Milton Avery is renowned as one of the most influential American painters of the twentieth century. Receiving numerous awards from American art institutions throughout his lifetime, Avery’s influence from artists such as Matisse led him to develop a simplified formal style expressed through clarity of line. As his work developed, Avery’s style matured in the late 1940’s. American financer Roy Neuberger saw his work and thought it was deserving of recognition; so he purchased over 100 of Avery’s artworks and lent them to museums all over the world. Because his work was circulated through high-profile museums, Avery became recognized and greatly famed. Director of the Montclair Art Museum, Patterson Sims, says that Avery’s work is characterized by “a reduction of elements to their essential forms, elimination of detail, and surface patterns of flattened shapes, filled with arbitrary color in the manner of Matisse.”
Julien Binford experienced a full career and life as an artist before joining the University of Mary Washington faculty in 1946 as a professor of painting. He had spent much time in France where he painted “jewel-like gouaches,” and his series of painting titled “New York Harbor at War” was published in a special section of Life magazine in 1944. When he first arrived at Mary Washington, Binford and his wife lived in a cottage at Belmont, and Mrs. Melchers let him use her late husband’s studio. As a faculty member, Binford was known to be patient, helpful, and encouraging. During his 25 years at Mary Washington, Binford helped many students succeed in their own creative endeavors. He retired in 1971 to devote more time toward his painting, and today several of his works are in the UMW Galleries Permanent Collection.
One of the most successful artists of the twentieth century, Marc Chagall was a pioneer of modernism and developed his own style of figurative painting. After visiting Palestine and Syria, Chagall produced a series of illustrations for the Bible from 1931 to 1956. Using biblical themes, Chagall produced stained glass windows for the cathedrals of Reims and Metz, windows for the United Nations, and twelve of the Jerusalem windows in Israel – after which he produced a series of large paintings called the “Biblical Message” in 1963 which were exhibited in the Louvre in 1967. Noting his fame as a Jewish artist, Chagall’s inspiration drew from the years of his childhood, the family circle, and his native village, Vitebsk, Belarus. Traveling to France, he designed the sets and costumes for the ballets Aleko and The Firebird in 1942 and 1945. In 1948, Chagall produced a series of lithograph prints called Arabian Nights and two years later began working in ceramics. His successful adaptation to so many mediums as well as his eventual success with the French people and later America are a few reasons for his acclaimed achievement as an artist.
Creating more than 1,500 paintings in his lifetime, Salvador Dali is a prominent figure in the surrealist art movement. Foregoing his degree as an art student, Dali moved to Paris to meet other artists and develop his style as an artist. Eccentric at best, his unique style of dress and iconic moustache drew much attention during his lifetime. In creating his surrealist artwork, Dali claimed to use what he called a Paranoiac-critical method of accessing the subconscious for creativity. In 1925, he had his first solo exhibition at the Gallery of Dalmau. After spending eight years in America with his wife Gala, he returned to Spain for the remainder of his life, becoming popular for his many mediums, which include prints, drawings, sculpture, book illustration, and theatre set designs. During his lifetime, Dali had two museums dedicated to his work and is remembered today as the great surrealist artist of the twentieth century.
Completing his studies in Germany and traveling all over the world with his wife, Werner Drewes is known for his woodcutting, etching, printmaking, and painting. While living in Germany, strict laws and regulations imposed by the Nazi regime prevented artists from creating work that demeaned or questioned the government. In 1930 he moved to New York and enjoyed the freedom to create controversial subject matter, such as his work Distorted Swastika (1931) which was from his small collection of woodcuts entitled It Can’t Happen Here. Soon after gaining citizenship to the United States, Drewes became a founder of the American Abstract Artists and a member of the American Artists Congress in 1934. Retiring from his teaching career at Washington University in 1965, Drewes continued making art until his death in 1985.
PAUL GAVARNI (French 1804-1866)
“Excuse me, my friend, I have to get going. I have a little something to do. / A little someone to do? / You could say that”, 1843
8 ¾ x 6 ¾ inches
Largillière Fredericksburg Chapter of the MWC Alumni Association
One of the greatest social commentators and satirical artists of nineteenth century France, Paul Gavarni is the nom de plume for Sulpice Guillaume Chevalier. Born in Paris, Gavarni made his living working in an engine factory and began illustrating costumes for fashion designers. As a caricaturist, his cartoons were published in the illustrated newspapers Le Charivari and L’Illustration. Later, he became the director of the journal Les Gens du Monde and was well known for his humorous drawings of the social manners of the French. After a visit to England from 1847 to 1851, Gavarni dramatically changed the style of his work and no longer incorporated humor; instead he studied the contrast between the lives of the rich and the poor. The resulting shift from irony to political satire characterized Gavarni’s illustrations for the remainder of his career.
