William Utermohlen, 1933–2007

September 9, 2017 by richard

William Utermohlen 1933-2007-dementia

untermohlenfotoself portrait 1967 Self Portrait 1967


Portrait of Hat 1997 (4).tif

Portrait of Hat 1997 (4).tif

American artist William Utermohlen received a diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease in 1995, at the age of 61. For the next five years, as his dementia worsened, he used his art to track the disintegration of his mind. Utermohlen’s self-portraits, such as the sketches above from 1996, offer a window into the artist’s experience of the progression of Alzheimer’s. Many of the stylistic changes in the depictions are likely the result of the quick decline of Utermohlen’s visuospatial and motor skills over the course of a few short years. Yet the portraits are also heartbreaking in that they expose a mind trying against hope to understand itself despite deterioration.

20120307202835-William_Utermohlen_-_Self_Portrait__split___1977__oil__charcoal__photograph_on_gesso_on_canvas__25.5_x_20_cm Self Portrait 1977



Alzheimer’s disease begins with short-term memory disorders. Often there is therefore anger and misunderstandings with fellow human beings. Mistrust and alienation are the result. Little by little, one’s own traces of long-term memory also disappear, and memories of encounters, events, learned and beloved disappear. Things are losing their original meaning, the language is becoming more meager, the red thread is lost, the personal expressiveness diminishes, social contacts become impoverished.


The artist William Utermohlen, in his self-portraits, depicts how his ego disappears. He becomes depressed and paints grief, fear, resignation and helplessness. His perspective, his gaze on the world, is changing. Details are losing importance. Visual information can be interpreted increasingly badly. His own reflection is alien, frightened and frightened. The loss of sense of space and depth perception, as well as disorientation, is accompanied by disquiet or indifference, and sometimes by an entanglement which frightens the environment. The world disintegrates into fragments. With the diminishing communication ability, the loneliness and loneliness increase. People close to the house and familiar items are no longer recognized.

The world is losing colour. Blue and green are hardly perceived anymore, become a background colour. Only yellow and red as well as the emotional experience survive almost to the last. Thus the images of Utermohlen become more and more abstract, almost surrealistic. They evolve from a living, spatial representation to a stylized, dull representation without depth. A shadow lies over the face. Eyes and mouth are more prominent. The pictures are sad, suggesting endless suffering and pain. In the end there remains only a skeletal, colourless dashed envelope.



Some Workmen Can Blame Their Tools: Artistic Change in an Individual with Alzheimer’s Disease. Sebastian J. Crutch et al. in Lancet, Vol. 357, pages 2129–2133; June 30, 2001.

Francis Bacon, 1909–1992

by richard

Francis Bacon (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992) was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, grotesque, emotionally charged, raw imagery. He is best known for his depictions of popes, crucifixions and portraits of close friends. His abstracted figures are typically isolated in geometrical cage like spaces, set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. Bacon said that he saw images “in series”, and his work typically focuses on a single subject for sustained periods, often in triptych or diptych formats. His output can be broadly described as sequences or variations on a single motif; beginning with the 1930s Picasso-informed Furies, moving on to the 1940s male heads isolated in rooms or geometric structures, the 1950s screaming popes, and the mid-to-late 1950s animals and lone figures, the 1960s portraits of friends, the nihilistic 1970s self-portraits, and the cooler more technical 1980s late works.

francis-bacon-9194646-1-402images (11)imagesStudio

Bacon was brought up in Ireland and England Francis along with his 4 siblings. He was brought up by Nanny Lightfoot in an upper class family involved with race horse training, Francis had chronic asthma which affected him all his life and led to his demise. Francis was chastised and beaten on his father’s instruction for dressing up in women’s cloths and make-up. As a gay man he was estranged from his family and was restless travelling widely including  Berlin, Paris, Egypt and Africa and changing jobs many times. Richer older men attracted to him often supported him. He tried painting in 1930’s but his paintings were not critically praised which put him off. A drinker and gambler. In the Second World War he was not fit to serve but was an air raid warden in the ARP, but the dust of bombed buildings exacerbated his asthma and he had to go and live in the country.

