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DEATH: 1872 KENSETT
BIRTHS: 1534 BOL — 1866 KANDINSKY
^ Born on 16 December 1534: Hans Bol, Flemish draftsman, illuminator, painter who was buried on 20 November 1593.
— He received his training as a painter from two of his uncles, Jacob Bol I and Jan Bol (fl 1505). After two years in Heidelberg, he was made a master in the Guild of Saint Luke in his native Mechelen. After the annexation of the city by the Spanish troops in 1572, Bol settled in Antwerp, where he became a master in 1574. A decade later he left Antwerp, arriving in Amsterdam after traveling to Bergen-op-Zoom, Dordrecht, and Delft. His 20 November 1593 burial in Amsterdam is disputed by some because of a supposedly signed Adoration of the Shepherds dated 1595.
— Renowned for his miniatures, Hans Bol learned his trade from two uncles, who were also painters. At age fourteen he was apprenticed to a painter of waterschilderen, large-scale scenes painted on canvas using opaque watercolor or tempera. Waterschilderen, a specialty of artists in Mechelen, were used as wall decorations instead of expensive tapestries. According to Karel Van Mander, Bol's large watercolors were so widely copied that he turned instead to making miniatures in bodycolor on parchment, which he promoted as independent cabinet paintings. His miniatures earned him a good income and an international clientele. Despite the war with Spain and periods of religious unrest that caused frequent upheavals in his life, Bol remained one of the Netherlands' most prolific and successful landscapists. He painted some oil paintings, illuminated a breviary for a French duke, and made many drawings that were the basis for engravings. His students included Joris Hoefnagel. Bol's works combined artifice and naturalism in formats ranging from extensive panoramas to intimate views of the Flemish countryside, usually including small figures enacting a biblical or mythological scene, an allegory, or a genre scene.
— Bol’s most important students included his stepson Frans Boels, Roelandt Savery, Jacob Savery, and Joris Hoefnagel.

LINKS
Landscape with the Story of Venus and Adonis (1589, 21x26cm) _ Hans Bol painted this unusual miniature in two parts: the central landscape, painted on parchment mounted on wood, and the framing design, painted directly on wood. Both parts tell the story of the beautiful youth Adonis from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In the main panel, Venus and Adonis embrace before he leaves on the hunt shown in the distance, in which he is killed by a boar. Clockwise from left, the frame’s ovals show subsidiary incidents: Adonis’s mother Myrrha commits incest with her father; turned into the myrrh tree as punishment, Myrrha bears their son, Adonis; Venus is struck with love for Adonis; blood springing from the dead Adonis turns into the anemone flower. In the frame, Bol combined the cartouches and trophies of a three-dimensional picture frame with illusionistic borders reminiscent of manuscript illumination. His materials, opaque color and gold paint on parchment, also follow the tradition of manuscript illumination.
Moses with the Daughter of Jethro at the Well (600x956pix, 216kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2230pix, 494kb)

Abigail Before David (1587, 600x941pix, 216kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2195pix, 493kb)

Abraham and the Three Angels (600x938pix, 212kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2230pix, 479kb)

Village Kermess Before the Church and the Castle - (600x951pix, 225kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2219pix, 517kb)

Spring in the Castle Garden (600x930pix, 206kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2171pix, 471kb)
_ with an unmistakable large ground-to-air missile flying up at the left center; it is not clear at what it is aiming, for it seems headed towards an opaque dark cloud. It may have been just a test shot. The invention was apparently abandoned and completely forgotten, as unnecessary, considering that there would be no enemies attacking from the air for more than three centuries.
Jacob's Dream of the Ladder to Heaven (600x965pix, 219kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2253pix, 499kb)

View of a Village with Many People (600x834pix, 241kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1946pix, 557kb)
 
^ Died on 16 (14?) December 1918: John Frederick Kensett, US landscape painter and engraver, born on 23 (22?) March 1816 into a family of skilled engravers. He was the leader of the second generation of the Hudson River School artists.
— He learnt engraving first from his father, Thomas Kensett [1786–1829], and then from his uncle Alfred Daggett [1799–1872]. From this training he acquired the consummate skill that made him an exceptional draftsman. The engraver’s attention to tonal modulation of the grey scale also contributed to Kensett’s extraordinary exploration of color values and saturation in his paintings.
— Kensett was trained as an engraver by his father, Thomas Kensett, and his uncle, Alfred Daggett, a banknote engraver. In 1838 Kensett went to New York City to work for a banknote company. Two years later, together with Asher B. Durand [21 Aug 1796 – 17 Sep 1886], John W. Casilear, and Thomas P. Rossiter, he went to Europe, where, in the tradition of artists of his generation, he received his artistic education by traveling, looking at pictures, and visiting leading artists in their studios. By the time Kensett returned to the United States in 1847, he had established a reputation based on paintings he had sent from Europe. In 1849 he was elected to the National Academy of Design, and he was a founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
      Although Kensett never lost the engraver's sense of draftsmanship in his paintings, he focused most of his attention on the depiction of light, using color values to render minute gradations in intensity (e.g., Storm over Lake George, 1870). His palette was low-key, and much of his work has a silvery paleness. Whether painting the White or Green mountains, the Catskills, or a lonely strip of Atlantic shoreline at Newport, Rhode Island, he conveyed a strong sense of locale through his careful observation of detail and his deep sensitivity to the nuances of atmosphere. The style Kensett developed has been labeled luminism by art historians, in acknowledgmentof his refined handling of light and in an attempt to link his work to the philosophical doctrines of Ralph Waldo Emerson [25 May 1803 – 27 Apr 1882], with whom Kensett associated from the 1870s until his death, and other Transcendentalists. He was a formidable force in the New York art world until his death, and his reputation was further reinforced by the patronage he received from the US's most influential collectors.
— A man of great gifts, and of the sweetest nature, Kensett throughout his nearly forty-year career enjoyed the affection of his fellow artists, the support of collectors, and the enthusiastic approbation of the general public. A prolific painter and regular participant in the major exhibitions of his day, Kensett had a congenial personality that led him to positions of leadership in many important art organizations. He was a member of the United States Capitol Art Commission in 1859, the principal organizer of New York's Sanitary Fair Exhibition in 1864, a founding trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1870, and, at his death, president of the Artists' Fund Society.
      Born in Cheshire, Connecticut, Kensett received his first artistic training from his father, Thomas, and an uncle, Alfred Daggett, both engravers. During the 1830s, he worked in print shops in New York, New Haven, and Albany, but grew increasingly restless at the engraver's trade and eager for a career in the fine arts. In 1840, he sailed for Europe, where he lived and worked in England and Paris and toured the Rhine region, Switzerland, and Italy.
     On Kensett's return to New York late in 1847, his artistic career began to flourish. He was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1848; in 1849, the year he was also elected to the prestigious Century Association, he was made an Academician. During that period, he established what would become his lifelong working practice: he spent the summers sketching the White Mountains, Lake George, the Newport coast, or the Adirondacks and the winters painting in his Washington Square studio. He occasionally visited more exotic locales (the Mississippi River in 1854 and 1868, the US West in 1857 and 1870, and Europe in 1856 and 1867), but it was the picturesque scenery of New York and New England that most attracted him and that became the subject of his best pictures.
     Although Kensett's initial popularity stemmed from a series of classically balanced, arcadian landscapes he produced in the 1850s, by the 1860s he had evolved another manner, for which he is most admired today. It consists of an asymmetrical, reductive composition; a subdued, near-monochrome palette; and an interest in the effects of light and atmosphere rather than topography. That style culminated in what is called the "Last Summer's Work," a group of almost forty paintings Kensett made in the summer of 1872, the last of his life. He died of heart failure that December.

