Famous Artists - 50 Most Famous Artists / Oil Painters part 2

Saturday, August 18, 2012 · Posted in



Botticelli

Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, better known as Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445 – May 17, 1510) was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. He belonged to the Florentine school under the patronage of Lorenzo de' Medici, a movement that Giorgio Vasari would characterize less than a hundred years later as a "golden age", a thought, suitably enough, he expressed at the head of his Vita of Botticelli. Botticelli's posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th century; since then his work has been seen to represent the linear grace of Early Renaissance painting. Among his best known works are The Birth of Venus and Primavera.

There are very few details of Botticelli's life, but it is known that he became an apprentice when he was about fourteen years old, which would indicate that he received a fuller education than other Renaissance artists. He was born in the city of Florence in a house in the Via Nuova, Borg'Ognissanti. Vasari reported that he was initially trained as a goldsmith by his brother Antonio. Probably by 1462 he was apprenticed to Fra Filippo Lippi; many of his early works have been attributed to the elder master, and attributions continue to be uncertain. Influenced also by the monumentality of Masaccio's painting, it was from Lippi that Botticelli learned a more intimate and detailed manner. As recently discovered, during this time, Botticelli could have traveled to Hungary, participating in the creation of a fresco in Esztergom, ordered in the workshop of Filippo Lippi by János Vitéz, then archbishop of Hungary.



By 1470, Botticelli had his own workshop. Even at this early date his work was characterized by a conception of the figure as if seen in low relief, drawn with clear contours, and minimizing strong contrasts of light and shadow which would indicate fully modeled forms.

Botticelli was already little employed in 1502. In 1504 he was a member of the committee appointed to decide where Michelangelo's David would be placed. His later work, especially as seen in a series on the life of St. Zenobius, witnessed a diminution of scale, expressively distorted figures, and a non-naturalistic use of colour reminiscent of the work of Fra Angelico nearly a century earlier. After his death his reputation was eclipsed longer and more thoroughly than that of any other major European artist. His paintings remained in the churches and villas for which they had been created, his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel upstaged by Michelangelo's. British collector William Young Ottley, had however brought Botticelli's The Mystical Nativity to London with him in 1799 after buying it in Italy. After Ottley's death its next purchaser, William Fuller-Maitland of Stansted, allowed it to be exhibited in a major art exhibition held in Manchester in 1857, The Art Treasures Exhibition, where amongst many other art works it was viewed by more than a million people. The first nineteenth century art historian to have looked with satisfaction at Botticelli's Sistine frescoes was Alexis-François Rio, Anna Brownell Jameson and Charles Eastlake were alerted to Botticelli, works by his hand began to appear in German collections, and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood incorporated elements of his work into their own. Walter Pater created a literary picture of Botticelli, who was then taken up by the Aesthetic movement. The first monograph on the artist was published in 1893; then, between 1900 and 1920 more books were written on Botticelli than any other painter.

Botticelli never wed, and expressed a strong aversion to the idea of marriage, a prospect he claimed gave him nightmares.

The popular view is that he suffered from an unrequited love for Simonetta Vespucci, a married noblewoman. According to popular belief, she had served as the model for The Birth of Venus and recurs throughout his paintings, despite the fact that she had died years earlier, in 1476. Botticelli asked that when he died, he be buried at her feet in the Church of Ognissanti in Florence. His wish was carried out when he died some 34 years later, in 1510.

Some modern historians have also examined other aspects of his sexuality. In 1938, Jacques Mesnil discovered a summary of a charge in the Florentine Archives for November 16, 1502 which read simply "Botticelli keeps a boy", under an accusation of sodomy. The painter would then have been fifty-eight; the charges were eventually dropped. Mesnil dismissed it as a customary slander by which partisans and adversaries of Savonarola abused each other. Opinion remains divided on whether this is evidence of homosexuality. Many have firmly backed Mesnil, but others have cautioned against hasty dismissal of the charge. Yet while speculating on the subject of his paintings, Mesnil nevertheless concluded "woman was not the only object of his love".

Georges Braque

Georges Braque was a major 20th century French painter and sculptor who, along with Pablo Picasso, developed the art movement known as cubism.

Georges Braque was born on 13 May 1882, in Argenteuil, Val-d'Oise. He grew up in Le Havre and trained to be a house painter and decorator like his father and grandfather. However, he also studied artistic painting during evenings at the École des Beaux-Arts, in Le Havre, from about 1897 to 1899. In Paris, he apprenticed with a decorator and was awarded his certificate in 1902. The next year, he attended the Académie Humbert, also in Paris, and painted there until 1904. It was here that he met Marie Laurencin and Francis Picabia.

Braque's paintings of 1908–1913 reflected his new interest in geometry and simultaneous perspective. He conducted an intense study of the effects of light and perspective and the technical means that painters use to represent these effects, seeming to question the most standard of artistic conventions. In his village scenes, for example, Braque frequently reduced an architectural structure to a geometric form approximating a cube, yet rendered its shading so that it looked both flat and three-dimensional by fragmenting the image. He showed this in the painting "House at L'estaque".

