Oldřich Kulhánek

Lithographs by Oldřich Kulhánek

Born  in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1940, Oldřich Kulhánek was a graphic designer, painter, illustrator, and stage designer. He graduated in 1964 from the Prague Academy of Applied Arts, in the atelier of graphic artist and muralist Karel Svolinský.  At the time of his graduation, he had produced a series of illustrations to Vladimir Holan’s poetic work “Dreams” and poet Christian Morgenstern’s “The Gallows Songs”.  

Kulhánek had his first solo exhibition in Prague in 1968. He captured the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in that year in a series of allegorical drawings, which included pictures of Stalin and other communist dignitaries. These twelve prints made their way to the West, and were exhibited at the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka, Japan.

Kulhánek’s prominence among the dissidents in the Communist Era led to his arrest in 1971 by the State Security Police. His allegorical images of Stalin, Mao Zedong, andKhrushchev were judged slanderous and led to charges of ‘slandering a fraternal Soviet State’..  The images,, which included a distorted portrait of Stalin,  were deemed ideologically dangerous and destroyed. After a month in prison,  Kulhánek was banned from exhibiting his work in his home country and interrogated regularly for two years.

“I remember one interrogation by the secret police, when one idiot kept screaming at me. He wanted to know who Hieronymus Bosch was,  where he worked and how I had met him. Even though I knew that he wanted to throw me in jail and was screaming at me, I said to myself ‘I must be dreaming’.  When I told him that [Bosch] died 500 years ago, he told me to drop the intellectual mockery.” – Oldřich Kulhánek

In the 1980s, Oldřich Kulhánek created many lithographs based on the development of the human body.  In 1982 he was awarded the silver medal for his illustrations of Faust at the International Exhibit of Book Art in Leipzig. With the occurrence of the 1989 Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia which transitioned the political power, he was able to travel to the United States and attend the Lithographic Workshop in Los Angeles. Later he was invited to give a series of workshops at universities, including the University of Houston. Kulhánek also traveled to Belgium to study the classical works in its museums.

Oldřich Kulhánek was one of the more visible artists of the Czech Republic. He was the president of the Society of Czech Graphic Artists founded in 1917, the President of the State Jury of Postage Stamp Design,  and the designer of all currency now in circulation in the Czech Republic.  Kulhánek also became one of the principle designers of Czech postage stamps, many bearing his images of important Czech personalities. He passed away suddenly in Prague on January 28th of 2013 at the age of seventy-two.

Cody Sampson

Cody Sampson, “Closer Look”, 2018, Digital Art, Computer Graphics

Cody Sampson is a digital artist living and working in both Long island, New York, and New Plymouth, New Zealand. His graphic works, often illusionary images or depictions of scenes with an unique flair, includes computer-generted animations, infinite loop gifs, and digital stills. Sampson creates his work using tools, such as Octane Render, Maxon’s Cinema 4D, and Adobe Photoshop. His main site is: https://cody-sampson.tumblr.com

Image reblogged with thanks to : https://doctordee.tumblr.com


Michisei Kohno

Michisei Kohno, “Self Portrait”, 1917, Oil on Canvas, Arthur M Sackler Gallery

Born in 1905 in Isezaki in the Gunma Prefacture of Japan, Michisei Kohno was a Japanese painter, illustrator, and printmaker known for his association with the yōga movement of the early century. His artwork is representative of the Taishō period, from 1912 to 1925, in Japanese art when Emperor TaishOō reigned. This era is considered the time of the liberal ‘democracy’ movement.

In his early youth, Michisei fell under the influence of painter Kishida Ryūsei, known for his realistic yoga-position portraits, and joined his art circle Sõdosha in 1915.. Upon Kishida’s death in 1929, Michisei turned to illustration producing work for novels and a variety of newspapers. In 1931 he became a member of Nihon Hanga Kyokai, the Japanese Woodblock Print Society, and also returned to painting, although sporadically, between 1933 and 1937.

The greatest influence upon Michisei’s work was the prints of Albrecht Dürer, gained primarily form books and magazines. The works of Michelangelo, as well as the Christian faith, also provided inspiration. In his work, Michisei reularly touched upon Christian themes, blending them with unorthodox elements, such as Adam and Eve crossing a river in Japan. He also produced many self-portraits throughout his career.

Michisei Kohno died in 1950 in Koganei in the Tokyo Prefecture of Japan. His artwork was soon forgotten until a 2008 retrospective at the Hiratsuka Museum of Art in Tokyo. Two of his paintings, a portrait of his son Shuntatsu and the self-portrait shown above, are in the Sackler Gallery in Washington DC. His works can be seen in several museums in Japan, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Hiratsuka Museum, both in Tokyo.

