Going Large: Collage on Canvas


In my art studio, space is limited, and there is just barely room for this latest 4 foot by 8 foot canvas. I love working in large scale. I won’t give it up for anything, though I still find making small 14″ x 11″ collages on paper and unstretched canvas a way to grow as a painter daily by leaps and bounds.

Jan Kirstein

“The Fall of Western Civilization,” by Jan Kirstein. 4′ x 8.’ Mixed media on canvas. 2019

“The Fall of Western Civilization” Details

Click on above images to enlarge.

Detail: “The Fall of Western Civilization.”

The title of this work comes from the general shift of virtually everything I see around me on every level, in government, both Federal and State, in institutions, in relationships, in land, in all aspects of our culture, in all aspects of life. Though with the changes comes movement and flexibility with new connections occurring at a most rapid pace.

Jan Kirstein

Collage: An Intimate Act


 

PAINTINGS BY ABDELLAH EL HAITOUT, MOROCCO

https://abdellahelhaitout.wordpress.com/

” I quote from Paul Auster and I say: You find the painting where you work on it; that is the adventure. I love the challenge of collage, and the possibilities that are opened up in front of me, the work of the torn paper, crumpled or ripped and glued up piece of paper. Additionally, I like the intimate act. The superposition of different material and paint highlight the theme of concealment and transparency with mixed media like acrylic, ink and pens…

 

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UNTITLED. 100 X 80 MIXED MEDIA ON CANVAS 2015

 

I add the necessities of drawing and graphics, I also meditate at length the nature and I try to learn more. I try to be as simple as I can, I like this movement on the surfaces of doors and walls, and I like to pass on my painting.

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Inspiration is everywhere, and the artist must start from what is local to transcend it, travelling beyond and reaching what is global and universal. Like Naguib Mahfouz, one must start from “where I am.” The Urban scenery is a rich material that I exploit. A contemporary artist must draw on contemporary subjects.

 

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Technical capability should guide the artist in the development of his work, pleasant warmth or a wild and sour chilliness. These elements are reminder of my childhood, which I spent in an open air. There, I learned to become familiar with the surroundings and tried to tame the wildness of this space. In my later works, I’ve chosen to intervene on pre-worked supports, fully or partially, like calendars, catalogs, or collage of paper and cardboard paper trying to go beyond what has already been created ».

ABDELLAH EL HAITOUT ,SALÉ (MOROCCO), 2016

 

Image may contain: 1 person, indoor

ABDELLAH EL HAITOUT IS A SIGNIFICANT ABSTRACT PAINTER WHO IS CURRENTLY CREATING WORKS OF GREAT NOTE. HIS ENERGETIC ORGANIC SHAPES AND TEXTURES COLLIDE WITH EXUBERANCE AND DEPTH IN AN OCEAN OF LAYERS OF CASCADING PAINT.
JAN KIRSTEIN

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True Inspiration: Helen Frankenthaler


 

To honor and support the Women’s March in Washington D.C. this week, I am would like to give tribute to some of my fav painters who have inspired me for a lifetime. Today it’s Helen Frankenthaler.

 

 

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Helen Frankenthaler, Europa, 1957, Oil on unsized, unprimed canvas, 70 x 54 1/2 x 2 inches (177.8 x 138.43 x 5.08 cm) © 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Abstract Expressionism
Royal Academy of Arts
September 24, 2016 – January 2, 2017
This long-awaited exhibition reveals the full breadth of a movement that will forever be associated with the boundless creative energy of 1950s New York.

Traveling to:
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
February 03, 2017 – June 04, 2017

 

Hartung and Lyrical Painters
Fonds Hélène & Édouard Leclerc pour la Culture, Landerneau, France
December 11, 2016 – April 17, 2017
The exhibition positions the work of Hans Hartung with artists of the 1950’s such as Georges Mathieu, Gérard Schneider, Hantaï, and international artists from subsequent decades, including Helen Frankenthaler.

 

Women of Abstract Expressionism
The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC
October 22, 2016 – January 22, 2017
The groundbreaking exhibition Women of Abstract Expressionism celebrates the often unknown female artists of this mid-twentieth century art movement.

