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1845. Thomas Cole.  Catskill Creek   Oil on canvas.  The 19th Century  Hudson River School  was the first truly  American ...
1909. George Bellows.  The Palisades .  Oil on canvas, 30 x 38 1/8 in. (76.2 x 96.8 cm) The first New York City-based art ...
1907. John Sloan.  The Wake of the Ferry.   Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 in.  Notice the muted colors and foggy atmosphere. Like...
John Sloan.  Oil on canvas Early 20th Century Painters like Sloan wanted to show real life in New York.  They did not want...
1917. Paul Strand.  New York Photogravure. 6 3/8 x 8 3/8 in.; 16. x 21.2725 cm. A major art movement of the time was in ph...
1939. Joseph Stella . Brooklyn Bridge: Variation on an Old Theme .  Oil on canvas, 101 x 76 cm Stella was an immigrant fro...
1941. Joseph Stella.  Old Brooklyn Bridge. Oil on Canvas.  193 cm x 172.7 cm. Stella wrote that standing on the Brooklyn B...
1915. Alfred Stieglitz.  From the Back Window Platinum print.  25.1 x 20.2 cm (9 7/8 x 7 15/16 in.)  Both photographers an...
Georgia O'Keeffe. 1887-1986 Here are three examples of the kind of paintings O’Keeffe is most famous for.  She may not be ...
1926. Georgia O'Keeffe.  City Night (left); The Shelton with Sunspots (right),  Oil on canvas. Both approx. 48 X 30 in   W...
1942.   Edward Hopper.  Nighthawks. Oil on Canvas. 30x57 in. Hopper is probably the most popular of the 20th Century Ameri...
1929. Edward Hopper.  Chop Suey Hoppers scenes seem very realistic and familiar, but notice how many things he has simplif...
1944. Edward Hopper.  Morning in a City In my opinion, Hopper’s greatest achievement might be the way he paints light: his...
1951 . Willem de Kooning.  Woman. Charcoal and pastel on paper
21 1/2 x 16" (54.6 x 40.6 cm) Soon a new movement was ...
Jackson Pollock in the act of Painting Hans Hoffman: “ Why don’t you go out and  paint from nature?” Pollock: “ I AM natur...
1951. Jackson Pollock . Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) Enamel on canvas
105 x 207 in. (266.7 x 525.8 cm) For the first time in ...
1961. Mark Rothko . Untitled (Orange, Dark Ruby, Brown on Maroon) Oil on canvas.
1043/4 x 92 1/2 in.  Another kind of Abst...
1930. Edward Hopper .  Early Sunday Morning Oil on canvas.
35 x 60 in.  By the 1950s figurative painters like Edward Hoppe...
The tradition of luminism in American painting : Like the Hudson River School painters of the previous century, Hopper and...
1963. Willem de Kooning .  Rosy-Fingered Dawn at Louse Point. Oil on canvas.
  
6' 8" x 70" (203.2 x 177.8 cm)  ...
1955 - 56. Willem de Kooning .  Easter Monday. Oil and newspaper transfer on canvas.   8' x 6' 2" (243.8 x 188 cm) . ...
1964. Romare Bearden . The Dove Collage and synthetic polymer.
30 x 25 cm.
1998. Robert Rauschenberg . Street Jam. vegetable dye transfer on polylaminate, 61 x 49 1/2
1957. Richard Diebenkorn . Sea Wall. Oil on canvas.
20 x 25in.
1967. Richard Diebenkorn . Window. Oil on canvas.
92x80 in.
Richard Diebenkorn.  Ocean Park #66.  1973 (left).  Ocean Park #54 . 1972 (Right).   Oil on canvas.
100 x  81 in.
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Painting newyork for upload

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Nature, and especially Light, is a theme throughout 20th Century American Art, even when artists focused on the city, or worked non-representationally. Figurative art merges with abstraction, until there are two distinct trends. But the trends come together repeatedly.

