Andrés Miró Quesada

Paintings by Andrés Miró Quesada

Born in Lima, Andrés Miró Quesada is a Peruvian painter whose narrative works depicting male figures generate a sense of playful eroticism and sensuality. He studied at Lima’s Alexander von Humboldt College, a German international, school from kindergarten to bachelor degrees. Miró Quesada graduated in 2009 with a degree in Visual Arts from Lima’s  Corriente Alterna School in Miraflores, where he received a silver medal for his work.

Miró Quesada’s work is very cinematographic in nature; the narrative scenes he creates appear as frozen frames from a film. Starting with an initial idea, he takes photographs of the scene until he is satisfied with its composition.After this  composition is passed onto a canvas, Miró Quesada begins the fluid process of painting, in which the final idea is personalized by his addition of a broader range of colors and tones, and  alterations in scale.

Andrés Miró Quesada has exhibited in various collective exhibitions including “Set/Action” at the Vértice Gallery in San Isidro, Peru; the “Play” exhibition at the Luis Miró Quesada Garland Room, a non-profit contemporary art center; and the October 2014 collective exhibition “Homo Ludens/Urbe Ludens”, directed by the Vértice Gallery, at the El Olivar Cultural Center in Lima. Miró Quesada also presented his work in a 2015 solo exhibition, entitled “Amateur” in the Ricardo Palma Cultural Center in Miraflores, Peru.

Emilio Baz Vlaud

The Artwork of Emilio Baz Vlaud

Born in Mexico City in 1918, Emilio Baz Vlaud was a painter whose work mostly included portraiture and scenes in the style of  Costumbrismo, images of local Hispanic life, customs, and mannerisms executed in  both artistic Realism and Romanticism.  Influenced by the Magical Realism movement that spread through the art and literary worlds after the first World War, Vlaud was known for his meticulous brushwork and his trompe-d’oeil technique. 

Emilio Baz Vlaud, at a very early age, had great skill in the arts. He would often watch his older gay brother, Ben-Hur Baz Vlaud, a 1926 graduate of the Academy de San Carlos and twelve years his senior, working on his own precisionist drawings and paintings. At the age of seventeen, Emilio Vlaud executed his first self-portrait, the 1935 “Self Portrait as a Teenager”, a highly refined work that is closely related to a self-portrait painted by his brother in the same year. In his self-portrait, Emilio shows himself with perfectly combed hair and dressed in a white shirt. He is  holding a green pencil at an angle, a position which visually divides the canvas in two,  and is shown gripping his elbow with his left hand. 

Emilio Baz Vlaud entered the Academia de San Carlos in 1938 where he initially studied architecture before changing his vocation to painting. He later took courses at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, where he studied under the strict training of painter Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, an openly gay artist whose work is often linked to the works of metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico. Vlaud made several visits over the years to his older brother who had moved to New York City and was working as a successful commercial illustrator for magazines, such as Newsweek and Time. 

In 1950, Emilio Vlaud relocated to San Miguel Allende, situated in the far eastern part of Guanajuato. He exhibited his work in several collective exhibitions, where he showed his work alongside such prominent artists as painters and muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. In 1951, Vlaud had his first solo exhibition; his flamenco-inspired technique of applying dry oil paints to surfaces by means of small strokes of a short brush were praised by critics and his fellow artists. During his eight year stay in San Miguel Allende, he received a gold medal for artistic merit from the University of Guanajuato. 

In 1962, Emilio Baz Vlaud entered the Monastery of Santa María de la Resurrecion for the purpose of studying psychoanalysis. After several years, he abandoned these studies to return to his vocation as a painter. Although Vlaud is mostly know for his portraiture and scenes done before 1955, he also went through an intense period of abstraction during the 1970s. In 1984, his work was presented at a collective exhibition entitled “Siete Pintores (Seven Painters)” at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Emilio Baz Vlaud died in 1991. 

Insert Images:

Emilio Baz Viaud, “Self Portrait as a Teenager”, 1925, Watercolor, Pencil and Dry Brush on Board, 60 x 39.7 cm, Private Collection

Emilio Baz Vlaud, “El Coco”, circa 1955, Oil on Masonite, 50 x 40 cm, Blaisten Collection

Emilio Baz Vlaud, “Self Portrait in Blue Shirt”, 1941, Watercolor, Pencil and Dry Brush on Board, 100 x 65.5 cm, Blaisten Collection, Mexico City

 

Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

The Artwork of Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

Born in November of 1887 in the town of Manhule, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso was one of the first generation of Portuguese modernist painters. Known for the exceptional quality of his work, his short career covered all the historical avant-garde movements of the early twentieth=century. 

The son of a wealthy landowner and vintner, Amadeo, at the age of eighteen, traveled to Lisbon and entered the Superior School of Fine Arts where he developed his skills as a designer and caricaturist. In November of 1906, he traveled to Paris with his friend and painter Francisco Smith and lived in an apartment on the Boulevard de Montparnasse. After a caricature he had drawn during a dinner was published  in Portugal’s “O Primerro de Jameiro” newspaper, Amadeo decided to devote himself to painting. 

In 1908, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso established himself at a studio located at 14 Cité Falguière , which became a social gathering place for Portuguese artists including Manuel Bentes, Eduardo Viana, and Domingos Rebelo, among others. At this time, Amadeo began to attend the ateliers of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Viti, where he studied under the Spanish painter Angalada Camarasa, whose use of intense coloring presaged the arrival of Fauvism. 

