Alex Folla

The Paintings of Alex Folla

Born in 1980 in Oggiono, a northern town in the Province of Lecco, Alex Folla is a contemporary Italian artist. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Painting at Milan’s Accademia di Brera and a Masters Degree in Visual Arts from the Accademia di Bella Arti in the city of Carrara. He currently lives and works in Milan, Filorera located in the Italian Alps, and Moscow.

Trained in the history and techniques of the Renaissance and Baroque artists from Michelangelo to Caravaggio, Alex Folla uses his classical training to tackle contemporary life though metaphoric images. He creates profoundly technical and pictorial realistic images which incorporate such human issues as the frailty of the body, illness, holiness and strength. In many of his works, Folla takes traditional sacred imagery and, using its classical composition and his stylistic choice, reconstructs it to form symbolic images of a more contemporary nature.

In his 2016 show “BulleTime”, Alex Folla based his work on the idea of martyrdom  and reinterpreted the classical images of the Christian martyrs in a more contemporary way. The figures of the martyrs, often substituted with either a self-portrait or one of  friends, were painted in seventeenth-century techniques with gold leaf backgrounds used in early traditional Byzantine paintings. Folla’s paintings in this series are contemporary in appearance by his use of the “bullet time” cinematic technique, a slow-motion film shot enabling you to see every moment of the scene, typically when the protagonist dodges the incoming bullet. With the use of this technique from movie culture, Folla focuses the attention of the viewer towards each of the paintings’ figures, who are seen moving from their position as if to avoid an object’s trajectory and their inevitable martyrdom.

Alex Folla’s paintings have appeared in multiple group exhibitions throughout the world including the 2010 Castello Dei Pico Exhibition, where he won the Volturno Morani Prize; the 2014 International Alla Prima Exhibition in New Delhi; the 2016 LA Art Show in Los Angeles; the 2014 and 2016 SWAB International Exhibitions in Barcelona; and the 2017 Ostrale 17 Biennale in Dresden, Germany, among others.

Alex Folla’s fist solo exhibition, entitled “Black and White”,  was in 2013 at Milan’s Union Gallery. Since then, he has had multiple solo shows including two at Moscow’s Triumph Gallery: “Miracles” in 2014 and “#unknownmonk” in 2015; the 2014 “Football Players” at the Savina Gallery in St. Petersburg; the 2016 “bulleTime” at Los Angeles’s Building Bridge Gallery; and the 2016 “#unknownmonk 2.0” at Los Angeles’s Italian Institute of Culture in collaboration with the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Additional images, exhibition dates and contact information can be found at the artist’s site located at: http://www.alexfolla.org/saints3.html

Top Insert Image: Alex Folla, “Patrocio”, 2020, Oil and Gold Leaf on Canvas, 145 x 145 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Alex folla, “Aiace”, 2020, Oil and Gold Leaf on Canvas, 145 x 145 cm

Clara Peeters

Clara Peeters, “Still Life with Cheeses, Artichoke, and Cherries”, circa 1625, Oil on Wood, 46.7 x 33.3 cm, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Clara Peeters, “Table with Cloth, Salt Cellar, Gilt Standing Cup, Pie, Jug, Porcelain Plate with Olives and Cooked Food”, 1611, Oil on Panel, 55 x 73 cm, Museo National del Prado, Madrid

Clara Peeters was a still-life pioneer, one of the only female Flemish artists who exclusively painted still-life works. She was a contemporary of Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jan Brueghel the Elder, and as such, was active during one of the great periods of European art. Peeters is credited with the popularization of colorful, banquet or breakfast pieces, depicting sumptuous displays of tableware, goblets, food, drink and flowers, into the Dutch painting tradition. She is known for her meticulous brushwork, ability to capture precise textures, and her low angle of perspective.

While customs and law did not favor women’s inclusion in professional activities, a small number of women were able to overcome the existing restrictions and become painters. Factors such as the problem of studying anatomical drawings from live, normally male, models who posed nude in an activity was forbidden to women and thus limited their work to portraits or still-life paintings.

There is very little documentation on the life of Clara Peeters aside from her paintings. Scholars believe she was born between 1588 and 1590. Although a record indicates a Clara Peeters was baptized in Antwerp in 1594, both Clara and Peeters were common names. A baptism in 1594 would imply that her sophisticated 1607 paintings, the earliest dated known works,  were done when she was thirteen, which seems unlikely. By 1612, Peeters was producing large numbers of painstakingly rendered still life paintings. There is no known work of hers beyond 1621; the date of her death is also unknown.

While Peeters is not registered in the painters’ guild in Antwerp, she is described in a document as a painter from there. Of her known works, six bear marks on their painting panels indicating their preparation in the city of Antwerp. On the blades of three silver knives depicted in Peeters’ paintings are hallmarks, indicating their origin as the city of Antwerp; these knives also bear Peeters’ name which might be an indication of her own marriage, as silver cutlery was used as wedding gifts.

Clara Peeters’ first known work, signed and dated 1607, reflects the compositional and technical skill of a trained artist. She signed thirty-one works and dated many of them; another seventy-six works are speculated to be in her body of work, although documentation is lacking to assign them affirmatively. Although no record of patrons is available, it appears that Peeters was a successful artist. The fact that her work was widely distributed and is present in collections in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Madrid, suggests she exported her paintings through dealers and likely was able to achieve some profit. Four of Peeters’ early works came to the Prado Museum from the Spanish Royal Collection. 

