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The following is a list of the top posts of the week that we’ve shared with our facebook friends on the overstockArt.com facebook page. We try and make our facebook posts informative and engaging as we love to hear what our fellow art lovin’ friends have to say about particular artists and their art. So if you have a moment, check out the overstockArt.com facebook page and share your passion for art and wall decor with us!

  1. Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist Master whose innovative artwork powerfully influenced modern Expressionism, Fauvism, and early abstraction. Astoundingly prolific, Van Gogh produced all of his work during a 10-year period, at one point, creating 150 paintings and drawings within one year. Painting outdoors, Van Gogh uniquely captured the nighttime nuances of light and shadow, and was also renowned for his paintings of sunflowers and irises.

    Tormented by mental illness for most of his life, Van Gogh created many of his masterpieces while he was institutionalized. Although Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime, he is now regarded as one of the most profoundly influential artists of the 19th century. Van Gogh’s tumultuous friendship with Paul Gauguin literally changed art history. After living together in Arles, France, art historians believe Gauguin sliced off Vincent’s ear with a sword – an act previously believed to have been performed by van Gogh himself in a fit of rage

  2. As a Jew born in 19th century Russia, Marc Chagall had two options in pursuing an artistic career: he could hide or deny his Jewish roots, or he could use art to celebrate them. He chose the latter, and today we remember him not only as a quintessential Jewish artist, but also as an adept colorist, an Expressionist genius, and a master of many artistic mediums.

    Chagall (1887 – 1985) was born near the city of Vitebsk (now Belarus, then part of the Russian Empire), about half of whose population was Jewish. Chagall’s family was part of one of the Eastern European Jewish market-villages (which were called “shtetls,” and proliferated during the late 19th and early 20th centuries), and his early life was steeped in Hasidic Judaism.

    Though Chagall would spend most of the 20th century outside Russia, in either France or the United States, his artistic inspirations were seated in his hometown and upbringing. The whimsical elements in his paintings are often tied to Hasidic lore, and much of his work is a response to the long-standing oppression of Russian Jews. As for Vitebsk, in 1944 Chagall addressed the town in the second person in an open letter, in which he pondered his motivations for leaving, and concluded that “I did not live with you, but I didn’t have one single painting that didn’t breathe with your spirit and reflection.”

  3. An exhibition featuring Japanese woodlock prints (ukiyo-e) in 1890 Paris gave impetus to Mary Cassatt’s “Breakfast in Bed.” The prints she saw of Kitagawa Utamaro inspired her to create a new series of paintings depicting women in their daily activities.

    In addition to the subject matter being similar, the style of dress and juxtaposition of figures in “Breakfast in Bed” is also very clearly influenced by Japanese ukiyo-e. Cassatt produced many different versions of this same scene, which is an extension of the type of intimate and tender moments she favored portraying most in her work.

    Cassatt wasn’t the only painter to find inspiration in the “floating world” of ukiyo-e. Master artists like Edgar Degas, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt also shared an affinity for “Japonisme.”

  4. Piet Mondrian is best known for his contributions to the De Stijl art movement, and paintings that simplified visual compositions of vertical and horizontal movement. Given that the bulk of his oeuvre is characterized by rectangles and primary colors, there’s a lot to be said of the fact that Mondrian famously said, “curves are so emotional.”

    Born Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan (1872 – 1944), the Dutch painter was always interested in art, but his first career was as a primary school teacher.

    While teaching in Amsterdam in the 1890s, he practiced painting pastoral scenes, and often worked in the pointillist and fauvist styles. He developed an appreciation for abstraction when he moved to Paris in 1911, and it was at this time that he dropped the second “a” in his surname as a means of emphasizing his departure from the Netherlands (though he returned home during WWI).

    Mondrian moved back to Paris after the war, and over the next 20 years he began settling into the grid-based style that would become his signature. With his simplified paintings, Mondrian became an advocate for pure abstraction and universality though a reduction of form and color. His earlier paintings from this period show mostly primary-colored rectangular forms, delineated by thin, gray lines. As Mondrian’s work evolved, the colors became fewer, the lines became thicker and darker, and he sought to create movement with calculated brushstrokes.

  5. Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) was renowned for her self-portraits, and developed a style that infused Mexican and Amerindian cultural elements with surrealism and symbolism. Kahlo experienced many hardships in her life: As a child she contracted polio, which left her right leg physically deformed; as a teenager, she was in a trolley accident that left her lifelong back problems. Kahlo spent significant time in the hospital, and was notoriously irritable. However, her temperamental issues made her a fierce opponent when defending her ideologies.

    The beliefs to which Kahlo held fast were the motivations of the Mexican Revolution, and Trotsky’s communist ideal—the latter had an effect on Kahlo seeing herself as an outsider, and the former had a strong influence on her aesthetic. Characterized by populist and agrarianist movements, the Mexican Revolution piqued Kahlo’s interest in the preservation of pre-Columbian and Mexican peasant traditions. For many posthumous years, she was better known as “Diego Rivera’s wife” than for her painting. But in the 1980s, Kahlo’s place in Mexican art history was recognized, and her work regained attention for its celebration of Mexican traditions.

  6. “Fifty Abstract Paintings which as Seen from Two Yards Change into Three Lenins Masquerading as Chinese and as seen from six yards appears as the head of a Royal Bengal Tiger”,1963 – Salvador Dali

This is it! We hope you will continue to enjoy reading our ArtCorner blog and come join us on facebook for more artistic discussions!

Amitai Sasson

About the Author

Amitai Sasson of overstockArt.com is an art world traveler on a mission to seek out the beauty and passion of the art world. As an avid enthusiast of art and oil paintings, he contributes to ArtCorner.com as Chief editor and writer.