The Thankless Art of Painting

Utrillo’s life could not have been a more Bohemian one. For many the romantic concept of la vie bohème was living a life in Paris of the late-19th and early-20th century but far less dazzling in its reality. The son of Suzanne Valadon, a former circus performer turned artist model and avant garde artist Utrillo never knew his father. Rumours abound that it could have been anyone from Puvisde Chavannes to Renoir to Boissy...

Birth by Kenneth Noland

Birth by Kenneth Noland Birth1961Post-Painterly AbstractionOil on canvasSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA Noland focuses on the relational qualities of the three colours as well as contrasting the vibrant hard-edged rings with their neutral background rather than creating an illusion of depth for ‘Birth’. As the title suggests the circle is the universal symbol … Continue reading Birth by Kenneth Noland

Apple Harvest by Paul Sérusier

Apple Harvest by Paul Sérusier Apple Harvest1891SynthesismOil on canvasPrivate Collection ‘Apple Harvest’ is a tripartite depiction of the progression of life. By using three panels, Sérusier has explicitly referred to the traditional structure of a triptych. Three different aspects of rural female life are represented; a woman nursing her child, women gathering apples, and women … Continue reading Apple Harvest by Paul Sérusier

Balkan Baroque by Marina Abramović Balkan Baroque1997Performance ArtProjections, cow bones, copper sinks and tub filled with black water, bucket, soap, metal brush, white dress Abramović created ‘Balkan Baroque’ in response to the innumerable deaths that had taken place in the former Yugoslavia. Sitting on top of 1500 cow bones in a white dress for 4 days, for 6 hours … Continue reading Balkan Baroque by Marina Abramović

Fluids by Allan Kaprow

Fluids by Allan Kaprow Fluids1967Modern Photography30 walls of icePhotos and archives: Allan Kaprow Archives, the Getty Research Institute One of Kaprow’s most ambitious works, ‘Fluids’ involved the recruitment of groups of local residents to build huge ice structures in various locations within Pasadena, California. The concept of collective actions resulting in the inevitable melting of … Continue reading Fluids by Allan Kaprow

Utilitarian Intentions

Kinetic art is the expression of the fascination with movement and describes a whole swathe of modern art from Impressionism to the present day. Works of art which move, or give the impression of movement – from mobile, mechanical sculpture to Op art paintings which trick the eye into seeing rotation or vibration ...

Ann Ford (Later Mrs. Philip Thicknesse) by Thomas Gainsborough

Ann Ford (Later Mrs. Philip Thicknesse) by Thomas Gainsborough Ann Ford (later Mrs. Philip Thicknesse)1760Grand Manner PortraitureOil on canvasCollection of Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA The first full-length portrait by Gainsborough after his move to Bath ‘An Ford’ was intended to demonstrate his excellence in portraiture to attract further commissioned work. The artist's attention … Continue reading Ann Ford (Later Mrs. Philip Thicknesse) by Thomas Gainsborough

Andy Warhol by Robert Mapplethorpe

Andy Warhol by Robert Mapplethorpe Andy Warhol1986Modern PhotographyGelatin Silver PrintThe Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York, USA Warhol’s bust is centered in a white halo-like circle around his head, placed within a black frame with Warhol wearing his trademark black turtleneck and blank stare. The cruciform shape recalls Mapplethorpe’s recurring Catholic motifs and the Catholic background … Continue reading Andy Warhol by Robert Mapplethorpe

Woman with Drapery by Henri Laurens

Woman with Drapery by Henri Laurens Woman with Drapery1928Interwar ClassicismBronzeMuseum of Modern Art, New York, USA Showcasing both Laurens’ return to curvilinear forms and his interest in Classical themes ‘Woman with Drapery’ reinterprets the caryatid goddess in an avant-garde idiom. Appearing with a slight contrapposto Laurens’ woman has flowing locks and holds her discarded Grecian … Continue reading Woman with Drapery by Henri Laurens

With Love and Disregard: Rapture by Jules Olitski

Olitski was a painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He was instrumental in the development of the Colour Field school. Olitski stained his canvas surfaces in a technique that rejected the gestural brushwork of the Abstract Expressionist artist of the time. Olitski’s signature works eliminated the illusion of depth and any evidence of the artist’s touch, placing the emphasis on the materials used, the surface and the emotional strength of colour

18 Happenings in 6 Parts by Allan Kaprow

18 Happenings in 6 Parts by Allan Kaprow 18 Happenings in 6 Parts1959HappeningsA gallery divided into three rooms, semi-transparent plastic sheets painted and collaged with references to Kaprow's earlier work, panels with words roughly painted, rows of plastic fruit, artist's hand-lettered instructions and programs, vintage posters, photographs, and videotapesPhotos and archives: Allan Kaprow Archives, The … Continue reading 18 Happenings in 6 Parts by Allan Kaprow

Untitled by William Eggleston

Untitled by William Eggleston Untitled1960-65Modern PhotographySilver gelatin printEggleston Trust, Memphis, Tennessee, USA Eggleston’s career began at a time when black and white photography was beginning to be accepted as an art form. In this untitled shot he captures a scene in a convenience store with a boy leaning against stocked shelves next to a chilled … Continue reading Untitled by William Eggleston

