American Gothic Models


American Gothic is a painting by Grant Wood, in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. Wood’s inspiration came from a cottage designed in the Gothic Revival style with a distinctive upper window and a decision to paint the house along with ‘the kind of people I fancied should live in that house.’

The painting shows a farmer standing beside his spinster daughter (not his wife, as so many parodies and references assume). The figures were modeled by the artist’s dentist and his sister.

Via: The PreSurfer

American Pop-star, Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein, American painter, sculptor, and printmaker, startled the art world in 1962 by exhibiting paintings based on comic book cartoons. From his studio in New York City, Roy Lichtenstein did cartoon inspired paintings that helped launch the Pop Art movement. He was unique in that he developed a new visual language in an avant-garde style that was disruptive to viewers and yet was accessible and popular with them. He also did innovative art work that incorporated many late 20th-century movements and addressed a number of social issues.

His thirty-five year career of public recognition was celebrated in 1993-94 by The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York with a large scale retrospective of his work.

Born in Manhattan Roy went to high school there. By age 14, he was taking art classes at the Parsons School of Design and also studied briefly with Reginald Marsh at the Art Students League in 1939. He then attended Ohio State University where his major influence was Hoyt Sherman, whose figure-ground relationships inspired Lichtenstein’s treatment of cliche subjects.

In 1943, he was drafted into the Army and served in Europe and then returned to Ohio State, completing his BFA and MFA and then teaching at that campus. From Cleveland, Ohio, he made frequent trips to New York and started to exhibit there in 1949. In the 1950s, he used various techniques of Abstract Expressionism, did figurative work, and like many of his generation, began employing pop art images. But he was searching for a style.

In 1957, he left Cleveland to teach at New York University in Oswego, New York, and in 1961, he began teaching at Rudgers University, where one of his colleagues, Allan Kaprow, used cartoon figures. Through Kaprow, he met many renegade New York artists including Claes Oldenburg and Jim Dine.

In 1962, he had a landmark exhibition at the Castelli Gallery that showed enlarged depictions of advertisements and comic strip images. In fact, it was gallery owner Leo Castelli who, as a major promoter of the contemporary art scene, was a key person in launching Roy’s career.

Although Lichtenstein’s pop paintings had widespread popular acceptance, he began in 1965 to do Abstract Expressionism, but in contrast to others in that style, he did work that was hard and static. In the 1990s, he did large-scale abstract interiors, and he also worked in ceramics and enamelled steel.

Throughout his career, he appeared in many documentary films and did posters for entertainments including Bill Clinton’s United States presidential campaign. Lichtenstein’s murals are in Dusseldorf, Germany; Tel Aviv, Israel; and New York City. He died unexpectedly on September 29, 1997, from viral pneumonia, having worked until the time of his death.

Via: jewishvirtuallibrary.org

Hello Jack Vettriano

Jack Vettriano, “The Singing Butler”
Oil on canvas, 28″ x 36″

Jack Vettriano’s enormous success came as a surprise even to himself—he has remarked, “I get all the more pleasure because I never thought it was going to happen.” Having left school at age 16, Jack Vettriano never attended art school. Instead, he is completely self-taught, having taken 14 years since he first received a set of watercolors to hone his skills before showing any of his artwork. Vettriano has said, “I trained myself to paint by copying other artists… I put all these different styles in a pot and there was a certain alchemy that took place and it created my individual style. Something unique came out, and I’m very grateful for that.

Today, “The Singing Butler” is a wildly popular and commercially successful painting: it sells more posters and postcards than any other work in the UK and the original canvas sold at auction for £744,500 four years ago. It was rejected by the Royal Academy, when Vettriano submitted it for the summer show in 1992.

Jack Vettriano, “Elegy for a Dead Admiral”
Oil on canvas, 28″ x 36″

A music video made by the indie Scottish band Saint Jude’s Infirmary for BBC Scotland’s “The Music Show” features Vettriano and visually references both “The Singing Butler” and “Elegy for a Dead Admiral”. The video is for the song “Goodbye Jack Vettriano” which Saint Jude’s Infirmary member, Grant Campbell wrote when he spotted a Vettriano print on a pub wall while homesick in Rotterdam. Vettriano has described the song as “really brilliant” and has created a painting to be featured as the cover of the band’s second album.

