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Article

Henry Adams

(b Neosho, MO, April 15, 1889; d Kansas City, MO, Jan 19, 1975).

American painter, illustrator, and lithographer. One of the most controversial personalities in American art, both in his lifetime and today, Thomas Hart Benton was a key figure in the American Regionalist movement of the 1930s, when he focused on working-class American subject-matter and was outspoken in his denunciation of European modern painting. Today he is best remembered for this phase of his life, and much criticized because of it. But Benton’s long career is not easily reduced to a single moment or achievement: his legacy was more complex. As a young struggling artist in Paris and New York, he was a leading American modernist and abstractionist, and in his early maturity he became the teacher and lifelong father figure for Jackson Pollock, the most famous of the Abstract Expressionists. He was also a major American writer, who wrote on art and whose autobiography of 1936 became a best-seller. He was also a notable figure in American music who collected American folk songs and devised a new form of harmonica notation that is still in use....

Article

Jean E. Feinberg

(b Cincinnati, OH, June 6, 1935).

American painter, sculptor, printmaker, illustrator, performance artist, stage designer and poet. He studied art at the Cincinnati Arts Academy (1951–3) and later at the Boston Museum School and Ohio University (1954–7). In 1957 he married Nancy Minto and the following year they moved to New York. Dine’s first involvement with the art world was in his Happenings of 1959–60. These historic theatrical events, for example The Smiling Workman (performed at the Judson Gallery, New York, 1959), took place in chaotic, makeshift environments built by the artist–performer. During the same period he created his first assemblages, which incorporated found materials. Simultaneously he developed the method by which he produced his best known work—paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures that depict and expressively interpret common images and objects.

Clothing and domestic objects featured prominently in Dine’s paintings of the 1960s, with a range of favoured motifs including ties, shoes and bathroom items such as basins, showers and toothbrushes (e.g. ...

Article

Alexandra Pel

(Alphonse)

(b Montreal, Nov 8, 1881; d Montreal, Jan 5, 1942).

Canadian painter, printmaker and illustrator. His mother fostered his early talent for drawing and painting, and despite his father’s wishes that he enter business he studied drawing and painting under William Brymner at the Art Association of Montreal (1897–1900). Through the patronage of the Montreal businessman and collector James Morgan, he was able to travel to Europe, studying from 1903 to 1905 at the Académie Julian, Paris, under Jean-Paul Laurens. Gagnon returned to Canada in 1909, settling in Baie-Saint-Paul (near Montreal), which became his preferred sketching area. His affection for French-Canadian life is evident in his anecdotal series of depictions of habitant life, a theme to which he returned throughout his career (e.g. Horse Racing in Winter, Quebec, c. 1927; Toronto, A.G. Ont.). He became an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1910 and a full member in 1922. From 1911 to 1914 he moved between Canada, France and Norway, always working up sketches he had done in Quebec. He ground his own paints, and from ...

Article

Roberta K. Tarbell

(b New York, Dec 3, 1897; d Manhasset, NY, Jan 6, 1977).

American painter, political cartoonist, illustrator and printmaker. Born on the Lower East Side of New York, his Lithuanian immigrant parents worked in garment sweatshops. He studied painting at the experimental Ferrer Center School (1912–14) with Robert Henri and George Bellows and at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (1915–17). For 30 years Gropper supported himself by executing political cartoons, satirical drawings and illustrations, mostly of lower-class people bearing the burdens of global social dislocation. Thereafter, he created etchings and Expressionist figurative paintings of American politicians and New Yorkers at work and play. He contributed to international progressive organizations and publications while simultaneously staying aloof from Eurocentric avant-garde art.

He was a regular contributor to The New York Tribune (1917–19), The Liberator (1918–24, successor to The Masses), the Yiddish Communist daily Morgen Freiheit (1924–48) and The New Masses...

Article

Helen A. Cooper

(b Boston, MA, Feb 24, 1836; d Prout’s Neck, ME, Sept 29, 1910).

American painter, illustrator and etcher. He was one of the two most admired American late 19th-century artists (the other being Thomas Eakins) and is considered to be the greatest pictorial poet of outdoor life in the USA and its greatest watercolourist (see fig.). Nominally a landscape painter, in a sense carrying on Hudson River school attitudes, Homer was an artist of power and individuality whose images are metaphors for the relationship of Man and Nature. A careful observer of visual reality, he was at the same time alive to the purely physical properties of pigment and colour, of line and form, and of the patterns they create. His work is characterized by bold, fluid brushwork, strong draughtsmanship and composition, and particularly by a lack of sentimentality.

Homer was the second of three sons of Charles Savage Homer, a hardware importer, and Henrietta Benson Homer, a gifted amateur watercolourist. Brought up in Cambridge, MA, where he attended school, he had an active outdoor boyhood that left a lifelong liking for the country. An independent, strong-willed young man, he showed an early preference for art and was encouraged in his interest by both parents. Like a number of self-educated American artists, Homer was first known as an illustrator. At 19 he became an apprentice at the lithographic firm of ...

