Gustav Klimt

Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt sadly passed away 6th February 1918. Born July 14, 1862, in Baumgarten, near Vienna in Austria-Hungary. Despite living in poverty he displayed artistic talent from an early age. While attending the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts (Kunstgewerbeschule), he studied architectural painting until 1883. He revered the foremost history painter of the time, Hans Makart and readily accepted the principles of a conservative training and his early work may be classified as academic. He went on to become one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement

In 1888, Klimt received the Golden order of Merit from Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria for his contributions to murals painted in the Burgtheater in Vienna. He also became an honorary member of the University of Munich and the University of Vienna. He also became one of the founding members and president of the Wiener Sezession (Vienna Secession) in 1897 where he remained until 1908. The group’s goals were to provide exhibitions for unconventional young artists, to bring the best foreign artists’ works to Vienna, and to publish its own magazine to showcase members’ work.The group declared no manifesto and did not set out to encourage any particular style—Naturalists, Realists, and Symbolists all coexisted. The government supported their efforts and gave them a lease on public land to erect an exhibition hall. The group’s symbol was Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of just causes, wisdom, and the arts—and Klimt painted his radical version in 1898. Klimt is also noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects, his primary subject being the female body

In 1894, Klimt was commissioned to create three paintings to decorate the ceiling of the Great Hall in the University of Vienna. Not completed until the turn of the century, his three paintings, Philosophy, Medicine and Jurisprudence, were criticized for their radical themes and material and caused a public outcry from all quarters—political, aesthetic, and religious. As a result, they were not displayed on the ceiling of the Great Hall. as a result This was the last public commission accepted by the artist for some time. In 1902, Klimt finished the Beethoven Frieze for the 14th Vienna Secessionist exhibition, which was intended to be a celebration of the composer and featured a monumental, polychromed sculpture by Max Klinger. Meant for the exhibition only, the frieze was painted directly on the walls with light materials. After the exhibition the painting was preserved, although it did not go on display until 1986. The face on the Beethoven portrait resembled the composer and Vienna Court Opera director Gustav Mahler.

Klimt’s ‘Golden Phase’ was marked by positive critical reaction and success. Many of his paintings from this period used gold leaf; the prominent use of gold can first be traced back to Pallas Athene (1898) and Judith I (1901), although the works most popularly associated with this period are the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) and The Kiss (1907–1908). Klimt travelled little but trips to Venice and Ravenna, both famous for their beautiful mosaics, most likely inspired his gold technique and his Byzantine imagery. In 1904, he collaborated with other artists on the lavish Palais Stoclet, the home of a wealthy Belgian industrialist, which was one of the grandest monuments of the Art Nouveau age. Klimt’s contributions to the dining room, including both Fulfillment and Expectation, were some of his finest decorative work, and as he publicly stated, “probably the ultimate stage of my development of ornament. Between 1907 and 1909, Klimt painted five canvases of society women wrapped in fur. His apparent love of costume is expressed in the many photographs of Flöge modeling clothing he designed.

In 1911 his painting Death and Life received first prize in the world exhibitions in Rome. In 1915 his mother Anna died. Klimt died three years later in Vienna on February 6, 1918, having suffered a stroke and pneumonia due to the influenza epidemic of that year and was buried at the Hietzinger Cemetery in Hietzing, Vienna. Numerous paintings were left unfinished. However those he did finish before his untimely demise have brought some of the highest prices recorded for individual works of art. In November 2003, Klimt’s Landhaus am Attersee sold for $29,128,000, and plenty of other examples of his work have also fetched vast sums of money at auction.

Piet Mondrian

Dutch Painter Pieter Cornelis “Piet” Mondriaan, sadly died 1 February 1944 after contracting pneumonia. He was born March 7, 1872. in Amersfoort, Netherlands. He moved to Winterswijk when his father, Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan, was appointed Head Teacher at a local primary school. Mondrian was introduced to art from a very early age: his father was a qualified drawing teacher; and, with his uncle, Fritz Mondriaan. Piet often painted and drew along the river Gein. In 1892, Mondrian entered the Academy for Fine Art in Amsterdam. He already was qualified as a teacher. He began his career as a teacher in Primary Education, but he also practiced painting. Most of his work from this period is Naturalistic or Impressionistic, consisting largely of landscapes, depicting windmills, fields, and rivers, initially in the Dutch Impressionist manner of the Hague School and then in a variety of styles and techniques. These paintings illustrate the influence various artistic movements had on Mondrian, including Pointillism and the vivid colors of Fauvism. On display in the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague are a number of paintings from this period, including The Red Mill and Trees in Moonrise. Another painting, Evening (Avond) (1908), a scene of haystacks in a field at dusk, uses a palette consisting almost entirely of red, yellow, and blue And is the earliest of Mondrian’s works to emphasize the primary colors. The earliest paintings that show an inkling of the abstraction to come are a series of canvases from 1905 to 1908, which depict dim scenes of indistinct trees and houses with reflections in still water. In 1908, he became interested in the theosophical movement launched by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.

