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Impressionists

Auguste Renoir: Leader of Impressionism

Auguste Renoir

“The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself, carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion; it is the current which he puts forth which sweeps you along in his passion.” -Pierre-Auguste Renoir

“An innovative artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on February 25, 1841, in Limoges, France. He started out as an apprentice to a porcelain painter and studied drawing in his free time. After years as a struggling painter, Renoir helped launch an artistic movement called Impressionism in 1870s. He eventually became one of the most highly regarded artists of his time. He died in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, in 1919.

Leader of Impressionism

“After the war ended in 1871, Renoir eventually made his way back to Paris. He and some of his friends, including Pissarro, Monet, Cézanne and Edgar Degas, decided to show their works on their own in Paris in 1874, which became known as the first Impressionist exhibition. The group’s name is derived from a critical review of their show, in which the works were called “impressions” rather than finished paintings done using traditional methods. Renoir, like other Impressionists, embraced a brighter palette for his paintings, which gave them a warmer and sunnier feel. He also used different types of brushstrokes to capture his artistic vision on the canvas.

“While the first Impressionist exhibition was not a success, Renoir soon found other supportive patrons to propel his career. The wealthy publisher Georges Charpentier and his wife Marguérite took a great interest in the artist and invited him to numerous social gatherings at their Paris home. Through the Charpentiers, Renoir met such famous writers as Gustave Flaubert and ?mile Zola. He also received portrait commissions from the couple’s friends. His 1878 painting, “Madame Charpentier and her Children,” was featured in the official Salon of the following year and brought him much critical admiration.” -Biography

IMPRESSIONISM IN DEPTH:

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Inspiration Video

VIDEO: The importance of Imagination


“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”-Albert Einstein

imagination:

noun
1. the faculty of imagining, or of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses.
2. the action or process of forming such images or concepts.
3. the faculty of producing ideal creations consistent with reality, as in literature, as distinct from the power of creating illustrative or decorative imagery.
4. the product of imagining; a conception or mental creation, often a baseless or fanciful one.
5. ability to face and resolve difficulties; resourcefulness: a job that requires imagination.

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Impressionists

Edgar Degas: Museum Patronage

Edgar Degas- Studio- Photo
Degas Self-Portrait with Christine and Yvonne Lerolle

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” -Edgar Degas

“While Degas was aware of photography from the beginning of his career, he did not take up the medium until 1895, when he embraced it with great enthusiasm. By then, the motifs in his paintings and pastels-dancers, women at their toilette, horses, and even his rare forays into landscape-were established, as were his untraditional viewpoints, lighting effects, and compositions; what was novel was his approach to his materials. Characteristically, he eschewed the accepted standards of photographic practice, the decreed fashions of the portrait studio, and the aesthetics of the “Photo-Club” artist; instead, his technique was driven exclusively by the effect he wished to achieve.

“Degas’s brief but passionate involvement with photography resulted in a small body of fascinating and engaging pictures. Most of his surviving photographs are figure studies, self-portraits, and portraits of his intimate circle of friends-the families of Ludovic Halévy, Stéphane Mallarmé, Henry Lerolle, Auguste Renoir, Jacques-Emile Blanche, and others-in settings suggestive of realms more psychological than physical. In this magical image-one of Degas’s finest-the artist himself seems to lean back deep in thought, conjuring up an image of youthful feminine grace in the form of the white-clad Lerolle daughters.” –Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol: Almost Famous

-photograph by William John Kennedy
-photograph by William John Kennedy

“Everybody must have a fantasy.” -Andy Warhol

“For a period of time in the early 1960s, a young commercial photographer named William John Kennedy made a habit of shooting a couple of artists he had befriended in New York’s gallery scene. He then filed the negatives away in a cardboard box, where they remained for almost 50 years. Now 81 and living in Miami Beach, Kennedy recently unearthed the archive: the artists were Robert Indiana and Andy Warhol, and the period was late 1962 to 1964, the years during which Indiana and Warhol were becoming household names. The photographs, which will be exhibited at the Scope Miami art show during Art Basel Miami Beach, include some of the only known shots of Indiana and Warhol with their iconic works: Indiana with his “Love” painting, Warhol with an acetate of Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps more remarkably, though, they capture the artists not fully formed but on the cusp of fame. “They were in their infancy,” Kennedy said by phone from Miami. “But by the end, it would be a miracle if I could shoot one minute because Andy was constantly going to the telephone to answer calls.” -T Magazine

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Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo: Unity Mural

Frida Kahlo in Front of the Unfinished Unity Panel, 1933. Photographed by Lucienne Bloch.
Frida Kahlo in Front of the Unfinished Unity Panel, 1933. Photographed by Lucienne Bloch.

“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.” -Frida Kahlo

“Diego Rivera is internationally acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s most important muralists and influential artists. Rivera’s style is a unique synthesis of European painting, socialist ideals, and the cultural riches of pre-Columbian indigenous Mexico.
He gave the people of the San Francisco Bay Area an extraordinary work of Pan American art and an inspiring vision of Pan-American Unity. His grand, 22′ high and 74′ long, mural, is entitled “Unión de la Expresión Artistica del Norte y Sur de este Continente” (The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on this Continent). It is a sweeping synthesis of the art, religion, history, politics, and technology of the Americas that is as timely now as it was sixty years ago.

