Blog - Painters biographies

Claude Monet Biography

Claude Monet Biography

Alina    2018-06-01 17:05:00    painters biographies   

Painter (1840–1926)

Claude Monet was a famous French painter whose work gave a name to the art movement Impressionism, which was concerned with capturing light and natural forms.

Synopsis

Claude Monet was born on November 14, 1840, in Paris, France. He enrolled in the Academie Suisse. After an art exhibition in 1874, a critic insultingly dubbed Monet's painting style "Impression," since it was more concerned with form and light than realism, and the term stuck. Monet struggled with depression, poverty and illness throughout his life. He died in 1926.

Early Life and Career

One of the most famous painters in the history of art and a leading figure in the Impressionist movement, whose works can be seen in museums around the world, Oscar Claude Monet (some sources say Claude Oscar) was born on November 14, 1840, in Paris, France. Monet's father, Adolphe, worked in his family's shipping business, while his mother, Louise, took care of the family. A trained singer, Louise liked poetry and was a popular hostess.

In 1845, at the age of 5, Monet moved with his family to Le Havre, a port town in the Normandy region. He grew up there with his older brother, Leon. While he was reportedly a decent student, Monet did not like being confined to a classroom. He was more interested in being outside. At an early age, Monet developed a love of drawing. He filled his schoolbooks with sketches of people, including caricatures of his teachers. While his mother supported his artistic efforts, Monet's father wanted him to go into business. Monet suffered greatly after the death of his mother in 1857.

In the community, Monet became well-known for his caricatures and for drawing many of the town's residents. After meeting Eugene Boudin, a local landscape artist, Monet started to explore the natural world in his work. Boudin introduced him to painting outdoors, or plein air painting, which would later become the cornerstone of Monet's work.

In 1859, Monet decided to move to Paris to pursue his art. There, he was strongly influenced by the paintings of the Barbizon school and enrolled as a student at the Academie Suisse. During this time, Monet met fellow artist Camille Pissarro, who would become a close friend for many years.

From 1861 to 1862, Monet served in the military and was stationed in Algiers, Algeria, but he was discharged for health reasons. Returning to Paris, Monet studied with Charles Gleyre. Through Gleyre, Monet met several other artists, including Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frederic Bazille; the four of them became friends. He also received advice and support from Johann Barthold Jongkind, a landscape painter who proved to be an important influence to the young artist.

Monet liked to work outdoors and was sometimes accompanied by Renoir, Sisley and Bazille on these painting sojourns. Monet won acceptance to the Salon of 1865, an annual juried art show in Paris; the show chose two of his paintings, which were marine landscapes. Though Monet's works received some critical praise, he still struggled financially.

The following year, Monet was selected again to participate in the Salon. This time, the show officials chose a landscape and a portrait Camille (or also called Woman in Green), which featured his lover and future wife, Camille Doncieux. Doncieux came from a humble background and was substantially younger than Monet. She served as a muse for him, sitting for numerous paintings during her lifetime. The couple experienced great hardship around the birth of their first son, Jean, in 1867. Monet was in dire financial straits, and his father was unwilling to help them. Monet became so despondent over the situation that, in 1868, he attempted suicide by trying to drown himself in the Seine River.

Fortunately, Monet and Camille soon caught a break: Louis-Joachim Guadibert became a patron of Monet's work, which enabled the artist to continue his work and care for his family. Monet and Camille married in June 1870, and following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, the couple fled with their son to London, England. There, Monet met Paul Durand-Ruel, who became his first art dealer.

Returning to France after the war, in 1872, Monet eventually settled in Argenteuil, an industrial town west of Paris, and began to develop his own technique. During his time in Argenteuil, Monet visited with many of his artist friends, including Renoir, Pissarro and Edouard Manet—who, according to Monet in a later interview, at first hated him because people confused their names. Banding together with several other artists, Monet helped form the Société Anonyme des Artistes, Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs, as an alternative to the Salon and exhibited their works together.

Monet sometimes got frustrated with his work. According to some reports, he destroyed a number of paintings—estimates range as high as 500 works. Monet would simply burn, cut or kick the offending piece. In addition to these outbursts, he was known to suffer from bouts of depression and self-doubt.

The Master of Light and Color

The society's April 1874 exhibition proved to be revolutionary. One of Monet's most noted works in the show, "Impression, Sunrise" (1873), depicted Le Havre's harbor in a morning fog. Critics used the title to name the distinct group of artists "Impressionists," saying that their work seemed more like sketches than finished paintings. 

While it was meant to be derogatory, the term seemed fitting. Monet sought to capture the essence of the natural world using strong colors and bold, short brushstrokes; he and his contemporaries were turning away from the blended colors and evenness of classical art. Monet also brought elements of industry into his landscapes, moving the form forward and making it more contemporary. Monet began to exhibit with the Impressionists after their first show in 1874, and continued into the 1880s.

Monet's personal life was marked by hardship around this time. His wife became ill during her second pregnancy (their second son, Michel, was born in 1878), and she continued to deteriorate. Monet painted a portrait of her on her death bed. Before her passing, the Monets went to live with Ernest and Alice Hoschede and their six children.

