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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dominikus Zimmerman

Happy Birthday Dominikus Zimmerman!! Born in 1685, Diminikus was an architect from Germany in partnership with his brother Johan. His specialty was designing rural churches. Pictured on the blog today is Wieskirche a magnificent example of Rococo style cathedral located near Steingaden in Bavaria, designed by the brothers.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Robert Laurent

Happy Birthday Robert Laurent!! This sculptor was born in France, in 1890 and immigrated to the US in 1902. He did return to Europe to study art in Paris and Rome. Although he began with decorative works, his style evolved to be large figurative sculptures created from a variety of materials including bronze, wood and marble. Laurent taught at Indiana University and his sculptures are displayed in several American museums. Included here today is a photo of Laurent working on Venus for his Birth of Venus Fountain, located at Indiana University.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lambert Hitchcock

Happy Birthday Lambert Hitchcock!! American furniture maker born in 1795, Hitchcock was responsible for mass producing his line of chairs. His family was based in Connecticut and he was in partnership with his brother-in-law. Their most popular chair design was based on a former style by Sheraton. The chairs were black with stenciled patterns on the open backs and rush or cane seats, later adding gilt to the design as well as the legs.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Alfred Courtens

Happy Birthday Alfred Courtens!! Sculptor from Belgium, Alfred Courtens was born today in 1889. His father, Frans, was the leader of the School of Painting of Dendermonde. His older brother, Herman, was a  painter. An exhibit of Alfred's work is planned by his surviving family for 2012 in Brussels at the Musee d'Ixelles. The sculpture included here today is of Queen Elizabeth.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Frederick Henry Evans

Happy Birthday Frederick Henry Evans!! English photographer, born in 1853, Evans was best known for his photos of French and English cathedrals. He developed the platinotype as a medium for his images. This process utilizes platinum in the paper for development rather than a gelatin emulsion system. The advantage for Evans was a wide range of tones and matte surface perfect for his intricate architectural images. Unfortunately his career was short lived due to the rising costs of his materials.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sam Francis

Happy Birthday Sam Francis!! Born in 1923, Sam Francis was a painter and printmaker associated with Abstract Expressionism, from America. He served in the US Army Air Corp., following which he decided to seriously pursue art as a career. He studied at University of California and also went to Paris where he was greatly influenced by Monet's Waterlilies series. Jackson Pollock was also an inspiration. His color palette was dominated by large white spaces and muted grays but eventually he began to use stronger reds. His style was further developed by his life experiences and blue became a predominant color in his paintings. The abstract painting below was created in 1990.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Robert Henri

Happy Birthday Robert Henri!! Born in 1865 and from America, this painter was the leader of "The Eight" or "the Ash Can School" as their critics called them. Henri painted portraits and figure studies in a bold, vibrant manner. His subjects were poor, lower class immigrants and usually very old or young. He trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, as well as in Paris. He became a professor at the Academy in Pennsylvania when he returned, and developed quite a following. His philosophy was to bring paintings to life rather than worry about a particular style.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Zoran Janjetov

Happy Bithday Zoran Janjetov!! Born today in 1961, Janjetov is a comic artist and musician from Serbia. His father is an architect and both parents were encouraging towards his pursuit of art. By age 7 he had already begun to draw comics, influenced by Walt Disney. He studied art at the Academy of Arts at Novi Sad. Janjetov is the illustrator for The Technopriests, written by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nikolaj Eigtved

Happy Birthday Nikolaj Eigtved!! Born in 1701, Eigtved was a Danish architect. After training as a gardener he traveled a bit, and then began to work with a German architect. He was responsible for bringing Rococo style to Danish architecture. In 1745 he became involved with the Drawing and Painting Academy in Denmark and was appointed the first director in 1751. As so often happens in artistic design, Rococo fell out of favor and so did Eigtved and was replaced in 1754. He designed palaces, churches and the Royal Danish Theater (pictured below).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rockwell Kent

Happy Birthday Rockwell Kent!! Born in 1882, American Kent is known as an illustrator, especially for his pictures for Moby Dick, but he was also an amazing painter. One of his illustrations from MobyDick was used for a postage stamp in 2001. While he lived in New York, he spent time in Alaska, in 1918-19, with his son and was inspired to create paintings from their experiences. I love the clear, crisp view depicted in this snowscape.

