Like Us!

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?

Roy Lichtenstein is famous for his poppy, comic-style art. As it happens, he didn't even like comic books as a kid. It was his son who asked him if he could paint anything that looked like his Mickey Mouse comic book. Comics later became one of the greatest inspirations for Lichtenstein’s work, but apparently not until his son brought up Mickey Mouse.


Grace Hartigan: Changing the Narrative

Grace Hartigan - Grand Street Brides - 1954 - oil on canvas - 72 9/16 × 102 3/8 inches - Whitney Museum of American Art (click photo for larger image)A “Second-Generation” Abstract Expressionist, Grace Hartigan (1922-2008), developed a new form of painting based on bold gesture and experimental brushwork. She was highly regarded for her commitment to art, as well as for a hard-bitten toughness, embodied in her paintings. 

Although Hartigan built her early career upon complete abstraction, in 1952 she began incorporating recognizable motifs and characters from an array of sources into her art. This change was seen as a betrayal by some of her “first generation” colleagues—a rather paradoxical reaction from artists who struggled for the right to choose for themselves how and what to paint.

Hartigan’s inclusion of certain objects in her paintings also have identified her work as a precursor to Pop Art. However, she thoroughly disliked the mass manufacturing that movement embraced and celebrated. 

Hartigan moved between figuration and abstraction with ease throughout her long career. Indeed, her best known works combine the two. You can read more about here right here on What About Art?.


Kokoschka: Intense Expressionism

Oskar Kokoschka - Bride of the Wind (also known as The Tempest) - 1913-14 - Oil on canvas - 181 cm × 220 cm (71 in × 87 in) - Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (click photo for larger image)Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) was an Austrian artist, poet and playwright, but he is best known for his intense expressionistic portraits and landscapes.

Kokoschka moved daringly from a more decorative style into a bold, racy Expressionism. He came of age during turn-of-the-century Vienna, exploring Sigmund Freud's analysis of dreams and the unconscious as well as giving voice to the growing anxiety felt among the bourgeois class about the modern age. His disorienting compositions used bold brushstrokes and strong colors to confront the viewer. His freedom from stylistic constraint as well as his belief in the power of art to raise awareness of contemporary problems set an example for artists from the Abstract Expressionists in the mid-20th century to the Neo-Expressionists of the late-20th century. 

The work featured here is a self-portrait expressing his (Kokoschka’s) unrequited love for Alma Mahler (widow of composer Gustav Mahler). You can read more about that right HERE on What About Art?


Quote of the Day

“An artist never really finishes his work; he merely abandons it.” - Paul Valéry 


Juan Gris: Formalizing Cubism

Juan Gris - Still Life before an Open Window, Place Ravignan - 1915 - oil on canvas, 115.9 x 88.9 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art (click photo for larger image)Juan Gris (1887-1927) was a Spanish painter born in Madrid who lived and worked in France most of his life. Closely connected to the innovative Cubism genre, his works are among the movement's most distinctive. Gris built upon the foundations of early Cubism and steered the movement in new directions. A member of the tight-knit circle of avant-garde artists working in Paris, Gris adopted the radically fragmented picture spaces of Picasso and Braque, imparting to his works a bold, graphic look. His paintings are immediately distinguishable from theirs, informed by his background as an illustrator, with a slick, almost commercial appearance, and crisp design elements throughout. While Braque and Picasso’s experiments were exploratory and highly theoretical, Gris is credited with formalizing Cubism into a definable approach.

Juan Gris was one of Gertrude Stein's favorite artists, and the only Cubist talented enough to make Picasso uncomfortable!