Benoît B. Mandelbrot

French American mathematician Benoît B. Mandelbrot Sadly died in a hospice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 14th October 2010 from pancreatic cancer, at the age of 85. He was born 20 November 1924 in Poland, but moved to France with his family when he was a child. Mandelbrot spent much of his life living and working in the United States, and he acquired dual French and American citizenship. Mandelbrot worked on a wide range of mathematical problems, including mathematical physics and quantitative finance, but is best known as the popularizer of fractal geometry. He coined the term fractal and described the Mandelbrot set. Mandelbrot also wrote books and gave lectures aimed at the general public. Mandelbrot spent most of his career at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, and was appointed as an IBM Fellow. He later became a Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Yale University, where he was the oldest professor in Yale’s history to receive tenure. Mandelbrot also held positions at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Université Lille Nord de France, Institute for Advanced Study and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.From 1951 onward, Mandelbrot worked on problems and published papers not only in mathematics but in applied fields such as information theory, economics, and fluid dynamics. He became convinced that two key themes, fat tails and self- similar structure, ran through a situation of problems encountered in those fields.

Mandelbrot found that price changes in financial markets did not follow a Gaussian distribution, but rather Lévy stable distributions having theoretically infinite variance. He found, for example, that cotton prices followed a Lévy stable distribution with parameter α equal to 1.7 rather than 2 as in a Gaussian distribution. “Stable” distributions have the property that the sum of many instances of a random variable follows the same distribution but with a larger scale parameter.Mandelbrot also put his ideas to work in cosmology. He offered in 1974 a new explanation of Olbers’ paradox (the “dark night sky” riddle), demonstrating the consequences of fractal theory as a sufficient, but not necessary, resolution of the paradox. He postulated that if the stars in the universe were fractally distributed (for example, like Cantor dust), it would not be necessary to rely on the Big Bang theory to explain the paradox. His model would not rule out a Big Bang, but would allow for a dark sky even if the Big Bang had not occurred.

In 1975, Mandelbrot coined the term fractal to describe these structures, and published his ideas in Fractals: Form, Chance and Dimension.While at Harvard University in 1979, Mandelbrot began to study fractals called Julia sets that were invariant under certain transformations of the complex plane. Building on previous work by Gaston Julia and Pierre Fatou, Mandelbrot used a computer to plot images of the Julia sets of the formula z2 − μ. While investigating how the topology of these Julia sets depended on the complex parameter μ he studied the Mandelbrot set fractal that is now named after him. (Note that the Mandelbrot set is now usually defined in terms of the formula z2 + c, so Mandelbrot’s early plots in terms of the earlier parameter μ are left– right mirror images of more recent plots in terms of the parameter c.) In 1982, Mandelbrot expanded and updated his ideas in The Fractal Geometry of Nature. This influential work brought fractals into the mainstream of professional and popular mathematics, as well as silencing critics, who had dismissed fractals as “program artifacts”.

Mandelbrot left IBM in 1987, when IBM decided to end pure research in his division. He joined the Department of Mathematics at Yale, and obtained his first tenured post in 1999, at the age of 75. At the time of his retirement in 2005, he was Sterling Professor of Mathematical Sciences. His awards include the Wolf Prize for Physics in 1993, the Lewis Fry Richardson Prize of the European Geophysical Society in 2000, the Japan Prize in 2003, and the Einstein Lectureship of the American Mathematical Society in 2006.The small asteroid 27500 Mandelbrot was named in his honor. In November 1990, he was made a Knight in the French Legion of Honour. In December 2005, Mandelbrot was appointed to the position of Battelle Fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Mandelbrot was promoted to Officer of the Legion of Honour in January 2006. An honorary degree from Johns Hopkins University was bestowed on Mandelbrot in the May 2010 commencement exercises.

Although Mandelbrot coined the term fractal, some of the mathematical objects he presented in The Fractal Geometry of Nature had been previously described by other mathematicians. Before Mandelbrot, they had often been regarded as isolated curiosities with unnatural and non-intuitive properties. Mandelbrot brought these objects together for the first time and turned them into essential tools for the long-stalled effort to extend the scope of science to non-smooth objects in the real world. He highlighted their common properties, such as self-similarity (linear, non-linear, or statistical), scale invariance, and a (usually) non-integer Hausdorff dimension.He also emphasized the use of fractals as realistic and useful models of many “rough” phenomena in the real world. Natural fractals include the shapes of mountains, coastlines and river basins; the structures of plants, blood vessels and lungs; the clustering of galaxies; and Brownian motion. Fractals are found in human pursuits, such as music, art, architecture, and stock market prices. Mandelbrot believed that fractals, far from being unnatural, were in many ways more intuitive and natural than the artificially smooth objects of traditional Euclidean geometry.

