July 14th: Celebrate the Birthday of Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt was born on July 14th, 1862.

The Kiss (detail), 1907 by Gustav Klimt

The Kiss (detail), 1907 by Gustav Klimt

“Whoever wants to know something about me – as an artist, the only notable thing – ought to look carefully at my pictures and try to see in them what I am and what I want to do.” Gustav Klimt

Schloss Kammer at Attersee by Gustav Klimt

Schloss Kammer at Attersee by Gustav Klimt

Klimt was born near Vienna, Austria, and showed early talent in the arts. He attended the Vienna School of the Arts and Crafts and in 1888 received the Golden Order of Merit from Emperor Franz Josef I. Klimt was a founding member of the Vienna Secession, an artists group dedicated to bringing great foreign art to Vienna and promoting the work of young and unconventional artists.

Farm Garden with Sunflowers c. 1906 by Gustav Klimt

Farm Garden with Sunflowers c. 1906 by Gustav Klimt

“I can paint and draw. I believe this myself and a few other people say that they believe this too. But I’m not certain of whether it’s true.” Gustav Klimt

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April 20th: Celebrate the Birthday of Joan Miro

Portrait of Joan Miro, 1935 by Carl Van Vechten

Portrait of Joan Miro, 1935 by Carl Van Vechten

Joan Miro was born in Barcelona, Spain on April 20, 1893.

Bleu II by Joan Miro

Bleu II by Joan Miro

Joan Miro was an internationally acclaimed Surrealist; an abstract painter and sculptor. His experimental and playful artworks pushed the boundaries of modern art in the early twentieth century.  Miro had a very prolific output, including thousands of paintings, collages, sculptures, illustrated books and lithographs – the majority of which contain colorful, playful shapes and patterns; a pictorial language that Miro developed and refined throughout his long career.

Terre Labouree 1923-24 (The Tilled Field) by Joan Miro

Terre Labouree 1923-24 (The Tilled Field) by Joan Miro

“Art class was like a religious ceremony to me. I would wash my hands carefully before touching paper or pencils. The instruments of work were sacred objects to me.”  Joan Miro

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January 12th: Celebrate the Birthday of John Singer Sargent

Self Portrait, 1907 by John Singer Sargent

Self Portrait, 1907 by John Singer Sargent

“To work is to pray.” John Singer Sargent

Born in Florence, on January 12, 1856 to Dr. Fitzwilliam Sargent, an expatriate doctor from Philadelphia, and his wife Mrs. Mary Sargent, an artist in her own right, Sargent was a ‘natural.’ From an early age, John Singer Sargent displayed artistic talent that was fostered by his mother.

Chief in Sargent’s education was attending the artist workshop of Emile Carolus-Duran.  One of the most successful portraitists of his time, Carolus-Duran pushed Diego Velazquez for his students along with his alla prima (wet-on-wet) method of working directly on the canvas with a loaded brush, relying on the proper placement of tones of paint, as opposed to traditional academic approach which required careful drawing and underpainting.  Sargent quickly rose within the ranks to be one of Carolus-Duran’s brightest stars.  From here it was a foregone conclusion that he would go on to be a professional portrait artist; which he did admirably, taking on commission after commission from the wealthy and elite of Parisian society – a primary source of income for professional artists.  He would alternate between portraits of wealthy patrons and dramatic figure studies influenced by his travels to other European countries, a practice that was ingrained in him from travels with his parents growing up.

El Jaleo,1882 by John Singer Sargent

El Jaleo,1882 by John Singer Sargent

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October 27th: Celebrate Roy Lichtenstein’s Birthday

“My work isn’t about form. It’s about seeing. I’m excited about seeing things, and I’m interested in the way I think other people see things.” Roy Lichtenstein

Kiss V 1964 by Roy Lichtenstein

Kiss V 1964 by Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein was a prominent American artist of the Pop art movement of the twentieth century.  With dry wit, humor and willingness to poke at some hallowed conventions of art and American living.  His stylized paintings that reference popular culture are some of the most recognized and popular even today over fifty years after they were first shown in galleries.

