Below are some selected excerpts from the books. Buy them together and save over 25% off the combined price!
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From biography of Van Gogh:
In 2011, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam housing the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh paintings received a staggering total of 1.6 million visitors through its doors (The Van Gogh Museum).
That’s not surprising. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know Vincent van Gogh and his paintings?
He is undoubtedly one of history’s most celebrated modern artists.
Vincent van Gogh lived at a time when the ethereal style of the 19th century Impressionist painters was de rigueur.
Although he admired the Impressionists and studied their techniques, Van Gogh had a rebellious, avant-garde way of painting which put him at odds with the conventions of his day (Letters, Letter from Dr. Tralbaut).
There were other rebels like him. “Post-Impressionist” contemporaries such as Paul Gaugain, Émile Bernard, and Paul Cézanne were experimenting with bold colors and distorted forms.
They tried to express certain moods in their painted works which Impressionism could not. The work of all these artists helped usher in the era of Modern art, broadening what future generations would accept as art (Heinich and Browne, The Glory of Van Gogh: An Anthropology of Admiration).
But more than a hundred years later, Van Gogh is the artist-rebel everyone thinks of first.
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From biography of Jackson Pollock:
Jackson Pollock was born in 1912, the youngest in a family of five boys. He was born in Cody, Wyoming, but later moved to Arizona and then Chico, California. Pollock’s father, LeRoy was a farmer, and later worked for the US Government as a land surveyor. Pollock’s mother, Stella, worked as a housekeeper and is frequently considered to have been a key figure in Pollock’s childhood and adult life.
Pollock’s history with mental illness and social problems seems to have started early on in life following an unsteady pattern of surges and quells in behavioral problems. Growing up he was often in trouble, and expelled from two high schools, including the Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles. He did however have periods in his life where he seemed entirely free or mostly-free of deep emotional conflict. he was a prolific and productive artist.
Pollock travelled with his father, and was able to experience Native American culture while doing so. He would later say that Native American art greatly influenced his own style. Eventually Pollock moved to New York City to stay with his brother, Charlie, who was already there, and to study at the Art Students League of New York. It was there that he met his mentor, Thomas Benton.
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From biography of Pablo Picasso:
With a painter and art teacher for a father, Picasso was immersed in art from an early age. His mother claimed that Picasso’s first word was “piz,” short for “lapiz,” or “pencil.”
Picasso’s father gave him his first art lessons and clearly shared his love of drawing pigeons with the young boy; at age nine, Picasso drew Bullfight and Pigeons, in which spectators watch matadors face off against a bull and pigeons are suspended upside down in the air.
Recognizing his young son’s extraordinary talent, his father made sure that Picasso received formal art training from the age of eleven. In 1891, the family moved north to La Coruña. In 1895, tragedy struck the Picasso household when his seven-year-old sister, Conchita, died of an upper respiratory tract illness.