Igor Sychev

The Paintings of Igor Sychev

Born in February of 1987 in the northern city of Nadym, Igor Sychev is a Russian artist known for his Magic-Realistic figurative paintings. At the age of five years having shown an inclination towards the arts, his parents enrolled him in the city’s art school where he studied until the age of sixteen. Sychev left Nadym upon graduation and relocated to Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, where he entered the Faculty of Industrial Design at the State Academy of Architecture, Design and Fine Arts.

After graduating from the Academy in 2010, Sychev moved to Moscow, which as Russia’s capital offered wider prospects for a career and self-expression. He soon obtained employment as an industrial designer and created designs for furniture and interior spaces. In 2011 while working in the design field , Sychev began a personal study of oil painting techniques. Over the next ten years, Igor Sychev gradually redirected his energies into pursuing a career as a painter. 

In addition to the primary medium of oil paints, Igor Sychev also produces works in the mediums of watercolor, pencil, sepia and charcoal. His work is inspired by the works of the recognized Master artists , such as Michelangelo’s “David”, who viewed the nude male body as a source of beauty, Other influences on Sychev’s work include the paintings of Lucian Freud and Egon Schiele, the large-scale expressive paintings of Paolo Troilo, painter Gregory Little’s boldly colored figures in everyday scenes,  and Portuguese painter Carlos Barahona Possollo’s male nude paintings.   

As the present politics and attitudes in Russian are predominantly homophobic, Igor Sychev has not been able to exhibit in galleries or museums. He holds his private exhibitions in establishments offered by friends. Sychev’s work is held in many private collections throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, and South Africa, among others. 

Images of Igor Sychev’s paintings, watercolors and drawings, as well as contact information, can be found at the artist’s website located at: https://www.igorsychev.com

Bottom Insert Image: Igor Sychev, “Concrete Colours” Sketch, Date Unknnown, White/Black Pencil and Pen on Paper, Artist Collection (Available)

Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi

Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi, “Subway Exit, 1946, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 66 cm, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University

Born in April of 1906 in Cairo, Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi was an American painter. He was the only son of Talmiro Guglielmi, a violinist and viola player with Arturo Toscanini’s orchestra, and Dometilla Secchi Guglielmi, who returned to her native Milan shortly after her son’s birth. Talmiro Guglielmi toured with Toscanini’s orchestra throughout Australia, Europe and the Americas. After a tour through Canada, Brazil and North America with Russian ballerina Anna Pavolova, he brought his family to New York City where the settled in the largely Italian immigrant community of East Harlem.

At a young age, Louis Guglielmi pursued an interest in sculpture and worked in a local bronze casting facility in the city. During his high school years,.he began in 1920 evening art classes at the National Academy of Design and studied sculpture at Manhattan’s Beaux Arts Institute. In 1923, Guglielmi  left high school to concentrate full-time on courses at the National Academy. At his life drawing class, Guglielmi met fellow student Gregorio Prestopino, who is known for his  social realist scenes of the urban working-class executed  in the style of the Ashcan School . Through their college years, the two men shared a studio space in the city. 

After his graduation in 1926, Guglielmi struggled financially for six years and took various inadequately-paid jobs to support his painting. In 1927 at the age of twenty-one, he was granted citizenship in the United States. Guglielmi relocated in 1932 to the New England area and, once again, began a serious period of intense painting. With the aid of a fellowship, he was able to spend eleven summers at the prestigious MacDowell Art Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The solitude of the scenery surrounding the colony and Guglielmi’s interactions with his fellow artists inspired him and focused a new  direction to his work: the plight of humanity caught in the midst of the Great Depression.

During the early 1930s as the Depression settled on the country, Louis Guglielmi applied for relief from the government. In 1934, he managed to secure meager wages as a painter for the Works Project Administration, the federal New Deal program the employed jobseekers, mostly men and not formally educated, for public works projects. This program subsidized many artists and craftsmen in the 1930s. Guglielmi worked with the WPA for five years during which time he traveled and painted both easel work and murals.