Mondrian’s later work were influenced by the 1911 Moderne Kunstkring exhibition of Cubism in Amsterdam. His search for simplification is shown in two versions of Still Life with Ginger Pot (Stilleven met Gemberpot). The 1911 version is Cubist; in, the 1912 version, it is reduced to a round shape with triangles and rectangles. In 1911, Mondrian moved to Paris and changed his name (dropping an ‘a’ from Mondriaan., in 1913, Mondrian began combining his art and his theosophical studies into a theory that signaled his final break from representational painting. While Mondrian was visiting home in 1914, World War I began, forcing him to remain in The Netherlands for the duration of the conflict. During this period, he stayed at the Laren artist’s colony, there meeting Bart van der Leck and Theo van Doesburg. Van der Leck’s use of only primary colors in his art greatly influenced Mondrian. Mondrian published “De Nieuwe Beelding in de schilderkunst” (“The New Plastic in Painting”) in twelve installments during 1917 and 1918. This was his first major attempt to express his artistic theory in writing.

In 1918, Mondrian returned to France and he flourished in the atmosphere of intellectual freedom and artistic innovation. In 1919 Mondrian began producing grid-based paintings and in 1920, the style for which he came to be renowned began to appear. In the early paintings of this style the lines delineating the rectangular forms are relatively thin, and they are gray, not black. The forms themselves, are smaller and more numerous than in later paintings, are filled with primary colors, black, or gray, and nearly all of them are colored; only a few are left white. Around 1920 Mondrian’s started painting thick black lines separating larger forms, which Were fewer in number, with more Spaces being left white. the rectangular forms remain mostly colored. such as in the “lozenge” works that Mondrian began producing with regularity in the mid-1920s. The “lozenge” paintings are square canvases tilted 45 degrees, so that they hang in a diamond shape. Typical of these is Schilderij No. 1: Lozenge With Two Lines and Blue (1926), also known as Composition With Blue and Composition in White and Blue, which is currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. One of the most minimal of Mondrian’s canvases, this painting consists only of two black, perpendicular lines and a small triangular form, colored blue. As the years progressed, lines began to take precedence over forms in his painting. In the 1930s, he began to use thinner lines and double lines more frequently, punctuated with a few small colored forms, if any at all.

In September 1938, Mondrian left Paris in the face of advancing fascism and moved to London. After the Netherlands were invaded and Paris fell in 1940, he left London for Manhattan, where he would remain until his death. works from this later period demonstrate an unprecedented business, however, with more lines than any of his work since the 1920s, placed in an overlapping arrangement that is almost cartographical in appearance. Mondrian produced Lozenge Composition With Four Yellow Lines (1933), a simple painting that included thick, coloured lines instead of black ones, as well as Composition (1938) and Place de la Concorde (1943). The new canvases that Mondrian began in Manhattan are even more startling. New York City (1942) is a complex lattice of red, blue, and yellow lines, occasionally interlacing to create a greater sense of depth than his previous works. His painting Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942–43) was highly influential in the school of abstract geometric painting. The piece is made up of a number of shimmering squares of bright color that leap from the canvas, then appear to shimmer, drawing the viewer into those neon lights. Mondrian replaced former solid lines with lines created from small adjoining rectangles of color, created in part by using small pieces of paper tape in various colors. Larger unbounded rectangles of color punctuate the design, some with smaller concentric rectangles inside them. While Mondrian’s works of the 1920s and 1930s have an almost scientific austerity about them, these are bright, lively paintings, reflecting the upbeat music that inspired them and the city in which they were made.

Piet Mondrian returned to Paris in 1919, and set about making his studio a nurturing environment for paintings which expressed Neo-Plasticism. In 1943, Mondrian moved into his second and final Manhattan studio but Tragically died in February 1944. He is interred in the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.On February 2, 1944, a memorial, attended by nearly 200, was held for Mondrian, at the Universal Chapel on Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street in Manhattan.

