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ART 4 2-DAY 22 April
Died on 22 April 1945: Käthe
Kollwitz, German Expressionist
printmaker and sculptor born on 08 July 1867, specialized in Self-Portraits.
[I won't say anything: only cold wits would make fun of Kollwitz]
— She received her first art tuition from Rudolph Mauer (1845–1905) in Königsberg in 1881. She continued her training in 1885 in Berlin under Karl Stauffer-Bern and in 1888 under Ludwig Herterich [1856–1932] in Munich. Influenced by the prints of Max Klinger, which had been brought to her attention by Stauffer-Bern, she devoted herself to this form and gave up painting after 1890. She first produced etchings and lithographs but later also woodcuts. From 1891 she lived in Berlin where she had her first success: the portfolio of three lithographs and three etchings, A Weavers’ Revolt (1898), inspired by Gerhard Hauptmann’s play Die Weber, was shown at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung. Kollwitz joined the Secession in Berlin and was appointed to a special teaching post at the Künstlerinnenschule.
Selbstbildnis mit der Hand an der Kopf (1910, 16x14cm) _ headache? Selbstbildnis von vorn (1923, 15x16cm) _ insomnia? Selbstbildnis im Profil nach Rechts (1938, 48x29cm) Kleines Selbstbildnis nach links (1922, 19x13cm) _ depression? Selbstibildnis am Tisch, II. Fassung (1893, 18x13cm) _ burning the midnight oil... er... gas? Kleines Selbstbildnis (1920, 24x20cm) _ small? It's bigger than the others! ... but not happier. Selbstbildnis (1921, 22x27cm) _ earache? Hamburger Kneipe (19x25cm) _ not a hamburger joint... just a tavern in Hamburg. 61 prints at FAMSF .
Born on 22 April 1840: Odilon
Redon, French Symbolist
painter and lithographer who died on 06 July 1916.
— An artist of considerable poetic sensitivity and imagination, Redon developed his work along two divergent lines. His prints explore haunting, fantastic, and sometimes macabre themes and foreshadowed the Surrealist and Dadaist movements. His oils and pastels, chiefly still lifes with flowers, won him the admiration of Henri Matisse and other painters as an important colorist.
The greatest of the French Symbolists. He was a student of Stanislas Gorin at Bordeaux, of Gerôme at the Paris Beaux-Arts, and finally of Rodolphe Bresdin. In 1870 he settled in Paris. Worked at first with charcoal. In 1879, published a first series of lithographs In Dream. Others were to follow. In 1884, he took part in the Salon des Indépendants of which he was one of the founders, and in the Salon of the XX in Brussels (in 1886,1887 and 1890). A friend of Mallarmé, Francis Jammes, Jean Moréas and Paul Valéry. He took up pastels and color in the 1890s. His finest creations are those in which his supple draughtsmanship and rare, phosphorescent colors evoke a mythical universe. It is no coincidence that these evocative images, whose sumptuous line encloses dream-like colors, attracted the praise of the Symbolist writers, from Stéphane Mallarmé to J-K Huysmans. He was admired by painters as various as Gauguin, Émile Bernard, Matisse and the Nabis, who dragged him out of his retirement. Painting was, for Redon, a way of escaping his own psychological problems, problems as "literary" as those of Gustave Moreau, whom he knew and admired.
Odilon Redon was born in Bordeaux. His albums of lithographs, such as Dans le rêve (1879) and La nuit (1886), show a dramatic range from deep blacks to vivid whites. In such works Redon, like his friends the Symbolist writers, strove to give form to ideas, especially his own thoughts, emotions, and dreams. He was also inspired by literature and biology. After 1890 he turned to oils and pastels. His brilliantly colored flowers, landscapes, and literary subjects have a romantic, dreamlike quality, as, for example, Vase of Flowers (1914) and Orpheus (1903). Redon is considered a precursor of Surrealism.