After Camille's death, Monet painted a grim set of paintings known as the Ice Drift series. He grew closer to Alice, and the two eventually became romantically involved. Ernest spent much of his time in Paris, and he and Alice never divorced. Monet and Alice moved with their respective children in 1883 to Giverny, a place that would serve as a source of great inspiration for the artist and prove to be his final home. After Ernest's death, Monet and Alice married in 1892.

Monet gained financial and critical success during the late 1880s and 1890s, and started the serial paintings for which he would become well-known. In Giverny, he loved to paint outdoors in the gardens that he helped create there. The water lilies found in the pond had a particular appeal for him, and he painted several series of them throughout the rest of his life; the Japanese-style bridge over the pond became the subject of several works, as well. (In 1918, Monet would donate 12 of his waterlily paintings to the nation of France to celebrate the Armistice.)

Sometimes Monet traveled to find other sources of inspiration. In the early 1890s, he rented a room across from the Rouen Cathedral, in northwestern France, and painted a series of works focused on the structure. Different paintings showed the building in morning light, midday, gray weather and more; this repetition was a result of Monet's deep fascination with the effects of light.

Besides the cathedral, Monet painted several things repeatedly, trying to convey the sensation of a certain time of day on a landscape or a place. He also focused the changes that light made on the forms of haystacks and poplar trees in two different painting series around this time. In 1900, Monet traveled to London, where the Thames River captured his artistic attention.

In 1911, Monet became depressed after the death of his beloved Alice. In 1912, he developed cataracts in his right eye. In the art world, Monet was out of step with the avant-garde. The Impressionists were in some ways being supplanted by the Cubist movement, led by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.

But there was still a great deal of interest in Monet's work. During this period, Monet began a final series of 12 waterlily paintings commissioned by the Orangerie des Tuileries, a museum in Paris. He chose to make them on a very large scale, designed to fill the walls of a special space for the canvases in the museum; he wanted the works to serve as a "haven of peaceful meditation," believing that the images would soothe the "overworked nerves" of visitors.

His Orangerie des Tuileries project consumed much of Monet's later years. In writing to a friend, Monet stated, "These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession for me. It is beyond my strength as an old man, and yet I want to render what I feel." Monet's health proved to be an obstacle, as well. Nearly blind, with both of his eyes now seriously affected by cataracts, Monet finally consented to undergo surgery for the ailment in 1923.

Later Years

As he experienced in other points in his life, Monet struggled with depression in his later years. He wrote to one friend that "Age and chagrin have worn me out. My life has been nothing but a failure, and all that's left for me to do is to destroy my paintings before I disappear." Despite his feelings of despair, he continued working on his paintings until his final days.

Monet died on December 5, 1926, at his home in Giverny. Monet once wrote, "My only merit lies in having painted directly in front of nature, seeking to render my impressions of the most fleeting effects." Most art historians believe that Monet accomplished much more than this: He helped change the world of painting by shaking off the conventions of the past. By dissolving forms in his works, Monet opened the door for further abstraction in art, and he is credited with influencing such later artists as Jackson Pollack, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning.

Since 1980, Monet's Giverny home has housed the Claude Monet Foundation.

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Diego Rivera Biography

Diego Rivera Biography

Alina    2018-05-31 17:05:00    painters biographies   

Painter (1886–1957)

Painter and muralist Diego Rivera sought to make art that reflected the lives of the working class and native peoples of Mexico.

Synopsis

Born on December 8, 1886, in Guanajuato, Mexico, Diego Rivera sought to make art that reflected the lives of the Mexican people. In 1921, through a government program, he started a series of murals in public buildings. Some were controversial; his Man at the Crossroads in New York City's RCA building, which featured a portrait of Vladmir Lenin, was stopped and destroyed by the Rockefeller family.

Early Life

Now thought to be one of the leading artists of the 20th century, Diego Rivera was born on December 8, 1886, in Guanajuato, Mexico. His passion for art emerged early on. He began drawing as a child. Around the age of 10, Rivera went to study art at the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City. One of his early influences was artist José Posada who ran a print shop near Rivera's school.

In 1907, Rivera traveled to Europe to further his art studies. There, he befriended many leading artists of the day, including Pablo Picasso. Rivera was also able to view influential works by Paul Gaugin and Henri Matisse, among others.

Famous Muralist

Diego Rivera had some success as a Cubist painter in Europe, but the course of world events would strongly change the style and subject of his work. Inspired by the political ideals of the Mexican Revolution (1914-15) and the Russian Revolution (1917), Rivera wanted to make art that reflected the lives of the working class and native peoples of Mexico. He developed an interest in making murals during a trip to Italy, finding inspiration in the Renaissance frescos there.

Returning to Mexico, Rivera began to express his artistic ideas about Mexico. He received funding from the government to create a series of murals about the country's people and its history on the walls of public buildings. In 1922, Rivera completed the first of the murals at the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria in Mexico City.

Known for numerous dalliances with women, Rivera married fellow artist Frida Kahlo in 1929. He already had been twice before he wed Kahlo, who was 20 years his junior, and had several children from his past relationships. Rivera and Kahlo shared an interest in radical politics and Marxism.

