Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bamboo Shoots, by Heihachiro Fukuda

Bamboo Shoots (1947), by Heihachiro Fukuda (1892-1974)Stamp issued 16 August 1981, Japan
Yamatane Museum of Art in Nihonbashi, Tokyo
Fukuda was trained at the Kyoto City School of Arts and Crafts and he was a prolific Japanese artist of the early 20th century during the Taisho Era (1912-1926).  This work is from the middle stages of this long career  - many of his works reflected simple things in nature over his career.  The works were distinct as they managed to be abstract and realist at the same time.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

School of Athens by Raphael

School of Athen by Raphael (1511)
Greece Stamp issued 1978
Vatican Museum and Galleries, Vatican City (Rome)
This stamp captures a very small part of the high renaissance style fresco, The School of Athens, which is one of Raphael’s most famous works.  It was completed to decorate the Stanza della Segnatura commission by Pope Julius II. The Stanza was the first set of rooms to be decorated, and this painting was the second in the set of paintings that adorn the walls. Although it was created for a grand room in the Vatican, nearly every one of the figures in the painting can be identified as a Greek philosopher, rather than a religious character. The fresco's position as well as the philosophers' walk in direction of the Holy Sacrament on the opposite wall suggested the interpretation of the whole room as the movement from the classical philosophy to the true religion and from the pre-Christian world to Christianity.  Raphael included the likeness of Michelangelo himself in the painting, as the philosopher Heraclitus.  The stamp series was issued to commemorate the 2,300th Anniversary of the death of Aristotle.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bust of Aristotle by Lysippus

Aristoteles by Lysippus in Rome (copy)
Greece Stamp issued 1978
This marble bust of Aristotle - the Greek philosopher and teacher of Alexander the Great - is from the Roman era and is based on a work by Lysippus (who created his bronze original in approximately 330 B.C.).  The stamp was issued to commemorate the 2,300th Anniversary of Aristotle's death, who lived from 384 to 322 BC.  Lysippus was a prolific sculptor who is considered to be one of the three greatest sculptors of the Greek Classical era, bringing transition into the Hellenistic period.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Secret Assembly of Vostitsa by Kostas Klouvatos

The Secret Assembly of Vostitsa by Kostas Klouvatos (1923-2007)
Greece Stamp Issued 1975
Folk Art

This is an engraving by an artist who is more known for his sculptures.  Klouvatos' work during the 1960s was focused on critical points in the history of Greece.  This one focuses on 26th September of 1820, where all dignitaries of Peloponnese (Moreas) gathered, and Pappaflessas (a Greek Revolutionary hero) is trying to convince them that a revolution should be launched.  Klouvatos attempted to combine elements of Greek tradition with various styles through the ages, thus accounting for this depiction of Pappa Flessas.  The stamp was part of a series that commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the death of Papa Flessas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Papaflessas by Adam Friedel

Papaflessas, Greek Revolutionary Hero in Maniaki 1by Adam Friedel (1825)
Greece Stamp Issued 1975 

Papaflessas (Grigorios Demetrios Flessas, 1788-1825) was Greek priest and patriot who led a revolution for independence. During the Greek War of Independence Papflessas was Minister of Internal Affairs and Chief of Police, until he was killed during the Battle of Maniaki, in which he led the Greek troops against Egyptian forces led by Ibrahim Pasha. The stamp derives from a plate from a series of twenty-four portraits of figures related to the Greek War of Independence, by the Danish painter Adam Friedel.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pablo Picasso - La Vie

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) - La Vie (1903)
Equatorial Guinea Stamp Issued 1973
Painting at the Cleveland Museum of Art USA
Pablo Picasso went through a period where most of his work consisted of monochrome greens or blues.  This is one of his most famous works during that period - there is an overwhelming sense of desolation in this work.  This period of blue desolation was common in Picasso's work following suicide by one of his friends, Carlos Casagemas, in Paris in 1901.

Picasso was only 20 when he completed this painting.  His paintings would depart radically from European convention from 1907 starting with the Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.  This would lead him into being one of the most famous figures of the modern art world.

