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  • Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    A fascinating and highly entertaining look at one of the most important families of the Renaissance era--the Medici.
  • Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)
    Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)

    “Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters.” This set includes Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Simultaneously delightful and scholarly--this is a must have for anyone interested in art history.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    When British stencil artist Banksy traveled to Los Angeles to work, he came across obscure French filmmaker Thierry Guetta and his badly organized collection of videotapes involving the activities of graffiti artists. Inspired, Banksy assembled them with new footage to create this talked-about documentary, and the result is a mind-boggling and odd film (so strange as to be thought a hoax by some) about outsider artists and the definition of art itself.
  • The Impressionists
    The Impressionists
    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
  • The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.

Paul Klee: “Color and I are One”

Paul Klee - Föhn in Marc's Garden - 1915 - watercolour on paper mounted on cardboard - Height: 20 cm (7.87 in.), Width: 15 cm (5.91 in.) - Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus - Munich (click photo for larger image)Paul Klee (1879-1940) was a Swiss-born painter and graphic artist whose personal, often gently humorous works are replete with allusions to dreams, music, and poetry. His art is difficult to classify. Art created by non-industrial cultures, surrealism, cubism, and children's art are all blended into Klee’s small-scale, delicate paintings, watercolors, and drawings—which number over 7000. Klee grew up in a musical family and was himself a violinist. After much hesitation, however, he chose to study art, and attended the Munich Academy in 1900. Klee later toured Italy (1901-02), responding enthusiastically to Early Christian and Byzantine art. A turning point in Klee's career came on a visit he made to Tunisia in 1914. He was so overwhelmed by the intense light there that he wrote, “Color has taken possession of me. No longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever. That is the significance of this blessed moment. Color and I are one. I am a painter.” 


Mondrian: Neo-Plasticim

Piet Mondrian - Composition No. III Blanc-Jaune - 1935-42 - Oil on canvas - 101 x 51 cm - Christie’s, New York (click photo for larger image)Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) founded named the movement Neo-Plasticism. It’s a rigid form of Abstraction, whose rules allow only for a canvas to be sectioned into rectangles by horizontal and vertical lines, and colored using a very limited palette. He published a manifesto entitled Neo-Plasticism in 1920. Another member of the movement, painter Theo van Doesberg (Dutch, 1883-1931) started a journal named De Stijl in 1917, which continued publication until 1928, spreading the theories of the group. The labels “De Stijl” and “Neo-Plasticism" came to be synonymous. 


Malevich: Pioneer of Abstraction

Kazimir Malevich. Suprematist Composition: White on White. 1918 - oil on canvas - 31 1/4 x 31 1/4" (79.4 x 79.4 cm) - MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) New YorkKasimir Malevich, (1878-1935) was a Ukranian painter and designer, and one of the most important pioneers of geometric abstract art.

Born near Kiev, Malevich trained at Kiev School of Art and Moscow Academy of Fine Arts. In 1913 he began creating abstract geometric patterns in a style he called Suprematism. He taught painting in Moscow and Leningrad from 1919-21, and published a book, The Nonobjective World, on his theory in 1926. Malevich was the first artist to exhibit abstract geometric paintings. He strove to produce pure, cerebral compositions, and his famous painting of 1918, White on White, carries suprematist theories to their absolute conclusion. Malevich described his aesthetic theory, known as Suprematism, as "the supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts." Sadley, Soviet politics turned against modern art, and Malevich died in poverty and oblivion.


Amedeo Modigliani

ITEM 495: Amedeo Modigliani

Amedeo Modigliani - The Pretty Housewife - 1915 - Oil on canvas; Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA (click photo for larger image)During the early 1900s in Paris, the Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920) developed a truly unique style. Today, the sight of his graceful portraits and lush nudes evoke his name immediately. But during his brief career, very few people apart from his fellow artists were aware of his gifts. Modigliani had to struggle against poverty and chronic ill health, dying at the tender age of 35 of tuberculosis and excesses of drink and drugs. His interest in African masks and sculpture remains evident, especially in the treatment of the sitters' faces: flat and masklike, with almond eyes, twisted noses, and pursed mouths. Nevertheless, despite their extreme economy of composition and neutral backgrounds, Modigliani’s portraits convey a sharp sense of each sitter's personality. Modigliani’s work also embodies the entire Italian tradition, which can be seen in the elongated necks of his sitters. This is yet another characteristic that sets him apart from other of his contemporary Modernists.


The Earth as a Religion

Chaim Soutine - Avenue of Trees at Chartres - c. 1935 - oil on canvas - 75.9 cm (29.88 in.), Width: 65.1 cm (25.63 in.) - Private Collection (click photo for larger image)As the center of artistic interest in the early Modern era, Paris attracted a number of foreign painters. Chaim Soutine (1894-1943) came to Paris in 1913. Soutine's style included applying thickly encrusted paint—and his work exudes a “wild, chaotic spirit, sorrowful and vehement.” Soutine was a natural, though singular, Expressionist.

His religion was the earth. He painted the sacredness of the country with a passion that sometimes makes his art difficult to read.