Clara Peeters devoted her activities to still-life painting, deploying a style that emphasized the real appearance of things, in a period where realism was seen as an alternative to the idealism of the Renaissance tradition.Her paintings depicted fish and fowl ready to be cooked, cooked food displayed on the table, serving vessels, cutlery, other objects, most of them costly luxury items. These were all painted with great detail in the description of both texture and form: the brightly lit objects were presented in elegant contrast with the dark backgrounds. 

Peeters’ paintings show the tastes and customs of the prosperous classes in the middle of the Renaissance period. The tables in her still-life works include imported goods and food, such as wine, fruit, sweetmeats, and particularly fish, of which Peeters was the first artist to portray as the main subject of a still-life. Her work also included falcons next to dead fowl, the subject of an aristocrat’s hunt, and sea shells, prized for their exotic origins and beauty. 

Clara Peeters was one of the first known artists to incorporate self-portraiture into still-life paintings. Barely noticeable, they appear at least in eight of her works, often reflected on a silver-gilt goblet or on the lids of pewter jugs. On the surface of the right goblet in her “Still Life with Flowers, Gilt Goblets, Coins and Shells” are located six self-portraits of Peeters, where she is seen holding her brushes and palette in a stance upholding her status as a woman painter. Depicted in detail on such a minute scale, these self-portraits attest to Clara Peeters’s level of artistic skill.

Insert Images:

Clara Peeters, “Still Life with Flowers, Gilt Goblets, Coins and Shells”, Detai View of Self-Portraits, 1612, Oil on Panel, 59.5 x 49 cm, Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle

Clara Peeters, “Still Life with Fish, Candle, Artichokes, Crabs and Shrimp”, 1611, Oil on Panel, 50 x 72 cm, Museo National del Prado, Madrid

Clara Peeters, “Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds and Pretzels”, 1615, (With Signed Silver Knife), Oil on Panel, 34.5 x 49.5, Museum Mauritshuis, The Hage

James Huctwith

 

Figurative Paintings by James Huctwith

Born in rural southern Ontario, Canada in 1967, James Huctwith is a painter in the realist tradition. From 1986 to 1989, he studied fine art at the University of Guelph’s College of Art in Ontario, primarily in architecture and art history and theory. Huctwith started painting and exhibiting in the early 1990s in Vancouver. Relocating to Toronto in 1995, he was represented by the O’Connor Gallery where he regularly exhibited his emotionally and physically explicit work for a decade.

After a period of personal disruption and change, Huctwith joined Vancouver’s Gallery Jones in the spring of 2005. He stayed with the gallery for two years, during which time he exhibited  a series of non-figurative works. Beginning in 2006, Huctwith was also represented for two years by Montreal’s Galerie Harwood, where the work he exhibited consisted primarily of interpretations of the still life genre. In 2007, he ended his relationship with the O’Connor Gallery.

Feeling a need to recapture his connection with his work, James Huctwith returned to the province of Ontario, placed his previous work with Toronto’s Antonio Arch Fine Arts, and signed up with Ottawa’s Galeria La Petite Mort. His first solo show of figurative work at the Petite Mort gallery in the fall of 2009 was a success. Huctwith’s work, now published and regularly reviewed, is collected internationally with many works in private collections..

Huctwith’s current realist work, both figurative and portraiture, is done with an emphasis on historical techniques. His canvases of male figures are moody, masculine, and mysterious. While a sense of calmness is presented in Huctwith’s scenes, there is often a lurking undercurrent of uncertainty and conflict.

The artist’s website can be found at: http://daintybastard.blogspot.com

William Orpen

William Orpen, “Self Portrait on Cliff Top in Howth”, cica 1910, Black Charcoal and Gouache, 50.5 x 36.5 cm, Private Collection

Born in County Dublin in November of 1878, William Newenham Montague Orpen was an Irish draftsman and portrait painter of London’s wealthy Edwardian society. A talented figure of British-Irish Post-Impressionism, he was the youngest son of wealthy, amateur painters and a gifted student who learned rapidly from a succession of celebrated tutors. 

William Orpen was enrolled at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art in 1891, where he studied from 1892 to 1896.  He continued his studies at London’s Slade School of Art between 1897 and 1899, under figurative painter Henry Tonks, landscape painter Philip Wilson Steer, and genre and portrait painter Frederick Brown. Having mastered oil painting and different painting techniques, Orpen’s work, during his six years of study, received many prizes including the British Isles gold medal for life drawing.

Upon graduation from the Slade School, Orpen, along with his fellow graduate, Welsh painter Augustus John,  opened in the autumn of 1903, the Chelsea Art School, a private teaching studio, near King’s Road in Chelsea. Although it was meant as a joint venture, most of the teaching and running of the school was undertaken by John, with Orpen’s chief contribution being a series of lectures on anatomy. Both male and female students were admitted to the school but, despite John’s own bohemian lifestyle, the sexes were segregated for the Life classes. The project was not a success, and, after the waning of both’s interest, the school closed in 1907.

