Masterpieces with Single Tree Composition

Fundamentally, all landscape paintings have a focal point, which draws the viewer’s eye to the heart of the paintings composition. For instance (as shown below), the cypress trees serve as the focal point in Vincent van Gogh’s painting ‘Wheat Field and Cypress Trees’, the sun in Claude Monet’s painting ‘Impression’ and the central tree in the painting ‘Banks of the Marne’ by Paul Cezanne.

But what if the composition of the painting comprises of a single tree, the focal point diminishes and the central figure is the lone subject of the painting. Which genre would the artwork fall under – Landscape, subject study or symbolic art? The theme sounds vague, boring and bland but surprisingly this rare composition has been captured beautifully by many master artists. We explore few such masterpieces that aesthetically illustrate this atypical theme.

The Mulberry Tree by Vincent van Gogh-
The isolated tree shown against a rocky terrain has its branches spread out with a blast of fiery colors. Vincent managed to create a magical autumn experience by means of just a single tree.

 

 

Rose bushes under the Trees by Gustav Klimt-
The canvas is like a confetti explosion of various shades of greens and yellows. Klimt’s unique composition of a single tree with rich foliage, depicted with tiny specks of brush strokes is one of his most popular masterpieces.

 

 

The Tree Series by Piet Mondrian-
The solitary trees in the series are depicted in their most basic and simplistic form, true to Mordrian’s art movement ‘De Stijl’ / ’The Style’. Cleverly angled brush strokes, and limited palette void of greens are the unique characteristics of this series.

 

 

The Bonaventure Pine by Paul Signac-
Painted in pointillism style a huge Umbrella Pine tree stretches across the canvas. The subdued background highlights the majestic form and the interesting shape of the tree. Following the pointillism technique of small dots applied in patterns, pixels of lighter tone sprinkled around the tree, suggest sunlight filtering through the leaves, adding a dreamy feel to the painting.

 

 

Autumn trees by Egon Schiele-
The bare lone trees made by the expressionist artists are metamorphic, the series deal with the themes related to death and rebirth. Grey palette, twisted trunk, cloudy sky and entwined branches are a compelling portrayal of a stormy winter, allegorical of misery and loneliness.

 

 

Pine Tree near Aix by Paul Cezanne-
The composition of this artwork differs from the rest, it’s unique and abstract, much like the other artworks of the post impressionist artist. The central figure (i.e. the pine tree) gets cut from all sides and is used as a frame for the painting. The mesh of the branches connecting the sides, combine all the elements to the center of the composition.

 

 

The Oak by Edvard Munch-
The artwork has an interesting color scheme, cool sky tones gradually descend to warm earthy color, diagonally from top left to bottom right. Though the color gradient of the tree is reflected on the background, yet Munch successively managed to highlight the tree as the central figure.

 

 

The Pink Peach Tree by Vincent Van Gogh-
The painting depicts a peach tree in bloom during springtime, despite being painted with subtle and pastel shades the artwork looks vibrant and spirited. The perspective exaggerated by the tapering flow of the brush strokes helps in highlighting the tree as the main subject.

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Th.V. Doesburg, Drei Haeuser by Juan Gris-
The abstract treatment represents the tree as a three-dimensional form viewed from a single perspective. The cubist artist’s composition despite its simplified geometric forms retains the look and feel of a landscape.

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Tree in flower near Vetheuil by Claude Monet-
The father of impressionism’s technique of capturing light and its effect on the color of the object is at play in this painting. The light and shade on the solitary tree are represented brilliantly with precise dabs and dashes of varied tones.

 

 

Little Oak Tree by Franz Marc-
The simplicity of the painting is reminiscent of ‘The Mulberry Tree’ by Vincent van Gogh (first painting on the top), spirals of fresh green leaves are highlighted by the brilliant blue sky and animated strokes of the ground.

 

 

The Fig Tree by Paul Klee-
The lone trees’ composition, monochromatic tones and the arrangement of the colored shapes reflect the artists experience in stain glass.

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L’Arbre (The Tree) by Pablo Picasso-
Picasso’s neutral colored artwork illustrates a stylized tree, with array of bold strokes and distorted shapes, the composition is compact with interlinked forms.

 

 

A Great Tree by  J. W. Turner-
The Watercolor artwork projects a powerful and majestic tree, the composition partly cuts the tree from the sides, highlighting the sunlit part of the tree as the focal point.

 

 

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When Art inspired Art

It has been a common practice for artists to replicate the composition of the paintings made by their favorite master artists.  These replicas have been a result of sincere admiration and genuine inspiration. We have listed few such reproduced artworks that have been created with similar theme as the original masterpiece but yet each the copied painting retains its own uniqueness made with fresh creativity.

Vincent van Gogh made over 30 copies of artworks made by his favorite artists- Delacroix, Jean-Francois Millet and Rembrandt. These replicas are not ‘plagiarized ideas’, he reproduced the paintings infusing his own originality with new art techniques and symbolism.

Noon Rest from Work by Jean-Francois Millet (Original)

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Noon – Rest from Work by Vincent van Gogh

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‘Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn’, a painting made by Raphael was inspired by the ‘Mona Lisa’, painted by Leonardo da Vinci. The landscape in the background, three-quarter cut of the portrait and the subjects pose, clearly takes on the composition of the masterpiece made by Leonardo da Vinci. However Raphael’s model has naivety and innocence in contrast to the mysterious Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci (Original)

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Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn by Raphael

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Silk-screen prints of Kate Moss by the British artist Banksy are reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe. The graffiti artist has given a contemporary makeover to the classic masterpiece with superimposed hairstyle and vibrant backgrounds.

