DEATH: 1890 VAN GOGH
whose life and death show that there's
PAIN in PAINTING
Died on 29 July 1890: Vincent
van Gogh, Dutch Post-Impressionist painter born on 30
Van Gogh’s brief nine-year career as a painter began in the Netherlands. His early works were dark but later became intensely luminous after he moved to Paris and the south of France. A great collector of Japanese prints, he created an expressive style that combined direct observation with a Japanese use of outline and flattened areas of color. Plagued by poor health, he committed suicide at the age of 37.
Van Gogh worked as an art dealer, a teacher and a lay preacher before becoming a painter. Van Gogh was not ‘mad’ but probably suffered from a form of epilepsy easily treatable with today’s drugs.
was only after Vincent
van Gogh's death that he gained fame when his paintings were shown at
the Bernheim-Jeune gallery in Paris on 17 March 1901. The 71 paintings,
which captured their subjects in bold brushstrokes and expressive colors,
caused a sensation across the art world. Eleven years before, while living
in Auvers-sur-Oise outside Paris, van Gogh had committed suicide without
any notion that his work was destined to win acclaim beyond his wildest
dreams. In his lifetime, he had sold only one painting, and was hoping that
some day his paintings would sell for more than the price of the paints
and canvas. It is only posthumously that his wish was fulfilled... and then
some. One of his paintings the Sunflowers
identical to two others) now at the Yasuda museum sold for just
under $40 million at a Christie's auction in 1987. Later another one sold
for $82 million (bear in mind that past dollars are worth more than present
Born in Zundert in the Netherlands, van Gogh worked as a salesman in an art gallery, a language teacher, a bookseller, and an evangelist among Belgium miners before settling on his true vocation as an artist. What is known as the "productive decade" began in 1880, and for the first few years he confined himself almost entirely to drawings and watercolors while acquiring technical proficiency. He studied drawing at the Brussels Academy and in 1881 went to the Netherlands to work from nature. The most famous work from the Dutch period was the dark and earthy The Potato Eaters (1885), which showed the influence of Jean-François Millet, a French painter famous for his peasant subjects.
In 1886, van Gogh went to live with his brother, Théo, in Paris. There, van Gogh met the foremost French painters of the postimpressionist period, including Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin, Camille Pissarro, and Georges Seurat. He was greatly influenced by the theories of these artists and under the advice of Pissarro he adopted the kind of colorful palette for which he is famous. His painting Portrait of Père Tanguy (1887) was the first successful work in his new postimpressionist style.
In 1888, van Gogh, mentally exhausted and feeling he was becoming a burden on Théo, left Paris and took a house at Arles in southeastern France. The next 12 months marked his first great period, and working with great speed and intensity he produced such masterful works as his sunflower series [14 Sunflowers in a Vase] and The Night Café (1888). He hoped to form a community of like-minded artists at Arles and was joined by Gauguin for a tense two months that culminated when van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a razor blade and then cut a piece of his own left ear off (he painted two mirror images of himself with the bandaged ear, with and without pipe). It was his first bout with mental illness, diagnosed as dementia. Van Gogh spent two weeks at the Arles Hospital and in April 1889 checked himself into the asylum at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. He stayed there for 12 months and continued to work between recurrent attacks. One of the great paintings from this period was the swirling, visionary Starry Night (1889).
In May 1890, he left the asylum and visited Théo in Paris before going to live with Paul-Ferdinand Gachet, a homeopathic doctor and friend of Pissarro, at Auvers-sur-Oise. He worked enthusiastically for several months, but his mental and emotional state soon deteriorated. On 27 July 1890, feeling that he was a burden on Théo and others, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest. He dies two days later, in the arms of his brother, in Auvers. He had exhibited a few canvases at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris and in Brussels, and after his death both salons showed small commemorative exhibits of his work. Over the next decade, a handful of other van Gogh exhibits took place, but it was not until the Bernheim-Jeune show in 1901 that he was recognized as a truly important painter. In subsequent decades, his fame grew exponentially, and today his paintings are among the most recognized works of art in the world.
| Van Gogh is generally
considered one of the two greatest Dutch painters (along with Rembrandt),
and one of the greatest Post-Impressionists. Profoundly influenced the development
of Expressionism in modern art. Van Gogh, the oldest of six children of
a Protestant pastor, grew up in the Brabant region of the southern Netherlands.
His early years were happy, and he loved the countryside. Vincent's introduction
to the art world came at 16 when he was apprenticed to the Hague office
of his uncle's art dealership, Goupil and Co. Van Gogh's artistic output
can be divided into two periods. During the first (1873-1885) he struggled
with his own temperament while seeking his true means of self-expression.