His tripdych painting Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, 1944. Gave him success in the art world. Drawing on Picasso and war time memories and many other influences Bacon developed a unique style.Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, 1944.

Head VI, 1949Three_Studies_for_the_Portrait_of_Henrietta_Moraes 1963450px-Triptych_May-June,_1973

Head VI 1949                              Three studie Portrait Henrietta Maras, 1963                                                                                                Study Self Portrait 1985/86

500px-Study_for_a_Self-portrait—Triptych,_1985–86Painting_1946images (9)


Tryptych for self portrait 1973                                                         Painting 1946





Portrait George Dyer (lover) riding a bicyle.

Recently psychologists analysing his paintings and comments on them suggest Bacon Bacon’s paintings to be the reflexion of a rare central perception disorder called dysmorphopsia.

Bacon’s comments on his perceptual experience are found in published interviews. In his discussions with renown art critic Jean Clair, Bacon reportedly stated: “When I am watching you talking—I don’t know what it is – I see a kind of image, which constantly changes: the movement of your mouth, of the head, somehow; it keeps changing all the time. I attempted to trap this thing in the portraits.” Another distinguished critic, David Sylvester, further quoted him as saying “[…] in my case, with this disruption all the time of the image—or distortion, or whatever you like to call it—it’s an elliptical way of coming to the appearance of that particular body… And it needs a sort of magic to coagulate colour and form so that it gets the equivalent of appearance, the appearance that you see at any moment, because so-called appearance is only retrieved for one moment as that appearance. Still according to Sylvester, Bacon also acknowledged “I’m just trying to make images as accurately off my nervous system as I can. I don’t even know what half of them mean”

Gross image distortion is a rare clinical manifestation of disordered higher visual function. It presents as episodes of dynamic, ever-changing deformities, a condition referred to as dysmorphopsia (Kölmel, 1993).

Usually, the image initially appears normal but undergoes illusionary transformation if looked at for any length of time. Visages appear distorted, contracted or expanded, often in a dynamic manner; image may appear “cut up” and displaced .

The origin of Bacon’s visual percepts is unknown. Painter’s creativity has been ascribed to catalyzing effects of psychological disturbances generated by unhappy childhood .It is conceivable that cerebral injury had been caused during his childhood by violent blows reportedly inflicted by his father. Moreover, Bacon had asthma . Cerebral hypoxic-ischemic lesions could have occurred during asthmatic attacks, which were reported to be “so severe that Bacon would lie in bed for days, blue in the face, struggling for each breath” [1]

Bacon detailed description of distorted percepts point out the organic element in the grounds of his art. It might contribute to clarify Bacon’s “enigma” and assist art analysts to revisit foundations of Bacon’s major contribution to twentieth century painting. Furthermore, Bacon’s observational and artistic talents provide us with invaluable insights into the perceptual phenomena of dysmorphopsia. Whatever the exact reason Bacon’s art deriving from a troubled life and his impairment gives uis a great artistic heritage examining the anguish and suffering involved in the human condition.

The Hugh Lane Gallery Dublin purchased Bacon’s studio consisting of 7000 items and has recreated it in Dublin.

Dublin_Francis_Bacon_Gallery_The_Hugh_Lane749 Relocated Studio with 7000 items



[1] A neurological disorder presumably underlies painter Francis Bacon distorted world depiction Avinoam B. SafranNicolae Sanda,and José-Alain Sahel https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4148635/


Ketra Oberlande

September 8, 2017 by richard


Ketrr always had vision problems, but eventually all of her cone (color) and most of her rod (black and white) vision failed and she became blind. To answer the questions of curious and concerned friends, she embraced art as a way to show others how she was seeing the world. What surprised her, however, was how well-received her art was.

Ketra-Oberlander Silk DunesThe ending before the beginningdownload

Finding difficulties with getting to art shows, Ketra grew determined tho help other artists with mobility problems bridge the gap between creation and distribution of their art and founded Art of Possibility Studios, an organization that licenses the art of disabled artists and allowing them to create in their own space, yet still easily reach the world.


