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ART “4” “2”-DAY  26 February
BIRTHS: 1821 ZIEM — 1915 ANGUIANO — 1836 VEDDER — 1878 MALEVICH — 1802 HUGO
^ Born on 26 (21?) February 1821: Félix~François~Georges~Philibert Ziem, (or Siem), French painter, specialized in Veniscapes, who died on 11 November 1911 {at 11:11:11 ?}.
— He studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Dijon until he was expelled in 1838 for unruly behavior. In 1839 he left for Marseille, where he was Clerk of Works on the construction of the Marseille canal. In November 1839 he was noticed by Ferdinand Philippe, Duc d’Orléans, who accepted two watercolors that Ziem presented to him and commissioned a further six. This first success decided Ziem’s vocation, and he started a drawing class that was attended by Louis Auguste Laurent Aiguier [1819–1865] and Adolphe Monticelli. During this period he also encountered the Provençal artists Émile Loubon [1809–1863], Prosper Grésy [1804–1874] and Gustave Ricard.
Drawing portrait of Ziem

(54x81cm; 288kb)
Grand Canal, Venise (55x88cm) — Le coup de canon (69x112cm)
On the banks of the Bosphorus (45x77cm) — On the Venetian Lagoon
Gloire de Venise (55x77cm) — Campement (84x115cm)
Constantinople (56x81cm) — Constantinople au Soleil Couchant (69x112cm)
Le Pont de bois à Venise — (43x63cm) — Scène Venétienne (69x95cm)
Un Port Oriental (23x28cm) — Venise, Le Grand Canal (68x107cm)
^ Born on 26 February 1915: Raúl Anguiano Valadez, Mexican painter.
— Anguiano, born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, developed a portentous work in his beginnings; was medullary part of the movement "Jóvenes Pintores de Jalisco", cofounder of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana and of the Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura La Esmeralda, also cofounder of the Taller de la Gráfica Popular and member of the League of Revolutionary Writers and Artists. His initial work was based in a realistic mexican vision that touched in moments the universe of dreams; without concessions, the young Anguiano created works worthy of recognition as the legacy of a great master and "The thorn" is a forceful example. Already in his last years, the master Anguiano has led to a work that is far from his original plastic motivations.

The Thorn (1966, 110x159cm) _ This is a work that with masterful stroke, attests the life of the lacandones in the jungle of Chiapas; work accomplished in acrylic on canvas, presents an indian with knife in hand who is taken a thorn from the sole of the foot, the environment is that of desolation and leads the spectator to sense a precarious feeling in which live these indigenous of Mexico. As the background we can observed a devastated jungle, the large tree stumps show the destructive hand of man that is going leveling his environment. This work is a judgment about the presence of man as a destructive element of an unrepeatable planet.
^ Born on 26 February 1836: Elihu Vedder, in Rome, US Symbolist painter, illustrator, sculptor, and writer, who died on 29 January 1923.
— He studied under Tompkins Harrison Matteson in Shelbourne, NY, and went to Paris in March 1856. After eight months in the studio of François-Edouard Picot, he settled in Florence until the end of 1860. There he learnt drawing from Raffaello Bonaiuti, became interested in the Florentine Renaissance and attended the free Accademia Galli. A more significant artistic inspiration came from the Italian artists at the Caffè Michelangiolo: Telemaco Signorini, Vincenzo Cabianca [1827–1902] and especially Nino Costa [1827–1902]. This group sought new and untraditional pictorial solutions for their compositions and plein-air landscapes and were particularly interested in the experiences of Gustave Courbet and the Barbizon painters. They became known as Macchiaioli for their use of splashes (macchia) of light and shadows and for their revolutionary (maquis) attitude to prevailing styles. Among Vedder’s most notable Florentine landscapes are Mugnone Torrent near Fiesole and Le Balze, Volterra; he also made many sketches, drawings and pastels of the Tyrrhenian coast, Lake Trasimene, the Roman Campagna, Egypt and Capri, which exemplify the realistic approach to landscape practiced by the artists of the Macchiaioli.