Vostanik Manoog Adoian was born in 1904 and immigrated to the United States in 1920 to be with his father and married sister. In 1930, he changed his name to Arshile Gorky as a way to reinvent his identity to sound more Russian. Gorky is a Russian word meaning “the bitter one”, and Arshile is a variation of the name Achilles. To persuade the legitimization of the name change, he told people that he was a cousin of the writer Maxim Gorky. Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s, he sought to emulate the ideas of Picasso and Cezanne in his painting. Gorky’s work marked the transition between Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. The memory of his mother and nostalgia for home provided influential subjects for much of Gorky’s artwork. He attended school for art and design and later moved to New York City where he took several teaching jobs. In 1933 he was one of the first artists to enlist in the Public Works of Art project in 1933, formed to provide artists with work during the Depression. His most productive period was during the 1940’s, after he married his wife Agnes Magruder. In 1946 a series of unfortunate events occurred in Gorky’s life. His studio burned down, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, his wife left him and took their children, and he was in a car accident that left his painting arm temporarily paralyzed. On July 21, 1948, Gorky hung himself at the age of 44 and was buried in Connecticut.
Famed artist of the northwest coast in America, Morris Graves was the last survivor of the group of four artists called the “Mystic Painters of the Northwest”. His painting style included Eastern religious beliefs and an appreciation for nature. Characterized as highly stylized and slightly surrealistic, he commonly used birds, trees, and animals in his work. Traveling mainly to Asian countries for inspiration, he also went to Europe for commissions and short studies. In 1942, Graves’ artwork was exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art in a show called 18 Americans from 9 States. Finally building a permanent home in Loleta, California in 1964, Graves managed to continue his travels all over the world, while working at the Seattle Art Museum. His art was exhibited in many galleries and museums during and after his lifetime. Graves lived out the remainder of his life in his secluded home in California.
American painter William Haseltine was associated with the Hudson River School and Luminism. Born into a family of artists, he studied at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University before training under the German artist Paul Weber. His advanced understanding, depiction, and use of light set him apart from other painters and made his landscapes internationally famed. He joined fellow painters on a sketching trip from the Rhine to the Roman Campagna in 1856. Returning to Europe in 1866 to study landscapes and ruins, Haseltine developed a romantic painterly style distinguished by use of rich colors and precision of landscape. Some of his most popular works are of the European landscape and New England coast, which have since been exhibited in major museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art. In 1896 Haseltine moved permanently to Rome and continued traveling throughout Europe for the remainder of his life.
Born Ando Tokutari in 1797 to an Edo fire warden, he later inherited this occupation from his father at the age of twelve. Ando Tokutari later changed his name to Ando Hiroshige, a name received from his master, artist Utagawa Toyohiro, during his apprenticeship in 1811. In 1818 Hiroshige published his first developed works of art in two series, Eight Views of Omi and Ten Famous Places in the Eastern Capital. It was not until the publication of Famous Places in the Eastern Capital in 1831 that real attention was drawn to the artist. In addition to painting and printing, Hiroshige engaged in small crafts to sell for some income. Throughout his life he produced over 5,000 prints and paintings which had a great influence on European painters, particularly Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh actually copied two of Hiroshige’s prints from the collection One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. In 1856 Hiroshige left the world to become a Buddhist monk and later died in 1858 during the Edo cholera epidemic at age 62.
Henry Ward Ranger Fund, 1949Growing up on a farm in Ohio, William Lathrop purchased his first tube of paint at the age of twelve. He eventually moved to New York and worked as a printmaker, selling his etchings for income. In 1888 he traveled to England where he met his wife, Annie Burt. After winning the Evans Prize at the American Watercolor Society’s annual exhibition in 1896, he moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania and founded the art colony at New Hope. Sometimes referred to as the “Pennsylvania Impressionist”, Lathrop’s artistic career shifted from tonalism to something that resembled impressionism. In his later years, he sailed on his boat and painted scenes from the Atlantic coastline. While sailing in 1938, Lathrop died in a fierce hurricane.