Article

Gail Levin

(b Nyack, NY, July 22, 1882; d New York, May 15, 1967).

American painter, printmaker, and illustrator. He was brought up in a town on the Hudson River, where he developed an enduring love of nautical life (see fig.). When he graduated from Nyack Union High School in 1899, his parents, although supportive of his artistic aspirations, implored him to study commercial illustration rather than pursue an economically uncertain career in fine art. He studied with the Correspondence School of Illustrating in New York City (1899–1900). He continued to study illustration at the New York School of Art (1900–1906), under Arthur Keller (1866–1925) and Frank Vincent Du Mond (1865–1951), but began to study painting and drawing after a year. Hopper began in the portrait and still-life classes of William Merritt Chase, to whose teaching he later referred only infrequently and disparagingly. He preferred the classes he took with Kenneth Hayes Miller and especially those of ...

Article

Fridolf Johnson

(b Tarrytown, NY, June 21, 1882; d Au Sable Forks, NY, March 13, 1971).

American painter, printmaker, illustrator, writer, and sailor. He first studied architecture but turned to painting, studying in New York at the schools of William Merritt Chase and of Robert Henri. In his realistic landscapes, the most famous of which related to his long sojourns in such remote and rugged places as Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, and Greenland (e.g. Eskimo in a Kayak, 1933; Moscow, Pushkin Mus. F.A.), he favoured a precise rendering of forms with strong contrasts of light and dark. He was also renowned for the many books that he illustrated and wrote about his adventures. His considerable reputation as an illustrator was based on his striking drawings for such classics as Voltaire’s Candide (New York, 1928) and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (Chicago, 1930). His simple but distinctive graphic designs, such as God Speed (wood-engraving, 1931; see Kent, 1933, p. 87), were widely imitated.

Rockwellkentiana (New York, 1933)...

Article

Danielle Peltakian

(b Brooklyn, NY, Oct 27, 1877; d White Plains, NY, July 13, 1949).

American painter, illustrator and lithographer. As an organizer of the Armory Show (1913) alongside Arthur B. Davies, he played an integral role in unveiling European modernism to the USA. While he painted landscapes of Maine, Cézanne-inspired still lifes and a series based on the American West, his expressive portraits of circus and vaudeville performers remain his best-known works.

In 1901, he trained at the Académie Colarossi in Paris, but soon transferred to the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich where he studied under Barbizon painter Heinrich von Zügel (1850–1941) until 1903. Upon returning to New York in 1903, he worked as an illustrator for publications such as Life and Puck, exhibited at the Salmagundi Club (1905) and organized artists’ balls for the Kit Kat Club. Working in an Impressionist style, he participated with Robert Henri in the Exhibition of Independent Artists (1910)....

Article

M. Sue Kendall

(b Paris, March 14, 1898; d Dorset, VT, July 30, 1954).

American painter, printmaker and illustrator. He returned from France to the USA with his American parents, Fred Dana Marsh (1872–1961) and Alice (née Randall) Marsh (1869–1929), who were also artists, in 1900. In 1920 he graduated from Yale University, New Haven, CT, where he had been art editor and cartoonist for the Yale Record. He moved to New York and became staff artist for Vanity Fair and the New York Daily News. By 1923 he had begun painting scenes of street life in New York in oil and watercolour. His first one-man show was held at the Whitney Studio Club in 1924. In 1925 he joined the New Yorker, to which he contributed regularly until 1931.

In 1925 Marsh travelled with his first wife, sculptor Betty Burroughs, to Europe where he studied and copied the works of the Old Master painters such as Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, and Michelangelo, whom he particularly admired for their ability to organize large figure groups. In ...

Article

Phyllis Braff

(b Bolton, Lancs, Feb 12, 1837; d Santa Barbara, CA, Aug 26, 1926).

American painter, printmaker, and illustrator, of English birth. His brothers Edward (1829–1901), John (1831–1902), and Peter (1841–1914) were also artists. The family emigrated from England and settled in Philadelphia in 1844. At age 16 Moran was apprenticed to the wood-engraving firm Scattergood and Telfer, but he also began to produce watercolours that sold well. In an exchange arrangement with a book dealer, Moran acquired editions of important engravings, including Claude Lorrain’s Liber Veritatis and J. M. W. Turner’s Liber Studiorum. These served as formative influences for his career as a landscape painter, and contributed to his lifelong concern with pictorial structure and compositional devices. His study of oil painting was guided by his brother Edward, and by Edward’s acquaintance, the marine painter James Hamilton.

Moran’s interest in evocative natural settings led to a trip to Lake Superior in 1860 and to a series of paintings and prints featuring that region’s dramatic configurations of rocks and shoreline. In ...

