At his young age, Claude Monet was both an artist and an entrepreneur. He would sell his charcoal drawings for 10 to 20 francs apiece. Monet learned how to use oil paints and outdoor or “en plein air” painting techniques from fellow artist Eugène Boudin. Monet’s works were among those that featured the modernisation of Paris in a unique way, with the essence of spontaneity and intuitive feeling visible on the canvas. Later in life, he focused more on the environment and atmosphere in his works while focusing less on modernity. Monet’s paintings were not only sought for locally but was quite popular in England and the United States as well.
Sandro Botticelli is the creator of probably two of the most famous paintings in the world. Botticelli was renowned for his numerous works depicting the Madonna but was also widely known for his mythological paintings. It is generally understood that he produced the under-drawings and his apprentices completed the pieces. Drawings that Botticelli himself completed were also copied by his assistants. His style was linear and thus easily imitated, which made identification of his own work extremely problematic. Although Botticelli symbolised the methodology of the Quattrocento period, he did not enhance or influence it with his own work. He had developed his own style, preferring the more Gothic approach.
The Doughty sisters were born to English explorer and writer Charles Doughty and his wife in San Remo, Italy. Freda ran modelling classes for children from their home. She would frequently use them as live models for the ceramic figurines that she fired in her own kiln. Dorothy, too, had a passion for nature and enjoyed painting. Together, the sisters had a huge impact on the survival of the Royal Worcester Company. Both with Freda’s children in the early 1930s, a little later, with Dorothy’s limited editions of birds for the American market. Different in tastes, different in what they produced, the sisters were united in a love of art and nature.
Georgia O’Keeffe was recognised as one of America’s most significant artists with her works commanding high prices. She was a prolific artist who produced about 2000 pieces of art. She influenced early American modernists as a part of the Stieglitz Circle. Flowers were a consistent motif in O’Keeffe’s work. And despite her renunciation of their interpretation of her works, she was also a great influence on the artists of the feminist movement. The deterioration of her health did not mar her will to create. At seventy-three, her work featured more of rivers and clouds in the skies. O’Keeffe’s legacy included 70 years of work and contributions to American modernism’s development.
Richard Sebright worked for the Royal Worcester company for fifty-six years. However, there is little information about the man himself. His work and his religion completely occupied his days. Every piece he worked on had to be the very best he was capable of. But because of this, he was never fast enough to make a good living. Yet, his fellow artists considered him to be the finest fruit painter of them all. When you look at his works, it is easy to understand why. Richard is remembered for his exceptionally fine fruit paintings, and also for his delicate watercolours of flowers.
Frederick Williams was noteworthy for not only being a prolific painter but is also celebrated for his etchings. He learned to draw in the traditional manner, copying from plaster casts. Fred became interested in etching from studying prints of Rembrandt and Goya at the British Museum and spent many hours making them. But when Fred returned home, he started to move away from his mainly figure-based work to painting landscapes. One painting sold for, what was at the time, the second-highest recorded price for any work sold at an Australian auction. Fred held more than 70 solo exhibitions both in Australia and abroad. His works can now be found in numerous galleries in Australia.
Edward J. Wormley is best known for his custom and limited-edition furniture designs for the Dunbar Furniture Corporation. He is honoured as one of the 20th century’s major designers of American modernist furniture. Ironically, Wormley married modern sensibilities to traditional designs that gave his modernist designs a distinctively muted warmth and a quality that defies time, making them stand out from among their contemporaries. He proved that one need not choose the new over the old and that new things can be made out of the old. A large number of Wormley’s popular pieces from the 1930s and 1940s were selling well even into the 1960s, and even command very high prices at auctions today.
The Italian Renaissance painter known as Titian was born Tiziano Vecellio. Titian commenced his career as an independent artist in Venice in 1510. He was the first artist to utilise the paintbrush as a means of expression in itself. Titian used colour pigments that were both readily available and much rarer. He would use the pigments undiluted and emphasise contrasting colours using light. It is thought that he used his fingers, as well as a brush, to blend and apply the medium, thus creating illusions of movement and chiaroscuro effects. As a master artist, Titian was commissioned by eminent persons of the day, from relatively minor royal and state personages to monarchs.
Milo Baughman was an American furniture designer best known for his chair, sofa, and table designs. Baughman’s designs were all about simplicity and functionality. He practiced restraint and resisted novelty ideas that would not stand the test of time. As a result, he excelled at creating pieces that were distinctive and had long-lasting appeal, all without sacrificing affordability. He is known for his claim that good design is equal to enduring design. Baughman left behind a body of work that became emblematic for furniture design of the 60s and 70s. His designs became so iconic that they are still used, copied, and built upon by furniture makers and designers up to this day.
