Collector’s Choice: Jean Michel Basquiat


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QUICK FACTS

NAME
Jean-Michel Basquiat
OCCUPATION
Painter
BIRTH DATE
December 22, 1960
DEATH DATE
August 12, 1988
PLACE OF BIRTH
Brooklyn, New York
PLACE OF DEATH
New York, New York
NICKNAME
“SAMO”

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a Neo-Expressionist painter in the 1980s. He is best known for his primitive style and his collaboration with pop artist Andy Warhol.

Synopsis

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960, in Brooklyn, New York. He first attracted attention for his graffiti under the name “SAMO” in New York City. He sold sweatshirts and postcards featuring his artwork on the streets before his painting career took off. He collaborated with Andy Warhol in the mid-1980s, which resulted in a show of their work. Basquiat died on August 12, 1988, in New York City.

 

Early Years

Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 22, 1960. With a Haitian-American father and a Puerto Rican mother, Basquiat’s diverse cultural heritage was one of his many sources of inspiration.

A self-taught artist, Basquiat began drawing at an early age on sheets of paper his father, an accountant, brought home from the office. As he delved deeper into his creative side, his mother strongly encouraged to pursue artistic talents.

Basquiat first attracted attention for his graffiti in New York City in the late 1970s, under the name “SAMO.” Working with a close friend, he tagged subway trains and Manhattan buildings with cryptic aphorisms.

In 1977, Basquiat quit high school a year before he was slated to graduate. To make ends meet, he sold sweatshirts and postcards featuring his artwork on the streets of his native New York.

Commercial Success

Three years of struggle gave way to fame in 1980, when his work was featured in a group show. His work and style received critical acclaim for the fusion of words, symbols, stick figures, and animals. Soon, his paintings came to be adored by an art loving public that had no problem paying as much as $50,000 for a Basquiat original.

His rise coincided with the emergence of a new art movement, Neo-Expressionism, ushering in a wave of new, young and experimental artists that included Julian Schnabel and Susan Rothenberg.

In the mid 1980s, Basquiat collaborated with famed pop artist Andy Warhol, which resulted in a show of their work that featured a series of corporate logos and cartoon characters.

On his own, Basquiat continued to exhibit around the country and the world. In 1986, he traveled to Africa for a show in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. That same year, the 25-year-old exhibited nearly 60 paintings at the Kestner-Gesellschaft Gallery in Hanover, Germany—becoming the youngest artist to ever showcase his work there.

Personal Problems

As his popularity soared, so did Basquiat’s personal problems. By the mid-1980s, friends became increasingly concerned by his excessive drug use. He became paranoid and isolated himself from the world around him for long stretches. Desperate to kick a heroin addiction, he left New York for Hawaii in 1988, returning a few months later and claiming to be sober.

Sadly, he wasn’t. Basquiat died of a drug overdose on August 12, 1988, in New York City. He was 27 years old. Although his art career was brief, Jean-Michel Basquiat has been credited with bringing the African-American and Latino experience in the elite art world.

Jean-Michel Basquiat Biography
Author

Biography.com Editors
Website Name

http://www.biography.com/people/jean-michel-basquiat-185851

 

 

 

Collector’s Choice: Red!


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Mark Rothko : Red Abstracts

Thanks to Azurebumble

Above:  Mark Rothko. Orange, Red, Orange. Oil on paper.

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Mark Rothko. Untitled. Oil on canvas.

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Mark Rothko. Untitled. Oil on canvas.

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Mark Rothko.  Oil on canvas.

One of the preeminent artists of his generation, Mark Rothko is closely identified with the New York School, a circle of painters that emerged during the 1940s as a new collective voice in American art. During a career that spanned five decades, he created a new and impassioned form of abstract painting. Rothko’s work is characterized by rigorous attention to formal elements such as color, shape, balance, depth, composition, and scale; yet, he refused to consider his paintings solely in these terms. He explained:

“It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.”

 

 

More Red Paintings

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Henri Matisse:  “The Desert:  Harmony in Red, 180 x 221 cm, 1908

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More Red Art

This set of images includes art from living artists. All of these artists have been featured on Kirsteinfinefineart. These artists include Kurt Nimmo, Rick Bennett, and Janis Kirstein.

 

Click on  thumbnails to enlarge.

Red is a color I love, but ordinarily for me, a little red goes a long way. However, all of the paintings on this series use a proportional predominance of red. Red is an assertive color that comes forward toward the viewer. It is a warm color, an assertive color, and even can be an aggressive color. Red is associated with fire, passion, heat, energy, blood, life force, and is a high impact color. Red is said to make people hungry, thus the predominance of red in fast food decor: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Rally’s for examples.

Hope this blog didn’t make you too hungry!

 

Jan Kirstein

Kirsteinfineart

 

To see more of my Red Collage Series, click here and go to November Collages 2016 Gallery.

 

 

 

Collector’s Choice: Grace Hardigan


http-americanart-si-edu-images-1969-1969-47-17_1a-jpgPallas Athena–Earthoil on canvas64 1/8 x 52 1/8 in. (162.9 x 132.4 cm.)Smithsonian American Art MuseumGift of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.1969.47.17

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.

 

Collector’s Choice: Tim Benson


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timbenson.co.uk

Faces of Ebola

“In November I will be exhibiting a number of portraits of Sierra Leonians affected by the recent Ebola outbreak. This solo show at the Mall Galleries’ Threadneedle Gallery will highlight the continued stigma that surrounds both survivors of the disease and many of those who treated them.”

 

 

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Click thumbnails to enlarge

“The oil painted portraits by Tim Benson grip me with their visceral paint application of vibrant variance of hue. His build up of painterly brush movement forms a human soul and presence commanding and compelling in its power and complexity. From out of the flat two dimensional painting surface emerges the individual personality and presence of a person made complete and whole through the engagement of intuited color and form.”  By Janis Kirstein

 

 

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Educated at Glasgow School of Art and Byam Shaw School of Art from 1998-2001, contemporary artist Tim Benson has received recognition with his election as Vice President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. As a practised figurative artist Tim not only creates a distinguishable likeness of a subject but moreover evokes the sitter’s character and mood. He is never satisfied with simple representation, rather concentrating on bringing to his work an emotive and often visceral quality.
Tim regularly exhibits in solo and group exhibitions around the UK. He displays fine art paintings that stand on their own as collectible works of art and accordingly has established a large following and collector base. In addition to his fine art pieces, he accepts more formal portrait and figurative commissions in oil or charcoal.

 

 

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EXHIBITIONS
2016
• November: Faces of Ebola – Mall Galleries

 

 

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Do you know what I would love?  I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings about this feature! How does this work affect you, make you feel? Grace us with your comments and insights.  We would all love to hear from you!  Thanks so much.                Jan Kirstein