Interesting interview  http://thebadassproject.com/ketra-oberlander/

Petrona Viera, 1895–1960

by richard

Petrona Viera

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

petrona viera

Biography[edit]María Petrona Viera Garino (24 March 1895 – 4 October 1960), commonly known as Petrona Viera, was an Uruguayan painter known for being the first female professional painter in Uruguay and for her participation in the Planismo movement.[1]

Planista painting is made on the basis of color planes, planes whose edges interact and appear more or less faceted according to the author. The intentionality is to make a non-volumetric painting, with an austere drawing in details and tending to a certain geometrization. The figures are thus cut out. For the planter painter “the figure is as primordial as the bottom, the center as the angle farthest from the center of the canvas” . The planista painting does not penetrate in the chiaroscuro. The color, absent from modeling, is generally used neat; Chromatism is often vibrant. “Their colors (they come from the Fauvism mediated by Anglada) are allusive to reality … This Uruguayan adhesion to the anecdote determines a painting of deep subjectivity (…). Perhaps in that painting there was something of the national being with its contradictions and personal contribution. Surely this painting inaugurates modern Uruguayan painting “.

Petrona Viera was born in Montevideo to Carmen Garino and Uruguayan President Feliciano Viera. At the age of two, Viera contracted meningitis, which left her deaf. Her parents hired a French teacher specializing in deaf education, Madeleine Larnaudie, who taught her lip reading and sign language.[2]

Around the age of 20, Viera began to take private painting lessons with the Catalan artist Vicente Puig, but she stopped working with him when he left the country a few years later. In 1922, she began to take lessons from Guillermo Laborde, who influenced her to join the Planismo movement. She began to exhibit her paintings in 1923, and had her first solo exhibition in 1926 at Galería Maveroff.[3] Guillermo Laborde’s death in 1940 affected her deeply, and led her to change the direction of her work. After his death, she worked with Guillermo Rodríguez and began producing engravings, watercolors, and ceramics.[4] She continued to paint, but her themes changed, and she began to paint more landscapes and nature scenes than her previous scenes of children’s life.

Style and work[edit]

“Niñas” (oil on canvas, no date), National Museum of Visual ArtsNinas

Petrona Viera is associated with Planismo, a Uruguayan artistic movement from the turn of the 20th century that was known for its austere lines and bright colors. Her work has many typical features of Planismo, such as clear lines, defined contours, flat structures, and a warm palette with primary and secondary colors. However, her work differs from that of other Planismo artists in that she painted themes of daily life rather than landscapes. Her art often includes scenes of her home, children playing and reading, servants, and her sisters. Later in her career, she shifted her style and painted more landscapes.

220px-Petrona_Viera 19243733Pinos-viera-master-artpetrona-viera-la-hermana-de-la-artista,-joven-de-vestido-verdeviera_petrona-meditandoQuinta--viera-uruguaygrimaces-petrona-viera


  1. Jump up ^ Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Uruguay. “Petrona Viera (1895-1960)” (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  2. Jump up ^ Cultura Sorda (July 2007). “Petrona Viera” (pdf) (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  3. Jump up ^ Juan Andrés Nopitsch. “Petrona Viera: la primer artista profesional uruguaya” [Petrona Viera: The first Uruguayan professional female artist] (in Spanish).
  4. Jump up ^ Ana Inés Larre Borges; Cielo Pereira (2001). Mujeres uruguayas: el lado femenino de nuestra historia [Uruguayan Women: The feminine side of our history] (in Spanish). Alfaguara/Fundación Banco de Boston.

Georgia O’Keeffe, 1887–1986

by richard

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986)

Photo of the artist Music Pink and Blue 1918

Georgia O’Keeffe was born on November 15, 1887, the second of seven children and grew up on a farm in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. As a child she received art lessons at home and her abilities were quickly recognized and encouraged by teachers throughout her school years. By the time she graduated from high school in 1905, O’Keeffe had determined to make her way as an artist. O’Keeffe pursued studies at the Art Institute of Chicago (1905–1906) and at the Art Students League, New York (1907–1908), where she was quick to master the principles of the approach to art-making that then formed the basis of the curriculum—imitative realism. In 1908 she won the League’s William Merritt Chase still-life prize for her oil painting “Untitled” (Dead Rabbit with Copper Pot). Shortly thereafter, however, O’Keeffe quit making art, saying later that she had known then that she could never achieve distinction working within this tradition.


