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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Kerry G. Johnson

Today I have to remember our son Shane on his birthday...he would have been 24...miss you Punky Pinkerton!!

Happy Birthday Kerry G. Johnson!! African American caricaturist, graphic designer and illustrator, born in 1966, Johnson lives in Columbia, Maryland with his wife and 2 children. He studied art at Columbus College of Art and Design as well as Ohio University. His work has been published in many publications and he also creates the webcomic Harambie Hills, about an American family.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Henry Hobson Richardson

Happy Birthday Henry Hobson Richardson!! American born Henry H. Richardson was a very productive architect during his short career of 21 years. He was born in 1838 on a plantation in Louisiana. He was only the second American to train at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, in Paris. He is responsible for the architectural style known as Richardsonian Romanesque. The features of this style include eyebrow windows, short squat column clusters, rounded arches and dormers; his inspiration derived from medieval influences. The New York State Asylum in Buffalo was his largest commission and the first great example of some of the features for which he is known.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Frederick William MacMonnies

Happy Birthday Frederick Williams MacMonnies!! This American sculptor was born in 1863, in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to sculpting, he was also an accomplished portrait painter. It is said that he was as well known in France as in the US. He studied art in Paris as the Ecoles des Beaux-Arts, receiving high honors. His best known sculpture is of Nathan Hale, located near where Nathan Hale was actually executed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thomas Nast

Happy Birthday Thomas Nast!! This German-American was born in 1840 and considered the Father of American Cartoon. He was born in Germany, where his father was a trombonist for the Bavarian regiment. His father later moved the family to New York when he enlisted in the service, serving on an American ship. Although he was a terrible student, Thomas Nast loved to draw from an early age and was hired as a draftsman for Harper’s Weekly. It is reported that he was responsible for the modern version of Santa Claus that we have today as well as Uncle Sam. He also came up with the donkey and elephant for the Democratic and Republican party icons.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lewis W. Hine

Happy Birthday Lewis W. Hine!! American artist, born in 1874, in Wisconsin, Hine was a photographer. His father died when he was young so he had to earn his own money for college. He became a teacher before becoming well known for his own photography. He played a large part in getting the child labor laws established with his photos such as the one below.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Claude Perrault

Happy Birthday Claude Perrault!! This French author, born in 1628, was the originator of the fairy tale genre of literature, including the much loved Little Red Riding Hood as well as the (Stories or Tales from Times Past with Morals) Tales of Mother Goose. He was born into a bourgeois family, one of seven children. He initially studied law and with his father and an older brother helped restore the Academy of Painting. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cyprian K. Norwid

Happy Birthday Cyprian K. Norwid!! Polish painter, sculptor, poet and dramatist, Norwood was born near Warsaw in 1821. One of his ancestors on his mother’s side was a king. He lived many places, including London, Paris and even the US for a time. Considered a Romantic, he was quite well known for his poetry. He lived in poverty his entire life. The work I am including today is a bronze relief, sculpted for the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Matthew Pratt

Happy Birthday Matthew Pratt!! Born today, this American was a portrait painter from 1734. He studied under American artist Benjamin West. The painting included today is a self portrait (he is the one seated at the easel) and depicts the traditional painting practices of early Americans in London. It is titled, appropriately, The American School.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Alma Thomas

Happy Birthday Alma Thomas!! African American, Alma Thomas was an educator as well as an artist. She was born in 1891, to a businessman and his wife who was a dressmaker. Alma was exposed to many cultural events and activities, so developed a wide world view. Seeking a more peaceful life away from the racial prejudice of the South, her parents moved the family to Washington D. C. where Alma remained for the rest of her life. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Howard University, in Washington D.C., she went on to teach art until retiring in 1960 to pursue her own art. She was the first African American artist to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Her work is colorful, abstract, such as the detail from the painting The Eclipse, included below.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Julio Gonzales

Happy Birthday Julio Gonzales!! This Cubist painter and sculptor was a Catalan (region in Spain) and born in 1876. He and his brother worked in their father’s metal shop during the day and by night took art classes in Barcelona. At age 24, he left Spain for Paris where he worked with various other artists. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the art world was his experimentation with welding for sculpture. He taught his process to Pablo Picasso and the two would subsequently work together on projects. The sculpture below is titled Cactus Man I. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pierre Leonard Fontaine

Today is my husband of 33 years' birthday!! Happy Birthday Craig!!

