Edward Burra

Paintings by Edward Burra

Born in South Kensington in March of 1905, Edward John Burra was an English painter, printmaker, and draftsman best known for his depictions of the urban underworld and New York City’s Harlem culture of the 1930s. He attended preparatory school at Northaw Place, located in Hertfordshire, until 1917 when he suffered from pneumonia and had to continue his education at home. His education ranged wider than most boys of his class, including a great understanding of French literature.

Burra struggled his whole life with rheumatoid arthritis and a debilitating blood disease which meant that he was never able to use an easel in the conventional way. He was basically forced to sit and work mostly in watercolor, unfashionable at the time, on thick paper laid flat on a table. The fluidity of the watercolor medium, though, allowed Burra to produce a smooth finish, even though he was working with an arthritic hand. Although Burra was briefly a member of the 1930s’ One Unit collective of Modernist artists , his ill health prevented him from actively joining artistic groups and cliques. He, for the most part, protected his privacy and went his own way in the art world.

Edward Burra began his art training in 1921 with a tutor, Miss Bradley, who lived in the coastal town of Rye, East Sussex. At the age of sixteen, he studied at the Chelsea School of Art for two years. From 1923 to 1925, Burra studied at the Royal College of Art under draftsman and etcher Randolph Schwabe and portrait and landscape painter Raymond Coxon. In his time at Chelsea, he established friendships which would support him his whole life; these included the costume designer Beatrice Dawson, photographer Barbara Ker-Seymer, and, perhaps his closest friend, William Chappell, a ballet dancer who became a fellow traveler and Burra’s introduction to avant-garde dance.

Burra delighted in travel. In the summer of 1925 while in Italy, he met landscape painter Paul Nash, who at that time was already well-know for his work as a war artist in World War One. In October of that year, Burra visited Paris accompanied by William Chappell and, in 1926, visited Paris and stayed in both Florence and Siena, Italy with his family. Later, in the mid 1930s, he landed in Harlem, New York, at the height of its cultural Renaissance; he had been fascinated with its culture since his early exposure to imported American jazz music. Burra’s paintings of the places he visited in the world were not made on location. Blessed with a photographic memory, he reworked images of Paris, Marseilles, and Harlem at his parents’ eleven-acre estate in Rye where he continued to live until his death.

Edward Burra has his first solo exhibition at London’s Leicester Galleries in 1929 which was followed with a second show in May of 1931. In October of 1929, he exhibited with the London Group and showed his woodblock prints at the Society of Wood-Engravers exhibition at London’s Redfern Gallery, this would be followed in November of 1942 with a solo exhibition of his paintings.  In October of 1931, Burra exhibited in the show “Recent Developments in British Painting”, alongside Paul Nash,, Ben Nicolson, John Armstrong and Edward Wadsworth, at Arthur Tooth & Sons gallery in London. Beginning in July of 1952, at the age of forty-seven, until his death, Burra had multiple solo exhibitions at the Lefevre Gallery, one of London’s most prestigious galleries. 

Edward Burra had a sharp eye for contemporary urban life and also a deep knowledge and affection for art of the past. His 1926 “Market Day”, showing two black sailors sauntering along a chaotic dockside, contains a wealth of detail from its merchant ships unloading and couples courting to the bowl of fruit balanced on the head of a woman and the jazzy necktie on one of the sailors. In his 1929 “The Two Sisters”, Burra took the eighteenth-century conventional genre of a group of people gathered socially and, showing his satirical wit, depicted the two women with pronounced rouge, lipstick and open dresses, being served by a maid who on closer look is a man in drag. Another work in 1929, “Dockside Cafe, Marseilles” shows clearly two male transvestites by the bar and a standing sailor wearing ballet shoes with criss-crossed ribbons. Burra’s life, however, cannot be read directly from his art. Although drawn to the clubs and cafés, he was a non-participating observer of these scenes which he stored in his memory for future works. 

Best known for his early images of city life, Edward Burra continued to develop his painting throughout his career. Beginning in the mid-1930s and into the war years, his work darkened with images of the cruelty of the war and the tragedy of the innocents who killed or were killed. In the 1950s, Burra started painting images of the British countryside, whose consoling pastures evolved into ones with rusting machinery, animal skulls, and an increasing sense of unease. In the 1960s through the mid-1970s, his work directly commented on the rapid change in the countryside around him. The farm tractors, lorries, and diggers in Burra’s work transform into monstrous machines ripping through the landscape. 

Following the death of his mother in the 1960s, Burra moved into a small cottage on the grounds of the family’s estate. His sister came to visit and there were occasional motoring holidays with his close friend William Chappell. Burra continued, however, to be obsessed with his painting to the exclusion of all else. After breaking his hip in 1974, his health declined quickly. Edward Burra died, at the age of seventy-one, in Hastings, East Sussex, on the 22nd of October in 1976.