Andy Warhol’s portraits of Marilyn Monroe (Original)

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Banksy’s portraits of Kate Moss

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‘The Balcony’ a painting by Edouard Manet was inspired by ‘The Majas at the balcony’ made by Francisco Goya. Manet applied an interesting color contrast, the three models are Manet’s friends shown in a casual setting. Goya’s theme on the other hand is rather tense, two elegant women are watched over by hostile male figures in the background.

‘The Majas at the balcony’ made by Francisco Goya (Original)

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‘The Balcony’ a painting by Edouard Manet

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‘Women of Algiers in their Apartment’ is a depiction of a Muslim harem, the painting was created after Eugene Delacroix’s visit to Morocco. The artist was captivated by the Oriental culture, brightly colored flowing costumes, Caravans, Veiled women, and Erotic Harems. In homage to this artwork, Pierre-Auguste Renoir created ‘Parisian Women in Algerian Costume (The Harem). Later Picasso in his cubist style made a series of 15 paintings inspired by Delacroix’s masterpiece.

‘Women of Algiers in their Apartment’ by Eugene Delacroix’s (Original)

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‘Parisian Women in Algerian Costume’ by Renoir

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Women of Algiers by Picasso

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Taking inspired from the composition of ‘The Pastoral Concert’ made by Titan, Edouard Manet painted ‘The Luncheon on the Grass’. Unlike Titan’s mythological theme, Manet’s painting had a contemporary setting. In that era, the art critics considered Manet’s painting obscene, lacking any mythological theme or allegorical precedent a nude and a scantily dressed female along with two fully cloth men in an urban setting couldn’t be passed off as a respectable subject. Claude Monet further inspired by Manet’s painting made his own version of ‘The Luncheon on the Grass’.  James Tissot’s version ‘The Foursome’ was more animated but it was much tamer and sober.

‘The Pastoral Concert’ made by Titan (Original)

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‘The Luncheon on the Grass’ by Edouard Manet

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‘The Luncheon on the Grass’ by Claude Monet

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The Foursome by James Tissot

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The composition of ‘Bedroom at Arles’ painted by Roy Lichtenstein is an exact replica of Vincent van Gogh’s painting of the same title. The technique is what gives the Pop artists painting its originality.

‘Bedroom at Arles’ by Vincent van Gogh (Original)

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‘Bedroom at Arles’ by Roy Lichtenstein

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‘The Third of May 1808’ is a painting made by Spanish artist Francisco Goya to honor Spanish resistance to Napoleon’s armies. The artwork inspired Edouard Manet’s painting ‘Execution of Emperor Maximilian’ and Pablo Picassos masterpiece ‘Guernica’. Manet’s painting portrays the execution of the Emperor of Mexico and ‘Guernica’ is and anti-war painting made by Picasso depicting the aftermath of the Nazi German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

‘The Third of May 1808’ by Francisco Goya (Original)

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‘Execution of Emperor Maximilian’ by Edouard Manet

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‘Guernica’ by Picasso

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The Card Players is a series of oil paintings made by Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cezanne, depicting peasants engrossed in their pipes and playing cards. Cezanne gained inspiration from the painting ‘The Card Players’ made by one of the Le Nain brothers. While the original is highly animated and has a lot of drama, farmers in Cezanne’s artwork are calm and intensely focused on their game.

‘The Card Players’ by the Le Nain brothers (Original)

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‘The Card Players’ by Paul Cezanne

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Johannes Vermeer’s painting ‘The Art of Painting’ is in fact a self portrait, the artist has his back towards the viewer. Perfectly balanced composition, flawless lighting and remarkably realistic technique makes this masterpiece artwork one of the finest creation made by the artist. Salvador Dali revered Vermeer, ‘The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used As a Table’ is a surrealistic painting made by him in reference to Vermeer’s appearance in his popular painting ‘The Art of Painting’.

‘The Art of Painting’ by Johannes Vermeer (Original)

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‘The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used As a Table’ by Dali

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‘Woman with a Parasol’ (Mrs. Monet and their son) was painted by Claude Monet in a single session probably within few hours, the impulsiveness is clearly visible with the bold and dynamic strokes of multiple shades. Upwards perspective, windy atmosphere and the juxtaposition of Mrs Monet with her partly visible son, adds a sense of amazing depth. Inspired by this remarkable artwork, American artist John Singer Sargent, painted ‘Two Girls with Parasols’, the theme and feel of the painting is similar, it depicts a relaxed and casual outing on a sunny, fair weather day.

‘Woman with a Parasol’ by Claude Monet (Original)

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‘Two Girls with Parasols’ by John Singer Sargent

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Top 10 Biopic Movies of Artists

Frida (2002), a biopic drama film of the celebrated Mexican artist Frida Khalo, played and produced by Salma Hayek. The bold and free-spirited artists’ life has been illustrated starting from her tragic childhood accident, tumultuous relationship with her husband/artist Diego Rivera to her worldwide achievements in the art scenario. The movie was has been adapted from the book Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera.