Mother and Sick Child is another one of his desolate depressing works through this period, which was fittingly used as a stamp by the Maldives when Picasso died in 1973.

Other Picasso works on Stamps:
Seated Nude

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gregorio Lazzarini - Love

Gregorio Lazzarini (1655-1730) - Love
Hungary 60F Stamp Issued 1970
Christian Museum, Esztergom, Hungary
Lazzarini's biggest claim to fame is that he trained Tiepolo in his studio when he was a found artist.  Lazzarini was born of a fairly privileged family in Venice, although his parents died young.  He was able to pursue a career in art from a very young age as a result of his parents riches.  The majority of his work was religious in nature, which was very common for the times.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Guido Reni - Adoration of the Shepherds

Guido Reni (1575-1642) - Adoration of the Shepherds (1640)
Anguilla Stamp Issued in 1973
Painting located at Pushkin Museum, Russia
Reni was a baroque style artist who took great pleasure in painting many religious scenes - Adoration of the Shepherds was one his favourites, as he did several versions of it.  His paintings are used on many Christmas cards throughout the world.

Anguilla issued this 1c stamp in 1973.  With a population of only 13.500, Anguilla is a British Territory and tax haven located in the Caribbean.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Francisco Goya - The Forge

Francisco Goya (1746-1828) - The Forge (1812)
Fujeira Stamp Issued 1971
Frick Collection New York USA
Goya is considered to be one of the last Great Masters of painting.  He painted this in the latter period of his career when the Spanish were at war with the French during the Peninsula Wa, which went from 1808 to 1814.  Goya is more famous for some of his nude paintings, including the Nude Maja.  He completed another painting which depicted the same model, who was wearing clothes in the second painting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Diego Velazquez - Old Woman Frying Eggs

Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)  - Old Woman Frying Eggs (1618)
Fujeira Stamp issued 1980
National Gallery of Scotland
This is one of this artists earlier works in his career - a realistic portrayal of a scene that would not normally be painted by artists during this time.  Later in his career, Velazquez would go onto become of the most important artists to Spanisk King Philip IV's royal court, and his works would be influential and coped by future artists such as Picasso and Francis Bacon in the 20th Century.

Another of his paintings has been depicted on a Panama Stamp: The Forge of Vulcan.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vida Lahey - Beach Umbrellas

Vida Lahey (1882-1968) - Beach Umbrellas (1933)
Australia $1.20 Stamp Issued 1995
Queensland Art Gallery
Vida Lahey was Queensland born, although she studied in London before WWI and lived in Paris afterwards, training at Colarossi's Academy.  As a modernist artist in Australia at the time, she was instrumental in promoting the arts on Queensland and supporting the Queensland Art Gallery.  This is one of many colourful paintings that depicts Australian beach and seaside life that is typical of Queensland and northern New South Wales - there is plenty of colour and light.

Lahey was also trained by Frederick McCubbin.  Lahey's painting "Fruit and Flowers" was used for another stamp in 2011.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

John Le Capelain - Jersey Landscapes #5

John le Capelain (1812-1846) - Countryside landscape scene
Jersey Stamp issued 1987

John le Capelain was a self taught painter who was popular during his lifetime in Jersey.  In 1846 his paintings were included in a book that was presented to Queen Victoria and he was commissioned to complete another set of landscapes on the Isle of Wight.  Unfortunately for him, he contracted tuberculosis while on the Isle of Wight, dying thereafter in 1848.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taras Shevchenko - Kateryna

Taras Shenchenko (1814-1861) - Katerina (1842)
Russa USSR Stamp issued 1979
Shevchenko is known as the founding father of Ukrainian modern literature and language, more that his talent as an artist.  He was born into serfdom, but when his talents were discovered, the famous poet Vasily Zhukovsky bought him out of serfdom in 1838.  This portrait depicts Katerina, who was a key figure in one of his most famous poems.  She was a serf girl, who was seduced, abandoned and disgraced by a Russian soldier in the poem.  Shevchenko's art crosses between folk art and realism.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kyriak Kostandi - Among the People

Kyriak Kostandi (1852-1921) - Among the People (1885)
Russia USSR Stamp Issued 1979
Painting Held at the National Art Museum of Ukraine
This is typical of the realistic genre paintings completed by Kostandi throughout his career.  A young peasant girl looks out the window of a crowded train, to a wider world.  There is a sense of tiredness to the girl and uncertainty in the painting overall - although the girl is among a lot of people on the train, she is the only one in the painting.  It captures a moment in time.

