Roland Caillaux

The Artwork of Roland Caillaux

Born in January of 1905, Roland Ferdinand Caillaud was a French film and theater actor, as well as, an illustrator and painter. Known professionally as Roland Caillaux, he was a key figure among the literary and artistic celebrities who lived and worked in Saint-Germain-des-Prés of Paris’s sixth Arrondissement. 

The son of a wealthy Parisian family, Roland Caillaux inherited enough money upon the death of his parents to enable him to live a comfortable life free from financial restriction. He had a residence at  5 Rue de l’Ancienne-Comédie in the sixth Arrondissement of Paris and maintained a studio space on the Rue Boulard in the fourteenth Arrondissement. Caillaux was openly homosexual and enjoyed the relative freedom of Paris in the 1930s. He developed friendships with many of the writers, artists and filmmakers of the period including Jean Cocteau, Maurice Sachs, François Sentein, Jean Marais, Marcel Carné, and Jean Genet, among others. 

In his lifetime, Caillaux was best known as a film and theater actor. His first appearance, an uncredited role, was in director Jaque Catelain’s 1924 drama film “La Galerie des Monstres”, a story of a young married couple’s tribulations after they join a circus. After playing the role of Le Sergent in Jene Renoir’s 1928 “Tire au Flanc”, Caillaux was given the role of Grippe-Soleil in Tony Lekain and Gaston Ravel’s 1929 “Figaro”, a film adaption of the 1778 Beaumarchais play “The Marriage of Figaro”. In the same year, he had a role in René Hevil’s film “Le Ruisseau (The Stream)”, and appeared onstage in a brief run of Vladmir Kirchon and Andreï Ouspenski’s play “La Rouille” at the Théâtre de l’Avenue in Paris. 

The height of Roland Caillaux’s acting career occurred in 1930 with appearances in two films: “Soyons Gais” and composer John Daumery’s comedy musical “Le Masque d’Hollywood” directed by Clarence Badger. In the same year, he was in two theatrical performances: playwright Georges Neveux’s first notable work “Juliette ou la Cié des Songes” and Edmond Haraucourt’s “La Passion” held at the Comédie-Française. In 1932, Caillaux appeared in two films: the character of André Duval, Sergent de Spahis, in Rex Ingram and Alice Terry’s “Baroud” and a lead role in Georges Lacombe’s comedy “Ce Cochon de Morin”. His final film role was Lieutenant Jean Dumontier in Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein’s 1934 “Itto” which, filmed in French Morocco, received a nomination for Best Foreign Film at the 1935 Venice Film Festival.

As a visual artist during the period from 1940 to 1960, Caillaux worked in his Rue Boulard studio where he produced landscapes, portraits, lithographs and drawings. The rare erotic works he produced were meant to be circulated among his circle of friends in the arts, cinema and music worlds. In Paris in 1945, Roland Caillaux produced what is probably his best known illustrated work, “Vingt Lithographies pour un Livre que J’ai Lu (Twenty Lithographs for a Book I Read)”, a folio of twenty homoerotic lithographs loosely presented in printed wrappers within a cloth folding box.

Caillaux’s “Vingt Lithographies pour un Livre que J’ai Lu” was published in a small run of one-hundred fifteen copies without the name of the author, illustrator or printer. The lithographs were accompanied by text, attributed to novelist and playwright Jean Genet, that contain variant excerpts from two poems, “Notre Dame-des-Fleurs” and “The Parade”. These two poetic works by Genet were later published in a limited edition run, entitled “Poems”, in 1948 by Editions L’Arbalète. 

Roland Caillaux passed away in Paris in December of 1977. Many of his illustrations, not publicly seen before, were discovered by Nicole Canet of Paris’s Galerie Au Bonheur du Jour and subsequently exhibited. Caillaux’s works are housed in many private collections and frequently appear in international auctions. 

Note: The spelling of Roland Caillaud’s birth name was written with a “d”; however, throughout his career as an actor and draftsman, he wrote his last name with an “x”. In regards to his drawings, those not erotic were signed Roland Caillaux; while the erotic drawings were signed with a “spider” signature, a small spider web with an “x” in the middle.

Nicole Canet’s Galerie Au Bonheur du Jour, located in the heart of Paris, represents work by Caillaux and other artists in the fields of painting, illustration and photography. The gallery also publishes a wide collection of catalogues. Galerie Au Bonheur du Jour is located online at: 

Top Insert Image: Dora Maar (Henriette Théodora Markovitch), “Portrait of Roland Caillaux”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Roland Caillaux, “Sailor”, 1932, Oil on Canvas on Cardboard, 26 x 21 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Dora Maar (Henriette Théodora Markovitch), “Portrait of Roland Caillaux”, 1935, Gelatin-Argent Negative on Flexible Support in Cellulose Nitrate, 18 x 13 cm, Le Centre Pompidou, Paris

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:

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:

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

Frank Stella

Frank Stella, “The Circuit Series”, 1982-1984, Woodcut and Relief Prints on Hand-Dyed Paper

Born in Malden, Massachusetts in May of 1936, Frank Philip Stella is an American painter, printmaker and sculptor known for his work in the fields of post-painterly abstraction and minimalism. He learned about the abstract modernist painters, such as Hans Hofmann and Josef Albers, during his studies at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Stella entered Princeton University with a major in history; there he met and became friends with abstract painter Darby Bannard and modernist art critic and  historian Michael Fried. 

Stella’s frequent visits to the many art galleries in New York City stimulated his artistic development. His work bears the influence of his exposure to the abstract expressionist work of such artists as action-painter Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline,  known for his signature style of black on white abstraction. After graduation, Stella moved to New York City where he established a studio and permanent residence. In 2015 he moved his studio space to Rock Tavern, a small New York town on the edge of the Stewart State Forest.  

After Frank Stella moved to New York, he focused exclusively on his painting and found his success after two accidental, but innovative, paintings. Known as the Black Paintings, they consisted of penciled lines drawn on raw canvas where the open spaces were partially filled with black house paint. Since that time, Stella has consistently developed increasingly complex variations of selected themes over the years. He has constantly challenged himself by working in sculpture, lithography, silk screen printing, etching  and offset lithography. 

After having established himself as a painter, Stella began making prints in 1967. He initially worked predominately with lithography, but also did intaglio prints and screen prints. Stella’s prints, like his paintings, were created in series and continued the aesthetic he had brought to his paintings. For his print production, Stella began working in 1967 with master printmaker and publisher Kenneth Tyler, owner of the print atelier Gemini Graphic Editions Limited. Known for the quality of its work, this print atelier drew many famous artists to its workshops including Jasper Johns, David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Anthony Caro, and Robert Rauschenberg.

The sixteen prints of Frank Stella’s 1982 -1984 “Circuits Series” represented a dramatic shift in his attitude toward printmaking. While working on a series of sculptural relief paintings, Stella had the idea that the remnants from his sculptural work could be rolled with ink and used for relief printing. He noticed that the outlines of the different shapes cut from sheet metal had been incised into the plywood backing boards. Stella was struck by the layered network of lines and curved shapes traced onto the wood.

From this point in time, Stella’s print practice would be the influence for his work in other mediums, with each project pushing the boundaries of his printmaking. Working with Kenneth Tyler, he experimented with the “Circuit Series” in tandem with his developing relief paintings. By layering woodblocks and collaging them with etched metal plates, then printing them on specially crafted, hand-dyed sheets of oversize paper, Stella produced prints of innovational scale, complexity and bold color. This series was the first time Stella used color-stained paper and magnesium plates for printing. 

