Tag Archives: abstract

Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter (born 9 February 1932) is a German visual artist. Richter has produced abstract as well as photorealistic paintings, and also photographs and glass pieces. His art follows the examples of Picasso and Jean Arp in undermining the concept of the artist’s obligation to maintain a single cohesive style.
In October 2012, Richter’s Abstraktes Bild set an auction record price for a painting by a living artist at $34 million (£21 million). This was exceeded in May 2013 when his 1968 piece Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral square, Milan) was sold for $37.1 million (£24.4 million) in New York. This was further exceeded in February 2015 when his painting Abstraktes Bild sold for $44.52 million (£30.4 million) in London at Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale.

Richter was born in Hospital Dresden-Neustadt in Dresden, Saxony, and grew up in Reichenau, Lower Silesia (now Bogatynia, Poland), and in Waltersdorf (Zittauer Gebirge), in the Upper Lusatian countryside, where his father worked as a village teacher. Gerhard’s father, Horst Richter, was a mathematics and physics student at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden, when he married Hildegard Schönfelder in 1931, and Gerhard was born the following year.

Gerhard Richter, c. 1966
Gerhard Richter, c. 1966

After struggling to maintain a position in the new Nationalist Socialist education system, Horst found a position in Reichenau. In Reichenau, Gerhard’s younger sister, Gisela was born in November 1936. Horst and Hildegard were able to remain primarily apolitical due to Reichenau’s location in the countryside. Horst, being a teacher, was eventually forced to join the National Socialist Party. He never became an avid supporter of Nazism, and was not required to attend party rallies. In 1942, Gerhard was conscripted into the Deutsches Jungvolk, but by the end of the war he was still too young to be an official member of the Hitler Youth. In 1943 Hildegard moved the family to Waltersdorf, and was later forced to sell her piano which had great importance to her as her father had been a well known pianist.

"S. mit kind (S. with child)," 1995
“S. mit kind (S. with child),” 1995

Gerhard left school after 10th grade and apprenticed as an advertising and stage-set painter, before studying at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts. In 1948, he finished higher professional school in Zittau, and, between 1949 and 1951, successively worked as an apprentice with a sign painter and as a painter. In 1950, his application for study at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts was rejected as “too bourgeois”. He finally began his studies at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts in 1951. His teachers were Karl von Appen, Heinz Lohmar (de) and Will Grohmann.

Richter married Marianne Eufinger in 1957; she gave birth to his first daughter. He married his second wife, the sculptor Isa Genzken, in 1982. Richter had a son and daughter with his third wife, Sabine Moritz after they were married in 1995.

In the early days of his career, he prepared a wall painting (Communion with Picasso, 1955) for the refectory of his Academy of Arts as part of his B.A. Another mural entitled Lebensfreude (Joy of Life) followed at the German Hygiene Museum for his diploma. It was intended to produce an effect “similar to that of wallpaper or tapestry”.

"Lebensfreude (Joy of Life)," 1956
“Lebensfreude (Joy of Life),” 1956

Both paintings were painted over for ideological reasons after Richter escaped from East to West Germany two months before the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. After German reunification two “windows” of the wall painting Joy of Life (1956) were uncovered in the stairway of the German Hygiene Museum, but these were later covered over when it was decided to restore the Museum to its original 1930 state. From 1957 to 1961 Richter worked as a master trainee in the academy and took commissions for the then state of East Germany. During this time, he worked intensively on murals like Arbeiterkampf (Workers’ struggle), on oil paintings (e.g. portraits of the East German actress Angelica Domröse and of Richter’s first wife Ema), on various self-portraits and on a panorama of Dresden with the neutral name Stadtbild (Cityscape), 1956.

“Stadtbild (Cityscape),” 1956

When he escaped to West Germany, Richter began to study at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Karl Otto Götz together with Sigmar Polke, HA Schult, Kuno Gonschior, Hans Erhard Walther, Konrad Lueg and Gotthard Graubner. With Polke and Konrad Fischer (de) (pseudonym Lueg) he introduced the term Kapitalistischer Realismus (Capitalistic Realism) as an anti-style of art, appropriating the pictorial shorthand of advertising. This title also referred to the realist style of art known as Socialist Realism, then the official art doctrine of the Soviet Union, but it also commented upon the consumer-driven art doctrine of western capitalism.