In 1905, O’Keeffe began her serious formal art training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then the Art Students League of New York, but she felt constrained by her lessons that focused on recreating or copying what was in nature. In 1908, unable to fund further education, she worked for two years as a commercial illustrator, and then spent seven years between 1911 and 1918 teaching in Virginia, Texas, and South Carolina. During that time, she studied art during the summers between 1912 and 1914 and was introduced to the principles and philosophies of Arthur Wesley Dow, who espoused created works of art based upon personal style, design, and interpretation of subjects, rather than trying to copy or represent them. This caused a major change in the way she felt about and approached art, as seen in the beginning stages of her watercolors from her studies at the University of Virginia and more dramatically in the charcoal drawings that she produced in 1915 that led to total abstraction. Alfred Stieglitz, an art dealer and photographer, held an exhibit of her works in 1916. Over the next couple of years, she taught and continued her studies at the Teachers College, Columbia University.

Georgia_O'Keeffe_Inside_Red_Canna_1919 Jimson Weed


Her interest in art was rekindled four years later (1912) when she took a summer course for art teachers at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, taught by Alon Bement of Teachers College, Columbia University. Bement introduced O’Keeffe to the then revolutionary ideas of his colleague at Teachers College, artist and art educator Arthur Wesley Dow. Dow’s ideas offered O’Keeffe an alternative to imitative realism and she experimented with them for two years, while she was either teaching art in the Amarillo, Texas public schools (1912-14) or working summers in Virginia as Bement’s assistant. O’Keeffe was in New York again from fall 1914 to June 1915, taking courses at Teachers College. In an attempt to discover a personal language through which she could express her own feelings and ideas, she began a series of abstract charcoal drawings that are now recognized as being among the most innovative in all of American art of the period. She mailed some of these drawings to a former Columbia classmate who showed them to the internationally known photographer and art impresario, Alfred Stieglitz, on January 1, 1916. By the time she arrived in New York in June, she and Stieglitz, who were married in 1924, had fallen in love and subsequently lived and worked together in New York (winter and spring) and at the Stieglitz family estate at Lake George, New York (summer and fall) until 1929, when O’Keeffe spent the first of many summers painting in New Mexico.

Blue-green music 1921Cows Skull 1931

From 1923 until his death in 1946, Stieglitz worked assiduously and effectively to promote O’Keeffe and her work, organizing annual exhibitions of her art at The Anderson Galleries (1923–1925), The Intimate Gallery (1925–1929), and An American Place (1929–1946). As early as the mid-1920s, when O’Keeffe first began painting New York skyscrapers as well as large-scale depictions of flowers as if seen close up, which are among her best-known pictures, she had become recognized as one of America’s most important and successful artists. Three years after Stieglitz’s death, O’Keeffe moved from New York to her beloved New Mexico, whose stunning vistas and stark landscape configurations had inspired her work since 1929. Indeed, many of the pictures she painted in New Mexico, especially her landscape paintings of the area, have become as well known as the work she had completed earlier in New York. Indeed, the area nourished O’Keeffe’s creative efforts from 1929 until 1984, when failing eyesight forced her into retirement. She lived either at her Ghost Ranch house, which she purchased in 1940, or at the house she purchased in Abiquiu in 1945. She made New Mexico her permanent home in 1949, three years after Stieglitz’s death, and continued working in oil until the mid–1970’s. She worked in pencil and watercolor until 1982 and produced objects in clay from the mid-1970’s until two years before her death in 1986, at the age of 98.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s first signs of macular degeneration appeared in 1964 when, as Jeffrey Hogrefe relates in his 1992 biography, she “rounded a curve in the road she was driving from Ghost Ranch on a brilliantly sunny day… and the valley narrowed to a patch of greenery along the river. It felt, she said later, as if a cloud had entered her eyeballs…”
Black Rock Blue Skyf--georgia-okeefe-mexico-artOKeeffe abstraction green with red dot