Beginning in 1909, Braque began to work closely with Pablo Picasso, who had been developing a similar style of painting. At the time Pablo Picasso was influenced by Gauguin, Cézanne, African tribal masks and Iberian sculpture, while Braque was interested mainly in developing Cézanne's ideas of multiple perspectives. “A comparison of the works of Picasso and Braque during 1908 reveals that the effect of his encounter with Picasso was more to accelerate and intensify Braque’s exploration of Cézanne’s ideas, rather than to divert his thinking in any essential way.” Braque’s essential subject is the ordinary objects he has known practically forever. Picasso celebrates animation, while Braque celebrates contemplation. Thus, the invention of Cubism was a joint effort between Picasso and Braque, then residents of Montmartre, Paris. These artists were the style's main innovators. After meeting in October or November 1907, Braque and Picasso, in particular, began working on the development of Cubism in 1908. Both artists produced paintings of monochromatic color and complex patterns of faceted form, now termed Analytic Cubism.

A decisive time of its development occurred during the summer of 1911, when Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso painted side by side in Céret in the French Pyrenees, each artist producing paintings that are difficult—sometimes virtually impossible—to distinguish from those of the other. In 1912, they began to experiment with collage and papier collé.

French art critic Louis Vauxcelles first used the term Cubism, or "bizarre cubiques", in 1908 after seeing a picture by Braque. He described it as 'full of little cubes', after which the term quickly gained wide use although the two creators did not adopt it initially. Art historian Ernst Gombrich described cubism as "the most radical attempt to stamp out ambiguity and to enforce one reading of the picture—that of a man-made construction, a colored canvas." The Cubist style spread quickly throughout Paris and then Europe.

Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg (October 22, 1925 – May 12, 2008) was an American artist who came to prominence in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art. Rauschenberg is well known for his "Combines" of the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations. Rauschenberg was both a painter and a sculptor and the Combines are a combination of both, but he also worked with photography, printmaking, papermaking, and performance. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1993.

Rauschenberg lived and worked in New York City as well as on Captiva Island, Florida until his death from heart failure on May 12, 2008.

Rauschenberg was born as Milton Ernest Rauschenberg in Port Arthur, Texas, the son of Dora Carolina (née Matson) and Ernest R. Rauschenberg. His father was of German and Cherokee ancestry and his mother of Anglo-Saxon descent. His parents were Fundamentalist Christians. Rauschenberg studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Académie Julian in Paris, France, where he met the painter Susan Weil. In 1948 Rauschenberg and Weil decided to attend Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

Josef Albers, a founder of the Bauhaus, became Rauschenberg's painting instructor at Black Mountain. Albers' preliminary courses relied on strict discipline that did not allow for any "uninfluenced experimentation". Rauschenberg described Albers as influencing him to do "exactly the reverse" of what he was being taught.

From 1949 to 1952 Rauschenberg studied with Vaclav Vytlacil and Morris Kantor at the Art Students League of New York, where he met fellow artists Knox Martin and Cy Twombly.

Rauschenberg married Susan Weil in 1950. Their only child, Christopher, was born July 16, 1951. They divorced in 1953. According to a 1987 oral history by the composer Morton Feldman, after the end of his marriage, Rauschenberg had romantic relationships with fellow artists Cy Twombly and Jasper Johns. An article by Jonathan D. Katz states that Rauschenberg's affair with Twombly began during his marriage to Susan Weil.

Rauschenberg died on May 12, 2008, on Captiva Island, Florida. He died of heart failure after a personal decision to go off life support,. Rauschenberg is survived by his partner of 25 years, artist Darryl Pottorf, his former assistant. Rauschenberg is also survived by his son, photographer Christopher Rauschenberg, and his sister, Janet Begneaud.

Rauschenberg's will, filed in Probate Court on October 9, 2008, names his charitable foundation as a major beneficiary, along with Pottorf, Christopher Rauschenberg, Begneaud, his nephew Byron Richard Begneaud, and Susan Weil Kirschenbaum. The amounts to be given to the beneficiaries are not named, but the estate is "worth millions," said Pottorf, who is also executor of the estate.

A memorial exhibition of photographs opened October 22, 2008, (on the occasion of what would have been his 83rd birthday) and closed November 5, 2008 at the Guggenheim Museum.

Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein (October 27, 1923 – September 29, 1997) was a prominent American pop artist. During the 1960s, his paintings were exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City and along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist and others he became a leading figure in the new art movement. His work defined the basic premise of pop art better than any other through parody.  Favoring the old-fashioned comic strip as subject matter, Lichtenstein produced hard-edged, precise compositions that documented while it parodied often in a tongue-in-cheek humorous manner. His work was heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style. He described Pop Art as, "not 'American' painting but actually industrial painting".

Roy Lichtenstein was born in New York into an upper-middle-class Jewish New York City family and attended public school until the age of 12. He then enrolled at New York's Franklin School for Boys, remaining there for his secondary education. Lichtenstein first became interested in art and design as a hobby, and through school. He was an avid jazz fan, often attending concerts at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He frequently drew portraits of the musicians playing their instruments. After graduation from Franklin, Lichtenstein enrolled in summer classes at the Art Students League of New York, where he worked under the tutelage of Reginald Marsh.

Lichtenstein then left New York to study at the Ohio State University, which offered studio courses and a degree in fine arts. His studies were interrupted by a three-year stint in the army during and after World War II between 1943 and 1946. After being in training programs for languages, engineering, and pilot training; all of which were cancelled, he served as an orderly, draftsman, and artist. Lichtenstein returned home to visit his dying father and was discharged from the army with eligibility for the G.I. Bill. He returned to studies in Ohio under the supervision of one of his teachers, Hoyt L. Sherman, who is widely regarded to have had a significant impact on his future work (Lichtenstein would later name a new studio he funded at OSU as the Hoyt L. Sherman Studio Art Center). Lichtenstein entered the graduate program at Ohio State and was hired as an art instructor, a post he held on and off for the next ten years. In 1949 Lichtenstein received a M.F.A. degree from the Ohio State University and in the same year married Isabel Wilson who was previously married to Ohio artist Michael Sarisky (Isabel divorced Roy Lichtenstein in 1965). In 1951 Lichtenstein had his first one-man exhibition at the Carlebach Gallery in New York.