Mandelbrot has been called a visionary and a maverick. His informed & passionate style of writing and his emphasis on visual and geometric intuition (supported bythe inclusion of numerous illustrations) made The Fractal Geometry of Nature accessible to non-specialists. The book sparked widespread popular interest in fractals and contributed to chaos theory and other fields of science and mathematics.When visiting the Museu de la Ciència de Barcelona in 1988, he told its director that the painting The Face of War had given him “the intuition about the transcendence of the fractal geometry when making intelligible the omnipresent similitude in the forms of nature”. He also said that, fractally, Gaudí was superior to Van der Rohe. The mathematician Heinz-Otto Peitgen said Mandelbrot’s impact inside mathematics, and applications in the sciences, made him one of the most important figures of the last 50 years.


World Teachers Day

World Teachers’ Day, also known as International Teachers Day, is held annually on October 5. The aim of World Teachers’ Day is to focus on “appreciating, assessing and improving the educators of the world” and to provide an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching. It was Established in 1994, and commemorates the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, which is a standard-setting instrument that addresses the status and situations of teachers around the world. This recommendation outlines standards relating to education personnel policy, recruitment, and initial training as well as the continuing education of teachers, their employment, and working conditions.

A teacher (educator) is a person who helps others to acquire knowledge, competences or values. Informally the role of teacher may be taken on by anyone (e.g. when showing a colleague how to perform a specific task). In some countries, teaching young people of school age may be carried out in an informal setting, such as within the family (homeschooling), rather than in a formal setting such as a school or college. Some other professions may involve a significant amount of teaching (e.g. youth worker, pastor). In most countries, formal teaching of students is usually carried out by paid professional teachers. This article focuses on those who are employed, as their main role, to teach others in a formal education context, such as at a school or other place of initial formal education or training. A teacher’s role may vary among cultures.

Teachers may provide instruction in literacy and numeracy, craftsmanship or vocational training, the arts, religion, civics, community roles, or life skills. Formal teaching tasks include preparing lessons according to agreed curricula, giving lessons, and assessing pupil progress. A teacher’s professional duties may extend beyond formal teaching. Outside of the classroom teachers may accompany students on field trips, supervise study halls, help with the organization of school functions, and serve as supervisors for extracurricular activities. In some education systems, teachers may have responsibility for student discipline.

To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, the UNESCO and Education International (EI) mounts a campaign each year to help give the world better understanding of teachers and the role they play in the development of students and society. They partner with the private sector such as media organizations to achieve this purpose. The campaign focus on different themes for every year. For instance, “Empowering Teachers” is the theme for 2017. This was the year World Teachers’ Day commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel, bringing the sometimes-neglected area of teaching personnel at Higher Education institutions into the conversation about the status of teachers.

For 2018, the UNESCO adopted the theme: “The right to education means the right to a qualified teacher.” It commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and serves as a reminder that the right to education cannot be realized without trained and qualified teachers. The UNESCO cites that everyone can help by celebrating the profession, by generating awareness about teacher issues and by ensuring that teacher respect is part of the natural order of things. Schools and students, for instance, prepare an occasion for teachers during this day. More than 100 countries commemorate World Teachers’ Day and each holds its own celebrations such as the case of India, which has been commemorating Teachers’ Day every 5th of September.

Rembrandt van Rijn

Dutch painter and etcher Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn sadly passed away on 4th October 1669. He was born 15 July 1606. His contributions to art came during a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age which was very different to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, he was extremely prolific and innovative. As a boy he attended Latin school and was enrolled at the University of Leiden, although according to a contemporary he had a greater inclination towards painting and was soon apprenticed to a Leiden history painter, Jacob van Swanenburgh, with whom he spent three years. After a brief but important apprenticeship of six months with the famous painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, Rembrandt opened a studio in Leiden in 1624 or 1625, which he shared with friend and colleague Jan Lievens. In 1627, Rembrandt began to accept students, among them Gerrit Dou. In 1629, Rembrandt was discovered by the statesman Constantijn Huygens, the father of Dutch mathematician and physicist Christiaan Huygens, who procured commissions from the court of The Hague. As a result of this connection, Prince Frederik Hendrik continued to purchase paintings from Rembrandt until 1646.