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Painting newyork for upload

  1. 1. 1845. Thomas Cole. Catskill Creek Oil on canvas. The 19th Century Hudson River School was the first truly American art movement . It is related to European “Romanticism,” yet has its own American identity, stemming from an American philosophy called “Transcendentalism”: a belief that Nature (or the wilderness ) is sublime . By connecting to nature we can transcend the bad world. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, more and more American wilderness was turning into farm-land or towns, and disappearing. These painters believed that art should help us experience t he sublime, found in untouched, wild nature. This style is also called Luminism because of the painters’ focus on natural light, and their ability to create the feeling that the sunlight is emanating from the painting itself. Unlike the French Impressionists of just a few decades later, the Luminists never showed brush-strokes . The goal was to create a perfect illusion.
  2. 2. 1909. George Bellows. The Palisades . Oil on canvas, 30 x 38 1/8 in. (76.2 x 96.8 cm) The first New York City-based art movement, The “Ash-can” School painters, wanted to show the city in all its true grittiness and dirtiness. This view shows the edge of northern Manhattan (with New Jersey across the Hudson River) . The Ash-can painters believed that dirty snow, smoke, and even man-made structures, were part of nature and had their own beauty. Unlike the Hudson River School painting, this landscape is not idealized . Also, we can now see painterly brush-strokes.
  3. 3. 1907. John Sloan. The Wake of the Ferry. Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 in. Notice the muted colors and foggy atmosphere. Like the Hudson River School painters, the Ashcan-school painters were also focused on luminosity. But they found a romantic kind of beauty in the sunlight glowing through the soot and smoke of the industrial age. This shows the Staten Island Ferry, which you can still ride today from Manhattan. Before this, the Hudson River School painters often painted dramatic stormy skies over a mountain landscape. Now, in the early 20th Century, American painters focused on the city, but they still loved to paint bad weather!
  4. 4. John Sloan. Oil on canvas Early 20th Century Painters like Sloan wanted to show real life in New York. They did not want to idealize the scene. Sometimes, you can see the influence of French Impressionism, but these paintings are less “pretty”and more illustrative. Each is like a snap-shot of a moment in an ordinary day in New York at that time.
  5. 5. 1917. Paul Strand. New York Photogravure. 6 3/8 x 8 3/8 in.; 16. x 21.2725 cm. A major art movement of the time was in photography. The “Precisionist” photographers were interested in looking at light and shadow in an abstract way. They were also interested in how natural light interacted with man-made structures in a man-made environment — the unification of the city with nature. 1927. Elsie Driggs . QueensboroughBridge Oil on canvas, 101 x 76 cm The bridge that connects Manhattan to Queens was opened in 1907. Like the Futurists in Europe, American painters of the early 20th Century were inspired by these modern feats of engineering. Driggs views this work of steel as an abstraction of lines, planes, fragmented space and sunlight, almost as an abstract sculpture.
  6. 6. 1939. Joseph Stella . Brooklyn Bridge: Variation on an Old Theme . Oil on canvas, 101 x 76 cm Stella was an immigrant from Italy, and he said that America did not need a great cultural history like Europe had, because America had great modern inventions and works of engineering. Stella is considered a “Futurist”. 1928. Charles Demuth . Figure 5 in Glold Oil on cardboard, 35-1/2 x 30 in.(90.2 x 76.2 cm) Demuth painted the number he saw on a speeding fire-engine. It is a similar kind of figurative abstraction to that of Elsie Driggs and Joseph Stella (left), especially in the interplay of positive and negative space, but this piece also seems aligned with the Dada movement, and like a precursor to American Pop-Art of the 1960s.
  7. 7. 1941. Joseph Stella. Old Brooklyn Bridge. Oil on Canvas. 193 cm x 172.7 cm. Stella wrote that standing on the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time was a spiritual experience for him. He said he felt that he was on “the threshold of a new religion.” It is similar to what the Hudson River School painters felt about America’s vast wilderness. Is this painting representational or abstract? Or both?