Commerical Success

In the 1930s and '40s, Diego Rivera painted several murals in the United States. Some of his works created controversy, especially the one he did for the Rockefeller family in the RCA building in New York City. The mural, known as "Man at the Crossroads," featured a portrait of Russian Communist leader Vladimir Lenin. The artist had reportedly included Lenin in his piece to portray the turbulent political atmosphere at the time, which was largely defined by conflicting capitalist and socialist ideologies and escalating fears surrounding the Communist Party. The Rockefellers disliked Rivera's insertion of Lenin and, thusly, asked Rivera to remove the portrait, but the painter refused. The Rockefellers then had Rivera stop work on the mural.

In 1934, Nelson Rockefeller famously ordered the demolition of "Man at the Crossroads." Publish backlash against the Rockefellers ensued; after long proclaiming a deep dedication to the arts, the powerful family now looked both hypocritical and tyrannical. John D. Rockefeller Jr. later attempted to explain the destruction of the mural, stating, "The picture was obscene and, in the judgment of Rockefeller Center, an offense to good taste. It was for this reason primarily that Rockefeller Center decided to destroy it."

Later Life and Work

In the late 1930s, Rivera went through a slow period, in terms of work. He had no major mural commissions around this time so he devoted himself to painting other works. While they always had a stormy relationship, Rivera and Kahlo decided to divorce in 1939. But the pair reunited the following year and remarried. The couple hosted Communist exile Leon Trotsky at their home during this period.

Rivera returned to murals with one made for the 1940 Golden Gate International Exposition held in San Franciso. In Mexico City, he spent from 1945 to 1951 working on a series of murals known as "From the Pre-Hispanic Civilization to the Conquest." His last mural was called "Popular History of Mexico."

Personal Life and Death

Diego Rivera lost his wife, Frida Kahlo, in 1954. The following year, He married Emma Hurtado, his art dealer. By this time, Rivera's health was in decline. He had traveled abroad for cancer treatment, but doctors were unable to cure him. Diego Rivera died of heart failure on November 24, 1957, in Mexico City, Mexico.

Since his death, Diego Rivera is remembered as an important figure in 20th century art. His childhood home is now a museum in Mexico. His life and relationship with Frida Kahlo has been remained a subject of great fascination and speculation. On the big screen, actor Ruben Blades portrayed Rivera in the 1999 movie Cradle Will Rock. Alfred Molina later brought Rivera to life, co-starring with Salma Hayek in the 2002 acclaimed biographical film Frida.



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Damien Hirst Biography

Damien Hirst Biography

Alina    2018-05-30 17:05:00    painters biographies   

Painter, Sculptor (1965–)

British artist Damien Hirst has shocked and surprised the art world with his unusual works, including glass displays of dead animals and medicine cabinet sculptures.

Synopsis

A successful and controversial artist, Damien Hirst was born in Bristol, England, on June 7, 1965. He emerged as a leading figure in the Young British Artists movement in the late 1980s and 1990s. His works, which include dead animal displays and spin-art paintings, have sold for exceptionally high prices. Hirst is one of the wealthiest artists living today.

Early Years

Raised Catholic, Damien Hirst grew up in Leeds. His early religion education would later factor into his artwork. He showed an interest in the grisly and gruesome aspects of life early on. His mother would later describe him as a morbid child.

As a teenager, Hirst liked to look at illustrated pathology books, fascinated by the images of disease and injury. He also showed an interest in drawing, a passion his mother supported. His father, a car mechanic, left the family when he was only 12 years old.

Hirst got into trouble as teenager, and was caught shoplifting twice. Despite his sometimes wild behavior, he made his way to college. Hirst studied art at the Goldsmith's College at the University of London. While there, he put together a ground-breaking exhibit entitled "Freeze" in 1988. The show featured the works of Fiona Rae, Sarah Lucas, and others, as well as his own.

Hirst and his fellow students became part of an emerging movement known as the Young British Artists. They were known for their unusual materials and for their challenging art concepts. One of Hirst's early works, "With Dead Head," illustrates his interest in death and shaking up the art establishment. In the photograph the artist, with a huge grin on his face, poses next to a severed head in a morgue.

While not everyone was enthralled with his work, Hirst received support from Charles Saatchi, advertising titan and art collector. Saatchi lent financial assistance to Hirst, and also started collecting Hirst's pieces, which also advanced the artist's reputation. Saatchi bought two of Hirst's medicine cabinet sculptures, which one critic later said constituted "a constellation of still lifes that express and reflect the human body as a field of vulnerabilities and of hopeful medical interventions."

Career Breakthrough

In 1991, Hirst had his first solo exhibition at the Woodstock Street Gallery in London. He also participated in the Young British Artists show at the Saatchi Gallery the following year. There he displayed "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living," a 14-foot-long glass tank with a shark preserved in formaldehyde. The shark had been bought from an Australian fisherman.

Hirst continued to set the art world on fire with his work at the 1993 Venice Bienniale, a renowned international art exhibition. There he showed "Mother and Child Divided," an installation piece that featured a bisected cow and her calf displayed in four vitrines, or glass cases, filled with formaldehyde. With his controversial and sometimes gruesome works, Hirst soon became one of the best known artists in Britain. He won the prestigious Turner Prize in 1995. "It's amazing what you can do with an E in A-Level art, a twisted imagination and a chainsaw," Hirst said in his acceptance speech.