Traveling to:
Palm Springs Art Museum, CA
February 18, 2017 – May 28, 2017

Originated:
Denver Art Museum, CO
June 12 – September 25, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

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A Little Plug for my Justice Collection by Janis Kirstein. To see more click here.

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Collector’s Choice: Helen Frankenthaler


“Jacob’s Ladder” by Helen Frankenthaler

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Although this painting shares a name with the biblical tale of Jacob’s dreamed ascent toward heaven, and also with an ancient Egyptian toy, Frankenthaler insisted this work had no illustrational intention: “The picture developed (bit by bit while I was working on it) into shapes symbolic of an exuberant figure and ladder, therefore Jacob’s Ladder.

Working in New York in the 1950s, Frankenthaler painted large-scale unprimed canvases on the floor to explore new ways of handling distinctively thinned paint. The artist said she borrowed from Jackson Pollock her “concern with line, fluid line, calligraphy, and … experiments with line not as line but as shape.”

 

Click on thumbnails to enlarge

Helen Frankenthaler was an American abstract expressionist painter. She was a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Wikipedia
Died: December 27, 2011, Darien, CT
Spouse: Stephen M. DuBrul Jr. (m. 1994–2011), Robert Motherwell (m. 1958–1971)
Periods: Lyrical abstraction, Post-painterly abstraction, Color Field, Modern art, Abstract expressionism

Collector’s Choice: Grace Hardigan


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Grace Hartigan was an American was a second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter and a member of the New York School.
Born: March 28, 1922, Newark, NJ
Died: November 15, 2008, Baltimore, MD

Luce Center Quote

“I knew . . . painting was not an activity but a total life. And you would do anything to keep painting, even if you starved. You were the paintings and the paintings were you.” Hartigan, quoted in Mattison, Grace Hartigan: A Painters World, 1990

Luce Center Label

Pallas Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom, strategy, and war. Grace Hartigan has been inspired by fantasy since childhood, when she would dream up stories filled with gypsies, queens, and fairy-tale characters. Here, figural elements emerge from the image, such as the suggestion of a face in the top right, but Hartigan’s thick, abstract strokes of paint dominate the canvas. The rich tones of red, brown, and black evoke the earth, spreading across the lower half of the canvas, and the jumbled mass of color at the top may represent the confusion and noise of the realm of the gods. (Barber, “Making Some Marks,” quoted in Mattison, Grace Hartigan: A Painter’s World, 1990)

Many thanks to the Smithsonian  American Art Museum

 

 Artists in 60 Seconds: Grace Hartigan

© 2008 Grace Hartigan; used with permission - © 2008 Grace Hartigan
Grace Hartigan (American, 1922-2008). New England October, 1957. Oil on canvas. 68 1/4 x 83 in. (173.4 x 210.8 cm). Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1958. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.  © 2008 Grace Hartigan

Movement, Style, School or Type of Art:

Abstract Expressionism

Grace Hartigan did, indeed, get her start as an Abstract Expressionist–she was a “second generation” member of the New York School, and its most visible female member. She very quickly moved on, though, and caught tremendous flak from artist friends and critics for introducing representational elements into her work.

She has been called a precursor to Pop Art (a movement with which she did not care to be associated). In honesty, Hartigan was so intellectually curious that her work changed regularly over six decades. The most accurately descriptive stylistic phrase would be “her own.”

Date and Place of Birth:

March 28, 1922, Newark, New Jersey

Grace was the eldest of four children born to her accountant father and housewife mother. According to interviews, her parents seemed to have lacked sympathy and understanding for their daughter’s creative nature. However, her grandmother and schoolteacher aunt (both of whom lived in the other half of the family duplex in her early childhood) filled her imaginative young head with Irish folklore, fairy tales and a love of the English language.

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All of this manifested in Grace’s desire to become an actress, and fascination with Gypsy caravans that passed through the area seasonally.

Her Start in Art:

Alas, Grace would never become an actress. She married for the first time (there would, eventually, be four Misters Hartigan) straight out of high school. The newlyweds’ cross-country trip to homestead in Alaska ended in Los Angeles when they (1) ran out of money and (2) Grace discovered she was pregnant.