Richter with colleagues Sigmar Polke, Konrad Fischer (then Lueg) and Manfred Kuttner


“Party,” 1963

Richter taught at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design as a visiting professor; he returned to the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1971, where he was a professor for over 15 years. In 1983, Richter resettled from Düsseldorf to Cologne, where he still lives and works today. In 1996, he moved into a studio designed by architect Thiess Marwede.

Window at Cologne Cathedral, by Gerhard Richter
Window at Cologne Cathedral, by Gerhard Richter
Window at Cologne Cathedral, by Gerhard Richter

Nearly all of Richter’s work demonstrates both illusionistic space that seems natural and the physical activity and material of painting—as mutual interferences. For Richter, reality is the combination of new attempts to understand—to represent; in his case, to paint—the world surrounding us. Richter’s opinions and perspectives on his own art, and that of the larger art market and various artistic movements, are compiled in a chronological record of “Writings” and interviews. The following quotes are excerpts from the compilation:

  • “I am a Surrealist.”
  • “My sole concern is the object. Otherwise I would not take so much trouble over my choice of subjects; otherwise I would not paint at all.”
  • “My concern is never art, but always what art can be used for.”

Edited from:


Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series:
February 9, 2017

Gerhard Richter

(click image for full resolution)

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Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat: painter

Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was an American artist. He first achieved notoriety as part of SAMO©, an informal graffiti duo who wrote enigmatic epigrams in the cultural hotbed of the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the late 1970s where the hip hop, post-punk, and street art movements had coalesced. By the 1980s, he was exhibiting his Neo-Expressionist paintings in galleries and museums internationally. The instant fame and wealth took a toll on the sensitive young man, who was to succumb to the weight of his success and pass away tragically, at the age of 27.

1986, New York, New York, USA - Image by © William Coupon/CORBIS
1986, New York, New York, USA – Image by © William Coupon/CORBIS

Basquiat’s work focused on “suggestive dichotomies”, such as wealth versus poverty, integration versus segregation, and inner versus outer experience, He appropriated poetry, drawing, and painting, and married text and image, abstraction, figuration, and historical information mixed with contemporary critique.

Basquiat used social commentary in his paintings as a “springboard to deeper truths about the individual”, as well as attacks on power structures and systems of racism, while his poetics were acutely political and direct in their criticism of colonialism and support for class struggle.

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born in Brooklyn, New York, on December 22, 1960, shortly after the death of his elder brother, Max. He was the second of four children of Matilda Andrades (July 28, 1934 – November 17, 2008) and Gérard Basquiat (1930 – July 7, 2013). He had two younger sisters: Lisane, born in 1964, and Jeanine, born in 1967. His father, Gérard Basquiat, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and his mother, Matilde Basquiat, who was of Puerto Rican descent, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Matilde instilled a love for art in her young son by taking him to art museums in Manhattan and enrolling him as a junior member of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Basquiat was a precocious child who learned how to read and write by age four and was a gifted artist. His teachers, such as artist Jose Machado, noticed his artistic abilities, and his mother encouraged her son’s artistic talent. By the age of 11, Basquiat was fully fluent in French, Spanish and English. In 1967, Basquiat started attending Saint Ann’s, an arts-oriented exclusive private school. He drew with Marc Prozzo, a friend from St. Ann’s; they together created a children’s book, written by Basquiat and illustrated by Prozzo. Basquiat became an avid reader of Spanish, French, and English texts and a more than competent athlete, competing in track events.

In September 1968, when Basquiat was about eight, he was hit by a car while playing in the street. His arm was broken and he suffered several internal injuries, and he eventually underwent a splenectomy. While he was recuperating from his injuries, his mother brought him the Gray’s Anatomy book to keep him occupied. This book would prove to be influential in his future artistic outlook. His parents separated that year and he and his sisters were raised by their father.

Jean-Michel with his sisters, circa 1967
Jean-Michel with his father, c. 1985

The family resided in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, for five years, then moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1974. After two years, they returned to New York City.
When he was 13, his mother was committed to a mental institution and thereafter spent time in and out of institutions. At 15, Basquiat ran away from home. He slept on park benches in Tompkins Square Park, and was arrested and returned to the care of his father within a week.