The Polish Rider

In 1631 Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, then rapidly expanding as the new business capital of the Netherlands, and began work as a professional portrait artist with great success. Throughout his career the themes of portraiture, landscape and narrative painting were his primary subjects and he produced over 600 paintings, nearly 400 etchings and 2,000 drawings including a number of biblical works, including The Raising of the Cross, Joseph Telling His Dreams and The Stoning of Saint Stephen, he was especially praised by his contemporaries, who extolled him as a masterly interpreter of biblical stories for his skill in representing emotions and attention to detail.During Rembrandt’s Leiden period (1625–1631) his Paintings were rather small, but rich in details (for example, in costumes and jewelry). Religious and allegorical themes were favored. In 1626 Rembrandt produced his first etchings, the wide dissemination of which would largely account for his international fame In 1629 he completed Judas Repentant, Returning the Pieces of Silver and The Artist in His Studio, works that evidence his interest in the handling of light and variety of paint application, and constitute the first major progress in his development as a painter.

Between 1632 and 1636 Rembrandt painted dramatic biblical and mythological scenes in high contrast and of large format (The Blinding of Samson, 1636, Belshazzar’s Feast, c. 1635 Danaë, 1636), seeking to emulate the baroque style of Rubens. With the occasional help of assistants in his workshop, he painted numerous portrait commissions both small (Jacob de Gheyn III) and large (Portrait of the Shipbuilder Jan Rijcksen and his Wife, 1633, Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, By the late 1630s Rembrandt had produced a few paintings and many etchings of landscapes. Often these landscapes highlighted natural drama, featuring uprooted trees and ominous skies (Cottages before a Stormy Sky, and The Three Trees. From 1640 his work became less exuberant and more sober in tone, possibly reflecting personal tragedy. Biblical scenes were now derived more often from the New Testament than the Old Testament, as had been the case before. In 1642 he painted The Night Watch and in the decade following the Night Watch, Rembrandt’s paintings varied greatly in size, subject, and style. The previous tendency to create dramatic effects primarily by strong contrasts of light and shadow gave way to the use of frontal lighting and larger and more saturated areas of color.

However these graphic works of natural drama eventually made way for quiet Dutch rural scenes and by the 1650s, Rembrandt’s style changed again. Colors became richer and brush strokes more pronounced. With these changes, Rembrandt distanced himself from earlier work and current fashion, which increasingly inclined toward fine, detailed works. In later years biblical themes were still depicted often, but emphasis shifted from dramatic group scenes to intimate portrait-like figures (James the Apostle, 1661). In his last years, Rembrandt painted his most deeply reflective self-portraits, and several moving images of both men and women in love, in life, and before God.Although he achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt’s later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters.

Rembrandt’s greatest creative triumphs are exemplified especially in his portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the Bible. His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity. In his paintings and prints he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography, which he molded to fit the requirements of his own experience; thus, the depiction of a biblical scene was informed by Rembrandt’s knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of classical composition, and his observations of Amsterdam’s Jewish population, his legacy lives on in the form of many wonderful paintings and because of his empathy for the human condition, he is also sometimes referred to as “one of the great prophets of civilization.”

Roy Lichtenstein

American pop artist Roy Fox Lichtenstein sadly died 29 September 1997. He was born October 27, 1923 . During the 1960s he became a leading exponent of Pop Art along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and James Rosenquist. Favoring the comic strip as his main inspiration, Lichtenstein produced hard-edged, precise compositions that documented while it parodied often in a tongue-in-cheek humorous manner. His work was heavily influenced by popular advertising and the comic book style.His paintings were exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City and Drowning Girl ,Whaam! and Look Mickey are regarded as his most influential works and The painting “Woman with Flowered Hat” holds the record for highest Lichtenstein auction price.

Lichtenstein Studied at the Ohio State University. However His studies were interrupted by a three-year stint in the army between 1943 and 1946 where he trained in languages, engineering, and pilot training, Before serving as an orderly, draftsman, and artist. Lichtenstein was discharged from the army with eligibility for the G.I. Bill and returned to Ohio State University, Where he studied under Hoyt L. Sherman. After graduating from Ohio State he was hired as an art instructor and received a Master of Fine Arts degree. In 1951 Lichtenstein had his first solo exhibition at the Carlebach Gallery in New York an moved to Cleveland commuting frequently to New York. In between painting he undertook jobs as varied as a draftsman to a window decorator. His work fluctuating between Cubism and Expressionism. In 1954, his first son, David Hoyt Lichtenstein, now a songwriter, was born. His second son, Mitchell Lichtenstein, was born in 1956.