Pop art day/Jackson Pollock

PopArt day takes place annually on 28th January to commemorate the birth of the American Artist Jackson Pollock and inspire artists to create their own Pop Art. Paul Jackson Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming, in 28 January 1912, His parents. Stella and LeRoy Pollock were Presbyterian; and of Irish and Scots-Irish descent, respectively. LeRoy Pollock was a farmer and later a land surveyor for the government, moving for different jobs. Stella, proud of her family’s heritage as weavers, made and sold dresses as a teenager. In 1912, Stella took her sons to San Diego; Jackson was just 10 months old He subsequently grew up in Arizona and Chico, California. While living in Echo Park, California, he enrolled at Los Angeles’ Manual Arts High School, from which he was expelled. He had already been expelled in 1928 from another high school. During his early life, Pollock explored Native American culture while on surveying trips with his father. In 1930, following his older brother Charles Pollock, he moved to New York City, where they both studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League. In the early 1930s, Pollock spent a summer touring the Western United States together with Glen Rounds, a fellow art student, and Benton, their teacher.

Pollock was introduced to the use of liquid paint in 1936 at an experimental workshop in New York City by the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. He later used paint pouring as one of several techniques on canvases of the early 1940s, such as Male and Female and Composition with Pouring I. After his move to Springs, he began painting with his canvases laid out on the studio floor and he developed what was later called his “drip” technique. Between 1938 and 1942 Pollock worked for the WPA Federal Art Project. Pollock became an Alcoholic and underwent Jungian psychotherapy with Dr. Joseph Henderson and later with Dr. Violet Staub de Laszlo in 1941–42. Henderson engaged him through his art, encouraging Pollock to make drawings. Jungian concepts and archetypes were expressed in his paintings. It is possible that Pollock might have had bipolar disorder (When I get depressed I find that drawing can have an uplifting effect, i think I would go mad without Autodesk Sketchbook, however I digress). In 1943 Pollock signed a gallery contract with Peggy Guggenheim in July 1943. He received the commission to create the 8-by-20-foot (2.4 by 6.1 m) Mural for the entry to her new townhouse. Pollock painted the work on canvas, rather than the wall, so that it would be portable. Pollock’s most famous paintings were made during the “drip period” between 1947 and 1950. He rocketed to fame following an August 8, 1949 four-page spread in Life magazine.

Then At the peak of his fame, Pollock abruptly abandoned the drip style. Pollock’s work after 1951 was darker in color, including a collection painted in black on unprimed canvases. These paintings have been referred to as his ‘Black pourings’ and show Pollock attempting to find a balance between abstraction and depictions of the figure. He later returned to using color and continued with figurative elements. Pollock also moved to the Sidney Janis Gallery, a more commercial gallery; the demand for his work from collectors was great. Unfortunately the extra pressure this put on him, plus personal frustration, worsened his alcoholism.

In 1942 Jackson met fellow artist Lee Krasner while they both exhibited at the McMillen Gallery. Krasner was unfamiliar, yet intrigued with Pollock’s work and went to his apartment, unannounced, to meet him following the gallery. In 1945 Pollock and Lee Krasner married and moved out of the city to the Springs area of East Hampton on the south shore of Long Island into a wood-frame house and barn at 830 Springs Fireplace Road which Pollock converted into a studio, where he perfected his big “drip” technique with which he would become permanently identified. Lee Krasner had an immense impact on Pollock’s art due to her extensive knowledge and training in modern art and techniques which influenced Pollack and helped her bring him up to date with what contemporary art should be and Pollock’s style became more organized and cosmopolitan.

Lee Krasner also introduced Pollock to many collectors, critics, and artists, including Herbert Matter. Jackson Pollock also influenced Lee Krasner’s, artwork and Krasner began to reproduce and reinterpret her husband’s chaotic “I Am Nature” paint splatters in her own work. In 1955, Pollock painted Scent and Search, his last two paintings. In 1956 he was making sculptures at Tony Smith’s home: constructions of wire, gauze, and plaster. Shaped by sand-casting, they have heavily textured surfaces similar to what Pollock often created in his paintings.

Sadly by 1956 Pollock and Krasner’s relationship began to crumble owing to Pollock’s continuing alcoholism and infidelity involving Ruth Kligman. Then tragically On August 11, 1956, Pollock died in a single-car crash in his Oldsmobile convertible while driving under the influence of alcohol. At the time Krasner was visiting friends in Europe and she abruptly returned on hearing the news One of the passengers, Edith Metzger, was also killed in the accident, which occurred less than a mile from Pollock’s home. The other passenger, Ruth Kligman, an artist and Pollock’s mistress, survived. Lee Krasner managed his estate For the rest of her life and ensured that Pollock’s reputation remained strong despite changing art world trends. The couple are buried in Green River Cemetery in Springs with a large boulder marking his grave and a smaller one marking hers.