Casting- Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Ashley Judd
Directed by- Julie Taymor

Frida_

Salma Hayek as Frida Khalo, shown here painting her popular self portrait titled ‘The Broken Column

Frida

 

Mr. Turner (2014) the movie projects the latter half of the eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner’s life and career. The film highlights the artist’s obsession with seascapes, the warm relationship he shared with his father and the admiration he won of his patrons and contemporaries. Timothy Spall plays the role of the artist in all honesty as an uncouth, flawed individual and a romanticist who explores the relationship between God and mankind.

Casting- Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson
Directed by- Mike Leigh

Mr. Turner

Timothy Spall as J. W. Turner, shown here with the artists masterpiece artwork ‘The Harbor of Dieppe’

Mr Turner

 

Lust for Life (1956), one of the most popular biographical film, it’s about the life of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The artists’ role played by Kirk Douglas is considered to be his careers best performance. The film marvelously illustrates Vincent’s disastrous personal relationships, fiercely strong bond with his beloved brother Theo van Gogh, obsessive passion for art and his inner struggles as a tortured genius. The movie is based on the 1934 novel ‘Lust for Life’ by Irving Stone.

Casting- Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald
Directed by- Vincente Minnelli

Lust for_Life

Kirk Douglas as Vincent van Gogh, shown here painting the artists last artwork- ‘Wheatfield with crows’

Lust for Life

 

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) a biographical film of the renaissance master artist Michelangelo, mainly focusing on the difficulties and dilemmas he faced while painting the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II. A fitting cast of actors Charlton Heston as Michelangelo and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II made the movie a classic piece. The movie is based on the book ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ by Irving Stone.

Casting- Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Alberto Lupo
Directed by- Carol Reed

The Agony_and the Ecstasy

Michelangelo played by Charlton Heston is shown here painting the Sistine Chapel.

The Agony and the Ecstasy

 

Modigliani (2004), biopic narrative of Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, spotlight of the movie is the artists’ rivalry with Pablo Picasso and his tragic romance with a beautiful Catholic girl Jeanne Hébuterne. The tear-jerking moments of the artists struggle for survival and his unconditional love for his muse and lover are profoundly moving. There is little fiction added to spice up the movie but that doesn’t stray the storyline from the actual events of the artists life. Andy Garcia’s performance as the title role is spectacular.

Casting- Andy García, Elsa Zylberstein
Directed by- Mick Davis

Modigliani

Andy Garcia as Modigliani with one of the artists painting.

Modigliani_

 

Pollock (2000), a film about the life and career of the expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, directed and played by Ed Harris. The story mainly focuses on the latter half of the artists’ life, how he gradually after decades of experience headed towards abstract expressionism and eventually his increasingly unstable nature, progressively deteriorated his career and personal life. Marcia Gay Harden’s remarkable acting as Pollock’s wife Lee Krasner, adds depth to the couple’s troubled relationship. The film is an adaption of the book ‘Jackson Pollock: An American Saga’.

Casting- Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Connelly
Directed by- Ed Harris

Pollock

Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden as Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner.

POLLOCK, Marcia Gay Harden, Ed Harris, 2000

 

The Impressionists (2006) the docudrama is a biographical account of Impressionist artists- Claude Monet, Renoir, Degas, Édouard Manet, Cézanne and Bazille. The series depict how the founders of the art movement ‘Impressionism’ rejected the conventional rules of painting and created their own unique style, much to the annoyance of the traditionalist. The movie is based on documented letters and interviews of that era.

Casting- Julian Glover, Andrew Havill, Charlie Condou, Aden Gillett, Will Keene
Directed by- Tim Dunn

The Impressionists

Andrew Havill played the young Claude Monet, shown here painting the popular artwork- ‘Arrival of the Normandy Train’

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Big Eyes (2014), is a biographical film of American artist Margaret Keane. Her unique styles of making figures (mainly children) with melancholic big eyes become commercially successful in the art market. The movie narrates how her husband Walter Keane took credit for her art as the creator of the paintings, eventually Margaret decides to reveal the truth and expose Walter as a fraud. The legal battle for reclaiming her name and her self-discovery are the highlights of the movie. Starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz and directed by Tim Burton, the movie is a must-see.

Casting- Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz
Directed by- Tim Burton

Big Eyes

Artist Margaret Keane and her husband Walter Keane played by Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz

Big-Eyes

 

Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003) The movie centers around the relationship of the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer and the model for his masterpiece painting ‘The Girl With a Pearl Earring’. The film events are mostly a work of fiction, as the model’s identity is still a mystery. In the film Grieta, played by Scarlett Johansson, is the model of the painting and a maid in the household of the artist Johannes Vermeer, played by British actor Colin Firth. The movie is an adaptation of a novel of the same name- ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ by Tracy Chevalier

Casting- Colin Firth, Scarlett Johansson
Directed by- Peter Webber

Girl with a-Pearl Earring

A scene from the movie, where the artist is shown helping his muse wear the pearl earring.

Girl with a Pearl Earring

 

Loving Vincent (2016) a spectacular animation film based on Vincent van Gogh’s life. The uniqueness of the movie is that each frame of the animation is a hand painted oil painting on canvas. There are 56,800 frames, the coloring and compositions are inspired by Vincent’s art style and paintings. Thirty painters have worked together to complete the 80-minute movie in two years. The movie is anticipated to have a Christmas release, based on the trailer and its groundbreaking technique without doubt it’s going to be a breakthrough film.