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Saturnino Herrán

Paintings by Saturnino Herrán

Mexican painter Saturnino Herrán Guinchard began studying drawing and painting with José Ines Tovilla and Severo Amador. He later studied with teachers Julio Ruelas, Fabres Antonio Catalan, Leandro Izaguirre and Germán Gedovious.

Herrán’s work is mainly inspired by pre-Columbian Mexico, with its folk customs and the lifestyles of its people. His figures have been associated with the traditions of Spanish art, particularly Catalan Modernism, along with the work of Velazquez and Josa de Rivera, The works of Saturnino Herran include the paintings: “Labor and Work”, “Mill and Marketers”, and “Legend of the Volcanos”. Herrán also painted the “Creole” Series and the triptych “Our Ancient Gods”.

Julio Ruelas

Julio Ruelas, “Critica”, 1906, Etching, 19 x 15 cm, Museo National de Arte, Mexico City, Mexico

Born on June 21, 1870, in Zacatecas, Julio Ruelas was a Mexican graphic artist, printmaker and painter. He was one of the pioneers of Mexican Modernism and a significant representative of Symbolism in the country. 

In 1885m Ruelas enrolled in the National School of Fine Arts and later at the Escuela de Bellas Artes. He traveled to Germany in 1892, studying at the Academy of Arts in Karlsruhe, where he developed a serious interest in the works of Swiss Symbolist painter Arnold Boeklin. During his stay in Germany, Ruelas was introduced to the Romantic art movement, a style whose emphasis on emotion and the glorification of nature and the past would have a deep influence upon his works. 

After his return to Mexico in 1895, Ruelas published his works in the extremely influential symbolist publication, “Revista Moderna”, founded by poet Jssús E Valenzuela, and became its principal illustrator. In 1904, Ruelas traveled to Paris, perfecting his etching techniques, and then briefly onto Belgium to observe its symbolist movement’s works.

Julio Ruelas spent the last three years of his life in Paris. He died on September 16, 1907 from tuberculosis at the age of thirty-seven. His works are on display In the Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico and in the Francisco Goitia Museum in his home city of Zacatecas, among other collections. 

Julio Ruelas’ 1906 etching “Critica” is from a series of personal portrait etchings that he produced. On the artist’s head sits a fantastic being with bird feet, two small arms and a body of chicken without feathers. The animal has a pair of large breasts that can be seen behind its arms. The creature, wearing an elegant, fashionable hat for upper-class men of the late 20th century, appears to be about to pierce the artist’s head with its beak. The grotesque feeling of this etching reflects Ruelas’ aversion to the unpleasant criticism being given to his symbolist works at this point in time.

Ubaldo Gandolfi

The Artwork of Ubaldo Gandolfi

Ubaldo Gandolfi was born in San Matteo della Decima, near Bologna, on 14 October 1728. His father, a man of some standing in society, allowed him to move to Bologna when he was barely over the age of ten in order to begin studying drawing. He studied under Baroque painter Felice Torelli before moving in 1748 to the school of painter Ercole Graziani the Younger. 

At the same time, Gandolfi began to frequent the Accademia Clementina and won the much-prized Fiori Award for attendance and for quality in the depiction of the nude in 1746. Gandolfi’s tireless practice of drawing from life, from posing models which became a constant feature of his mindset, was organized under the academic teaching of the anatomist Ercole Lelli.

Gandolfi’s first public success came in 1759 in the shape of an altarpiece with the “Assumption of the Virgin and Saints” for Castel San Pietro in Verona, preceded by a small rough clay model, now in the Uffizi Museum. The altarpiece owes a debt to the models of painter Guido Reni and to painters and teachers Ludovico and Annibale Carracci in the attitudes and gestures of its figures. Ubaldo’s renown grew to the point where he was made a full member of the Academy in 1760, and his work was  sought even by the Empress Catherine II of Russia.

Gandolfi’s colleagues in the Clementina entrusted him in 1766 with painting a fresco in the Eleventh Chapel in the Portico of St. Luke, depicting the Resurrection of Christ. “The Resurrection” is a magnificent example of Ubaldo Gandolfi’s fervent style with its evocative, theatrical character. For the senatorial nobility Gandolfi  produced ancient and modern myths, such as the “Four Seasons’” on a wall and “Aurora” on the ceiling at the Palazzo Segni Facchini.

