A Gay-Oriented Collection of Art Works, Literary Quotes, Songs, Films, Cubs, Otters, and Other Guys. Please be aware thet there is mature content on this blog. Information and links to sources will be provided unless unknown. Enjoy your visit.
Born in New York City in 1968, Gabrielle Garland is an American painter whose work is centered on the elements of architecture, space, and design. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned her MFA from the University of Chicago. The daughter of artistic parents, Garland was influenced by her early participation in her mother’s profession of decorative painting. She currently resides in New York’s East Village and maintains a studio in Brooklyn.
For the last decade, Garland has been creating a series of images based on rural American architecture. These surreal portraits of houses and apartments, devoid of people, feature exterior views seen from the street and interior scenes arranged with personal domestic furnishings. Executed with a bold palette, the paintings show a fluid, elastic perspective, often containing oblique angles, which gives each home a unique personality. Lacking distinctive architectural features or indications of geographical locations, these anthropomorphic structures could stand anywhere.
Gabrielle Garland has exhibited her work in many group and solo exhibitions at both galleries and public spaces. These include multiple solo shows at the Hap Gallery in Portland, Oregon; the 2014 exhibition at Chicago’s Logan Center; the 2015 group show at MoMA’s Clemente Soto Vélex Cultural Center; multiple showings at Expo Chicago curated by Corbett vs Dempsey; the 2018 Campbell Project Space exhibition in Sydney, Australia; the 2017 Postcards from the Edge: Benefit for Visual Aids held in New York City; and “Chasing Phantoms”, a group show in 2022 at The Pit in Los Angeles, among others.
In addition to her paintings, Garland produced in 2014 the limited edition, black and white “Gabrielle Garland: Coloring Book”, created from a series of her drawings that became paintings of artists’ spaces.
Gabrielle Garland’s website, which contains images of both paintings and drawings, as well as upcoming exhibitions and contact information, can be found at: http://www.gabriellegarland.org
Top Insert Image: Gabrielle Garland, “Untitled 160”, 2020, Acrylic on Canvas over Panel, 55.9 x 68.5 cm
Bottom Insert Image: Gabrielle Garland, Untitled 63 (Green Coffee Table), Oil on Panel, 40.6 x 50.8 cm,
Born in Osaka in 1961, Keisuke Yamamoto is a Japanese lithographer and painter known for his still lifes and landscape images. He graduated in 1986 from historical Kanazawa’s College of Art and Design with a Master of Fine Arts in Oil Painting and then studied lithographic techniques at a printing studio. Since his graduation, Yamamoto has been an independent painter and lithography artist. He currently lives and works in Kyoto where he maintains his atelier.
Lithography, in essence, requires clear systematic planning in its execution; errors can not be corrected. Yamamoto’s hand-drawn stone lithographs, although appearing simplistic, required great forethought and skill in carving. His work does not contain any narrative but instead focuses on the incredible stillness of a moment in time. The beauty of Yamamoto’s work is created by the interactions between time, silence, light and shadow, the composition of which places the viewer as an observing visitor.
In his “Light, Time, Silence” begun in 1992, Keisuke Yamamoto created a series of lithographs which reconstructed three recurring elements, chairs, stairs and windows, which were arranged in multiple settings with different lighting conditions. The main theme for this series was the conception of the natural flow of time. To achieve this, Yamamoto had to depict the surrounding spaces as well as the gradation of light with great accuracy. He was aware that our ability to see and understand the world visually was based on the light that reflected off various objects. Upon light entering our eyes, our brains process the information and present it to us as a particular object with a particular color and shape. Yamamoto understood the illustration of the visual world depends actually on the depiction of light; and the flow of time must be illustrated through changes in that light.
Born in Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire in December of 1917, Francis John Minton was an English illustrator, painter, stage designer and educator. He studied art at St. John’s Wood School of Art in northern London from 1935 to 1938.Minton was introduced to the work of the French Neo-Romantic painters by his fellow student Michael Ayrton, who would become renowned for his writings and sculptural work. Between 1938 to 1939, he spent eight months studying art in France, often in the company of Ayrton, until the start of the second World War necessitated his return to England.
In 1941, John Minton joined the Pioneer Corps, a division of the British Army combatant corps used for light engineering tasks. He received a commission in a light infantry regiment in 1943, but was discharged in the same year on medical grounds. While in the army, Minton, collaborating with Michael Ayrton, designed sets and costumes for actor and theater director John Gielgud’s 1942 production of “Macbeth”. In the same year, they presented their paintings in a joint exhibition at London’s Leicester Galleries. Minton’s intense, realistic work was expressed in dark color schemes and included a self-portrait and cityscapes of streets and bombed buildings.
During the war years, Minton met painters Adrian Ryan and Lucian Freud and developed a close friendship which soon became an intimate sexual relationship with both men that lasted until the late 1940s. After he had seen Freud’s portrait of Francis Bacon, Minton commissioned in 1952 his own portrait from Freud. Between 1943 and 1946, Minton taught illustration at London’s Camberwell College of Arts. He often attended late night sessions at The Colony Room Club, a private members’ drinking and social club known for its debauchery, and visited jazz clubs that dotted London’s Soho district.
After he left Camberwell College, John Minton served as the head of the drawing and illustration department at the Central School of Art and Design from 1946 to 1948. During these years, hecontinued his own work and shared a studio, first with painters and theater set designers Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde, and later with painter Keith Vaughan, all of whom were artists of the Neo-Romantic circle in that immediate post-war period.
Minton began a prolific period of work after 1945; besides entries in group exhibitions, he had seven solo shows at London’s prestigious Lefevre Gallery before 1956. Minton, in addition to creating his paintings and illustrative work, also became a tutor of painting in 1949 at the Royal College of Art, where he taught until the year before his death. By the mid-1950s with the arrival of the newly popular American Abstract Expressionism, Minton’s commitment to figural composition had begun to be ween as out-dated.
