Tag Archives: women

Mark Demsteader

Mark Demsteader, painter

Mark Demsteader (born 1963) is a British figurative artist. According to The Daily Telegraph, he is “one of Britain’s best-selling figurative painters,” and according to a great many people, he creates some of the most beautiful artwork by any artist alive today. (I, for one, completely agree…I find his work to be truly enchanting, both visually and viscerally.)

Born in Manchester, his formative years were spent in Manchester’s meat market where he would accompany his father (Harold Demsteader) to the family butchery and meat-packing business. Completely absorbed in the noise, smells, and sheer physicality of this environment, the young Mark learnt more about the structure of sinew, bone, and flesh—albeit livestock—than in any subsequent life drawing class.

Mark Demsteader, at work
Mark Demsteader, at work

As a teenager passionate about pursuing an artistic career, Mark completed two foundation courses: first and at Oldham and then Rochdale Colleges of Art. However, in the 1980s conceptual art dominated the mainstream market and there were little opportunities for a young figurative painter in Manchester. Forced to return to work at his father’s wholesale butchery, Mark continued to attend life classes throughout the next decade.

“Chloe Standing”
“Hannah Seated”

In the early 1990s the family business fell victim to the recession and Mark was spurred on to find a commercial outlet for his work. To allow himself time to build a portfolio, he took a job as an art technician at an Oldham grammar school for another ten years. A short course at the Slade School of Fine Art gave him an opportunity to tour the London galleries with his portfolio, but with Brit Art in the ascendency he found drawing out of favour. Eventually, a gallery in Blackheath offered him space in a mixed show where he sold six works. Mark gave notice at the grammar school soon after.

“The Crossing”

In 1997 he became a member of the Neomodern Art Group founded by Guy Denning. He has held an annual solo exhibition with Panter & Hall in the West End of London since 2004. He is now represented in Daikanyama, Japan by Art Obsession.

“Swathe” – image from Panter and Hall Gallery

Notably, he produced a surreal portrait of musician Anomie Belle for her album Flux, and 34 paintings of Harry Potter actress Emma Watson.

Anomie Belle
Emma Watson
Emma Watson
Mark Demsteader and Emma Watson

 


 Interviews:



For more information:

The artist’s website: markdemsteader.com
Twitter: @markdemsteader
Facebook: Mark Demsteader
Instagram: markdemsteader
Email: mark@demsteader.com


Text edited from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Demsteader


Mark Demsteader

Digital collage portrait by Terri Maxfield Lipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series
17 April, 2017
(click image for full resolution)


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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. 


William Bouguereau

William Bouguereau: painter

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905) was a French academic painter and traditionalist. In his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body. During his life he enjoyed significant popularity in France and the United States, was given numerous official honors, and received top prices for his work. As the quintessential salon painter of his generation, he was reviled by the Impressionist avant-garde. By the early twentieth century, Bouguereau and his art fell out of favor with the public, due in part to changing tastes. In the 1980s, a revival of interest in figure painting led to a rediscovery of Bouguereau and his work.

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William-Adolphe Bouguereau was born in La Rochelle, France, on November 30, 1825, into a family of wine and olive oil merchants. He seemed destined to join the family business but for the intervention of his uncle Eugène, a Roman Catholic priest, who taught him classical and Biblical subjects, and arranged for Bouguereau to go to high school. He showed artistic talent early on, and his father was convinced by a client to send him to the École des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux, where the young artist won first prize in figure painting for a depiction of Saint Roch. During this time, in order to earn extra money, he designed labels for jams and preserves.

"Equality Before Death," 1848 - one of the artist's rare early works
“Equality Before Death,” 1848 – one of the artist’s rare early works

Through his uncle, Bouguereau was given a commission to paint portraits of parishioners, and when his aunt matched the sum he earned, Bouguereau went to Paris and became a student at the École des Beaux-Arts. To supplement his formal training in drawing, he attended anatomical dissections and studied historical costumes and archeology. He was admitted to the studio of François-Édouard Picot, where he studied painting in the academic style.

"L'Idylle," 1850
“L’Idylle,” 1850

Academic painting placed the highest status on historical and mythological subjects and Bouguereau won the coveted Prix de Rome at age 26 in 1850, with his Zenobia Found by Shepherds on the Banks of the Araxes. His reward was a year at the Villa Medici in Rome, Italy, where in addition to formal lessons he was able to study first-hand the Renaissance artists and their masterpieces, as well as Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities. He also studied classical literature, which influenced his subject choice for the rest of his career.