Although he declined associate membership in the Royal Academy in 1963, Edward Burra accepted the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, the CBE, in 1971. A retrospective of his work was held at the Tate Gallery in 1973; in conjunction with the exhibition, the Arts Council of Great Britain produced “Edward Burra”, a documentary on his life and work. In June of 2011, Edward Burra’s 1948 watercolor “Zoot Suits”, depicting two well-dressed men in Harlem, set a record at Sotheby’s for a work by the artist when it sold for 2,057,250 Pounds.

Tope Insert Image: Barbara Ker-Seymer, “Edward Burra”, 1933, Photograph, 4.5 x 3.5 cm, Tate Museum, London

Second Inser Image: Edward Burra, “Flowering Vegetables”, 1957-59, Watercolor and Pencil on Paper, 134.5 x 76.5 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Edward Burra”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print, Tate Museum, London

Bottom Insert Image: Edward Burra, “Ropes and Pullies”, 1942-43, Watercolor and Pencil on Paper, 109.9 x 76.8 cm, Private Collection

Joe Raskin

Urban Photography by Joe Raskin

Born in Queens, New York, Joe Raskin is a photographer, an avid urban explorer, and chronicler of New York City. He has posted on his blog over forty-eight thousand photographs of the greater New York City region, which he shot while wandering its boroughs over a period of seven years. Raskin primarily documents the varying architectural styles of the city’s buildings, but also shoots images of its subways and commuter railway lines. 

Raskin is a graduate of York College, City University of New York, where he majored in political science; he received his Masters Degree in Urban Studies from Queens College in New York. Although he attended a  photography class while at York College, Raskin considers himself self-taught. Originally starting with a Kodak Brownie camera, his primary equipment choices now are the digital Panasonic Lumix and the smaller, digital Casio Exilim. 

Prior to his retirement, Joe Raskin served as assistant director of Government and Community Relations at the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York. He is the author of a book on the history of New York’s subway system entitled “The Routes Not Taken; A Trip Though New York City’s Unbuilt Subway System”, published in 2013.  Now a resident of the Chelsea neighborhood on the west side of Manhattan, Raskin previously lived  over thirty years in the neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Rochdale Village, and Astoria. 

Influences on Raskin’s work include the works of Arnold Eagle, a photographer and cinematographer known for his socially concerned photographs of the 1930s and 1940s; Todd Webb, whose photographs documented architecture and everyday life in cities; and, in particular, the work of Berenice Abbott, best known for her photographs of New York City architecture and urban design of the 1930s. A portrait photographer of cultural figures from 1920 to 1940, Abbott was a central figure between the photographic circles and cultural hubs of Paris and New York.

A life-long history buff, Raskin’s photographs document how New York City grew in  its expansion from just the downtown areas into each of the boroughs. This expansion was, in a large part, enabled by the rapid growth of its extensive subway and rail systems. Although Raskin documents many historical, architectural styles of buildings, he finds classic city housing, such as Art Deco Bronx apartment houses, Mathews Model Flats row houses, and brownstones and townhouses, the most intriguing to photograph. 

“I’ve always looked at the paintings of Edward Hopper and the photographs of Berenice Abbott as a reference point for my photographs. They seemed to be more intent on showing the environment of an area. When a person was in Abbott’s photographs or many of Hopper’s paintings, they were part of the overall scene, rather than the subject. If someone shows up in one of my photographs, it’s more of an incidental matter more than anything else. They’re part of the background, a component of the overall scene.” 

—Joe Raskin, Art in New York City, July 2012

Joe Raskin’s photographs can be found on his blog located at:  https://wanderingnewyork.tumblr.com

Top Insert Image: Joe Raskin, “North View of 90th Street, Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights”, Queens, New York

Bottom Insert Image: Joe Raskin, “Apartment Building, Highbridge”, Bronx, New York

Lee Friedlander

Lee Friedlander, Photographs from the “The Little Screens” Series

Born in Aberdeen, Washington, in July of 1934, Lee Friedlander is an artist and photographer known for his innovative images depicting America’s city streets. His candid street photography captured the light and content in the country’s urban landscapes.

At the age of eighteen, Friedlander began his formal studies of photography at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. In 1956, he settled in New York City, where he photographed jazz musicians for record album covers. Friedlander’s early work was influenced by Swiss photographer and documentary film maker Robert Frank, best known for his 1958 book “The Americans”; Walker Evans, known for his Depression Era images taken with a large-format view camera; and the French pioneer of documentary photography Eugène Atget, known for his scenes of Paris’ streets and architecture. 

Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1960, Lee Friedlander was able to focus on his photography, which is primarily executed with hand-held Leica 35 mm cameras and black and white film. Friedlander’s street photography featured detached images of ordinary urban life, including structures framed by fences, gas stations, parking lots, store fronts, churches and commercial signs and posters. In his work, he cleverly used reflections and shadows, often shooting images at strange angles or through car windshields. Friedlander has also used car mirrors to frame an image within an image. 

