Albert Wainwright

The Artwork of Albert Wainwright

Born in the historic market town of Castleford, West Yorkshire in 1898, Albert Wainwright was painter, illustrator, and designer of theatrical costume and sets. A prolific artist, his body of work includes thousands of watercolors, drawings, painted ceramics, costume and theatre designs and book illustrations, which reveal him to be an artist of powerful inventiveness and ability.

The youngest of three children, Albert Wainwright had a Methodist upbringing and an early interest in art. He attended Castleford’s Secondary School where he met classmate Henry Moore and began a friendship secured by their mutual interest in art. Until 1920, Wainwright and Moore would correspond to each other through illustrated letters, even as soldiers in the first World War. Although encouraged by his father to seek a profession as an engineer, Wainwright was given permission to train in the arts through the persuasive efforts of his secondary school’s art teacher.  

In 1914, Wainwright entered Leeds Arts University in West Yorkshire. Through his studies, he was influenced by the works of illustrator Aubrey Beardsley and Russian painter and theatrical designer Léon Bakat, as well as, the new works created by the Viennese Secessionist artists. Wainwright was also drawn to the fluid use of line, exaggerated forms, and dynamic use of pattern and color in the works of painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. 

After his service in the Royal Flying Corps, Albert Wainwright rejoined his family who now lived in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. He transformed a room in the family home for use as a studio where he continue his work as artist and designer. In 1920 at the age of twenty-two, Wainwright had his first solo exhibition at Leeds City Art Gallery which, well received, gained him the support of Leeds University’s Vice Chancellor Sir Michael Sadler and influential art critic Frank Rutter. He also gained representation by London’s Goupil Gallery which held solo exhibitions of his work in 1921 and 1922.

In 1927, Wainwright was appointed temporary art master at Castleford’s Secondary School for two years. During this period, he went on a school excursion to Germany, the first of his many journeys to Europe, both alone and with his partner. This was a time of great social and political change in Europe, particularly in Austria and Germany with the rise of fascist movement. Beginning with this trip to Germany, Wainwright began a regular practice of illustrating sketchbooks with people he contacted and landscapes he admired. After his family bought a cottage in 1930 at Robin Hood’s Bay, he would spend every summer there to paint watercolors of people on holiday, beach scenes, and depictions of the town’s red roofs. 

As a gay man, Albert Wainwright exercised discretion in his life, a necessity felt by many during that era due to the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 which had made homosexuality illegal; often a letter of affection was sufficient to bring prosecution. He did have a life-long lover, George Collins, who was a schoolmaster and friend of the Wainwright family. Wainwright often refers to his sexual identity as a gay man in his work. His sketchbooks contain not only landscapes but also studies of men in uniforms at rest or play. Although generally clothed, Wainwright’s portraits of men were sensitively painted with alluring expressions. He considered these sketchbooks as personal and private documents and not intended for public view. 

Wainwright received many commissions to design costumes and sets for local theaters including the Leeds Art Theater and the Leeds Civic Playhouse. He designed for plays ranging from Greek tragedies to modern dramas by Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekov and Bernard Shaw. Wainwright designed sets and costumes for over one-hundred productions which included seven-hundred costumes for a single play in 1927, the “Miracle Play” held at Kirkstall Abbey on the north bank of the River Aire. 

Wainwright never achieved the same level of commercial success and recognition as his school friend, sculptor and lithographer Henry Moore, and had to supplement his art with teaching. In March of 1943, he applied for and was offered a teaching post for the duration of the war as an art teacher at the historic Bridlington School in Yorkshire. After teaching for only three months, Albert Wainwright was stricken with meningitis and died on a bus on his way to his Harrogate home in September of 1943. His work is in many private collections; the largest public collection of his work is housed at the Hepwotth Wakefield Gallery in West Yorkshire, England.

Notes: An extensive online collection of Albert Wainwright’s work can be found at “Albert Wainwright: The Unseen Archive” located at: https://sites.google.com/view/albertwainwrightunseenarchive/home

A short video on his life is available at the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery site located at: https://hepworthwakefield.org/our-art-artists/collections/highlights/albert-wainwright/

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Albert Wainwright”, circa 1912, Vintage Print on Card Stock, Hepworth Wakefield Collection, West Yorkshire, England

Second Insert Image: Albert Wainwright, “Portrait Study of George Collins”, Date Unknown, Watercolor on Paper, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Albert Wainwright, “The Dragon Slayer”, circa 1927-1938, Gouache on Paper, 39 x 54.3 cm, Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami Beach, Florida

Bottom Insert Image: Albert Wainwright, “Boy Sleeping”, Date Unknown, Watercolor on Paper, 23 x 27.5 cm, Private Collection

Géza Vörös

The Paintings of Géza Vörös

Born in 1897 in Nagydobrony, now the Ukrainian city of Velyka Dobron, Géza Vörös was a Hungarian painter. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts under Ede Balló, a Hungarian graphic artist and painter best known for his portraits. After his studies, Balló lived and worked in Szolnok located on the Tisza River and the former mining town of Nagybánya (Baia Mare in Romania).

Géza Vörös painted landscapes, both rural and urban, still life arrangements, posed figurative works, and portraits. His stylized paintings reveal a keen sense of observation and subtle humor. Vörös’s work bears the objectivity of the Neo-Classical style as well as the elegant sensual aesthetic seen in works of Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts. 

In the early twentieth-century, Szentendre was a small provincial town on the Danube River, approximately twenty miles north of Budapest. During the period between the two World Wars, its established artist colony provided a shelter for numerous artists and writers. With Vörös’s arrival at Szentendre in 1929, his paintings changed from their earlier uninspiring shades of color to palettes of warm, soft colors. Vörös remained in the city until the 1940s, after which there is very little information on his life. 

Géza Vörös was a member of both the New Artists’ Association and the prestigious New Society of Artists. He was associated with Budapest-born painter Hugó Scheiber, a modernist painter whose work, initially executed in a post-Impressionist style, turned increasingly towards Futurism and German Expressionism. Scheiber was also a member of the New Society of Artists. 

Géza Vörös died in Budapest in 1957. A memorial retrospective of his work was organized in 1961 and held at Budapest’s Mücsarnok Kunsthalle, its historic Neoclassical styled Hall of Art. 

Note: If anyone has any additional biographical information on Géza Vörös, I would be interested in adding that to the biography. Please send it via my contact page. 

Top Insert Image: Géza Vörös, “Self Portrait”, 1935, Oil on Canvas, 60.5 x 50 cm, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Bottom Insert Image: Géza Vörös, “The Bird Preachers”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 70 x 70 cm, Private Collection

Josep Tapiró i Baró

The Artwork of Josep Tapiró i Baró

Born in February of 1836 in the Catalonian city of Reus, Josep Tapiró i Baró was a Spanish painter and one of the leading representatives of international Orientalism. He  was the first painter from the Iberian Peninsula to settle in Tangier. Through his thirty-seven years in Tangier, Tapiró was a direct witness to North Africa’s urban and cultural transformation under European colonialism. He is best known for his series of half-length portraits of traditional characters and religious scenes.

The son of hardware retailers, Josep Tapiró i Baró displayed an affinity for drawing in his early years. He began his formal art training in 1849 under Domènec Soberano, a prosperous wine merchant and self-taught artist who had founded a drawing school in Reus. At the age of thirteen, Tapiró met fellow student Marià Josep Maria Bernat Fortuny i Marsal. These young men, both exceptionally talented painters, established a friendship that lasted their whole lives. In 1853, Tapiró and Fortuny were given the opportunity to exhibit their work at a show held by the cultural and recreational association Casino de Reussense. 

In the latter part of 1853, Tapiró and Fortuny enrolled at Barcelona’s Escola de la Llotja where they studied under Claudi Lorenzale i Sugrañes, a Spanish painter associated with the German Nazarene movement for the revival of spirituality in art. Tapiró produced mainly historical and religious scenes during his time in Barcelona. In 1857, a group of four students, among whom were Tapiró and Fortuny, were given the opportunity to compete for a Rome study grant. The test was a portrait of Barcelona’s eleventh-century military hero Ramon Berenguer III. Marià Fortuny unanimously won the competition and left for Rome in 1858. 

Josep Tapiró i Baró traveled to Madrid in 1858 and enrolled at the School of Painting and Engraving which was a branch of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Ferdinand. He studied under portrait and historical painter Federico de Madrazo until his return to Barcelona in 1860. Tapiró assisted with the decoration of the façade of the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, one of the few medieval buildings in Europe still functioning as a seat of government. 

At his arrival in Rome in 1862, Tapiró joined his friend Fortuny and was introduced to Fortuny’s circle of artists who regularly frequented the Antico Caffè Greco. This café, the oldest in Rome, was a historic meeting place for such figures as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, George Gordon Byron, Franz Liszt, and John Keats. While in Italy, Tapiró visited Naples and Florence with Fortuny, took watercolor classes and painted works that focused more on genre themes. In 1871, he and Fortuny traveled to Tangier in Morocco where they spent most of a year. While Fortuny painted scenes of courtyards and Moroccan landscapes, Tapiró painted detailed watercolors of common people and beggars. Their trip ended in 1872 with his return to Rome and Fortuny’s return to his wife and son in Granada. In 1873, Tapiró exhibited his Orientalist works at the International Art Circle in Rome. 

In November of 1874,  Josep Tapiró i Baró was shocked to learn of Fortuny’s sudden death in Rome from malaria he had contracted painting in the open air in Naples. Rather than remain in Rome or Spain, Tapiró decided in 1876 to join a diplomatic mission to meet Sultan of Morocco Hassan bi Mohammed. He moved into a house near the historical district of Tangier and acquired an old theater as a studio. Although he traveled as far as New York and Saint Petersburg to exhibit his work, Tapiró lived in Tangier for the rest of his life. Returning to the medium of watercolor, he painted a series of detailed, brooding portraits that, instead of his previous dramatic Orientalist style, documented the humanity of the Moroccan people.

In 1886, Tapiró married a Tangier native of Italian ancestry, twenty-year old Maria Manuela Veleraga Cano. Shortly after the marriage, they adopted the orphaned son of Maria’s friend who had recently died. In 1903, Tapiró contracted a lung infection which caused respiratory and cardiovascular problems that led to lack of energy and, by 1905, a decline in his career. The decline was compounded by the decrease in foreign visitors to Tangier due to a kidnapping of two British nationals and a rebellion led by Bou Hmara, a pretender to the throne of Morocco. 