Directed by- Dorota Kobiela

Loving Vincent_

 

10 Masterpieces that have Transcended Time

Art is decidedly subjective, what might appeal to you may not have the same effect on someone else. For instance, personally, I favor artworks made during impressionism and post impressionism era. There are some who only like realistic art from renaissance period in contrast to a section of art enthusiasts who are fond of modern and contemporary art. Consequently, jotting down a set of ‘Best Artworks’, ‘Greatest Masterpieces’ or ‘Most Famous Paintings’ as such is near impossible. However we have list out 10 masterpieces which are considered most innovative and remarkably intriguing by majority of the art lovers, each made by a different master artist.

Starry night (1889- Post Impressionism), the masterpiece is believed to be a view from Vincent van Gogh’s room in an asylum at Saint-Remy. The upper half of the painting shows a vibrant sky bursting with energy, the turbulent swirls are in sharp contrast with the calm and sleepy village in the lower half of the painting. Based on Vincent’s religiously beliefs, art historians interpret that the cypress tree in the foreground symbolizes the unification of the world with the cosmos.


Impression- Sunrise
(1874- Impressionism), by Claude Monet was displayed in the first art exhibition held by then struggling artists- Manet, Renoir, Degas and Monet. Rebuffed by the art critics, they used the title of this painting to phrase the exhibition as “The Exhibition of the Impressionists” hence accidentally defining the new art movement. His technique of loose and short brushstrokes captured the essence of the Sunrise. The uniquely unfinished look of this artwork is what paved the way for the new art movement- Impressionism.


The Kiss
(1907- Symbolism) Gustav Klimt’s signature style of clubbing decorative patterns with semi- realistic figures has been best achieved in his celebrated artwork-‘The Kiss’.  The painting shows an entwined couple symbolizing love. The masculine geometric shapes on the man’s gown gradually merge in to the lady’s floral pattern symbolizing the couple’s passionate union as one. Further adding to this blissful union is the surreal dreamlike setting of shimmering gold plated background.


Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
(The Young Ladies of Avignon) (1907- Cubism) by Pablo Picasso is considered to be the prototype that shaped Cubism and Modern Art. The masterpiece projects the creative maturity achieved by Picasso over the years, a style that fermented over time through his various experiments and techniques. The painting portrays five female prostitutes from a brothel in Barcelona, with the simplistic and two-dimensional figures Picasso breaks the conventional rules of perspective and realism.


The Persistence of Memory
(1931- Surrealism) by Salvador Dalí, is widely believed to be the masterpiece that best defines the art movement ‘Surrealism’. The painting shows pocket watches melting against a barren backdrop. Composition is dreamlike and the execution is realistic, typical characteristics of a surrealistic painting, as stated by Dali himself “hand painted dream photographs”. The subject of the artwork is insignificance of time, the ants on the left suggest decaying and the distorted central form is often referred as a Self-portrait.


Mona Lisa
(1517- Renaissance) is undoubtedly the most popular portraits in the art world, the greatest creation of renaissance period and the finest masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci. This accomplished portrait is most known for its captivating and mysterious half-smile, it’s been an ultimate source of inspiration for visual and literary arts.  Art expert’s latest belief has been that for the hopping smile, the genius artist, applied optical illusion called sfumato, generated by clever shading around the cheek bones and mouth.


Birth of Venus
(1480- Renaissance) by Sandro Botticelli, is one of the best representation of the origin of the ‘Goddess of love’, a common mythological subject of the Renaissance Period. The painting shows Venus, who has just risen from the sea on a shell, she is gently being blown towards the shore by the God of Wind. On the right, Hora the Goddess of Spring reaches out to cover her with a cloak. Her elegant posture and melancholic gaze makes Botticelli’s Venus look like a mystifying beauty.


The Girl with a Pearl Earring
(1665- Baroque), often referred as ‘The Dutch Mona Lisa’ is one of the most notable painting made by Johannes Vermeer.  The expressions and pose of the subject makes it incredibly interactive. The startled, wide-eyed subject looks back at the viewer with an exceedingly engaging half smile much like Leonard’s Mona Lisa, it seems that the viewer has managed to catch her attention causing her to pause and gaze back over her shoulder.


Dance at le Moulin de la Galette
(1876- Impressionism) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir- The artwork shows, couples dancing in the open-air dance hall and a café on a Sunday afternoon. The joyful ambiance fashioned by Renoir reflects the typical life style of the Parisians. The figures have soft contours, mildly blending with each other, adding a dreamy feel to the painting. The entire canvas is covered with spots of light and shadow, suggesting sunlight filtering through the trees, adding a gleaming summery experience to the scenario.


The Fighting Temeraire
(1838- Romanticism), a seascape made by J. W. Turner, is known for its dramatic play of sunlight and its spectacular theme. The 998-gun ship, played an important role in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, in the seascape it is being towed away by a steamer to be broken up for scrap. The theme is a salute to the passing of the majestic ship, decolorized and faded it seems a thing of the past. For the sunset, Turner used the technique of glazing over impasto, captures the spirit of the moment in the most magnificent manner.