Happy Birthday Pierre Leonard Fontaine!! The French Neoclassical architect was born today also, in 1762. He met and became friends with architect Charles Percier. The two remained lifelong friends and together founded the Empire style of architecture. He eventually became architect for King Louis XVIII. Fontaine was responsible for dreaming up the famed avenue Champs Elysees in Paris. The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is included here today. We had the pleasure of standing beneath it on our trip to Paris for Shane's graduation trip in 2006.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Augustin Pajou

Happy Birthday Augustin Pajou!! In 1730, this French sculptor was born in Paris. He was the son of a sculptor and cabinetmaker. At age 18 he was apprenticed to sculptor Jean0Baptiste Lemoyne won first place for his sculpting from the Royal Academy, Paris. Best known for his celebrity portraits, the two busts included here today are of "ideal female heads" .

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jose de Rivera

Happy Birthday Jose de Rivera!! American artist, born in 1904, Rivera was an abstract sculptor, growing up on a sugar plantation in Louisiana. His blacksmith work on the plantation and refinery surely influenced his sculpture career. He relocated to Chicago, taking night classes, began with figurative sculpture, and gradually moved to abstracts such as the one below. Infinity (1967) sculpted for National Museum of American History in Washington D. C. (Note the Washington Monument in the background).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Jean Baptiste Leprince

Happy Birthday Jean Baptiste Leprince!!  Another French printmaker, today, Leprince, was born in 1734. He began his artistic study in Metz (his native city) and then traveled to Paris and studied with painter Francois Boucher. Following his apprenticeship, Le Prince toured to Russia, Lithuania, Siberia and Finland, returning with a collection of ideas and drawings that he transformed into paintings. The Russian Cradle is pictured below, and a prime example of Le Prince's expert technique and admirable detail.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Carl Andre

Happy Birthday Carl Andre!! American artist, born in 1935, Carl Andre was a Minimalist sculptor. He went to school at Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass. and was in the army briefly, before moving to New York City to pursue his art. He was married to Cuban artist, Ana Mendieta, and worked in the studio of painter Frank Stella, where he began to develop his own personal style. His work consists of brick, metal, wood blocks and tiles placed directly on the floor in installations. As his Minimalist peers, his works were constructed from industrial materials and meant to draw attention to the surrounding architecture as well as the intrinsic structure of the piece.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gerard Grandville

Happy Birthday Gerard Grandville!! Frenchman Gerard Grandville (went by his pseudonym Grandville... “real name” Jean Ignace Isidore Gerard) was a lithographer, born in 1803, and best known for his caricatures and illustrations. His work was a vehicle to express his opinions politically and socially. Today I am including a kitten illustration that I fell in love with!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jeremiah Dummer

Happy Birthday Jeremiah Dummer!! American silversmith, Dummer, was born in 1645. Born in Massachusetts, he was first apprenticed to a mintmaster, later at age 23, he went on his own and became a respected silversmith. He also engraved plates for currency and dabbled in portraiture. His works are extremely valuable today. He is known to have invented the technique of  “gadrooning” a decorative curved fluting used on silver pieces.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Henry Kobell

Happy Birthday Henry Kobell!! Dutch painter and cartoonist, Kobell was born in 1751. Oh my I have had quite a time finding information about this artist...I do know he came from a German family of many artists. He studied in Amsterdam but returned to his hometown of Delfshaven where he founded an artistic society which later became the Academy of Fine Arts. His main focus was seascapes. Sadly he died at the young age of 27. The painting I am including today is titled Scheveningen Netherlands 1786 or the Flood.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Anselm Feuerbach

Happy Birthday Anselm Feuerbach!! This Classical German painter was born today, in 1829, and the leading painter of 19th century Germany. His father was an archeologist. After studying art in Germany he first went to Antwerp and then Paris. He worked and studied in Italy as well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Marianne V. von Werefkin

Happy Birthday Marianne V. von Werefkin!! Born in Russia in 1860, Marrianne von Werefkin received her education in her hometown of Tula and began private drawing lessons at age 14. An unfortunate hunting accident as a young woman injured her right hand, forcing her to rehabilitate and learn to use it again, which she did, becoming the “Russian Rembrandt” in realistic painting. She met a painter, Alexjev von Jawlensky and relocated to Munich, forming a salon and artist group including famed Kandinsky. The artists eventually moved to Switzerland and continued to exhibit together. I especially love the painting included today, for its contrasting blue and orange with the trees silhouetted in the foreground.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Elsa Schiaparelli

Happy Birthday Elsa Schiaparelli!! Born in 1890, Schiaparelli was an Italian fashion designer. Her mother was an aristocrat and her father a scholar, the dean of the University of Rome. She enjoyed a luxurious upbringing which she anxiously escaped when able, moving to New York, then Paris. In Paris she designed her clothing, gradually expanding to open her own shop. She was greatly influenced by Dada and Surrealist artists, collaborating on various designs and projects. Her fame rivaled that of Coco Chanel.