Jean-Michel’s father, Gérard Basquiat, years after his son’s death

Basquiat dropped out of Edward R. Murrow High School in the tenth grade and then attended City-As-School, an alternative high school in Manhattan home to many artistic students who failed at conventional schooling. His father banished him from the household for dropping out of high school and Basquiat stayed with friends in Brooklyn. He supported himself by selling T-shirts and homemade post cards.

One of Basquiat’s postcards

In 1976, Basquiat and friend Al Diaz began spray painting graffiti on buildings in Lower Manhattan, working under the pseudonym SAMO. The designs featured inscribed messages such as “Plush safe he think.. SAMO” and “SAMO as an escape clause”.

At the age of 17, in 1978, Basquiat worked for the Unique Clothing Warehouse, in their art department, at 718 Broadway in NoHo and at night he became “SAMO” painting his original graffiti art on neighborhood buildings. Unique’s founder Harvey Russack discovered Basquiat painting a building one night, they became friends, and he offered him a day job. On December 11, 1978, The Village Voice published an article about the graffiti. When Basquiat and Diaz ended their friendship, The SAMO project ended with the epitaph “SAMO IS DEAD”, inscribed on the walls of SoHo buildings in 1979.

SAMO (for “same old shit”) marked the witty sayings of a precocious and worldly teenage mind that, even at that early juncture, saw the world in shades of gray, fearlessly juxtaposing corporate commodity structures with the social milieu he wished to enter: the predominantly white art world. ”— Franklin Sirmans, In the Cipher: Basquiat and Hip Hop Culture

In 1979, the 18 year old Basquiat appeared on the live public-access television cable TV show TV Party hosted by Glenn O’Brien, and the two started a friendship. Basquiat made regular appearances on the show over the next few years.

That same year, Basquiat formed the noise rock band Test Pattern – which was later renamed Gray – which played at Arleen Schloss’s open space, “Wednesdays at A’s”, where in October 1979 Basquiat showed, among others, his SAMO color Xerox work. The band produced one album on Plush Safe Records, entitled “Shades Of.” Gray also consisted of Shannon Dawson, Michael Holman, Nick Taylor, Wayne Clifford and Vincent Gallo, and the band performed at nightclubs such as Max’s Kansas City, CBGB, Hurrah and the Mudd Club.

In 1980, Basquiat starred in O’Brien’s independent film Downtown 81, originally titled New York Beat.  Downtown 81 featured some of Gray’s recordings on its soundtrack.

That same year, Basquiat met Andy Warhol at a restaurant. Basquiat presented to Warhol samples of his work, and Warhol was stunned by Basquiat’s genius and allure. The two artists later collaborated.

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat

Basquiat also appeared in the 1981 Blondie music video “Rapture,” in a role originally intended for Grandmaster Flash, as a nightclub disc jockey. (You can spot the young artist in the video at timestamp 1:50.)

Before his career as a painter began, he produced punk-inspired postcards for sale on the street, and became known for the political–poetical graffiti under the name of SAMO. On one occasion Basquiat painted his girlfriend’s dress with the words “Little Shit Brown”. He would often draw on random objects and surfaces, including other people’s property. The conjunction of various media is an integral element of Basquiat’s art. His paintings are typically covered with text and codes of all kinds: words, letters, numerals, pictograms, logos, map symbols, diagrams and more.

The early 1980s were Basquiat’s breakthrough years. In June 1980, Basquiat participated in The Times Square Show, a multi-artist exhibition sponsored by Collaborative Projects Incorporated (Colab) and Fashion Moda. Other artists in the show included David Hammons, Jenny Holzer, Lee Quiñones, Kenny Scharf and Kiki Smith. The show was held in a vacant building at 41st Street and Seventh Avenue, New York.

In September of the same year, Basquiat joined the Annina Nosei gallery and worked in a basement below the gallery toward his first one-man show, which took place in March 1981 with great success. Quickly thereafter, he was showing regularly alongside other Neo-expressionist artists including Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Francesco Clemente and Enzo Cucchi. He was represented in Los Angeles by the Gagosian gallery and throughout Europe by Bruno Bischofberger.

“Untitled,” 1981

In March 1982 he worked in Modena, Italy, and from November, Basquiat worked from the ground-floor display and studio space Larry Gagosian had built below his Venice, California, home and commenced a series of paintings for a 1983 show, his second at Gagosian Gallery, then in West Hollywood. He brought along his girlfriend, then unknown aspiring singer Madonna.

