Barbara Hepworth Facts

Here are some facts about Barbara Hepworth, the famous British sculptor and artist.

  • Barbara Hepworth was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, UK, in 1903.
  • She met Henry Moore at the Leeds School of Art in the early 1920s. They became good friends and through their artwork helped to promote modernism in sculpture.
  • Barbara also won a scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art in London.
  • In 1924, Hepworth travelled to Florence, Italy with the sculptor John Skeaping. They got married in 1925.
  • She studied under the master sculptor, Giovanni Ardini, and learned to carve marble.
  • In 1933, she travelled to France, met Piet Mondrian and Georges Braque, and visited the studio of Pablo Picasso.
  • In 1938, following the breakdown of her first marriage, she married abstract painter, Ben Nicholson.
  • She moved to St Ives in Cornwall in 1939, and lived here for the rest of her life. She founded the Penwith Society of Arts and lived in Trewyn Studios.
  • In 1960, Barbara Hepworth bought the Palais de Danse (a cinema building) and converted it into a large-scale studio.
  • She died in a fire at her studios in 1975. She was 72.
  • Hepworth produced sculptures in brass, bronze, stone and wood, and she also produced a series of prints and some pencil and oil pieces.
  • In 2015 Tate Britain staged a big London show of Hepworth’s work, including more than 70 pieces of her artwork.
  • Some of her famous works included: Pierced Form (1932), Mother and Child (1934), Pelagos (1946), Squares and Two Circles (1963) and Curved Forms (1956).
  • Some of Barbara’s earliest memories involved family car journies through the countryside. She was intrigued by the shapes formed by the hills and fields and roads.
  • Her earliest work is often described as naturalistic with simplified features, whereas most of her work from 1930 was abstract.

Keith Haring Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the American Pop-Artist, Keith Haring.

  • Keith Haring was born in Pennsylvania, USA in 1990.
  • His father was a keen cartoonist and Keith became interested in art at a very young age.
  • Some of his early influences included: Walt Disney cartoons, Dr Seuss, Charles Schultz and the animated characters in The Bugs Bunny Show.
  • When he was a teenager, Keith Haring hitchhiked across America selling T-shirts decorated with his own designs.
  • He was inspired by The Art Spirit – a book by Robert Henri.
  • He worked as a maintenance man at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. this gave him a chance to explore artwork by Jackson Pollock, Mark Tobey and Jean Dubuffet.
  • He was also inspired by the work of Pierre Alechinsky, and this made him think about combining writing and characters to form large images.
  • In 1978 he studied painting at New York’s School of Visual Arts.
  • He enjoyed drawing in chalk on unused advertising boards at subways and stations.
  • He went on to organise exhibitions at Club 57, and his work started to incorporate symbols (including barking dogs, hearts and flying saucers).
  • He created more than 50 public works of art between 1982 and 1989.
  • His work featured as the background for the Philidelphia Live Aid stage, and he collaborated with the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.
  • In 1986 he opened Pop Shop, selling his work to the public at reasonable prices.
  • In 1988 Keith Haring was diagnosed with AIDS, and he died in 1990 at the age of 31.
  • During his life, he formed friendships with many celebrities including: Madonna, Will Smith, Yoko Ono and Grace Jones. He was also very close to Andy Warhol.
  • His work was bold, bright and was heavily influenced by Pop Art and graffiti and street art.

Romero Britto: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the artist Romero Britto.