LINKS
–- Sunrise among the Rocks of Paradise, Newport (1859, 46x76cm; 670x1144pix, 71kb _ .ZOOM to 1340x2292pix, 585kb)
Lake George (1869, 112x169cm)
Gathering Storm on Long Island Sound (1872, 87x69cm)
Connecticut Shoreline in Autumn (35x62cm)
Niagara Falls and the Rapids (1852, 41x61cm, 582x892pix, 90kb)
Niagara Falls (1852, 43x62cm; 914x1293pix, 83kb) _ A more accurate title would be Rocks by the Niagara River, with the Falls seen small in the distance
Hudson River Scene (1857, 81x122cm)
125 images at the Athenaeum
—(061204)
^ >Born on 16 December 1866 (04 December Julian):Vasiliy Vasil'yevich Kandinsky, Russian Expressionist painter, printmaker, stage designer, decorative artist, and theorist, who died on 13 December 1944 in Neuilly-sur-Seine.
— article about Kandinsky: Towards Abstraction
— A central figure in the development of 20th-century art and specifically in the transition from representational to abstract art, Kandinsky worked in a wide variety of media and was an important teacher and theoretician. He worked mainly outside Russia, but his Russian heritage continued to be an important factor in his development.
— Kandinsky was one of the first creators of pure abstraction in modern painting. After successful avant-garde exhibitions, he founded the influential Munich group “Der Blaue Reiter” (1911-1914) and began completely abstract painting. His forms evolved from fluid and organic to geometric and, finally, to pictographic (e.g., Tempered ÉlanTempered Élan, 1944 – thumbnail >).
— Kandinsky, himself an accomplished musician, once said “Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.”' The concept that color and musical harmony are linked has a long history, intriguing scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton. Kandinsky used color in a highly theoretical way associating tone with timbre (the sound's character), hue with pitch.
der blaue Reiter— Born in Moscow , Kandinsky spent his early childhood in Odessa. His parents played the piano and the zither and Kandinsky himself learned the piano and cello at an early age. The influence of music in his paintings cannot be overstated, down to the names of his paintings "Improvisations", "Impressions", and "Compositions." In 1886, he enrolled at the University of Moscow, chose to study law and economics, and after passing his examinations, lectured at the Moscow Faculty of Law. He enjoyed success not only as a teacher but also wrote extensively on spirituality, a subject that remained of great interest and ultimately exerted substantial influence in his work.
      In 1895 Kandinsky attended a French Impressionist exhibition where he saw Monet's Haystacks at Giverny. He stated, “ ...it was from the catalog I learned this was a haystack. I was upset I had not recognized it. I also thought the painter had no right to paint in such an imprecise fashion. Dimly I was aware too that the object did not appear in the picture...” Soon thereafter, at the age of thirty, Kandinsky left Moscow and went to Munich to study life-drawing, sketching and anatomy, regarded then as basic for an artistic education. Anton Azbe was one of his teachers.
      Ironically, Kandinsky's work moved in a direction that was of much greater abstraction than that which was pioneered by the Impressionists. It was not long before his talent surpassed the constraints of art school and he began exploring his own ideas of painting – “ ...I applied streaks and blobs of colors onto the canvas with a palette knife and I made them sing with all the intensity I could...”
     In Munich Kandinsky founded the artists' group Phalanx, which closely followed the arts and crafts tradition of Jugendstil. Gabriele Münter [19 Feb 1877 – 19 May 1962] enrolled in the Phlanxschule in 1902, and took evening classes in still-life painting taught by Kandinsky, the director. In the summers of 1902 and 1903 she attended his courses in landscape painting. During this period they became engaged, but they never formally married. In 1904, Kandinsky and Münter began a four year trip to Venice, Tunisa, Holland, France, and Russia absorbing the styles of the Impressionists and the Futurists like Van Gogh, Gaugin, and Monet. They visited Sèvres in 1906–1907. In 1908, they settled again in Munich. Together with other local artists they developed an independent Expressionist style where forms and perspective are reduced, and thick areas of colors are spread broadly. Kandinsky's art became more and more abstract, though he continued to incorporate representational elements, often from Russian folklore - towns with belltowers, hills, horses and riders. Eventually he took the radical step to give up all representational form, painting instead from "inner necessity". Münter did not follow this journey to abstract, absolute art. Instead she developed her own style.
     In 1911, Kandinsky, with Münter and others, broke from the conservative artists' association in Munich and formed Der Blaue Reiter. In two brief years this group brought together the great creative artists of the time - Matisse, Picasso, Delauney, Klee. Lead by Kandinsky, Der Blaue Reiter ushered in a new area, absorbing influences from music, theater and science and giving importance to Abstract Painting, Realism, Primitive Art, and childrens' drawings. Munich became a significant center in the art world. In 1914, when war broke out, Kandinsky returned to Russia while Gabriele Münter remained in Munich. In 1916, she was very hurt to learn that Kandinsky had married in Russia.
      Now considered to be the founder of abstract art, Kandinsky had his work exhibited throughout Europe from 1903 onwards, and often caused controversy among the public, the art critics, and his contemporaries. An active participant in several of the most influential and controversial art movements of the 20th century, among them the Blue Rider which he founded along with Franz Marc and the Bauhaus which also attracted Klee, Lyonel Feininger [1871-1956], Geiniger, and Schonberg, Kandinsky continued to further express and define his form of art, both on canvas and in his theoretical writings.
      His reputation became firmly established in the United States through numerous exhbitions and his work was introduced to Solomon Guggenheim, who became one of his most enthusiastic supporters. In 1933, Kandinsky left Germany and settled in the classy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. The paintings from these later years were again the subject of controversy. Though Kandinsky was out of favor with many of the patriarchs of Paris's artistic community, younger artists admired him. His studio was visited regularly by Miro, Arp, Magnelli and Sophie Tauber. Kandinsky continued painting until June 1944. His unrelenting quest for new forms which carried him to the very extremes of geometric abstraction have provided us with an unparalleled collection of abstract art.
— The students of Kandinsky included Mordecai Ardon, Herbert Bayer, Max Bill, Vilhelm Bjerke-Petersen, T. Lux Feininger Gorky, Arshile Gorky, Klyment Red’ko, Arieh Sharon, Fritz Winter.
— By Münter: Kandinsky Painting a Landscape (1903; 292x492pix, 48kb) _ Portrait of Kandinsky (1906 color woodcut; 432x316pix, 50kb) _ a different Portrait of Kandinsky (299x200pix, 12kb)

