Thursday, February 24, 2011

Artist Birthdays in February

At the beginning of this year I had a goal for the blog that I would try to post about artists' birthdays each month. So before the month of February (blasted February, I tell you) is over (can't wait),
Here are some artists, all American, who have birthdays this month. I am very patriotic about the arts, if not at all about most other things! 

One of my favorite American artists, Grant Wood's birthday was the 13th.  He was born in 1891.

American Gothic
this one lives in Gallery 263,
The Art Institute of Chicago

Winslow Homer's birthday will be tomorrow, February 25. 

Sleigh Ride
Sleigh Ride lives in my neck of the woods, at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

And another neighbor, Norman Rockwell, born in New York on February 3, 1894.

Another good Norman Rockwell bio here

The world of these men isn't anything like what I've experienced as a naturalized American. But having lived in The Berkshires (Norman Rockwell country), I can easily imagine the postcard quality of that era applied to the place.

Rockwell's son Jarvis does the Berkshires no justice but his artworks are mildly amusing.  Here is a video of Jarvis Rockwell playing with the small plastic toys which made a pyramid "sculpture" entitled Maya, at Mass MoCA. The Girls loved it! A collection, yes but art, hmmm, not sure!


  1. Hi. I am working to get a line on your artistic taste. Grant Wood, Norman Rockwell, Lucian Freud and the Dadaists. Hmmm. Haven't got the line yet . . .

    I see you found a way to post on my blog. It is good to hear from you now and then. Thanks for making the effort. Re the Wadsworth: How many pieces of art do you need to love on a trip to make the trip worthwhile? We aren't that far away . . . why not visit while nine Monet water lilies are there, then come back next year when the place should be all stitched up and healed?

  2. Taste-wise, I could list fifty artists off the top of my head that are my favorites. Mostly, I am a fan of art from the Impressionists on. I love the modernists,Expressionists, Surrealists and Symbolism movement.

    As far as what I post to this blog, it is all over the place. For example, I'm not much of a Norman Rockwell fan but I think he and others that aren't at the top of *my* list deserve attention, as other people may like them or find a kernel of interest in their outlook or their stories. That's why I include links.

    For example, even though I Rockwell is not one of my favorites, I find it interesting that his wife was a psychiatric patient and that was the reason he moved from NY to the Berkshires, so she could be hospitalized at a facility there. Further, Rockwell himself was not a happy man, despite the idyllic scenes he painted.

    Regarding the Wadsworth visit. I won't be going today, that's for sure! It's pouring snow and most unwelcoming out there.

    But you make a good point. I will probably check it out soon, actually. Even if my SI doesn't want to join me.

    Thanks for coming by and for leaving a cool comment. No one ever asks me what I like! :-)

  3. Grant Wood's American Gothic has to one of the most parodied pictures ever, here are some examples :-)

    One of my personal favourites is the early scene in The Rock Horror Picture Show where Riffraff and Magenta take the positions of the farmer and his wife outside the church door at the wedding.

  4. I like that last shot my friend.

  5. I found the Grant Wood amusing - it just made me laugh in all its solemnity. The Rockwell scene is beautiful .... and I love the video clip and the fun of it all.

    Thank you for taking the time to collect all of this and reveal the brthdays of diverse artists. It is what life and art are all about.

  6. Francis - I perhaps should have chosen another example of Grant Wood. I love his rolling hills and the farm scenes so much more. They remind me of folk art or naive art.

    I have a few parodies of American Gothic. Let me take a look at your link for more! Thanks!

  7. Today is also the birthday of some light-weight Punter called, what was it... oh yeah, Pierre Auguste Renoir!

    And FYI, I think that Jarvis Rockwell Pyramid is still up, at a small gallery on North Adams' Main Street, along with a gallery full of Zap Comix horrors! ;)

  8. (That last comment was posted Friday evening, the 25th.) :)

  9. Sleigh Ride - Homer's usual amazing grasp of the essential, but distilled even further than usual. Another piece I'd love to see up close. He understood the drama of shapes and diagonals more than most artists. Thomas Hart Benton was another. or Grant Wood, in pieces other than American Gothic. There is even a uniquely American feel to many of the shapes and compositions chosen in the work of these artists and others (like the Ashcan artists you reference in the later Friday Nudes post). A national consciousness and style in angles and proportions that expresses itself in paintings, architecture, product design, landscaping, clothing, everything... To really see what I mean, compare our American choices to those in Japan, or China. But we're quite distinctive even from our nearer European cousins, like the British, much less the French or Italians. And the rest of the world feels it, too - seeking that American look. I just hope it never waters down the unique styles and choices of the rest of the world...


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