Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vladimir Dimitrov - View of Istanbul

Vladimir Dimitrov (1882-1961) - View of Istanbul
Bulgaria cm13 Stamp Issued 1982
I've not been able to determine the exact location or timeframe for the creation of this rather abstract view of Istanbul, although this work comes from a highly regarded artist from Bulgaria.  This is one of 5 stamps that were issued in his honour in 1982.  The artist was at his peak in the 1920s and 1930s.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vladimir Dimitrov - Majstora (Master)

Vladimir Dimitrov (1882-1960) - Majstora (Master) 
Bulgaria cm25 Stamp Issued 1982 
Vladimir Dimitrov Art Gallery Kjustendil
This is one of five stamps issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this artist's birth, as  he is considered to be one of the most accomplished Bulgarian artists of the 20th Century.  This work contains elements of socialist realism, that was popular through Eastern Europe at the time, and depicted on many Eastern European stamps in the 1960s to 1980s.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Giovanni Bellini - Madonna with Blessing Child

Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516) - Madonna with Blessing Child (1480)
Mongolia 30T Stamp Issued 1972
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
Bellini was the most influential Venetian artist of the renaissance.  He was known for his paintings which moved the Madonna and Child from formal indoor settings into wide landscapes and the natural world.  This portrait is one such depiction of the madonna and child, who happens to be giving everyone a blessing.  This is typical of Bellini's work, with deep colours. 

Bellini was a major influence on other great artists of the era who have had their works depicted on other stamps:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hans Heysen - A Cottage Bunch

Hans Heysen - A Cottage Bunch (1930)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Roy de Maistre - Still Life, Zannias

Roy de Maistre - Still Life, Zannias (1930)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
Held at the National Gallery of Victoria
This is an early piece of work by one of Australia's most successful overseas artists, Roy de Maistre.  Although he was successful within Australia, De Maistre would later go on to live in London, where some of his work would eventually be purchased by the Tate Gallery and he would be commissioned to paint the Stations of the Cross for Westminster Cathedral.  

He has an interest in the harmonisation of music and colour throughout his life.  The artists was originally studying music, but he suffered badly from tuberculosis at many stages of his life, eventually causing him to concentrate of painting.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vida Lahey - Fruit and Flowers

Vida Lahey (1882-1968) - Fruit and Flowers (1924)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Vida Lahey was one of Australia's most successful female artists.  Born in Brisbane, she went on to study in Melbourne at the National Gallery School before heading off to Europe in the late 1910s.  This was probably where she developed an interest in still life art, as she travelled to the Netherlands at this time.

Lahey returned to her home town of Brisbane at a time when Brisbane was not known for its interest in cultural or artistic pursuits, remaining there until she passed away in 1968.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nora Heysen - A Bunch of Flowers

Nora Heysen (1911-2003) - A Bunch of Flowers (1930)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Nora Heysen was the fourth child of Hans Heysen, who was one of Australia's most famous war artists in World War I.  Nora also became an artist, studying in Adelaide, before going on to become the first woman to win the Archibald Prize in 1938.  She also followed her father as a war artist, completing 170 works of art in WWII.

This is one of her still life works, issued as part of a series of still life works of flowers by Australia Post in 2011.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Arnold Shore - Camellias

Arnold Stone (1897-1963) - Camellias (1937)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued
Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
This is the first of five 2011 stamps that have been issued by Australia Post, showing five works of still life art from the National Gallery of Victoria.  They have been gathered from the heyday of still life art that was taking place in the 1920s and 1930s in Australia.   

Arnold Stone was born in Melbourne and he was trained as an artists by Frederick McCubbin during the early stages of his career.  They parted ways, and eventually he went on to run a school in Melbourne with Max Meldrum, were they taught student modernist principles in painting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Winslow Homer - The Fog Warning, Halibut Fishing

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) - The Fog Warning Halibut Fishing (1885)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Winslow Homer may be one of America's best loved artists from the late 19th Century.  He was based in seaside Maine for the majority of his life.  His works are famed for capturing the power and beauty of the sea when it is at it's most perilous.  This painting is typical of many of his works, where men are dwarfed by the huge waves and impending weather.  

Homer also captured many sullen and powerful female figures in many of his works, as he documented everyday life in seaside towns and rural settings in America and England.  His work continues to give the viewer an idea of the lives and times of people in these regions in the late 1800s.

This is the last stamp of the 1998 series of stamps featuring works of great American artists.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rembrandt Peale - Rubens Peale with a Geranium

Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860) - Rubens Peale with a Geranium (1802)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
It comes as no surprise that Rembrandt Peale's father was himself an artist, giving his children the names of famous artists as first names - Rembrandt and Rubens.  The artist was quite young when he completed this work, and he appears to have lived a very privileged life, travelling to Europe from his native America on several times throughout his life to study art.  He would later become famous a a portrait painter for more than one American president.