In 1957, Lichtenstein moved to New York and in 1958 he began teaching at the State University of New York in Oswego, adopting the Abstract Expressionism style and incorporating hidden images of cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny into his abstract works. In 1960, he started teaching at Rutgers University, where he was influenced by fellow teacher Allan Kaprow. In 1961, Lichtenstein began his first pop paintings using cartoon images and techniques derived from the appearance of commercial printing. His first work to feature the large-scale use of hard-edged figures and Ben-Day dots was Look Mickey, and he produced six other paintings that year, Leo Castelli also started displaying Lichtenstein’s work at his gallery in New York And Lchtenstein had his first one-man show at the Castelli gallery in 1962; The entire collection being bought by influential collectors before the show even opened. A group of paintings produced between 1961-1962 focused on solitary household objects such as sneakers, hot dogs, and golf balls and in September 1963 he took a leave of absence from his teaching position at Douglass College at Rutgers. Lichtenstein began to find worldwide fame and moved back to New York where he resigned fromRutgers University in 1964 to concentrate on his painting.

On of Lichtenstein best known works, drowning Girl (1963), was appropriated from the lead story in DC Comics’ Secret Hearts #83. And features thick outlines, bold colors and Ben-Day dots, as if created by photographic reproduction.Lichtenstein’s work was reproduced the way the mass media portrays them. He would never take himself too seriously unlike many Art Critics who challenged his paintings originality and criticized them as vulgar and empty. Another of Lichtenstein’s most celebrated image is Whaam!, one of the earliest known examples of pop art, adapted acomic-book panel from a 1962 issue of DC Comics’ All-American Men of War The painting depicts a fighter aircraft firing a rocket into an enemy plane, with a red-and-yellow explosion. The cartoon style is heightened by the use of the onomatopoeic lettering “Whaam!” and the boxed caption “I pressed the fire control… and ahead of me rockets blazed through the sky…” Whaam! follows the comic strip-based themes of some of his previous paintings and is part of a body of war-themed work created between 1962 and 1964. It is one of his two notable large war-themed paintings. Around 1964 Lichtenstein began experimenting with sculpture, producing Head of Girl (1964), and Head with Red Shadow (1965), collaborating with a ceramicist To create the same sort of graphic motifs that he used in his paintings; the application of black lines and Ben-Day dots to three-dimensional objects resulting in a flattening of the form. Most of Lichtenstein’s best-known works are relatively close, but not exact, copies of comic book panels, a subject he largely abandoned in 1965.

Although he would still occasionally incorporate comics panels originally drawn by such comics artists as Jack Kirby and DC Comics artists Russ Heath, Tony Abruzzo, Irv Novick, and Jerry Grandenetti into his work, without giving credit. This also attracted more criticism from those who Saw Lichtenstein’s use of comic-book imagery and art pieces as endorsement of a patronizing view of comics by the art mainstream and engendered a widespread debate about their merits .In the early 1960s, Lichtenstein reproduced masterpieces by Cézanne, Mondrian and Picasso before embarking on the Brushstroke series in 1965. Lichtenstein continued to revisit this theme later in his career with works such asBedroom at Arles that derived from Vincent van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles.

ln 1970, Lichtenstein was commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to make a film. With the help of Universal Film Studios, and he produced, Three Landscapes, a film of marine landscapes, directly related to a series of collages with landscape themes he created between 1964 and 1966. Lichtenstein originally planned on producing 15 short films, however the three-screen installation turned out to be the artist’s only film. In 1970, Lichtenstein purchased a former carriage house in Southampton, Long Island, built a studio on the property, Lichtenstein then began a series of Mirrors paintings in 1969. By 1970, while continuing on the Mirrors series, he started work on the subject of entablatures which consisted of a first series of paintings from 1971–72, followed by a second series in 1974-76, and the publication of a series of relief prints in 1976. He produced a series of “Artists Studios” which incorporated elements of his previous work. A notable example being Artist’s Studio, which incorporates five other previous works, fitted into the scene.