"Zenobia Discovered by Shepherds on the Banks of the Araxes," 1850
“Zenobia Discovered by Shepherds on the Banks of the Araxes,” 1850

Bouguereau, painting within the traditional academic style, exhibited at the annual exhibitions of the Paris Salon for his entire working life. An early reviewer stated, “M. Bouguereau has a natural instinct and knowledge of contour. The eurythmie of the human body preoccupies him, and in recalling the happy results which, in this genre, the ancients and the artists of the sixteenth century arrived at, one can only congratulate M. Bouguereau in attempting to follow in their footsteps … Raphael was inspired by the ancients … and no one accused him of not being original.”Raphael was a favorite of Bouguereau and he took this review as a high compliment. He had fulfilled one of the requirements of the Prix de Rome by completing an old-master copy of Raphael’s The Triumph of Galatea. In many of his works, he followed the same classical approach to composition, form, and subject matter.

Bouguereau's "Triumph of Galatea," 1852 - after Raphael
Bouguereau’s “Triumph of Galatea,” 1852 – after Raphael
The original "Triumph of Galatea," by Raphael, 1511
The original “Triumph of Galatea,” by Raphael, 1511

Bouguereau’s graceful portraits of women were considered very charming, partly because he could beautify a sitter while also retaining her likeness. He gained wide fame in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and in the United States, and commanded high prices. In his own time, Bouguereau was considered to be one of the greatest painters in the world by the academic art community, and he was simultaneously reviled by the avant-garde for his traditionalism.

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Bouguereau’s career was close to a direct ascent with hardly a setback. To many, he epitomized taste and refinement, and a respect for tradition. To others however, he was a competent technician stuck in the past. Degas and his associates used the term “Bouguereauté” in a derogatory manner to describe any artistic style reliant on “slick and artificial surfaces”, also known as a “licked finish.” In an 1872 letter, Degas wrote that he strove to emulate Bouguereau’s ordered and productive working style, although with Degas’ famous trenchant wit, and the aesthetic tendencies of the Impressionists, it is possible the statement was meant to be ironic. Paul Gauguin loathed him, rating him a round zero in his book Racontars de Rapin, and later describing in Avant et après (Intimate Journals) the single occasion when Bouguereau made him smile on coming across a couple of his paintings in an Arles’ brothel, “where they belonged”.
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In 1856, he married Marie-Nelly Monchablon and together they had five children, three sons and two daughters.

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By the late 1850s, he had made strong connections with art dealers, particularly Paul Durand-Ruel (later the champion of the Impressionists), who helped clients buy paintings from artists who exhibited at the Salons. Thanks to Paul Durand-Ruel, Bouguereau met Hugues Merle, who later often was compared to Bouguereau. The Salons annually drew over 300,000 people, providing valuable exposure to exhibited artists.

"Song Of The Angels," 1881
“Song Of The Angels,” 1881

Bouguereau’s fame extended to England by the 1860s, and with his growing income he bought a large house and studio in Montparnasse, an area of Paris popular with artists to this day. Although relatively little is known about it, Bouguereau’s private life was less than idyllic. He and his family lived together with his domineering mother in a purposely-built large house and studio at 75, rue Notre-Dame des Champs.

The house of Bouguereau, Paris (photo by robh)
The house of Bouguereau, Paris (photo by robh)

Bouguereau was a staunch traditionalist whose genre paintings and mythological themes were modern interpretations of Classical subjects, both pagan and Christian, with a concentration on the naked female human body. The idealized world of his paintings brought to life goddesses, nymphs, bathers, shepherdesses, and madonnas in a way that appealed to wealthy art patrons of the era.

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“Before The Bath,” 1900
"Le Guêpier (The Wasp's Nest)," 1892
“Le Guêpier (The Wasp’s Nest),” 1892
"The Wave," 1896
“The Wave,” 1896
"Les Deux Baigneuses (The Two Bathers)," 1884
“Les Deux Baigneuses (The Two Bathers),” 1884

Bouguereau employed traditional methods of working up a painting, including detailed pencil studies and oil sketches, and his careful method resulted in a pleasing and accurate rendering of the human form. His painting of skin, hands, and feet was particularly admired. He also used some of the religious and erotic symbolism of the Old Masters, such as the “broken pitcher” which connoted lost innocence.

