EGON SCHIELE (º1890 - †1918) was an expressionist painter from Austria. Schiele's work was initially very influence by his famous mentor, Gustav Klimt (you know him, The Kiss guy), but soon (reportedly after seeing the more expressive work of Edvard Munch (The Scream guy) and Van Gogh (come on - he's probably on your umbrella)), Schiele went his own way and his oeuvre could easily be described in one word: intense. In his work, which is often seen as very sexual and disturbing, he focuses on self-portraits and portraits of others - mostly in the nude. What I love about Schiele's work is the expressive, emotional line work and the very fragile human form. It's almost like we get to see inside his mind with all his fears and lustful feelings exposed. The honesty and distorted figures can be (and are in the case of the young girls) creepy, but I think this is what makes his work very human and real. More information: MoMA on Egon Schiele
Carmen García Huerta is a Spanish graphic designer turned fashion illustrator who first became known for her smooth, airbrushed fashion illustrations (see here for an example). She since has grown tremendously as an artist and her paintings and drawings brought up immediate Schiele déjà vu's. The emotional line, the distorted figures, the raw sexual attitude. I think I love her more recent work even more because it came out of the smooth fashion illustrations - it feels like a natural reaction to the smooth over-sexualised commercial aspect of fashion. Links: Blog | Portfolio
Petra Lunenburg is a Dutch illustrator based in Amsterdam. I absolutely love the way she turns the simple, emotional, ragged lines we recognize from Schiele into something so fashionable, it makes me think differently of Schiele. Lunenburg in Vogue? Yes! Schiele, then, in Vogue - hmm why not? The young girls, the vulnerability... Her lines are just a bit thicker, bolder and to the point, but they seem to reflect a strong personality, just like Schiele's lines seem so personal. Links: Website | Agent
Finally, Igor + André is, unlike what his alias suggests, one guy. One heck of a talented guy (oh, and he's cute!). A little while back he did this really great series of portraits of bloggers! I've been following him for a while, and his style reminds me a bit of Schiele. His portraits are very delicate and... just a little 'off'. The elongated fingers, the intense looks, the distorted angles. Do you see it, too? Links: Blog | Shop
Alrighty, that's it! (I need to find a better way to wrap up these post, honestly). Hope you enjoyed that! Please let me know if you know of artists / are an artist influenced by Schiele's work and what inspired you! I'd love to hear!
--- Comment »
MIRÓ: HARMONIOUS LIKE BUGS?JOAN MIRÓ (º1893 - †1983) was a Spanish graphic designer, painter, sculptor, and ceramist from Catalan, Spain. Born in Barcelona, he is still seen as one of the fathers of surrealism, a style revolving all around dreams, psychoanalysis, and free association. The movement saw its peak between the 1920s and 40s, but the style is still very present in contemporary art, design, and illustration. His move towards abstraction has made Miró especially influential to artists and designers throughout the ages. To be honest, though - I was never a great fan of his work until my boyfriend (a lawyer, usually not the least interested in art) pointed out the brilliance in his images. As often happens when you decide to pay more attention to a thing, you start to see the charm of it. And so I have come to appreciate Miró. His work has a very naive, yet completely balanced feel to it. Although the placement of figures and lines across the picture planes might seem random at first, when you pay more attention you see how Miró craftily guides your eye from one shape to the other - the mirrored circle shapes, the scattered dark spots forming a diagonal, it's all showing you connections between seemingly unconnected shapes. Like associations and dreams. Or bugs and amoebae (<-- my boyfriend's comment). More information: MoMA
PIECES OF THE PUZZLEThe first contemporary artist I associate with Miró, is San Francisco-based Mia Christopher. Her work has the same rhythm, I think. A cadence of scattered abstracted objects and figures, coming together in form and color, leaving much of the connections for you to find through the layout and positioning of things. Also, the colors, I think. The expressive puzzle pieces fit together in color, turning it all into a big happy orchestrated mess. Links: Website | Etsy Shop
MIRÓ'S GREEK LOVECHILDNext up, Best Before, or Andreas Karaoulanis. This Greek illustrator and animator shows us something I think Miró himself would have loved if he could have seen it. Karaoulanis has the same enormously expressive style in his line and collaged based work we see in Miró, and turns these into dream-like (sometimes nightmarish) animations. It's like Miró and Karaoulanis had a lovechild with Adobe's flash. Brilliant and kind of eerie. Link: Blog/Portfolio
LOST IN TAGSAnd to be honest... that's where I ran out of ideas. I couldn't think of a third artist (besides one I had already featured in another AHT post). But you know, I am a modern gal. And so I turned to Twitter, where @hvercauter offered up a great suggestion: DeltaInc. What I like about this suggestion is that although I saw the resemblance mostly in the colors at first, after rethinking this for a couple of hours, I think I see another, more important point of comparison. I think that DeltaInc has released the same kind of abstracting, associative thinking to graffiti and contemporary patterning as Miró applied to his own circumstances. I think the 3d wall pieces and room filling installations by DeltaInc can be seen as taking the art from the streets literally onto the streets (or, you know, gallery). And I like it. So thank you Hans Vercauter for this tip! Link: Website
Whoa! Sorry for the whole lot of words there. Well, I needed to make it up to you a little because I hadn't done one of these in a while. I really need to go to museums more often and get my inspiration going!