Kostandi was born in a town near Odessa, but he learnt his artistic trade in St Petersburg, where he went on to become a founding member of the Society of South Russian Artists.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paul von Szinyeiv-Merse - Lovers

Paul von Szinyeiv Merse (1845-1920) - Lovers (1870)
Hungary Stamp issued 1967
Painting Held at the Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest
This painting is typical of Szinyeiv Merse, as it captured upper middle class people in idealised settings in the prosperous countryside.  Merse was one of the earlier impressionist artists of Hungary and Central Europe.  After being trained in Munich, Germany, he was a politician as well as an artist of Hungary.  Another Merse painting is also on this Blog: Lady in a Purple Dress .

Friday, October 21, 2011

Portrait of Lagarova by Stefan Ivanov

Stefan Ivanov by Portrait of Lagarova
Bulgaria Stamp Issued 1971

Stamp was issued within a series of 6 stamps to commemorate the opening of a new art gallery in Bulgaria in 1971.  Stefan Ivanov was born in 1875, being one of 12 siblings in a peasant family.  His early life was quite tragic as six of his brothers and sisters died.  He trained as an artist in Sofia in good art schools and he became famous for sad, melancholic works of women during a very tough time of depression and poverty in the 1920s.  He died in 1951.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Artist Unknown - Girl with Dove

Girl With Dove - Artist Unknown
Poland 90gr Stamp issued 1974
19th Century Painting
This is one of eight stamps depicting children in portrait paintings - issued by the Polish in 1974

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Johannes Vermeer - The Lacemaker

Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) - The Lacemaker
Fujeira Stamp Issued 1971
The Louvre, Paris France
Vermeer is one of the most famous Dutch genre painters from the 17th Century.  The majority of his works were completed in his two room home in Delft, as the same interiors are shown many times with different middle-class characters who were individual models for his paintings.  He is also known for his exquisite use of light and colour, which involved the use of very expensive and rare pigments.  Another of his works has been captured in a French stamp issue: Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Michelangelo - Scene from the Sistine Chapel Jacob

Michangelo - Sistine Chapel (Jacob) (1512)
Vatican City Stamp issued 1991
Sistine Chapel - Vatican City
The Vatican regularly issues stamps that contain scenes from the paintings that were completed on the Sistine Chapel by Michangelo, and this is one of the more modern series of stamps that were issued in the early 1990s when the chapel was being restored.  This stamp depicts one of Jesus' ancestors, who was Jacob.

Other stamps of the Sistine Chapel include:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Adriaen Brouwer - The Slaughter House

Adriaen Brouwer (1605-1638) - Slaughter House (c. 1630)
East Germany 25 DDR Stamp Issued 1982
Staatliches Museum Schwerin
Brouwer was a Dutch Flemish genre painter whose primary interest appeared to be the goings on in the everyday lives of peasants.  All his works are colourful and almost comical.  This is one of many stamps issued in 1982 in East Germany depicting art works from the 17th Century.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Alexey Venetsianov - Harvesting

Alexey Venetsianov (1780-1847) -  Harvesting (1827).
Russia USSR Stamp Issued 1980
Summer. 1827. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
Although Venetsianov did not gain a high profile from the academics in the arts community, he did enjoy relative success as an artist after a public service career from the early 1800s to 1819.  Tsar Nicholas I commissioned him for works.  The artist dies in a horse carriage accident when his carriage plunged down a cliff in 1847.  Another of his works "Oh Father's Dinner" has also been used on USSR stamps.