In 1911, Amadeo exhibited his work in the Salon des Indépendents and soon became close friends with writers and artists such as Gertrude Stein, Amedeo Modigliani, Alexander Archipenko, Robert Delaunay, and the Italian Futurists Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini.  In 1912, Amadeo published his album, “XX Dessuab”, containing twenty drawings with a forward written by author Jerome Doucet, and republished Gustave Flaubert’s “La Légende de Saint Julien to l’Hospitalier” in a calligraphic manuscript with illustrations. Amadeo de Souza Cardoso participated in two important exhibitions in 1913: the Armory Show in the United States that traveled to New York City, Boston and Chicago, and the Erste Deutsche Herbstsalon held at the Galerie Der Strum in Berlin. These two exhibitions were the first to present the new wave of modern art to the public. Seven of the eight works Amadeo displayed at the Armory show sold; three of these were purchased by lawyer and art critic Arthur Jerome Eddy, a prominent member of the first generation of American modern art collectors.

Returning to Portugal in 1914, Amadeo began experimentation in all the new forms of artistic expression, and married Lucia Pecetto, whom he had previously met during his 1908 stay in Paris. In April of 1914, he sent three new works for an exhibition at the London Salon; however, due to the outbreak of World War I, the show was canceled. During the war years, Amadeo maintained contact with other Portuguese artists and poets and reunited with Robert and Sonia Delaunay who had relocated to Portugal. In 1916, he published his “Twelve Reproductions” through Tipografia Santos in Porto and exhibited a collection of one hundred-fourteen works at a solo exhibition in Oporto and later in Lisbon, entitled “Abstraccionism”. 

At this time, the Cubist movement had  expanded throughout Europe and was an important influence to Amadeo de Souza Cardoso’s  style of analytical cubism. He continued to explore expressionism and, in his last works, experimented with many new techniques. In 1918, Amadeo was stricken with a skin disease which impeded his painting. On the 25th of October in 1918, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso died, at the age of thirty, in Espinho, Portugal, of the Spanish influenza, a pandemic which savaged the world at the end of World War I. 

After his death, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso’s work was shown in a 1925 retrospective in France which was well received by both critics and the public. Ten years later, the Souza-Cardoso Prize was established in Portugal to distinguish modern painters. Amadeo’s work remained relatively unknown until 1952, when a exhibition of his work in Portugal regained the public’s attention. Since then, only two retrospectives have been held, one in 1958 and one in 2016, both at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Tope Insert Image: Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, “The Hawks”, 1912, India Ink on Paper, 27 x 24.3 cm, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Bottom Insert Image: Amadeo de Souza Cordoso, “Self Portrait”, 1913, Graphite on Paper, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Oscar Santasusagna

The Artwork of Oscar Santasusagna

Born in Barcelona in 1973, Oscar Santasusagna is a self-taught Spanish artist who began drawing and painting at an early age. The style and techniques of his work have been influenced by the many artists he has studied, including illustrators and painters Andrew and Newell Conners Wyeth; narrative painter Hernan Bas, best known for his scenes of dandies and waifs; painter and draftsman David Hockney; and printmaker and landscape painter Winslow Homer, among others.

Santasusagna believes that a well-executed painting must make a connection with the viewer and produce an emotional response. His work is narrative in style, with each painting accompanied by  a poem or text that relays a personal message to the viewer. The source of these messages are derived from either a song heard, an image seen, or a personal  experience he has had. The subjects most often presented in Santasusagna’s work are the issues of loneliness, friendship, freedom and equality, homosexuality, and man’s relationship to the natural world.

Since 2015, Oscar Santasusagna has exhibited his paintings at many solo exhibitions throughout Spain. These include his 2015 exhibition “Desperta de la Realitat” and his 2016 “Apunts Dispersos” , both of which were held at Barcelona’s Galeria Moraima. In 2018, Santasusagna had a solo exhibition, entitled “Wanderlust”, at the Galeria Departure located in Barcelona and, in 2021, an exhibition in the United States,  entitled “Fables Keeper”, at the Contemporanco Art Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina.

Santasusagna has exhibited in several collective exhibitions, including  the 2015 Seleccio d’Artistes held at Galeria Escolà in Barcelona, the 2021 Una Mirada LGBTI+ exhibition held at the Taller Balam Gallery in Barcelona, and the 2021 Fundació Barcelona Olimpica, where he won third prize for his painting “Sempre hay un Comienso para cada Historia”. He  has also been finalist at the Sanvicens Painting Contest in Sitges, the Concurs FMPC held in Tarragona, and the annual Premium Painting Contest held in the city of Centelles.

Oscar Santasusagna collaborated with theater playwright Bill Lattanzi on his musical comedy production “Jenny Must Die”, which was premiered at the Providence, Rhode Island, Fringe Festival in 2020. He also painted the book cover illustration for “Projecto Wemen”, published by Madrid’s Editorial Silex in 2018. Santasusagna’s paintings on in many private collections in Spain, Belgium, Canada and the United States.

Top Insert Image: Oscar Santasusagna, “Ode for Tenderness”, 2015, Acrylic on Paper 

Oscar Santasusagna’s work can be found at his website located at https://www.santasusagna.com and at https://www.flickr.com/photos/santasusagna .

Hector de Gregorio

Paintings by Hector de Gregorio

Born in Valencia, Hector de Gregorio is a Spanish painter and digital artist. He had his foundational fine art taining at Camberwell Art College in London. Between 2004 and 2007, De Gregorio studied Fine Art at London’s Central Saint Martin’s, where he earned his BA in 2007. He later earned his MFA in Printmaking at the Royal College of Art in London in 2009. 

