Let me tell you a little bit about this colorful painting American Collectors (Fred and Marcia Weisman) by David Hockney, painted in 1968.
Hockney, born in the UK, lived in Los Angeles in the mid-60s, inspiring a series of paintings of swimming pools, portraits of friends and associates including the Weisman couple standing in their sculpture garden of their LA home. Also an avid photographer, Hockney stumbled upon a new technique while using a series of reference photos, creating a collage of imagery as an art form itself. By the mid-70's, he abandoned painting in favor of photography, lithographs and set designs for theater, opera and ballet, eventually returning to painting in the late 80's.
His truly inventive, brilliant mind led Hockney to explore the newer technologies such as laser printing, making his first homemade prints in the 90's. In 2009 he began using the Brushes app on an iPad to create paintings, exhibiting over 100 of these works in 2011.
Known to be one of the most influentual British painters, he continues to paint and advocate for funding for the arts.
American Collectors hangs in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Our first President of the United States never said those words although it is still, to this day, a quote credited to George Washington. This iconic story about the value of honesty was invented by a Washington biographer after the President's death - he wanted to please the masses who wanted to know more about this great man. So he made it up - when Washington was a young lad, he received a hatchet as a gift and damaged his father's cherry tree. When dad confronted his son, George bravely said, 'I cannot tell a lie.. I did cut it with my hatchet.' Never happened.
This biographer, Mason Weems, was also a minister who thought the best way to improve the moral fiber of society was to educate children - even if it was fake news.
Gilbert Stuart was the go-to-guy for portraits in Federal America. His George Washinton (The Constable-Hamilton Portrait) was commissioned as a gift for Alexander Hamilton. It was painted in Philadelphia in 1797 during Washington's final year in office. It hangs in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Please click here for a larger view and purchase information.
If there is ever a reason to visit an art museum to beeline to one of the most perfect paintings ever created, John Singer Sargent's Fumee d'Amber Gris (Smoke of Ambergris) is it. This prime example of Orientalism hangs in the Clark Museum in Boston - painted in 1880 and inspired by Sargent's trip to North Africa.
The painting depicts a woman creating a tent with her veil, catching the smoke and fumes from the smoldering ambergris in the silver censer. Known and used for its unique aroma, ambergris was used in some religious rituals, also thought to have aphrodisiac qualities and be a safeguard from evil spirits. Sargent's painting is a combination of Moroccan objects and customs he observed while in Tangier and Terouan.
In 1887, in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Henry James wrote, 'I know not who this stately Mohammedan may be, nor in what mysterious domestic or religious rite she may be engaged; but in her plastered arcade, which shines in the Eastern light, she is beautiful and memorable. The picture is exquisite, a radiant effect of white upon white, of similar but discriminated tones.'
I've had the framed print in my home since the first day I saw it, about 30 years ago. It is a perfect painting. My painting will be included in my upcoming solo show opening March 3rd at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston.
Please click here for a larger view and pre-show purchase/contact information.
A new painting for the upcoming show at Robert Lange Studios - a woman viewing Mary Cassatt's Little Girl in a Blue Armchair in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. I framed the print of this painting many, many times in my years as a framer and I can attest that seeing it in person is so much more impressive - largely due to the vivid blue-aquas of the overstuffed chairs. Most don't even notice the little dog napping on the chair on the left seat until they see it in the museum.
Mary Cassatt painted Little Girl in a Blue Armchair in 1878 - it was said to be a radically new image of childhood. The girl was a daughter of a friend of Edgar Degas, who was a major influence on Cassatt. Both artists were similar in their upbringing, both had strong ties to America and both painted strikingly similar works of art.
Cassatt was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania in 1844. She studied early on at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, grew tired of the male dominance of instructors and students and moved to Paris at the age of 22. She studied under Jean-Leon Gerome, returned to the U. S. for a short time, went back to Europe and blossomed as an artist in the years to come.
In 1879, Cassatt showed eleven works in the highly-seen Impressionist exhibit and finally experienced recognition and success. The 1890's were her most prolific time, becoming a role model for young American artists, especially women artists.
