Henri Matisse a great French artist

18 April 2012

Henri Emile Benoît Matisse was born in the textile town of Le Cateau-Cambrésis (France) on the last night of the year, 31 December 1869. Henri Matisse wasn’t born to a rich family. His father was a grain merchant whose family were weavers.

Henri Matisse began to paint in 1889, when his mother had brought him art supplies during the period of recovery after appendix surgery. In 1891 Matisse returned to Paris to study art at the Académie Julian. Matisse began painting still-live and landscape paintings in the traditional Flemish style. Most of his early artworks tend to be gloomy as they employ a dark palette. Matisse’s drastic change of profession deeply disappointed his father.

Caroline Joblaud was Matisse’s early lover for four years. At the beginning of artist career when Matisse strived to affirm his artistic direction and professional career, he met Caroline Joblaud. She was his early lover who gave Matisse his first daughter Marguerite in 1894. The daughter was warmly accepted in new family after Matisse’s marriage to Amélie Noellie Parayre in January 1898. Matisse and his wife had had two sons, Jean and Pierre.

Influenced by the works of the post-Impressionists Paul Cézanne, Van Gogh, Paul Signac and Gauguin, and also by Japanese art, Matisse decided to make color a crucial element of his artworks. After years in poverty, Matisse went through his “dark period” (1902-03), and moved to naturalism. Soon after Matisse lost the desire to paint and decided to leave his artistic career. Fortunately, Matisse found an opportunity to earn some money painting a frieze for the World Fair at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Matisse’s first solo exhibition took place in 1904, but it wasn’t a successful one. Characterized by its spontaneity and roughness of execution as well as use of raw color straight from the palette to the canvas, Matisse was considered spearhead the Fauve movement in France. Matisse’s paintings of this period are: Woman with a Hat, The Open Window and the View of Collioure. From 1906 -1917 he lived in Paris. Many of his finest artworks were created during this period. In 1906, Matisse created a series of 12 lithographs, nudes. The same year these lithographs were exhibited at the Druet Gallery in Paris.

Unfortunately, Matisse works in the Fauve style were more admired by foreigners than by the French. It was the Russians and the Americans who bought significant collections of his early work almost as quickly as it was created. The paintings created by the talented artist Matisse we see in the Paris museums today were mostly acquired after the artist’s death.

In 1911, Matisse’s friends organized and financed the Académie Matisse in Paris, in which Matisse instructed young artists. This private and non-commercial school became one of the principal crossroads of modern painting for a number of European and American artists.

The Matisse’s art of the next period was profoundly influenced by Easter art. He travelled to Morocco and created there many of his masterpieces.

In 1917, Matisse moved to Nice to distance himself from wartime activity. The principal subject of his paintings of this period remained the female figure. In 1929, Matisse traveled to America to sit on the jury of the 29th Carnegie International. In 1930, he travelled to Tahiti and New York, also he spent some time in Maryland, Baltimore, and Merion, Pennsylvania. Americans were prominent among Matisse’s patrons throughout his career.  The foundational Matisse monograph was written during his lifetime by Alfred Barr.

Matisse and his wife were divorced in 1939. During the mid-1930s, he created distinctive series of pen-and-ink drawings. He made hundreds of drawings, original prints and illustrated books. In 1941 Matisse was diagnosed with cancer and, following surgery, he started using a wheelchair. Matisse died of a heart attack at the age of eighty-four, on November 3, 1954.

Discussing art

18 April 2012

Art is all around as. If we want to understand art, we should try to understand the world we live in. As our world has become a very visual one, we can notice beautiful things in everything that surrounds us. First of all it would be good to emphasize what we mean by art. Many of us have already tried to answer the question: “what is art?” We should underline that everyone perceives art differently. No two people see art in the same way. This makes every person individual. We have our own imagination, taste and opinion. We differently express ourselves, our emotions and feelings. All this makes us special ones. That’s why there is nothing strange that someone can perceive some works as masterpieces while other people can see nothing valuable in this or that work of art.

It’s very important to express your own opinion when your friends are discussing the theme of art. Of course, there is no single answer to the question what is art, and not everyone will agree on a definition you may propose, but believe the discussion of this question will be very exciting, engaging, and enlightening. Even if you are a shy person, don’t be afraid to involve yourself into a discussion. If you are not confident with your own art knowledge, regard this kind of discussion as a learning experience for yourself. You don’t have to be the “expert” at everything! Be sure, you will see art in new ways after sharing the thoughts with your friends. By learning side-by-side with your friends, you will find a good way to express your opinion and share your ideas.

Such kind of discussion can be brought up again more than once as art is never ending theme. You will discover the enormous variety of art. There is no doubt that this discussion will take some time, but be sure, you won’t regret. The discussion will get quite lively and will boost your creativity and imagination. It will help you form your own opinions. Share them and explore the many kinds of art we have all around us!