Lichtenstein grew up obsessed with science and art.  His education was interrupted by being drafted into the Army for World War II.  He worked as a draftsman, map maker and artist during World War II.  After the war he went through a wide range of jobs, culminating in a series of teaching positions at several schools in the New York area, including Princeton, Rutgers and State University of New York.  He would devote his spare time to art, dabbling in schools of Cubism and Abstract Expressionism.

Girl with Ball by Roy Lichtenstein

Girl with Ball by Roy Lichtenstein

“Pop Art looks out into the world.  It doesn’t look like a painting of something, it looks like the thing itself.” Roy Lichtenstein

It was the influence of The Happenings in New York’s flourishing art scene in 1959 that encouraged Lichtenstein to take a different view on art in general and what his art could be.  He began to focus his work toward mimicking commercial printing techniques, in particular the use of Ben-Day dots, and hard edged illustration techniques that were often used in commercial printing of the fifties.

In 1962 Lichtenstein had his first solo show at the Castelli Gallery and all his paintings sold to some of New York’s most prestigious collectors before the show opened.  Obviously this work hit a cultural nerve, and did well in not only cementing Lichtenstein as an important artist of the time, but also provided impetus for the Pop Art works of other artists of the time; Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and James Rosenquist.

Blam by Roy Lichtenstein

Blam by Roy Lichtenstein

“One of the things a cartoon does is to express violent emotion and passion in a completely mechanical and removed style. To express this thing in a painterly style would dilute it; the techniques I use are not commercial, they only appear to be commercial – and the ways of seeing and composing and unifying are different and have different ends.” Roy Lichtenstein

Thinking of Him by Roy Lichtenstein

Thinking of Him by Roy Lichtenstein

Lichtenstein quickly rose in fame, notoriety and wealth.  His paintings had a very polarizing affect, as some people had trouble relating to them as art or anti-art, funny or shocking, a statement celebrating or demonizing popular culture.  Extremely popular with collectors, within 2 years of his first show focusing on his pop art sensibility Lichtenstein  was able to quit his teaching job and turn to art full time.

M-Maybe a Girls Picture 1965 by Roy Lichtenstein

M-Maybe a Girls Picture 1965 by Roy Lichtenstein

“Everybody has called Pop Art ‘American’ painting, but it’s actually industrial painting. America was hit by industrialism and capitalism harder and sooner and its values see more askew… …I think the meaning of my work is that it’s industrial; it’s what all the world will soon become. Europe will be the same way, soon, so [Pop Art] won’t be American; it will be universal.” Roy Lichtenstein

Nude at Vanity by Roy Lichtenstein

Nude at Vanity by Roy Lichtenstein

Following his success in painting, Lichtenstein would go on to work in sculpture, film, screen printing and corporate commissions.  He was extremely prolific, and there are roughly 5000 works in circulation among museums and collectors around the world.  At auction his works are regular record breakers, most recently in 2010 “Ohhh…Alright…” sold at Christies for 42.6 million dollars and in 2012 “Sleeping Girl” sold at Sotheby’s for 44.8 million.

View the entire Roy Lichtenstein collection at Amanti Art.

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September 25th: Celebrate Mark Rothko’s Birthday

White over Red

White over Red by Mark Rothko

“Art to me is an anecdote of the spirit, and the only means of making concrete the purpose of its varied quickness and stillness.” Mark Rothko

Born September 25th, 1903 Mark Rothko immigrated to America in 1913 at the age of 10.

Rothko matured in the burgeoning New York Art scene that also saw the rise of other modern American artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Barnett Newman, Louis Schanker, Ad Reinhardt and Adolph Gottlieb.

