Thursday, August 27, 2009

Andy Warhol

Andrew Warhola (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987), more commonly known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became famous worldwide for his work as a painter, avant-garde filmmaker, record producer, author, and public figure known for his membership in wildly diverse social circles that included bohemian street people, distinguished intellectuals, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy aristocrats.

Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the expression "15 minutes of fame".

John Alexander

Born in 1945 in Beaumont, Texas, Alexander remained in southeast Texas until entering graduate school at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1969. Upon completing an MFA in 1970, he moved to Houston, established a studio and became a member of the art faculty of the University of Houston. In the late 1970’s Alexander left Texas for New York where he is to this day. The artist currently divides his time between New York City and Amagansett.

John Alexander has exhibited extensively in the United States and around the world, most recently in Beijing. He has had a major retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. His work is included in the permanent collections of leading museums including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Dallas Museum of Art; The Meadows Museum in Dallas, The McNay Museum in San Antonio, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Nevada Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, as well as many other distinguished public and private collections worldwide.

David Downton

David Downton is a famous fashion illustrator whose work was featured in Bazaar, Style, and Telegraph Saturday magazines. Downton was influenced by Rene Gruau, Antionio Lopez, and Eric Stemp, all of whom were also fashion illustrators. He has been invited to do illustrations for large design houses, as well as for the Paris Haute Couture shows.

Coco Chanel

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel is one of the most famous French fashion designers. She especially famous for focusing on simplicity in her designs, while also using fabrics that were considered "poor," such as jerseys, and upgraded them to make beautiful clothing through expertly tailored clothes. One of her biggest contributions to fashion is the "little black dress," which is now a staple of fashion and of style.

Chanel's style was most closely associated with the emergence of the flapper. Her clothing focused on a woman's body, as Chanel herself said, "I gave women a sense of freedom, I gave them back their bodies: bodies that were drenched in sweat due to fashion's finery, lace, corsets, underclothes, padding."

Chanel was also the first to put a designer label on fragrance in 1921, setting the stanard for future designers.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas was born in Paris, France, the son of a banker. His mother died when he was 13, after which his father and grandfather became his primary influences. Degas enrolled in the Lycee Louis-le-Grand, graduating in 1853 with a baccalaureat in literature.

Degas started painting early in his life, turning his room into a studio by age 18. In 1853, he became a copyist for the Louvre. His father, however, expected him to go to law school. He went, but did not try very hard. In 1855, he met Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, whom he revered, who told him to "draw lines, young man, and still more lines, both from life and from memory, and you will become a good artist."

Degas traveled to Italy, where he spent three year, making studies for his early masterpiece, The Bellelli Family, and making copies after Michaelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and other Renaissance artists. By 1860, Degas had made more than seven hundred copies of works.

After returning to France in 1859, Degas began working on The Bellelli Family masterpiece, while also working on several history paintings, such as Alexander and Bucephalus, The Daughter of Jephthah, Semiramis Building Babylon, and Yound Spartans. Degas' first exibition at the Salon, in 1865, was his painting, Scene of War in the Middle Ages, which was somewhat successful. After this, his paintings became more and more contemporary. His painting, Steeplechase--The Fallen Jockey signaled his growing commitment to contemporary subject matter. He was influenced primarily by the example of Edouard Manet, whp he met in 1864.

Degas produced much of his greatest work during the decade beginning in 1874, after returning from the Franco-Prussian War and discovering that his brother had amassed huge debts, and Degas now had to rely on his artwork to make money, and he sold most of the art he had collected, along with his house to save his family name. Degas was an Impressionist, and a group of impressionists got together and put on shoes, dubbed the Impressionist Exhibitions, which went from 1874 to 1886. He disbanded due to disapproval of the press's image of Impressionists, and his inability to relate to the other members of the group.
Much of his work had dancers, horses, and very contemporary subject matter. His ballerina paintings were some of his most famous works.