In 1914, health issues and near-blindness forced her to stop painting. She then took up the cause of women's suffrage and in 1915, showed eighteen works in an exhibition, raising money to support the women's movement.
Please click here for a larger view and pre-show purchase/contact information.
My show at Robert Lange Studios is less than a month away - I'm hoping you'll take a long weekend and stay in Charleston and join me on March 3rd. This is one of the paintings included in the show, let me tell you a little bit about the art.
John Singer Sargent made a lucrative living as a portrait artist for the wealthy in both America and abroad, including the two featured in my painting - Madame X and Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Phelps Stokes.
Madame X debuted in Paris in 1884, critics deemed it scandalous, immoral and erotic based on society's tastes and standards of etiquette at the time. The model, Virginie Gautreau"s family was outraged because one of her straps slipped off her shoulder. Sargent appeased and repainted the strap, kept the painting three years before it was sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1916.
Edith and Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes were banking and shipping heirs. Known as New York liberals, Edith insisted she be painted in street clothes (the kind she rode her bike in, etc.) - she wanted to represent the New WomanMovement. She flouted the upper-crust norms, marrying at 28, adopting a child openly and bringing kindergarten to the U.S., a then-radical idea. Newton was something of a dandy, studied architecture during thier extended honeymoon, joined a New York firm and helped design buildings that stand today, like St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia U. His advocacy led to the Tenement House Act of 1901, reforming low-income housing in Manhattan.
Both paintings hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
In between painting the show pieces, I painted this study thinking I'd do a trio of women viewing women - but then I got caught up in a John Singer Sargent piece that is one of my absolutely favorite works of art titled Smoke of Ambergris. For now, I thought I'd put this small one on auction and revisit the idea in the future.
Featured is Edmund Tarbell's Preparing for the Matinee - one of those mouthwatering portraits done in the early 20th century. The woman is Charlotte Barton of Boston, dressing up to go to the theater, with the most elegant tones and beautiful, subtle details to make one stop and study.
Tarbell was born in Massachusetts, interested in painting the lives of women in both interior and outdoor settings. Tarbell was one of the Ten American Painters, a group formed in 1898, including the artists Childe Hassam, Frank Benson, Thomas Dewing, William Merritt Chase to name a few. They exhibited as a group in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and beyond.
Georgia O'Keeffe completed only a few large-scale paintings during her lifetime - Sky above Clouds IV, which hangs prominently in the stairwell in the Art Institute of Chicago - and Jimson Weed which hangs in the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It measures approximately 8 feet wide by 7 feet tall and easily prompts visitors to say WOW when they walk into the room. It is spectacular.
In 1936, the cosmetic giant Elizabeth Arden commissioned O'Keeffe to paint Jimson Weed to hang in the exercise room of her salon in New York. She paid an astonishing $10,000 for the painting - in 1987 Eli Lily purchased the Arden company and acquired the painting and lent it to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and ultimately donated it to the museum in 1997.
Georgia O'Keeffe is and will always be an inspiration to women - born in 1887 on a wheat farm in Wisconsin and one of seven children. Art appreciation was nurtured in her family, her two grandmothers and two of her sisters also painted. She studied at the Art Students League in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago, had her first gallery show in 1916 set up by the photographer and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz, who she married in 1924.
O'Keeffe concentrated on her flower studies in those early years in New York, but don't miss looking up her skyscraper paintings done during this period. She rocked the art world despite it being male-dominant. In 1929, she visited northern New Mexico, was inspired by a whole new world of landscapes and architecture, in the following twenty years traveled back and forth to a place she most felt at home. After Stieglitz's death in 1949, she permantly moved to New Mexico where she lived and worked until her death in 1986.
Here are a few of my favorite O'Keeffe quotes ~
"I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then."
"It's not enough to be nice in life. You've got to have nerve."
"If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for a moment."
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is... unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far." ~ Alice Neel
"If I had the energy, I would have done it all over the country" - Edward Hopper
"It's what you carry to an object that counts." - Andrew Wyeth
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"When I'm old and gray, I want to have a house by the sea. And paint. With a lot of wonderful chums, good music, and booze around. And a damn good kitchen to cook in."