Anyways, see you tomorrow and let me know whether Miró is your thing or whether his works kind of creep you out...
--- Comment »
Last weekend when nosing around the illustration section of the museum shop, I came across a big and beautiful book about the work of American illustrator Charley Harper. I had noticed his work earlier on, but this book really spoke to me and although I didn't get the book (it was so so beautiful, and well worth the money, but sadly enough I couldn't afford the book), I took note and decided to share his work with you on today's Art History Tuesdays. Charley Harper was a Cincinnati-based artist, working from his home studio until his death in 2007 (he was 84). He is described as being a modernist artist, because he experimented with form, shape and the boundaries of realism. He himself is said to call his style 'minimal realism' because he based himself on nature and reduced images from nature to just a few highly stylized visual elements. You can see this very clearly in the images I selected below. For example, the little red bird on the left is made up out of three elements only. Or look at the 'shared' yellow body of the three birds on the right. His work mostly appeals to me because they're both modern and folksy at the same time, through the use of amazing color and naive, sublime details hidden within its simplicity. For more information on the book: AMMO Books
So the first artist that sprung to mind when I started thinking a little more about Harper's work and his impact on the world of illustration, is Eleanor. She's a well-known illustrator from Philadelphia and is most known for her animal illustrations. And you can immediately see Harper's influence here. Look at the simple way she constructed the the swan and birds below. I love how she's added something quirky and an element of pattern to every graphic illustration. Links: Website | Blog | Shop
Then, the second artist that came to mind was illustrator and designer Dante Terzigni from Cleveland. You might have seen his work in ads, magazines and on post cards. His work always stands out to me because I love the way he's using Harper's stylized 'minimalism' and gives it a very urban feel. Links: Website | Etsy Shop
And finally, Lydia Nichols. This New York based illustrator might be a little less stylized than the other two artist I showed here, but her work reminds me of Harper's work, because of the folky aspect of it. Hmm. Let me explain... her illustrations have character, they tell a story. And although they're still simple and minimalist in shape, her sense of humor speaks from the details and expression of line. Also, I love her use of color. It's so bold! Links: Website | Blog
Well, that's it for today! I hope you enjoyed this week's Art History Tuesdays and see you tomorrow! Thank you for reading!
--- Comment »
JOHANNES VERMEER (º1632-†1675) is one of the most famous Dutch masters from the seventeenth century. Tourist from all over the world visit the Mauritshuis in The Hague to admire his painting 'The Girl with the Pearl Earring' (seen on the right). You know, the Scarlett Johansson painting. But there's so much more to Vermeer than beautiful girls and a wonderfully filmed love story. In the 19th century, Johannes Vermeer was often called 'the sphinx of Delft', because so little was known about his life, character and method of working. Even his works have very little narrative to them. The (often single) figures in his work seem part of a still life, captured while engaged in an everyday activity. Although he painted only a thirty or so works (the exact number is unclear, some are still debated to be forgeries), Vermeer has a very distinct style. His extraordinary use of light, the still life quality of the figures, and the perfect design of his canvases. Look at the way the light guides us to the woman's face in 'Woman Holding a Balance', to her hands. Or the perfect rhythm of the rectangular shape of the mirror, its diagonal with the table, her hands, and the painting in the background (depicting Christ at the Last Judgement). His paintings make me think of what our drama teacher in high school used to call 'the meaningful silences' in the scenes. Balanced, quiet, yet full of suspense. More information: Mauritshuis
It might not come as a surprise to you that two out of three of the artists I picked for today are photographers and two of them are of Dutch origin (the same ones). Many scholars believe Vermeer used a camera obscura to draft his works, and Vermeer or the style of Vermeer has proven an interesting subject for many photographers.