Article

American, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 8 June 1921, in St Paul, Minnesota; died 20 June 2012, in New York City.

Painter, muralist, printmaker, illustrator and writer. Portraits, athletic subjects, landscapes, genre scenes and interiors

LeRoy Neiman was born and raised in a working-class neighborhood of St Paul, earning pocket money by painting grocery store windows. He served as a cook in the US Army during World War II. After the war, he settled in Chicago, studying (...

Article

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 10 June 1857, in Cincinnati (Ohio); died 10 March 1927, in New York.

Painter (including gouache), watercolourist, lithographer, illustrator, poster artist. Scenes with figures, figures, interiors with figures, landscapes, seascapes.

Edward Potthast worked as an apprentice to a lithographer from the age of 16, and, except for a period in Europe, continued to work as a commercial lithographer until the age of 39. He studied at night classes at the McMickin School of Design, Cincinnati, and at academies in Antwerp, Munich and Paris from 1882 to 1887, where he was influenced by the work of Robert Vonnoh and the Irish Impressionist Roderic O'Conor....

Article

Hana Myslivečková

(b Světec u Bíliny, July 31, 1873; d Dachau, June 11, 1944).

Czech printmaker, designer, illustrator, painter, and teacher, active also in the USA. From 1892 he studied at the School of Applied Industrial Art in Prague (in Friedrich Ohmann’s Decorative Architecture workshop). In 1897 he left for Paris, where in 1898 he worked for Alphonse Mucha, familiarized himself with graphic techniques, worked in applied graphics, and experimented with lettering and design, and photography. His early, Secessionist, work was influenced by Japanese art and Symbolism. After his return to Prague in 1903 he devoted himself to illustration, publishing an album, Coloured Etchings in the Graphic Art Atelier at Vinohrady, Prague (New York, 1906), and the book Barevný lept a barevná rytina [Coloured etching and coloured engraving], and founding the periodical Česká grafika. Preissig lived in the USA from 1910, gaining a reputation as an innovator in the field of book and advertising graphic design, typography, and illustration, in which fields he introduced the linocut and other special graphic techniques. He taught at art schools in New York, and from ...

Article

James C. Cooke

(b Paisley, Strathclyde, Aug 6, 1838; d Madrid, Dec 26, 1909).

American painter, illustrator, and teacher of Scottish birth. He moved to America with his parents in 1841. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to a banknote engraving firm in New York. He exhibited his first painting at the National Academy of Design, New York, in 1861, although at this point he was largely self-taught. In Chicago (1865–70) he again worked as an engraver and was active in founding the Chicago Academy of Design. In 1870 Shirlaw went abroad. Unable to study painting in Paris because of the Franco-Prussian War, he went, instead, to Munich, where in 1871 he enrolled at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste. During the next six years he studied with several important Munich teachers and mastered the dark, painterly realism adopted also by Frank Duveneck and William Merritt Chase, compatriots Shirlaw became associated with as leaders of the Munich school. Toning the Bell...

Article

Marco Livingstone

[Warhola, Andrew ]

(b Pittsburgh, PA, Aug 6, 1928; d New York, Feb 22, 1987).

American painter, printmaker, sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator, film maker, writer, and collector. After studying at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh from 1945 to 1949, he moved to New York and began working as a commercial artist and illustrator for magazines and newspapers. His work of the 1950s, much of it commissioned by fashion houses, was charming and often whimsical in tone, typified by outline drawings using a delicate blotted line that gave even the originals a printed appearance; a campaign of advertisements for the shoe manufacturers I. Miller & Sons in 1955–6 (Kornbluth, pp. 113–21) was particularly admired, helping to earn him major awards from the Art Directors Club.

Warhol continued to support himself through his commercial work until at least 1963, but from 1960 he determined to establish his name as a painter. Motivated by a desire to be taken as seriously as the young artists whose work he had recently come to know and admire, especially Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, he began by painting a series of pictures based on crude advertisements and on images from comic strips. These are among the earliest examples of ...

Article

Marco Livingstone

(b Los Angeles, CA, Nov 25, 1928).

American painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He took up painting as a self-taught artist in 1953, the same year in which he began working as an illustrator in the Production Engineering Department of Northrop Aircraft in Los Angeles. In 1960, two years after leaving that job and one year after marrying the American painter Jo(sephine Gail) Baer , he settled in New York, where he became associated with the nascent Pop art movement. The Minimalist sculptor Donald Judd, who favourably reviewed his first one-man show at the Robert Elkon Gallery, New York, in 1963, was to become a lifelong supporter; although it might seem curious that an artist whose work was as severe as Judd’s would appreciate the often lighthearted figurative work of Wesley, with its linear comic-book style and pastel colours, Judd clearly appreciated the clarity of form, subtlety, precision of placement and economy of means that defined Wesley’s art from the beginning. ...