Friedlander is constantly aware of the photographer’s relationship to the picture plane; and he places at least as much importance on it as on the image’s apparent subject which could be an empty street, a store window, or an unremarkable piece of town statuary. Friedlander’s photographs often contain his shadow and/or his reflection, a self-portrait which lends an odd edge to his observations.

Friedlander had his first solo exhibition in 1963 at the International Museum of Photography located at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. Along with photographers Diane Arbus and Garry Winogrand, he was a key figure at curator John Szarkowski’s 1967 “New Documents” exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, an influential exhibition which generated a new look in documentary photography. 

Lee Friedlander has published books regularly: the 1969 “Work from the Same House”, a collaborative effort with artist Jim Dine; “Self-Portrait” published in 1970; the 1981 “Flowers and Trees”; the 1985 retrospective “Lee Friedlander: Portraits”; “Nudes” published in 1991; and the 1992 “The Jazz People of New Orleans”. Friedlander has received a number of awards for his photography, including three Guggenheim Fellowships, five National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and a MacArthur Foundation Award. 

Friedlander is also responsible for rescuing and printing the negatives of early twentieth-century New Orleans photographer Ernest Joseph Bellocq, remembered for his haunting photographs taken in Storyville, New Orleans’ legalized red-light district. These photographs were published in the 1996 “Bellocq: Photographs from Storyville”, with an introduction by photographer Susan Sontag.

Note: In the early 1960s, Lee Friedlander’s attention was drawn to television sets, a relatively recent luxury appliance. His series “The Little Screens” first appeared as a 1963 picture essay in Harper’s Bazaar magazine, with a commentary by photographer Walker Evans. Six untitled photographs showed television screens broadcasting glowing images of faces and figures into unoccupied rooms in homes and motels across America. 

Between 1963 and 1969, “The Little Screens” series grew and, in 2001, was exhibited in full at the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. The series documented not only iconographic ghostly rooms filled with bland furnishings of the period; it also revealed an emerging future reality of omnipresent television screens, and droning television voices and personalities that filled space in an increasing isolationist culture.

Insert Images: Lee Friedlander, “Self Portraits”, 1960s, Gelatin Silver Prints

Gustave Caillebotte

Paintings by Gustav Caillebotte

French painter and art collector Gustave Caillebotte was born in 1848 in Paris to Céleste Daufresne and Martial Caillebotte, a wealthy textile mill owner. He began drawing and painting at a young age on his family’s estate in Yernes, located south of Paris. Caillebotte studied law, completing  his law degree in 1868, and received his law license in 1870. Soon after his graduation, he was drafted to serve in the Franco-Prussian war as a member of the Garde Nationale de la Seine from July of 1870 to March of 1871.

Following the war, Caillebotte decided to pursue an artistic career. He visited the studio of Realist academic-painter Léon Bonnat, who reinforced his decision to take art as a serious career. In 1872, Caillebotte enrolled at the Êcole des Beaux-Arts and studied under Bonnat;  however, he spent most of the time painting in his own studio at the family home. Within a short period of time, Caillebotte suffered several losses in his family life: his father died in 1874, his brother Rene in 1876, and his mother died in 1878. The family fortune was divided between the remaining two brothers, Gustave and Martial, both of whom agreed to the sale of the Yerres estate and moved to an apartment in Paris. 

Beginning in 1874, Gustave Caillebotte met and befriended several artists who were working outside the influence of the Academie des Beaux-Arts; these artists included Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Augustus Renoir, Camille Pissarro, and Giuseppe De Nittis. Caillebotte  made his artistic debut in 1876 at the Second Impressionist Exhibition in Paris, a show that would establish him as an indispensable figure in the group both artistically and financially. This loosely knit group of impressionist, avant-garde artists rejected the academic style of painting and the formality of the official Salon’s traditional exhibition protocols.  

Caillebotte’s style, which so outraged the contemporary critics and academics, conversely inspired later artists to use some of his more radical compositional techniques. His paintings often contained highly unusual perspectives, such as viewpoints looking up from below at a slanting floor, and viewpoints gazing down from an indistinctive perch or standing on the edge of an intimate scene. Caillebotte also cropped his protagonists and scenes in an unconventional manner, such as the foreground figures in his 1877 “Rue de Paris; Temps de Pluie” and 1878 “The Painter Under His Parasol” whose lower body portions are beyond the image plane. These innovative techniques became features of future avant-garde artists from Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso.