Gallerist and star-maker, Larry Gagosian in 2012

During this time he took considerable interest in the work that Robert Rauschenberg was producing at Gemini G.E.L. in West Hollywood, visiting him on several occasions and finding inspiration in the accomplishments of the painter.

Robert Rauschenberg’s “Mona Lisa,” 1982

In 1983, Basquiat produced a 12″ rap single featuring hip-hop artists Rammellzee and K-Rob. Billed as Rammellzee vs. K-Rob, the single contained two versions of the same track: “Beat Bop” on side one with vocals and “Beat Bop” on side two as an instrumental. The single was pressed in limited quantities on the one-off Tartown Record Company label. The single’s cover featured Basquiat’s artwork, making the pressing highly desirable among both record and art collectors.

Cover of “Beat Bop,” by Jean-Michel Basquiat

At the suggestion of Swiss dealer Bruno Bischofberger, Warhol and Basquiat worked on a series of collaborative paintings between 1983 and 1985. In the case of Olympic Rings (1985), Warhol made several variations of the Olympic five-ring symbol, rendered in the original primary colors. Basquiat responded to the abstract, stylized logos with his oppositional graffiti style. The collaborative show is still touring the world today, though smaller, as numerous works have been sold or are in museums.

Basquiat was known for often painting in expensive Armani suits and would even appear in public in the same paint-splattered clothes.

Basquiat’s canon revolves around single heroic figures: athletes, prophets, warriors, cops, musicians, kings and the artist himself. In these images the head is often a central focus, topped by crowns, hats, and halos. In this way the intellect is emphasized, lifted up to notice, privileged over the body and the physicality of these figures (i.e. black men) commonly represent in the world.” — Kellie Jones, Lost in Translation: Jean-Michel in the (Re)Mix

Fred Hoffman hypothesizes that underlying Basquiat’s sense of himself as an artist was his “innate capacity to function as something like an oracle, distilling his perceptions of the outside world down to their essence and, in turn, projecting them outward through his creative acts.” Additionally, continuing his activities as a graffiti artist, Basquiat often incorporated words into his paintings.

A middle period from late 1982 to 1985 featured multi-panel paintings and individual canvases with exposed stretcher bars, the surface dense with writing, collage and imagery. The years 1984–85 were also the main period of the Basquiat–Warhol collaborations, even if, in general, they were not very well received by the critics.

“Tenor,” 1985

A major reference source used by Basquiat throughout his career was the book Gray’s Anatomy, which his mother had given him while he was in the hospital at age seven. It remained influential in his depictions of internal human anatomy, and in its mixture of image and text. Other major sources were Henry Dreyfuss’ Symbol Sourcebook, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, and Brentjes’ African Rock Art.

Basquiat doodled often and some of his later pieces exhibited this; they were often colored pencil on paper with a loose, spontaneous, and dirty style much like his paintings. His work across all mediums displays a childlike fascination with the process of creating.

Like a DJ, Basquiat adeptly reworked Neo-expressionism’s clichéd language of gesture, freedom, and angst and redirected Pop art’s strategy of appropriation to produce a body of work that at times celebrated black culture and history but also revealed its complexity and contradictions.” — Lydia Lee

According to Andrea Frohne, Basquiat’s 1983 painting Untitled (History of the Black People) “reclaims Egyptians as African and subverts the concept of ancient Egypt as the cradle of Western Civilization”. At the center of the painting, Basquiat depicts an Egyptian boat being guided down the Nile River by Osiris, the Egyptian god of the earth and vegetation. On the right panel of the painting appear the words “Esclave, Slave, Esclave”. Two letters of the word “Nile” are crossed out and Frohne suggests that, “The letters that are wiped out and scribbled over perhaps reflect the acts of historians who have conveniently forgotten that Egyptians were black and blacks were enslaved.” On the left panel of the painting Basquiat has illustrated two Nubian-style masks. The Nubians historically were darker in skin color, and were considered to be slaves by the Egyptian people. Throughout the rest of the painting, images of the Atlantic slave trade are juxtaposed with images of the Egyptian slave trade centuries before. The sickle in the center panel is a direct reference to the slave trade in the United States, and slave labor under the plantation system. The word “salt” that appears on the right panel of the work refers to the Atlantic slave trade, as salt was another important commodity traded at that time.