Redon was one of the outstanding figures of Symbolism. He had a retiring life, first in his native Bordeaux, then from 1870 in Paris, and until he was in his fifties he worked almost exclusively in black and white, in charcoal drawings and lithographs. In these he developed a highly distinctive repertoire of weird subjects (strange amoeboid creatures, insects, and plants with human heads and so on), influenced by the writings of Edgar Allen Poe. He remained virtually unknown to the public until the publication of J.K. Huysmans's celebrated novel A Rebours in 1884; the book's hero, a disenchanted aristocrat who lives in a private world of perverse delights, collects Redon's drawings, and with his mention in this classic expression of decadence, Redon too became associated with the movement. During the 1890s Redon turned to painting and revealed remarkable powers as a colorist that had lain dormant. Much of his early life had been unhappy, but after undergoing a religious crisis in the early 1890s and a serious illness in 1894-95, he was transformed into a much more buoyant and cheerful personality, expressing himself in radiant colors in mythological scenes and flower paintings. He showed equal facility in oils and pastel. The flower pieces, in particular, were much admired by Matisse, and the Surrealists regarded Redon as one of their precursors. He was a distinguished figure by the end of his life, although still a very private person.
Standing outside trends and movements, Odilon Redon, a native of Bordeaux, produced a rich and enigmatic corpus: “Like music”, he said, “my drawings transport us to the ambiguous world of the indeterminate.” In contrast with Goya's monsters and Kubin's nightmare visions, his work is imbued with a melancholy passivity. While origins of this disposition must be sought in the artist's experience, the overall effect is entirely consistent with the moods of Symbolism: nocturnal, autumnal, and lunar rather than solar. During the early part of Redon's career, the nocturnal did indeed predominate. Only later did he admit the light of day. His mature production began around 1875 when Redon entered the shadowy world of charcoal and the lithographer's stone. This period yielded sequences such as Guardian Spirit of the Waters (1878, 47x38cm; 1028x831pix, 214kb) and Cactus Man (1881, 49x32cm; 1137x744pix, 263kb). Redon made it clear that they had been inspired by his dreams, and they inspire in the spectator a conviction like that of dreams.
It was only in the 1890s that he began to use the luminous, musical tones of pastel and oils. These became the dominant media of the last fifteen years of his life. Redon's art was always commanded by his dreams, but the thematic content of his work over his last twenty years is more densely mythical, brimming with newfound hope and light which rose quite unexpectedly out of the depths of the artist's personality. This is particularly apparent in the various canvasses depicting the chariot of Apollo, the god of the sun.
Self-Portrait (1880) — Figure (1876) — Small Bust of a Young Girl (1884) — The Chalice of Becoming (1894) — Ari Redon (1898) — Christ on the Cross (1900) — The Crucifixion — Yachts at Royan (1902) Maurice Denis (1903 monochrome lithograph 23x21cm) — Still Life: the Dream (1904) — a different The Dream Orpheus (1905, 60x47cm) — Bazon, mon Chat (1905) The Raven (1882) Christ and His Disciples — Woman with Flowers
— Buddah Walking Among the Flowers (1905) Buddha (1906) — The Buddha (1909)
— The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian (1910) _ just after the first two arrows barely missed him — a different Saint Sebastian (1910) _ with an arrow in the left thigh, but he is not bleeding yet another Saint Sebastian (1910) _ the arrow in the thigh is gone, but now he is stuck by two big arrows in his right side, but still not bleeding
— The Red Sphinx (1912) The Cyclops (1914, 64x51cm) Homage to Leonardo da Vinci (1908) Flowers (1903, 66x55cm) Flower Clouds (1903, 44x54cm) Profile and Flowers (1912, 70x55cm) La coquille (1912, 51x58cm)
Virgin with Corona (1898) _ The artist, who acknowledged that he had set in his works a little door opening on mystery, has left us this single comment concerning this pastel: Dark brown sky, with clouds, violet and red; left, a haloed being on a boat, golden sheaves in the prow, and a kind of blue phosphorescence on the water, like a will-o-the-wisp.
— The Angel of Destiny _ This malefic vision under a perfect sky is an exact expression of the contrasts to be found in the Symbolist imagination. The motif of the boat is probably borrowed from the funeral myths of ancient Egypt.
— 243 images at Webshots 49 prints at FAMSF
“Old” Crome was the founder of the Norwich School of painters. He was born in Norwich, the son of a weaver, and remained in that town for his whole life, making one trip to Wales, one to Paris, and otherwise contenting himself with a yearly visit to London to see the Academy Exhibition. He was first apprenticed to a coach-painter, but spent his leisure time painting in oils, being largely self-taught. He was influenced somewhat by various Dutch painters whose work he had the opportunity to study, particularly Hobbema [1638-1709] and Ruisdael [1628-1692], and also was inspired by Richard Wilson [1713-1782] in his early work. From 1807 to 1818 he sent a dozen pictures to the Royal Academy, but otherwise showed his works in Norwich. Crome's major works were realist landscapes in oil, but he also helped to revive etching in England, producing a series of plates from about 1809-13. His oil paintings numbered about 300, quite impressive given that he spent so much time teaching. Crome had a strong influence on his many students, and among his followers may be mentioned James Stark, George Vincent, and his own son, John Berney Crome [08 Dec 1794 15 Sep 1842], who produced scenes of shipping and landscapes in moonlight. [Are chrome-plated frames suitable for Crome-painted landscapes?]