LINKS
Nymphenburg (1904, 24x32cm; 904x1275pix, 920kb _ ZOOM to 1704x2403pix, 3420kb, and admire the texture of the canvas, bare in places, and which shows through the paint everywhere else, except in a few spots where the paint is slopped on thickly enough)
Stressed Center (600x1602pix, 467kb)
Autumn in Bavaria (1908, 33x45cm)
— Painting with Green Center
— Cemetery & Vicarage in Kochel (1909)
— Gabriele Münter (1905; 632x650pix, 137kb)
— Picture with a Black Arch (1912, 186x193cm; 650x681pix, 108kb)
— Colorful Life (552x696pix, 102kb)
Colorful Ensemble (738x550pix, 96kb)
Murnau with Church I (1910, 65x50cm; 855x660pix, 87kb)
— Improvisation 7 (1910, 131x97cm)
— Composition IV (1911, 159x250cm)
— Composition V (1911, (190x275cm)
— Composition VI (1913, 195x300cm)
— Composition VII _ Composition VII (1913, 200x300cm) — Fragment 2 for Composition VII (1913, 88x100cm)
— Composition VIII (1923, 140x201cm)
— Composition IX (1936, 114x195cm)
— Composition X (1939, 130x195cm)
— In the Blue
— Black Spot I (1912, 100x130cm)
— Ravine Improvisation (1914, 110x110cm)
— On White II (1923, 105x98cm)
— Small Pleasures
— Black and Violet (1923)
— Contrasting Sounds (1924, 70x50cm)
— Yellow, Red, Blue (1925, 127x200cm)
Painting with Houses (408x550pix, 50kb)
–- Two Riders on Red (1911 color woodcut, 11x16cm; 627x924pix, 46kb)
–- Untitled (Orange) (1923 color lithograph 48x44cm; 988x901pix, 160kb) clicks of the mouse will get you a variety of colorful backgrounds provided by the pseudonymous Vastylis Sweetinsky.
–- Small Worlds I (1922 color lithograph, 26x23cm; 1075x886pix, 121kb)
Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle) _ Improvisation 31 (Sea Battle) (1913; 145x120cm) Neither Marc nor Macke were abstract painters. It was Kandinsky who found that the “interior necessity”, which alone could inspire true art, was forcing him to leave behind the representational image. He was a Russian who had first been trained as a lawyer. He was a brilliant and persuasive man. Then, when already in his thirties, he decided to go to Munich in 1897 to study art. By the time Der Blaue Reiter was established, he was already “abstracting” from the image, using it as a creative springboard for his pioneering art. Seeing a painting of his own, lying on its side on the easel one evening, he had been struck by its beauty, a beauty beyond what he saw when he set it upright. It was the liberated color, the formal independence, that so entranced him.
      Kandinsky, a determined and sensitive man, was a good prophet to receive this vision. He preached it by word and by example, and even those who were suspicious of this new freedom were frequently convinced by his paintings. Improvisation 31 has a less generalized title, Sea Battle, and by taking this hint we can indeed see how he has used the image of two tall ships shooting cannonballs at each other, and abstracted these specifics down into the glorious commotion of the picture. Though it does not show a sea battle, it makes us experience one, with its confusion, courage, excitement, and furious motion.
      Kandinsky says all this mainly with the color, which bounces and balloons over the center of the picture, roughly curtailed at the upper corners, and ominously smudged at the bottom right. There are also smears, whether of paint or of blood. The action is held tightly within two strong ascending diagonals, creating a central triangle that rises ever higher. This rising accent gives a heroic feel to the violence.
      These free, wild raptures are not the only form abstraction can take, and in his later, sadder years, Kandinsky became much more severely constrained, all trace of his original inspiration lost in magnificent patternings. Accent in Pink (1926, 101x81cm) exists solely as an object in its own right: the “pink” and the “accent” are purely visual. The only meaning to be found lies in what the experience of the pictures provides, and that demands prolonged contemplation. What some find hard about abstract art is the very demanding, time-consuming labor that is implicitly required. Yet if we do not look long and with an open heart, we shall see nothing but superior wallpaper {but if we look long enough we will see that it is not superior to wallpaper}.
–- The Lyre (1907; 1174x1211pix, 193kb)
–- La Forme Tournée (1195x666pix, 54kb) _ The pseudonymous Vasleen Boteldinsea has expanded and enriched this picture, resulting in the magnificent abstraction, colorful and finely detailed,
      _ La Morne Fournée (2007; 389x550pix, 47kb _ ZOOM 1 to 550x778pix, 83kb _ ZOOM 2 to 778x1100pix, 149kb _ ZOOM 3 to 1209x1710pix, 319kb _ ZOOM 4 to 1880x2658pix, 580kb)
–- Starnberger See (894x1400pix, 100kb) bright colors, no details. $9'088'000 at Sotheby's on 07 November 2006.
