Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

The Artwork of Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

Born in November of 1887 in the town of Manhule, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso was one of the first generation of Portuguese modernist painters. Known for the exceptional quality of his work, his short career covered all the historical avant-garde movements of the early twentieth=century. 

The son of a wealthy landowner and vintner, Amadeo, at the age of eighteen, traveled to Lisbon and entered the Superior School of Fine Arts where he developed his skills as a designer and caricaturist. In November of 1906, he traveled to Paris with his friend and painter Francisco Smith and lived in an apartment on the Boulevard de Montparnasse. After a caricature he had drawn during a dinner was published  in Portugal’s “O Primerro de Jameiro” newspaper, Amadeo decided to devote himself to painting. 

In 1908, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso established himself at a studio located at 14 Cité Falguière , which became a social gathering place for Portuguese artists including Manuel Bentes, Eduardo Viana, and Domingos Rebelo, among others. At this time, Amadeo began to attend the ateliers of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Viti, where he studied under the Spanish painter Angalada Camarasa, whose use of intense coloring presaged the arrival of Fauvism. 

In 1911, Amadeo exhibited his work in the Salon des Indépendents and soon became close friends with writers and artists such as Gertrude Stein, Amedeo Modigliani, Alexander Archipenko, Robert Delaunay, and the Italian Futurists Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini.  In 1912, Amadeo published his album, “XX Dessuab”, containing twenty drawings with a forward written by author Jerome Doucet, and republished Gustave Flaubert’s “La Légende de Saint Julien to l’Hospitalier” in a calligraphic manuscript with illustrations. Amadeo de Souza Cardoso participated in two important exhibitions in 1913: the Armory Show in the United States that traveled to New York City, Boston and Chicago, and the Erste Deutsche Herbstsalon held at the Galerie Der Strum in Berlin. These two exhibitions were the first to present the new wave of modern art to the public. Seven of the eight works Amadeo displayed at the Armory show sold; three of these were purchased by lawyer and art critic Arthur Jerome Eddy, a prominent member of the first generation of American modern art collectors.

Returning to Portugal in 1914, Amadeo began experimentation in all the new forms of artistic expression, and married Lucia Pecetto, whom he had previously met during his 1908 stay in Paris. In April of 1914, he sent three new works for an exhibition at the London Salon; however, due to the outbreak of World War I, the show was canceled. During the war years, Amadeo maintained contact with other Portuguese artists and poets and reunited with Robert and Sonia Delaunay who had relocated to Portugal. In 1916, he published his “Twelve Reproductions” through Tipografia Santos in Porto and exhibited a collection of one hundred-fourteen works at a solo exhibition in Oporto and later in Lisbon, entitled “Abstraccionism”. 

At this time, the Cubist movement had  expanded throughout Europe and was an important influence to Amadeo de Souza Cardoso’s  style of analytical cubism. He continued to explore expressionism and, in his last works, experimented with many new techniques. In 1918, Amadeo was stricken with a skin disease which impeded his painting. On the 25th of October in 1918, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso died, at the age of thirty, in Espinho, Portugal, of the Spanish influenza, a pandemic which savaged the world at the end of World War I. 

After his death, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso’s work was shown in a 1925 retrospective in France which was well received by both critics and the public. Ten years later, the Souza-Cardoso Prize was established in Portugal to distinguish modern painters. Amadeo’s work remained relatively unknown until 1952, when a exhibition of his work in Portugal regained the public’s attention. Since then, only two retrospectives have been held, one in 1958 and one in 2016, both at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Tope Insert Image: Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, “The Hawks”, 1912, India Ink on Paper, 27 x 24.3 cm, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Bottom Insert Image: Amadeo de Souza Cordoso, “Self Portrait”, 1913, Graphite on Paper, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Otis Huband

Paintings by Otis Huband

Born in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1933, Otis Dare Huband Jr, after serving a tour of duty in the Navy, attended the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. He returned to Virginia to complete both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Virginia Commonwealth University. Huband  then travelled to Italy to study in 1963-64 at the Academia de Bella Arta in Perugia.

Otis Huband returned from Europe in 1964 and moved to Houston in  the following year. Upon his arrival, he bypassed the local gallery scene by choice, opting instead to concentrate most of his time in his studio. In addition, Huband also worked as an art instructor at the University of Houston, the current Glassell School of Art, Rice University, and the Art League of Houston. He retired from his educational work in 1982 and now works full-time on his daily painting. 

