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Janet Bishop

(b San Francisco, CA, May 14, 1932).

American painter. Native of the San Francisco Bay Area, known for careful observation and explicit use of snapshot-like photographic source material for paintings of family, cars, and residential neighborhoods. The artist rose to national and international prominence in early 1970s as part of the Photorealist movement (see Photorealism).

From the 1960s, Bechtle pursued a quiet realism based on the things he knew best, translating what seem to be ordinary scenes of middle-class American life into paintings. Following an early childhood in the Bay Area and Sacramento, his family settled in 1942 in Alameda, an island suburb adjacent to Oakland where his mother would occupy the same house for almost 60 years. The neighborhood appears in many of Bechtle’s paintings.

Bechtle earned both his BFA (1954) and his MFA (1958) at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, where he studied graphic design and then painting. During his student years and into the 1960s, Bechtle was influenced by Pop art’s precedent for the use of commercial subject matter and techniques. He was likewise interested in Bay Area figuration, especially the subjects and structure of paintings by ...

Article

Geneviève Monnier

(b Paris, July 19, 1834; d Paris, Sept 27, 1917).

French painter, draughtsman, printmaker, sculptor, pastellist, photographer and collector. He was a founder-member of the Impressionist group and the leader within it of the Realist tendency. He organized several of the group’s exhibitions, but after 1886 he showed his works very rarely and largely withdrew from the Parisian art world. As he was sufficiently wealthy, he was not constricted by the need to sell his work, and even his late pieces retain a vigour and a power to shock that is lacking in the contemporary productions of his Impressionist colleagues.

The eldest son of a Parisian banking family, he originally intended to study law, registering briefly at the Sorbonne’s Faculté de Droit in 1853. He began copying the 15th- and 16th-century Italian works in the Musée du Louvre and in 1854 he entered the studio of Louis Lamothe (1822–69). The training that Lamothe, who had been a pupil of Ingres, transmitted to Degas was very much in the classical tradition; reinforced by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, which he attended in ...

Article

Elizabeth Johns

(Cowperthwaite)

(b Philadelphia, PA, July 25, 1844; d Philadelphia, June 25, 1916).

American painter, sculptor and photographer. He was a portrait painter who chose most of his sitters and represented them in powerful but often unflattering physical and psychological terms. Although unsuccessful throughout much of his career, since the 1930s he has been regarded as one of the greatest American painters of his era.

His father Benjamin Eakins (1818–99), the son of a Scottish–Irish immigrant weaver, was a writing master and amateur artist who encouraged Thomas Eakins’s developing talent. Eakins attended the Central High School in Philadelphia, which stressed skills in drawing as well as a democratic respect for disciplined achievement. He developed an interest in human anatomy and began visiting anatomical clinics. After studying from 1862 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where instruction was minimal, Eakins went to Paris to enrol at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme. From 1866 to the end of ...

Article

Style of painting popular in Europe and the USA mainly from the 1920s to 1940s, with some followers in the 1950s. It occupies a position between Surrealism and Photorealism, whereby the subject is rendered with a photographic naturalism, but where the use of flat tones, ambiguous perspectives, and strange juxtapositions suggest an imagined or dreamed reality. The term was introduced by art historian Frank Roh in his book Nach-Expressionismus: Magischer Realismus (1925) to describe a style deriving from Neue Sachlichkeit, but rooted in late 19th-century German Romantic fantasy. It had strong connections with the Italian Pittura Metafisica of which the work of Giorgio De Chirico was exemplary in its quest to express the mysterious. The work of Giuseppe Capogrossi and the Scuola Romana of the 1930s is also closely related to the visionary elements of Magic Realism. In Belgium its surreal strand was exemplified by René(-François-Ghislain) Magritte, with his ‘fantasies of the commonplace’, and in the USA by ...

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James G. Todd jr

Term used to refer to the work of painters, printmakers, photographers and film makers who draw attention to the everyday conditions of the working classes and the poor, and who are critical of the social structures that maintain these conditions. In general it should not be confused with Socialist Realism, the official art form of the USSR, which was institutionalized by Joseph Stalin in 1934, and later by allied Communist parties worldwide. Social realism, in contrast, represents a democratic tradition of independent socially motivated artists, usually of left-wing or liberal persuasion. Their preoccupation with the conditions of the lower classes was a result of the democratic movements of the 18th and 19th centuries, so social realism in its fullest sense should be seen as an international phenomenon, despite the term’s frequent association with American painting. While the artistic style of social realism varies from nation to nation, it almost always utilizes a form of descriptive or critical realism (e.g. the work in 19th-century Russia of the ...