Artists

American artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens finds inspiration in France to create one of America’s most iconic sculptures, a memorial to Civil War hero Adm. David Farragut

AUGUSTUS SAINT-GAUDENS came to Paris for the first time in 1867, the year it seemed the whole world came to Paris for the Exposition Universelle, the grand, gilded apogee of Second Empire exuberance. He arrived on an evening in February, by train after dark and apparently alone. Read more >>

‘The ingenious Captain Peale” sired a dynasty of painters and started America’s first great museum.

FOR SEVENTY YEARS HE HAS DEFINED HOW WE SEE THE WORLD OF THEATER

  They are not a particularly remarkable pair of eyes: chocolate brown, droopy-lidded, shaded by thick salt-and-pepper brows. Read more >>

CHARLES SAXON’S fond but clear-eyed cartoons are a definitive record of suburban life in the 1960s and ’70s

When his affluent neighbors in suburban Connecticut accused him of using them as characters in his New Yorker cartoons, Charles Saxon quickly assured them that he was “really satirizing himself. Read more >>

At the height of the American avant-garde movement, Fairfield Porter’s realistic paintings defied the orthodoxy of Abstract Expressionism— and risked rejection by the art world. But today his true stature is becoming apparent: He may just be the best we have.

His contemporaries saw the painter Charles Burchfield as another regionalist. Today it seems clear that the region was the human spirit.

Toward the end of his life, Charles Burchfield wrote a description of a place that had haunted him since he was a schoolboy. Read more >>

A HALF-CENTRY AGO Harry Dubin bought his son a camera, and together they made a remarkable series of photographs of a city full of blue-collar workers—all of them Dubin

WILL ROGERS MAY NEVER HAVE MET A MAN HE DIDN’T like, but Harry Dubin evidently never met one he didn’t like to be. Read more >>

The great emancipator and the liberator of Kuwait get together in the newest White House portrait

  From the moment he was first inspired to paint it, George Peter Alexander Healy harbored huge ambitions for the canvas he entitled The Peacemakers . The artist longed for it to be universally embraced as “a true historical picture,” cherished as the emblem of sectional reconciliation following the bloody Civil War.   Read more >>

World War I made the city the financial capital of the world. Then after World War II a very few audacious painters and passionate critics made it the cultural capital as well. Here is how they seized the torch from Europe.

Mark Tansey is a definitively post-modernist painter. His pictures stand at two removes from nature; not art but art history (or art theory) is his subject. Tansey deals in theories and notions, presenting them with the sort of sharp irony found in editorial-page cartoons. Read more >>

A PAIR OF GERMAN-BORN CRAFTSMEN BEGAN BY MAKING EXUBERANT FURNITURE AND WENT ON TO SHOW A NEWLY RICH GENERATION HOW TO LIVE

America. the industrial age. Machines, steam, and iron. The picture of progress. But also a nation in mourning. Mourning its Civil War dead, mourning its loss of innocence, and deeply ambivalent about the forces of change. Read more >>

H. T. Webster’s cartoons offer a warm, canny, and utterly accurate view of an era of everyday middle-class life

H. T. Webster was not a great artist. Once he had established a style, it hardly changed in more than forty years of drawing. Read more >>

In an age when the best black artists were lucky to exhibit their work at state fairs, Henry Ossawa Tanner was accepted by the most selective jury in France

Dr. Philip Bellefleur had been headmaster of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf for about three years when he found the painting in 1970. Read more >>

A civilian adventurer gave us the best artist’s record of America in Vietnam.

Last year two scholars working separately uncovered a pair of previously unknown portraits of Abraham Lincoln. One of them—which seems to put us in the very presence of the man—turned out to be the first ever painted.

Until recently historians believed that Abraham Lincoln was not painted before 1860, the year artists hurried to Springfield to produce likenesses of the presidential candidate. Read more >>

American art was hardly more than a cultural curiosity in the early years of this century. Now it is among the world’s most influential, and much of the credit belongs to a self-made woman named Juliana Force.