In 1907, Josep Tapiró i Baró and his wife relocated to Madrid in order to promote his work at an exhibition held at the Circulo de Bellas Artes, a major cultural center. After their return to Tangier, Tapiró’s health problems worsened over time and led to his death, at the age of seventy-seven, in October of 1913. He initially was buried in Tangier; however, the government of Reus demanded in 1921 that he be recognized in his home town. Tapiró’s remains were moved to Reus in 1947 and reinterred near the burial space of his friend Marià Fotruny. The city of Reus placed a commemoration plaque on the house in which Tapiró was born.

Notes: The Catalan-speaking territories abide by the Spanish naming customs; however, the discrete surnames are usually joined with the word “i”, meaning and, instead of the Spanish “y”, a practice very common in formal contexts. Thus, Josep Tapiró i Baró’s first or paternal surname is Tapiró and the second or maternal family name is Baró.

For those interested in a deeper study of Spanish Orientalism, particularly in regard to the works of José Tapiró y Baró and Mariano Bertuchi Nieto, I recommend University of Edinburgh researcher Claudia Hopkins’s 2017 “The Politics of Spanish Orientalism: Distance and Proximity in Tapiró and Bertuchi”. The published version can be found online at: https://www.pure.ed.ac.uk/ws/files/41514515/Hopkins_Tapiro_Bertuchi_final_clean_copy.pdf

Top Insert Image: Marià Fortuny, “Portrait of Josep Tapiró i Baró, Tangier”, 1874, Ink Sketch on Paper, Private Collection

Second Insert Image:  Josep Tapiró i Baró, “An Oriental Atrium”, Date Unknown, Pencil, Watercolor and Bodycolor on Paper, 67.8 x 47.9 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Josep Tapiró i Baró, “Homme en Blanc”, Date Unknown, Watercolor on Paper, 64 x 47 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, ” Josep Tapiró i Baró”, circa 1865-70, Vintage Print, Provenance Unknown

Charles Haslewood Shannon

The Artwork of Charles Haslewood Shannon

Born in Sleaford, Lincolnshire in April of 1863, Charles Haslewood Shannon was an English artist best known for his portraits. The son of Reverend Franklin William Shannon, Rector of Quarrington and Old Sleaford, and Catherine Emma Manthorp, he received his primary education at St. John’s School in the town of Leatherhead, Surrey. Shannon received his art training at the City and Guilds of London Art School, which emphasized a strong connection between fine arts, craft and design.

In October of 1882, Charles Shannon met his lifelong partner Charles de Sousy Ricketts, a fellow student who was studying wood engraving under the prominent engraver Charles Roberts. Inspired by a meeting with the French artist Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes in 1887, Shannon retired from the world to focus on his painting while Ricketts provided an income through work as an illustrator. Over the course of their lives, they collected Old Master paintings and drawings, Egyptian and Greek antiquities, Persian miniatures, and Japanese woodblock prints. Shannon and Ricketts moved into Whistler’s house, The Vale, in 1888 and lived together in London’s Chelsea community for over fifty years until Ricketts’s death. 

Shannon’s work was influenced by painters of the Italian Renaissance’s Venetian school, which gave primacy to color over line, and his partner Charles Ricketts’s work inspired by Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix and Symbolist Gustave Moreau. Abandoning his early heavy-toned works, Shannon painted his new works in clearer, more transparent colors. He achieved success with portraits and classically-styled figure compositions distinctive for their color and mood. A gold medal was awarded to Shannon for work entered at Munich’s  Annual Exhibition of Fine Arts in 1897.

Although known for his portraits, Charles Shannon also created lithographs and etchings. He was particularly interested in woodcut illustrations and experimenting with different lithographic techniques.  Many complete sets of Shannon’s lithographs and etchings have been acquired by London’s British Museum and the print collections at both Berlin and Dresden Museums.

Shannon and Ricketts collaborated on the design and illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s 1891 “A House of Pomegranates” and 1894 “The Sphinx”, as well as wood engraving for editions of “Daphnis and Chloe” in 1893 and “Hero and Leander” in 1894. Influenced by Arts and Crafts designers William Morris and A. H. Mackmurdo, Shannon and Ricketts founded the Vale Press in 1896 with assistance from investor William Llewellyn Hacon. Through this celebrated London establishment, they published fine art journals and books, including the last year’s issues of their own art portfolio “The Dial”. While Shannon and Ricketts did all the design and typographic work for all books issued by Vale Press, the actual printing was entrusted to Ballantyne Press, the work of which was supervised by Ricketts with fastidious care.

Charles Shannon painted Ricketts’s portrait “Man in the Inverness Cape” in 1898, a striking portrayal of the bearded Ricketts now housed in London’s National Portrait Gallery. Among the many portraits by Shannon are the 1904 “The Lady with the Green Fan”, depicting Amaryllis Roubichaud-Hacon, a leading Scottish suffragist; the 1922 portrait of theatrically-dressed actress Lillah McCarthy as the character “The Dumb Wife”; the 1928 “Portrait of Hilda Mary Moore”, the stage and film actress; and the  1917-1918 portrait of Queen Victoria’s grand-daughter “Princess Patricia of Connaught”. 

Shannon was elected as Associate of the Royal Academy in 1911 and, in 1918, became vice-president of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers. In 1920 he elevated to Royal Academician at the Academy. In January of 1928, Shannon became disabled after a fall while attempting to hang a picture at their house in Regent’s Park. The neurological damage suffered from the fall was permanent and halted his successful artistic career.

Devastated by his partner’s poor health and working ceaselessly to support their household, Charles Ricketts died at age sixty-five of heart failure in October of 1931. Charles Haslewood Shannon died in March of 1937 at the age of seventy-three. At Shannon’s bequest, their extensive art collection was given to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. 

“Oscar Wilde had taken me to the Vale to see Ricketts and Shannon before I came to live in Chelsea, when I was charmed by these men, and by their simple dwelling, with its primrose walls, apple-green skirting and shelves, the rooms hung with Shannon’s lithographs, a fan-shaped watercolor by Whistler, and drawings by Hokusai – their first treasures, to be followed by so many others.”—William Rothenstein, 1893

Note: A short article entitled “Celebrating History’s Unsung Creative Couples” by Sara Davis, which discusses the lives of Shannon and Ricketts, can be found at the Rosenbach Museum & Library’s website located at: https://rosenbach.org/blog/celebrating-historys-unsung-creative-couples/

An extensive article on Shannon and Ricketts’s connection with Ballantyne Press, the printer of Vale Press published works, can be found at Paul van Capelleveen’s Charles Ricketts & Charles Shannon blog located at: http://charlesricketts.blogspot.com/2013/08/107-vale-press-books-printed-on-hand.html

Top Insert Image: George Charles Beresford, “Charles Haslewood Shannon”, October 13 1903, Half-Plate Glass Negative, 15.9 x 11.3 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London

Second Insert Image: Charles Haslewood Shannon, “The Young Bacchus”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 89 x 69 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Sir William Rothenstein, “Charles Haslewood Shannon”, 1896, Pencil and Colored Chalk on Light Brown Paper, 38 x 29.8 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Charles Haslewood Shannon, “Robert Gregory”, 1906, Oil on Canvas, 101.6 x 101.6 cm, Dublin City Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

Wade Reynolds

The Artwork of Wade Reynolds

Born in Jasper, New York in June of 1929, Wade Reynolds was an American self-taught realist painter. He studied electronics during his service in the United States Navy and for a short period of time in Rochester, New York. Realizing he was in the wrong career, Reynolds relocated to New York City where he joined a local theater group and studied drama at the studio of director Herbert Bergoff.

Residing in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan, Reynolds designed fabrics, glassware, china, and wallpaper before focusing on painting. In 1958, he began his professional art career with a commission for illustrations for Richard Mason’s novel “The World of Suzie Wong”. In May of the following year, Reynolds relocated to California where he successfully established himself as a technically skilled painter of portraits and figures. 

Reynolds painted throughout the California area, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oceanside and Newport Beach. Among his many commissions are portraits of stage and film actress Agnes Moorehead and Broadway costume designer Noel Taylor. Reynolds also painted the official state portrait of California Governor George Deukmjian who served from 1983 to 1991. 

Wade Reynolds was an instructor at the Laguna College of Art and Design, formerly the Art Institute of Southern California, and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. After a long fight with cancer, Wade Reynolds passed away in October of 2011. 

Wade Reynolds’s work has been exhibited in galleries in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, New York City, and Santa Fe. His work has been shown at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the San Francisco Palace of the Legion of Honor. In addition to many private collections, Reynolds’s work is housed in the permanent collection of the University of Southern California’s Fisher Gallery.

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Wade Reynolds”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print, Estate of Wade Reynolds

Bottom Insert Image: Wade Reynolds, “Boy on Chair”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 60.1 cm, Private Collection

Patrick Anthony Hennessy

The Paintings of Patrick Anthony Hennessy

Born in August of 1915 in Cork, Patrick Anthony Hennessy was an Irish realist painter known for his landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and trompe l’oeil paintings. Often considered an outsider of latter day Irish painting, he developed a distinctive personal style of carefully observed realism executed with highly finished surfaces that he faithfully followed  throughout his career.

After his father’s battle death in 1917 during World War I, Hennessy’s mother remarried to John Duncan from Scotland in 1921; the family relocated to Arbroath, a royal burgh on the coast of Scotland where Duncan’s relatives resided. During his primary education at the Arbroath High School, Hennessy showed an aptitude for art and graduated in 1933 with the honor, Dux for Art, and an accompanying medal. In the autumn of that year, he entered the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design at the University of Dundee where he studied drawing and painting under portrait painter Edward Baird and noted landscape painter James McIntosh Patrick.  

Patrick Hennessy, in addition to his art studies, wrote a ballet entitled “Paradise Lost” which was performed at the college in 1935. In each year of his course, he gained a First Class Pass, as well as winning first prize in 1934 and 1936 for the work he produced during summer breaks. Hennessy graduated with a First Class Distinction in 1937 and, with a scholarship, earned his Post-Graduate Diploma in 1938. During his studies, Hennessy met his life-long partner, British-Irish landscape and portrait painter Harry Robertson Craig who was also attending courses at Dundee. Aside from the period between 1939 and 1946 when they were separated by the war, they spent the rest of their lives together.

