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Deborah Cullen

[Bob] (Hamilton)

(b Summit, NJ, Dec 10, 1920; d New York, NY, April 21, 2003).

African American printmaker and educator. Robert Blackburn’s family moved to Harlem when he was six years old. Blackburn attended meetings at “306” and learned lithography in 1938 at the Harlem Community Art Center. He earned a scholarship to the Art Students League from 1940 to 1943 and worked for the Harmon Foundation in the mid 1940s. In 1948, he opened the Printmaking Workshop (PMW) in Chelsea, a cooperative where he and his friends could pursue experimental fine art lithography. By 1955, students from S. W. Hayter’s Atelier 17, an experimental intaglio workshop, were in attendance. Blackburn earned his living by teaching lithography and printing editions for artists. He became one of the first black technicians at Cooper Union. From 1952 to 1953, Blackburn went to Paris on a John Hay Whitney traveling fellowship, where he worked at the Jacques Desjobert Workshop and then traveled around Europe. He returned to New York and his Printmaking Workshop in ...

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

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

Lauren B. Hewes

Organization for the cultivation of art and literature that was active in Sandusky, OH, and New York from 1854 to 1861. The Cosmopolitan Art Association was founded in 1854 to encourage the appreciation of fine art and to promote quality literature. Started by the book and periodical publisher Chauncey Lyman Derby (b c. 1821) in Sandusky, OH, the organization moved in 1855 to New York City and established a presence on Broadway. For an annual payment of three dollars, the Association offered its members a one-year subscription to a nationally distributed periodical such as Godey’s Lady’s Book or Graham’s Magazine, among others, and a chance to win an original work of art in the Association’s yearly art lottery. The first lottery included a version of the Greek Slave by American sculptor Hiram Powers, European genre paintings and landscapes by Ohio and New England artists. During its first full year of operation, the Association attracted over 22,000 members, including schools, libraries, social clubs and individuals....

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

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

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 ...