From 1902 to 1915, William Orpen, in addition to his classes at the Chelsea School, taught at the Dublin Metropolitan School of At, where his pupils included portrait painter Margaret Clarke,  romantic-realist painter John Keating, and cartoonist Grace Gifford. In the summer of 1904, he and his friend and mentor, the gallery director and art dealer Hugh Lane, traveled to Paris and Madrid. Orpen guided Lane on the purchase of Impressionist works, and Lane, several years later, commissioned Orpen for a portrait series of notable Irish figures to be displayed at Dublin’s  Municipal Gallery of Modern Art. In 1908, Orpen began exhibiting his work regularly at London’s Royal Academy;  the work in this period was done in a distinctive open-air style that featured figures composed of touches of color.

Starting in 1912, Orpen began his successful career as a portrait painter with a series of portraits of his favorite model, Vera Brewster Hone, the wife of writer Joseph Hone. This series, of such quantity that Orpen numbered them instead of naming them, included the 1912 “The Angler” and the 1918 “The Roscommon Dragoon”, which portrayed Vera Brewster wearing a Dragoon uniform. With the support of painter John Singer Sargent, Orpen built a reputation, in both Dublin and London, as a fashionable portrait painter who presented his subjects in a traditional, polished style. He also painted several group portraits, a popular genre at the time, which include the 1912 “The Cafe Royal in London”, depicting Orpen and Augustus John,  and the 1909 “Homage to Manet”, with the subjects, including Hugh Lane and Henry Tonks, assembled before Manet’s portrait of Eva Gonzales.

In December of 1915, as World War One commenced, William Orpen was commissioned into the Army Service Corps. In January of 1917, through connections with the senior ranks of the British Army, he was given the title of an official artist, which included a promotion to major and unrestricted access to the Front areas in France. Throughout the war years, Orpen painted battle locations, trench scenes, and many portraits of both enlisted men and officers. For his work in this period, he stopped using half-tones and half-shades and adopted a new palettes of colors, with weak purples,  bright greens, and large white spaces of sunlight. Many of these war artist works are in the collection of the Imperial War Museum in London.

Both before and after the war, Orpen produced a number of realistic self-portraits. in which he used his skills as a draftsman to resolve the challenges of surface, lighting, and reflection that he set for himself. His 1910 “Myself and Cupid” was actually a painting within a painting; in this portrait, Orpen painted a table top beyond which was hung a portrait of himself sitting next to a statue of Cupid. Orpen’s 1910 self portrait, known as “Leading the Life in the West”, shows him reflected full-length in a mirror in his studio, wearing a bowler hat and holding gloves and a riding crop. An IOU note is tucked in the frame of the mirror, a testament to the pleasures and distractions of his early career. In Orpen’s 1917 self-portrait “Ready to Start”, painted shortly after his arrival in France, Orpen is inspecting himself in the mirror wearing his military uniform. The French postcards and papers on the desk in the foreground set the scene of wartime France, while the bottles of wine and spirits reference Orpen’s dependence on alcohol during the war.

William Orpen’s life after the war was never the same: he became an alcoholic, grew distant from his wife and family, and mostly painted only to support the lavish lifestyle he took up in Paris with his mistress. Despite his personal problems he was still successful and continued to exhibit widely. Orpen was made a member of the prestigious Royal Academy in 1921 and, in 1923, he received a commission to paint a portrait of Edward, Prince of Wales, for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. In 1927 he was commissioned for a portrait of Prime Minister David Lloyd George, which was posthumously entered into the National Portrait Gallery. Orpen’s work was also part of the painting event at the 1926 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.

Orpen became seriously ill in May of 1931, and , after a period of alcohol-induced illness and memory loss, died in London, at the age of fifty-two, in September of 1931. His contribution to the teaching of Irish art has always been recognized as he helped to nurture and influence Ireland’s most important painters of the twentieth-century.William Orpen is buried at Putney Vale Cemetery in southwestern London; a commemorative stone is located in the Island of Ireland Peace Park at Messines, Belgium.

Insert Images Top to Bottom:

William Orpen, Self Portrait, 1913, Oil on Canvas, 122.9 x 89.9 cm, Saint Louis Art Museum

Sir William Orpen, “Self Portrait”, circa 1901, Colored Chalk on Dark Gray Paper, 15.5 x 10.9 cm, Private Collection

William Orpen, “Self Portrait (Ready to Start)”, 1917, Oil on Panel, 60.8 x 49.4 cm, Imperial War Museum, London

Frank Duveneck

Paintings by Frank Duveneck

Born in October of 1848 in Covington, Kentucky, Frank Duveneck was an American etcher and painter. He began painting in his early teens and was employed as an assistant to Wilhelm Lamprecht, a graduate of Munich’s Royal Academy who began a mission to decorate churches in the Cincinnati region. In 1869, Duveneck traveled to Munich where he intended to continue his study of church decoration.