During a trip to Los Angeles in 1978, Lichtenstein became fascinated by lawyer Robert Rifkind’s collection of German Expressionist prints and illustrated books And began to produce works that borrowed stylistic elements found in Expressionist paintings such as The White Tree (1980) And Dr. Waldmann (1980) Lichtenstein also painted more surreal works such as Pow Wow. A major series of Surrealist-Pop paintings from 1979–81 is based on Native American themes Such as Amerind Figure (1981), and Amerind Landscape (1979). These took their themes, like the other parts of the Surrealist series, from contemporary art and other sources, including books on American Indian design from Lichtenstein’s small library. Lichtenstein’s Still Life paintings, sculptures and drawings cover a variety of motifs and themes, including fruit, flowers, and vases and Interiors. He was also inspired by the monochromatic prints of Edgar Degas featured in a 1994 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, using Ben Day dots and hard edged Block colours. The nude is a recurring element in Lichtenstein’s work of the 1990s, such as in Collage for Nude with Red Shirt. Lichtenstein also made over 300 prints, mostly in screen printing and in 1969, Lichtenstein was commissioned by Gunter Sachs to create Composition and Leda and the Swan, for the collector’s Pop Art bedroom suite at the Palace Hotel in St. Moritz. During the 1980s, Lichtenstein received major commissions for works in public places: such as the sculptures Lamp, Mermaid, Brushstrokes in Flight andthe five-storey high Mural with Blue Brushstroke at the Equitable Center, New York; and El Cap de Barcelona. In 1994, Lichtenstein created the 53-foot-long, enamel-on-metal Times Square Mural that now hovers over pedestrians in the Times Square subway station.In 1977, he was commissioned by BMW to paint a Group 5 Racing Version of the BMW 320i for the third instalment in the BMW Art Car .

Sadly Though Lichtenstein died of pneumonia in 1997 at New York University Medical Centre, where he had been hospitalised for several weeks. He was survived by his second wife, Dorothy Herzka, and by his sons, David and Mitchell, from his first marriage. After the artist’s death in 1997, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation was established in 1999. In 2011, the foundation’s board decided the benefits of authenticating did not outweigh the risks of protracted lawsuits and In late 2006, the foundation sent out a holiday card featuring a picture of Electric Cord (1961), a painting that had been missing since 1970 after being sent out to art restorer Daniel Goldreyer by the Leo Castelli Gallery. The card urged the public to report any information about its whereabouts, luckily it was subsequently found in 2012 in a New York City warehouse.

Edgar Degas

Famous for his work in painting, sculpture, printmaking and regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, the French artist Edgar Degas sadly died 27 September 1917. he was Born 19th July 1834 in Paris, France. He was the oldest of five children of Célestine Musson De Gas, a Creole from New Orleans, Louisiana, and Augustin De Gas, a banker. His maternal grandfather Germain Musson, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti of French descent and had settled in New Orleans in 1810. Degas began his schooling in 1845 enrolling in the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. His mother died when he was thirteen, and his father and grandfather became the main influences on him for the remainder of his youth. Degas began to paint early in life and became a superb draftsman.

He graduated from the Lycée with a baccalauréat in literature in 1853, at the age of 18, and turned a room in his home into an artist’s studio. Upon graduating, he registered as a copyist in The Louvre Museum, but his father expected him to go to law school. Degas duly enrolled at the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris in November 1853. In 1855 he met Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, whom Degas revered and whose advice he never forgot: “Draw lines, young man, and still more lines, both from life and from memory, and you will become a good artist” in 1855 Degas was admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts. He studied drawing there with Louis Lamothe. Early in his career, he wanted to be a history painter, a calling for which he was well prepared by his rigorous academic training and close study of classic art.


In July 1856, Degas traveled to Italy and In 1858, while staying with his aunt’s family in Naples, he made the first studies for his early masterpiece The Bellelli Family. He also drew and painted numerous copies of works by Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and other Renaissance artists. Degas returned to France in 1859, and moved into a large Paris studio And began painting The Bellelli Family, intended for exhibition in the Salon. He also began work on several history paintings: Alexander and Bucephalus and The Daughter of Jephthah, Sémiramis Building Babylon and Young Spartans.