A month after finishing his post-graduate work, Hennessy entered his paintings in a group exhibition at the Art Galleries in Arbroath. Awarded an Annual Traveling Scholarship for further studies in Italy and France, he traveled to Europe in June of 1938. In Paris, Hennessy reunited with two friends, Robert Colquhoun and Robert MacBryde. whom he had met the previous year. Known as the two Roberts, these painters and theater set-designers had established both a lifelong romantic relationship and a professional collaboration in their art. Hennessy and the couple traveled together through the south of France until their arrival in Marseilles at the end of 1938. 

Upon his return to Scotland, Patrick Hennessy was selected for the residential summer course at the historical arts center, Hospitalfield House, under painter James Cowie, an artist of detailed draftsmanship based on studies of the Old Masters. Two of Hennessy’s paintings from this period were accepted for the Annual Exhibition held by the Royal Scottish Academy. With war looming in the autumn of 1939 and feeling disenchanted by his time at Hospitalfield House, he made the decision to return to his native Ireland. On his arrival in Dublin, Hennessy was offered an exhibition in December of 1939 at abstract artist Mainie Jellett’s Country Shop gallery on St. Stephens Green in the city center.

After his well received exhibition, Hennessy was invited to join the Society of Dublin Painters with whom he would exhibit annually during the 1940s and early 1950s. Beginning in the early 1940s, a visual homosexual subtext began to be incorporated into some of Hennessy’s paintings. In addition to the work he produced for exhibition in this period, he also received many portrait commissions from clients. Hennessy began a long relationship with the Royal Hibernia Academy in 1941 with the acceptance of three of his paintings for their annual exhibition; he exhibited with the academy virtually every year from 1941 until his death.

In 1946, Patrick Hennessy reunited with Harry Robertson Craig who had recently been discharged from the intelligence branch of the British Army where he served during the Second World War. Prior to his service, Craig had extensively traveled throughout Europe where he painted landscapes and portraits. Hennessy and Craig soon moved to Crosshaven in Cork and later to the seaport town of Cobh on the southern coast of County Cork. In 1948, Hennessy had an exhibition at Dublin’s Victor Waddington Gallery, which had emerged as Ireland’s most important modern art venue. After a year as an associate, he became  a full member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1949.

Hennessy’s work became noticed in North America when his published work “De Profundis” was included in the Contemporary Irish Painting Exhibition that toured various cities on the continent. The 1950s brought Hennessy a retrospective of his work from 1941 to 1951 at the Dublin Painters Society and several painting excursions to Italy and Sicily. One of his works at this time, “Bronze Horses of St. Marks”, was exhibited at London’s Royal Academy in 1954. In 1956, Hennessy had two major solo exhibitions of his work: London’s Thomas Agnew Gallery which showed thirty-eight paintings and Dublin’s Ritchie Hendriks Gallery which would be the main outlet for his work over twenty-two years.

In the winter of 1959, Patrick Hennessy became seriously ill with pneumonia. As a consequence, he and Harry Craig decided to spend the winter season in Morocco. After 1959, they never spent a full year in Ireland and increasingly spent time abroad. In the 1960s, Hennessy continued to be true to his personal style; however, as he did not follow the current trends in art, he began to receive less favorable reviews from the art critics. Finally in 1965, Chicago’s Guildhall Gallery, which had accepted his work for years, offered Hennessy a major exhibition in 1966. The success of which enabled him to become an artist with work on permanent display at the gallery and a scheduled annual exhibition.

In 1968, Hennessy made a permanent move to Tangier, Morocco where he painted prolifically for nine years to keep up with the demand from both the Hendriks and Guildhall Galleries as well as the Royal Hibernian Academy. A highly successful retrospective of Hennessy’s work was held in 1975 at the Guildhall Gallery. Three years later, he had his last show in Dublin at the Hendriks Gallery. After his move with Harry Craig to the Algarve in Portugal, Hennessy had little contact with Ireland and began to have health problems that soon grew more serious. In November of 1980, Craig brought him to a London hospital for treatment. Diagnosed with cancer, Patrick Hennessy died on the thirtieth of December in 1980. 

Following cremation, Patrick Anthony Hennessy’s ashes were buried in London’s Golders Green Crematorium. He had left his entire estate to Harry Robertson Craig, with the proviso that on Craig’s death the Royal Hibernian Academy should be the beneficiary. Upon Craig’s death in 1984, this legacy was used to set up the biennial Hennessy Craig Scholarship for aspiring artists. Hennessy’s work, in addition to many private collections, can be found in major public collections including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Ireland, the University Colleges of both Cork and Dublin, and the Crawford Art Gallery, among others.  

Note: The Irish Museum of Modern Art has an excellent article on Patrick Hennessy’s connections which such figures as Francis Bacon, Elizabeth Bowen, Roger Casement and other artists. This Modern Irish Masters article can be found at: http://www.modernirishmasters.com/context/patrick-hennessy-context/#stags

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Patrick Hennessy and Harry Robertson Craig”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Patrick Hennessy, “Boy and Seagull”, 1949, Oil on Canvas, 52 x 38 cm, Irish Museum of Modern Art

Third Insert Image: Patrick Hennessy, “Cliffs of Etretat (Self Portrait)”, 1962, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Fourth Insert Image: Patrick Hennessy, “Portrait of Elizabeth Bowen at Bowenscourt”, 1957, Oil on Canvas, 91 x 71 cm, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland

Bottom Insert Image: Patrick Hennessy, “Men Bathing, Etretat”, circa 1954, Oil on Canvas, Date and Location Unknown

Christopher Wood

The Artwork of Christopher Wood

Born in Knowsley near Liverpool in April of 1901, Christopher Wood was an English painter who produced during his short life a well-crafted collection of vivid, personal canvases. Wood was one of few Englishmen who gained access to the fashionable Parisian art circles through which he developed a great friendship with Jean Cocteau. Like the artist Van Gogh, Wood experienced a level of emotional inner turmoil and over-sensitivity throughout his life. 

The son of a primary healthcare doctor, Wood began to draw at the age of fourteen while recuperating from septicemia, blood poisoning caused by bacteria. By 1920, he had studied architecture briefly at Liverpool University and painted a series of canvases in Wiltshire where his father had set up practice. However, Wood was mainly untutored and, due to his use of unusual perspective and bold color, his work is considered faux naïve, primitive or childlike, with resemblance to the canvases by self-taught French painter Henri Rousseau. Although untutored, Wood learned from his acquaintances in France and, in particular, adopted the elegant line of Cocteau’s drawings.   

In London in 1920, Christopher Wood was invited by the visiting French art collector Alphonse Kahn to Paris, where he began studying drawing at the Académie Julian. Within a short time, Wood met painter Augustus John and, in the early summer of 1921, the Chilean diplomat José Antonio de Gandarillas. Wood, who was bisexual, moved into Gandarilla’s house at 60 La Montaigne although he kept his studio on the Rue des Sant Peres. Although Gandarillas was a married homosexual fourteen years older than Wood, their relationship lasted through Wood’s life. In addition to financial support, Gandarillas introduced Wood to Pablo Picasso, Georges Auric and Jean Cocteau, and to the use of opium. 

In his work, Wood always remained attached to the presence of the human figure in his compositions. His work included self-portraits and sensitive renderings of fishermen and local people; working people were often idealized in his paintings as heroic or spiritual figures. In this regard, Wood’s work had much in common with Paul Gauguin’s Brittany paintings and with images Van Gogh made throughout his career. Initially dedicated to portraying exactly what he saw, Wood’s later canvases with their added contrasting scenic aspects, such as the 1930 “Zebra and Parachute, suggest a look forward to the beginnings of the surrealist movement.

During the years between 1922 and 1924, Christopher Wood and José Gandarillas  traveled extensively throughout Europe and visited the northern region of Africa. By 1926, Wood had established himself as an artist and was chosen to make set designs for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes adaption of “Romeo and Juliet”. This commission occurred after the successful presentation of Wood’s largest and most ambitious work, the 1925 “Beach Scene with Bathers, Pier and Ships’, which was sold immediately and reproduced in the art journal “Colour” and in “Vogue” magazine. When his set designs were abandoned, Wood returned to London where he became a member of the newly formed contemporary art associations, the London Group and the Seven and Five Society. 

It was during this period that Wood met Ben and Winifred Nicholson, a married couple, both painters, who supported his work. He also shared an interest with the Nicholson couple in still life and surrounding landscapes. Wood and the Nicholsons, now close personally and artistically, traveled together in Northumberland and Cornwall; they exhibited their new work together in April and May of 1927 at London’s Beaux Arts Gallery. In 1928, Wood again joined Ben and Winifred Nicholson on a second painting trip to Northumberland and Cornwall. There in St. Ives Wood, he met primitive artist Alfred Wallis, whose work played an important influence on  Wood’s stylistic development. 

Christopher Wood had a solo exhibition in April of 1929 at Tooth’s Gallery on London’s Bond Street where he met art patron Lucy Wertheim who purchased a painting and soon became one of his biggest supporters. In May of 1930, he had his next exhibition with Ben Nicholson that included paintings made in Brittany; this show at the George Bernheim Gallery in Paris was largely unsuccessful. Wood painted during a second stay in Brittany in June and July of 1930; these paintings were for an intended exhibition to open at London’s Wertheim Gallery in October.

In late July, Wood met his patron Lucy Wertheim in Paris to choose the paintings for the October exhibition at her gallery. At that meeting, there was a quarrel about guaranteed annual support from Wertheim. Traveling with his paintings, Wood met his mother and sister in Salisbury on the twenty-first day of August for lunch and a viewing of his new work. After saying his farewells and waiting for the train to London, Wood threw himself onto the tracks just as the train pulled into the station. He died immediately.

It was believed by many that, withdrawing from opium, Christopher Wood thought he was being pursued; he had been carrying a revolver with him at all times. In deference to his mother, Wood’s death was reported as accidental; however the jury at the inquest returned a verdict of suicide while of unsound mind. Ben and Winfred Nicholson, shaken by the event, hired a private detective to investigate the last days of Wood’s life. After reading the first report from the detective, they abandoned their investigation. 