After developing an interest in easel painting, Duveneck enrolled in 1870 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he studied under painters and illustrators Wilheim Diez and Alexander Strähuber.. Gaining distinction for his work, Duveneck won a prize in 1872 that entitled him to a studio of his own. Some of his best known works were painted during his time in Germany, including his 1872 “Whistling Boy”. one of Duveneck’s first renditions of working-class ruffians, now housed in the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Frank Duveneck’s work of this period are painted in a vigorous style that reveals the influence of Wilhelm Leibi, who was the leader of a group of young German realists guided by French  realist Gustave Courbet’s innovative and social-themed work. Duveneck’s early style, with its generally dark colors and expressive brushwork, was a melding of contemporary German practice with his interest in the techniques of the Old Masters, particularly the seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painters.

Duveneck returned to Cincinnati in 1873, and, in the following year, exhibited portraits he had painted in Germany. His reputation as an artist in the United States began with a successful 1875 Boston exhibition of his work where his bold and spontaneous style caused a sensation. Despite encouragement to stay in Boston and paint commissioned portraits, Duveneck returned to Germany where he set up a studio in Munich and began to develop a reputation among its American students.

After a trip to Venice in 1877, Frank Duveneck opened his own painting school in Munich, which soon drew the attention of studying artists. His students, who would become known as the Duveneck Boys, included such future artists as portrait painter and illustrator John White Alexander, and impressionist landscape painters Theodore Wendel and John H. Twachtman. In 1879 Duveneck and his students traveled to Italy, where they would remain for the next two years spending winters in Florence and summers in Venice.

Duveneck was elected to the Society of American Artists in 1880. Around this time, he became interested in etching and produced several works in this medium which were similar in style to those of James Whistler, whom Duveneck had met in Venice. This collection of works were exhibited in a London exhibition in 1881. After 1880 Duveneck altered his painting style to one of lighter colors and less somber lighting effects, which might have been a response to his stay in Italy.

In March of 1886, Frank Duveneck married Elizabeth Boott, one of his students. They lived at Villa Casteliani in Florence for two years and had one son, Frank Boott Duveneck. After his wife’s 1988 death of pneumonia in Paris, Duveneck made the decision  to return in the following year to the United States. He taught painting classes at Cincinnati, New York and Chicago, and frequently traveled to Europe throughout the 1890s. Duveneck became a teacher at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1890 and became a regular faculty member in 1900. He was elected into the National Academy of Design in 1905, and became a full Academician in 1906. 

Duveneck exhibited his works in a private room at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco; his works were received with great acclaim, and he was awarded a Special Gold Medal of Honor. Before his death in Cincinnati on January 2, 1919, Frank Duveneck donated a large and important group of his works to the Cincinnati Art Museum, which remains the center for Duveneck studies. His works can be seen at the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, Boston’s Museum of Fine Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.

Top Insert Image:  J. Land, Portrait of Frank Duveneck, 1877, Detail, Photographic Sepia Print on Cabinet Card, Smithsonian Institution

Middle Insert Image: Frank Duveneck, “Study for ‘The Harem Guard”, 1879, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 66 cm, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco

Bottom Insert Image: Frank Duveneck, “Self-Portrait”, 1877, Oil on Canvas, Cincinnati Art Museum

 

 

Gustave Caillebotte

Paintings by Gustav Caillebotte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Churcher

Paintings by Peter Churcher

Born in Brisbane, Australia, in 1964, Peter Churcher is a portrait and figurative painter in the realist tradition. He holds a Bachelor of Music with Honors from Melbourne University which he acquired in 1986. Traveling through Europe after gaining his Licentiate for Piano Performance from Trinity College in London, Churcher visited many galleries and decided to return to his original passion, painting. He studied at Melbourne’s Victorian College, now Deacon University, where in 1992 he earned his BFA in Painting.

Churcher first showed his work in the group exhibition “Artworks II: Thirty Emerging Melbourne Artists” held at the South Melbourne Town Hall. After entering his work in two group exhibitions at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, he gave his first solo show at the gallery in 1994. Since that time Churcher has held solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and has been represented in many group exhibitions across the country.

Peter Churcher’s work deals primarily with the human subject in  portraiture and group figurative narratives. His subjects are ordinary people sighted on the streets, who are presented on the canvas with their own personalities and natural enthusiasms. A number of commissioned portraits for both private and public personalities are also contained in Churcher’s body of work.

As a commissioned officer during the Persian Gulf War, Churcher was, in 2002, appointed to be Australia’s official war artist. Traveling to the Persian Gulf and Diego Garcia, he recorded the people and operations of the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force. Churcher’s work captured many aspects of army life not covered by the press photographers. His images of  Australia’s flying officers and pilots, the sailors, and the engine-room stokers aboard the HNAS Kanimbla are now included in the collection of the Australian War Memorial. 

Peter Churcher’s work is represented in many major public, corporate and private collections throughout Australia and overseas including the National Gallery of Australia  and The National Portrait Gallery, both in Canberra; The Australian War Memorial; and Parliament House in Victoria, among others. 

Peter Churcher is represented in Australia by Philip Bacon Galleries in Brisbane and Australian Galleries in Melbourne and Sydney. He is currently living and working in Barcelona, Spain. Churcher’s most recent solo show is at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art in Melbourne through April 16th of  2021. 