In 1769 Gandolfi painted figurative frescoes for nobleman Conte Bentivoglio, who commissioned the decoration of the rooms on the ground floor of his palazzo in order to mark his term as magistrate. But Ubaldo Gandolfi’s ability to convey the solidity of his figures’ bodies was to allow the artist to produce superb results in secular fables, for instance in his 1770 paintings “Perseus and Andromeda” and “Diana and Endymion”, commissioned by  Senator Marchese Gregorio Casali; the “Mercury About to Behead  Argus” commissioned for the Marescalchi family palace; and the six mythological stories painted some time later for the Marescalchi family’s Palazzo Dall’Armi.

The painter’s renown grew in the field of religious painting thanks to his highly theatrical Baroque pieces, such as the Medicina Altarpiece in the church of San Mamante with its “Christ in Glory and Saints” or his “St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata”, a composition of passionate gesture. This highly productive decade ended with a large canvas for the church of Sant’ Agostino in Imola, depicting “St. Nicholas of Tolentino Preaching to the Crowds”.

Throughout his career, Ubaldo Gandolfi produced portraits of young girls, children, apprentices, men and women portrayed from life, and old men with intense features. These works, for instance the “Young Woman” now hanging in the Louvre, were extremely popular in the 1770s. In his graphic work, Gandolfi produced numerous very fine studies from life, displaying a certain inclination to portray the natural, an inclination that showed prominently in his pen and ink studies of heads.

Ubaldo Gandolfi died of malaria in Ravenna, where he had just recently moved, on July 24, 1781.

Felix d’Eon

Illustrations by Felix d’Eon

Guadalajara-born artist Felix d’Eon is influenced by multiple historical art styles, including vintage American comics, Edwardian fashion, illustrations from children’s books, and the prints of Edo period Japan. Doing careful research in costumes, settings, and the style of a period, he gives his work, done on antique paper, the illusion of antiquity, D’Eon’s thoroughness and accuracy allows his illustration to appear taken from the pages of an art history textbook. 

D’Eon uses the vintage illustrative style, with its delicate romance and aesthetics, as a tool for narratives of both marginalized and historically oppressed gay communities. He employs this technique in his illustrations, both erotic and provocative, to challenge the modern-day stigmas, still present, around same-sex relationships. 

Ultimately, D’Eon’s illustrations read as an alternative history for the queer people he draws. None of his characters suffer from tragic endings or acts of injustice like they perhaps might have in the past or even present day. Instead, D’Eon recreates the world not as it was or is, but imagines the world as it can be. 

Felix d’Eon has produced a series of tarot card illustrations and is currently working on a series of astrological signs painted with queer subjects. Many of his illustrations can be found for purchase at the artist’s site at Society6:  https://society6.com/felixdeon

Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester

Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester, “Manuel” Series, 1983-1985, La Luna de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Born in Tangier, Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester was a draftsman, illustrator and a sculptor. He was considered one of the most representative draftsmen of Madrid’s “La Movida”, a countercultural movement that took place during Spain’s transition after Francisco Franco’s death in 1975. One of Rodrigo’s few works in the comic genre was “Manuel”, an experimental and unconventional work, telling the tale of an nonreciprocal gay love story through an autobiographical character. The “Manuel” series was published in the oversize pages of the monthly magazine “La Luna de Madrid” between 1983 and 1985.

Rodrigo’s technical perfection and his mastery of perspective are evidence of his training as an architect and his study of Fine Art. In his illustrative work, he shows his fondness for realism and the classical paintings in the Prado Museum; he also recognizes the influence of the painters he admires, such as Edward Hopper and fashion illustrator Antonio López.

In 2005, a compilation of Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester’s work, containing “Manuel” and seven other works not published in La Luna de Madrid, was published, entitled “Manuel No Está Solo”, by Sins Entido, a Spanish publisher committed to graphic novels. Unfortunately, this compilation book is currently out-of-print.

Ángel Zárraga

Paintings by Ángel Zárraga

Ángel Zárraga y Argūelies was born in 1886 in the Barrio de Analco of Durango, Mexico. He attended the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria in Mexico City and the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes. In 1904 with the help of his family, Zárraga made a study trip to Europe, where he visited and exhibited in Spain, France, and Italy. He also attended courses at the Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium.

In 1906 Zárraga exhibited some of his paintings in the Museo del Prado. Thirty of his paintings were exhibited in 1907 at Mexico City’s Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, two of which were purchased by the government. In 1909 Zárraga exhibited his work at the International Exhibition in Munich. During the same year, he exhibited in the Salon at the Piazzale Donatello in Florence and also participated at the Biennale di Venezia. 

