Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mid Century New York Artists, Women artists of the time and Abstract Expressionism

Joan Mitchell was an artist who created art and a life that went out of bounds.  In the art world of the past, women artists were rare.   Women were not expected to live like men, behave like men or paint like men.  Joan was an exception.   She achieved success eventually in the rough and tumble world of Abstract Expressionism.   

Joan was an artist who lived and painted in New York City 1950's and in Paris from the 70's-late 1980's.  Along with Pollack, DeKooning, Kline and many others she helped create this totally abstract style of art work that eventually was called Abstract Expressionism .  Oddly enough, two other examples of successful women artists in this art movement are the wives of Jackson Pollack, Lee Krasner, and William DeKooning, Elaine DeKooning.  Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler were both from wealthy families who continued support.  They were protected from some of the harsher realities other woman artists such as Alice Neel had to endure.

At that time, New York City was alive with action and crawling with vibrant young people who after surviving a horrendous world war, came into a new decade with great vitality and enthusiasm.  These young men and a handful of women who were gutsy enough to get into the action and turned the art world upside down with their WiLd CrAzY ArT

Prior to WWII the art capitol of the world was Paris.  When Pollack, Kline, DeKooning and others slapped paint onto huge canvases and spread creative glory, the world of art sat up and took notice.  The art capitol of the world soon became New York City.  Fresh on a war victory, America was booming with money and confidence. 

These NEW paintings were alive with expressions of the grimy, noisy, forever moving city they loved.  The city was too big to capture in a realistic image.  The life they led in decrepit unheated walk-ups with naked-light-bulb, "illegal for habitation" apartments changed the way the world saw painting from a controlled image directed process to a flat splash of color on background of canvas.  In the process of defining what art meant to them, they survived on coffee and cigarettes while visiting all night cafeterias to meet with other artists.  They felt they needed the "kick in the butt" that only a group of their peers could provide.   They threw paint in drips, strokes and lines across canvas, stretched 10 feet and more across their studios creating the CrAzY art of legends.

These artists were all hard drinking, tough guys, even if they were women!  They lived hard and fast.  America had arrived in the world of art!     

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Art News

Lucian Freud, Figurative Painter Who Redefined Portraiture, Is Dead at 88

The New York Times reported recently that Lucian Freud, whose stark and revealing paintings of friends and intimates, splayed nude in his studio, recast the art of portraiture and offered a new approach to figurative art, died on Wednesday night at his home in London. He was 88.

Mr. Freud, a grandson of Sigmund Freud and a brother of the British television personality Clement Freud, was already an important figure in the small London art world when, in the immediate postwar years, he embarked on a series of portraits that established him as a potent new voice in figurative art.

Mr. Freud was a bohemian of the old school. He set up his studios in squalid neighborhoods, developed a Byronic reputation as a rake and gambled recklessly (“Debt stimulates me,” he once said). In 1948, he married Kitty Garman, the daughter of the sculptor Jacob Epstein, whom he depicted in several portraits, notably “Girl With Roses,” “Girl With a Kitten” (1947) and “Girl With a White Dog” (1950-51). That marriage ended in divorce, as did his second marriage, to Lady Caroline Blackwood. He is survived by many children from his first marriage and from a series of romantic relationships.


“He’s buck-naked — Lord have mercy!” a woman said, stopping to gawk at, loudly judge and then photograph a sudden expanse of flesh.

Seconds after 7 a.m. on Monday, trousers were dropping and skirts were lifting all along Wall Street. The mass dishabille was part of a site-specific work of performance art, “Ocularpation: Wall Street,” by an artist, Zefrey Throwell. It was intended as a commentary on work and the economy, Mr. Throwell said, though that seemed to be lost on the police stationed near the New York Stock Exchange.
There, three people — two men and a woman dressed (briefly) as a stock trader, a janitor and a dog-walker — were arrested and taken to a nearby precinct, where they were given summons for disorderly conduct and later released. By 7:05 a.m., the remaining 46 men and women who were part of the project had simply put their clothes back on and gone about their day.

(Stories from: New York Times online) Drawing by Charlotte Rossmann

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Art News

Clemente Exhibit        in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, MO.- The Saint Louis Art Museum presents: Francesco Clemente's High Fever, which brings together a series of nine dark and mysterious woodcuts that explore the beauty, pleasure and pain of love by contemporary Italian artist Francesco Clemente. Influenced by the mysticism of India, Clemente conveys both the sensual and spiritual aspects of love, including childbirth and motherhood. Clemente exploits the natural grain of his woodblocks to dramatic effect, allowing it to become part of the repertoire of expressive marks found in each of the compositions. The grain and the dark tones of the ink reference the Northern European history of the woodcut. Born in Naples in 1952, Clemente taught himself to paint after finishing high school.  The exhibit will be on view July 15 through October 9, 2011.