Top Insert Image: Peter Churcher, “Hostel”m 2017, Oil on Canvas, 116 x 98 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Peter Churcher, “The Young Painter”, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 78 x 60 cm, Private Collection

Maurice Grosser

Paintings by Maurice Grosser

Born on October 23, 1903 in Huntsville, Alabama, Maurice Grosser was an American writer, art critic, and painter. He attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in Mathematics with honors in 1924. While at Harvard, Grosser received painting instruction from painter and professor Denman Ross, a trustee of Boston’s Museum of Fine Art. Grosser also studied both life drawing and painting at Boston’s Architectural School and South Boston’s Art School,

Awarded Harvard’s Sheldon Fellowship for a two year period, Grosser was able to study painting in both France and Italy. In 1925 in Paris, he met for the second time and began a relationship with American composer and critic Virgil Thomson, who became his life partner and frequent collaborator. After meeting Gertrude Stein in Paris in 1926, they returned to the United States and took up residence at New York’s Hotel Chelsea, where they presided over a salon which attracted leading figures in the arts, such as writer and poet Frank O’Hara, composer Leonard Bernstein, author Tennessee Williams, and avant-garde composer John Cage

Maurice Grosser first began his collaborative work with Virgil Thomson around 1928, when he assisted in the production of Thomson’s new opera “Four Saints in Three Acts”. The libretto for the opera was prepared by Gertrude Stein, the music was composed by Thomson, and the scenario was developed by Grosser. This opera was noted for its musical content, its form, and its portrayal of the European saints by a cast of black performers, with singers directed by Eva Jessye, a prominent black choral director. 

Grosser next worked with Thomson on his provocative 1947 opera “The Mother of Us All”, based on the life of social reformer Susan B.  Anthony. The libretto for this opera was written by Gertrude Stein, who sent the finished work to Thomson in March of 1946, just a few months before her death in July. The two-act opera premiered in May of 1947 with soprano Dorothy Dow as Susan B. Anthony. The work was a 1956 Off-Broadway production, part of the Santa Fe Opera’s 1976 season, and staged at the New York City Opera in 2000 and the San Francisco Opera in 2003. 

A third collaboration between Maurice Grosser and Thomson was the 1985 “18 Portraits”. For many years, they had made portraits, some dating from the 1920s, of mutual friends in both music and paint forms. The portraits of each sitter were presented in eighteen separate bi-folios, with a single sheet insert consisting of two pages of music and an original lithograph of a  pencil and charcoal portrait.

A writer as well as a painter, Maurice Grosser lived among a circle of avant-garde authors, artists, and musicians. He spent long periods living and working abroad, first in Paris and later in Morocco, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Israel, Nigeria, Canada, and Brazil. As an artist, Grosser painted in a conservative realist style, in which he depicted structured landscapes in New England, and in the southern and western states. He was also a portraitist whose more famous subjects were  his companion, composer Virgil Thomson, Scottish operatic soprano Mary Garden, writer and playwright Jane Bowles, and British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead.

Between 1956 and 1967, Maurice Grosser served as art critic for “The Nation” magazine. As an author, he wrote four books on painting and art criticism, including “Painting in Public / Painting in Our Time” in 1948 and republished in 1964; “The Painter’s Eye” in 1951; the 1962 “Critic’s Eye”; and “Painter’s Progress” in 1971. Grosser’s memoir entitled “Visiting Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas” was published posthumously in 2006 by New York Review Books. 

Maurice Grosser died on December 22, 1986, at the age of eighty-three. His ashes are interred at Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. Virgil Thomson died on September 30, 1989, in his suite at the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan at age ninety-two. 

Note: Maurice and Virgil first met in 1920 while both were attending meetings of The Liberal Club at Harvard; but the intimate relationship between the two would not fully evolve until they met by chance in 1925 at the Parisian cafe “Deux Magots”.

Top Insert Image: Maurice Grosser, “Self Portrait”, 1925, Oil on Canvas, Location Unknown

Middle Insert Image: Maurice Grosser, “Self-Portrait”, 1985, Lithograph, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Carl Van Vechten, “Maurice Grosser”, 1935, Silver Gelatin Print, Library of Congress

T M Davy

The Artwork of T M Davy

Born in New York, New York in 1980, T M Davy is a painter  whose body  work is characterized by realistic oil portraits.  Davy studied at the National Academy of Design in New York in 2001, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York where he currently teaches. In 2012 , he was an artist in residence at BOFFO in  Fire Island, New York. 

T M Davy’s work relies on scenes that are directly connected to his life and surroundings. Persistent themes in his work are the issues of intimacy, love, and friendship. Past subjects in his work have included candle-lit scenes of domestic life with family, his husband Liam, and his circle of friends. Davy has also painted a series of images centered on horses, inspired by the time he spent on a relative’s farm, and a series of images of candles lit in darkness.

The consistency of Davy’s technical execution  and the sophistication of its realism are apparent in his oil on canvas work, whether in a small or a large-scale format. A connecting link in all of his paintings is his use of the chiaroscuro effect, a technique used also by painters Caravaggio and Anthony van Dyck, which emphasizes the interaction of light and shadow.He has also worked in the mediums of pastel and gouache, with which he produced several series of open air spontaneous drawings in a smaller scale format.

In his work produced on Fire Island, New York, Davy portrays many of his beachside figures entering or in the water, exemplifying the union of bodies with nature, a prominent theme of the artist. His portraits celebrate his inseparable communion with his husband, Liam Davy, as well as the intimacy and bond among close friends. His “Fire Island” series are a meditation on the power and freedom born from togetherness—between figure and landscape, mind and body, human and human.