— The son of a journeyman weaver, Crome was apprenticed to a coach and sign painter, Francis Whisler, from 1783 to 1790. He presumably continued in this trade and during the 1790s consolidated his artistic training. Early local influences upon Crome included William Beechey and John Opie, but the friendship of Thomas Harvey, a patron, collector and amateur artist, was the most significant. Harvey’s collection included works by Dutch 17th-century masters such as Aelbert Cuyp, Jacob van Ruisdael and Meindert Hobbema, and also works by Gainsborough and Richard Wilson. The earliest record of Wilson’s influence is provided by two oils entitled Composition in the Style of Wilson, dated 1796 and 1798 in Crome’s Memorial Exhibition of 1821. The Dutch influence was also strong throughout Crome’s career. Crome’s early acquaintance with Harvey and his collection almost certainly encouraged him to become a collector, and the Yarmouth banker Dawson Turner recorded buying pictures from Crome, including Old Masters as well as the artist’s own work.
Yarmouth Beach Looking North - Morning (1819) — Moonlight on the Yare (1816) — Wooded Lane
— Norwich River: Afternoon (1819, 71x100cm) _ In this late masterpiece Crome shows an idyllic view of the river Wensum running through Norwich. The glassy reflections on the water show there is no breeze and only a few pink-edged clouds pass across the limpid blue sky. The golden tone of the light shows Crome responding to the works of Cuyp. The figures in the boat, one reaching to touch his reflection in the water, gently animate this otherwise still scene. Born and bred in Norwich, the artist painted the
Born on 22 April 1922: Richard
Diebenkorn, US artist who died on 30 March 1993. He had
a fixation on the Ace of Spades. [Also known as Pop Korn?]
Born in Portland, Oregon. Family moved to San Francisco in 1924 where Diebenkorn graduated from Lowell High School and entered Stanford University in 1940; at Stanford, studied under Victor Arnautoff and Daniel Mendelowitz; married Phyllis Gilman in June 1943 with whom he had two children, Gretchen (born 1945) and Christopher (born 1947); served with the US Marines from 1943-1945; while serving in the war came under the influence of Bonnard [1867-1947], Picasso [25 Oct 1881 – 08 Apr 1973], Braque [1882-1963], and Matisse in the Phillips Collection. Continued his studies at the California School of Fine Arts in 1946 on the G. I. Bill, under the influence of members of the New York School, particularly Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still; received Albert Bender Grant-in-Aid Fellowship, living for a year in Woodstock, NY; returned to San Francisco, teaching at the California School of Fine Arts until 1950; had his first one-man exhibition at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in 1948; received his B.A. from Stanford in 1949; in 1950, he entered the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque and received his M. F. A. in 1951; in 1963, he was artist in residence at Stanford University; in 1966, he moved to Santa Monica, engaged by the University of California at Los Angeles until 1973 as Professor of Art; moved to Healdsburg in northern California in 1988; died of respiratory failure, in Berkeley, California.
In 1967, Diebenkorn turned away from his widely admired figural style fluid, awkward, loosely evocative of Bonnard but less florid and more athletic-to return, to be sure with some marked differences, to the abstractionist imperatives he had just as abruptly put aside a dozen years before. His career thus falls naturally into three phases-or two phases of abstraction with a prolonged figurationist interlude-but this bland periodization fails to do justice to the unfolding narrative of his artistic discoveries. His figures were after all but regimentations of the same urgent and sweeping gestures that were the mark of his driving first abstractionist manner, and were set into pictorial spaces that did not exist in painting before Abstract Expressionism reinvented space. And the post-1967 abstractions have seemed to many sufficiently referential so that it is a critical commonplace to see them as suffused with a special California light, and as dense with coastal allusions to sky, ocean, seaside and sun, tawny hills, bleached architecture, sharp shadows and angular illuminations, green expanses and glimpsed distant blues, and possibly haunted by the erasure of human presences. Nor does the chronicle "abstraction-figuration-abstraction" adequately acknowledge the extreme determination, the aesthetic courage it had to have required first to shift from abstraction to "the image" at a time when such a change was perceived within the art world as something momentous, like a conversion or a betrayal or a heretical declaration, and then, at a time when one's great reputation was based upon the marvelous posing of figures in landscapes or interiors that looked like abstractions anyway, when pure abstraction was no longer the True Faith but only one of the ways to do things in an art world gone slack and pluralistic, to return to abstraction as one's own truth. Both changes are evidence of a certain dogged integrity, and were perhaps among the benefits of growing a career in California, away from the style wars and the critical fire storms of New York, with its fevered obsessions with where one fits, with who is in and which is out and what is new, fading, dated and dead.