Christopher Wood was buried in the churchyard of All Saints Church in Broad Chalke, Wilshire, England. His headstone was carved by fellow artist Eric Gill. A posthumous exhibition of Wood’s work was held at the Wertheim Gallery in February of 1931; another exhibition followed in 1932 at the Lefevre Galley in London. In 1938, Wood’s work appeared at the Venice Biennale and a retrospective at the Redfern Gallery in the West End of London. 

Note: A more extensive account of Christopher Wood’s life and notes on many of his most important paintings can be found at the online Art Story site located at: https://www.theartstory.org/artist/wood-christopher/

Another article on Christopher Wood containing many of his landscape paintings can be found at the Artistic Horizons site located at: https://httpartistichorizons.org/2020/11/30/christopher-wood/

Top Insert Image: Peter North, “Christopher Wood”, 1930, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Christopher Wood, “Tréboul”, 1930, Oil on Board, 52.5 x 71.5 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Christopher Wood, “Portrait of a Gentleman (Henri)”, circa 1925-26, Pencil on Paper, 50.5 x 35.5 cm, Private Collection

Fourth Insert Image: Christopher Wood, “Boat in Harbour, Brittany”, 1929, Oil on Board, 79.4 x 108.6 cm, Tate Museum, London

Bottom Insert Image: Christopher Wood, “Man with Cards”, 1925, Oil on Canvas, 70 x 57 cm, Philip Mould & Company

Gerard van Honthorst

Gerard van Honthorst, “Saint Sebastian”, circa 1623, Oil on Canvas, 101 x 117 cm, The National Gallery, London, United Kingdom

Born in November of 1592 in Utrecht, an important trade center of the Northern Netherlands, Gerard van Honthorst was a Dutch Golden Age painter who was known for his artificially lit scenes. In his early career in Rome, he had great success painting in a style influenced by the work of Caravaggio. Upon his return to the Netherlands, Honthorst became a prominent portrait and allegorical painter. 

The son of a decorative painter, Gerard van Honthorst initially trained under his father and finished his education under painter and printmaker Abraham Bloemaert, a painter of historical subjects and an early advocate of the emerging Baroque style. Bloemaert was an important teacher who would train most of the Utrecht painters who were influenced by Caravaggio’s style. Upon completion of his education, Honthorst traveled to Rome where he lodged at the palace of Vincenzo Giustiniani, an aristocratic banker and art collector whose collected paintings and sculptures totaled over fifteen-hundred pieces. 

Honthorst was influenced by the contemporary artists in Giustiniani’s collection, particularly those works by Caravaggio, Bartolomeo Manfredi and the Carracci family of artists. The technique used by these artists to depict light in their canvases strongly impressed the young artist. While lodged at Giustiniani’s palace, Honthorst painted his 1617 oil on canvas “Christ Before the High Priest”, a work in which lighting plays a particular importance. The scene of Jesus questioned by the priest Calaphas takes place at night with the only source of light being a candle in the center of the table. Jesus and Calphas are illuminated by that candle; all the secondary figures in the room are shrouded in darkness.

Gerard van Honthorst acquired an important patron in Rome, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a member of the Borghese family and also the patron of Caravaggio and  Gian Lonrenzo Bernini. Through the Cardinal, Honthorst received important commissions at Monte Compatri and Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. He also received work from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo II de’ Medici. In 1620, Honthorst returned to Utrecht and through his new work increased his reputation in the Dutch Republic and abroad. 

In 1623, the year of his marriage, Honthorst became president of Utrecht’s Guild of Saint Luke, a city guild of painters and other artists in early Europe. His reputation was such that the English envoy at the Hague, Sir Dudley Carleton, recommended his work to Lord Dorchester and the Earl of Arundel, courtier to King James I and King Charles I. Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, the sister of Charles I, commissioned Honthorst as portrait painter and as drawing-master for her children. He was invited to England in 1628 where he painted several portraits, a vast allegorical scene featuring Charles and his queen as Apollo and Diana, and an intimate group portrait “The Four Eldest Children of the King of Bohemia”. 

Upon his return to Utrecht in 1652, Gerard van Honthorst, still retained by Charles I, painted a 1631 group portrait of the king and queen of Bohemia and all their children. He also painted scenes from “The Odeyssey” for Lord Dorchester, historical scenes in 1635 for Christian IV of Denmark, and a portrait of Countess Leonora during her visit to the Hague. Honthorst opened a second studio in the Hague where he painted portraits of the members of the court, employed a large number of assistants to make replicas of royal portraits, and taught students, each paying one hundred guilders a year.   

A prolific artist, Gerard van Honthorst passed away in April of 1656. Many of his paintings, cultivated in the style of Caravaggio, involved tavern scenes with musicians, gamblers and people dining. He was very skilled in the art of  chiaroscuro, the strong use of contrasts between light and dark to affect the whole composition.

In November of 2013, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC purchased Honthorst’s 1623 “The Concert” from a private collection in France. The painting went on display for the first time in two-hundred and eighteen years at a special installation in the National Gallery’s West Building in November of 2013. It is now on permanent display in the museum’s Dutch and Flemish galleries. 

Notes: Gerard van Honthorst was one of the first artists to portray Saint Sebastian as a half-length figure, slumped forward in a seated position. The pose was subsequently adopted by other followers of Caravaggio in Utrecht, including Hendrik te Brugghen and Jan van Bijlert in the mid-1620s. The painting “Saint Sebastian” was most likely painted shortly after Honthorst’s return to Utrecht from Rome in 1620.

Top Insert Image: Pieter de Jode II, “Gerrit (Gerard) van Honthorst”, Engraving, From Cornelis de Bie’s “Her Golden Cabinet”, Publisher Joannes Meyseens, Antwerp, 1661

Second Insert Image: Gerard van Honthorst, “Saint Peter Penitent”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 110.2 x 97.4 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Gerard van Honthorst, “Old Woman Examing a Coin”, 1623, Oil on Canvas, 75 x 60 cm, The Kremer Collection, Amsterdam

Bottom Insert Image: Gerard van Honthorst, “The Denial of St. Peter”, 1622, Oil on Canvas, 111 x 149 cm, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Michael Costello

The Artwork of Michael Costello

Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1957, Michael Costello is an American realist painter. After graduating from Burlington High School, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University under figurative painter Barnett Rubinstein known primarily for his still life work. Costello’s work explores humankind’s anxiety in the twentieth-century through images that capture the human body’s vulnerability and celebrate its perceived flaws.

During his study years in Boston, Costello focused his work on twentieth-century objects and their place as icons in history. He moved in 1978 to Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he has shown his work for over three decades. While living there, Costello’s work was noticed and encouraged by the late figure painter Alice Neel, whose expressive work challenged the traditional, objectified nude depictions of women by her male predecessors. 

In 1984, Michael Costello relocated his studio back to Boston and began working with the Barbara Singer Fine Art gallery through which his work was introduced to corporate art collections in the metropolitan area. In the mid-1980s, Costello began his annual European travels to work ‘plein air’ and in association with various artist residencies. In 2008, he became the first recipient of The Pollack-Krasner Masters to Byrdcliffe; the primary criterion for acceptance at Byrdcliffe is artistic excellence or demonstrated commitment to one’s field of endeavor.

Much of Costello’s inspiration springs from writings, in particular Umberto Eco’s essays “The History of Beauty” and “On Ugliness”, and from such classical figures of tragedy as Pagliacci, the clown figure of Italian opera, and Gilles, the male heraldic-dressed figures of Belgium carnivals. Costello works from life; he choses his models based on their ability to inspire empathy for the human condition. He paints them with emotional honesty, without flattery, and with recognition of any imperfections. Costello believes through the presentation of their nude bodies the psychology of the sitter overrides the formality of portraiture, thus revealing the sitter’s unconscious. 

Michael Costello’s 2018 series “La Comedia é Finita” (The Comedy is Finished)” is a series of drawings in charcoal, pastel and Russian clay that depicts models as a twentieth-century Pierrot, the clown of pantomime and early comedy theater. Costello’s drawings, depicting clowns in various states of repose and undress, explore mankind’s relationship with the icons of jesters and fools. Reminding us that we are more than we appear on the outside, the figures of varying race, gender and orientation are a reflection of our own lives with its tragedies and hopes. 

Costello has presented his work in both group and solo exhibitions since 1980. Among the over fifty group exhibitions in which he has exhibited are the 1980 and 1982 “Small Works Show” held by the Provincetown Art Association, the 1991 “Nuclear Solstice” and 1994 “Fantastically Real” at the Mills Gallery in conjunction with the Boston Center for the Arts, the 2008 “Byrdcliffe Pollock-Kransner Fellows” at the Kleinert/James Art Center, the 2013 “Off the Wall” at the Danforth Art Museum, and the 2018 “Three” at the Attleboro Arts Museum in Massachusetts. 

Michael Costello has had over thirty solo exhibitions in galleries throughout the east coast of the United States, These exhibitions include, among others, multiple shows at The New East End Gallery in Provincetown; the Barbara Singer Fine Art gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts; The Schoolhouse Center in Provincetown; the A Street Gallery in Boston; Ashawagh Hall in East Hampton, New York; the 101 Exhibit in Miami; and The Lucky Street Gallery in Key West, Florida. Since 2015, Michael Costello has shown yearly at Provincetown’s  contemporary William Scott Gallery with whom he is represented.

In addition to private collections, Costello’s work can be found in many corporate and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, the Federal Reserve, Chicago’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Boston Public Library, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and the headquarters of Wellington Management and Fidelity Investment, among others.