He moved to Cleveland in the same year, where he remained for six years, although he frequently traveled back to New York. During this time he undertook jobs as varied as a draftsman to a window decorator in between periods of painting. His work at this time fluctuated between Cubism and Expressionism. In 1954, his first son, David Hoyt Lichtenstein, now a songwriter, was born. He then had his second son, Mitchell Lichtenstein in 1956. In 1957, he moved back to upstate New York and began teaching again. It was at this time that he adopted the Abstract Expressionism style, a late convert to this style of painting. From 1970 until his death, Lichtenstein split his time between New York city and a house near the beach in Southampton.

In 1967, Lichtenstein's first museum retrospective exhibition was held at the Pasadena Art Museum in California. Also in this year, his first solo exhibition in Europe was held at museums in Amsterdam, London, Bern and Hannover. He married his second wife, Dorothy Herzka in 1968. Lichtenstein had his first retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 1969, organized by Diane Waldman. The Guggenheim presented a second Lichtenstein retrospective in 1994. Lichtenstein became the first living artist to have a solo drawing exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art from March – June 1987. Recent retrospective surveys include "All About Art," Louisiana Museum, Humelbaek (2003, traveled to the Hayward Gallery, London, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through 2005); and "Classic of the New", Kunsthaus Bregenz (2005), "Roy Lichtenstein: Meditations on Art" Museo Triennale, Milan (2010, traveled to the Museum Ludwig, Cologne). In late 2010 The Morgan Library & Museum showed Roy Lichtenstein: The Black-and-White Drawings, 1961-1968. Another major retrospective will open at the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2012 before going to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Tate Modern in London, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2013.


Willem De Kooning

Willem de Kooning (April 24, 1904 – March 19, 1997) was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist who was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

In the post-World War II era, de Kooning painted in a style that came to be referred to as Abstract expressionism or Action painting, and was part of a group of artists that came to be known as the New York School. Other painters in this group included Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston and Clyfford Still.

In September 2011 de Kooning's work was honored with a large-scale retrospective exhibition: de Kooning: A Retrospective September 18, 2011–January 9, 2012 at MoMA in New York City. Organized by John Elderfield it was the first major museum exhibition devoted to the full breadth and depth of de Kooning's career, containing nearly 200 works.

De Kooning's parents, Leendert de Kooning and Cornelia Nobel, were divorced when he was about five years old, and he was raised by his mother and stepfather. His early artistic training included eight years at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques. In the 1920s he worked as an assistant to the art director of a Rotterdam department store. de Kooning was one of the thirty-eight artists chosen from a general invitation to New York City metropolitan artists to design and paint the 105 public murals at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. His fellow muralist, David Margolis later recounted their 1932 trips to the Savoy Ballroom and de Kooning's "keen interest in jazz."

In 1938, probably under the influence of Arshile Gorky, de Kooning embarked on a series of male figures, including Two Men Standing, Man, and Seated Figure (Classic Male), while simultaneously embarking on a more purist series of lyrically colored abstractions, such as Pink Landscape and Elegy. As his work progressed, the heightened colors and elegant lines of the abstractions began to creep into the more figurative works, and the coincidence of figures and abstractions continued well into the 1940s. This period includes the representational but somewhat geometricized Woman and Standing Man, along with numerous untitled abstractions whose biomorphic forms increasingly suggest the presence of figures. By about 1945 the two tendencies seemed to fuse perfectly in Pink Angels.

In 1938, de Kooning met Elaine Marie Fried, later known as Elaine de Kooning, whom he married in 1943. She also became a significant artist. During the 1940s, he became increasingly identified with the Abstract Expressionist movement and was recognized as one of its leaders into the mid-1950s, while notoriously stating: "It is disastrous to name ourselves." In 1948, de Kooning had his first one-man show, which consisted of his black-and-white enamel compositions, at the Charles Egan Gallery in New York. He taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1948 and at the Yale School of Art in 1950/51. In 1950, de Kooning was one of 17 prominent Abstract Expressionists and avant-garde artists to sign an open letter to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art accusing it of hostility towards “advanced art.”

Ansel Adams

Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984) was an American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, especially in Yosemite National Park.

With Fred Archer, Adams developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs and the work of those to whom he taught the system. Adams primarily used large-format cameras despite their size, weight, setup time, and film cost, because their high resolution helped ensure sharpness in his images.

Adams founded the Group f/64 along with fellow photographers Willard Van Dyke and Edward Weston. Adams's photographs are reproduced on calendars, posters, and in books, making his photographs widely distributed.

Adams was born in the Western Addition of San Francisco, California, to distinctly upper-class parents Charles Hitchcock Adams and Olive Bray Adams. He was an only child and was named after his uncle Ansel Easton. His mother's family came from Baltimore and his maternal grandfather had a successful freight-hauling business, but squandered his wealth in failed mining and real estate ventures in Nevada. The Adams family came from New England, having migrated from the north of Ireland in the early 18th century. His grandfather founded and built a prosperous lumber business, which his father later ran, though his father's natural talents lay more with sciences than with business. Later in life, Adams would condemn that very same industry for cutting down many of the great redwood forests.

