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Worth Watching
  • 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.

Did You Know?

Micro-sculptor Willard Wigan creates artwork so small that he once inhaled one by accident. Each of his sculptures costs around $40,000. That’s a lot of money to inhale!


Jack Levine: Sharp Social Commentary

Jack Levine - Reconstruction - 1962 - Oil on canvas - 88.9 x 101.6 cm (35 x 40 in.) - Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection (click photo for larger image)Jack Levine (1915-2010) was known best for his satirical figural compositions that express sharp social commentary. Born in Boston, and  of Lithuanian descent, Levine grew up in Boston’s South End, an area crowded with European immigrants. The realities of street-life—drunks, prostitutes, politicians, and policemen—left a vivid impression on Levine. They became central to his art, which often satirizes the quirks and corruption of various segments of society.

Levine first trained at the Jewish Welfare Center in Roxbury, MA. He later attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Harvard University. Between 1935-40, he was sometimes part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project.

Levine is typically defined as an American Social Realist. Social Realists created images of the "masses" a term that “encompassed the lower and working classes, labor unionists, and the politically disenfranchised”. American artists became dissatisfied with the French avant-garde and their own isolation from greater society, which inspired them to search for a new vocabulary and a new social importance. Influenced by American Scene Painting and the Ashcan School—these artists believed their content is what made them “modern”.


Quote of the Day

“The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness.” – Joan Miró


Gabriele Münter: Driven and Dedicated

Gabriel Münter - Portrait of a Young Woman, oil on canvas - 1909 - Milwaukee Art Museum (click photo for larger image)German Expressionist artist Gabriele Münter (1877-1962) was one of the founders in 1909 of the avant-garde artists’ group Neue Künstlervereinigung (“New Artists’ Association”) formed by Munich artists challenging the official art of the day. The artists in the group were united in their purpose, not in their style. In 1911 Münter joined Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) in leaving the group to form the rival association, Der Blaue Reiter (“The Blue Rider”), the second phase of German Expressionism, which reached its peak in Berlin, during the 1920s.

A student of Kandinsky, Münter fell in love with the painter and lived with him for more than a decade, during the period leading up to WWI. Münter exhibited paintings at the Blaue Reiter exhibitions of 1911 and 1912. While sharing the group’s characteristic intensity of color and expressiveness of line, her still life paintings, figures, and landscapes remained uniquely representational rather than abstract. The painting featured here is one of her more notable works.


Autumn - a la Thomas Moran

Thomas Moran - Autumn - c. 1893-97 - Oil on canvas - 76.2 x - 91.4 cm (30 x 36 in) - The Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma (click photo for larger image)As we enter the Fall season—a painting of an autumn scene is in order! Hudson River School painter and printmaker Thomas Moran (1837-1926) is most well known for his idealized views of the American West. This son of poor immigrant hand-weavers was entirely self-taught. He got some training as an engraver and opened an engraving business with his two brothers. “But his heart was in painting, and his predilections intensely, youthfully Romantic.” Influenced by J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), Moran received international attention and acclaim for his portrayals of the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.  

The Hudson River School encompasses two generations of painters, inspired by Thomas Cole’s images of America's wilderness - in the Hudson River Valley, and also in the newly opened West. The particular use of light effects, to lend an exaggerated drama to such elements as mist and sunsets, developed into a subspecialty known as Luminism.