“For over thirty years I have worked with models to comment on our cultural heritage, both philosophical and theological, to acquaint all that is good with beauty. We focus on making clear definitions of what is ugly and what is beautiful, which often shuns both sides to the extreme, turning the beautiful, ugly and making ugly, beautiful. My work with the model as muse gives us a window into the individual soul. I intend to inspire the viewer to observe the subject with a level of pathos; to confront the truth within themselves, what they believe to be beautiful.” – Michael Costello, Boston Voyager Interview, March 2018

Michael Costello’s website with images, exhibitions and contact information is located at: https://www.michaelcostelloartist.com

Note: A 2019 interview with Michael Costello which discusses his “Dancers” drawings, a part of the 2013 series “Boxers and Ballerinas”, can be found at the online art platform “Pineapple” located at: https://pnpplzine.com/index.php/2019/01/08/michael-costello/

Top Insert Image: Meagan Hepp, “Michael Costello”, 2018, Color Print, Boston Voyager March 2018

Second Insert Image: Michael Costello, “Pierrot Enraged”, “La Comedia é Finita” Series, 2018, Pastel, Charcoal and Russian Clay on Paper, 76.2 x 56.5 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Michael Costello, “Self Portrait Based on Rembrandt”, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 66 x 55.9 cm, William Scott Gallery

Bottom Insert Image: Michael Costello, “Marat Redux”, 2011, Oil on Canvas, 122 x 122 cm, Private Collection

Émile Friant

Émile Friant, “L’Intérieur d’Atelier (The Studio Interior)”, 1879-1880, Oil on Apricot Panel, 46 x 38 cm, Private Collection

Born in Dieuze, a small city near Nancy in April of 1863, Émile Friant was a French artist who created works in oil and charcoal. Equally influenced by the culture and trends of Paris and Nancy, he rose to prominence with his version of Naturalism, an art form which appealed to the public both in France and abroad. Later after his exposure to the richness, beauty and architecture of the Orient, Friant’s naturalist style evolved into a latent Symbolism. 

Born into a modest family, his father a locksmith and mother a dressmaker, Émile Friant began work as a dressmaker at the age of fourteen. One of his mother’s wealthy clients, Madame Parisot, who had born no children with her husband, took an early interest in the young Friant. With the defeat of the Second French Empire in 1870 as a result of the Franco-Prussian War, the now-widowed Madame Parisot fled in 1871 with Émile Friant to the city of Nancy which was still part of France; his biological family followed soon after. This became an important move for Friant as the city of Nancy and its art institute, École des Beaux-Arts, would become a prominent artistic center of production during the Art Nouveau period.

After drawing classes at the École de l’Est. Friant enrolled at Nancy’s Institute of Design and Painting and became a favorite student of the director Louis-Théodore Devilly who had studied under Eugene Delacroix. Under Devilly’s tutorage, Friant focused purely on painting and produced studies of landscapes, still lifes, and later portraits which he sold a thirty francs apiece. Due to his talent, he was allowed at the age of fifteen to enter his work in exhibitions at Nancy’s Salon des Amis des Arts. After a year, the city of Nancy granted Friant a scholarship which enabled him to relocate alone to Paris. There he settled in an apartment on the Notre Dame des Champs in the autumn of 1879 and entered the atelier of the established academic painter Alexandre Cabanel.

During his first year in Paris, Émile Friant formed a strong friendship with three other artists from the Lorraine region: Victor Prouvé, Jules Bastien-Lapage, and Aimé Morot who encouraged Friant to end his academic training and complete his first two paintings. These works were “Intérieur d’Atelier (Interior of the Studio)” and “L’Enfant Prodique (The Prodigal Son)” which would be exhibited at the 1882 Paris Salon. In 1883 Friant entered the Prix de Rome with his “Œdipe Maudissant son Fils Polynice (Oedipus Cursing His Son Polynice)” but won only second place. Already successfully established with commissions for portraits, he entered the 1885 Prix de Rome with his second “Intérieur d’Atelier” which won him a second medal and exempted his work from approval by the submitting jury, an accomplished feat for an artist at the age of twenty-two.

At the Paris Salon of 1886, Friant entered portraiture with his other entries and won a scholarship from the French government which enabled him to travel. His first journey was to Holland where he studied portrait miniatures; his second and more important trip was to Tunisia where Friant became fascinated by the entire new world surrounding him: the brilliant natural light, the costumes of the inhabitants, and the architecture. Among the paintings he produced after the voyage were “Souk des Tailleurs (Souk of the Tailors)”, and “Port d’Alger (Port of Algiers)”.

After his return to Paris, Émile Friant exhibited his 1887 “Réunion des Canotiers de la Meurthe (Reunion of the Meurthe Boating Party)”at the 1888 Paris Salon. This large work, 116 x 170 cm, did not win any awards but was very popular, which encouraged Friant to paint another large work. His “La Toussaint (All Saints’ Day)” won the grand prize at the 1889 Paris Salon. In the same year, Friant was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and won a gold medal and another traveling scholarship at the Universal Exposition in Paris. He also became part of the Société Nationale de Beaux-Arts which organized their own annual Salons on the Champ de Mars, thus aligning him with other more progressive artists of the period. 

By the mid 1890s, Friant began introducing symbolic references into his work which had been a naturalistic and almost photographic representation of daily bourgeois life. He did however cater to the wishes of his affluent clientele; many of his later entries at the Salon were portraits commissioned by wealthy patrons. Friant also began to deal in the 1890s with American patrons who wanted to exhibit or commission a work. His “Les Fiançailles (The Engagements)” was chosen for the first Carnegie Annual Exhibition held in 1896 in Pittsburgh. Friant began working steadily with art dealer Roland Knoedler and art collector Henry Clay Frick, who would include Friant’s work in his newly established Frick Museum in New York City. 

Émile Friant maintained a dedicated academic manner of creativity in his portraits even when this type of painting was attacked by the abstract modernists. He continued to exhibit through the years at the Salons in Paris and Nancy. In 1906, Friant was named professor of drawing at the École Nationale des Beaux Arts where he continued to teach the importance of the academic drawing method. He was appointed a professor of painting at the École des Beaux Arts in 1923 and was made a member of the Institut de France. A comprehensive retrospective of his work was published in 1930 by art critic Arséne Alexandre. At the age of sixty-nine, Émile Friant fell to his death in Paris on the 9th of June in 1932.

Top Insert Image: Émile Friant, “”Autoportrait, dit un Étudiant”, 1885, Oil on Panel, Museum of Fine Arts at Nancy, France

Second Insert Image: Émile Friant, “Portrait of William Rothenstein”, 1891, Pastel on Paper, 51 x 32.5 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Émile Friant, “Study for La Douleur”, 1899, Charcoal on Wove Paper, 47 x 40.6 cm, Dahesh Museum of Art, New York City

bottom Insert Image: Émile Friant, “The Meurthe Boating Party”, 1887, Oil on Canvas, 116 x 170 cm, Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy

Sir William Dobell

The Artwork of Sir William Dobell

Born in Cooks Hill, New South Wales in September of 1899, Sir William Dobell was an Australian portrait and landscape artist. The youngest of seven children born to Robert Way Dobell and Margaret Emma Wrightson, his talents as an artist was evident even in his early life. Dobell was a painter best known for his portraits which used an expressive style to create vivid portrayals of character. In the post-World War II era of great conservatism in Australian art and politics, he was a witty and incisive observer of social manners and morals.

At the age of fourteen, Dobell left school to work in a draper’s shop and attend drawing classes in the latter part of the day. In 1916, he apprenticed to an architect which enabled him to pursue draftsmanship. Eight years later, Dobell moved to Sydney for a position as draftsman at Wunderlich Limited, a manufacturer of terra cotta and ironwork. In February of 1924 at the age of twenty-five, he enrolled as an art student at the now Julian Ashton Art School. Dobell was one of the first nine students to study at Ashton, where he attended classes under artist and drawing teacher Henry Gibbons and landscape painter George Lambert. 

William Dobell achieved some modest success in 1929 when his painting of dancers, “After the Matinee”, won the third prize in the Australian Art Quest held at Sydney’s State Theater. In the same year, he was awarded a Society of Artists Traveling Scholarship for his painting of a seated male nude. Using this scholarship, Dobell traveled to London and enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art where he studied under painters Henry Tonks and Philip Wilson Steer, both of whom were influenced by the French Impressionists. At the Slade, Dobell won first prize in 1930 for his painting of a nude study.

After visiting Holland to see the work of Rembrandt, Dobell returned to London where he sketched its streets and shared a painting studio with John Passmore, also one of the first students to study under Gibbons at Ashton. Dobell spent almost a decade in London during the depression years of the 1930s; he supplemented his small income by working as a film extra and, in 1936 to 1937, decorating the Glasgow Fair’s Wool Pavilion with other Australian artists. Dobell’s work during these years ranged from depictions done with compassion, such as “The Charlady” and “The Street Singer” to works more satirical such as “Mrs South Kensington” and the 1936 scene of the ghostly dead figure “Dead Landlord”.

William Dobell, with war imminent and his father dying, returned to Australia in 1938. This was the year when modern art was becoming recognized in Australia; the Contemporary Art Society was formed and Australia’s first exhibitions of Modernism were sponsored by Sir Keith Murdoch, journalist and founder of the Murdoch media empire. Dobell initially taught at East Sydney Technical School, now the National Art School, before joining the war effort as a camouflage painter and later as a war artist. In addition to his war paintings, he continued to paint portraits adjusting his technique to the personality of the sitter. Works at this time include the 1940 “The Cypriot”, “The Scrapper” in 1941, and the two 1943 portraits “Billy Boy” and “Brian Penton”.

In 1943, Dobell painted a modern expressionist style portrait of his fellow war camouflager Joshua Smith. The work was a break from the realism favored at that time. After “Mr Joshua Smith” won the 1943 Archibald Prize considered to be the most prestigious portrait prize in Australia, opponents of the decision, mostly conservatives in Sydney’s art world, contested the decision in court. After curators and critics gave evidence supporting Dobell’s work, the case was thrown out. However, the two years of legal dispute and headline publicity took a toll on Dobell, a private man by nature, to such an extent that he did not paint for a year. In 1958, the portrait “Mr Joshua Smith” was nearly destroyed in a fire but, after extensive efforts, was subsequently restored. 

William Dobell retreated in 1944 to the family holiday home in Wangi Wangi on the shores of Lake Macquarie where his sister Alice nursed him back to health. He began sketching again in late 1945; but he tended to shun public life and eventually submitted his resignation from the Board of Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1947. Dobell again won the Archibald Prize in 1948 for his portrait “Margaret Olley” and also received the Wynne Prize for his landscape “Storm Approaching Wangi”. Two visits to New Guinea inspired him and renewed his fascination with color as seen in his two works “Kanana” and “The Thatchers”.