Another of Basquiat’s pieces, Irony of Negro Policeman (1981), is intended to illustrate how African-Americans have been controlled by a predominantly Caucasian society. Basquiat sought to portray how complicit African-Americans have become with the “institutionalized forms of whiteness and corrupt white regimes of power” years after the Jim Crow era had ended. Basquiat found the concept of a “Negro policeman” utterly ironic. It would seem that this policeman should sympathize with his black friends, family, and ancestors, yet instead he was there to enforce the rules designed by “white society.” The Negro policeman had “black skin but wore a white mask”. In the painting, Basquiat depicted the policeman as large in order to suggest an “excessive and totalizing power”, but made the policeman’s body fragmented and broken. The hat that frames the head of the policeman resembles a cage, and represents how constrained the independent perceptions of African-Americans were at the time, and how constrained the policeman’s own perceptions were within white society. Basquiat drew upon his Haitian heritage by painting a hat that resembles the top hat associated with the gede family of loa, who embody the powers of death in Vodou.

However, Kellie Jones, in her essay Lost in Translation: Jean-Michel in the (Re)Mix, posits that Basquiat’s “mischievous, complex, and neologistic side, with regard to the fashioning of modernity and the influence and effluence of black culture” are often elided by critics and viewers, and thus “lost in translation.”

“Self Portrait,” 1983

The art historian Olivier Berggruen situates in Basquiat’s anatomical screen prints, titled Anatomy, an assertion of vulnerability, one which “creates an aesthetic of the body as damaged, scarred, fragmented, incomplete, or torn apart, once the organic whole has disappeared. Paradoxically, it is the very act of creating these representations that conjures a positive corporeal valence between the artist and his sense of self or identity.”

By 1986, Basquiat had left the Annina Nosei gallery, and was showing at the Mary Boone gallery in SoHo. On February 10, 1985, he appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine in a feature titled “New Art, New Money: The Marketing of an American Artist”. He was a successful artist in this period, but his growing heroin addiction began to interfere with his personal relationships.

When Andy Warhol died on February 22, 1987, Basquiat became increasingly isolated, and his heroin addiction and depression grew more severe. He made a sincere attempt at sobriety taking an extended trip to Maui, Hawaii, and for a while, it seemed he had beaten the demons. His health began to return, and those close to him say that he seemed happy.

Poloroid of Basquiat during his stay in Hawaii (photo credit: Paige Powell)

Unfortunately this was not to be the case for long, and the brilliant artist died on August 12, 1988, of a heroin overdose at his art studio at 57 Great Jones Street in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood. He was 27 years old. A plaque dedicating his life was placed on July 13, 2016 by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

From Basquiat’s last exhibition

Jean-Michel Basquiat was interred in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, where Jeffrey Deitch made a speech at the graveside. Among those speaking at Basquiat’s memorial held at Saint Peter’s Church on November 3, 1988, were Ingrid Sischy who, as the editor of Artforum in the 1980s, got to know the artist well and commissioned a number of articles that introduced his work to the wider world. Suzanne Mallouk recited sections of A. R. Penck’s Poem for Basquiat and Fab 5 Freddy read a poem by Langston Hughes. The 300 guests included the musicians John Lurie and Arto Lindsay; the artist Keith Haring; the poet David Shapiro; Glenn O’Brien, a writer; Fab 5 Freddy and members of Basquiat’s band Gray. In memory of the late artist, Keith Haring created Pile of Crowns for Jean-Michel Basquiat (1988).

Created shortly before his own death, Basquiat created “Man Riding With Death,” in 1988
Haring’s tribute “Pile Of Crowns”

Major exhibitions of Basquiat’s work have included Jean-Michel Basquiat: Paintings 1981–1984 at the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (1984), which traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, in 1985); the Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (1987, 1989). The first retrospective to be held of the his work was the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art from October 1992 to February 1993. It subsequently traveled to the Menil Collection, Houston; the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama, from 1993 to 1994. The catalog for this exhibition, edited by Richard Marshall and including several essays of differing styles, was a groundbreaking piece of scholarship into Basquiat’s work and still is a major source. Another exhibition, Basquiat, was mounted by the Brooklyn Museum, New York, in 2005, and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. From October 2006 to January 2007, the first Basquiat exhibition in Puerto Rico took place at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR), produced by ARTPREMIUM, Corinne Timsit and Eric Bonici. Brooklyn Museum exhibited Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks in April–August 2015.

