Was Winslow Homer the Greatest American Painter of the 19th Century?
Nov29

Was Winslow Homer the Greatest American Painter of the 19th Century?

Winslow Homer occupies a prized place in the pantheon of American artists, beloved for his bright watercolor landscapes and tempestuous seascapes, as well as his depictions of soldiers during the Civil War, portrayals of African-American laborers in Virginia during the Reconstruction era, and his early illustrations of everyday New England life for Harper’s Weekly. Indeed some regard him as the greatest American painter of the 19th century, as Met curator H. Barbara Weinberg noted in the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. But does he deserve this accolade, in a century that also saw the development of the epic Hudson River School painters? As neither a teacher nor a member of a defined artistic group, Homer doesn’t categorize easily. But his art remains enormously popular, and he has long been regarded as one of America’s early artist icons. “The late 19th century was historically seen as being dominated by six artists,” Katherine Manthorne, a professor of American art at the CUNY Graduate Center told me via email, “the so-called ‘national’ triumvirate of Homer, Thomas Eakins, and Albert Pinkham Ryder, who spent most of their time at home…and the ‘internationals’ John Singer Sargent, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and Mary Cassatt, who were largely expats.”Six artists, each talented and renowned enough to merit inclusion in the country’s top tier of 19th-century painters—so what’s so special, and quintessentially American, about Winslow Homer?   Source:...

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An Artist’s Big Break: Michelle Obama’s Official Portrait
Oct24

An Artist’s Big Break: Michelle Obama’s Official Portrait

After a late start, Ms. Sherald is just taking off. The Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture has acquired one of her pieces, as has the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C. Her work is currently featured in the Studio Museum in Harlem’s influential “Fictions” exhibition of emerging artists. And in May, she will open her first major solo show, at the Contemporary Art Museum St Louis. “A clear unspoken granted magic,” 2017, by Amy Sherald.CreditCourtesy of the Artist and Monique Meloche Gallery The Obama commission is likely to catapult her into another league. “There is going to be a spotlight on her,” said Paul Staiti, a professor at Mount Holyoke College who is an expert on portraiture. “She should fasten her seatbelt.” Source: The New York...

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American artist’s works focus on discrimination, occupation and plight of refugees
Sep25

American artist’s works focus on discrimination, occupation and plight of refugees

An art exhibition titled “Endangered land, People and Heritage” by American painter and Professor of Art History Jacqueline Taylor Basker was held at Bandak Art Gallery in Amman on Thursday. The event, held under the patronage of Amman’s Mayor Yousef Shawarbeh, marked her 10th anniversary in Jordan and the region.  “Since my arrival in 2007 I have become more aware of many important issues and this provided subject matter for my artwork,” Taylor Basker told The Jordan Times, adding that travelling to visit endangered archaeological sites with her students from New York Institute of Technology and German-Jordanian University made her very “concerned about endangered heritage”.  One of her inspirations for the paintings came from her frequent visits to Palestine and experiensing the Israeli occupation firsthand, she stressed.  “What really angered me is that it was my tax money that was funding Israeli terror against the Palestinians,” the painter underlined.  “If you are an artist concerned about political issues you cannot only sign petitions, make Facebook posts, go to meetings but you can make art to bring attention to humanitarian issues and injustices,”  Taylor Basker emphasised, stressing that despite her love for abstract art she is more driven by the political message her work conveys.  According to Taylor Basker, many times in the past, the great art of the world has been a response to war and injustice and it has an important role to play, since images can be very powerful, more than mere words.  Source:  Jordan...

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Maine artist makes what may be the world’s largest watercolor
Aug21

Maine artist makes what may be the world’s largest watercolor

Barbara Prey has a golden resume: a bachelor’s degree from Williams College, a master’s from Harvard and a Fulbright scholarship, which she used to study baroque art and architecture in Germany. One of her first jobs was drawing illustrations for the New Yorker. Her watercolors have been used for two White House Christmas cards, and her paintings are in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Brooklyn Museum and hang in U.S. embassies around the world. But for all her accomplishments, Prey, who lives part of the year in Maine, has lacked an enthusiastic endorsement from a leading contemporary art museum. That changed recently, when the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams commissioned her to make what the museum believes is the largest existing watercolor painting. MASS MoCA, the country’s largest contemporary art museum, after its recent expansion, and a taste-maker in contemporary art since it opened in 1999, challenged Prey, a landscape painter in the tradition of Andrew Wyeth, to make a large-scale painting showing the museum’s new home in a former mill complex before a renovation and expansion added 120,000 square feet. The museum wanted to document the mill while the patina of the peeling paint and unfinished wood floors were intact. Source: Portland Press...