Someone I could not leave out in this respect (and I know you've probably seen these) is Dutch self-taught photographer Hendrik Kerstens. His magnificent photographs of his daughter Paula are simply stunning and rightfully won him the Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize in 2008 from the National Portrait Gallery London. His play with light, the suspenseful looks, the play with Dutch traditional dress, the stern colors and well... allover perfection. Dare I say he comes pretty damn close to emulating his master? Link: Website
Another Dutch photographer I simply adore, partly again for her Vermeer-like use of light, is Desirée Dolron. Again, she's famous, so you've probably seen her work around as well, but I couldn't leave her out because, well, she's absolutely brilliant. Her works in the Xteriors are breathtaking. They possess the contemplative air of Vermeer, combined with the stern blacks and blues that Holland seems to bring out in so many artists. A couple of weeks ago, a photographer said to me that neither orange (the national color), nor red, nor white, nor blue (the colors of our flag) were truly the national color of Holland. According to him it is black. The color of dirt, of mud, of soberness, of honesty and quality. I've been thinking about this and seeing Dolron's pictures, I think he might be right. Link: Website
Now, for the odd one out (I like to have an odd one out - we can't have too much black on a blog called 'The Yellow Umbrella' I think): I'd like to give you a taste of the work of Toronto-based painter Shaun Downey. I like how his paintings have a real feel of North-Americanness to them. I'm not sure if that makes sense. I guess his colors and handling paint just remind me of Edward Hopper. So why do his paintings remind me of Vermeer. Well.. do I need to tell you? The capturing of women engaged in common tasks. The light flowing in from the sides. The compositions that mirror shapes (look at the girl holding the globe - its round shape mirrored in the doorknob and the hairpiece. Or the flowers in the girl's hair and the wallpaper behind her. The play of lines between the window, the counter and the wall in the top image), reminding me of the mosaic-like structure of many Vermeer canvasses. Gorgeous! Links: Website | Blog
Well, class, that's it for today! Hope you enjoyed it!
Love, Anna Denise
--- Comment »
M. SASEK: BRILLIANT AND FORGOTTEN?This week's Art History Tuesdays post is a little different because of the fact that I did NOT study M. Sasek (º1916-†1980) in college. In fact, not a whole lot is written about him and his work, surprisingly enough. A fact I've been mildly obsessed with ever since I came across Sasek's republished books this fall. Sasek, a Czech illustrator active between the years 1959 and 1974, worked as a painter and illustrator for most of his life. He's most famous for his 'This is...' series of books about the world's great cities and countries, starting with 'This is Paris', published in 1959. The books are a marvel to the eye and feature brilliantly bright and funny illustrations of the (touristic) highlights of each city, the local means of transportation, the national dress, and the daily lives of its often diverse inhabitants. The illustrations are obviously 50s in style without feeling dated. I love the lighthearted yet grounded way his pencil worked. What I mean by that is that his illustrations are sturdy in shape and simple in their use of color, but Sasek gives them air to breathe. He combines fully colored plates, with light and airy drawings of only a few people or objects. Although Sasek's books have been out of print for over twenty years, they're slowly all being republished and can be ordered through Amazon (among others). For more information: Check out the website 'This is M. Sasek' started by Sasek-fan Anne.
CUTTING THE CRAP: BLANCA GÓMEZSo who's up first? Do you even have to ask? Blanca Gómez of course! In fact, I might be as obsessed with Gómez' work as I am with Sasek's. The subject matter, the colors, the shape of the buildings and people. It all reminds me so much of Sasek. Gómez manages to give his wordly, fifties vibe a contemporary and calming twist. Her designs are perfectly designed, flawless in their use of color and empty space. There's less 'stuff' going on in the margins. Simple and clean. That's how I like it. I LOVE YOU BLANCA! Ahem. I mean. Great work. Links: Website | Blog | Etsy Shop | Flickr
A COLOR COMBINATIONUp next is UK illustrator Thereza Rowe (aka Tiny Red). I must say, I struggled a bit with trying to explain why I see some of Sasek's spirit in her work. I suppose it's the use of color and the clear blocks of color. Of course, Rowe's work has a bit of Matisse in it, with the collaged elements, but the whimsy approach and the sturdy yet airy layouts just reminded me of my forgotten and rediscovered Czech master. Do you see what I mean, or am I not making sense? Links: Website | Blog | Shop | Flickr
BETWEEN THE LINESAnd finally, Mikko Walamies. Again, the colors stand out to me as being very similar, as well as the selective use of actual pen strokes. I love it when artists can get their image across using a subtle combination of color blocks and line work. Although I am a big fan of pen drawings with heavy shading and line work (I can't draw without using lines either), I think a lot of attention and planning goes into images that look for a combination of media. Just a touch of a mouth, an eye. No lines around the face. Love it. Links: Website | Flickr
Well, and that's it folks! I always feel like I should say something smart and reflective. Like, how the aesthetics of a forgotten master from Eastern Europe has found it's way into Spain, the UK and Finland. But I am chronically incapable of making wise statements that don't sound corny, so I'm going to stick with that I hope you've enjoyed this post. Please do let me know what you think of Art History Tuesdays!