Monday, June 20, 2011

George Catlin - White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas

George Catlin (1796-1872) - White Cloud, Head Chief of the Iowas (1870)
USA 32c Stamp issued 1998
National Gallery of Art Washington DC
Catlin maintained a fascination with American Indian culture throughout his life.  Although he grew up in the eastern states of the US, he also spent many years exploring the west, visiting scores of tribes and completing hundreds of paintings in the 1830s.  He tried to sell his large collection of paintings and artefacts to the US government, with no success during his life - even though he did have some success in exhibiting his work on the vanishing Indian tribes in Europe.  Much of his work is now maintained at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, although this painting was completed i nthe latter period of his life, well after he had completed the original sketches of tribes he had visited.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Two Against White - Charles Sheeler

Charles Sheeler (1883-1965) - Two Against White (1957)
USA 32c Stamp issued 1998
Sheeler's works are stark - they are defined by clean lines, urban expanses, but there are very few people.   - he is known as one of the founders of modernism in art in America.  The work that was depicted in this 1998 stamp was reasonably abstract, but many of his works are very realistic depictions of buildings and interiors that are absent of any people, and idealised in an almost dream like manner - it is like you are looking at a perfectly sparse place in a dream, rather than a real place that has imperfections.  An Australian artist, Jeffrey Smart, appears to paint in a similar manner, but his paintings include many solitary figures.

He was also a pioneer in completing artworks across different emerging media in the early 20th century, as he worked with film and photography in addition to painting.

Friday, June 17, 2011

William Harnett - Music and Literature

William Harnett (1848-1892) - Music and Literature (1878)
USA Stamp issued 1998
Albright Knox Art Gallery
Harnett mastered the "trompe l'oiel" or "Fool the eye" style of painting in America, where everyday objects would be depicted in such a life like manner that the viewer of the painting may actually think that they are viewing the actual object.  Although this was begun by Dutch painters much earlier than Harnett in America, Harnett composed a large number of works in this style that remain popular to this day - hiw works are instantly recognisable.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Edward Hopper - Nighthawks

Edward Hopper (1882-1967) -  Nighthawks (1942)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
Art Institute of Chicago
This is one of many artworks that appeared in a 1998 series of stamps issued in the USA.  Nighthawks is an instantly recognisable artwork that was popular since it was created in 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The work is quite sinister in it's tone - conveying a certain emptiness about life in the 20th century - bright loud colours, garish accessories and dress, people huddled under florescent light, while darkness envelopes the deserted streets.  This piece was also used as a base for The Boulevarde of Broken Dreams poster that was popularised in the 1980s - the figures from this painting were replaced by Elvis Presley, James Dean and Marilyn Munroe.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ammi Phillips - Little Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog

Ammi Phillips (1788-1865) - Little Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog (1835)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
American Folk Art Museum 
This artist was a prolific producer of folk art during his long career.  It is interesting to note that much of his work was not attributed to anyone in particular, until the 1920s when a group of people in Kent, Connecticut, began to collect much of his work, which was distinct, yet similar in nature.  The works became known as "Kent Limner" style up until the late 1960s when the works were finally attributed to Phillips.

Th figures in his paintings are quite distinct - faces are pale and sombre, with an overall mood of malevolence.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grant Wood - American Gothic

Grant Wood (1891-1942) - American Gothic (1930)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
Art Institute of Chicago
This is probably one of the most famous images of America in the 20th Century - a hard working farmer and his spinster daughter pose in front of their gothic style house somewhere in the mid west of America.  This art carries a number of symbols of 20th century America that are both honoured and subject to criticism.  This work has been parodied ever since it was created in the 1930s.

Apparently the house does really exist in a town called Eldon in Iowa.  The painting was part of a art movement known as regionalism - it rejected the abstract art that was rocking the art world at the same time in Europe.   Paintings such as American Gothic certainly capture the viewer, with its strong characters, who communicate with the viewer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

John James Audubon - Long Billed Curlew

John James Audubon (1785-1851) - Long Billed Curlew (1834)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
From Birds of America - Amon Carter Museum Texas
Audubon was a French-American and a major twitter (bird watcher).  His epic bird illustrations were compiled into the bird watching bible - Birds of North America - from 1827 to 1839.  The artist hails from a time when naturalists began to observe the natural world and the behaviour of birds, plants and animals - particularly in locations that were unfamiliar to European sensibilities.

