an intestinal blockage but did not survive the surgery. His art now graces the Oval Office of the White , the Witte Museum, San Antonio, TX; The San Antonio Museum of Art; the National Museum of American Art in Washington D.C.; the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin, Texas; and numerous others.
Albert Oehlen (1954 -)
Contemporary German artist Albert Oehlen was born in Krefeld, Germany in 1954. In 1977, he moved to Berlin and became influenced by artists such as Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter and Georg Baselitz. The process of painting was an important factor for Oehlen. He embraced the Neo-Expressionist style and began combining abstract and figurative elements into his paintings. He has continued to experiment with different techniques and styles.
Oehlen’s use of computer enhanced sketches incorporated into his painting through the use of computer-aided design (CAD) and inkjet printers has led to his work being described as free-radical in the 1990’s. Although considered very successful, he has acquired much criticism for his work. Albert Oehlen work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museet for Samtidskunst, Denmark, the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg and numerous others. Most recently, in 2014, one of Albert Oehlen’s pieces sold for $1.8 million at a Christie’s auction in New York. It was self-portrait he had painted thirty years before.
Roy Nuse (1885 - 1975)
American Impressionist Roy Cleveland Nuse was born in a small rural town of Springfield, Ohio. He dropped out of high school to work in a factory painting lamps. His talent as an artist could be seen by his coworkers and he was encouraged to enroll in art classes. He studied under Frank Duveneck and Vincent Nowottny at the Art Academy of Cincinnati from 1905 to 1912.
He then took on a part-time position teaching at the Beechwood School near Philadelphia, before being accepted into the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Nuse was awarded numerous prizes for his art at the University including the Toppan and Thouron Prizes, as well as the Cresson Traveling Scholarship twice. This allowed him to travel overseas and study in Europe. During his early years, he held exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Nuses’ family remained in the farmlands of Pennsylvania which inspired his large canvases and rural landscape paintings. From 1925 to 1954, he continued with his teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
At the time of his death much of Roy Cleveland Nuse’s work was divided between his six children. His art now appears in the Woodmere Art Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Swarthmore College, Moravian College, Thomas Jefferson University, the James A. Michener Art Museum and many others.
Alfred Maurer (1868 - 1932)
American Modernist, Alfred Maurer was born in New York City. His parents were of German descent and his father was a lithographer whom Maurer began working with at the age of 16 when he dropped out of school. While his father despised modern art, Alfred Maurer went on to become one of the most accomplished modern artists of the twentieth century. He attended school at National Academy of Design, New York and was inspired by artists such as William Merritt Chase and James Abbott Whistler. Like many other artists Maurer traveled to Paris and attended the Académie Julian, but remained enrolled only for a short time. He felt too confined to the overall structure of the coursework.
He remained in Paris until 1914. He made many friends including Gertrude and Leo Stein, Arthur Dove and Henri Matisse. He was inspired by fauvism and the movement helped reshape Maurer’s own painting style. It allowed for him to have much more freedom of expression in his work and a bold exhilarating use of color. As part of the avant-garde movement, Maurer was highly respected by his fellow contemporary artists. He became an associate member of the modernist Salon d’Automne in Paris and exhibited at Gallery 291 in 1909 and the New York Armory Show in 1913.
Although Maurer loved living overseas in Paris, by 1914 at the onset of World War I he returned permanently back home to New York City. His father denied support but, Maurer continued to paint in his home. A decade later his studio was purchased by art dealer Ernest Weyhe and he was financially secure.
Following the death of his mother in 1917, he started to separate himself from society. He took his own life in 1932 at the age of 64. His work can now be viewed at the Chicago Art Institute, the Brooklyn Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institute, The Phillips Collection, The Barnes Foundation and numerous others.
Roberto Antonio Matta (1911 - 2002)
Born in Santiago, Chile, Roberto Antonio Matta became one of the most successful and prominent Chilean artists of the twentieth century. He worked with photography and video productions as well as ceramics and paintings. Matta graduated from Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in 1935 majoring in architecture and interior design. Following his graduation he travelled to Peru, Panama and the United States.
Influenced during his travels by artists such as Le Corbusier, Salvador Dali and André Breton, Matta began creating surreal geometrical drawings of the buildings and architecture. Like many artists during that period, Matta travelled overseas to Paris where he met many of the leaders of the surrealist movement. His friend André Breton was very encouraging to him and introduced him to many influential artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso. Matta’s travels had a lasting impact and pointed him in the direction of surrealism and abstract art.
By the late 1930’s, Roberto Matta had immigrated to the United States. It was during Matta’s decade in the US that he switched from the drawings and sketch work to oil paintings. By the 1950’s he began adding new dimensions with blends of organic forms to his work. He was one of the first artists to move along this direction with the abstract art form. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Matta continued to travel throughout Europe and South America creating surreal canvases, but he began incorporating his political views into his art forms. Matta was a strong supporter President Salvador Allende’s socialist government in Chile and he believed that his art would help influence the Chilean people. During his later years Matta travelled mostly through France, England, and Italy, where he operated a pottery school, a studio and a gallery. Roberto Antonio Matta passed away in November 2002 at the age of 91 while in Italy.
