Wednesday 2 May 2012

Berthe Morisot - part 1

Berthe Morisot (1841 – 1895) was a painter described by Gustave Geffroy in 1894 as one of "les trois grandes dames" of Impressionism alongside Marie Bracquemond and Mary Cassatt. Morisot was born in Bourges, France in 1841 into a family of wealth and culture. Her father was a high ranking civil servant. She was Fragonard's great-grand daughter.

After moving to Paris with her family, the Berthe received their first instruction in drawing and painting. Morisot received the conventional lessons in drawing and painting. She went firmly against convention, however, in choosing to take these pursuits seriously and make them her life's work. . She took some lessons for a time under Camille Corot.

In July 1868 Fantin-Latour introduced Berthe to Manet, whom she greatly admired. Although Manet was had a strong influence on her work, she soon developed a distinctive style of her own. Her style, in turn, influenced his painting and encouraged him to work en plein air. She appears in The Balcony and a number of later works. Unlike most of the other impressionists, who were then intensely engaged in optical experiments with colour, Morisot and Manet agreed on a more conservative approach, confining their use of colour to a naturalistic framework.

Manet 1868-9 "The Balcony" Berthe Morisot, Antoine Guillemet, Fanny Claus

Morisot married Manet's brother Eugene in December, 1874. Her house at 4 Rue de la Princesse in Bougival then became a social and inspirational centre for the Impressionists. By 1885 she had begun to hold regular soirees for friends that were artists or writers, including Mallarmé.

Morisot exhibited regularly at the Salon, and at all the Impressionist exhibitions except for 1879. Morisot took part in the innovations of the Impressionists from the beginning and she remained faithful up to the last group exhibition in 1886.

In March of 1895, Berthe Morisot died of pneumonia at the age of 54. In her last letter to her daughter, Julie Manet, she bequeathed paintings to Degas, Monet and Renoir. In spite of her international reputation as an artist, her death certificate bears the words "No professions".

This is part 1 of a 6-part post on the works of Berthe Morisot. Parts 1-4 show her oil paintings, parts 5-6 her watercolours and drawings:

1859 Farm in Normandy 
oil on canvas

1863 Old Path at Auvers 
oil on canvas

1864 Study - The Water's Edge 
oil on canvas 60 x 73.4 cm

1865 Thatched Cottage in Normandy 
oil on canvas

1869 The Artist's Sister at a Window 
oil on canvas

1869 The Harbour at Lorient 
oil on canvas 43 x 72 cm

1869 Two Sisters on a Couch 
oil on canvas 52.1 x 81.3 cm

1869-70 Mother and Sister of the Artist 
oil on canvas

1870 Portrait of Edma 
oil on canvas

c1870 The Pink Dress 
oil on canvas

1871-72 Woman and Child on a Balcony 
oil on canvas

1872 Interior 
oil on canvas 23.6 x 73 cm

1872 The Cradle 
oil on canvas 56 x 46 cm

1873 Hide-and-Seek 
oil on canvas 45 x 55 cm

1873 Reading with Green Umbrella 
oil on canvas

c1873 Young Girl with a Parrot 
pastel on paper 60 x 49.5 cm

1874 Boats under Construction 
oil on canvas

1874 Chasing Butterflies 
oil on canvas

1874 Madame Boursier and Her Daughter 
oil on canvas 73 x 56.5 cm

1874 On the Terrace 
oil on canvas

1874 Portrait of Madame Hubbard 
oil on canvas

1875 At the Ball 
oil on canvas

1875 English Seascape 
oil on canvas

1875 Eugène Manet on the Isle of White 
oil on canvas 38.1 x 18.1 cm

Sunday 29 April 2012

Burgoyne Diller

Burgoyne Diller was born in the Bronx, New York in 1906 but grew up in Buffalo, New York and later moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. In 1925 Diller attended Michigan State College but left after only two years. Due to the economic period of decline, jobs were scarce and money was tight. Diller struggled to find sufficient work in Michigan so in 1928 he moved back to New York, where he was awarded a scholarship to enroll in the Art Students League.

At the Art Students League, Diller discovered inspiration in the Russian Constructivist work of Kazimir Malevich and other artists including De Stijl, Piet Mondrian, and Theo van Doesburg. Diller also was greatly influenced by teachers Hans Hofmann and Jan Matulka, both of whom encouraged Diller’s exploration of pure colour and form. As a student Diller demonstrated leadership qualities, often coordinating exhibitions at the Art Students League. In 1933 he organized a show of avant-guard student work, exhibiting for the first time a group of emerging post-war American Cubists.