Shortly afterwards, the United States entered WWII. Her husband drafted, Grace returned to the East Coast to live with her in-laws and got a job as a mechanical draftsman (on the strength of a few drawing classes in California). In this most un-creative setting, a co-worker introduced her to Matisse’s works.

 

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A Star Is Born:

Hartigan–never one to take half-measures–moved very quickly from “wanting to draw like that” (meaning Matisse) to painting full-time in a cold water flat on the Lower East Side. It was here that she met nearly the entire “First Generation” of New York School painters, including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline. This community of artists accepted her as one of their own–although it is important to remember that no one was selling at the time, and all of them were financially strapped. A band of talented equals, happy to meet nightly at the Cedar Tavern for talk, drinks and an affordable meal.

In due course Pollock and de Kooning were “discovered,” which focused critical and gallery interest on the entire New York School. Hartigan had been showing with the undiscovereds; Pollock recommended her for the New Talent 1950 show at the Kootz Gallery and the rest, as they say, is history. As was the case with nearly everyone else in the Cedar Tavern circle, Grace sold every canvas she could paint in the 1950s–albeit at lower prices than her male counterparts commanded. More importantly, to her, she developed many new artistic friendships and maintained most of those that she already had.

 

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A Star Voluntarily Disappears:

And then, in 1960, she married her fourth husband, Winston Price, a medical researcher at Johns Hopkins University. Hartigan moved to Baltimore, which was at that time akin to Outer Mongolia in terms of sales or gallery interest. (Coincidentally, 1960 was also the year that Pop Art began to be the Next Big Thing.)

She kept painting, though, and in 1965 carved a niche for herself as an instructor, a role she enjoyed for the next 42 years. Grace Hartigan will forever be best known as one of the few women who were accepted by the “guys”–and successfully showed and sold–in the New York School of Abstract Expressionism.

 

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Important Works:

  • Persian Jacket, 1952
  • The Oranges (series), 1952-53
  • Grand Street Brides, 1954
  • New England October, 1957
  • Reisterstown Mall, 1965

In the category of “Important Works,” it would be shameful not to include Ms. Hartigan’s 40+ years as director of the graduate program at the Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art. She didn’t care to be called a “teacher,” and downplayed her influence. But the fact remains that from 1965-2007 she mentored, criticized and generally helped hundreds of painters find their own paths.

Date and Place of Death:

November 15, 2008, Timonium, Maryland

Quotes From Grace Hartigan:

  • Art is still the only place in the world where you can do exactly what you want if you pay the price, which is having no one else want it. — Grace Hartigan interview, 1979 May 10, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
  • I cannot expect even my own art to provide all the answers – only to hope it keeps asking all the right questions.
  • There’s a lot of work I still want to do. But the thing that’s been incredible is that one way or another I’ve been able to arrange my life so that I could paint every day. And that’s been the main thing.Baltimore Sun interview, October 28, 2001.

Sources and Further Reading

  • Hartigan, Grace. Grace Hartigan (exh. cat.).
    Purchase, N.Y. : Neuberger Museum of Art, 2001.
  • Hartigan, Grace. Grace Hartigan: Painting the Renaissance (exh. cat.).
    New York : Gruenebaum Gallery, 1986.
  • Hirsh, Sharon L. Grace Hartigan: Painting Art History.
    Carlisle, PA : The Trout Gallery, Dickinson College, 2003.
  • Kleeblatt, Norman L. (ed.) Action/Abstraction:
    Pollock, de Kooning and American Art, 1940-1976
    (exh. cat.).
    New Haven : Yale University Press, 2008.
  • Mattison, Robert S. Grace Hartigan: A Painter’s World.
    New York : Hudson Hills Press, 1990.
  • Munro, Eleanor C. Originals: American Women Artists.
    New York : Da Capo Press, 2000.
  • Puniello, Françoise S.; Halina R. Rusak. Abstract Expressionist Women Painters: An Annotated Bibliography: Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Grace Hartigan, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Ethel Schwabacher.
    Lanham, MD : Scarecrow Press, 1996.