Category Archives: women in art

A CELEBRATION OF AMERICAN WOMEN ARTISTS

I posted this blog a few years ago in honor of the 4th of July. Today I went back and added some additional American women artists. They are in no particular order. Enjoy – I know I left some out, if I left out your favorite, put it in the comment!

A Kiss for Baby Anne - by Mary Cassatt 1844-1926

A Kiss for Baby Anne – by Mary Cassatt 1844-1926

 

Dark Star by Betye Saar 1926 -

Dark Star by Betye Saar 1926 –

Sky Cathedral by Louise Nevelson 1899-1988

Sky Cathedral by Louise Nevelson 1899-1988

Maman by Louise Bourgeois 1911-2010

Black Iris, Georgia Okeefe 1887-1986

#180 Working Drawing, Ingrid Calame 1965

Life and Coca-Cola by Margaret Bourke-White 1904-1971

Life and Coca-Cola by Margaret Bourke-White 1904-1971

Mountains and Sea by Helen Fankenthaler 1928-2011

Mountains and Sea by Helen Fankenthaler 1928-2011

Wind and Water, Pat Steirs 1938

Alice Neel Young Woman by Alice Neel 1900-1984

Alice Neel Young Woman by Alice Neel 1900-1984

Garden of Praise by Grandma Moses 1860-1961

Garden of Praise by Grandma Moses 1860-1961

I Need Art and Coffee by Lee Krasner 1908-1984

I Need Art and Coffee by Lee Krasner 1908-1984

Still Life With Peaches by Sarah Peele 1800-1885

Still Life With Peaches by Sarah Peele 1800-1885

Yves by Joan Mitchell 1925-1992

Yves by Joan Mitchell 1925-1992

John F. Kennedy by Elaine De Kooning 19198 - 1989

John F. Kennedy by Elaine De Kooning 19198 – 1989

Max's Crush by Kady Noland - 1956 -

Max’s Crush by Kady Noland – 1956 –

Woman with a Fur Collar on the Street by Diane Arbus 1923-1971

Woman with a Fur Collar on the Street by Diane Arbus 1923-1971

The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago 1939-

The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago 1939-

Form of a Black Feather by Lee Miller 1907- 1977

Form of a Black Feather by Lee Miller 1907- 1977

Untitled film still by Cindy Sherman 1954 -

Untitled film still by Cindy Sherman 1954 –

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold 1930 -

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold 1930 –

Who would you add?

 

 

 

 

 

THE PROLIFIC SHORT LIFE OF NADYA RUSHEVA

This is the 17th installment in my on-going series WOMEN IN ART. 
2655539486_27b93acd94

Master and Margarita

Master and Margarita

Nadya Rusheva may be one of the prolific artists I have ever encountered. In her short 17 years, (1952 – 1969) she managed to create more the 10,000 drawings, even though during the last years of her life she couldn’t draw more than half an hour a day.

Never heard of her? Neither had I!

Born in Mongolia, her father, Nikolai Konstantinovich Rusheva (1918-1975) was a theater artist. Her mother, Natalia Azhimaa-Rusheva (born 1926) was a prima ballerina in Tyva.Many of her drawings are at the National Museum of the Republic of Tyva, while most of them are located in the Pushkin Museum  in Moscow.

She began drawing incessantly at the age of five, but her family didn’t realiy pay attention to them until she was seven. She had begun painting and drawing daily, and once drew 36 illustrations (or 40 according to her mother) for The Tsar of Sultan, a poem by Aleksandr Pushkin, in one evening while her father read her the story. (The story was immortalized by Rimsky-Korsakov with an opera).

It is said she did not do preliminary sketches and rarely, if ever, used an eraser.

“I live the life of those I draw. I first see them … they appear on paper as watermarks, and I need to do something to lead around them.”

She also made about thirty drawings based on The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Rusheva, Little Prince

Rusheva, Little Prince

Her drawings were first shown in the offices of the magazine Yunost (meaning Youth), a literary magazine that appealed to the younger generation. They later published her drawings.

In 1966, the family moved to Moscow and the school she attended is now named The Nadia Rusheva Education Center No. 1466, where memorial dates of the Rusheva family are observed.