In 1861 Degas visited his childhood friend Paul Valpinçon in Normandy, and made the earliest of his many studies of horses. He exhibited at the Salon for the first time in 1865, exhibiting the painting Scene of War in the Middle Ages and continued to exhibit paintings at the Salon for the next five years including “Steeplechase—The Fallen Jockey”. Degas then abruptly changed subject matter bringing the traditional methods of a history painter to bear on contemporary subject matter, he became a classical painter of modern life. This was inspired in part by Édouard Manet, whom Degas had met in 1864 (while both were copying the same Velázquez portrait in the Louvre. During the Franco-Prussian War Degas enlisted in the National Guard, where his defense of Paris left him little time for painting. Sadly his eyesight hindered him. In 1872 Degas visited New Orleans, Louisiana, where his brother René and a number of other relatives lived. Staying at the home of his Creole uncle, Michel Musson, on Esplanade Avenue, Degas produced a number of works, including A Cotton Office in New Orleans, many depicted family members.

In 1873 Degas returned to Paris sadly though his father died in 1874. Degas also learned that his brother René had amassed enormous business debts. To preserve his family’s reputation, Degas sold his house and an art collection he had inherited, and used the money to pay off his brother’s debt. In 1874 joined a group of young artists including Monet, who were organizing an independent exhibiting society. The group soon became known as the Impressionists. Between 1874 and 1886 they mounted eight art shows, known as the Impressionist Exhibitions. However Degas deeply disliked being associated with the term “Impressionist”, which the press had coined and popularized, and insisted on including non-Impressionist artists such as Jean-Louis Forain and Jean-François Raffaëlli in the group’s exhibitions and The group was disbanded in 1886. Degas also began collecting works by artists he admired: such as El Greco, Manet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Édouard Brandon, Ingres, Delacroix, and Daumier. In the late 1880s, Degas also developed a passion for photography. Photographing many of his friends, including Renoir and Mallarmé. He also photographed dancers and nudes, which he used for reference in some of his drawings and paintings.

Much of Degas works depict dancers. These display his mastery in the depiction of movement, as do his racecourse subjects and female nudes. His portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and depiction of human isolation. Some of Degas’s work was controversial, but was generally admired for its draftsmanship. His La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans, or Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, which he displayed at the sixth Impressionist exhibition in 1881, was probably his most controversial piece. The suite of pastels depicting nudes that Degas exhibited in the eighth Impressionist Exhibition in 1886 produced “the most concentrated body of critical writing on the artist during his lifetime however The overall reaction was positive and Degas soon joined forces with the Impressionists, and rejected the rigid rules, judgements, and elitism of the Salon In favour of the the experimentalism of the Impressionists.

Degas held the view that a painter could have no personal life, Consequently Degas became isolated. Then The Dreyfus Affair controversy brought his anti-Semitic leanings to the fore and he broke with all his Jewish friends this together with his argumentative nature alienated him from most of his friends. Between 1907 and 1910 he Continued working in pastel and making Sculptures but he ceased working in 1912, when the impending demolition of his longtime residence on the rue Victor Massé forced him to move to quarters on Boulevard de Cliche. He spent the last years of his life, nearly blind, restlessly wandering the streets of Paris.

During Degas’ life, public reception to his work ranged from admiration to contempt. As a promising artist in the conventional mode, Degas had a number of paintings accepted in the Salon between 1865 and 1870. These works received praise from Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and the critic, Jules-Antoine Castagnary And his dynamic paintings and sketches of everyday life and activities, and his bold color experiments, served to finally tie him to the Impressionist movement as one of its greatest artists and Degas is now considered “one of the founders of Impressionism”. Though his work crossed many stylistic boundaries, his involvement with the other major figures of Impressionism and their exhibitions. His paintings, pastels, drawings, and sculptures are on prominent display in many museums and he also greatly influenced several important painters, most notably Jean-Louis Forain, Mary Cassatt, and Walter Sickert and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

W. Heath Robinson

Best known for his wonderfully outlandish illustrations of all sorts of wierd & wonderful contraptions, the English cartoonist W. Heath Robinson, sadly passed away on 13th September 1944. He was Born into a family of artists His father and brothers (Thomas Heath Robinson and Charles Robinson) all worked as illustrators. Robinson’s early career involved illustrating books – among others: Hans Christian Andersen’s Danish Fairy Tales and Legends (1897); The Arabian Nights, (1899); Tales From Shakespeare (1902), and Twelfth Night (1908), Andersen’s Fairy Tales (1913), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1914), Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies (1915), and Walter de la Mare’s Peacock Pie (1916). In the course of his work Heath Robinson also wrote and illustrated three children’s books, The Adventures of Uncle Lubin (1902), Bill the Minder (1912) and Peter Quip in Search of a Friend (1922). Uncle Lubin is regarded as the start of his career in the depiction of unlikely machines.

