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Article

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Deborah Cullen

(Henry) [Spinky]

(b Charlotte, NC, Nov 29, 1907; d April 27, 1977).

African American painter, sculptor, graphic artist, muralist and educator. In 1913, Charles Alston’s family relocated from North Carolina to New York where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1929, he attended Columbia College and then Teachers College at Columbia University, where he obtained his MFA in 1931. Alston’s art career began while he was a student, creating illustrations for Opportunity magazine and album covers for jazz musician Duke Ellington.

Alston was a groundbreaking educator and mentor. He directed the Harlem Arts Workshop and then initiated the influential space known simply as “306,” which ran from 1934 to 1938. He taught at the Works Progress Administration’s Harlem Community Art Center and was supervisor of the Harlem Hospital Center murals, leading 35 artists as the first African American project supervisor of the Federal Art Project. His two murals reveal the influence of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886–1957). His artwork ranged from the comic to the abstract, while often including references to African art. During World War II, he worked at the Office of War Information and Public Information, creating cartoons and posters to mobilize the black community in the war effort....

Article

Carolyn Kinder Carr

(b Williamsburg, IN, Nov 1, 1849; d New York, Oct 25, 1916).

American painter and printmaker. Chase received his early training in Indianapolis from the portrait painter Barton S. Hays (1826–75). In 1869 he went to New York to study at the National Academy of Design where he exhibited in 1871. That year he joined his family in St Louis, where John Mulvaney (1844–1906) encouraged him to study in Munich. With the support of several local patrons, enabling him to live abroad for the next six years, Chase entered the Königliche Akademie in Munich in 1872. Among his teachers were Alexander von Wagner (1838–1919), Karl Theodor von Piloty and Wilhelm von Diez (1839–1907). Chase also admired the work of Wilhelm Leibl. The school emphasized bravura brushwork, a technique that became integral to Chase’s style, favoured a dark palette and encouraged the study of Old Master painters, particularly Diego Velázquez and Frans Hals. Among Chase’s friends in Munich were the American artists Walter Shirlaw, J. Frank Currier and Frederick Dielman (...

Article

(Chinese Academy of Art)

Artists’ club formed in 1926 in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The club was composed of Guangdong immigrants in their late teens and early 20s. Its headquarters, which also served as a studio, teaching center, exhibition space and quite possibly a shared bedroom, was located in an upper room at 150 Wetmore Place, an alley on Chinatown’s western fringe. The exact membership is unknown—probably a dozen members at any given time—and its composition fluctuated greatly during its 15 or so years of existence. Its most famous members were Yun Gee, a co-founder and leader, and Eva Fong Chan (1897–1991), who was granted membership in the early 1930s and was the only woman known to belong. Unlike Fong, a former beauty queen who was a piano teacher married to a prominent Catholic businessman and privileged with an education, the young men were working-class and probably held the menial jobs reserved for most Chinese of their era, as servants, cooks, dishwashers and launderers....

Article

Sharon Matt Atkins

(b Oakland, CA, Aug 26, 1925; d Tucson, AZ, June 4, 2009).

American painter, printmaker and teacher. Colescott produced highly expressive and gestural paintings that addressed a wide range of social and cultural themes and challenged stereotypes. Interested in issues of race, gender and power, his work critiqued the representation of minorities in literature, history, art and popular culture. Stylistically, his work is indebted to European modernism, particularly Cubism and Expressionism, but also makes references to African sculpture, African American art and post–World War II American styles.

Colescott was introduced to art at an early age. His mother was a pianist and his father was a classically-trained violinist and jazz musician. Through his parents’ social circles, he often found himself surrounded by creative individuals as he was growing up, like his artistic mentor, the sculptor Sargent Johnson (1888–1967). Colescott received his BA in 1949 and later his MFA in 1952 from the University of California, Berkeley. He also studied with ...

Article

Nancy E. Green

(b Ipswich, MA, April 6, 1857; d New York, NY, Dec 13, 1922).