John Minton returned to the world of the theater and accepted a commission to design stage sets for two productions by playwright Ronald Duncan for London’s Royal Court Theater, “Don Juan” and “The Death of Satan”. While working at the theater, he met Kevin Maybury, an Australian carpenter working in the scenery department. A relationship soon developed and, by the winter, Maybury had moved into Minton’s house in Chelsea. Maybury became the model for several drawings by Minton and also posed for a portrait in which he is shown seated in his workshop surrounded by the tools of his trade.
Finding his work out of fashion and suffering from psychological problems, Minton began to self-medicate with alcohol. In April of 1956, he left the Royal College of Art on a one-year unpaid leave; his departure caused by a lack of confidence in his own ability as both teacher and painter, and by deep-seated doubts about the relevance of painting in the modern world. He started suffering from extreme mood swings and became more dependent on alcohol. John Minto was found dead on the 22nd of January in 1957. The coroner’s verdict was suicide.
John Minton’s final work, an ambitious large-scale painting, was incomplete at the time of his death and depicted a gravely injured man surrounded by distraught onlookers.On the day before Minton’s death, the painter Ruskin Spear had visited him at his studio and was told that Minton identified the dying figure with Hollywood actor James Dean, who had died two years previously in a car accident. The painting, known as the 1957 “The Death of James Dean”, is clearly unfinished; there were indications through friends that Minton never intended to finish it as he was worried about not being able to break out of his past style.
Minton’s range of work was wide and included designs for stamps, textiles and wallpapers; posters for the London Transport system and Ealing Studios, a television and film producer; large scale paintings for the Royal Academy and the Dome of Discovery exhibition space at the 1951 Festival of Britain; and numerous landscapes of the British countryside. However, he is best remembered for his illustrative work for books, both interior work and book jackets. Among these are poet Alan Ross’s travel book “Time Was Away-A Notebook in Corsica”, author Herbert Ernest Bates’s “The Country Heart”, and two ground-breaking cook books by food writer Elizabeth David.
Born in Lewiston, Maine on January 4th of 1877, Marsden Edmund Hartley was an American Modernist painter, poet, essayist and author.The youngest of eight children, he remained, at the age of fourteen, with his father in Maine after the death of his mother, his siblings having moved to Ohio after the death. A year later in 1892, he joined his family in Cleveland, Ohio, where he began formal art training at Cleveland’s School of Art under a scholarship.
In 1898, Hartley relocated to New York City to study painting under Impressionist William Merritt Chase at the New York School of Art; he also associated with member artists fromthe National Academy of Design. Hartley became a close friend and admirer of allegorical and seascape painter Albert Pinkham Ryder, whom he often visited at his Greenwich Village studio. He also read the writings of Walt Whitman and the Americantranscendentalists such as Emerson and Thoreau.
Between 1900 and 1910, Marsden Hartley spent his summers in the city of Lewiston, located in southern Maine, and the region of western Maine near the village of Lovell. During these summers, he painted what are considered his first mature works, images of Kezar Lake located near the town of Lovell, and Maine’s hillsides and mountains.In 1909, Hartley exhibited these paintings at his first solo exhibition in art promoter Alfred Stieglitz’sinternationally-known Gallery 291, located in Manhattan. Impressed by Hartley’s work, Stieglitz introduced him to the work of the European Modernist artists, such as Picasso, Kandinsky and Matisse.
Hartley traveled to Europe in April of 1912, the first of many visits, and in Paris became acquainted with Gertrude Stein and her circle ofwriters and artists. He was encouraged by Stein, along with poet Hart Crane and novelist Sherwood Anderson, to write as well as paint. Disenchanted after living in Paris for a year, Hartley relocated to Berlin in April of 1913 where he became friends with Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc, and continued his painting. Of his work done in Berlin, two of his still life paintings, inspired by the work of Cézanne, and six charcoal drawings were included in the historic 1913 Armory Show in New York.
Marsden Hartley’s work during this period in Berlin was a combination of German Expressionism and abstraction; his work was also inspired by the pageantry of the German military, though his view of the military changed with the outbreak of war in 1914. In Berlin, Hartley developed a close relationship with a lieutenant in the Prussian Armed Forces, Karl von Freyburg, who was a cousin of Hartley’s friend Arnold Ronnebeck. Infatuated with Freyburg, Hartley would use him as a recurring motif in his works. Although Freyburg survived the Battle of the Marne, for which he was awarded the Iron Cross, he died on October 7th in 1914, at the age of twenty-four, during the Battle of Arras. Hartley was devastated at the announcement of Freyburg’s death.
The works Hartley produced shortly after Freyburg’s death were variations on his post-war themes. However, along with the regimental plumes in his paintings, there were now numbers and letters which had deep significance to Hartley. They included the “K.v.F.” of Freyburg’s initials, coded references to the Iron Cross, Freyburg’s age and regiment numbers, and black and white checkered patterns which referencedFreyburg’s favorite game, chess. Two examples of these memorial pieces are “Portrait of a German Officer” and “Portrait No. 47”, both painted in Berlin and seen in the images above.
Marsden Hartley returned to the United States in early 1916. He traveled and painted from 1916 to 1921 in Provincetown, New York, New Mexico, and Bermuda. Although his works still contained some German iconography, he also painted other subjects, often with homoerotic undertones. After an auction of one hundred of his works at New York’s Anderson Gallery in 1921, Hartley returned to Europe and created still lifes and landscapes using the drawing medium of silverpoint.
Throughout the 1930s, Hartley spent summers and autumns in New Hampshire painting scenes of its mountains. Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, he spent time painting in Mexico which was followed by a year in the Bavarian Alps. After a few months in Bermuda in 1935, Hartley traveled by ship to Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia, where he lived for two summers with the Mason family, who earned their living as fishermen. The deaths of the two Mason brothers, drowned in a hurricane, greatly affected Hartley and inspired a series of portrait paintings and seascapes. Hartley returned to Maine in 1937 where he remained for the rest of his life. He died in Ellsworth, Maine, at the age of sixty-six, on September 2nd of 1943.