The Sphinx of the Seashore (1879, 41x71cm; half-size _ ZOOM to full size)
Dominicans. A Convent Garden, near Florence (1859, 29x24cm; 5/6 size)
Bed of the Torrent Mugnone, near Florence (1864, 17x41cm; 5/6 size)
The cup of Death (1885, 113x53cm) — Memory (1870, 52x37cm)
Lair of the Sea Serpent (1880, 41x71cm)
Death of Abel (The Dead Abel) (1869, 31x116cm)
Listening to the Sphinx (1859, 569x700pix, 87kb)
The Rescue (study) (1864, 10x16cm)
^ Born on 26 February 1878: Kazimir Severinovich Malevich, Ukrainian Cubist painter who died on 15 May 1935, persecuted by the Soviet authorities. His artwork was collected by Nikolai Khardzhiev, and was plundered by crooks when Khardzhiev left the Soviet Union in 1993. — {His name is NOT to be spelled Male-Witch.}
— Malevich was born near Kiev. He studied at the Moscow Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in 1903. During the early years of his career, he experimented with various Modernist styles and participated in avant-garde exhibitions, such as those of the Moscow Artists’ Association, which included Vasily Kandinsky [04 Dec 1866 – 13 Dec 1944] and Mikhail Larionov, and the Jack of Diamonds exhibition of 1910 in Moscow. Malevich showed his Primitivist paintings of peasants at the exhibition Donkey’s Tail in 1912. After this exhibition, he broke with Larionov’s group.
      In 1913, with composer Mikhail Matiushin and writer Alexei Kruchenykh, Malevich drafted a manifesto for the First Futurist Congress. That same year, he designed the sets and costumes for the opera Victory over the Sun by Matiushin and Kruchenykh. Malevich showed at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris in 1914. At The Last Futurist Exhibition in Petrograd in 1915, Malevich introduced his non-objective, geometric Suprematist paintings. In 1919, he began to explore the three-dimensional applications of Suprematism in architectural models.
     About 1914, after two years of painting in a Cubo-Futurist style, Malevich began to work in an abstract style, which he called Suprematism. For Malevich, the guiding principle of Suprematism was “the supremacy of pure sensation in creative art,” best represented by the square, which he considered the most elementary, basic, and thus supreme formal element; but he increasingly combined the square with the circle, other geometric shapes, and even curved lines. He began by limiting himself in his Suprematist paintings to black, white, gray, and red, but he expanded his palette as his compositions became more complex.
      Malevich, like other artists of his time, believed that the external world could no longer serve as the basis for art, which had, instead, to explore pure non-objective abstraction in the search for visual analogues to experience, both conscious and unconscious. As he wrote in 1915, “Nothing is real except sensation . . . the sensation of non-objectivity.” He first showed his Suprematist works at The Last Futurist Exhibition in St. Petersburg in December 1915. The exhibition, which included a broad sampling of then-current tendencies in Russian avant-garde painting, has become famous for inaugurating the two directions that would largely govern artistic production in Russia (including architecture, graphic design, theater, and the decorative arts) for the next seven years: Suprematism, and the closely related (although more socially oriented) movement Constructivism [more]. Other artists affiliated with Suprematism include Ilya Chashnik, Ivan Kliun, El Lissitzky [23 Nov 189030 Dec 1941], Liubov Popova, Ivan Puni, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Olga Rozanova, Nikolai Suetin, and Nadezhda Udaltsova.
      Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Malevich and other advanced artists were encouraged by the Soviet government and attained prominent administrative and teaching positions.
      Malevich began teaching at the Vitebsk Popular Art School in 1919; he soon became its director. In 1919–20, he was given a solo show at the Sixteenth State Exhibition in Moscow, which focused on Suprematism and other non-objective styles. Malevich and his students at Vitebsk formed the Suprematist group Unovis. From 1922 to 1927, he taught at the Institute of Artistic Culture in Petrograd, and between 1924 and 1926 he worked primarily on architectural models with his students.
      In 1927, Malevich traveled with an exhibition of his paintings to Warsaw and also went to Berlin, where his work was shown at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung. In Germany, he met Jean Arp [16 Sep 1886 – 07 Jun 1966], Naum Gabo, Le Corbusier, and Kurt Schwitters [20 Jun 1887 – 08 January 1948] and visited the Bauhaus, where he met Walter Gropius. The Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow gave Malevich a solo exhibition in 1929.
Malevich, left, with Khardzhiev      Using the pretext of Malevich's connections with German artists, Soviet authorities, who repressed any non-realist art, arrested him in 1930 and destroyed many of his manuscripts. In Malevich's final period, he was forced to paint in a representational style. Malevich died Leningrad.
     This artwork had been among the Russian avant-garde artwork and writings collected by Nikolai Khardzhiev [1903-1996], which, when he left the Soviet Union in 1993, was plundered by corrupt officials, confidence men, and crooked art dealers. Malevich died in poverty in Amsterdam, where the Stedelijk Museum has the best collection of his work, acquired, as by other museums and collectors, under questionable circumstances.
[1933 photo: Malevich, left, with Khardzhiev, in Moscow >]

