Prints & Drawings
There are so many different forms, and sub-forms, of printing
There are so many different forms, and sub-forms, of printing because over the centuries a wide variety of artists have enjoyed exploring and pushing the "limits" of printing technology further and further. Artists from Rembrandt through Picasso to many more today and beyond have enjoyed exploring these "limits" trying to find the technique that best suited their own purpose and vision. In Rembrandts time one of the main reasons for prints (etchings and woodblocks mostly) was to make images of paintings available in largish quantities to the general public at a reasonable cost and it is still true today that we can enjoy many of the greatest artist's work at affordable prices.
Drawing is perhaps the oldest, the first artistic medium for human beings self-expression and communication predating the written word with images drawn on our cave walls. Just like our handwriting, every person`s drawing line reveals (betrays?) their personality as surely as it reveals their talent.
Why shouldn't art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world. - Pierre-August Renoir
Abstract art is the dried fruit of a correct argument - Max Ernst.
Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) is perhaps best known for his wonderful paintings of his wife Marthe in the bath and other light and colour-filled interiors. He was however an accomplished printmaker in which the influence of Japanese Woodblock Print artists such as Hiroshige can be clearly seen. Between 1889 and 1902 he had his most productive printmaking period during which he produced over 250 lithographs. Many of the lithographs were for posters, such as France-Champagne (1889-91) and the Revue Blanche (1894) and he also produced a suite of 12 colour lithographs, Quelques Aspects de la vie de Paris (Some Aspects ofParis Life), in 1899.
Frank Auerbach was born in Berlin, Germany on the 29th April 1931 and has been a British Citizen since 1947. London has been his muse since then and he is well known for his heavy, impasto paintings many of them of Mornington Crescent as well as his searching portraits of people.
There is currently a large exhibition of his works at Tate Britain from October 2015 to 13th March 2016.
Real style is not having a program - it's how one behaves in a crisis
This section contains Prints and Drawings by various artists, Paul Cézanne, Giacometti, Vlaminck and others, particularly where we only have one work by the artist.
Giacometti: `whether or not sculpture or painting are involved, drawing is the only thing that counts`...` One should be concerned only, exclusively, with drawing. If one could master drawing everything else would be possible.`
Francis Bacon was born in Dublin 28th October 1909 and died in Madrid 28th April 1992. A largely self taught painter who is famous for his triptych`s, such as the seminal `Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion`(1944) and his portraits such as `Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X` (1953). There is a great collection of his works in Dublin in The Hugh Lane Gallery where you can also see a fascinating complete reconstruction of his studio as it was at the time of Bacon`s death.
In his own words:
All painting is an accident. But it's also not an accident, because one must select what part of the accident one chooses to preserve.
I want a very ordered image, but I want it to come about by chance.
You see, painting has now become, or all art has now become completely a game, by which man distracts himself. What is fascinating actually is, that it's going to become much more difficult for the artist, because he must really deepen the game to become any good at all.
If you can talk about it, why paint it?
Georges Braque (1882-1963) was perhaps most famous with the public for working alongside Picasso around 1910 and `inventing` Cubism but by 1914 their close collaboration was at an end and Braque went his own way with Picasso, the great eclectic, always looking over his shoulder at what braque was up to. Braque continued to explore space and colours in his own very unique way and which made him very much a `painters painter` . Over his lifetime he also spent much time doing Lithographs & Etchings; many illustrations, some re-interpretations of his paintings but often new stand alone works exploring the printing medium and the themes, like birds in flight, that fascinated Braque.
See `Braque - The Complete Graphics` by Dora Vallier published by Alpine Fine Arts Collection Ltd. for a comprehensive examination of Braque`s prints which covers most, but not all, of his graphic works.
`I don`t need the sun anymore, I carry my light with me.` Georges Braque
`Forget things, only remember their relationship` Georges Braque
Of painters who imitated the masters too closely Braque said: `They make wine-stains on the tablecloth, but all they can do is drink water`.
Pierre-Cecile Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898) is best known for his huge decorative canvasses painted in oils that recreated the Italian frescoes of the Renaissance. He was greatly admired during his lifetime not only by the artistic establishment but also by younger artists such as Van Gogh, Gauguin and Seurat for his pale `flat` areas of coulour and his wonderfully rythmical compositions.
The portrait shown is a woodcut by Felix Vallotton (1865-1925) commissioned by `The Studio`magazine in 1899 the year after Puvis de Chavannes death.
Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) was something of a butterfly with a prolific output in his life. He wrote poems, novels (Les Enfants Terribles was one), journals, directed films (`Beauty and the Beast` and `Le testament d`orphee` perhaps the best known), painted and drew constantly, producing many lithographs as well. He also wrote the ballet Parade which was produced by Diaghilev, designed by Pablo Picasso and with music composed by Erik Satie in 1917.He was a great socialte, a boxing promoter, was instrumental in getting Jean Genet released from jail and much much more so check him out yourself.
