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DEATHS: 1476 VIVARINI 1941 BRUSH 1803 LABILLE~GUIARD
BIRTHS: 1889 POPOVA — 1718 HONE — 1873 BAUCHANT — 1931 RILEY — 1904 DE KOONING 1660 DUSART
^ Born on 24 April 1889: Liubov' Sergeyevna Popova, Moscovite painter and designer who died on 25 May 1924.
— She worked with Vladimir Tatlin, in Moscow early in the 20th century and visited Paris and Italy in 1911 and 1912. She is primarily a cubist painter but she also designed textiles, dresses, books, costumes, and theater sets.
— She was born into a wealthy family and trained as a teacher before beginning her artistic studies with Stanislav Zhukovsky [1873–1944] and Konstantin Yuon. Their influence, particularly through their interest in luminous tonalities reminiscent of Impressionism, can be seen in early works by Popova such as Still-life with Basket of Fruit (1908). Popova travelled extensively: in Kiev (1909) she was very impressed by the religious works of Mikhail Vrubel'; in Italy (1910) she admired Renaissance art, especially the paintings of Giotto. Between 1910 and 1911 she toured many parts of Russia, including Suzdal', Novgorod, Yaroslavl' and Pskov. Inspired by Russian architecture, frescoes and icons, she developed a less naturalistic approach. A more crucial influence was the first-hand knowledge of Cubism that she gained in Paris, which she visited with Nadezhda Udal'tsova during the winter of 1912–13. She studied at the Académie de la Palette, under the direction of Henri Le Fauconnier and Jean Metzinger, and her paintings of this time clearly display the influence of these artists (e.g. Two Figures, 1914). Numerous sketchbooks attest to the rigor with which Popova applied Cubist analysis to the human figure. This approach was extended to paintings, for example Seated Figure (1914), which has affinities with work by Léger and the Italian Futurist Umberto Boccioni; here, Popova shows a new confidence and fluency, and a more sophisticated integration of form and space into the transparent structures of curved and rectilinear planes. A more complex and dynamic fragmentation appears in canvases such as Traveling Woman (1915)
— Liubov Popova was born near Moscow. After graduating from the Arseniev Gymnasium, she studied art with Stanislav Zhukovsky in 1907 and with Konstantin Yuon and Ivan Dudin in 1908. In the course of travels from 1909 to 1911, she saw Mikhail Vrubel’s work in Kiev, ancient Russian churches and icons in Pskov and Novgorod, and early Renaissance art in Italy. In 1912, Popova worked at the Tower, a Moscow studio, with Vladimir Tatlin and other artists. That winter, she visited Paris, where she studied under Henri Le Fauconnier, Jean Metzinger, and André Dunoyer de Segonzac at La Palette. In 1913, Popova returned to Russia, but the following year she visited again France and Italy, where she gained familiarity with Futurism.
      In her work of 1912 to 1915, Popova was concerned with Cubist form and the representation of movement; after 1915, her nonrepresentational style revealed the influence of icon painting. She participated in many exhibitions of advanced art in Russia during this period: the Jack of Diamonds shows of 1914 and 1916 in Moscow; Tramway V: First Futurist Exhibition of Paintings and 0.10: The Last Futurist Exhibition, both in 1915 in St. Petersburg; The Store in 1916, Fifth State Exhibition: From Impressionism to Nonobjective Art in 1918–1919, and Tenth State Exhibition: Non-Objective Creativity and Suprematism in 1919, all in Moscow. In 1916, Popova joined the Supremus group, which was organized by Kazimir Malevich. She taught at Svomas and Vkhutemas from 1918 onward and was a member of Inkhuk from 1920 to 1923.
      The artist participated in the 5 x 5 = 25 exhibition in Moscow in 1921 and in the Erste russische Kunstausstellung, held under the auspices of the Russian government at the Galerie van Diemen in Berlin in 1922. In 1921, Popova turned away from studio painting to execute utilitarian Productivist art: she designed textiles, dresses, books, porcelain, costumes, and theater sets (the latter for Vsevolod Meierkhold’s productions of Fernand Crommelynk’s The Magnanimous Cuckold, 1922, and Serge Tretiakov’s Earth on End, 1923). Popova died in Moscow.
— The artists of the Russian avant-garde were distinguished from their Western counterparts in many ways, particularly in the extraordinary number of women in their ranks who were responsible for discovering new bases of artistic creation. Liubov Popova was among the most important of these early pioneers. Her development as an artist was encouraged through private lessons and frequent travel, which brought her into contact with a broad range of historical examples, from Italian Renaissance art and Russian medieval icons to Cubism and other Western vanguard styles. In 1912 she went to Paris with fellow painter Nadezhda Udaltsova to study painting at the Académie de la Palette under André Dunoyer de Segonzac, Henri Le Fauconnier, and Jean Metzinger. There she mastered the Cubist idiom and was probably exposed to Italian Futurism, the two styles that would dominate her paintings of the next three and a half years.
      After returning to Moscow in 1913, she quickly emerged as one of the primary exponents of Russian Cubo-Futurism, an amalgam of the faceted planarity of Cubism and the formal energy of Futurist art. Birsk was completed near the end of her involvement with this style. Its crystalline structure is formally reminiscent of the views of houses in l’Estaque painted by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in 1908, but the vibrant palette attests to Popova’s sustained interest in Russian folk and decorative art. Birsk (1916, 106x70cm), one of the few landscapes from this stage of Popova’s career, was begun during a summer visit to the home of her former governess, who lived near the Ural Mountains in the small town of the painting’s title.
     The painting on the reverse of the same canvas, entitled Portrait of a Woman (1915, 106x71cm), shows Popova undertaking a subject that consistently occupied her during 1915: a figure situated in a Cubist-inspired composition. Although this work retains some representational elements, Popova’s gradual move away from representation is evident in her forceful application of an abstract visual vocabulary. By the end of 1916 Popova was completely devoted to abstraction, joining Kazimir Malevich’s Supremus group and creating paintings composed solely of dynamic geometric forms. These experiments in texture, rhythm, density, and color — which she called “painterly architectonics” — became the basis of her textile and theater designs of the 1920s. Like many of her Russian colleagues, Popova would ultimately renounce painting as obsolete and concern herself with the applied arts, which became synonymous with building a new society after the October Revolution.

