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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Vincent Willem van Gogh. Happy Birthday Vincent!!

“As for me, I am rather often uneasy in my mind, because 
I think that my life has not been calm enough; all those bitter disappointments, 
adversities, changes keep me from developing fully and naturally in my artistic career.”

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh was born in the Netherlands on March 30, 1853. His mother had given birth to an already dead baby (stillborn) one year earlier, also on March 30. That baby had also been named Vincent. Over the course of his 47 years, Vincent painted some of the most renowned paintings of our time and went a little crazy in the process.

Vincent van Gogh’s Early Years
Vincent van Gogh quit school when he was only 15 and headed off to England in 1869. There he began a career not as a painter but as an art dealer with the firm Goupil & Cie. Van Gogh spent seven years with the firm, but became unhappy and decided to try his hand teaching at a Catholic school for boys. In the following years, Vincent went from job to job, living in various cities in Europe. Finally in 1880, van Gogh decided to head to Brussels to begin studies in art. During the next ten years, Vincent van Gogh painted 872 paintings.

The Famous Vincent van Gogh
Although Vincent van Gogh is a world-famous artist today, he did not get much 
recognition during his lifetime. Van Gogh only sold one painting while he was alive, which was Red Vineyard at Arles. For most of his life he was very poor, often spending his money on art supplies instead of food.

Vincent van Gogh’s Dark Side
Vincent also suffered from severe depression and was admitted to an asylum 
in December 1888, after chopping off his own ear. He would be in and out of asylums for the next year. It is thought that Vincent van Gogh was actually epileptic (a condition of the brain that causes seizures) and that is why people thought he had fits of insanity throughout his life. While in the asylum Vincent painted one of his best-known paintings, Starry Night. In mid-May 1890, Vincent left the asylum and spent the last few months of his life in Auvers, France. On July 27, 1890 Vincent van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a revolver. Two days later he died with his younger brother, Theo, by his side.


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Vincent Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853

Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch postimpressionist painter whose work represents the archetype of expressionism, the idea of emotional spontaneity in painting. Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853, in Groot-Zundert, son of a Dutch Protestant pastor. Early in life he displayed a moody, restless temperament that was to thwart his every pursuit. By the age of 27 he had been in turn a salesman in an art gallery, a French tutor, a theological student, and an evangelist among the miners at Wasmes in Belgium. His experiences as a preacher are reflected in his first paintings of peasants and potato diggers; of these early works, the best known is the rough, earthy Potato Eaters (1885, Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam). Dark and somber, sometimes crude, these early works evidence van Gogh’s intense desire to express the misery and poverty of humanity as he saw it among the miners in Belgium.

In 1886 van Gogh went to Paris to live with his brother Thйo van Gogh, an art dealer, and became familiar with the new art movements developing at the time. Influenced by the work of the impressionists and by the work of such Japanese printmakers as Hiroshige and Hokusai, van Gogh began to experiment with current techniques. Subsequently, he adopted the brilliant hues found in the paintings of the French artists Camille Pissarro and Georges Seurat.

In 1888 van Gogh left Paris for southern France, where, under the burning sun of Provence, he painted scenes of the fields, cypress trees, peasants, and rustic life characteristic of the region. During this period, living at Arles, he began to use the swirling brush strokes and intense yellows, greens, and blues associated with such typical works as Bedroom at Arles (1888, Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh), and Starry Night (1889, Museum of Modern Art, New York City). For van Gogh all visible phenomena, whether he painted or drew them, seemed to be endowed with a physical and spiritual vitality. In his enthusiasm he induced the painter Paul Gauguin, whom he had met earlier in Paris, to join him. After less than two months they began to have violent disagreements, culminating in a quarrel in which van Gogh wildly threatened Gauguin with a razor; the same night, in deep remorse, van Gogh cut off part of his own ear. For a time he was in a hospital at Arles. He then spent a year in the nearby asylum of Saint-Rйmy, working between repeated spells of madness. Under the care of a sympathetic doctor, whose portrait he painted (Dr. Gachet, 1890, Musйe du Louvre, Paris), van Gogh spent three months at Auvers. Just after completing his ominous Crows in the Wheatfields (1890, Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh), he shot himself on July 27, 1890, and died two days later. The more than 700 letters that van Gogh wrote to his brother Thйo (published 1911, translated 1958) constitute a remarkably illuminating record of the life of an artist and a thorough documentation of his unusually fertile output—about 750 paintings and 1600 drawings. The French painter Chaim Soutine, and the German painters Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst L

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Max Weber


Max Weber was born in Russia and at age ten emigrated with his family to the United States, settling in New York City. From 1898 to 1900 he studied art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with the noted painter and printmaker Arthur Wesley Dow, and from 1905 to 1908 he attended art classes in Paris, including those at Matisse’s newly opened academy. Returning to New York in 1909, Weber developed an important, though short-lived, friendship with Alfred Stieglitz, whose gallery, 291, promoted European and American modernism. 

Weber is considered one of America’s earliest modernists, and his long career witnessed many stylistic changes. Through the 1920s his work paid homage to such European artists as Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Rousseau as well as to tribal African art. After 1930, when he developed a consistently identifiable style, one that was lyrical and Expressionistic, his imagery focused on romanticized landscapes, docile domestic scenes, and emotional religious themes. Throughout his career Weber exhibited consistently at galleries and museums, and in 1930 he was honored with a retrospective at the recently opened Museum of Modern Art.

From 1914 to 1918 Weber taught classes in art history, art appreciation, and design at the Clarence H. White School of Photography in New York. The experience of sitting in a darkened auditorium during a slide talk is amply conveyed in this pastel, about which he wrote: “A lecture on Giotto was given at the Metropolitan Museum. The late hastening visitor finds himself in an interior of plum-colored darkness . . . upon which one discerns the focusing spray-like yellowish-white light, the concentric, circular rows of seats, [and] a portion of the screen.” In other paintings and drawings of the period, he evoked the illuminated stages at music and dance performances and the shimmering screens of the cinema. In a 1915 newspaper article he stated that his aim at the time was to express “not what I see with my eye but with my consciousness . . . mental impressions, not mere literal matter-of-fact copying of line and form. I want to put the abstract into concrete terms.”

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Norman Rockwell: “It wouldn’t be right for me to clown around when I’m painting a president.”

Born in New York City in 1894, Norman Rockwell always wanted to be an artist. At age 14, Rockwell enrolled in art classes at The New York School of Art (formerly The Chase School of Art). Two years later, in 1910, he left high school to study art at The National Academy of Design. He soon transferred to The Art Students League, where he studied with Thomas Fogarty and George Bridgman. Fogarty’s instruction in illustration prepared Rockwell for his first commercial commissions. From Bridgman, Rockwell learned the technical skills on which he relied throughout his long career.

Rockwell found success early. He painted his first commission of four Christmas cards before his sixteenth birthday. While still in his teens, he was hired as art director of Boys’ Life, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America, and began a successful freelance career illustrating a variety of young people’s publications.

At age 21, Rockwell’s family moved to New Rochelle, New York, a community whose residents included such famous illustrators as J.C. and Frank Leyendecker and Howard Chandler Christy. There, Rockwell set up a studio with the cartoonist Clyde Forsythe and produced work for such magazines as Life, Literary Digest, and Country Gentleman. In 1916, the 22-year-old Rockwell painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post, the magazine considered by Rockwell to be the “greatest show window in America.” Over the next 47 years, another 321 Rockwell covers would appear on the cover of the Post. Also in 1916, Rockwell married Irene O’Connor; they divorced in 1930.

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