“The “Circuits Series” was inspired by the race tracks that Stella visited in the different parts of the world: the Talladega in Alabama, the Pergusa and Imola racetracks in Italy, and the Estoril in Portugal. Stella incorporated twisting and circular shapes within the series to convey the high-speed courses. In all the images of the series, the visual image of the racetrack remains consistent; however, the curvilinear shapes are sometimes highly irregular and become increasingly enhanced by the use of multiple colored inks. 

The National Gallery of Australia holds the most comprehensive collection of Frank Stella’s innovations in print, with over eleven-hundred prints, experimental proofs, and matrices, including more than one-hundred twenty related to the “Circuits Series”. Images from the series are in private and other public collections including Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Art Gallery in New York, the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska, and both the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Top Insert Image: Bob Berg, “Frank Stella, New York Studio”, May 1995, Color Print, Getty Images

Second Insert Image: Frank Stella, “Imola Three I”, 1982, “Circuits” Series, Relief and Woodcut with Aquatint on Handmade, Hand-Colored Paper, 167.6 x 132.1 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Frank Stella, “Estoril Five II”, 1982, “Circuits” Series, Relief and Woodcut with Aquatint on Handmade, Hand-Colored Paper, 167.6 x 132.1 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Christopher Gregory (New York Times), “Frank Stella, New York City”, 2019, The Renate, Hans & Maria Hoffmann Trust

Arthur George Murphy

Lithographs by Arthur George Murphy

Born in Tiffin, Ohio in January of 1906, Arthur George Murphy was a lithographer, painter and educator. He began his initial art education at the Cleveland School of Art. After relocating to New York City, Murphy studied for two years at the Art Students’ League under painter and illustrator Boardman Robinson and anatomy and figure drawing teacher George Bridgeman. 

Murphy worked for a short time as a cartoonist for Chicago and New York newspapers. In 1930, he relocated to San Francisco where he continued his studies at the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute. Murphy also studied briefly at Colorado Springs’ Broadmoor Art Academy from 1932 to 1934. After his studies, he abandoned commercial art to devote his time to fine art.

In August of 1935, the Federal Art Project was established as part of the New Deal program to fund visual arts in the United States. It was one of five Federal Project Number One projects sponsored by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression era. Between 1935 and 1940, Arthur Murphy worked on California’s Federal Art Project for which he produced murals and almost one hundred lithographs. Included among his many works are lithographs documenting the construction of both the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridges. 

During the years of World War II, Arthur George Murphy served as a war artist and correspondent in the South Pacific area. After his discharge from service, he relocated permanently to Connecticut where he taught at the Whitney School of Art, which became part of Paier College, Bridgeport, in 1954, and at the private Quinnipiac College located in Hamden, Connecticut.

Exhibitions of Murphy’s work included a 1934 mural for a public works project in southern California, an exhibition at the San Francisco Art Association in 1937, an exhibition at the De Young Museum in 1939, a 1941 solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and an exhibition at the Newark Museum of Art in New Jersey.

Arthur George Murphy died at the age of eighty-five in Old Saybrock, Connecticut in 1991. His work is housed in both private and public collections including that of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Art, Philadelphia’s Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the University of Kentucky Art Museum, among others.

Top Insert Image: Arthur George Murphy, “Ballet Dancers, Ballet Russe”, 1939, Lithograph, 41.3 x 29.2 cm, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

Bottom Insert Image: Arthur George Murphy, “Steel Riggers, Bay Bridge”, 1936, Lithograph, 39.4 x 30.5 cm, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

Radek Husak

The Artwork of Radek Husak

Born in Poland in 1984, Radek Husak ia a contemporary process-driven mixed-media artist whose works in the expanded field of print. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art and is currently based in London. 

Through his research and experimentation, Husak developed a new approach to printmaking. He works with pigment transfers twinned with carbon-drawn elements that are either placed on paper or sandblasted aluminum panels. Blasting through the outer layer of aluminum reveals a reflective inner core upon which the pigment transfers are placed. These images are then embellished with paint, soft pastels, bodycolor, and carbon and color pencils.

Radek Husak’s work is inspired by art history, fashion, and queer theory. He combines the tradition of the nude with the large color-elements of 1950s and 1960s Pop Culture. Husak’s images, with their overlapping figurative forms, create in essence a static glitch. The edges of one body blurs and melts into the next, thereby creating  sense of movement. The resulting movement effect of these bold, modern images bring to mind the early movement studies by French scientist and photographer Étienne-Jules Marey, which he produced in the 1800s. 

Husak creates works in the abstract form and constructs these images by taking elements of nature, such as skies, clouds and anatomical features, fragmenting and rearranging them to form flowing patterns. He also has produced figurative work in other mediums including ceramics and stained glass. 

Radek Husak has shown his work in 2021 and 2011 at the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair in London. The Grove Gallery and Quantus Gallery, both in London, are the venues for Husak’s first solo show, entitled “Duality” which is running from November 23 until December 22 in 2022. 

Radek Husak’s work can be seen at his website located at:   His work can also be seen at Artsy located at:

Bottom Insert Image: Radek Husak, “Saint Sebastian (SS5)”, 2022, Pigment Transfer, Bodycolor, Carbon and Color Pencils and Collage on Sandblasted Aluminum, Edition of 3, 84 x 60 cm, Private Collection

Jean Alaux

Jean Alaux, “Cadmus in Combat with the Dragon”,  1830, Engraving, 38.6 x 29.5 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, France

Born in 1786 in the port city of Bordeaux, Jean Alaux was a French history painter, one of four brothers who all became painters. He received his first art lessons from his father. Alaux’s formal training was under history painter Pierre Lacour and Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, a Parisian painter known for his portraits and melodramatic mythological scenes. In 1807, Alaux was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Beginning in 1808, Jean Alaux began entering his work in the Prix de Rome; however, he took a hiatus from his own work to assist his older brother Jean-François Alaux on a large-scale panorama. Subsequently, Alaux entered his “Briseis Weeping Over the Body of Patroclus” in the 1815 Prix de Rome. This work, inspired by Homer’s “Illiad”, was awarded the major prize at the exhibition. Alaux was elected to the French Academy in Rome and, from 1816 to 1820, received an annual pension.

While at the Academy, Jean Alaux became a friend of Neo-classical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and associated with such artists as painters François-Édouard Picot and Michel Martin Drolling, and sculptors David d’Angers and Jean-Jacques Pradier. Alaux’s first oil painting at the Academy was “Cadmus Killing the Dragon at the Fountains of Dirce”, purchased by the Duke of Orleans and later destroyed in a a fire at the Royal Palace during the 1848 French Revolution. Alaux painted two other mythology-based scenes during his stay at the Academy: “Episode in Combat with the Centaurs and the Lapithes” and “Diamedes Carrying Off the Palladium”. 

Alaux returned to France in 1821 where his reputation grew as his new works were well received. In 1825 he painted the historical work  “The Baptism of Clovis”, which depicted the warlord King Clovis’s baptism by Saint Remigius, the Bishop of Rheims, surrounded by a crowd of spectators. This work was followed by “States General of 1838”, “The Assembly of the Notables at Rouen in 1596”, and “States General of 1814”. 

During the liberal constitutional reign of Louis Philippe I which began in July of 1830, Alaux worked at the Galerie des Batailles under the auspices of the Chàteau de Versailles. He painted three historical works for the gallery: the 1836 “Battle of Villaviciosa”, “The Capture of Valenciennes” in 1837, and the 1839 “The Battle of Denain”. 