In May 2016, Basquiat’s Untitled had a record breaking sale at Christie’s selling at auction for $57,285,000.

“Untitled,” sold in 2016 for $57,285,000.00


Edited from:


Jean-Michel Basquiat

Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series
December 22, 2016
(click image for full resolution)

TML Arts aims for accuracy in content and functionality in posts.
Click the button below to let us know about typos, incorrect information, broken links, erroneous attribution,
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Special thanks to: Daily Artfixx, On This Day, WikipediaFind-A-Grave, A&E Bio, The Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery, Famous Birthdays, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and all the art history buffs that keep the internet full of wonderful information and images. 

Alice Trumbull Mason

Alice Trumbull Mason: painter

Alice Trumbull Mason (1904–1971) was an American abstract painter. She became a staunch advocate of nonobjective art early in her career, and throughout her life she believed in its truthfulness over representational art.


Born to an affluent family in Litchfield, Connecticut, Mason was a descendant of the American history painter, John Trumbull. Her mother had studied art in Paris in the 1880s, and her sister had studied with Fernand Léger and Hans Hofmann. As a young woman Alice travelled throughout Europe, and beginning in 1921, she studied art in Rome, finally attending the British Academy in 1923.

"Untitled," 1929
“Untitled,” 1929


She settled in New York by 1927 and her artistic conversion came as a student of Arshile Gorky at the Grand Central Art School from 1927 to 1931. Though his own work was not yet abstract, Gorky introduced Mason to the analytical aspects of Cubism and the spiritual approach of Kandinsky. She also studied with Charles Webster Hawthorne at the National Academy of Design in New York where she befriended artists Esphyr Slobodkina and Ilya Bolotowsky.

“Small Forms Serving Against Large,” 1949

While her earlier works were biomorphic or pure abstraction, her knowledge of Byzantine architecture later infused her compositions with an architectural dimension. During a trip to Italy and Greece in 1928, Mason had been profoundly affected by Byzantine mosaics and archaic Greek sculpture. She admired the mosaics for their use of plastic elements and materials as expressive devices. She especially noted the use of line to generate motion and gilded tesserae to enhance the stylization of the line, qualities she adopted in her own untitled mosaic of 1941.


She continued her studies at the Grand Central Art Galleries until 1931. She later wrote that she became devoted to abstraction in 1929, “[A]fter happily painting these realistic things, I said to myself, ‘What do I really know?’ I knew the shape of my canvas and the use of my colors and I was completely joyful not to be governed by representing things anymore.”

“Untitled,” 1939

The artist married Warwood Mason, a sea captain, in 1928 or 1930. They had two children. Her daughter Emily Mason (b. 1932) also became an abstract painter.

Identifiable figures are: Seong Moy (lower left corner), Alice Trumbull Mason (at center, standing in front of chair), and Minna Citron (at far right).
Identifiable figures are: Seong Moy (lower left corner), Alice Trumbull Mason (at center, standing in front of chair), and Minna Citron (at far right).

Alice Trumbull Mason took up poetry and corresponded with Gertrude Stein before resuming her painting in 1934. She first exhibited her work in New York in 1942. Her works received little recognition while she was alive.

Alice Trumbull Mason, c.1958
Alice Trumbull Mason, c.1958

After the death of her son in 1958, she struggled with depression and alcoholism. She painted her last work in 1969 and died in New York City in 1971. Two years later the Whitney Museum of American Art hosted a retrospective exhibition of her works.

"#1 Toward A Paradox," 1969
“#1 Toward A Paradox,” 1969

Edited from:

TML Arts aims for accuracy in content and functionality in posts.
Click the button below to let us know about typos, incorrect information, broken links, erroneous attribution,
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Special thanks to: Daily Artfixx, On This Day, WikipediaFind-A-Grave, A&E Bio, The Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery, Famous Birthdays, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and all the art history buffs that keep the internet full of wonderful information and images. 

Viking Eggeling

Viking Eggeling: artist and filmmaker

Viking Eggeling (21 October 1880 – 19 May 1925) was a Swedish avant-garde artist and filmmaker connected to Dadaism, Constructivism and Abstract art and was one of the pioneers in absolute film and visual music. His 1924 film Diagonal-Symphonie is one of the seminal abstract films in the history of experimental cinema.


