Saturday, December 5, 2009

Women Artists: Heidenkind's Art History Challenge

 I'm not sure how it happened but all the books & movies I wanted for Heidenkind's Art History Challenge came at once. One of the reasons I joined the challenge was to expand my knowledge of art.  I'm afraid that the books I chose for the challenge were a bit daunting, and I only made halfway through two of them. The two books I got from the library Women Artists by Margaret Barlow
Women Artists: An Illustrated History by Nancy G. Heller were coffee table book size and had lots of illustrations. I think the main problem with both of these books was that they were very similiar, and tried to cover too many time periods and ended up focusing on the same artists. The 1800s was the period that fascinated me the most-probably because most of the historical romances I read were set in that time period. One artist Rolanda Sharples captured my attention with her painting of Cloakroom of the Clifton Assembly Rooms.It was painted in 1817, and people use it to visual Jane Austen's work as it was in the same time period. (Yes, Jane Austen was mentioned in a book about women artists!)

Rolinda's father was a portrait painter who took them from England to live in cities like New York City and Philadelphia. When he died, the family moved back to England and her mother founded the Bristol Fine Arts Academy.  Her first commissioned painting happened when she was just 13. (I feel like such a slacker!!)

Another artist who caught my eye was Lilian Martin Spencer, who was born in England but her parents immigrated to the United States settling in Cincinnati. She was noticed when she painted pictures of her parents on the walls of their farmhouse. Nicholas Longworth was so impressed that he offered to send her abroad for further training, but she refused. She specialized in scenes of daily life.  However, one of her most famous paintings is a potrait that was commissioned by the comptroller general of New York City.

From netflix I rented a documentary called Great Women Artists: Georgia OKeefe. I've always been intrigued by her and wanted to know more about her life...however this was not the documentary for that. This focused on different paintings and gave very fast insight into a lot of her paintings. The narrator talked really fast, so it was hard to get a lot of info. Another thing that made it hard to keep up with the narrator was that it didn't follow a timeline. It was all over the place!
But here is what I learned:

  • In 1918 Alfred Stieglitz convinced her to give up teaching and accepted his financial offer to teach for one year, which lasted for years. 
  • 1918-1930 painted pictures of New York, wanted to capture the bustle of New York. 
  • 1919 Red & Orange Streak-  is suppose to show the last rays of sunlight, & sounds of evening are portrayed in the center of the painting.
  • 1920 abandoned still life 
  • My Shanty, Lake George-Only painting of lake George, a place where she could get away. Dark colors are unusual for OKeefe. 

  • 1922 Spring-Abstract painting of organic shapes
  • 1926 100 paintings were on display at Addison's (?) art gallery-she was not found of showing her work in galleries. 
  • later in life she traveled a lot and even rafted down the Colorado River
  • Lost a lot of her vision in her 70s
  • Died in 1986
 Even though I wasn't able to finish the books or movie, I learned a lot.