Huband’s paintings are abstractions rich with thoughtful color, form and figure. It was his emphasis on figurative subject matter that gave his work a place within Houston’s art history. However, his style of expressionism showcases not only the human figure, but also dynamic energy, produced by the use of powerful colors and bold strokes.

Otis Huband has had multiple solo shows, starting with the Studio Gallery in Oakland, California in 1957 and the Pyramid Gallery in Richmond, Virginia in 1959, and continuing until his recent shows at the Valley House Gallery in Dallas, Texas in 2019 and at the Foltz Fine Art in Houston in 2020. He has had two major retrospectives of his work: the 1993 “Otis Huband: The Artist and His Collection” at The Museum of Printing History in Houston, and the 2010 “The Figurative Revelations of Otis Huband: A Fifty-Year Retrospective” at William Reaves Fine Art in Houston. 

Alma Thomas

Alma Thomas, “Light Blue Nursery”, 1968, Acrylic on Canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1891, Alma Woodsey Thomas was an expressionist abstract painter and art educator. As a teenager, she moved with her family to Washington, DC to escape the racism the family experienced in the South. Thomas attended Howard University, where she took classes taught by painter and educator Lois Mailou Jones and impressionist painter James V. Herring, who founded Howard University’s art department. 

Alma Thomas graduated in 1924 as the university’s first Fine Art graduate. She acquired her Masters in Art Education from New York’s Columbia University and studied abroad in Europe with the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. She was greatly influenced by the techniques of French Impressionism, through the still-lifes and landscapes of Berthe Morisot and Claude Monet.

Through her life, Thomas was involved with the history of black American intellectual life and participated in many organizations promoting such history and culture. Among these was the Little Paris Group, a literary circle of black public school teachers who met weekly in the 1940s. Alma Thomas also served as Vice President of the Barnett Aden Gallery, founded in 1947, as a black-owned non-profit art gallery. The gallery exhibited the work of all artists regardless of race; however, it was one of few places that showed black artists on equal footing with their white contemporaries.

After she retired, at the age of sixty-nine, from her career as an art teacher, Alma Thomas developed her own personal style. Inspired by the shifting light filtering between the leaves of trees in her garden, she began to paint her signature abstractions. Thomas was given her first solo show at the Dupont Theatre Art Gallery in 1960.

Although the work is abstract, the titles summon up specific moods and scenes, such as “Iris, Tulips, Jonquils, and Crocuses” in 1969, the 1973 “Snow Reflections on Pond”, and “Red Azaleas Singing and Dancing Rock and Roll Music” painted in 1976. The colorful rectangular dabs of paint, often arranged in circles or rows, allow the under-colors to emerge through the open spaces.

Alma Thomas died at the age of 86 in 1978 in Washington, DC. During her life she was included in many group shows centered around black artists. It was not until after her death that her work began being included in shows which did not focus on the unifying themes of race or gender identity, but rather was allowed to exist simply as art. Her work can be seen at many museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Smithsonian Museum. 

Note: The insert image is Alma Thomas’s “Grassy Melodic Chat”, an acrylic on canvas painting done in 1976. It is in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Alfonso Ossorio

The Artwork of Alfonso Ossorio

Born in August of 1916 in Manila, Alfonso Ossorio was an abstract expressionist artist of Hispanic, Filipino, and Chinese heritage. At the age of fourteen, he moved to the United States and attended Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island, graduating in 1934. Ossorio studied fine art at Harvard University from 1934 to 1938, and continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. He became a United States citizen in 1933.

Discovered by art dealer and collector Betty Parsons, Alfonso Ossorio had his first show, featuring his Surrealist-influenced works at New York’s Wakefield Gallery in 1940. Following World War II service in the US Army as a medical illustrator, tasked with drawing surgical procedures on injured soldiers, he took some respite in the Berkshires, a region in western Massachusetts known for its outdoor activities. It was there at the Tanglewood Music Festival that Ossorio met Edward Dragon, a ballet dancer, who would be Ossorio’s life-long partner. 

Through his connection with Betty Parsons, Ossorio became acquainted with the work of Jackson Pollock. Becoming both an admirer and a collector of Pollock’s expressionist work, he and Pollock soon developed a close friendship and reciprocal influence on each others work. Later in 1951, through critic and art historian Michel Tapié, Ossorio established a contact between Pollock and the young Parisian gallery owner Paul Facchetti who realized Pollock’s first solo exhibition in Europe in 1952.