Even though his career was thriving, not every exhibit went as planned. He wanted to bring rotting cattle for an exhibit in New York City in 1995, but he was stopped by the city's health authorities. Hirst, however, enjoyed a warm welcome the following year with a show at New York's Gagosian Gallery.

In addition to his glass tank works, Hirst has made paintings and sculptures. He explored his interest in the pharmacological age with such canvases as "Controlled Substances Key Painting" (1994). The work was part of a series known as spot paintings, but Hirst only painted a few of them. He had other artists carry out his visions, much like Andy Warhol had done.

Business of Art

In addition to being a creative visionary, Hirst has proved to be a savvy businessman. He has parlayed his fame and notoriety into an art empire, becoming one of the wealthiest living artists today. Some compare him to Jasper Johns and Jeff Koons in his ability to command huge prices for his works.

In 2008, Hirst side-stepped his usual galleries to auction his work directly to the public. The auction, called "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever," was held at Sotheby's in London and brought in roughly $198 million. Hirst has also done well through selling prints and other items bearing some of his signature styles and images through his company, Other Criteria.

Later Works

Hirst continued to push the boundaries of art. In 2007, he unveiled "For the Love of God," a glittering, diamond-encrusted skull made of platinum. Many critics were less than impressed with this "celebration against death," as Hirst described. Others marveled at the anticipated selling price of $100 million. Perhaps a sign of declining interest in his work, no one initially bought the piece. It was later bought by a group that included Hirst and London's White Cube gallery.

In 2009, Hirst exhibited a group of paintings, No Love Lost, Blue Paintings, which provoked the ire of many critics who labeled the pieces "dull" and "amateurish." Many of these works drew inspiration from one of his favorite artists, Frances Bacon, which led to some unfavorable comparisons.

These days, Hirst shows no signs of slowing down. He participates in exhibits around the world. Again making art more accessible, Hirst launched his own skateboard line in 2011.

Personal Life

Hirst and his American girlfriend live in Devon, England, with their three sons.

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Salvador Dalí Biography

Salvador Dalí Biography

Alina    2018-05-29 17:05:00    painters biographies   

Painter (1904–1989)

Spanish artist and Surrealist icon Salvador Dalí is perhaps best known for his painting of melting clocks, The Persistence of Memory.

Who Was Salvador Dalí?

Salvador Dalí was born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain. From an early age Dalí was encouraged to practice his art, and he would eventually go on to study at an academy in Madrid. In the 1920s, he went to Paris and began interacting with artists such as Picasso, Magritte and Miró, which led to Dalí's first Surrealist phase. He is perhaps best known for his 1931 painting The Persistence of Memory, showing melting clocks in a landscape setting. The rise of fascist leader Francisco Franco in Spain led to the artist's expulsion from the Surrealist movement, but that didn't stop him from painting. Dalí died in Figueres in 1989.

Early Life

Salvador Dalí was born Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain, located 16 miles from the French border in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. His father, Salvador Dalí y Cusi, was a middle class lawyer and notary. Salvador's father had a strict disciplinary approach to raising children—a style of child-rearing which contrasted sharply with that of his mother, Felipa Domenech Ferres. She often indulged young Salvador in his art and early eccentricities.

It has been said that young Salvador was a precocious and intelligent child, prone to fits of anger against his parents and schoolmates. Consequently, Dalí was subjected to furious acts of cruelty by more dominant students or his father. The elder Salvador wouldn't tolerate his son's outbursts or eccentricities, and punished him severely. Their relationship deteriorated when Salvador was still young, exacerbated by competition between he and his father for Felipa's affection.

Dalí had an older brother, born nine months before him, also named Salvador, who died of gastroenteritis. Later in his life, Dalí often related the story that when he was 5 years old, his parents took him to the grave of his older brother and told him he was his brother's reincarnation. In the metaphysical prose he frequently used, Dalí recalled, "[we] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections." He "was probably a first version of myself, but conceived too much in the absolute."

Salvador, along with his younger sister Ana Maria and his parents, often spent time at their summer home in the coastal village of Cadaques. At an early age, Salvador was producing highly sophisticated drawings, and both of his parents strongly supported his artistic talent. It was here that his parents built him an art studio before he entered art school.

Upon recognizing his immense talent, Salvador Dalí's parents sent him to drawing school at the Colegio de Hermanos Maristas and the Instituto in Figueres, Spain, in 1916. He was not a serious student, preferring to daydream in class and stand out as the class eccentric, wearing odd clothing and long hair. After that first year at art school, he discovered modern painting in Cadaques while vacationing with his family. There, he also met Ramon Pichot, a local artist who frequently visited Paris. The following year, his father organized an exhibition of Salvador's charcoal drawings in the family home. By 1919, the young artist had his first public exhibition, at the Municipal Theatre of Figueres.

In 1921, Dalí's mother, Felipa, died of breast cancer. Dalí was 16 years old at the time, and was devastated by the loss. His father married his deceased wife's sister, which did not endear the younger Dalí any closer to his father, though he respected his aunt. Father and son would battle over many different issues throughout their lives, until the elder Dalí's death.

Art School and Surrealism

In 1922, Dalí enrolled at the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. He stayed at the school's student residence and soon brought his eccentricity to a new level, growing long hair and sideburns, and dressing in the style of English Aesthetes of the late 19th century. During this time, he was influenced by several different artistic styles, including Metaphysics and Cubism, which earned him attention from his fellow students—though he probably didn't yet understand the Cubist movement entirely.