Davy’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the “No Soul for Sale” exhibition at theTate Modern in London; the “B-Out” exhibition at the Andrew Edlin gallery in New York; the 2009 “Nudes” exhibition at Galeria Fortes Vilaca in São Paolo; and the 2019 “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall” at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, among others. He has had solo exhibitions at Galerie Thomas Fuchs in Stuttgart, Germany in 2018: the Exile gallery in Berlin, Germany, 2012; and gallery 11R in New York in 2014 and 2017. 

“We exist in an age of complete transition. The time is now to communicate the beauty of queer love around the world.   A paradigm shift in people’s conception of love is happening. If I can, I want to play a small part in that–in revealing how true and how eternal it is. Transcendence is a movement to the broadest spectrum. “ —T M Davy, 2019

Information of T M Davy’s work and exhibitions can be found at the artist’s site: http://www.tmdavy.com

Michael Triegel

The Artwork of Michael Triegel

Born in December of 1968 in Erfurt, Michael Triegel is a German painter, illustrator and graphic artist based in Leipzig. From 1990 to 1997, Michael Triegel studied at the renowned Hochschule fьr Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, where he was taught by Arno Rink, a painter in the German figurative tradition.

The Academy in Leipzig is closely associated with the New Leipzig School, a movement in German art that arose following the fall of the Berlin Wall, of which the painter Neo Rauch, a proponent of social realism, is the most important representative.The members of this association largely use the same figurative form language, though they vary widely in terms of their technique. 

In terms of their subject matter and execution, Michael Triegel’s paintings are instilled with the atmosphere of the early European Renaissance. He works in the style of the old masters, applying layer upon layer with a very refined technique that compliments his ability for realistic detail. Triegel’s paintings are a celebration of pure figurative painting, with classic religious and profane motifs, which look like altarpieces but, at the same time, appear alienating and surreal.

In 2010, Michael Triegel, commissioned by the Bishop of Regensburg, painted the official portrait of Pope Benedict XVI, which resulted in international recognition of his work.

Romer Kitching

Paintings by Romer Kitching

Born in London in 1995, painter Romer Kitching began drawing at an early age. From 2015 to 2018, he received his formal education at the Florence Academy of Art, a school which offers classical training in the Realist style. Having been trained daily in the aspects of form, anatomy, and the effects of light, Kitching now paints exclusively from live models.

Romer Kitching currently resides in Cèret, a communal town in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of southern France. Having visited the area from the age of fourteen, he considers it his home and has painted many ‘open air’ landscapes of the area. Painting to capture the different elements of the area, Kitching pays particular attention to the broken light and the dappled shadows in the scene.

Romer Kitching produced a number of academic portraits during his time at the Florence Academy, using live models to increase his skills. In addition to this work, he has painted more intimate, stylized portraits of family members and friends. 

Romer Kitching’s website is located at: https://www.romerkitching.com

Andreas Leissner

Paintings by Andreas Leissner

Born in Berlin in 1978, Andreas Leissner is a figurative painter of the realist style, who documents the isolation of humans in the modern world, using strict, controlled, almost stolid images. In his more recent works, he finds his points of reference in the great works of European occidental culture, recognizable in the themes of his paintings.

From 1996 to 1998, Andreas Leissner studied with figurative realist painter André Krigar. He later studied, from 1999 to 2004, under painter and graphic artist Volker Stelzmann at Berlin’s University of the Arts. After graduating with his MFA in 2004, Leissner began a career as a freelance artist. 

Andreas Leissner has exhibited solely and in group shows in galleries and museums  including: the Karl Ernst Osthaus Museum in Hagen; the Art Association of Plön, Germany; the Art Association of Mainz; and the historical Spandau Citadel in Berlin.

Based in Brandenburg, Germany, Andreas Leissner is represented by Gallery KK, founded in 1983 by Klaus Kiefer and located in Essen, Germany. The gallery is focused on figurative contemporary art. It is located at: https://www.galerie-kk.de

Andreas Leissner’s website is located at: https://andreasleissner.com

Claudio Bravo Camus

Claudio Bravo Camus, “Antes del Juego (Before the Game)”, 1983, Oil on Canvas, 199 x 239 cm

Born in 1936, Chilean-born artist Claudio Bravo initially established himself as a society portrait painter in Chile and Spain, but he became better known for his vibrant still lifes of such everyday items as packages, crumpled paper, and draped fabric. Although he lived in Morocco for many years, it was the Spanish classical masters who inspired the provocative style of his hyperrealist paintings.

Though Bravo had some training under Chilean artist Miguel Venegas Cifuentes, he was primarily self-taught. He was only 17 years old when he had his first exhibition in 1954 at Salón 13 in Valparaíso. In the early 1960s Bravo moved to Spain, where he made his living painting portraits on commission, including pictures of Gen. Francisco Franco’s family members.

Bravo had his first New York City show in 1970. Two years later he settled in Tangier, Morocco, where he began to paint landscapes and animals as well as still lifes and portraits. His paintings regularly sold for impressive sums, with his 1967 “White Package” fetching more than $1 million in 2004. Bravo was, although, little known in Chile until a 1994 retrospective exhibition of his work at the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts. He passed away in June of 2011 in Taroudant, Morocco.