Vettriano’s success has come at a cost. According to some sources, the success and attention he received after his first Royal Scottish Academy show contributed to the break-up of his marriage. Fellow Scottish artists are jealous of the commercial success Vettriano has achieved, to which Vettriano replies, “Artists say, how can I get only X for my work and Vettriano gets X thousand for his? Think, you stupid bugger. It’s not a bit about being a better painter than me, it’s about market forces.” Additionally, he’s been passed over by the National Galleries of Scotland and much of the art establishment.

For more information about Jack Vettriano’ visit his Web site or visit his on-line gallery here

The Lost Art of Inglorious Bastards

SA Studios Global’s Film Marketing Division has teamed up with Quentin Tarantino, Upper Playground and The Weinstein Company to present, The Lost Art of Inglorious Bastards. The show will serve as a benefit art program to help raise money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. All proceeds from this program will be donated to The American Red Cross to help the victims of the Haiti Earthquake.

The group has assembled a select group of accomplished artists to create posters based on their interpretation of the film. Each print will be numbered and signed by Quentin Tarantino. Only six (6) of each amount will be made for preview or purchase. Check out all the details and some of the super sweet artwork of The Lost Art of Inglorious Bastards

Mort Künstler: America’s Artist

Künstler studied art at Brooklyn College, U.C.L.A. and Pratt Institute. He began his career in the 1950s as a freelance artist, illustrating paperback book covers and men’s adventure magazines. Later, he took on assignments for major film studios, creating posters for movies such as The Poseidon Adventure and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. Long before his celebrated depictions of Grant and Lincoln, Künstler had already tackled an American icon: Alfred E. Neuman, on covers of Mad Magazine, which he painted under the alias “Mutz”.

Künstler’s artwork features dramatic interpretations of American historical events, often, the American Civil War. Künstler’s paintings are painted using oil paints on canvas. His original paintings can be found at the Hammer Galleries in New York City.

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High Noon

71_7Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967) American Realist
HIGH NOON, 1949, Oil on canvas
Height 27 1/2 inches Width 39 1/2 inches
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Haswell, 1971.7

This painting first caught my eye in my freshman art class back in 1985, when my high school art teacher, Jane Gildow introduced us to art history. I was immediately struck by the realism style as well as, the solitude and shadows that Hopper illustrated. Hopper once said “I just want to paint sunlight on the side of a building”. Years later on a trip to my hometown art museum, The Dayton Art Institute, I found that what I’ve come to regard as my favorite painting has been permanently housed here in Dayton since right after my birth in 1971.

It’s not the same but even though I have a framed print at home on the wall of my living room I still visit, my Hopper—as I’ve come to regard it, on limited and rare occasions. The most recent was my birthday last week. It was as awe-inspiring as ever. I’m always oddly fulfilled with an overwhelming loneliness that for some reason provides a strange happiness to me. Please enjoy the following information about Edward Hopper, High Noon and the American Realism style.

Information and copy via: The Dayton Art Institute and Marianne Richter
Edward Hopper is best known for his poignant yet curiously detached paintings of modern life, such as High Noon. The painting is characteristic of Hopper’s mature style of simplified planes, broad blocks of color, isolated figures, and detached viewpoint. The strongly geometrical quality of his paintings is augmented here by the interplay of lines made by junctions of sunlight and shadow and the interest in architectural features. While a seemingly realistic depiction of the scene, in reality the composition is highly ordered, and many details, such as vegetation and a pathway to the door, have been left out.Hopper depicted American subjects, believing that artists should respond to their own surroundings and heritage. Having studied with Robert Henri, he was familiar with the work of The Eight, the exhibiting circle with whom Henri was associated. Like The Eight’s core group of urban realists, who focused on paintings of ordinary city life, Hopper found inspiration in prosaic subjects such as gas stations, hotel rooms, train compartments, and offices: images familiar and yet overlooked in everyday existence. Hopper’s works differ from the earlier works, however, in their more ordered compositions, lighter tonality, and omission of detail. His scenes are peopled by anonymous human beings, usually physically or psychologically isolated from their environment. All activity is suspended; indeed, the absence of movement is the event.