Alfred Levitt was born in 1894 in a small town in Belarus. In 1911 his family fled to New York City, settling in east Harlem and as a young man Levitt received his first art training from the well-known painter Robert Henri. In the 1930s Levitt studied painting at the Art Students League and with Hans Hofmann, the most influential teacher of the generation. During World War II Levitt produced cheerful beach scenes, but also politically charged works such as anti-Nazi posters. During the 1940s he moved to France with his wife to study landscapes and visit museums, all while beginning a two-decade project to photograph cave paintings all over France in areas such as Lascaux. Because of his work documenting the cave paintings, Levitt was made a knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters in 1975. His paintings were exhibited regularly in American galleries throughout his lifetime until his death in 2000.
Helen Lundeberg lived most of her life in Southern California. Attending the Pasadena School of Art in 1930, Lundeberg met and married her husband, artist Lorser Feitelson. Together, they formed the American movement in Post-Surrealism, in which carefully planned subjects were used to guide the viewer through the painting. She was employed by the Works Progress Administration 1936 to 1942 and is known for spectacular mural paintings, the most famous of which is “The History of Transportation” made for the City of Inglewood, California. During the 1940’s Lundeberg created a series of ‘mood’ paintings which included still-life’s, landscapes, and outer space. In the 1980’s she issued her last series of paintings that included landscapes and architectural elements. Her works are part of the permanent collections of prestigious museums and galleries such as the National Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institute, the Norton Simon Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Peter Max was born in Berlin and spent the first ten years of his life in China, followed by travels all over Europe with his family before finally moving to New York where he was trained at the Art Students League and the School of Visual Arts. Max became known for his iconic pop art and neo Expressionism in the 1960’s through his paintings and graphic prints, known as ‘Cosmic ‘60s’ style. His work was also part of the psychedelic movement in the 1960’s. He has been commissioned to do many works across America during his career, including murals at the borders of Canada and Mexico, portraits of all 50 states in celebration of the Bicentennial which resulted in the book “Peter Max Paints America”, and in 1992 created the first “Preserve the Environment” postage stamp commemorating the World’s Fair in Spokane, Washington. Max has painted for five U.S. Presidents and other international leaders; in 1994 was named the Official Artist for World Cup USA and in 1995 was named the Official Artist for the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards for the fifth time during his career.
GIOVANNI BATTISTA PIRANESI (Italian 1720-1778)
Veduta del Ponte Lugano su l’Anione, after 1870
18 x 26 inches
Giovanni Piranesi was born in Venice and was trained as an engineer and architect. His knowledge of stage design and perspective led him to publish a series of 135 etchings of ancient and contemporary Rome in 1748, which helped create the popular collective image of the city. Piranesi’s etchings were full of contrasting light and dark which gave them a dramatic element, and their grand scale made buildings appear larger than they are in reality. He also produced a series of 16 prints, begun in 1745, of the Carceri (prisons) of Rome which displayed a form of imaginary spaces which he is well known for. Piranesi also had a strong interest in architectural design and in 1763 was commissioned by Pope Clement XIII to restore the choir of San Giovanni Malta in Laterano, but the work was never started. He did, however, execute the restoration of the church of Santa Maria del Priorato in 1764, which was his only architectural work of significance. Piranesi died in 1778 in Rome, and his work greatly influenced Surrealist and Romantic artists in generations to come. This print was part of an edition printed after the artist’s death.This print is believed to have been printed after 1870 by a Roman printing press named Regia Calcografia, based upon the presence of a blind stamp at the lower right corner of the print.
PHYLLIS RIDDERHOF MARTIN (American 1905-1993)
Old Palm Tree, n.d.
20 x 24 inches
Gift of the Ridderhof Martin Trust
PHYLLIS RIDDERHOF MARTIN (American 1905-1993)
26 1/4 x 16 inches
Gift of the Ridderhof Martin Trust
The southern California painter Phyllis Ridderhof Martin studied art first at Hollywood High School and then at UCLA, graduating in 1926. The following year she began to teach evening classes in art, and continued to do so for over 30 years. In the 1930s she studied at the Art Center College of Design and at Otis Art Institute. Her works were exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and won favorable notice. After World War II modernism was still viewed suspiciously in southern California, and was associated by some with insanity and subversion. Nevertheless, Ridderhof Martin grew increasingly interested in modernist trends. An extended trip to Europe in 1950 gave her the opportunity to see many major works of historic and contemporary European art. Her most ambitious works were painted in the late 1950s and early 1960s and relate to the well-known California tradition of modernist figurative painting of this period. Since her death in 1993, most of the artist’s large collection of her own artworks, together with her library and personal papers, has been given to the University.
