Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jean-Michel Basquiat


Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was an American artist. He gained popularity first as a graffiti artist in New York City, and then as a successful 1980s-era Neo-expressionist artist.

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An A to Z of Artists

Anselm Kiefer


Anselm Kiefer (born March 8, 1945, Donaueschingen) is a German painter and sculptor. He studied with Joseph Beuys during the 1970s. His works incorporate materials like straw, ash, clay, lead, and shellac.

His works are characterised by a dull/musty, nearly depressive, destructive style and are often done in large scale formats. It is also characteristic of his work to find signatures and/or names of humans, legendary figures or places particularly pregnant with history in nearly all of his paintings. He is often gets him linked with a style called "New Symbolism."

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Nadir Afonso


Nadir Afonso, OSE (1920, Portugal) is a geometric abstractionist painter. Trained in architecture, which he practiced early in his career with Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, Afonso later studied painting in Paris and became one of the pioneers in Kinetic art, working alongside Fernand Léger, Auguste Herbin, and André Bloc.

As a theorist of his own geometry-based aesthetics, published in several books, Nadir Afonso defends that art is purely objective and ruled by laws that treat art not as an act of imagination but of observation, perception, and form manipulation.

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An A to Z of Artists

Pierre Alechinsky

Pierre Alechinsky (October 19, 1927) is a Belgian artist. In 1945 he discovered the work of Henri Michaux and Jean Dubuffet and developed a friendship with the art critic Jacques Putman. In 1949 he joined Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel and Asger Jorn to form the art group Cobra. He participated both with the Cobra exhibitions and went to Paris to study engraving with Stanley William Hayter in 1951.

His paintings are related to Tachisme, Abstract expressionism, and Lyrical Abstraction.


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Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler (born December 12, 1928) is an American post-painterly abstraction artist. Born in New York City, she was influenced by Jackson Pollock's paintings and by Clement Greenberg. She later married fellow artist Robert Motherwell.

Her career was launched in 1952 with the exhibition of 'Mountains and Sea'. This painting is large - measuring seven feet by ten feet - and has the effect of a watercolor, though it is painted in oils. In it, she used the technique of painting directly on to an unprepared canvas so that the material absorbs the colors. She heavily diluted the oil paint with turpentine or kerosene so that the color would soak into the canvas. This technique, known as "soak stain" was adopted by other artists (notably Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland) and launched the second generation of the Color Field school of painting. This method would leave the canvas with a halo effect around each area to which the paint was applied.


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An A to Z of Artists

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Morris Louis

Morris Louis (Morris Louis Bernstein) (November 28, 1912 - September 7, 1962) was an American Abstract Expressionist - one of the many such painters to emerge in the 1950s. Louis destroyed many of his paintings between 1955 and 1957. In 1986 there was an important retrospective exhibition of his later works at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

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Mark Rothko


Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz (Latvian: Marks Rotko; September 25, 1903–February 25, 1970), was a Latvian-born American painter and printmaker. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted the classification as an "abstract painter".

"I am not an abstract painter. I am not interested in the relationship between form and color. The only thing I care about is the expression of man's basic emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, destiny."

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An A to Z of Artists

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mario Merz

Mario Merz (January 1, 1925 – 9 November 2003) was an Italian artist who was a part of the Art Povera movement.

Born in Milan, Merz started drawing during World War II, when he was imprisoned for his activities with an antifascist group. He soon rejected Abstract Expressionism’s subjectivity in favor of opening art to exterior space and in the 1960s, Merz’s work with energy, light and matter placed him in the movement that Germano Celant named Arte Povera, which, together with Futurism, remains one of the most influential movements of Italian art in the 20th century.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

August Natterer


August Natterer (1868 - 1933), also known as Neter, was a schizophrenic German outsider artist.

As a young man, Natterer studied engineering, got married, travelled widely, and had a successful career as an electrician but he was suddenly stricken with delusions and anxiety attacks. On April Fool's Day, 1907 he had a pivotal hallucination of the Last Judgment during which "10,000 images flashed by in half an hour." This ordeal led to a suicide attempt and committal to the first of what would be several mental asylums occupied during the remaining twenty-six years of his life.