LINKS
Objects (1915; 438x300pix, 31kb) _ The only readily recognizable object is a partially hidden guitar.
Architectonic Painting and Portrait (2 pictures on one page)
Composition with Figures (1913, 160x124cm; 650x500pix, 128kb) _ and also a guitar.
Sitzender weiblicher Akt (1914, 106x87cm)
Prozodezhda aktera No. 7 (The Magnanimous Cuckold: Actor no. 7, costume design, 1921) _ In the early twentieth century, avant-garde artists began exploring the forms and technologies of mass media. Beginning in 1909, the Italian Futurists rejected the past and glorified the age of the machine--cars, planes, speed, and war. Dada, dedicated to destroying the status quo, arose in Zurich in 1916 and then in New York, Berlin, and Paris, reacting against the absurdity and horror of World War I. Futurist and Dada poets scattered different styles and sizes of type across the page, using the techniques of advertising as literary devices. In Russia the Constructivists combined ideas from abstract painting with experimental typography in the early 1920s to create a new language of public address; Liubov' Popova's costume design at left for The Magnanimous Cuckold employs a red square as both a banner for social change and a functional element of costume.
The Traveler (1915, 142x105cm) _ In the early twentieth century, avant-garde women artists such as Popova, for the first time in history, became influential forces in directing the course of art. Between 1912 and 1914 she studied Cubism and non-objective art in Paris. The Traveler was painted when Popova was already deeply committed to a style of non-objective art. However, we still can discern recognizable forms linking the painting to the objective world — a woman wearing a yellow necklace and carrying a bright green umbrella. Glimpses of a railing, green grass, and a flag suggest the scenery through which she passes. The stenciled letters, an inheritance from the Cubist paintings of Braque and Picasso, are traditionally two-dimensional and help to emphasize the flatness of the picture plane.
Still Life (177kb)
Still Life with Instruments (1915, 94kb)
Architectonics in Painting (1917; 97kb)
— different Painterly Architectonic (1918, 97x71cm)
Traveler (322x240pix, 26kb)
Birsk (1916, 106x70cm; 573x383pix, 77kb) _ The artists of the Russian avant-garde were distinguished from their Western counterparts in many ways, particularly in the extraordinary number of women in their ranks who were responsible for discovering new bases of artistic creation. Liubov Popova was among the most important of these early pioneers. Her development as an artist was encouraged through private lessons and frequent travel, which brought her into contact with a broad range of historical examples, from Italian Renaissance art and Russian medieval icons to Cubism and other Western vanguard styles. In 1912 she went to Paris with fellow painter Nadezhda Udaltsova to study painting at the Académie de la Palette under André Dunoyer de Segonzac, Henri Le Fauconnier, and Jean Metzinger. There she mastered the Cubist idiom and was probably exposed to Italian Futurism, the two styles that would dominate her paintings of the next three and a half years.
      After returning to Moscow in 1913, she quickly emerged as one of the primary exponents of Russian Cubo-Futurism, an amalgam of the faceted planarity of Cubism and the formal energy of Futurist art. Birsk was completed near the end of her involvement with this style. Its crystalline structure is formally reminiscent of the views of houses in l’Estaque painted by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in 1908, but the vibrant palette attests to Popova’s sustained interest in Russian folk and decorative art. Birsk, one of the few landscapes from this stage of Popova’s career, was begun during a summer visit to the home of her former governess, who lived near the Ural Mountains in the small town of the painting’s title.
      Portrait of a Woman (1915, 106x71cm; 564x377pix, 70kb), the painting on the reverse of this one, shows Popova undertaking a subject that consistently occupied her during 1915: a figure situated in a Cubist-inspired composition. Although this work retains some representational elements, Popova’s gradual move away from representation is evident in her forceful application of an abstract visual vocabulary. By the end of 1916 Popova was completely devoted to abstraction, joining the Supremus group of Kazimir Malevich, and creating paintings composed solely of dynamic geometric forms. These experiments in texture, rhythm, density, and color, which she called “painterly architectonics”, became the basis of her textile and theater designs of the 1920s. Like many of her Russian colleagues, Popova would ultimately renounce painting as obsolete and concern herself with the applied arts, which became synonymous with building a new society after the October Revolution.
Utro (317x394pix, 44kb)
 
^Died on or before 24 April 1484 (but after 23 March 1476): Antonio Vivarini da Murano, Italian painter born in 1415.
— Antonio Vivarini became prominent in Venetian painting about 1440 and was active until about 1480, producing many joint works with his brother-in-law Giovanni d'Alemagna [–1450]. Antonio also often collaborated with his brother Bartolomeo Vivarini, and the family dynasty remained important until the death of Antonio’s son Alvise Luigi Vivarini [1446-1505].
— The Vivarini were a family of Venetian painters of the mid- and late 15th century. Their work represents a transition from the traditional stylized Gothic- and Byzantine-inspired school to the more realistic Renaissance-influenced manner of the 1500s. The brothers Antonio Vivarini and Bartolomeo Vivarini [1440->1500] collaborated on religious polyptychs with linear, often stiff figures and vertical architectural backgrounds, all enclosed in ornate gilded frames. Because of the collective nature of much Vivarini workshop activity, connoisseurs have remained unusually confused about Antonio’s work, and attributions, particularly as regards his late work, are often misleading. After Giovanni d’Alemagna’s death in 1450, Antonio probably continued to produce independent works but also collaborated with Bartolomeo; from about 1460 he ran the workshop alone.
— Antonio Vivarini's students included Carlo Crivelli.

LINKS
The Miracle of the Fire by Saint Peter Martyr Before the Sultan (1450, top corners cut off 52x34cm; 599x392pix, 42kb _ ZOOM to 1920x1256pix, 207kb)
Marriage of Saint Monica (1441, 46x31cm) _ This small panel, together with others which have recently been identified, made up an altar-piece dedicated to Saint Monica in the Church of San Stefano in Venice. The domestic scene is set in the courtyard of a bourgeois household and embodies Antonio Vivarini's timid attempts at rendering spacial perspective. It demonstrates too the extent to which his world, suspended between the new and the old, acknowledged the importance of Renaissance rules. In contrast with the uncertain definition of the architecture in terms of perspective, the details of costume and the physical and spiritual gestures of the characters are carefully recorded.
Triptych (1446, 339x200cm central, 339x138cm each side) _ In this grandiose triptych Antonio Vivarini, helped by his brother-in-law Giovanni d'Alemagna (active 1441-1450), achieved a highpoint of balance between the International Gothic tradition now in decline, and the rising Renaissance. A natural light lends tenderness to the holy figures. The Virgin, however, sits rigid like a Byzantine empress on a Gothic throne, surrounded by Masolinoesque angels who are holding the poles of the high canopy almost as if it were a game. The saints Gregory and Jerome on the left and Ambrose and Augustine on the right, stand immobile in their heavy ecclesiastical garments shining with gold and color. The holy scene appears constrained by the marble walls with their Gothic fretwork, set in a perspective as improbable as it is ostentatious. The sumptuous static scene is a final dazzling reminder of a fairy-tale world. _ detail 1 _ The picture representing Saints Gregory and Jerome is the left canvas of the triptych _ detail 2 _ The picture representing the Enthroned Virgin and Child is the central canvas of the triptych. _ detail 3 _ The picture representing Saints Ambrose and Augustine is the right canvas the triptych.
Virgin and Child (1441, 56x41cm) _ While at Padua and even in Venice itself some of the main figures of the new art of Tuscany were working to the laws of perspective and in the conviction of the conscious dignity of man as an individual, Venetian painting reacted to the promptings of the new culture almost with reluctance, filtering them through a vision which in substance was still Gothic. This is the context of the work of Antonio Vivarini and Jacopo Bellini [1400-1470], both founders of dynasties of artists, and both crucial figures in the period of transition in Venice from the first to the second half of the fifteenth century. This Madonna and Child belongs to Antonio Vivarini's earliest period and is characterized by a certain plasticity of shape and form arising out of the gentle throbbing of the chiaroscuro and the luminous timbre of the color.
— a different Madonna and Child (1460; 585x349pix _ ZOOM to 1365x814pix)
Saint Louis de Toulouse (1450, 46x36cm)
Six Scenes from the Life of Mary (600x2542pix blurry)
Adoration by the Magi (600x920pix)
Saint Mary Magdalene Lifted by Angels (600x228pix)
—(060423)
^ Born on 24 April 1718: Nathaniel Hone, Irish painter and printmaker who died on 14 August 1784.
— Born in Dublin, he settled in London in the 1740s and soon made a name for himself as a painter in miniature on enamel. Between 1750 and 1752 he studied in Italy. He was a regular exhibitor at the Society of Artists and, in 1768, a founder-member of the Royal Academy, where he exhibited until his death. Although Hone was a relatively successful portrait painter in oils, he was burdened by an overpowering jealousy for Joshua Reynolds and had numerous rifts with the Academy. He was, in particular, opposed to the dominant classicism based on Italian Renaissance art, preferring a more Dutch-inspired domesticity for his figures and their settings. His portraits of children, particularly his own, are considered among the best of their kind in mid-18th-century painting. They include a Piping Boy (1769), which depicts his son John Camillus and which excited great admiration at the first Royal Academy exhibition in 1769; he made an etching of it in 1771. Although Hone was primarily a portrait painter, he is especially remembered for one large subject painting, the Pictorial Conjuror, Displaying the Whole Art of Optical Deception (1775), a work that caused considerable controversy as it was a clever and detailed attack on Reynolds, the first PRA. Not only does it lampoon Reynolds’s penchant for borrowings from the Old Masters but, when first displayed, it also carried the indecorous suggestion of an intimate relationship between Reynolds and the painter Angelica Kauffman. Hone was forced to paint over one section of the painting, but the picture was nevertheless rejected for exhibition at the Academy; his oil sketch records its original appearance. In order to display the rejected Conjuror, also in 1775 Hone arranged his own private show in London, exhibiting 70 works. This helped to initiate the trend for one-man exhibitions taken up increasingly by artists in the following century. — Nathaniel I trained his sons Horace Hone [1754 – 24 May 1825] and John Camillus Hone [1759 — 23 May 1836], both of whom became painters, the former also an engraver. Several members of later generations of the family pursued artistic careers, notably the great-grandson of Nathaniel I's brother Brindley, landscape painter Nathaniel Hone II [26 Oct 1831 – 14 Oct 1917]; and the descendant of Nathaniel I's brother John, painter and stained-glass artist Evie Hone [22 Apr 1894 – 13 Mar 1955].