Having seen Guglielmi’s work for the WPA, prominent art dealer Edith Gregor Halpert invited him in 1936 to join the group of artists at her Downtown Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village. In 1938, Guglielmi showcased his paintings in his first solo exhibition which was held at Halpert’s gallery to major critical acclaim. On May 22nd in 1939, he married Anne Di Maggio, who seven years later gave birth to a son.

Louis Guglielmi’s work just before the Second World War were often bleak images of suffering. He spent 1943 through 1945 in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, a time in which he did not produce any paintings. Guglielmi’s existing work, though, was in included in the 1943 “American Realists and Magic Realists” exhibition held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. After his experiences in the war, Guglielmi’s work changed in style and content; he became more concerned with the formal issues of society: poverty, the living and working conditions of the poor, and the political issues of the time.

Guglielmi became influenced at this time by the work of Fauvist painters Joan Miró and Henri Matisse, and the bold, colorful paintings of his friend Stuart Davis. His paintings lightened in spirit and communicated to the viewer a sense of energy and optimism. Guglielmi’s body of work contains aspects of all the various movements of his time: surrealism, cubism, geometric abstraction, regionalism and social realism. His experiments with form, a major component of his work, set him apart from the prevailing American style of Abstract Expressionism, which in effect marginalized his status as a contemporary painter.

Louis Guglielmi was an instructor of art at Manhattan’s New School of Social Research from 1950 to 1951. Beginning in June of 1950, he taught at Louisiana State University, first as a visiting artist and later in the position of an associate professor which he held until 1953. In 1952, Guglielmi was presented a Temple Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy in recognition of his work.

With the intention of remaining in Europe for the summer, Guglielmi  traveled to Italy in the spring of 1956. However, after four days in Italy, he returned back to the United States. That summer, Guglielmi took his wife and ten-year old son to their new home in Amagansett, a small town located on the eastern tip of Long Island, New York. On September 3rd of 1956, Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi died of a sudden heart attack. A retrospective of his work, entitled “O. Louis Guglielmi” The Complete Precisionist”, was held in February of 1961 at New York’s distinguished Nordness Gallery. 

Note: In January of 2014, Guglielmi’s works, including his 1946 “Subway Exit”, were presented as part of the Georgia Museum of Art’s exhibition “Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy”. This show was a historical reproduction of the 1946 traveling exhibition “Advancing American Art” that was sponsored by LeRoy Davidson of the U.S. State Department. The  2014 “Art Interrupted” show reunited all the paintings of the original exhibition and scrutinized the U.S. State Department’s use of fine art as a tool in the Cold War. Works in the exhibition included paintings by such artists as Georgia O’Keefe, Edward Hopper, Marsden Hartley, Ben Shahn, and Stuart Davis.

LeRoy Davidson’s intent for the 1946 traveling collection was to exhibit the diversity of American art, demonstrate the power of democracy, and promote good will among the United States, Europe and Latin America. The exhibition, however, received intense criticism from the press. Provoked by the press, members of the U.S. Congress and President Harry Truman deemed the art in the show un-American. By 1948, all seventy-nine works in the show were auctioned off. Davidson was forced to resign, his position in the State Department was abolished, and the entire project ridiculed in the press.

Second Insert Image: O. Louis Guglielmi, “The Amrican Dream”, 1935, Oil on Masonite, 54.6 x 76.2 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: o. Louis Guglielmi, “One Third of a Nation”, 1939, Oil and Tempera on Wood, 76.2 x 61 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Fifth Insert Image: Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi, “View in Chambers Street”, 1936, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: O. Louis Guglielmi, “Relief Blues”, circa 1938, Tempera on Fibreboard, 61.1 x 76.2 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC

 

Luchita Hurtado

The Artwork of Luchita Hurtado

Born in Maiquetia, Venezuela in November of 1920, Luchita Hurtado was a painter whose work, with its strong feminist and environmental themes, crossed many different cultures and art movements. Although her career spanned over eight decades, she only received wide recognition for her art towards the end of her life.

In her early years, Luchita Hurtado lived in New York City with her mother, older sister and aunts. She studied Fine Art at the Art Student League and volunteered at “La Prensa”, the largest and oldest daily Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, where she met her first husband, Chilean journalist Daniel de Solar. In 1938 at the age of eighteen, Hurtado married Daniel de Solar and had two children together. The family relocated to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic after an invitation with a request to start a newspaper arrived from Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic.