It was a period of repeated apprenticeships, perceived failures, and changes
in direction. The second (1886-1890) was a period of complete dedication,
rapid development, and artistic fulfillment. Sadly it was interrupted by
a series of mental breakdowns that lasted from 1889 until his suicide. Van
Gogh worked for Goupil in London from 1873 until May 1875, and then in Paris
until April 1876. Daily contact with works of art piqued his artistic sensibilities,
and he developed profound fondness for Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and other
Dutch masters, along with preferences for two contemporary French painters,
Jean-François Millet and Camille Corot. Van Gogh hated art dealing.
Moreover, his outlook on life darkened when he suffered a broken heart in
1874. His desire for human affection thwarted, he became and remained increasingly
solitary. He then became a language teacher and lay preacher in England.
Feeling called to give himself to his fellow men, he envisioned joining
the ministry. He began the study of theology but abandoned his project for
short-term training as an evangelist in Brussels (1878). However, he argued
with the orthodox doctrinal approach. He failed to get an appointment after
three months, so he left.
Van Gogh’s paintings are some of the most widely recognised in the world. The countless poster reproductions of his Sunflowers and high prices at auction (the record standing, in 2002, at over US$82 million) have saturated public consciousness. This current fame contrasts with his short, lonely and poverty stricken life. His artistic career lasted 10 years and during only three he produced his now most critically acclaimed works. He sold one work, in the year he died, and just one critical review was published in his 37-year lifetime.
Van Gogh was born in Holland in 1853, the son of a vicar. His three uncles were art dealers and in 1869 he followed in their footsteps working in The Hague, London and Paris. Before he was dismissed as unsuitable in 1876 he was exposed to influences, such as English illustrative engraving, that were to form part of his artistic vision. The social and moral message of this medium, combined with his interest in Jean-Francois Millet’s work, shaped his idea that art should be related to and understood by all.
During a spell working in the academy in Antwerp in 1885 Van Gogh also became familiar with Impressionist painting and Japanese prints. He shared his enthusiasm of these latter works with Degas. Both admired their strong colors and innovative compositional impact.
A year later Van Gogh moved to Paris and was introduced to some of the Impressionists by his brother, Theo. The influence of his meetings with Pissarro, Signac and Seurat can be seen in his adoption of small brushstrokes and brilliant, pure colors. His subject matter at this time of restaurants and street scenes was also typically Impressionist, however, he always claimed that Delacroix was a greater influence.
Van Gogh's unique artistic vision was similar to that of Gauguin who joined him for a short spell in Arles in 1888. Both artists looked for parallels between painting, music and literature. In one of his 755 letters that document his ideas and artistic development, Van Gogh wrote, “I want to say something comforting in painting as music is comforting”. However where Gauguin insisted that true creativity came from the imagination, Van Gogh insisted that his further layers of meaning should derive from a close study of nature.
He was a religious man and saw his paintings as a way of communicating, as revealed in the expressive color of Vincent’s Chair (1888). This idea became more important than the depiction of reality and links Impressionism with Expressionism, paving the way for artists such as Matisse and Picasso.
The friendship with Gauguin came to an end when, in 1888, Van Gogh suffered a fit of insanity, attacking his friend and mutilating his own ear. This is portrayed in the painting Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1888). This episode, his confinement in the asylum at Saint-Rémy, and subsequent suicide in 1890, are well known but should not cloud judgement on his artistic output. Van Gogh only painted when his mind was clear. He wrote in a letter from Arles, “The emotions are sometimes so strong that one works without being aware of working…and the strokes come with a sequence and coherence like words in a speech or a letter.”
On 30 March 1853 a boy was born to the family of a Dutch village vicar, Theodorus van Gogh (1822-1885) and his wife Anne Cornelia, nèe Carbentus (1819-1907). A year before, exactly the same day, another boy was born to the family, he died, and now the new-born received his name: Vincent Willem van Gogh.
After getting school education, van Gogh started his career as a picture salesman: in The Hague (1869) he entered the branch office of the Paris art dealer Goupil & Cie, founded originally by his uncle Vincent. As an agent of the company he worked in its branches in Brussels (1873), London (1873), Paris (1875). But his personal disappointment increased and he left Goupil.
Van Gogh tried himself as a teacher in Ramsgate near London (April-December 1876), then he worked as an apprentice lay preacher and wanted to devote his life to evangelization of the poor. In 1878 Vincent convinced his father of his religious vocation and in August began a three-month course in preaching in Evangelist school in Laeken, near Brussels. At school he was considered unsuitable for the lay-preaching profession. But he persistently followed his inclination and went to Borinage, the Belgian coal mining area close to the French border. There, living in extreme poverty, he visited sick people and read the Bible to the miners.