Hopper’s fascination with solitude and specific times of day is apparent in High Noon. The woman stands alone at her doorway, seemingly removed from civilization. Although his isolated, generic figures sometimes reflect the alienation present in modern society, Hopper enjoyed being alone. In High Noon, solitude is a positive state, for the woman’s air of expectancy and hope seems to be generated by the sunlight and adds a quality of sexual tension to the painting.

This outdoor scene shows a solitary house and its occupant situated in an open prairie. The house nearly fills the canvas, and is the only object visible to the horizon. The scene is awash in sunlight, brightly illuminating the white siding of the house. At ground level, a red strip of foundation is visible beneath the white walls. The left section of the house projects forward slightly under a peaked roof, and this extension casts a diagonal shadow downward and to the right. The left section of the house has a tall window, through which a table, chair and picture are visible inside the house. At the center of the house are two white steps that lead up to a door. A woman with long blond hair stands in the doorway, looking out and slightly upward, with her left forearm raised across her body. She is wearing a sleeveless blue robe that extends to her ankles, but it is open in the middle to partially reveal her breasts and abdomen. To the right of the door is another window with white curtains drawn closed. The house has a gray shingled roof with a narrow red chimney. Protruding forward from the roof are two dormer windows, each with white curtains and shades that are partly drawn. The grass around the house is golden, but it becomes green in the distance where the ground meets the horizon. Above the scene is a blue sky with a few hazy white clouds.

Via: Alexander Lee Nyerges
High Noon is classic Hopper. Hopper was quoted as saying that he couldn’t get the shadows right in High Noon so he built a little cardboard model and then looked at it out in the sunlight at 11:50 in the morning, and because of it he was able to get the shadows and that striking line which covers the roofline down to her very feet on the steps of the house just exactly right. You look at this picture, which is hauntingly vacant, and you find a stillness of time which is so classically Hopper. The isolation, this eternal act of waiting, yet you also find the promise and hope of sunlight. Interestingly enough, Hopper who painted this on Cape Cod, later referred to this setting, which is somewhat nebulous, as “Hopper-Land”. He was clearly in a very different place and time from those people who were painting in an abstracted fashion. American realism, the essence of Hopper’s work is quintessentially American. You can place yourself in this picture because it’s, essentially an American painting by virtue of its commonality.

Circa71 previous Hopper related post: No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.

The Kingdom Series

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Via: Christopher Hewitt Behance

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Christopher Hewitt is a self taught Director, Designer, Photographer and occasional Writer located in East London. With 9 years commercial experience his clients include EMI Records, BBC & Discovery Channel. His short experimental films have been featured in a number of film festivals including The Aubagne Film Festival, OneDotZero and Promax whilst also receiving recognition from industry publications such as IdN, Stash & Creative Review. Hewitt is also a regular speaker at conferences and schools around the world, most recently FITC Toronto and OFFF Lisbon.

DCS Presents: Captured An Artists Perspective

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Dayton Creative Syndicate is celebrating our first birthday by having a kick-ass gallery showing of YOUR photographs!

DCS wants to show off your best photography. Send us your photographs for our DCS gallery show—Captured: An Artists Perspective.
Entries are due no later than May 12 (more info below)

Then join us on May 15th as we display all of the photos that are entered in a gallery show at the Excelsior Lofts for Urban Nights. Sponsored by the Downtown Dayton Partnership and complete with the live acoustical rock / experimental sounds of Adam Haroff.

Information about submissions
Subject matter is anything or everything that you can come up with (keep it suitable for all audiences-no nudes). There aren’t specific themes or categories for this display – you can enter flowers, fruit, landscapes, cityscapes, abstract, people, water, sunsets, animals – whatever you want to submit!