LINKS
Self-Portrait (1765, 32x28mm)
Anne Gardiner with her Eldest Son Kirkman (1776)
Mary Hone, the Artist's Wife (1760, 29x22cm)
Sketch for The Conjuror (1775, 58x82cm) _ This is the preparatory oil sketch for The Conjuror, a satirical painting which caused one of the greatest art scandals in 18th-century Britain. The conjuror represents Sir Joshua Reynolds, the President of the Royal Academy. The young girl is Angelica Kauffman, a member of the Academy, and allegedly Reynolds’s former lover. Kauffman is also shown cavorting naked among a group of artists at the top left.
Sir John Fielding (1762, 124x100cm) _ Sir John Fielding [1721-1780], magistrate and social reformer, was the son of a general and the half brother of the magistrate and novelist Henry Fielding. The brothers worked together to raise the standards of honesty and competence amongst those engaged in the administration of justice. John is shown here with one hand holding a document, which is thought to represent one of several which he and his brother wrote suggesting improvements in the law, and the other resting on two volumes, a law book and a Bible. The black band on his forehead was there to let others know that he was blind; it is said that Fielding knew more than three thousand London thieves by their voices.
John Wesley (1766, 126x100cm) _ John Wesley [17 Jun 1703 – 02 Mar 1791] was the founder of the Methodist movement which grew from the 'Holy Club' of his Oxford friends into a great religious revival. An indefatigable traveller, preacher and writer, Wesley averaged 13'000 km a year on horseback and gave 15 sermons a week. The reluctance of the Anglican clergy to lend him their pulpits led him to give some of his sermons in the open air, a decision which enabled him to reach those among the poorer sections of society who were not accustomed to going to church. Here Wesley is depicted preaching in a rural setting.
 
^ Born on 24 April 1873: André Bauchant, French “naive” or “modern primitive” painter who died on 12 August 1958. — {Mais on ne connait pas de chanteur du nom de Bautableau}
— He painted still lifes of flowers, landscapes, and figure compositions inspired by classical history or mythology. He was born at Châteaurenault (Indre-et-Loire), where his father was a market gardener, and his mother a seamstress. André Bauchant worked as a market gardener until 1914, reading books on classical history in his spare time. During his war service 1914-1919 he was posted to the Greek island of Moudros and to Salonika, and was afterwards trained as a map-maker. After demobilization, aged forty-six, he returned to Châteaurenault to devote himself to painting. He exhibited for the first time at the Salon d'Automne in 1921 and was made a Sociétaire of the Salon. He was encouraged from 1922 by Le Corbusier. Bauchant had his first one-man exhibition at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris, in 1927, and in 1928 he was commissioned by Diaghilev to design sets and costumes for the ballet Apollon Musagète, to music by Stravinsky. In his last years he received commissions to design tapestries for the Beauvais and Gobelins tapestry works. He died at Montoire (Loir-et-Cher).
— “Les maîtres populaires de la realité” burst upon the French artistic scene in 1886, when le douanier Rousseau first exhibited at the Salon des Independants. They were also called "Sunday painters" because they had to work elsewhere than at the easel for a living. They have been called "modern primitives," or "naives," or "instinctives": the whole truth about them can be put together from these various designations. Living in various parts of France, they did not constitute a group, for they did not know one another. Further, being chiefly self-taught, they knew nothing about groups, movements, and isms. As André Bauchant confessed: "As for museums, I visited them only as a layman, for I had no ideas about art, and I could not estimate its value." The masterpieces of art did not speak Bauchant's language, which is peculiarly his own. Professionals resemble one another, instinctives do not. Bauchant is not like Bombois, and Bombois is not like Vivin, and so on. They have this in common: a childlike and poetic vision; they use a personal scale. The size of any object in their pictures is dictated by its emotional content. They do not suffer from the professional's woes, because they do not know the rules. Or, rather, they achieved their personal vision before they knew the rules. Rousseau le douanier must have heard much learned talk from Picasso, Apollinaire, and Max Jacob before he died. And yet he refused to be taught to see, and instinctively went on creating masterpieces based on a native understanding of scale and proportion and a matchless decorative sense.
      In 1927 Bauchant did the sets and costumes for Stravinsky's ballet Apollon Musagète Diaghilev, who produced it, skillfully entrusted the decors to a naive painter so to avoid the banalities of a false Hellenism. In any event, Bauchant emerged unscathed, his faculty for unembarrassed, childlike statement utterly unimpaired. After 1927 he turned away from the large historical or mythological compositions that had attracted Diaghilev, and concentrated on flower pieces, landscapes, and figures.
— Bauchant est un peintre naïf, issu d'une famille modeste. Il est né à Chateau-Renault, au 8 de la rue Marceau ( autrefois "le Bas Pichon" ) de père pépiniériste, et de mère couturière (Adélaïde Romian). Il ne reçoit qu'une instruction élémentaire. Autodidacte de grand talent, il suscite depuis les années vingt, un intérêt toujours grandissant. N'appartenant à aucune école spécifique, toujours solitaire et sans influence extérieure, il puise son inspiration dans la nature et dans un monde imaginaire tiré de sa mémoire terrienne.
     Doué en dessin, en histoire, en mythologie grecque et latine, il quitte l' école communale pour apprendre le métier de pépiniériste dans l'entreprise familiale. Il épouse en 1900 une charmante brodeuse, Alphonsine Bataillon. En voyage de noces à Paris, le jeune couple visite l'exposition universelle et assiste à l' inauguration de pavillon des Beaux Arts. Jusqu'en 1914, il exerce le métier de pépiniériste. Il monte une exploitation horticole qu'il dirige avec son épouse.
      Mobilisé à 42 ans, il embarque en 1915 à Marseille sur Le Chili  pour le Front des Dardanelles, débarque à Moudros. Bauchant féru de mythologie découvre sur le continent turc, les ruines de l'ancienne Troie. En 1917, il se consacre à la peinture d'aquarelle sur des cartons à dessins de l'armée: Paysage Grec au Moulin à Vent (1916), Le Stromboli (1917), Vase aux Abeilles (1918).... Gravement malade, il est rapatrié, mais s'ennuie de la guerre. Aussi lorsque l'armée organise un concours de télémétreur, se présente-t'il sous la pression de ses camarades. Reçu 1er sur 40, il apprend au cours du stage d'application, à dessiner avec exactitude les paysages et reliefs, ce qui lui servira par la suite: “On demandait des volontaires pour la télémétrie; je me présente et, du premier coup, je dessinais les horizons avec la même facilité, pour moi, que celle d'écrire les lettres de l'aphabet”.
      Démobilisé en 1919, il retrouve sa Touraine natale dans un état lamentable: son entreprise a fait faillite et sa femme est devenue folle. Il décide alors à 46 ans de s'installer en pleine forêt afin de soigner sa compagne. Il cultive la terre pour se nourrier et se consacrer entièrement à la peinture. En 1921, au salon d'automne, neuf de ses toiles sont retenues. Le Corbusier y remarque sa peinture naïve et poétique et lui achète quelques toiles. En 1928, il réalise différentes toiles qui serviront aux décors du ballet "Apollon musagète" de Serge Diaghilev. Madame Jeanne Bucher organise dans sa galerie parisienne sa première exposition privée en présentant soixante-quinze de ses tableaux. En 1930, il participe à une exposition sur le thème des oiseaux. En 1937, à Paris, André Bauchant participe à une exposition s'intitulant: “Les Maîtres Populaires de la Réalité”, présentée par la suite à Zürich puis à Londres et à New-York. La popularité de Bauchant grandit. Il reçoit des commandes de l'état concernant des cartons de tapisserie pour la manufacture des Gobelins. En 1949, à Paris, deux cent quinze toiles sont exposées à la Galerie Charpentier. C'est la consécration d'un grand peintre à l'âge de 76 ans. En 1955, il se retire à Montoire où il mourra.