In the Early 1930’s Diller began making Geometric art. It was during this time that his artistic style transformed from cubism to non-objective neo-plasticism. And in 1933 he mounted a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum in New York City. The introduction in the catalogue was written by Hans Hofmann.

On graduating from the Art Students League in 1934 he began working for the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) and then the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration (TERA), as a muralist and easel painter. Both of these committees were set up in the New York City area - their aim was to provide much needed employment to artists. In addition, Diller founded the artist group called “Group A” in 1934.

A year later, Diller was appointed director of the New York City PWPA Mural Division. During a time of national economic turmoil when jobs were few and far between, Diller found work for hundreds of artists. Many of the artists employed by Diller later became some of the most important early 20-century names such as Arshile Gorky (1904-1948) and Stuart Davis (1894-1964). As director he supervised the execution of over 200 public murals.

As a fervent advocate for Abstract Art, Diller became a founding member of the American Abstract Artists group on March 12, 1936. The American Abstract Artist group held their first exhibition at the Squibb Galleries, less than a month after Diller was initiated. In 1937, Burgoyne Diller became sole administrator of the PWPA's mural division, putting him in charge of mural programs for public schools, colleges, libraries, municipal buildings, and hospitals. Despite increased responsibility at work, Diller continued to work diligently at his own art, even broadening his body of work. It was during this time that Diller began to make relief sculptures, combining flat painted grounds and projecting elements in low relief.

Diller worked for the PWPA until the outbreak of World War II, when he served time in the Navy. In 1946, after his time in the Navy, he became a professor at Brooklyn College. The roles of student and teacher were now reversed for Diller, and he received the chance to teach and inspire an entire generation of abstract artists.

Decades of heavy drinking had taken their toll on Diller, and he died in 1965 in New York. Diller will always be remembered as a one of the most significant artists devoted to geometric abstraction, and a true pioneer of American modernism.

1930 Untitled 
ink on paper 34.6 x 21.6 cm

1931 Untitled 
crayon on paper 49.5 x 30.5 cm

1932 Untitled ( Three Men with Hats in City Street ) 
lino cut 25.9 x 30.7 cm 
© VAGA, New York, NY

1933 Early Geometric 
oil on canvas 68.6 x 104.1 cm

1933 Untitled

1934 Construction 
painted wood and fibreboard 60.8 x 60.8 cm

1934 Construction 
painted wood and fibreboard 61.1 x 61.2 cm

c1934 Early Geometric 
oil on canvas 50.8 x 61 cm

1936 Early Geometric #492 
oil on canvas 45.7 x 57.2 cm

1937 Second Theme

1938 511-1938-Group 3 
pencil and crayon on tracing paper 31.8 x 30.5 cm

1938 Construction 
mixed media

1938-39 Third Theme 
collage and watercolour on board 38.1 x 38.1 cm

1940 Construction 
painted wood 68.3 x 22.6 x 22.6 cm

1946-48 Third Theme 
oil on canvas 106.7 x 106.7 cm

1947 903-47 
crayon and pencil on paper 14 x 14.2 cm

1947 Untitled 
graphite and crayon on paper 31.8 x 31.1 cm

1948 Untitled 
graphite and crayon on paper 22.2 x 17.8 cm

1949 Second Theme 
oil on canvas 66 x 66 cm 
© Estate of Burgoyne Diller / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

c1955-60 No. 2, First Theme 
oil on canvas 52.3 x 122.2 cm

1958-60 No. 29, First Theme 
oil on canvas 86.4 x 86.5 cm

1961 Untitled 
graphite and crayon on paper 34.9 x 42.5 cm

1962 First Theme #4 
oil on canvas 106.7 x 106.7 cm

1962 Interplay ( No. 3, Second Theme ) 
oil on canvas 107.1 x 106.9 cm

1962 No. 20, First Theme 
oil on canvas 106.7 x 106.9 cm

1962 Untitled 
graphite, crayon and pastel on paper 35.6 x 27.9 cm

1963 Collage Studies for Project for Granite 
collage and graphite on paper 35.6 x 50.8 cm

1963 First Theme 
oil on canvas 228.6 x 96.5 cm

1963 No. 37, Second Theme 
oil on canvas 106.9 x 107 cm

1963-64 First Theme 
oil on canvas 182.9 x 182.9 cm

1964 Untitled 
collage on masonite 27.9 x 35.6 cm

1964 Untitled 
graphite and crayon on paper 35.6 x 27.9 cm

before 1965 Red and Blue Bars 
pencil and coloured pencil on paper 34.9 x 35.1 cm

Study for Counter-Composition

Third Theme

Untitled ( Second Theme ) 
crayon on black paper 15.7 x 17.3 cm