In 1879 Vincent got permission to work for 6 months as a lay preacher in Borinage. But his involvement in the plight of the poor irritated his superiors, and his contract was not extended under the pretext that his rhetorical talents were insufficient. He continued to work without any payment until July 1880. In Borinage Vincent experienced a period of deep personal crisis, which was to mold his later life. While in Borinage he drew much, made sketches of the miners’ environment. Meanwhile his four-years younger brother, Theo ((1857-1891), began to work at Goupil’s in Paris and started to support Vincent financially, he also encouraged Vincent in his wish to become an artist.
Having chosen art as his new profession van Gogh went to Brussels (October 1880- April 1881), where he studied anatomical and perspective drawing at the Academy of Art. In January 1882 he moved to The Hague and settled there not far from his cousin, the artist Mauve, whom he admired and who became his teacher. With Mauve van Gogh for the first time tried oils. Accordingly, his early painting of August 1882 Beach with Figures and Sea with a Ship is strongly influenced by The Hague School to which Mauve belonged. During 1883-1885 van Gogh traveled and worked in The Hague, Nueven, where his parents' new home was, Amsterdam. His models were poor people, slums, hard working peasants; he painted landscapes and town views, all in dark, somber colors.
On 26 March 1885 his father died. Vincent was heart-broken. In this mood he painted The Potato-Eaters, the main work of his Dutch period. In January 1886 he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Antwerp, but already in March he left it and arrived in Paris. He started studies in Cormon studio, the owner of which, the painter Fernand Cormon, was a fairly unknown artist, but a quite successful teacher. Van Gogh studied in the studio for 3 months. Here he made friends with Toulouse-Latrec and Emile Bernard. Theo introduced him to Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, Degas, Signac, Seurat, and Gauguin who came to Paris from Pont-Aven. From now on the colors on Vincent’s palette became considerably brighter; under the influence of Impressionists his style also changed. View of Paris from Montmartre, Paris Seen from Vincent's Room in the Rue Lepic, Terrace of the Cafè "La Guinguuette" and others are based on a typical Impressionist interpretation.
Together with Gauguin and Bernard, Van Gogh spent many days in Asnières, a popular spa town on the Siene, not far from Paris. There he painted the views of Asnières and the well-known The Seine with the Pont de la Grande Jatte in summer 1887. In Paris he frequently visited the Café de Tambourin on the Boulevard de Clichy and had a love affair with its owner Agostina Segatori, a former model of Corot and Degas. She sat for van Gogh and he painted her many times, e.g. Agostina Segatori in the Café du Tambourin. In the café, together with Bernard, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec, he exhibited his works; they also decorated the walls with Japanese colored woodcuts. They called themselves “Peintres du Petit Boulevard” (painters of small boulevard) in contrast to the “Peintres du Grand Boulevard” (Monet, Sisley, Pissarro, Degas, Seurat), who exhibited in Theo van Gogh’s gallery. That year Vincent painted several pictures using the techniques of Pointillism, e.g. The Vase with Daisies and Anemones. During his two years in Paris van Gogh painted more than 200 pictures.
In 1888 he left Paris and went to Arles. At first Vincent rented a room in a restaurant. The small attic was completely unsuitable for a studio and he mainly worked out of doors. He did not know anybody who could sit as his model, and so the landscapes of area around Arles with its trees, hills, bridges, huts became his main theme. “An endlessly flat landscape – seen from a bird’s eye view from the top of the hill – vineyards, harvested corn fields. All this is multiplies to infinity and spreads like the surface of the sea to the horizon, which is bordered by the hills of Grau,” wrote Vincent van Gogh about his surroundings. He painted many pictures with blooming flowers and trees, which reminded of Japanese landscapes. On receiving the news of Mauvre’s death he dedicated a picture to his memory Peach Tree in Bloom. Soon he moved to the “yellow house”. Gradually he made friends with people, who agreed to sit for him: le zouave Milliet, a soldier, Joseph Roulin, the country postman, Madame Ginoux, an owner of a station restaurant in Arles, and others.
In October, after Vincent’s repeated requests, Gauguin came to stay with
him in Arles. Van Gogh was overjoyed. He gladly let Gauguin take the lead-role
in art, placing himself in the role of a student. They worked out a lot
of motifs together, compared the results and argued over artistic concepts.