Untitled Violet Black Orange Yellow on White and Red 1949

Untitled Violet Black Orange Yellow on White and Red 1949 by Mark Rothko

“There is no such thing as a good painting about nothing.” Mark Rothko

Untitled 1950 Blue and Orange

Untitled 1950 Blue and Orange by Mark Rothko

Rothko found marginal success in the styles of surrealism and abstract expressionism before transitioning to his “multiform” technique, a term coined by critics. These were built by layering successive washes of paint, in a fashion not unlike one of Rothko’s Heroes, Rembrandt.  This method, was to become Rothko’s signature style, and would bring the artist international success and acclaim throughout the rest of his life, which in turns he found exhilarating, exhausting and frustrating.

Blue Green and Brown 1951

Blue Green and Brown 1951 by Mark Rothko

“When I was a younger man, art was a lonely thing. No galleries, no collectors, no critics, no money. Yet, it was a golden age, for we all had nothing to lose and a vision to gain. Today it is not quite the same. It is a time of tons of verbiage, activity, consumption. Which condition is better for the world at large I shall not venture to discuss. But I do know, that many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. We must all hope we find them.” Mark Rothko

The Ochre (Ochre Red on Red) 1954

The Ochre (Ochre Red on Red) 1954 by Mark Rothko

Rothko’s first multiform paintings were shown in 1946.  Beyond the composition and color choice, another significant element of Rothko’s multiform works is scale; some of these works are larger than 500 square feet.  Rothko would show these with their bottom edge close to the floor, sometimes in close quarters, so the viewer may “feel enveloped” by the experience of viewing the work.

Saffron 1957

Saffron 1957 by Mark Rothko

“I paint very large pictures. I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them, however – I think it applies to other painters I know – is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn’t something you command!” Mark Rothko

Untitled 1963

Untitled 1963 by Mark Rothko

Over the course of his life Rothko painted over 800 works, which are still very popular museum and collector items.  His work is featured at the Museum of Modern Art, The Tate, The Guggenheim and dozens of others around the world.  In May 2012 at Christie’s, New York “Orange Red Yellow” broke auction records nominal-value for a post war painting at a public auction by selling at 86.9 million dollars; a feat that Rothko sales at auction had broken twice before.

No 3 1967

No 3 1967 by Mark Rothko

“I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.” Mark Rothko

Untitled 1969 Blue

Untitled 1969 Blue by Mark Rothko

View the entire Mark Rothko collection at Amanti Art

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March 30th: Celebrate the birthday of Vincent van Gogh

Self Portrait by Vincent van Gogh

Self Portrait by Vincent van Gogh

“One must work and dare if one really wants to live.”  Vincent van Gogh

Cafe Terrace At Night by Vincent van Gogh

Cafe Terrace At Night by Vincent van Gogh

Before his career as a painter, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) tried his hand as a bookstore clerk, a country preacher, and an art dealer.  It was not until he picked up a paintbrush that he found a profession that fit his passion and temperament.  He would go on to produce over 2000 works over the next 10 years.  His initial works focus on drawing and composition – and contain little of the expressive color that he would later become renowned for.

The Potato Eaters, 1885 by Vincent van Gogh

The Potato Eaters, 1885 by Vincent van Gogh

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Vincent van Gogh

Through his studies and the business connections with his brother Theo, between 1885 and 1888 Vincent spent time with the artists Cezanne, Seurat, Monet, Degas, Gauguin and Pissarro.  He became familiar with their works and the impressionist doctrine which had the immediate influence of lightening van Gogh’s somber palette.

Four Cut Sunflowers, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh

Four Cut Sunflowers, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh

“Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.” Vincent van Gogh

Fraught with emotional instability and passionately driven by a need to overcome a self perceived mediocre talent – his work in later years moved from subtle impressionism to vibrant, expressive works marked with a strong, almost violent composition and color combinations that move his works into a realm of magical expressionism.

Irises by Vincent van Gogh

Irises by Vincent van Gogh

Folding in the impressionist and neo-impressionist influence along with his study of the traditions of Reubens, Rembrandt and Japanese painters, Van Gogh produced an incredible string of masterworks over the next five years.