Le Lieutenant Chaberlot (1929; 934x1228pix, 691kb) lie down on your left side to look at this one.
Olivier de Serres (1924; 1155x1678pix, 727kb)
Danse grecque dans un paysage (1937, 30x146cm)
Les Funérailles d'Alexandre-le-Grand (1940, 114x195cm)
Le Navire aux Fleurs (301x410pix, 40kb)
The Fruit Stand (1947, 99x71cm; 401x290pix, 41kb) _ This painting thrusts the chief object of interest at the spectator, almost as if he would like to project it beyond the limits of the foreground. The five-tiered stand, rising to a truncated pyramid whose apex is provided by trees in the background, groans with the diverse fruits of Touraine, and is lusciously embowered between soaring flowers, which rise like great enfolding arms. The colors are both warm and brilliant, and the composition is altogether satisfying. This was painted as a sign for the artist's nephew Émile Bauchant's nursery garden at Chateaurenault. After selling it, the artist gave the proceeds to his nephew for extending his business.
Fleurs dans un Paysage (480x591pix, 64kb)
Fleurs (1950; 74x93cm; 400x489pix, 24kb)
Apothéose d'Homère— L’Apothéose d’Homère (1927) _ Un sujet mythologique traité par un Naïf a de quoi surprendre, et pourtant Bauchant se passionne pour l’Histoire. A sa manière, il tente de prouver qu’il lui est possible de traduire l’atmosphère réflexive des Grecs anciens autour d’une figure consacrée : Homère. La composition à l’huile est très structurée et se lit en frise, comme sur un sarcophage antique. Le paysage aux imposants rochers semble à l’arrière-plan immuable ; il correspond toutefois à un vécu pour Bauchant, envoyé sur le front d’Orient pendant la Première Guerre mondiale. La présence humaine anime le premier plan : les disciples d’Homère sont en effet ceux qui transmettent la connaissance aux générations futures et ce jusqu’aux temps présents. L’Apothéose d’Homère est un thème académique réinterprété à maintes reprises par les artistes: le plus bel exemple est
      _ L’Apothéose d’Homère (1827, 386x512cm; 529x692pix, 34kb) de Ingres [29 Aug 1780 – 14 Jan 1867]. See also
      _ The Apotheosis of Homer (340x640pix, 63kb) by Dali [11 May 1904 – 23 Jan 1989]
 
^ >Born on 24 April 1904: Willem de Kooning, in East Hampton NY, Dutch US Abstract Expressionist painter who died on 19 March 1997, husband of Elaine Fried de Kooning [12 Mar 1920 – 01 Feb 1989]
— De Kooning is one of the greatest Abstract Expressionist painters of the post-World War II period, his dominance rivaled perhaps only by Jackson Pollock. Remembered for his large canvases as well as the controversial melding of both abstract and figurative imagery, de Kooning lived much longer than his contemporaries, many of whom had untimely deaths. The group of painters that would be identified as the New York School was made up of de Kooning and contemporaries such as Arshile Gorky [15 Apr 1904 – 21 Jul 1948] and Edgar Denby, and they helped to establish New York City’s reputation as a center for artistic activity.
      Although his work appears spontaneous, de Kooning often spent many months on a single piece, repeatedly painting over completed sections and occasionally pressing newspaper onto the drying canvas. Friend and New Yorker critic Harold Rosenberg first used the term “Action painting” to refer to de Kooning’s violent slashes of color and the shifting foreground and background typical of his abstract work. “Painting isn’t just the visual thing that reaches your retina,” the artist once said, “it’s what’s behind it. I’m not interested in ‘abstracting’ or taking things out or reducing painting to design, form, line, and color. I paint this way because I can keep putting more and more things in — drama, anger, pain, love, a figure, a horse, my ideas about space. Through your eyes it again becomes an emotion or an idea. It doesn’t matter if it’s different from mine as long as it comes from the painting which has its own integrity and intensity.”
      Willem de Kooning was born in Rotterdam, Holland. Both of his parents were involved in the sale of alcohol, his father as a distributor, and his mother as the proprietor of a bar. De Kooning’s parents separated when he was five, and after a brief period in which he lived with his father (with whom he was very close), his mother demanded that he live with her. The future painter’s artistic talents were evident even in childhood, and at the age of 12 he left school to apprentice with Jan and Jaap Giding, the proprietors of a large commercial art firm. When de Kooning had completed his training in traditional arts and crafts, the Gidings assisted him in enrolling in the Academie Voor Beeldende Kunsten en Technische Wetenschapen, where he attended evening classes for the next eight years (1916-1924). De Kooning graduated from the Academy in 1924, having received certification as both an artist and craftsperson. As a young man, de Kooning became familiar with the work of Walt Whitman, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Piet Mondrian. He also admired a group of Dutch abstract artists known as DeStijl, who counted Theo Van Doesburg and Mondrian among their ranks, and whose work he had first encountered while working for the art director of a Rotterdam department store from 1920-1923.
      De Kooning entered the United States in 1926 as a stowaway (he would not become a citizen of the U.S. until 1961), in the hope of becoming a commercial illustrator. Despite his complete unfamiliarity with the English language, he was able to find work as a freelance commercial artist and housepainter. De Kooning settled in Hoboken, New Jersey, an area with a sizable Dutch population. The following year, he moved to New York City, where he developed friendships with artists including Edward Denby, Stuart Davis, and Arshile Gorky. He shared a studio with Gorky, who, along with Pablo Picasso, came to be a major influence on the painter’s early work. In 1935, de Kooning found full-time employment through the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project, and in 1939 was commissioned by the New York World’s Fair to create a mural for the Hall of Pharmacy that he entitled Medicine. During this period, he also painted a series of portraits of men that included Self-Portrait with Imaginary Brother (1938), Two Men Standing (1938), and Glazier (1940).
      In 1942, de Kooning met the painter Jackson Pollock, with whom he formed the Club, an artists’ group that met primarily at 39 East 8th Street. Many of the Abstract Expressionists also gathered at the Cedar Bar, where they socialized with artists and intellectuals such as the poet and art critic Frank O’Hara and painters Joan Mitchell and Hans Hofmann. De Kooning married fellow painter Elaine Marie Fried in December of 1942. Over the years, he and his wife often lived in separate homes for extended periods of time, but as he grew older, Elaine spent more time at his house in East Hampton, Long Island. Elaine de Kooning was a respected Abstract Expressionist artist and critic in her own right, most notable for her portraits. She painted two portraits of US President John F. Kennedy, and taught at universities such as Yale and Carnegie Mellon. Work on abstract black and white oil paintings, considered by some to be Willem de Kooning’s finest work, began in 1946; most of these works employed less expensive commercial paints made from enamel. One of these was Attic (1949). Another, Excavation (1950), was one of the first large-scale paintings of the period, and was credited with cementing Abstract Expressionism’s role as the most important form of its time.
      The 1940s were years of great success for de Kooning. His first one-man show took place in 1948 at New York’s Charles Egan Gallery and was a critical success. It featured 10 abstract paintings, the majority of which had been rendered in black and white. Around this time, influential art critic Clement Greenberg named de Kooning one of the most important painters of the 20th century. In June 1950, he was among six American artists (and, along with Jackson Pollock and Arshile Gorky, one of three Abstract Expressionist painters) chosen by the Museum of Modern Art’s Alfred H. Barr for exhibition in the 25th Venice Biennale in Italy. The following April marked his second one-man show; that year he also received, for Excavation, the $2000 Logan Medal and Purchase Prize from The Art Institute of Chicago’s 60th Annual Survey of American Painting. De Kooning was also among the artists chosen by the Museum of Modern Art to represent the United States at the 27th Biennale International in Venice, Italy.
      In March 1953, the Sidney Janis Gallery presented an exhibit of de Kooning’s work that featured six large oil paintings and several pastel sketches of a seated woman. The Woman series marked a move toward figurative representation, an approach that had been rejected by most other artists and thinkers associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement. The Museum of Modern Art bought the US works from the Venice exhibition for display in the New York museum’s 27th Biennale in 1954. The show focused on the work of Ben Shahn and de Kooning, and 27 of de Kooning’s paintings and drawings were available for view at the exhibit.
      In the late 1950s, de Kooning painted a number of large landscapes depicting quick impressions of urban scenes and highways, including Gotham News (1956), Backyard on 10th Street (1956), and Montauk Highway (1958). The painter moved in 1961 to East Hampton, Long Island, which was a favored locale among painters of the period. There, he began work on a glass-walled studio that was not fully completed until 1969. In the mid-1960s, with works such as Clam Diggers (1964) and Singing Woman (1965), he returned to the subject of women, this time placing the female figure in abstract landscapes. De Kooning would revisit this subject matter throughout his career.
      De Kooning’s later work focused on an extended examination of color and light, and he produced many untitled works that featured women and marine creatures, often employing unmixed colors. By the 1980s, a decade in which he completed over 300 pieces, his work took on a simpler form, emphasizing abstract orange, blue, and red lines that leapt from a canvas painted white. In this later work, de Kooning turned away from the influence of Picasso and began to look more toward the colorful silhouettes of late Matisse.
      Although he had been a hard drinker for much of his life, de Kooning abstained from alcohol in his later years. As he aged, the artist also suffered from the short-term memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease; fortunately, the disease did not affect his technical ability. Of de Kooning’s generation of painters, he was one of the few to survive to old age: Arshile Gorky and Mark Rothko committed suicide in 1948 and 1970, respectively, Jackson Pollock died in a car crash in 1956, and Franz Kline succumbed to a heart attack in 1962. De Kooning would not pass away until 1997, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
      Willem de Kooning’s work, vibrant and sometimes aggressive, continues to inspire generations of painters. Through their choice of residence and lifestyle, he and the other members of the New York School of painting helped to establish New York City as a center for artistic activity. DeKooning’s particular use of gestural painting ensured that he will be remembered as one of the most original and startling artists of the 20th century.
— In 1963, after more than four decades in New York City, Willem De Kooning moved permanently to Springs, on the far end of Long Island. The expansive landscape, with its North Atlantic light, low-lying dunes, surrounding water, and deep-green foliage and fields, reminded the artist of his native Holland. From the time he settled in Springs at the age of fifty-nine, de Kooning embarked on a body of work often thought to rival that of Monet in its fresh momentum. The reference points of his art, landscape, figure, and gestural abstraction, meld seamlessly together. Working exclusively during daylight hours in a large, open studio with floor-to-ceiling windows, de Kooning immersed himself in the subtleties of the steely gray-green landscape and luxuriated in the quality of the light and colors there. In contrast to his heroic and often turbulent earlier canvases, these late paintings reflect his joyous response to nature. Nature, for him, is at once edenic yet soulful; the transience of the pleasures he celebrates is always keenly present.