In 1972, she finished her last unassisted oil paintings—Black Rock with Blue Sky and White Clouds, in which a black ovoid stone dominates the canvas, a sliver of blue sky and clouds behind it, and The Beyond, which shows a wide band of darkness at the bottom of the canvas creeping toward the horizon line; one has the sense looking at it that all light will inevitably be engulfed. “My left eye has become much more cloudy,” she wrote in a letter that year, “and it’s as if my right eye is beginning to cloud. I assume I should know there is nothing that could be done about it. Am I correct?”
In the early to mid-seventies, she sometimes elicited assistance from others when working on her canvases, such as the summer of 1976, when she directed John Poling, then a handyman at Ghost Ranch, to execute her conception of several works, including From a Day with Juan. When he saw the painting published in ART news, he asked for credit, and though she advanced the claim that his “contribution had no artistic significance” and he was “the equivalent of a palette knife,” in the years that followed she turned more to clay as the last medium in which she worked.

Dan Budnik Georgia O'Keeffe at the the Ghost Ranch with Pots by Juan Hamilton Platinum Print $9,000.00download (1)

O'keeffe Quotes Georgia O Keeffe Quotes    - alexdapiata.com

O’keeffe Quotes Georgia O Keeffe Quotes – alexdapiata.com

Walter Bryan Pearce,1929–2007

by richard

Walter Bryan Pearce (25 July 1929 – 11 January 2007) was a British painter. He was recognised as one of the UK’s leading naïve artists.

Bryan Pearce

Early life[edit]

Bryan Pearce was born in St. Ives, Cornwall, which remained his home for the rest of his life. His father, Walter, was a butcher in St Ives, played rugby for Cornwall, and was later mayor of St Ives. His mother, Mary Warmington, was a painter from another local family.

Pearce suffered from the congenital disease phenylketonuria, which affects the normal development of the brain. He attended a special needs school in the 1940s and 1950s and then, encouraged by his mother and, later, by other St. Ives artists, he began drawing and painting in watercolours in 1953 before moving on to oil paint on board and, later, conté crayon. He attended Leonard Fuller’s St. Ives School of Painting from 1953 to 1957.

bryan_pearce_my_motherSt IvesLithograph Three AnglesSt Michaels Mount

Symptoms of phenylketonuria

PKU symptoms can range from mild to severe. The most severe form of this disorder is known as classic PKU. An infant with classic PKU may appear normal for the first few months of their life. If the baby isn’t treated for PKU during this time, they’ll start to develop the following symptoms:

  • seizures
  • tremors, or trembling and shaking
  • stunted growth
  • hyperactivity
  • skin conditions such as eczema
  • a musty odor of their breath, skin, or urine

If PKU isn’t diagnosed at birth and treatment isn’t started quickly, the disorder can cause:

  • irreversible brain damage and intellectual disabilities within the first few months of life
  • behavioral problems and seizures in older children

A less severe form of PKU is called variant PKU or non-PKU hyperphenylalaninemia. This occurs when the baby has too much phenylalanine in their body. Infants with this form of the disorder may have only mild symptoms, but they’ll need to follow a special diet to prevent intellectual disabilities.

Once a specific diet and other necessary treatments are started, symptoms start to diminish. People with PKU who properly manage their diet usually don’t show any symptoms.


Artistic career[edit]

Pearce specialised in paintings of his home town, and the surrounding Penwith area, drawn in typically flat style, with areas of bright colour surrounded by heavy outlines, like stained glass. His learning disabilities gave his art, in the words of Peter Lanyon, an “awareness more direct” than pure observation. Lanyon also said that “Because his sources are not seen with a passive eye, but are truly happenings, his painting is original”, and “It is necessary to accept these works as the labour of a man who has to communicate this way because there is no other.” His art has been compared to that of Alfred Wallis.

