Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jamie Wyeth

Automaton, 1979
Mischief Night, 1986

Giuliana and the Sunflowers, 1987

Pumpkinhead - Self-Portrait, 1972.
James Wyeth (1946- ) Born in Pennsylvania and is the son of the famous painter, Andrew Wyeth and grandson of another famous painter, N.C. Wyeth. He is known as part of the 'Brandywine Tradition' which is a group of painters who worked in the countryside of Delaware and Pennsylvania. He has been influenced by the methods and styles of his family as well as the Flemish and Dutch masters. He was also influenced by Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins. During the 1970s he did many portraits of famous people including Jimmy Carter, Nureyev and Andy Warhol.
These images were taken from a beautiful book, Wondrous Strange, The Wyeth Tradition, published by Bulfinch.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rogier van der Weyden

The Visitation by a follower of Rogier van der Weyden, Flemish. 2nd half of the 15th century. Tempera and oil on wood, 33 x 16 in. The Cloisters Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.

(c. 1399-1464) The outstanding Netherlandish painter of the mid-15th century. He was one of the greatest and most influential European artists of his time, but there is little secure knowledge about his career. None of the surviving paintings associated with him are signed, dated, or verified by indisputable contemporary documentation, but several can be identified from early sources, and the style these show is so distinctive that a coherent oeuvre has been built up around them His early career, however, is still a particularly problematic area, as the sparse evidence relating to it is teasingly equivocal.
Rogier's reputation rests mainly on his religious works, which are remarkable for their magisterial power of design and their emotional intensity and sensitivity. He was know to have felt and expressed emotions and sensations - mostly of a bitter or bittersweet nature-that no painter had ever recaptured.
He had many assistants and pupils and ran a busy workshop. His pictures were exported to France, Germany, Spain and Italy (where he was one of the few northern artists of the time to be highly regarded), and many of the types and motifs he invented or popularized became part of the common currency of artistic ideas until well into the 16th century. He is also known as Rogier of Bruges. (Ian Chilvers)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Movement in Art

Movement - In art, movement may be actual or implied. Generally, it refers to the direction of lines, forms, or relation of colors that leads the eye over the composition. (Ralph L. Wickiser)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

A Country Outing, 1882. Oil on canvas, 18 1/8 x 15 in. Phillip and Janice Levin Collection.
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). French artist, associated with the Impressionists. His later work was to prove vital to the development of poster art. Toulouse-Lautrec was born at Albi (where there is now a museum of his work) in the South of France. He showed an early gift for drawing, to which he turned increasingly after a riding accident at the age of 15 left him with crippled and stunted legs. In 1882 he began to study art in Paris. He admired Goya's etchings and Degas' work, and in the 1880's he met Gauguin and was inspired by Japanese prints. Lautrec became a familiar figure drawing and paintings in the dance halls, theatres, cafes, circuses, and brothels. He often painted with thinned-out oils on cardboard. (Brockhampton)

This particular painting is unusual for Lautrec - he is well known for his works featuring Parisian nightlife. This painting was in his early period and reflected scenes of country life among the wealthy as he was from a privileged background.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Will Barnet

3 Chairs, 1991-92. Oil on canvas, 43 x 53 1/2 in. Private Collection
Vigil, 1974-75. Oil on canvas, 48 x 67 1/2 in. Private collection.

The Blue Robe, 1962. Oil on canvas, 50 x 54 in. Private Collection

The Lesson, 1984. Oil on canvas, 71 x 33 1/2 in.

Will Barnet (American born 1911) has profoundly influenced 20th century art. His works are simple yet elegant, tinged with mood. He explores social realism, abstraction, and modernism, all the while playing to fleeting emotions. His images invite reflection, evoke nostalgia, and recall poignant memories.
Grounded in classical sensibilities, the artist is always searching for clarity and harmony as he offers interpretation of life's events. What could be the mundane become the important moments of both the view and the subject.
Barnet studied at the School of Museum of fine Arts in Boston and the Art Students League in New York. He has taught at the Art Students League, Cooper Union, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Cornell and Yale Universities, and other schools. His paintings and prints, spanning social realism, abstraction, figurative work, and modernism, are in prestigious collections worldwide. (author unknown but published by Pomegranate.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes, c. 1625. Oil on canvas, approx. 6' x 4' 8". Detroit Institute of the Arts (gift of Leslie H. Green).
Caravaggio, Calling of St. Matthew, circa 1597-1601. Oil on canvas, 11' 1" x 11' 5". Contraelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome.

