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Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category

One of my favorite artists is Claude Monet. According to Wikipedia, Monet created almost 1100 paintings over a period of near on 70 years. Yesterday I looked at Van Gogh and showed a timeline of his work. This prompted me to look at Monet whose work I admire in order to show the productivity of a prolific yet more “normal” artist.

BTW, I came across an amazing site of Monet work with images of almost 500 of his paintings, listing alphabetically and by series. Well worth a visit.

monettimeline1The result is the graph you see on the right (click to enlarge). While Van Gogh was a “painting a day” man, completing very large works in a day or two, Monet certainly took his time. In his most productive years (the 1880s and 90s) he was averaging a painting every week or so. In his later years he would take several years to complete a painting, although I can’t imagine that this was all he was doing. For example 1900-01 he was working on a lot of work in parallel which I have included all under 1901 and if we were to assume that between 1914 and his death in 1926 he was working in parallel and average it out we get to 13 works a year, which seems more reasonable for an aging man with failing sight.

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Reading about the renewed interest over Vincent Van Gogh’s ear and how part of it got severed from his body, I was reminded of a piece I wrote last year about Vincent Van Gogh. I was writing about the incredible number of paintings he did in the short time that he was creating until his early death at the age of 37. All of his work was done over a period of ten years. All in all he painted over 800 paintings anywhere between that many or 50% more drawings, depending who you believe.

vangoghTaking the chronology of his works that I linked above, a small amount of data-cleansing (whenever the date was spread over two years, took the latter e.g. 1885-86 becomes 1886), and some basic annotation I got to this timeline graph (click to enlarge). 

Exactly what it was that was driving him is unclear to this day. One of the leading theories is bi-polar disorder which would explain the periods of manic activity followed by deep dispare. I was discussing this recently with a friend who is a lecturer in psychology who said that the manic phases were exceptionally long and intense.

What is amazing is the result. In Arles (February 1888 – May 1889) he created over 200 pieces in 15 months of which he sold none. He was commited / committed himself to a mental institution at St Rémy in May 1889. While in the hospital he did another 150 paintings over the course of a year.  After leaving the hospital in May 1890 he went on to create another 70 paintings in as many days before killing himself in July 1890. What I was surprised to see was that back in 1885 he painted over 140 paintings, before moving to Paris. This is when he did some of his famous “dark” paintings of peasant life like the The Potato Eaters.

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Forget the £41M. It’s just beautiful.

“Le bassin aux nymphéas”, 1919, Claude Monet.

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Taken from the opening passage of “First Diasporist Manifesto” by R. B. Kitaj:

“Diasporist painting is unfolding commentary on its life-source, the contemplation of a transience, a Midrash (exposition, exegesis of non-literal meaning) in paint and somehow, collected, these paintings, these circumstantial allusions, form themselves into secular Responsa or reactions to one’s transient restlessness, un-at-homeness, groundlessness.”

I haven’t read the book, so I am not familiar with his term “diasporist painting”. What I liked was the allusion between painting and midrash. Something to think about.

Another quote also from the Diasporist Manifesto, that I saw in another article that made me go look up stuff about Kitaj:

“Painting is a great idea I carry from place to place. It is an idea full of ideas, like a refugee’s suitcase, a portable Ark of the Covenant.”

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CCTV art

Picked this one up on Guy Kawasaki’s blog this morning. He quotes an article in the UK Daily Telegraph about a Manchester band called “Get Out Clause” who played their music in the street in front of the around eighty CCTV surveillance cameras around their city and then edited up a video of the result. They needed to request the footage from the businesses who owned the cameras but about a quarter responded and that was enough to make the video.

What I wonder is what passers by thought of this and especially when you see them playing in the middle of a zebra crossing (crosswalk for the Americans)…..

Another cool art opportunity afforded by the 21st century.

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CNet reports this morning that the biggest drawing in the world was just a hoax. The purported art project was to fly a GPS device around the world and create a massive drawing from the track of the device. Keen eyed and intelligent commenters on previous articles on this subject both on CNet and other places had pointed out the total improbability of the project. However it’s still an interesting idea – new artistic medium.

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I saw this video today (sorry but most of it is in Hebrew) about Stephen Wiltshire who draws amazing panoramic drawings of cities around the world from memory. The image below shows the finished work and if you click on it you can go to his site to see his gallery.


Go to Stephen Wiltshire’s gallery

Stephen apparently suffers from autism but has an amazing memory and a talent for art and he makes what looks like a good living from drawing. Good on him!

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