 

VINCENT and THEO: The Van Gogh Brothers

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VINCENT a creative genius and THEO a Charismatic art dealer, as illustrated in manga- Les deux Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh, a classic model of an eccentric and a tortured genius, shared a fiercely strong bond with his beloved brother Theo van Gogh, who was his only confidant, closest friend and amongst the few who understood the artist. Theo was not just a loving brother, who gave financial and emotional support with unwavering love but also played the role of an art dealer, who promoted and introduced Vincent’s art to the evolving art scenario in Europe, unfortunately his efforts only fructified after his dead.

It is almost impossible to talk about Vincent’s art and achievements without referring his brother’s influence. The connection between the two intensely devoted brothers was admirable, Theo was like Vincent’s second self, an alter-ego of the artist.

Loving Vincent

Vincent and Theo- as illustrated in the animation movie ‘Loving Vincent’

There have been many cultural depictions that have highlighted their warm brotherly love. Listed are few of the most popular movies and books:-

Vincent & Theo– a 1990 biographical drama film about the painter Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) and his brother Theo (1857–1891). The film highlights the warm relationship of the siblings, it starts from 1883 when despite his father’s protests Vincent decides to pursuit art as a career, Theo is introduced as the only family member who supported Vincent’s decision. In his lifetime, Theo never lost hope in Vincent’s artistic skills, he continued to encourage him till the end and as an art dealer persistently tried to establish him as a successful artist in the market. As a concerned brother, he even financed Paul Gauguin’s relocation to Arles with the hope that his company would help Vincent cope with depression and he trusted Gauguin’s influence might shift his dark palette to a brighter one, as was the pattern followed by the avant-garde impressionist artists of that time.

Posters

Promotional posters of the movie Vincent & Theo

 

Van Gogh: Painted With Words- A bio-documentary released in 2010, based on the real letters of Vincent and Theo, it showcases the correspondence between the two brothers and the circumstances at the moments the letters were written. Shown below is the promotional poster of the bio-documentary

Van Gogh-Painted With Words

Promotional posters of the bio-documentary ‘Van Gogh: Painted with Words’

 

In their lifetime, Vincent van Gogh and his brother exchanged over 903 letters, the brothers had a constant correspondence, living apart didn’t bring any sort of distance or gap in their relationship. In the letters, Vincent expressed his artistic ideas and emotional experiences with complete honesty. These letters reveal the artist’s inner struggles, creative growth and personal thoughts.

Below are few books based on the collection of Vincent’s letters to his brother Theo:

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh– edited by Mark Roskill

The Letters of Vincent van Gogh-

 

Dear Theo- edited by Irving Stone

dear-theo

 

Theo: The Other Van Gogh by Marie-Angelique Ozanne and Frederique De Jode
The book questions- Would Vincent have been Vincent without Theo? It analysis the key role the younger brother played in emotionally supporting and shaping his career as an artist.

TheoThe Other Van Gogh

 

Les deux Van Gogh (Sayonara Sorushie) An interesting graphic novel released in 2012 by Japanese Author/Artist Hozumi. Though the tear-jerking manga (Japanese term for graphic novels) is partly fictional but the way the Author/Artist has narrated the siblings attachment is extremely touching. This award-winning work is a must-read for all art enthusiasts.

ssorcier_cover

 

Theo was with his beloved brother till his last hours of life, on 27 July 1890 when he receiving the news that Vincent shot himself in the chest, he rushed to be at his brother’s side. Theo was distraught by the loss and died six months later, his body was buried with his brother at Auvers-sur-Oise. Theo’s widow held a memorial exhibition of Vincent van Gogh’s artworks, and he was an instant sensation in the art circuit in Europe. Today Vincent van Gogh is one of the most recognizable artists, his creative techniques laid down the foundation for the modern art.

Vincent and theo

Vincent and Theo- A Creative genius and a Charismatic Art Dealer, as illustrated in Manga Sayonara Sorcier.

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There are Passionate Art Collectors and then there are Fanatical Ones

There are passionate art collectors and then there are fanatical ones. We have listed few such obsessive art collectors who even served as art patrons for budding and up-coming young artists, not for personal financial gain or for investment sake but purely for their love for art. Their insightfulness and intuition has originated many success stories for accomplished and skilled artists.

Herbert and Dorothy (1922-2012) (b. 1935), a working-class couple (Herbert was a postal clerk and Dorothy worked as a librarian), are known as the champions of art collectors. With their common interest in art, the made-for-each other couple amassed a priceless collection of over 4,782 artworks, considered to be one of the most important private art collections of the 20th century, which they surprisingly stored in their one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Running out of space in their apartment, they decided to donate part of their collection to the National Gallery of Art (Washington) instead of selling.

Herbert and Dorothy

Herbert & Dorothy (Shown above) with their treasured artworks in their one-bedroom apartment.


Sergei Shchukin
(1854-1936) was a Russian businessman, the art he bought in his time was rebuffed by the Louvre and other museums. He had a strong association particularly with Henri Rousseau. The artist (Rousseau) decorated his mansion and created one of his iconic paintings-La Danse. Shchukin’s collection was brutally criticized and ridiculed by the art circle, he jokingly remarked, “A madman painted it and a madman bought it.”  After the 1917 Revolution, the government acquired his collection, his mansion in Moscow became the State Museum of New Western Art.