Painting in the tenebroso or 'dark manner,' using violent contrasts of light and dark, as in the work of Caravaggio. (Frederick Hartt)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Antonio Rossellino. Tomb of the Cardinal of Portugal. 1460-66. White and colored marbles with traces of polychromy and gold, width of chapel wall 15' 9". Chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal, San Miniato, Florence.

(Plural genii) In Roman and Renaissance art, usually the guardian spirit of a person, place, or thing, though it may be purely decorative. Genii are represented in human form, frequently seminude and winged; note the genii on the base of the tomb of the Cardinal of Portugal above. (Frederick Hartt)

Monday, October 20, 2008


Print made by a woodblock in which a picture or design has been cut in relief along the grain of the wood. The woodcut is the oldest method of printing, invented in China in the 5th century AD. In the Middle Ages woodcuts became popular in Europe, illustrating early printed books and broadsides.
The German artist Albrecht Durer was an early exponent of the technique. Multicolored woodblock prints were developed in Japan in the mid-18th century. Wood engraving is an allied but finer technique, the cuts being made across the end-grain of a block. The English artist Thomas Bewick is one of the first exponents of wood engraving. (Brockhampton)
All artwork by Mary Azarian

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Conrad Felixmuller

Please see my musings by artslice blog (link to the right of the screen) to see today's post. I accidentally posted it there instead of over here! It's been a long day :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Quote

Things That Go Bump In The Night. 1990. Oil on canvas, 70 x 42"
Plantains in a Box. 1969. Oil on canvas. 44 x 44"

Skowhegan Water Glasses. 1973. Oil on canvas, 42 x 40".

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Janet Fish is great at finding something sublime in the ordinary. The plantains and water glasses are nice examples. Her object-filled vignettes are also stunning and lead the eye through to page over and over again!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


By Hella Basu - Graphic arrangement of a poem by John Donne. This designer is well known for the originality of her compositions involving calligraphy. (Heather Child)

Calligram - Calligraphic or typographic composition in which the works themselves form the design. Existed at least as far back as early medieval times. A popular form of decoration in some Jewish MSS, where it is called micrography. (Rose Folsum)

I've posted this word in the past but wanted to share this beautiful example with you all. It 's from an old book, Calligraphy Today by Heather Child

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Printer's term for a small visual device to fill space decoratively or to call attention to part of the text. (Rose Folsum)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Joseph Cornell

Untitled, c 1950. Mixed media in a wooden box. h15 x 10 1/2 in. Private Collection
This container acts as a metaphor for the whole world, inhabited by these strange items. It is also a treasury of curiosities that is compelling to explore and evokes a mood of nostalgia.
The fragments of once ornamental or beautiful objects come together in a magical and dream-like way. This is Cornell's genius, and why he has proved so popular over the years. The randomness of these 'assemblages', as they are known, reflects Cornell's interest in the irrationality of Surrealism. Nevertheless, a sense of order and precision pervades pieces such as this. Of his own work Cornell once said, 'Shadow boxes become poetic theatres or settings wherein are metamorphosed the elements of a childhood pass time.' (Butler, Van Cleave, Stirling)
Joseph Cornell is one of my favorite artists - he never disappoints. I love the randomness of some of the items he chooses and how they take on meanings when paired with other items. His work suggests old objects and possessions have their own history as well as being connected to the viewer's memory. In that way, the viewer can 'make a piece their own' . His work is genius and groundbreaking in the course of art history - in my humble opinion!
p.s. sorry the quality of the photograph is not great... it's tough to get a good image once the sun goes down.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Modern Madonna