In 1923, Dalí was suspended from the academy for criticizing his teachers and allegedly starting a riot among students over the academy's choice of a professorship. That same year, he was arrested and briefly imprisoned in Gerona for allegedly supporting the Separatist movement, though Dalí was actually apolitical at the time (and remained so throughout most of his life). He returned to the academy in 1926, but was permanently expelled shortly before his final exams for declaring that no member of the faculty was competent enough to examine him.

While in school, Dalí began exploring many forms of art including classical painters like Raphael, Bronzino and Diego Velázquez (from whom he adopted his signature curled moustache). He also dabbled in avant-garde art movements such as Dada, a post-World War I anti-establishment movement. While Dalí's apolitical outlook on life prevented him from becoming a strict follower, the Dada philosophy influenced his work throughout his life.

In between 1926 and 1929, Dalí made several trips to Paris, where he met with influential painters and intellectuals such as Pablo Picasso, whom he revered. During this time, Dalí painted a number of works that displayed Picasso's influence. He also met Joan Miró, the Spanish painter and sculptor who, along with poet Paul Éluard and painter René Magritte, introduced Dalí to Surrealism. By this time, Dalí was working with styles of Impressionism, Futurism and Cubism. Dalí's paintings became associated with three general themes: 1) man's universe and sensations, 2) sexual symbolism and 3) ideographic imagery.

All of this experimentation led to Dalí's first Surrealistic period in 1929. These oil paintings were small collages of his dream images. His work employed a meticulous classical technique, influenced by Renaissance artists, that contradicted the "unreal dream" space that he created with strange hallucinatory characters. Even before this period, Dalí was an avid reader of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theories. Dalí's major contribution to the Surrealist movement was what he called the "paranoiac-critical method," a mental exercise of accessing the subconscious to enhance artistic creativity. Dalí would use the method to create a reality from his dreams and subconscious thoughts, thus mentally changing reality to what he wanted it to be and not necessarily what it was. For Dalí, it became a way of life.

In 1929, Salvador Dalí expanded his artistic exploration into the world of film-making when he collaborated with Luis Buñuel on two films, Un Chien andalou (An Andalusian Dog) and L'Age d'or (The Golden Age, 1930), the former of which is known for its opening scene—a simulated slashing of a human eye by a razor. Dalí's art appeared several years later in another film, Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945), starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman. Dalí's paintings were used in a dream sequence in the film, and aided the plot by giving clues to solving the secret to character John Ballantine's psychological problems.

In August 1929, Dalí met Elena Dmitrievna Diakonova (sometimes written as Elena Ivanorna Diakonova), a Russian immigrant 10 years his senior. At the time, she was the wife of Surrealist writer Paul Éluard. A strong mental and physical attraction developed between Dalí and Diakonova, and she soon left Éluard for her new lover. Also known as "Gala," Diakonova was Dalí's muse and inspiration, and would eventually become his wife. She helped balance—or one might say counterbalance—the creative forces in Dalí's life. With his wild expressions and fantasies, he wasn't capable of dealing with the business side of being an artist. Gala took care of his legal and financial matters, and negotiated contracts with dealers and exhibition promoters. The two were married in a civil ceremony in 1934.

By 1930, Salvador Dalí had become a notorious figure of the Surrealist movement. Marie-Laure de Noailles and Viscount and Viscountess Charles were his first patrons. French aristocrats, both husband and wife invested heavily in avant-garde art in the early 20th century. One of Dalí's most famous paintings produced at this time—and perhaps the best-known Surrealist work—was The Persistence of Memory (1931). The painting, sometimes called Soft Watches, shows melting pocket watches in a landscape setting. It is said that the painting conveys several ideas within the image, chiefly that time is not rigid and everything is destructible.

By the mid-1930s, Salvador Dalí had become as notorious for his colorful personality as his artwork, and, for some art critics, the former was overshadowing the latter. Often sporting an exaggeratedly long mustache, a cape and a walking stick, Dalí's public appearances exhibited some unusual behavior. In 1934, art dealer Julian Levy introduced Dalí to America in a New York exhibition that caused quite a lot of controversy. At a ball held in his honor, Dalí, in characteristic flamboyant style, appeared wearing a glass case across his chest which contained a brassiere.

Expulsion from the Surrealists

As war approached in Europe, specifically in Spain, Dalí clashed with members of the Surrealist movement. In a "trial" held in 1934, he was expelled from the group. He had refused to take a stance against Spanish militant Francisco Franco (while Surrealist artists like Luis Buñuel, Picasso and Miró had), but it's unclear whether this directly led to his expulsion. Officially, Dalí was notified that his expulsion was due to repeated "counter-revolutionary activity involving the celebration of fascism under Hitler." It is also likely that members of the movement were aghast at some of Dalí's public antics. However, some art historians believe that his expulsion had been driven more by his feud with Surrealist leader André Breton.

Despite his expulsion from the movement, Dalí continued to participate in several international Surrealist exhibitions into the 1940s. At the opening of the London Surrealist exhibition in 1936, he delivered a lecture titled "Fantomes paranoiaques athentiques" ("Authentic paranoid ghosts") while dressed in a wetsuit, carrying a billiard cue and walking a pair of Russian wolfhounds. He later said that his attire was a depiction of "plunging into the depths" of the human mind.