Caillebotte helped finance and organize the Third Impressionist exhibition, in which he exhibited eight paintings. Included in this show was his best known work, the 1875 “Floor Scrapers”, which had been rejected and deemed vulgar by the official Salon in 1875 for its depiction of common laborers. Caillebotte played a major role as a source of patronage and financial support for artists, such as Monet and Pissarro who were still endeavoring to achieve more widespread success. His family wealth enabled his to pursue his own artistic career and provide support for his artistic friends whose means were limited; it also enabled him to collect their work, often purchased at inflated prices. In 1876 Caillebotte purchased several works by Monet, and also paid the rent for some of his friends’ studios. He was also a major force in convincing the Louvre Museum to purchase Édouard Manet’s 1863 controversial painting “Olympia”, which had caused a scandal at the Salon’s 1865 exhibition for its cold and prosaic treatment of the female nude. 

In 1877, Caillebotte was the central organizer of the Third Impressionist Exhibition, which now had become an independent, unofficial and distinctly avant-garde salon. Although an important force in the avant-garde movement, his work did not explore the effects of light as did the other members’ work. Caillebotte was more a Realist in style, more aligned with the early works of Monet, Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet. He exhibited seventeen paintings at the seventh impressionist exhibition and, along with Monet, refused to participate in the final 1886 exhibition due to tensions between artists.

Gustave Caillebotte relocated to a property in Petit-Gennevilliers, a suburb on the Seine River, in 1881. A former yacht racer, he became active in constructing yachts and spent a majority of his time discussing philosophy, politics, literature and art with his brother Martial and good friend Augustus Renoir. By the early 1890s, Caillebotte was barely painting; he had stopped producing the large canvases for which he was known in the previous decades. In 1894, at the age of forty-five, while working in his home garden, Caillebotte collapsed and died suddenly of a stroke. He is buried at the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in southeastern Paris.

Following his death, Caillebotte’s estate, in keeping with his will, attempted to make a generous donation of his large collection of paintings, which contained both his and other artists’ works, to the French State. The 1894 donation spurred controversy, which emphasized the still prevalent French Academy’s resistance to avant-garde art and artists. Academy officials, with the artist Jean-Leon Gerome in the lead, attempted to prevent the transfer of the works by the Impressionists and the important Post-Impressionists, such as Paul Cézanne, to the French National Museum. 

These impressionist works had been consistently refused admission to the official Salons through the years; and the art establishment continued to oppose acceptance of what they referred to as unhealthy art. Only a portion of the works in the collection, of which only two were by Caillebotte, were ultimately accepted. In 1911, nearly thirty works from Caillebotte’s collection were purchased by Albert C. Barnes, an American physician, businessman, and art collector; these works form the core of the extensive collection of Modernist works at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Until the 1950s, when Caillebotte family members began selling works from their private collection, including paintings by Caillebotte as well as works by other artists he had acquired, Caillebotte’s work was for the most part forgotten. Most of these works from the private collections were eventually purchased by Albert Barnes in 1954 and added to the Barnes Foundation. With the purchase of Caillebotte’s 1877 “Paris Street, Rainy Day” by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1964, the work of Caillebotte was brought again to the attention of collectors and the public.

Tope Insert Image: Gustave Caillebotte, “Self Portrait”, 1892, Oil on Canvas, 40.5 x 32.5 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Second Insert Image: Gustave Caillebotte, “The Orange Trees”, 1878, Oil on Canvas, 154.9 x 116.8 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Third Insert Image: Gustave Caillebotte, “Balcony, Boulevard Haussmann”, 1880, Oil on Canvas, 69 x 62 cm, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madird

Bottom Insert Image: gustave Caillebotte, “Self Portrait in the Park at Yerres”, 1875-1878, Oil on Canvas, 64 x 48 cm, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Benton Murdoch Spruance

Lithographs by Benton Murdoch Spruance

Born in June of 1904 in Philadelphia, American artist Benton Murdoch Spruance was a painter. educator, and lithographer. Growing up in an affluent suburb, he worked as an architectural assistant after graduating from high school. Spruance studied at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Architecture, and also attended etching and drawing classes at the Graphic Sketch Club, a free art school. 

After working in a logging camp for several months in 1924-1925, Benton Spruance enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, whose 1928 Cresson scholarship enabled him to study overseas in France. He studied at the Académie Montparnasse under cubist painter André Lhote, and later was introduced to lithography at the acclaimed Paris print workshop of Edmond Desjobert, with whom Spruance would later work producing many of his lithographs. 

After returning to Philadelphia, Spruance began working for an interior design firm and taught part-time at Arcadia College. After receiving a second Cresson scholarship, he traveled to Paris to continue his painting studies with André Lhote. In 1933, Spruance had his first solo show at New York City’s Weyhe Gallery, a print and drawing gallery established in 1919. He was also appointed that same year as professor of the Department of Art at the Pennsylvania Academy. 

Although Benton Spruance continued to paint after his return from Paris, he was most active as a printmaker. His art in the 1920s and 1930s portrayed the life of ordinary men and women at both work and play. During this period Spruance’s style varied from naturalistic portraits to a precisionist approach of flattened and layered forms. It was these boldblack and white lithographic compositions with their wide tonal ranges and gradations which established Spruance’s reputation as a lithographer. During this period with the aid of two Guggenheim fellowships, he sketched landscapes throughout Europe and the United States.. 