In 1910 Zárraga exhibited at the International in Rome and while in Rome, painted a portrait of the Baroness Lombroso. He sent a group of twenty-five finished canvases to Mexico in 1910, selling four to the Mexican government and four to private collectors. 

Ángel Zárraga, upon his return to Europe in 1911, decided to call Paris his home. From 1914 to 1921, his work was in a Cubist style, but after 1921 his work became influenced by the painting styles of Paul Cézanne and Italian painter Giotto di Bondone. 

In Paris, Zárraga painted a succession of murals at the Château de Vert-Cœur; in the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris: and at the Mexican Embassy. He also exhibited his paintings at the Salon d’Automne, an annual Parisian art exhibition at the Grand Palais.

In 1941 with the outbreak of World War II, Zárraga returned to his home country of Mexico, where he painted murals at the Club de Banqueros and in Monterrey Cathedral, the main Catholic church and the home of the Archdiocese of Monterrey.. Ángel Zárraga died of pneumonia on September 22, 1946.

Bruce Weber, “Andy Minsker”

Bruce Weber, “Andy Minsker”, Cover Photo for Per Lui Magazine, Issue Number 29, July/August, 1985

Andrew Claude Minsker was born on March 20, 1962, in Portland, Oregon. He was named National Golden Gloves Champion in 1983 and National United States Amateur Champion by the American Boxing Federation in 1983. During his career, he tried out for the US Olympic Boxing Team, becoming the United States Olympic Trials Champion in 1984.

Minsker was a very disciplined boxer, training five days a week, every week, for the fifteen years of his career. By the time he retired from boxing, he had fought 344 matches, had never been knocked off his feet, and had won first-round knockouts against both the Yugoslav and British Commonwealth champions. In 1981 he smashed his right hand on an opponent’s head, causing major damage to his hand which was only partially repaired. Minsker continued fighting bouts, covering up his weakness, for an additional ten years, until his retirement in 1991.

Andrew Minsker was the subject of a documentary by photographer Bruce Weber entitled “Portrait of a Boxer”, a black and white film interspersed with color shots and mixed with jazz songs.The film focuses on Minsker as a coach training a group of kids in his boxing club.

Andrew Minsker is now coporate president of Andrew Minsker, Ltd, Inc, and has been with Postive Impact Unlimited in Milwaukee since 1988. Minsker continues to runs his boxing club in Oregon.

Image reblogged with many thanks to a great visual site: https://doctordee.tumblr.com


Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe, “Jack Walls”, 1982, Gelatin Silver Print, Getty Museum

Chicago-born artist Jack Walls has been a vital part of the New York art world for over 30 years. While his visual artwork primarily focuses on painting and collage, Walls is also a writer, poet and performer. In the early 1980s in New York, he met and lived as a couple with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, sitting for photographs and becoming his muse. This relationship lasted until Mapplethorpe’s untimely death in March of 1989. Since then, Walls has become a source of inspiration for a new generation of young artists including: New York City photographer Ryan McGinley, sculptor Dan Colen, and the late multi-media artist Dash Snow. Jack Walls currently lives and works in Hudson, New York.

Painter and poet Jack Walls is considered an ‘inside outsider’ when it comes to his own art which extends across all mediums including drawing, photo collage, poetry and painting. Each work is discovered through Walls’ personal patterns and discipline. As he navigates from one series to the next, he repeats and refashions successful themes. The overall effect fashions a cohesive narrative while still emphasizing his personal style.

“My time with Robert was a learning experience; there was so much to absorb being around him. We worked all the time, everything was about work, but you didn’t really feel like you were working. And yes, it was glamorous, we were invited everywhere. We were very social, we were young… we travelled. He was smart, but not in an intellectual way because he never read books, he was a canny observer, his aesthetic and taste were better than most. Needless to say there wasn’t too much about Robert that was average.”

—Jack Walls, Interview with Eduardo Gion Espejo-Saavedra for GPS Radar, September of 2017   

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Jai Peng Fang, 永远 “Forever”

Jai Peng Fang, “Forever” 永远

Jia Peng Fang was born in April of 1958 in Jiamusi, China. He is a virtuoso of the erhu, the Chinese violin. He has played in hundreds of live concerts throughout China and Japan, as well as recording for movies, television and radio. 

At an early age, in 1966 and under the influence of his older brother, Jai Peng Fang began to learn to play erhu. At the age of sixteen, his brother helped him go to Beijing to study the Erhu with the most experienced players. From 1974 to 1976, Fang stayed with his aunt and practiced with the erhu. After the Great Karasan Earthquake, he joined the Navy Song and Dance Band until, as part of the Cultural Revolution, he was forced to return to his native Jama as an agricultural worker. 