  • Please submit your own printed photography. Pieces can be retrieved at the end of the gallery show on May 15.
  • Subject matter can be anything that is appropriate for all ages
  • Can be black/white or color
  • You can submit up to 3 photos
  • All photos should be mounted onto 11×17 black bristol board. Participants can submit photos pre-mounted on boards, or can pay $2 each entry (checks can be made payable to Greater Dayton Ad Association) for DCS to mount the photos.
  • Please submit the following contact information with your photograph: photograph title, your full name, telephone number, and email address
  • Please send entries to DCS President Patrice Hall at Real Art Design Group: 232 E. Sixth Street, Dayton OH, 45402
  • If you have any questions, please contact DCS Social Coordinator Jen Parrish: social@creativesyndicate.org
* We will do our best to return your artwork to you in perfect condition, but our lawyers are making us say this: we cannot be held responsible for any damaged or missing photographs. Also, photograph mounting is permanent – photos will not be removable from boards after the exhibit.

Artist & Painter, Andrew Wyeth, 1917-2009

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Christina’s World
by Andrew Wyeth

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The Master’s Bedroom by Andrew Wyeth

Via: Fox News

PHILADELPHIA —  Artist Andrew Wyeth, who portrayed the hidden melancholy of the people and landscapes of Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley and coastal Maine in works such as “Christina’s World,” died early Friday. He was 91.

Wyeth died in his sleep at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Chadds Ford, according to Hillary Holland, a spokeswoman for the Brandywine River Museum.

The son of famed painter and book illustrator N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth gained wealth, acclaim and tremendous popularity. But he chafed under criticism from some experts who regarded him as a facile realist, not an artist but merely an illustrator.

“The world has lost one of the greatest artists of all time,” George A. Weymouth, a friend of Wyeth’s who is chairman of the board of the Brandywine Conservancy, said in a statement.

A Wyeth retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2006 drew more than 175,000 visitors in 15 1/2 weeks, the highest-ever attendance at the museum for a living artist. The Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, a converted 19th-century grist mill, includes hundreds of works by three generations of Wyeths. It was in Maine that Wyeth found the subject for “Christina’s World,” his best-known painting. And it was in Pennsylvania that he met Helga Testorf, a neighbor in his native Chadds Ford who became the subject of the intimate portraits that brought him millions of dollars and a wave of public attention in 1986.

The “Helga” paintings, many of them full-figure nudes, came with a whiff of scandal: Wyeth said he had not even told his wife, Betsy, about the more than 200 paintings and sketches until he had completed them in 1985.

Wyeth’s world was as limited in scale, and as rich in associations, as “Christina’s World,” which shows a disabled woman looking up a grassy rise toward her farm home, her face tantalizingly unseen. “Really, I think one’s art goes only as far and as deep as your love goes,” Wyeth said in a Life magazine interview in 1965. “I don’t paint these hills around Chadds Ford because they’re better than the hills somewhere else. It’s that I was born here, lived here — things have a meaning for me.” Paradoxically, he said, he loved Maine “in spite of its scenery. There’s a lot of cornball in that state you have to go through — boats at docks, old fishermen, and shacks with swayback roofs. I hate all that.” Wyeth was a secretive man who spent hours tramping the countryside alone. He painted many portraits, working several times with favorite subjects, but said he disliked having someone else watching him paint.

Much of Wyeth’s work had a melancholy feel — aging people and brown, dead plants — but he chose to describe his work as “thoughtful.” “I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future — the timelessness of the rocks and the hills — all the people who have existed there,” he once said. “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape — the loneliness of it — the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show. “I think anything like that — which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone — people always feel is sad. Is it because we’ve lost the art of being alone?”

Wyeth remained active in recent years and President George W. Bush presented him with a National Medal of the Arts in 2007. Wyeth remained active in his 90s, but his granddaughter, Victoria Wyeth, told The Associated Press in 2008 that he no longer gave interviews. “He says, ‘Vic, everything I have to say is on the walls,”‘ she said.