Augustus John (1878-1961) was born in Tenby in Wales and trained at the Slade. He is well known for his portraits, such as his famous portrait of T.E.Lawrence but he is perhaps best recognised as a brilliant draughtsman.
Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945). Her work serves as an indictment of the social conditions in Germany during the late 19th and early 20th century.
The daughter of a well to do mason, Kathe Schmidt was born in East Prussia. Her father encouraged her to draw and when she was 14 years old she began art lessons. She attended The Berlin School of Art in 1884 and later went to study in Munich. After her marriage to Dr. Karl Kollwitz in 1891, the couple settled in Berlin living in one of the poorest sections of the city. It was here that Kollwitz developed her strong social conscious which is so fiercely reflected in her work. Her art features dark, oppressive subject matter depicting the revolts and uprisings of contemporary relevance. Images of death, war and injustice dominate her work. Kollwitz was influenced by Max Klinger and the realist writings of Zola and she worked with a variety of media including sculpture, and lithography.It may be argued that her work was an expression of her tumultuous life. She came into contact with some of the cities most needy people and was exposed to great suffering due to the nature of her husband's work. Her personal life was marred by hardship and heartache. She lost her son to World War I and her grandson to World War II and these losses contributed to her political sympathies.
Kathe Kollwitz became the first woman elected to the Prussian Academy but because of her beliefs, and her art, she was expelled from the academy in 1933. Harassed by the Nazi regime, Kollwitz's home was bombed in 1943. She was forbidden to exhibit, and her art was classified as "degenerate." Despite these events, Kollwitz remained in Berlin unlike artists such as Max Beckman and George Grosz who fled the country.
Kollwitz`s Etching `Self-Portrait with Hand to Her Forehead` features in James Hall`s fascinating Thames & Hudson publication: The Self-Portrait - A Cultural History (Page 245).
Louis Le Brocquy born in Dublin, Ireland (1916-2012).
`Contrary to a generally held view, I think that painting is not in any direct sense a means of communication or a means of self-expression. When you are painting you are trying to discover, to uncover, to reveal. I sometimes think of the activity of painting as a kind of archaeology - an archaeology of the spirit.`
Edouard Manet (1832-83) was a friend of Emile Zola who constantly defended Manet`s work against the critics. Even though Manet was hugely influenced by Velazquez, Goya and Hals the critics didn`t review his work well in his early career which led him to play an important role in the Salon des Refuses in 1863 which brought the Impressionists to prominence. Over his lifetime he executed many fine etchings and wood engravings which can be found in the excellant Catalogue Raisonne by Jean C. Harris `Edouard Manet The Graphic Work` published by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, San Francisco.
Henri Matisse (1869-1954) in his own words:
What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter, an art which could be for every mental worker, for the businessman as well as the man of letters, for example, a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.
Expression, for me, does not reside in passions glowing in a human face or manifested by violent movement. The entire arrangement of my picture is expressive; the place occupied by the figures, the empty spaces around them, the proportions, everything has its share.
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Joan Miro ( 1893 - 1983 ) was born in Barcelona and came to be considered to be a natural Surrealist. In 1928 Andre Breton wrote ` Miro may rank as the most Surrealist of us all `.
He himself said `The spectacle of the sky dazzles my mind. When i see the sun or the crescent of the moon in the immense sky, i`m absolutely overwhelmed. In my pictures, besides, there are many small forms in vast empty spaces. Empty spaces, empty horizons, empty plains, everything that is bare and empty always impresses me....I begin my pictures under the effect of a shock that i feel and that makes me escape from reality. The cause of this shock can be a small thread that has come loose from the canvas, a falling raindrop, or my fingerprint on the shiny surface of this table..`
and `I consider my studio a kitchen garden. There are artichokes over there, potatoes over here. You have to cut off the leaves for the fruit to grow. At a certain point, you have to cut. I work like a gardener, or a wine grower. Things come slowly, i didn`t discover my vocabulary of shapes all at once, for example. It took shape almost despite myself.`
Hughie O`Donoghue was born in 1953 in Manchester, England. His Mother was born in Mayo where he spent much time during his childhood. He graduated from Goldsmith College, London with an MA in Fine Art in 1982 and has gone on to gain an international reputation as a significant Contemporary Painter.He has had many one man shows across the world including in Ireland (IMMA 2009). He has work in many public collections including: Arts Council of England, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, the Ashmoleon Museum Oxford, The British Museum, London, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands, the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, the National Gallery, London and many others.
O'Donoghue has said that he does not believe 'that artists wholly control the meaning of their work'.
