Exposition Art Blog: May 2016

Gregorio Prestopino

Gregorio Prestopino, (1907–1984) was an American artist, according to the art historian Irma B. Jaffe:"one of the major American painters who refused to reject the image, has devoted his career to depicting the human condition with a warmth tempered only by honesty"
By the mid-1940s and the 1950s he concentrated on large, solid images that were able to function as universals with heightened drama while preserving their qualities as specific expressionistic images. His more realistic studies are largely black and white and detail poor urban suffering. Exemplifying this style is the series of paintings done in 1957 for “Life” magazine in connection with an article on Green Haven, a New York state prison. During this time Prestopino received high recognition along with Ben Shahn and Philip Evergood, well-known social realist painters. In the late 1950s Prestopino used Harlem as his subject. He created paintings that inspired the well-known American movie makers, John Hubley and Faith Elliot. During the filming they never took the camera off the paintings. The film, "Harlem Wednesday", with a jazz score by Benny Carter, won first prize at the First International Festival of Art Film in Venice.

 In 1954, he became a director of the MacDowell Colony, beginning a lifelong association that profoundly influenced his art. In the MacDowell Colony he made friends with the painters Milton Avery, Sally Avery, Giorgio Cavllon, Linda Lindeberg and many others who were among the Fellows of MacDowell Colony.In 1958 Prestopino's landscape paintings were showing abstract tendencies. There is a noticeable cubist influence in his work as well. Much of his more cubist work uses brightly contrasting colors and involves human forms. Wet, sensuous color areas appeared on his canvases. Mythological figures, woods, brooks, fields, islands, mountains were joined-on powerful canvases that showed Prestopino’s new vitality. According to the celebrated photographer Russel Lynes “the sound of the city…gave way to the sounds of the country, the relentless of bricks and pavement and steel to the happy disorder of dappled things.Wikipedia


Francisco Zúñiga

Francisco Zúñiga was a Costa Rican-born Mexican artist best known for his stylized figurative paintings and sculptures. Zúñiga’s work often adopts qualities of pre-Columbian art, especially in his stone sculptures which strive to maintain a timeless, mysterious quality in their boldly simplified forms. Most of his work depicts female figures either as nudes within natural environs, or as contemporary women walking through the markets of Mexico. Born on December 27, 1912 in Barrio de San José, Costa Rica, both of his parents were sculptors. Zúñiga was deeply influenced by the German Expressionists and the sculptor Auguste Rodin early in his artistic development. Today, his works can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.  The artist became a Mexican citizen 50 years after his arrival to the country, and died on August 9, 1998 in Tlapan, Mexico. (artnet.com)

Pacita Abad

Pacita Abad (October 5, 1946 – December 7, 2004) was born in Basco, Batanes, a small island in the northernmost part of the Philippines, between Luzon and Taiwan. Her more than 30-year painting career began when she traveled to the United States to undertake graduate studies. She exhibited her work in over 200 museums, galleries and other venues, including 75 solo shows, around the world. Abad's work is now in public, corporate and private art collections in over 70 countries.

Her early paintings were primarily figurative socio-political works of people and primitive masks. Another series was large scale paintings of underwater scenes, tropical flowers and animal wildlife. Pacita's most extensive body of work, however, is her vibrant, colorful abstract work - many very large scale canvases, but also a number of small collages - on a range of materials from canvas and paper to bark cloth, metal, ceramics and glass. Abad created over 4,500 artworks. She painted a 55-meter long Alkaff Bridge in Singapore and covered it with 2,350 multicolored circles, just a few months before she died.

Abad developed a technique of trapunto painting (named after a quilting technique), which entailed stitching and stuffing her painted canvases to give them a three-dimensional, sculptural effect. She then began incorporating into the surface of her paintings materials such as traditional cloth, mirrors, beads, shells, plastic buttons and other objects

Pacita had also received numerous awards during her artistic career in which her most memorable award was her first. Pacita had received the TOYM Award for Art in the Philippines in 1984. Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) is an award that has always been given to men for the last 25 years until in 1984 where Pacita Abad became the first woman ever to receive this prestigious award. In Pacita receiving this award it had created a public uproar where angry letters sent to editors of published newspapers from men and male artists who thought that they, not Pacita, should have received the award. Despite such uproar Pacita was thrilled that she had broken the sex barrier in which she stated in her acceptance speech that “it was long overdue that Filipina women were recognized, as the Philippines was full of outstanding women” and referred proudly to her mother.Wikipedia

Zvest Apollonio

Zvest Apollonio (15 May 1935, in Capodistria – 25 March 2009, in Bertoki) was a Slovenian painter and scenographer.
Apollonio was born of an Italian father and a Slovenian mother and grew up bilingually. He entered the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts in 1960 where he studied under Gabrijel Stupica. He was a professor at the graphic arts department at the Academy from 1973 to 1989. He was also head of the graphics department and Associate Dean for four years.He is considered one of the most important Slovenian artists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and was a recipient in 1984 of the Jakopič Award, the highest award for the arts in Slovenia. In 2003 he received the Istrian Arts Award "for special achievements in shaping, researching and preserving the cultural identity of Istria."