In 1903, his family moved two miles west to a new home near the Seacliff neighborhood, just south of the Presidio Army Base. The home had a "splendid view" of the Golden Gate and the Marin Headlands. San Francisco was devastated by the April 18, 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Uninjured in the initial shaking, the four-year-old Ansel Adams was tossed face-first into a garden wall during an aftershock three hours later, breaking his nose. Among his earliest memories was watching the smoke from the ensuing fire that destroyed much of the city a few miles to the east. Although a doctor recommended that his nose be re-set once he reached maturity, this was never done; as a result, Adams's nose remained crooked for his entire life.

Adams was a hyperactive child and prone to frequent sickness and hypochondria. He had few friends, but his family home and surroundings on the heights facing the Golden Gate provided ample childhood activities. Although he had no patience for games or sports, the curious child took to nature at an early age, collecting bugs and exploring Lobos Creek all the way to Baker Beach and the sea cliffs leading to Lands End, "San Francisco's wildest and rockiest coast, a place strewn with shipwrecks and rife with landslides."

His father bought a three-inch telescope and they enthusiastically shared the hobby of amateur astronomy, visiting the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton together. His father went on to serve as the paid secretary-treasurer of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific from 1925 to 1950.

After the death of Ansel's grandfather and the aftermath of the Panic of 1907, his father's business suffered great financial losses. By 1912, the family's standard of living had dropped sharply. After young Ansel was dismissed from several private schools for his restlessness and inattentiveness, his father decided to pull him out of school in 1915, at the age of 12. Adams was then educated by private tutors, his Aunt Mary, and by his father. His Aunt Mary was a follower of Robert G. Ingersoll, a 19th-century agnostic, abolitionist and women's suffrage advocate. As a result of his aunt's influence, Ingersoll's teachings were important to Ansel's upbringing. During the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, his father insisted that, as part of his education, Adams spend part of each day studying the exhibits. After a while, Adams resumed and then completed his formal education by attending the Mrs. Kate M. Wilkins Private School, until he graduated from eighth grade on June 8, 1917. In his later years, he displayed his diploma in the guest bathroom of his home.

His father raised him to follow the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson: to live a modest, moral life guided by a social responsibility to man and to nature. Adams had a warm, loving and supportive relationship with his father, but had a distant relationship with his mother, who did not approve of his interest in photography.

Adams taught himself piano at age twelve. Music became the main focus of his later youth. Possessing an eidetic memory, he quickly learned to read music and play the piano. Soon he was taking lessons, and the ardent pursuit of music became his substitute for formal schooling. One of his childhood tutors was composer Henry Cowell. For the next dozen years, the piano was Adams's primary occupation and, by 1920, his intended profession. Although he ultimately gave up music for photography, the piano brought substance, discipline, and structure to his frustrating and erratic youth. Moreover, the careful training and exacting craft required of a musician profoundly informed his visual artistry, as well as his influential writings and teachings on photography.

Adams first visited Yosemite National Park in 1916 with his family. He wrote of his first view of the valley: "the splendor of Yosemite burst upon us and it was glorious... One wonder after another descended upon us... There was light everywhere... A new era began for me." His father gave him his first camera, a Kodak Brownie box camera, during that stay and he took his first photographs with his "usual hyperactive enthusiasm". He returned to Yosemite on his own the following year with better cameras and a tripod. In the winter, he learned basic darkroom technique working part-time for a San Francisco photo finisher. Adams avidly read photography magazines, attended camera club meetings, and went to photography and art exhibits. With retired geologist and amateur ornithologist Francis Holman, whom he called "Uncle Frank," he explored the High Sierra, in summer and winter, developing the stamina and skill needed to photograph at high elevation and under difficult weather conditions.

While in Yosemite, he had frequent contact with the Best family, owners of Best's Studio, who allowed him to practice on their old square piano. In 1928, Ansel Adams married Virginia Best in Best's Studio in Yosemite Valley. Virginia inherited the studio from her artist father on his death in 1935, and the Adams continued to operate the studio until 1971. The studio, now known as the Ansel Adams Gallery, remains in the hands of the Adams family.

At age 17, Adams joined the Sierra Club, a group dedicated to preserving the natural world's wonders and resources, and he was hired as the summer caretaker of the Sierra Club visitor center in Yosemite Valley, the LeConte Memorial Lodge from 1920 to 1924. He remained a member throughout his lifetime and served as a director, as did his wife. He was first elected to the Sierra Club's board of directors in 1934, and served on the board for 37 years, until 1971. Adams participated in the club's annual High Trips, and was later responsible for several first ascents in the Sierra Nevada.

During 1919, he contracted the Spanish Flu during the 1918 flu pandemic. Adams fell seriously ill but recovered after several months to resume his outdoor life.

During his twenties, most of his friends came from musical connections, particularly violinist and amateur photographer Cedric Wright, who became his best friend as well as his philosophical and cultural mentor. Their shared philosophy came from Edward Carpenter's Towards Democracy, a literary work which espoused the pursuit of beauty in life and art. Carpenter was an English socialist philosopher and gay activist. For several years, Adams carried a pocket edition with him while at Yosemite. It soon became his personal philosophy as well, as Adams later stated, "I believe in beauty. I believe in stones and water, air and soil, people and their future and their fate."He decided that the purpose of his art from now on, whether photography or music, was to reveal that beauty to others and to inspire them to the same calling.

In summer, Adams would enjoy a life of hiking, camping, and photographing, and the rest of the year he worked to improve his piano playing, expanding his piano technique and musical expression. He also gave piano lessons for extra income, finally affording a grand piano suitable to his musical ambitions. An early student was mountaineer and fellow Sierra Club leader Jules Eichorn.