September 9

Happy Birthday Viking Eggeling!! From Sweden, Viking Eggeling was born in 1880, his father ran a music shop. He was an artist and an experimental filmmaker. As an orphan, he studied art in Germany, Italy, and France before finally going to Switzerland where he met Hans Richter, became associated with the Dada movement, and began to collaborate on filmmaking. Sadly, Eggeling died prematurely, at age 45, of heart failure. The image included is from his film, Diagonal-Symphonie, 1923.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Louis Zimmer

Happy Birthday Louis Zimmer!! From Belgium, astronomer Louis Zimmer was born in 1888, and is considered one of the best and most innovative clockmakers in the world. His masterpiece, the Centenary Clock, was presented to his hometown Lier, on Belgium's hundredth anniversary of her independence. It took him 5 years to complete the clock, which is affixed to the front of the Zimmer Tower. In the center is one large clock (1.5 m) with 12 smaller dials circled around it. Each dial represents a different form of time: the Zodiac, Solar, Week, Seasons, Tides, etc. Quite interesting, in fact and if you care to read more, please go to .

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jacob Lawrence

Happy Birthday Jacob Lawrence!! Jacob Lawrence was an American painter, from 1917, married to a painter, Gwendolyn Knight. He came from New Jersey, but moved to Harlem in his teens, where he took art classes, dropping out of school at age 16. His college education was funded by scholarship at the American Artists School. He served in the US Coast Guard during WWII, and was able to continue drawing and painting during his service. His work focused on African American history. He called his style “dynamic Cubism” and was made famous with his Migration series. He taught at various schools during his career and remained active in his painting until his death at 82. I am featuring a self portrait from 1977 today.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Horatio Greenough

Happy Birthday Horatio Greenough!! American's “first” sculptor Horatio Greenough was born in 1805. As a child, Greenough began sculpting with chalk. He studied at Harvard, where he developed a love of literature as well as antiquities. He continued to sculpt, and went to Rome to study art. One of his best known government commissions is of George Washington, a controversial piece, due obviously to his choice to sculpt America's forefather as a nude Greek god.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Caspar David Friedrich

Happy Birthday Caspar David Friedrich!! Born in Germany, this artist was a Romantic landscape painter from 1774. He was pone of 10 children in a strict Lutheran family. He began his study of art at a young age. Although he did work with printmaking in etchings and woodcuts, his primary focus was allegorical and symbolic landscape painting. Even though his work fell out of favor for a time, was unfortunately used to promote Nazi ideology, Friedrich is considered one of Germany's most important artists. The Tree of Crows (1822), included here today, is housed at the Louvre in Paris. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thomas U. Walter

Happy Birthday Thomas U. Walter!! Architect from Pennsylvania, Walter was born in 1804. After working for his father as a bricklayer, Walter studied architecture and was eventually appointed Architect of the Capitol. He was dean on American architecture and the fourth architect of the Capitol. He designed the Senate and House wings and the cast iron dome in place today. The inauguration of Abraham Lincoln (1861) took place beneath the unfinished dome (below)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Paul Kane

Happy Birthday Paul Kane!! This Canadian painter was born in 1810 and self-taught. He painted Native Peoples of Canada and Oregon County. Kane traveled extensively, seeking out his subject matter, making sketches to later finish into oil paintings. His work is considered part of Canada's historical record. He did take some liberties at embellishing his work and exercising his artistic license, as exhibited in the painting Flathead Woman and Child below.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Seraphine Louis

Happy Birthday Seraphine Louis !! Primitive painter, Seraphine Louis was born in France in 1864. She came from a poor background; her father was a manual laborer and her mother was from a farming family. She was orphaned by age 7 and brought up by her sister. A hard worker, Louis held various jobs including shepherdess and housekeeper. Working in secret by candlelight, she was finally discovered in 1912 by an art collector from Germany. Separated for 15 years due to the war, he became her benefactor when they reconnected and she began painting large “naive” paintings. Unfortunately she lost his patronage when the Great Depression hit and she became psychotic, was admitted to an institution and died alone.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taddeo Zuccari

Taddeo Zuccari!! This artist was born in Italy in 1529, to a father who was also a painter, although not well known. By age 14 he moved to Rome and began apprenticeships with various painters. He did easel paintings, but was best known for his frescoes which were superior to his easel work. The fresco included here is titled Royal Entry, and depicts Emperor Charles V, Francis I and Alessandro Cardinal Farnese entering Paris