Today, when a painting by a living American artist fetches seventeen million dollars at auction, as a picture by Jasper Johns did last year, or when hundreds of people stand in line to get into a museum, as they did for the retrospectives of Edward Hopper, Wi Read more >>

He ignored the conventions of his day and became one of the greatest American sculptors of this century

I find myself sketching a top hat on a snapshot I’ve taken of a former pasha’s obituary photograph. Read more >>

He claimed his critics didn’t like his work because it was “too noisy,” but he didn’t care what any of them said. George Luks’s determination to paint only what interested him was his greatest strength—and his greatest weakness.

Probing westward along the streets of Manhattan, the first light of Sunday, October 29,1933, revealed, stretched out in a doorway on Sixth Avenue, near Fifty-second Street, under the el, a well-dressed elderly man, solidly built and balding, with a little pat Read more >>

In a career that made her one of the greatest American artist of the century, Georgia O’Keeffe claimed to have done it all by herself—without influence from family, friends, or fellow artists. The real story is less romantic though just as extraordinary.

Remembering her Wisconsin years, O’Keeffe once said defiantly, “I was not a favorite child, but I didn’t mind at all.” Read more >>

It took half a century for his critics to see his subjects as clearly as he did; but today he stands as America’s preeminent portraitist

John Singer Sargent, in common with Holbein and Van Dyck, was an international painter of portraits who did his major work in England. Read more >>

William Auerbach-Levy’s genius as a caricaturist lay in what he chose to leave out.

Great portraits are frequently caricatures. Think of van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Egon Schiele, Picasso, Max Beckmann, or Alice Neel. On the other hand, caricature is not portraiture. Well, not often. One exception, in my opinion, is William Auerbach-Levy. Read more >>

On sojourns away from the studio where he labored in oils, Homer took along his watercolors and produced his freshest and most expressive work

John White Alexander began his career as an office boy at Harper’s Weekly and rose to be a leading painter of his generation, especially of its women

In the early 1900s John White Alexander was considered one of the four preeminent American painters of his day, the peer of Whistler, Sargent, and E. A. Abbey. Read more >>

Much has changed in Utah since World War II, but outside of the metropolitan center in the Salt Lake Valley, the addiction to rural simplicity and the idea of home is still strong.

His works ranged from intimate cameos to heroic public monuments. America has produced no greater sculptor.

For the “mysterious aura” of his art, a critic has compared him to Thomas Eakins. In the “haunting grandeur” of his sculpture, he is the equal of Auguste Rodin. Read more >>

While a whole generation of artists sought inspiration in the wilderness, George Inness was painting the fields and farms of a man-made countryside

Two years younger than Jasper Cropsey and Sanford Gifford and one year older than Frederic Church, George Inness was the contemporary of a group of American landscape painters closely joined by shared styles and ideals in the tradition of Thomas Cole. Read more >>

A young artist takes on a venerable genre

Few aesthetic disciplines are as exacting as marine art. Consider the problems. The painter of portraits or landscapes can return to the subject again and again to verify shape, color, tone. But water is a moving, constantly changing element. Read more >>

He was the most naturally gifted of The Eight, and his vigorous, uninhibited vision of city life transformed American painting at the turn of the century. In fact, he may have been too gifted.

Never at an art exhibition in this city has there been such an attendance,” the young painter Guy Pène du Bois reported in the New York American for February 4, 1908, adding that “only with the greatest difficulty, by stretchin Read more >>

Peter Marié, a bon vivant of the Gilded Age, asked hundreds of Society’s prettiest women to allow themselves to be painted for him alone

FOR A DEBUTANTE in turn-of-the-ceiitury New York, the highest mark of approval was having Peter Marié request a miniature portrait. Read more >>

After standing in New York Harbor for nearly one hundred years, this thin-skinned but sturdy lady needs a lot of attention. She’s getting it- from a crack team of French and American architects and engineers.

AT A TABLE IN a cozy Chinese restaurant on the Left Bank of Paris, half a dozen men argue loudly about the Statue of Liberty. Read more >>