Returning to the United States, Hurtado and her family settled back in New York City where they associated with many artists and journalists, among whom were Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo, artist and landscape designer Isamu Noguchi, surrealist artist and collector Wolfgang Paalen, and Japanese-American dancer Ailes Gilmour, who was Noguchi’s half-sister. In 1942, Hurtado divorced de Solar and subsequently married Wolfgang Paalen. Beginning  in 1944, Luchita Hurtado produced window displays and painted murals for Bloomingdale’s, a luxury department store in New York City. She also did freelance work as an illustrator for the mass media company Condé Nast and worked as a muralist for the Lord and Taylor department store in the city. 

In 1946, Luchita Hurtado and husband Wolfgang Paalen traveled to Mexico to research pre-Columbian art. A research article by Paaalen, with photographs taken by Hurtado, was published in the 1952 edition of the French literary and artistic journal “Cahiers d’Art”. After her divorce from Wolfgang Paalen, Hurtado moved to Los Angeles in 1951 with fellow painter Lee Mullican, whom she married in the late 1950s. Lee Mullican would remain with her until his death in 1998.

In 1970, Hurtado founded the feminist group, Los Angeles Council of Women Artists. She participated in their first exhibition at the Long Beach Museum of Art, “Invisible/Visible”, which was organized by multi-media artist Judy Chicago and sculptress Dextra Frankel. In 1974, Hurtado had a solo exhibition at the Woman’s Building, a non-profit arts and education center which focused the women’s movement and feminist art.

Except for her two exhibitions and work produced for Bloomingdale’s and Conde Nast, Luchita Hurtado’s artwork was largely unknown until 2015. Ryan Good, who was cataloguing the estate of Hurtado’s deceased husband Lee Mullican, found paintings signed “LH” among others in the collection. He showed these paintings to Paul Soto, founder of Los Angeles’s Park View Gallery, who gave Hurtado her second ever solo exhibition, “Luchita Hurtado: Selected Works, 1942-1952”, a two-month show which opened in November of 2016. Hurtado was ninety-six years old at the opening of the show.

With the recognition generated by the solo exhibition, Luchita Hurtado’s career erupted. Her work was included in the Hammer Museum’s 2018  “Made in L. A.” exhibition and received a good review from the L.A. Times and favorable critical reception. Hurtado’s paintings caught the attention of Hans Ulrich Obrich, a Swiss art curator and the artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries, two prestigious galleries located in central London. He gave Hurtado her first international solo exhibition entitled “Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn”. 

Luchita Hurtado’s work contain elements from the avant-garde and modernist movements of the twentieth-century, including magical realism, abstraction, and surrealism. She used womb imagery in her works long before it appeared in the feminist art movement of the late 1970s. One of Hurtado’s  best known series of works is the “I Am” images of the 1960s, self-portraits painted by her looking down at her own body. Taking up the issue of climate change, Hurtado painted more specific environmental themes, some of which contained block-lettered texts such as “Mother Earth” and “We Are Just a Species”. 

Hurtado’s artwork depicting nude women contain loosely surrealistic forms that draw inspiration from pre-Columbian art, cave paintings, and abstraction in sculpture and paintings. Through her work, she focused attention on the edges of the body and the language used to bridge the gap between ourselves and others. Hurtado expressed this connection through images that coupled the intimate gestures of the body with the vastness of the sky and earth. 

In February of 2020, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art held a retrospective of Luchita Hurtado’s work. She remained active in the arts until her death, at the age of ninety-nine, in August of 2020. Hurtado was named as one of ‘Time” magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019. Her work is in many private collections and public collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. 