In Paris in 1951, Ossorio and Edward Dragon frequently met with artist Jean Dubuffet and his wife Lili. While they were visiting, Jean Dubuffet wrote the text for his monograph on Ossorio entitled, “Peintures Initiatiques d’Alfonso Ossorio” and introduced Ossorio to art critic and collector Michel Tapié. Tapié organized a one-man show at the Studio Paul Facchetti of Ossorio’s small, luminous “Victorias Drawings”, which Ossorio made while visiting the Philippines. Produced using Ossorio’s experimental drawing technique of wax-resistant crayon on Tiffany & Co. stationary, the works in this series are counted as some of Ossorio’s most innovative. 

Dubuffet’s interest in art brut opened up new vistas for Ossorio, who found release from society’s preconceptions in the previous unstudied creativity of insane asylum inmates and children. In the 1950s, Ossorio began to create works resembling Dubuffet’s assemblages. He affixed shells, bones, driftwood, nails, dolls’ eyes, cabinet knobs, dice, costume jewelry, mirror shards, and children’s toys to the panel surface. Ossorio called these assemblages congregations, with the term’s obvious religious connotation.

On the advice of Pollock, Ossorio and Edward Dragon purchased an expansive 60-acre estate, The Creeks, in East Hampton, Long Island, New York, in 1951, where they lived for more than forty years. Alfonso Ossorio died in New York City in 1990. Half his ashes were scattered at The Creeks estate and the other half came to rest nine years later at Green River Cemetery, alongside the remains of many other famous artists, writers and critics. 

Alfonso Ossorio’s works can be found at The Creeks, the Harvard Art Museum in Massachusetts, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, among others.

Victoria Crowe

 

Victoria Crowe, “Ferragosta: Fireworks and Crocosmia Lucifer”, 2017, Oil on Linen, 22 x 24 Inches

Born in London, Victoria Crowe trained at the Kingston School of Art and the Royal College of Art. She moved to Scotland in 1968 and began teaching at Edinburgh College of Art. Crowe is a painter of still life, interiors, landscapes and portraits, and works in oil and in watercolour.

Crowe’s  work is often autobiographical and visits to Italy, Madeira, Egypt and India have influenced her work. She has several portraits in the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection, the National Portrait Gallery of London, and the Royal Scottish Academy..

Kjell Nupen

Three Paintings by Kjell Nupen

Kjell Nupen was a Norwegian contemporary artist who had his professional breakthrough very early. He studied at the Statens Kunstakademi. Nupen experienced success early on, and at the age of just 19, his art was bought by Riksgalleriet, Nasjonalgalleriet and Norsk Kulturråd. His younger artistic years were coloured by radical political expressions influenced by the turbulent political times that existed in Europe.

During his time in Düsseldorf, Kjell Nupen embraced the idea, so present at the academy, that art should mean something. This has resulted in a few symbols he has immersed himself in over the years, such as: the boat (endless journey), car wrecks (nature morte), eagle in flight, tree trunks (homestead),  and the lighthouse (sentimental journey).

During the 1980s human figures were no longer prominent in Nupen’s work,  replaced by motifs from nature. Nupen’s references to Edvard Munch, Matisse, and Eadweard Muybridge can be seen in many of his paintings such as “Flygende over Vann”. Nupen was especially known for his use of the color blue.

Karl Hofer

Karl Hofer, “Jüngling am Fenster (Youth at the Window)”, 1933, Oil on Canvas, Museum Wiesbaden, Germany

Born in 1878 in Karlsruhe, Germany, Karl Hofer was a painter notable for his extensive contributions to the German Expressionist movement. Figurative, conservatively rendered working-class Germans most often adorn his canvases, with his subjects and style varied over the course of his career. The classical portraits of his early years gave way to politically charged Expressionist figures, which, during the Nazi regime, were denounced as “degenerate art”. These finally morphed into his Cubist-inspired compositions of post-war life.

Hofer received little recognition during his early career, and never joined an Expressionist painting group like Die Brücke. By the end of his life, however, Hofer was considered one of the greatest German painters of his time, and his works can now be found in many collections around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Kunsthalle Mannheim in Germany.