Helmuth Viking Eggeling was born in Lund, Sweden, and was orphaned at the age of fourteen. Two years later he moved to Germany to pursue an artistic career. He studied art history in Milan from 1901 to 1907, supporting himself with work as a bookkeeper. In 1903 he married Nora Sidney Marie (Noné) Fiernkranz from Vienna.

Eggeling and his wife Noné, c.1906

From 1907 to 1911, he taught Art at the Hochalpines Lyceum in Zuoz/Institut Engiadina (today Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz) in Switzerland. He separated from his wife and then lived in Paris from 1911 to 1915, where he was acquainted with Amedeo Modigliani, Hans Arp, Léopold Survage and other artists of the time. At this point his art was influenced by Cubism, but soon grew more abstract.

Portrait of Viking Eggeling, by Amedeo Modigliani, 1916
Portrait of Viking Eggeling, by Amedeo Modigliani, 1916

In the years 1915 through 1917, he lived in Switzerland and while there, he married his second wife Marion, née Klein.

Eggeling with his wife Marion (the two seated far left), at a dinner party at the home of Hans Richter
Eggeling with his wife Marion (the two seated far left), at a dinner party at the home of Hans Richter

It was during this time he was influenced specifically by the first animated, color, abstract film, entitled Rythmes colorés of Survage, and he started making sketches on scrolls, or “picture rolls” as he would call them. In Zurich, 1918, he re-connected with Hans Arp and took part in several Dada activities, befriending Marcel Janco, Richard Huelsenbeck, Sophie Taeuber, and the other Dadaists connected to the now famed Cabaret Voltaire.

Cabaret Voltaire, 2016
Cabaret Voltaire, 2016

In 1919 he also joined the group Das Neue Leben (“New Life”), that was based in Basel and featured Marcel Janco, Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber, Augusto Giacometti, and others. The group supported an educational approach to modern art, coupled with socialist ideals and Constructivist aesthetics. In its art manifesto, the group declared its ideal of “rebuild[ing] the human community” in preparation for the end of capitalism.

"Extension," lithography - 1919 by Eggeling
“Extension,” lithography – 1919 by Eggeling

That same year Eggeling was co-founder of the similar group Artistes Radicaux (“Radical Artists”), a more political section of the Neue Leben group. During this time, in 1918, Tristan Tzara introduced him to Hans Richter, with whom he would work intimately for a couple of years, and in 1919 the two of them left Switzerland for Germany. Richter later wrote that “The contrast between us, which was that between method and spontaneity, only served to strengthen our mutual attraction…for three years we marched side by side, although we fought on separate fronts.”

Portrait of Viking Eggeling by Hans Richter, 1918
Portrait of Viking Eggeling by Hans Richter, 1918

In Germany his first stop was Berlin, where he met with Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch and other radical artists. He here also joined the Novembergruppe (“November Group”), a radical political group that featured many artists connected to Dada, Bauhaus and Constructivism.

After moving to Klein-Kölzig with Richter, he continued his experiments with “picture rolls”. These scrolls were sequences of painted images on long rolls of paper that investigate the transformation of geometrical forms and could be up to 15 meters in length. As they were to be “read” from left to right, this soon evolved into cinematographic experimentation on film stock. In 1920, Eggeling separated from his second wife, and he also began producing his first film, Horizontal-Vertikal-Messe, based on a “picture roll” containing approximately 5000 images.


In 1921, he ends his collaboration with Richter and postponed his work on Horizontal-Vertikal-Messe. In 1923 he instead collaborates with Erna Niemeyer and works on Diagonal-Symphonie, a synthesis of image, rhythm, movement and music, created from series of black sheets of paper with cut-out geometrical shapes. This film was completed in 1924 and shown for the first time in November the same year. Its first public screening was in Berlin in May 1925, at the film exhibition “Der absolute Film”, arranged by the Novembergruppe.

16 days after the successful showing of the film, Eggeling suddenly became very ill and died. The reported cause of death was septic angina, most likely caused by consuming bread made with grain that had been infested with a type of mold called Fusarium, a high producer of the fatal poison, trichothecene mycotoxin.


The artist Hans Richter wrote, “Eggeling died at the Steglitz Hospital in Berlin on May 19, 1925. Fritz Schupp, his nephew, his last girl friend the dancer, Inge, and I were at his death bed. At his funeral were present twenty to thirty artists who had known and respected Eggeling during his lifetime and three of his girl friends. I spoke at his grave and, after me, Raoul Hausmann.” Though Richter’s memoir notes that he and Hausmann spoke at Eggeling’s grave somewhere in Berlin, the location of his final resting place is no longer known.