BEN SHAHN (American, born Lithuania 1898-1969)
33 x 28 1/2 inches
Purchase Award, 1958
Ben Shahn was born in Lithuania in 1898 and moved to Brooklyn, New York at the age of eight with his family. Apprenticed as a lithographer during his teenage years, Shahn’s work was greatly influenced by words, letters, and linear space. In 1929 the young artist shared a studio with a photographer which spurred his own interest in photography. During the Great Depression, he was employed by the Farm Security Administration to travel across the country on a kind of social-documentary, photographing people and places throughout the nation, which later became the subjects of his artwork. Later, Shahn began working as a commercial artist for CBS, Time, and Fortune’s; his famous portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. (1965) was published on the cover of Time Magazine. His famous paintings of the Sacco and Vanzetti trails received much notice from the public and urged him to create his unique style. In 1954 he represented the United States at a major contemporary art exhibition in Italy, the Venice Biennale. Shahn’s socio-realist artistic theme earned him much fame throughout his lifetime as he often went against artistic norms of the time.
JAMES SURLS (American 1943- )
Eye to Eye, 1991
22 x 39 3/4 inches
Gift of Kevin Concannon/Margo Crutchfield
American modernist sculptor James Surls is best known for his large wooden sculptures which are often incorporated with metal. He attended school at Sam Houston State University and later received his graduate degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 1988 he moved from Texas to Carbondale, Colorado. Although he is best known for his sculpture, Surls also creates drawings, prints, and rubbings. Recent attention to his work resulted in the installation of five of his sculptures on Park Avenue in 2009 by the New York City Public Arts Program.
MARGARET SUTTON (American 1905-1990)
Flowers in a Vase, 1944
Black watercolor on paper
9 x 6 inches
Gift of Alfred Levitt
MARGARET SUTTON (American 1905-1990)
Landscape Near Woodstock, NY, 1938
22 x 31 inches
Gift of Alfred Levitt
In the 1930s Margaret Sutton studied art at the New York Art Students League with Hans Hofmann, the most influential teacher of the generation. She then taught art and art history at Georgia College until she returned to New York in 1939. For the next fifty-one years she lived in Greenwich Village, supporting herself as a mechanical drafter and technical illustrator for manufacturing companies. She produced thousands of sophisticated drawings and paintings, many of them molded by her studies of surrealism, depth psychology, and Asian religions. She seldom showed her works to other people, and they were found among her possessions after her death. The entire body of Sutton’s work, as well as her personal papers and large library, were given to her alma mater, the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1992. Research into the scope and meanings of Sutton’s works is just beginning.
JOHN TWACHTMAN (American 1853-1902)
View from Artist’s Home, Connecticut, 1890
11 1/4 x 15 inches
John Twachtman was trained in Munich and Paris and his varying artistic styles made him one of the most modern artists of the late nineteenth century. Often compared to Claude Monet and James Whistler, his work was generally characterized by Impressionism and Tonalism. Frequently traveling to Europe with his wife, Twachtman was exposed to many subjects and styles of art as well as meeting and studying with other prominent artists. In Connecticut, he spent a great amount of time at the art colony in Cos Cob, which was popular at the time. In 1897, he was a founding member of the Ten American Painters, a group of Impressionist artists who broke from the Society of American Artists because they felt it emphasized “too much business and too little art”. Although his artwork was never popular for sale during his lifetime, he viewed this as a benefit, feeling that his work would suffer under commercial demands. Twachtman enjoyed many years at his quiet home in Greenwich, often using his home and nature for inspiration.
ANDY WARHOL (American 1928-1987)
23 x 23 inches
Gift of Glenna Graves Shiflett, Class of 1948
Pop artist Andy Warhol was widely known for his paintings, prints, and film endeavors. Beginning as a commercial artist, Warhol was an illustrator for magazines, advertisements, and the record industry. During the 1960’s he produced his most popular iconic American art which included Campbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, dollar bills, and famous celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Muhammad Ali. Warhol’s gear towards market culture resulted in some controversy from critics, but he effectively changed the culture of art as well by eliminating the gap between fine art and commercial art. Andy Warhol used assistants to increase his productivity, which was another source of criticism, and collaborated most with artist Gerard Malanga. In 1968, feminist activist Valerie Solanas attempted to assassinate Warhol, who nearly died after she shot him. Over the next two decades, the artist focused more on portraits of the rich and famous. Shortly after his death in 1987, the Andy Warhol Museum opened in his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.