  • Romero Britto is a painter, printmaker, and sculptor, and his work is influenced by pop art, cubism and street art.
  • His work often includes bold patterns, bright colours, playful themes and hard-edged compositions.
  • Romero was born in 1963 in Recife, Brazil.
  • In 1983 he left Brazil to go to Paris, France, and he discovered the works of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.
  • In 1988 he was selected (along with Andy Warhol and Keith Haring) for Absolut Vodka’s artist showcase.
  • In 1989 he moved to Miami, Florida, USA and set up a studio in Coconut Grove.
  • His work is on display in dozens of countries all over the world, including: United States, Singapore, Israel, South Korea, Brazil and England.
  • Britto is self-taught, and when he was a child he used to paint on any scraps of paper or cardboard he could get his hands on, often trying to recreate the work of Toulouse Lautrec.
  • He has collaborated with many brands, including: Audi, Bentley, Disney, Evian, Mattel, Coca-Cola and FIFA.
  • Romero Britto has illustrated several children’s books.
  • He supports more than 250 charitable causes.
  • He is one of the most licensed artists in history. His work is everywhere!
  • Britto has completed portraits for Elton John, Michael Jackson, Muhammed Ali and Queen Elizabeth.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

  • Giuseppe Arcimboldo was born in Milan, Italy in 1526 or 1527.
  • His father was an artist.

  • When he was in his early twenties, Giuseppe Arcimboldo designed stained glass and painted frescoes.
  • In 1562, Arcimboldo was made the portraitist to Ferdinand I. He served at the Habsburg Court in Vienna.
  • He later fulfilled the same role for Maximillian II and Rudolf II in the court in Prague.
  • During his life, Giuseppe Arcimboldo produced many works of art on religious subjects, but he is most well known for his portraits of people made up of fruit, vegetables and other objects from nature.

Autumn by Giuseppe Arcimboldo
Autumn by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

  • From a distance, these portraits look like regular portraits of human beings, but up close it is obvious that they are constructed from cleverly painted objects. The paintings are as much still life as they are portraits.
  • Giuseppe Arcimboldo died on 11th July 1593 in Milan.
  • Many of Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s paintings were taken from the Rudolf II collection in 1648, when Sweden invaded Prague during the Thirty Years’ War.
  • Today his work can be seen in several different museums and galleries, including: the Louvre in Paris, Uffizi Gallery in Florence and the Denver Art Museum in Denver, Colorado.
  • The work of Giuseppe Arcimboldo influenced the work of the surrealist painters, such as Salvador Dali.

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Raoul Dufy: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Raoul Dufy.

  • Raoul Dufy was a French painter, furniture designer and print maker. He is best known for his paintings of open air social events, many in what is called the Fauvist style.
  • The Fauves (wild beasts) focused on strong colours and bold outlines in their paintings. The art movement only lasted a few years, and was led by Henri Matisse.

  • Dufy was born in 1877 in Normandy, France. He left school to work in the coffee industry at 14, and took evening art classes at the local school when he was 18.
  • In 1900 he won a scholarship to the Beaux Arts School in Paris, after finishing a year training in the military. He exhibited his paintings in 1901 and again in 1903.
  • Raoul Dufy was strongly influenced by another famous artist of the time, Henri Matisse. He was also influenced by the Cubist and Impressionist painters, and briefly adopted their styles.
  • Raoul Dufy liked to paint beach scenes in his native Normandy, France. He also painted scenes of the fashionable South of France, including crowded beaches, yachts and parties.
  • Some of his early works include The Popular Dance, The Bathers and The Olive Trees. His 1905 painting Le Havre 14 July, sold for almost 2 million pounds in 2008.
  • La Fee Electricite was painted by Raoul Dufy for the 1937 Arts and Technology Exhibition. It is one of the largest paintings ever created, measuring about 624 square metres.
  • Dufy was a talented commercial artist and illustrator, and painted murals for public buildings.
  • His illustrations were published in books by Andre Gide and other well-known French writers.
  • Raoul Dufy died in March 1953, having suffered from arthritis for several years. He was buried in the Cimiez Monastery cemetery in Nice, France, and the following year, his friend Henri Matisse was buried nearby.

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Frida Kahlo: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about Frida Kahlo.

  • Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter. She is best known for her work showing women and experiences relating to women, and for her self portraits, often painted in naïve or primitive style.