–- Vertikalbau (1190x900pix, 98kb _ .ZOOM to 2355x1575pix, 256kb) geometrical designs on a dark yellow background.
–- Herbst bei Murnau (1200x1527pix, 279kb) crudely painted in huge brushstrokes.
–- Kleine Welten I (1194x1045pix, 77kb)
–- Kleine Welten II (1199x980pix, 86kb)
–- Kleine Welten III (1190982xpix, 123kb)
–- Kleine Welten V (1200x935pix, 118kb)
–- Kleine Welten VII (1075x886pix, 121kb) –- Kleine Welten VII (1183x1018pix, 67kb) another image of same.
–- Dumpf-Klar (1200x353pix, 49kb) _ This excessively narrow and dull picture has been transformed by Sweetinsky into the splendid
      _ Dump for Clarinets (2006; 724x1024pix, 324kb _ ZOOM to 1024x1448pix, 589kb _ ZOOM+ to 2048x2896pix, 2926kb) and the related
      _ Dummkopf Klarinettist (2006; 724x1024pix, 324kb _ ZOOM to 1024x1448pix, 589kb _ ZOOM+ to 2048x2896pix, 2926kb)
–- Strasse in Tunis (1150x1093pix, 159kb)
–- Festes I- (1180x1274pix, 103kb)
–- Untitled (1026x1536pix, 176kb) _ Boteldinsea has stupendously enhanced this picture as he metamorphosed it into the symmetrical abstractions, colorful and finely detailed (best appreciated at full magnification)
      _ M Blème aka Horned M (2007; 550x778pix, 182kb _ ZOOM 1 to 778x1100pix, 384kb _ ZOOM 2 to 1100x1556pix, 809kb _ ZOOM 3 to 1710x2418pix, 2036kb _ ZOOM 4 to 2658x3760pix, 5080kb) and
      _ V et Menthe aka Winged V (2007; 550x778pix, 182kb _ ZOOM 1 to 778x1100pix, 384kb _ ZOOM 2 to 1100x1556pix, 809kb _ ZOOM 3 to 1710x2418pix, 2036kb _ ZOOM 4 to 2658x3760pix, 5080kb)
–- Untitled (1199x970pix, 69kb) full moon in daytime over an oriental cityscape?
–- Horizontales (1197x825pix, 57kb)
–- Schwarzes Dreieck (1923, 30x40cm; 1200x1584pix, 170kb) not minimalist, there is quite a bit of blank background, but also a lot of other stuff which partly overlaps the main triangle _ In the mid-1920s, there was an important development in both Kandinsky's art and his theory of art. Having returned to Germany from Moscow after World War I, he started teaching at the Bauhaus school in Weimar in June 1922. He quickly became involved again in the German art world: he participated in a number of exhibitions, and his teachings and writings were crucial to the development of abstract art internationally. In 1922-1923, Kandinsky's work gradually moved away from the free flowing, irregular lines and shapes of his earlier years, towards a more geometric form of abstraction. His watercolors and paintings of this period are dominated by circles, triangles and straight lines rather than by undefined shapes and loosely applied paint. This shift to strict geometric forms reflects the influence of Russian Constructivist art, to which he was exposed during the war years spent in Moscow. With artists such as Kandinsky and Moholy-Nagy, however, constructivist art was gaining international scope and becoming an important artistic force in Germany, where geometry was accepted as a universal artistic language. Whilst developing this increasingly abstract vocabulary, Kandinsky's art did not fully adopt the practical, utilitarian quality characteristic of much of constructivist art. The poetic and spiritual elements of his earlier works remained the underlying force of his art in the 1920s.
      During the Bauhaus years, Kandinsky further developed his theories about the spiritual in art, and his ideas found a fresh expression in the paintings and watercolors of the period. In Schwarzes Dreieck, a dynamic contrast is created between the large plain area of the black triangle and a cluster of smaller, brightly colored forms. A complex network of intersecting planes set against a pure white background builds a structural tension in the composition, while at the same time infusing the work with a poetic, playful character. In 1923 Kandinsky published his book Punkt und Linie zu Fläche, which outlined his theories of the basic elements of artistic composition, expounding his ideas about abstraction, form and color. Most notably, he developed his Theory of Correspondences, which emphasised a systematic study of pictorial elements, both in combining the forms of triangle and circle, considered by the artist to be 'the two primary, most strongly constrasting plane figures'. In the present work, the dynamic relationship between the triangle, symbolizing stability and ascension, and circular form, representing freedom from gravity, is further accentuated by the use of contrasting colors. In 1923-1924, Kandinsky produced a number of works based primarily on the triangle, in which he explored its inherent values, as well as its interaction with other forms. These works, that culminated in Komposition VIII. Basic shapes and straight and curved lines predominate in these paintings, and their black lines against white or light backgrounds maintain a schematic and rigorous quality. The large size and transparency of many of the forms and their open distribution across the picture plane give these compositions a monumentality and an expansiveness despite their relative flatness. Whereas certain abstract features of the series derive from Russian precedents, their vertically positioned triangles and planetary circles refer to landscape. Nevertheless, the transparency of forms, their rigorous definition and floating quality maintain the abstract character of the works.