During the period of the Works Progress Administration, from the late 1930s to the mid-1940s, a deliberate socially conscious agenda characterized Spruance’s lithographs. He began to work in a more highly charged expressionistic style and turned to wartime subjects as a prominent theme. Spruance also began producing psychologically charged portraits of women, which was followed later by themes based on biblical narratives and mythology. At the 1936 Summer Olympics in Germany, Spruance’s work was among the six hundred works of art at the competition held inside the Berlin Exhibition

From the early 1950s Spruance participated in the urban regeneration of the city of Philadelphia and, in 1953, was appointed to the Philadelphia Art Commission. One of his achievements was the passing of a 1959 law where one percent of the budget for every new building in Philadelphia had to be spent upon public art. Avid about the lithographic process, Spruance pioneered many innovations and techniques for the use of color in print making. During the 1960s he produced many color lithographs, which were mostly literary or symbolic in theme.

Despite the demand for his lithographic work, Benton Spruance continued his role as an educator. He started “Prints in Progress”, a program to teach printmaking, through demonstration and participation, to public school students. Spruance was both the chair of the art department at Arcadia University and held the chairmanship at the printing department of the Philadelphia College of Art. 

A prolific printmaker with over five hundred editions during his lifetime, Benton Spruance died in Philadelphia on the 6th of December in 1967. In 1968, Barre Publishers, Massachusetts, posthumously published Benton Spruance’s project “Moby Dick: The Passion of Ahab”, a portfolio which illustrated Lawrence Melville’s novel and contained twenty-six color lithographs that were finished in the years just before Spruance’s death.

Top Insert Image: Benton Murdoch Spruance, “Subway Shift, The Second Front”, 1943 Lithograph, 36.8 x 48.6 cm, Private Collection

Middle Insert Image: Benton Murdoch Spruance, Approach to the Station, 1932, Lithograph on Japon Paper, 27.9 x 35.3 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Benton Murdoch Spruance, Nero, 1944, Lithograph Edition of 30, 36.8 x 39.7 cm, Private Collection 

Grant Wood

Grant Wood, “Spring in Town”, 1941, Oil on Wood Panel, 66 x 60.9 cm, Swope Art Museum, Terra Haute, Indiana

Born in February of 1891 near Anamosa, Iowa, painter Grant Wood was one of the major exponents of Midwestern Regionalism, an art movement that flourished during the 1930s. His adolescent years on the family farm remained an inspiration to him throughout his artistic career. In his early years, Wood studied under tile-craftsman Ernest A. Batchelder and took drawing classes under painter Charles Cumming at the University of Iowa. In 1913, he moved to Chicago to study at the Art Institute until the death of his father in 1916; at which time, Wood returned home to Cedar Rapids to support his mother and sister.

Wood traveled to France in 1923, where he studied for two years at the Académie Julian in Paris. He then continued his European travels, staying in Italy for a period to paint. During this period, Wood painted in an Impressionist-inspired style, focusing on landscapes. Though his style changed significantly over time, the decorative patterns of foliage and light seen in his early work remained a feature of his mature style. Encouraged in 1925 by his friend David Turner, Wood gave up teaching to focus full-time on his art, setting up a studio space, furnished by Turner, in Cedar Rapids.

It was in this developmental time, through the support of the Cedar Rapids community and his exposure to its culture, that he became committed to Regionalism, drawing the subjects of his work from the local population and landscapes of the region. Wood’s distinctive style was finalized after a trip to Munich in 1928, where he oversaw the fabrication of his stained glass window design for the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids. By 1929, after having  viewed painter Hans Memling’s canvases and painter-printmaker Albrecht Dürer’s work in Munich’s museums, Wood came to believe the crisp edges and meticulous details of their execution could be used to convey a distinctly American quality.

In Iowa City in the spring of 1941, with war overseas and anxiety growing at home, Grant Wood began his sketch work for “Spring in Town”, which he finished that summer along with its companion piece “Spring in the Country”. He painted the scene with crisp, clear lines and gave the scene a  perspective from slightly above: this enabled the viewer to see the whole panorama of small-town life and labor as well as its minute details. Wood drew from his own memories of farm life as a young boy but combined these with aspects of his present life, the houses he noticed, the people he knew, and his feelings about family and friends.

“Spring in Town” was one of Grant Wood’s last midwestern rural scenes before his death in February of 1942. After the United States entered World War II, the Saturday Evening Post magazine printed “Spring in Town” as patriotic propaganda, presenting the idyllic scene as the exemplar of American life. The painting, however, although manifestly tranquil, represented a traumatic personal memory- the death of Wood’s father and, as a result, the loss of the family’s Anamosa farm. Wood’s first conception of the “Spring in Town” image coincided with the fortieth anniversary of his father’s death on March 17, 1901.