In the 1950s, Dobell developed a friendship with novelist and playwright Patrick White, the future 1973 Nobel Prize winner for Literature who inspired by Dobell’s painting “The Dead Landlord” wrote the 1961 two-act play “The Ham Funeral”. Dobell also painted two important portraits in 1957: “Dame Mary Gilmore” depicting the political activist and social reformer, and “Helena Rubinstein”, a portrait of the cosmetic manufacturer and one of the wealthiest women in the world. This portrait, for which he had worked on versions for six years. won the Australian Women’s Weekly portrait prize and was reproduced in the two-million readership magazine.

In 1960 William Dobell was commissioned to produce a series of cover-portraits for Time Magazine. That same year he won his third Archibald Prize with the portrait “Dr. MacMahon”. Settled in his country home in Wangi Wangi, Dobell continued to paint inventively and lived a quiet life; everyone at the local pub knew him as simply Bill. He received in 1965 the rank of Knight of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Dobell celebrated his seventieth birthday in 1969 and, in the next year, was honored with a major exhibition for his work at the New Castle Art Gallery. In May of 1979, a month after the exhibition, William Dobell died at his Wangi Wangi estate. 

A gay man with a preference for a private life, William Dobell never married and left his entire estate to the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation. The foundation, among its many activities, awards the Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial, named in his honor. Given through The National Art School, it is one of the highest value prizes for drawing in Australia. William Dobell was cremated with Anglican rites and his ashes are interred at Newcastle Memorial Park in Beresfield, New South Wales. 

Notes: A biography by Judith White, entitled “William Dobell: Yours Sincerely”, discusses Dobell’s life and lists the collections housing what are considered Dobell’s most notable works. The article can be found at the Art Collector website located at: https://artcollector.net.au/william-dobell-yours-sincerely/

An interesting two-section article on the life of artist and educator Henry Gibbons and his role at the Julian Ashton Art School, written by Laurie Thomas and Peter Kreet, can be found in painter John Beeman’s Fine Art site located at: https://www.john-beeman.com/henry_gibbons.html

Second Insert Image: William Dobell, “Mr Joshua Smith”, 1943, Oil on Canvas, 122 x 81 cm, Sir William Dobell Foundation

Third Insert Image: William Dobell, “Self Portrait”, 1932, Oil on Wood Panel, 35 x 27 cm, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Fourth Insert Image: William Dobell, “The Boy George”, circa 1928, Oil on Canvas, 71.5 x 56.5 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: William Dobell, “The Cypriot”, 1940, Oil on Canvas, 123.3 x 123.3 cm, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia

 

Francisco Martins

The Photography of Francisco Martins

Born in Cascais, a municipality of Lisbon in 1980, Francisco Martins is a Portuguese photographer, illustrator and graphic designer. He developed his drawing skills from a very young age; the focus of his artwork became the human body depicted in a realistic style. Spending long hours drawing faces and bodies, Martins was captivated by the idea of capturing on paper a subject at a particular moment in time, in effect rendering the subject timeless and beyond mortality. 

Throughout his art history studies, Martins felt especially inspired by the works produced during the Renaissance and Late Baroque periods, the Classical art of Europe’s seventeenth-century and the works of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood which included such artists as William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and, later, William Morris and John William Waterhouse. Martins was also inspired by the portraits of past monarchs who, considered to have been anointed by God, were depicted in divine postures surrounded by auras of light and magical atmospheres. 

Francisco Martins, drawn to these painting styles and techniques, began to apply these same principles to his own artwork. Along with his love for nature, he has a deep fascination for Greek and Celtic mythology, as well as the folklore of his native Portugal. Martins’s book collection of fairy tales and local lore told by elders around fires on cold nights played an important role in shaping his graphic style. 

Between 2000 and 2004, Martins attended Lisbon’s Institute of Art, Design, Technology and Communication where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. After graduation, Martins began to experiment in photography. He combined photography with his illustrative techniques to create hyper-realistic illustrations that depicted scenes from ancient myths. As his photographic skills matured, Martins began to focus more on fashion and his favorite form of expression, portrait photography.

Begun in 2016, Francisco Martins’s “LongIsBeautiful” project is a photographic series that celebrates that which is different and aims to break down labels and stereotypes. Primarily it is an attempt to break rigid trends in the fashion industry, elevate the industry’s  fundamental values, and confront society’s rigid expectations of what a man’s image should be. The project also glorifies the image of men in communion with Nature, a communion exemplified by Native Americans and Brazilian and Polynesian native cultures. 

The “LongIsBeautiful” project associates long hair with the sixth sense and sees it as a celebration of the natural world of which we are a part. Societies, especially ancient ones, believed that hair was more than an aesthetic attribute; a person threatened or in danger would feel one’s hair rise up on the back of his neck, an unconscious perception of a warning. The project depicts modern man as a being who recognizes and respects the importance of the natural environment. 

Concurrently with his “LongIsBeautiful” project, Martins began a project entitled “RedIsBeautiful”, a photographic series that was started with the goal of ending the negative stigma that is usually associated with red hair. The rarest of all hair colors on the planet, less than two percent of the world’s population, red hair is often an excuse for bullying, derogatory comments, harassment and even hate crimes. There are high incidents of both depression and suicides among those with red hair due to such occurrences. In Martins’s vision, red hair plays a major role in fairy tales and should be recognized as an exceptional trait. His project hopes to increase self-esteem and shape the fashion world into a more accepting and appreciative industry. 

As an independent artist, Francisco Martins’s work has appeared  in many periodicals including Umbigo Magazine, Egoísta Magazine, DIF Magazine, PARQ Magazine, Computer Arts Portugal Magazine and MC1R Magazine, among others. He has also done photographic work with guitarist Steve Vai for Ibanez Guitars. 

Martins’s work was featured in two compendiums of illustrations from worldwide artists by the German art publishing house TASCHEN. His images appeared in “Illustration Now: Volume 3” and “Illustration Now: Portraits”, as well as in the promotional calendars and diaries. Martins’s work was also featured in the official catalogues for the 2009 Lisbon Offf festival and the 2010 Offf in Paris.

Francisco Martins’s work can be found at his Instagram site located at: https://www.instagram.com/franciscomartinsphotography

Francisco Martins’s Behance site, which combines his three fields of graphic work, illustration and photography, is located at: http://www.behance.net/FrancMartins

Second Insert Image: Francisco Martins, “João David, Cascais”, 2019, “LongIsBeautiful” Project, Black and White Print

Third Insert Image: Francisco Martins, “Chris Pritchard, Cascais”, 2015, “RedIsBeautiful” Project, “NC1R?-The Magazine for Redheads, Issue 5, 2016

Bottom Insert Image: Francisco Martins, “António Godinho, Cascais”, 2018, “RedIsBeautiful” and “LongIsBeautiful” Projects, Color Print

Gordon Coster

The Photography of Gordon Coster

Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1906, Gordon H. Coster was an American photographer known for his abstracted industrial images and his photojournalism documenting civil rights and labor issues. Interested in photography from an early age,  he joined the Baltimore Camera Club in the early 1920s and garnered a reputation when his modernistic images were accepted in international photographic salons. At nineteen years old, Coster’s 1925 Bauhaus-inspired image of Baltimore’s Washington Monument, “Shadow of the Washington Monument”, was published in the Baltimore Sun’s rotogravure section. 

From 1920 to 1925, Gordon Coster worked for the Bachrach Portrait Studio in Baltimore. Once photography replaced drawing in advertising illustration, he moved to New York City where he became employed by the prestigious Underwood & Underwood. Originally the largest producer and distributor of stereoscopic and other photographic images, the photographic studio became a pioneer in the field of news bureau photography. Coster secured his place in the field by creating innovative advertising and industrial photo-illustrations for newspapers, magazines and catalogues. 

From the beginning of 1927 through 1936, Coster documented labor union activities. He relocated to Chicago in 1930 where he founded a mid-western branch of Underwood & Underwood. During his years in Chicago, Coster developed an unique artistic style for his evening cityscapes. These experimental works presented an abstracted perspective of Chicago’s buildings, shot with tilted angles and occasionally through unfocused lenses. Coster shifted his career to photojournalism with freelance work for such periodicals as Life, Scientific American, Time, Fortune, and Holiday.

Gordon Coster’s personal commitment to the welfare of his fellow citizens led to many extensive documentary projects. In the late 1930s, he produced many projects dedicated to American life in the mid-west. Coster created a series on the lives of wheat farmers and a detailed photo-documentary on the Tennessee Valley Authority Dam Project. Passed in 1933, the TVA project, though controversial at the time, transformed the wild Tennessee Valley river system into a stable region with flood-control, safe navigation, electrification, and economic development. Through the 1930s and 1940s, Coster documented the impact of World War II on the U.S. home front through images of  factories repurposed for military production, women assembly-line workers, and rallies to support the troops.

In 1946 Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy, who founded the Chicago Institute of Design, invited Coster to lecture at the institute’s course “The New Vision in Photography” alongside such eminent photographers as Paul Strand, Erwin Blumenfeld and Berenice Abbott. Coster returned to lecture in 1950 to 1951 and later in 1960 with a focus on socially-oriented themes. In 1955, Edward Steichen selected Coster’s work for inclusion in the landmark exhibition “The Family of Man” held at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. 

Gordon Coster ceased his photographic work in 1964 and eventually retired in 1982. He passed away in 1988 at the age of sixty-two. Coster’s work has been included in exhibitions at Houston’s Contemporary Art Museum, the Stephen Daiter Gallery in Chicago,  London’s Viewfinder Gallery, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Notes: Gordon Coster’s  photographic work is included in the current 2023 exhibition “Trick Photography and Visual Effects”  (January 19 to March 18) at the Keith de Lellis Gallery located at 41 East 57th Street in New York City.

A major collection of Gordon Coster’s work, including over twenty-five thousand prints, negatives, transparencies, and film reels, is housed at the Research Center of the Chicago History Museum. 

