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.

Entries in Naive Art (6)


Art of the Fantastic

Henri Rousseau - The Snake Charmer - 1907 - Oil on canvas - 169 x 189.5 cm - Musee d'Orsay, Paris (click photo for larger image)Between the two World Wars, painting lost some of the raw, modern energy that had characterized it at the beginning of the century. Instead, art was dominated by two rather philosophical movements, Dada and Surrealism—both of which have been treated on What About Art?. This development arose partly as a reaction to the senseless atrocities of World War I. Artists were also becoming introspective, concerned with their own subconscious dreams. Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytical theories were well known by this time, and painters explored their own irrationalities and fantasies in search of a new artistic freedom. But such art—an art of the fantastic—was practiced uninterrupted by artists from the Middle Ages forward—Hieronymus Bosch, Caspar David Friedrich, Francisco de Goya, and Gustave Moreau among them. A noteworthy practitioner of an art of the fantastic from the Modern era was the celebrated naive painter, Henri Rousseau (1844-1910). Known as Le Douanier, after a lifelong job in the Parisian customs office, Rousseau is a perfect example of the kind of artist in whom the artists of the day believed: the untaught genius whose eye could see much further than that of the trained artist. The term “art of the fantastic” quite aptly describes the oeuvre of this painter.


Self-Taught Artist Turns Dead Trees into Urban Artworks

Wooden sculptures by Igor Dzheknavarov

“During the last six years the Ukrainian city of Simferopol has been transformed into an urban art gallery by a mysterious artist who carves wooden statues out of dead tree trunks.”



Horace Pippin (1888-1946)

Horace Pippin, Christmas Morning Breakfast, 1945Horace Pippin in 1940Horace Pippin was an American naive painter, known for his depictions of African American life and the horrors of war. Pippin’s childhood was spent in Goshen, New York, a town that sometimes appears in his paintings. Pippin was wounded in WWI, and was discharged with a partially paralyzed right arm. He settled in Pennsylvania--and was “discovered” by the art world in 1937. Pippin’s later works are precise and boldly colored. He’s an excellent example of genre painting at its best--which refers to paintings that depict everyday people doing everyday things. Read more about Horace Pippin at the NGA Classroom for Student and Teachers.


Beauty and the Beast?

Breton Brother and Sister, 1871 - Adolphe-William Bouguereau - Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York (USA)William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) was a French painter, dominant in the academic painting tradition during the second half of the 19th century. He was honored for his mythological and allegorical paintings, and his portraits. The achievements of this artistic genius were long ignored by scholars--overshadowed by the study of the avant-garde movements of the same period, which led to Modern Art.

Henri Rousseau - 1891 National Gallery - London (England) Painting - oil on canvas

On the other side of the technical wizardry of Bouguereau was Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) the French painter who is considered the archetype of the modern naive painter (although he was by no means the first naive artist). Rousseau is known for his richly colored and painstakingly detailed pictures of lush jungles, wild beasts, exotic figures--as well as landscapes and portraits. These two artists were working at the same time in Paris. Bouguereau had the far greater success at the time--since the art world of the day only allowed for one type of art--one set of standards. Thankfully, we live at a time when all styles of and approaches to art can peacefully co-exist--and be celebrated.


"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.