Monday, July 31, 2006

Painting What You Know

Old Iowa Barn, 1939 by Marvin Cone, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

A friend and fellow teacher of Grant Wood, when you look at Cone's work you can tell the two artists were working together and sharing techniques. He and Wood collaborated at the Stone City Art Colony.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Seated Woman with Bent Knee, 1917 by Egon Schiele, Narodni Galerie, Prague.

Schiele was arrested and imprisoned for immoral artwork. His work was often more explicit than this example; his work is raw and uncompromising. He died at 28 from influenza.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Childhood Memories

How My Mother's Embroidered Apron Unfolds in My Life, 1944 by Arshile Gorky, Seattle Art Museum.

Gorky was an Abstract Expressionist artist who immigrated from Van, Armenia and created a Russian background for himself and even took a Russian name. Once in America he was able to study art and teach himself to paint.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


January by Jean and Paul Limbourg, Musee Conde, Chantilly.

This is a page from one of the greatest surviving Illuminated Manuscripts. Manuscripts were small devotional books made for wealthy individual to use in their personal worship. This one was made for the Duc of Berry who wanted his life and his properties represented. The attention to detail in these small paintings by the Limbourg brothers is remarkable.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More Puppies

String of Puppies, 1988 by Jeff Koons, various collections.

Koons took this image off a card licensed by the photographer and reproduced it. He was sued and the court found that it was copyright infringement. Koons claimed it was an image of everyday life that he reproduced.

More "fair use" info.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What is Art?

Dismantled Beetle, 2003 by Damian Ortega, Venice Biennale.

Answering the question posed above, is a big job. I believe that it cannot be answered definitively and must be left up up to the individual.

Let me tell you about a personal experience of mine that related to this subject. I was in graduate school working on my masters degree in art history and working at my father's law office. He had occasion to need a definition of art, as a citizen of the town he represented, had taken it upon himself to hoist an old VW bug up on a stump in his yard. When asked to remove it by the local government, the citizen refused saying it was art and he had a right to display it. This caused my father to have to take the man to court to try and compel him to remove the car from the stump. The city was claiming it was not only and eyesore, but a danger.

My father's thought he could get his art historically educated daughter to define art for him, and surely this old car on a stump would not fall within that definition. Well, I told him I could not give him one definitive definition of what art was and that I was sorry, but in some people's eyes, a VW was art. He does not often become angry with me, but this time he did. I wanted to be able to solve his problem, but I knew I could not, as I feel it is an individual interpretation when it comes deciding what is and is not art.

In the end, it turned out the stump was on someone else's property and it was removed, but the question of whether or not it was art, is still not resolved.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Blocks of Color

Composition by Piet Mondrian, Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York.

Working to build his paintings from the simplest elements of lines and basic colors, Mondrian believed that he could control the line and color and control the art. He was the leader of the De Stijl movement in art.

What about this? More artistic than the Klein?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Blue Heaven II

IKB 79,c.1959 by Yves Klein, Tate Gallery, London.

Klein created his own color called IKB (International Klein Blue) and he devotes the entire canvas to the color. He wrote the Chelsea Hotel Manifesto about his art. He died at age 34.

Someone wrote asking why this is considered art -what are your thoughts?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Down the Drain

What the Water Gave Me, 1938 by Frida Kahlo, Private Collection.

Kahlo's work is always very personal. This one exposes the thoughts and dreams of the artist whose feet stick out of the water at the end of the tub. She was married to Diego Rivera whose career eclipsed her own, however there has been a revival of her work in the last 15 years which has made her very popular.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dapples of Sunlight

Sunlight and Shadow, 1884 by William Merrit Chase, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE

This work by another American artist who studied and had great success in Europe as well as in the US, was originally entitled The Tiff by the artist. That title gives us a little more insight into what is going on between the man and the woman peeking over the edge of the hammock.
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