Monday, November 24, 2008

some of my favorite painters

In comments Michael asks "What rings your cherries, art-wise?"

You think I'm gonna turn down encouragement like that? I'll confine myself to the last 100 years or so, and to painting. Here's a taste:

Gustav Klimt

Helen Frankenthaler

Umberto Boccioni. Boccioni is better known for his sculpture, but I prefer his painting, myself.

Max Ernst

Paul Klee

Marcel Duchamp. Astonishing as both an artist and a person. Controversial for exactly the right reasons, in that he made work that simply couldn't be ignored. If you're into reading biographies you should try one of him, there's a thousand fascinating stories. One of my favorites is that Peggy Guggenheim, the great art patron, was trying to decide if she should sponsor Jackson Pollack, essentially saving his career (and probably his life). So she sent Duchamp to investigate. When he came back and said "Pas mal," she immediately arranged for it to be done; coming from Duchamp, "not bad" was praise high enough to risk thousands of dollars on.

Francis Picabia

Gerhard Richter

My tastes are influenced a great deal by the fact that I had a membership to the Art Institute of Chicago for a couple years and went at least twice a month or more. I love many more obvious artists, of course, your Gauguins and your Picassos and your Braques and your Pollacks. And if we expanded the parameters to other time periods and media, obviously, there'd be tons. While I don't consider myself big fans of their work, I frequently find myself defending the credibility of Andy Warhol, Salvatore Dali and Rene Magritte. Like many people, I'm sorry to say that my knowledge only runs up until the last couple decades of the 20th century, and I'm woefully uneducated about living working artists. You may be interested in my defense of conceptual art here, and my defense in theory (if not in practice) of Damien Hirst here.


JMW said...

Great post, great picks, great visual aids. I love Paul Klee.

Would you recommend any bio of Duchamp in particular?

Freddie said...

I like The Bachelor Stripped Bare, myself.

You know what book I would recommend on the subject for sure is a book called The Birth of the Cool by Lewis MacAdams. It flags a little bit in the second half but it's a really amazing oral history of a lot of deeply interesting people. Tons of great stories.

JMW said...

Thanks for the tips...

JeffB said...

One of my absolute favorite artists is Leonora Carrington, who just happened to be a longtime lover of Max Ernst. You can check out some her work at

Michael said...

Thanks for the tips...