Mother and Child by Picasso 1922
This modern Madonna, painted on a tinted gray background and very lightly colored, was signed by Picasso in 1922. It belongs in Picasso's period of great simplicity and classical feeling. It is an eloquent sample of his authority as a draftsman and one of the most tender of his monumental figure pieces. (Andre Maurois - from a 1927 Vanity Fair magazine article)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kees van Dongen

Kees van Dongen - The Parisienne, 1904. Oil on cardboard, 16 1/4 x 11 1/2 in. The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation.
(1877-1968). Dutch-born painter and printmaker who settled in Paris in 1897 and took French nationality in 1929. His early work was Impressionist, but he became a member of the Fauves in 1906 and in 1908 exhibited with the German Expressionist group Die Brucke. He had a reputation as a ladies' man, and his work (mainly nudes and female portraits) was often erotic in spirit; in 1913 one of his pictures was removed from the Salon d' Automne by the police on the grounds of alleged indecency. After the first World War he became internationally famous for his paintings of fashionable life, particularly portraits of insolently glamorous women in which he created a type that has been described as 'half drawing-room prostitute, half sidewalk princess.' He kept the brilliant coloring and bold handling of his Fauve days, but his great facility led to repetition and banality and it is generally agreed that his best work was done before 1920. From 1959 he lived in Monaco. (Ian Chilvers)
ps - Free shipping sale in my Etsy shop starting tonight... check it out!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Fun Find

I bought this card made from a painting of an Oregon artist - unfortunately I only know her as N. Norman. Her paintings were so colorful and lively. The quote on the bottom reads: "I go about my mindless chores while red galaxies recede into the night."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Alex Katz

Ada and Flowers. 1980. Oil on canvas, 96 x 72". G.U.C. Collection, Chicago
The Gray Dress. 1982. Oil on canvas, 6' 1/2" x 15'. Collection Stephen L. Wald, New York.

The content of Katz's paintings is seemingly simple, but actually quite complex; what seems to be suspended judgment by the painter is actually subtly interpretive. Though the images do not launch themselves at us, we may still be as surprised, in the end, as if they did. Given that nothing is easy, Katz is painting as simply and as gracefully as he can, and he is asking us to see where grace - or the lack of it - resides in his subject matter. In the best of the paintings, what begins as mimesis finally radiates as metaphor. (Anne Beattie)
Excerpt from the book Alex Katz by Ann Beattie, 1987, Abrams

Monday, October 6, 2008


Phidias, Athena Parthenos, c. 438 B.C. Model of the lost statue, which was approx. 38' tall. Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.

Chryselephantine: fashioned of gold and ivory. This particular statue had been destroyed in antiquity, long before the 19th century. It's been said that the Parthenon was designed around it. To accommodate its huge size, the cella had to be wider than usual and this, in turn, dictated the width of the 8-column facade at a time when 6 columns were the norm. Other famed statues of the same period include Athena and Nike. (Gardner)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gaken Dish

A dish make of unglazed porcelain, so grinding on this white surface will not add gray to the color of watercolor ink sticks as a slate stone will. (Rose Folsum)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Luca Della Robbia

Madonna and Child between Two Angels. 1475-80. (diameter: 39 1/3 in.) Glazed terracotta. Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence.
Luca della Robbia - born in Florence 1400, died in Florence, 1482. Florentine sculptor, the most famous member of a family of artists. Nothing is known of his early career, and he was a mature artist by the time of his first documented work - a Cantoria (Singing Gallery, 1431-8) for Florence cathedral, now in the Cathedral Museum. In his own time Luca had the reputation of being one of the leaders of the modern (IE Renaissance) style, comparable to Donatello and Ghiberti in sculpture and Massaccio in painting, but his is now remembered mainly for his development of colored, glazed terracotta as a sculptural medium - in particular for his highly popular invention of the type of the half-length Madonna and Child in white on a blue ground. The family workshop seems to have kept the technical formula a secret and it became the basis of a flourishing business. Luca's business was carried on by his nephew, Andrea (1435-1525) and later by Andrea's 5 sons, of whom Giovanni was the most important. His successors tended to sentimentalize Luca's warm humanity, and in course of time the artists' studio became a potters' workshop-industry. (Ian Chilvers)