Marsden Hartley was not overt about his homosexuality and often diverted attention to other aspects of his work. Most of his works, such as “Portrait of a German Officer”, a homage to Freyburg, and his 1916 “Handsome Drinks”, one of the first paintings Hartley did after his reluctant 1916 return to the United States, are coded in their reference to his sexuality. When he reached his sixties, he no longer felt unease and his works became more intimate, such as his two 1940 paintings “Flaming American (Swim Champ)” and the “Madawaska-Acadian Light-Heavy”, seen in one of the above inserts.
Top Inset Image: Marsden Hartley, “Green Landscape with Rocks, No. 2”, 1935-1936, Oil on Board, 33 x 45.4 cm, Brooklun Museum, New York
Second Insert Image: Richard Tweedy, “Marsden Hartley”, 1898, Oil on Canvas, 66 x 45.7 cm, National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC
Third Insert Image: Marsden Hartley, “Abstraction”, 1912-1913, Oil on Canvas, 118 x 101 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Marsden Hartley, “Madawaska-Acadian Light-Heavy”, 1940, 101.6 x 76.2 cm, Chicago Art Institute
Born in 1953 in London, Chris Plytas is an established contemporary visual artist whose work covers the psychology of self-image and identity. His photographic portraiture works have been admired often for their way of unearthing the primal and sensual core of their subjects, and the way they sometimes straddle the borderline between beatific innocence and animal rage.
From 1974 to 1977, Plytas studied fine art, painting and sculpture at St. Martins School of Art in London and earned a BFA with honors. After graduation, he developed his darkroom skills on landscape and portraiture photography.Plytas alsodid reportage photography for publications, in which he coveredevents such as night clubs, concerts, fashion shows, the Royal Wedding, and the Cannes Film Festival.
During the period form 1977 to 1985, ChrisPlytas did photographic printing, layouts, and personal design realization in London for Vivienne Westwood, the English fashion designer largely responsible for bringing punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream.In 1982, he became Director of Berwick Universal Pictures, Limited, an award-winning documentary film company based in Soho, London.Starting in 1985, Plytas began concentrating on his own personal, black and white, fine art photography, shot with Hasselblad cameras, for exhibition and personal archives.
Chris Plytas’ first series, entitled “Australia”, was shot over a six month period mostly in the New South Wales and Victoria provinces of Australia. This large body of work, consisting of landscape and portraiture, was exhibited in 1987 at London’s Photographers Gallery and toured Europe for six years with support from Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, a public collection of France’s contemporary art.
Starting in 1987, Plytas engaged in a six-year shoot for his series “Hadrian: The Violence and Sexuality of Adolescence” series, a coming of age story shot in real time. His next series “Le Corps Enjeux (The Body)” was shown as part of the Mois de la Photo exhibition, sponsored by Audiovisuel and Kodak,held in Paris in 1988. Plytas spent a year from 1992 to 1993 in the Xi’an and the Yannan regions of China, where he shot his “China: Voyage to the East” portfolio, a series which he dedicated to Sun Wukong, the trickster Monkey King.
Known for his exhibited photographic series, Chris Plytas began to receive commissions for portraiture work. His “Family Portraits” series was commissioned by the De Ganay Archives and, at present, consists of forty-eight individual portraits of members of the French aristocratic family. He has also received portraiture commissions from variousother Europeanand American families
After shooting his “Miami Beach” series in1994.Plytashas continued working, throughout his career, on multiple personal portfolios, some of which have been exhibited and published. These include his “The Burden of Classicism”; “Nature and Nurture”; “Youth: A Retrospective” shot in Italy; “Beach-Scapes” shot inItaly and Sicily; a series entitled “Allegorical Portraits”; and “Blood Ties”, a portfolio documenting family member connections.
In addition to his participation in numerous group exhibitions, Plytashas shown his work in solo gallery exhibitions, includingParis’ Galerie PONS in 1995, Paris’ Galerie Serge Aboukrat in 2000, a 2002 exhibition in Italy entitled “Frascati Doc”, an exhibition project at the Chateau de Courances in France in 2004, and in 2015 a Paris exhibition entitled “What is Erotic?”.
Chris Plytas’ work is available in limited editions and custom portfolios. Private individual or family portraits can be commissioned. His website is located at: https://www.chrisplytas.com/index
Chris Plytas,, Title Unknown (Slogan on Wall), 1992-93, China, Voyage to the East Series, Silver Gelatin Print
Chris Plytas,, “Boy and Girl Entwined”, 1986-2003, The Body Series, Silver Gelatin Print
Born in 1900 in Malnate, a small town near Milan, Italy, Luigi Lucioni was an accomplished etcher and artist who painted precisely described landscapes, still-lifes, and portraits over his sixty year career. Working with a strong feeling for his subjects and with great technical skill. Lucioni was a classical realist with a modern perspective, who drew inspiration from the Italian Renaissance artists, as well as the work of Paul Cezanne and landscape artist Claude Lorrain.
Lucioni’s body of work, both landscape and portraiture, was a result of close observation, meticulous delineation, and the careful positioning of compositional elements. He was paid close attention to the textures, patterns, colors, and the arrangement of shapes that would effect his compositions.
In August of 1911, Luigi Lucioni came to the United States with his family, where they landed in New York Harbor with three hundred-fifty other third-class passengers. After being processed, the family initially moved into an apartment on Christopher Street in Manhattan before finally eventually settling, in 1929, at Union City, New Jersey. At age fifteen, Lucioni entered a competition for admission to Cooper Union, a private college with full scholarships to admitted students, and was accepted.
In 1915, Lucioni began studying drawing and painting at the Cooper Union, where he received sound criticism from painting instructor and muralist William de Leftwich Dodge. Through Dodge’s influence, Lucioni developed a determination not to adapt to current trends in art but to pursue his own artistic vision. At age nineteen, he entered New York City’s National Academy of Design, where he studied etching under William Aueerbach-Levy. As a student, Lucioni met and was acquainted with many in the city’s circle of gay artists, including painter Jared French, photographer George Platt Lynes, writer Lincoln Kirstein, and artist Paul Cadmus, with whom he became romantically involved.