Self Portrait (1933, 73x66cm) — An Englishman in Moscow (1914, 88x57cm)
The Aviator (1914, 125x65cm) — Complex Presentiment: Half-Figure in a Yellow Shirt (1932, 99x79cm).
Morning in the Village after Snowstorm (1912, 81x81cm) _ The paintings of the Russian avant-garde have, in general, elicited two types of interpretation: one focuses on issues of technique and style; the other concentrates on social and political issues. The former method is usually applied to Kazimir Malevich’s early paintings, grounded as they are in the forms of Cubism, Futurism, and other contemporaneous art movements; the latter largely avoids Malevich in favor of more politically engaged artists such as El Lissitzky, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and Vladimir Tatlin.
      From the formalist’s standpoint, Morning in the Village after Snowstorm is, in its mastery of complex colors and shapes, a perfect example of the newly created Russian style, Cubo-Futurism. The figures have been called a continuation of the genre types Malevich portrayed in his Neo-primitive paintings, their depiction seemingly reliant on Fernand Léger’s work, which Malevich could have known from an exhibition in Moscow in February 1912 or through reproductions. This phase in Malevich’s career has been seen as his formidable stopover on his journey toward abstraction and the development of Suprematism.
      But to ignore the political and social dimensions of Malevich’s art would be a disservice. Malevich came from humble circumstances and it is clear in autobiographical accounts that vivid memories of his country childhood compensated for his lack of a formal art education. Morning in the Village after Snowstorm demonstrates that his hard-won skills as a sophisticated painter were rooted in an unmistakably Russian experience. If art can be said to augur the future, then Malevich’s repeated decision—on the brink of the October Revolution—to depict peasants cannot have been merely coincidental.
Untitled [RFD mailbox?] (1916, 53x53cm) _ Kazimir Malevich proposed the reductive, abstract style of Suprematism as an alternative to earlier art forms, which he considered inappropriate to his own time. He observed that the proportions of forms in art of the past corresponded with those of objects in nature, which are determined by their function. In opposition to this he proposed a self-referential art in which proportion, scale, color, and disposition obey intrinsic, nonutilitarian laws. Malevich considered his non-objective forms to be reproductions of purely affective sensations that bore no relation to external phenomena. He rejected conventions of gravity, clear orientation, horizon line, and perspective systems.
      Malevich’s units are developed from the straight line and its two-dimensional extension, the plane, and are constituted of contrasting areas of unmodeled color, distinguished by various textural effects. The diagonal orientation of geometric forms creates rhythms on the surface of the canvas. The overlapping of elements and their varying scale relationships within a white ground provide a sense of indefinitely extensive space. Though the organization of the pictorial forms does not correspond with that of traditional subjects, there are various internal regulatory principles. In the present work a magnetic attraction and repulsion seem to dictate the slow rotational movement of parts.
^ Died on 26 February 1660: Peeter Neeffs I (or Neefs, Nefs), Flemish painter specialized in Religious Subjects, born in 1578.
— He studied under Hendrik van Steenwyck II and was active in Antwerp. Most of his pictures are interiors of Gothic churches, some of them night scenes illuminated by artificial light. They are generally small, painted on copper, and executed in a precise, neat way, similar in style to those of the Steenwycks. His son, Pieter Neefs the Younger [1620->1675] painted the same subjects and it is very difficult to distinguish between their hands. Another son, Lodewijk [1617–] was also a painter, but little is known of his work.

