Wondrous Event, Wondrous Art

1437 A.D.

The Annunciation, 1437-1446 Fra Angelico

The Annunciation, 1437-1446
Fra Angelico
Convent of San Marco, Florence, Italy

The Annunciation (the announcement) is that key moment in Christian history when the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces that she will give birth to a son by miraculous means.

Fra Angelico, monk and artist of the 15th century, frescoed (meaning painted on wet plaster) The Annunciation, one of the most revered masterpieces of all time.  Artists down the centuries have been mightily influenced by this classic work.
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600 years later, 2017

Annunciation 2, after Fra Angelico, 2017, David Hockney

Annunciation 2, after Fra Angelico, 2017
David Hockney

David Hockney, the great 80-year-old British artist, reports that during his first year in art school he came upon Fra Angelico’s painting of The Annunciation.  He was stunned by its beauty and symmetry.  Sixty years later, he is still painting his interpretation of this masterpiece.
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1907-1914 Cubism and Picasso astonishes art world

Annunciation, 1934, Roy de Maistre, Private collection, Switzerland

Annunciation, 1934
Roy de Maistre
Private collection, Switzerland

Cubism (objects and figures radically fragmented) heavily influenced Australian artist Roy de Maistre in his painting Annunciation.
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1961-2030 Pop art transcends to fine art

The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal, 2012, Grayson Perry, Woven tapestry in wool, silk, cotton, acrylic and polyester, Currell Collection

The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal, 2012
Grayson Perry
Woven tapestry in wool, silk, cotton, acrylic and polyester, Currell Collection

Grayson Perry, 60, tackles subjects that are universally human: religion, identity, gender, social status, and sexuality. He tries to deal with them with humor yet with a sense of the sacred.

The Annunciation is filled with symbols! Watch this…
Click here if you are unable to view the video.

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3 Cutting-Edge Artists!

School of Beauty, School of Culture, 2012 Kerry James Marshall

School of Beauty, School of Culture, 2012
Kerry James Marshall

Could This Be Love, 1992 Kerry James Marshall

Could This Be Love, 1992
Kerry James Marshall

Kerry James Marshall

For his large-scale, exuberant paintings, 61-year-old African American artist Kerry James Marshall paints only black people.

The paintings are emotional, bursting with everyday life in riotous colors and love. Even the most staid museum visitors have been seen to kiss in front of them!

Not all his works are of happiness, though — there are funerals, killers, lost boys, anger and grief — but always depicted in bright, bold colors and powerful shapes…and always filled with vibrant spirit!

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Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War…, 1994 Kara Walker

Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War…, 1994
Kara Walker

Kara Walker

Black contemporary artist Kara Walker shatters any romantic notion of the South, Civil War or slavery. Walker cuts out huge life-size silhouettes in black paper…nightmarish images of slavery in the Antebellum South.

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in Pursuit of Venus, 2017, Panoramic video by Lisa Reihana, a moving image interpretation of the French scenic wallpaper Les Sauvages De La Mer Pacifique, 1804, Joseph Dufour.

in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015
Still of panoramic video by Lisa Reihana

Lisa Reihana

Art and history make an explosive and exciting combination! Lisa Reihana, a Māori artist in Auckland, New Zealand, has produced a panoramic video that is irresistible in its storytelling of the encounters between the Polynesians and British Captain James Cook in 1770.

A major installation, sculpture, and video artwork is being featured at the 2017 Venice Biennale, the world’s largest art fair, depicting the profoundly beautiful and cultured Polynesians.

Watch this 1-minute video of Reihana’s work! Look for Captain Cook!
Click here if you are unable to view the video.

Research assistance by Alex Cordier, writer based in Auckland, New Zealand working in a variety of sales roles within the tourism and hospitality sectors. Alex is a passionate writer, with a particular focus on travel, lifestyle, and contemporary art.

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The REAL Vincent van Gogh

Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1989
Vincent van Gogh, (1853-1890)

Myth:  Van Gogh was a manic, possibly slightly deranged man who just spontaneously threw paint at the canvas.

Truth:  He was a very experienced artist (he made 900 paintings in ten years) and doggedly honed his skills. He created very deliberate compositions.
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Red Vineyard at Arles, 1888
Vincent van Gogh

Myth: Van Gogh never sold a painting in his lifetime.

Truth: Van Gogh sold ONE painting during his lifetime, Red Vineyard at Arles, to a Russian collector, Sergei Shchukin. This painting now resides at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.
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Vincent's Bedroom in Arles, 1888 Digital version shows what may be the original violet walls.

Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles, 1888
Digital version shows what may be the original violet walls.

Myth: In Van Gogh’s beloved painting of his bedroom in Arles, France, the walls were painted blue.