Hector de Gregorio was influenced in his formative years by his Catholic upbringing, which furthered his interests in devotional art from different religions, and by his mother, a dressmaker who taught him the skills of design and tailoring. He was also interested in European art: the sensuality of Filippo Lippi’s figures, the realism and dramatic lighting of Caravaggio’s work, the religious narrative works of Hieronymus Bosch, and the surrealist work of  Salvador Dali. All these elements combine to give de Gregorio’s work, although contemporary in appearance,  a familiar medieval atmosphere with overtones of a mythological or religious nature.

De Gregorio’s work is both meticulous and labor intensive. Each image entails extensive costume design research, photographic shoots, digital imaging, and hand finishing of the final image. De Gregorio begins by photographing his friends, dressed in personally made elaborate costumes, at his studio. Taking a number of photos from the shoot, he fashions a collage that distorts the perspective of the image. To these images, de Gregorio digitally adds elements such as colored backdrops, Latin phrases, and other motifs with either mythical or religious references. This finished product is printed on either canvas or fine art paper, and overlaid with waxes, oil paints, gold leaf and varnish.

Hector de Gregorio has exhibited widely, with exhibitions in London, Berlin, Milan, New York, Miami and Chicago.  In November 2009, he won the prestigious annual Young Masters Art Prize for his inspiring contemporary portraiture. In 2012 Hector de Gregorio exhibited his “Absinthes” in  “The Perfect Place to Grow”, an exhibition of work by the alumni of the Royal College of Art to celebrate its 175th anniversary.

Imre Szobotka

Imre Szobotka, “Fiatalkori Onarckép (Self Portrait as a Young Man)”, 1912-14, Oil on Canvas, 45.5 x 38.2 cm, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Born in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, in September of 1890, Imre Szobotka was a painter and engraver. Between 1905 and 1910, he studied at Budapest’s School of Design under painter Ignác Újváry. Szobotka traveled to Venice in 1908 for a study trip and traveled to Rome in 1909, this time accompanied by his friend Ervin Bossámyl. He relocated to Paris in 1911, where he lived at the residence of avant-garde sculptor and graphic artist József Csáky, one of the first Parisian sculptors to apply pictorial Cubism to his art.

Szobotka attended the 1911 Independent Salon in Paris, where he viewed the works of the Cubist painters. Inspired by their work and with the encouragement of his friend, the Cubist painter József Csáky, he enrolled at the La Palette School of Art in 1912, where he studied under Cubist painters Jean Metzinger and Henri Le Fauconnier. By the spring of 1913, Szobotka’s works, exhibited in the Independent Salon, were already noticed by the French critics, including writer and critic Guillaume Apollinaire. 

During World War I, Imre Szobotka was interned as a prisoner of war, starting in 1914 in Bretagne and later, at Saint Brieuc, France, until his release in 1919. The landscapes, still lifes, and portraits made in the internment period were experiments in cubism, symbolism, and orphism, a cubist offshoot that focused on abstraction and bright colors. These works, rare examples of Hungarian Cubism,  included his 1914 “Pipe Smoker”, the 1916 “Sailor”, and watercolor illustrations he produced for poet Paul Claude’s “Revelation”.

After his return to Paris in 1919, Szobotka’s paintings contained a more naturalistic expression. He exhibited this new work first in 1921 in Belvedere, a commune in the Vesubie Valley north of Nice, and, between 1929 and 1944, in shows at the Tamás Gallery, the Fränkel Salon, and the Mária Valéria Street gallery. The solid, defined construction of these landscape works by Szobotka insured him a place among the Nagybánya artists, whose work was focused on plain-air painting.

Imre Szobotka was a founding member of Képzőművészek Új Társasága, the New Society of Fine Artists, and presented his work in its exhibitions. For his 1929 “Mill in Nagybánya”, he won the landscape award presented by the Szinyei Society, an artistic association founded after painter and educator Pál Szinyei Merse’s death to promote new artists. Szobotka would later enter the “Mill in Nagybánya” at the 1938 Venice Biennial. In 1941, he won the Szinyei Society’s grand award for his exhibited work. 

From 1945 onward, Szobotka produced some graphic work; however, his main concentration was on his landscapes. He spent his last summers in the countryside near the village of Zsemmye where he painted pastoral landscapes. Szobotka became president of the painting division of the Fine and Applied Arts Alliance in 1952. For the body of his work, he received the Munkácsy Award in 1954 and the Socialis Work Order of Merit in 1960. Imre Szobotka died in March of 1961, at the age of seventy, in the city of Budapest.

Imre Szobotka’s “Self Portrait as a Young Man” is one of the key creations of his Parisian years. It shows his embrace of the elements of cubism, particularly the coloring and abstraction of its orphism branch. The main emphasis of the work is not the formal structure with its conventionally postured figure, but rather the way the light breaks its components into prisms of color. Szobotka emphasized his sense of light value and his translucent colorization to form a refined play of reflections, which cut the painting’s solid forms into colored shards.

Insert Images:

Imre Szobotka, “Sailor”, 1916, Oil on Canvas, 35 x 29 cm, Janus Pannonius Museum, Péca

Imre Szobotka, “Gathering Apples”, 1930, Oil on Canvas, 55 x 76 cm, Henman ottó Museum, Miskolc

Imre Sobotka, “Self Portrait”, 1912, Oil on Cardboard, 53 x 45 cm, Private Collection

Felice Casorati

The Paintings of Felice Casorati

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gabriel Morcillo Raya

The Paintings of Gabriel Morcillo Raya

Born in Granada, Spain, in February of 1887, Gabriel Morcillo Raya was a painter and teacher. His oeuvre is composed mainly of figurative works and landscapes influenced by Orientalism, a movement which was particularly influential in Spain, due to Spain’s exceedingly dense and complex  relations with Islamic culture.