Raoul Dufy

Raoul Dufy, “Le Marché aux Poissons à Marseille”, 1905, Oil on Canvas, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain

Raoul Dufy was a French fauvist painter, who developed a colorful, decorative style that became fashionable for the designs of ceramics and textiles. He is also noted for scenes of open-air social events. Dufy was also a printmaker, book illustrator, designer of stage scenery and furniture, and a planner of public spaces.

Dick Goody

Dick Goody, “Haberman Cutting the Grass”, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 54 x36 Inches, Broad Museum, Michigan State University

Professor of Art Dick Goody is an expressionist painter whose work depicts figures, landscapes and still lifes that at times feel to be autobiographical. He earned a master of Fine Arts Degree from the Slade School of Fine Art in London.

The oil on Goody’s canvas works are flat, nuanced, ambiguous and reflect a somewhat consistent color palate, especially his use of the color of red.  On his previous work, Goody used direct words and writing passages which would often dominate the composition. In “Haberman Cutting the Grass”, there is an economy of form and colors in this figure-centered composition and a lack of any graphics..

Edward Munch

Edward Munch, “Bathing Men”, 1907, Oil on Canvas, 81 x 90 Inches, Ateneum, Helsinki, Finland

“Bathing Men” is one of the later works of expressionist artist and printer Edward Munch. Born in Norway in 1863, Munch played a major role in German Expressionism and the art form that later followed; namely because of the strong mental anquish that was displayed in many of his works.

Many of Munch’s works depict life and death scenes, love, and terror. The patterns in his work would often focus on the feeling of loneliness. These emotions were depicted by the contrasting lines, the darker colors, blocks of color, somber tones, and a concise and exaggerated form, which depicted the darker side of the art which he was designing. Munch, a close contemporary of Sigmund Freud, is often and rightly compared with Van Gogh, who was one of the first artists to paint what the French artist called “the mysterious centers of the mind.”

Albert Weisgerber

Albert Weisgerber, “Garçon nu Assis dans un Bois”, 1912, Oil on Board

Albert Weisgerber was a German painter whose work forms a bridge between the Impressionist and early Expressionist movements. He studied at the Munich Art Academy and became friends with Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Karl Arnold. Weisgerber is known today for his cartoons, illustrations, as well as his paintings. He joined the German army in World War I, was promoted to the rank of major and was killed at the age of 37 while participating in the Battle of Fromellles in France.

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Ed Paschke

Ed Paschke, “Gypsy Blue”, 2001, Oil on Linen, 36 x 40 Inches

Ed Paschke was born in Chicago where he spent most of his life as an important painter. He was initially associated in the late 1960s with the second generation of Chicago Imagists who called themselves The Hairy Who. He received his B.F.A. from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 1961 and his M.F.A. in 1970.

Between 1961 and 1970, Paschke lived for a time in New York where he easily came under the influence of the Pop Art movement, in part, because of his interests as a child in animation and cartoons. His fascination with the print media of popular culture led to a portrait-based art of cultural icons. Paschke used the celebrity figure, real or imagined, as a vehicle for explorations of personal and public identity with social and political implications.

Although his style is representational, with a loose affiliation to Photorealism, Paschke’s art plays heavily upon expressionist distortion and abstract form. The often grotesque cast to his paintings suggests an affiliation in spirit with Surrealism, a movement that has historically interested Chicago artists and collectors.

In the 1970s, Paschke’s figures, now presented primarily as headshots in extreme close-ups, began to wear masks and unusual headgear. Colors became electric; forms were increasingly distorted by video-like disturbances; facial features of mouth, eyes, and nose were hollowed out or veiled with aggressive color shapes. These features became standard elements of Paschke’s disquieting and compelling art.

Sonia Gechtoff

Sonia Gechtoff, Top Image: “Children of Frejus”, 1959, Oil on Canvas, Denver Art Museum    Bottom Image: “Tropics”, 1983, Color Etching with Embrossing, Edition of 50, Antique-White German Etchng Wove

Sonia Gechtoff was a prominent Abstract Expressionist painter who experimented with styles and materials throughout her life. She was born in 1926 in Philadelphia, into a family with art it its genes. Her father was a painter and her mother was a gallery owner. Gechtoff received her BA in Fine Arts from the Philadelphia Museum School of Art in 1950. At that time she abandoned figurative art in favor of the abstract.

Sonia Gechtoff also at this time started working with a palette knife to apply her paint on canvas rather than the traditional brush. Sonia refined her palette knife technique, and by the late 1950s, the slashing marks, often applied in a vortexlike way, were a hallmark of her work. In the 1980s, she expanded that technique with increasingly larger and less-controlled acrylic paintings that had elements of realism, architectural and landscape images. She continued to experiment and produce new work in a range of media throughout her life.