     For those who want their triangles free of other junk, Sweetinsky has provided the minimalist
      _ Pure Black Triangle (2006; 724x1014pix, 6kb _ ZOOM to 1025x1438pix, 10kb) and, as a bonus,
      _ Pure White Triangle (2006; 724x1014pix, 6kb _ ZOOM to 1025x1438pix, 10kb)
     But the resolutely maximalist Boteldinsea has amazingly enriched Kandinsky's picture into a whole series of colorful abstractions, which can be reached by clicks of the mouse from the asymmetrical
      _ Shorts Drying (2007; 550x778pix, 103kb _ ZOOM 1 to 778x1100pix, 205kb _ ZOOM 2 to 1100x1556pix, 416kb _ ZOOM 3 to 1710x2418pix, 1038kb _ ZOOM 4 to 2658x3760pix, 2113kb) and from the symmetrical
      _ Ward Draw (2007; 550x778pix, 109kb _ ZOOM 1 to 778x1100pix, 218kb _ ZOOM 2 to 1100x1556pix, 445kb _ ZOOM 3 to 1710x2418pix, 1103kb _ ZOOM 4 to 2658x3760pix, 2222kb)
^ Vassily Kandisky
      Le surréalisme est orphelin. Depuis longtemps considéré, à côté de Mondrian, comme l' “inventeur” de la peinture abstraite dans le courant des années 1910 et comme l’un de ses principaux théoriciens, Kandinsky a vu, après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, sa position remise en cause par l’apparition de nouvelles formes d’art abstrait, et le renouveau même de la peinture figurative. Mais, depuis le début des années 1970, l’ensemble de son œuvre a commencé à faire l’objet d’un nouvel examen : elle ne cesse aujourd’hui de redéployer toute sa richesse et sa complexité pour retrouver la place centrale qu’elle mérite d’occuper dans l’histoire de l’art européen de la première moitié du siècle.
      Kandinsky, né à Moscou, fit des études de droit, puis renonça à une carrière universitaire pour entrer à l'Académie des beaux-arts de Munich, où il étudia de 1896 à 1900. Il exécuta ses premiers tableaux dans un style naturaliste puis, à la suite d'un voyage à Paris au cours duquel il fut marqué par les œuvres des fauves et des impressionnistes (la série des Meules de Claude Monet fut notamment pour lui une révélation), sa peinture devint très fortement colorée et moins organisée (Tableau à l'archer, 1909).
      À partir de 1909, il réalisa des peintures qui allaient plus tard être considérées comme les premières œuvres entièrement abstraites de l'art moderne!; elles ne faisaient en effet référence à aucune réalité tangible et tiraient leur inspiration et leurs titres de la musique (Improvisation II, Marche funèbre, 1909). Il décrivit d'ailleurs le processus qui le mena à l'abstraction dans un ouvrage autobiographique, " Regards " en arrière, qui fut publié en 1913.
      En 1911, Kandinsky forma, avec des expressionnistes allemands le groupe Der Blaue Reiter dont le titre associe le bleu, couleur préférée de Kandinsky, aux chevaux que Marc Franz privilégiait tout particulièrement dans ses propres œuvres. Pendant cette période, Kandinsky produisit aussi bien des œuvres abstraites que des œuvres figuratives, toutes étant caractérisées par des couleurs brillantes et des motifs complexes. En 1912, il publia à Munich Du spirituel dans l'art, ouvrage qu'il avait commencé à rédiger dès 1910. Ce premier traité théorique sur l'abstraction lui permit de répandre ses idées en Europe et lui conféra une importance historique de tout premier ordre. L'influence exercée par Kandinsky sur l'évolution artistique du XXe siècle s'accrut par son activité d'enseignant (à Moscou puis au Bauhaus de Weimar, ensuite à Dessau. Point, ligne, plan, publié en 1926, expose les principaux fondements de son enseignement. Après la Première Guerre mondiale, les abstractions de Kandinsky tendirent à une géométrisation progressive, à mesure qu'il abandonnait son précédent style fluide en faveur de signes clairement marqués. Ainsi sa Composition VIII n° 260 (1923) est-elle uniquement faite de droites, de cercles, d'arcs et d'autres formes géométriques simples. Dans des œuvres beaucoup plus tardives, comme Cercle et Carré (1943), il affine ce style de façon élégante et complexe, parvenant à des représentations esthétiquement très équilibrées.
      Kandinsky fut l'un des artistes les plus influents de sa génération; l’explorateur de l’abstraction pure. Il peut être considéré comme l'artiste ayant tracé la voie de l'expressionnisme abstrait. Kandinsky est mort à Neuilly-sur-Seine, où il s'était installé dès 1933.
—(071209)