Image Inserts: Grant Wood’s 1937 “Saturday Night Bath” is a charcoal drawing on wove paper which is in the collection of Houston’s Museum of Fine Art. In 1939, the image, reproduced as a lithograph, was considered by the U. S. Post Office to be pornographic due to the depictions of the two naked men. 

Grant Wood’s “Self Portrait” was reworked several times by the artist, beginning in 1932, but was never finalized. This last version of the enigmatic artist was uncompleted at his death. It is in the Davenport Collection of the Figge Art Museum located in Davenport, Iowa.

Andrea Pezzatti

Photography by Andrea Pezzatti

Andrea Pezzatti is a freelance photographer working in the fields of portraiture, commercial, and landscape photography. Based in both Montevideo and Paysandú, Uruguay, she has traveled worldwide, producing portfolios of her work in Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, and Sicily. Pezzetti is currently shooting her work with both the Canon Powershot GFX Mark iii and the Canon Eos 6D. 

More examples of Andrea Pezzatti’s work can be found at her 500px site located at: https://500px.com/p/andreapezzatti?view=photos

Dana Yurcisin

Photography by Dana Yurcisin

Dana Yurcisin is a screenplay and song writer, cinematographer, musician and photographer. He entered Rowan University in 2007 and graduated with a Bachelors of Art in radio, television, and film.  In his third year at Rowan University, Yurcicim, along with John Bradley and Kevin McTinge, created the eight-part mini-series “The Adventures of Squirrel Man”, which won a Silver Telly Award. 

In 2011, Dana Yurcisin teamed with Daniel Attamante on the short film “Dog” for the Campus MovieFest competition. A campus finalist and an AT&T Rethink Possible semi-finalist, it was nominated for a Golden Tripod Award for cinematography and won the AT&T Wild Card Award. It also eared a spot at the International Grand Finale at Hollywood in June of 2011.

Expanding into still photography at the end of 2018, Yurcisin shoots with a fixed-lens Fuji and edits his images using Photoshop and Lightroom, often incorporating effects inspired by graphic novels and cinema. Using the backdrops of East coast beach towns, he produces images devoid of human presence that explore themes of solitude and loneliness.

Yurcisim  has done work in the digital marketing field: creating videos, shooting events and travel footage, advertising photography, and advertising campaigns. Currently based in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Yurcisin has also worked in all facets of media production including motion graphics, music and logo composition, and writing and editing.

The artist’s website is located at: http://www.danayurcisin.com

Julien Duval

Julien Duval, “Port  and City of Rovinj, Croatia”, Date Unknown

Julien Duval, a professional photographer specializing in travel photography, interior design, and music photography, is based in Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia. Born in Normandy in western France, he lived most of his life in Besançon, located in eastern France close to the border with Switzerland. Duval majored in geography, obtaining a Masters degree in geography and started a PhD at the University of Franche-Comte in France. 

Julien Duval, upon changing his field of study to photography, spent three years of  study in Paris. Photographers that he admires include Finish portrait photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen, American photo-journalist Steve McCurry, landscape photographer Max Rive from the Netherlands, and Croatian photographer Tošo Dabac, best known for his social photography of the1930s. 

Combining his photography and geography skills with his desire to travel, Duval  travels, preferably to remote places, to capture the beauty and simplicity of nature with his camera. Recent travels have taken him to the Plitvice Lakes National Park on the Croatian coast, the rural areas of Iceland, the streets of New York City, and the still less-visited national park of Durmitor in northern Croatia. His clients include tourist boards and agencies, hotels, corporate work, and global music festivals.

The artist’s site is located at: https://www.julienduvalphoto.com

Charles Burchfield

Charles Burchfield, “House of Mystery”, 1924, Watercolor over Graphite on Heavy Textured Cream Wove Paper Laid on Cardboard and Varnished, 74 x 60 cm, Art Institute of Chicago

Insert: Charles Burchfield, “Orion in December”, 1959, Pencil and Watercolor on Paper, 101 x 84 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC

Born in Ashtabula Harbor, Ohio, Charles Ephraim Burchfield was a Modernist painter known for passionate watercolor scenes of nature and townscapes. During his life, he often drew inspiration from the urban atmosphere of Buffalo, New York, and the small town settings in Salem, Ohio. 

Charles Burchfield won a scholarship to attend the Cleveland School of Art, where he studied under the Modernist watercolor painter Henry G. Keller, graduating  in 1916. He developed his own particular style, working in a dry-brush technique, by the summer of 1915, sketching and painting around Salem, Ohio. Burchfield painted in an almost Fauvist style with broad areas of simple colors and, adding in 1917, visual motifs expressing human, often disturbing, moods. Painting consistently, he produced half of his life-time work while living in Salem from 1915 to 1917. 