Note: An interesting article on the life of Luchita Hurtado, which includes early photographs and video of Hurtado discussing her life , can be found at the Whipple Russell Architects site located at: https://whipplerussell.com/blog/critically-acclaimed-in-her-90s-modernist-luchita-hurtado

Second Inser Image: Luchita Hurtado, “Birth”, 2019, Acrylic on Linen, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Luchita Hurtado, “Encounter”, 1971, Detail, Oil on Canvas, 12 x 243 cm, Hauser and Wirth Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Oresti Tsonopoulos, “Luchita Hurtado”,  2018

Felice Casorati

The Paintings of Felice Casorati

Born in December of 1883 in Novara, Felice Casorati was an Italian artist known for his sculptures and paintings, which were rendered from unusual perspectives and often featured obscure symbols. He spent his formative years in the northeastern city of Padua where he developed an interest in literature and music. Casorati studied law at the University of Padua, graduating in 1906, and frequented the atelier of  painter and sculptor Giovanni Viannello.  

Casorati began painting in 1902; his earliest paintings were influenced by the symbolism of the Vienna Secession, a movement, closely related to Art Nouveau, which sought to unite all the disciplines of art into one movement. These early works of Casorati were exhibited at the 1907 Venice Biennale. Casorati’s adherence to symbolist ideals was reinforced after meeting and seeing the work of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, one of the founders of the Vienna Secession, at the 1910 Vienna Biennale. 

Felice Casorati spent the years between 1908 and 1911 in Naples, where he often visited the Museo di Capodimonte and viewed the work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the Dutch Renaissance painter whom he particularly admired. Casorati relocated to Verona in 1911, where, along with poet and engraver Umberto Zerbinati and painter and graphic artist Pino Tedeschi, he founded the periodical “La Via Lattea (The Milky Way)”, for which he executed several symbolist woodcuts. For a brief period between 1914 and 1915, he abandoned his secessionist style and made expressionist woodcuts in the manner of Tuscan artists, such as Lorenzo Viani and Moses Levy.

Casorati’s first solo exhibition of his symbolist-influenced work was at the 1915 Secession III show held in Rome. Before being drafted into the Italian Army in 1915, he also executed his first sculptures in varnished terra cotta, a medium also favored by his friend, the sculptor Arturo Martini. After the end of World War I, Casorati settled at Turin in 1918 and became a prominent figure in the intellectual and artistic circles, including the conservative Return to Order movement which called for the rejection of the avant-garde in favor of a more traditionalist approach. 

In Turin, Felice Casorati established friendships with composer and pianist Alfredo Casella and with the anti-fascist, political activist Piero Gobetti, who founded in February of 1922 the weekly magazine “De Rivoluzione Liberale”. Casorati supported the magazine and Gobetti , in return, championed Casorati’s work in Marxist writer and journalist Antonio Gramsci’s weekly newspaper, the “Ordine Nuovo”. Due to his radical associations, Casorati was arrested with an anti-Fascist group by the authorities for a brief period in 1923 and, subsequently, avoided antagonizing the regime.

The work Casorati produced in the 1920s was radically different from his pre-war work, which he now considered to be immature. The figures in his new work were solidly constructed and set securely in spaces organized by linear perspective theories established in the Italian Renaissance period of the fifteenth-century. Casorati was also influenced by Italian painter Andrea Mantegna’s work with its dramatically foreshortened figures, and the work of painter Piero della Francesca, known for his mathematical treatises and geometrically-composed paintings. 

In 1922, Felice Casorati painted what is considered his most famous work “Silvana Cenni”, a portrait inspired by the work of Piero della Francesca, which features a stern woman in a seated, symmetrical,  frontal view positioned in front of an open window. This tempera work on canvas, composed of carefully rendered volumes, became an iconic portrait of the traditional and period art of Italy which is now known as Magical Realism. 

Beginning in 1923, Casotati opened his atelier to young art students in Turin, many of who would form Torino’s Group of Six, and emerging artists such as self-taught artist and writer Quinto Martini. He was also the co-founder of the Antonio Fontanesi Fine Arts Society, which organized exhibitions of both nineteenth-century and contemporary Italian and foreign art. Casorati was appointed a Professor of Interior Design in 1928 at Turin’s Accademia Albertina, a post he held until appointed as its Chair of Painting in 1941.  

