This summer the Denver Art Museum will showcase the work of artist Tom Wesselmann, who is best known for his role in the development of pop art in the 1960s. Beyond Pop Art: A Tom Wesselmann Retrospective follows the evolution of the artist’s work through the course of four decades. This five-part blog series is designed to complement the exhibition by calling out five defining moments that shaped Wesselmann’s approach to artmaking. More
The DAM is publishing a series of interviews with local artists about how they were inspired or influenced by artists whose work is on view at the museum. The first blog posts focused on Modern Masters: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
Image credit: Lea Wells, Sail. Courtesy of the artist. More
Fascinated by science and technology, Lucio Fontana refused to think of science and art as two distinct entities. First known for his sculptures, it wasn’t until 1949, at the age of 48, that Fontana explored the style of 'spatial concepts' that he is most well-known for today. From that time on, Fontana began using “concetto spaziale” (spatial concepts) accompanied by a secondary, or more referential word or term. These 2-D pieces were characterized by holes, slashes, or cuts through the canvas surface. More
“I tried to keep the paint as good as it was in the can.” American artist Frank Stella first gained the attention of the art world with his “Black Paintings,” which he created between 1958 and 1960. The compositions of these paintings fall into one of two groups: the earlier paintings are rectilinear and the later ones are based on a diamond pattern. More
Note: Helen Frankenthaler is one of the artists featured in Women of Abstract Expressionism, which will be on view at the Denver Art Museum June 12-September 25, 2016. This blog was originally published for the Modern Masters exhibition. More
Frida Kahlo painted her life story in 55 small but powerful self-portraits, like Self-Portrait with Monkey, 1938, on view in Modern Masters: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Gallery. She exposed her life honestly through her paintings, but her portraits went beyond documentation of her own biography. More
For Wassily Kandinsky, music and color were inextricably tied to one another. So clear was this relationship that Kandinsky associated each note with an exact hue. He once said, “the sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with bass notes or dark lake with treble.” More
Alfred Sisley was born and lived in France for most of his life, but inherited British nationality from his father and never received French citizenship. Although he was raised in Paris, he lived in the outskirts of the city for most of his life, finally settling near Fontainebleau in 1880.
Key piece to look for: Seine at Bougival (La Seine à Bougival), 1873 More
Édouard Manet primarily worked in Paris, where he painted café singers, horse races, outdoor social gatherings, and other scenes of modern urban life. “We are not in Rome and we don’t want to go there,” he said, expressing his concern that artists should paint contemporary life as they knew it, instead of following the tradition of copying Italian Old Master paintings. “We are in Paris, let’s stay here.” He did occasionally travel to Spain and the Netherlands to study other artists’ work, and to the coasts of France, where he painted The Beach at Berck. More
Berthe Morisot lived and worked primarily in the Rue des Moulins district of Paris. Her proximity to Paris’ museums and circle of artists gave her the opportunity to study under Camille Corot and become close friends with Édouard Manet, whose brother she eventually married.
Key piece to look for: Lesson in the Garden (La Leçon au Jardin) 1886. More
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s family moved to Paris when he was a child, and he worked there for the rest of his career. Always looking for new motifs to paint, he traveled extensively, visiting North Africa, Genoa, and many major European cities. Later in his life, he spent winters in southern France, increasingly preferring the idyllic countryside to the bustling city.
Key piece to look for: Banks of the Seine, Bougival (Bords de la Seine, Bougival),1871 More
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec worked in Paris from 1882 to his death in 1901. He is most known for his work between 1891 and 1900, when he lived in Montmartre, a neighborhood of Paris famous for its cabarets, cafes, nightclubs, and brothels.
Key piece to look for: Jane Avril Leaving the Moulin-Rouge¸1892 More
Edgar Degas was born in Paris in 1834 to a wealthy banking family. After spending three years in Italy copying Italian master paintings, he returned to Paris, focusing on a variety of contemporary subjects—including dancers, race horses, seascapes, and brothel scenes. Although he travelled extensively in the early 1870s, Degas spent the majority of the rest of his career in Paris.
Key piece to look for: Double Portrait–The Cousins of the Painter, 1865 More
Camille Pissarro was born in St. Thomas (then part of the Danish West Indies) and lived there most of his young adult life, except when he attended school in Paris from 1842 to 1847. He moved to France in 1855, first establishing himself in Paris and then living in various towns in the countryside outside the city. He did not travel as extensively as other impressionists, choosing to focus on painting the landscapes around the villages he lived in. More
Vincent van Gogh was born in the Netherlands in 1853 and lived there during his formational years as an artist. He briefly attended the Academie des Beaux Arts in Brussels and moved around the Netherlands, immersing himself in the lives of the peasants that he painted. In 1886, he moved to Paris, where he met Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro through his brother Theo, who ran a successful art dealership. He moved to southern France in 1888, where the bright sun and rich landscapes further inspired his vibrant use of color. More
Claude Monet’s love of water lilies is well documented in his artistic output. Monet’s pond in Giverny became his universe during the last two decades of his life, providing the subject for more than 300 artworks. He became a master gardener, continually adding new specimens for artistic inspiration. (See Monet's profile in our series of Passport to Paris artist profiles.) More
Claude Monet moved to Paris in 1862 and worked in and around the city for the beginning of his career, briefly moving to his family home in Normandy in 1867 due to poverty. In 1870 he moved to London to escape the Franco-Prussian War. He moved to Giverny in 1883 where he spent the rest of his life creating and painting his elaborate flower garden. Facing poverty most of his life, Monet traveled extensively in order to find new subjects to paint and widen the range of appeal for his prospective buyers. More
Paul Cézanne worked primarily in Aix-en-Provence, in the South of France. He became a painter only after much disagreement with his father, who encouraged him to study law and banking. Although he regularly spent short periods in Paris, he spent most of the rest of his life in Aix and nearby L’Estaque, where he painted scenes from the surrounding countryside.
Key piece to look for: House in the Country, 1877-79. More