During the First World War he drew large numbers of cartoons, collected as Some “Frightful” War Pictures (1915), Hunlikely! (1916), The Saintly Hun (1917) and Flypapers (1919), depicting ever-more-unlikely secret weapons being used by the combatants. He also produced a steady stream of humorous drawings for magazines and advertisements. In 1934 he published a collection of his favourites as Absurdities, such as: “The Wart Chair. A simple apparatus for removing a wart from the top of the head”, “Resuscitating stale railway scones for redistribution at the station buffets” and “The multimovement tabby silencer”, which automatically threw water at serenading cats. Most of his cartoons have since been reprinted many times in multiple collections, and the machines he drew were frequently powered by steam boilers or kettles, heated by candles or a spirit lamp and usually kept running by balding, bespectacled men in overalls. Many of his machines involved complex pulley arrangements, threaded by lengths of knotted string.

Robinson’s cartoons were so popular that in Britain the term “Heath Robinson” is used to refer to an improbable, rickety machine barely kept going by incessant tinkering. (The corresponding term in the U.S. is Rube Goldberg, after an American cartoonist with an equal devotion to odd machinery. In the UK, the term “Heath Robinson” has entered the language as a description of any unnecessarily complex and implausible contraption, similar to “Rube Goldberg” in the U.S.

Similar “inventions” have also been drawn by other cartoonists in many countries, with the Danish Storm Petersen being on par with Robinson and Goldberg.) One of his most famous series of illustrations was that which accompanied the Professor Branestawm books by Norman Hunter. The stories told of the eponymous professor who was brilliant, eccentric and forgetful and provided a perfect backdrop for Robinson’s drawings.One of the automatic analysis machines built for Bletchley Park during the Second World War to assist in the decryption of German message traffic was named “Heath Robinson” in his honour. It was a direct predecessor to the Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital electronic computer.

Henri Toulouse Lautrec

Post impressionist French painter, printmaker, draughtsman and illustrator Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa Sadly passed away 9 September 1901 at the age of 36 from complications due to alcoholism and syphilis. He was born 24 November 1864. Henri’s parents, the Comte and Comtesse, were first cousins (Henri’s two grandmothers were sisters) and unfortunately Henri suffered from congenital health conditions sometimes attributed to a family history of inbreeding. At the age of 13 Henri fractured his right thigh bone and, at 14, the left. The breaks did not heal properly. Modern physicians attribute this to an unknown genetic disorder, possibly pycnodysostosis (also sometimes known as Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome), or a variant disorder along the lines of osteopetrosis, achondroplasia, or osteogenesis imperfecta. Rickets aggravated with praecox virilism has also been suggested. His legs ceased to grow, so that as an adult he was extremely short. He had developed an adult-sized torso, while retaining his child-sized legs. He is reported to have had hypertrophied genitals.

Physically unable to participate in many activities Toulouse-Lautrec immersed himself in art. He became an important Post-Impressionistpainter, art nouveau illustrator, and lithographer, and recorded in his works many details of the late-19th-century bohemian lifestyle in Paris. Toulouse-Lautrec contributed a number of illustrations to the magazine Le Rire during the mid-1890s.After failing college entrance exams, Henri passed at his second attempt and completed his studies. During a stay in Nice his progress in painting and drawing impressed Princeteau, who persuaded his parents to let him return to Paris and study under the acclaimed portrait painter Léon Bonnat. Henri’s mother had high ambitions and, with the aim of Henri becoming a fashionable and respected painter, used the family influence to get him into Bonnat’s studio.Toulouse-Lautrec was drawn to Montmartre, the area of Paris famous for its bohemian lifestyle and the haunt of artists, writers, and philosophers. Studying with Bonnat placed Henri in the heart of Montmartre, an area he rarely left over the next 20 years.

After Bonnat took a new job, Henri moved to the studio of Fernand Cormon in 1882 and studied for a further five years and established the group of friends he kept for the rest of his life. At this time he met Émile Bernard and Van Gogh. Cormon, whose instruction was more relaxed than Bonnat’s, allowed his pupils to roam Paris, looking for subjects to paint. In this period Toulouse-Lautrec had his first encounter with a prostitute (reputedly sponsored by his friends), which led him to paint his first painting of prostitutes in Montmartre, a woman rumoured to be called Marie-Charlotte.La Toilette. in 1887 he participated in an exposition in Toulouse using the pseudonym “Tréclau”, an anagram of the family name ‘Lautrec’. He later exhibited in Paris with Van Gogh and Louis Anquetin. The Belgian critic Octave Maus invited him to present eleven pieces at the Vingt (the Twenties) exhibition in Brussels in February. Vincent van Gogh’s brother, Theo bought ‘Poudre de Riz’ (Rice Powder) for 150 francs for the Goupil & Ciegallery.

