Last month's sculpture gallery challenge inspired me to continue that theme and, for your consideration in the next two months ( due to the challenges of these works and doing a proper, careful copy - this will be an extended challenge), I have selected a suite of heads, that I hope you will agree are worthy of study, thought and discussion.
Without further bloviation:
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida 1863 - 1923 -b Valencia Spain - Sorolla began to study painting at the age of fifteen in his native Valencia, Spain. At the age of eighteen, he went to Madrid, where he copied Old Master paintings in the Museo del Prado. Four years later, Sorolla won a grant to study painting in Rome; there he developed a distinct ability for depicting the effects of light.
When Sorolla returned to Madrid, his paintings were in great demand. The paintings he exhibited at the 1901 Exposition Universelle in Paris were very well received.
John Singer Sargent b 1856 - 1925 - Helen Duinham - During the late 19th century, John Singer Sargent
(1856–1925) was the most fashionable portrait painter in England and the United States. He was an American artist who never lived in America. He spoke four different languages: French, Italian, German, and English—with an English accent, I might add—and therefore he could speak to the clients in their native language. He had also trained with the great portrait painter working in Paris, Carolus-Duran. But, given the fact that there was severe criticism of some of his portraits at the Paris salon, he decided to set up shop in London and people came to see him there.
Being a great portraitist is essentially doing what a patron wants. After all, a portrait is a combination of the artist working with what the patron has, and with how the patron imagines themselves to be seen, and he was able to do that with an extraordinary flair. As a result he became a very fashionable, very successful, and a very sought-after portrait painter.
Nikolai Fechin - 1881- 1955.
Born in Kazan, Russia, Fechin's father was a woodcarver and guilder. His hard-working and fastidious nature rubbed off on his son, who was a somber and serious individual with little disposition towards socializing and seemingly unlimited amounts of time for his art. At the age of thirteen, Nicolai enrolled at the newly-opened Art School of Kazan, which was essentially a satellite campus of the Imperial Academy of Art of St. Petersburg, which he went on to study at the completion of his studies in Kazan. There, he was a star student, receiving a six-year scholarship and exhibiting work at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh (where he first came to the attention of American collectors) and the Prix de Rome (at which he won a gold medal). This international fame would be crucial as, in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, Fechin's life became quite hard and, with the help of American collectors W.S. Stimmel and Jack R. Hunter, he and his family were repatriated to New York City, where Fechin taught at the New York Academy of Art. In 1924 he won the Thomas Proctor Award for best portrait at the National Academy Exhibition, and it appeared that Fechin's New York career was picking up.
A bout of tuberculosis put an end to that, however, and Fechin, following in the footsteps of a great many artists who first discovered New Mexico as invalids, moved to Taos in order to recover. There, he stayed with Mabel Dodge Luhan while he built his own home, the sumptuous Fechin House, still standing today and absolutely remarkable in the level of detail and craftsmanship in the Fechin-designed structure. Architecture had been a required element of the curriculum at the Imperial Academy, and Fechin's house is a gorgeous regionalized piece of modernism, blending together the architecture of the Tatars of his native Russia with the pueblo architecture of the southwest. In his painting, Fechin focused on portraits, generally of native peoples.
Antonio Mancini - 1852 - 1930
Mancini was born in Rome
and showed precocious ability as an artist. At the age of twelve, he was admitted to the Institute of Fine Arts in Naples
, where he studied under Domenico Morelli
(1823–1901), a painter of historical scenes who favored dramatic chiaroscuro
and vigorous brushwork, and Filippo Palizzi (1818–1899), a landscape painter. Mancini developed quickly under their guidance, and in 1872, he exhibited two paintings at the Paris Salon
Mancini worked at the forefront of Verismo
movement, an indigenous Italian response to 19th-century Realist aesthetics. His usual subjects included children of the poor, juvenile circus performers, and musicians he observed in the streets of Naples. His portrait of a young acrobat in "Saltimbanco" (1877-78) exquisitely captures the fragility of the boy whose impoverished childhood is spent entertaining pedestrian crowds.