Gabriel Raya initially studied painting under the tutorage of his aunt Paquita Raya. He later attended Granada’s School of Fine Arts, where he studied under landscape and genre painters Miguel Vico Hernández and José de Larrocha González. In 1907, Raya relocated in Madrid to continue his studies under Valencian painter and illustrator Cecilio Plá y Gallardo: however, due to financial reasons, he was impelled to return to his hometown of Granada. In 1910, Raya received a grant from the Granada Provincial Council which enabled him to travel back to Madrid for further studies. 

Raya exhibited his work during his years in Madrid and earned in 1912 an honorable mention for the work he presented at National Exhibition of Fine Arts. In the same year, he was appointed director of the Residence of Painters of the Alhambra. Two years later, Raya returned to Granada and, in 1918, was awarded a scholarship to the Academy of Painting in Rome, which he did not accept. His work began to challenge the pictorial content of the time with its more concrete detail and use of movement and color.

In 1925, Gabriel Raya became an academician of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Granada’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at San Telmo. He accepted the position as Professor of Decorative Painting and Natural Figure in 1927 at Granada’s School of Arts and Crafts, where he influenced several generations of local artists, among whom was the painter José Guerrero whose later work  became known for its chromatic masses of color, and Miguel Pérez Aguilera, whose development of his own pictorial language played an important role in contemporary Spanish art.

Raya had his first exhibition of his orientalist works in 1944 in Granada and achieved great success at exhibitions held in Buenos Aires, New York City, and Venice, Italy. During the period from  1955 to 1960,  he traveled to Madrid to paint portraits of Francisco Franco and his wife, and Admiral Carrero Blanco and other members of Madrid’s high bourgeoisie. Raya received the Silver Medal of the Red Cross, a decoration for those people whose voluntary actions supported the Spanish Red Cross, and, in 1951, the Grand Cross of the Order of Alfonso X the Wise for merit in the field of culture. 

Gabriel Morcillo Raya passed away in Granada in December of 1973, at the age of eighty-five. Several of his works, including the 1916 “Dwarf El Puerto Real”, can be seen in the collection of Granada’s Museum of Fine Arts. 

Note: An interesting article on the orientalist movement is “Editorial: Spain and Orientalism” by Anna McSweeney and Claudia Hopkins which is located at Taylor & Francis Online:  https://doi.org/10.1080/17561310.2017.1316039

Insert Images: 

Gabriel Morcillo Raya, “Muchachos”, Initial Stucy, Date Unknown, Watercolor on Paper, 57 x 47 cm, Private Collection

Gabriel Morcillo Raya, “Self Portrait”, Date Unkonw, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Károly Ferenczy

Paintings by Károly Ferenczy

Born into a Viennese Hungarian-Jewish family in February of 1862, Károly Ferenczy was a teacher and a productive painter. He initially studied law and completed a degree at Vienna’s College of Economy. Encouraged by wife and painter, Olga Fialka, Ferenczy decided to explore painting and traveled to Italy. In 1887, he studied painting in Paris at the Académie Julain and began his painting career in Hungary, where he started painting in a naturalistic style, influenced by French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage. . 

In 1893, Ferenczy took his  family to Munich, where he attended free classes given by the Hungarian painter Simon Hollósy, a leading proponent of Realism and the Naturalist Movement.  Hollósy encouraged, among his students, an appreciation for the French painters and their techniques, particularly the practice of open air painting. Returning with his family to Hungary in 1896, Ferencsy joined fellow artists István Réti and János Thorma at Nagybánya, now called Baia Mare, a municipality on the Săsar River.

In 1896, Károly Ferenczy, along with Réti and Thorma, founded a summer retreat for artists at Nagybánya. This eventually developed into an artist colony which attracted many artists from Hungary interested in learning the open-air style taught by Simon Hollósy. Ferenczy has his first exhibition in Budapest in 1903, which began his career as an artist. Three years later, he accepted a teaching position at the Royal Hungarian Drawing School, now known as the Hungarian University of Fine Art. Ferenczy, however, remained strongly associated with the artist colony, where he would return in the summers to teach.

Considered the leader of Hungarian impressionism and post-impressionism, Ferenczy concentrated on mostly studio paintings, which consisted of a traditional array of genres, including nudes, urban scenes of circus performers, and still life paintings. In his later years, his work ranged from portraits to nudes and Biblical scenes. A highly productive artist in both lithography and painting, Károly Ferenczy died in March of 1917.

The Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest holds a collection of fifty-one paintings. The museum held a major retrospective of his work in November of 2011 which included nearly one hundred-fifty paintings, eighty prints and drawings, as well as photographs, letters, and catalogues related to his life and art. His work is held in other regional institutions, including the Frenczy Károly Museum, and in many private collections.

Insert Image: Károly ferenczy, “Self Portrait”, 1893, Oil on Canvas, 69 x 52 cm, Hungarian National Gallery

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

Fabrian Cháirez

The Artwork of Fabrian Cháirez

Born in Chiapas in 1987, Fabrian Cháirez is a Mexican artist whose work questions the predominate idea of masculinity and provides alternate representations of the male image. Already showing an artistic aptitude at an early age, he studied from 2007 to 2012 at the Faculty of Arts in the University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas, where he graduated with a BFA in Visual Arts.