Salvator Rosa

Happy Birthday Salvator Rosa!! Italian Baroque painter, Rosa was encouraged by his father to become a lawyer or priest but after losing him at age seventeen, Rosa worked in apprenticeship with Aniello Falcone and eventually moved to Rome to paint in earnest. Rosa was also involved in other art forms, including poetry, acting and  music. He moved around from Rome to Naples and Florence.  He painted fantasy or romantic landscapes, portraits and was an accomplished etcher.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


 Happy Birthday Johannes H. Weissenbruch!! Born in The Hague, in 1823, Johannes H Weissenbruch was a painter and art collector. He is best known for the depiction of light, atmosphere and skies. He painted in the open air and tried to allow nature to be his guide. He used oils as well as watercolor. Shipping Canal at Rijswij is a lovely example one of his gorgeous skies.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Robert W. Weir

Happy Birthday Robert W. Weir!! American painter, Robert Weir was born in 1803 and fathered 16 children. He passed his love of art on to his youngest son who became an American Impressionist painter, J. Alden Weir. After studying art in New York, he went to Italy and studied there until 1827. He was a member of the Hudson River School painters and also a professor at The United States Military Academy. Weir was best known for his historical paintings such as The Embarkation of the Pilgrims, Which still hangs in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol building in Washington DC.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wessel Couzijn

Happy Birthday Wessel Couzijn!! Born in 1912, in the Netherlands, Amsterdam, Couzijn was an Expressionist sculptor. After studying sculptor in Amsterdam, he was awarded the Prix de Rome. Durnig WWII he lived in the US, returning to a devastated Netherlands. He was commissioned to create his most important work “Belichaamde Eenheid” (1963) or Corporate Entity. It is located in front of Unilever's head office in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Giuseppe Bernardino Bison

 Happy Birthday Giuseppe Bernardino Bison!! Italian painter, born in 1762, he eventually moved to Venice and studied in the studio of Canaletto. He was also influenced by Tiepolo and Guardi. His work was historical, genre scenes and imaginary landscapes. Don Juan in Hell is one of his fantasy depictions.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kevin Roche

 Happy Birthday Kevin Roche!! Irish-American architect, Kevin Roche, was born in 1922. Born in Dublin, Ireland, Roche earned his architectural degree from the National University of Ireland. In 1948 he came to America where he eventually established his architectural firm, with John Dinkeloo, still in existence today. He became known for his incredible work with glass. I am including the National Convention Center, Dublin, here today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Vieira da Silva

 Happy Birthday Maria Vieira da Silva!! This painter from Portugal was born in 1908. After moving to Paris, she studied sculpture, painting, and engraving. Her work is filled with intricate patterns and faceted shapes. Her forms seem to be architectural, creating dreamlike cityscapes. She was married to artist Arpad Szenes from Hungary and lived in Brazil during WWII. Following the war they returned to Paris where she became a French citizen.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Alessandro Longhi

 Happy Birthday Alessandro Longhi!! Appropriate to write about an Italian painter since I am currently in Venice! Longhi was born in 1733 in Venice and his father, Pietro, was a painter also. Alessandro studied with his father and became a portrait painter. He was best known for his paintings of royalty and important figures. He painted full length figures in flamboyant costumes such as the one pictured here today, Jacopo Gradenigo. Longhi also created etchings and evidently knew of Rembrandt's techniques which he also employed.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Julia Margaret Cameron

Happy Birthday Julia Margaret Cameron!! English photographer was born in 1815, in Calcutta, India. She decided to pursue photography after receiving a camera as a gift. She specialized in portraits and began by photographing her friends. Some of her work imitated Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Although some criticized her technical skill her work is highly regarded. I fell in love with innocent beauty of her Red and White Roses (1865) a photograph of two sisters, Kate and Elizabeth Keown.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Andre Derain

 Happy Birthday Andre Derain!! This French painter was born in 1880. Working together the summer of 1905, the younger Derain and Matisse conceived the artistic style “Fauvism” meaning “wild” . It was just that, wild color taking Post-impressionism several steps further, and relying heavily on Seurat and Van Gogh. Gradually Derain's work became more somber, though, his compositions tightened up and his work evolved into a poetic stillness. Cezanne's influence is evident in a (later) still life included here today.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Michael Peter Ancher