The true purpose of Art

18 April 2012

Art is a way of expressing one’s self. The necessary essence of art is Love. When you like something, you will to paint it. When you are in the process of painting you begin to love your artwork. It becomes part of you. Your artwork reflects your inner world. With every artwork you want to show something new: new feelings, new ideas, thoughts, etc. The object which is shown in your painting should be associated with the feeling.

Each and every artwork represents, provokes some feelings and emotions. When we look through the painting we see some story, some interaction, expression. It’s very important for the viewers to “feel” the artwork, to feel love relative to the object that is presented on the painting, for example. The artwork should in some way or other generate the feeling, the gesture, and the attitude. The object that is displayed on the painting should evoke somehow the participatory feeling. If the artwork doesn’t invoke some feeling, it can’t be considered as real art.

It’s not true art if it doesn’t evoke or invoke. True art should awake, and heal. Don’t just look at art. Participate in it. Art should help you change yourself, find a new You. That’s the whole purpose of it.

Max Ernst a famous German artist

13 April 2012

A prolific German artist Max Ernst was born on 2 April 1891 in Brühl, near Cologne. Despite the fact that Max Ernst never received any formal artistic training, he became one of the most prominent German artists. During 1910-1914 Max Ernst studied psychiatry and philosophy at Bonn University. Also, he took a deep interest in painting.

At the beginning of the First World War Ernst was call up for military service, where he served in the field artillery till the end of the war. Even during the war Max Ernst never dropped his interest in art. During the war, in 1916, Ernst he participated in the “Sturm” exhibition which took place in Berlin.

After demobilization Ernst decided to stay in Cologne. There, Ernst with his friend Johannes Alfred Grünwald, founded a group of Dadaists. In 1920 they organized an exhibition at the Winter Brewery in Cologne. But the exhibition was closed by the police with reference to obscenity. The works of this period are the following: Fruit of a Long Experience, The Hat Makes the Man, Dada-Gauguin, etc.)

In 1922, Ernst’s Dadaist friends, Gala and Paul Eluard, André Breton, Tristan Tzara, and others invited Max Ernst to Paris. The same year he moved to the city of romance. There he painted A Reunion of Friends, where he depicted himself and all his friends. During the early Parisian period the Max Ernst successfully combined the techniques of painting, collage in large-scale paintings with enigmatic plots, e.g Teetering Woman, 1923; Oedipus Rex, 1922; Two Children are Threatened by a Nightingale, 1924; Teetering Woman, 1923; etc.)

Max Ernst supported the Surrealists. Ernst invented a new technique named frottage (pencil rubbings on paper or canvas). The painting Eve, the Only One Left to Us was created using this technique. In the late 1920s Ernst in his artworks showed dark forests, gloomy cliffs, mysterious caves, dead moonlight, figures and faces which appear like ghosts.

Max Ernst created large-sized pictures, used frottage and grattage techniques. In 1938 he settled in Saint Martin d’Ardèche in the South of France. There he painted his famous artwork The Robing of the Bride. Also, Ernst produced books of his collages.

At the beginning of the Second World War Max Ernst was arrested by French authorities. In few weeks later he was discharged. Soon after German army occupied France, he was arrested by the Nazis. Fortunately with the help of Peggy Guggenheim, a sponsor of the arts, Ernst managed to escape and move to America.

In 1941-1945 Ernst lived in NY, where he shared his knowledge and experience with younger American painters, thus leaving a profound influence on the development of American modern art. In the USA Ernst got interested in sculpture. In 1953 Max Ernst returned to Europe and settled in France. He died on 1st April 1976 in Paris, one day before his 85th birthday.

Improving your drawing skills

13 April 2012

If you’re drawing indoors, make sure you have good lighting. If you not able to get that strong directional light, you won’t see the highlights and shadows.

If you don’t know how to set up your composition, use a viewfinder. This is the best way to start a drawing. You can buy viewfinder in a shop or make it yourself. Simply cut a rectangle out of a piece of cardboard and use it to visually crop your subject. Look through your viewfinder, draw everything that is within the frame. This will definitely improve your composition.

It’s recommended to always begin drawing along the edges first. This will keep you from running out of space later. When you take your blank paper, try to figure out where along the edges you should begin. Making little marks halfway along each edge of your drawing should help you.

When you only start drawing, do it lightly. At the end you will see why it’s better to do so. Draw the negative shapes between objects instead of trying to draw some object. This will help you focus on the specific shapes in front of you.

Next step you can take is to close one eye to flatten out the image. This will help you eliminate depth perception and make the subject you’re drawing appear flat.

When you’re drawing or painting, don’t forget to look back and forth as often as possible. Try to make it a habit. Never let your eyes rest for too long in one place. If during the drawing process you notice your mistakes – fix them immediately. This will save you time later.