In 1924, Lucioni was awarded a Tiffany Foundation Scholarship, which enabled him to spend part of every year for the next decade painting at Tiffany’s Oyster Bay, Long Island, estate. In 1925 he traveled to Italy for the first time since he had left the country as a boy. Lucioni’s encounter with Italy’s Renaissance art, which included the works of Botticelli, Raphael, and Piranesi, had a profound affect on his developing painting style. Upon his return to the United States from Italy, Luigi Lucioni lived and worked in a townhouse at 33 West 10th Street in New York City.
In 1928, Lucioni painted his “Portrait of Paul Cadmus” which memorialized the passion of both artists for the works of painter Piero della Francesca. Using a modern, close-up format, Lucioni modeled Cadmus against the geometric backdrop of a creased white cloth, capturing a piercing gaze that is at once mysterious and mesmerizing. In 1931, Lucioniwas commissioned to paint a Vermont landscape and, struck by the beauty of the mountains, eventually purchased a farmhouse in 1939 near Manchester, where he spent hissummers.
In 1938, Lucioni met actress and singer Ethel Waters through a mutual friend, writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten, who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance. The result of this meeting was the 1939 “Portrait of Ethel Waters”, which last seen publicly in 1942 and presumed lost, is now in the collection of the Huntsville Museum of Art. In 1939, Lucioni also painted the “Portrait of Jared French” in which he used aclose-up format to capture the textures of French’shair and skin with fine details; Lucioni also highlighted French’s face by placing it against an off-white cloth background.
During the course of his successful career, Luigi Lucioniexhibited in New York with the Ferargil Gallery, the Associated American Artists, and the Milch Gallery. In 1932, he became the youngest person to have a painting purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lucioni passed away on July 22nd of 1988 in New York City..
Lucioni’s work is in the collections of many leading American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Dallas Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Top Insert Image: Luigi Lucioni, “Rose Hobart”, 1934, Oil on Canvas, 76.7 x 61 cm, Private Collection
Middle Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Luigi Lucioni”. 1930, Photographic Print, 13 x 18 cm, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Museum
Bottom Insert Image: Luigi Lucioni, “Resting Athlete”, 1938, Oil on Canvas, 110.5 x 122 cm, Private Collection
Born in 1910, Jacques Azéma was a French artist who made Marrakech his home in 1930. At the age of twenty, he had traveled throughout North Africa, until he finally settled in Morocco, his home for the next fifty years.
Azéma’s work grew from his fascination with Morocco’s geometric patterns prevalent in its architecture, mosques, and tiled walls and floors. Influenced by the works of the Surrealists, his soft, richly colored works include scenes of artisans at work, Marrakech street scenes, entertainers in the Jemma el Fna square, and local traditions among the people.
Azéma’s small-format paintings reveal a dreamlike representation of Morocco, which closely represents the pictorial language of such surrealists as Giorgio de Chirico and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Azéma’s paintings greatly influenced a large number of aspiring Moroccan artists during the 1930s, including Marrakech artist Mohamed Ben Allel, whom Azéma encouraged to paint without heed of traditions.
Jacques Azéma was a professor of drawing and painting in Marrakech. As part of the group organized by Mahjoub Ben Seddik, one of the founders of the Moroccan Labor Union, Azéma taught painting workshops at Casblanca’s École des Beaux-Arts from 1962 to 1974. He also taught animated painting workshps at Marrkech’s Lycée Mangin High School, where he made an impact on its art students.
Jacques Azéma passed away in 1979 in Marrakech. A retrospective of his lifetime achievements and unique body of work was shown in 2008-2009 at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech. Many of his works are in private collections.
Top Image: Carlos Mérida, “The Three Princesses”, 1955, Lacquer and Casein on Parchment on Laminated Wood, 41 z 32 cm, Saint Louis Art Museum
Bottom Image: Carlos Mérida, “Los Hechiceros (Sorcerers)”, 1958, Oil and Polytec on Panel, 70.2 x 109.9 cm, Private Collection
Bornin Guatemala City in December of 1891, Carlos Mérida was a Guatemalan artist who was one of the first artists to fuse European modernism to Latin American themes. His heritage was of mixed Spanish and Maya-Quiché ancestry, a culture he promotedthroughout his career. Although initially studying both art and music, Mérida, due to the partial loss of his hearing at age fifteen, concentrated his talents on his artwork, with a particular emphasis on painting.
Mérida entered Guatemala City’s Institute of Arts and Crafts, and later enrolled at the Institute of Science and Letters, where he became interested in the avant-garde movement. In 1910 at the age of nineteen, Mérida, with the help of Catalan artist, poet and writer Jaime Sabartés, organized his first solo exhibition at the offices of EL Economista, one of Guatemala City’s newspapers. Later in the same year, seeing little opportunity for an art career in Guatemala, he traveled to Europe where he settled in Paris, sought employment, and traveled the continent.
During his stay in Europe, Mérida became acquainted with many of Europe’semerging artists, such as painters Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and Amedeo Modigliani. He also met Latin American artists who were studying in Europe at that time, including Diego Rivera, Ángel Zárraga, and Gerardo Murillo Cornado. Mérida exhibited his work, primarily figurative and landscape, at the Independent Salon and the Biroux Gallery, both located in Paris.
Returning to Guatemala in 1914, Carlos Mérida developed an interest in the diversity of his country’s folklore and pre-Hispanic art,which he began to use as a theme for his work. He exhibited his new work in the following year at his second show in Guatemala, an exhibition that would mark the beginning of modern painting in Guatemala. In 1919, after staying five years in Guatemala, Mérida moved to Mexico City. Gaining recognition for both his easel and mural works, he had his first exhibition in Mexico in 1920 at the National School of Fine Arts and, in the same year, his first show in the United States at the Hispanic Society of New York. One of Mérida’s earliest projects in Mexico was working on the great 1922 mural at the National Preparatory School as an assistant to Diego Rivera, who introduced him to the politically driven Mexican Social-Realism movement.