In 1846, Jean Alaux was appointed director of the French Academy in Rome. During his directorship, he and his students were forced to temporarily flee to France during the siege of Rome in 1849 when Garibaldi’s defending forces fought the invading French army. Alaux continued his directorship at the Academy until his retirement in 1852. Jean Alaux died twelve years later in Paris on the second of March in 1864. 

Jean Alaux’s work can be found in many private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of New York which holds his 1817 “Léon Pallière in His Room at the Villa Medici, Rome”, the British Museum in London which houses a collection of Alaux’s etchings, and the Harvard Art Museum, among others.

Top Insert Image: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, “Portrait of Jean Alaux”, Date Unknown, Engraving

Middle Insert Image: Jean Alaux, “Narcisse”, 1818, Oil on Canvas, 95.3 x 76 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Jean Alaux, “A Man with Gun Seen from Behind”, Date Unknown, Black and White Chalk on Brown Paper, 57.7 x 39.1 cm, Private Collection

Keisuke Yamamoto

Stone Lithographs by Keisuke Yamamoto

Born in Osaka in 1961, Keisuke Yamamoto is a Japanese lithographer and painter known for his still lifes and landscape images. He graduated in 1986 from historical Kanazawa’s College of Art and Design with a Master of Fine Arts in Oil Painting and then studied lithographic techniques at a printing studio. Since his graduation, Yamamoto has been an independent painter and lithography artist. He currently lives and works in Kyoto where he maintains his atelier.

Lithography, in essence, requires clear systematic planning in its execution; errors can not be corrected. Yamamoto’s hand-drawn stone lithographs, although appearing simplistic, required great forethought and skill in carving. His work does not contain any narrative but instead focuses on the incredible stillness of a moment in time. The beauty of Yamamoto’s work is created by the interactions between time, silence, light and shadow, the composition of which places the viewer as an observing visitor.

In his “Light, Time, Silence” begun in 1992, Keisuke Yamamoto created a series of lithographs which reconstructed three recurring elements, chairs, stairs and windows, which were arranged in multiple settings with different lighting conditions. The main theme for this series was the conception of the natural flow of time. To achieve this, Yamamoto had to depict the surrounding spaces as well as the gradation of light with great accuracy. He was aware that our ability to see and understand the world visually was based on the light that reflected off various objects. Upon light entering our eyes, our brains process the information and present it to us as a particular object with a particular color and shape. Yamamoto understood the illustration of the visual world depends actually on the depiction of light; and the flow of time must be illustrated through changes in that light.

Keisuke Yamamoto is represented in the United States by the Davidson Galleries, a collection of nearly twenty-thousand works on paper, which is located on Occidental Avenue South in Seattle, Washington. His works can be seen at:

Top Insert Image: Keisuke Yamamoto, “Apple Tree”, 1961/2013, Lithograph, AP, 38.1 x 60.1 cm, Davidson Galleries

Bottom Insert Image: Keisuke Yamamoto, “Sea Breeze B”, 1961, Lithograph, “Light, Time, Silence” Series, Edition of 20, 30.2 x 20 cm, Davidson Galleries

Will Barnet

The Artwork of Will Barnet

Born in Beverly, Massachusetts in May of 1911, Will Barnet was an American artist whose career spanned nearly nine decades. He is known for his prints, watercolors, paintings and drawings which elegantly depicted figures seen in daily life and dream-like scenes. Barnet’s works were laden with symbolic meaning; his paintings often presented solitary figures with birds set amidst portentous landscapes or interiors.

Will Barnet studied at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts under Impressionist artist and writer Philip Leslie Hale whose brushwork and palette were influenced by the paintings of Claude Monet. Beginning in 1930, Will Barnet studied at the Art Students League of New York under early Modernist painter Stuart Davis and Charles Locke, an accomplished painter and printmaker who taught lithography at the League. 

In the mid-1930s, Barnet taught at the New School for Social Research and, beginning in 1936, began a long professional association with the Arts Student League when he was appointed the official printer for the school. He later became an instructor in graphic arts at the school and influenced a generation of artists including sculptor and painter Knox Martin, pop art painter James Rosenquist,  abstract-impressionist painter Ether Fisher, woodworker Emil Milan, and Cy Twombly, known for his calligraphic, large scale works. 

As with many of the American painters in his generation, Barnet observed the evolving trends in European art and integrated them into his own vocabulary. He was formal though, in accordance with his teachings, to the basic  elements that form any work of art: the principles of color use, composition, and subject matter. Barnet’s  works encompassed the different art movements of his era, from his early works in social realism to his minimalist works of carefully placed solid colors. 

Will Barnet was one of the few artists, along with Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, who produced inspired work over a continuous, decades-long period through a logical progression of different artistic phases. His early social realist work, produced for the graphic arts division of the WPA’s Federal Art Project in New York, were lithographs and etchings of farm laborers, factory workers, and urban dwellers. These sullen dark-toned portraits depicted the struggle of the depression era and the simple love of family life; they reflected the popular Ashcan School style, also seen in the contemporary works of etcher John Sloan and painter George Bellows.

Well known as a painter and prolific graphic artist by the 1940s, Barnet began to experiment with Abstraction and added more vibrant color to his work. His work, though, never became fully abstract; there was always some presence of figuration in the composition. Barnet became a prominent figure in the 1940s New York art movement called Indian Space Painting, which based their abstract work on the art of Native Americans. Through the 1950s, Barnet’s moved more towards Abstract Expressionism and created more studied, formal works of shapes and color. Near the end of the 1950s, his work incorporated more gestural forms and his attention became more drawn to domestic scenes, which became a major element in his later work. 

Will Barnet’s style had matured by the mid-1960s. Influenced by traditional Japanese color woodcuts, Renaissance paintings, and the newly arrived American Pop Art, his work evolved again into more figurative work with silhouetted forms set against geometrically designed backgrounds. Barnet is probably best known for his enigmatic portraits of family, such as his 1969 “Silent Seasons” series, a suite of figurative work comprising four prints for each season. He continued to experiment with these harmonious compositions of domestic tranquility and produced work in this style for the next fifty years. 

Barnet, in addition to his teaching positions at the New School for Social Research and the Art Students League, also held positions at Yale University, New York City’s Cooper Union, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He was a member of the National Academy of Design and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. In 2011, Barnet received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama in Washington DC. 

Will Barnet’s work is in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Vatican Museum in Rome, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others. Barnet died of cardiac arrest on November 13, 2012, at the age of 101, in New York City, his home for twenty-eight years.

Top Insert Image: Sidney J. Waintrob, “Will Barnet”, 1966, Gelatin Silver Print, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Second Insert Image: Will Barnet, “Big Grey”, 1987, Lithograph, 32.4 x 24.9 cm, Whitney Museum of American Art

Third Insert Image: Will Barnet, “Gladys”, 1936, Lithograph, 37.5 x 25.4 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Bottom Insert Image: Marc Royce, “Will Barnet”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Harry Sternberg

The Artwork of Harry Sternberg

Born to Russian-Hungarian parents in New York City in July of 1904, Harry Sternberg was an American printmaker, painter and educator. The youngest of eight children, he spent his childhood in Brooklyn  where, at the age of nine, he began art classes at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Sternberg studied at the Art Students League of New York from 1922 to 1926. He rented a studio in the Greenwich Village area after graduation and began a career in etching, painting, and printmaking. 

Sternberg had his first exhibition of work in 1931 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, one of the first exhibitions held at the museum’s West 8th Street address in the West Village area. In 1933, Sternberg was added as an instructor to the staff of the Arts Student League of New York, a position he would hold for the next thirty-five years. Among the students he trained were Charles Wilbert White Jr, known for his chronicling of Afro-American related subjects; painter and graphic artist Isabel Bishop, known for her scenes of everyday life in Manhattan; and artist and teacher Knox Martin, who became one of the leading members of the New York School of artists and writers.