Artist Unknown - Medicine Story

Medicine Story (1972) - Artist Unknown
Indigenous Art of the Desert
Australia 90c Stamp Issued 1988
This is one of four stamps that were issued to show desert art by indigenous artists in the Western Desert region of the Northern Territory in Australia.  The Papunya Tula art movement gathered pace in the 1970s, and there are regular exhibits worldwide, as this form of art has gained traction with international art buyers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri - Ancestor Dreaming

Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri (1929-1984) - Ancestor Dreaming (1977)
Australia $1 Stamp Issued 1988
Art of the Desert Series
This artist was one of the key figures from the Western Desert art scene that developed in the 1970s in outback Northern Territory, near Haast's Bluff.  Tjapaltjarri first worked as a stockman before moving with his wife to Papunya, where he was involved in the establishment of the artists' settlement.  The artist had earlier experience with watercolours, which makes some of his work quite different to his contemporaries.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Charles Conder - All on a Summer's Day

Charles Conder (1868-1909) - All on a Summer's Day (1888)
Australia 41c Stamp Issued 1989
Art Gallery of South Australia
Charles Conder lived in Australia for only seven years, but he was a key figure from the Heidelberg school of painting, which was responsible for the divergence of "western" Australian art in a modern sense.  This painting was completed at the time when Conder was living in Melbourne and is typical of the light filled paintings of the Australian landscape.  A woman reads a book on the beach, while another artist is also shown on a cliff top with his easel.  Conder left Australia in 1890 to go back to England, but his Australian work remains critically acclaimed.  "Holiday at Mentone" has also been used on postage stamps.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Raphael - Madonna and the Goldfinch

Raphael (1483-1520) - Madonna and the Goldfinch (1505)
Italy 50 lira Stamp issued 1970
Painting held in the Uffizi Gallery Florence
This painting was depicted on stamps to commemorate the 450th Anniversary of the death of Raphael.  The painting was originally given to someone as a wedding gift, before being damaged into 19 different parts during an earthquake in 1546.  It is typical of Raphael's style, with perfect geometric framing of the three figures - Mary, St John the Baptist and the little baby Jesus.  The was meticulously restored recently, only returning to the Uffizi Gallery in 2008.

Other works by Raphael:

The Madonna and the Goldfinch has also been depicted on a stamp by the USA, but the painting was completed by Giovanni Baptista Tiepolo.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Giotto - the Ognissanti Madonna

Giotto (1266-1337) - the Ognissanti Madonna (1310)
Italy 40 lira Stamp issued 1966
Uffuzi Galley - Florence
This painting was commissioned by an obscure religious order when Giotto returned to Florence in the period around 1310.  Ognissanti refers to the church where the painting was originally housed, being the All Saints Church in Florence.  The painting is now housed in the Uffuzi Gallery in Florence.

Giotto is credited as being the first in a line of artists who kicked off the Italian Renaissance at the end of the middle ages.  Other stamps have works that are from Giotto:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pablo Picasso - Mother and Sick Child

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) - Mother and Sick Child (1903)
Maldives Stamp Issued 1974
Painting held at the Barcelona Museum, Spain
This is one of Picasso's earlier works, well before he started to mix up peoples faces.  The Maldives is a beautiful group of tropical islands that are stretched intermittently across the Indian Ocean to the south of India.  As the highest point of the Maldives is only 2 metres above sea level, it is one of the most threatened countries if sea levels do rise.  They also issue stamps on many topics that have no relation to the Maldives as a way of raising revenue for the country. 

Other works by Picasso have been used on stamps, including:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Raphael - Triumph of Galatea

Raphael (1483-1520) - Voyage of Galatea (1511)
Italy 25 lira stamp issued 1970
Fresco Held at the Villa Farnesina Rome Italy
Raphael was commissioned to do this secular artistic piece at the home of a rich trading family in Italy.  Galatea is the ideal female form in the centre of the picture, being dragged through the water on a shell chariot that is being carried by two happy dolphins.  Fearsome tritons are seen dragging nymphs into the sea and sounding trumpets. 

Raphael is famous for mastering the art of placing bodies harmoniously in beautiful pieces of art.  He lived a short life, but gained great fame.