Almond Branches in Bloom, San Remy, 1890 by Vincent van Gogh

Almond Branches in Bloom, San Remy, 1890 by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh was prone to mood swings, and had an unstable temperament that would swing his emotional state from vibrant, positive moments of clarity to deep, dark, destructive depression.  On top of this he was often acutely aware of these highs and lows, as illustrated in beautifully articulated letters to his brother Theo.

“It is only too true that a lot of artists are mentally ill – it’s a life which, to put it mildly, makes one an outsider. I’m all right when I completely immerse myself in work, but I’ll always remain half crazy.”  Vincent van Gogh

Wheatfield with Crows by Vincent van Gogh

Wheatfield with Crows by Vincent van Gogh

Despite his rocky and tumultuous moods Van Gogh was very prolific in the later years of his career, producing hundreds of paintings between the years of 1885 and 1889.  Several of his most famous paintings were produced during his last 2 years [1888-1890].  He painted 90 works of art in the 2 months before his death.

First Steps, 1890 by Vincent van Gogh

First Steps, 1890 by Vincent van Gogh

“At present I absolutely want to paint a starry sky. It often seems to me that night is still more richly colored than the day; having hues of the most intense violets, blues and greens. If only you pay attention to it you will see that certain stars are lemon-yellow, others pink or a green, blue and forget-me-not brilliance. And without my expatiating on this theme it is obvious that putting little white dots on the blue-black is not enough to paint a starry sky.” Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” Vincent van Gogh

After a long struggle with his stormy psyche - which he used painting to express and relieve, Van Gogh died from wounds following a suicide attempt in 1890.

The Siesta by Vincent van Gogh

The Siesta by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh influence on world culture and art is still felt today over 120 years after his death. He is one of the most recognized (and lucrative) museum artists today.  And while he did not get any artistic acclaim during his lifetime, he was later revered as a pioneer of Expressionism among the artists of the twentieth century.

Sunflowers on Blue, 1888 by Vincent van Gogh

Sunflowers on Blue, 1888 by Vincent van Gogh

Come and see Amanti Art’s entire Vincent van Gogh Collection.

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Celebrate the Birthday of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, February 25th

“Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.” Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) is one of the most popular Impressionists, known for his cheerful subject matter of  pretty children, flowers, beautiful scenery, and above all, lovely women.

Renoir began his art career at the age of 13, painting designs in a porcelain factory.

In 1862, he entered the studio of Gleyre and formed lasting friendships with other artists, particularly Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley and they would go on to create and define the Impressionist art movement.

Spring Bouquet, 1866

The French Impressionist ideals of outdoor scenes depicted with sparkling color and light are embodied in Renoir’s early works that were shown in the first few Impressionist Exhibitions.

“One morning one of us had run out of black; and that was the birth of impressionism.” Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Le Moulin de la Galette, 1876

“If painting were not a pleasure to me I should certainly not do it.” Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Luncheon of the Boating Party (Dejeuner Des Canotiers), 1881

After visiting Italy from 1881-82 to view the works of Raphael and other Renaissance masters, he abandoned the Impressionist ideal and adopted a more classical technique to emulate those artists who came before him.  Renoir’s later works, particularly his formal figure paintings of women, show a more disciplined approach and a break from contemporary themes to more timeless subjects, particularly nudes.

Nude, c. 1902

“I never think I have finished a nude until I think I could pinch it.”  Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Les Parapluies Umbrellas, 1883

“The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth, which sweeps you along in his passion” Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Gabrielle with Jewel Box, 1910

Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis in the last 20 years of life.  Although wheelchair-bound, he continued painting and exhibiting.   In 1919, he was delighted to visit the Louvre and see his paintings hanging alongside the old masters.

Bridge at Chatou, c. 1875

Pierre-Auguste Renoir left behind a sizable legacy of over 5000 works, making him one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century.

In 1990, at auction Bal au moulin de la Galette sold for $78.1 million.

Come see Amanti Art’s entire Pierre-Auguste Renoir Collection.

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