Starting in 1919, initially to provide financially for his wife and children, Burchfield painted small-town and industrial scenes in the style of the Regionalist movement with the intent to sell them in the New York art market. After the approach in 1928 to the Frank Rehn Gallery in New York, the successful sales of his work enabled him to resign his wallpaper design employment at Birge & Co in Buffalo and paint full-time. These large watercolors of small towns and industries, often resembling oil paintings, which continued until 1943, are the ones most associated with him.

Attempting to regain a lost intensity, Charles Burchfield again returned in 1943 to the enthusiasm of his earlier work, developing large, visionary renditions of nature envisioned with heightened colors, swirling brush strokes, and exaggerated forms. Using the skills he mastered in his middle years, he attempted to show an era of human history where men saw spirits in natural objects and forces of nature. He also returned to watercolors done in his youth, reworking and enlarging them by adding sections of paper to the original sheets. 

Charles E. Burchfield died on January 10th of 1967 at the age of seventy-three, after spending most of his life in West Seneca, New York. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in the Village of East Aurora, New York. The largest collection of his paintings are in the collection of the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo. 

Maurice Brazil Prendergast

Artwork by Maurice Prendergast

Born in 1858 in Saint John’s, Newfoundland, Maurice Brazil Prendergast was a post-impressionist artist who worked in watercolor, oil paints, and mono-type. At a young age with very little schooling, he was apprenticed to a commercial artist in Boston, where he became influenced by the bright-colored and flat-patterned work. A shy, reserved individual, Prendergast remained a bachelor throughout his life, closely attached to his artist brother Charles, a gifted craftsman and artist. 

Starting in 1892, Prendergast studied for three years in Paris at the Atelier Colarossi, under painter Gustave Courtis,  and at the Académie Julian. During one of his early stays in Paris, he met the Canadian landscape painter James Morrice. Under the influence of Morrice, Prendergast began sketching on wood panels scenes of elegantly dressed women and children at the seaside resorts of Saint-Malo and Dieppe. Later, drawing inspiration from the post-impressionists Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, he developed a more sophisticated modern style, with boldly contrasting, jewel-like colors, and flattened, patterned forms rhythmically arranged on a canvas.

Returning home in 1895, Prendergast shared a studio with his brother, continuing in his work to focus on people strolling in parks, on the beach, or traveling the city streets. A trip to Venice in 1898 exposed him to the genre scenes of early Renaissance narrative painter Vittore Carpaccio and encouraged him toward even more complex and rhythmic arrangements. Prendergast also became one of the first Americans to embrace the work of Cézanne, understanding and using Cézanne’s expressive use of form and color.

A successful exhibition of the work Prendergast produced in Venice was held in 1900 at the Macbeth Galleries in New York. In 1907 he traveled to France; where,  after contact with the Fauvist movement, he started painting works with startling bright colors and staccato brushstrokes. Later in 1907, Prendergast exhibited his new work in a show with the group of artists known as The Eight, exponents of the Ashcan School. 

In 1913 Prendergast was invited to participate in the famed Armory Show in New York City which was largely arranged by his friend, landscape painter Arthur B.  Davies. In 1914, he settled in New York, along with his brother Charles, where he enjoyed great success with collectors such as Duncan Phillips, and attracted a number of important patrons, including John Quinn, modern art collector Lillie B. Bliss, and Dr. Albert Barnes, the founder of the Barnes Foundation. 

During his final years of his career, Maurice Prendergast spent his time sketching during the summers in New England and painting in New York in the winters. In frail health by 1923, he died a year later, in February of 1924, at the age of sixty-five.

Stone on Top of Stone

Photographer Unknown, (Stone on Top of Stone- Restoration)

“A third of thee dumbfounded, 33 degrees of masonry which are the controllers of mastery. Stone on top of stone, carry the U.S on my back as I travel through Rome. It’s God & I on my own,I ask for wisdom and wisdom is shown. What I have is common with Solomon is the position I take on this throne. Ancient ancestry of modern day slavery, there are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root with bravery.”
Jose R. Coronado, The Land Flowing with Milk and Honey

The Funicular

Chas, “The Funicular”, Zagreb, Croatia

This is one of the shortest; but also one of the steepest funiculars in the world. The track length is only 217 feet; but the height is 100 feet with an inclination of 52 degrees. The funicular started operation in 1890 powered by a steam engine, which was replaced withan electric engine in 1934. The cars reach the top in 64 seconds.

Jim Edwards

Eight Paintings by Jim Edwards

Edwards’ cityscape paintings are not studies from life, nor is he trying to capture a particular viewpoint or moment in time. His paintings have their origin in memory, how he remembers the workings and landmarks of the city, rather than a straightforward representation. The compositions evolve from a combination of imagination and selective memory, which are then altered and exaggerated. Certain buildings are forgotten, or simplified, creating a personal view of the city.