"The Broken Pitcher," 1891
“The Broken Pitcher,” 1891

Bouguereau received many commissions to decorate private houses, public buildings, and churches. As was typical of such commissions, Bouguereau would sometimes paint in his own style, and at other times conform to an existing group style. Early on, Bouguereau was commissioned in all three venues, which added enormously to his prestige and fame. He also made reductions of his public paintings for sale to patrons, of which The Annunciation (1888) is an example. He was also a successful portrait painter and many of his paintings of wealthy patrons remain in private hands.

"Virgin Of The Lillies," 1999
“Virgin Of The Lillies,” 1999
"Pietà," 1876
“Pietà,” 1876
"Annunciation," 1888
“Annunciation,” 1888

From the 1860s, Bouguereau was closely associated with the Académie Julian, and in 1875 began teaching there. The Académie was a co-ed art institution independent of the École des Beaux-Arts, with no entrance exams and with nominal fees, where he gave lessons and advice to art students, male and female, from around the world. During several decades he taught drawing and painting to hundreds, if not thousands, of students.

Atelier of Bouguereau, women's class, late 1800's
Atelier of Bouguereau, women’s class, late 1800’s

Many of them managed to establish artistic careers in their own countries, sometimes following his academic style, and in other cases, rebelling against it, like one of his most famous students, Henri Matisse.

Matisse (center, seated) while a student of William Bouguereau
Matisse (center, seated) while a student of William Bouguereau

Throughout the years, Bouguereau steadily gained numerous honors of the Académie, reaching Life Member in 1876, Grand Medal of Honor in 1885, Commander of the Legion of Honor in 1885, and Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1905.

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In 1877, both his wife and infant son died. At a rather advanced age, Bouguereau was married for the second time in 1896, to fellow artist Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau, one of his pupils. He used his influence to open many French art institutions to women for the first time, including the Académie Française.

Elizabeth Jane Goodall Bouguereau (n/d)
Elizabeth Jane Goodall Bouguereau (n/d)

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Near the end of his life he described his love of his art: “Each day I go to my studio full of joy; in the evening when obliged to stop because of darkness I can scarcely wait for the next morning to come … if I cannot give myself to my dear painting I am miserable.” In his lifetime, he is known to have painted 826 paintings, the whereabouts of many are still unknown.

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In the spring of 1905, Bouguereau’s house and studio in Paris were burgled, with much vandalism and a number of his works stolen. Having suffered from heart disease for some years already, the stress of this event took its toll on the aged master. His heart, now broken emotionally as well as physically, stopped beating on August 19, 1905. Bouguereau was 79. He was buried at the Cimetière de Montparnasse, in Paris.

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In 1974, the New York Cultural Center staged a show of Bouguereau’s work partly as a curiosity, although curator Robert Isaacson had his eye on the long-term rehabilitation of Bouguereau’s legacy and reputation. In 1984, the Borghi Gallery hosted a commercial show of 23 oil paintings and one drawing. In the same year a major exhibition was organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada. The exhibition opened at the Musée du Petit-Palais, in Paris, traveled to The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, and concluded in Montréal. More recently, resurgence in the artist’s popularity has been promoted by American collector Fred Ross, who owns a number of paintings by Bouguereau and features him on his website at Art Renewal Center.

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The great master Salvador Dalí was also a collector of Bouguereau’s work later in his life, and one can easily see the influence that the traditionalist had on the most famous surrealist in history. This influence is notable in the piece left unfinished at Dalí’s Port Lligat home in Spain. Dalí left the home upon the death of his beloved wife Gala, and never returned to finish what certainly would have been another in his long series of masterpieces.

"Baigneuse," 1870, now located at the Musée Gala-Salvador Dali, Figueres, Spain
“Baigneuse,” 1870, now located at the Musée Gala-Salvador Dali, Figueres, Spain
Unfinished work by Salvador Dalí, in Port Lligat, Spain (photo by TMLipp)
Unfinished work by Salvador Dalí, in Port Lligat, Spain (photo by TMLipp)

Since 1975 prices for Bouguereau’s works have climbed steadily, with major paintings selling at high prices: $1,500,000 in 1998 for The Heart’s Awakening, $2,600,000 in 1999 for Alma Parens and Charity at auction in May 2000 for $3,500,000.