“Rivera painted this masterpiece, now commonly called Pan American Unity, in 1940 as part of the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. He was commissioned by the organizers of the 1940 Golden Gate International Exposition to paint a large-scale fresco during the run of the fair. It was the centerpiece of Art in Action, an innovative exhibit where fairgoers could watch artists create their work.

“The mural includes three self-portraits and a portrait on his wife, artist Frida Kahlo. It is a unique combination of an artist in his prime and a critical moment in world history brought together on a monumental scale. It is arguably the most important work of art created in the Bay Area.
After the fair closed, the mural was intended to be placed in the new library of San Francisco Junior College (now City College of San Francisco). This library was part of a grand architectural plan developed by Timothy Pflueger, a prominent local architect, one of the organizers of the fair, and Rivera’s patron and friend.” -CCSF.edu

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Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo & Her Lust for Life

Frida Kahlo - Chavela Vargas

“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Tragedy is the most ridiculous thing.” -Frida Kahlo

A Lust for Life

“Frida, the person and her art, defy easy definition. Rather, they lend themselves to ambiguous description. Often volatile and obsessive, Frida was alternately hopeful and despairing. She loved dancing and crowds and flirtation and seduction – and was often miserably lonely, begging friends and lovers to visit, not to “forget” her. She had a ferocious and often black sense of humor, as well as a sharp command of wit and metaphor. She took great pride in keeping a home for Diego and loved fussing over him, cooking for him and bathing him. She delighted in pets – mischievous spider monkeys and dogs – and adored children, who she treated as equals. She loved nonsense, gossip and dirty jokes. She abhorred pretension. She treated servants like family and students like esteemed colleagues. Frida Kahlo embodied alegría, – a lust for life. She valued honesty, especially to self.

“She once wrote to a former lover (who allegedly had jilted her because of her physical infirmities), “you deserve the best, the very best, because you are one of the few people in this lousy world who are honest to themselves, and that is the only thing that really counts.

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“When Frida Kahlo died at the age of 47 on July 13, 1954, she left paintings, each of which corresponds to her evolving persona, as well as a collection of effusive letters to lovers and friends, and colorfully candid journal entries. All are irrefutable evidence that her life was nothing less than a quest to be honest to herself – 1910 birthday and all.” -PBS

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Frida Kahlo

Frida’s Artistic Legacy

Frida Kahlo Smoking: photo by Nickolas Muray

“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” ―Frida Kahlo

(photo by Nickolas Muray)

“Artist Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907, in Coyocoán, Mexico City, Mexico. Considered one of Mexico’s greatest artists, Frida Kahlo began painting after she was severely injured in a bus accident. Kahlo later became politically active and married fellow communist artist Diego Rivera in 1929. She exhibited her paintings in Paris and Mexico before her death in 1954.”

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Artistic Legacy:

“Since her death, Kahlo’s fame as an artist has only grown. Her beloved Blue House was opened as a museum in 1958. The feminist movement of the 1970s led to renewed interest in her life and work, as Kahlo was viewed by many as an icon of female creativity. In 1983, Hayden Herrera’s book on the artist, A Biography of Frida Kahlo, also helped to stir up interest this great artist. More recently, her life was the subject of a 2002 film entitled Frida, starring Salma Hayek as the artist and Alfred Molina as Diego Rivera. Directed by Julie Taymor, the film was nominated for six Academy Awards and won for Best Makeup and Original Score.” -Biography

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Creative Relationships Frida Kahlo

Frida & Diego

Frida & Diego- photo by Martin Munkácsi)“I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.” -Frida Kahlo

(photo by Martin Munkácsi)

 

Tumultuous Marriage

“Kahlo reconnected with Rivera in 1928. He encouraged her artwork, and the two began a relationship. The couple married the next year. During their early years together, Kahlo often followed Rivera based on where the commissions that Rivera received were. In 1930, they lived in San Francisco, California, where Kahlo showed her painting Frieda and Diego Rivera at the Sixth Annual Exhibition of the San Francisco Society of Women Artists. They then went to New York City for Rivera’s show at the Museum of Modern Art and later moved to Detroit for Rivera’s commission with the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“In 1932, Kahlo incorporated more graphic and surrealistic elements in her work. In her painting, Henry Ford Hospital (1932), a naked Kahlo appears on a hospital bed with several items — a fetus, a snail, a flower, a pelvis and others — floating around her connected to her by red, veinlike strings. As with her earlier self-portraits, the work was deeply personal, telling the story of her second miscarriage.

“Kahlo and Rivera’s time in New York City in 1933 was surrounded by controversy. Commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller, Rivera created a mural entitled Man at the Crossroads in the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller halted the work on the project after Rivera included a portrait of communist leader Vladimir Lenin in the mural, which was later painted over. Months after this incident, the couple returned to Mexico and went to live in San Angel, Mexico.

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“Never a traditional union, Kahlo and Rivera kept separate, but adjoining homes and studios in San Angel. She was saddened by his many infidelities, including an affair with her sister Cristina. In response to this familial betrayal, Kahlo cut off most of her trademark long dark hair. Desperately wanting to have a child, she again experienced heartbreak when she miscarried in 1934.

“She and Rivera went through periods of separation, but they joined together to help exiled Soviet communist Leon Trotsky and his wife Natalia in 1937. The Trotskys came to stay with them at the Blue House for a time in 1937 as Trotsky had received asylum in Mexico. Once a rival of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, Trotsky feared that he would be assassinated by his old nemesis. Kahlo and Trotsky reportedly had a brief affair during this time.” –Biography

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