Delaware Water Gap by George Inness

Delaware Water Gap by George Inness Delaware Water Gap1857NaturalismOil on CanvasThe National Gallery, London, UK ‘Delaware Water Gap’ depicts the emergence of the North American steam train network, however, the prominence of the locomotive is diminished. On the border of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the foreground rocks and grasses are shadowed by the cover of … Continue reading Delaware Water Gap by George Inness

Tête de jeune fillette by Henri Laurens

Tête de jeune fillette by Henri Laurens Tête de jeune fillette1920CubismLimestoneTate, London, UK An appearance of smooth, organic and abstracted mutations of the materials themselves Laurens’s various sculptures of female heads are similar to the heads by Constantin Brancusi. And like Brancusi the artist turned to non-Western sources for inspiration, notably African masks. The artist … Continue reading Tête de jeune fillette by Henri Laurens

Self-Portrait ‘Les Miserables’ by Paul Gauguin

Self-Portrait 'Les Miserables' by Paul Gauguin Self-Portrait 'Les Miserables'1888Post-ImpressionismOil on canvasVan Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands Before his departure to Aries in 1888. Gauguin and Vincent van Gough exchanged examples of their work, including several self-portraits. ‘Self Portrait ‘Les Miserables’’ was among the paintings sent to Van Gough. Gauguin includes a full-profile likeness of the fictional … Continue reading Self-Portrait ‘Les Miserables’ by Paul Gauguin

Baby by Allan Kaprow

Baby by Allan Kaprow Baby1957Action PaintingPaper, metal foil, pieces of carpet, oil and plastic paint, chalk, linen on hardboardMuseum Moderner Kunst Ludwig Vienna, Austria An action collage, ‘Baby’ is made from randomly assembled objects contrasted with cut-up pieces of Kaprow’s paintings. The formal arrangement of the works elements into vertical stripes is the only coherent … Continue reading Baby by Allan Kaprow

Reanimation by Joan Jonas

Reanimation by Joan Jonas Reanimation2010Media and PerformanceVideo Installation with PerformanceMuseum of Modern Art, New York, USA In ‘Reanimation’ Jonas brings together many of the elements of multi-layered materials and meanings she has explored throughout her work. In spirit holding a mirror to our multi-faceted brains, ‘Reanimation’ comprises of four video screens displaying snow peaks and … Continue reading Reanimation by Joan Jonas

Woman with a Mandolin by Henri Laurens

Woman with a Mandolin by Henri Laurens Woman with a Mandolin1919CubismUnglazed cast earthenwareSmart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, USA A woman with a mandolin was a common theme and subject among the Cubist painters and sculptors. Laurens used a combination of sharp and curved planar units, blurring the boundaries between the female and the … Continue reading Woman with a Mandolin by Henri Laurens

Self Portrait, Head Between Hands by Claude Cahun

Self Portrait, Head Between Hands by Claude Cahun Self Portrait, Head Between Hands1920Identity Politics, PhotographyPhotographic print A striking photograph, ‘Self-Portrait, Head Between Hands’ depicts how Cahun has transitioned from their childhood and teenage female identity to the gender-neutral persona. A shaved scalp replaces the long hair effectively stripping away the social traditions of the alluring … Continue reading Self Portrait, Head Between Hands by Claude Cahun

An Avenue of Trees, Forest of l’Isle-Adam by Théodore Rousseau

An Avenue of Trees, Forest of l'Isle-Adam by Théodore Rousseau An Avenue of Trees, Forest of l'Isle-Adam1849RealismOil on canvasMusée d'Orsay, Paris, France Successfully ascending to the higher echelons of the art world, Rousseau returned to the vertical portrait of landscape with his painting ‘The Avenue of Trees, Forest of l’Isle-Adam. His earlier vertical works had … Continue reading An Avenue of Trees, Forest of l’Isle-Adam by Théodore Rousseau

Vision After the Sermon (Jacob’s Fight with the Angel) by Paul Gauguin

Vision After the Sermon (Jacob's Fight with the Angel) by Paul Gauguin Vision After the Sermon (Jacob's Fight with the Angel)1888Synthetism, CloisonnismOil on canvasNational Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland Representing a significant move away from the subject matter of Impressionism, Vision after the Sermon is a rural biblical scene of women praying while envisioning an … Continue reading Vision After the Sermon (Jacob’s Fight with the Angel) by Paul Gauguin

Petunia No.2 by Georgia O’Keeffe

Petunia No.2 by Georgia O'Keeffe Petunia No.21924Early American ModernismOil on canvasGeorgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA One of O’Keeffe’s first large scale paintings of a flower, Petunia No. 2 demonstrates the beginning of her exploration into the theme that would become a mark of her career. To place the emphasis on the flower’s … Continue reading Petunia No.2 by Georgia O’Keeffe