Interior of a Church _ The Steenwijck tradition of painting church interiors was continued in Antwerp by the Flemish painters Pieter Neeffs the Elder, who entered the Antwerp guild in 1609 and died in 1660, and his son Pieter Neeffs the Younger, their hands often are virtually indistinguishable. Neeffs the Elder, however, made one innovation; he can be credited with popularizing church interiors seen by night dramatically illuminated by one or two sources of artificial light.
^ Born on 26 February 1802: Victor-Marie Hugo, French author who was also an artist. He died on 22 May 1885.
— That titan of Romanticism who is now best known as the author of Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris, spewed out thousands of pages of plays, verse, novels, criticism and political, social and philosophical essays throughout his career. Few connoisseurs outside of France have realized that he also spewed out drawings — about 4000 of them. Hugo the artist was as big a dynamo as Hugo the litterateur. He produced only works on paper of astonishing invention, spontaneously dashing them off in dark brown or black pen-and-ink wash, sometimes with touches of white and rarely with color. Most are small, and date from the 1850s and 1860s. Not surprisingly from an author, Hugo was expert at tapping into the unconscious. His otherworldly "Planet" drawings immediately bring to mind Odilon Redon.
      Other works are Romantic outpourings that can seem more than a little weird on closer inspection. These dark and wind-whipped landscapes and/or brooding castles, cells, and escarpments occupy an ambiguous space made more unsettling by quick shifts in scale and undecipherable figures in the distance. Perhaps more shocking to the contemporary viewer are Hugo's proto-Surrealist use of automatic techniques and his proto-Abstract Expressionist experiments with tache and free brushwork. To keep his art fresh, he would cheerfully experiment with his children's stencils, ink blots, puddles and stains, lace impressions, "pliage" or folding (i.e. Rorschach blots), "grattage" or rubbing, using match sticks or his fingers instead of pen or brush, and even toss in coffee or soot to get the effects he wanted.
      It seems that some drawings were made with his left hand or while not looking at the page. His Mushroom (1850), for example, has a sickly, poisonous cast from sparingly applied orange and green. This monumental fungus looms over a landscape like something that crawled out of a recently nuked field. Radical shifts of scale, a plethora of textural effects and various layerings of ink wash make this surreal vision endlessly haunting. The work is a technical tour de force, done with pen and brown ink-wash, black ink and crayon, white gouache, reserves and a stencil, watercolor, and by partly scraping and rubbing the sheet and by dabbing it with his fingers.
      Lyrical abstractions, mystical nether worlds, and vaguely limned castles, landscapes, seascapes, all aswirl in tempests or eerie in moonlight, plus architectural motifs and even calling cards were churned out by Hugo with the same spontaneity of the pen and brush that he employed for his writings. They convey a turbulent search for meaning beyond the ordinary, as do Hugo's literary works. Hugo would turn from writing to art, whenever sentences eluded him, often using the end of his quill pen to start a drawing. His art kept helped to keep his words flowing, while his love of words fed his art.
      Beside labeling and inscribing drawings, Hugo would at times incorporate words as formal elements. The latter is often the case in his ornately handmade calling cards, like a 1855 effort with the letters of his name forming a stand for a drawing of a landscape with castle, all this hovering in the center of a sheet saturated in brown ink with some ghostly white clouds. Many of his calling cards were created as gifts to visitors and friends while he was in political exile from France (1855-1870) and living in the English Channel Islands. His drawings, originally a sideline, became much more to Hugo shortly before his exile. He stopped writing to become more involved in politics and turned to drawing as his exclusive creative outlet during the period 1848-1851.
      In 1853, he became interested in séances, or "table-turning." It wasn't long before Hugo quit, but not before he realized how effective those sessions were in setting free his unconscious. His artwork became much more experimental from that time forward. Hugo considered himself a true artist, keeping his most radical works to himself. Although he tried to hide his art from the public, he shared his drawings with family and friends. Some people did see at least a few of his works, and they garnered favorable comments from many artists (van Gogh liked them) and were fought over by his admirers. In his will, he left the many in his possession to the Bibliothèque Nationale. Hugo may have been right to fear that his art, if known by the public, would overwhelm his fame as a literary giant. While much of Hugo's output of words is all but unreadable today, it is hard to imagine his drawings would ever be considered dull.

Octopus with the initials V. H. (1866) — Planète (1854)
Tache d'encre légèrement retouchée sur papier plié (1857)
Landscape with Castle (1848, 12x20cm)
L'Éclair (1868, etching 22x13cm, facing L'Éclair by Hugo's friend Paul Meurice)

Died on a 26 February:

1985 Marie Elizabeth Angermann, Dresden German painter born on 05 August 1883.

1903 Edmund Mahlknecht, Austrian artist born on 12 November 1820.

Born on a 26 February:

^ 1937 Eduardo Arroyo, Spanish painter, sculptor, potter, printmaker, and stage designer. As a painter he was mainly self-taught. After working as a journalist in 1957, he left Spain in 1958 to avoid military service, settling in Paris. There he continued to work both as a journalist and painter. From 1968 to 1972 he lived in Milan, returning to Paris in 1973. His work developed from expressionism to realism (Nueva figurina), which reflected on the pictorial language and function of painting and the artist’s role in society. He manipulated ready-made images, words and elements derived from commercial art and the work of other painters. His pieces formed series whose titles referred to the legacy of the Spanish Civil War and the contemporary political situation to help make their critical point. His work frequently provoked controversy, for example his series Arcole Bridge and Saint Bernard’s Pass (1962–1966) was based on the theme of Napoleon Bonaparte as a symbol of imperialism (e.g. Arcole, 1964). He presented dictators, bullfighters, soldiers and Spanish gentlemen (e.g. Spanish Gentleman, 1970) as a metaphorical list of his dislikes. Through his work he attacked such political figures as Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler as well as Miró and perpetrators of uncommitted painting (e.g. Blind Painters, 1975). From 1976 he painted portraits of such artist friends as Gilles Aillaud [1928~], Aldo Mondino [1938~] and Antonio Recalcati [1938~]. In 1980 Arroyo produced a series of mask-like bronze heads of chimneysweeps (e.g. Chimneysweep I, 1980).

1808 (see at 20 February) Honoré de Daumier whose birth date was more probably 20 February.

1651 Pieter IV van der Hulst (or Hult, Verhulst), Dutch artist who died in 1727. — Relative? of sculptor Rombout Verhulst [1624-1698]?

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