--- Comment »
Alphonse Maria Mucha (º1860–†1939) was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist commonly seen as one of the fathers of the 'Art Nouveau' or 'Jugendstil' style (along with artists like Gustav Klimt, architects Antoni Gaudí and Victor Horta, each of whom interpreted the style in their own individual manner). During his lifetime, Mucha created an enormous amount of paintings, posters, ads and illustrations for commercial and non-commercial purposes. Mucha's style became best known for his beautiful and sometimes slightly erotic images of strong women encapsulated in flowing lines, hair, and robes, surrounded by lush flowers and nature. Inspired by Czech traditional art and Christian iconography, Mucha insisted his art existed only to convey a spiritual message. Nevertheless, his softly colored work became hugely popular commercially and inspired artists around the world to convey their artistic message in an aesthetically pleasing and decorative form. At the time of Mucha's death, his style was deemed outdated, but in the 1960s it saw a strong revival. Today, I know people who love Mucha and people who loathe Mucha's work. Let it be obvious that I fall in the first category of people.
The first artist that directly came to my mind when trying to think of modern counterparts to Mucha's work was Audrey Kawasaki. It's not surprising then, that Kawasaki states both Art Nouveau and manga illustration (a genre highly influenced by the work of Mucha) as her influences. Her work is so enigmatic. It's both cute and erotic, dreamy and nightmarish. Her work sometimes makes me blush, as I am sure people did back when Mucha's work was first published, but oh wow... that softness conquers all shame, doesn't it? I love you, Audrey Kawasaki! Links: Website | Blog | Shop
Second on mu list is Stina Persson, an illustrator from Stockholm, Sweden. Her work very much reminds me of the psychedelic Art Nouveau-inspired art that was made in during the 1960s. Her colors are a lot brighter than Mucha's work ever was, but it works great. It's so fresh, more open and very creative, it's no wonder big companies have picked up on her work (as was the case with Mucha of course). Her ads are amazing. Here's one she did for Godiva. Wonderful wonderful work. Links: Website | Shop
Finally, some paintings by Charmaine Olivia remind me of Mucha. The beautiful, strong women. The halo's. The nakedness. The soft hardness of their bodies. Pretty and intense at the same time. Love it. Links: Website | Blog | Shop
Hope you liked this week's Art History Tuesday! Have a wonderful day!!! Comment »
Frida Kahlo (º1907-†1954) must be the most popular female artist that ever lived. Her lifelong health problems, her tumultuous relationship with painter Diego Rivera, her love affair with Trotsky, and her involvement with the Mexican communist party are all stellar movie material. It's therefore not surprising that her story has inspired many artists, writers and directors alike. So yes, it does feel a bit corny to have one of the first 'Art History Tuesdays' be about Frida Kahlo, but I do love her work, so let's get this over with, shall we? A large part of Kahlo's oeuvre is made up out of self portraits (55 out of 143 paintings); a subject that throughout her disabling back problems and times spent in bed was always at hand. Her dramatic and highly autobiographic self portraits are loaded with symbols inspired by traditional Mexican culture, although we often discern Judeo-Christian themes in her work as well. The bright, almost cheerful, colors of her work contrast with the grim personal experiences and suffering she depicts. Although Frida Kahlo acquired worldwide fame only after her death in 1954 (at the age of 47), she gained some recognition in 1939, when her work was featured at an exhibition in Paris.