Sergei Shchukin the dance

Sergei Shchukin (Left),- The iconic paining made by Henri Rousseau for his mansion- The Dance (Right)

Sergei Shchukin residence, with paintings by Claude Monet and other Impressionists

A portion of Sergei Shchukin’s mansion with his collection (Shown above)


Don and Mera Rubell,
Miami based art enthusiasts started collecting shortly after they got married, Don was still a medical student and Mera was working as a teacher. The couple was organized and practical in their purchases, 25 percent of their monthly finances were fixed for acquiring artworks for their collection. They mostly bought art pieces from young and rising artists. As their financial conditions improved, the Rubells’s gradually extended their range to international aspiring new artists. As selfless art collectors, the Rubell’s showcase their collection annually for public viewing from mid-December to early August.

Don and Mera Rubell

Don and Mera Rubell (Shown above) image source colormecashmere.com


Albert Barnes
(1872-1951) a chemist by profession is known as one of the most insightful and intuitive art collector. In late 19th century/early 20th century, when modern artists like Picasso, Matisse and Modigliani were considered too vague and forward, he bought their artworks and gradually made an art collection of 2,500 art items which is currently worth at least $25-billion. Before long, he got a mansion built and designed especially for his collection, access to which was limited to selected few, mostly art students. After Barnes death, his collection is now part of Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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Albert Barnes with his art collection


Charles Lang Freer
(1854-1919), an American industrialist and founder of Freer Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), he is best known for his vast collection of Asian art mostly sculptures, paintings and ceramics from Egypt, Iran, Japan, China, and Korea. Though his collection also includes number of American masters but he was particularly fascinated by the works of James Whistler. One of his most famous acquisitions was James McNeill Whistler’s Peacock Room, a masterpiece of mural art. Freer filled the shelves in the peacock room with pots he had acquired from Asia. This asserted his belief that “all works of art go together, whatever their period.”

Peacock roomOP

Interior of the Peacock Room, the panels are painted with brilliant blue-greens and metallic gold leaf

 

Charles Lang Freer

Charles Lang Freer (Right), The Princess from the Land of Porcelain (one of the artworks in The Peacock Room)

 

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One of the panels in The Peacock Room (Right), Asian Pots placed along the panels (left)

The Curious Case of- ‘The Barnes Collection’

 

Albert Barnes a chemist by profession is known as one of the most insightful and intuitive art collector. In late 19th century/early 20th century, when modern artists like Picasso, Matisse and Modigliani were considered too vague and forward, he invested in their artworks and gradually made an art collection of 2,500 art items which is currently worth at least $25-billion.

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With his perceptive vision, he bought priceless artworks at advantageous prices. Artworks worth millions in today’s time were bought by him within four to three-figures price range. Today ‘The Barnes collection’ is considered to be the best private art collection of post-Impressionist era. The amazing collection includes – 69 Cézannes, 60 Matisses, 44 Picassos, 178 Renoirs, 18 Henri Rousseau, 14 Modigliani, 6 Georges Seurat, Edgar Degas, 7 Vincent van Gogh and more.

Shown below are some of the prized assets-

 

 

But his excellent taste in art is not the only thing he is known for, after Barnes’ death, ownership of his exclusive collection had become a very controversial issue. Only once, did Barnes showcase his private collection publically, the displayed artworks were brutally criticized and ridiculed by the local art circle leaving a permanent resentment towards the art critics and institutes of Philadelphian.

Before long, he got a mansion built and designed especially for his collection, access to which was limited to selected few, mainly art students. Idea was to make a school and use the art for educational programs rather than showcasing it as a typical museum. The arrangement of the paintings, ancient artifacts, furniture and other antique pieces (African sculptures, Asian prints, medieval manuscripts, Old master paintings of Peter Paul Rubens, and Titian) in the mansion was unique and aesthetically interesting unlike a museum-like clichéd display.

Artworks as displayed in Barnes Mansion

 

 

For the sake of his art collection, he founded ‘The Barnes Foundation’ which stated clearly that the artworks should be only used for educational purpose, they shouldn’t be sold and that the pieces should not be moved out of the mansion under any condition. The foundation permitted the collection to be open to the public, only for few days a week.

The building where the Barnes collection was displayed in Lower Merion

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After Barnes death, in due course, as the masterpiece artworks value increased, The Philadelphia Art Museum, the very institute Barnes detested, claimed that the collection deserved to be made public. Supporters of the original foundation and nonprofit corporations voiced against the proposal since it conflicted with Barnes wishes. The factions accused the government of overlooking and disrespecting the basic rights of private property and monetizing the collection for tourism purpose. After years of legal struggle, the city finally obtains it for $107 million, a measly amount compared to the estimated $25 billion worth collection.

Supporters of the Barnes foundation protesting against the relocation of the art collection

barnes-protest-cbcNews

 

Barnes protest

Vandalized signs of the protester’s

Photo by William Thomas

‘The Art of the Steal’ is an excellent documentary worth watching (not to be mistaken with the Hollywood movie releases in 2013), it follows this controversial struggle for control of Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ 25 billion dollar collection of modern and post-impressionist art.

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Other than Barnes’ radical art collection and controversies, what’s more intriguing and admirable is his keen sense of art and intuitive nature. Entrepreneur to the core, the fact that he formed a foundation to protect his art possession proves that he anticipated that his collection in due time would become priceless. He spent most of his fortune on the artworks which the art critics of his time, yet didn’t recognize as masterpieces. Art collectors and enthusiasts like Albert Barnes are rarities in the art world.

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Art prints of our classic prints are available on Canvas and Archival Paper.

Why are some Artworks so expensive?