After meeting painter Frida Kahlo and her husband, the muralist Diego Rivera, in 1934, Harry Sternberg became more active in union and socialist causes. He became involved with the government’s Works Progress Administration, WPA, in 1935 as a technical advisor to the Graphic Art Division of the Federal Art Project, a New Deal program to fund the visual arts in the United States. After being awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1936, Sternberg spent a year studying the conditions of workers in steel mills and coal mines. The drawings, etchings and paintings from this period, depicting life in the industrial areas of the United States, later influenced the composition of his mural designs.  

Sternberg painted his first WPA mural. commissioned by the Department of the Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture, for the lobby of the Sellersville Post Office in Pennsylvania. The twelve-foot long 1937 “Carrying the Mail”, depicting the placing of mail in a letterbox and its delivery, was executed in tempera on canvas. Upon its completion, Sternberg traveled to Chicago, where he studied the city’s history, architecture, and industry for his next commissioned mural. 

In 1938, Harry Sternberg created his twenty-four foot mural, “Chicago: Epoch of a Great City”, for the Lakeview Post Office in Chicago’s West Side. The painting shows the different stages of the city’s growth and its great industries in four areas: steel, electric power, the stockyards, and the manufacture of farm equipment. In the central portion of the mural is a scene depicting the great Chicago fire of 1871; located above that scene, is an image of the vibrant, modern-day Chicago. Due to years of exposure, a two-year restoration project for the mural was undertaken by Parma Conservation of Chicago from 2001 to 2003.

In addition to teaching at the Art Students League in New York, Sternberg also taught printmaking from 1942 to 1945 at the New School for Social Research. After retiring from the Student League and moving with his family to California, he established a studio in the city of Escondido where he continued to work as an artist. Sternberg also taught painting at the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts until 1969. He participated from 1969 to 1978 in the Orme School Fine Arts Festival which exposed students to the instruction and work of professional artists. In 1990, Sternberg published “Sternberg: A Life in Woodcuts”, a collection of his prints produced over the years. 

A major retrospective exhibition of his life and oeuvre was presented in 2000, entitled “No Sun Without Shadow: The Art of Harry Sternberg”, at the Museum of the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Harry Sternberg died in November of 2001. He is the author of two books: “Composition: The Anatomy of Picture Making” and”Woodcut”.

You Insert Image: Harry Sternberg, “Poodle and the Clown”, circa 1950s, Lithograph, 40.6 x 30.5 cm, Private Collection

Middle Insert Image: Photographer Unknown,”Harry Sternberg in Studio”, Date Unknown

Bottom Insert Image: Harry Sternberg, “Chicago, Epoch of a Great City”, 1937, Mural Detail (Welder), Lakeview Post Office, Chicago

Lucas van Leyden

Lucas van Leyden, “The Standard Bearer”, circa 1510, Engraving, 11.8 x 7 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Lucas van Leyden, “The Pilgrims”, circa 1508, Engraving, 15.1 x 11.9 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Painter and printmaker Lucas van Leyden was born in the city of Leiden in the province of South Holland, the Netherlands. He was among the first Dutch artists of genre painting, an accomplished engraver and woodcut printmaker. 

There is some controversy over the date of his birth as there is no confirming documentary evidence available. Finnish painter and art historian Karel van Mander suggests that Lucas was born in 1494 and was a prodigy having executed, in 1508 at the age of fourteen, his earliest dated engraving “Mohammed and the Monk Sergius”. Other scholars believe it more likely that Lucas was born circa 1489, which would have made him nineteen years old at the execution of the early print.

Outside of his existing dated artwork, there is very little historical documentation of Lucas van Leyden’s life. He is first mentioned in a 1514 register as a member of the civil guard in Leiden. In both 1515 and 1519, Lucas’s name appears in a list of crossbowmen for the city of Leiden. It is known that Lucas married Elisabeth van Boschhuysen, the daughter of a Leiden magistrate, sometime around 1515.

There is equally some controversy on the artistic training of Lucas van Leyden as there is very little documentation on his relationship with the two men responsible for his training. It is likely Lucas  received his first instructions in art from his father, Huygh Jacobsz, who is listed in Leyden’s municipal archives as being a painter in the city in 1480. There is evidence that Lucas was in the workshop of Cornelis Engelbrechtsz, who is considered the first important painter from the city of Leyden. 

Several scholars believe that Lucas van Leyden’s early paintings and engravings suggest that he had entered Engebrechtsz’s workshop with an already well-developed personal style, most likely influenced  by the teachings of his father. Lucas was familiar with the numerous works of the engraver Marcantonio Raimondi, whose motifs Lucas reworked in his early paintings and engravings. Raimondi’s studies of nudes inspired Lucas in his later works, particularly in his altarpieces where he was an early adapter of the Italian-style nude figure. 

Lucas was friends with and influenced by both master engraver Albrecht Dürer and Romanist painter Jan Gossaert. Albrecht Dürer’s diary entry and his silverpoint portrait drawing of Lucas, now in the Musée Wicar in Lille, confirm the two artists met each other in Antwerp in 1521. According to Karel van Mander, Lucas made a second journey through the southern Netherlands, circa 1527, at which time  he met Jan Gossaert in the city of Middleburg.

Lucas van Leyden is thought to have developed the technique of etching on copper, instead of iron, plates. The softness of the copper plate made it possible to combine etching and line engraving in the same print. One of the earliest examples of Lucas’s use of this technique is his 1521 portrait of the Holy Roman Emperor Masimilian. Lucas was also among the first engravers to use an aerial perspective in his prints.

Seventeen paintings directly attributed to Lucas van Leyden survive in collections; a further twenty-seven paintings are known through contemporary copies or drawings of them made by printmaker and publisher Jan de Bisschop in the later seventeenth-century. From 1513 to 1517, Lucas created a series of woodcut engravings called “The Power of Women”, a theme which was extremely popular in Renaissance art and literature. Consisting of two large and small sets of prints, the series includes “Samson and Delilah”, “The Fall of Man” depicting Adam and Eve, and “Herod and Herodias”, shown with their daughter holding the head of John the Baptist on a plate.

Lucas van Leyden’s health deteriorated drastically following his trip to southern Netherlands in 1527. Lucas, who thought he had been poisoned by an envious colleague, was often ill and bedridden. He died in the summer of 1533.

Top Insert Image: Lucas van Leyden, “The Apostle Peter”, circa 1510, Engraving, 11.4 x 6.9 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam,

Middle Insert Image: Lucas van Leyden, “Christ Before Annas”, 1521, Engraving, 11.4 x 7.6 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Bottom Insert Image: Lucas van Leyden, “The Beggars (Eulenspiegel)”, 1520, Etching and Engraving, 17.5 x 14.1 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

John Warner Barber: “Death of Capt. Ferrer”

John Warner Barber, “The Death of Capt. Ferrer”, 1840, Etching, Frontpiece from the “A History of the Amistad Captives”, Unfolded 22.9 x 49.3 cm, Partially Hand-Colored, Private Collection 

Born in East Windsor, Connecticut in February of 1798, John Warner Barber was an engraver and historian whose books of local, state, and national history featured his colorful  illustrations. He learned his craft as an apprentice to East Windsor printmaker Abner Reed, who also was a bank note engraver for the United States and Canada. In 1823, Barber opened a business in New Haven, where he printed religious and historical books, illustrated with his own steel and wood engravings. 