Wyeth was born July 12, 1917, in Chadds Ford, the youngest of N.C. Wyeth’s five children. One of his sisters, Henriette, who died in 1997, also became an artist of some note, and one of his two sons, Jamie, became a noted painter in his own right. His other son, Nicholas, became an art dealer. N.C. Wyeth, the only art teacher Wyeth ever had, didn’t always agree with his son’s taste. In a 1986 interview with the AP, Wyeth recalled one of the last paintings he showed to his father, who died in 1945. It was a picture of a young friend walking across a barren field. “He said, `Andy, that has a nice feel, of a crisp fall morning in New England.’ He said, `You’ve got to do something to make this thing appeal. If you put a dog in it, or maybe have a gun in his hand,”‘ Wyeth recalled. “Invariably my father talked about my lack of color.” The low-key colors of Wyeth’s work stem partly from his frequent use of tempera, a technique he began using in 1942. Unlike the oil paint used by most artists today, tempera produces a matte effect.

Wyeth had his first success at age 20, with an exhibition of Maine landscapes at a gallery in New York. Two years later he met his future wife, Betsy James. Betsy Wyeth was a strong influence on her husband’s career, serving as his business agent, keeping the world at bay and guiding his career choices. It was Betsy who introduced Wyeth to Christina Olson. Wyeth befriended the disabled elderly woman and her brother, and practically moved in with them for a series of studies of the house, its environs and its occupants. The acme of that series was “Christina’s World,” painted in 1948. It was Olson’s house, but the figure was Betsy Wyeth.

Another well-known Wyeth series was made at the home of Karl Kuerner, whose Pennsylvania farm bordered the spot where Wyeth’s father was killed in a car-train accident. Before his father died, Wyeth once said, “I was just a clever watercolorist — lots of swish and swash. … (Afterward), for the first time in my life I was painting with a real reason to do it.” The Kuerner paintings often have an undertone of menace, a heavy ceiling hook or the jagged edge of a log outside a sun-warmed room.

It was at Kuerner’s farm that Wyeth met Testorf, a German emigre who cleaned and cooked for Kuerner. “I could not get out of my mind the image of this Prussian face with its broad jaw, wide-set eyes, blond hair,” Wyeth said. Wyeth painted Testorf from 1970 to 1985, but said didn’t show his wife any of the pictures until 1981. In 1985, he revealed the full series to her, and declared he wanted them sold.

The buyer, Leonard Andrews, reportedly paid $6 million to $10 million for them. The Helga paintings created a sensation when their existence was revealed in 1986, in part because many were nudes and because of Betsy Wyeth’s provocative answer when asked what the works were about. “Love,” she said. “He’s a very secret person. He doesn’t pry in my life and I don’t pry in his. And it’s worth it,” she said. After 1985, Wyeth painted Testorf at least three more times. The exhibition of the Helga paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington drew tens of thousands, but it renewed the dispute between Wyeth’s admirers and his equally passionate detractors. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York pointedly refused to accept the exhibition. And it turned out that the original stories about the collection overstated things, since some of the Helga paintings had been exhibited earlier and Betsy Wyeth had been aware of some of them. Andrews sold the Helga collection in 1990 to a Japanese industrialist for some “40 to 50 million dollars,” dealer Warren Adelson said in 2006, when he was handling the private sale of some 200 of the works. Adelson didn’t identify the industrialist. “When people want to bring sex into these images, OK, let ‘em,” Wyeth was quoted in the catalog to an exhibition Adelson organized. “The heart of the Helga series is that I was trying to unlock my emotions in capturing her essence, in getting her humanity down.”

Some critics dismissed Wyeth’s art as that of a mere “regionalist.” Art critic Hilton Kramer was even more direct, once saying, “In my opinion, he can’t paint.” The late J. Carter Brown, who was for many years director of the National Gallery, called such talk “a knee-jerk reaction among intellectuals in this country that if it’s popular, it can’t be good.” “I think the man’s mastery of a variety of techniques is dazzling, and I think the content is in many cases moving,” Brown said.