After the Cultural Revolution, upon the advice of a former teacher, Fang decided to enter a music school. In 1978 he studied and applied to Central Conservatory of Music. After being recommended by Zhou Yaozhen in 1979, he officially became the erhu player of the Central National Orchestra as a performer in the Folk section. After six years as a professional erhu player, Fang was appointed deputy director of the orchestra department.

In 1988, Jia Peng Fang moved to Japan and enrolled in the Master of Arts Degree Program in Music at the Tokyo University of Arts. Upon graduating with his masters degree, he was admitted as a member of the China Musicians Association and became director of the Erhu Chinese Society. Upon graduation he also started participating in the production of Katsuhisa Hattori’s albums and concerts and began large-scale professional performances.

Jia Peng Fang has performed in the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York, and in Carnegie Hall, playing with the Tokyo Pops Orchestra and New York Pops Orchestra. In 1997, Fang’s brilliant performances with his orchestra at Carnegie Hall in New York solidified his position in the world of music.

One of Jai Peng Fang’s most beautiful and moving melodic songs, “Silent Moon”, contained in the 1999 album “River”, was used as a musical mat in a famous video tribute dedicated to the great martial arts master Yip Man, master of Bruce Lee. The video shows the Grandmaster’s abilities in his Wing Chun style, images taken a few weeks before he died.

Anna Hyatt Huntington

The Sculptural Work of Anna Hyatt Huntington

A master of naturalistic animal sculputes, Anna Hyatt Huntington was born in 1876 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Adiella Hyatt, an amateur landscape artist, and Alpheus Hyatt, a professor of paleontology and zoology at Harvard University and MIT. During her childhood years, she developed a passion for drawing and an extensive knowledge of anatomy and animal behavior.

After studying several years to become a concert violinist, Huntington switched her studies to sculpture under portrait sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson at his Boston studio. Her first one-woman show, consisting of forty animal sculptures, was held in 1900 at the Boston Arts Club. During this year, Huntington produced her first commissioned work; two Great Danes cut from blue granite for wealthy Boston merchant Thomas Lawson.

After the death of her father and marriage of her sister, Huntington  left Boston, moving to New York City. She attended the city’s Art Students League, studying under marble sculptor George Grey Barnard and Hermon MacNeil, whose sculptures concentrated on American Indian subjects. Huntington studied briefly under Gutzon Borgium, the designer of Mount Rushmore, but left after criticizing his knowledge of animal anatomy. Choosing to be more independent, she started spending most of her time at the Bronx Park Zoo and circuses to model animals. The result of her observations there were her first major works: the 1902 equestrian work “Winter Moon” and the 1908 “Reaching Jaguar”.

Anna Huntington shared a studio with sculptor Abasteria St. Leger Eberle for several years, collaborating in partnership on works for two years. Two of their collaborative works were: “Men and Bull”, which won a bronze medal at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and “”Boy and Goat Playing” which was exhibited at the gallery of the Society of American Artists in 1906. Between 1906 and 1910, Anna Huntington, confident of her skills, traveled several times between New York, Paris and Naples, working on commissions and exhibiting her works.

After an early model of a Joan of Arc equestrian statue gained honorable mention in the 1910 Paris Salon, Huntington received a commission by the City of New York to produce a life-sized bronze statue from the model. After extensive research on medieval armor at the Metropolitan Museum and a search for the perfect horse model, Huntington finished the large-scale “Joan of Arc” clad in a full suit of medieval armor. The unvieling occurred on December 6th of 1915, marking it as New York City’s first monument made by a woman, and the first monument to feature a real woman of history as its subject.

In 1923 Anna Huntington married her husband, railroad heir and philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington, who supported her work both financially and emotionally. Anna Huntington continued to work on her sculptures, winning new commissions including the equestrian work “El Cid Campeador”, the cast-aluminum “Fighting Stallions” at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina, and “Diana” installed in 1948 at the National Academy of Design. 

In the late 1930s, Anna and Archer Huntington donated their Fifth Avenue townhouse to the National Academy of Design. A few years later, as Archer Huntington became quite ill, they donated their Haverstraw, New York, estate and zoo to the state of New York. In 1931, Anna and Archer Huntington established  Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in the United States. 

Following Archer Huntington’s death in 1955, Anna Huntington returned to full-time art work, despite being in her 80s. Between 1959 and 1966, she completed five more equestrian statues, including one of the late nineteenth century writer and activist  José Marti, one of a young Abraham Lincoln, and one of a young Andrew Jackson. On Huntington’s ninetieth birthday in 1966 she was still working, reportedly on a bust of the composer Charles Ives. Around the end of the 1960s, Huntington finally retired from creative work. She died on October 4, 1973, in Redding, Connecticut, following a series of strokes at the age of 97.