During World War II, Dalí and his wife moved to the United States. They remained there until 1948, when they moved back to his beloved Catalonia. These were important years for Dalí. The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York gave him his own retrospective exhibit in 1941. This was followed by the publication of his autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (1942). Also during this time, Dalí's focus moved away from Surrealism and into his classical period. His feud with members of the Surrealist movement continued, but Dalí seemed undaunted. His ever-expanding mind had ventured into new subjects.

The Dalí Theatre-Museum

Over the next 15 years, Dalí painted a series of 19 large canvases that included scientific, historical or religious themes. He often called this period "Nuclear Mysticism." During this time, his artwork took on a technical brilliance combining meticulous detail with fantastic and limitless imagination. He would incorporate optical illusions, holography and geometry within his paintings. Much of his work contained images depicting divine geometry, the DNA, the Hyper Cube and religious themes of Chastity.

From 1960 to 1974, Dalí dedicated much of his time to creating the Teatro-Museo Dalí (Dalí Theatre-Museum) in Figueres. The museum's building had formerly housed the Municipal Theatre of Figueres, where Dalí saw his public exhibition at the age of 14 (the original 19th century structure had been destroyed near the end of the Spanish Civil War). Located across the street from the Teatro-Museo Dalí is the Church of Sant Pere, where Dalí was baptized and received his first communion (his funeral would later be held there as well), and just three blocks away is the house where he was born.

The Teatro-Museo Dalí officially opened in 1974. The new building was formed from the ruins of the old and based on one of Dalí's designs, and is billed as the world's largest Surrealist structure, containing a series of spaces that form a single artistic object where each element is an inextricable part of the whole. The site is also known for housing the broadest range of work by the artist, from his earliest artistic experiences to works that he created during the last years of this life. Several works on permanent display were created expressly for the museum.

Also in '74, Dalí dissolved his business relationship with manager Peter Moore. As a result, all rights to his collection were sold without his permission by other business managers and he lost much of his wealth. Two wealthy American art collectors, A. Reynolds Morse and his wife, Eleanor, who had known Dalí since 1942, set up an organization called "Friends of Dalí" and a foundation to help boost the artist's finances. The organization also established the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Final Years

In 1980, Dalí was forced to retire from painting due to a motor disorder that caused permanent trembling and weakness in his hands. No longer able to hold a paint brush, he'd lost the ability to express himself the way he knew best. More tragedy struck in 1982, when Dalí's beloved wife and friend, Gala, died. The two events sent him into a deep depression. He moved to Pubol, in a castle that he had purchased and remodeled for Gala, possibly to hide from the public or, as some speculate, to die. In 1984, Dalí was severely burned in a fire. Due to his injuries, he was confined to wheelchair. Friends, patrons and fellow artists rescued him from the castle and returned him to Figueres, making him comfortable at the Teatro-Museo.

In November 1988, Salvador Dalí entered a hospital in Figueres with a failing heart. After a brief convalescence, he returned to the Teatro-Museo. On January 23, 1989, in the city of his birth, Dalí died of heart failure at the age of 84. His funeral was held at the Teatro-Museo, where he was buried in a crypt.

Paternity Case and New Exhibition

On June 26, 2017, a judge in a Madrid court ordered that Dalí’s body be exhumed to settle a paternity case. A 61-year-old Spanish woman named María Pilar Abel Martínez claimed that her mother had an affair with the artist while she was working as a maid for his neighbors in Port Lligat, a town in northeastern Spain.

The judge ordered the artist’s body to be exhumed because of a "lack of other biological or personal remains" to compare to Martinez's DNA. The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, which manages Dalí’s estate, appealed the ruling, but the exhumation went ahead the following month. In September, results from the DNA tests revealed that Dalí was not father. 

That October, the artist was back in the news with the announcement of an exhibition at the Dalí museum in Saint Petersburg, Florida, to celebrate his friendship and collaboration with Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. The two were known for the joint creation of a "lobster dress" worn by American socialite Wallis Simpson, who later married English King Edward VIII.

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Camille Pissarro Biography

Camille Pissarro Biography

Alina    2018-05-25 17:05:00    painters biographies   

Painter (1830–1903)

Camille Pissarro was a French landscape artist best known for his influence on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting.

Who Was Camille Pissarro?

Camille Pissarro was born on July 10, 1830, on the island of St. Thomas. Relocating to Paris as a young man, Pissarro began experimenting with art, eventually helping to shape the Impressionist movement with friends including Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. Pissarro was also active in Post-Impressionist circles, continuing to paint until his death in Paris on November 13, 1903.

Early Life

Jacob-Abraham-Camille Pissarro was born on July 10, 1830, on St. Thomas, in the Danish West Indies. Pissarro’s father was a French citizen of Portuguese Jewish descent who traveled to St. Thomas to help settle the estate of his late uncle and wound up marrying his uncle’s widow, Rachel Pomié Petit. The marriage was controversial and not immediately recognized by the small Jewish community where they lived. As a result, the Pissarro children grew up as outsiders.