Cháirez is a figurative and traditional academically trained painter whose work emphasizes both composition and color. The body of his work has a neoclassical style and is influenced by symbolism and the Art Nouveau. Major art influences in his paintings have come from the works of Mexican Neo-Expressionist painter Julio Gálan: Spanish portrait and landscape painter Joaquin Sorolla, known for his sunlit canvases;  Mexican painter Saturnino Herrán, renowned for his majestic paintings of indigenous people; and Spanish portrait painter Dîego Velásquez, whose work became the model for the early realist and impressionist painters. 

Cháirez’s work, in response to the hostilities against the concept of sexual diversity, revolves around the image of the male body and the LBGTQ world. In his discussion of the stereotypes of Mexican virility, he uses the traditional Mexican archetypes, such as wrestlers, charros or horsemen, and the Mara Salvatrucha or criminal gangs, for his central figures. Cháirez places these generic images in suggestive and erotic scenarios in direct contrast to the existing social norm regarding the male image.

In 2015, Fabrian Cháirez had a solo exhibition entitled “The Garden of Delights” at the José María Velasco Gallery where he presented thirty pieces, including graphic work, illustrations, and oil paintings. In this body of work, he showed typical male figures with feminine features. In 2019, Cháirez exhibited his most controversial work, “The Revolution” at the Palacio de Belles Artes, a prominent cultural center located in central Mexico City. 

“The Revolution” is a thirty by twenty centimeter oil painting on canvas that represents the revolutionary general Emiliano Zapata, a stereotype of Mexican masculinity, who is shown seated naked, wearing a pink hat, tricolor sash, and high-heeled shoes, on a horse. Created in 2014, Cháirez produced this image as a example of other types of masculine representation. After the Mexican Ministry of Culture selected this work to be part of, and the poster image for, the 2019  exhibition entitled “Emiliano: Zapata After Zapata”, a controversy developed in the social media. Zapata’s relatives and supporters threatened to sue Cháirez and the National Institute of Fine Arts for denigrating the figure of the revolutionary leader. 

On December 11, 2019, a demonstration occurred within the Palacio de Belles Arts in which demands for the removal of “The Revolution” were made. A counter demonstration by LBGTQ activists defended the inclusion of the painting in the exhibition. A message from the Minister of Culture defended the painting’s inclusion and rejected any violence or censorship. On December 13th, a note, containing the personal opinion of the Zapata family,  was added next to the painting as a compromise, despite objections by Cháirez and his supporters. In January of 2020, “The Revolution” became part of the Tatxo Benet Censored Art Collection, a collection of all art banned for political, religious or moral reasons, soon to be permanently housed in Barcelona. 

Fabrian Cháirez’s website is located at: https://www.fabianchairez.com

Elise Ferguson

Paintings by Elise Ferguson

Born in Richmond, Virginia in 1964, Elise Ferguson is a painter, sculptor, and print maker. The daughter of a mother who designed women’s clothing and a stepfather who was an architect, she spent her early life in a home of modern design elements, surrounded by a growing art collection.  

Ferguson initially began her formal art education at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She then received her BFA from The School of Art Institute in Chicago and her MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. After graduation, Ferguson moved to New York, considered a mecca for the visual arts, to be surrounded by artists, similar-minded colleagues and galleries. She currently works out of a shared studio space with two other creative professionals a short distance from her Brooklyn home.

Inspired by architect Louis Kahn’s un-camouflaged use of cement in his designs, Elise Ferguson uses sculptural materials, including metal, pigmented plaster and ink on medium-density fiberboard, as a means of creating illusory space and preserving a series of compositional actions. While certain of her works allude to representational elements found in the studio or nature, Ferguson also creates pieces that are purely abstract with optical interactions of grid, lines and concentric circles.

Ferguson was a sculptor for twenty years before she focused on painting. Her “Retaining Wall”, a two-hundred foot length wall cast of urethane tiles reminiscent of a 1950s linoleum kitchen floor, was installed at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, New York in 2003. A similar sculpture entitled “Greenvine”, a patterned wall of green tiles executed in 2005, is installed at a private home in South Hampton, New York. Although she created distinctive sculptural works, Ferguson is best know for her textural paintings.

Incorporating her sculptural aptitude, Ferguson paints the majority of her work by using pigmented plaster on paper or panels. With the use of computer graphic programs, she draws her repeating and often undulating patterns, with purposefully placed imperfections and glitches. After they are drawn, Ferguson makes screen prints that she applies to the pigmented plaster. Although seemingly flawless, the imperfections seen on a closer look create a tension in the work between the geometric figure and the plaster build-up.

For her 2020 “Clamp” series, Elise Ferguson sought to translate her layering techniques used in her paintings to a handmade paper edition. These works of color and geometric patterns were accomplished by layering brightly colored linen pulps on cream or black cotton base paper sheets. Using her computer, Ferguson designed an undulating U-shaped wave of parallel lines which, once made into mylar stencils, made it possible to create thin, crisp lines on the base sheet. The resulting work, with its stenciled pulp lines, has a distinctive look, unique to the art of paper making.

Ferguson’s work has appeared in solo exhibitions at the Halsey McKay Gallery, the Romer Young Gallery and 57W57 Arts.  Her group exhibitions have included the Albada Jelgersma Gallery in Amsterdam, Ikast Kunstpakhus in Denmark, the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, the Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, and the Barton Art Galleries, among others.  