 Happy Birthday Michael Peter Ancher!! Born in 1849, in Denmark, Ancher was an Impressionist. Regarded one of Denmark's premier artists, he painted fishermen and scenes from the Danish Port Skagen. He studied at the Royal Danish School of Art and eventually moved to Skagen where a community of artists was developing. He married an artist and their home has been opened to the public and made a museum featuring work by the Skagen Group.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sir John Everett Millais

Happy Birthday Sir John Everett Millais!! Born in 1829, this English painter was a contemporary of John Abbott McNeill Whistler. The two worked so closely in style it is difficult to distinguish between their paintings. Millais was the founder of what came to be known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, so called because they rejected the poses and academic handling of subjects particularly by Raphael, seeking instead, the exquisite detail and brilliant color of Italian and Flemish art. Millais was known for his extreme naturalistic detail, evident in the painting Autumn Leaves included here today.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Charles Rennie Macintosh

Happy Birthday Charles Rennie Mackintosh!! This Scottish architecture was from 1868 and born in Glasgow. He is regarded as one of the most innovative design creators of the 20th century. He apprenticed with local architects and studied drawing at the Glasgow School of Arts. After a tour of Italy his style began to mature and he started introducing innovative features and decorative elements. He also worked in furniture design and watercolor. Considered his masterwork, the design for the new Glasgow School of Arts was a mix of styles and influences and is pictured below.

Monday, June 6, 2011

John Trumbull

 Happy Birthday John Trumbull!! American painter John Trumbull was born in 1756 and recognized right away as a precocious child with a talent for drawing. He studied in England and returned to America to create any historical renditions of early America. He had a natural gift for narrative painting as exhibited in his Battle at Bunker's Hill below. The central group of soldiers gather around General Warren who has been mortally wounded through the head with a musket ball. The diagonal compositional line carries the eye through the painting from upper left to lower right.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Asher Benjamin

 Happy Birthday Asher Benjamin!! This American architect was born in 1771. His work provided a transition between Federal and the Greek Revival periods of architectural design. He work was in New England, but his designs were copied throughout the Midwest and South. An example of his Greek Revival design is the William Ellery Channing house, built in 1835, on Boston's Beacon Hill.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mabel Lucie Attwell

Happy Birthday Mabel Lucie Attwell!! British illustrator born in 1879 today, Attwell dew whimsical characters for children's books. She was married to a painter and it is said that her drawings are based on her daughter. She did study art but left to pursue her own style, preferring illustration to mundane still life and classical emphasis. She began by drawing illustrations for magazines, but then received commissions for children's books and even created the pictures for an edition of Peter Pan.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Raoul Dufy

Happy Birthday Raoul Dufy!! Born in 1877, Dufy was a French Fauvist. He began working at the young age of 14 for a coffee importing firm. He became interested in art and took night classes before going into the military in 1900. He won a scholarship and studied art in Paris. Here he became acquainted with the art of Claude Monet and the like. He was moved toward Fauvism after seeing Henri Matisse's work and began to paint with rich, lush colors. His work is primarily landscapes. He also worked with tapestry and ceramic design and mural painting.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Albert Besnard

You may notice I am posting the day's birthday a day early...well we are trying to make it to Italy tomorrow, early morning and I may not be able to get to a computer. We are flying on buddy passes and were bumped we try again tomorrow! Anyway, I will be posting info and tidbits from our trip throughout most of June!

Happy Birthday Albert Besnard!! Born on June 2, in 1849, this French artist was born to parents who were both artists, his mother a well-known miniaturist. He studied at Ecole des Beaux-Arts and then won the Grand Prix of Rome. Following his marriage to sculptress Charlotte Dubray, Besnard began developing his defining technique featuring an incredible handling of light and dark. An example of this style is his portrait of Madame Roger Jourdain.

Gerald Scarfe

Happy Birthday Gerald Scarfe!! Born in 1936, English illustrator, Scarfe suffered from asthma as a child; perhaps this led him to focus on art. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London and became a political cartoonist, contributing to Punch (magazine) and Private Eye. His latest book was published in October of 2010, The Making of Pink Floyd's Wall. He has created political cartoons for the London Sunday Times for 45 years and worked for the New Yorker Magazine for 20 years.