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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Albert Tucker was interested in art from a very young age. He had a premonition then that he would become an artist. But to help supplement the family income, he left school and worked as a house painter, where he developed lead poisoning. Albert turned towards Communism when he worked for a commercial artist; he felt exploited. Albert then left the company, and with a group of like-minded artists, formed The Angry Penguins. During and after World War II, casualties from both sides of the war had a traumatic effect on him. The same can be said of the deaths of those he knew as he made portraits of them.
Frank Hurley had quite an adventurous life. Right at the age of thirteen, he ran away from home when he got involved in an incident with his teacher. His passion for photography was born when he was employed as an apprentice fitter. However, this same passion caused him to lose his job. He met and went into business with a commercial photographer when he returned to Sydney. Frank had a reputation of putting himself in the line of danger for a good shot. His real adventure, however, began when he undertook expeditions to the Antarctic, one of which was the famous expedition with Ernest Shackleton on the Endurance.
Claude Pannka was among the visual artist and Aboriginal painter of Central Australian Landscape. He was also the original watercolour artist whose vibrant and bright colours were easily exclusive. This man was adjudged one of the best students of Albert Namatjira, who taught him how to paint. As a matter of fact, Claude Pannka’s style of painting followed the familial spirit of Namatjira, where colours shift fast and merge continuously with another colour to form visual tone before the eyes. With this painting style and practice, Claude Pannka knew where he was going precisely, immediately the composition began. It was like he was just transliterating country into paint.
Brett Whiteley won his first art prize at age seven. Early in life, his works were influenced by Welsh painter Augustus John and sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. Brett was a very talented artist, winning several awards, and his inspirations ranged from bathing to animals and even mass murderers. His personal life was just as intriguing. He suffered from drug addiction, which ironically appeared to only enhance his art. He also had quite a few affairs. Both of which led to his wife filing for divorce. And tragically, his drug and alcohol addiction ultimately led him to his demise. Nonetheless, Brett’s work saw him win awards and continued to sell for vast sums after his death.
Nobody knew the Namatjira family, but with the beginning of the watercolour movement, which Albert Namatjira was one of the founding fathers, the family’s name is one of the household names across the world. As a result, the family is doing everything possible to uphold the name. Despite the fact that Albert Namatjira died as a broken man, his family is now enjoying the legacy and goodwill he left behind as a result of the copyright returned to them after many years of long struggle and injustice. The restoration of this copyright will ensure that the Namatjira family and the tradition of the watercolour movement in the Western Desert lingers on.
Australian art is referred to as any art concerning or made in Australia or created by the Australians who are residing abroad, right from the ancient periods till today. The foremost artistic representations of the Australia scene by European artists were generally natural history illustrations, portraying the unique fauna and flora of the land for scientific functions, and the landscape of the coast. All the drawings of the colony were fashioned and created by soldiers and condemned artists, until the turn of the century. The genesis of a clearly Australian painting tradition was regularly linked with the Heidelberg School of the late 19th century.
Dorothy Napangardi was one of the foremost artists of the modern Aboriginal art movement. The work of this woman was highly sought after by both curators and collectors all over the world. Dorothy’s work rotated around the sprinkled representations of the landscape around her home town. They surveyed dissimilar and complex representations of its sandhills and salt pans. Dorothy focused on the movement to grab the attention of the onlooker. She accomplished this feat as a result of her extraordinary spatial intellect and compositional capability. Dorothy had several groups and unaccompanied presentations both in Australia and abroad. Her art is now available in collections of numerous museums.
Minnie Pwerle was an Aboriginal artist who started painting when she was about the age of 80. Whenever anybody asked her why she had not started work earlier, “no one had asked her” was always her response. Her style of painting was impulsive and characterised by intrepid and lively colour carried out with great autonomy. Her pictures quickly became popular and adored works of modern Indigenous Australian art. However, there was pressure from those who are eager to get her work. Spry and sociable, she could exceed younger women, even in her eighties, and she kept making artworks until two days before she died.