Joseph Hirsch

Joseph Hirsch, “Mercy Ship”, 1943, Oil on Canvas, 122 x 97 cm , US Navy Art Collection

Born in Philadelphia in 1910, Joseph Hirsch, after winning a four-year scholarship from the city of Philadelphia at the age of seventeen, studied the realist tradition of painter Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, now the University of the Arts. After graduation, he studied privately in New York City under social realist painter George Luks, a founder of the Ashcan School of painting and one of the “Eight”, a group which favored painting scenes of urban life.

After the death of George Luks  in 1933, Hirsch studied with painter Henry Hensche, who impressed with the colors of the impressionists, had started his own studio in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The awarding of a Woolley Fellowship in 1935 enabled Hirsch to expand his experiences by traveling  throughout Europe for one year, also visiting Egypt and areas of Asia, before returning to the United States in November of 1936. During the 1930s, Joseph Hirsch’s art career received a boost through employment by the Works Progress Administration in Philadelphia, where he completed murals for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Building and the Municipal Court.

As a member of the Associated American Artists, during World War II, Hirsch worked for Abbott Laboratories, producing artworks to illustrate the war effort, including the most widely produced war bond poster, his 1942 “Till We Meet Again”. Continuing his style of capturing ordinary people and moments, Hirsch worked with fellow artist Georges Schreiber at the Pensacola Naval Air Station documenting Naval aviation training. From there he went to the South Pacific to document the efforts of Navy medicine and, later, covered Army operations on the Italian front and in North Africa.

Joseph Hirsch was a founding member of the Artists Equity, organized in 1949 in New York City to protect the rights of visual artists. Awarded a 1949 Fulbright Fellowship, Hirsch and his family traveled to France. to study and work. During this time the political climate in the United States became hostile to those holding unpopular views, leading to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s speech in 1950 denouncing Communists in the US State Department. Hirsch, awarded a year extension on his Fellowship, sold his Cape Cod home and remained with his family in Paris. 

In March of 1952, Congressman George Dondero denounced Artist Equity as a front organization for Communists on the floor of the House of Representatives. This led to the blacklisting of a number of Artist Equity member artists and the denouncement of Hirsch as a Communist sympathizer. As a result, Hirsch and his family did not return to the United States until 1955. After his return, Hirsch continued his successful career, selling paintings and working on commissions. In the 1960s to 1970s, Hirsch experimented by using a series of layered image planes, instead of lines of perspective, to suggest depth on his canvases. This series of figurative images appear as snapshots, capturing its subjects in mid-action instead of posed postions.

Joseph Hirsch taught at the National Academy of Design from 1959 to 1967, and at the Art Students League of New York from 1967 until his death in September of 1981, He was also artist-in-residence a the University of Utah, Utah State University, Dartmouth College and Brigham Young University. The Library of Congress twice awarded him the Joseph Pennell Prize for Lithography for his 1944 “Lunch Hour” and the 1945 “The Confidence”. Among many other awards, he won the 1968 Carnegie Prize by the Carnegie Museum of Art for his body of work.

Note: Joseph Hirsch’s 1943 “Mercy Ship” depicts the U.S. Navy Hospital ship, USS Solace, with its crew. Functioning as a floating medical treatment facility, the Navy’s hospital ships operated under the laws laid down by the Geneva Convention, as such they were unarmed, fully illuminated at night, and painted white. 

Built as the passenger ship SS Iroquois in 1927, it was acquired by the US Navy in July of 1940, renamed Solace, converted into a hospital ship, and commissioned on August 9, 1941. She was at Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack, December 7th of 1941, where she pulled men from the burning oil-covered water and evacuated crews of damaged ships. The USS Solace received seven battle stars for her distinguished service in World War II.

Image Insert: Joseph Hersch, “Satisfaction Plus”, 1943, Oil on Canvas, Naval History and Heritage Command

Daniel Graves

 

Daniel Graves, “The Power of Wisdom and Beauty”, 2013, Oil on Linen, 70 x 50 cm

Born in 1949, Daniel Graves graduated with honors in 1972 from Balimore’s Maryland Institute College of Art, where he studied anatomy and painting under painter  Joseph Sheppard and sculptor Frank Russell. He traveled to Florence, Italy, studying history painting and etching with classical artist Richard Serrin at Florence’s Villa Schifanoia Graduate School of Fine Art from 1972 to 1973.

Moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota, Daniel Graves studied in the atelier of classical realist painter Richard Lack from 1975 to 1976, where he associated with a thriving circle of classical realist painters trained by Lack and Ives Gammell, a classical realist painter of symbolic images. Graves moved to Florence in 1978, decided to remain there and began working under Nerina Simi, renowned painter and drawing teacher. During that time he became acquainted with portrait and fresco painter Pietro Annigoni, who has received praise for his classical portraits of Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1982, Daniel Graves, with his compatriot, painter and historian Charles H Cecil, a student of Ives Gammell, opened a teaching atelier in Florence which they operated together until 1990. Graves created the Florence Academy of Art in 1991 to train artists in the materials, techniques, and craftsmanship of figurative realism. Today the Academy operates ateliers in Jersey City, New Jersey, and in Mölndal, Sweden.

