Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass (1888)

Blossoming Almond Branch in a Glass (1888)
One of my favorite still life subjects of Van Gogh, the cut branch in a glass, I ran across this one with the book behind creating a complicated compositional element. Note also the use of complementary colors, red and green, creating a vibration in the painting.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Giovanni Boldini

Happy Birthday Giovanni Boldini!! Italian born portrait painter from 1842, Boldini's father was also a painter, of religious subjects. Giovanni studied in Florence and then in 1872 moved to Paris.  Although some of his work does show Impressionistic influences of friends such as Degas, his style was described as bold, dazzling and elegant. He was a sought after portrait painter of fashionable Parisian and London figures. He was known as the "master of swish" for his flowing brushstrokes. The painting below is titled Spanish Dancer at the Moulin Rouge. 

With some sadness and regret I have to report that this will be my last blog post of Famous Artists on their birthdays, not only for this year, 2011, but permanently. This ends an intense 2 years of research and study of art and the personalities who create it. While I have thoroughly enjoyed the discovery, it is time to move on. I have been retired from teaching for 7 months now. Other avenues are opening up to me and I must follow them. Therefore, so long Van Gogh's Ear the journey has been truly inspiring, enlightening, and educational!! Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Aad de Haas

Happy Birthday Aad de Haas!! This artist was an Expressionist sculptor, printmaker and painter from Holland, born today, in 1920. He was educated at the Rotterdam School of Fine Arts. After being labeled a "degenerate" by the Nazis and a stay in prison, he and his wife escaped to South Limburg. He was forced into hiding for a time and finally lived a rather unsettled existence in an abandoned castle in Strijthagen. Through his work he addressed social themes such as suffering, temptation and eroticism. The painting included today is from a series of 14 titled The Way of the Cross, depicting the suffering of Jesus. They were painted directly on the walls of the chapel in St. Joseph's Hospital in Heerlen. Sadly the chapel was destroyed in 1970, the paintings were removed, and are located in a hall in Landgraf today. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Benjamin Burt

Happy Birthday Benjamin Burt!! Born in 1729, this American silversmith's father (also named Benjamin) was a blacksmith. The family lived in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and originally owned several businesses which were lost during the Revolutionary War. Following the war, his family relocated and Burt apprenticed and began his career as a silversmith in Boston. He worked in the Neoclassical style, stressing simple, classical, symmetrical forms. His contemporary, Paul Revere II, achieved more fame and notoriety as they competed for commissions. His "Sauce Boat" (1770), created for Nathan and Rebecca Peirce,  is shown below.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ludolph Backhuysen

Happy Birthday Ludolph Backhuysen!! (Bakhuysen, Backhuyzen, Bakhuizen) This Dutch artist was actually born in Germany in 1631. His family went back to Amsterdam in 1649 and Backhuysen's first career as a bookkeeper began. His lovely penmanship earned him a membership in the group Kalligraphie. His focus was the sea and Willem van de Velde II ( Dec. 18, 1633) was a contemporary. Backhuysen was considered the leading seascape painter of The Netherlands, second only to the van de Veldes.  Backhuysen's paintings were dramatic in color and lighting and quite realistic, enhanced by his time spent on the open sea in observation for his work. The painting below depicts Christ on the Sea of Galilee during a storm.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rene Georges Hermann-Paul

Happy Birthday Rene Georges Herman Paul!! Born in Paris in 1864, Paul's father was a doctor, his family wealthy, from the South of France. Attempting to follow his father's footsteps for a time, Hermann-Paul was unhappy in science so transferred to Ecole des Arts Decoratifs. At the time (1870's) Paris was alive with art, and he became friends with Toulouse-Lautrec, creating poster art, satiric cartoons, illustrations, as well as paintings and pastels. His prints, derived from lithography and woodcuts, were daring in composition and often brilliant in color and high contrast. Interesting to learn a bit about this artist in relation to Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, especially after just seeing a delightful collection of Latrec in Las Vegas at the Centaur Gallery at Fashion Show Plaza. The advertising poster (1895) included here is for an exhibition of the Salon des Cent.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Anthony Ziesenis

Happy Birthday Anthony Ziesenis!! Born in 1731, Anthony Ziesenis was a sculptor and architect from The Netherlands. He was responsible for designing the Town Hall of Westzaan, Northern Holland. The use of this building was eventually focused on wedding celebrations when the town of Westzaan was absorbed into Zanstaad. Not much to be found in the way of biographical information about the artist Ziesenis, but an interesting aside: the inscription above the door of the old Town Hall is a "chronogram", an anomaly that occurs when the letters added up in Roman Numeral amounts reveal the date of construction.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Abraham Bloemaert

Happy Birthday Abraham Bloemaert!! Born in 1564, Dutch Mannerist artist Abraham Bloemaert was a painter and printmaker. The son of an architect, he studied under painters in Ultrecht and in Paris for 3 years, coming back to the Netherlands to settle in Ultrecht. He created landscapes, genre and historical, still life and animal paitnings. Particularly apropos for Christmas Day, the painting I have chosen for today is Rest on the Flight into Egypt, portraying the Holy Family at rest in a ramshackle shack. This painting is on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.