But their partnership could not last long, they were too different personalities,
and besides, van Gogh was seriously ill. Guaguin decided to leave, but “ever
since I wanted to leave Arles, he has been behaving so strangely that I
hardly dare to breathe. ‘You want to leave’, he said to me and as soon as
I answered in the affirmative he tore a piece, containing the following
sentence, from the newspaper: ‘The murderer, has fled’,” Gauguin was later
to recall in a letter. Van Gogh really appeared to be going mad. Gauguin
waited with leave: “In spite of a few differences I can't be angry with
a good chap who is ill and suffering and calling for me.” On the 23rd of
December Gauguin went for a walk in the evening and heard steps behind,
he turned and saw van Gogh, his face distorted, a razor blade in his hand.
Gauguin spoke softly to Vincent, the latter turned and went away. When later
Gauguin returned home, the whole of Arles was already there. Plagued with
hallucination, Van Gogh cut off part of his left ear; after he managed to
stop bleeding he wrapped the cut-off piece in a handkerchief, ran to the
town brothel and gave the awful package to a prostitute. Then he returned
home and slept. In this state police found him and took to town hospital.
Gauguin immediately left. In order to quiet his bad conscience he later
wrote in his autobiography that van Gogh had threatened him.
Theo immediately came to Arles. Epilepsy, dipsomania and schizophrenia were the presumed causes of Vincent’s illness. He stayed in hospital for two weeks. Back in his studio he painted the result of the catastrophe: his Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear. Sleeplessness and hallucinations went on. The scared citizens of Arles initiated a petition asking to take Vincent back into hospital. Looked after by a priest and a doctor, he lived in the Arles hospital both as patient and prisoner until the beginning of May 1889. In May, although he felt better, he went on his own desire into the mental hospital Saint-Paul-de-Mausole near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. “I am ready to play the role of a madman, although I have not at all the strength for such a role”. Theo paid for two rooms for Vincent, one as a studio with a view of the garden. He was allowed to paint outdoors under the supervision of the ward attendant Poulet. In the hospital he painted mainly landscapes. On 23 January 1890 Theo’s son was born and baptized Vincent Willem after his uncle and godfather. Van Gogh dedicated the Branches of an Almond Tree in Blossom to his nephew.
In May 1890 Vincent visited Theo and his family in Paris and then settled in Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris. The town was chosen because Dr. Gachet, himself a hobby painter and friend of the Impressionists, was living there, he agreed to take care of Vincent. In Auvers van Gogh painted more than 80 pictures. During these last weeks of his life it was only due to his work that he could forget about his illness, and he painted as if possessed. Among the works of the period are religious works after Delacroix, Pietà and Good Samaritan, the masterpiece The Church in Auvers, multiple landscapes and portraits.
On the evening of 27 July 1890 van Gogh went at dusk into the fields and shot himself in the chest with a revolver. With all his strength he managed to drag himself back to the inn; here he died two days later in the arms of his brother, who had hurried to his side. Besides Theo and Dr. Gachet some friends from Paris, amongst them Bernard and “Père” Tanguy, took part in the funeral.
Thus ended the singular life of an artist who defies comparison with any other.
“I can’t change the fact that my paintings don't sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the picture.” Vincent van Gogh
Portraits: Van Gogh by Toulouse-Lautrec Van Gogh (1886) by John Russell
Landscape with the Cloister at Montmajour of Arles (1888)
Self Portrait (1887)
Self-Portrait as an Artist (1888, 65X50cm) _ Although Van Gogh painted many self-portraits, this is one of the few in which he depicted himself as an artist, with all the attendant equipment: palette, brushes, and a canvas on a wooden easel. Contrasting colors, such as the blue of the smock and the orange-red of the beard, are set right next to each other in order to strengthen their effect. The red and green strokes of the face are placed so close together that they appear as a grey shadow when seen from a distance. While most of Van Gogh’s other self-portraits are rather sketchy, this one has been finished down to the last detail. The short, dry strokes have been applied with care. Van Gogh probably worked on the painting for some time, and he was apparently quite satisfied with it: in contrast to most of his works in this genre, he has signed it prominently.
In addition to depicting himself as a professional artist, Van Gogh also strove to reflect his somber mood in this work. In a letter to his sister Willemien, he spoke of his wrinkled forehead and red beard as “rather untidy and sad.” Evidence of depression during his last months in Paris can be found in other letters as well: “When I left Paris [I was] totally broken, very sick and virtually an alcoholic,” he wrote several months later to Gauguin. (Letter to Willemien van Gogh, 22 June 1888)
Van Gogh painted a total of 35 self-portraits during the course of his career of these, 29 date from Paris. He very much wanted to paint portraits in this period, but could not afford models. Using his own reflection was a natural, inexpensive and easy solution. It allowed him to experiment with various styles, techniques and effects of light and color. As he later wrote to Theo: “If I succeed in painting the colors of my own face, which is not without its own difficulties, then I should be able to paint those of other men and women.” This series of self-portraits clearly illustrates how Van Gogh’s coloration became brighter and livelier over time. There is an enormous difference between the brown tints of the earliest studies and the light, bright colors of the Self-Portrait with Straw Hat and Pipe from Arles (August 1888, 40x32cm). The development of his characteristic “dash style” can also be followed in these examples.
