Archive for April, 2011

Happy Birthday Odilon Redon!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , , on April 20, 2011 by echostains


Today is the birthday of French Symbolist artist Odilon Redon (b. France 1840 – 1916).  Redon (real name Bertrand-Jean) was also a printmaker, draughtsman and worked in pastels.  Born to an affluent family Redon acquired the nickname Odilon from his mother Odile. 


He studied drawing at 15 but changed his path to architecture because his father approved this.  This was to prove a mistake because Redon didn’t pass his entrance exam to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, though he was to study painting there for a short time.


Redon then took up sculpture  and the etching and printmaking but had to put his artistic career on hold whilst he joined the Franco-Prussian army in the 1870 war.  When he came back to Paris after the war, he began to work with lithography and in charcoal (he was to call these his noirs). 

The Cyclops The Guardian Spirit of the Waters

Recognition came in 1878 with Guardian Spirit of the Waters.  After 1900 Redon produced no more noirs, preferring to work in pastels and oils.  The legion of Honour was awarded the artist in 1903, exhibited with the Nabis at Durand-Ruel’s and in 1913 he was given the largest single representation in New Yorks Armory Show as well as having a catalogue and etching produced by Andre Mellerio.


Redon’s work is both mysterious and revealing, exploring his inner feelings and his psyche.   This is what the artist says about his inner inspiration behind his work in his journal A Soi-même (To Myself);-

“I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased.”

More information from here and here

Images from here

PLUS Don’t forget there’s another poetry challenge over on my Bookstains Just click Julie Andrews (she’ll thank you for it 😀 )  This particular challenge is a real wacky fun one and is a departure from my usual art based one!

Bacon by Lightbulb

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , , , on April 15, 2011 by echostains


I came across this interesting video today about an exhibition of Francis’ Bacon‘s work called ‘Francis Bacon, A Terrible Beauty.  The exhibition, which ran from 28th October 2009 – 7th March 2010 was at the Hugh Lane City Gallery, Dublin Ireland. Although I didn’t manage to get to this exhibition, I have been to the Hugh Lane Gallery and seen Bacon’s studio.  When I used to paint down in my cellar. My space looked very much like this (it’s not a big space and has no natural light, just a bare lightbulb just like Bacon’s).  This particular exhibition as well as celebrating Bacon’s Dublin roots, shows the unusual way in which Bacon worked.  Photographs by John Deakin were found all over Bacon’s studio.  Deakin a friend of Bacon’s was an exceptional photographer, brutally honest and just a bit sleazy (the man himself wasn’t an easy man and could be rather unpredictable)  The photos of a very young Lucien Freud in particular reveal the artist in his bohemian habitat and the crumpled, trodden, paint stained, creased and  ripped negatives and photos show Bacon’s fascination with photographic images –  and how he translated this (including their state) into his work.

Thanks to  video

Dorian Grey? Not in this attic

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS with tags , , , on April 6, 2011 by echostains

They say women are vain – but when it comes to artists it seems that men never get tired of looking at their own reflection – and painting them.  Van Gogh was one of the most prolific self-portrait artists, (and one of the most unvain artists) as was  Rembrandt and Picasso.  It is interesting to look at the way age creeps into these self portraits, and is also a tribute to some of the artists lack of vanity and pursuit for truth that makes the ageing process unflattering in some cases.  This gentle film takes a look at some famous self-portrait painters.  Some like Rembrandt chronicled his age throughout life, some stop short at youth.   Here is part of a list of the artists featured, the rest are here.  See how many you can recognise.

Artists in order of appearance:
0:08 – Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519
0:15 – Francisco Goya 1746-1828
0:22 – Albrecht Dürer 1471-1528
0:29 – Sir Joshua Reynolds 1723-1792
0:35 – Rembrandt 1606-1669
0:42 – Andy Warhol 1928-1987
0:48 – William-Adolphe Bouguereau 1825-1905
0:55 – Henri Matisse 1869-1954
1:02 РEug̬ne Delacroix 1798-1863
1:09 РJean-Fran̤ois Millet 1814-1875
1:15 – Jan van Eyck 1395-1441
1:22 – Peter Paul Rubens 1577-1640
1:28 – James McNeill Whistler 1834-1903
1:35 – John Singer Sargent 1856-1925
1:42 – Kazimir Malevich 1878-1935
1:49 – Nicolas Poussin 1594-1665

Video and list from   and info from by Philip Scott Johnson

500 Years of Male Self Portraits in Western Art

with thanks!