Truth: New high-tech research shatters Van Gogh myth! Van Gogh originally painted the walls of his bedroom a pale lilac, not blue! The reason…purple (lilac) is the complementary color of yellow. He experimented with new pigments. These new pigments, particularly the color red, proved to be unstable and the red pigment disappeared after a short time changing to blue.
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Don’t miss this video! Watch as Vincent van Gogh’s masterpieces come alive!
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Great Art in 90 Seconds

 
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Image: Joy of Life, Henri Matisse

Film by Kirby Kendrick
Animation by Simon Christopher, Light-Matter Media

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Once in a Lifetime Art Exhibition!

The Red Room, 1908 Henri Matisse The Hermitage Museum, Paris

The Red Room, 1908
Henri Matisse
The Hermitage Museum, Paris

You may feel a surge of joy when you see the ORIGINAL Matisse “The Red Room.” You may be brought to tears. You will certainly be stopped in your tracks.

Perhaps you think you know “The Red Room” from a thousand dorm room posters, but no reproduction can capture the depth of the vermillion wallpaper streaking down right onto the table, the cobalt blue of the sky from the window, the yellows…oh, oh, oh…

Pastorales Tahitiennes, 1892 Paul Gauguin Hermitage Museum, Russia

Pastorales Tahitiennes, 1892
Paul Gauguin
The Hermitage Museum, Russia

The artworks of the finest impressionists — Matisse, Gauguin, Picasso, Monet and many others — are on display until mid-February 2017, at the new Fondation Louis Vuitton Museum in Paris.

Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris Observatory of Light by Daniel Buren, temporary installation

Fondation Louis Vuitton Museum, Paris
Frank Gehry, Architect
Temporary installation: Observatory of Light by Daniel Buren

One hundred thirty works of art have been allowed to leave the major museums of Russia, the Hermitage and the Pushkin, for the first time. Odds are we will never see these works together again in our lifetime.

The study in Sergei Shchukin’s house. Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images

The study in Sergei Shchukin’s house.
Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images

The collection was put together in the late 1800’s by Sergei Shchukin, a wealthy textile industrialist from Moscow. Twenty years later, after the Bolshevik revolution, Stalin and Lenin “nationalized” the collection, branding the paintings “degenerate” and dispersing them throughout Russia, some even exiled to Siberia!

Today, 100 years later, the collection is for the first time reunited in Paris, the blockbuster of all blockbusters…”Icons of Modern Art.”

Bonjour Paris!

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America How Great Thou ART!

Flag, 1967 Jasper Johns, encaustic and collage on canvas (three panels) 33 1/2 x56 1/4in.

Flag, 1967
Jasper Johns
The Broad Museum, Los Angeles

Jasper Johns was an acclaimed artist known for his paintings of flags, targets, and other ordinary objects in the mid 20th century. He helped usher in the Pop Art era.

Jasper Johns:
“In Savannah, Georgia, in a park, there is a statue of Sergeant William Jasper. Once I was walking through this park with my father, and he said that we were named for him. Whether or not that is in fact true or not, I don’t know. Sergeant Jasper lost his life raising the American flag over a fort [Fort Moultrie, American Revolutionary War].”
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Morning Day on the Farm, 1951 Grandma Moses

Morning Day on the Farm, 1951
Grandma Moses

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, nicknamed Grandma Moses, began painting at 78 and lived to 101.  Art historians say her work portrays homely American farm life and rural countryside.  But Grandma Moses had a different way to describe her subjects: “I like old-timey things—something real pretty,” she said. “Most of them are daydreams.”
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American Gothic, 1930 Grant Wood

American Gothic, 1930
Grant Wood
Art Institute of Chicago

With the onset of the Great Depression, the painting, American Gothic, came to be seen as a depiction of steadfast American pioneer spirit.

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Surprise! Georgia O’Keeffe Watercolors

Watercolor, Evening Star No. IV, 1917

Watercolor, Evening Star No. IV, 1917
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Surprise! Georgia O’Keeffe didn’t just make large iconic oil paintings of flowers, skyscrapers and bones against a desert landscape!

Georgia O'Keeffe at age 30 with her watercolors in Texas, 1916

Georgia O’Keeffe at age 30 with her watercolors in Texas, 1916
Photograph by Alfred Stieglitz

Miss O’Keeffe, not quite 30 and not yet famous, moved to Canyon, Texas, in 1916. She spent 17 months in the tiny Panhandle town, teaching at a local college and painting small, luscious watercolors of the Texas landscape and nude figures.

Sunrise and Little Clouds, 1916 Georgia O'Keffee

Sunrise and Little Clouds, 1916
Georgia O’Keffee Museum

Nude Series VIII, 1917 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum

Nude Series VIII, 1917
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Problem…Nude models were definitely frowned upon for women artists in 1917, and O’Keeffe was intensely interested in painting the human form.

Solution…O’Keeffe used her own body as her model.

