Archive for December 10, 2012

Artist of the moment…..Willard Metcalf…..




Willard Metcalf was an American Impressionist painter. He was born in Lowell, Massachusetts in the year 1858.

For his artistic education Metcalf attended the Museum of the School of Fine Arts located in Boston, Massachusetts. He also attended the Julien Academy located in Paris, France.

He himself taught at the Art Students League of New York and at Cooper Union College in New York city.

Metcalf worked in oils and watercolors quite frequently. He was a member of the American Watercolor Society.

Metcalf started painting in 1874 and two years later had opened his own studio.

He started taking lessons in 1876 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and studied there for two years.

After a great exhibition and sale of his works Metcalf headed to Europe to study various artists and techniques. Metcalf lived in Europe for five years from 1883 to 1888. In France he painted with American painters John Twachtman and Theodore Robinson. The artist’s work prior to this was mainly of peasants. After this we rarely see people in his landscapes, and a wonderful concentration on color and composition. Some of his landscapes focus on the bright fall changing colors of the leaves.

These paintings remind me of contemporary American artist Lynn Boggess. Boggess paints without brushes, just using cement trowels to push paint around. Boggess paints plein air and develops wonderful textures on his canvas WITHOUT the use of a brush but with more control then you might see from an artist just using the palette knife such as Sandra Pratt. Below is an example of Lynn Boggess.


In this clip a short montage of works by Willard Metcalf. The artist was a tremendous painter of the American landscape. Metcalf travelled the world in searching for great painting sites.

In 1886 he visited Giverny, France and was among the first American painters to visit the locale. Other painters followed and he spent three straight summers in Giverny. Many other American painters followed him.

Metcalf returned to the United States and lived on the East coast. He was a teacher as well as mural painter and illustrator of books.

Price range information:  The artist was very prolific in oils and they can be found from $2,000 to $1.54 million. Works in pastel can be found from $3,000 to $10,000. He also worked in gouache and watercolors but I was unable to get a price range for those.

Metcalf married a stage entertainer who was twenty years young than he in 1903 and one of his favorite models to paint!

A few years later Metcalf spent summers painting in Old Lyme, Connecticut. This is a great artist colony and marine master John Stobart has a scholarship fund for students looking to attend classes.

1907 was a great year for the artist career wise, he won the Corcoran medal for best painting and a cash purchase prize of $3,000. He was the first American painter to be purchased by the group. But his wife took off with a male student of his and his marriage ended.

He passed away at age 66 in 1925.

Metcalf is one of my favorite painters of the bright colors that exist in the fall landscape. Later in his career he also became a fantastic painter of snow.


Artist of the moment….Carlos Cruz-Diez

Below is a clip showing how alive Op Art can be. This is a limited edition piece by Carlos Cruz-Diez.

Carlos Cruz Diez is best known for his large public works. Many sculptures use theories from op art or from kinetic art. Carlos Cruz- Diez was born in Caracas, Venezuela in the year 1923.

A clip showing some of his work from Art Basel in 2009. This work is outside a building and makes tremendous colors when sunlight hits upon it. But the viewer can get a great feeling for how Cruz-Diez uses plexiglass in his art.

A link to his own personal website:

He currently makes his home in Paris. In his lifetime he has gone back and forth teaching and working in both Paris, France and Caracas, Venezuela.

He is still alive today and is eighty- nine years old.

Was named a graphic designer for the department of education publications unit. He also was part of the teaching faculty at the Caracas School of Fine Art and the Central Caracas University.

He was chosen to teach kinetic art in Paris in 1972-73.

Two artists that influenced Carlos Cruz-Diaz were Josep Albers and George Seurat. Albers was a fantastic German artist who loved to experiment with basic geometric shapes and repeat the same color in many works. Below is an example of Albers’ signature style.

Carlos Cruz-Diez has been quite productive and has lived to be nearly nine decades old and he has been quite productive over his career. Silkscreens run from $2,000 to $170,000. Works in acrylics range from $18,000 to $722,000. Serigraphs range from $500 to $237,000.

When comparing the artist to other well known Venezuelan artists I think of the artist Jesus Soto. Soto was born in 1923 and passed away in 2005. Below is a great example of his kinetic artwork. Carlos Cruz-Diez arrived in Paris ten years behind Soto.


Cruz-Diez also was lucky in that the dictatorship that ran the country when he was born, was finished in the 1930s. The new leader, Contreras, thought artists should study European Modernist painters such as Cezanne. Many artists were encouraged to study abroad in Paris. Carlos Cruz-Diez took advantage of this great opportunity.  Venezuela came across a large oil find and this led to an increase in urban areas and machines. This new society took a liking to kinetic artists like Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diez.

Below is a great clip showing work by the artist at the 2009 Art Basel show. The work is placed outside on a building showing the viewer different effects based on changes in sunlight.

Cruz-Diez has made his focus on line, color, light,  and different perspectives for the viewer to see his art. He plays with color by using different transparent shades of plexiglass. When hit by sunlight the art really comes to life!

In 1997 a musuem named after Carlos Cruz-Diez was opened in Caracas, Venezuela.

How about trying to design a piece of Op Art or Kinetic Art today!