Elise Ferguson has been recognized with several awards, including a Northern Trust Purchase Prize, an EAST International exhibition grant,  the Dieu Donne Papermill Workspace Grant, and residencies at Barton College, University of Nevada Las Vegas, MacDowell Colony, and the  Illinois State University.  She is represented by Halsey McKay Gallery in East Hampton and Romer Young Gallery in San Francisco.

Elise Ferguson’s website is located at http://www.eliseferguson.org

Insert Images:

Elise Ferguson, “Cloudbank”, 2018, Hand-Printed Block Print on Linen, 15 Feet in Length, Gallery Installation, Halsey McKay Gallery, New York,

Elise Ferguson, “Pile”, 2014, Pigmented Plaster on Panel, 60.1 x 60.1 cm, Private Collection

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

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

 

Hubert Julian Stowitts

The Photographs and Artwork of Hubert Julian Stowitts

Born in Rushville, Nebraska, in June of 1892, Hubert Julian (Jay) Stowitts was an American painter and ballet dancer. Raised in the Lakota Souix area of South Dakota, he moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1911. Upon his arrival, Stowitts enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, where, as a gay student, he became a successful college athlete, captained the university’s track team, and acted in several student theater productions. 

Captivated by a ballet performance seen in San Francisco, Stowitts decided to begin private dance lessons. He became an accomplished dancer and performed both on the public stage and at private parties for  San Francisco’s upper class residents. Stowitts kept his dancing secret from his parents for much of his college years; he graduated from the University of California in 1915 with a degree in Commerce. 

In the summer of 1915, while dancing at the Greek Theatre, a large amphitheater owned by the University of California, Julian Stowitts impressed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who was in attendance. He accepted an invitation to join her dance company and dropped plans to attend graduate school at Harvard. Stowitts, the first American to star with a Russian ballet troupe, traveled as a successful dancer for six years throughout Europe and the Americas. Leaving Pavlova’s company, he moved to Paris and started a solo career with performances throughout Europe, including a starring role with the Folies Bèrgere in 1924.

During his solo career, Stowitts executed choreographies for other dance companies, designed sets and costumes, and continued  his painting. In 1925 at the age of thirty-three, he retired from dancing and pursued a new career as a painter and occasional film actor. Stowitts traveled through the Far East in the late 1920s, where he lived and painted  in Java for a year. After a stay in Indonesia, he lived in the southern part of Asia for several years and, during this stay, created a series of one hundred and fifty-five canvases entitled “Vanishing India”. After his return to Europe in 1931, Stowitts’s  painted depictions and scholarly studies of traditional Indonesian and Indian dance and costume enjoyed wide popularity in the 1930s.

For the art exhibition at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Julian Stowitts presented a series of fifty-five paintings depicting American male athletes in the nude, which caused a sensation among the attendees. While in Berlin, he assisted German film director Leni Reifenstahl on her “Olympia”, released in 1938 as the first feature film documentary of an Olympic Games, later used by the Nazis as a propaganda film. Due to her fame and influence, Riefenstahl was able to protect Stowitts from persecution for being gay; but his exhibition was closed by the Nazi regime because of their objection to the manner in which Stowitts depicted Jewish and African-American athletes. 

Returning to California in 1937, Stowitts struggled financially as his artwork began to lose public interest. He found, with the assistance of friends, some security with employment as a house caretaker in the Los Angeles area. Stowitts continued to lecture on Indian and Javanese culture and to paint privately for the remainder of his life. The last of his painting series, uncompleted due to illness, was “The Labors of Hercules”, in which actor and body builder Steve Reeves served as the model. Hubert Julian Stowitts died in San Marino, California on February 8, 1953.

The papers of American dancer and painter Hubert Julian Stowitts, including biographical materials, correspondence, and exhibition and performance related materials are available for research at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. 

Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri

Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, “Untitled (Yam Story)”, 1972, Acrylic on Board, 65 x 44 cm, Private Collection 

Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, “Tingari”, 1988, Acrylic on Belgian Linen, 121 x 180 cm, Private Collection

Born at Marnpi located in Australia’s Northern Territory in 1926, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri is one of the most important painters to emerge from Australia’s Western Desert. He was one of the foundation members of the art movement that emerged in Papunya Tula. While many of his peers painted according to stylized conventions, Namarari’s work is distinguished by an extraordinary range of visual inventions.

As a boy, Namrari was taken by his parents on traditional travels throughout the local area, including north to Nyunmanu, a major dingo dreaming site, south to Lake Neal,  and northwest to the Warnman Rocks and Warhungurru, a remote settlement in the Kintore Range of the Northern Territory. Following the murder of his father by a Aboriginal avenger group and his mother’s resulting suicide by fire, Namarari, along with his sister, fled the desert and traveled east to the safety of the Lutheran Hermannsburg Mission. 

In 1932, Namarari had his first associations with Australians of European background and began to attend the Hermannsburg Mission School. While attending the school, he became acquainted with the work of Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira and his fellow Western Aranda landscape painters. At the age of eleven, Namarari began stock work for cattleman Billy MacNamara at a cattle station located near the early settlement of Areyonga, where he later became initiated in a ceremony that signified his manhood. With the establishment of cattle stations at Haasts Bluff in the 1950s and, later, at Papunya in the 1960s, Namarari and his wife, Elizabeth Nakamarra Marks,  eventually moved closer to their traditional country; they would later have one daughter, Angeline Nungurrayl.  