  • She was born in July, 1907 in Mexico City. At an early age she developed polio which meant that one of her legs was slightly longer than the other.
  • The Mexican Revolution began on July 7th, 1910. Frida Kahlo later stated that her birth date was the same day, so that she could claim to be born on the same day as modern Mexico.
  • In 1925, a tram collided with the bus she was on. Because of the accident, she had over 30 operations during her life and was never able to have children.
  • In 1939, some of her paintings were exhibited in Paris. She was the first 20th century Mexican artist to have one of her paintings bought by the Louvre Museum.

Frida Kahlo

  • In 1929, she married the famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera, divorced him in 1939 and married him again in 1940. Their differences in size – Diego was over 6 ft tall and Frida was 5′ 3″ –   meant that they were sometimes called the Dove and the Elephant.
  • Kahlo’s work was strongly influenced by Mexican culture. Her paintings often had monkeys in them, a widely used Mexican motif, which she used to symbolize protection and tenderness.
  • She was also influenced by primitive art, Surrealism and Christian and Jewish imagery. Almost half of her 143 paintings are self-portraits.
  • Frida Kahlo died in 1954, although the cause of death was never fully confirmed. Her ashes are kept in an urn dating from pre-Columbian times in her former home.
  • The house where she grew up has been a museum and popular tourist attraction since 1958. The Russian leader, Trotsky, stayed in the house in 1937 when he first visited Mexico.

J. M. W. Turner: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about J. M. W. Turner.

  • J. M. W. Turner is one of the most famous British painters. He is known today for his romantic landscapes and seascapes, and is often seen as one of the earliest modern artists.

  • He produced over 500 paintings, over 2,000 watercolours and over 30,000 drawings during his career. His famous works include Rain, Steam and Speed, The Fighting Temeraire, and Fishermen At Sea.

Rain Steam and Speed
Rain, Steam and Speed

  • Turner was born in London around 1775 and at the age of 15 had a watercolor painting accepted by the Royal Academy. A few years later, his first oil painting was on display there.
  • His full name was Joseph Mallord William Turner.
  • Turner had a painting accepted for showing at the Royal Academy every year for the rest of his life.

J M W Turner

  • At age 18, he was successful enough to have his own London studio.
  • He loved to paint storms, rough seas and fires. He rushed to the Houses of Parliament when he heard that it was on fire, to capture the flames in a painting.
  • Many of Turner’s paintings have dramatic effects of light and shadow. His use of light influenced the famous Impressionist artists who were painted at the end of the 19th century.
  • J. M. W. Turner kept his strong London accent for all his life. At the time, it was fashionable for artists to develop a posher and more upper class accent to help their career.
  • Turner often drank a lot, sometimes drinking several pints of rum in a day. He sometimes applied stale beer to his paintings, and even spat on them to make them look more realistic.
  • J. M. W. Turner travelled a lot in France, Italy and Switzerland. He found ideas for paintings in Venice, and one of his most famous works is The Grand Canal Venice, painted in 1835.
  • Turner died in 1851, in London. As he requested, he was buried in Westminster Abbey, along with many other famous writers, poets, artists and scientists.
  • The Turner Prize, awarded annually to a visual artist under the age of 50, is named after J. M. W. Turner. Some past winners include, Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley and Grayson Perry.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish designer and architect. He is most famous for his Art Nouveau designs, one of the most popular early 20th century styles of decorative art.

  • Mackintosh was born in Glasgow, Scotland in June, 1868 and lived in the city for most of his life. In 1890 he won a student award, allowing him to study architecture and design.
  • Between 1899 and 1913 Mackintosh worked in a local architectural practice. Along with his wife and two other designers, he formed an artistic group known as the Four.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

  • Mackintosh was heavily influenced by the simple designs of Asian painting, drawing and design.
  • The Four was mistrusted by the public because of their unusual designs and the group was sometimes known as the Spook School. They designed furniture, metalwork and book illustrations.
  • Mackintosh’s designs were more appreciated in Austria and Germany than in the UK. He exhibited his architectural designs in Moscow and Berlin and was asked to design the Warndorfer Music Room in Vienna.
  • One of his best known buildings is the Glasgow School of Art, which is still in use today. The design of the building was influenced by his travels to Italy and his love of nature.
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh also designed Glasgow’s Willow Tea Rooms, which still serve tea on Glasgow’s Sauciehall Street today. The elegant room had a fireplace, comfortable armchairs and sofas, and a vaulted ceiling.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Dining Room
A dining room design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