Barber traveled throughout Connecticut, creating ink sketches of town greens, churches, hotels and harbors; he also researched local histories on his travels. From his research, Barber produced in 1836 what is considered the first popular local history book published in the United States, the “Connecticut Historical Collections, Containing a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, Etc. . .”. His pencil sketches were developed into more detailed wash drawings, which in turn were transferred directly to small blocks of boxwood on which he engraved the designs. The book sold well, seven thousand copies in the first year at a cost of what was then an average week’s pay.

In 1840, John W. Barber produced his thirty-two page “ A History of the Amistad Captives: Being a Circumstantial Account of the Capture of the Spanish Schooner Amistad, by the Africans on Board; Their Voyage, and Capture Near Long Island, New York; with Biographical Sketches of Each of the Surviving Africans, Also, an Account of the Trials , , , Compiled from Authentic Sources”. Documenting one of the most important events of its time, Barber’s  book was published the same year of the Amistad trial and its ruling by the New Haven court.

In February of 1839, Portuguese slave hunters abducted hundreds of Africans from what is now present-day Sierra Leone and transported them to Cuba, then a Spanish colony. Spanish plantation owners Pedro Montes and Jose Ruiz purchased fifty-three of the African captives as slaves, forty-nine adult males and four children. On June 28th, Montes and Ruiz with the African captives set sail from Havana on the Amistad, Spanish for ‘friendship’, for their plantations on Puerto Principe.

Several days into the journey, Sengbe Pieh, one of the Africans also known as Joseph Cinque, managed to unshackle himself and his fellow captives. Armed with knives, they seized control of the Amistad and killed the Spanish captain and the ship’s cook. In need of navigation, the Africans ordered Montes and Ruiz to return to Africa; however, the two men  changed the ship’s course in the middle of the night, sailed through the Caribbean and up the eastern coast of the United States. 

On August 26th of 1839, the U.S. Navy brig Washington found the ship anchored off the coast of Long Island to get provisions. The naval officers seized the Amistad, put the Africans back in chains, and escorted the ship to Conneticut, where they would claim salvage rights to the ship and its human cargo. Originally charged with murder and piracy, Cinque and the other Africans were imprisoned in New Haven. Though the charges were dropped, they remained in prison while the courts decided their legal status, as well as the competing property claims by the Washington’s officers, Montes and Ruiz, and the Spanish government. 

In January of 1840, a judge in U.S. District Court in Hartford ruled that the Africans were not Spanish slaves, but had been illegally captured, and should be returned to Africa. After appealing the decision to the Circuit Court, which upheld the lower court’s decision, the U.S. attorney appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard the case in ealry 1841. 

On March 9, 1841, the Supreme Court ruled seven to one to uphold the lower courts’ decisions in favor of the Africans of the Amistad. However, the court did not require the government to provide funds for the Africans’ return voyage, but did award salvage rights for the Amistad to the officers who apprehended it. In November of 1841 after abolitionists raised money for the return voyage, Cinque and the surviving thirty-four Africans of the Amistad, the others either died at sea or in prison awaiting trial, sailed from New York aboard the ship Gentleman to return to their homeland.

James Warner Barber attended the court hearings between January 7th and 13th in 1840 when Judge Andrew Johnson rule that the Africans were illegally transported to Cuba, and thus would not be returned to Montes and Ruis. On the first of April, Barber began drawing the Amistad Africans in jail and, over the next two months, would create drawings and engravings to illustrate his book. Barber drew portraits, from which he engraved silhouettes of the Africans, and added other illustrations to his book, including a map of the Mendi country, home of the Amistad Africans.

Piero Fornasetti

The Artwork of Piero Fornasetti

Born in Milan, Italy in November of 1913, Piero Fornasetti was an eclectic artist who was an important figure in the Italian design scene. A prolific creator of designs, he was involved in many aesthetic disciplines including painting, drawing, graphic design, and product design. In the course of his career, Fornasetti created over ten thousand works and was responsible for one of the largest outputs of diverse objects and furniture of the twentieth-century. 

The first child of a wealthy family, Fornasetti was already at the age of ten drawing and displaying an innate inclination towards art. In 1932, he enrolled at the Academia di Brera, Milan’s public academy of fine arts; however, two years later he was expelled for insubordination. Although he applied to Milan’s Superior School of Arts Applied to Industry, Fornasetti was unable to adhere to the schools dogma due to his rebellious nature. 

Beginning in the early 1930s, Piero Fornasetti began a individual and comprehensive study of  engraving and printing techniques. With this knowledge and his developed technical skill, he began to print artist books and lithographs for many of the great artists of the time, including composer and playwright Alberto Savinio, painter Fabrizio Clerici, and painter and writer Giorgio de Chirico. The Fornasetti Art Printshop became the source of quality printing for many artists of his generation. Fornasetti, through his constant experimentation, later developed a printing method for graphic effects on silk; this innovation brought him  to the attention of designer and publisher Gio Ponti, with whom Fornasetti would develop a close creative partnership. 

From the early 1940s and onward, Fornasetti produced a vast series of limited edition graphic works, which included calendars, holiday gifts, and images for advertising, theater, posters, and publications. He produced sketches and drawings for the Esino Lario School of Tapestry, whose fine silk tapestries were produced by local village girls. In 1940 Fornasetti began to publish his own work in the architectural design magazine Domus, and for two years designed a series of almanacs for Gio Ponti. Taking refuge in Switzerland in 1943 during the war, he continued his graphic work, expanding into watercolors, oil portraits, drawings in ink, and the creation of theatrical sets for Albert Camus’s 1938 “Caligula”.

Upon his return to Milan, Piero Fornasetti and Gio Ponti began a close creative partnership which centered on architectural concepts in design and decoration. With the beginning of the 1950s, they put their theories into practice developing new simple and functional designs for the interiors of homes, apartments, cinemas and even ship cabins. Their initial project, the “Architettura” trumeau, a furniture design concept seen in an image above, was exhibited at the 1951 Triennale IX in Milan. This piece of furniture became an icon of Italian design in the interwar years of economic growth. 

Fornasetti is best known for his designs using fanciful motifs such as the moon, sun, playing cards, animals, and other surrealist imagery; most of which were executed in black and white. In 1952, he began work on his iconic and best known series, “Tema a Variazioni (Theme and Variations)”, a facial portrait of opera singer Lina Cavalieri, who was renowned at the time as a true archetype of a classical beauty. This image continues to appear today on a series of everyday objects from porcelain and fabrics to furniture and wall coverings. This portrait series entered into the world of theater as set designs in  Fornasetti’s production of Mozart’s two-act opera, “Don Giovanni”. These designs were used in the December 2016 performances at Milan’s Teatro dell’ Arte and in the  January 2017 performances at Florence’s Teatro della Pergola.

In 1970, Piero Fornasetti, along with a group of friends, operated the Galleria dei Bibliofili, where he exhibited his own work and the work of other contemporary artists. His paintings at this time contained both layered abstractions, with interacting colors done in various techniques, and figurative works done in a new pictorial style, where bodies and faces were composed of fruits and bottles. After the death of Gio Ponti in 1979 and the opening of London’s “Themes and Variations” design gallery in 1980, Fornasetti’s work and his idealogical concepts of form/function gained new interest both at home and abroad. 

Piero Fornasetti died in October of 1988 during a minor operation in hospital. In 2013, Silvana Annicchiarico, the director of the Triennale Design Museum, dedicated a first retrospective of Fornasetti’s work at the museum; this exhibition later went on tour to Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs and Seoul’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza. A 1987 collaboration between Fornasetti and fashion writer and publisher Patrick Mauriés, which became a monograph entitled “Fornasetti: Designer of Dreams”, was published posthumously in 2015 with an introduction by Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass. Piero Fornasetti’s work can be seen in the collections of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. 