LINKS
Woman 1 (1952; 600x452pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1050pix) _ De Kooning described the figurative motif of this painting not as a representation but as a thing slapped on the canvas, liberating him from formal anxieties. Woman I "did one thing for me: it eliminated composition, arrangement, relationships, light, because that [motif] was the one thing I wanted to get hold of. I thought I might as well stick to the idea that it's got two eyes, a nose and mouth and neck."
      Eyes as big as grenades, teeth grinning violently, huge limbs, mountainous breasts - this "woman" is exaggeratedly, absurdly physical and at the same time not there at all, a spewed monster of fantasy, a crude graffito that took two anguished years to paint. Pink legs stick out of a red and yellow white-flecked inferno of skirt, the white clouds of the bosom float in de Kooning's mind as apocalyptically remote as the bride that hangs above the bachelors in Duchamp's Large Glass.
      This is a ballad of sexual frustration. If you had to visualise de Kooning's relationship to the woman, you would picture him trying to make polite conversation, or ignoring her sitting across from him on the subway, while desire pounded his brain.
      It is a comic painting, in contrast to the tragic vision of a Rothko or late Pollock, but it would be missing the point to see it as "figurative" in the British sense; on the contrary, it opens up new areas of erotic, everyday life to abstract art. Compare it with Bacon or Freud and you see how remote this painting is from the melancholy of traditional figuration. There is no body here. The woman is a woman in the painter's mind - a fabulation of color and brushwork, with the splattered, pushed, released paint telling us unequivocally that it is a furiously sexual vision.
      Despite the fierce heterosexuality of Woman I , the artists who first followed de Kooning into this new space between abstraction and the real world dealt in sexual ambiguity - Rauschenberg's Combines with their louche brushwork and dangled images and Twombly's savagely eroticised paintings such as Bay of Naples (1961). Closer in spirit to de Kooning's lusty cartoon are Oldenburg's fantasies of mass-produced consumables inflated, sexualised. The giant lipstick he mounted on caterpillar tracks might belong to de Kooning's Woman 1.
Woman V (1953; 599x440pix, 85kb _ ZOOM to 1889x1387pix, 362kb)
Night (1948, 58x71cm; 880x1120pix, 793kb _ ZOOM to 1794x2283pix) _ The forms of Night are rich with suggestion. Some vaguely resemble human anatomy, while others recall architecture. These ambiguous shapes seem to float and jostle on the picture's surface. Night belongs to a series of abstract black-and-white paintings, inspired by de Kooning's late-night walks in New York, that express the spirit and texture of the modern metropolis. The broken brushwork and areas of scraping and reworking suggest the nervous energy of urban life, or the inner turmoil of the artist. De Kooning was one of the most emotionally expressive Abstract Expressionists and an important influence on younger gestural painters.
Untitled, 1985 (196x223cm) (Two Dancers) _ De Kooning returned again and again to the image of woman. The idyllic bacchanals of Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Rubens were inspirations for him. In contrast to the aggressive femme fatales who peer at the viewer in his 1950s canvases, however, his late women are earthy (and at times ironically caricatured) sun-drenched nymphs cavorting amid the seaside landscape. De Kooning’s canvases of the 1980s are concise. The flow of his gesture is closely related to the economic line of his drawings rather than to the material mass of brushstrokes. In Untitled, 1985, the calligraphy simultaneously evokes windswept organic forms and two women (seen from front and back), arms interlocked and legs in dancelike attitude. The swaying movement recalls Matisse’s bucolic masterpiece The Dance, whose unbridled view of female sensuality, observed from a distance as if at a performance, de Kooning shares. With the artist’s advancing age, voluptuousness also takes on a redemptive edge; he said, “I think of woman as being light, soaring upward instead of heavily attached to the ground.”
–- Untitled XII (1985, 203x178cm; 799x695pix, 55kb) _ A few tracings, mostly brown, on a white background with two small yellow areas. Why would anyone would pay $1'408'000 (at Sotheby's auction, 09 Nov 2004) for something that a kindergartner could have been painted in 10 minutes (but in a much smaller than de Kooning's ridiculously enormous format)? It could be someone who believes the greater fool theory, and this kind of description (Art-For-Today not responsible for it):
      Untitled XII is a joyously lyrical work, which embodies the ultimate emancipation and refinement of de Kooning’s audacious painterly vision, a powerful testament to the creative powers of the mature artist. Much like the late work of Pablo Picasso or Henri Matisse, de Kooning’s late paintings contain the sustained energy and technical finesse of earlier achievements, and return to the grandly lyrical manner of de Kooning’s Cubist abstractions in black and white of the 1940s. However, filtered through the experiences and paintings of the intervening decades, most notably the sun and light-filled East Hampton landscapes, the content of these paintings has been radically simplified and illuminated, their composition distilled into pure color and line.
      The gradual reduction of his energetic painterly expression has allowed de Kooning to re-channel and concentrate his considerable creative intensity into a subtler, more evocative construction of poetic form. Through the grand physicality of his brushstrokes and the bold intensity of his colors, the artist has reached a synthesis of sign and background that becomes almost tangible.
      The last decade of de Kooning’s painting clarifies something of the vital character of his art: his insistence on invention, freedom, and risk. These are the same qualities that had brought renown to him as an Abstract Expressionist. In the 1980s de Kooning renewed their meaning as he renewed his vision of his own art. The old existentialist issues that have surrounded de Kooning’s work now appear all the more relevant, transformed as the paintings of the 1980s are from the paintings of the 1940s and 1950s.
      Onto the massive clean white background of Untitled XII, as tall and wide as the span of de Kooning’s outstretched arms, the artist has floated a series of delicate lines and planes that show the influence of Matisse’s abstract cutouts, with their use of pure colors and contour lines. The buoyant drawing and the abstract calligraphy are utterly sensual, although freed from any specific references to human or landscape subjects that dominated de Kooning’s work of the prior five decades.
      Something extraordinary happens in the 1980s. Dragging a wide metal edge through heavy masses of paint, de Kooning turns scraping into a kind of drawing. A process of subtraction makes an addition, a stately flurry of draftsmanly gestures. De Kooning has always layered and elided his forms. Now he reminds us that he does the same with his methods. The scene envelops the viewer with its tactile surface and vibrant gestural lines, creating an image of visual plenitude, showing an artist that has reached a serene relationship between his body, the paint and the canvas.
–- Untitled XLVIII (1983, 224x196cm; 800x703pix, 38kb) _ Similar to the preceding (/S#*>similarly described at great length as “a joyously lyrical work”), but it sold for only $960'000, probably because it was one year earlier (12 Nov 2003).
–- Untitled (1986 lithograph; 800x696pix, 56kb) _ These last four doodle-like pictures have been combined and elevated beyond the level of kindergarten art by the pseudonymous Mellie Ginnook (wife of the pseudonymous Ecotton Ed Ginnook) in the nonsensically titled
      _ Unity Led To This aka Dud Blast (2006; screen filling, 195kb _ ZOOM to 1864x2636pix, 1612kb), which, after a radical change of colors became
      _ Untie the Lead aka Dud Glad (2006; screen filling, 195kb _ ZOOM to 1864x2636pix, 1539kb), and this was made into the symmetrical
      _ Auntie's Sled aka Dud (2006; screen filling, 216kb _ ZOOM to 1864x2636pix, 1301kb).
–- Running Figure (799x752pix, 71kb) as nonsensically titled as any Ginnook picture; if this looks like anything, it looks somewhat like vegetable left-overs thrown into the garbage with a lot of mayonnaise. Ginnook has metamorphosed this into a symmetrical abstraction that doesn't look like anything (unless you have a lot of imagination), least of all garbage, mayonnaise, runners, noses, gifts, or figs:
      _ Running Knows aka Gift Fig (2006; screen filling, 332kb _ ZOOM to 932x1318pix, 732kb).
–- Untitled, Pastel 14 (619x1398pix, 81kb) Ginnook has transformed this into
      _ Untada Galleta 41 (2007; 775x1096pix, 219kb _ ZOOM to 1096x1550pix, 414kb _ ZOOM+ to 1700x2404pix, 975kb _ ZOOM++ to 2636x3728xpix, 2100kb) and
      _ Untidy Pastime 14:41 (2007; 775x1096pix, 219kb _ ZOOM to 1096x1550pix, 414kb _ ZOOM+ to 1700x2404pix, 975kb _ ZOOM++ to 2636x3728xpix, 2100kb)
–- Spike's Folly I (1959, 200x174cm; 800x695pix, 46kb) _ Comments such as the following convinced greater fools to bid to $11'208'000 at Sotheby's on 12 November 2003 for this, which, but for them, would have been a waste of paint and canvas and ought to have been titled High Spike in Buyers' Folly: Willem de Kooning was the most important artist of the Abstract Expressionist movement. He is the most written about; received the most accolades and enjoyed the most exhibitions and has the largest and most varied body of work. As both artist and personality, he bridged the gap between the Apollonian reserve of Arshile Gorky, the naturalist grandeur of Franz Kline and the Dionysian abandon of Jackson Pollock. As such, de Kooning was seen to spearhead the germinating sensibilities of ‘Action Painting’, and history now records him as that School’s chief architect and most important protagonist. His art demonstrates the astounding achievements of the New York School, right into the very last decade of the Twentieth Century. The viewer can see de Kooning constantly develop his pictorial syntax, spanning the range of modernity’s central style. Spike’s Folly I, from 1959, perches at a pivotal moment in the development of de Kooning’s art and of his reputation as a significant contributor the dynamic of twentieth-century painting. The product of a wholly abstract vocabulary, the work embraces the lessons of history painting’s multi-figure compositions; the tradition of the pastoral landscape and a newer, edgier artistic dialect of urbanism. Spike’s Folly I is a painting rich with incident and joyous color. It summarizes past achievements, hints at traces of the figure and yet is prescient of future abstractions. This work stands as one of de Kooning’s great paintings from the late 1950’s.