In 1971 encouraged by Geoff Bardon, one of the founding members of the Papunya Tula Artists, Namarari, at the age of forty-five, began painting at Papunya. His early works have a bare background of a single color, most often black or rich red-brown, with most depictions related to Aboriginal Dreaming stories of the Moon. Namarari explored figuration in this early work, in which he gave equal emphasis to both the depictions of ceremonial performers and the details of the ceremonial ground with its associated sacred objects. He also created hypnotic depictions of his birthplace, Marnpi, in which he used white pulsing lines to draw the viewer’s eye into the ancestral wind’s vortex generated at the site.

Namarari’s typical work of the 1980s were gracefully controlled renditions of the classical Tingari design of linked concentric circles, which was one of that period’s keystones of Western Desert iconography. Using such tradition patterns, he developed a image series of red and white triangular and rectangular forms. By the late 1990s, Namarari was creating works often using white and yellow paint stipples applied with his fingertips. Because of the unusually large range of totemic sites for which he held responsibilities, Namarari’s later works varied widely in their depictions and in their artistic styles. In addition to the Dreaming stories of the Moon, he painted Dingo, Wind, Kangaroo, Mallee-fowl, Crow, Tingari Men, Hopping Mouse, and Bandicoot Dreamings.

In 1981, Namarari, along with two other senior Pintupi artists, were invited, at the request of former Papunya-associated people, to paint and show their work at an exhibition in Sydney. Namarari was awarded the National Aboriginal Art Award in 1991 and, in 1994, was a co-winner of the Alice Prize and became the inaugural recipient of the Australia Council’s prestigious Red Ochre Award for lifetime achievement. He became the only artist to receive all three awards. Throughout his creative artistic career of over twenty-five years, Namarari remained a loyal member of the Papunya Tula Artists Company, despite numerous offers of representation from local and national galleries. 

A reserved man and patient teacher, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri died in Alice Springs in August of 1998, at the age of seventy two, and left a legacy of over seven hundred paintings that illustrate his inventiveness and the cultural richness of his heritage. His work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria, Darwin’s Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, and the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, as well as in many private collections.

Top Insert Painting: Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, Tingari Cycle, 1984, Acrylic on Canvas, 55 x 70 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Painting: Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, Children’s Dreaming with Many Body Paint Variations, circa 1972-1973, Papunya Community School Collection

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

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.

Robert Winthrop Chanler

Robert Winthrop Charler, “Leopard and Deer”, 1912, Gouache or Tempera on Canvas on Wood, Single Panel Screen, 194.3 x 133.4 cm, Rokeby Collection

Born in February of 1872 into the Astor family, one of America’s oldest and wealthiest, Robert Winthrop Chanler was a largely self-taught decorative artist, designer, and muralist. One of eleven children in the family, he and his siblings became orphans after the death of their mother, Margaret Astor War, in 1875 and their father, John Winthrop Chanler, in 1877, both of whom succumbed to pneumonia. They were raised at their parents’ Rokeby Estate in Barrytown, New York, and amply provided for by their father’s will with twenty-thousand dollars a year for each child, equivalent to approximately four hundred seventy thousand dollars today.

Coming of age, Chanler traveled to Europe, where he stayed in Paris in the 1890s and associated with the artists of the city. His formal training in the arts was done at Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts, where he produced his best known work, the screen “Giraffes”, which was exhibited later at the 1905 Salon d’Autumne and  purchased by the French government. Returning to the United States in the early 1900s, he purchased a townhouse in New York City on East 19th Street. This townhouse, decorated with his own works, became a social center for the art community of the city. Whole living in the city, Chanler was a member of the New York State Assembly  in 1904 and the sheriff of Dutchess County from 1907 to 1910. 

Robert Chanler’s work involved the use of sculpted gesso, gilded finishes, and transparent glazes  to produce highly ornamental and decorative designs. His work included paintings, fresco murals, stained glass windows, and architectural interiors whose compositions featured fantastical avian, jungle, and aquatic creatures, many overlaid with iridescent metallic finishes. However, Chanler’s specialty was exotic and brilliantly colored, multi-paneled,  lacquered screens.

Chanler painted what interested and entertained him; his work attracted the wealthy Gilded Age patrons, which included Gertrude Vanderbilt and Mai Rogers Coe, and earned him both critical and popular acclaim at many exhibitions. He exhibited his works at the 1905 Salon d’Automne in Paris; his refined work, with its glazes and lacquered finishes, balanced the salon’s exhibition which was dominated by the  bold colors and aggressive brushwork of the Fauvist painters.  Chanler exhibited his painted screens, with great success, at the legendary “International Exhibition of Modern Art” in New York City, known as the 1913 Armory Show. 

His elaborately painted screens were placed in Gallery A near the entrance of the show, where they immediately captured the attention of the arriving public and critics. Chanler exhibited twenty-five screens during the three weeks of the Manhattan show and at least nine at the show when it relocated to Chicago. Two of these exhibited screens were his five-panel “Hopi Indian Snake Dance”, one of two works that focused on Native American subjects,  and  the single-panel, oil on wood  “Porcupines”, currently in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. 

Robert Winthrop Chanler was a member of the National Society of Mural Painters and a member of the New York Architectural League. Known for both his artistic prominence, bohemian lifestyle, and eccentricity, he was a close friend of novelist and poet Hervey White, who was one of the original founders of the Byrdcliffe Art Colony in Woodstock, New York.  Founded in 1902, it is the oldest operating arts and crafts colony in America.  Chanler became a member of the colony in the early 1920s and, toward the end of his life, owned a house in Woodstock, where he participated in local exhibitions. Robert Winthrop Chanler died, after having lain in a coma for twelve hours, at the Byrdcliffe Colony on October 24th in 1930.