Most of the Parisian self-portraits are somewhat smaller than the Self-Portrait as an Artist. They were clearly meant as studies and as experiments. This can be seen in the loose, very free manner in which many were executed, and in the use of cheap materials such as cardboard in place of linen or canvas. Van Gogh also saved money by using some of his supports twice, painting on both sides. He made a number of studies of his own face on the back of earlier still lifes, and on the reverse of The Potato Pealer (one of the oil sketches for The Potato Eaters) Another self-portrait was even painted over an older work, one Van Gogh apparently did not feel was very successful.
Self-portrait with a Straw Hat (41x32cm) [no pipe] _ Van Gogh painted at least twenty-four self-portraits in Paris between March 1886 and February 1888, including seven in which he wears a straw hat. This work, which shows the artist's awareness of Neo-Impressionist technique and color theory, is one of several that are painted on the reverse of an earlier peasant study. The Potato Peeler is on the reverse side.
The Potato Peeler (on reverse side of the above, 41x32cm) _ This painting of February–March 1885, with its restricted palette of dark tones, coarse fracture, and blocky drawing, is typical of the kind of works Van Gogh painted in Nuenen, the year before he left Holland for France. Van Gogh's peasant studies of 1885 culminated in his first important painting, The Potato Eaters. _ [This may be the same as the silhouetted Peasant Woman Seated before an Open Door, Peeling Potatoes (Nuenen: March 1885, 36x25cm) though the stated dimensions are different.]
Links to all 39-1/2 van Gogh self-portraits
Abris à Montmartre (1886)
Wheatfield with Crows
Fourteen Sunflowers in a Vase (1888, 92x73cm) _ These sunflowers [15 of them, it seems] are in the light of the south of France, where Van Gogh had recently taken up residence. He painted them to decorate a room intended for Gauguin. Innovations in paint-making enabled him to use new chromium and cadmium yellows and the paint laid onto the canvas in thick strokes suggests three-dimensional flowers. Each bloom is at a different stage some newly blossomed, some wilting and dying. Traditionally in Dutch painting this is interpreted as representing the stages of human life.
This is one of four paintings of sunflowers dating from August and September 1888. Van Gogh intended to decorate Gauguin's room with these paintings in the so-called Yellow House that he rented in Arles in the South of France. He and Gauguin worked there together between October and December 1888. Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo in August 1888, "I am hard at it, painting with the enthusiasm of a Marseillais eating bouillabaisse, which won't surprise you when you know that what I'm at is the painting of some sunflowers. If I carry out this idea there will be a dozen panels. So the whole thing will be a symphony in blue and yellow. I am working at it every morning from sunrise on, for the flowers fade so quickly. I am now on the fourth picture of sunflowers. This fourth one is a bunch of 14 flowers ... it gives a singular effect." The dying flowers are built up with thick brushstrokes (impasto). The impasto evokes the texture of the seed-heads. Van Gogh produced a replica of this painting in January 1889, and perhaps another one later in the year. The various versions and replicas remain much debated among Van Gogh scholars.
_ See Gauguin's Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers, (1888)
Links to all 11 van Gogh sunflowers paintings including the above (they count 15 flowers) and two copies.
Still Life (27x35cm) Path between Garden Walls (Auvers Landscape) (30x39cm)
Women Picking Olives (1890, 73x91cm) _ In December and early January 1889–90, Van Gogh painted a group of three pictures of women gathering olives. This is probably the one he sent to his sister and mother. He wrote: "I hope that the picture of the women in the orchard of olive trees will be a little to your liking — I sent a drawing of it to Gauguin, . . . and he thinks it good. . .
The most complete Van Gogh web site
A few Self-Portraits of van Gogh [click on an image to enlarge]
Born on 29 July 1824: Jonathan
Eastman Johnson, US painter and printmaker who died
on 05 April 1906.
— Between 1840 and 1842 he was apprenticed to the Boston lithographer John H. Bufford [1810–1870]. Johnson's mastery of this medium is apparent in his few lithographs, of which the best known is Marguerite (1870). In 1845 he moved to Washington DC, where he drew portraits in chalk, crayon and charcoal of prominent US personalities, including Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams and Dolly Madison (all 1846). In 1846 he settled in Boston and brought his early portrait style to its fullest development.