John Perceval had his first exposure to art books when he attended Trinity Grammar and continued his hobby of drawing and painting by copying the old masters. When John was 14, he was disabled by poliomyelitis for more than a year and spent his recuperation by again copying art illustrations from books. In 1941, Perceval’s application for active military service was denied as he was declared unfit, but he was drafted to the Army Survey Corps as a draughtsman with the Cartographic Company. After the war, Perceval’s paintings turned to religious subjects. Despite a troubled life, John Perceval received many awards, took part in a number of exhibitions and influenced a few artists in his lifetime.
In an industry dominated by men, Charlotte Perriand stands out not merely because she was female, but because of an impressive oeuvre of beautiful, comfortable and functional designs. She was among the most important furniture designers and architects of the mid-20th century. Her work was anchored in “the art of living” or l’art de vivre. Perriand sought to make good design accessible. She knew how to use the current technology to realise good furniture. She developed designs that could be mass-produced, employing standardisation, prefabrication, and flexible use of materials. Today, her pieces command high prices and are found in major public and private collections.
Harry Austin trained as an artist from a young age. He won many medals for his drawings at this time. He started his career at Royal Worcester in 1910. Harry developed into a very skilled artist with a wide range of subjects. Birds were the most predominant feature of his many talents. He produced a series of amazing birds for the Australian market. He also made paintings of fruit, flowers and plants for the export market. So realistic were the paintings that one could almost reach out a hand to pick them. Harry retired in 1955 and left a legacy of a truly beautiful bird and fruit ceramic art.
Martin Ritchie Sharp did not have a close relationship with either of his parents, but his mother still encouraged his early leanings towards art. Martin attended his first art exhibition at age nine. His art teacher recognised his talent and recommended that he study at the National Art School in East Sydney. Sharp’s first solo exhibition was held in 1965 at the Clune Galleries in Sydney and was hugely successful, being almost a sell-out on the first night. Sharp also produced posters for musicians including Bob Dylan and Donovan. Having never married or had children, his will specified that his home Wirian become ‘a hub for art education and that it should foster awareness of his work’.
Raphael, also known as Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, was a renowned Italian painter and architect of High Renaissance. He was popularly called The Divine One (‘Il Divino). He was renowned for the spatial geometry and perfect grace of his High Renaissance drawing and painting. He formed the traditional trinity of great masters of that era with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Quite a lot of his works are deposited in the Vatican Palace. Despite his short life, he contributed immensely to the development of art in Italy and the whole world. Raphael’s works are available and can be seen in the best art museums all over the world.
The Barossa Germanic furniture craft explained the historical settlement blueprints of the Barossa Valley and also gives more than a few chapters on diverse types of craft practice. Barossa German is the German language mainly spoken in the Barossa Valley region of South Australia, where it got its name from. Barossa Germanic furniture collection is available in side tables, stool, and wooden armchairs used by a 19th-century immigrant German family in South Australia. The furniture pieces are quite exceptional and are an excellent way of decorating your apartment. Some of the Barossa Germanic furniture collections can still be found at the National Museum of Australia till today.
Giovanni Bellini was a Venice new beginning painter and the brain behind the Venetian School of Painting. He was acknowledged as one of the greatest and foremost Old Master of resurgence art. Giovanni lived and worked in Venice and his career lasted 65 years. He was distinguished for his groundbreaking portrayal of natural light, tender and graceful pictures and his altarpieces. His painting techniques had a great impact on his students and colleagues. He continued to be active in the works he was commissioned to do up till his 70s. These days, as when he was alive, he is generally honored for his originality, skill and essential role in taking Renaissance to Venice.
Robin Day possessed a talent for drawing from an early age and his birthplace was also a great influence on his chosen career path as High Wycombe was a place renowned for its furniture making. Day may have produced a wide range of furniture but perhaps the most well-known of his creations was the polypropylene chair, fondly known as the polyprop chair. It was a game-changer and its phenomenal success made it a landmark in modern design. His designs prioritised durability, function, and comfort. His furniture was an inspiration for many modern furniture designers. Robin Day devoted himself to creating high-tech, mass-produced, budget furniture believing it would contribute to the betterment of the world.
Leonardo da Vinci was an excellent Italian painter and polymath. He was considered to be one of the three great originators of High Renaissance art in Italy. Leonardo was also distinguished as a master of oil painting such as the painterly methods of using shadow to make a 3-D effect (chiaroscuro) and using glazes in slightly different tones of colour, making an almost imperceptible transition from light to dark (sfumato). These two methods are noticeable in the Mona Lisa. Aside from being one of the greatest painters of all time, he is respected and appreciated for his technological cleverness and resourcefulness. Even to this day, the interest in Leonardo and his work has never reduced.