Guided by Denis Mitchell, he joined the Penwith Society of Arts in 1957, and the Newlyn Society of Artists. He had his first solo exhibition at the Newlyn Gallery near Penzance in 1959, and his first solo exhibition in London at the St Martin’s Gallery in 1962. Retrospectives were held at various venues from 1966 to 2004, particularly at Penwith Gallery in 1966, the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford in 1975, the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro in 2000, and the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath in 2004. Examples of his work are held by many public galleries. His business affairs were dealt with first by his family and ultimately by trustees, enabling him to concentrate on his art. In the second half of his career a good deal of his work was produced and sold in the form of prints in relatively small signed, numbered editions. Some of these were small hand-made etchings, with which the artist had a ‘hands on’ creative involvement; others were full size screenprints made by printer-craftsmen ‘after’ works in other media. The latter certainly render just over twenty of Pearce’s original images, with their pure, expansive areas of specific colours, extremely convincingly. Two of the earliest screenprints, ‘St Ives All Round’ and ‘Newlyn All Round’ (both 1976) were printed in black line only. A number of one-colour lithographs also exist.

Bryan Pearce’s mother, Mary, died in 1997. He died peacefully at home in St. Ives, and his funeral was held at St Ives Parish Church on 22 January 2007. An exhibition was held at the Tate Gallery, St Ives from 3 February – 13 May 2007. It had been planned as a retrospective but became a memorial show.

The Bryan Pearce Estate gave a collection of his works from the 1950s to 2006 to the Royal Cornwall Museum. These were shown 17 November 2007 – 5 January 2008, at the Museum. Meanwhile, on 12 March 2008, an auction record for a painting by Bryan Pearce was set at Bonham’s New Bond Street auction rooms in London when the work “St Ives Harbour 1″ (1965), 20″ x 46″, realised a hammer price of £28,000 (with commission around £33,500). This record was soon broken as, in the following May, Pearce’s largest known oil painting, ‘Penzance Harbour (all round)’, oil on board 20.5″ x 60.5″, sold for £39000 (with commission around £47,000) at a Penzance auction house, and was destined for the permanent collection at Penlee House, Penzance. In October 2011, his St. Ives (all round) 1977, oil on board 24″ x 45½”, exceeded the pre-sale top estimate at Christies three times over, selling for £55250 (including buyer’s premium) making it the most expensive Pearce to-date.

Several biographies have been published, including Ruth Jones’s The Path of the Son (1976), Marion Whybrow’s Bryan Pearce: a private view (1985) and Janet Axten’s The Artist and His Work (2004).




Rembrandt van Rijn, 1606–1669

by richard

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)

Rembrandt van Rijn was a Dutch artist, generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history.

Several researchers believe that Rembrandt may have had stereo blindness (dissimilar visual images received by his left and right eyes), since many of his self-portraits show each of his eyes looking in a different direction, as in Self-Portrait as a Young Man:hqdefaultRembrandt self portraitRembrandt-self-portrait-circles-oldrembrandtvanrijn_self_portrait_with_lace_collar-copy18a9475940a18265be7a76e755f87cce--rembrandt-portrait-dutch

This lack of binocular vision may have caused problems with Rembrandt’s depth perception – but it also may have helped his art by making Rembrandt become exceptionally aware of light changes, shadows, and other details that helped him judge distances and depth and depict a realistic three-dimensional world on a flat canvas.

One of Rembrandt’s most famous paintings is The Night Watch (1642), known for its effective use of light, depth, shadow, and the perception of motion he created on the canvas:



Who was Rembrandt van Rijn?
Although many of the historcal details of his life are unknown, it is known that Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn was born in Leiden, the Netherlands on July 15, 1606, and that he died Rembrandt died in relative obscurity on October 4, 1669. Rembrandt was the ninth child in the family; his father was a miller and his mother came from a wealthy family. Around 1613-1615, Rembrandt attended the Latin School to prepare for his admission to Leiden University. While still living with his parents, he enrolled at the university in 1620, just before he turned 14. In 1622, at the age of 16, Rembrandt began a three-year apprenticeship with the Leiden painter Jacob Isaacsz van Swanenburg.

Rembrandt established his own studio in Leiden, and later settled in Amsterdam (around 1632). Rembrandt was quick at completing exquisitely detailed portraits, a type of work for which he soon became famous. He was also well-known for his self-portraits; many these were simple representations of himself in the background of more elaborate works. His self-portraits, more than 100 of them, provide an excellent visual choronology of his aging, as well as an account of changes in the execution of his work.

