Seasons Greetings

I would like to wish all my followers and their loved ones a safe and happy holiday season. Eat, drink and be merry. I know I will. Probably a bit too much.

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ABOVE: Pablo Picasso, Le Père Noël, 1959, lithograph

ABOVE: Norman Rockwell, A Drum For Tommy, 1921, oil on canvas

ABOVE: Andy Warhol, Christmas Tree, Published in Harpers Bazaar, December 1957

ABOVE: Salvador Dali, Christmas Tree, 1959, Christmas card for Hallmark

 

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2016 – Not Sorry to See You Go

While Donald Trump alone may have ruined 2016 for many people, it wasn’t a very good year for other reasons as well. In fact, it was a crappy year for the arts.

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ABOVE: Zaha Hadid, Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan

The World Loses a Starchitect

From Ali to Bowie to Prince, 2016 was a terrible year for celebrity deaths. Included in the far too long list, was Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid. Known as the ‘Queen of the Curve’, she was the world’s leading female architect and one of the best in any gender. While many of her current designs are still being built, the world of architecture won’t be the same without her.

Tragedy in Oakland

On December 2, 2016, thirty six artists and musicians perished when a fire tore through an Oakland warehouse known as the ‘Ghost Ship’. While the exact cause of the fire is still unknown, the building itself was known to be unsafe and many of its occupants were living there illegally. Owing to sky high rents in the Bay area – and other rapidly gentrifying urban centers – this tragedy serves to highlight the importance of safe and affordable living/workspaces for artists. Art is important, and artists shouldn’t have to risk their lives to make it.

From Rags to Riches

Being an artist is tough, and the chances you will become rich are slim to nil. That said, here are a few who achieved great success – and fortune – in their lifetime.

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ABOVE: Claude Monet, Water Lillies and Japanese Bridge, between 1897 and 1899, oil on canvas, 35.3 x 35.6 inches

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso arrived in Paris on his twentieth birthday and lived, from 1904 to 1909, in a squalid studio that had once been a piano factory. Working in poverty proved beneficial though, and the beggars, prostitutes and drunks he came to know figured prominently in his paintings. It was an important time in his career that is now referred to as ‘The Blue Period.”

After leaving the piano factory, his career hit astronomical heights, and when he died in 1973, his net worth was estimated at $50 million.

Claude Monet

Claude Monet and his wife Camille lived in poverty throughout most of the 1870’s leading creditors to seize a number of his works. Overcome with the burdens of debt, he contemplated drowning himself in the Seine, but decided instead to keep on struggling.

By 1890, Monet was wealthy enough to purchase a beautiful mansion in Giverny, and while there, he produced some of his most endearing works (see above).

Francis Bacon

Although he came from wealth, Francis Bacon was kicked out of the family home for being gay and quickly fell into a life of petty crime. To support his tastes and avoid destitution, he dated older, wealthier men until his art career began to take off in the early 1940’s.

After a long and successful career filled with many personal losses – his lover, George Dyer committed suicide – he died a wealthy man in 1992. As his haunted, pain-ridden paintings will attest, money can’t buy happiness.