Note” An example of the range of Piero Fornasetti’s oeuvre can be found at the online Fornasetti website located at:

Osmar Schindler

Osmar Schindler, “The Victor”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, Dimensions and Location Unknown

Osmar Schindler, “Germanic Warrior with Helmet”, 1902, Oil on Canvas, 99 x 79 cm, Private Collection

Born in the village of Burkhardtsdorf in December of 1867, Osmar Schindler was a German painter whose works were a mixture of Art Nouveau and Impressionism. With the financial support of an uncle, he attended the Dresden Art Academy where he studied under Belgian historical painter Ferdinand Pauwels and German portrait painter Leon Pohle. Among his fellow students were Art Nouveau painter Hans Unger and, sculptor and  painter Sascha Schneider.

Schindler traveled throughout Europe during his early life and, by 1895, had visited Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Italy. His work in this period displayed his interest in classical forms, the nude, and allegorical scenes. In 1897, Schindler designed  the poster for Dresden’s International Art Exhibition and, in 1900, was appointed a professor at the Dresden Art Academy. There he  taught life modeling and draftsmanship, a position which he held for the remainder of his life. 

At the 1901 Dresden International Art Exhibition, Osmar Schindler exhibited and received a gold medal for his oil painting “Im Kumtlampenschein (Changing the Horse Collar by Lamp Light)”. He received a bronze medal for his mythological painting “Hercules” at the 1904 Dresden exhibition and, in the same year, exhibited his earlier 1888 lithograph “David and Goliath” at the Saint Louis World’s Fair Exposition. Schindler also produced several portraits including those of Christian Otto Mohr, a pioneer in structural engineering, and Herman Prell, a well-admired professor at the Dresden Academy. 

Aware of the artistic styles of his time, Osmar Schindler opened himself to the ornamental design of Art Nouveau and the abstract brushstrokes of the Impressionists. He died on June 19th of 1927 in Dresden, at the age of fifty-nine, and is buried at Loschwitz Cemetery, a burial place of numerous artists of national significance. 

Insert Images:

Osmar Schindler, “Siegfried”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 138 x 78 cm, Private Collection

Osmar Schindler, Illustration, Dresden 1897 International Art Exhibition, Lithograph, 75 x 94 cm, Private Collection


Audrey Avinoff

Audrey Avinoff, Images from “The Fall of Atlantis” Series

In February of 1884, Andrey Avinoff was born to a wealthy Russian family in the town of Tulchyn, located in the western portion of Ukraine near the border of Moldova. Educated by private tutors on the family estate in the Ukraine, he was trained as a lawyer and diplomat at the University of Moscow, and became a gentlemen-in-waiting to the last tsar. A multi-faceted figure in the tradition of Da Vinci, Avinoff was equally at home in the worlds of art and science, spoke seven languages and read ten more, established an entomological library of seven-thousand volumes, and was an expert of Russian icons, Persian miniatures, and other esoteric subjects.

In his twenties, Avinoff inherited a bachelor uncle’s fortune and, pursuing his entomological interests, financed forty-two butterfly collecting expeditions between 1904 and 1914, including one to western Tibet in 1912. He eventually established himself as one of the world’s greatest butterfly collectors, with an initial collection of approximately eighty-thousand specimens, most of which came from central Asia. This collection was later impounded by the Bolsheviks during the Revolution and is now housed in the Zoological Museum in St. Petersburg. 

Due to his training in law and diplomacy, Audrey Avinoff was chosen by the Kerensky government of Russia to tundertake a purchasing mission in New York. Taking only one volume from his vast library, he left with his sister,  portrait painter Elizabeth Shoumatoff, on the last train out of St. Petersburg before the Revolution. When they arrived in New York several months later, the Russia they knew no longer existed. Avinoff decided to settle in Pittsburgh where, as a gay man, he lived a generally secluded upper-class life in the thriving city’s strongly elitist society.

After a brief career as a commercial artist, where he produced Art Deco advertising including work for Colgate toothpaste and Parliament cigarettes, Audrey Avinoff became an assistant curator of entomology in 1926 at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, under the directorship of William Rolland. Within a year, he became the director of the museum, a position he held until his retirement in 1946. During the 1930s, Avinoff, along with his nephew Nicholas Shoumanoff, made six trips to Jamaica, where he collected fourteen-thousand specimens of the island’s moths and butterflies. Returning home, he established a second entomological library and a three-thousand volumn library on Russian Decorative Art, which Avinoff bestowed to his nephew in his will. 

Following a decline in his health during the latter part of his life, Audrey Avinoff moved to New York and resumed his interest in painting. A talented artist since his early years, he worked in a variety of mediums, including pencil, ink, watercolor, and oil paints. Avinoff  produced over his lifetime an impressive number of extraordinary detailed watercolors, mostly of flowers and butterflies, which were scientifically accurate, but often phantasmagorical and mystical in style. Besides still-lifes and landscapes, he  also produced paintings with themes of religious, sexual or apocalyptic nature. 

Avinoff’s most known work is his “The Fall of Atlantis” series, which illustrated George V. Golokhvastoff’s two hundred-fifty page poem of the same name. The series consists of twenty three illustrations, done in black and white chalk with pencil and watercolor, some of which are heightened with body white. The work exemplifies the Art Deco style, which was popular in the 1930s, and incorporates a young male figure of mystical imagery. Published in 1938 as a limited edition and presented in two matching gray cloth drop-back boxes, the set also contained a self-portrait of Audrey Avinoff, done in pencil and initialed. 

Audrey Avinoff was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Pittsburgh and was a member of the Entomological Society of America, having joined in 1939. Among Avinoff’s close friends were the Russian poet and novelist Vladmir Nabokov, author of “Speak, Memory” and “Lolita”, and biologist and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, both of whom were also interested in entomology. Audrey Avinoff died in July of 1949 at the age of sixty-five. 

Besides his work published in numerous science and botanical publications, Audrey Avinoff’s work is housed in the collections of the Audrey Avinoff Foundation, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, and the Carnegie Museum of Art, as well as in many private collections.

Jan Muller

Jan Muller, “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian”, circa 1699, Engraving, 53.6 x 33.8 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 

At the end of the sixteenth and early in the seventeenth century, Dutch Mannerist artists turned their attention to the German master Albrecht Dürer and other northern Renaissance artists, creating a revival of interest in their works. Printmakers copied these earlier designs or made new compositions emulating the style of their predecessors. 

Born in 1571 in Amsterdam, Jan Muller was one of these reproductive engravers. He most likely received his initial training in engraving from his father, Harmen Jansz Muller, an engraver and owner of The Gilded Compasses, a publishing business in Antwerp. Jan Muller’s work is generally associated with the school of Hendrick Goltzius, the most prominent of the Dutch Mannerist engravers, with whom Muller was employed until about 1589.

Though Jan Muller made engravings based on his own designs, he was essentially a reproductive engraver for works by Haarlem Mannerists or Prague artists, such as painter Bartholomeus Spranger and engraver Hendrick Goltzius. Muller had contact with many artists in the Prague area including, by relation through family marriage, Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries, who was working at Emperor Rudolf II’s court.

During the late 1590s, Muller would often be employed by Emperor  Rudolph to reproduce the designs of artists working at the royal court. The work he produced were characterized by an array of engraving techniques including areas of hatching and broad, sinuous lines. From 1594 through 1602. Muller traveled in Italy and lived in both Naples and Rome, where he continued to make engravings, including what are considered his most accomplished works. 