"Leveil du coeur (The Heart's Awakening)," 1892
“Leveil du coeur (The Heart’s Awakening),” 1892

Notre Dame des Anges (Our Lady of the Angels) was last shown publicly in the United States at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. In 2002 it was donated to the Daughters of Mary Mother of Our Savior, an order of nuns is affiliated with Clarence Kelly’s Traditionalist Catholic Society of St. Pius V. In 2009 the nuns sold it to an art dealer for $450,000, who was able to sell it for more than $2 million dollars. The nuns were subsequently found guilty of libel in 2012 by an Albany, New York jury of defaming the dealer in remarks made in a television interview.

"Our Lady Of The Angels,"
“Our Lady Of The Angels,” 1893

Edited from:


William Bouguereau

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

bouguereau-feat


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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.”

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“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:


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Hannah Höch

Hannah Höch: visual artist

Hannah Höch (November 1, 1889 – May 31, 1978) was a German Dada artist. She is best known for her work of the Weimar period, when she was one of the originators of photomontage. Her work existed to dismantle the fable and dichotomy that existed in the concept of the “New Woman”: an energetic, professional and androgynous woman, who is ready to take their place as man’s equal.

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Hannah Höch was born Anna Therese Johanne Höch in Gotha, Germany. Although she went to school, domesticity took precedence in her household, and in 1904 at the age of 14, Hannah was taken out of the Höhere Töchterschule in Gotha to care for her youngest sibling Marianne.

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Hannah Höch with one of her Dada dolls, c. 1920

In 1912 she began classes at the School of Applied Arts in Berlin under the guidance of glass designer Harold Bergen. She chose the curriculum glass design and graphic arts, rather than fine arts, to please her father. In 1914, at the start of World War I, she left the school and returned home to Gotha to work with the Red Cross.

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c. 1925

In 1915 she returned to school, entering the graphics class of Emil Orlik at the National Institute of the Museum of Arts and Crafts. Also in 1915, Höch began an influential friendship with Raoul Hausmann, a member of the Berlin Dada movement. Höch’s involvement with the Berlin Dadaists began in earnest in 1917.

Höch, 1915
At 27 years old, 1915

 

Hannah Hoch, 1916
At 28 years old, 1916

It was at this time that Höch became one of the first pioneers of the art form that would come to be known as photomontage. Photomontage (or fotomontage), is a type of collage in which the pasted items are actual photographs or photographic reproductions pulled from the press or other widely produced media.

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After her schooling, she worked in the handicrafts department for Ullstein Verlag (The Ullstein Press), designing dress and embroidery patterns for Die Dame (The Lady) and Die Praktische Berlinerin (The Practical Berlin Woman). The influence of this early work and training can be seen in her later work involving references to dress patterns and textiles.

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In 1920, she participated in the First International Dada Fair, in Berlin, which took on the traditional format of an art salon, but the walls of the site were plastered with posters and photomontages. Höch was allowed to participate only after Hausmann threatened to withdraw his own work from the exhibition if she was kept out. Höch’s large-scale photomontage Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser DADA durch die letzte weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands  (English: Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany) (1919)—a forceful commentary, particularly on the gender issues erupting in postwar Weimar Germany—was one of the most prominently displayed and well-received works of the show. Despite her critical success, as the group’s only woman, Höch was typically patronized by and kept at the margins of the Berlin group. Consequently, she began to move away from the group, including Hausmann, with whom she broke off her relationship in 1922.

Höch (on right) with Raoul Hausmann, at the First International Dada Fair, 1920
Höch (on right) with Raoul Hausmann, at the First International Dada Fair, 1920

 

The First International Dada Fair, Berlin, 1920 (Hannah Höch, seen on far left)
The First International Dada Fair, Berlin, 1920 (Hannah Höch, seen on far left)

 

The First International Dada Fair, Berlin, 1920 (Hannah Höch, seated on left)
The First International Dada Fair, Berlin, 1920 (Hannah Höch, seated on left)

 

Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser DADA durch die letzte weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands (English: Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany) (1919)
Schnitt mit dem Küchenmesser DADA durch die letzte weimarer Bierbauchkulturepoche Deutschlands (English: Cut with the Kitchen Knife Through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany) (1919)

Art historian Maria Makela has characterized Höch’s personal relationship with Raoul Hausmann as “stormy”, and identifies the central cause of their altercations—some of which ended in violence—in Hausmann’s refusal to leave his wife. Hausmann continually disparaged Höch not only for her desire to marry him, which he described as a “bourgeois” inclination, but also for her opinions on art. Hausmann’s hypocritical stance on women’s emancipation spurred Höch to write “a caustic short story” entitled The Painter in 1920, the subject of which is “an artist who is thrown into an intense spiritual crisis when his wife asks him to do the dishes.”

