FollowA pioneer of abstract art in England, Ben Nicholson’s dedication to Modernism was profound. Though he began painting traditional still lifes and landscapes in England, an early-career visit to Paris and introduction to Cubism drastically altered the course of his career. Nicholson's exposure to Pablo Picasso’s work inspired him to incorporate abstract elements into his compositions, and soon to abandon representational art altogether. His later friendships with Georges Braque and Piet Mondrian taught Nicholson to paint with geometric lines (which he soon translated into relief carving.) At the rise of WWII, Nicholson moved to Cromwell, England, where he established the St. Ives School for the abstract movement. Shortly after and along with Russian sculptor Naum Gabo, Nicholson published a Constructivist manifesto, after which he was praised for bringing the movement to London.
Claude Monet was known as the first impressionist painter. In this scene I especially like the bird on the gate. I have always loved birds for their freedom, the wonderful songs and colors. I am painting a series with a bird theme but after looking at this painting and how the viewer's eye goes to the tiny bird surrounded by the beautiful lights and shadows I may re-think how to go about painting my bird series.
This is just one of Monet's winter paintings:The Magpie by Claude Monet (1868-69)
Monet was a master of the winter scene – he painted more than 100 of them, and when Edouard Manet saw the Impressionist’s snowscapes he abandoned any effort to make his own. This is Monet’s largest winter painting, depicting a single black bird on a fence in Etretat – but what’s most thrilling about the work is the shadows on the snow, done not in black but in a convention-shocking blue.
Pieter Bruegel, The Harvesters
To read about this painting by Bruegel, click here.
Vincent van Gogh was a post-Impressionist painter whose work — notable for its beauty, emotion and color — highly influenced 20th-century art. He struggled with mental illness and remained poor and virtually unknown throughout his life. This painting is "The Mulberry Tree." To read more about Van Gogh click here.
The story of global modernism is incomplete without Ibrahim El-Salahi (b.1930). Beginning his painting studies in Khartoum in the 1950s, he travelled to London and attended the Slade School of Fine Art, returning to Sudan in 1959. Appointed undersecretary for culture under the Jaafar Nimeiri regime, he was wrongly accused of "anti- government activities" and was imprisoned there in 1975 (where, to avoid the guards’ attention, he drew on small pieces of paper that he buried in the sand). Once released, he moved to Qatar in 1977 where he established a culture ministry. In 1998 he returned to England, settling in Oxford. Throughout this itinerant and strenuous life, El-Salahi freely folded Islamic, African, Arab and Western traditions into his paintings and drawings. The Tree series takes its inspiration from the Haraz tree, which grows along the Nile. For El-Salahi, this tree typifies the Sudanese character, since it flourishes in the dry season and loses its leaves in the wet. The rigidity of vertical lines is softened by the organic horizontal forms and bands of colour that seem to float, smoke-like, across the surface. As El-Salahi summarized, "There is no painting without drawing and there is no shape without line ... in the end all images can be reduced to lines." Click here for more about this artist.
Art was deeply spiritual for Kandinsky and music was integral to many of his works. He was inspired by color and believed he could convey emotions through it. Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) was a group of artists who needed to transcend the ordinary by pursuing the spiritual value of art. Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc were the theoretical centers of the group, which included a number of Russian immigrants and native Germans. Click here to read more about Kandinsky. The painting below is called Black Lines done in 1913.
A colorist and dreamer Paul Gauguin paintings are like beautiful impossible colorful dreams. Read more about this painting he did in the 19th century by clicking here. The title is After the Sermon.
I think I am finally understanding what it means to be a painter. Brice Marden has known for a long time. His use of line is the primary thing. To read about him click here.
A self-taught artist, Basquiat began drawing at an early age on sheets of paper his father, an accountant, brought home from the office. As he delved deeper into his creative side, his mother strongly encouraged him to pursue his artistic talents.
Basquiat first attracted attention for his graffiti in New York City in the late 1970s, under the name "SAMO." Working with a close friend, he tagged subway trains and Manhattan buildings with cryptic aphorisms.
In 1977 Basquiat quit high school a year before he was slated to graduate. To make ends meet, he sold sweatshirts and postcards featuring his artwork on the streets of his native New York. Click here for more about Jean Michel Basquiat.
Cy Twombly has been a mystery to me and others for some time. When first looking at his work one might think, why is it art? It's marks and scribbles and text in bad hand writing, and yet it is beautiful There is a lyrical appealing, childlike quality to the work. Below is an image of his painting titled, Triumph of Galatea. To read more about Twombly click here and here.