In the late 1920s, Mérida returned to Europe, where his work underwent a shift inspired by the avant-garde works he encountered. Over the two decades from 1928 to 1948, Mérida had forty-five exhibitions in the United States, including New York’s 1922 Independent Artists Exhibition , and eighteen shows in Mexico, includingthe 1940 International Surrealist Exhibition in Mexico City.
Carlos Mérida is best known for his mural and canvas work, most of which was executed in Mexico. He also did engraving, theater set design, and mosaic work; however, his preference was towards works on canvas. Like his contemporary Rufino Tamayo,with whom he shared a 1930 exhibition at the Art Center of New York, Mérida generally did not paint large-scale narrative paintings, and was more interested in painting than politics. His work was not concerned with the representation of things, but rather a concept of them.
Mérida’s body of work shows a progression of experiments in form, color and techniques, with music and dance, two passions in Mérida’s life, influencing the work’s rhythmic flow.From 1907 to 1926, during the art world’s transition from Impressionism to Cubism, his early work in Europe was figurative, influenced by the works of Picasso and Modigliani. Mérida’s surrealistic phase began in the late 1920s and continued to the middle of the 1940s. At this time, he became one of Mexico’s first non-figurative painters with a series of works leaning towards abstractionism. From 1950 until his death, Mérida’s work is marked with a focus on geometric forms, particularly those found in indigenous cultures such as the Maya.
Carlos Mérida, convinced of a need to establish a natively American art form, felt it was important to emphasize his New World identity and culture. His work reflected on both Aztec and Maya cultures, including its folklore, and promoted its indigenous motifs. Mérida painted the indigenous people and landscapes of Mexico and Central America without the sentimental overtures of his predecessors. The discovery of the Bonampak ruins in 1946, with its temple frescoes, bas-reliefs, and burials, inspired him with new ideas which eventually led to his integrating painting and sculpture into architecture.
In 1932, Mérida, along with Carlos Orozco Romero,founded the dance school of the Secretaiat of Public Education which he oversaw for three years. His interest in dance led to designing stage sets and costumes for twenty-two performances from 1940 to 1979. He also documented one hundred andsixty-two examples of indigenous dance, including pre-Hispanic. Mérida’s first retrospective was in 1966, followed by one in 1981 and again in 1992. A man committed to promoting the handcrafts and folk art of Latin America, particularly those of Guatemala, Carlos Mérida died in Mexico City at the age of ninety-four on December 21st of 1985.
Carlos Mérida’s works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Brazil’s Museo de Arte Moderno in San Paolo, the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.
Top Insert Artwork: Carlos Mérida, Untitled, 1925-27, Lithograph, Images of Guatemala Series, 22.8 x 33 cm, San Antonio Museum of Art
Bottom Insert Artwork: Carlos Mérida, “El Ojo del Adivino (The Eye of the Fortune Teller)”, 1984, Oil on Canvas, 105.2 x 90.7 cm, Private Collection
Born in October of 1848 in Covington, Kentucky, Frank Duveneck was an American etcher and painter. He began painting in his early teens and was employed as an assistant to Wilhelm Lamprecht, a graduate of Munich’s Royal Academy who began a mission to decorate churches in the Cincinnati region. In 1869, Duveneck traveled to Munich where he intended to continue his study of church decoration.
After developing an interest in easel painting, Duveneck enrolled in 1870 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he studied under painters and illustrators Wilheim Diez and Alexander Strähuber.. Gaining distinction for his work, Duveneck won a prize in 1872 that entitled him to a studio of his own. Some of his best known works were painted during his time in Germany, including his 1872 “Whistling Boy”. one of Duveneck’s first renditions of working-class ruffians, now housed in the Cincinnati Art Museum.
Frank Duveneck’s work of this period are painted in a vigorous style that reveals the influence of Wilhelm Leibi, who was the leader of a group of young German realists guided by Frenchrealist Gustave Courbet’s innovative and social-themed work. Duveneck’s early style, with its generally dark colors and expressive brushwork, was a melding of contemporary German practice with his interest in the techniques of the Old Masters, particularly the seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painters.
Duveneck returned to Cincinnati in 1873, and, in the following year, exhibited portraits he had painted in Germany. His reputation as an artist in the United States began with a successful 1875 Boston exhibition of his work where his bold and spontaneous style caused a sensation. Despite encouragement to stay in Boston and paint commissioned portraits, Duveneck returned to Germany where he set up a studio in Munich and began to develop a reputation among its American students.
After a trip to Venice in 1877, Frank Duveneck opened his own painting school in Munich, which soon drew the attention of studying artists. His students, who would become known as the Duveneck Boys, included such future artists as portrait painter and illustrator John White Alexander, and impressionist landscape painters Theodore Wendel and John H. Twachtman. In 1879 Duveneck and his students traveled to Italy, where they would remain for the next two years spending winters in Florence and summers in Venice.
Duveneck was elected to the Society of American Artists in 1880. Around this time, he became interested in etching and produced several works in this medium which were similar in style to those of James Whistler, whom Duveneck had met in Venice. This collection of works were exhibited in a London exhibition in 1881. After 1880 Duveneck altered his painting style to one of lighter colors and less somber lighting effects, which might have been a response to his stay in Italy.
In March of 1886, Frank Duveneck married Elizabeth Boott, one of his students. They lived at Villa Casteliani in Florence for two years and had one son, Frank Boott Duveneck. After his wife’s 1988 death of pneumonia in Paris, Duveneck made the decisionto return in the following year to the United States. He taught painting classes at Cincinnati, New York and Chicago, and frequently traveled to Europe throughout the 1890s. Duveneck became a teacher at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1890 and became a regular faculty member in 1900. He was elected into the National Academy of Design in 1905, and became a full Academician in 1906.
Duveneck exhibited his works in a private room at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco; his works were received with great acclaim, and he was awarded a Special Gold Medal of Honor. Before his death in Cincinnati on January 2, 1919, Frank Duveneck donated a large and important group of his works to the Cincinnati Art Museum, which remains the center for Duveneck studies. His works can be seen at the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, Boston’s Museum of Fine Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.