Sonia Gectoff, a mainstay of the New York art scene, passed away in February, 2018, at a hospice center in Bronx, New York at the age of 91.

Asgeer Jorn

Asger Jorn, “Green Ballet”, Oil on Canvas, 1960, Guggenheim Museum, New York

Asger Oluf Jörgensen was born in Vejrum, Denmark, on March 3, 1914. He visited Paris in the fall of 1936, where he studied at Fernand Leger’s Académie Contemporaine. During World WarII, Jorn remained in Denmark, painting canvases that reflected the influence of James Ensor, Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Joan Miro, and contributing to the magazine “Helhesten (Ghost Horse)”, working on nine issues from 1941–44.

Jorn traveled to Swedish Lapland in the summer of 1946, met Constant Nieuwenhuys in Paris that fall, and spent six months in Jerba, Tunisia, from 1947–48. His first solo exhibition in Paris took place in 1948 at the Galerie Breteau. At about the same time the group Cobra (an acronym for Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) was founded by Karel Appel, Constant, Guillaume Cornelis Beverloo, Christian Dotremont, Jorn, and Joseph Noiret. The group’s unifying doctrine was the complete freedom of expression with an emphasis on color and brushwork. Jorn edited monographs of the group’s Bibliothèque Cobra before disassociating himself from the movement.

Jorn’s activities included painting, collage, book illustration, prints, drawings, ceramics, tapestries, commissions for murals, and, in his last years, sculpture. He participated in the movement Internationale Situationniste and worked on a study of early Scandinavian art between 1961 and 1965. His first solo show in New York took place in 1962 at the Lefebre Gallery. From 1966 Jorn concentrated on oil painting and traveled frequently, visiting Cuba, England and Scotland, the United States, and Asia. Jorn died on May 1, 1973, in Aarhus, Denmark.

Charles Seliger

Charles Seliger, “Earthscape”, Ink and Acrylic Gel and Oil on Pressed Board, 2000

Charles Seliger was an American abstract expressionist painter. He was born in Manhattan June 3, 1926, and he died on 1 October 2009, in Westchester County, New York. Seliger was one of the original generation of Abstract expressionist painters connected with the New York School

Seliger began his career in 1945 as one of the youngest artists to exhibit at The Art of This Century Gallery, and as the youngest artist associated with the Abstract expressionist movement. The Art of This Century gallery was opened in New York City during World War II in 1942 by Peggy Guggenheim who was then married to the surrealist painter Max Ernst. In 1943, Seliger met and befriended Jimmy Ernst the son of Max Ernst, and who at the age of 23 years was just a few years older than Seliger.

Seliger was drawn into the circle of the avant-garde through his friendship with Ernst. His paintings attracted the attention of Howard Putzel who worked with Peggy Guggenheim. At 19, Seliger was included in Putzel’s groundbreaking exhibition ‘A Problem for Critics’ at the 67 Gallery. .Also in 1945 he had his first solo show at the Art of This Century Gallery. Seliger showed his paintings there until 1947 when Guggenheim closed the gallery and returned to Europe. At 20 the Museum of Modern Art acquired his painting “Natural History: Form within Rock” for their permanent collection.

Conrad Marca-Relli

Conrad Marca-Relli, “Summer Noon – L – 20”, 1968, Oil , Canvas and Burlap Collage on Canvas, 56 x 72 Inches

Conrad Marca-Relli was an American artist born in Boston who belonged to the early generation of New York School Abstract Expressionism. Along with Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell, Marca-Relli was part of the leading art movement of the postwar era.

In 1930 at the age of seventeen, Marca-Relli studied for one year at the Cooper Union, a private arts and science college. He later worked at the Works Progress Administration (WPA) first as a teacher and then painting murals with the Federal Art Project division. After serving in World War II, he taught at Yale University during 1954 and 1955, later teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, during 1959 and 1960.

Marca-Relli’s early still lives, cityscapes and circus paintings are reminiscent of the surrealist work of Giorgio de Chirico. He created many large scale collages throughout his career, combining oil paint with collage, using intense colors, broken surfaces, and splatters of paint in an expressionistic style. His later works showed a simplicity with black or somber colors and more rectangular shapes with neutral backgrounds.