Rembrandt considered himself primarily a history painter. Despite the Church of Holland’s ban on religious paintings, agreat deal of his work dealt with Biblical subjects. Following in the path of the late 16th century Italian painter Caravaggio, Rembrandt used powerful light/dark contrasts (ie. chiaroscuro), used to highlight his subject and explore the depths of the human soul. Rembrandt was also an accomplished draughtsman and printmaker whose works were crafted with precision and in minute detail. He is generally considered to be the greatest Dutch painter of all time. Like some other great artists (eg. Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael) he adopted the practice of signing his works with a single name, “Rembrandt”.

Throughout his artistic life Rembrandt strived for authenticity and recorded what he saw around him them putting these compositions of ten as part of his 300 etchings or 2000 drawings into his 300 largely commissioned oil paintings.

Rembrandt included a number of disabled people in these drawings. Lepers had to wear a white head band and had had all their worldly goods confiscated by the state as they had been punished by God by acquiring their affliction.

cae328afd982db1b224b4d0f630fe617--wooden-leg-rembrandt 1646Beggars Receiving Alms at DoorThe Leper 1631DP814771 bLINDNESS OF tOBIT rEMBRANDT 1651 nymBeggar long hat and tall cloak



Chris Healing the Sick367px-Rembrandt_-_Tobit_Accusing_Anna_of_Stealing_the_Kid_-_WGA19108


Although there is no documented evidence regarding changes in Rembrandt’s vision, many of the changes in his work may well be the result of visual aging. Others may be the result of purposeful stylistic change. Rembrandt’s earlier works show him to be a master of detail and light sensitivity, or in visual terms, to have good acuity and contrast sensitivity. Judging from his works, his visual acuity and contrast sensitivity appeared to decline as he aged. Certainly, he would have experienced the universal age-related loss of the ability to focus near stimuli, (ie. presbyopia) in his middle years. Presbyopia would make it more difficult to engage in effectively in near visual tasks such as painting. It is also possible that in his later years, Rembrandt experienced visual loss caused by an age-related opacity of the lens of his eye (ie. cataract). Whatever their cause, notable visual changes appear to characterize Rembrandt’s later works. His later work appears to be reduced in detail, clarity and light sensitivity. The fine brush strokes and careful precision that are clearly evident in his early work, gave way to work that was loose, heavy, and less clearly-defined.

Compare, for example, Rembrandt’s depiction of the collar details in the paintings below, one from early in his career, the other painted late in his life. The fine detail seen in the collar from Lady and Gentleman in Black, painted when Rembrandt was 27, is absent from the collar in Margaretha de Geer, Wife of Jacob Trip, painted when Rembrandt was 53.

A_lady_and_gentleman_in_black,_by_Rembrandt 1633rembrandt-van-rijn-margaretha-de-geer


The effects of Rembrandt’s visual aging may also be apparent in his self-portrait painted in 1669 (right), painted in the last year of his life. The detail is minimal, the artist’s strokes are very broad, and the painting has a strong yellow cast, effects that are consistent with deteriorating vision. http://psych.ucalgary.ca/PACE/VA-Lab/AVDE-Website/rembrandt.html

Rembrandt_Self Portarait 1669



Douglas Tilden, 1860–1935

by richard


Douglas Tilden (May 1, 1860 to August 5, 1935) was a world-famous sculptor. Tilden was deaf and attended the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, California (now in Fremont, California).[1] Tilden became deaf at the age of four after a severe bout of scarlet fever.[2] After graduating from the CA School for the Deaf, he went on to attend UC Berkeley and studied with Francis Marion Wells, but then left to study art in Paris. Once in Paris, Tilden studied under Paul Chopin, another deaf sculptor. He made many statues that sit in San Francisco, Berkeley, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

He has many amazing artworks.