While in Paris in the 1870s, Mancini met Impressionists Edgar Degas
and Édouard Manet
. He became friends with John Singer Sargent
, who famously pronounced him to be the greatest living painter. His mature works show a brightened palette with a striking impasto
technique on canvas and a bold command of pastels
Basil Gogos - Acclaimed illustrator Basil Gogos was born in Egypt to Greek parents. He moved with his family to America when he was sixteen years old. Gogos attended several New York area schools which include the National School of Design, the Phoenix School of Design, and the School of the Visual Arts. Moreover, Basil studied with noted illustrator Frank J. Reilly at the Art Students League of New York. After winning a competition sponsored by Pocket Books, Gogos began his professional career with his first cover painting for the Western paperback novel "Pursuit" in 1959. He provided cover illustrations for men's adventure magazines in the early 60s. Basil achieved his greatest enduring popularity with his remarkable cover illustrations for nearly 50 issues of the beloved horror cinema magazine "Famous Monsters of Filmland" (the first cover he did was for the ninth issue in 1960). Gogos not only did drawings of such iconic horror thespians as Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Lon Chaney, and Peter Cushing, but also such classic horror characters as Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein's monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Godzilla, King Kong, the Wolf Man, and the Phantom of the Opera. Other publications Basil did cover art for are "Eerie," "Creepy," "Spaceman," "Wildest Westerns," and "The Spirit."
Norman Rockwell - (February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States, where Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post
magazine over more than four decades.
Among the best-known of Rockwell's works are the Willie Gillis
series, Rosie the Riveter
(although his Rosie
was reproduced less than others of the day), Saying Grace
(1951), and the Four Freedoms
series. He is also noted for his work for the Boy Scouts of America
(BSA); producing covers for their publication Boys' Life
, calendars, and other illustrations.
Norman Rockwell !
Paul Baudry - STudy for Virgin -
(November 7, 1828, La Roche-sur-Yon
) - January 17, 1886, Paris
) was a French
He studied under Michel Martin Drolling
and carried off the Prix de Rome
in 1850 by his picture of Zenobia found on the banks of the Araxes
. His talent from the first revealed itself as strictly academical, full of elegance and grace, but somewhat lacking originality. In the course of his residence in Italy
Baudry derived strong inspiration from Italian art with the mannerism of Correggio
, as was very evident in the two works he exhibited in the Salon
of 1857, which were purchased for the Luxembourg: The Martyrdom of a Vestal Virgin and The Child
. His Leda
, St John the Baptist
, and a Portrait of Beul
, exhibited at the same time, took a first prize that year. Throughout this early period Baudry commonly selected mythological or fanciful subjects, one of the most noteworthy being The Pearl and the Wave
(1862). Once only did he attempt an historical picture, Charlotte Corday after the murder of Marat
(1861); and returned by preference to the former class of subjects or to painting portraits of illustrious men of his day: Guizot
, Charles Garnier
, Edmond About
Leon Cogniet 1794-1880 - Madeleine - French Academic Painter
John Singer Sargent
Fred Fixler - Fred Fixler founded California Art Institute (CAI) in the early 1980's just north of LA in Calabasas. Prior to that he taught at nearby Brandes Art Institute. He studied with Frank Reilly from 1947-49 at the Art Students League, during this time he was roommates with James Bama. It seems that the bulk of his illustration career was spent doing sports illustrations, and movie poster work. It has also been rumored
that he did uncredited "sleaze paperback" illustrations for Brandon House
in the sixties. Fixler instructed a generation of Southern California artists, including Morgan Weistling
, Greg Pro
, Mark Westermoe, Shawn Zents
, Glen Orbik and Laurel Blechman
I will leave you with an anecdote from Morgan Weistling
"The secret to capturing the essence of what you are looking at can be found in your high school yearbook.
Fred Fixler would have us look at our high school yearbooks and find that page that has everyone in our grade standing together in one big group shot.
"Can you find yourself?" he would ask. Yes, we could.
"Can you find your friends?" Yeah.
What's the point? Well, in those photos your head is almost the size of a pea - if not smaller! And yet, without seeing eyelashes, nostrils, pupils in the eyes, or any other details, you recognize people you haven't seen in years! Yet, most of us sit in front of a model drawing the most unimportant details and miss the simple overall shapes that form the essence of who we are observing.
Details are not the answer.
-Quoted with thanks from the Blog of e.m. Gist
Fred Fixler - died Jan 21, 2010
I hope you all enjoy these drawings and paintings and find them worthy of your study and thought. These are some of my favorites and are influences on me and where I want to go with my own work. I hope we'll see your contributions in the coming several weeks!
*sources include wikipedia, the Getty Museum and various blogs - so if you would like to amplify/correct any of the information I have provided - let me know or post it!