O'Keeffe photographed at home in Abiquiú, New Mexico

O’Keeffe photographed at home in Abiquiú, New Mexico Photo by Philippe Halsman, 1948

In 1986, late in life and almost blind, O’Keeffe enlisted the help of several assistants to enable her to once again create art.

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” Georgia O’Keeffe

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The Kiss and Art

The Kiss of Betrayal

"Kiss of Judas", 1304-06, Giotto, Fresco (detail) Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italy

“Kiss of Judas” Fresco (detail), 1304-06
Giotto di Bondone

This magnificent fresco portraying the betrayal of Jesus, was painted by Giotto over 700 years ago in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy.

Giotto portrays Judas thick browed, eyes deep set and dark, almost Neolithic.

Christ’s face is alive: living, breathing, grieving, hurting.  Yet we see Christ’s forgiveness and sorrow for Judas and the enormity of his deed…the Judas kiss, the kiss of betrayal.
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The Maternal Kiss

Sleepy Baby, 1910 Mary Cassatt Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, Texas

Sleepy Baby, 1910
Mary Cassatt
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, Texas

Whoa! This is not just another sentimental, sugar sweet painting of mother and child! Ponder this painting for a moment:  Mother and child share a deep and common love. There is a passion there, a bliss, an ecstasy. The mother and child are physically and intensely wrapped up in each other…almost like the feeling of being “in love.”

It was astonishing that Mary Cassatt (1849-1926), could capture these images as she herself eschewed marriage and a family of her own.
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The Kiss of Passion

"From Here to Eternity" Lancaster and Kerr in the beach scene at Halona Cove, Oahu, Hawaii.

From Here to Eternity
Lancaster and Kerr in the beach scene at Halona Cove, Oahu, Hawaii

The greatest beach-kiss scene in film was made in 1953 in a tiny cove on Oahu, in the Hawaiian Islands. The film was adapted from James Jones’ excellent novel, “From Here to Eternity.”

Take a look at this video and you will see why Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr made movie history! Click here if you are unable to view the video.

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Ahhh-mazingg’ Art Museum

 
AHHH-MAZINGG’!

Hottest new museum to hit USA is the Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles! The architecture alone is worth the trip…a honeycombed boxy building tilted on its side filled with natural light.

Broad Museum, Los Angeles, CA September 20, 2015

Broad Museum
Los Angeles, CA
September 20, 2015

But, ohhh, the art… Blue-chip-masterpieces from the likes of Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Joseph Beuys, Damien Hirst, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol. And emerging artists as well!

Balloon Dog (Blue) 1994-2000 Jeff Koons

Balloon Dog (Blue), 1994-2000
Jeff Koons

Flag, 1967 Jasper Johns

Flag, 1967
Jasper Johns

It is really the private museum of one of Los Angeles’ wealthiest men, Eli Broad. Together with his wife, Edith, Broad has been collecting art for 45 years, often buying works from unknown artists who are now superstars.

A multi-billionaire who made his money in the unglamorous business of tract housing and insurance, Eli Broad says, “we want this to be a gift to the city of Los Angeles.” And sure nuff it is…the admittance to the museum is free and no matter how long the line to get in, no one is turned away.

AHHH-MAZINGGG’!

Video: Art in the Broad. Click here if you are unable to view the video.
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Artists to Watch in 2016!

Spielbergian Climax, Hebru Brantley, 2014

Spielbergian Climax, Hebru Brantley, 2014

Hebru Brantley

33 years old and 6’8″ tall, Hebru Brantley is Chicago’s fastest-rising visual artist. A street painter turned fine artist making comic-book style pop-art paintings, his figures reflect his growing up on the south side of Chicago. Brantley’s works can command upward of $100,000.

Leaning Into The Wind, Andy Goldsworthy, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, January 2015

Leaning into the wind,
Dumfriesshire, Scotland, 15
January 2015
,
Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

Scottish artist Andy Goldsworthy’s latest work is all about the elements of nature.  He explores and seeks intimacy with nature by using leaves, stones, snow, ice, and wind…yes, wind. Goldsworthy makes his art, it stays for a while, and then it is gone.

The art may disappear but Goldsworthy photographs each piece, the process, and the moments of peak and decay. We may no longer have the art, but we have the memory.

Ladies Chatting, Genieve Figgis, 2013

Ladies Chatting, Genieve Figgis, 2013

Genieve Figgis

Irish painter, Genieve Figgis, produces paintings rich in color, texture, humor and the macabre. Her canvases draw upon art history, featuring sumptuous domestic interiors and stately country homes. The protagonists are dressed in finery and are innocently feasting, horseback riding and entertaining in their grand salons.

But all is not well. Behind the most mundane facades, Figgis’ figures appear as either faceless or foolishly grinning, ghoul-like creatures. The viewer is shocked, bewildered and intrigued at the turn of events and stops dead in his tracks.

“Art just did its job!”

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