At the age of 12, Pissarro was sent by his parents to a boarding school in France. There, he developed an early appreciation of the French art masters. After completing his education, Pissarro returned to St. Thomas, and although he initially became involved in his family's mercantile business, he never stopped drawing and painting in his spare time.

Career

In 1849 Pissarro made the acquaintance of Danish artist Fritz Melbye, who encouraged him in his artistic endeavors. In 1852 Pissarro and Melbye left St. Thomas for Venezuela, where they lived and worked for the next few years. In 1855 Pissarro returned to Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts and Académie Suisse and worked closely with painters Camille Corot and Gustave Courbet, honing his skills and experimenting with new approaches to art. Pissarro eventually fell in with a group of young artists, including Claude Monet and Paul Cézanne, who shared his interests and questions. The work of these artists was not accepted by the French artistic establishment, which excluded nontraditional painting from the official Salon exhibitions.

Though Pissarro kept a studio in Paris, he spent much of his time in its outskirts. Like many of his contemporaries, he preferred to work in the open air rather than the studio, painting scenes of village life and the natural world. During this period, he also became involved with his mother's maid, Julie Vellay, with whom he would have eight children and eventually marry in 1871. However, their budding family life was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, which forced them to flee to London. Returning to his home in France at the end of the conflict, Pissarro discovered that the majority of his existing body of work had been destroyed.

But Pissarro rebounded quickly from this setback. He soon reconnected with his artist friends, including Cézanne, Monet, Edouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas. In 1873, Pissarro established a collective of 15 artists with the goal of offering an alternative to the Salon. The following year, the group held their first exhibition. The unconventional content and style represented in the show shocked critics and helped to define Impressionism as an artistic movement. For his part, Pissarro exhibited five paintings in the show, including Hoar Frost and The Old Road to Ennery. The group would hold several more exhibitions over the coming years, though they slowly began to drift apart. 

Later Years and Death

By the 1880s, Pissarro moved into a Post-Impressionist period, returning to some of his earlier themes and exploring new techniques such as pointillism. He also forged new friendships with artists including Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, and was an early admirer of Vincent van Gogh. While in keeping with his lifelong interest in innovation, Pissarro’s turning away from Impressionism contributed to the general decline of the movement, which he had influenced greatly.

In his later years, Pissarro suffered from a recurring eye infection that prevented him from working outdoors during much of the year. As a result of this disability, he often painted while looking out the window of a hotel room. Pissarro died in Paris on November 13, 1903, and is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Recent News

More than a century after his passing, Pissaro was back in the news for events related to his 1887 work Picking Peas. In 1943, during the German occupancy of France, the French government confiscated the painting from its Jewish owner, Simon Bauer. It was later purchased in 1994 by Bruce and Robbi Toll, an American couple known for their involvement in the art world.

After the Tolls lent Picking Peas to the Marmottan museum in Paris, Bauer's descendants embarked on a legal bid for its retrieval. In November 2017, a French court ruled that the painting belonged to Bauer's surviving family.

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Chuck Close Biography

Chuck Close Biography

Alina    2018-05-24 17:05:00    painters biographies   

Painter, Educator (1940–)

Chuck Close is noted for his highly inventive techniques used to paint the human face. He rose to fame in the late 1960s for his large-scale, photo-realist portraits.

Who Is Chuck Close?

Chuck Close was born on July 5, 1940, in Monroe, Washington. Suffering from severe dyslexia, Close did poorly in school but found solace in making art. After earning his MFA from Yale in 1964, Close took his place atop the American art world by creating large-scale, photorealist portraits that have creatively blurred the distinction between photography and painting.

Early Life

Charles Thomas Close was born July 5, 1940, in Monroe, Washington. The son of artistic parents who showed great support of their boy's early creative interests, Close, who suffers from severe dyslexia, struggled in almost all phases of schoolwork except art. He was not terribly popular in school, and his problems were furthered by a neuromuscular condition that prevented him from playing sports.

For the first decade of his life, Close's childhood was more or less stable. But when he was 11, tragedy struck, when his father died and his mother fell ill with breast cancer. Close's own health took a terrible turn around this time as well, when a kidney infection landed him in bed for almost a year.

Through all of this, however, Close deepened his love for painting and art in general. At the age of 14, he saw an exhibition of Jackson Pollock paintings. Pollock's style and flair had a great impact on Close, and, as he later recounted, it made him determined to become an artist.

Education and Early Work

Close eventually enrolled at the University of Washington, graduating in 1962 and immediately heading east to Yale to study for a Master of Fine Arts from the university's Art and Architecture School.

Steeped heavily in the abstract world, Close radically changed his focus at Yale, opting for what would become his signature style: photorealism. Using a process he came to describe as "knitting," Close created large-format Polaroids of models that he then re-created on large canvases. 

This early work was bold, intimate and up-front, replicating the particular details of his selected faces, a fact made all the more compelling when considering that Close also suffers from the neurological condition prosopagnosia, or face-blindness, which prevents him from recognizing faces. In addition, his pieces blurred the distinction between painting and photography in a way that had never been done before. His techniques too were noteworthy, in particular his application of color, which helped pave the way for the development of the inkjet printer.

By the late 1960s, Close and his photorealist pieces were entrenched in the New York City art scene. One of his best-known subjects from that period was of another young artistic talent, composer Philip Glass, whose portrait Close painted and showed in 1969. It has since gone on to become one of his most recognized pieces. He later painted choreographer Merce Cunningham and former President Bill Clinton, among others.