Top Insert Image: Gordon Coster, “Self Portrait”, circa 1945, Gelatin Silver Print, 20.3 x 25.4 cm, Private Collection

Second Insert Image: Gordon Coster, “Eliot Elisofon”, 1942, Gelatin Silver Print, Life Magazine Cover July 13, 1942, International Center of Photography

Bottom Insert Image: Gordon Coster, “Chicago Outdoor Street Market”, 1944, Gelatin Silver Print, Life Magazine Collection, 33.7 x 26.7 cm, International Center of Photography

Erwin Olaf

The Photography of Erwin Olaf

Born in Hilversum, the Netherlands in July of 1959, Erwin Olaf Springveld is a Dutch photographer known for both his personal and commercial work. He is primarily known for his lush large-format color prints of staged scenes that depict complex and dramatic narratives. 

Erwin Olaf studied journalism at the School of Journalism in Utrecht. an important Dutch city with roots back to the eighth-century. He started his photographic career by documenting pre-AIDS gay liberation in Amsterdam’s 1980s nightlife. This work soon led to Olaf’s personal exploration of varied series shot in both black-and-white and color. Assuming the role of both photographer and director, he currently shoots cinematic-styled tableaux whose arrangements and diluted color palettes evoke memories of the early 1960s. 

Olaf  has been commissioned to photograph advertising campaigns for large international companies including Microsoft, Nokia and Levi’s. His bold approach to photography has led to a number of prestigious collaborations, among which have been Louis Vuitton, Vogue Magazine, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Throughout his forty-year career, Olaf has maintained an activist approach to equality. His diverse series center around the issues of society’s marginalized individuals, including people of color, women and the LBGTQ+ community. 

Erwin Olaf designed the national side of the 2013 Euro coins for King Willem-Alexander Koning, which commemorated two-hundred years of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Olaf served in 2017 as the official portrait artist for the Dutch royal family. In 2018, he completed a triptych of photographic and filmic tableaux depicting periods of sudden change in major world cities and their effects. Olaf became a Knight of the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands in 2019 after five-hundred works from his oeuvre were added to the collection of the Rijksmuseum. He was awarded the Netherlands’ prestigious Johannes Vermeer Award, as well as Photographer of the Year at the International Color Awards, and Kunstbeeld magazine’s Dutch Artist of the Year.

Among the many photographic series produced by Olaf are the 2005 “Hope, Grief, Rain” which centers on the suspended moment when emotional reaction begins;  the 2012 “Berlin” series shot outside of the studio in six different locations in Berlin, sites reminiscent of the city’s past; the 2020 “Im Wald” which was shot purely on location and highlighted isolated people in their relationship to nature; and the 2001-2002 “Paradise Portraits”, a series of close-up shots of party goers at Amsterdam’s renowned Club Paradiso on New Year’s Eve in 2000.  

Erwin Olaf’s work has been shown in major galleries throughout the world, including London’s prestigious photographic space Hamiltons Gallery, Berlin’s Wagner + Partner Gallery, Amsterdam’s Flatland Gallery, and the Galerie Magda Danysz in Paris. Museum exhibitions have included the Haifa Museum of Art in Israel, the Fondation Oriente Museu in Macau, the Museo de Arte Contemporaine de Rosario in Argentina, the National Art Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria, and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.

In the spring of 2019, Olaf’s work was the subject of a double exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and The Hague Museum of Photography, as well as a solo exhibition at the Shanghai Center of Photography. In the summer of 2021, the Kunsthalle München mounted a major exhibition of 220 artworks, including Olaf’s two most recent series, the 2020 “April Fool” and “Im Wald”, the latter of which was made specially for this show. 

Note: More information of Erwin Olaf’s work and extensive exhibitions, including videos in which he explains his work, can be found at London’s Hamiltons Gallery website located at: https://www.hamiltonsgallery.com/artists/erwin-olaf/overview/

Erwin Olaf’s website, which includes contact information and an extensive list of exhibitions, is located at: https://www.erwinolaf.com/art

Top Insert Image: Erwin Olaf, “Self Portrait”, Date Unknown, Color Print

Second Insert Image: Erwin Olaf, “Chessmen XII”, 1988, Gelatin Silver Print, 37.5 x37.5 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Erwin Olaf, “Kleines Requiem II”, 2022, Color Print, Edition of Ten, 110 x 110 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Erwin Olaf, “Self Portrait”, 1985, Gelatin Silver Print, Futomuseum Den Haag, The Hague, The Netherlands

Sergey Svetlakov

Paintings and Drawings by Sergey Svetlakov

Born in 1961 in the city of Kazan located on the Volga River in southwest Russia, Sergey Svetlakov is a painter and stage designer. His oeuvre includes psychological portraits from life, still lifes, and figurative paintings and drawings of nude models. Svetlakov graduated in 1981 from the Kazan Art School; founded in 1895, it is one of the oldest art institutions in Russia. He graduated with honors in 1986 from Saint Petersburg’s Theater Academy, a state institute for theater, music and cinematography, where he was an art director of drama and musical theater.

Svetlakov worked for several years as a set designer in theaters throughout the country. His most notable work during this period was costume design for composer Edison Denisov’s 1981 opera “L’Ecume des Jours” which was based on Boris Vlan’s novel of the same name. The opera’s 1986 world premiere took place at the Opéra-Comique in Paris with later performances at Perm’s Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theater in 1989 and the Staatsoper Stuttgart in late 2012.

In the early 1990s, Sergey Svetlakov ceased working on theater productions and focused on portraits, nude studies and still lifes. In his carefully detailed work, he attempts to join the traditions of academic Realism with the style of Neo-Classicism. In his still lifes, the fruit, vases and other objects retain their natural material weight against the heavy folds of arranged, patterned drapery. For his portraits and nude studies, Svetlakov works only from models and strives to convey the beauty and inner life of his sitters, usually ordinary people with various types of social backgrounds. 

One of Svetlakov’s models, Denis, was an actor who had placed an advertisement in the local paper in order to make extra money. Svetlakov’s “Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model” is a painting, done primarily in a red palette, that presents an intense figure of Ukrainian, Russian, Greek, and Tater origins. This portrait won the second-place 2020 BP Portrait Award from the National Gallery in London.

Sergey Svetlakov has exhibited widely across Europe, the United States and Japan. In April of 2000, he entered his work in Moscow’s Zero Gallery as part of the exhibition for the Manege Art Fair. Other group exhibitions include the 2012 Art Asia in Miami; the Art Hamptons-USA 2013 exhibition at Gallery G-77 in Kyoto, Japan; the 2014 Affordable Art Show at Galerie MooiMan in Groningen, the Netherlands; and the Affordable Art Shows held at Galerie MooiMan in Milan, Italy and in Maastricht, the Netherlands, both in 2015. 

Svetlakov also had a solo exhibition of his work at Penates, formerly the estate of portrait painter Ilya Repin and now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of his most recent works, “The Youth from Moldavia” was exhibited at the 2021 Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ Annual Exhibition held at the Mall Galleries in London. 

Sergey Svetlakov’s life and work was the subject of a documentary for the “Property of the Republic” series  produced and aired by Russian National Television in 1991. For many years, the prestigious London auction house, MacDougall’s, has been selling Svetlakov’s work as part of its Russian art series. Sergey Svetlakov currently lives and maintains a studio in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Sergey Svetlakov’s website, with images and contact information, can be located at: https://sergeysvetlakov.com

Second Insert Image: Sergey Svetlakov,, “Anton Karavaev”, Date Unknown, Graphite Pencil on Paper Life Drawing

Bottom Insert Image: Sergey Svetlakov, “Portrait of Dmitry”, Date Unknown, Graphite Pencil on Paper Life Drawing

Edmund Teske

The Photography of Edmund Teske

Born in Chicago, Illinois in March of 1911, Edmund Rudolph Teske was an American photographer who along with his portraits produced a prolific volume of experimental photography. For him, photography was more than a way to record a specific moment in time; it was a way to explore the soul of his subjects. Although he was well known among other photographers and participated in many exhibitions, his work was not widely known among the general public.

The eldest son of three children born to Polish emigrant parents, Teske moved at the age of eight with his parents to Wisconsin. It was at this early age that he began to develop his interests in painting and poetry. When the family moved back to Chicago in 1921, Teske began to study music, lessons which concentrated on the piano and saxophone. Encouraged by his elementary school teacher, he began in 1923 to experiment in photography through the school’s facilities. By 1932 Teske was accomplished in the piano to such a degree that he became the protégé of concert pianist Ida Lustagarten. 

Edmund Teske had his first solo exhibition of photographs at the Blackstone Theatre, now the Merie Reskin Theater, in the Loop community area of Chicago. In 1933, he began a career in photography working at a Chicago studio. Traveling to New York in 1936, Teske met and received encouragement in his work by American photographer and modern-art promoter Alfred Stieglitz. In the same year he had the opportunity to meet Frank Lloyd Wright at his studio in Wisconsin. At Wright’s invitation in 1938, Teske took up a fellowship in photography to be conducted at Taliesin, Wright’s personal estate in Wisconsin, where he documented Wright’s architectural projects and began experiments with his own photographic work. 

Teske’s professional relationship with Wright enhanced his reputation and brought him into contact with such artists as Ansel Adams, portrait and architectural photographer Berenice Abbott and Hungarian constructivist photographer Lászió Moholy-Nagy. Teske taught briefly in the late 1930s with Moholy-Nagy at the New Bauhaus Institute of Design in Chicago and was an assistant at Abbott’s New York studio later in 1939. In the late 1930s, he started a documentary series of Chicago scenes entitled “Portrait of My City” which focused on the social issues of the city. 

Although drafted at the beginning of World War II, Edmund Teske failed the medical exam for asocial tendencies and emotional instability, terms often used at that time to disqualify homosexual men. He was instead appointed as an assistant photographer for the Army Corps of Engineers stationed at Illinois’s Rock Island Arsenal where he printed aerial maps for the military. In the early part of 1943, Teske was able to leave his position and, allured by a new life in Hollywood, made the decision to move to Los Angeles. 

After a brief working stay at Wright’s Arizona Taliesin West, Teske arrived in Los Angeles in April of 1943. He was hired for Paramount Pictures’s photographic still department and soon joined the artistic and bohemian movement in the city. After a chance meeting with oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, who was a client of Wright, he was invited to live at the Olive Hill estate that Wright had designed for her. Assuming a larger role than that of just caretaker, Teske hosted informal parties and artistic gatherings with such personalities as artist Man Ray, novelist Anaïs Nin, director George Cukor, sculptor Tony Smith, and actors Joel McCrea and Frances Dee. 

