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.

Edgar Degas: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Edgar Deags.

  • Edgar Degas was a French artist, draftsman and sculptor. His most famous work is probably the Absinthe Drinker, painted in 1875 and now hanging in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.
  • His father enjoyed having music recitals in their home, and his mother was an opera singer. At the age of 18 Degas was allowed to visit the famous Louvre museum to copy paintings.

  • In 1855 Degas went to Italy where he spent 3 years travelling and painting. During the Franco-Prussian war in 1871 he visited family in New Orleans to escape the fighting.
  • In 1865 he exhibited one of his paintings at the important Paris Salon for the first time. Around the same time he became friends with the painter Edouard Manet and developed a friendly rivalry.
  • Although often described as an Impressionist painter, his style was different from that movement. However, he did help to organize several exhibitions of the Impressionists’ works, during the 1880s.
  • Over half of his paintings show ballet classes or ballerinas. The subject sold well and brought money in after his brother’s debts had made the family bankrupt.
  • Edgar Degas was influenced by Japanese prints, as well as the artists Delacroix and Courbet. Many of his paintings had unusual viewpoints or did not have a lot of colour in them.
  • Degas believed that a painter should have no personal life, and he was often lonely. He also had strong anti-Jewish feelings and fell out with his Jewish friends.
  • Edgar Degas died in 1917 at the age of 83. He was never married and he spent the last few years of his life wandering the streets of Paris, almost blind.
  • Today, Edgar Degas is one of the most famous 19th century painters.

John Constable: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about John Constable.

  • John Constable was an English Romantic painter and landscape painter. His most famous work is The Hay Wain, painted in 1821 and now one of the most popular of British paintings.
  • Constable was born in Suffolk in June, 1776 and painted many landscapes around his home. The area is now known as Constable Country and has a walk taking in some of his haunts.

  • He worked in his father’s corn business when he left school, although he studied art when his father gave him an allowance. In 1802 he turned down a teaching position, choosing to paint instead.
  • At first he painted portraits just to make money. He made trips to the Lake District and spent time sailing on a ship, to get inspiration for his work.
  • The first important painting Constable sold was the White Horse. During his lifetime, he sold only 20 paintings in Britain, but sold the same number in just a few years, in France.
  • John Constable married Maria Bicknell in 1816, despite her parents opposing the marriage. When she died in 1828, he decided never to paint again, although he later changed his mind.
  • In 1829 at the age of 52, Constable became a member of the Royal Academy. He gave lectures on landscape painting and criticized the then current Gothic Revival movement.
  • John Constable also painted many watercolours, including one of Stonehenge. He studied clouds and their effects on the landscape, determined to understand the science behind them.

Hay Wain

  • Constable’s painting the Hay Wain can be seen today in London’s National Gallery. A house belonging to Constable’s neighbor can be seen in the left of the painting.
  • John Constable died in March, 1837 from heart failure. He was buried in St. John’s church, Hampstead, London, where his wife and two of their 7 children are also buried.

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Antony Gormley: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Antony Gormley.

  • Antony Gormley was born on 30th August 1950 in London, England.
  • His mother was German, his father was Irish and he had six siblings.

  • He grew up in Dewsbury Moor in West Yorkshire.
  • Antony Gormley went to Ampleforth College, a boarding school, and then he went to Trinity College in Cambridge to study archaeology, anthropology and history of art.
  • In the early 1970s Antony Gormley travelled to India and Sri Lanka to learn about Buddhism.
  • From 1977 to 1979 he went to the Slade School of Fine Art and completed a course in sculpture.
  • His first solo exhibition was in 1981 at Whitechapel Art Gallery.
  • Most of his sculpture work is based around the form of the human body.
  • Many of his sculptures begin with him taking a cast of his own body.
  • His work called Asian Field featured 180,000 clay figures.
  • Event Horizon was made up of 31 life-size casts of his body and placed on top of buildings in the South Bank, London, and Madison Square, New York.
  • He won the Turner Prize in 1994 for his work Field for the British Isles. This work features 35,000 terracotta figures.
  • His most famous work is the Angel of the North, a steel sculpture (measuring 20 metres tall), located in Gateshead.
  • His other works include: Exposure (located in Lelystad, Netherlands), Habitat (located in Anchorage, Alaska), Horizon Field (located in the Austrian Alps), Quantum Cloud (Greenwich, London) and Planets (located in the British Library, London).

Georges Seurat: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Georges Seurat.

  • Georges Seurat was born on 2nd December, 1859 in Paris, France.
  • He studied art at the Ecole Municipale de Sculpture et Dessin, and he continued his training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (where Henri Lehmann, a famous portraitist, was one of the tutors).

  • From 1879 to 1880 completed a year of military service.
  • He finished his first major painting – Bathers at Asnieres – in 1883.
  • In 1884 Georges Seurat started to paint A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. He finished the work in 1886. The painting is a work of pointillism. The image is constructed from thousands of tiny dots of paint, allowing the viewer’s eyes to blend the colours, even though they are not blended in the painting itself.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

  • In 1890 Georges Seurat painted four canvases and several drawings by the coast at Gravelines (in northern France). His work from this period included: The Channel of Gravelines and Petit Fort Philippe.
  • Georges Seurat died at the age of just 31 on 29th March 1891. The cause of death is uncertain, but it could have been meningitis, pneumonia or diphtheria.

Georges Seurat

  • He left his final piece of work, The Circus, unfinished.
  • Many people consider Georges Seurat to be one of the most important Post-Impressionist artists.
  • During his short career, Seurat completed seven full size paintings, about 40 small paintings, and hundreds of drawings and sketches.

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Rene Magritte: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Rene Magritte, the famous Belgian artist.

  • Rene Magritte was born on 21st November 1898 in Hainaut, Lessines, Belgium.
  • He started to have drawing lessons when he was twelve years old.

  • In 1912, Magritte’s mother drowned in the River Sambre.
  • Rene Magritte studied at the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.
  • Magritte married Georgette Berger in 1923. Magritte couldn’t afford to paint full-time at this point, and he worked in a wallpaper factory and designed posters.
  • In 1926, Magritte received a contract from the Galerie le Centaure (Brussels) allowing him to become a full-time artist.
  • Magritte’s first surreal painting was the The Lost Jockey, completed in 1926.
  • In 1927, Magritte moved to Paris and became a key member of the Surrealism movement. He was good friends with the artist, Andre Breton, and he knew Joan Miro and Salvador Dali.
  • In 1929 the Galerie le Centaure closed and Magritte’s contract was terminated. In order to earn  money, he started an advertising agency with his brother.
  • During World War 2, Rene Magritte lived in German-occupied Belgium. He started to paint more upbeat works and dismissed his previous work as being to pessimistic.
  • In the 1940s Magritte supplemented his income by forging work by famous artists such as Picasso, and then selling the fake works of art. He also experimented with forging banknotes.
  • Magritte died on 15th August 1967. He was 68 years old and had pancreatic cancer.
  • Magritte’s work started to become really popular in the 1960s. His paintings have inspired many artists, including: Andy Warhol, Duane Michals and Jasper Johns.
  • His work often contains everyday objects (such as bowler hats, apples and pipes) in odd and unusual settings. His paintings often include the image of blue cloudy skies.
  • In 2009 the Magritte Museum opened in Brussels, displaying more than 200 of Magritte’s paintings, including The Empire of Light series and The Return.
  • His most famous works include: The Son of Man, Golconde and The Mysteries of the Horizon.

What next? Discover some facts about other famous artists or learn more about Belgium, Magritte’s birthplace.