This personal impression of cityscapes often runs into his more abstract work, where the block shapes he paints represent manmade forms, rooms and human spaces. These combine with connecting lines, suggesting marks within a landscape, pathways linking separate constructs.

The Annual Light Festival

The Annual Light Festival in Ghent,  Belgium

Ghent is the first city in Belgium to have a complete lighting plan designed for it. The Light Festival wants to bring the Light Plan in the spotlights and reveal a glimpse of the unique and hidden charm of the city. During the Light Festival you can embark on an exploratory voyage along the wintery track in the Ghent city centre and plunge in the most exciting light experiences.

A subtle game of beams that reflect on the water surface, unexpected projections on buildings, poetic shadows that play in the semidarkness between the hidden treasures of the city. About fifteen internationally renowned artists and light designers lead you during the darkest days of the year along a 6 km track. On several unique locations, both inside and outside, you can admire the work of the light artists.

Unconfirmed Dates for 2016: January 26-29. Confirm dates before traveling.

Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele, “Krumau Town Crescent 1″, Oil on Canvas, 1915, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

In 1910 Egon Schiele decided to flee the urban bustle of Vienna for a yearnful sojourn in the rural town of Krumau, the birthplace of his mother.The town is now modern-day Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic, but in the early twentieth century, it was still part of the sprawling Austro-Hungarian empire. Accompanied by artistic companions Anton Peschka and Ervin Osen, Krumau provoked a creative spark in Schiele, inspiring a vast amount of artistic output for the rest of his short life. But rather than providing a peaceful backdrop of pastoral existence, Krumau enhanced Schiele’s preoccupation with isolation and unease.

His quest to explore the spiritual essence of his environment is Expressionist in notion, revealing the hidden core of human experience through visual exaggeration and subjective insight.  In “Krumau Town Crescent 1”, the claustrophobic nature of the  unsteady throng of houses on the Moldau river emphasises the compressed nature of this decaying urban vista. Solid vertical lines support the waterside settlements, yet are helplessly undermined by the sinuous curves of their own crumpled roofs. This remote town would serve as a visual conduit for his own melancholy reflections.

Despite his longing for a provincial idyll, Schiele and his friends were to encounter a degree of hostility from some of the more conservative residents of Krumau. However, this didn’t prevent him from planning a permanent move there in 1911 alongside his partner and muse, Wally Neuzil. For a time they enjoyed a peaceful existence in their little cottage by the river, but his paintings remained haunted by the town’s ancient winding streets and compact medieval design.

Wayne Thiebaud

Wayne Thiebaud, Oil Paintings

Wayne Thiebaud is an American painter best known for his colorful works depicting commonplace objects—pies, lipsticks, paint cans, ice cream cones, pastries, and hot dogs—as well as for his landscapes and figures. He is associated with the Pop art movement because of his interest in objects of mass culture, although his early works, executed during the fifties and sixties, slightly predate the works of the classic pop artists.

Thiebaud uses heavy pigment and exaggerated colors to depict his subjects, and the well-defined shadows characteristic of advertisements are almost always included in his work.

Note: An extensive article on the life and work of Wayne Thiebaud is “City, River, Mountain: Wayne Thiebaud’s California” written by Margaretta M. Lovell. It can be found at the Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art site located at: https://editions.lib.umn.edu/panorama/article/wayne-thiebauds-california/

Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper, “Pennsylvania Coal Town”, Oil on Canvas, 1947, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

In the early 1940s, American Realist painter Edward Hopper had a very productive period, in which he painted some of his most famous works, such as “Morning in a City” and “Nighthawks”. During the late 1940s, however, he suffered a period of relative inactivity.  By 1947 when he painted “Pennsylvania Coal Town”, his output had slowed. However, in the 1950s and early 1960s, despite faltering health and several surgeries, Hopper created several more major works, including the 1951 “First Row Orchestra” and the 1952 “Hotel by a Railroad”.

“Pennsylvania Coal Town” portrays a man, tending the yard outside of his house, holding a rake or similar tool. Apart from a plant with green foliage in a large vase, the yard appears bare. The man is staring at something we cannot see, a frequent occurrence in Hopper’s work. Many of his paintings depict people gazing at something unknown in the distance. The interior of the house’s front room can be seen through a large window, showing a lamp and a picture on the wall.

As with many of Hopper’s paintings, light plays an important role. The sunlight is shining directly on the man, and one side of the house, in contrast to the rest of the painting, which is shown in shadow. This gives the impression that it is, either, early morning or late evening. Typical of much of his work, this painting does not tell a story but is a location’s moment in time. It is left to the viewer to imagine what is happening here.

Another recurring motif, in Edward Hopper’s work, is loneliness. Many of his works feature a lone person staring out of a window, or sitting at a coffee table. In this painting the subject appears to be alone; there is no sign of life around him. Even the house does not appear welcoming. “Pennsylvania Coal Town” is a fine example of Hopper’s genius, depicting considerable information in a seemingly simple painting.