Died on a 16 December:

2006 Larry Zox, US abstract painter born on 31 May 1937, dies of cancer. Born in Des Moines, Iowa, he studied at the University of Oklahoma, Drake University and the Des Moines Art Center (under George Grosz). Moved to New York in 1958. His earliest works, completed in 1959-1962, were painted collages consisting of painted pieces of paper stapled onto joined sheets of plywood. Afterwards made pictures similar in appearance to the collages, but entirely painted and with straight as well as ragged edges. Began in 1963 with his Rotation series to use a standardised geometrical compositional schema as the basis for a series of paintings each different in color. Some of the compositions, suggesting overlapping, bending etc., were evolved with the aid of plywood and perspex reliefs. First one-man exhibition at the Kornblee Gallery, New York, 1964. His tendency in the late 1960s to use a large central area of color led from 1972 to pictures with soft, uneven washes of color and narrow, irregular color borders. — LINKS —(061225)

^ 2004 Agnes Bernice Martin, US minimalist painter, born Canadian on 22 March 1912. She moved to the US in 1932 and became a US citizen in 1940. She studied at universities in Oregon, California and New Mexico; and attended Teachers College at Columbia University, New York, in 1941-1942 and 1951-1952, studying first history and social studies, then changing to fine arts. She painted still lifes and portraits until about 1953 when she developed an abstract biomorphic style influenced by Abstract Expressionism, with pale washes of color. She taught at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1954-1956, then lived in Taos 1956-1957; returned to New York in 1957. Through contacts with artists such as Kelly and Reinhardt, she began to experiment with symmetrical compositions of rectangles or circles within a square, then from about 1961 to work with grids of delicate horizontal and vertical lines. She left New York in 1967 shortly after the death of Reinhardt and moved to Cuba, New Mexico.
— Agnes Martin’s earliest experiments with an abstract idiom were based on her observations of the desert terrain of New Mexico, where she lived during the 1940s. It was there that she developed a personal vocabulary of meaningless, abstract forms, similar to the formative biomorphic or pictographic works of William Baziotes, Adolph Gottlieb, and Mark Rothko, at a time when US artists were searching for the aesthetic means to convey subjective states and to intimate the existence of other, higher realities. By 1960 Martin had developed her signature grid pattern; the compositional motifs of these pristine, monochromatic paintings consist of a simple system of interlocking horizontal and vertical lines in an almost exclusively six-foot-square format. The titles of these geometrically organized pictures, Mountains, Dark River, Starlight, Leaf in the Wind, Orange Grove, Spring, and White Flower, to cite just a few {not to mention Untitled, which best describes them}attest to Martin’s persistent engagement with themes of the organic world, albeit in an abstract manner. At this time she distilled the appearance of empirical entities and expressed her own emotional revulsion against nature through the most extreme stinginess of formal means. “Anything,” Martin claimed in 1972, “can be painted without representation.” {and without any artistic value, as she proved time and again}— LINKS
–- Untitled #3 (1985, 183x183cm; 49x49pix, 1kb, that size is quite sufficient to appreciate the lack of attractiveness of this dull non-art, but, if you must, .ZOOM to 486x490pix, 14kb _ or even .ZOOM+ to the even more ridiculous 972x980pix, 48kb) the pseudonymous Nitram Senga has provided backgrounds and his amazingly enhanced Until it Bled to which you can click from these images _ In New York, at Sotheby's on 15 May 2002, this sold for $669'500, presumably to a greater fool who hopes to find a greater fool yet. This has provoked Senga to produce (strictly by html) his almost equally worthless, but perhaps mildly entertaining series,
      _ Nitwit 30-50 (2005; each image 720x720pix, 3kb; click from one to the next) and
      _ Nitnet 30-60 (2005; each image 720x720pix, 2kb; click from one to the next). However, being a maximalist at heart, Senga has demonstrated what colorful and splendid results can be achieved in the same formats:
      _ Until it Bled #3^3^3=19683 (2006; 49x49pix, 3kb, in this case it is advantageous to ZOOM to 486x490pix, 87kb _ or better yet, ZOOM+ to 972x980pix, 325kb) you can click from these pictures to those of Martin and judge the difference for yourself.
–- S*>#Untitled #12 (1975, 183x183cm; 799x799pix, 18kb) _ Some greater fool paid $1'472'000 on 10 May 2005 for this one. It is very faint, but Nitram Senga can and did go from there to even fainter in his
      _ Untested #1.2 (2005; 720x720pix, 2kb) and
      _ Untested #0.12 (2005; 720x720pix, 2kb).
–- S*>#Untitled #2 (1991, 183x183cm; 780x780pix, 26kb) _ There seems to be always a greater fool: one got this for $1'360'000 on 09 November 2005. Nitram Senga could not resist making
      _ Unworthy of a Title #2 (2005; 680x680pix, 2kb).
White Flower (1960, 183x183cm) _ No flower, very little “white” (which looks more like light gray). Unlike the more rigidly formulaic art of much Minimalist work, there is nothing systematic about Martin’s use of the grid; the arrangement of coordinates shifts in scale and rhythm from work to work. The grid in White Flower, composed of intersecting white lines that form individual rectangles punctuated by symmetrical white dashes, resembles a dirty khaki fabric. Consistent throughout Martin’s mature oeuvre is an absolutely boring equivalence of form. The compositions are emphatically nonhierarchical; no one component is privileged over another: what few they are, are all indistinct and ugly. The delicacy of Martin’s style, promoted by the so-called artist’s frequent use of light graphite lines and cool tones such as pink and pale gray, masks her impulse toward the stringent formal equality of nothingness. Her paintings must be read as unitary non-entities, not as assemblies of single elements. This does not mitigate the complexity of their construction, however. The freely drawn grids, fragile, almost dissolving lines, and dismal tones of the paintings require quiet contemplation in order for the subtleties of their individual ugliness to be revealed {Pepto-Bismol can help too}
The Milky Way (1963, 183x183cm; 793x800pix, 99kb) a very pale dirty pinkish white square with extremely faint horizontal striations, which were enough however for Senga (who is a maximalist at heart, though he will readily make spoofs of minimalist “works”; and that's using the word loosely, as there is practically no work involved in minimalism) to intensify and to produce, after effecting incredible transformations, the still somewhat minimal (by Senga's standards), but stratospherically above the abilities of a Martin,
      _ The Malarkey Way aka Not On (2006; screen filling, 172kb _ ZOOM to 990x1400pix, 450kb). Proceding from that half-way to maximalism, Senga came up with
      _ Weighing the Milk aka Note Ton (2006; screen filling, 285kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1980pix, 1424kb). Finally Senga produced two more pictures, of the kind he likes the best:
      _ The Milquetoast Way aka Tune Nut (2006; screen filling, 371kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1980pix, 1975kb) and
      _ The Milky Whey aka Tone Not (2006; screen filling, 301kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1980pix, 1518kb).
–- S*>#Untitled No. VIII (800x800pix, 23kb) looks like a sheet of ruled notepaper not worth one hundred-millionth of the $1'752'000 paid for it by a greater fool on 10 May 2006. Senga applied his usual beautifying treatment and transformed it into
      _ Auntie Led No Victory Initiative In Idaho aka Tan Gnat (2006; screen filling, 261kb _ ZOOM to 1864x2636pix, 1771kb)
–- S*>#Untitled (800x790pix, 69kb)
–- S*>#I Love Life (800x800pix, 26kb) a better title would have been I Love Money, of which this pallid set of horizontal stripes extracted $1'696'000 from a greater fool on 14 November 2006.
–- S*>#Untitled IV (800x800pix, 15kb)
–- S*>#On a Clear Day (in one image four squares ruled with lines, each about 300x300pix, together 31kb)
–- S*>#Untitled (800x800pix, 102kb) looks like quadrillé paper
–- S*>#Untitled No. 14 (800x800pix, 23kb) _ Senga has surpassed himself by transforming this pallid pretense of art into the gloriously colored and finely detailed twin abstractions:
      _ This Is Not The Title (2007; 775x1096pix, 288kb _ ZOOM to 1096x1550pix, 554kb _ ZOOM+ to 1700x2404pix, 1323kb _ ZOOM++ to 2636x3728pix, 2931kb) and
      _ This Is Entitled to a Title and This Is It (2007; 775x1096pix, 288kb _ ZOOM to 1096x1550pix, 554kb _ ZOOM+ to 1700x2404pix, 1323kb _ ZOOM++ to 2636x3728pix, 2931kb)
36 images at Ciudad de la Pintura —(070507)