American painter, printmaker, photographer, writer and teacher. Dow took art classes in the Boston studio of James M. Stone, where he met Frank Duveneck, who would remain a lifelong friend. He went to Paris in 1884 to study at the Académie Julian with Jules(-Joseph) Lefebvre and Gustave(-Clarence-Rodolphe) Boulanger. Dow also took evening classes at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, where the American artist Francis D. Millet (1846–1912) offered critiques of the students’ work. Dow then spent some time in Pont-Aven, where he met Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard, and in Concarneau where he sought out the advice of American painter Alexander Harrison (1853–1930). Dow’s painting Au Soir won an honorable mention at the Universal Exposition in 1889 and two of his paintings were accepted that same year for the Paris Salon and were hung on the line (i.e. at eye-level).

Dow returned to Boston where he began independent studies at the Boston Public Library that led him to the work of Japanese artists ...

Article

Marisa J. Pascucci

Terms applied to painters who had studied at either of the two academies in Germany where numerous American artists sought painting instruction. In the mid-19th century some of America’s most esteemed artists studied at the German art academies in Düsseldorf and Munich. By the end of the 19th century hundreds of American artists in search of the latest artistic styles and techniques were working and training at both academies.

The Düsseldorf school of painting refers to a group of painters who taught or studied at the Düsseldorf Kunstakademie (now the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf) between the 1830s and the 1860s. During this time the Kunstakademie was held in high esteem throughout Europe and the USA. Rather bohemian in direction, days were filled with classes in drawing and color and also history and anatomy, with nights devoted to socializing centered around reading and discussion. Directed by the painter Schadow family §(3) and artists following the ...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b Buffalo, NY, 1950).

Tuscarora artist, writer, educator, and museum director. Hill studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (1968–70), and was awarded a Master of Arts degree from SUNY, Buffalo, NY (1980).

Intrigued with Seneca General Ely Parker (General Grant’s Military Secretary), Hill investigated Parker’s life, which took him to Washington, DC, for two years. Hill began to identify with Parker’s experience and realized he would devote himself to enlightening others about Native American arts, knowledge, education, and culture.

Hill was skilled in painting, photography, carving, beading, and basket weaving, and many of these works are located at the Canadian Museum of Civilizations, Quebec; the Woodland Indian Cultural Center, Brantford, Ontario; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK; the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Washington, DC; and the Seneca Iroquois National Museum, Salamanca, NY. He taught at McMaster University, Mohawk College, Six Nations Polytechnic, and SUNY at Buffalo. Hill developed a culturally based Seneca Language curriculum and training models for teaching....

Article

Cynthia Goodman

(Georg Albert)

(b Weissenberg, Bavaria, March 21, 1880; d New York, Feb 17, 1966).

American painter, teacher and theorist of German birth. He moved with his family to Munich in 1886 and in 1896 left home to become assistant to the director of public works of the State of Bavaria; he distinguished himself with a number of inventions, including an electromagnetic comptometer, a radar device for ships, a sensitized light bulb and a portable freezer unit for military purposes. In spite of his parents’ strong objection and their hopes for his career as a scientist, in 1898 he enrolled in the art school run by Moritz Heymann (b 1870) in Munich. Hofmann subsequently studied with a succession of teachers and was particularly influenced by Willi Schwarz (b 1889), who familiarized him with French Impressionism, a style that affected his earliest known paintings, such as Self-portrait (1902; New York, Emmerich Gal., see Goodman, 1986, p. 14).

In 1903 Hofmann was introduced by Schwarz to ...

Article

Paul Von Blum

(Mailou)

(b Boston, MA, Nov 3, 1905; d Washington, DC, June 9, 1998).

African American painter and art educator. During her artistic career of more than 70 years, Jones powerfully extended the tradition of African American visual art, while overcoming severe barriers of race and gender. Her parents encouraged her artistic inclinations while she was growing up in Boston and after graduating from the High School of Practical Arts she studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, receiving a diploma in design in 1927. After additional studies in art, including a summer school at Harvard University, Jones accepted a position to develop an art programme at the Palmer Memorial Institute in North Carolina, a preparatory school for African Americans. In 1930 she joined the Howard University faculty in Washington, DC, where she trained generations of young artists until her retirement in 1977. Teaching design and watercolour painting, she exerted a durable influence on 20th-century African American art education....

Article

Dennis Raverty

(b Birmingham, AL, Oct 17, 1955).