Felice Casorati was commissioned by his patron, Turin industrialist Ricardo Gualino, to work with architect Alberto Sartoris on the Piccolo Teatro in Milan and other decorative works. Casorati also designed costumes and sets for Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and the Maggio Musicale, the annual arts festival in Florence. Once again working with Sartoris, he  designed a building for part of the Piedmontese Pavilion at the 1927 International Biennale in the city of Monza. Casorati  exhibited his work widely throughout Italy and won the First Prize at the 1939 Venice Biennale.

The majority of Casorati’s later paintings were done in a softer palette with  a more gentle perspective. He produced over one hundred-fifty prints in his lifetime, in which he experimented with a variety of techniques that incorporated slate, papyrus and terra cotta matrixes. The simplified mannequin-like figures, which featured in Casorati’s prints of the late 1920s, remained in his etchings, linocuts, and lithographs for the length of his career.

Felice Casorati passed away on March 1, 1963. Most of his important works are in Italian private and public collections, including Trieste’s Modern Art Revoltella Museum and  Rome’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Museums holding Casorati’s art in their collections include the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Musrum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others.

 

Dick Hendrik Ket

Paintings by Dick Hendrik Ket

Born in 1902 in the small port town of Den Helder, The Netherlands, Dick Ket was a magic realist painter. He was born with a serious heart defect, probably a symptom of Fallot, incurable at that time and causing insufficient nourishment of tissues and organs. 

In his childhood, Ket was encouraged by two teachers who appreciated his artistic talent. His drawing teacher, Johan C. Kerkemeijer directed him toward the techniques of oil painting. His science teacher Henri Adrien Naber, an author and theosophist, encouraged him to look into the relationship between geometry and mysticism. 

After studying art at the Kunstoefening Arnhem Academy from 1922 to 1925, Ket could no longer travel, becoming debilitated by chronic fatigue and growing phobias. He lived in seclusion with his parents in the small town of Bennekom, not venturing out of the house until after 1930. Ket’s exposure, through reproductions, to the art of painter Neue Sachlichkeit in 1929 led him to concentrate his work in the magic realist style.

Housebound by his illness, Dick Ket painted still lifes and self portraits. His meticulously composed still lifes are always centered on the same themes and are often composed of the same objects: empty bowls, eggs, bottles, newspapers and musical instruments. These objects are arranged in different angles to each other, painted as viewed from above, and seen casting strong shadows. 

During the period from 1930 to 1940, Dick Ket’s health progressively deteriorated, leading to his early death at age thirty-seven in September of 1940. Over the course of his career, Dick Ket produced approximately one hundred-forty paintings, a third of which were self portraits. Among the museums containing Ket’s work in their collections are the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Arnhem Museum, and the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam. 

Top Insert Image: Dick Ket, “Self Portrait”, 1935, Conté Crayon and White Crayon on Paper, 113 x 75 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Bottom Insert Image: Dick Ket, “Self Portrait”, Date Unknown, Conté Crayon on Paper

Jared French

Top Image: Jared French, “Evasion”, 1947, Tempera on Canvas Mounted to Panel, 54.5 x 29.2 cm, Cleveland Museum of Art

Bottom Image: Jared French, “Learning”, 1946, Egg Tempera on Gesso Panel, 61.6 x 58.4 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC

French was well regarded during the 1940s and 1950s as one of the most accomplished and fascinating magic realist painters. A still understudied group of artists, the magic realists revived painstaking old master techniques to make convincing their enigmatic images that address a wide range of personal and social concerns. Part of a series of works French made to chronicle the human condition, “Evasion” symbolizes an individual’s attempt to deny the physical self. As such, the painting manifests tensions regarding sexual mores in mid 20th-century America. While it is reductive to attribute French’s iconographic interest in “Evasion” solely to his bisexuality, the fact remains that French was one of the first American artists whose same-sex desires were recognized and acknowledged by contemporaries who viewed his work.

Note: For those interested in more information on Jared French, I recommend Emily Sachar’s “Jared French’s State Park: A Contextual Study”, which was submitted for he Master of Arts degree. It includes a chapter of French’s artistic circle of friends, including his freindship with Paul Cadmus, as well as several images of French’s most notable works. The article can be found at: https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1289&context=hc_sas_etds