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The woman who brought modern art to Los Angeles
Jun09

The woman who brought modern art to Los Angeles

The jackdaw is one of the smartest birds around. In folklore, she is very acquisitive, picking up bright, beautiful, shiny things with which to line her nest. She is, in short, your basic avian art collector. In 1915, painter Alexei Jawlensky nick-named aspiring young artist Emilie Esther Scheyer “Galka,” Russian for “jackdaw.”  This was the name she wore for the rest of her life. Like her namesake, she was brilliant and spent her life surrounding herself with beautiful things—as well as the people who made them. Head in Profile, 1919; Emil Nolde (German, 1867-1956); Watercolor and India ink on tan wove paperNORTON SIMON MUSEUM, THE BLUE FOUR GALKA SCHEYER COLLECTION The Norton-Simon’s current show, “Maven of Modernism: Galka Scheyer in California,” includes about 100 works from some 500 in her personal collection. They range from pieces by Lyonel Feininger to Edward Weston, but the heart of the show is the assemblage of pictures by the quartet she called “The Blue Four,” of whom Jawlensky was the first: then came Feininger, Paul Klee, and Vasily Kandinsky. Heavy Circles, 1927; Vasily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866-1944); Oil on canvas. NORTON SIMON MUSEUM, THE BLUE FOUR GALKA SCHEYER COLLECTION Galka  gave up her own artistic ambitions to present, promote and sell their work. In 1924, she came to California as a prophet of the Blue Four avant garde, first in San Francisco, whose taste she found to be too conservative, then in Los Angeles, where she remained for the rest of her life.  She lectured on, promoted, and publicized modern art as she socialized with celebrities like Joseph von Sternberg, John Cage, and Richard Neutra, who designed her house/gallery in Hollywood Hills. There she extended her collection to include another 44 painters and photographers. By the time of her 1946 death, she had acquired the best collection of modern art in the West—including Picasso, Nolde, Moholy-Nagy, Franz Marc, and Diego Rivera. By bringing so much great modern work to Los Angeles so early, she is credited with helping to make it the international art center it is today. Source: 89.3...

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How Hilton Head Island was an ‘enormous gift’ for painter Joseph Orr
Jun09

How Hilton Head Island was an ‘enormous gift’ for painter Joseph Orr

The paintings of Joseph Orr will be featured at Red Piano Art Gallery this month in a celebration of the artist’s more than 20-year relationship with the gallery. “We were a much smaller gallery up on Orleans Road when we first saw the work of Joseph Orr,” said Ben Whiteside, owner with his wife, Lyn, of the gallery. “A kind of odd-looking, generic package arrived by mail, filled with small artworks, mostly landscapes, all by some artist named Joseph Orr. They were just outstanding, but we had no idea who he was or how in the world these paintings ended up at our gallery.” Whiteside said he reached out to Orr, then living in Missouri, and after a few minutes of nonstop conversation, had developed a plan in which Orr would provide additional paintings and visit the Lowcountry to meet the folks at Red Piano. And discover Hilton Head. “As an artist, a painter of landscapes, arriving on Hilton Head Island was just an enormous gift,” said Orr. “Everything about the setting thrilled me, and I was ready to take in this amazing Lowcountry first hand.” There are close to a dozen Orr pieces hanging throughout the Red Piano. His richly imagined and dramatically portrayed landscapes are done on canvas or Masonite and created in his medium of choice, acrylic. My favorite piece is “In Front of the Sunset.” Consider the movement Orr communicates through his portrayal of the subtle motion captured in the waterway, the ripples in the water, the motion of the seagrasses and the reflection of the sun on the water. Source: Island...

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