His first photographs were published in 1921 and Best's Studio began selling his Yosemite prints the following year. His early photos already showed careful composition and sensitivity to tonal balance. In letters and cards to family, he expressed his daring to climb to the best view points and brave the worst elements. At this point, however, Adams was still planning a career in music, even though his small hands, easily bruised by bravura playing, limited his repertoire to practiced works which benefited from his strengths of fine touch and excellent musicality. It took seven more years for Adams to finally concede that at best he might become a concert pianist of limited range, an accompanist, or a piano teacher.

In the mid-1920s, Adams experimented with soft-focus, etching, Bromoil Process, and other techniques of the pictorial photographers, such as Photo-Secession leader Alfred Stieglitz who strove to put photography on an equal artistic plane with painting by trying to mimic it. However, Adams steered clear of hand-coloring which was also popular at the time. Adams used a variety of lenses to get different effects, but eventually rejected pictorialism for a more realistic approach which relied more heavily on sharp focus, heightened contrast, precise exposure, and darkroom craftsmanship.


Robert Doisneau

Robert Doisneau  (14 April 1912 – 1 April 1994) was a French photographer. In the 1930s he used a Leica on the streets of Paris. He and Henri Cartier-Bresson were pioneers of photojournalism. He is renowned for his 1950 image Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall), a photograph of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. Robert Doisneau was appointed a Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour in 1984.

Doisneau's father, a plumber, died in active service in World War I when Robert was about four. His mother died when he was seven. He then was raised by an unloving aunt.

At thirteen he enrolled at the École Estienne, a craft school from which he was graduated in 1929 with diplomas in engraving and lithography. There he had his first contact with the arts, taking classes in figure drawing and still life.

When he was 16 he took up amateur photography, but was reportedly so shy that he started by photographing cobble-stones before progressing to children and then adults.

At the end of the 1920s Doisneau found work as a draughtsman (lettering artist) in the advertising industry at Atelier Ullmann (Ullmann Studio), a creative graphics studio that specialised in the pharmaceutical industry. Here he took an opportunity to change career by also acting as camera assistant in the studio and then becoming a staff photographer.

Robert Doisneau was known for his modest, playful, and ironic images of amusing juxtapositions, mingling social classes, and eccentrics in contemporary Paris streets and cafes. Influenced by the work of André Kertész, Eugène Atget, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, in more than twenty books he presented a charming vision of human frailty and life as a series of quiet, incongruous moments.“ The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street. — Robert Doisneau ”


Doisneau's work gives unusual prominence and dignity to children's street culture; returning again and again to the theme of children at play in the city, unfettered by parents. His work treats their play with seriousness and respect. In his honour, and owing to this, there are several Ecole Primaire (primary schools) named after him. An example is at Véretz (Indre-et-Loire).

In 1936 Doisneau married Pierrette Chaumaison whom he had met in 1934 when she was cycling through a village where he was on holiday. They had two daughters, Annette and Francine. From 1979 until his death, Annette worked as his assistant.

Pierrette died in 1993 suffering from Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Doisneau died six months later, having had a triple heart bypass and suffering from acute pancreatitis. Annette said "We won in the courts (re: The Kiss), but my father was deeply shocked. He discovered a world of lies, and it hurt him. 'The Kiss' ruined the last years of his life. Add that to my mother suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and I think it's fair to say he died of sadness."

Doisneau was in many ways a shy and humble man, similar to his photography, still delivering his own work at the height of his fame. He chastised Francine for charging an "indecent" daily fee of £2,000 for his work on a beer advertising campaign — he wanted only the rate of an "artisan photographer".“ Maybe if I were 20, success would change me. But now I'm a dinosaur of photography. — Robert Doisneau ”


He lived in southern Paris (Gentilly, Val-de-Marne, Montrouge, and 13th arrondissement of Paris) throughout his life and died in 1994. He is buried in the cemetery at Raizeux beside his wife, Pierrette.


Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Newell Wyeth (July 12, 1917 – January 16, 2009) was a visual artist, primarily a realist painter, working predominantly in a regionalist style. He was one of the best-known U.S. artists of the middle 20th century.

In his art, Wyeth's favorite subjects were the land and people around him, both in his hometown of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and at his summer home in Cushing, Maine. One of the most well-known images in 20th-century American art is his painting, Christina's World, currently in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Andrew Wyeth was the youngest of the five children of illustrator and artist N.C. (Newell Convers) Wyeth and his wife, Carolyn Bockius Wyeth. He was born July 12, 1917 on Henry Thoreau's 100th birthday. Due to N.C.'s fond appreciation of Henry Thoreau, he found this both coincidental and exciting. N.C. was an attentive father, fostering each of the children's interests and talents. The family was close, spending time reading together, taking walks, fostering "a closeness with nature" and developing a feeling for Wyeth family history.

Andrew was home-tutored because of his frail health. Like his father, the young Wyeth read and appreciated the poetry of Robert Frost and writings of Henry Thoreau and studied their relationships with nature. Music and movies also heightened his artistic sensitivity. One major influence, discussed at length by Wyeth himself was King Vidor's The Big Parade. He claims to have seen the film which depicted family dynamics similar to his own, "a hundred-and-eighty-times" and believes it had the greatest influence on his work. The film's director Vidor later made a documentary, Metaphor where he and Wyeth discuss the influence of the film on his paintings, including Winter 1946, Snow Flurries, Portrait of Ralph Kline and Afternoon Flight of a Boy up a Tree.