Note:  The Brookgreen Gardens contain many of Huntington’s works and many figures by other artists, the acquisitions being a boon to struggling artists of the Depression era. Now a National Historic Landmark, it is the most significant collection of figurative sculpture, in an outdoor setting, by American artists in the world. It also has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and contains thousands of acres of Wildlife Preserve.

William Brickel

Watercolors by William Brickel

Born in England near the Welsh border in 1994,  William Brickel studied Fine Art Photography at Cumberwell College of Arts, graduating in 2017 and earned his Masters Degree the following year at the Royal Drawing School in London. 

The human figure is a recurrent and central concern in Brickel’s work. Depicted with contorted bodies, the figures gaze away from the center and the viewer toward the edge of the picture plane, looking beyond the other figures and the cramped surroundings. If not alone, the brooding figures, when they appear in pairs or groups, playfully and wistfully wrap around and caress one another with enormous, unwieldy hands.

Backgrounds are often more suggestive than explicit; but mindful attention is given to the patterns of fabrics and, particularly, the gradations of light on the forms. A great deal of skill is exhibited in William Brickel’s watercolors. It is not a very tolerant medium; mistakes are hard, almost impossible, to correct and even oil from your skin can effect the paper’s absorption of the color. 

William Brickel’s work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions in the United Kingdom and Europe. His work will be featured at the 2020 Marfa International Exhibition at the August 13th to 16th event held at George Hall in Marfa, Texas.


Yuri Annenkov

Yuri Annenkov, “Portrait of Daniel Geccen”, 1922, Watercolor with Pen and Ink, 44.5 x 37.7 cm,  Private Collection

Born into an old family of noble descent in Petropavlovsk, Russia, near the Sea of Japan, Yuri Annenkov was formally trained as an artist at the St. Petersburg University. There he studied from 1908-1909 under the direction of Savelli Zaideberg, and from 1909-1911 under painter Yan Tsionglinsky of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts. Annenkov left Russia in 1911 and traveled to Paris, enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he met many of his compatriots, including Marc Chagall and sculptor Ossip Zadkine.

While in Paris, Annenkov entered the studio of painter Maurice Denis and printmaker Felix Vallotton, both members of the Les Nabis, a group of young artists transitioning to symbolism and abstract art. During the years 1913 to 1917, while illustrating for text publications, Annenkov confirmed his personal style, rooted in the Constructivist form of the time, but with a contemporary personal interpretation adapted to the genre and medium used.

Annekov regularly contributed to the Russian illustrated weekly magazine  “Tetr I Iskuustvo (Theater and Art)” and a variety of other publications. His first work as a book designer was social-realist writer Maxim Gorky’s 1917 fairy-tale book “Samovar” with illustrations by E Popkova.  Annekov gained notoriety when he adapted his constructivist style to a series of illustrations for Russian poet Aleksandra Blok’s emotional revolutionary poem “Dvenadtsat”. This was one of the first poetic responses to the 1917 October Revolution in Russia, a poem later widely condemned by the Russian intelligentsia.

In 1920 Annenkov joined Mstislav Dohuzhinsky, known for his cityscapes, and architect Vladimir Shchuko in preparing theater sets in Saint Petersburg, under the commission of the Bolshevik government. The work included the massive 1920  production “The Storming of the Winter Palace”, performed on the Palace Square, an effort not only to commemorate the Revolution’s third anniversary but also, by design, an attempt to break the barrier between actors and audience. Annenkov’s 1920 production “Hymn to Liberated Labor”, a one-time, open air spectacle with a cast of four thousand, was staged in front of an emotionally charged audience at the old St. Petersburg stock exchange.

Annenkov, in the years from 1920, started to seriously work in the genre of portrait painting. While in Russia, he painted portraits of the renowned artists and politicians of the era, including Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin, art critic and historian Alexander Benois, and poet and novelist Boris Pasternak. Annenkov’s book “Portraits”, published in 1922, contained eighty portraits, made between 1906 to 1921, of the main figures of Russian art at that time.

Immigrating to Paris in 1924, Annenkov worked as a book illustrator and as both cinema and theater set designer until his death in 1974. He was co-nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for work in the 1953 film “The Earrings of Madame de. . .”, a romantic French drama film by Max Ophüls.