From 1889 until 1894, Henri took part in the “Independent Artists’ Salon” on a regular basis. He made several landscapes of Montmartre, painting a series of pleasant plein-air paintings of Carmen Gaudin, the red-head model who appears in The Laundress (1888) in the garden of Monsieur Pere Foret.Toulouse-Lautrec was also commissioned to produce a series of posters for the Moulin Rouge. Other artists looked down on the work, but Henri was so aristocratic he did not care. The cabaret reserved a seat for him and displayed his paintings. Among the well-known works that he painted for the Moulin Rouge and other Parisian nightclubs are depictions of the singer Yvette Guilbert; the dancer Louise Weber, known as the outrageousLa Goulue (“The Glutton”), who created the “French Can-Can”; and the much more subtle dancer Jane Avrill. Toulouse-Lautrec also travelled to London. Making posters in London led him to making the ‘Confetti’ poster, and the bicycle advert ‘La Chaîne Simpson’.While in London he met and befriended Oscar Wilde. When Wilde faced imprisonment in Britain, Henri was a very vocal supporter of Wilde. Toulouse-Lautrec’s portrait of Wilde was painted the same year as Wilde’s trial.

Throughout his career, Toulouse-Lautrec created 737 canvases, 275 watercolours, 363 prints and posters, 5,084 drawings, some ceramic and stained glass work, and an unknown number of lost works. His debt to the Impressionists, in particular the more figurative painters Manet and Degas, is apparent. His style was influenced by the classical Japanese woodprints which became popular in art circles in Paris. In his works can be seen parallels to Manet’s detached barmaid at A Bar at the Folies-Bergère and the behind-the-scenes ballet dancers of Degas. He excelled at capturing people in their working environment, with the colour and the movement of the gaudy night-life present but the glamour stripped away. He was masterly at capturing crowd scenes in which the figures are highly individualized. At the time that they were painted, the individual figures in his larger paintings could be identified by silhouette alone, and the names of many of these characters have been recorded. His treatment of his subject matter, whether as portraits, scenes of Parisian night-life, or intimate studies, has been described as both sympathetic and dispassionate.

Toulouse-Lautrec’s painting style is highly linear and gives great emphasis to contour. He often applied the paint in long, thin brushstrokes which would often leave much of the board on which they are painted showing through. Many of his works may best be described as drawings in coloured paint. Due to his illness Lautrec was rather short and was mocked for his short stature and physical appearance, which led him to drown his sorrows in alcohol.At first this was beer and wine, but his tastes expanded. He was one of the notable Parisians who enjoyed American-style cocktails, France being a nation of wine purists. He had parties at his house on Friday nights and forced his guests to try them. The invention of the cocktail “Earthquake” or Tremblement de Terre is attributed to Toulouse-Lautrec: a potent mixture containing half absinthe and half cognac (in a wine goblet, 3 parts Absinthe and 3 parts Cognac, sometimes served with ice cubes or shaken in a cocktail shaker filled with ice).In 1893 Lautrec’s alcoholism began to take its toll, and as those around him realized the seriousness of his condition there were rumours of a syphilis infection. In 1899 his mother and some concerned friends had him briefly institutionalised. He even had a cane that hid alcohol so that a drink was always available.

. His immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of Paris in the late 1800s yielded a collection of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern and sometimes decadent life of those times. Toulouse-Lautrec – along with Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin – is among the most well-known painters of the Post-Impressionist period. In a 2005 auction at Christie’s auction house, a new record was set when La blanchisseuse, an early painting of a young laundress, sold for $22.4 million U.S. Toulouse Lautrec was placed in a sanatorium shortly before his death and died at the family estate in Malromé He is buried in Verdelais, Gironde, a few kilometres from the Château Malromé, where he died. After His death, his mother, the Comtesse Adèle Toulouse-Lautrec, and Maurice Joyant, his art dealer, promoted his art. His mother contributed funds for a museum to be created in Albi, his birthplace, to house his works. The Toulouse-Lautrec Museum owns the world’s largest collection of works by the painter.