Raphael's art has also been used on other stamps:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Michelangelo - The Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo (1475-1564) - the Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel (1512)
Grenada 1c Stamp Issued 1975
Painting in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
In 1975, Grenada issued a series of stamps to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Michelangelo.  This is one of the most famous images from the Sistine Chapel, being the Delphic Sybil.  Sybils are part of Greek mythology, who were prophets in many locations in legendary tales.

It is said that Michelangelo did not enjoy the commission that was given to him - to paint the huge ceiling of the Sistine Chapel took 5 years.  However, this work is his most monumental and well regarded feat that gained him fame.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vladimir Dimitrov - View of Istanbul

Vladimir Dimitrov (1882-1961) - View of Istanbul
Bulgaria cm13 Stamp Issued 1982
I've not been able to determine the exact location or timeframe for the creation of this rather abstract view of Istanbul, although this work comes from a highly regarded artist from Bulgaria.  This is one of 5 stamps that were issued in his honour in 1982.  The artist was at his peak in the 1920s and 1930s.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vladimir Dimitrov - Majstora (Master)

Vladimir Dimitrov (1882-1960) - Majstora (Master) 
Bulgaria cm25 Stamp Issued 1982 
Vladimir Dimitrov Art Gallery Kjustendil
This is one of five stamps issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this artist's birth, as  he is considered to be one of the most accomplished Bulgarian artists of the 20th Century.  This work contains elements of socialist realism, that was popular through Eastern Europe at the time, and depicted on many Eastern European stamps in the 1960s to 1980s.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Giovanni Bellini - Madonna with Blessing Child

Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516) - Madonna with Blessing Child (1480)
Mongolia 30T Stamp Issued 1972
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
Bellini was the most influential Venetian artist of the renaissance.  He was known for his paintings which moved the Madonna and Child from formal indoor settings into wide landscapes and the natural world.  This portrait is one such depiction of the madonna and child, who happens to be giving everyone a blessing.  This is typical of Bellini's work, with deep colours. 

Bellini was a major influence on other great artists of the era who have had their works depicted on other stamps:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hans Heysen - A Cottage Bunch

Hans Heysen - A Cottage Bunch (1930)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Roy de Maistre - Still Life, Zannias

Roy de Maistre - Still Life, Zannias (1930)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
Held at the National Gallery of Victoria
This is an early piece of work by one of Australia's most successful overseas artists, Roy de Maistre.  Although he was successful within Australia, De Maistre would later go on to live in London, where some of his work would eventually be purchased by the Tate Gallery and he would be commissioned to paint the Stations of the Cross for Westminster Cathedral.  

He has an interest in the harmonisation of music and colour throughout his life.  The artists was originally studying music, but he suffered badly from tuberculosis at many stages of his life, eventually causing him to concentrate of painting.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vida Lahey - Fruit and Flowers

Vida Lahey (1882-1968) - Fruit and Flowers (1924)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Vida Lahey was one of Australia's most successful female artists.  Born in Brisbane, she went on to study in Melbourne at the National Gallery School before heading off to Europe in the late 1910s.  This was probably where she developed an interest in still life art, as she travelled to the Netherlands at this time.

Lahey returned to her home town of Brisbane at a time when Brisbane was not known for its interest in cultural or artistic pursuits, remaining there until she passed away in 1968.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nora Heysen - A Bunch of Flowers

Nora Heysen (1911-2003) - A Bunch of Flowers (1930)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Nora Heysen was the fourth child of Hans Heysen, who was one of Australia's most famous war artists in World War I.  Nora also became an artist, studying in Adelaide, before going on to become the first woman to win the Archibald Prize in 1938.  She also followed her father as a war artist, completing 170 works of art in WWII.

This is one of her still life works, issued as part of a series of still life works of flowers by Australia Post in 2011.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Arnold Shore - Camellias

Arnold Stone (1897-1963) - Camellias (1937)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued
Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
This is the first of five 2011 stamps that have been issued by Australia Post, showing five works of still life art from the National Gallery of Victoria.  They have been gathered from the heyday of still life art that was taking place in the 1920s and 1930s in Australia.   