1920
1920

 

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Höch with one of her Dada dolls, c. 1921

From 1926 to 1929 she lived and worked in the Netherlands. Höch made many influential friendships over the years, with Kurt Schwitters and Piet Mondrian among others. In 1926, she met and began a relationship with the Dutch writer and linguist Mathilda (‘Til’) Brugman, whom Höch met through Schwitters. By autumn of 1926, Höch moved to Hague to live with Brugman, where they lived until 1929, at which time they moved to Berlin. Höch and Brugman’s relationship lasted nine years, until 1935. They did not explicitly define their relationship as lesbian (likely because they did not feel it necessary or desirable), instead choosing to refer to it as a “private love relationship.”

Höch and Brugman, 1930
Höch and Brugman, 1930

While the Dadaists, including Georg Schrimpf, Franz Jung, and Johannes Baader, “paid lip service to women’s emancipation,” they were clearly reluctant to include a woman among their ranks. Hans Richter described Höch’s contribution to the Dada movement as the “sandwiches, beer and coffee she managed somehow to conjure up despite the shortage of money.” During their partnership, Raoul Hausmann even suggested that Höch get a job to support him financially. Höch was the lone woman among the Berlin Dada group, although Sophie Täuber, Beatrice Wood, and Baroness Else von Freytag-Loringhoven were also important, and decidedly overlooked, Dada figures. Höch references the hypocrisy of the Berlin Dada group and German society as a whole in her photomontage, Da-Dandy.

Da-Dandy, 1919
Da-Dandy, 1919

In 1935, Höch began a relationship with Kurt Matthies, whom she was married to from 1938 to 1944.

"Hungarian Rhapsody," 1940
“Hungarian Rhapsody,” 1940

Her work commonly combined male and female traits into one unified being. During the era of the Weimar Republic, “mannish women were both celebrated and castigated for breaking down traditional gender roles.” Her androgynous characters may also have been related to her bisexuality and attraction to masculinity in women (that is, attraction to the female form paired with stereotypically masculine characteristics).

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During World War II, Höch spent the years of the Third Reich in Berlin, Germany, keeping a low profile. She lived in Berlin-Heiligensee, a remote area on the outskirts of Berlin, hiding in a small garden house. She married businessman and pianist Kurt Matthies in 1938 and divorced him in 1944. She suffered from the Nazi’s censorship of art, and her work was deemed “degenerate art” making it even more difficult to show her works. She was even forced to hide much of her work by burying it in her yard until the war was over.

1946
1946

Though her work was not acclaimed after the war as it had been before the rise of the Third Reich, she continued to produce her photomontages and exhibit them internationally until her death at the age of 88 in 1978, in Berlin.

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Her house and garden can be visited at the annual Day of the Memorial (Tag des offenen Denkmals).

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Afterword:

In the spring of 2016, my always-art-encouraging husband and I took Dada inspired trip to Switzerland and Germany, specifically to visit three separate exhibitions celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Dada movement. On May 1, we visited the Museum Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich, to visit the show DADA Differently: Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Hannah Höch, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven curated by Sabine Schaschl, Margit Weinberg Staber, and Evelyne Bucher. It was a relatively small but perfectly presented collection of works from all three women. Having been a long time devotee of ladies of Dada, I actually burst into tears when taking Höch’s work in for the first time. Thus far, only Van Gogh and Cezanne had brought me to the point of public weeping, so this was a treat, indeed.

That same afternoon, we walked over to the Kunsthaus Zürich to see the Dadaglobe Reconstructed on its last day of exhibition in Europe (the collection was then exhibited at MOMA in New York in the United States from June 12–September 18, 2016), which contained rare pieces from Hannah Höch and others. Dadaglobe Reconstructed reunited over 100 works created for Dadaglobe, Tristan Tzara’s planned but unrealized magnum opus, originally slated for publication in 1921.