In a sense, nothing has been new with Diebenkorn since 1967, when he exhibited the first paintings in what was to lengthen into an extraordinary series. These are the Ocean Park paintings large canvases, each bearing the same title, Ocean Park, but individuated with a number that indicates, presumably, the order of its completion. The series had reached number 140 by late last year, which allows a rough calculation of Diebenkorn's annual output, though he has concurrently produced a number of works-on-paper, titled Untitled but recognizably answering to the same impulses that give rise to the Ocean Park paintings. Ocean Park itself is a community near Santa Monica, where Diebenkorn traces a daily path between home and studio, but whether or not these works make the topical references to local landscape with which they are credited, they clearly are something more than abstractions with recurrent compositional motifs, cadences, pastel tonalities, scumbled fields and tapelike forms, and stunning juxtapositions of color swept on with masterful brushwork. Each of them, for example, displays the submerged record of its own realization, and so distinctive are the pentimenti in Diebenkom's art that each painting carries within itself the visible history of the artist's search. The nearest parallel, perhaps, would be the great drawings of Rembrandt, in which certain crowded lines converge on the sought-after contour so that the drawing and its draw-ing are one, process and fulfillment inseparable. It is possible to imagine a writer, misguided by the recent privileging of l'ecriture who publishes a work that exhibits the labor of writing it, with all the first lines, the crossed-out sentences, whited-out lines with fragments of letters showing through and scribbled insertions between the lines and up the margins. Whatever such a text started out to be about, it would in the end have to be about its own processes, self-exemplificatory. In my view, Diebenkom's paintings are less about the bright skies and long horizons of Ocean Park than about the act of painting, as if the works had become more and more their own subjects and the external references stand at best as indications of what the painting is not about Ceci nest pas un paysage! In this sense, and despite his notorious employment of mechanical straightedges, Diebenkorn has not moved greatly beyond the premises of Abstract Expressionism, which always insisted that the painting was the paint-ing, its final subject and only reference. On the other hand, nothing could more vividly illuminate the difference between painting and writing as arts than the extreme power and beauty, the elegance and excitement of the Ocean Park paintings, and the tiresomeness of the piece of writing I just imagined, with which no one, unless perhaps a member of Yale's Department of English, could have the slightest patience.
is instructive to compare Diebenkorn as an artist with his somewhat older
fellow Californian (and Stanford alumnus) Robert
Motherwell [1915-1991], who has also produced an extraordinary series:
to the Spanish Republic #34 was painted in 1954, and number
132 was completed in 1983. "Diebenkorn," Motherwell once said, "is what
I would have become if I had had his talent but remained in California instead
of moving to New York." The Spanish Elegies and the Ocean Park paintings
are at the pinnacle of contemporary painting, but the differences in their
inspiration and spiritual provenance are profound. Motherwell wrote about
the Spanish Elegies that they are "for the most part, public statements.
[They] reflect the internationalist in me, interested in the historical
forces of the twentieth century, with strong feelings about the conflicting
forces in it." By contrast, Motherwell says of his collages that they are
"intimate and private." Now, I do not believe, of any of Diebenkorn's works,
that the category of privacy or intimacy especially applies. They are as
public as scientific experiments, open investigations into the resolution
of pictorial tensions or conquests of painterly difficulties. But neither
are they "public statements" which could be construed as dealing with any
issues other than the issues of painting. It was as if even the somewhat
blank figures of Diebenkorn's middle period were ill at ease in their paintings,
and distractions from Diebenkorn's deepest preoccupations. "Spain" denotes
a land of suffering and poetic violence and political agony, and "Elegy"
carries the literary weight of tragedy and disciplined lamentation. It would
be inconsistent for works so titled to reflect back merely upon their own
processes, and in truth one cannot see Spanish Elegy 132 without feeling
oneself in the presence of some human revelation as deep as painting allows.