Wyeth's father was the only teacher that he had. Due to being schooled at home, he led both a sheltered life and one that was "obsessively focused". Wyeth recalled of that time: "Pa kept me almost in a jail, just kept me to himself in my own world, and he wouldn’t let anyone in on it. I was almost made to stay in Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest with Maid Marion and the rebels."

In the 1920s Wyeth's father had become a celebrity and the family often had celebrities as guests, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Mary Pickford. The home bustled with creative activity and competition. N.C. and Carolyn's five children were all talented. Henriette Wyeth Hurd, the eldest, became a well-known painter of portraits and still lifes. Carolyn, the second child, was also a painter. Nathaniel Wyeth the third child a successful inventor. Ann, was a musician at a young age, then became a composer as an adult. Andrew was the youngest child.

Wyeth started drawing at a young age. He was a draftsman before he could read. By the time he was a teenager, his father brought him into his studio for the only art lessons he ever had. N.C. inspired his son's love of rural landscapes, sense of romance and artistic traditions. Although creating illustrations was not a passion he wished to pursue, Wyeth produced illustrations under his father's name while in his teens.

With his father’s guidance, he mastered figure study and watercolor, and later learned egg tempera from his brother-in-law Peter Hurd. He studied art history on his own, admiring many masters of Renaissance and American painting, especially Winslow Homer.

N.C. also fostered an inner self-confidence to follow one's own talents without thought of how the work is received. N.C. wrote in a letter to Wyeth in 1944:
"The great men [ Thoreau, Goethe, Emerson, Tolstoy] forever radiate a sharp sense of that profound requirement of an artist, to fully understand that consequences of what he creates are unimportant. Let the motive for action be in the action itself and not in the event. I know from my own experience that when I create with any degree of strength and beauty I have no thought of consequences. Anyone who creates for effect — to score a hit — does not know what he is missing!"

In the same letter N.C. correlates being a great man with being a great painter: To be a great artist, he described, requires emotional depth, an openness, to look beyond self to the subject, and passion. A great painting then is one that enriches and broadens one's perspective.

In October 1945, his father and his three-year-old nephew, Newell Convers Wyeth II, were killed when their car stalled on railroad tracks near their home and was struck by a train. Wyeth referred to his father's death as a formative emotional event in his artistic career, in addition to being a personal tragedy. Shortly afterwards, Wyeth's art consolidated into his mature and enduring style.

In 1940, Wyeth married Betsy James whom he met in 1939 in Maine. Christina Olson, who would become the model for the iconic Christina's World, met Wyeth through an introduction by Betsy. His wife, Betsy, had an influence with Andrew as strong as that of his father. She played an important role managing his career. She was once quoted as saying "I am a director and I had the greatest actor in the world."

Their first child Nicholas was born in 1943, followed by James ("Jamie") three years later. Wyeth painted portraits of both children. His son, Jamie Wyeth, followed his father's and grandfather's footsteps, becoming the third generation of Wyeth artists.

On January 16, 2009, Andrew Wyeth died in his sleep in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, after a brief illness. He was 91 years old.

Norman Rockwell

Norman Percevel 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 for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for 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), The Problem We All Live With, 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, other illustrations, and for his covers on the Saturday Evening Post, a magazine edited by George Horace Lorimer.

Norman Rockwell was born on February 3, 1894, in New York City to Jarvis Waring Rockwell and Anne Mary "Nancy" (born Hill) Rockwell. His earliest American ancestor was John Rockwell (1588–1662), from Somerset, England, who immigrated to America probably in 1635 aboard the ship Hopewell and became one of the first settlers of Windsor, Connecticut. He had one brother, Jarvis Waring Rockwell, Jr., older by a year and half. Jarvis Waring, Sr., was the manager of the New York office of a Philadelphia textile firm, George Wood, Sons & Company, where he spent his entire career.

Norman transferred from high school to the Chase Art School at the age of 14. He then went on to the National Academy of Design and finally to the Art Students League. There, he was taught by Thomas Fogarty, George Bridgman, and Frank Vincent DuMond; his early works were produced for St. Nicholas Magazine, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) publication Boys' Life and other juvenile publications. Joseph Csatari carried on his legacy and style for the BSA.

As a student, Rockwell was given smaller, less important jobs. His first major breakthrough came in 1912 at age eighteen with his first book illustration for Carl H. Claudy's Tell Me Why: Stories about Mother Nature.

In 1913, the nineteen-year old Rockwell became the art editor for Boys' Life, published by the Boy Scouts of America, a post he held for three years (1913–1916). As part of that position, he painted several covers, beginning with his first published magazine cover, Scout at Ship's Wheel, appearing on the Boys' Life September 1913 edition.

Rockwell married his first wife, Irene O'Connor, in 1916. Irene was Rockwell's model in Mother Tucking Children into Bed, published on the cover of The Literary Digest on January 19, 1921. However, the couple were divorced in 1930. Depressed, he moved briefly to Alhambra, California as a guest of his old friend Clyde Forsythe. There he painted some of his best-known paintings including "The Doctor and the Doll". While there he met and married schoolteacher Mary Barstow. The couple returned to New York shortly after their marriage. They had three children: Jarvis Waring, Thomas Rhodes and Peter Barstow. The family lived at 24 Lord Kitchener Road in the Bonnie Crest neighborhood of New Rochelle, New York. Rockwell and his wife were not very religious, although they were members of St. John's Wilmot Church, an Episcopal church near their home, and had their sons baptized there as well. Rockwell moved to Arlington, Vermont, in 1939 where his work began to reflect small-town life.