His chiaroscuro charcoal drawings, of exceptional sensitivity, were remarkably sophisticated for an essentially self-trained artist. In 1848 he went to Europe to study painting at the Düsseldorf Akademie. During his two-year stay he was closely associated with Emanuel Leutze, and painted his first genre subjects, for example The Counterfeiters (1855). He then spent three years in The Hague, studying color, composition and naturalism in 17th-century Dutch painting. The influence of the Dutch masters on his portrait style was so great that he was called ‘the American Rembrandt’.
In 1855, after two months in Thomas Couture’s Paris studio, he returned to the US. He then turned his attention to US subject-matter. He made studies of Indians in Wisconsin, and painted portraits while in Washington (e.g. George Shedden Riggs, 1855) and Cincinnati. He finally settled in New York.
General Henry Sewall (1844, 54x38cm) _ detail: head and shoulders
The Eavesdropper (1865, 31x38cm; 864x1105pix) The Brown Family (1869, 98x82cm)
The Pension Claim Agent (1867, 64x95cm) What the Shell Says (1875, 56x43cm)
A Day Dream (1877, 61x31cm) Woman in White Dress (1875, 57x36cm)
Old Kate's Bridge, Ulster County (1872, 46x77cm) A Different Sugaring Off (1865, 43x81cm) The Mother (1870, 39x33cm) The Old Stagecoach (1871)
The Cranberry Harvest on the Island of Nantucket (1880)
Born on 29 July 1799 (1798?): Karl
Blechen, German Romantic
painter who died on 23 July 1840.
— Despite early artistic inclinations, he was trained as a bank clerk and then worked as one from 1814 to 1822 before studying at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. Here Heinrich Anton Dähling [1773–1850] sharpened his interest in Romantic and poetic subjects, while Peter Ludwig Lütke [1759–1831] encouraged his eye for the potential expressiveness of observed language. Blechen was also strongly influenced by the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, which he was able to study in Berlin at this time. In 1823 he went to Dresden, where he visited Johann Christian Clausen Dahl and probably also met Friedrich, who shared the same house. Here Dahl impressed Blechen with his impulsive style of oil sketching. Studies of Meissen, especially of the cathedral, and of the dramatic landscape of the surrounding parts of Saxony reveal the early development of Blechen’s tendency to perceive landscape and architecture, especially ruins, as allegories of his own usually rather depressed moods. This passionately subjective use of imagery distinguishes Blechen from Friedrich, whose work shows a far more level-headed deployment of landscape symbols as religious allegory.
— Walzwerk bei Eberswalde (1835; 882x1182pix, 104kb — ZOOM to 1210x1576pix, 183kb)
— Palmenhaus auf der Pfaueninsel bei Potsdam (1834; 861x750pix, 73kb — ZOOM to 1148X1000pix, 116kb)
— In the Villa Borghese Park (1835; 861x750pix, 73kb — ZOOM to 1555x1256pix, 154kb)
— Die Waldschlucht (1825; 901x630pix, 65kb — ZOOM to 2252x1576pix, 370kb)
The Ruins of the Septizonium on the Palatine in Rome, (1829)
Woodland with Brook (1835) The Building of the Devil's Bridge (1833)
Monastery in the Wood (1835) Sunset at Sea
Born on 29 July 1883: Armando Spadini,
Italian painter who died on 31 March 1925.
— He started his short and tragic art career at the school of A. de Karolis in Florence. He traveled for a time, taking a break from painting to learn the fine art of ceramics. By 1910 he was ready to take his proper place amongst the Impressionists. Spadini chose Rome to establish his studio. He immediately affiliated himself with the group of artist that were on the cutting edge of the natural, plein-air painting, rebels of the time. Much of his work were figures, portraits, and landscapes, painted in nature. Spadini became a very important member of the Impressionist movement in Italy. — He was the father of Andrea Spadini [1912-1983]
— Armando Spadini studied initially at the Scuola d’Arte Industriale in Florence. From 1898 he frequented the Scuola Libera di Nudo of the Accademia di Belle Arti, where he met Giovanni Fattori, Ardengo Soffici and Adolfo De Carolis. Spadini worked as a decorator of maiolica, an illustrator and a fresco painter. In 1909 he won the Pensionato Artistico Nazionale, and in the following year he moved to Rome. There he became friends with the critic Emilio Cecchi who had also come to Rome from Florence and who introduced him to the informal literary and artistic group associated with the famous third room of the Caffè Aragno. Spadini exhibited initially in 1913 at the first Secession in Rome; his painting was immediately and universally praised, even among the ranks of the avant-garde.