Top Insert Image:J. Land, Portrait of Frank Duveneck, 1877, Detail, Photographic Sepia Print on Cabinet Card, Smithsonian Institution
Middle Insert Image: Frank Duveneck, “Study for ‘The Harem Guard”, 1879, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 66 cm, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco
Bottom Insert Image: Frank Duveneck, “Self-Portrait”, 1877, Oil on Canvas, Cincinnati Art Museum
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, completinghis 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. Caillebottemade 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
Walter Stuempfig was one of Philadelphia’s most highly regarded painters of the mid-twentieth century. He is known primarily for his landscapes of the Philadelphia area and the shores of New Jersey. Stuempfig’s work is often pervaded with a sense of poetic melancholy that has led to his frequent classification as a romantic realist.
Born in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia in January of 1914, Walter Stuempfig’s initial education was at the Germantown Academy from which he graduated in 1930. He spent a year studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania before enrolling, in October of 1931, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Stuempfig studied under modernist illustrator and painter Henry McCarter, the impressionist landscape painter Daniel Garber and realist landscape painter Francis Speight.
In 1934, Stuempfig won the William Emlen Cresson Memorial Travel Scholarship for study abroad. He traveled frequently to Europe, and he was deeply influenced by the European masters, particularly Nicolas Poussin, Caravaggio, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. From his initial exhibition in 1932 until1966, Stuempfig regularly exhibited in the annual exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy. He had his first successful exhibition, as an American realist painter, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 1942 “Artists for Victory” show.
Discovered by art gallery director R. Kirk Askew, Stuempfig had his first one man show in 1943 at the Durlacher Brothers Gallery in New York. His show was sold out on opening night, with both the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art adding his work to their collections. Stuempfig continued to be represented by the Durlacher Brothers Gallery through 1961. In 1947, the Corcoran Gallery purchased his painting “Two Houses” which had won second prize in the biennial competition that year for contemporary American paintings.
Walter Stuempfig had married his wife Lila Hill, a sculptor who also studied atthe Pennsylvania Academy, in 1935. Upon his wife’s death in 1946, he concentrated more intensely on his artwork. working from his studio in the Chestnut Hill area of northwest Philadelphia. Stuempfigwould spend his summers painting at New Jersey’s shore area and the Manayunk area of Philadelphia. In 1948, he became an instructor in drawing and composition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, where he taught until his death, after a long illness, in November of 1970.
As a painter, Walter Stuempfig worked independently, and remained outside the mainstream of the contemporary artistic movements. He was a prolific artist, producing over fifteen hundred works of figure compositions, landscapes and architectural subjects, portraits, and still lifes, all done in the style of romantic realism. Stuempfig had a subtle and polished painting technique; his figurative work had a great subjectivity, which was often infused with nostalgia and personal sentiment.
Walter Stuempfig’s paintings can be found in many private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Top Insert Image: Walter Stuempfig, “Queen of the Seas Casino”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 48.1 x 55.9 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Walter Stuempfig, “Sturgeon”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 45.7 x 35.6 cm, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
Born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 27, 1883, Jesse Hazel Arms was a painter, illustrator, printmaker, and muralist. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago under Danish-American portraitist John Johanson and spent the summers studying with marine painter Charles Woodbury at his summer art colony school in Oguinquit, Maine. Following a short trip to Europe in 1909, Arms returned to her hometown of Chicago, where she worked as an artist and interior decorator.
Jesse Arms moved in 1911 to New York City where she became a student of painter and interior designer Albert Herter. She obtained employment with his company Herter Looms, a tapestry-textile design and manufacturing firm in New York City, where she specialized in tapestry cartoons until leaving the company in 1915. During her employment with Herter Looms, Arms assisted Albert Herter with his mural project for the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco and worked with Herter’s wife, still-life and portrait painter Adele Herter, as a private home decorator.
Returning to her hometown of Chicago in 1915, Jesse Arms married Dutch-born painter and etcher Cornelius Botke. Together, they worked on murals in Chicago for the Kellogg Company and for the University of Chicago’s Noyes Hall, the social hub of the campus. In 1916, Jesse Arms gave birth to their only child, William. By 1917, after multiple exhibitions, she had gained recognition for her work and had won many awards both in Chicago and southern California.
Following an initial visit in 1918 to California, Arms and her family relocated in 1919 to Carmel, California, where they became influential figures in the local art colony. The family eventually settled in 1927 on a ranch in Santa Paula, California, where Arms continued to paint and contributed to the managing ofthe ranch. A prolific exhibitor of her work and member of both the California Art Club and the California Watercolor Society, Jesse Arms Botke died on October 2, 1971 in Santa Paula, California.
Jesse Arms was a prominent figure of the California School of Impressionism and became known for her exotic and richly decorated bird studies. Her highly detailed work depicted birds set in each species’ natural settings with an abundance of flora. Arms typically used oil paints, but also worked in watercolors and gouache; the backgrounds in her work were frequently embellished with gold and silver leaf. Arms also portrayed other subjects including genre and desert landscapes, and Native American figures.
Among the prizes award to Jesse Arms’s work are the 1918 Cahn Prize and the 1926 Shaffer Prize, both from the Art Institute of Chicago, and the 1938 Carpenter Prize from the Chicago Society for Sanity in Art. Her work can be seen in the collections of the San Diego Museum, Municipal Gallery of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Born on October 23, 1903 in Huntsville, Alabama, Maurice Grosser was an American writer, art critic, and painter. He attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in Mathematics with honors in 1924. While at Harvard, Grosser received painting instruction from painter and professor Denman Ross, a trustee of Boston’s Museum of Fine Art. Grosser also studied both life drawing and painting at Boston’s Architectural School and South Boston’s Art School,
Awarded Harvard’s Sheldon Fellowship for a two year period, Grosser was able to study painting in both France and Italy. In 1925 in Paris, he met for the second time and began a relationship with American composer and critic Virgil Thomson, who became his life partner and frequent collaborator. After meeting Gertrude Stein in Paris in 1926, they returned to the United States and took up residence at New York’s Hotel Chelsea, where they presided over a salon which attracted leading figures in the arts, such as writer and poet Frank O’Hara, composer Leonard Bernstein, author Tennessee Williams, and avant-garde composer John Cage
Maurice Grosser first began his collaborative work with Virgil Thomson around 1928, when he assisted in the production ofThomson’s new opera “Four Saints in Three Acts”. The libretto for the opera was prepared by Gertrude Stein, the music was composed by Thomson, and the scenario was developed by Grosser. This opera was noted for its musical content, its form, and its portrayal of the European saints by a cast of black performers, with singers directed by Eva Jessye, a prominent black choral director.