Apollonio worked in various mediums, including painting, graphics, sculpture, drawing, illustration, art equipment, mosaics and scenery. He has held over 40 solo exhibitions in galleries in Slovenia and around the world. He has also participated in many group exhibitions and international shows. He has won more than 30 national and international awards.

General Władysław Anders - Milena Olesinska

Władysław Anders, (born Aug. 11, 1892, Błonie, Pol., Russian Empire—died May 12, 1970, London, Eng.) commanding officer of the Polish army in the Middle East and Italy during World War II who became a leading figure among the anticommunist Poles who refused to return to their homeland after the war.
After service in the Russian army during World War I, Anders entered the armed forces of the newly reconstituted Polish state and fought the Red Army in the Russo-Polish War of 1919–20. Campaigning against both Germany and the Soviet Union at the outbreak of World War II (September 1939), he was captured by the Soviets and imprisoned until the Polish-Soviet agreement of August 1941. Allowed to form a Polish fighting force on Russian soil from former prisoners of war and deportees, Anders soon had 80,000 men, but he realized that he had no chance of liberating Poland from the East with an army under Soviet control. As a result of both Polish and British pressure, Joseph Stalin allowed Anders to march into Iran and Iraq (1942). The Poles subsequently distinguished themselves in the Italian campaign, capturing Monte Cassino. A staunch anticommunist, Anders remained in Great Britain after World War II; the new communist Polish government deprived him of his citizenship in 1946. Thereafter he became a prominent leader of Polish exiles in the West.( Encyclopædia Britannica)
Oil painting

LeRoy Neiman

LeRoy Neiman (LeRoy Joseph Runquist), (born June 8, 1921, St. Paul, Minn.—died June 20, 2012, New York, N.Y.) American artist who achieved tremendous popularity and commercial success through his vividly coloured impressionistic paintings that documented public life. Neiman, who was best known as a sports artist, worked with pen and ink, felt-tip markers, watercolours, and enamel house paint, which he applied in rapid strokes. His flamboyant image, characterized by white suits, a huge handlebar mustache, and an ever-present cigar, was as recognizable as his painting style. 

 After serving in World War II as a cook and a painter of stage sets, Neiman studied (1946–50) on the GI Bill at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and taught fashion illustration and figure drawing there during the following decade. He also sketched for magazine fashion ads, but his big break came in 1954 when Hugh Hefner recruited him for Playboy magazine. This began Neiman’s 50-year career as a pinup illustrator.

 Neiman frequently sketched or painted while positioned on the sidelines of sporting events, including Super Bowls and boxing matches. He covered the Olympics five times, beginning with the 1960 Olympic Winter Games (Squaw Valley, Calif.), and was named an official artist for the Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. (1980), and in Sarajevo, Yugos. (now in Bosnia and Herzegovina; 1984), and for the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Incredibly prolific, Neiman also rendered portraits of celebrities (including boxer Muhammad Ali, quarterback Joe Namath, maestro Leonard Bernstein, and poet Marianne Moore) and historical events, including the 1980 Democratic National Convention, for which he was the official artist. His memoir, All Told: My Art and Life Among Athletes, Playboys, Bunnies, and Provocateurs, was published in the weeks before his death.(Encyclopædia Britannica)

Dimitris Mytaras

Dimitris Mytaras (born 1934, Chalkis) is a Greek artist who is considered one of the important Greek painters of the 20th century.
His work is mainly inspired by the human figure, and a combination of naturalism and expressionism. From the 1960s onward, Mytaras moved in the direction of naturalism, while from 1975 an expressionistic approach became more and more marked in his output.

From 1953 till 1957, Mytaras studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Yiannis Moralis. Later on he studied stage design at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. From 1964 till 1972, he directed the Interior Decoration Workshop of the Athens Technological Institute. Since 1975 he has been teaching at the Painting Workshop of the Athens School of Fine Arts. Mytaras has participated in more than 30 international group shows, including the 1972 Venice Biennale.