Following his initial success he took part in all the most important exhibitions of the day; in addition to the Secessions, the collective show at the Casina Valadier in Rome (1918), the Primaverile Fiorentina of 1922 as part of the group associated with Valori plastici and in 1924 at the Biennale in Venice, where he showed at least 50 of his works. He is generally considered the most important follower in Rome of Impressionism. His painting is, however, influenced to a greater degree by the Munich Secession, which became known in Italy through the magazine Jugend: Illustrierte Wochenschrift für Kunst und Leben Jugend and through the participation of German artists at the Venice Biennales. This influence is evident in such paintings as the portrait of Signora De Carolis with her Daughters (1908) or Music on the Pincio (1913). His innate decorative talent, familiarity with the Old Masters and typically Italian fluency and sensuality made him an important painter in the first quarter of the 20th century.
— Fu, intorno ai primi decenni del secolo, uno dei maestri del cosiddetto "nuovo corso" della pittura italiana. Predilesse temi intimistici e quotidiani, come testimoniano il dipinto La Sposa (1908), raffigurante la moglie in abito da sposa e l'olio su tela Bambini che studiano (1918), riportato sul retro delle banconote italiane da 1000 Lire in corso dal 1990.
— Nasce a Firenze nel 1883 da un artigiano e da una sarta nativa di Poggio a Caiano, Maria Rigacci. Pratica per qualche tempo la ceramica e frequenta la scuola professionale . Alla svolta del secolo è iscritto alla Scuola libera del nudo all'Accademia di Firenze; frequenta assiduamente i musei e lo studio di De Carolis - col quale collaborerà anche per breve tempo - e stringe amicizia con Soffici e Costetti. Nel 1901 ottiene il secondo premio al Concorso Alinari e collabora con xilografie e disegni al "Leonardo" di Papini e all"'Hermes" di Borgese. Compiuto il servizio militare nel 1903-05, ritorna a Firenze e concorre al Pensionato artistico nazionale,nel 1909, risultandone vincitore. Frattanto, nel 1908, sposa Pasqualina Cervone, conosciuta alla scuola di Fattori, e con lei si trasferisce a Roma nel 1910.
I primi anni romani sono segnati da difficoltà anche di carattere economico. Dopo una prima mostra al Pensionato artistico (1912) partecipa alle mostre della Secessione nel 1913 e nel 1915, ottenendo i primi successi. Richiamato alle armi, nel 1917 è riformato a causa del manifestarsi dei primi sintomi della nefrite cronica che causerà la sua prematura scomparsa. Si trasferisce con la moglie e i figli in una villetta ai Parioli, allora ai margini della campagna romana, che diverrà meta di assidue frequentazioni dei suoi amici letterati e artisti, Cecchi, Baldini, Cardarelli, Papini, Soffici, Ungaretti, Oppo, de Chirico, Bartoli. Espone nel 1918 nella mostra d'Arte Italiana a Zurigo, quindi si presenta con un'ampia personale alla Casina del Pincio.
L'amicizia con Cecchi e Baldini, la frequentazione del milieu culturale della "terza saletta" del Caffè Aragno contribuiscono ad avvicinarlo, nel 1919, alla "Ronda", e anche il gruppo di "Valori Plastici" si interessa al suo lavoro, pur tra polemiche e difficoltà. Nel 1920, grazie all'interessamento di Ojetti, che gli dedica quell'anno una breve monografia, vince una cattedra a Firenze, ma rinuncia per non allontanarsi da Roma e il Comune gli dà in affitto uno studio all'Uccelliera a Villa Borghese. Il crescente interesse intorno alla sua pittura lo solleva dalle difficoltà economiche, mentre le condizioni di salute incominciano a peggiorare. Lo stesso anno è nominato accademico di S. Luca e dall'anno successivo fa.parte del comitato per le Biennali romane (1921-1925).
Nel 1922, presentato da Savinio, espone alla Fiorentina primaverile con il gruppo di "Valori Plastici". Nel 1923 partecipa all'esposizione di arte italiana a Buenos Aires. Nel 1924 ha una sala personale alla XIV Biennale di Venezia, che lo consacra fra gli artisti ormai affermati, ed è presente alla "Carnegie Exhibition" di Pittsburgh; collabora alla rivista di Soffici "Galleria"; Oppo, Baldini, Cecchi e Soffici gli dedicano una monografia. Anche dopo la morte, l'opera di Spadini rimane il termine di paragone imprescindibile per le giovani generazioni romane, fino alla grande mostra, organizzata da P. M. Bardi nel 1930, alla Galleria di Roma appena inaugurata. Sino al 1910 circa, l'opera di Spadini passa attraverso influenze dei macchiaioli e dei preraffaelliti. Negli anni delle Secessioni ha una svolta in senso "impressionista", che l'artista più tardi rinnegherà in parte, ma che conferisce al suo lavoro quella caratteristica componente cromatica e luminosa. Tale rinnovamento dopo la guerra risentirà anche di attenti studi sulla pittura antica.