“When we look into the eyes of a Rembrandt self-portrait, how much closer can we get to knowing the soul of another human being? Rembrandt’s hands mixed the paint we see, but what is actually before us is a blend of his image with ours and that of every human. There is no substitute for this experience.”  —-Daniel Graves

Image reblogged with thanks to https://danielgravesart.com

The Florence Academy of Art’s website is https://www.florenceacademyofart.com

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme, “A Bischari Warrior”, 1872, Oil on Canvas, 41 x 33 cms, Private Collection

Jean-Léon Gérôme was a French painter and sculptor of the academicism style, painting historical themes, portraits, Greek mythology, and oriental and Middle-East themes. He studied under the historical painter Paul Delaroche and later attended the atelier of Charles Gleyre, a Swiss artist who took over Delaroche’s studio in 1843. Gérôme attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris but failed to enter the notable Prix de Rome due to inadequacy in his drawing skill.

Gérôme won a third-class medal at the 1847 Paris Salon Exhibition for his 1846 painting “The Cock Fight”, which is viewed as a high point of the Neo-Grec movement. He took a second-class medal at the 1948 Prix de Rome Exhibition for his painting “Bacchus and Cupid”. Gérôme received two important commissions between 1852 and 1854 which enabled him to widely travel: the large historical canvas, “The Age of Augustus”, for the court of Napolean III, and his “Last Communion of Saint Jerome” for the Church of Saint-Séverin in Paris.

Jean-Léon Gérôme visited Egypt in 1856 for the first time, traveling up the Nile to Cairo, across the Sinai Peninsula, and eventually to Damascus. This trip began the start of his many orientalist paintings depicting the Arab religion, landscapes of the North African regions, and genre life of the its peoples. He made multiple studies and sketches of the landscapes and gathered costumes and artefacts as studies for his oriental scenes. Between 1864 and 1904 Gérôme taught at his own atelier at the École des Beaux-Arts, one of three professors, teaching his students a progession of drawing skills before they were allowed to work in oils.

Jean-Léon Gérôme died in his atelier on the 10th of January 1904. He was found in front of a portrait of Rembrandt and close to his own painting “Truth Coming Out of Her Well”. At his own request, he was given a simple burial service. But the Requiem Mass given in his memory was attended by a former president of the Republic, most prominent politicians, and many painters and writers. Gérôme is buried in the Montmartre Cemetery in front of the statue “Sorrow” that he had cast for his son Jean who had died in 1891.

Dennis Wojtkiewicz

Dennis Wojtkiewicz is Professor of Art at Bowling Green State University where he has taught painting and drawing since 1988. He received his M.F.A. degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1981 and also studied at the Atelier Neo-Medici in France under the direction of Patrick Betaudier in 1978 and 1983.

Wojtkiewicz is best known for his distinctive large-scale oil paintings of fruit and flowers in which the subject matter is encapsulated and transfixed by a heightened approach to realism. His work has been shown in international art fairs in Bridgehampton, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Palm Beach, Santa Fe, Taipei and Toronto as well as in numerous galleries and exhibitions throughout the U.S. Wojtkiewicz is a past recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Individual Fellowships with paintings and drawings represented in major public, private and corporate collections.

Samuel C Guy

Samuel C. Guy, “The Chess Players”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 60 Inches

Samuel C Guy, who lives and works in Boston, explores topics that address the human condition such as masculinity, childhood, growth, and the existential. His work utilizes the figure as a means of discussing these themes. Through the manipulation of the subject, the surrounding references, and use of text and symbols he creates imagery that is at once enigmatic and contemplative.

Guy is also known for injecting satire and absurdity into his work, often making direct references to art history, both classic and modern. The resulting layers of meaning tap into and challenge the knowledge brought to the work by the viewer. Guy has moved towards a reduced palette, bringing an implied darkness, and cynicism to otherwise humorous or lighthearted paintings.

Reblogged with thanks to http://thouartadeadthing.tumblr.com

Giovanni Gasparro

Giovanni Gasparro, La Visione di San Giovanni a Patmos”, 2012, Oil on Canvas, 325 x 180 cm.

Giovanni Gasparro was born in Bari in southern Italy in 1983. He graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome in 2007, as a pupil of the painter Giuseppe Modica, with a thesis in art history on the Roman stay of Van Dyck. Gasparro’s first solo exhibition in Paris was in 2009.

In 2011, the Arcidiocesis of L’Aquila commissioned him to paint nineteen works of art between the altar and the altarpiece for the Basilica of San Giuseppe Artigiano, which was damaged by the earthquake of 2009. This collection of works constitutes the largest painting cycle of sacred art made in recent years.

In 2012 Gasparro made the “Anomalia with the Largillière’s Hat” for the Costa Fascinosa, Europe’s largest cruise ship, in the Costa Crociere fleet. In 2013 he won the Bioethics Art Competition of UNESCO’s Bioethics and Human Rights Chair with his work “Casti Connubii”, inspired by Pope Pius XI’s 1930 encyclical. The following year, with “Quum Memoranda”, a portrait of Pope Pius VII, Gasparro won the Pio Alferano Prize.

Reblogged with many thanks to https://milkyger.tumblr.com