During the time of the Greek military junta of 1967-1974, Mytaras sought to comment critically on Greek life through a series of realistic works entitled Photographic Documents.
In later life he turned towards classical themes.
Mytaras was also selected to create one of the official posters for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.Wikipedia

Mexican painter and sculptor Juan Soriano

Juan Soriano  (1920 -2006)  was born in Guadalajara to a middle-class family. His father, Rafael Rodríguez Soriano, fought in the Mexican Revolution, later becoming a minor politician and, eventually, a spiritist. His mother, Amalia Montoya, who had followed her husband into battle as a "soldadera," or female soldier, kept the house that included Juan's thirteen aunts and four sisters. His precocious talents led him to enter the circle of the renowned artist Jesús Reyes Ferreira, known as "Chucho" Reyes, who introduced Soriano to pre-Columbian and colonial Mexican art as well as art from outside his country. Soriano began exhibiting in Guadalajara at age 14. His first show in the regional museum attracted the attention of such influential Mexican painters as María Izquierdo and José Chávez Morado as well as the photographer Lola Álvarez Bravo, all of whom became close friends of Soriano and urged the young man to travel to Mexico City. The following year (1935), Soriano moved to the Mexican capital and soon entered into a lively visual and personal dialogue with Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Orozco, Siqueiros, as well as the more vanguard artists and writers who composed the famous Contemporáneos group.

 Soriano considered the work of all these diverse artists with care, drawing on a deep interest in popular and indigenous arts, as well as the expressive modes derived from Cubism, German Expressionism, and Fauvism as well as the School of Paris artists of the interwar period. In addition, he became acquainted with the imaginative forms of painting that were behind the creations of the European Surrealists who had come as war refugees to Mexico at the end of the 1930s and into the 1940s.

 While all of these elements are at play in Soriano's unique works done during these two decades, he cannot be directly connected with any one trend, creating a personal brand of romantic realism. Soriano was also in contact with the most distinguished art dealer of the time, Inés Amor (of the prestigious Galería de Arte Mexicano), who was instrumental in placing Soriano's works in important local and foreign (especially American) collections, and had a pivotal role in the acquisition of Philadelphia's four Soriano paintings (the most extensive collection of works by the artist in the United States).

 After 1950, Soriano began several long periods of residence outside Mexico. He experimented with various approaches to abstraction in both painting and sculpture, and also expanded his frame of artistic reference and did extensive set and costume work for the Mexican theatre company "Poesía en Voz Alta." His years spent in Rome and later in Paris definitively changed his art as he absorbed what his life-long friend Rufino Tamayo would call "universalist tendencies."(juansoriano.net)

Ion Tuculescu

Ion Tuculescu (19 May 1910 – 27 July 1962) was a Romanian expressionist and abstract oil painter, although professionally he worked as a biologist and physician. His artwork became well-known posthumously, when, in the spring of 1965, a major retrospective exhibition revealed him as one of the important post-World War II European modern artists.

 Born in Craiova, into a family of intellectuals, he attended the Carol I High School in the city. In the art classes he was guided by teacher Eugen Ciolac, who taught him some of the techniques he was to use. His participation was first noted during the exhibition organized in 1925 in the reception hall of the Dolj County Administrative Palace. Although his artistic talent was becoming appreciated, Ţuculescu did not attend a higher-education art school; instead, he went to the Faculty of Natural Sciences within the University of Bucharest, where he would graduate in 1936. In parallel, he also attended the Bucharest Medical University, graduating magna cum laude in 1939.
Between 1930 and 1934, he took several trips to Greece, Turkey, Palestine and Egypt, either together with Gala Galaction and his daughters, or with his own fiancée, Maria Fotiade (whom he married on May 5, 1935). It was during these trips that he retook to painting, being inspired by the Mediterranean landscapes.

 His first personal exhibition would take place in 1938 in the Romanian Athenaeum hall of Bucharest. By 1960, Ţuculescu had taken part in several collective exhibitions, and had also displayed his works at the Official Salon (in 1941 and 1945). He had had seven personal exhibitions at the Romanian Athenaeum.
With the exception of the war period, when he was drafted into the Romanian Army as a combat medic, the practice of medicine did not take up much of his time. Biology had become his second most important interest, and he worked as a scientific researcher within the Romanian Academy. An autodidact in painting, Ţuculescu worked intensely after his second debut. Although he was continuously present in the artistic life of the time, his work found almost no response.
He died in Bucharest at the age of 52, and was buried in the Cernica monastery graveyard, in the Galaction family vault.

 Posthumously, his paintings would be the subject of critical acclaim, and, promoted by figures such as Petru Comarnescu, were the focus of numerous exhibitions inside Romania and abroad.In his early years, Ţuculescu's work was marked by the influence of figurative Expressionism, gathering themes and subjects from Romanian folklore. He did not abandon their influence as he moved toward abstract expressionism, making use of decorative elements originating in the folk art of his native region, Oltenia.Wikipedia