Source: Frida Kahlo Foundation
One of the main reasons I wanted to do an Art History Tuesday post about Frida Kahlo, is because I really wanted to showcase some of the amazing artists whose work reminds me of that of Kahlo. Perhaps it's a mere coincidence, but the first artist that came to mind was Yoda Navarrete (aka Lady Orlando) is a Mexican female artist with a knack for drawing stunning portraits. The intense symbolism and super-refined portraits remind me of Kahlo's in their intensity, but have a completely unique character. Soft, yet rebellious. Links: Flickr
I have shown some of Samantha Zaza's work here before, and I will again here. She's one of the most talented artists I've been so fortunate as to have met in person. Her line work is phenomenal and her self-portraits are not only stunningly real, they convey so much emotion and attention to symbolic detail. Kahlo, watch out! Links: Website | Blog | Flickr
I only just came across Ola Bell's photo's, but I hope you will be as pleased with them as I was when I first saw them. Her self portaits in particular really grabbed my attention. They're Kahlo meets Vermeer plus word jokes. And yes, I am a dork. I love word jokes. Links: Website | Flickr | Reproductions
Annnddd that's it for this week. Sorry to put this post up so late. My website was hacked yesterday evening and it took me a bit to recover from that. Nothing too serious, but it felt just like having your bike stolen. "WWHHHHYYYYYYYY GOOOODDDD WHYYY MEEE????? THAT BIKE WAS MINE! Imgoingtocatchethebastardandhanghimbyhisballs" Ahem. Child friendly, Anna, family oriented. Anyways. Ten bonus points for those who recognized Samantha Zaza in Yoda Navarrete's second portrait! Yes, artists seem to socialize as well. Disturbing, I know.
Have a fun evening!
--- Comment »
Wayne Thiebaud (º1920) is an American Pop Art painter most commonly known for his paintings of cakes, pastries and toys. His name is often mentioned in association with Pop Art veterans like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. This categorization is mainly a result from Thiebaud’s participation in the exhibition ‘New Painting of Common Object’ in the Pasadena Art Museum (California) in 1962. This exhibition was one of the first retrospective exhibitions on Pop Art and contributed to the recognition of Pop Art as a serious art form in the sixties. Even though at first glance, Thiebauds work seems to fit in seemlessly with the Pop Art movement judging by his literal focus on consumer goods, it seems that Thiebaud lacked the socially critical attitude that characterized the Pop Art movement. Thiebaud himself actually admitted in interviews to being much more interested in adopting a formalist, almost Modernist approach to his work. The work of Thiebaud is much more a personal exercise in shapes and textures than that of Liechtenstein or Warhol, who eliminated all textural depth from their work by using silkscreen techniques. The frost on Thiebaud’s spherical cakes seems to almost melt in front of your very eyes. The ‘most hungry painter of America’ was hungry for a lushness of texture, for the feel of paint and for the love of the art. My love for Thiebaud’s work comes from this obvious desire for and pleasure in the exploring the edges of the art of painting, within the confines of deliciously light subject-matter. Just because you’re a serious artist, you don’t have to be serious all the time, do you?
Source: Wayne Thiebaud at the SFMOMA
Although it might sound counter-intuitive, I think I mostly find the spirit of Thiebaud in the uncomplicated realm of food photography. Thiebauds work was about playing with textures and shapes by turning the edible into art. Consumption into shapes. I think this is what stands out for me in the work of Hannah from Honey & Jam (below on the left) and Helen from Tartelette (below on the right). For these food bloggers and -photographers, finding the aesthetically pleasing side of food is not just a hobby, it's a way of life. Never thought you would actually want to pay money for pictures of food? Check out Hannah and Helen's shops below and think again. Links for Honey & Jam: Blog | Etsy Shop | Flickr
Links for Tartelette: Blog | Etsy Shop | Flickr
Of course, if there's anyone out there who seems to take the heritage of Thiebaud seriously, it's Carroll Gillott of Paris Breakfast. This New York City-based watercolor artists travels to Paris about four times a year to paint the most delicious pictures of her food. Her images really capture the whimsy elegance of Paris, I think. She also hits all the right chords with me where it comes to Thiebaudièsque (hows that for a new word?) color combinations. Lovely! Links: Blog | Etsy Shop | Flickr
I couldn't write this post without showing you the wonderful illustrations Sandra Juto did of a pie counter and cup cakes. Although, unlike Thiebaud, her oeuvre doesn't have a distinct focus on consumerism or consumption in the literal sense - these were just too wonderful not to mention. Juto investigates the basic shapes of the food in such a straightforward manner it almost (but not completely) flattens out the image. I like the tension this results in. The overlap and forced perspective combined with the flattened out foods works just right. Links: Website | Blog | Shop | Flickr
Hungry yet? Because if not, I think this picture of by Jane Potrykus might do the trick? I just thought this beautiful picture could easily BE a painting by Thiebaud. Now, Jane isn't a food blogger - in fact she's behind the most brilliant blog called Simple + Pretty that focuses on paper goods ands other pretty things. So click on that chocolate cake. You won't regret it! Links: Blog | Flickr
So there we go! Our first 'Art History Tuesdays' post is in the can! Let me know whether you liked this post and if you'd like to see more of it! Also, if there's a favorite artist you'd like me to focus on - leave a comment! I'm always open to suggestions and ideas! Have a beautiful (and delicious) Tuesday!
--- Comment »