When the drawing is almost finished, it’s better to take a break. Take a breather and then come back to finish the work. No matter what you’re drawing, we hope these hints will often come in handy.

Belgian painter René Magritte

6 February 2012

The Belgian painter was born on November 21, 1898, in Lessiness, a small city in the province of Hainaut. Little is known about the early life of René Magritte. In 1910 his family moved to Châtelet south of Brussels. Magritte’s mother was mentally ill. In 1912, she committed suicide. When she was found, her dress was covering her face. Critics suggeste that this was the source of several oil paintings Magritte did between 1927 and 1928. From 1916 to 1918 René Magritte studied in Brussels at the Academie des Beaux-Arts. In 1922 Magritte married Georgette Berger.

From 1922 René Magritte works as a drawer in a factory that makes wallpapers. Also, he earns money making different advertisements for fashion shops. Early paintings of this artist are made in Impressionism and Cubism styles and his later works in Futurism. Most of René Magritte’s works of this period are female nudes. In 1926, his first surreal oil painting, The Lost Jockey was produced.

Surrealist style of René Magritte is full of magic and mystery. René Magritte described everyday objects but in his own way. He changed the texture and proportions of images combining real objects with abstract figures. In 1929 René Magritte painted his most famous painting “La trahison des images” (Betrayal of the Images). The next year Magritte returned to Brussels and lived there.

The first exhibition of talented artist René Magritte took place in the gallery “Le Centaure” in Paris. He moved to this romantic city in 1927 and soon got in touch with many famous people like Max Ernst, André Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia and others, who played an active role in the circle of Surrealists.

During his life René Magritte wrote numerous articles in which he was explaining his concept of the possibilities of art. René Magritte died of pancreatic cancer on 15 August 1967, and was interred in Schaerbeek Cemetery.

The paintings of René Magritte are shown in a plenty of exhibitions of surrealist art all over the world. In 1936 his works were exhibited in New York. Then, there were two retrospective exhibitions in 1965 and in 1992.

Alphonse Mucha a Czech painter and decorative artist

6 January 2012

Alphonse Mucha was born on 24 July, 1860 in Ivancice, Moravia (modern Czech Republic). From childhood Mucha dedicated himself to drawing. In Moravia he worked at decorative painting jobs, mostly painting theatrical scenery. Mucha moved to Austria (Vienna), in 1879, where he worked for a well-known theatrical design company. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed that company and Mucha came back to Moravia where he worked at decorative and portrait paintings. Mucha was commissioned to decorate Hrušovany Emmahof Castle with murals. Count Karl Khuen of Mikulov was so impressed with the results that he decided to pay for Mucha’s study at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

When Alphonse Mucha moved to Paris he began his study at the Academie Julian. During that time along with his studies, Mucha worked at creating advertising illustrations and magazines. About Christmas 1894, Mucha volunteered to produce an advertising poster for a play featuring Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris at that time. Within two weeks the job was completed and Bernhardt was so pleased with the results that she began a six-year contract with talented Czech artist Mucha.

Mucha often painted beautiful young women frequently surrounded by flowers which sometimes formed halos behind their heads. After seven years of hard work in Paris, Mucha became a successful artist. He used pale pastel colors to produce his lovely masterpieces.

In 1900 Mucha designed the Bosnia-Herzegovina Pavilion where there was a World’s Fair in Paris. In Prague, where he settled later, Mucha decorated the Theater of Fine Arts, and other places around the city. After World War I, when Czechoslovakia won its independence, Mucha was honored to design the new postage stamps, banknotes, and other government documents for the new state.

During his life Mucha created many works: paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs. Mucha made several trips to America. He was also commissioned from U.S. patrons to paint many portraits. At that time Mucha was already married to Maruška (Marie/Maria) Chytilová. With her Mucha had two children (daughter and son).

In 1909 Mucha went to Prague. There he was working on a series of murals for the Lord Mayor’s Hall. Mucha also began to plan out his life’s fine art masterpiece. It took 18 years of his life to complete this project – The Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej), a series of twenty huge paintings depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic nation. In 1919 the first eleven canvases were completed and exhibited in Prague, and America.

When the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia, Mucha was among the first arrested. He returned home after a Gestapo questioning session and died on July 14, 1939, in Prague.

Paul Cézanne the father of modern art

3 January 2012

Paul Cézanne was a French painter born on January 19, 1839, in Aix-en-Provence. In 1852 Paul Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon, where he met Émile Zola. Their friendship had an immense influence on both of them. Later, this friendship was broken as Zola wrote a novel about unsuccessful artist. Cézanne was the prototype of this artist.