Grosser next worked with Thomson on his provocative 1947 opera “The Mother of Us All”, based on the life of social reformer Susan B.Anthony. The libretto for this opera was written by Gertrude Stein, who sent the finished workto Thomson in March of 1946, just a few months before her death in July. The two-act opera premiered in May of 1947 with soprano Dorothy Dow as Susan B. Anthony. The work was a 1956 Off-Broadway production, part of the Santa Fe Opera’s 1976 season, and staged at the New York City Opera in 2000 and the San Francisco Opera in 2003.
A third collaboration between Maurice Grosser and Thomson was the 1985 “18 Portraits”. For many years, they had made portraits, some dating from the 1920s, of mutual friends in both music and paint forms. The portraits of each sitter were presented in eighteen separate bi-folios, with a single sheet insert consisting of two pages of music and an original lithograph of apencil and charcoal portrait.
A writer as well as a painter, Maurice Grosser lived among a circle of avant-garde authors, artists, and musicians. He spent long periods living and working abroad, first in Paris and later in Morocco, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Israel, Nigeria, Canada, and Brazil. As an artist, Grosser painted in a conservative realist style, in which he depicted structured landscapes in New England, and in the southern and western states. He was also a portraitist whose more famous subjects werehis companion, composer Virgil Thomson, Scottish operatic soprano Mary Garden, writer and playwright Jane Bowles, and British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead.
Between 1956 and 1967, Maurice Grosser served as art critic for “The Nation” magazine. As an author, he wrote four books on painting and art criticism, including “Painting in Public / Painting in Our Time” in 1948 and republished in 1964; “The Painter’s Eye” in 1951; the 1962 “Critic’s Eye”; and “Painter’s Progress” in 1971. Grosser’s memoir entitled “Visiting Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas” was published posthumously in 2006 by New York Review Books.
Maurice Grosser died on December 22, 1986, at the age of eighty-three. His ashes are interred at Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. Virgil Thomson died on September 30, 1989, in his suite at the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan at age ninety-two.
Note: Maurice and Virgil first met in 1920 while both were attending meetings of The Liberal Club at Harvard; but the intimate relationship between the two would not fully evolve until they met by chance in 1925 at the Parisian cafe “Deux Magots”.
Top Insert Image: Maurice Grosser, “Self Portrait”, 1925, Oil on Canvas, Location Unknown
Middle Insert Image: Maurice Grosser, “Self-Portrait”, 1985, Lithograph, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Carl Van Vechten, “Maurice Grosser”, 1935, Silver Gelatin Print, Library of Congress
Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, “Toteninsel (Isle of the Dead)”, ca 1905, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150 cm, Private Collection
The son of a painter and teacher, Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach was born in the city of Hadamar, Germany,in February of 1851. He received his initial training in the arts from his father Leonard Diefenbach, but also worked as a design draftsman for several photo studios and a railroad construction company. In 1872, Diefenbach traveled to Munich where he gained employment with Hanfstaengel, a photography publishing house, and entered the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, under historical painter Wilhelm Lindenschmit the Younger. In his studies, he became inspired by the Symbolist movement, particularly by the works of Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin.
Stricken with typhus in 1873, Diefenbach began to develop an increasing interest in alternative lifestyles. After having a visionary experience, he founded the alternative community Humanitas in an abandoned stone quarry near Höllriegelskreuth, located nineteen kilometers south of Munich. This community was centered on a return to nature, the rejection of religion, a basic vegetarian diet, and the end of monogamy. In 1887, Symbolist painter and illustrator Hugo Höppener, known as Fidus, joined the community and, with Karl Diefenbach, worked on the sixty-eight meter, monumental silhouette frieze entitled “Per Aspera ad Astra”.
An oddity in the era due to his lifestyle, Karl Diefenbach, after repeated conflict with his social surroundings including local authorities, accepted the invitation of Salzburg’s Art Association and relocated with his family to Vienna.While in Vienna, he met and taught the Czech abstractionist painter and graphic artist Frantiek Kupka. Diefenbach’sunorthodox lifestyle forced a second relocation; this time he traveled to Egypt where his work focused on the ancient ruins and temples of the land. Returning to Vienna in 1897, he founded a country commune, Himmelhof, near Vienna, which disbanded after two years.
Despite the many exhibitions of his work, Karl Diefenbach was not successful commercially, which forced him to declare bankruptcy. He traveled to Italy in 1900 and settled on the island of Capri where he exhibited his works to visitors for a small fee, explained his philosophy of life, and sold small versions of his major works. The years Diefenbach spent on Capri were the most productive of his life. He produced many large scale depictions of the island’s landscapes, most were scenes of grottos and cliffs, but all were infused with reflections on his inner searching.
The Symbolist painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach died on the island of Capri in December of 1913. After years of obscurity, his work was honored in a successful 2009 exhibition held at Villa Stuck in Munich, and two years later at the Hermes Villa in Vienna. A museum of his work was founded in 1974 in Certosa di San Giacomo on Capri, and many of his works can be seen in the Jack Daulton Collection in Los Altos Hills, California.
Note: Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach’s 1905 “Isle of the Dead” was inspired by the famous painting of the same name by the Swiss symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin, whose work Diefenbach held in much esteem.
