Posts Tagged ‘art institute of chicago’

Artist of the moment…Archibald Motley….

Archibald Motley was a well known African- American painter who was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in the year 1891.

For his collegiate education Motley attended the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois.

The artist was a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance movement. He is most famous for his paintings showing large groups of people involved in relaxing and enjoying themselves. Many times the figures are dancing.


Just looking at the way the figures are composed in his works the artist reminds me of the great African- American artist Ernie Barnes. Barnes played was a professional football player who went on to great success as a painter and was best known for his painting  SUGARSHACK  which was in the credits for the hit television show Good Times with Jimmie Walker and John Amos. This was the show that for the first time centered on an African American family living in the ghetto. Below is a the painting Sugarshack and you can see how much life and movement the artist put into his figurative work.


In the gallery below all works by Archibald Motley.

Price range information: The only pricing I could find was $18,000 for a 9 by 12 done in oils.

A montage of works by Archibald Motley.

Motley was important in that he tried to use his art to elevate and motivate people of color.  He saw art as a way to show people they could be very proud to be a person of color. He loved portraiture work.

At the Art Institute of Chicago Motley was respected but the faculty thought his portraiture work was too modern in its appeal. He did well enough in school that a friend of his father paid his tuition.

He became the first African American painter to have a solo exhibition in New York city  . He sold twenty two of twenty six paintings 1928.

Won a Best In Show prize at the Newark Musuem of Art in 1927.

The artist won a Guggenheim Fellowship prize and was able to study in France for one year in 1929.

The artist worked as a commercial artist during leaner times by painting showing curtains for major corporations.

Motley though a key figure in the Renaissance movement was born in the south in the Louisiana and lived most of this life in Chicago. Motley died in Chicago in 1981 at the age of 89.

Motley is impressive as an artist for his ability to portray the different types of racial characteristics people loved to talk about. Was a person a mulatto, half black and half white, where they 25% black or more?  When the artist did his figure work in the 20s and 30s he tried to explore people of many shades of color. He seemed to make the statement BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL, NO MATTER WHAT SHADE YOU ARE!

Motley had a relative that was a great writer named Willard Motley. He was first published in a newspaper at age thirteen. They were raised as brothers though Archibald in fact was the uncle.


Artist of the moment……LeRoy Neiman…

Neiman was a wonderful expressionist artist known for his paintings of musicians and athletic events.

A clip that was done by the American Association of Retired Persons did this clip on the artist.

A great interview done with a New York television station in 2011.

A short montage of the artist’s work.  In this clip you can see his fantastic paintings of animals. I love the cheetah’s and had never seen them painted with so much color.

Neiman was born in 1921 Minnesota. At the time his last name was Runquist. His mother later divorced his father and the artist took the surname of his stepfather.

The artist was involved in World War II, serving in the army and working as a cook. After World War II, the artist took advantage of the G.I. Bill and attended college at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After finishing college, the artist was part of the school’s faculty for ten years.  Later in his life the artist donated five million dollars and has a center for him named at his alma mater.

During the 1950s the artist met Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner. At the time Hefner was a writer for well known clothing chain named Carson Pirie Scott and had yet to start Playboy magazine.  Neiman was doing freelance illustration for the clothing chain whilst Hefner was writing for it.  After starting the magazine and for its fifth edition Hefner commissioned an illustration by Neiman. Neiman went on to be associated with the magazine for more than fifty years. One of his assignments was to paint his travels to his exotic locales like Monaco and paint them in his signature expressionistic style.

Starting in 1960 the artist added sports and athletic events to his subject matter. He created many prints for events like the Olympics, the Superbowl, the World Series, the Kentucky Derby, the Masters Golf Tournament, many boxing title events, and even Wimbledon.


Nieman worked in such mediums as drypoint, acrylics, etching, oils, watercolor, and bronze.

Price ranges:  The artist was a very prolific as far as output, and painted many prints to celebrate special occasions such as sporting events and even the signing of a peace treaty that took place at the White House. Many editions can be found from one hundred to one thousand dollars.

Part of many musuem collections worldwide including the Whitney, the Smithsonian, the State Hermitage Museum in Russia, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Wadham College in Oxford, England.

High price range:  $146,500 for an oil painting titled Vegas that measured nearly 50 by 60 inches. Original oil Stretch Stampede about the Kentucky Derby sold for $500,000.

The artist passed away in June of this year at the age of 91 years old.

In closing this artist was my first taste of fine art mixed with sports. I had seen previous artists such as George Bellows, but they didn’t paint very much outside of a certain subject, boxers for instance. This artist took it to another level by representing a variety of sporting events as well as his own personal travels around the globe. A master businessman as well. His annual print revenues generated more than 1o million dollars in sales annually. I was sorry to hear about him passing in June of this year.


Another contemporary artist who loves to paint boxers and the male figure would be Steve Huston.


Try drawing or painting your favorite athlete for a great challenge!





Awesome Acrylic Artist series…..Micah Ganske….

A short clip featuring the artist painting. Be sure and see his youtube channel, where many more videos of the artist are listed.



another clip

His homepage is listed below.

This artist paints a variety of subjects, great portraits, but even more interesting are the landscapes with shadows.

Contemporary artist who was born in honolulu, hawaii in 1980.  Received a fine arts degree in 2002 from the Art Institute of Chicago. Received MFA from Yale in 2005.

Has been featured in both one person shows as well as exhibitions.

In his art statement he explains that he is a conceptual figure artist. In his shadow works the most important figure shape is the shadow that is cast on the ground. These paintings are fantastic as the viewer actually feels he is viewing something real and from a very high elevation. Great contrasts and colors in the shadows give a feeling of a warm bright sun lit day. The artist captures the feeling of the moment in this shadow works.


If you like this artist’s idea of the painting the shadows cast by a subject rather than just concentrating on the subject be sure and check out Josep Cisquella.

This artist uses mixed media to capture shadows as they appear in various European cities. He invites the viewer to touch his works as he uses acrylics mixed with crushed stone, giving the workout an extra 3 dimensional look.

Try a shadow landscape painting today!

I am really excited to see the demo by David Griffin today! Get out there and paint!



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