For outsiders, art world is an alien place where prices are illogically high and the artworks are fanatically sought-after items. However there are perfectly logical reasons to these so-called bizarre prices and the passion of the art collectors. Out of, the sea of reasons to ‘why art is expensive’ here are few factors that rule the evaluation process.

Auction house

Image source – dailymail.co.uk

 

Historical significance– Artists like Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Picasso were responsible for starting new revolutionary art movements. Their artworks created with radical techniques and style went on to change the face of the art world forever and laid down foundations for new art era’s. These masterpieces with historical baggage gain enormous value.

Le bassin aux nymphéas (Water lilies series) sold for $80 Million in 2008, made by Claude Monet, the founder of Impressionism.

 

The basic market equilibrium of demand and supply is applicable in the art world as well. Once a Master artist passes away, his artworks get limited, in other words supply gets restricted hence his paintings become rare articles and more in demand.

The fame of Vincent van Gogh began to spread during the last few year of his life and it reached its peak after his death, whereas during his lifetime, he apparently sold only one painting. One of world’s most popular and most expensive painting- Irises got sold for $53 million (adjusted price $111 million) in 1987.

 

Artworks created during the period marked as the turning point in an artist’s career are of great value. Each artist has a defining point in his life where his technique matures and gets marked as his signature style, which is generally his mid-career. Originality and inventiveness of these pioneer artworks is what adds value and esteem.

Picasso’s career after passing many phases like blue and rose period finally took a radical turn when he discovered Cubism. One of world’s most expensive painting- Les Femmes d’Alger (Women of Algiers) got sold for $179 million this year (2015) at Christie’s.

 

Artworks are also evaluated based on its Subject matter and CompositionSignificance of what the artworks subject narrates, symbolizes and conveys are few of the key evaluator.

Composition significantly affects the visual impact and overall illustrative quality of the painting. Focal point of the painting, correlation between the lines and shapes, optical harmony, angels and arrangements are some of the layout techniques that distinguish a masterpiece from the rest.

Dance at le Moulin de la Galette  made by Pierre Renoir got sold for $78 million (adjusted price $141 million) in 1990. The subject of the artwork illustrates the typical life style and celebratory nature of the Parisians. The artwork is skillfully broken in to numerous micro compositions, which adds perspective and movement.

 

Appreciation adds value, in principle this is the most significant and central reason for art pricing. Some artworks are just appealing without any explanation as to why. Lofty prices rule such masterpieces purely because of its aesthetic value and appeal.

Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers and Water Lily Pond are the finest examples of artworks that have universal appeal. The former was auctioned for $39 million (adjusted price $82 million) in 1987 and the latter was sold for $80 million (adjusted price $79 million) in 2008.

 

Cost, admiration and appeal also climbs if there is any fascinating or emotional story related to the artwork. A Glamorous muse, tragic romance, eccentric behavior of the artist, spirited effort are few such instances.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer got sold for $135 Million (adjusted price $157 Million) in 2006, made by Gustav Klimt. Like Adele Bloch-Bauer, who was known for her scandals and bohemian lifestyle, her gold-embellished portrait is also surrounded with controversies. After Nazi’s confiscated the painting, Adele’s niece fought for over 9 years with Austrian government  for its procession.

 

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Art prints of our classic prints are available on Canvas and Archival Paper.

Everybody Loves Landscapes

Every art collector has a favorite genre but landscapes is one such kind which is liked by all art enthusiasts, whether it’s green open fields, vast coastal views, serene valleys, wild forests or a simple foliage of a garden. Here are few reasons to why it’s the most loved art theme.

In today’s time, being surrounded by the beauty of nature in any form is what generally people would call a perfect get-away from their hectic city life. Landscape paintings manage to capture the scenic beauty of these experiences, making sceneries a popular theme among city populace. Fine examples of these are the landscapes made by the impressionist artists.

Landhaus in Rueil By Edouard Manet

 

The Water Garden by Childe Hassam

 

Field with flowers near Arles by Vincent van Gogh

 

Landscape as a subject is extremely flexible and versatile, the composition can be stylized in many ways- abstract, realism, impressionism or cubism. Cezanne, Dali, Marc Franz, Rousseau are few artist’s who painted landscapes, each following a radically unique style (artworks shown below).

Landscape and a Seascape by Henri Rousseau and Dali

Ocher ArtRousseau Dali

 

At the Water’s Edge by Cezanne

 

Deer in a Monastery Garden by Marc Franz

 

The Home of the Heron by George Inness

 

Artists like Constable and Turner on the other hand followed realism. Constables masterpiece’s ‘Wivenhoe Park’ (top-most image of this post) and ‘An Old Bridge at Hendon’ (Shown below) are classic examples of landscapes made during the romanticism era. Fresh colors, rural subjects, countryside views, twilight scenes and slush greenery in harmony with a brilliant blue sky were some of the elements of romanticism.

An Old Bridge at Hendon by Constable

 

Landscape paintings are also favored by the interior designers because it’s a genre that goes well with all sorts of interiors- traditional interiors for home, contemporary corporate spaces or theme based décor. Nature showcased in any form or style, adds a soothing effect to a space, its welcoming, attractive and the color palette is mostly wide enough to harmonize with the other elements in the interior.