1947 (01 Dec?) Gino Rossi, Italian artist born on 06 June 1884. Rossi had little official training, but moved in artistic circles in Venice. Unlike many of his Italian contemporaries, who were attracted to Central European art, Rossi looked towards France, in particular to Gauguin and other artists associated with Pont-Aven, and as early as 1907 he made his first journey to Paris and to Brittany. He interpreted the language of the Symbolists in a highly original way, ignoring almost completely the mystical aspects of their subject-matter but retaining certain of their stylistic traits, notably the use of emphatic outline and areas of flat color. In basing his approach on the savage and barbaric enhancement of graphic and chromatic components Rossi arrived independently at a style that had strong affinities with Fauvism, which had shared sources of inspiration. In this his concerns were similar to those of Modigliani, whom he knew.

1937 Glyn Warren Philpot, British painter of portraits and subject pictures, born on 05 October 1884. — [It is not true that he consumed large quantities of coffee and that his most common command to Philip, his assistant, was: “Phil, fill Philpot pot.”] — He was trained in London and Paris and quickly established himself as a successful society portraitist in the years before the First World War; elected A.R.A., 1915 and full R.A., 1923. In 1931-1932, Philpot made the courageous step of embracing modernist influences in his art, producing a body of work marked by a new simplicity of form and technique. — The pot is empty as far as Philpot artwork on the internet is concerned, but here is the portrait Glyn Philpot (1920, 100x75cm) by Sir Oswald Birley.

1907 Fritz Beinke, German artist born on 23 April 1842. — {When he was learning drawing and asked whether he should use pencil or ink, was he told: “Let it be ink, Beinke.”?}

1902 (18? 02? Dec) Bengt Nordenberg, Swedish artist born on 22 April 1822. Following a poor childhood he was educated as an artisan painter. In 1843 he enrolled at the art academy in Stockholm but had to break off his studies prematurely for lack of money. From an early age, Nordenberg had made up his mind to create a national painting depicting the lives of Swedish country people. His encounter with Adolph Tidemand’s pictures of Norwegian rural life, made in Düsseldorf, inspired him to make his way to Düsseldorf in 1851. There he became a student of Ferdinand Theodor Hildebrandt [1804–1874]. He also assisted Tidemand and traveled with him to Norway and Sweden in 1852. In 1856 Nordenberg went to Paris, where he was apprenticed to Thomas Couture, and then on to Rome; because of Nordenberg’s nationalistic disposition these journeys had little influence on his art. He settled in Düsseldorf but made a number of journeys to Sweden during the 1860s.

^ 1872 (14 Dec?) John Frederick Kensett

1866 Claude Anthelme Honoré Trimolet, French artist born on 16 May 1798.

1853 Johann Peter Hasenclever, German painter born on 18 May 1810; death date sometimes given as 16 December, but (main coverage) 16 September 1853 is the death date accepted by this web site.