After 1602, Jan Muller continued to produce engraved portraits and a few other works. Upon his return to Amsterdam, he virtually abandoned his engraving and managed The Gilded Compasses, which he had inherited. Muller’s inheritance from his father included all his father’s engraved copperplates, artwork and printed paper along with the tools and their accessories. Between 1624 and his death in 1628, Jan Muller produced only four known compositions and one painting, whose provenance is  firmly attributed to him through his inventories and will.

Top Insert Image: Jan Muller, “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian”, Detail, circa 1699, Engraving, 53.6 x 33.8 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Bottom Insert Image: Jan Harmensz Muller, “Two Wrestlers”, 1588-1592. Engraving, 16.8 x 21.2 cm, Rijksmuseum, The Netherlands


Kelly Fearing

Kelly Fearing, “The Lifters”, 1944, Etching, 24.3 x 20.9 cm, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas

Born in Arkansas in 1918, Kelly Fearing was a painter, print maker, and teacher. He studied art at Louisiana Tech University and New York’s Columbia University, where he earned his Master’s Degree in 1950. He relocated to Fort Worth, Texas, in 1943 and joined the Fort Worth Circle, a progressive art colony, mostly young artists, which was active during the 1940s and 1950s.

Though not defined by a specific aesthetic, the Fort Worth Circle was important for moving beyond the realism and agrarian subject matter of American Regionalism, which dominated Texas art in the 1930s and 1940s. Kelly Fearing and his Fort Worth cohorts were the first artists in the state to respond in a significant way to European artists such as Picasso, Braque, Klee, Kandinsky, Modigliani, Ernst, Klee, and Miro.

After teaching from 1945 to 1947 at Texas Wesleyan, Kelly Fearing assumed the Professorship of Art in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught for forty years. A noted art educator, he  co-authored several multi-volume art education textbooks from 1960 through the 1980s. As a pioneer in art education in America, Fearing founded The University of Texas Junior Art Project, the first visual arts outreach program of its kind in Texas. He became Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas in 1987 and, after  his retirement, continued to work as a professional artist. 

Kelly Fearing worked in almost all traditional mediums, with prominence in oil painting and collage work. The work from his Fort Worth years is abstract in form, surrealistic and filled with allegory., characteristics which would remain throughout the body of his work. Fearing’s art has been referred to as magical realist, mystical naturalist and Romantic surrealist.

Kelly Fearing died on March 13, 2011 from congestive heart failure at the age of ninety-two. More than 80 of his prints and drawings are in the Blanton Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

More works by Kelly Fearing can be found at:

Bernard Steffen

The Artwork of Bernard Steffen

Born in Neodesha, Kansas, in 1907, Bernard Steffen was a lithographer and painter noted for his considerable output of work as a participant in the Works Progress Administration’s program for the arts. Besides his lithographic work, he produced many murals, depicting local histories, in United States Post Offices from 1934 to 1941.

Bernard Steffen graduated from Neodesha High School circa 1925; he then attended the Kansas City Art Institute on a scholarship. In 1928 Steffen received a scholarship to the Colorado Springs Art Institute, where he and Thomas Hart Benton roomed together. An early member of the Regionalist art movement. Benton became a lifelong friend and mentor to Steffen, whose style and preference for rural subject matter was influenced by Benton.

Steffen became a member of the American Artist’s Congress, a group established in New York City in 1935 to endorse government support for art unions and to promote a social-realist style in American painting. He worked as a staff artist for the Resettlement Administration, and painted murals for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), including one in 1938 for the US Post Office in Neodesha, Kansas. Steffen was a teacher and treasurer for the National Serigraph Society, and worked comfortably in the varied mediums of oil, tempera, lithography and screen printing.

The strong influence of Thomas Hart Benton’s style is seen in Bernard Steffen’s work. There is a strong contrast in the dark and light tones of his works, and his figures are broad and simplified, intended as representations of types rather than individuals.. Steffen was sympathetically drawn to the rural workers who appear in his prints and paintings of the 1930s; and he frequently emphasized agricultural themes. His subject matter, however, does not derive entirely from Benton’s influence, but also from his own experiences while growing up in Kansas.

Steffen also studied with Stanton McDonald Wright, the American modernist painter, who, along with Morgan Russell and Patrick Henry Bruck, were the only American artists to define a common aesthetic philosophy and issue a manifesto. The influence of Wright’s style can be seen in the emphasis Steffen applied towards underlying compositional structure. Like other artists of the 1930s, Steffen produced works which provided a connection between the artist and  his worker subjects.

After his work with the WPA, Bernard Steffen relocated his residence to Woodstock, New York, where he set up a studio. In 1977 he was diagnosed with ALS; however, he continued to produce art by holding a brush in his stiff hand and stippling the canvas. He married painter Eleanor Lipkins in June of 1978. Two years later, Bernard Steffen passed away, with his wife by his side, on July 10, 1980 at the age of seventy-two. He is buried at the Artists Cemetery in Woodstock, Ulster County, New York. 

His lithography and silk screen prints are in the collections of The Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, University of Michigan Art Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, and the Block Museum at Northwestern University. Many of his prints are part of the Library of Congress collection.

Note: A devastating fire in 1977 destroyed Bernard Steffen’s Woodstock, New York, home and studio, along with all of his artwork. What survives today are works previously sold or in galleries and museums at that time.

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, Bernard Steffen at Gallery Showing, Date Unknown

Middle Insert Image: Bernard Steffen, “Pulling Corn (Fodder Chopper)”, Date Unknown, Serigraph in Color,, 27.9 x 35.2 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Bernard Steffen, “S Curve”, 1940, Lithograph on Paper, 24.1 x 21 cm, Private Collection

Benoît Audran the Elder

Etchings by Benoît Audran the Elder

Born in Lyons, France, on November 23, 1661. Benoît Audran the Elder, second son of engraver Germain Audran, was an engraver, He received his primary instruction in engraving from his father; Benoît Audran later continued his studies under his uncle, the master engraver  Gérard Audran, who was appointed engraver to King Louis XIV. 

Although he never equalled the style of his uncle’s work, Benoît Audran established his own reputation with his many engravings of historical subjects and portraits. His style was bold and clear, in both the drawing of his figures and the fine expression of his characters. Benoît Audran’s many portraits include those of the French statesman Jean Baptiste Colbert; Joseph Clement of Bavaria, Archbishop of Cologne; and Swiss soldier and politician Samuel Frisching,. 

Benoît Audran the Elder also produced  several hundred engravings based on the works of various master artists. These include: “The Baptism of Jesus Christ” after the work of Italian Baroque painter Albani; “The Savior with Martha and Mary” and “St. Paul Preaching at Ephesus”, both after the neoclassical painter Eustache Le Suerur; and “The Accouchement of Marie de Medicis”, after Flemish artist Paul Rubens. Among Audran the Elder’s best works are the two engravings:, “The Seven Sacraments”, after the paintings of Nicolas Poussin, and “The Bronze Serpent”, after Charles Le Brun’s 1649 painting of the same name.

Benoît Audran engraved two plates, one in 1716 and one in 1717, which depicted David in his struggles with Goliath. Both of these works are ascribed as being based on the work of Mannerist Italian painter Daniele de Volterra, who is remembered for his association with Michelangelo.

Benoît Audran the Elder became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1709 and was appointed engraver to King Louis XIV, a post which included a pension. Audran died in 1721 in the village of Ouzouer, near Sens in north-central France. 

