Saturday, October 26, 2013

Who Painted This? #50

We need to have a little celebration this week - as we've now reached 'Who painted this? #50'.

Who painted this? #50
I've chosen a work which I actually photographed. It's a stunning still life painting.

You need to tell me - as a comment on this blog

  1. who painted this 
  2. including all the basics I want to know (see link to rules below).
  3. plus what you can find out about this artist and/or artwork 

The winner will be the person with the BEST complete answer rather than the first to respond - so you don't have to rush and you do have time to do some research.  Just get your answer to me by the end of Thursday your time.

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.  The questions which need answering don't stop at "Who painted this?".

How to participate in "Who painted this? #50"

PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.
Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer - search using words only on a database of images
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog - do not leave the answer on Facebook!
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer
  • if wrong it will be published
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is NOT THIS WEEK the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know. It's the person who does all this AND provides the BEST answer (see above)

Who Painted This #49 - The Answer

Peonies (1897) by Alphonse Mucha
  • Title of the artwork: Peonies
  • Name of the artist who created this artwork: Alphonse Mucha (1860 - 1939)
  • Date it was created: 1897
  • Media used: ink and watercolour, Height: 950 mm (37.4 in). Width: 795 mm (31.3 in)
  • Where it lives now: Scottish National Gallery
I'm betraying my age! When I was a student, there were more than a few rooms in college which had a Mucha poster with its Art Deco styling.

Mucha was in fact a French Art Nouveau painter - his art was regarded as "decorative" and he was known by the French version of his name.  I was surprised to find out that he was born in the Moravia - then part of the Austrian empire and now part of the Czech Republic 

I'm sure many of you realised that the original watercolour painting was a design for something  rather more decorative.
This is an original watercolour for a printed fabric. Although the individual flowers are detailed, retaining an element of naturalism, Mucha has stylized the stems to create the sensual curving lines associated with the art nouveau style. The thick, dark outlines of the flowers and flat areas of colour are also a feature of Art Nouveau. Mucha has used soft, pastel colours for the flowers and included gentle curving shapes in the background.
You can read more about the artist and this artwork on last week's post - Who Painted This? #49

    Who guessed correct?

    Who painted this #49? - A number of people got the answer correct and are listed below in alphabetical order
    However yet again (how does she do it!) the first person with the best answer was Bernadette Madden who only got the details correct but also added to our knowledge with this comment.  
    There was a time in the 1960s when almost every art student had some kind of Art Nouveau poster displayed somewhere..above a workbench or on a studio wall. Quite often this poster was by Mucha. Dramatic Art Nouveau graphics with their sharp black lines combined with sensuous curves found favour with the Flower Children , the young generation breaking away from the conventional in all walks of life. Born in 1860, in Moravia ( now the Czech Republic) Alfons Mucha is said to have been able to draw before he could walk. In his youth, he held a variety of jobs:In the law courts ( until he was sacked for drawing caricatures), Set designer ( until the theatre burnt down) and mural painter, where his talent impressed his client so much that he sponsored Mucha to study at the Academy of Art in Munich for two years followed by three years in Paris. After that , needing to make a living , he became an illustrator.He got his big break a few years later simply by being in the right place at the right time . While he was correcting proofs ( doing a friend a favour) in Lemercier`s Printing Works, Sarah Bernhardt, the biggest star on the French stage at the time. commissioned a poster for her new production "Gismonda". The job was urgent , Mucha was on the spot and got the commission.....and the rest is history. The poster was revolutionary, tall and elegant in shape, in strong yet subtle colours, it was very different to the theatre posters being produced up to then. The distinctive lettering and the halo effect around the head of the figure became Mucha`s trademark. In the following years he turned his hand to design of every kind, magazine covers, jewellery, menus, calendars,cutlery and fabric. He often used flowers and foliage as inspiration including in` Peonies`. This stylised piece, with its beautiful pale colours ,was designed to be repeat printed on fabric; when you look carefully you can see how the repeat pattern fits together.  Interestingly, there is a very similar version of this, listed as a wallpaper pattern, in the `MuseĆ© du papier peint ` in Rixheim, Alsace, in France. Many of Mucha`s designs are still in print in some form or another , he never seems to be long out of fashion. (It`s impossible in this potted history to show just how influential Mucha has been.) As recently as 2011, a Mucha inspired fabric was used by Cacharel in their Spring collection. Despite all his success, he still wished for recognition as a painter, a true artist.. and in the latter years of his life finally obtained sponsorship for a long cherished project. Charles Crane, an American millionaire agreed to fund the `Slav Epic`. Mucha celebrated more than 1000 years of Slav history in a series of 20 enormous paintings. These works were exhibited in various cities , then hidden during World War Two , then put in to storage. In 1968 they were finally placed on exhibition in the castle of Moravsky Krumlov. During the German invasion of Czechoslovakia , Mucha was arrested by the Gestapo and though he was released he never really recovered both mentally or physically and died of pneumonia in 1939.