The vision also inspired an intense production of drawings, all documenting images and ideas seen in the vision. Because of the intense and psychotic imagery, Netterer's work is more often studied scientifically than artistically. He died in 1933 in an asylum near Rottweil.

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Madge Gill

Madge Gill (1882 – 1961), born Maude Ethel Eades, was an English artist.

Born an illegitimate child in East Ham, Essex, (now Greater London), she spent much of her early years in seclusion and was placed in an orphanage at the age of 9. At the age of 25, she married her cousin, Thomas Edwin Gill, a stockbroker. Together they had three sons with their second, Reginald, dying of the Spanish flu. The following year she gave birth to a stillborn baby girl and almost died herself, contracting a serious illness that left her bedridden for several months and blind in her left eye.

After recovering from her illness, she took a sudden and passionate interest in drawing, creating thousands of mediumistic works over the following 40 years, most done with ink in black and white. The works came in all sizes, from postcard-sized to huge sheets of fabric, some over 30 feet (9.1 m) long. She claimed to be guided by a spirit she called "Myrninerest" (my inner rest) and often signed her works in this name. The figure of a young woman in intricate dress appeared thousands of times in her work, and is often thought to be a representation of herself or her lost daughter.

Gill rarely exhibited her work and never sold any pieces out of fear of angering "Myrninerest." After her first son, Bob, died in 1958 she started drinking heavily and stopped drawing. Following her death in 1961, thousands of drawings were discovered in her home; the collection is currently owned by the London Borough of Newham which has no plans to display them.


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Robert Motherwell

Robert Motherwell (January 24, 1915 – July 16, 1991) was an American abstract expressionist painter and printmaker. He was one of the youngest of the New York School (a phrase he coined), which also included Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

Motherwell completed one year of a philosophy Ph.D. at Harvard before shifting fields to art and art history. This rigorous background in rhetoric would serve him and the abstract expressionists well, as he was able to tour the country giving speeches that articulated to the public what it was that he and his friends were doing in New York. Without his tireless devotion to communication (in addition to his prolific painting), well-known abstract expressionists like Rothko, who was extremely shy and rarely left his studio, might not have made it into the public eye.

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An A to Z of Artists

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hans Hofmann


Hans Hofmann (March 21, 1880 – February 17, 1966) was a German abstract expressionist painter. He was born in Weißenburg, Bavaria on March 21, 1880 the son of Theodor and Franziska Hofmann. In 1932 he immigrated to the United States, where he resided until the end of his life.

Hofmann's work is distinguished by "a rigorous concern with pictorial structure, spatial illusion, and color relationships." Hofmann believed that abstract art was a way to get at what was really important. He famously stated that "the ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak."

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An A to Z of Artists

Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning (April 24, 1904 – March 19, 1997) was an abstract expressionist artist, born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

In the post-World War II era, de Kooning painted in a style that came to be referred to variously as Abstract expressionism, Action painting, and the New York School.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bernard Buffet

Bernard Buffet (July 10, 1928 – October 4, 1999) was a French expressionist painter and Member of the Anti-Abstract Art Group "L 'homme Témoin".

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An A to Z of Artists

John Duncan Fergusson

John Duncan Fergusson (1874–1961) was a Scottish artist, regarded as one of the major artists of the Scottish Colourists school of painting.

While studying at the Louvre in Paris, Fergusson was impressed by the impressionist paintings at the Salle Caillebotte and these were an important influence on his developing style. Later he would also be influenced by Fauvism and the fauvist principles would become a strong feature of his art. Andre Dunoyer de Segonzac wrote in his foreword to Fergusson's memorial exhibition of 1961: "His art is a deep and pure expression of his immense love of life. Endowed with a rare plastic feeling, almost sculptural in its quality. He joined with it an exceptional sense of colour, outspoken, ringing colours, rich and splendid in their very substance."

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An A to Z of Artists