Portrait of Viking Eggeling, by Marcel Janco, 1919
Portrait of Viking Eggeling, by Marcel Janco, 1919


Viking Eggeling, October 21, 2016

Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series:
(click image for full resolution)


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George Ault

George Ault: painter

George Copeland Ault (October 11, 1891 – December 30, 1948) was an American painter. He was loosely grouped with the Precisionist movement and, though influenced by Cubism and Surrealism, his most lasting work is of a realist nature.


Ault was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and spent much of his youth in London, England, where his father was engaged in ink manufacturing. He studied at the Slade School of Art and St. John’s Wood School of Art (where his painting style was described as an anglicized version of Impressionism).

The Slade School of Art, as seen today


St. John’s Wood School of Art, seen here in the early 1900’s. The school closed in 1951.

In 1911 he returned to the United States where he would spend the rest of his life in New York and New Jersey. He began to paint New York night scenes and architectural subjects in a spare, modernist style. He became interested in night effects, a major theme in many of his later works. His shift towards a modern painting style caused his father (an academic painter) to stop supporting him.

"Sullivan Street Abstraction"
“Sullivan Street Abstraction,” 1924

By the mid-1920s, financial and personal problems began to interfere with Ault’s artistic progress. The home in which he had grown up had been emotionally troubled, and these issues came to fruition at this time. His mother died in a mental institution and three of his brothers committed suicide, all within the span of only a few years. By the time of his father’s death in 1929, the family fortune was largely dissipated. These unfortunate circumstances may explain the increasing turbulence and unhappiness of Ault’s personal life.

"Mantel Composition," 1929
“Mantel Composition,” 1929

Whatever the exact cause, during the 1920s, Ault grew neurotic and reclusive. He developed a severe case of alcoholism, almost blinding himself drinking poisonous bathtub gin. His behavior became so strange that his artist and dealer friends began to avoid him.

"Hudson Street," 1932
“Hudson Street,” 1932

In 1937, Ault moved to Woodstock, New York and tried to put his difficulties in the past. Depending on his wife for income, he created some of his finest paintings during this time, but had difficulty selling them. A nearby barn, which he painted three times, was a favorite subject, symbolizing a dying, agrarian way of life in the Catskills.

"Bright Light at Russell's Corners," 1946
“Bright Light at Russell’s Corners,” 1946



Although Ault is often grouped with Precisionists, he did not idealize modern life and machinery as outlined by the parameters of that movement. Rather, his urban landscapes, filled with a sense of disquiet and psychic distress, echo both the Italian Surrealist Giorgio de Chirico, and Albert Pinkham Ryder, the American romantic visionary. The idealist and Futurist aspects of Precisionism are not so apparent in his work—in fact, he once referred to skyscrapers as the “tombstones of capitalism”. He employed flat shapes and portrayed the underlying geometric patterns of the manmade structures that found homes on his canvases.

"Sculpture On A Roof," 1945
“Sculpture On A Roof,” 1945

An analytical painter, he was especially noted for his realistic portrayal of light—especially the light of darkness—for he commonly painted nighttime scenes. The painter Henry Mattson, Ault’s neighbor, often shared ideas with him on painting nocturnes, considered a Romantic tradition and a technical challenge for landscape painters.

"January Full Moon," 1941
“January Full Moon,” 1941


"Nude And Torso," 1945
“Nude And Torso,” 1945 – modeled by Ault’s wife, Louise


George and Louise Ault, c. 1940
George and Louise Ault, c. 1940

On December 30, 1948, Ault was on one of his reputed late night drinking binges when he disappeared while returning home along the icy banks of Woodstock Creek, which at the time was treacherously overflowing. His body was found fived days later, having drowned in the river. Many clung to the thought that it was an accident, however the coroner deemed his death a suicide.



Edited from:

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Click the button below to let us know about typos, incorrect information, broken links, erroneous attribution,
or additional relative information.

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Special thanks to: Daily Artfixx, On This Day, WikipediaFind-A-Grave, A&E Bio, The Smithsonian American Art Museum Renwick Gallery, Famous Birthdays, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and all the art history buffs that keep the internet full of wonderful information and images.