Albert Franck

19 07 2015

I was brought up in the east side of Toronto. We lived on Galt Avenue. To the west of us was a lumber yard (now Gerard Square Mall). To the north of us were the railroad tracks, to the south Gerard Avenue. Behind our house was a lane way, like many lane ways in the city. People parked their cars in garages that were situated at the back of their lots, and accessed by the lane. One winter I was run over by a car in that lane. When my mother came running out to the lane, screaming, I pretended to be dead. It seemed to be the safest choice. All the way to the hospital my mother held me in her arms and prayed as my uncle sped through traffic. I was aware of everything. At the hospital I had a miracle recovery which my mother assumed was the Lord’s work.

There was also an artist in that lane. My mother said that she had seen him painting. Is this creative memory. I’m not sure. The artist’s name was Franck.





Palmer Hayden

7 07 2015

Palmer C. Hayden (January 15, 1890 – February 18, 1973) was an American painter who depicted African-American life. He painted in both oils and watercolors, and was a prolific artist of his era.

Hayden took his inspiration from the environment around him, focusing on the African American experience. He tried to capture both rural life in the South, as well as urban backgrounds in New York City. Many of these urban paintings were centered in Harlem. The inspiration for “The Janitor Who Paints” came from Cloyde Boykin, a friend of Palmer’s. Boykin was also a painter who supported himself through janitorial work. Hayden once said, “I painted it because no one called Cloyde a painter; they called him a janitor.” Many people consider this painting to be an expression of the tough times Palmer was having.

I love this guy’s story telling.





Umberto Brunelleschi

6 06 2015

Umberto Brunelleschi (June 21, 1879 – February 16, 1949) was an Italian artist. He was born in Montemurlo, Italy, studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence and moved to Paris in 1900 with Ardengo Soffici where he soon established himself as a printer, book illustrator, set and costume designer.

He worked for Le Rire as a caricaturist (often under the pseudonym’s Aroun-al-Raxid or Aron-al-Rascid) and was a contributor to many of the deluxe French fashion publications including Journal des Dames et Des Modes, La Vie Parisienne, Gazette du Bon Ton and Les Feuillets d’Art. Brunelleschi was also the artistic director of the short lived but significant La Guirlande d’art et de la litterature 1919-1920.

After serving in the Italian Army during the First World War, he returned to Paris. In the 1920s he diversified into set and costume designs for the Folies Bergère, the Casino de Paris, the Théâtre du Châtelet and theaters in New York, Germany, and in his native country. In Italy, he worked for Opera Houses such as La Scala in Milan, and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence. He created costumes for Josephine Baker. He is also noted for his design of the Martial et Armand logo c. 1923.

His illustrated books include Voltaire (Candide, 1933), Charles Perrault (Contes du temps jadis,1912), Musset (La Nuit Vénitienne), Goethe, Diderot (Les Bijoux indiscrets, etc.), Les Masques et les personnages de la Comedie Italienne, 1914; Phili ou Par dela le Bien et le Mal,” 1921; Le Radjah de Mazulipatam,” 1925; Le Malheureux Petit Voyage, 1926; and Les Aventures de Roi Pausole, 1930.

Umberto Brunelleschi died 1949 in Paris, France.





Georges Seurat

25 05 2015

Georges-Pierre Seurat (French: [ʒɔʁʒ pjɛʁ sœʁa];[1] 2 December 1859 – 29 March 1891) was a French Post-Impressionist painter and draftsman.

He is noted for his innovative use of drawing media and for devising the painting techniques known as chromoluminarism and pointillism. His large-scale work, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884–1886), altered the direction of modern art by initiating Neo-impressionism, and is one of the icons of late 19th-century painting.





George Hugnet

25 05 2015

Hugnet was part of the surrealist movement in the 30s. He was later expelled from the group. In a lot of his work he seems preoccupied with females. But he does little with the form. Like a lot of early collages, his work appears frantic, slapped down in a  hurry to give an impression of a lack of concentrated thought. As if the images did not come from intelligence but impulse.





Valentin M. Khodov

23 05 2015

He was born in 1942. Under the murderer. Stalin. His paintings have a strange attraction. Their monumental almost medieval story telling. Stained with red and haunted by darkness the paintings almost seem wistful. Or perhaps that is my optimistic spirit. Except that I’m not an optimist.

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Andre Masson

16 05 2015

So much of his work is fueled by horror. And horror with a cause.

When war was declared he volunteered because he wanted to experience “the Wagnerian aspects of battle”[1] and know the ecstasy of death. [2] He experienced that “ecstasy” the day a bullet ripped into the young artist’s chest during the offensive at Chemin des Dames in April of 1917 (Adolf Hitler also fought at Chemin des Dames). Stretcher-bearers were unable to get him to safety and he was left for the night, half-dead, on his back, where he was a submissive spectator of the struggle, gazing at the conflict overhead. Masson had spent three years in the trenches in conditions so horrible he was unable to speak of them for years, and his wounds caused him psychic trouble to the end of his life.

This is an artist whose nightmares seemed to breed nightmares. Creating more and more horrors. Many of his paintings reflect this horror. And I can’t help but wonder if Hitler too had such nightmares. Masson’s work might reflect the landscape of Hitler’s fears. And the fears of many others who survived the killing field.





François-Emile Barraud

7 04 2015

François Barraud (14 November 1899 – 11 September 1934) was a Swisspainter.[1][2]

Barraud was the second eldest of four brothers who all painted or sculpted at various points in their lives.[2] The brothers, François, Aimé, Aurèle and Charles, were largely self-taught artists having been raised as professional plasterers and house painters.[1][2] Barraud attended evening classes at the local art school in 1911 together with his brothers.[1] In 1919, he exhibited his paintings in La Chaux-de-Fonds and participated in the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in Basel.[3] Encouraged by the success of the exhibitions he left Switzerland in 1922, and moved to Reims in France where he worked as a house painter for two years.[1][3] He married Marie, a French woman, in 1924.[3][4] Marie subsequently featured as a model in several of his paintings.[3][4] Around 1924 or 1925, Barraud found work in Paris as an artist and craftsman.[4] While living in Paris he studied painting at the École du Louvre.





Maria Blanchard

24 03 2015

The cliche about the struggling and suffering artist certainly applies to Maria Blanchard. She was a contemporary of Picasso and one would think that with a little luck she might have become more successful in her own time, and more well known now. But life is cruel. And it was cruel to this artist.





Joseph Leyendecker

7 01 2015

Joseph Christian Leyendecker (March 23, 1874 – July 25, 1951) was one of the preeminent American illustrators of the early 20th century. He is best known for his poster, book and advertising illustrations, the trade character known as The Arrow Collar Man, and his numerous covers for The Saturday Evening Post.[1][2] Between 1896 and 1950, Leyendecker painted more than 400 magazine covers. During the Golden Age of American Illustration, for The Saturday Evening Post alone, J. C. Leyendecker produced 322 covers, as well as many advertisement illustrations for its interior pages. No other artist, until the arrival of Norman Rockwell two decades later, was so solidly identified with one publication.[3] Leyendecker “virtually invented the whole idea of modern magazine design.”

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