Arnold Böcklin painted five versions of his “Isle of the Dead” between 1880 and 1901. He provided no explanation for the painting’s image; the title was not specified by Böcklin, but was given by the art dealer Fritz Gurlitt in 1883. The inspiration for it was evoked, in part, by the landscape of the English Cemetery in Florence, Italy, where Böcklin resided for many years.
Top Insert Image:Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, Der Rettung Entgegen, 1900, Oil on Canvas, 65.5 x 90.5 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert mage:Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, The Great Sphinx of Giza, 1903, Oil on Canvas, 240 x 335 cm, Private Collection
Naur Cavalcante is a designer and photographer, specializing in portraiture and commercial advertising, working in both Três Lagoas and São Paulo, Brazil. His work has been presented in the magazines: “Revista Planter”, “Revista Ella”, “Em Focco”, and the online magazines “Image Amplified” and “Morphosis”.
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.
Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in October of 1820, Lorenz Frølich was a painter, illustrator, etcher and graphic artist. He initially studied in Copenhagen under painter Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, now referred to as the Father of Danish painting, and in Dresden between 1843 to 1846 under fresco painter Eduard Julius Bendemann. Frølich later traveled to Paris and studied under historical painter Thomas Couture from 1852 to 1853.
During his academic period, Frølich was influenced, by the impressionist movement through his friends Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Alfred Stevens, and constantly exhibited his work at the salons. Through his friendship with painter Thorald Læssøe, Frølich met painter and graphic artist John Thomas Lundbye, an encounter which swiftly turned into a close relationship. Existing correspondence between the two men shows their friendship was both intellectual and romantic, and lasted until at least 1840.
Nordic sagas and the Danish landscape became the focus of both Frølich’s and Lundbye’s work as they traveled the country to depict the national flora, landscapes and local people. The two artists also did extensive illustrative work, specifically for children’s books. There are several personal works showing the strong bond and collaboration between the two artists during this period: a 1839 portrait of Frølich by Lundbye, now in the Hirschsprung Collection; Frølich’s 1939 “Portrait of the painter J. Th. Lyndbye”; caricatures made by Frølich in 1839 of Lyndbye as a dog; and Frølich’s drawing of the two artists painting outside in June 1839.
Lorenz Frølich produced original etchings for the 1853-55 “Illustreret Danmarkshistorie for Folket (Illustrated Danish History for the People)”; the 1844 “De Tvende Kirketaarne (The Second Church Tower)” by Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger; and the 1845 “Die Götter des Nordens (Gods of the North)”. Frølich’s illustrative work for author Hans Christian Andersen’s stories and the editions published by Pierre-Jules Hetzel in Paris, particularly Frølich’s realistic and candid depictions for the work “Mademoiselle Lili à Paris”, brought him recognition as a renowned illustrator.
Frølich was part of a circle of young Danish artists that, during the 1830s and 1840s, directed their attention towards the creation of a nationalistic form of Nordic art, with the aim of imitating nature in its purest form. He married Carolina Charlotta in de Betou in 1855 and was appointed a professor at Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Art in 1877. For the celebration of Frølich’s eightieth birthday held in November of 1900, Danish composer and violinist Carl Nielsen wrote the “Kantate til Lorenz Frølich-Festen”. Lorenz Frølich died in 1908 in Hellerup, Denmark.
Insert Image: Lorenz Frølich, “Self Portrait”, 1860s, Oil on Canvas, 22 x 18 cm, Private Collection
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in December of 1926, David Levine was an American artist and illustrator. He studied painting at the Pratt Institute in New York and, later in 1946, attended Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, graduating with a degree in education. Levine also studied under painter and teacher Hans Hoffman, whose teaching had a significant influence on post-war American avant-garde artists, including Helen Frankenthaler and Larry Rivers.
Along with doing illustrative work for publications, David Levine produced a body of paintings, many of which were destroyed in a later 1968 fire. Most of Levine’s paintings are watercolors, including portraits of ordinary citizens, seaside images of distinctive architecture, and scenes of vacationers enjoying the day at the beach. He often painted scenes of garment workers, remembering the workers in his father’s garment factory, and scenes of the bathers and amusement rides at Coney Island, a section of his Brooklyn hometown.
Together with portrait artist Aaron Shikler, David Levine founded a salon for artists interested in collective sketching and painting, the Painting Group, in 1958. In the early 1960s, he developed his skills as a political illustrator. He illustrated his first work for The New York Review of Books in 1963, subsequently drawing more than thirty-eight hundred caricatures of famous artists, writers and politicians for the Review’s publication. Levine produced other work of combined equal quantity for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone Magazine, Time, Sports Illustrated, and Playboy, among others.
David Levine was elected in 1967 into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member and became a full Academician in 1971. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, and several collections have been published, including Knoph’s 1978 “The Arts of David Levine” and the book “American Presidents”, published in 2008 by Knoph, which features his drawings of U.S. Presidents, covering a span of five decades.
In 2006, David Levine was diagnosed with macular degeneration, and with the gradual loss of his vision, produced no new work after April of 2007. A man who drew people of all political persuasions with the same acid treatment, David Levine died in December of 2009 of cancer at the age of eighty-three.
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.
Born in September of 1952 in Gonaīves, Haiti, Henry-Robert Brésil began to paint in his childhood, fascinated by the landscape of Haiti and its wildlife. At twenty-one years of age, he moved to Port au Prince in 1973, where his luminous jungle landscapes, instantly recognizable for his repetitive use of jungle vegetation, often populated with pink flamingos, received much attention. Although the majority of his oil on canvas work is of medium size, Brésil has also painted canvases of monumental size, with skyless scenes filling the surface.
Brésil won the ISPAN-UNESCO Prize in 1981 from its Institute for the Safeguarding of the National Patrimony. After the award, he began exhibiting in all the major galleries of Haiti. Recognized in major art books on Haitian art, Brésil’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including in the United States, Italy, France, Switzerland, Japan, Puerto Rico, and his native country of Haiti.
A meticulous artist who became quite eccentric in his later years, Henry-Robert Brésil was tragically killed, at the age of forty-seven, in 1999 during a violent altercation that took place at a local market restaurant.