I don't like all Picasso's works of art, but I like this one, Seated Woman in Chemise, especially placed on the warm, red wall in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The casual, natural feel of the model with the blue background appeals to me. The painting is currently on loan from the Tate Museum in London.
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In the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, people flock to John Trumball's iconic Portrait of Alexandar Hamilton. Children pull their parents over to see him. The broadway play must take credit for most of the enthusiasm of Hamilton.
The artist, John Trumbull had just as an interesting, historically important life as Hamilton - born in Lebanon, Connecticut in 1756, the son of Jonathan Trumbull, a colonial Royal Governor who embraced the partriot cause and Faith Robinson, a descendant of Pilgrim leader John Robinson.
Trumball entered Harvard at age 15, with the parents' wishes for him to be a lawyer or minister and he immediately became friends with John Singleton Copley, the leading portrait painter of the Colonies and began studying painting to the chagrin of his father.
When the Revolution fired up, Trumbull joined the Connecticut Regiment, witnessed the Battle of Bunker Hill, which later was a subject of one of his historical paintings - caught the attention of General George Washington, and served until 1777. Determined to study painting in England, he delivered a letter of recommendation from Benjamin Franklin to study with the Official Painter of Historical Subjects to George III. Not too shabby. There he met a student, another famous portraitist, Gilbert Stuart. All was going well until his arrest and incarceration for allegedly being a British spy until several known artists convinced the king to set him free and leave London.
If you've been to the U.S. Capitol, you saw several historical paintings by Trumbull, notably The Declaration of Independence, a commission urged on by Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The man lived a Forrest Gumpesque life through his adult life, meeting the right people at the right time. He died in 1843, interred on the Yale Campus under the building which contained many of Trumbull's important works of art. The inscription over his tomb includes the words 'To his Country he gave his SWORD and his PENCIL.'
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The young lady seems to be connecting with the sisters, Dorothea and Francesca Gilder, in this portrait by Cecilia Beaux. Beaux befriended the Gilder family while in Paris in 1896 and when after the artist moved to New York City, they became close friends. Beaux painted the family members often, especially the sisters. Her depiction is a tender, elegant portrait of a big sister teaching her little sister a dance step - something they often filled their days with.
Cecilia Beaux, an American, female painter was raised in both Philadelphia and New York City by relatives who nurtured her desire to become a painter - studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Paris. She developed an earned reputation as one of the best portrait painters, rivaling those like John Singer Sargent. After completing Dorothea and Francesca in 1898, she received important commissions, including portraits of Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Mrs. Andrew Carnegie to name a few.
Dorothea and Francesca, among a few others by Beaux, hang in the Art Institute of Chicago.
What occurs to me when I study Self-Portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn is this is not only an exquisite oil painting but it's the manhimself - notably one of the most famous artists of all time.
Rembrandt is known to have drawn, painted and etched many self-portraits during his lifetime and one can gauge his personal events and moods just by the differences in appearance in these portraits. He painted this self-portrait in 1659 after he had suffered financial failure after many, many years of success. He lost his mega-mansion and other possessions to pay back his creditors. He was in a state of defeat, one can imagine. Yet there is a sense of dignity in his older face and a deliberate portrayal of a learned painter.
From the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
Watching the skillful hands of the Gullah men and women weaving their baskets with sweetgrass and thin strands of palmetto leaves is quite awesome.
A little history - the unique culture called Gullah is a blend of African and European that lives today in Sea Islands along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. All around the city of Charleston SC, the Gullahs exhibit a long standing West African tradition of what they call 'sewing' baskets made of dried sweetgrass and thin strands of palmetto leaves - both resources that grow in the low country region. Their technique is not the usual weaving - rather they bundle dried sweetgrass and coil it into baskets held together by sewing the coils with the strands of palmetto leaves.
It is said these sweetgrass baskets are durable and will last indefinitely if taken care of. The declines in habitat for sweetgrass are threatened by coastal development and the Historical Society of Charleston has established reserves on nearby Sullivan's Island - recognizing the culture and history of the Gullah communities.
From a sunny sidewalk in Charleston, South Carolina.
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Let me tell you a little bit about this colorful painting American Collectors (Fred and Marcia Weisman) by David Hockney, painted in 1968.
Hockney, born in the UK, lived in Los Angeles in the mid-60s, inspiring a series of paintings of swimming pools, portraits of friends and associates including the Weisman couple standing in their sculpture garden of their LA home. Also an avid photographer, Hockney stumbled upon a new technique while using a series of reference photos, creating a collage of imagery as an art form itself. By the mid-70's, he abandoned painting in favor of photography, lithographs and set designs for theater, opera and ballet, eventually returning to painting in the late 80's.
His truly inventive, brilliant mind led Hockney to explore the newer technologies such as laser printing, making his first homemade prints in the 90's. In 2009 he began using the Brushes app on an iPad to create paintings, exhibiting over 100 of these works in 2011.
Known to be one of the most influentual British painters, he continues to paint and advocate for funding for the arts.
American Collectors hangs in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.
"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is, because this is all part of experience, and the more experience you have, the better it is... unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far." ~ Alice Neel
"If I had the energy, I would have done it all over the country" - Edward Hopper
"It's what you carry to an object that counts." - Andrew Wyeth
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"When I'm old and gray, I want to have a house by the sea. And paint. With a lot of wonderful chums, good music, and booze around. And a damn good kitchen to cook in."