African American painter, writer, film production designer, and multimedia installation artist. Marshall’s works portray idealized subjects derived from African American experience in large-scale, multiple-figure paintings and installations that share many characteristics with European history painting in the “grand manner” of Peter Paul Rubens, Benjamin West, Jacques-Louis David, and the 19th-century academic tradition. This “high culture” Euro-American tradition is juxtaposed with elements of African American vernacular culture in order to reinsert African American subjects and aesthetics into the larger mainstream of America’s artistic and cultural history—a history from which, the artist believes, blacks have been largely excluded.

Marshall was born in Birmingham, AL, one of the most segregated cities in the United States at that time, and the site of civil rights demonstrations in the early 1960s. He moved with his parents in 1963 to Nickerson Gardens public housing project in Watts, CA, just a few years before the riots there. Consequently, the struggles of the civil rights movement profoundly affected him and are a major theme in his mature work....

Article

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...

Article

Miwako Tezuka

(b Okayama prefecture, Japan, Nov 18, 1885; d California, Oct 6, 1975).

Japanese-born American painter. Obata is known for his sumi ink paintings, watercolors and woodblock prints depicting California landscapes. After studying Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) at the Japan Fine Arts Academy in Tokyo, he moved to San Francisco in 1903 to pursue career in art, and soon began working as an illustrator for local publications for the Japanese American community. In 1921, when ethnic prejudice was still rampant, he co-founded the East West Art Society in San Francisco to foster multicultural communication through art. In 1928, he returned to Japan where he produced award-winning series of 35 woodblock prints of majestic landscapes of Yosemite, based on his extensive survey and sketches of the region in the previous year.

From 1932, Obata taught at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, but his career came to a halt with the outbreak of World War II, when he and his family were interned at Tanforan in San Bruno, CA, from ...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

Founded in 1871 by a small group of artists in New York City, the Salmagundi Club is one of the oldest professional art clubs in America. The Salmagundi Club began as a sketch class that met in the Broadway studio of sculptor Jonathan Scott Hartley (1845–1912). Incorporated in 1880, the club was apparently named after a dish called salmigandos (a stew of different meats). From the start, the club offered its members important opportunities to critique each other’s work, paint, sketch, socialize and exhibit together. Early members included such renowned artists as George Inness Jr. (1854–1926), Thomas Moran , Frederick Church, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Tiffany family §2 and Howard Pyle.

For more than 40 years the Salmagundi Club led a nomadic existence, exhibiting and meeting at various locations in Greenwich Village. In 1917 the members helped raise funds to buy a brownstone at 47 Fifth Avenue (built in ...

Article

Cheryl Leibold

American family of Philadelphia printmakers, printers, painters, and educators. John Sartain and his children, Emily and William, played an important role in the art world of Philadelphia for over a century. Their influence on American art lies primarily in the impact of their work example and leadership on others, and somewhat less from the value placed on their own artistic output. The patriarch, John Sartain (b London, 24 Oct 1808; d Philadelphia, PA, 25 Oct 1897), arrived in Philadelphia at the age of 22. By 1850 he was the city’s premier engraver of illustrations for a wide range of publications. His brilliant mezzotint engravings, often reproducing the work of others, brought graphic art into the homes of all classes. Reproductive engravings, either framed or in books, were widely popular before the advent of photography. Many writers promulgated the display of such prints as a means to refine and enlighten society. Sartain’s most successful endeavours in this field were his large and elaborate framing prints, commissioned by painters, collectors, and publishers to disseminate important works. The finest of these is ...

Article

Roy R. Behrens

(b Lafayette, AL, Nov 7, 1903; d Columbus, OH, Dec 1, 1981).

American artist, designer and teacher . His childhood interest in drawing was counterbalanced by parallel involvements in science and engineering. He took high school courses in engineering drawing, which he went on to study at Ohio State University (OSU) in 1921. Soon after, he changed his major to architecture, then art, eventually earning a degree in fine arts in 1927. Hired the following year to teach basic drawing, he remained on the OSU art faculty until his retirement in 1974. The most eventful phase of his life began in 1941, when, in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he devised an extraordinary method (which he credited to Rembrandt) of using drawing to improve the visual acuity of students, with the intention that they might then better detect the presence of enemy airplanes. This teaching method, for which he also admitted indebtedness to Paul Cézanne and the Gestalt psychologists, consisted of asking his students to draw from projected slides in a pitch black room called a flash laboratory. Each slide was projected for only one-tenth of a second, in response to which the students drew from memory in total darkness. By collaborating with non-art members of the OSU faculty (especially educational psychologist Ross L. Mooney and optical physiologist Glenn A. Fry), Sherman was able to argue persuasively that the accuracy of his students’ perception had improved markedly by drawing in the flash laboratory, so much so that members of the university football team were required to work with him daily, with the goal of improving their passing. The results of this teaching method were formally presented in ...