^ 1800 Guy Head, English painter born on 04 June 1762 (or in 1753?). — {Was he a Head ahead of his times or just a Head of his times?} — Having entered the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1778, he exhibited at the Free Society of Artists (1779), the Society of Artists (1780) and annually at the Royal Academy from 1779. In 1781 he exhibited Landscape with the Story of Europa (untraced), but a sketchbook (London, V&A) is all that survives to indicate his interest in landscape. That year he travelled to Europe, becoming a member of the Florence Accademia (1787) and of the Kassel Akademie (1788). By 1790 he had settled in Rome, where he was elected a member of the Accademia di S Luca in 1792. He presented a Neo-classical painting of Iris as his diploma piece, the design for which he derived from Guido Reni’s Fortuna (c. 1623; both Rome, Accad. N. S Luca). A larger version of this work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1800 with its pendant, Echo Flying from Narcissus (Detroit, MI, Inst. A.). The allegorical subject-matter, idealized figure and crisp treatment of the drapery are derived from the contemporary Roman Neo-classical style. While in Italy he made a distinguished collection of ancient Greek vases. In 1799 he travelled through Sicily and then returned to England, where he painted several commissions for Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, and William Frederick, 2nd Duke of Gloucester. He painted several portraits, the most forceful of which is Lord Nelson at the Battle of the Nile (1798; London, N.P.G.). After Head’s death an auction of his work was held in April 1801, which included many of his paintings along with his collection of vases. In 1803 his widow, Jane Lewthwaite, a painter in watercolors of classical landscapes, returned from Rome with a further 50 of his works; these were sold in 1805 in Wigton and in London. — LINKS
Echo Flying from Narcissus (1798, 200x150cm; 661x495pix, 64kb) _ Head illustrates a story from Greek mythology, showing us the full-figured Echo floating weightlessly against a meticulously painted ideal landscape. She is leaving this beautiful world, soon to become only a voice. Echo was a nymph who entertained the goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus, with long stories so that Zeus could pursue other nymphs. Hera punished Echo by making her body disappear and condemning her voice only to repeat words spoken by others.
Iris (647x503pix, 31kb) par Guy Head (1762-1800), artiste anglais qui vivait en Italie où il vendait des copies de tableau bolonais, notamment de Guido Reni, aux touristes anglais du Grand Tour. Son style est à la croisée du néo-classicisme et d'un romantisme précoce. Le tableau d'Edimbourg, dont il existe plusieurs versions (notamment un grand format, à l'Académie de Saint-Luc à Rome, daté de 1793) n'est pas très éloigné, dans l'esprit, d'un tableau conservé au Detroit Institute of Art représentant Echo.
Nelson Receiving the French Colors at the Battle of the Nile (1798; 700x483pix, 23kb)

1693 Jacques Rousseau, French painter born on 04 June 1630. He was a celebrated exponent of trompe l’oeil and a painter of architecture and landscape of the same generation as Jean-François Millet and Etienne Allegrain. Rousseau was a student of the Dutch Italianate painter Herman van Swanevelt, who worked in Paris during the mid-1640s and again between 1649 and 1655, introducing extensive landscape cycles as a form of interior decoration in France. In 1654–1655 Rousseau was in Rome, where he could have seen the ideal landscapes of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain. However, it was probably Gaspard Dughet’s lavish schemes of landscape decoration for the Roman aristocracy that served as Rousseau’s model in his subsequent work for the French royal family.

1698 Simone Pignoni (or Pignone), Florentine painter and draftsman born on 17 April 1611 (or in 1614?). He is best known for his many pictures of voluptuous female nudes, which developed the morbidly sensual style of Francesco Furini. His Self-portrait (1650), in which he depicts himself building up a rounded female form from a skeleton, conveys his fascination with the subject. He had an early education in Latin, followed by an apprenticeship in the workshop of the bookbinder Zanobi Pignoni, a close relative. Domenico Passignano, who frequented the workshop, suggested that Pignoni be apprenticed to Fabrizio Boschi [1570–1642], one of his own former students. Pignoni began to study under Boschi, but shortly moved to the workshop of Passignano and then spent a further period of study under Furini.


Born on a 16 December:


1937 Edward Ruscha, US Pop artist. — LINKS
Annie (1157x1060pix, 783kb) —(081215)

1910 Egill Jacobsen, Danish painter. He studied at the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi in Copenhagen from 1932 to 1933. Early influences upon him included the Danish painters Harald Giersing, Jens Søndergaard and Edvard Weie. However, he quickly discovered an individual, highly painterly form of expression using intense colors. After his début at the Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling (Artists’ autumn exhibition) in Copenhagen in 1932, he went to Paris, where the work of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse had a great impact on him. At the same time he sought inspiration in the folk art of Africa and in this he found a subject that ran through all his work: the mask. He was enchanted by its simple, archetypal form and in 1936 he exhibited mask pictures for the first time. The figurative and the coloristic aspects of his work culminated in Orange Object (1940), which revealed the mask picture as simultaneously grotesque and Constructivist in character.

1885 (Julian date) Vladimir Yevgrafovich Tatlin [28 Dec 1885 31 May 1953], Russian painter. (091215)

1832 Jules Worms, French artist who died on 25 November 1924. — {He did not invent the Diet of Worms}

1751 Franz Schüz (or Schütz), German artist who died on 14 May 1781.

1668 Constantyn Netscher, Dutch artist who died on 27 May 1723. — son of Caspar Netscher [1639 — 15 Jan 1684]

1597 Pieter Deneyn (or de Neyn), Dutch artist who died on 16 March 1639. — {There's no denying that I found no Deneyn on the internet}
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“Black is like the silence of the body after death, the close of life.”
— Wassily Kandinsky [16 Dec 1866 – 13 Dec 1944] in 1911
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