Note: Annekov’s watercolor “Portrait of Daniel Geccen”  is signed in cyrillic and dated 1922 in the upper right corner. The inscription on the obverse, written by the sitter Daniel Geccen states: ‘1924 9 October – 29 March  To my baby friend – my wife, memory about her I will carry through all of my life, let my love and her love never touched by course of time. Yours Dan…’

Alex Yocu

Alex Yocu, Five Photographs from “The Fight Club” Series, Date Unknown, Moscow

Born in Moscow, Alex Yocu is a photographer and producer of television and internet media. He studied film making at the Moscow School of New Cinema. Yocu is the Studies Director of Photography at the School of Cinema and Television Industry in Moscow and the founder of his own studio Alex Yocu Photography.. Previously, he worked as the in-house photographer for the Gogol Center, Russia’s leading avant-garde theater and arts complex in Moscow.

Yocu started his professional photography in 2010, cooperating with leading Russian theaters. His very impressive portfolio covers fashion, advertising and reportage; but he has established a reputation as one of the leading theatre photographers based in Moscow’s premiere Gogol Center. As a producer and director of photography, Yocu has also created several short internet series and short films. 

In addition to his portrait and commercial work, Alex Yocu has produced several photographic series of behind-the-scenes film, theater, and sports images. These include Kirill Serebrennikov’s 2018 musical biopic “Leto (Summer”; a dance series with Russian professional dancers Alexey Kots, Ygor Sharoyko and Artem Gerasimov; and a series with martial art fighters at a Russian fight club, among others.

Alex Yuco’s first personal photo album “Gogol Center:Backstage” was published in 2017, containing photos from the series “The Backstage Life of the Theater”. The project was started in early 2016 with the idea of capturing artists in a unique borderline state between real life and the stage, including the preparation and backstage moments between scenes. Over fifteen hundred images of two hundred performances were shot, of which five hundred were selected by Kirill Serebrennikov and published in the limited edition photo book.

Will McBride

Photography by Will McBride

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1931, Will McBride was an American photographer, book illustrator and painter who grew up in Chicago. He studied painting under Norman Rockwell and later attended the National Academy of Design in New York. McBride studied drawing and painting at Syracuse University in New York, earning his BA in Fine Arts in 1953. After serving from 1953 to 1955 in the US Army at its base in Wùrzburg, Germany, he remained in Germany until his death in 2015.

Largely remembered as a celebrated documentarian of the new generation of postwar youth and the sexual revolution in Berlin in the 1950s and 1960s, McBride regularly photographed for a number of European periodicals, including most notably the German youth magazine “Twen.” Working in a documentary style for the purpose of telling a multi-faceted story, McBride would shoot literally hundreds of negatives while on assignment.

In 1963, the magazine “Twen” commissioned Will McBride to shoot a photo-essay on the School of Salem Castle, long considered one of the most elite boarding schools in Europe. McBride’s images chronicle many aspects of the students’ lives from meals and lessons to athletics. “Twen” published a number of photographs from the shoot at the School of Salem Castle, the most famous being “Mike Wäscht mit Anderen Schule, Salem”, a photograph shot in the communal showers. 

Exhibitions of Will McBride’s photography have included those at the Galleria d’Art Moderne in Bologna, Italy; the Dany Keller Galerie in Munich; and the Galerie Argus Fotokunst and the Haus am Waldsee, both in Berlin. In 2004, Will McBride recieved the Dr. Erich Salomon Prize, a lifetime achievement award, from the German Society of Photography.

In 2014 New York’s ClampArt Gallery held a first-time-seen  exhibition entitled “Salem Suite”, which included sixteen related photographs from the Salem shoot that were personally selected by McBride. 

Yisrael Dror Hemed

Paintings by Yisrael Dror Hemed

Born in Israel in 1975, painter Yisrael Dror Hemed currently lives and works in Netanya, a resort city in north central Israel. He received both his BA in Law and MA in Law from Tel Aviv University. Between 2007 and 2010, Hemed studied under painter and sculptor Maya Cohen Levy of the Kalisher Art School in Tel Aviv.

Hemed’s work, known for his portrait paintings, explores the image of the male figure, both in its cultural and social spheres. His figurative paintings, mainly in oil, are based both on personal relationships as well as people he has photographed in public spaces. The paintings are characterized by their soft tones and suppleness of form, created by his palette choices and the figure placement on the canvas. 

Yisrael Hemed has exhibited in a variety of exhibitions: the Gross Gallery in Tel Aviv, the Egozi Gallery in Tel Aviv, a solo exhibition in 2013 at the Israel Museum of Art in Ramat Gan, which holds several of his paintings in their collection, and various group exhibitions in Israel and abroad. Hemed also had a solo exhibition in 2019, presented by IAILA, in collaboration with Los Angeles’s Department of Cultural Affairs, as part of LBGT Heritage Month. 