One of Hannah Höch's works in the Dadaglobe exhibition in Zurich, May 2016 - featuring a self portrait (seen on left) and portrait of Raoul Hausmann
One of Hannah Höch’s works in the “Dadaglobe: Reconstructed” exhibition in Zurich, May 1, 2016 – featuring a self portrait (seen here on the right) and portrait of Raoul Hausmann –  (photo by TMLipp)

 

View of Dadaglobe: Reconstructed, at the Kunsthaus Zürich, May 1, 2016
View of “Dadaglobe: Reconstructed,” at the Kunsthaus Zürich, May 1, 2016 (photo by TMLipp)

We then traveled to Germany and the gorgeous city of Mannheim, where the Kunsthalle Mannheim organized a large, impressive solo exhibition of Höch’s work, which we were honored to get the chance to see on May 6.  Nine large rooms held the collection, with a tenth, interactive room where one could watch a wonderful documentary about Höch’s life, or one could play with the wall of make-your-own-photomontage-Dada-contruction-from-wall-magnets (which I enjoyed immensely). The collection was comprehensive, breathtaking, and emotionally touching, and we spent hours slowly moving through the dreamland of Höch’s work.

Comprehensive exhibition of the work by Hannah Höch, Kunsthalle Mannheim (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)
Exhibition of the work by Hannah Höch, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)

 

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Exhibition of the work by Hannah Höch, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)

 

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Exhibition of the work by Hannah Höch, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)

 

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“Self Portrait of MyDadaSelf” by TMLipp, created at the Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany, during the exhibtion of the work by Hannah Höch. (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)

 

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Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (photo by TMLipp, May 6, 2016)

 


Edited from:


Hannah Höch, November 1, 2016

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

hoch-feat


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Mary Fuller

Mary Fuller: actress, writer

Mary Fuller (October 5, 1888 – December 9, 1973) was an American stage and silent film actress, and screenwriter.

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Mary Claire Fuller was one of four daughters born in Washington, D.C., to Nora (nee Swing) and attorney, entrepreneur, and real estate developer Miles Fuller. Mary spent her childhood in a forward-thinking upper-middle class environment. Precocious, intelligent and very independent as a child, she was explored the arts, especially music, writing, and painting. Her parents were very successful in real estate, buying and selling land in the area around Washington, DC, eventually building their own fine home on Dorset Avenue in Bethesda, MD.

Fuller (on far left) seen with a group of DC area business men, c. 1900
Miles Fuller (on far left) seen with a group of DC area business men, c. 1900

In 1899 however, the home was the scene of a tragic accident when one of the Fuller’s servants, Fanny Jackson, accidentally tipped over a kerosene lamp, setting herself on fire. Though Nora grabbed a blanket and did her best to put the fire out, Fanny panicked and ran out into the yard where she fell and died of her injuries. This event would remain in Mary’s mind for the rest of her life, instilling in her the fragility and brevity of life.

Mary Fuller's childhood home on Dorset Avenue, Bethesda, MD
Mary Fuller’s childhood home on Dorset Avenue, Bethesda, MD

Her father was an early supporter of women’s rights and independence, even opening a secretary school for women called “The Drillery,” so as to provide the training necessary to enter the work force, a relatively new concept at the time. Sadly, in 1902, when Mary was 14, her beloved father, who had so encouraged his daughter’s strength and creativity, suddenly died at the age of 44, leaving Nora to raise the girls alone.  The death of her father impacted Mary deeply, and though he was gone, she vowed to herself to live the kind of life that would make him proud.

"The Drillery," secretarial school set up by Miles Fuller, Washington, DC
“The Drillery,” secretarial school set up by Miles Fuller, Washington, DC

Nora recognized the immense talent in her daughter, and supported Mary’s decision to take up acting as a profession. When she was 18 years old, Mary worked in a number of theatre troupes on the east coast, eventually landing a permanent spot with the traveling theatre group, the Lyceum Stock Company, based out of Toledo, Ohio. Mary’s life would change forever in 1907, when she was in New York City with the Lyceum group and the troupe ran out of funds to continue travel, leaving the members stranded.