Among the people that Edmund Teske met during this period was the novelist and playwright Christopher Isherwood who introduced Teske to the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta. Teske embraced this philosophy with its concept of the connection of life and nature, and its understanding of the existence of time in relation to the larger universe. He also believed in the coexistence of both the masculine and the feminine within every individual. These teachings  became a firm basis for his existing view of  life and formed a bonding point with Isherwood and the growing Los Angeles gay community. 

Teske continued his photographic experiments with manipulated and combined multiple images from which he produced composite prints from sandwiched negatives, prints with solarization to reverse highlight and shadow, and photographic collages. One of the series he produced was “Shiva-Shakti” which featured a nude male overlaid with human faces, landscapes, or abstract subjects. After moving in 1949 to a small studio in Laurel Canyon, Teske became active during the early part of the 1950s with several small, local theater groups. Throughout the 1950s, he experimented with new manipulative and chemical techniques which culminated in 1958 with a new combination of photographic print toning and solarization, later named duotone solarization. 

Edmund Teske frequently returned during the 1960s and 1970s to older negatives and reinterpreted them through experimental printing techniques. He participated in more than two dozen group exhibition including the Museum of Modern Art’s 1960 “The Sense of Abstraction” show and was given eighteen solo shows. A colleague of photographer Robert Heineken at the University of California in Los Angeles in the 1960s, Teske taught many of the important photographers of that time, among whom were Aaron Siskind and Judy Dater, and mentored many local photographers. He befriended singer Jim Morrison of The Doors and took a series of informal portraits of Morrison and long term companion Pamela Courson.

During the last twenty years of his life, Teske worked and lived in his East Hollywood studio where he regularly taught workshops. He assembled a comprehensive  six-volume autobiographical collection of his work , entitled “Emanations”; however it was never published during his lifetime. In 1994 the Northridge Earthquake severely damaged his studio which forced him to relocate to downtown Los Angeles. Edmund Teske died alone in his home at the age of eighty-five on November 22nd in 1996. A posthumous retrospective of Teske’s photographs was given in 2004 by the John Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. 

“Strive to accept the facts of life with courage and serenity to develop talent, as an outlet for emotion, and to find happiness in the world of the mind and spirit. In the days when Greece and Rome ruled the world in arts and letters and philosophy, love of man for man reached openly its pinnacle of beauty. Civilization today, moving forward, must eventually recognize these true facts of love and sex variations.”

–Excerpt from Edmund Teske’s Journal, Published in Julian Cox’s “Spirit into Matter: The Photographs of Edmund Teske”, John Paul Getty Museum, 2004

Note: An informative and more extensive read on the life of Edmund Teske is Rosalind G. Wholden’s article for the February 1964 print issue of ARTFORUM entitled “Edmund Teske: The Camera as Reliquary”. The article can be found online at: https://www.artforum.com/print/196402/edmund-teske-the-camera-as-reliquary-37879

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Edmund Teska”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Edmund Teske, “Richard Soakup, Teske’s Lover in Their Chicago Flat”, 1940, Gelatin Silver Print, 20.3 x 19.7 cm, Private Collection 

Third Insert Image: Edmund Teske, “Jim Morrison and Pam”, 1969, Gelatin Silver Print Composite, Private Collection

Fourth Insert Image: Edmund Teske, “Herb Landegger and Bill Burke, Olive Hill, Hollywood”, 1945, Gelatin Silver Print, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Elisa Leonelli, “Edmund Teske, Topanga Canyon”, 1976, Gelatin Silver Print

Naila Hazell

The Paintings of Naila Hazell

Born in 1981, Naila Hazell is a British contemporary artist who was raised in Baku, Azerbaijan. She studied fine arts under the renowned Soviet social-realist painter Boyukagha Mirzezade, a laureate of the State Prize of the Azerbaijan Republic. Hazell  received her MFA at the Azerbaijani Fine Arts Academy. Although working mainly in oils, she is exploring other mediums for her conceptual art projects.

Hazell is mainly a figurative artist whose work in oils contain a diversity of deep colors and structures surrounding her figures. Her works explore the stillness found in those short precious moments that happen throughout one’s life, often ignored due to life’s rapid pace. Hazell’s themes contain many stories linked to ordinary life experiences; they also contain messages about the deeper realities of life and offer glimpses into individual identities. 

Naila Hazell’s work has been included in many group exhibitions since her initial entry in a 2000 group exhibition in Baku. Her second group show was “White and Black” held in 2009 at the Azerbaijan National Museum in Baku. From 2010 to 2020, Hazell has had work in sixteen group shows in Azerbaijan and England. Among these were the 2011 “Novruz Celebration” held at Gibson Hall, Bishop Gate in London, the 2020 Mall Galleries Annual Exhibition for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and the 2020 Mall Galleries Royal Society of British Artists 303rd Annual Exhibition in London.

In 2008, Hazrll had her first solo exhibition entitled “You Are Always With Me” at Baku’s Art Centre Gallery. Her second solo was the 2012 “Naila Hazell” exhibition held at the Axerbaijan Cultural Center in London. In 2020, Hazell exhibited her works at a solo exhibition in the Hogarth Health Club in Chiswick, London. Currently based in her West London studio, she was the recipient of the 2021 Royal Scottish Academy’s Lyon and Turnbull Award. 

Naila Hazell’s work is currently being shown at an exhibition entitled “Face to Face” held at London’s Gillian Jason Gallery on Great Titchfield Street until the 17th of December. Hazell’s website can be found at:  https://www.nailahazell.com

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Naila Hazell with Self Portrait”

Middle Insert Image: Naila Hazell, “Intersection with Shadows”, 2022, Oil on Linen

Bottom Insert Image: Naila Hazell, “Resting on Truth”, 2022, Oil on Linen

Amos Badertscher

Photography by Amos Badertscher

Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1936, Amos Badertscher is a self-taught American photographer whose body of work includes portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. He is best known for his gelatin silver prints of Baltimore’s hustler and subculture scenes from the 1970s to the 1990s.

In the middle of the 1970s, Badertscher, financed by a family inheritance, began to capture on film Baltimore’s downtrodden youth, often homeless or drug addicted, and many of them sex-workers between jail terms. On many of the portraits, there is copious shaky and uneven handwriting which sometimes filled all the available negative space around the image.These texts written by Badertscher revealed the lives of his subjects and his understanding of them. The writings outlined the painful childhoods, addictions, prostitution, disease and other realities that affected the lives of his subjects. In the texts, Badertscher also described fluidity in the sexual identity of the hustlers and their attempts at creating even fleeting stability in their lives.

Each of Amos Badertscher’s images is shot without reliance on intricate technique; instead the focus is placed on the intimate, personal nature of the portrait. His preferred photographic technique is rapid, unrehearsed sessions which are not planned or visualized in advance. Badertscher relies on his instinct and what he considers his many possibilities in the darkroom.

Badertscher’s work was ignored for almost twenty years. By 1993, he was resigned to putting his house up for sale. By chance, the real-estate agent brought Michael Mezzatesta. the director of the Duke University Museum of Art, and his wife to tour the house whose many rooms were covered with Badertscher’s photographs. Although the couple did not purchase the house, Badertscher was later given a solo exhibition at the Duke University Museum of Art in 1995. 

Amos Badertscher’s best known photographic collection is “Baltimore Portraits” which was published in association with the Duke University Museum of Art’s exhibition of Badertscher’s work. The volume contains eighty black and white portraits accompanied with hand-written narratives about their subjects. “Baltimore Portraits”, which span a twenty-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, documented a sector of Baltimore life that had been largely unnoticed and virtually decimated by societal neglect, AIDS, and substance abuse. Badertscher’s collection presented arresting and melancholy photographs of bar and street people, strippers, drug addicts, transvestites, drag queens and hustlers. 

Badertscher has shown his photography in many group exhibitions, including most recently “The 1970’s: The Blossoming of Queer Enlightenment” at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in 2016, the 2019 “About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and New Queer Art” at Wrightwood 659 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, and the 2021 “Clandestine: The Photo Collection of Pedro Slim” at the Cobra Museum voor Moderne Kunst in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Badertscher’s photographs, along with works by Diane Arbus, Man Ray, Bill Brandt and others, were also  included in Mexico City’s  “La Parte Más Bella”exhibition at the Museo de Arte Moderno which ran from October 2017 to March 2018.  

In 2005, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art gave a retrospective of Amos Badertscher’s photographs entitled “Illegal to See–The Outsider Art of Amos Badertscher”. This exhibit was originally mounted as part of the Center for Exploratory and Perceptual Art’s “Deviant Bodies”, a major exhibition that explored the margins of contemporary gay male culture. Badertscher’s show consisted of fifty-seven gelatin silver prints from his thirty plus years of work. From March to July in 2020, a solo exhibition of Badertscher’s photographs, “Amos Badertscher: The Souls Around Us” was held at the Schwules Museum in Berlin; this retrospective was his first comprehensive museum exhibition outside of the United States.

In 1998, a collection of Amos Badertscher’s photography, entitled “Badertscher”, was published by St. Martin’s Press. His work was also included in David Arden Sprigle’s 1998 “Male Bonding: Volume Two”, an anthology collection of sixty-three photographers. Badertscher’s photographs can be found in the New York Public Library’s Photography Collection and the Harry H. Weintraub Collection of Gay-Related Photography and Historical Documentation (1850-2010) at the Cornell University Library, as well as many other public and private collections.

Note: For those interested, Amos Badertscher’s “Baltimore Portraits” is availabel through the Duke University Press located at: https://www.dukeupress.edu/baltimore-portraits

A review by Gary Scharfman on the 2005 exhibition “Illegal to See: A Portrait of Hustler Culture by Photographer Amos Badertscher”, held at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, can be found at: https://www.leslielohman.org/exhibitions/illegal-to-see-a-portrait-of-hustler-culture-by-photographer-amos-badertscher

Top Insert Image: Amos Badertscher, “Portrait of Marty”, 1999, Gelatin Silver Print, 34.9 x 27.6 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Amos Badertscher, “Constantine P. Cavafy Poem”, 1975, Gelatin Silver Print, Leslie-Lohman  Museum of Art

Bottom Insert Image: Amos Badertscher, Title Unknown (Portrait with Mirror), 1996, Gelatin Silver Print, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art