Simon de Pury

Simon de Pury, “Monte Carlo in November”, 2019

Born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1951, Simon de Pury is a photographer, art auctioneer and collector. His art career began when he studied Japanese painting techniques at the Tokyo Academy of Fine Arts. He began his auctioning career working for the Swiss auction house Kornfeld and Klipstein in Bern. 

After studying at the Sotheby’s Institute, de  Pury in 1974 began working for Sotherby’s London and Monte Carlo offices, later moving to the new Geneva, Switzerland, branch. He was curator of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection from 1979 to 1986. In 1986, de Pury was appointed chairman of Sotherby’s Switzerland and later became chairman of Sotherby’s Europe.

In 2020, Simon de Pury became artistic director of the new United Kingdom gallery Newlands House, set in an 18th century townhouse in West Sussex. He is overseeing the gallery’s programming, which is dedicated to modern and contemporary art, photography, and design. 

George Inness

George Inness, “Sunset at Etretat”, c 1875, Oil on Canvas, 51.4 x 76.8 cm, Private Collection.

Born in Newburgh, New York, in May of 1825, George Inness grew up on the family farm in Newark, New Jersey. His art training consisted of studying under itinerant artist John Jesse Barker, who had studied with portrait painter Thomas Sully, and a year’s apprenticeship with the  engraving firm of Sherman & Smith and then with Currier & Ives. 

In 1843 Inness was accepted into the National Academy of Design, where he rejected the fashion for sentimental scenes and painted quiet landscapes of the natural world. After taking additional lessons from French landscape painter Régis François Gignoux in 1843, Inness first began exhibiting in New York at the National Academy of Design in 1844. He officially joined the New York art world when he opened his own studio in the city two years later. 

Inness’s first international trip in 1851 took him to Rome and Florence. In Florence, he met the portraitist William Page and almost certainly discussed the works of Titian, which Page often copied and which moved Inness’ style in a more painterly direction. Perhaps most important, through Page, Inness came to know the writings of the Swedish scientist, theologian and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, which increasingly shaped his personal and aesthetic philosophy. During a Paris stop on his way back to the United States, Inness attended the Salon and for the first time saw paintings by the Barbizon school artists. While Inness was inspired by the idea of divine significance in nature, he was drawn to the fresh, loose brushwork and overt emotional significance of Barbizon paintings. 

After a move to Medfield, Massachusetts in 1860, Inness spent four years painting pastoral scenes in the fresh air in an effort to improve his health. In 1866, he received a commission to paint a series on a central theme of Swedenborgian doctrine. Collectively entitled “The Triumph of the Cross,” the three paintings—only “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” survives intact—used the trope of the pilgrim’s journey to manifest the transition from the desolate, natural realm, illuminated only by a glowing cross in the sky, to the verdant spiritual realm. A profile on Inness in the July 1867 “Harper’s Weekly” defined him as a Swedenborgian and marked the first public affiliation of the two men. 

In 1870, Inness began a four-year stay in Europe. In Rome, he rented the studio on the Via Sistina said to have been occupied by Claude Lorrain. During these years, he created landscape paintings primarily in two styles: one group with crisp, geometric spaces that resonate with Swedenborg’s description of the structured character of the spiritual realm, and a second group with generalized spaces and rich, gestural brushwork.

In the summer of 1875, Inness lived in the recently opened grand hotel Kearsarge House at the base of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Inness painted several landscapes of the mountain, concentrating not on the majestic scenery but rather the atmospheric effects he observed. In June 1878, he rented the Dodge estate in Montclair, New Jersey; during the next sixteen years, he would perfect his signature style of painting.

In 1879 and 1883, Inness spent two summers painting on Nantucket Island, where his style continued to change, using softer tones that approached the colored atmosphere and tonal qualities of his late work. In December 1884, he purchased the estate in Montclair and, the following February, moved to the estate permanently, though he continued to retain his studio in New York. His membership in the Society of American Artists, founded in 1878, underscored his commitment to expressive painting. His progressive stance in politics continued with his involvement in Henry George’s single-tax movement and his profound concern for workers’ rights.

Inness’ body of work, which comprises more than 1,150 paintings, watercolors, and sketches, remains an extraordinary testament to his lifelong devotion to landscape painting and his ongoing search for fresh pictorial techniques. Often described as a Tonalist, Inness remains distinct from such artists as James Whistler and Dwight Tryon in his commitment to the Swedenborgian belief in the existence of a relationship between the natural and spiritual realms.