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Pretty, petite, and with big beautiful eyes, Mary began networking quickly, and was told of a film studio that was looking for an actress to cast. She hurried across town to Vitagraph Studios in Brooklyn, auditioned, and was hired on the spot. Her first film was The Ugly Duckling (1907), a short film that serve as the first step on her journey to superstardom.

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She worked for Vitagraph until 1910 when she signed an exclusive contract with Edison Studios. That same year, she appeared in the first horror film in history, Frankenstein, based on the Mary Shelley novel. The film became a sensation, not only for the sublime acting skills of the lovely protagonist, but also for its cutting edge special effects.

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Edison Studios (c. 1914)

 

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The creation of Frankenstein’s monster was achieved by building a wood and papier-mâché model of the monster, complete with wires to move the head and arms. The model was then set on fire and filmed. In the movie, the sequence was shown in reverse, a technique not seen before, and one that succeeded in terrifying the audience. Numerous reports of frightened film-goers running from the theatre served as great PR, and the film was a smash hit.

In 1912, Edison Studios developed another revolutionary, new idea, that of the movie serial. Starring Mary Fuller, What Happened To Mary became an enormous success for the studio, as well as for the beautiful young actress. A monthly melodrama, each month for one year, audiences were treated to the adventures, and misadventures, of a girl named “Mary,” and the dramatic events that happened to her. The chapters were entitled: #1: The Escape from Bondage; #2: Alone in New York; #3: Mary in Stage Land; #4: The Affair at Raynor’s; #5: A Letter to the Princess; #6: A Clue to Her Parentage; #7: False to Their Trust; #8: A Will and a Way; #9: A Way to the Underworld; #10: The High Tide of Misfortune; #11: A Race to New York; #12: Fortune 

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By 1914, Mary was the most famous movie star in the world. As silent films could be shown in any country simply by changing the language in the title cards of text, Mary Fuller became a global icon of style, grace, and glamour.

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Never one to turn away from a challenge, Mary played a wide variety of roles, such as the pretty young witch in The Witch Girl, and Egyptian deity in A Daughter of the Nile, an intrepid reporter in The Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies (all in 1914), and the tragic Southern belle in Under Southern Skies (1915), her first feature-length production.

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Mary was also a gifted writer, penning numerous magazine articles as well as dozens of screenplays, eight of which were made into films between 1913 and 1915: A Woodland Paradise (1913), The Prophecy (1913), When Greek Meets Greek (1913), When the Right Man Comes Along (1913),  The Virtuoso (1914), The Viking Queen (1914), A Princess of the Desert (1914), The Golden Spider (1915). She was also the director of several of her films, a step that the later Mary Pickford would emulate.

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By 1917 however, Mary’s career began to run into difficulty. Though still at the height of her fame, what audiences began to crave, was not what she was providing. With rising stars such as the seductive vamp Theda Bara, and the madcap comedy of Charlie Chaplin, Mary’s overall “good-girl-next-door” reputation left movie-goers less thrilled. Her last few films were financial losses for her then contracted studio, Universal Pictures, and when her contract came up for renewal, it was allowed to expire.

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Though offered parts in various films at this time, Mary Fuller would adhere to her own personal standards and not bow to public or studio pressure, stating that the roles of women in film by the early 1920’s had become “vulgar.” Nudity, semi-nudity, and women increasingly being portrayed as helpless or dumb, Mary turned her back on Hollywood and decided to return to the theatre as a stage actress on Broadway.

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Unfortunately, the film-vs.-stage rivalry was already strong in those days, and the producers in New York considered her name too closely associated to films, and she was unable to find work. She returned to Washington, DC, and lived with her mother, where she led a rather reclusive life, painting and writing. But as far as the world was concerned, Mary Fuller had disappeared.

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It is often reported that Mary had suffered a nervous breakdown after her career fell apart (or, as commonly reported but even less believably, after a failed love affair with a married man), and this was her motivation to live with her mother as a recluse. It has also been said that she had done well in the stock markets and had simply decided to retire, take care of her mother, and lead a peaceful life, away from the increasingly demanding public eye. There was no doubt however that she was a fragile personality, and Mary had reportedly always been plagued with a deep sense of loneliness, even when traveling internationally as the world’s first movie star. One could argue that it was this loneliness that guided her to be with her family and the comfort of home.