Chinese art in Denver
 DENVER, CO.- This fall, visitors to the Denver Art Museum (DAM) will get a rare look inside China’s artistic history through two special exhibitions. Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting and Threads of Heaven: Silken Legacy of China’s Last Dynasty explore this mysterious and ceremonial country during two time periods—the latter years of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912), and the subsequent formation of the Republic of China during the early to middle 20th century. Xu Beihong offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the full spectrum of work by the 20th century Chinese artist who is widely recognized as the father of modern Chinese painting. One of the first Chinese artists to study in Europe, Xu revolutionized painting in China by drawing influence from both the East and West.
Soulful Stitching in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Stunning, colorful, patchwork quilts known as kawandi and made only by craftswomen living in the little known Siddi communities of Africans in India are on display at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) as part of its exploration of how traditional practices are adapted over decades throughout the African Diaspora. The exhibition presents over 30 quilts of a variety of styles and techniques and also the compelling story of the Siddis, descendants of East African slaves, sailors and merchants who currently live in the highlands of the KarantakaSiddis) in India” opened at the Museum of African Diaspora Friday, July 15, 2011. The traveling exhibition consisting of 32 quilts will be on view until September 18, 2011.

Drawing by Charlotte Rossmann

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Art News: Artist Cy Twombly Dead at 83

Art News: American artist Cy Twombly is dead. He died in Rome at the age of 83.  The artist had been battling cancer for several years.  Cy Twombly was born in Lexington, Virginia on April 25, 1928.
Cy Twombly belongs to the group of internationally acknowledged artists. The Cy Twombly Gallery opened in Houston in 1995, which was designed by the architect Renzo Piano in co-operation with the artist.

Cy Twombly lived and worked in Rome and Gaeta, Italy, as well as in Lexington, USA. His son, Cyrus Alessandro Twombly is also a painter.

Twombly's paintings are in-between drawing and painting. Many of his paintings of the late 1960s are reminiscent of a school blackboard on which someone has practiced cursive. His paintings of the late 1950s, early 1960s might reference a long term accumulation of graffiti such as one would see on a bathroom wall. Twombly had at this point discarded representational subject-matter, citing the line or smudge with its own history as its proper subject.  This trend continued in abstract art and influenced many young painters of the time. 

In a 1994 retrospective of Twombly's work, the curator described it as “influential among artists.".

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Picasso and the Blond Girl

Picasso and the Blond Girl
line drawing by Charlotte Rossmann

Picasso met Marie-Therese Walter when she was 16 and he was 45.  Immediately, they fell in love and for many years she remained the love of his life and the subject of many paintings.  Even though, Picasso seemed to be incapable of being faithful to one woman, for a long period of time his art was infused with the spirit of this lively young woman with the luxurious, long blond hair, crystal blue eyes and voluptuous body. 
At the time Picasso met her, he was living the life of a staid middle class husband and father.  His art lacked the vibrancy and excitement of the early years. Given his talent, fame and charisma he easily found what he was looking for: a young girl willing to toss away the promise of a predictable life, respectability and marriage for the life of artist's mistress.
Marie-Therese became Picasso's principal muse for the next 14 years.  During this time he moved in and out of relationships with other women but still Marie-Therese was his major love interest.  In Picasso's greatest masterpiece, Guernica, Marie-Therese's image can be seen at least 3 times. Over and over Picasso painted her as she seemed to haunt him in art and in life. 
They broke up long before his death in 1973 but even so the bond was strong enough that in the end, she could not bear to face living without Picasso in the world.  Marie-Therese killed herself 50 years after they first met in 1977.  
This love affair is the subject of a major exhibit, "Picasso and Marie-Therese: L-Amour Fou," at the Gagosian Gallery in New York this year.  This exhibit includes some of the masterpieces that Picasso painted that were inspired by the lovely blond girl.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Art News

New Book on Artist
"Joan Mitchell, Lady Painter: A Life" by Patricia Albers explores the life of a successful woman artist before there were many women artists.  Joan decided at the age of 12 to become an artist.  When she died in 1992 at the age of 67, her paintings sold for millions. 
What an interesting life!  Dish the dirt, Darling.  She was a life long alcoholic, a nasty drunk, habitually brawling with lovers and suffering physical abuse in the process (showed up black and blue after such episodes).  She was reckless, promiscuous and self-destructive.  She wanted children yet had several abortions because she believed she couldn't do both paint and be a mother.  Did she have an affair with DeKooning?  Jackson Pollack?  Wow~I can't wait to read this book to find out! 
BTW: Her work is really, really good!
More and more artists are using trash not just as a material but also as a subject.  Just look at what we throw away!  In many cities apparently people are dumpster diving to find great treasures but it's not enough.  Most of it goes to waste.  We could use things longer, not buy new stuff and make art. 
"Recently, there has been a radical shift in our consciousness of trash, with artists now using obsolete things not just as materials but also as content—turning them into landscape, still life, and other artistic genres. This awareness informs the work of artists like Sarah Sze, Mike Nelson, Christoph B├╝chel, Marjetica Potrc, El Anatsui, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Kristen Morgin."
(quote by Kim Levin ArtNews) 
drawing by charlotte rossmann

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright

For Sale: A masterpiece you can live in!
Unbelievably several of Frank Lloyd Wright's beautiful houses are currently for sale.  These are magnificent homes and many are in the multi-million dollar price range but still, it is shocking that they haven't been snatched up.  There are currently at least 17 Wright properties on the market now and the number may be as high as 27. The vast majority of the houses are upper-bracket, priced from $800,000 to $7.5 million.