  8. 8. 1915. Alfred Stieglitz. From the Back Window Platinum print. 25.1 x 20.2 cm (9 7/8 x 7 15/16 in.) Both photographers and painters were fascinated by the physical power, forms, structures and dazzling lights of New York City. Sieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe were married, and lived here together. 1927. Georgia O'Keeffe. Radiator Building – Night Oil on canvas. 48 X 30 in She is best known for her paintings of the American Southwest desert and close-up images of flowers, but O’Keeffe had a New York period too.
  9. 9. Georgia O'Keeffe. 1887-1986 Here are three examples of the kind of paintings O’Keeffe is most famous for. She may not be the greatest of American artists, but she is an American icon. 1926. Black Iris Oil on canvas. 36 x 30 in. 1921. Blue and Green Music Oil on canvas. 23 x 19 in. 1949. Black Place, Grey and Pink Oil on canvas. 36 x 48 in Eventually O”Keeffe had enough of the male-dominated art world in New York. She moved to New Mexico, where she lived alone in the desert and became iconic for her intensely colored paintings of it.
  10. 10. 1926. Georgia O'Keeffe. City Night (left); The Shelton with Sunspots (right), Oil on canvas. Both approx. 48 X 30 in While in New York City, O’Keeffe painted buildings in sunlight and in moonlight. It is said that she “naturalized the city” (American Visions). She looked at the tall sky-scrapers the same way she viewed a flower or the mountains in New Mexico — as voluminous forms in space and light. Notice how important the shapes of the negative spaces are. These painting remind me of old comic-book illustrations, because of the exaggerated perspective.
  11. 11. 1942. Edward Hopper. Nighthawks. Oil on Canvas. 30x57 in. Hopper is probably the most popular of the 20th Century American figurative painters, and this is probably his most well-known painting. What do you think makes this painting so intriguing? (You already know a lot about Hopper from the Whitney Museum audio you listened to.)
  12. 12. 1929. Edward Hopper. Chop Suey Hoppers scenes seem very realistic and familiar, but notice how many things he has simplified and generalized. Hoppers is artistically conservative for its time. In France, Picasso and Braque had already invented cubism, and abstraction was dominant in Europe. In some ways, Hopper seems even less advanced than the Impressionists of the late 1800s, but he took a major lesson from them: light is made out of color.
  13. 13. 1944. Edward Hopper. Morning in a City In my opinion, Hopper’s greatest achievement might be the way he paints light: his light has all the right colors in it, and his colors have just the right intensity, so the atmosphere becomes completely believable. You can feel the air, the temperature, the sunlight, the place. His painting is often compared to film, especially film noir . Hopper loved to go to the movies, and was influenced by them. Maybe this is what gives his paintings such a strong sense of place, and such a modern American feeling.
  14. 14. 1951 . Willem de Kooning. Woman. Charcoal and pastel on paper
21 1/2 x 16" (54.6 x 40.6 cm) Soon a new movement was born in the United States: Abstract Expressionism . Paris was no longer the center of the international art world. For the first time in history, New York became the center of the avant-garde in art. Abstract Expressionists felt art should come from the artist’s own subconscious mind, and be free, spontaneous, energetic and subjective. They broke free of the forms, planes, spaces and lines of the original object. c. 1940. Willem de Kooning. Seated Woman. Oil and charcoal on Masonite. 54 1/16 x 36 in. (137.3 x 91.4 cm) During and after WWII, many artists were fleeing to New York from Europe. They brought with them European ideas and trends, such as Cubism. You can see a strong Picasso influence in this early de Kooning. Is the figure a woman, or a dance of forms, shapes, colors and lines? Perhaps the real subject of this painting is color — not the color within the light, but the light emanating from the intense hues of color.
  15. 15. Jackson Pollock in the act of Painting Hans Hoffman: “ Why don’t you go out and paint from nature?” Pollock: “ I AM nature.” Pollock threw, dripped and spattered the paint from the brush as he moved around the canvas. As the paint dripped and landed according to the natural laws of physics, Pollock’s movements and gestures were translated into marks on a surface. “ Action Painting” and “Gestural Abstraction” were other names given to some Abstract Expressionist painting.