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In 1926, at the encouragement of her mother and sisters, Mary tried unsuccessfully to restart her career in films. The business had changed too greatly and the name “Mary Fuller,” in the mind of the public, was synonymous with silent films, by then considered an outdated art form. Discouraged, Mary returned to her mother’s home and her descent into isolation truly began.

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When her mother passed away in 1940, Mary moved in with one of her sisters. The death of her mother was incredibly hard on Mary’s heart and mind, a blow from which she would never truly recover, allegedly bringing on a complete nervous breakdown. Mary lived with her sister until July of 1947, when her sister became very ill. The few remaining members of the Fuller family decided, to provide Mary with the adequate care she needed, it was necessary to admit her to the psychiatric care facility at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, in Washington, DC. Mary would spend the remaining 26 years of her life at St. Elizabeth’s.photoplay1114_0019Mary Fuller died on December 9, 1973 of natural causes at the age of 85. When she passed away, the hospital was unable to locate any relatives, or anyone that would make arrangements for a funeral. She was buried alongside four indigent people in an anonymous grave owned by the city, a few days after her death, in Washington, DC’s Historic Congressional Cemetery.

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View of Congressional Cemetery, Washington, DC

 


Afterword

After living in Italy for 8 years, I moved to Washington, DC in 2009. My first job was a short stint as a waitress at one of DC’s iconic diners, followed by a few months as a cheese and wine monger in a delightful specialty shop near Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill. After that, I was unbelievably fortunate enough to find myself working as the Office Manager at Congressional Cemetery. It was one of the most fascinating jobs I have ever held, and it was Mary Fuller that brought it to me.

"Led by event organizer and former cemetery Office Manager, Terri Maxfield, the leaders of Rolling Thunder attend Memorial Day services."
“Led by event organizer and former cemetery Office Manager, Terri Maxfield Lipp, the leaders of Rolling Thunder attend Memorial Day services at Historic Congressional Cemetery.”

The apartment I had just moved into was across the street from the cemetery, and being a devout taphophile, I began to research the burial ground. Reading about the famous people buried at Congressional on Wikipedia, I ran across the entry “Mary Fuller: silent movie actress – unmarked grave,” and I was intrigued. Who was this Mary Fuller? A movie star? And why on earth was she in an unmarked grave? And so, off I went to the cemetery office to find out more.

The gatehouse at Historic Congressional Cemetery
The gatehouse at Historic Congressional Cemetery

My research on Mary led to the cemetery hiring me as their first full-time Office Manager. My time there was absolutely unforgettable, and something for which I will always be grateful. I met people through that job that I will be friends with for the rest of my life, and was privileged to be a part so many incredible events, both small and large scale. Throughout, my interest in Mary never left, and I would often wander out to the, quiet, back of the cemetery to visit her grave, just to “chat” with her.

Terri Maxfield Lipp portrays Mary Fuller, at the first annual Ghost and Goblets Halloween Fundraiser for Historic Congressional Cemetery
Terri Maxfield Lipp portrays Mary Fuller, at the first annual Ghost and Goblets Halloween Fundraiser for Historic Congressional Cemetery

When my time at the cemetery came to a close, I was ready for my next adventure, but something felt “not finished” with regard to my friend Mary. So, I contacted a monument company in the area that I had dealt with, and discussed the purchase of a marker for Mary’s grave. They were very kind people to work with, took my design for the memorial to heart, and before long there was a beautiful, rose-colored memorial bench installed on the site of her burial. It wasn’t the seven story high sculpture and fountain ensemble with spotlights and a pool that I had wanted to give her, but I was pleased with the result. The bench was completed with a Hollywood Star of Fame on the front (as she well deserves it), and the quote, “A Personality of Eloquent Silence” adorning the top. The words come from her response during an interview at the height of her fame, when she was asked to briefly describe herself for the magazine’s readers. It seemed fitting.

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From time to time, I see photos of her memorial on the internet, with flowers or other gifts laid there in her memory. It makes my heart very happy to know that this fine, brave lady, the first real movie star in history, has well-wishing visitors come to see her on a regular basis. And it is my sincere wish, that wherever she is now, she no longer feels the loneliness that drained this star of her light when she was here.


~ Written by Terri Maxfield Lipp


Digital collage portrait by TMLipp
Created for The Artist Birthday Series:

Mary Fuller, October 5, 2016
(click image for full resolution)

fuller-feat


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,
or additional relative information.

See something? Say something.



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.