By the 1970s, Close's work was shown in the world's finest galleries, and he was widely considered one of America's best contemporary artists.

Paralysis and Perseverance

In 1988, Close again experienced the trauma of a severe health issue when he suffered the sudden rupture of a spinal artery. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Close was left almost entirely paralyzed. Eventually, after rounds of physical therapy, Close, who became permanently confined to a wheelchair, regained the partial use of his limbs.

Despite the physical limitations, Close pressed forward with his work. With a brush taped to his wrist, Close continued to paint, but in a style that was more abstract and less precise. His reputation and standing have not suffered in the least.

In the years since, Close's position atop the American art world remains unchanged, and his work has been met with rave reviews and expensive commissions. In 2000 President Clinton named Close a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. In 2007 his life became the subject of a full-length documentary, Chuck Close: A Portrait in Progress, directed by Marion Cajori. 

Personal

Close divorced his first wife, Leslie, in 2011. Two years later, he married artist Sienna Shields.

In late 2017, the Close found himself grouped among the expanding list of influential men accused of sexual misconduct. The accusations generally involved the artist asking women to pose naked for him, and making crude comments about their body parts.

"Last time I looked, discomfort was not a major offense," he said, in defense of his actions. "I never reduced anyone to tears, no one ever ran out of the place. If I embarrassed anyone or made them feel uncomfortable, I am truly sorry, I didn’t mean to. I acknowledge having a dirty mouth, but we’re all adults." 

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Jan Vermeer Biography

Jan Vermeer Biography

Alina    2018-05-23 17:05:00    painters biographies   

Painter (c. 1632–c. 1675)

Dutch Golden-Age artist Jan Vermeer is best known for his Delft paintings, including 'Little Street' and 'View of Delft', and his 'pearl pictures,' like 'Girl with a Pearl Earring.'

Who Was Jan Vermeer?

Jan Vermeer was born circa October 31, 1632, in Delft, Netherlands. In 1652, joined the Delft painter’s guild. He served as its dean from 1662 to '63, and again from 1669 to '70. His early works include "Girl Asleep at the Table." As his style matured, he painted "Little Street" and "View of Delft." After 1660, Vermeer painted his "pearl pictures," including "The Concert" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring." He died in Delft circa December 16, 1675.

Early Life

Born in Delft, Netherlands, circa October 31, 1632, Johannes Vermeer is one of the most highly regarded Dutch artists of all time. His works have been a source of inspiration and fascination for centuries, but much of his life remains a mystery. His father, Reynier, came from a family of craftsmen in the town of Delft, and his mother, Digna, had a Flemish background.

After his baptismal record at a local church, Vermeer seems to disappear for nearly 20 years. He likely had a Calvinist upbringing. His father worked as a tavern keeper and an art merchant, and Vermeer inherited both of these business upon his father's death in 1652. The following year, Vermeer married Catherina Bolnes. Bolnes was Catholic, and Vermeer converted to her faith. The couple moved in with her mother, and would eventually have 11 children together.

Major Works

In 1653, Jan Vermeer registered with the Delft Guild as a master painter. There's no record of who he may have apprenticed under, or whether he studied locally or abroad. Vermeer definitely had at least a friendship with leading Delft painter Leonard Bramer, who became one of his early supporters. Some experts also believe that Vermeer may have been influenced by the works of Rembrandt through one of Rembrandt's students, Carel Fabritius.

The influence of Caravaggio is apparent in Vermeer's early works, including "The Procuress" (1656). The painter also explored mythology in "Diana and Her Companions" (1655-56) and religion in "Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (c. 1655). By the end of the decade, Vermeer's unique style began to emerge.

Many of Vermeer's masterworks focus on domestic scenes, including "The Milkmaid" (c. 1657-58). This depiction of a woman in the midst of her work showcases two of his trademarks: his realistic renderings of figures and objects, and his fascination with light. Many of his works have a luminous quality, including the portrait "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (1665).

Vermeer enjoyed some success in Delft, selling his works to a small number of local collectors. He also served as head of the local artistic guild for a time. However, Vermeer was not well-known outside of his community during his lifetime.

Final Years and Legacy

Jan Vermeer struggled financially in his final years, due in large part to the fact that the Dutch economy had suffered terribly after the country was invaded by France in 1672. Vermeer was deeply indebted by the time of his death; he died in Delft circa December 16, 1675.

Since his passing, Vermeer has become a world-renowned artist, and his works have been hung in many prominent museums around the globe. Despite how much he is admired today, Vermeer left behind a small legacy in terms of actual works—approximately 36 paintings have been officially attributed to the painter.

One of Vermeer's most famous works inspired the 1999 novel Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier, as well as a 2003 film adaptation of this book.

In 2018, the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery in the Hague, Netherlands, was set to embark on a two-week, noninvasive study of "Girl with a Pearl Earring." By utilizing new exploratory technologies, the museum aimed to answer centuries-old questions about Vermeer's techniques and materials used for the painting.

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Contact

Alina Sluchinskaya, 41100 Shostka, Sumy region, Ukraine
Website: www.alina-arts-gallery.com
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