Top Insert Image: Robert Winthrop Chanler, “Before the Wind”, 1919, Painted Screen, Private Collection

Middle Insert Image: Whitney Cox, “Robert Winthrop Chanler”,  circa 1900, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Robert Winthrop Chanler and Hunt Diederich, “Mille Fleurs”, 1919, Painted Screen, Private Collection

Glyn Warren Philpot

Glyn Warren Philpot, “A Young Breton”, 1917, Oil on Canvas, 127 z 101.6 cm, Tate Museum, London

Best known for his portraits of contemporary figures, Glyn Warren Philpot was a British painter and sculptor. Born in Chapham, London in 1884, he began studies at the Lambeth School of Art in 1900, under landscape painter Philip Connard. Philpot later studied at the studio of painter and sculptor Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian in Paris.

 In 1904 one of Philpot’s paintings was included in the Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition and this led to his first portrait commission. By 1911, he was living and working in a studio flat in London and had become successfully established as a society portrait painter. Painting up to dozen portrait commissions a year, Philpot was able travel in Europe and America, where he absorbed the modernist influences of portraits by Diego Velázquez, Edouard Manet, and  Francisco de Goya, among others. 

Following his conversion to Catholicism in 1905, Glyn Philpot explored religious and spiritual subject matter throughout his career. After a visit to Florence and central Italy for the first time in the early 1920s, his production of religious-inspired paintings increased significantly. Philpot also produced narrative scenes that were less formal and done with looser brushwork. Some of these show the influence of the French Symbolist movement, which was disseminated throughout the European art forms at this time. These more personal works of Philpot were shown in 1910 at his first solo exhibition in London, however, these works  received far less critical acclaim than his portraits. 

Despite his conversion to Catholicism, Philpot’s interests in the male nude and portraits of young men show a gradual expression of his own homosexuality. A trip to Berlin in the autumn of 1931, where Philpot confronted both the shocking rise of Nazism and the sexual openness of the city, encouraged him to be less secretive about his own homosexuality. This trip further contributed to his belief in the need for a change and a new openness in his art. At an exhibition in 1932, Philpot showed transparently homoerotic portraits of Julien Zaïre, a Parisian cabaret artist, and Karl Heinz Müller, a young German man who had been Philpot’s companion in Berlin. 

After the start of World War I, Glyn Philpot joined the Royal Fussiliers and, in August of 1915, attended a training course at Aldershot, known as the home of the British Army. There he met Vivian Forbes, a fellow soldier and aspiring artist.. In 1917, as officers, they were independently invalided out of the army and, together, they shared a home and studio at Lanstown House in London between 1923 and 1935. Formerly a business man in Egypt, Forbes, with encouragement from Philpot, became an artist and later exhibited at the Royal Academy and elsewhere throughout the 1920s. Although he was talented, charming and devoted to Philpot, Forbes demonstrated increasing emotional instability, within which he became insanely jealous of Philpot’s other friends and liaisons. Despite the tumultuous nature of the relationship, Philpot never disowned him and found inspiration in their relationship.

Philpot lived in Paris  for a year in 1931, at a time when modernism was at its beginning. His exposure to modern art in Europe had an impact on Philpot’s work and influenced the change in style that characterized his early paintings in the 1930s. His “Acrobats Waiting to Rehearse”, painted in 1939 with monochromic light pink hues and contemplative mood, is similar in style to Picasso’s work of his Rose Period. Philpot was also acquainted with the art of Henri Matisse, whom he had met in 1930 when both were on the jury at the Carnegie International Competition, where Picasso was awarded first prize.

On visits to America and Paris, Glyn Philpot frequented jazz clubs and made sketches and painted portraits of black men. At a time when few portraits of black men were painted by white artists, Philpot’s paintings and drawings display empathy and sensitivity towards his sitters. In 1929, he met Henry Thomas, a Jamaican man who had missed his boat home, and  became a steady companion and aide until Philpot’s death. Starting in 1932, Thomas would sit as the model for all of Philpot’s paintings of black men. 

During the 1930s Philpot suffered from high blood-pressure and breathing difficulties. He passed the summer of 1937 in France where he spent time with Forbes. On December 18th,  Philpot collapsed suddenly in London and died of a brain hemorrhage. Vivian Forbes returned from Paris in a highly distressed state to attend Philpot’s funeral at Westminster Cathedral on December 22. The following day he took his own life with an overdose of sleeping pills. Glyn Warren Philpot is buried in a pink granite tomb in St. Peter’s Churchyard, Petersham, in west London. The burial site of Vivian Forbes is unknown.

Note: In regards to Glyn Philbo’s 1917 painting “A Young Breton”, there is another picture of the same young man, full face, entitled ‘Guillaume Rolland, a Young Breton’, in the Art Gallery of Toronto, Canada. This painting most likely was painted about the same time as the Tate image, shown above.

Inser Images From Top to Bottom:

Glyn Warren Philpot, “Portrait of Henry Thomas”, Date Unknown, Private Collection

Glyn Warren Philpot, “Resurgam (Again)”, 1929, Oil on Canvas, 86 x 89 cm, Private Collection

:Glyn Warren Philpot, “The Man in Black”, 1913, Oil on Canvas, 76.8 x 69.2 cm, Tate Museum, London

Glyn Warren Philpot, “Portrait of Vivian Forbes”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 146 x 97 cm, Private Collection