Note: Inscription content on “David and Goliath” engravings: Lettered with dedication to the Prince de Chelamar, with his titles, followed by ‘Benoit Audran, graveur ordin. du Roy, dedie cette copie d’une des deux peintures de Michel Ange Buonarotta qu’occupent les surfaces d’une grande pierre, representant le même sujet du combat de David et de Goliath en deux differentes attitudes, laquelle a été présenté par son Ex. a Louis le Grand à Marly le 25 Juillet de l’année 1715 au nom de Monseign. Judice son frère, Grand Maître du Palais Apostolique.’ With date ‘A Paris le 31 Decembre 1716’

Top Insert Image: Benoît Audran the Elder, “Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Colbert”, 1676, Engraving, Palace of Versailles Research Center

Bottom Insert Image: Benoit Audran the Elder,, “George Monck, First Duke of Albemarle”, 1707, Engraving After Adriaen van der Werff, After Frabcis Barlow, Private Collection

Karl Sterrer

The Artwork of Karl Sterrer

Born on December 4th of 1885 in Vienna, Karl Sterrer was an Austrian engraver and painter. The son of a sculptor, he studied at Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts and was awarded in 1908 the Academy’s prestigious traveling scholarship, the Rompreis, for his landscapes and portraits. Sterrer traveled to the south of Italy in the years 1910 and 1911 to continue his studies and to paint.

Sterrer was one of the first Austrian artists to be intrigued by the works of the emerging German Expressionist artists. Beginning in 1910-1911, he began to strip his landscape compositions to their essentials, by emphasizing the deep, dark lines of his drypoint technique. Sterrer became a member in 1911 of Vienna’s Künstierhaus, at that time the exhibition and meeting hall of the more traditional Vienna Artists’ Society.  

In November of 1915, at the beginning of World War I, Karl Sterrer joined the Landsturm, a reserve militia force in Austria, and applied to its propaganda service as a war artist. The following year, he was sent to the Russian and Italian theaters of war where he served until the summer of 1918, at which time he was transferred to the Tyrolean front in western Austria at the special request of the Air Force. Working under the command of the Imperial and Royal Air Force of Austria-Hungary, Sterrer drew and painted portraits of aviator pilots, illustrations of aircraft, and produced advertising posters promoting the purchase of war bonds.

After having been awarded the 1919 Reichel Artists Prize, Karl Sterrer became a Professor of Fine Arts at the Vienna Academy in 1921, where he would teach such future artists as landscape painter Leopold Hauer who was deeply influenced by Egon Schiele’s work: painter Rudolf Hausner, a surrealist considered to be the first psychoanalytical painter;  expressionist graphic artist and illustrator Hans Fronius; and Max Weiler, who developed his own naturalistic form of abstraction. Dismissed from his academic post at the time of Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria, Sterrer was reinstated after joining the Nazi Party. However, because of that affiliation, he was again dismissed at the end of World War II; but he was allowed to keep his pension.

After 1946, Karl Sterrer devoted most of his work to religious subjects. In recognition of the scope of his work, he was awarded in 1957 the Austrian State Grand Prize for Fine Art. Karl Sterrer died in June of 1972 at the age of eighty-six and is buried in the Hütteldorfer cemetery in Vienna.

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The success of Karl Sterrer’s exhibition in Maysedergass, Austria, was due in part to the support of his generous benefactor, lawyer and architect Baron Heinrich von Haerdt, who would support Sterrer and his family over the coming years. In the summer of 1913, Sterrer and his family were invited to stay as guests of the Baron at his estate in Styria. Sterrer created several oil and tempera paintings during this stay, of which one was the oil painting “Das Klagelied”.

Dedicated to Baron Heinrich von Haerdtl, the painting is divided horizontally into two parts. In the lower section, a river nymph bends over to kiss a drowned man; the upper section depicts the drowned man’s wife, sitting on the bank of the river Mur and singing a song of grief. These elements formed the basic image of the painting. However, Sterrer transformed and idealized the image by transitioning the river scene into a broad, peaceful lake, plied by sailing boats and overlaid by a blue sky.

The Sterrer family lived close to the bank of the Mur River, which was often a terrifying, loudly rushing body of water. They were acquainted with a woman whose husband, a raftsman, had drowned in the Mur during the early 1910s.

Benton Murdoch Spruance

Lithographs by Benton Murdoch Spruance

Born in June of 1904 in Philadelphia, American artist Benton Murdoch Spruance was a painter. educator, and lithographer. Growing up in an affluent suburb, he worked as an architectural assistant after graduating from high school. Spruance studied at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Architecture, and also attended etching and drawing classes at the Graphic Sketch Club, a free art school. 

After working in a logging camp for several months in 1924-1925, Benton Spruance enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, whose 1928 Cresson scholarship enabled him to study overseas in France. He studied at the Académie Montparnasse under cubist painter André Lhote, and later was introduced to lithography at the acclaimed Paris print workshop of Edmond Desjobert, with whom Spruance would later work producing many of his lithographs. 

After returning to Philadelphia, Spruance began working for an interior design firm and taught part-time at Arcadia College. After receiving a second Cresson scholarship, he traveled to Paris to continue his painting studies with André Lhote. In 1933, Spruance had his first solo show at New York City’s Weyhe Gallery, a print and drawing gallery established in 1919. He was also appointed that same year as professor of the Department of Art at the Pennsylvania Academy. 

Although Benton Spruance continued to paint after his return from Paris, he was most active as a printmaker. His art in the 1920s and 1930s portrayed the life of ordinary men and women at both work and play. During this period Spruance’s style varied from naturalistic portraits to a precisionist approach of flattened and layered forms. It was these boldblack and white lithographic compositions with their wide tonal ranges and gradations which established Spruance’s reputation as a lithographer. During this period with the aid of two Guggenheim fellowships, he sketched landscapes throughout Europe and the United States.. 

During the period of the Works Progress Administration, from the late 1930s to the mid-1940s, a deliberate socially conscious agenda characterized Spruance’s lithographs. He began to work in a more highly charged expressionistic style and turned to wartime subjects as a prominent theme. Spruance also began producing psychologically charged portraits of women, which was followed later by themes based on biblical narratives and mythology. At the 1936 Summer Olympics in Germany, Spruance’s work was among the six hundred works of art at the competition held inside the Berlin Exhibition

From the early 1950s Spruance participated in the urban regeneration of the city of Philadelphia and, in 1953, was appointed to the Philadelphia Art Commission. One of his achievements was the passing of a 1959 law where one percent of the budget for every new building in Philadelphia had to be spent upon public art. Avid about the lithographic process, Spruance pioneered many innovations and techniques for the use of color in print making. During the 1960s he produced many color lithographs, which were mostly literary or symbolic in theme.

Despite the demand for his lithographic work, Benton Spruance continued his role as an educator. He started “Prints in Progress”, a program to teach printmaking, through demonstration and participation, to public school students. Spruance was both the chair of the art department at Arcadia University and held the chairmanship at the printing department of the Philadelphia College of Art. 

A prolific printmaker with over five hundred editions during his lifetime, Benton Spruance died in Philadelphia on the 6th of December in 1967. In 1968, Barre Publishers, Massachusetts, posthumously published Benton Spruance’s project “Moby Dick: The Passion of Ahab”, a portfolio which illustrated Lawrence Melville’s novel and contained twenty-six color lithographs that were finished in the years just before Spruance’s death.

Top Insert Image: Benton Murdoch Spruance, “Subway Shift, The Second Front”, 1943 Lithograph, 36.8 x 48.6 cm, Private Collection

Middle Insert Image: Benton Murdoch Spruance, Approach to the Station, 1932, Lithograph on Japon Paper, 27.9 x 35.3 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Benton Murdoch Spruance, Nero, 1944, Lithograph Edition of 30, 36.8 x 39.7 cm, Private Collection