Unprinted ii by Angus Fairhurst

Unprinted II by Angus Fairhurst Unprinted ii2005-06Conceptual ArtPhoto-etching on paperTate Collection, UK A set of three photo etchings showing silhouettes of women superimposed on top of each other against layered backgrounds of abstract colour the Unprinted series seemingly contain both indoors and outdoors with few recognisable elements outside of the women’s bodies. Derived from magazines … Continue reading Unprinted ii by Angus Fairhurst

Nudes in the Forest by Fernand Léger

Nudes in the Forest by Fernand Léger Nudes in the Forest1909-10CubismOil on canvasKröller-Muller State Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands Nudes in the Forest was exhibited at the 1911 Salon des Indépendants and is considered Léger’s first major work, showing his break from Impressionism to Cubism. The influence of Paul Cézanne can be seen in Léger’s focus on … Continue reading Nudes in the Forest by Fernand Léger

Peace and Plenty by George Inness

Peace and Plenty by George Inness Peace and Plenty1865TonalismOil on canvasThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA Peace and Plenty exemplifies Inness’ continuing battle with artistic traditions and norms promoted by the Hudson River School. A lush and large canvas, Inness favoured the pastoral over the grandiose rendering the painting in soft brushstrokes of … Continue reading Peace and Plenty by George Inness

Underdone/Overdone paintings by Angus Fairhurst

Underdone Overdone paintings by Angus Fairhurst Underdone/Overdone paintings1998Conceptual ArtAcrylic silk-screen on panelsVarious collections Based on black-and-white photographs of the thickets in Epping Forest, Underdone/Overdone is a thirty painting series in primary colours. Beginning with the image of crossing trees, Fairhurst overlaid woodland images at random and in a variety of combinations over the sequence of … Continue reading Underdone/Overdone paintings by Angus Fairhurst

Maria Bicknell by John Constable

Maria Bicknell by John Constable, 1816. Oil on canvas. Tate, London, UK Maria Bicknell1816RomanticismOil on canvasTate Britain, London, UK Painted three months before their marriage, Constable kept this portrait of his fiancée with him. It is said to be a remarkable likeness of Maria and the fine detail to Maria’s face contrasts with the loose … Continue reading Maria Bicknell by John Constable

The Assumption of the Virgin by Titian

The Assumption of the Virgin by Titian The Assumption of the Virgin1516-18Renaissance, MannerismOil on boardBasilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice, Italy On a cloud surrounded by putti, Mary forms the focal point of the composition of this depiction of the ascension of the Virgin into heaven. Her eyes gaze upward to the god … Continue reading The Assumption of the Virgin by Titian

The Artist’s Wife and His Setter Dog by Thomas Eakins

The Artist's Wife and His Setter Dog by Thomas Eakins The Artist's Wife and His Setter Dog1884-89RealismOil on canvasCollection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, USA Eakin’s wife, Susan, is posed in a blue dress sitting in a chair staring out at the viewer with a red -haired dog lying ta … Continue reading The Artist’s Wife and His Setter Dog by Thomas Eakins

Niagara by George Inness

Niagara by George Inness Niagara1889NaturalismOil on canvasSmithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., USA A bold work symbolising a stylistic departure for Inness. Niagara is a return to the themes of the great American landscapists, but unlike Frederic Church’s mesmeric hypernaturalism of the Niagara Falls, Inness expresses the power and noise of the falls through expressive … Continue reading Niagara by George Inness

Lackawanna Valley by George Inness

Lackawanna Valley by George Inness Lackawanna Valley1855TonalismOil on canvasThe National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA One of Inness’s earliest works, Lackawanna Valley was produced when he was still a struggling young artist for the first president of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. He was paid $75 for the composition of a mixture of … Continue reading Lackawanna Valley by George Inness

Second Binding by Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Second Binding1964Conceptual Art, Feminist ArtCheesecloth stuffed with rags and newspaper, dye, and aluminium foil on canvasJewish Museum, New York, USA An early sculptural work composed of a mass of wrapped, bulbous, stuffed forms dyed black, orange, red, brown and yellow, Second Binding, appears organic and fleshy. One of several sculptural creations created by Ukeles while … Continue reading Second Binding by Mierle Laderman Ukeles

Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes by El Greco

Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes by El Greco Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes1597-99MannerismOil on canvasThe National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA A depiction of Mary and the infant Christ seated on clouds in heaven, Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes is a large-scale … Continue reading Madonna and Child with Saint Martina and Saint Agnes by El Greco

Peasants Dancing by Natalia Goncharova

Peasants Dancing by Natalia Goncharova Peasants Dancing1910 - 11Neo-PrimitiveOil on canvasNational Gallery of Art, Sydney Australia Peasants Dancing depicts two men and women dancing a Khorovod on the green earth with a backdrop of a dark blue sky. The painting is one of The Vintage composition in Nine Parts depicting the grape harvest. The series … Continue reading Peasants Dancing by Natalia Goncharova

Rest Energy by Marina Abramovic Rest Energy1980Performance ArtBow and arrow At only four minutes and ten seconds long, Rest Energy is so highly intense that reveals the fragility of the line between life and death. Facing each other, Ulay aims an arrow on a tensioned bow just inches from Abramovic’s heart. Small microphones placed on their chests make their … Continue reading Rest Energy by Marina Abramovic