  16. 16. 1951. Jackson Pollock . Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) Enamel on canvas
105 x 207 in. (266.7 x 525.8 cm) For the first time in history, painting could be truly “non-objective” (non-representational) because the artist did not try to represent any object. The painting does not relate to any object outside of itself (and the artist and the viewer). This was a radical new idea in western art. Note that since the Abstract Expressionists did not try to create any image or illusion in their paintings, there is also no illusion of depth , no imaginary “picture space” behind the picture plane. Instead we engage with the “picture plane” itself, and what is happening on it. Artists and critics still felt that Art should have deep meaning, and not be just decoration or design. Many were writing and thinking about the meaning of “action painting” and other forms of non-objective art. Nonetheless, this painting was given the title “Autumn Rhythm, so maybe the drips of paint reminded the painter (or someone else) of the motions and rhythms made by falling autumn leaves as they swirl to the ground. The painting is not a picture of nature, but it has an active, organic and natural feeling.
  17. 17. 1961. Mark Rothko . Untitled (Orange, Dark Ruby, Brown on Maroon) Oil on canvas.
1043/4 x 92 1/2 in. Another kind of Abstract Expressionism was “Color Field Painting”. Rothko painted translucent layers of color on top of other colors, to give the surface depth and luminosity . The Abstract Expressionists painted very large paintings. In person, the large glowing surface of a Rothko painting feels like a dreamy space you can mentally plunge into, like an environment. But this is a feeling, not an illusion. In abstract expressionism, a painting is a material object, not a picture. Yet the luminous color in Rothko’s paintings reminds us of a tradition in American Art, a tradition of creating light with paint.
  18. 18. 1930. Edward Hopper . Early Sunday Morning Oil on canvas.
35 x 60 in. By the 1950s figurative painters like Edward Hopper no longer seemed relevant. But can you see any similarities between this Hopper (which we saw earlier this semester) and the Rothko?
  19. 19. The tradition of luminism in American painting : Like the Hudson River School painters of the previous century, Hopper and Rothko are both concerned with creating a strong, almost physical sensation of light in their painting. 19 Century (Hudson River School) . Frederick Edwin Church. Oil on canvas.
 1930. Edward Hopper . Early Sunday Morning 1961. Mark Rothko . Untitled (Orange, Dark Ruby, Brown on Maroon)
  20. 20. 1963. Willem de Kooning . Rosy-Fingered Dawn at Louse Point. Oil on canvas.
 
6' 8" x 70" (203.2 x 177.8 cm) This is an example of de Kooning’s “action painting”. Yet the title indicates that di Kooning was inspired by a sunrise at a specific place. He did not feel the need to paint what he saw. Yet it seems he tried to capture the color, light and space as he experienced it. So is this a non-objective painting or a landscape? 19 Century (Hudson River School) . Frederick Edwin Church
  21. 21. 1955 - 56. Willem de Kooning . Easter Monday. Oil and newspaper transfer on canvas. 8' x 6' 2" (243.8 x 188 cm) . T his work of gestural abstraction (action painting) is referred to as an “abstract urban landscape” by the curators at MoMA. What aspects of the painting reflect the urban, or city, environment, in your opinion? Listen to the audio on the MoMA website by pasting this link: http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2011/dekooning/archives/108
  22. 22. 1964. Romare Bearden . The Dove Collage and synthetic polymer.
30 x 25 cm.
  23. 23. 1998. Robert Rauschenberg . Street Jam. vegetable dye transfer on polylaminate, 61 x 49 1/2
  24. 24. 1957. Richard Diebenkorn . Sea Wall. Oil on canvas.
20 x 25in.
  25. 25. 1967. Richard Diebenkorn . Window. Oil on canvas.
92x80 in.
  26. 26. Richard Diebenkorn. Ocean Park #66. 1973 (left). Ocean Park #54 . 1972 (Right). Oil on canvas.
100 x 81 in.

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