      Like Pablo Picasso, de Kooning’s vast body of work is often divided into distinct periods. It is important to consider these divisions prior to the execution of Spike’s Folly I because such a trajectory informs the painting’s means of construction and its means of meaning. Formally, what prevails throughout de Kooning’s entire oeuvre is this extraordinary oscillation between abstraction and the figure; between all-over and focused space; between painterly passages that are frantic and those that are serene; between, ultimately, opacity and invisibility. Thematically and strategically, the work has a number of common threads that anchor the innate heterogeneity of the overall body of work. The oeuvre points to two persistent motifs (a woman and the landscape) and suggests two certain moods (irritation and humor).
      The early figures are hybrids of de Kooning’s interest in artists like Picasso, Joan Miró and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, as seen in paintings such as Queen of Hearts (1946). These figures slowly give way to de Kooning’s famous black-and-white paintings that he showed at his first solo exhibition in 1948 at the Egan Gallery in New York; works such as Orestes (1947). Here, Cubism becomes flattened into a network of lines; and this network is given impetus and urgency to suggest movement, implying that the space is being mobilized by the artist for some alternative purpose. Space begins to escape the lines, and thus the possibility of describing them; they are made clearly ambiguous in juxtaposition, and de Kooning’s muted palette aids and fuels this ambiguity. This series informs the later flattened jigsaw spaces one finds in works such as Excavation (1950), where a brusque shorthand version of Cubism prevails. A preference for landscapes with figures shows the artist interested in both subjects. The early 1950’s sees the artist begin to privilege the figure again, urging the confrontational Kali-like female form of his famous Woman series to the front of the picture plane, as if she transmogrifies before our very eyes out of the Cubistic architecture of the painted backgrounds. This is most powerfully displayed in The Museum of Modern Art in New York’s version, Woman I (1952). The artist creates systems that are developed by means of a formal and metaphorical multivalence of parts; puns between ideas of form and content. These female Saturns then give way to (or finally become) their backgrounds, and the urban cityscapes of layered abstract forms, paintings such as Police Gazette (1955) or Gotham News (1955) become both background and foreground, sending the entire pictorial field into flux. The painting seems formed out of other paintings, with no single point of departure or vanishing point privileged. Rather, an interlocking mesh of colors and a stark delineation of endlessly ebbing and flowing forms dominate the canvas.
      It is from these urban landscapes of the mid 1950’s that we arrive at the period of the execution of Spike’s Folly I. From around 1957 until 1963, one sees de Kooning’s brushwork now amplified and looser and more open, his attention to light more profound, and his compositions share a kinship with those of Kline’s. Indeed, works such as Spike’s Folly I and Suburb in Havana (1958), reflect Kline’s large, rugged but precise shapes and his bold calligraphy. De Kooning incorporated powerful architectonic elements into his works, but retained a sense of the intimate gesture that is absent in Kline’s raucous paintings. The frenzied proliferation of stroke, form and plane has now here been reduced, lending Spike’s Folly I a relative restraint and clarity. Nonetheless, there is joy, playfulness and ribaldry among this composition’s attributes. De Kooning’s paintings of this period are packed with shapes, allusions, actions and counteractions, they pile ambiguity on ambiguity; sometimes, it would seem, they are painted at lightning speed, at others in a more relaxed contour-loving gesture. Here, passages of golden yellow, bright Royal blue and earthy brown, contoured only by the physical edges of the paint, have been applied expansively. This broad simplification makes conspicuous the manner of de Kooning’s paint application and the resultant textural complexities of the medium of oil paint. The movement, conflict and resolution, seen in previous periods in isolation, now work in concert on the flat surface of the canvas. Shifting penetrations into an illusory depth are made by these areas of color that advance and recede according to value, overlap or shading. The simplification and limitation of the number of the artist’s gestures, which served to expand the picture plane, as well an adoption of a specifically lighter palette that tended toward yellow (a color, according to Henri Matisse, that was extremely difficult to use in large expanses), is related to de Kooning’s gradual and eventual move from New York City to the countryside in Long Island.
      Even though de Kooning was 44 years old when he had his first solo exhibition, he quickly became a popular and commercially successful artist. Following his 1956 exhibition at the Sidney Janis Gallery, fame and financial security came to the artist, bringing with it greater freedom to paint, but also disrupting his privacy. Consequently, de Kooning began to escape the city; firstly by spending his summers in East Hampton; eventually, by moving wholesale to Springs in 1961 and building his studio there which would be completed in 1963. Spike’s Folly I belongs to a celebrated group of abstract landscapes, executed primarily between 1957 and 1960, which are sometimes referred to as the Parkway Landscapes since the titles refer to highways and sites the artist viewed during his trips out of the city, such as Montauk Highway (1958). The artist had said: "I like New York City … but I love to go out in a car … I’m just crazy about going over the roads and the highways". De Kooning saw the highway as an enormous connection, with an environment of its own. It moves through the ‘left-over’ spaces of the city, then it emerges into the neatly flowing suburbs.
      The landscape of Long Island greatly affected de Kooning. The open sky, endless sea and sand and flat potato fields is translated by the artist in both his forms and palette. Color became dominant in keeping with the landscape, and the picture planes were flatter, demonstrating that abstraction and landscape could co-exist in a dynamic relationship. Compositions such as Spike’s Folly I begin to blur the distinction between the vertical structure of the city and the horizontal configuration of the country. There are changes in de Kooning’s pictorial vocabulary: shapes are reduced to wide, smooth areas, yellow makes a heavy accent; forms became larger, more simple, and continuous; colors became fewer in number, cleaner, more intense, and more concentrated on primary contrasts.. The artist’s technique, brushwork and use of color is dazzling in Spike’s Folly I. The selected palette and frontal configuration flattens the composition to the picture plane by emphasizing the texture of pigment and the surface of the canvas. Thin, translucent colors are used as vibrant glazes against thick, opaque sections, lending the painted surface a Baroque luxuriousness. Broad sweeps of brown, blue and gold pigment cut across wedges of underground in an omni-directional fashion. A vortex of color is thus created, with the canvas recording energetic movements of the artist’s hand. This is further enlivened by a meandering blue line that cuts into the painted planes, breaking them down, adding a sense of fluidity and breaking movement to the composition and acting as a graphic contrapposto to the tessellation of vibrant color. The frenetic sprays of blue paint, differing direction of the muscular brushwork and liberal dripping also suggests that the artist perhaps approached the canvas from different sides, with the artist turning the canvas at some point, as indicated in the photograph of de Kooning and Thomas Hess in the artist’s studio, with the unfinished Spike’s Folly I behind them, turned ninety degrees clockwise. Certainly, the ground seems to have been applied much earlier than the painted surface: one can clearly see a difference between the more muted colors and diffident, regulated handling of the ground with the exuberance, of both color and handling, of the immediate surface. Everything seems to have been executed in a frenzy, at lightning speed, with an extraordinary bravura. Yet this could not be further from the truth. A deliberate and controlling logic of constant revision and adjustment prevailed, with each connective brush stroke placed on the canvas absolutely as de Kooning intended. For an artist as prolific as de Kooning, it is interesting to note that he executed only five paintings in 1959. A canvas that looked "fast" might have been labored over for months. This is true of paintings of the Montauk Highway type; their outermost skin, seemingly "fast" and assured, records only a single day’s work. Yet every "erasure" becomes part of an integrated template, either remaining visible or guiding the forms above it, so that the formal benefits of a day’s labor won’t be lost. This is evident if one looks at the top right edge of the canvas. A deep ruby tone glows through the paint; a tiny vignette left over from, no doubt, a much larger painted element earlier in the life of the painting, and yet one that works perfectly in situ. As if the color fragment was born there.
      In this sense, the landscape we see before us; de Kooning’s image of that certain place in East Hampton, is a presentation, not a representation. His drips, splatters, sprays and broad swathes of paint are less about the experience of nature or natural phenomena than they are about the nature of painting. Color, shape and tactility as they function in relation to the picture plane are his central concerns.