Alfredo Ramos Martinez (1871 - 1946)
Hailed by some as the Father of Mexican Modern Art, Alfredo Ramos Martinez has sadly been overlooked in recent years. However, this does not diminish Martinez’s legacy. He inspired the artists of southern California and his own students with his love of his native country and inventive style.
From a young age, Martinez was talented. Born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1871, his family was very supportive of his interest in art. At nine he painted a portrait of the Governor of Monterrey that was eventually sent to an exhibition in San Antoino, Texas. Impressed by his work, Martinez won first prize and the ability to attend Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.
He did not enjoy his time in school and would often wander away to observed everyday life in Mexico City. The sunny plazas and narrow streets became a sanctuary and muse for sketches and watercolors.
Phoebe Apperson Hearst, mother of William Randolph Hearst, paid an official visit to Mexico City in 1899. The Mexican President requested that Martinez create hand printed menus for an official dinner. Phoebe Hearst was so impressed that she asked to meet Alfredo Ramos Martinez and offered to pay a monthly stipend for him to study in Paris.
While in Paris, he developed a post-Impressionist style. He wanted to express emotional depth and go beyond simply distorting subjects. He would run out of sketch paper, but one day his landlord gave him newspaper. The use of newspaper gave his art a new kind of texture and quickly became a favorite medium.
The Mexican Revolution prompted Martinez to return to Mexico. Thanks to a teaching post, he was able to found the Open Air School Project, which encouraged painting outside and breaking away from European style and teaching methods. Martinez encouraged his students to paint Mexican subjects. Muralist David Alfaro Siquieros was among his students.
In 1929, Martinez moved to Los Angeles for the wellbeing of his infant daughter, who suffered from a bone disease. Martinez introduced California to Mexican iconography and mural works. Celebrities such as designer Edith Head, and Alfred Hitchcock commissioned murals from him. Alfredo Ramos Martinez is a celebrated Mexican artist that inspired a generation of muralists and artists.
Mark Bradford (1961 -)
Born in Los Angeles, California in 1961, Mark Bradford did not begin studying art until the age of thirty. His mother owned a beauty salon where he helped occasionally. He began his studies at the California Institute of the Arts Valencia in 1991, earning his BFA in 1995 and his MFA in 1997. Bradford’s improvisational grid-like abstract work encompasses video, prints and sculptural installations as well as combining paints and collages. Being born and raised in an urban environment, Mark Bradford uses materials he scavenges from the street and transforms them into wall-size collages and installations that correspond to the underground economies, migrant communities and abandoned public areas.
Mark Bradford has won acclaim for his art from numerous foundations including the Bucksbaum Award (2006); the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2003); and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2002). He has been included in major exhibitions at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2006); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2003); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2004); and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2001). Mark Bradford has participated in the twenty-seventh Bienal de São Paulo (2006); the Whitney Biennial (2006); and “inSite: Art Practices in the Public Domain,” San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico (2005). He currently resides and works in his mother’s beauty salon in Los Angeles, California which he has transformed into a studio.
Mario Carreno (1913 - 1999)
Mario Carreño y Morales was born in Havana, Cuba in 1913, a year prior to the outbreak of World War I. His painting began at a very early age. The youngest of 10 siblings he had studied violin at the age of six but by the age of nine he won first prize for a pencil drawing of a portrait of his sister he entered in Havana’s newspaper El Mundo. He was quoted as stating “From that moment on I was liberated from the violin.” In 1925, at the age of 12, he had already achieved being welcomed into the Academia de San Alejandro, the oldest and most prestigious fine arts school in Cuba. When he was in his early 20’s, he moved overseas and enrolled in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain and shortly thereafter the Ecole des Arts Appliqués, Paris, France as well as the Académie Julian.
Following the outbreak of WWII, Mario Carreño was forced to return back home to Cuba where he met the eccentric millionaire Maria Luisa Gomez Mena whom he married for only a short period of time. She provided him with support for his art and put him in contact with key figures in the art trade as well as financed his catalogs and exhibitions at that time. In the late 1940’s, Carreño travelled briefly overseas to Chile and to New York where he met artists such as Mondrian and Pollock, but his work never took on the pure abstract form those artists practiced. By 1958, he left Cuba for good upon receiving an invitation to teach in Chili due to harassment by The Military Intelligence Service (under the Batista dictatorship). It was there that Mario Carreño became a true authority in the Chilean art world. He was one of the founders of the Catholic University School of Art of Santiago and began producing large murals and exhibits worldwide.
By the late 1970’s, some in Cuba considered Mario Carreño to be a counter-revolutionary “gusano” and his name was removed from nearly all public spaces and art programs in Cuba. He passed away in Santiago de Chile in 1999 following several cerebral attacks and a diabetic coma.