From The Artists Studio
Rockaway Artists Alliance
By Susan Hartenstein
Your wait is over. Here they are – the answers to the All-American Super Patriotic Only a Little Late for July 4 Rockaway Artists Alliance Test Your Art Knowledge Quiz. As a bonus – a few pertinent facts that will interest you.
- Jamie Wyeth (1946-). Interested in drawing and painting since childhood, James Browning Wyeth studied art with his father and aunt, Carolyn. His skills and subjects are wide-ranging. He has even illustrated two children’s books.
- N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945) illustrated such classics as "Treasure Island" and "Last of the Mohicans" for Charles Scribner’s Sons. Wyeth was a student of the great illustrator Howard Pyle. Pyle taught the concept of "mental projection" in order to make the illustrations vivid and immediate to the viewer. He said, "One must live in the picture." Pyle also advised his students to live life fully. Wyeth took his teacher’s advice. His extraordinary pictures are powerful, immediate and exciting. Though famous for his illustrations, N.C. also created many impressionist paintings of the Pennsylvania and Maine landscape. Three of his five children became artists – Andrew, Carolyn and Henriette. If you wish to see the art of the Wyeth family, visit the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa.
- Grant Wood (1892-1942). This portrait of a stoic couple in front of their farmhouse has been satirized so frequently, we forget that this was a serious painting meant to honor small-town American values. Born in Iowa, Wood advocated "Regionalism", which was a form of American realism of the 1930’s. He believed that American artists should depict their American environment in their paintings rather than continuing to be culturally dependent on Europe.
- Jasper Johns (1930-). Pop artists like Johns, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein used as their subjects, common objects and images from American pop culture and the consumer society. These included flags, comic strips and images, such as soup cans, from popular advertisements. Pop Art began in the U.S. and Britain in the 1950’s. See also the answer to question 10.
- Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902) was born in Germany. His huge paintings, rendered with enormous detail, captured for Americans at the beginning of the Industrial Era, a romanticized West. The pristine American wilderness was about to be lost forever to the huff and puff of machines and the railroad.
- Gilbert Stuart (1755-1838) was an American artist known for a light brushstroke and the ability to paint flesh very well. Stuart made 60 copies of this, his third and final portrait of Washington. These copies helped support Stuart during his economically bleak years.
- Frederic Remington (1861-1909), who gained his knowledge of the West first-hand as a military scout, rancher, hunter, trapper and reporter. He, too, aimed to capture a vanishing world. His images were immediate and dramatic and depicted that world’s stark reality. I believe I remember reading that John Ford, the famous director of such westerns as "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", used Remington’s paintings as a guide to the art design of his western films.
- The Hudson River School. Just as certain artists of early America like Albert Bierstadt painted the West, others painted Romantic views of the East. Asher Durand (1796-1886) was one of the first American painters to paint outdoors.
- Alexander Calder (1898-1975). Mobiles, delicately balanced sculptures hinged and suspended in such a way as to move in the slightest breeze, are examples of kinetic art, which employs actual movement or the impression of movement.
- Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997). Lichtenstein’s blown-up and bold oversimplified images were meant to make Americans aware of what the aesthetics of this country had become in the `60’s. See also answer to question 4.
There is a fine exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of paintings and drawings by John Singer Sargent, running through September 24. Sargent was famous for his portraits. This exhibit goes beyond these portraits to show his range of skills and subjects. Of particular interest to me are his watercolors. Sargent’s touch in this medium is instinctive and natural. His artistic courage, his facility for glazing with clarity and the extraordinary light in his watercolors make him, to my mind, one of the three greatest American watercolorists.
Esther Grillo continues her work on "The Deep", her third "wave" bus shelter mural on Shore Front parkway. Portions of it are already complete. Grillo welcomes everyone to come see this project in progress being created by her with the assistance of neighborhood children and adults, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The shelter is located between 104 and 105 streets. On her recent visit to Rockaway, Hillary Clinton was brought to see Grillo’s two most recent murals. How splendid that when a senatorial candidate comes to this community, there is something so beautifully positive to show her, illustrating the worth and potential of Rockaway. Advocating for individual artists and arts organizations, Grillo also voiced her concerns to the First Lady regarding funding to the arts.
Until next week…