— Armando Spadini ed Andrea Spadini [1912-1983] in una caricatura (1924) di Amerigo Bartoli.
— Self-Portrait (1917, 55x44cm; 422x320pix, 33kb) — Armida (579x700pix, 104kb)
— Gruppo di Bagnanti (1923, 129x108cm; 740x600pix, 87kb)
— Alcuni adolescenti che si bagnano sulle rive di un fiume (1909; 404x550pix, 29kb)
Born on 29 July 1862: Robert Lewis Reid,US
Impressionist painter who died on 02 December 1929.
— A founding member of the Ten American Painters and a native of Massachusetts, Robert Reid first studied in Boston at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where draftsmanship, portraiture, and anatomy were stressed. He later attended the Art Students League in New York City before traveling to France for training at the Academie Julian in the late 1880s. In 1890 Reid quite suddenly adopted an impressionist style with a brighter palette, leaving behind many aspects of his academic background. Like his fellow impressionists in America and abroad, he was fond of painting attractive young women in outdoor settings.
— The Garden Seat (91x76cm) — Two Girls Reading (84x76cm)
— The White Parasol (1907, 91x76cm; 120kb) — The Violet Kimono (1910, 74x68cm; 95kb)
— Boy with Red Peonies (1910, 94x85cm; 495x446pix, 216kb gif) _ Robert Reid's penchant for painting women among flowers has expanded here to include the depiction of childhood in such a setting. Perhaps Reid intended a psychological association in Boy with Red Peonies — that of a child representing humanity in its most natural state. Here the boy emerges from the flowering bush, a seeming outgrowth of the foliage. The boy's face and the peonies are treated similarly in brushstroke and color, which serves to unite the work pictorially and reinforces an alignment of childhood with nature. The overall decorative effect and lack of any real depth and perspective in the painting are not surprising given Reid's numerous major decorative commissions involving murals and stained glass windows, which he began contracting in the early 1890s. Many of these contain figurative allegories in which he painted, for example, personifications of the five senses and symbols of justice, peace, and prosperity. It is thus not unreasonable to suppose that Reid intended an allegorical connotation in this depiction of childhood.
— Against the Sky (1911, 82x66cm; 438x357pix, 117kb gif) _ The woman in Against the Sky is less insipid than many of Reid's more decorative females displayed among an array of flowers. Fresh faced, fair skinned, sporty in dress, and all-American, this uncoiffured Gibson girl presents a decided contrast to her beflowered counterparts. Hers is not a wistful gaze but one of confidence facing the future. The figure has been painted with the care of a portraitist but nevertheless retains a sense of anonymity. Although her features are individualized, the young woman might be read as a type. Wholesome without being prudish, the young, virginal US woman had become idolized in art and literature at the turn of the century. Indeed, in Reid's painting, we literally look up to her.
The people of the US have no goddesses or saints. But something of that goddess, saint, or heroine represented to other races they find in the idealization of their womankind. There is no room for the note of unrestrained passion, still less for sensuality. It is the grace of children, the tenderness of motherhood, the beauty and purity of young girls that they demand. The US girl is placed upon a pedestal.
Enveloped in sky and clouds, the woman in Reid's painting is removed from the harsh realities of the industrialization that characterized the era. Whereas US national identity had been symbolized by native landscapes throughout much of the nineteenth century, by the end of the 1800s woman had replaced nature in this role. The US in the 1890s was female, young, pretty, Protestant, and northern European. Her features were regular and Caucasian. That her will was at times inconveniently strong, was, after all, to be expected of any physical or psychical type that represented the nation's own restlessness and independence of spirit.
Against the Sky is not without its decorative side and is typical of Reid's works from that decade and the early twentieth century, in which carefully constructed form is balanced with impressionist light and color. The bright white of the dress silhouetted against the blue sky patterned with clouds is accented by the flash of red in the scarf and belt. With its low vantage point of a female form against a cloud-filled sky, the painting recalls Claude Monet's Woman with a Parasol--Madame Monet and Her Son (1875). Closer to home, Against the Sky relates in theme to many paintings by US Impressionists, most notably those by Frank Benson, who knew Reid as early as 1880 and painted similar imagery, exemplified by Sunlight (1909).