      To counter this, Ginnook has surpassed anything done previously, with the 24 picture series Spite's Fury, each picture having an individual title designated by four initials of words that are left to the viewers choice, such as Art - Beauty - Color - Delight or Absurd - Boring - Crazy - Dumb:
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—(070424)

Died on a 24 April:


^ >1976 Mark Tobey, US abstract expressionist painter, dies in Basle, Switzerland. He was born on 11 December 1890, in Centerville, Wisconsin, from where he moved several times with his family, in 1906 to Hammond IN where he attended high school and on Saturdays went to Chicago to study the techniques of watercolor and oil painting at the Art Institute (1906-1908), his only formal art training. In 1909 the family moved to Chicago where, because of his father’s illness, he was forced to give up his studies and find employment. After various jobs he eventually became a fashion illustrator. During this period he discovered the great art of the past, first through reproductions and then by visiting the Art Institute of Chicago. He was especially attracted to Italian Renaissance paintings and to works by a variety of artists including Frans Hals, John Singer Sargent, and Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. In 1911 Tobey moved to New York, where he worked as a fashion illustrator for McCall’s magazine. His first one-man show was held at M. Knoedler & Co., New York, in 1917.
     In 1918 Tobey converted to the Baha’i World Faith, which led him to explore the representation of the spiritual in art. Four years later he moved to Seattle and began teaching at the Cornish School of Allied Arts. Also that year he began to explore Chinese calligraphy. The artist went to Paris in 1925, beginning his lifelong travels. While in the Middle East in 1926, he became interested in Persian and Arabic script. Upon returning to Seattle in 1928, Tobey cofounded the Free and Creative Art School. From 1931 to 1938 he was resident artist at Dartington Hall, a progressive school in Devonshire, England. His tenure there was punctuated with frequent absences for travel to Mexico, the United States, and the Orient. Tobey spent a month in a Zen monastery outside Kyoto in 1934; the following year he began his “white writing” paintings, which were shown for the first time at the Willard Gallery, New York, in 1944. Tobey exhibited regularly at the Willard Gallery thereafter.
      Tobey returned in 1938 to Seattle where, in addition to painting and teaching, he studied the piano and music theory. During this period he executed several paintings inspired by Seattle’s open-air market. The Arts Club of Chicago held solo shows of Tobey’s work in 1940 and 1946. He was given a solo exhibition in 1945 at the Portland Museum of Art, Oregon. In 1951, at the invitation of Josef Albers, Tobey spent three months as guest critic of graduate art-students’ work at Yale University. Also that year the artist’s first retrospective was held at the palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. A solo show of Tobey’s work took place in 1955 at the Galerie Jeanne Bucher in Paris. The next year he was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and he received a Guggenheim International Award. In 1957 he began his Sumi ink paintings. Tobey was awarded the City of Venice painting prize at the Venice Biennale the following year. The artist settled in Basel in 1960, and in 1961 he became the first American painter to be honored with a solo exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. Solo presentations of Tobey’s work were held at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1962, and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1966. A major retrospective of the artist’s work took place at the National Collection of Fine Arts in Washington, DC, in 1974. Tobey died in Basel.
LINKS
Threaded Time (1959; not very sharp 600x1447pix, 226kb _ ZOOM not recommended to very blurry 1400x3376pix, 525kb)
Untitled (1960; 514x390pix _ ZOOM 1200x910pix, 224kb)
Abstract (1975, 15x10cm; 1052x700pix, 134kb) _ monochrome red almost repetitive pattern, suitable at most for modifying into a background, which the pseudonymous Yebot Kram could not resist doing. With the boring Abstract pattern as a background, a colorful arrangement of rectangles made
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Carts Bah ! (2005; 920x1300pix, 490kb), which was then further improved as the palindromic
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Tract Cart (2005; 920x1300pix, 490kb) and
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Trace Cart (2005; 920x1300pix, 490kb)
Advance of History (1964, 65x50cm) _ Mark Tobey’s animated matrices of brushed line, like the mature works of Jackson Pollock, are allover compositions. That is, unlike conventional representational paintings, they have no discernable center of focus, no single emphasized portion. Even Cubist works maintain vestiges of pictorial illusionism through an increased density of form at their centers. Yet in viewing a work such as Advance of History, the eye moves easily from edge to edge without halting at any particular configuration, dipping, plunging, swirling, and doubling back to pursue the network of dynamic strokes that expand and breathe on the white surface of the paper. The support thus becomes but a portion of a composition that seems to extend beyond the physical limitations of edges or frames. As Tobey wrote, “I have sought to make my painting ‘whole’ but to attain this I have used a whirling mass. I take up no definite position.” Although the development of allover compositions in abstract painting is often associated with Pollock, Tobey in fact exhibited works without compositional focus or orientation as early as 1944, two years before Pollock made his first allover painting. In 1935 Tobey introduced his white writing, the characteristic network of white line that covers the surfaces of his works. This innovation followed Tobey’s discovery of Oriental traditions of ink brushwork in China and Japan, where he found himself “freed from form by the influence of the calligraphic.” The spontaneity and energy conveyed in his first white writing compositions is still evident in this work, done nearly thirty years later. But the frenetic impulses of line in early examples, such as Broadway Norm of 1935, have subsided into the more intricate and delicate fabric of lines of varying widths, densities, and color of Advance of History.
–- Wounded Tide (1339x900pix, 198kb) —(070423)
 