In 1862, Cézanne went to Paris to study art. Cézanne’s early artworks were painted in dark tones. The artist painted his artworks representing contemporary life, life as it was without any idealization or stylistic affectation. Cézanne had developed a painting style that involved working outdoors. He may stand before nature during a long time and paint it.

Cézanne’s works received critical commentary when he exhibited his works with other impressionists in 1874 and 1877. To the exhibition which was held in 1877 Cézanne submitted 16 paintings. After this exhibition, Cézanne did not exhibit publicly for almost 20 years.

Cézanne’s left most of his works unfinished and destroyed many others. Among his the most famous paintings are the following: In the Man in a Blue Cap, Washing of a Corpse, House of the Hanged Man, the Portrait of Victor Choque, Portrait of Victor Choquet, Bay of Marseilles from L’Estaque, Mont Sainte-Victoire, the Cardplayers, the White Sugar Bowl, and the Great Bathers.

Cézanne had attained the status of a legendary figure. His paintings reveal a profound depth of feeling. Cézanne had synthesized the basic expressive and representational elements of painting in a highly original manner.

In 1886 he married Hortense Fiquet, a model with whom he had been living for 17 years, and his father died the same year.

While painting outdoors in the fall of 1906 Cézanne was overtaken by a storm and became ill. Cézanne died in Aix on October 22, 1906.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir a developer of the Impressionist style

29 December 2011

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in 1841 in France. He worked in a porcelain factory where he called attention to himself with the help of his drawing. During his early years, Renoir often visited the Louvre. There he studied the French painters and their works. Renoir’s family wasn’t reach and there was time when he did not have enough money to buy paint. Still, he continued to work and in 1864 the world saw his first exhibition. He showed his paintings at the Paris Salon. In 1874 six of Renoir’s paintings were shown in the first Impressionist exhibition. During the same period of time, two of his paintings were hung with Durand-Ruel in London.

In 1881, he visited Algeria and Spain. He traveled to the last country to admire the paintings of Diego Velázquez. Then, Renoir traveled to Italy to see the masterpieces of Titian and Raphael. In 1882 Renoir again traveled to Algeria where he contracted pneumonia. In 1883, he spent the summer in Guernsey, creating fifteen paintings in little over a month.

In 1885 he became a father. The child was named Pierre, and his mother name was Aline Victorine Charigot, whom Renoir married in 1890. They had three sons.

Around 1892, Renoir developed rheumatoid arthritis. Despite the fact that he was wheelchair-bound, Renoir continued to paint. He was very talented and hardworking artist. Renoir mainly painted landscapes, portraits, but the main focus was on female nudes. The largest collection of Renoir’s works—181 paintings in all—is at the Barnes Foundation, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Along with paintings, Renoir created sculptures. He moved to the warmer climate. Renoir died on December 3, 1919.

He created several thousand paintings. Among the most famous are: The Bathers (1884–1887), Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (1876), Grandes Baigneuses (1887), and Girls at the Piano (1892).

Modigliani a talented Italian painter and sculptor

29 December 2011

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani was born on July 12, 1884 into a Jewish family in Livorno, Italy. He was the fourth child in the family. His first education began at home, his mother was the one who taught him until Modigliani was 10. When he was about 11 years old Modigliani had his first pleurisy attack. A few years later he was diagnosed with typhoid fever and later with tuberculosis. Modigliani started to paint from a very early age. During two years (from 1898 to 1900) Modigliani worked in Micheli’s Art School where he studied Renaissance art. Guglielmo Micheli was Modigliani’s first art teacher. Modigliani explored landscape, portraiture, still life, and the nude.

In 1902, Modigliani registered to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. A year later he moved to Venice, where he became a student of the Istituto di Belle Arti. In Venice Modigliani first smoked hashish. This had an immense influence on his further lifestyle and behavior.

In 1906 Modigliani moved to Paris where he renting a studio. From the time of his arrival in Paris, Modigliani cultivated the reputation of hopeless drunk and drug user. Modigliani, suffering from tuberculosis, used drugs to self-medicate. The drink and drugs helped ease his physical pain and allow him to continue to create his art. Modigliani was very productive painter sketching and making as many as a hundred drawings a day.

Modigliani’s style cannot be categorized with those of other artists. He developed his own truly unique style of painting. Modigliani also was a talented sculptor. His sculptures were exhibited in the Salon d’Automne of 1912.

Modigliani enjoyed the writings of Nietzsche, Carducci, Comte de Lautréamont, Baudelaire, and others, and developed the belief that disorder and defiance are the only routes to true creativity. In 1910, he met Anna Akhmatova (Russian poet), his first serious love. After a year, however, they broke up and Anna returned to her husband. On December 3, 1917, Modigliani’s first one-man exhibition opened at the Berthe Weill Gallery. On November 29, 1918, Modigliani became a father. Modigliani died on January 24, 1920.

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