Arnold Stone was born in Melbourne and he was trained as an artists by Frederick McCubbin during the early stages of his career.  They parted ways, and eventually he went on to run a school in Melbourne with Max Meldrum, were they taught student modernist principles in painting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Winslow Homer - The Fog Warning, Halibut Fishing

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) - The Fog Warning Halibut Fishing (1885)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Winslow Homer may be one of America's best loved artists from the late 19th Century.  He was based in seaside Maine for the majority of his life.  His works are famed for capturing the power and beauty of the sea when it is at it's most perilous.  This painting is typical of many of his works, where men are dwarfed by the huge waves and impending weather.  

Homer also captured many sullen and powerful female figures in many of his works, as he documented everyday life in seaside towns and rural settings in America and England.  His work continues to give the viewer an idea of the lives and times of people in these regions in the late 1800s.

This is the last stamp of the 1998 series of stamps featuring works of great American artists.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rembrandt Peale - Rubens Peale with a Geranium

Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860) - Rubens Peale with a Geranium (1802)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
It comes as no surprise that Rembrandt Peale's father was himself an artist, giving his children the names of famous artists as first names - Rembrandt and Rubens.  The artist was quite young when he completed this work, and he appears to have lived a very privileged life, travelling to Europe from his native America on several times throughout his life to study art.  He would later become famous a a portrait painter for more than one American president.

Monday, June 20, 2011

George Catlin - White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas

George Catlin (1796-1872) - White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas (1870)
USA 32c Stamp issued 1998
National Gallery of Art Washington DC
Catlin maintained a fascination with American Indian culture throughout his life.  Although he grew up in the eastern states of the US, he also spent many years exploring the west, visiting scores of tribes and completing hundreds of paintings in the 1830s.  He tried to sell his large collection of paintings and artefacts to the US government, with no success during his life - even though he did have some success in exhibiting his work on the vanishing Indian tribes in Europe.  Much of his work is now maintained at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, although this painting was completed i nthe latter period of his life, well after he had completed the original sketches of tribes he had visited.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Two Against White - Charles Sheeler

Charles Sheeler (1883-1965) - Two Against White (1957)
USA 32c Stamp issued 1998
Sheeler's works are stark - they are defined by clean lines, urban expanses, but there are very few people.   - he is known as one of the founders of modernism in art in America.  The work that was depicted in this 1998 stamp was reasonably abstract, but many of his works are very realistic depictions of buildings and interiors that are absent of any people, and idealised in an almost dream like manner - it is like you are looking at a perfectly sparse place in a dream, rather than a real place that has imperfections.  An Australian artist, Jeffrey Smart, appears to paint in a similar manner, but his paintings include many solitary figures.

He was also a pioneer in completing artworks across different emerging media in the early 20th century, as he worked with film and photography in addition to painting.

Friday, June 17, 2011

William Harnett - Music and Literature

William Harnett (1848-1892) - Music and Literature (1878)
USA Stamp issued 1998
Albright Knox Art Gallery
Harnett mastered the "trompe l'oiel" or "Fool the eye" style of painting in America, where everyday objects would be depicted in such a life like manner that the viewer of the painting may actually think that they are viewing the actual object.  Although this was begun by Dutch painters much earlier than Harnett in America, Harnett composed a large number of works in this style that remain popular to this day - hiw works are instantly recognisable.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Edward Hopper - Nighthawks

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) -  Nighthawks (1942)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
Art Institute of Chicago
This is one of many artworks that appeared in a 1998 series of stamps issued in the USA.  Nighthawks is an instantly recognisable artwork that was popular since it was created in 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The work is quite sinister in it's tone - conveying a certain emptiness about life in the 20th century - bright loud colours, garish accessories and dress, people huddled under florescent light, while darkness envelopes the deserted streets.  This piece was also used as a base for The Boulevarde of Broken Dreams poster that was popularised in the 1980s - the figures from this painting were replaced by Elvis Presley, James Dean and Marilyn Munroe.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ammi Phillips - Little Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog

Ammi Phillips (1788-1865) - Little Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog (1835)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
American Folk Art Museum 
This artist was a prolific producer of folk art during his long career.  It is interesting to note that much of his work was not attributed to anyone in particular, until the 1920s when a group of people in Kent, Connecticut, began to collect much of his work, which was distinct, yet similar in nature.  The works became known as "Kent Limner" style up until the late 1960s when the works were finally attributed to Phillips.

