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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.

Entries in Folk Art (3)


Incredible Fruit Pit Carving Art From China

Fruit pit carving art from China. “Often referred to as ‘an uncanny work of art’, fruit pit carving requires a series of skills and tools in order to produce a fine piece of art." (click photo for larger image)When I was a little girl--my Dad used to carve rings for me, and for my sister, out of peach pits! Every season--when there was a new batch of peaches, out would come Dad’s swiss army knife--to be used as an artist’s tool. Dad was a nature and wildlife artist--and he also loved making things from objects in nature--preserving the integrity of the original. We had tables, stools, cabinets, sculptures--and of course--the peach pit rings. Each ring was a different design. The Chinese elevated fruit pit carving to an art form centuries ago--and, admittedly, they were and are better at it than my Dad had been. But it is the memory of my father’s gifts that inspired my interest in this folk arts form.

Fruit pit carving art from China. “Peach is associated with escape, in Chinese culture, so peach pit carvings are widely used as pendants or on as a string of beads to ward of evil and avoid misfortunes.” (click photo for larger image)

Fruit pit carving art from China.

“The miniature folk art of fruit pit carving has been practiced in China for centuries, and is still praised for turning useless fruit stones into valuable works of art.”




"Accidental Genius" Highlights Major Gift to Milwaukee Art Museum

August Walla (Austrian, b. 1936), The Absolute Truth (Gericht!), 1990. Acrylic on canvas (double sided), 78 x 63 in. (198.12 x 160.02 cm). The Anthony Petullo Collection. M2012.230a,b. Photo: Larry Sanders.Milwaukee collector Anthony Petullo owns an extraordinary collection of modern self-taught art--much of which is on exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Self-taught art falls into several categories--including naive art, outsider art (also known as art brut) and sometimes folk art. The article below will give you a peek and some insight into Petullo’s fine collection.

MILWAUKEE, WIS.- Accidental Genius: Art from the Anthony Petullo Collection, an original exhibition of modern self-taught art featuring more than two hundred works opened Friday, February 10, 2012, at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The exhibition includes many of the most important European and American artists in the genre, and celebrates the significant gift of works by Milwaukee collector Anthony Petullo to the Museum. READ MORE...

It should be noted that not all individuals with little or no training are considered naive or outsider artists. Vincent van Gogh, for example, was largely self-taught--but his work is neither naive our outsider art. In addition, some artists who have been professionally trained have aligned themselves with outsider art--as a way of protesting against the powers-that-be of the professional art world.


Christie's New York Recently Announced Americana Week 2010

Rare Double Portrait by Ammi Phillips (1788-1865)From

[T]he lead highlight of the Americana Week sales is an exceedingly rare, full-length double portrait of Theron Simpson Ludington (1850-1922) and His Older Sister Virginia Ludington (1846-1865) by the prominent 19th-century American portrait artist Ammi Phillips (estimate: $300,000-500,000). Unknown among Phillips works until earlier this year, this dynamic, even humorous portrait of two young siblings has been passed down through generations of the Ludington family of Goshen, CT until the present day. Phillips was commissioned sometime around 1852 to paint the family’s members, which included formal portraits of the children’s parents....

Phillips was a naive (self-taught) New England painter--now regarded as one of the most important folk artists of his era. The distinctions between naive art, folk art, and outsider art are often blurred--and the terms are frequently used interchangeably. Naive artists generally refers to painters living in mainstream culture who pursue individualized subjects and themes, such as Henri Rousseau. Folk art typically embodies subjects dealing with a particular culture and/or tells us something about the community or traditions of the artist. Naive painter Grandma Moses is considered a folk artist. Outsider Art refers to works created by individuals living outside or on the fringes of mainstream society--such as homeless people, prisoners, mental patients and the like. One common feature is that all of these forms generally engage artists who have had no formal training--but who pursue their art with the same commitment as professional artists. Although their works were once widely referred to as "primitive" -- and sometimes are still so labeled -- there is a tendency among art historians to avoid that term these days. Some professional (formally trained) artists have chosen to align themselves with the Outsider Art movement--as a way of protesting and challenging what they see as the elitism of the contemporary art world.