The artist's interest in birds in clearly demonstrated through the fine detail that is presented in his plates, not only in terms of the birds themselves, but also of their habitat.  Audubon had a keen interest in birds throughout his life, as he was one of the first people to band birds, in order to understand their longer term living habits.  Charles Darwin quoted from Audubon's works on three occasions in the Origin of Species, and the artist is attributed as discovering 25 new species of bird, during his preparation of the Birds of North America.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Annunciation Scene from a Flemish Book of Hours - Artist Unknown

Annunciation Scene from A Book of Hours - 15th Century Artist Unknown
Cook Islands 1c Stamp Issued 1973
The Cooks Islands issue a large volume of decorative postage stamps, many of which contain works of religious art, particularly for Easter and Christmas issues.  This issue was made in 1973 - it was developed from a Flemish Book of Hours - these were books that were originally issued for devotional prayers for monks in the Middle Ages.  Many of these books were quite beautiful.  In this scene, and angel and a dove are shown visiting the Virgin Mary.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Brian Dunlop - Queen Elizabeth II

Brian Dunlop (1938-2009) - Royal Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1984)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
Painting Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Brian Dunlop was a prolific and successful Australian still life and portrait painter of the modern age.  This painting was commissioned in 1984 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the state of Victoria in Australia, and it was donated to the National Gallery of Victoria in the same year.

Australia continues to issue Queen's Birthday stamps around June each year, as a long weekend holiday is still observed, even though it is not really the Queen's Birthday!  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thomas Moran - Cliffs of Green River

Thomas Moran (1837-1926) - Cliffs of Green River (1874)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
Thomas Moran was one member of a school of artists known as the Rocky Mountain landscape school.  He was most famous for capturing the wide open spaces in the west of America, including major national parks at Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.  He completed water colour sketches while on site, before following up with detailed oil paintings in his New York studio.  He travelled as far afield as Mexico and Venice, Italy during his working life.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Last of the Buffalo - Albert Bierstandt

Last of the Buffalo (1888) - Albert Bierstadt (1830-1932)
USA 32c Stamp Issued in 1998
Painting gifted to Corcoran Gallery of Art Washington DC
Bierstadt was a prolific producer of romanticised art that romanticised the lives of people in the frontiers of western America.  This picture depicts both man and beasts of epic proportions, holding a battle on the wild plains of the west - it is almost like watching a battle in a Roman Colosseum.

This era was quite evocative to many painters who were travelling and making a living in the new frontiers of the new world.  There are some similarities between the landscape works of Bierstadt and Australian artists, such as McCubbin who were exploring new frontiers at the same time - the works were powerful as the landscape and nature impacts on all people in the new frontiers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Madonna and Child - Artist unidentified

Cook Islands Stamp 1c issued 1974
Madonna and Children
I've not been able to identify the painting or artist for this stamp that was issued by the Cook Islands in 1974.  Cook Islands produce many stamps each year, probably as a source of income for the country.  The islands are north east of New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dame Nellie Melba Portrait - Rupert Bunny

Portrait of Dame Nellie Melba - Rupert Bunny (1902)
Australia 60c Stamp Issued 2011
Painting held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
This stamp has been issued to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dame Nellie Melba, the famous opera singer from the late 19th century.  Melba had a long and successful career, and a very interesting personal life as she mixed with dukes and famous people throughout Europe.  To this day, her name is remembered through a common dessert - Peach Melba - in addition to having a Canberra suburb named after her.  

Melba's portrait was completed by one of Australia's most popular artists at the height of both their careers. She was also the first Australian woman to be depicted on an Australian stamp back in 1961.
Dame Nellie Melba - 1961 5d Stamp Australia

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - Rolf Harris (2006)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - Rolf Harris (2006)
Australia $2.25 Stamp Issued 2011
The Queen's Birthday stamp issue for 2011 depicts one of the most popular and well known portraits of the Queen by an Australian artist.  Rolf Harris began his career in television in Australia, but he has lived the majority of his life in the UK.  During the height of his career in the 1970s, his programs centred around paintings which he completed live on TV - in addition to singing many songs that are now painful to hear.

This portrait was commissioned for the Queen's  80th birthday - it is often well regarded as it shows her friendly side in the prime of her life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Joshua Johnson - The Westwood Children

The Westwood Children (1807)  - Joshua Johnson (1863-1924)
USA 32c Stamp Issued 1998
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Johnson was born as a slave in America, being the son of a white man and a black slave woman.  He was granted freedom in 1782 and worked as a portrait painter for the remainder of his life, primarily working in the Maryland district.  Much of his life remained unknown up until the discovery of manuscripts in the 1990s that linked a number of his works together.

This stamp depicts one section of Johnson most known paintings, being the Westwood Children.  The Westwood family owned a successful stage coach manufacturing facility.  The real painting also includes the family dog, inexactly places to the bottom right of the frame, with an overall awkward composition.