Article

Patricia Hills

(b Boston, MA, June 9, 1924).

American painter, poet, teacher and feminist activist. Raised in the working-class neighborhood of Quincy, a suburb of Boston, from an early age Stevens was interested in art and literature. She studied for four years at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and moved to New York in 1947, where she studied at the Art Students League. There she met the painter Rudolf Baranik , a Lithuanian émigré who had fought in the US army during World War II. They married and traveled to Paris in late 1948, remaining there for three years, during which time Stevens attended the Académie Julian and her son was born.

Back in New York in 1951, Stevens worked at the Museum of Modern Art and later taught at the High School of Music and Art. From 1961 to 1996 she taught part-time at the School of Visual Arts. In the early 1960s she painted works inspired by the “Freedom Riders”: students who traveled south to register black citizens to vote. In ...

Article

Deborah F. Pokinski

(b Columbus, GA, Sept 22, 1891; d Washington, DC, Feb 24, 1978).

African American painter and art educator. Thomas was the first graduate of the fine arts program at Howard University in Washington, DC. After retiring from teaching art in Washington public schools at age of 69, she set up a studio in her kitchen, devoted herself full-time to painting and became a prominent color field abstractionist. In 1972, she was the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at a major American museum (the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York).

During the years she taught, Thomas kept up with the latest developments in art by attending classes, visiting exhibitions in New York, and being actively involved in the Washington arts community. In 1943, she helped found the Barnett-Aden Gallery, the first modern art gallery in Washington and the first to break the color line. Between 1950 and 1960, Thomas studied at American University where her work began to move toward abstraction....

Article

Marita Sturken

Culture of images and visuality that creates meaning in our world today. This includes media forms such as photography, film, television, and digital media; art media such as painting, drawing, prints, and installations; architecture and design; comic books and graphic novels; fashion design, and other visual forms including the look of urban life itself. It also encompasses such social realms as art, news, popular culture, advertising and consumerism, politics, law, religion, and science and medicine. The term visual culture also refers to the interdisciplinary academic field of study that aims to study and understand the role that images and visuality play in our society; how images, gazes, and looks make meaning socially, culturally, and politically; how images are integrated with other media; and how visuality shapes power, meaning, and identity in contemporary global culture.

The emergence of the concept of visual culture as a means to think about the role of images in culture and as an academic field of study is a relatively recent phenomenon, emerging in the late 1980s and becoming established by the late 1990s. There were numerous factors that contributed to the idea that images should be understood and analysed across social arenas rather than as separate categories, including the impact of digital media on the circulation of images across social realms, the modern use of images from other social arenas (such as news and advertising) in art, and the cross-referencing of cultural forms displayed in popular culture and art. It was also influenced by the increasingly visible role played by images in political conflict and a general trend toward interdisciplinarity in academia....

Article

Adrienne L. Childs

(b Atlanta, GA, Nov 2, 1902; d Washington, DC, Jan 20, 1993).

American printmaker, painter and educator. Wells’s 70-year career had a major impact on the development of African American art in the 20th century. He studied at the National Academy of Design, Columbia University Teachers College and the Atelier 17 printmaking workshop, both in New York. In 1929 he began teaching at Howard University, Washington, DC, where he remained an influential professor of art until his retirement in 1968.

One of the first black artists to embrace modernism, Wells’s early linocuts such as African Phantasy (1928) and Sisters (1929) embody the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance as African American artists looked toward African ancestral arts for inspiration. His graphic works were included in journals such as The Crisis, Opportunity and New Masses and became central to the visual culture of the New Negro Movement. Wells’s graphic style was influenced by European Expressionism, African and Egyptian art as well as popular Art Deco motifs. His extensive repertoire as a printmaker incorporated lithography, linoleum cut and wood engraving; his subjects included Bible stories, the urban worker, mythology, Africa and the nude. Also known for his expressionistic painting style, the Harmon Foundation awarded Wells a gold medal in ...