During her lifetime, she had approximately 15 exhibitions around Russia, Poland and the Ukraine.

She is most well known for her illustrations of the book Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.

Master and Margarita meeting for the first time

Master and Margarita

 

 

 

Originally banned in Russia, this  work was begun in 1928, with a 2nd highly edited version published in 1966 and 1967. It tells two parallel stories, featuring a visit of the Devil to the atheistic Soviet Union, with the second part taking place during Christ’s final days in Jerusalem

 

MasterandMargaritaFirstEdition

Sadly, she died from a brain hemorrhage caused by a congenital defect of the cerebral arteries.

Centaurs

Centaurs

 

 

The name Nadya means “hope” or “living eternally”. Her art will live on forever, her name will live on as far away as outer pace – as there is Asteroid 3516 Rusheva named for her, as is also a pass in the Caucasus Mountain.

 

Ballerina

Ballerina

Appollo and Daphne

Appollo and Daphne

Master and Margarita

Master and Margarita

Pushkin and Wife dancing

Pushkin and Wife dancing

A gifted artist, a life too short, but stunning nonetheless! 

If you can read Cyrillic – there is much more information about her on line! If you can read Cyrillic and find out more, let me know!

 

 

 

 

War and Peace Pierra and Natasha

War and Peace Pierra and Natasha

ALICE PRIN – AKA KIKI DE MONTPARNASSE

This is the 16th installment of “Women in Art” series

d450030f8b8606e019163a37ffc34564

Born Alice Prin, she eventually became known as Kiki De Montparnasse. In the 1920’s, Montparnasse, located on the left bank of the river Seine,  became the meeting place for the artistic world – with artists coming from all over the world. Gertrude Stein ran  a salon that was attended by the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway. Sylvia Beach had Shakespeare and Company, almost going bankrupt publishing Ulysses for James Joyce.  Montparnasse created some great colorful characters, with Kiki in the middle of it all. She would appear at Le Jockey Bar and sing bawdy funny songs, climb up on the tables and lift her skirts to dance (not bothering with underwear). But, she was more than an entertainer, she was a friend to many, a model to some and a muse to others – most notably to Man Ray.

Kiki de Montparnassee 1926 - Man Ray

Kiki de Montparnassee 1926 – Man Ray

She was raised in total poverty by her grandmother. At age twelve, she was sent to Paris to live with her mother, working in shops and bakeries (She was fired from a bakery for darkening her eyebrows with matchsticks!) By the age of fourteen she was posing nude for sculptors – causing her mother to kick her into the streets.

It was Chaim Soutine that named her Kiki when she was posing for him.

Other artists she posed for included Foujita, Picabia, Jean Cocteau, Alexander Calder, Moise Kisling to name a few.

Kiki by Moise Kisling

Kiki by Moise Kissing

 Her companion for six years (or eight years depending on where you look) was the photographer Man Ray, and his most iconic image was a photograph of her, which was reproduced on the cover of the graphic novel about her life. She also starred in several surrealistic films by Man Ray (see link at the end of the post for a tribute to her)

Le Violon d'Ingres - Man Ray

Le Violon d’Ingres – Man Ray

41xVQWriQyL._SX363_BO1,204,203,200_

She was a painter in her own right, having a sold-out exhibition of her work in 1927 (however, none of these images were available). It is reported her drawings and paintings included self-portraits, dream landscapes and animals apparently painted in an Impressionistic style (which I find interesting as many of her friends were Surrealists).

In 1929 her memoirs were published (at age 28) with an introduction by Hemingway who wrote:

“about as close as people get nowadays to being a Queen, but that, of course, is very different from being a lady.”

For a few years in the 1930’s she owned a Montparnasse cabaret known at “Chez Kiki”.

“All I need is an onion, a bit of bread, and a bottle of red wine, and I will always find somebody to offer me that.”

Her health began to decline in the 1930’s and she also began financing medical care for her mother.  She left Paris in 1940 to avoid the German occupation living mostly in the South of France.