Interestingly enough, Wright also did a lower end type of house later in his career and these are very affordable.  This house is near McGregor, Iowa and is the lowest priced Wright house on the market at $129,000.  It has three bedrooms and 2 baths.  In addition there are the quality features of a Wright built house such as maple floors, original fireplace and leaded windows.

The beautiful house above is  is priced at $2,590,000.  To find out more you can google Frank Lloyd Wright.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Art in the News

My Kid Could Have Done That!
"A single line thrown onto a canvas. Simple blocks of colour. A clutter of squiggles. Should you be sauntering past the wall of abstracts at a museum this summer, a cynical thought may swiftly follow: “My kid could have done that. Heck, a monkey could've done that.” Well it turns out that your kid and your monkey can't do that.

To test whether people really mistake paintings by professionals with those produced by children and chimps, researchers at Boston College showed art and non-art students pairs of images – one by an Abstract Expressionist (including images by Mark Rothko, Charles Seliger, Clyfford Still, Sam Francis, Hans Hofmann, and Cy Twombly), and one by a child or animal. Their survey results, released in March, revealed that a clear majority of participants in both groups liked the professional paintings more and judged them as better.
“We are showing that the disparaging things people say don’t hold up,” says Ellen Winner, chair of the Department of Psychology at Boston College and co-author of the study Seeing the Mind Behind the Art. “A child could not have painted a Twombly … even the untrained eye can see the difference.”
This was copied from an article on Globe and Mail

drawing by charlotte rossmann

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's news

Gauguin Painting on Exhibit Harmed
National Gallery of art had an extreme incident last week. A woman visiting the gallery attacked a Gauguin painting of two bare-breasted Tahitian women Friday afternoon.

A security guard at the museum restrained the woman who was later detained. She was charged with destruction of property and theft.
The oil painting is on loan from the Met and is part of a Gauguin exhibit that runs through June 5.

The painting is among Gauguin's most popular, according to the National Gallery. A statement from the Gallery describes the painting as "Gauguin's mythical idea of Tahiti as a paradise of beautiful, mysterious women."

Who was the Mona Lisa?
Italian researchers said Tuesday they will dig up bones in a Florence convent to try to identify the remains of a Renaissance woman long believed to be the model for the "Mona Lisa." The research might help ascertain the identity of the woman depicted in Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece.

Photo of Frank Stella during a presentation at the Toledo Museum of Arts
TOLEDO.- Frank Stella makes a point at the blackboard preceding the opening of Frank Stella: Irregular Polygons. An estimated crowd of 1,000 people attended the program. Photo: Andrew Weber. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Two New Abstract Landscapes

Two oil on canvas paintings.  The inspiration is color and pattern. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

R.B. Kitaj

Kitaj was born in 1934 and died in 2007.  He was a well known artist who was born in America but spent most of his life in England.  He studied with the artist David Hockney and in fact, they became life long friends.
Kitaj's work relied on strong areas of color and overlapping planes that resembled painted collages.  The work was heavy with symbolism, historical, political and literature references.  Kitaj was known as a being an excellent draftsman.  His work showed the economy of a brilliant line, the mark of one gifted with the drawing tool. 
He called his style 'agitational usage'.  His large, complex compositions are a montage of distorted landscapes, constructions and exaggerated human forms. 
Yet, much of his work is very realistic as Kitaj moved between some fairly abstracted images to highly realistic figurative work.  A talented and skilled painter, his work emotionally expressive and powerful.    
After his wife died in 1997 Kitaj moved to Los Angeles.  He was one of the artists to to make a post-it drawing in 2000 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of 3M.  His post-it was sold on the internet for $925 making it the most expensive post-it note ever sold.
Kitaj took his own life 8 days before his 75th birthday.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jean-Michel Basquiat

(1960-1988) Basquiat was born in New York City. By the age of 11 he was fluent in French, Spanish and English. He was a gifted child and his art talent was discovered early. However, his home life was not stable and after some rocky years and early homelessness he ran away from his family at the age of 15. At that time, he lived with friends and began creating graffiti art painting messages on buildings in Lower Manhattan. The Village Voice published an article on his work in 1978. Soon after, he ended his career as a graffiti artist and formed his own rock band. By the time he was 21 his neo-expressionist art work was selling in New York art galleries. It is rumored that he dated Madonna at one time. 

After the death of Andy Warhol his depression deepened and his heroin addiction took over. He died at the age of 27 of a heroin overdose.