Th figures in his paintings are quite distinct - faces are pale and sombre, with an overall mood of malevolence.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grant Wood - American Gothic

Grant Wood (1891-1942) - American Gothic (1930)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
Art Institute of Chicago
This is probably one of the most famous images of America in the 20th Century - a hard working farmer and his spinster daughter pose in front of their gothic style house somewhere in the mid west of America.  This art carries a number of symbols of 20th century America that are both honoured and subject to criticism.  This work has been parodied ever since it was created in the 1930s.

Apparently the house does really exist in a town called Eldon in Iowa.  The painting was part of a art movement known as regionalism - it rejected the abstract art that was rocking the art world at the same time in Europe.   Paintings such as American Gothic certainly capture the viewer, with its strong characters, who communicate with the viewer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

John James Audubon - Long Billed Curlew

John James Audubon (1785-1851) - Long Billed Curlew (1834)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
From Birds of America - Amon Carter Museum Texas
Audubon was a French-American and a major twitter (bird watcher).  His epic bird illustrations were compiled into the bird watching bible - Birds of North America - from 1827 to 1839.  The artist hails from a time when naturalists began to observe the natural world and the behaviour of birds, plants and animals - particularly in locations that were unfamiliar to European sensibilities.

The artist's interest in birds in clearly demonstrated through the fine detail that is presented in his plates, not only in terms of the birds themselves, but also of their habitat.  Audubon had a keen interest in birds throughout his life, as he was one of the first people to band birds, in order to understand their longer term living habits.  Charles Darwin quoted from Audubon's works on three occasions in the Origin of Species, and the artist is attributed as discovering 25 new species of bird, during his preparation of the Birds of North America.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Annunciation Scene from a Flemish Book of Hours - Artist Unknown

Annunciation Scene from A Book of Hours - 15th Century Artist Unknown
Cook Islands 1c Stamp Issued 1973
The Cooks Islands issue a large volume of decorative postage stamps, many of which contain works of religious art, particularly for Easter and Christmas issues.  This issue was made in 1973 - it was developed from a Flemish Book of Hours - these were books that were originally issued for devotional prayers for monks in the Middle Ages.  Many of these books were quite beautiful.  In this scene, and angel and a dove are shown visiting the Virgin Mary.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Brian Dunlop - Queen Elizabeth II

Brian Dunlop (1938-2009) - Royal Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1984)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
Painting Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Brian Dunlop was a prolific and successful Australian still life and portrait painter of the modern age.  This painting was commissioned in 1984 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the state of Victoria in Australia, and it was donated to the National Gallery of Victoria in the same year.

Australia continues to issue Queen's Birthday stamps around June each year, as a long weekend holiday is still observed, even though it is not really the Queen's Birthday!  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thomas Moran - Cliffs of Green River

Thomas Moran (1837-1926) - Cliffs of Green River (1874)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
Thomas Moran was one member of a school of artists known as the Rocky Mountain landscape school.  He was most famous for capturing the wide open spaces in the west of America, including major national parks at Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.  He completed water colour sketches while on site, before following up with detailed oil paintings in his New York studio.  He travelled as far afield as Mexico and Venice, Italy during his working life.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Last of the Buffalo - Albert Bierstandt

Last of the Buffalo (1888) - Albert Bierstadt (1830-1932)
USA 32c Stamp Issued in 1998
Painting gifted to Corcoran Gallery of Art Washington DC
Bierstadt was a prolific producer of romanticised art that romanticised the lives of people in the frontiers of western America.  This picture depicts both man and beasts of epic proportions, holding a battle on the wild plains of the west - it is almost like watching a battle in a Roman Colosseum.

This era was quite evocative to many painters who were travelling and making a living in the new frontiers of the new world.  There are some similarities between the landscape works of Bierstadt and Australian artists, such as McCubbin who were exploring new frontiers at the same time - the works were powerful as the landscape and nature impacts on all people in the new frontiers.