Kik died in 1953 after collapsing outside her flat. She was only 52, suffering from complications from alcoholism and drug dependence.  Her tomb says:

Kiki, 1901-1953, singer, actree, painter, Queen of Montparnasse

The painter Tsuguharu Foujita said that with the death of Kiki, the glorious days of Montparnassee were buried forever.

9780880014960-us

This book was apparently banned in the US until the 1970’s. In her honor, a daylily was named Kiki de Montparnasse. There is also a high end sex store that bears her name.

Here is a video of a tribute to Kiki with clips of some of the surrealistic films made by Man Ray.

If you are interested in learning more about Kiki, I highly recommend the graphic novel about her simply titled Kiki de Montparnasse.  I enjoyed researching this, I would like to read more about that glorious time in Paris, so you have recommendations, let me know. I found Kiki was more than just being famous for being famous, there was more to her than that! She lived gloriously for a time, with a tragic ending.

LA LA LOUISE NEVELSON

WOMEN IN ART SERIES #14

Art is everywhere, except it has to pass through a creative mind.”

So said Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) an artist as known for her monochromatic abstract sculptures as her flamboyant appearance.

Born in Kiev, Russia, Louise was born Leah Berliawsky. Even though her father had a successful lumber business, he left for the United States in 1902 when Tsarist Russia started making it difficult for the Jews. Little Leah was so traumatized by her father leaving, she stopped speaking for six months.

Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson

In 1920, disgruntled with life in a small town, she changed her name to Louise and married Charles Nevelson who was from a wealthy ship-owning family. In 1922, she gave birth to her only child, Myron (known as Mike), who also  became a sculptor. Louise didn’t like the upper-middle class lifestyle and after 11 years of marriage, she took her son to live with her parents in Maine.

In 1932 Louise travelled to Germany to study with Hans Hoffman, and stayed until the Nazis forced the school to close. Following Hoffman to New York and she  began taking classes at the Art Student League, alongside abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock.  She preferred not to align herself to any art movement and worked hard to establish herself in a male dominated world – she did not want to be known as a “woman artist”.

“Women at that time were supposed to look pretty and throw little handkerchiefs around…well I couldn’t play that role.”

She began experimenting with different styles and materials frequently utilizing wood and junk she found on the streets of New York. While gaining a reputation for her art, she began cultivating a personal lifestyle that included heavy face makeup, dramatic clothing, colorful scarves and false eyelashes. She was friends with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee, who wrote a play about her in 2002 – Occupant (Anne Bancroft played her initially – later Mercedes Ruehl) which is a two-act play featuring Nevelson answering questions after her death to an un-named interviewer.

Mercedes Ruehl at Louis Nevelson in Occupant

Mercedes Ruehl at Louis Nevelson in Occupant

She was photographed for the cover of Life magazine as early at 1958. About that time, her works were featured in the Museum of Modern Art. But, even with all this publicity, she did not depend on a steady income from art until she was in her 60’s.

DawnShadows-1

Louise Nevelson Plaza in Lower Manhatten

 

mA5Hot_rrJaeNJlErwiHedQ

Louise Nevelson Stamps

Along the way, Louise  briefly worked as an assistant to Diego Rivera, she  received the National Medal of Arts from President Ronald Reagan in 1988 amd was the subject of a set of commemorative stamps issued in 2000.

For most of her life, she lived simply, not wanting material possessions. She worked into her 80’s  just completing a 35-foot black sculpture for the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland when she died of natural causes on April 17, 1988.

 

Unknown-2

Royal Tide, wood and gold Spray Paint

Unknown-3

Dawn’s Wedding Chappel II, Whitney Museum

images

Sky Cathedral

5001156_orig

Louise Nevelson with her art

images-4

Louise Nevelson

 

“Only a few basic forms unify the art of all periods, the rest are variations.”

When you are centered, people can’t control you because they are your reflection. By the same token, you are their reflection.”

“Black creates harmony and doesn’t intrude on the emotions.”

“But when I fell in love with black, it contained all color. It wasn’t a negation of color. It was an an acceptance…Black is the most aristocratic color of all…You can be quiet and it contains the whole thing. “

“Everytime I put on clothes, I am creating a picture.”

“When I look at the city from my point of view, I see New York City as a great big sculpture.”

Louis Nevelson, larger than life!