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Lost in Art


Every once in a while, Carole comes up with a Ten on Tuesday topic that just totally takes over my day (in a good way).  Today's topic is one of those!

Ten favorite American artists.  Or paintings.  (Or both?)

Oh, my!

Just 10?

To keep myself in control, I'm limiting myself to painters (except for one . . .).

Here goes . . .


1.  Andrew Wyeth  I've always loved this painting: Christina's World.  I had the poster version of this work on my wall in my college dorm room.  I love the stark landscape; the house and the barn; the girl filled with longing.  It was only recently, though, that I learned she wasn't suffering from adolescent angst . . . but from something even more poignant.  (Read about it here.)


2.  Jackson Pollock  Seeing Pollock's paintings on the computer screen or in a book just doesn't quite cut it -- you really need to see them in person to appreciate the intricate texture and color explosions.  I saw this one, Greyed Rainbow, at the Art Institute of Chicago.  It's 6 feet tall and over 8 feet wide.  First, you stand far away and look at the whole of it.  Then, you just keep getting closer and closer -- all the time more amazed!  (Read about it here.)


3.  Mary Cassatt  I had this poster on my wall in college, too . . . but seeing the real deal (The Child's Bath) at the Art Institute of Chicago made me gasp.  There's something about seeing the brushstrokes, I think, that makes a painting . . . real.  After years and years of looking at my poster, the painting truly came to life when I saw it up close.  (More info here.)


4.  Grant Wood  I wonder if there is anyone NOT familiar with American Gothic?  I don't know how many times my friends and family have posed for photos using this painting as a model.  I even had a jigsaw puzzle featuring this painting way back in 8th grade.  This is another one I've had the great privilege to see up close, again at the Art Institute of Chicago.  (It's surprisingly small.)  (Here  are some fun facts about the painting.)


5.  Jacob Lawrence  This painting is Panel 58 of the Great Migration Series, an incredible collection of 60 panels depicting the Great Migration -- the multi-decade mass movement of African Americans from the South to the urban North.  I've seen a small group of the panels on display, and can attest to their power.  Right now, for the next couple of months, all 60 panels are on display at the MOMA in NY.  (If you have the chance, go!)  (More information about the series here.)


6.  Georgia O'Keeffe  I thought I was familiar with Georgia O'Keeffe's work until I was surprised by this one, Yellow Hickory Leaves with Daisy, on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.  I just love the bright yellow leaves -- and the daisy, of course.  (I have a thing for daisies. . . )  I've always loved O'Keefe's story just as much as her paintings.  (Read more about her here.)


7.  Winslow Homer  I love so many of Homer's paintings that it was hard to choose one for this post.  But then, this one, Casting, Number Two, caught my attention.  Fly fishing from a drift boat with a bamboo fly rod.  Perfect and idyllic.  Homer was a fly fisherman . . .  This painting is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art.  (You can learn more about Homer-the-fly-fisherman here.)


8.  Ernie Barnes  You might remember seeing this painting at the end of every episode of "Good Times" (remember that show . . . featuring Kid Dy-No-Mite?) . . . or you might remember seeing it as the album cover for Marvin Gaye's "I Want You."  Artist Ernie Barnes, artist and pro football player, is known for jump-starting the "Black Romantic" genre of art, with his style that just transmits rhythm and movement and ... life.  (You can read more about this painting here.)


9.  Faith Ringgold  When Erin was a little girl, we stumbled onto a wonderful book by writer/artist Faith Ringgold called Tar Beach.  We loved it!  The colors and texture of the illustrations were just fabulous.  Then, I discovered more of her work - quilts, like the one above called Sonny's Quilt - once when I was visiting a museum (can't remember which) in Washington DC.  Her quilts are a combiantion of acrylic and fabric; the borders are usually pieced -- and they are vibrant and just wonderful.  (You can read more about her here.)


10.  Nick Cave  (NOT Nick Cave the singer; this is A DIFFERENT Nick Cave.)  I have recently discovered Nick Cave (the artist), although I've never seen his work in person.  (He's currently doing a residency at Cranbrook near Detroit, so maybe I'll get a chance?)  Anyway.  He makes these . . . costumes . . . that are just wild and wacky and fabulous.  And then he performs in them!!!  The one in the photo above features granny squares and crocheted flowers . . . among other things.  There's another that is made out of knitted afghans.  Wild, I tell you!  Wild!  He's like a walking yarn bomb.  (Your can see more here.)

Well.  That was fun!  (See what I mean?  Lost in Art . . . )

What about YOU?  Who are your favorite American artists and paintings?


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Excellent, excellent list! I've never seen that O'Keeffe before, but I like it even better than her flowers. Thanks for starting my morning with great art and info. about artists!
P.S. Your top photo above the calendar reminds me of Edward Hopper!


Thank-you for all of that information! I can't wait to make my way through it today. So much art, so little time!


I love that Winslow Homer painting, it reminds me of my Dad.


Thank You for posting these artists - Winslow Homer is a favorite and I saw an exhibit at the MFA in Boston years ago, and the Wyeth works are some of the first "modern" art I fell in love with, thank you for the link to the story of Christina's World


You have some I am familiar with and some I haven't heard of before - thanks for that! And yes, I remember that painting from the ending of Good Times!


Thanks for introducing me to Nick Cave! This was a wonderful tot subject--I appreciate all the links you provided!

Cheryl S.

You're so right about seeing a painting in person! Photographs can't ever capture their magnificence. There's so much more detail in person. And somehow seeing the actual brushstrokes always gives me a sense of the creation by a person - the humanity of it, and not just admiration of the finished product. I don't know how to phrase my feeling of that, but I'm sure you understand what I mean.

One particular painting (actually a pastel) that totally blew me away when I saw it in person was "The Chocolate Girl". The shading was so subtle, and the details so perfect, that it was hard to believe someone actually created it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chocolate_Girl


I've never heard of this Nick Cave. How fascinating! Love your list.


Great list! Some favorites... and some new!! ;)


My list would have been very much like yours, but I am unfamiliar with Nick Cave. Thanks for the introduction.


Quite a variety of styles here! Thanks for the intro. And I love American Gothic! :)

Julia in KW

Many I know and love - Pollock - all kinds of detritus on the canvas...and seeing a paint live and in person is definitely the way to go if you can...i could sit and look at many paintings for long periods of time...:)


The Art Institute in Chicago has an amazing collection, doesn't it? Seeing a piece in person really makes it come alive. Thomas Hart Benton and Jonathan Green (two of my favorites) have a lot in common with a few of yours. Wasn't this a fun topic!


I agree with you about seeing those brush strokes in person! Faith Ringgold's work is incredible, isn't it? I saw a show of her quilts in DC many years ago and was gobsmacked!!

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