Posts Tagged ‘master’

Artist of the moment….Shiko Munakata

Shino Munakata was born in the year 1903 in Aomori, Honshu, Japan  and is considered by many to be foremost Japanese printmaker of the twentieth century. In addition to painting the artist also was sell schooled in the art of calligraphy, was an art critic, and  even wrote poetry.

Munakata came from family of fifteen children. His father earned a living forging steel blades.

When he was thirteen years old the artist gave up school and entered his father’s business of making steel blades. This gave the artist plenty of time to sketch. Some inspiration was provided to Munakata after seeing the work of Vincent Van Gogh in 1924. Munakata relocated to Tokyo, Japan and after 4 years of refusals, was granted admission of his art to the Imperial Exhibition in 1928.

In 1927 the artist took his first steps into the art of printmaking.

Another interesting fact about the artist is that he had no formal pupils, but many artists studied his work and he inspired many younger artists.

The artist was in high demand around the globe for his prints. Munakata won prizes for his work at the Sao Paulo Biennale. Another key prize was given to the artist from a show that took place in Lugano, Switzerland.

Price range information: Works range from $2,000 to $50,000.

Munakata is found in many museum collections in his native of Japan.

In this clip a great montage of works by Shiko Munakata:

The artist passed away in 1975.

In this clip a curator talks about a print made by Munakata in 1957  dealing with fish, flowers, and a female Buddha.

Munakata’s work is often forged and copied for a quick sale very similar to the work of Salvador Dali.

My favorite thing about this artist is his life story. Similar to other Asian artists, he took a wife, but had to live apart from her until he was successful as an artist.


Artist of the moment….Chen Zhifo

Chen Zhifo was a fantastic painter born in China in the year 1895. Zhifo favorite subjects include flowers and calligraphy.

In this clip we see some wonderful artwork  by Chen Zhifo. Part 1 of 2. :

More wors by master artist Chen Zhifo. Part 2 of 2:

Chen Zhifo published a book that dealt with his floral and bird works.

Price range information: Works range from $10,000 to $400,000.

As a young painter Chen Zhifo went to Japan and was heavily influenced by the Japanese style of art. The artist worked as a graphics designer and didn’t start working with his favorite subjects, birds and flowers, until he was nearly 40 years old.

Chen Zhifo passed away in 1962.


Artist of the moment…..Indian artist S.H. Raza….

The artist is perhaps the Picasso of India, having a very long and successful career as an artist. Raza was born in 1922.

A clip from a documentary on the artist.

Raza has worked in many mediums over his mulitple decade art career. He has used bronze, lithographs, gouache, oils, watercolor, and acrylics.

High price range: $3.4 million for “Saurashtra”  Acrylic painting record is $847,000.

Low price range: Lithographs start at less than one thousand dollars.

When creating his works the artist uses a variety of images taken from Indian culture, he adds dynamic color, and sometimes uses very geometric shapes that keep the viewers eye moving through out the painting.

Raza started taking drawing lessons at the age of twelve years old.  For college Raza attended the Nagpur School of Art for four years. He also attended the Sir J.J. School of Art in Bombay, India. Lastly he earned a scholarship to study at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris, France. This happened in 1950 and the artist has remained in Paris every since.

Was the first non French artist to win the Priz de la Critique. Its an award given to the best comic book produced in a certain era.

First solo show was at the age of twenty four years old. He won a silver medal from the Bombay Arts Society. This society was founded in 1888 and includes the art circle of Mumbai, India.

He first painted the landscape. Raza then moved on to painting more abstract items.
In 1947  Raza founded a group called the Bombay Progressive Art Group. This collection of artists wanted to reject the ideas of European art and its realism. The group was interested in painting more abstract works that provided feeling without realism.

By 1949 the artist had lost both parents and half of his family moved to Pakistan after the Indian partition took place.

The artist then decided to move to France and start anew. Whereas other modern artists were painting figures  Raza  explored his passion for painting landscapes surrounded by his new French environment. He even married a famous french artist named Janine Mangillot. Below is a work of hers, she was primarly an abstract painter.


Raza went to become a guest lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley.


After years of painting and selling landscapes, Raza felt a change was needed and he wanted to quit producing plastic art. He then did some more travelling and found his style. From this move he came to a Bindu statment in his works. Very expressive. In the Indian culture Bindu is both the point at which creation happens and also the point which all things become unified. This was his goal and he been very prolific in his type of painting.


I enjoy this artists work for his use of hard edges and straight lines. He uses curves and circles as well, but not as much as other contemporary artists. If I had to compare his work to an American painter it would be Frank Stella. I hope Raza can make it to one hundred years of age!


Try an abstract painting today! Loosen up and have fun with the color.




Artist of the moment…….Tonalist painter Leon Dabo….

This artist was known for his paintings of the Hudson River. His work reminds me of American tonalist Russell Chatham. Both used so many layers of grey in their skies it gives the real effect of dappled light. The artist was very gifted at capturing reflected light.  The artist also made wonderful floral works of art.

His compositions appear to be quite simple, but he was a master at capturing the vastness. Its as if he makes a small canvas appear larger by his great use of space. In many works their is little detail and little more is depicted than sky, water, or sand. Very peaceful and serene. If you enjoy this artist be sure and check out Rick Fleury, another great painter of space and the ocean.

Two other artists known for painting vast panoramic scenes would be Rackstraw Downes and Keith Jacobshagen. Both keep the horizons low in the composition and layer on many layers of light paint in their skies.

A clip of some works done by the artist set to wonderful string music.

The artist was born in 1864 in Saverne, France.  One of eight children. Had a brother named Scott who became a highly collected artist as well.

Father was a professor at university level and moved the family to Detroit, Michigan in preparation for the Franco- Prussian war in 1870. Fourteen years later his father died and the family moved to New York City. Leon found work in the architecture industry. Leon worked hard to help support the family so his brother Scott could hone his talents and become a successful artist.  Scott was thought to be the better talented artist.

Eventually Leon met a great mentor in the artist John LaFarge. With some assistance from LaFarge, Dabo was able to study in France, Germany, Italy, and England. In London, England he met James McNeill Whistler.

In 1890 he came back to the United States and was painter of murals. He then moved to painting landscapes. His work was immediately liked by the art critics in the United States but the artist was well liked in France. Once he became a success in France the artist was very successful in United States.

The artist always seemed to be at odds with his brother. Perhaps jealousy or anger at Leon’s success Scott Dabo even accused his brother of mishandling funds from Scott’s sales (Leon sometimes was his brothers agent) and even copying Scott’s style. In the end the critics loved Leon’s work more and he was able to charge more for his works.

The artist spoke several languages and was used by the French and British armies to root out spies in World War 1. After this the artist didn’t produce many works. “Materialism” was too much a part of society in the U.S. and the artist thought women could change this. Dabo spoke to more than ten different women’s groups per month.

In his later years he taught students in Connecticut as well as France. He died in 1960 aged 95 in Manhattan.

For both flowers and for landscapes this artist is one of my favorite painters. Another artist who became somewhat of an historian by studying art in different countries.

low price range:  Many pieces at auction go for less than $5,000. Medium used oils.

high price range:  43,000.  Medium used oils.