In an interview with Brian McAvera in the Irish Arts Review O`Donoghue said: `The ‘Crow’ images: I would have been aware of Ted Hughes’ poems without having read them thoroughly. I’d tried to reintroduce subject matter into painting so that you can latch onto something that’s graspable. I’d see my painting as trying to make something that is poetic; something that is more than the sum of its parts.
The ‘Crow’ pictures came about when I was in the North, crossing the border, and came across a raven in the middle of the road on a foggy day. I went to a taxidermist and got a few stuffed ravens and had them in the studio.`
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).
Everyone wants to understand painting. Why don’t they try to understand the song of the birds? Why do they love a night, a flower, everything which surrounds man, without attempting to understand them? Whereas where painting is concerned, they want to understand. Let them understand above all that the artist works from necessity; that he, too, is a minute element of the world to whom one should ascribe no more importance than so many things in nature which charm us but which we do not explain to ourselves. Those who attempt to explain a picture are on the wrong track most of the time. Gertrude Stein, overjoyed, told me some time ago that she had finally understood what my picture represented: three musicians. It was a still-life!
Boisgeloup, winter 1934, quoted in Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock -, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, pp. 259-260 (translation Daphne Woodward)
Odilon Redon (1840-1916) created two superficially different types of works : colourful, semi-Impressionist vases of flowers, animals, or landscapes, and highly imaginative drawings, lithographs and paintings of fantastic subjects drawn from nature, dreams and visions. However, he always maintained that his `fantasy` images were only possible because of his close contact with reality, nature and the sciences. In his lifetime he was hailed as one of the foremost symbolist painters. He was a close friend of Mallarme and greatly admired the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
Redon strenuously rejected the word `illustration` to describe his prints; `A word needs to be found: I can only think of transmission, interpretation, but even they are not quite right to describe what happens when my reading flows into my arrangement of black and white.`
In his own words:
`The meaning of mystery is to be always in ambiguity, with double, triple aspects; in the hints of aspect (images in images), forms which will be, or which become according to the state of mind of the beholder. All things become more than suggestive because they appear.`
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-69) was born in Leyden, Holland the son of a miller. Famous for his paintings, self-portraits, biblical subjects and contemporary subjects such as `The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq` (better known as `The Nightwatch`). He is also well known for his supreme draughtmanship and his large output of etchings.
`I envy the poet. He is encouraged towards drunkenness and wallows with nubile wenches while the painter must endure wretchedness and pain for his art. `
`Old age is a hindrance to creativity but cannot crush my youthful spirit.`
`Choose only one master - Nature.` Rembrandt.
Andre Albert Marie Dunoyer de Segonzac (1884-1974)
His first submission to the Salon d`Automne was in 1908; the next year he exhibited at the Salon des Independants, and for the next several years he exhibited regularly at both. In the early 1910s he became a member of Section d`Or He was one of the modernists included in the Armory Show that opened in New Yorkin 1913, with subsequent showings in Chicago and Boston.
In 1914, the year of his first solo exhibition (at the Galerie Levesque in Paris), he was drafted for military service in World War I and saw active combat. Between 1914–1918 he published and exhibited a number of war drawings, and by war's end he had earned the Croix de Guerre.
He drew on his military experiences—and learned etching in 1919—in order to illustrate The Wooden Crosses by Roland Dorgeles (published in 1921). Segonzac found etching to be a congenial medium to his spontaneous drawing style, and by the end of his life he had produced some 1600 plates.
In 1947, he published his suite of etchings illustrating the Georgics of Virgil. In the judgement of Anne Distel, chief curator of the Musee D`Orsay, "The technical perfection and the nobility of the tone, which carried the cachet of the original, but was imbued throughout with an unfailing lyricism, make this work Segonzac's masterpiece. It must be included in a list of the most beautifully illustrated books of [the 20th] century."
Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938) was a French painter born Marie-Clémentine Valadon at Bessines-sur-Gartempe, Haute-Vienne, France. In 1894, Valadon became the first woman painter admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. She is also the mother of painter Maurice Utrillo (pictured with here). In the Montmartre quarter of Paris, she pursued her interest in art, first working as a model for artists, observing and learning their techniques, before becoming a noted painter herself. She modeled for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (who gave her painting lessons), Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, and is known to have had an affair with the latter two. She befriended Edgar Degas who, impressed with her bold line drawings and fine paintings, purchased her work and encouraged her efforts.
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) was born in Lowell, Mass. USA but spent most of his life in Europe where he became a famous painter and master of etching. Even though his paintings were often ridiculed in his lifetime, there was his famous court case with Ruskin, his skill at etching was never disputed and he is often compared to Rembrandt in this genre. He lived as a dandy and had a deserved reputation as a great wit being under much demand as a dinner guest along with his friend Oscar Wilde. At one dinner party after a particularly witty remark Wilde is supposed to have said `Oh James, I wish i had said that` to which Whistler replied `You will Oscar, you will`