Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hugo Simberg

(June 24 1873, Hamina - July 12 1917, Ähtäri) was a Finnish symbolist painter and graphic artist. In 1895 he became the private pupil of Akseli Gallen-Kallela [1;2;3] at his wilderness studio Kalela in Ruovesi. The two characters Simberg used most in his art are the "Poor Devil" and Death.
He also took photographs and made drawings of naked pre-pubescent boys, many carrying large wreaths. The wreath-bearing boys have a link with Simberg's earlier photographs [4], including 'Guido, Fish Boy', a boy sitting on a rock looking out to sea and Leo standing with his arm raised on a jetty. These images of boys reflect growth, change, puberty and sexual identity. The wreath-carriers are a central motif of the frescoes at the Tampere Cathedral [5;6], which Simberg painted between 1905 and 1906. Simberg's works mostly focus on the macabre and the supernatural, possessing a haunting, gloomy beauty. A good example of this is his painting Kuolema kuuntelee ("Death Listens") [7]. The painting depicts Death, personified as a skeleton wearing a black coat, listening with a bowed head as a young man plays the violin. On the background, there is an old woman lying on a bed, looking pale and sickly. The viewer is left with an impression that it is her that Death is there for, but that he has opted to stay his hand so the young man, possibly the dying woman's son, can have time to finish his playing.

Hugo Simberg's frescoes at the Tampere Cathedral

Simberg's famous The Wounded Angel [8], too, emits a gloomy atmosphere, its titular character appearing in the shape of a little blindfolded girl, borne on a stretcher by two sombrely dressed boys, one of whom looks out at the viewer with a serious expression. The painting is the best known of the artist's works and has become something of a national icon. The Finnish symphonic-metal band Nightwish released a music video in 2007, "Amaranth" [9], which is based on this particular painting.

Follow your passion,

- Akseli Gallen-Kallela [1] pictures, [2] wiki, [3] home
- Simberg's [4] earlier photographs [7] Kuolema kuuntelee (Death Listens, 1897), [8] Haavoittunut enkeli (The Wounded Angel, 1903), [10] Kuoleman puutarha (The Garden of Death, 1896)
- Tampere Cathedral [5] wiki [6] pictures
- Nightwish [9] Amaranth

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Paul Cadmus

Paul Cadmus (December 17, 1904 - December 12, 1999) was an American artist. He is best known for his paintings and drawings of nude male figures. His works combined elements of eroticism and social critique to produce a style often called magic realism. more..

American painter Paul Cadmus is best known for the satiric innocence of his frequently censored paintings of burly men in skin-tight clothes and curvaceous women in provocative poses, but he also created works that celebrate same-sex domesticity.
Born in New York City on December 17, 1904 into a family of commercial artists, Cadmus studied at the National Academy of Design and the Arts Students League. He lived in Europe from 1931 to 1933, where he traveled with artist Jared French and where he produced his first mature canvases. more..

Naval Historical Center:
When the topic of government censorship of art is discussed, frequently the story of the painting by Works Progress Administration (WPA) artist Paul Cadmus entitled "The Fleet's In!" is told. The fact that it was removed from an exhibit of WPA art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1934 is well known, but what happened to it afterwards is not. The following chronology is intended to provide background on this painting's very significant place in American art history. more..
In the gorgeous, occasionally garish, always gratifying works of the great American artist Paul Cadmus, sailors and sunbathers, models and mannequins, nitwits and nudes all are suffused with a sensuality born equally of idyllic splendor and urban squalor, natural grace and graceful artifice. Active since the 1930s as a renderer of pretty boys and ugly ploys, Cadmus has.. more..

Paintings in Museums and Public Art Galleries:
- Art Institute of Chicago NEW!
- Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
- Museum of Modern Art, New York City
- Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts
- Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio
- more..

Artworks for sale (16) ..
more images..

Update Sept 8 2009:
Removed some misplaced images thanks to Dmitry...

Follow your passion,