  • He submitted a design for Liverpool Cathedral in 1903 but it was not chosen. He designed several other never built buildings, including a concert hall, science museum and railway station.
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh moved to Brittany, France in 1923, and painted watercolours. He died in December, 1928 and is buried in Golders Green crematorium in London.

Georges Braque: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Georges Braque.

  • Georges Braque was a French painter, printer and collage maker. He is considered to be one of the most important Cubist painters of the 20th century, along with Picasso.
  • Braque and Picasso created Cubism, one of the most influential 20th century art movements. The Cubists were interested in geometry and trying to show an object from different angles.

  • He was born near Paris in 1882 and, like his father, trained to be a house painter. However, he also spent several years studying painting during the evening at a Paris painting school.

Georges Braque

  • Braque’s early paintings were in the Fauvism style, a term that translated as wild beasts.
  • In 1907 some of his paintings were shown at the Society of Independent Artists, in Paris.
  • Braque and Picasso worked together painting and making collages from 1908 to 1914. Their paintings were often very similar, and many people could not tell them apart.
  • The term Cubism was invented in 1908 when an art critic saw one of Braque’s paintings. He described it as looking like dozens of small cubes painted to look like an object.
  • Georges Braque joined the French army when the First World War began in 1914. He was injured in the head the following year, and he took a long time to recover.
  • After the war, he moved to Normandy, France and started painting again. He met the artist Juan Gris and created a lot of still life paintings of fruit, musical instruments and cooking utensils.
  • Georges Braque died in 1963, in Paris. He was buried in the church of St. Valery in Normandy, northern France, whose windows he had helped to design.
  • Georges Braque’s paintings are on display in most of the world’s major art museums. His famous works include Ace of Clubs, Woman With a Guitar, and The Houses at L’Estaque.

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Hans Holbein: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Hans Holbein.

  • Hans Holbein was a German print maker and artist and one of the greatest 16th century portrait painters.
  • He is often called the Hans Holbein the Younger; his father who had the same name was known as the Hans Holbein the Elder.

  • He was born in Augsburg, Germany, in about 1497 and spent his early years painting in Switzerland. He also created designs for books and stained glass windows.
  • While in Switzerland, he joined the painter’s corporation and was asked to paint murals for Basel town hall. Today, some of the drawings for the work are on display in Basel’s Kunstmuseum.
  • During the early 1530s, Hans Holbein moved to England and became King Henry VIII‘s official portrait painter. He also designed cups, books and jewellery for the King and his family.
  • He painted many paintings of Tudor royalty  while employed as the King’s portrait painter. Some of these works were so small that they could fit in the palm of a hand.
  • Henry VIII asked Hans Holbein to paint Anne of Cleves so he could decide whether or not to marry her. Although he liked what he saw in the portrait, the marriage only lasted a year. Apparently, Ann didn’t look as beautiful in real life as she did in her portrait.

Anne of Cleves Portrait
Anne of Cleves

  • In England, Holbein painted portraits of Thomas Cromwell and Sir Thomas More, who had opposite political views. Today the two paintings are on display together in New York’s Frick Museum.
  • During his life, Holbein also painted many religious works. One of his most famous is the Dance of Death, a series of woodcuts showing the figure of Death in different disguises.
  • Hans Holbein died from the plague in London, in 1543. He was buried in a communal burial pit in the grounds of St. Katherine Cree church in the City of London.

The Ambassadors
The Ambassadors

  • Holbein’s most famous painting is The Ambassadors, which is today in London’s National Gallery. The 1533 work features scientific and geometric symbols, as well as a distorted skull which can only be seen clearly when you look at the painting from a certain angle.