^ >1972 Jamini Roy, Bengali painter born on 15 April 1887. In the late 1920s and early '30s he rejected his academic training and instead developed a linear, decorative, colorful style based on Bengali folk traditions. During the 1930s and '40s his paintings were popular as modern Indian art evolved from its earlier academic style to a new nativist preference. Roy's subject matter ranged from the Ramayana to Christ to portraits of contemporary personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. He is one of the best-known Indian artists of the 20th century.
–- Siva, Rama, Laksman (882x1100pix, 102kb)
–- (tiger) (960x1136pix, 72kb) —(070423)

1941 George de Forest Brush, US painter born (full coverage) on 28 September 1855. —(080919)

^ 1903 Walter Frederick Osborne, Irish painter born on 17 June 1859. The son of the animal painter William Osborne [1823–1901], he was trained in the schools of the Royal Hibernian Academy (1876–1881). In 1881 he won the Royal Dublin Society’s Taylor scholarship and went to study at the Koninklijk Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp. Charles Verlat was the professor of painting, and Antwerp was then at the height of its popularity with students from the British Isles. In Antwerp and subsequently in Brittany, Osborne made contact with painters of the Newlyn school and other British naturalists. In Brittany he painted Apple Gathering, Quimperlé (1883), a small greenish-gray picture of a girl in an orchard, which in subject and treatment shows the influence of Jules Bastien-Lepage. Throughout the 1880s Osborne worked in England, joining groups of artists in their search for the ideal naturalist motif. In the autumn of 1884 he was at North Littleton, near Evesham (Heref. & Worcs.), where he painted Feeding Chickens in weather so cold that his model, a young peasant girl, nearly fainted. It is carefully drawn but painted with the square-brush technique characteristic of Bastien-Lepage’s followers, and is very close to the contemporary work of George Clausen and Edward Stott [1855–1918]. At Walberswick in Suffolk he painted October Morning (1885), a carefully studied plein-air work using bright dots of pure color on a base of beige and gray. During this time Osborne gave careful attention to the showing of his work. He exhibited regularly at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin from 1877 and at the Royal Academy in London from 1886. He was a member of the New English Art Club and exhibited there from 1887. Osborne also remained an active member of the lively artistic community in Dublin. He was elected Royal Hibernian Academician in 1886 and in the same year was involved in the foundation of the Dublin Art Club, the focus of new ideas in Dublin art life of the 1880s and 1890s.
An October Morning (73x91cm)
Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe (126x100cm) _ The sitter lived from 1858 to 1945; he was also portrayed in a drawing by Harry Furniss.

1901 Daniel Israel, Austrian artist born in 1859. — {Did he always fight against Ahmed Palestine?} — En 1885 il voyage en Orient jusqu'en Palestine et en Egypte. Il peint des sujets féminins et des scènes de genre. Ses scènes de harem, particulièrement irréalistes, connaissent un certain succès. Il meurt dans un asile d'aliénés après deux ans d'internement.

1874 Nicolas François Octave Tassaert, French painter born (main coverage) on 26 July 1800. —(090724)

1803 Adelaïde Labille~Guiard, French painter born (full coverage) on 11 April 1749.

 
Nataraja, 81x137cm
^
Born on a 24 April:

1931 (25 April?) Bridget Louise Riley, British Abstract painter and printmaker, specialized in Optical Art. — {With or without money, she lived the life of Riley}.
untitled— Riley was born at Norwood, London, the daughter of a businessman. Her childhood was spent in Cornwall and Lincolnshire. She studied at Goldsmiths' College from 1949 to 1952, and at the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955. She began painting figure subjects in a semi-Impressionist manner, then changed to Pointillism about 1958, mainly producing landscapes. In 1960 she evolved a style in which she explored the dynamic potentialities of optical phenomena. These so-called 'Op-art' pieces, such as Fall (1963), produce a disorienting physical effect on the eye. Riley taught children for two years before joining the Loughborough School of Art, where she initiated a basic design course in 1959. She then taught at Hornsey School of Art, and from 1962 at Croydon School of Art. She worked for the J. Walter Thompson Group advertising agency from 1960, but gave up teaching and advertising agency work in 1963-1964.
Blaze 4, 1992 — She studied in London at Goldsmiths College (1949–1952) and the Royal College of Art (1952–1955). From 1958 to 1959 she worked in an advertising agency while painting in a pointillist technique. She was encouraged in this by her teacher, the painter Maurice de Sausmarez [–1970], who directed her to study the art of Seurat. Her interest lay in the energy and color vibrations radiated by objects, seen in Pink Landscape (1960), which depicts the violent color vibrations given off by an Italian landscape in intense heat. She later conveyed a similar effect of heat on landscape, from shale on a French mountain, in Static 3 (1966), composed of 625 tiny ovals. — LINKS
Drift 2 (1966) {Did Riley favor the expression “if you get my Drift”? Did she follow it with something like “then you will have to pay me more than anyone else would.”?}(050925)
[Note: if you don't get dizzy looking at the op-art stationary, just try scrolling]
–- S*#> Persephone (805x2157pix, 187kb) _ Aka Proserpine, Persephone was the daughter of Zeus, the chief Greek god, and Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. She was abducted by of Hades, king of the underworld, who made her his wife. She was freed, but still had to spend one-third of each year with him in the underworld. The painting has no detectable relationship to Persephone, but consists of many thin horizontal stripes in light colors, uniform from beginning to ridiculously distant end. This has prompted the pseudonymous Ryland Budget to create his own versions, in intense colors and extravagant width, which is not justifiable, except to spoof Riley, in the absolutely uniform first version (inspired by the colors of some flags):
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Pursued by Perseus, Persephone Phones the Persepolis Police (2006; screen height x 20 times screen width, 2kb); or in the slightly more inspiring second version
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Perseus Phoned (2006; screen height x 17'360pix, 101kb). Budget's third transformation resulted in the more interesting
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Perseus Phony (2006; screen height x17'360pix, 194kb) as its wavy lines produce an optical illusion as you scroll from left to right or vice-versa. —(060424)

1660 Cornelis Dusart, Dutch painter who died (full coverage) on 01 October 1704. —(070423)

1624 Jan Peeters I, Flemish artist who died between 1677 and 1680. — Brother of Gillis Peeters [12 Jan 1612 – 12 Mar 1653], relative of Bonaventura Peeters I [23 June 1614 – 25 July 1652]; but not of Clara Peeters [1594-1657]


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