In 1953, the Rockwell family moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, so that his wife could be treated at the Austen Riggs Center, a psychiatric hospital at 25 Main Street, down Main Street from where Rockwell set up his studio. Rockwell himself received psychiatric treatment from the renowned analyst Erik Erikson, who was on staff at Riggs. Erikson is said to have told the artist that he painted his happiness, but did not live it. In 1959, Mary Barstow Rockwell died unexpectedly of a heart attack. In 1961, Rockwell married Molly Punderson, a retired teacher.


Alphonse Mucha

Alfons Maria Mucha (24 July 1860 – 14 July 1939), known in English as Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, known best for his distinct style. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs.

Alphonse Maria Mucha was born in the town of Ivančice, Moravia (the present Czech Republic). Although his singing abilities allowed him to continue his education through high school in the Moravian capital of Brno, drawing had been his main hobby since childhood. He worked at decorative painting jobs in Moravia, mostly painting theatrical scenery. In 1879, he relocated to Vienna to work for a major Viennese theatrical design company, while informally augmenting his artistic education. When a fire destroyed his employer's business during 1881 he returned to Moravia, to do freelance decorative and portrait painting. Count Karl Khuen of Mikulov hired Mucha to decorate Hrušovany Emmahof Castle with murals, and was impressed enough that he agreed to sponsor Mucha's formal training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

Mucha moved to Paris in 1887, and continued his studies at Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi. In addition to his studies, he worked at producing magazine and advertising illustrations. About Christmas 1894, Mucha happened to go into a print shop where there was a sudden and unexpected need for a new advertising poster for a play featuring Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris, at the Théâtre de la Renaissance on the Boulevard Saint-Martin. Mucha volunteered to produce a lithographed poster within two weeks, and on 1 January 1895, the advertisement for the play Gismonda by Victorien Sardou was posted in the city, where it attracted much attention. Bernhardt was so satisfied with the success of this first poster that she began a six-year contract with Mucha.

Mucha produced a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewelry, carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what was termed initially the Mucha Style but became known as Art Nouveau (French for 'new art'). Mucha's works frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing, vaguely Neoclassical-looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed halos behind their heads. In contrast with contemporary poster makers he used pale pastel colors.The 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris spread the "Mucha style" internationally, of which Mucha said "I think [the Exposition Universelle] made some contribution toward bringing aesthetic values into arts and crafts." He decorated the Bosnia and Herzegovina Pavilion and collaborated with decorating the Austrian Pavilion. His Art Nouveau style was often imitated. The Art Nouveau style however, was one that Mucha attempted to disassociate himself from throughout his life; he always insisted that rather than maintaining any fashionable stylistic form, his paintings were entirely a product of himself and Czech art. He declared that art existed only to communicate a spiritual message, and nothing more; hence his frustration at the fame he gained by his commercial art, when he most wanted to concentrate on more artistic projects.

Mucha spent many years working on what he considered his life's fine art masterpiece, The Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej), a series of twenty huge paintings depicting the history of the Czech and the Slavic people in general, bestowed to the city of Prague in 1928. He had wanted to complete a series such as this, a celebration of Slavic history, since he was young. Since 1963 the series has been on display in the chateau in Moravský Krumlov the South Moravian Region in the Czech Republic.

The rising tide of fascism during the late 1930s resulted in Mucha's works, as well as his Slavic nationalism, being denounced in the press as 'reactionary'. When German troops moved into Czechoslovakia during the spring of 1939, Mucha was among the first persons to be arrested by the Gestapo. During his interrogation, the aging artist became ill with pneumonia. Though released eventually, he may have been weakened by this event. He died in Prague on 14 July 1939,due to lung infection, and was interred there in the Vyšehrad cemetery.

Jack Vettriano

Jack Vettriano grew up in the industrial seaside town of Methil, Fife. He left school at 16 and later became an apprentice mining engineer. Vettriano did not take up painting as a hobby until the 1970s, when a girlfriend bought him a set of watercolours for his 21st birthday. His earliest paintings, under his birth name "Jack Hoggan", were copies or pastiches of impressionist paintings – his first painting was a copy of Monet's Poppy Fields. Much of his influence came from studying paintings at the Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery in neighbouring Kirkcaldy. In 1984, Vettriano first submitted his work to the Shell-sponsored art exhibition in the museum. In 1987, he left his wife of eight years, Gail, and stepdaughter, and his job in educational research, and moved to Edinburgh. There, he adopted his mother's maiden name, gave away his suits to a neighbour and started dressing as an Edwardian dandy – "brogues, braces, long hair; the only thing missing was the cane." He applied to study Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh, but his portfolio was rejected.

Vettriano's breakthrough year was 1988, when he felt ready to display his paintings in public and submitted two canvases for the Royal Scottish Academy annual show. Both paintings sold on the first day and Vettriano was approached by several galleries who wanted to sell his other work. He moved to Edinburgh, changing his name to Vettriano, adding an "a" to his mother's maiden name.

Further successful exhibitions followed in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, and New York. His paintings are reminiscent of the film noir genre, often with romantic or nude themes.

His original paintings now regularly fetch six figure prices, but he is thought to make more money from the sale of reproductions. According to The Guardian, he earns £500,000 a year in print royalties. Each year a new set of limited edition prints are published, and his most popular work, The Singing Butler (which does not actually show a butler singing), sells more posters and postcards than any other artist in the UK. On 21 April 2004 the original canvas of The Singing Butler sold at auction for £744,500 — in 1992 when Vettriano painted the picture and submitted it for inclusion in the Royal Academy summer show, it was rejected.