Ocher Art Blog-img source-

Image source- theseasidestyle.com and tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com

Ocher Art Blog-img source

Image source- howtodecorate.com and houseofturquoise.com

For a small room with poor lighting or a windowless space, a landscape painting makes a lot of difference, it creates a feeling of wider space. Adding landscapes and sceneries are one of the many tricks used by professional interior designers for adding an illusion of increased space in small apartments and flats.

Ocher Art Blog-img source- architecturaldigest_com

Image source- architecturaldigest.com

In Feng Shui, landscape paintings are a popular element used to energizing the atmosphere. Landscapes with flowing water symbolize abundance in cash inflow or career advancement. Scenic greenery and cultivated fields makes a painting best suited for well being and liveliness. Trees, budding flowers and mountains suggest growth and support. Scenic paintings are one of the easiest and most flexible elements used by Feng Shi experts to modify energies and attract positive vibrations.

Morning Sunlight Effect by Camille Pissarro

 

Finally, love for scenic landscapes is an inherent nature of mankind because we evolved in it. We have had an age-old connection and a profound relationship with nature, the impact of a scenic painting is bound to be of joy and captivity.

Undergrowth with Two Figures by Vincent van Gogh

 

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Art prints of our classic prints are available on Canvas and Archival Paper.

Art for Feng Shui

The basic theory of Feng Shui (meaning ‘wind ‘and ‘water’) is to create a positive setting for the circulation of the invisible energy flow present in our living environment. The course of the life force (Chi) around us influences our success, relationships and health. Obstructions to this flow can cause disharmony resulting to adverse repercussions. To achieve balance and accord, Feng Shui consultants guide us as to- ‘what’ and ‘how’ to arrange the matter around us. As per Feng Shui guidelines, synchronization and stability can be achieved by arranging personalized objects, in the right manner in our surroundings.

In Feng Shui, art plays a very important role in energizing the atmosphere. It is one of the easiest and most flexible elements that can be used to modify energies and attract positive vibrations. The artwork selected should candidly communicate the motive and secure the objective accurately.

Water signifies prosperity, success and wealth. Select a landscape with flowing water for the North segment of your house for abundance in cash inflow or career advancement. The course of the flowing water in the artwork should give the impression of moving in the direction of the viewer, in other words towards the house. Shown below are some of the artworks by Master’s suitable for the North sector of the house.

La Grenouillere by Claude Monet

Fishing boats at Sainte Marie by Vincent van Gogh

Rest along the Stream by Alfred Sisley

Artworks that exemplify love, togetherness and happiness needs to be placed in Southwest sector of the house, for energizing love, deepening family relationships and developing new associations. Shown below are some of the artworks by great Master’s apt for the Southwest subdivision of the house.

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

The Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir

A painting that radiates potency and longevity is good for the Health sector of the house (East).
Wheat Field with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh- The evergreen trees cypress in the painting signify longevity and strength. Scenic slush greenery and cultivated fields make the painting best suited for well being and liveliness. The wood element in the painting is also favorable for the East.

Irises by Vincent van Gogh Irises an ornamental flowering plant that survives in hard conditions like dried semi-desert and rocky mountains illustrates potency and dazzling energy. The solid long stems with blossoming flowers make it a powerful print for healing and fertility.

Artworks or prints that communicate movement and new opportunities should be placed in the ‘Fame and Reputation’ segment of the house (South). Select a print with vibrant colors, blazing with energy and packed with action.
Starry Night over the Rhone by Vincent van Gogh- The numerous spiral stars signify new opportunities and activities. The Water element in the painting adds positive energy for success. Activate your ‘Fame and Recognition’ sector with this energized painting.

Poppy field by Vincent van Gogh- The fiery red poppy flowers against the brilliant green fields painted with animated brushstrokes, if placed in a South region, it will be favorable for ‘Fame and Reputation. Trees and mountains in the background suggest growth and support.

Southeast region of the house, which is for ‘Prosperity and Abundance’, needs artworks that symbolize good fortune, ampleness and opulence.
Still Life with Quince Pears by Vincent van Gogh The painting screams abundance and prosperity. The gold-like yellow pears are most appropriate for dining hall or kitchen.

The Harvest by Vincent van Gogh Harvest the most productive season of the year symbolizes good fortune and rewarding results. A print most appropriate for acknowledgment and acclaim.

Creativity and Children’ division (South) of the house requires an artwork denoting expansion, a new beginning and prosperous growth.
Almond blossom by Vincent van Gogh- The budding almonds in the painting illustrates beginning of a new life and growth. Placing this print in the ‘Children and Creativity’ section would be fruitful.

Small Pear Tree in Blossom by Vincent van Gogh The painting represents prosperous expansion and profitable results, most appropriate for creative development and new foundations.

For ‘Knowledge and Skill’ zone (Northeast) a tranquil and composed artwork would be fitting. It should signify inner growth and spiritual expansion.
Rose bushes under the Trees by Gustav Klimt The rich foliage highlights the Earth energy of the Northeast sector. The tree adorned with multiple dabs of green indicates change of season which in Feng Shui denotes positive alteration and willingness to accept change. The flowers symbolize rewarding results. A potent print for the ‘Knowledge and Skill’ zone.

Heidelberg by E. Phillips Fox – This artwork also grounds the earth energy for Northeast. The green foliage and serene atmosphere awakens insightful and intuitive thoughts.

Finally, select artwork that communicate the most with you and expresses your intentions. Instead of deciding base on commercial ads selling Feng Shui products, rely on your instincts.