As a term, "Ocean Park" belongs to the hopeful vocabulary of the real estate developer, and designates an archetypal suburban locus in Southern California Ocean Park. No. 133 could be an address. But in any case Ocean Park is but the site, perhaps distantly the occasion for a work that makes and needs no references. And the miracle is that works so circumscribed in subject, substance, meaning and feeling should be so overwhelming when viewed as altogether to obliterate their circumstances and limits. The miracle is that the country mouse/ city mouse difference between these two masters should finally count for so little in terms of their comparable achievements. There is finally a fierce beauty in Diebenkom's work that marks a limit in our critical competence to explain it.
Aside from the two decisions that articulate his corpus, Diebenkorn's life is really more a career than a biography, like that of a successful academic. It is an exemplary life, but not an outwardly interesting one: the story of schools attended, positions held, group shows, traveling retrospectives, prizes won and a growing, finally a global recognition. It is an exemplary life because of its absolute commitment, as if the decisions to remain in California and to stay within a single and evidently deeply fulfilling marriage were so many ways of keeping distraction at bay. In this sense, I suppose, the life and the work are of a piece, for the art, too, is a systematic and sustained effort to expunge from itself whatever is other than itself. Even the numerated laconic titles bear out what we might think of, in Sartrian terms, as the original choice that defined the project. The work is tentative and confident at once, as if the doubts which the individual works preserve and display were required in order that they should be overcome in the dazzling works to which they lead. There is a marvelous moment in a recent profile of Diebenkorn by Dan Hofstadter in The New Yorker which brings out both sides. Diebenkorn was expressing to an intimate his doubts about being up to the task of painting. The intimate said, "OK, Dick. How many people in the world do you think paint as well as you do?" Hofstadter tells us that Diebenkorn thought for a long time, and then he just laughed. Unremitting doubt as to one's adequacy to the task one knows no one is better suited for than oneself: those are the coordinates of his personality and in an odd way the content of his work.
Born in Portland, Oregon, and reared in San Francisco, Richard Diebenkorn found his earliest artistic inspiration on the opposite coast during World War II. While stationed at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, he visited a Washington DC gallery and saw the work of Henri Matisse [1869-1954] for the first time. Matisse's technical mastery and his revisiting of subjects in multiple paintings the view from a window, for instance made a lasting impression on Diebenkorn. Diebenkorn's work from the postwar era of the late 1940s and early '50s was influenced by Willem de Kooning and other masters of the innovative Abstract Expressionist style. But even at the height of Abstract Expressionism, Diebenkorn's work retained a connection to landscape painting. In 1954 Life magazine called his work "abstract landscape," a term which could be applied to the Ocean Park series. Diebenkorn began the series, which would eventually grow to more than 140 paintings, in 1966 while teaching at UCLA. (He taught for much of his life, including posts at the California School of Fine Arts and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.) Daily walks to his studio took him through the Santa Monica Park, which he explored in this series of large canvases. The paintings echo each other: Formal aspects the ruler-straight lines, some visible, others almost rubbed out and the sensuous blended colors recur in most. But each finds this "abstract landscape" in a different mood almost becoming a chronicle of the light and composition at play in the park and the adjoining ocean. Never a doctrinaire Abstract painter or Realist painter, Diebenkorn rejected identification with any one school. Indeed, the Ocean Park series, the culmination of his work as an artist, may be seen as a combination of abstract, realistic, and specifically Californian approaches to art.
— Self-Portrait (1980, 49x34cm) Phyllis (1965, 21x18cm) Passage I (1990, 75x51cm) Blue with Red (1987) _ almost all blue, a little black, a little gray, hardly any red — Walking Figures with Spade (1980, 18x13cm) Tri-Color (1981, 76x56cm) Tri-Color II (1981, 48x45cm) — Blue Club (1981, 95x76cm) — Sugarlift Spade (1982, 41x38cm) Eiffelspade (1982, 22x17cm) — Spade Drypoint (1982, 26x23cm) — Tri-Color Spade (1982, 25x23cm) — Green Tree Spade, 1982 Color aquatint and spit bite aquatint 22.7 x 30 cm — Combination (1981, 79x61cm) Spreading Spade (1981, 93x79cm) Seated Woman (1965, 32x43cm) Ocean Park Series #49 (1972, 236x206cm) 402 prints at FAMSF (including 53 featuring the ace of spade)