In November 1999, Vettriano’s work was shown for the first time in New York, when twenty-one paintings were displayed at The International 20th Century Arts Fair at The Armory. More than forty collectors from the UK flew out for the event and all twenty-one paintings were sold on the opening night to British collectors.

In 1996, Sir Terence Conran commissioned Vettriano to create a series of paintings for his new Bluebird Club in London. The seven paintings inspired by the life of Sir Malcolm Campbell hung in the Club for ten years. Heartbreak Publishing, Vettriano's own publishing company, is to produce a special Boxed Set featuring signed, limited edition prints of all seven paintings to mark the 75th anniversary of Sir Malcolm Campbell's final World Land Speed Record.

The Bluebird paintings were put up for sale at Sotheby's on 30 August 2007 and made more than £1m. The most expensive was Bluebird at Bonneville, bought for £468,000 at a Sotheby's auction held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire. This painting is considered the "most iconic" of the series.[citation needed]

Vettriano has studios in Scotland and London. He was represented by the Portland Gallery, London from 1993 to 2007 and counts Jack Nicholson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Tim Rice and Robbie Coltrane amongst his collectors. To date, five books have been published about Jack Vettriano, the most recent of which is entitled 'Studio Life' and was published in March 2008.

In 2008 Vettriano painted a portrait of Zara Phillips MBE (horse rider and granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II) as part of a charity fund-raising project for Sport Relief 2008. The painting is entitled 'Olympia' and it is to be auctioned later this year at a charity fund-raising auction along with works by Sir Peter Blake, Rankin, Gerald Scarfe and Stella Vine. All proceeds from the charity auction will go to will go to Sport Relief, an initiative of Comic Relief, a charity registered in England no. 326568. The portraits project was featured in a BBC programme Sport Portraits shown on March 10, 2008.

In February 2009, Vettriano launched his own publishing company, Heartbreak Publishing, to publish and promote work by other artists and to distribute his own published works directly to his fans and collectors.

In March 2010, 'Days Of Wine And Roses', was opened by First Minister, Alex Salmond, at the Kirkcaldy Museum in Fife, Scotland on 27 March 2010 and received more than 48,000 visitors during its five week run there. The exhibition then transferred to Heartbreak, in London.

On Wednesday 24 March 2010, Sir Jackie Stewart presented Vettriano with the Great Scot of the Year Award. The award ceremony was held at the Boisedale Club in London and other nominees included Kirsty Young, Sharleen Spiteri, Ian Rankin and Kenny Logan. The award led MSP Ted Brocklebank to file a Motion in Parliament calling for Vettriano's contribution to Scottish culture to be recognised.

In April 2010 Seven out of ten paintings by Vettriano failed to sell at Sotheby's spring auction of Scottish pictures. Those that sell sold for half their previous prices. The Scotsman suggested collectors who bought his paintings as investments could be seriously out of pocket if they put their purchases back on the open market.
In December 2010, Vettriano was asked by First Minister, Alex Salmond to create his official Christmas card which was sold at auction for the benefit of four Scottish charities. "Let's Twist Again" was auctioned at an auction in February at The Old Course Hotel in St.Andrews with the First Minister attending. With the painting and Limited Edition sales combined, just under £100,000 was raised for the four charities.

In February 2011 it was announced that Vettriano's self-portrait, "The Weight" would be displayed at the re-opened Scottish National Portrait Gallery from November 2011. First Minister, Alex Salmond said: “I warmly welcome the announcement that "The Weight" by Jack Vettriano will go on display at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Jack truly deserves this honour. He is a wonderful artist of considerable talent and achievement and this is a magnificent tribute to the special place he holds in the hearts of people in Scotland.”

In May 2011, "The Ballroom Spy" opened at Heartbreak - a new exhibition by Vettriano in collaboration with the photographer, Jeanette Jones. In July 2011, the exhibition transferred to the Royal West Academy of Arts in Bristol which was viewed as a controversial choice by many.

In January 2012, the luxury menswear brand, Stefano Ricci, launched their Spring Summer 2012 collection with a campaign inspired by the work of Jack Vettriano. Their SS 2012 catalogue, entitled 'Stefano Ricci - a tribute to Vettriano', features images by Vettriano and photographic re-interpretations shot by Fredi Marcarini and featuring clothes and accessories from the Ricci 2012 collection. A short film about the 2012 Vettriano campaign has been presented by Ricci to commemorate the collaboration.

In February 2012, Vettriano's most famous painting, "The Singing Butler", went on display at the Aberdeen City Art Gallery as part of an exhibition entitled, 'From Van Gogh to Vettriano'. Richard Demarco has written an analysis about "The Singing Butler" for The Scotsman.

2 Responses to “ Famous Artists - 50 Most Famous Artists / Oil Painters part 2 ”

  1. I went to a contemporary art fair in Shanghai recently, which was a real eye-opener. Chinese contemporary art
    has come leaps and bounds from the watery Zen landscapes to huge canvases of strange-looking beings. The
    prices being asked and paid were huge too.
    Oriental, if not Chinese, my print of Jean-Léon Gérôme's painting, http://en.wahooart.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8BWS6R,
    bought some time ago from wahooart.com, is as lovely as ever.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This allocation is worth reading because 50 Most Famous Artists Oil Painters part 2 mentioned resources are very educative and informative. I really enjoyed learning about such famous artists. Thanks.
    famous artists

    ReplyDelete

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