  • Football Players(1900), which stands as one of the first permanent artwork on the University of California, Berkeley[3]
  • Bear Hunt(1892), a statue of a bear protecting her cub and wrestling with two Native Americans, and is featured in the California School for the Deaf in Fremont.[4]
  • Mechanics Monument(1901), San Francisco. It served as an inspiration for the city to rebuild itself. The fountain was removed at some point and the statue group has been moved a few feet several times.[5][6]


  • Admission Day(1897), is a part of a monument situated at Market, Post and Montgomery Streets in San Francisco.[6][7]
  • Spanish–American War Soldier’sMonument(1906),

    photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid This photo is licensed under a Creative Commons license. If you use this photo within the terms of the license or make special arrangements to use the photo, please list the photo credit as "Scott Beale / Laughing Squid" and link the credit to http://laughingsquid.com.

    photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
    This photo is licensed under a Creative Commons license. If you use this photo within the terms of the license or make special arrangements to use the photo, please list the photo credit as “Scott Beale / Laughing Squid” and link the credit to http://laughingsquid.com.

  • Portland, Oregon[8]

Mechanics Monument 1899             Baseball Player                          Bear Hunt City of Fremont

On June 6, 1896 Tilden was married to Elizabeth “Bessie” Cole, a former student of his, also deaf. Although the union produced two children, a son Lee and a daughter Gladys, it was not to prove to be a happy one. Over the years Mrs. Tilden was subject to “melancholia spells” which, among things, placed a large amount of pressure on the relationship. They separated and Mrs. Tilden, who for years had managed their properties, rented out his studio to a theater group, forcing Tilden to do his sculpting in a shed. As they grew farther apart Tilden’s lawyer wrote: “Furthermore, the wife (Bessie) has knowledge of personal indescressions in the personal conduct of Mr. Tilden which would deprive him of any capacity to stand in court, as we say, “with clean hands.” Mr. Tilden claims that Mrs. Tilden has been indescrete. ” The marriage ended in a divorce in 1926.[9]

Many detect a certain homoeroticism in his works because they feature young athletic men who are often unclothed. In the Football Players, many people have noted that the scene of two young football players, one is injured and resting on the shoulder of another, and the other is tenderly bandaging the wounds, shows the intimate male bonding in sports as of interdependence between the players. The gay and lesbian community has adopted the statue as representing the best ideal of the visible queer community on campus.

He was a member of the National Sculpture Society.[10]

Tilden is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.[11]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


Mary Cassatt, 1844–1926

September 7, 2017 by richard

CASSATT, MARY (1844 – 1926)

Who was Mary Cassatt?

Born on May 22, 1844 in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (now a part of Pittsburgh), Mary Cassatt was a remarkable woman who succeeded in what was then a predominantly male profession. The daughter of a wealthy investment banker, her family was close, and she was brought up to be independent and pursue her own interests. Cassatt lived with her family in France and Germany, where from 1850-55 she spent long periods of time in Paris, Heidleburg, and Darmstadt. In 1855, the Cassatts returned to Philadelphia. In 1861, at the age of 16, Cassatt enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to study painting

On January 1, 1866, Mary Cassatt traveled to France to further her study of painting. She eventually settled in Paris, where she took private lessons. It was during this time that Cassatt became aware of and interested in the work of the Impressionists, and in particular that of Edgar Degas. Cassatt was skilled at drawing, and she paid particular attention to form and line in her paintings. Degas, who was known to be blunt and caustic in his opinions towards women, said of Cassatt, “I am not willing to admit that a woman can draw that well.”

Degas invited Cassatt to exhibit her works with the Impressionists in 1877. She was the only American artist ever to do so. She took part in Impressionist exhibitions on four subsequent occasions. After the last exhibition with the Impressionists, she began a professional affiliation with Paul Durand-Ruel and displayed many solo exhibitions in his galleries. Cassatt is best known for her representation of women’s experience, and had a particular focus on the relationship of mother and child. Her work displays the private activities of women, including knitting, reading, taking tea, and interacting with children. In the early years, Cassatt worked primarily in oil, but in the 1890s began to experiment with pastels and printmaking.

Although decidedly a member of the Impressionist circle, Cassatt focused more on form and detail than did such contemporaries as Monet, who was mainly concerned with light and atmosphere. In fact, some of Monet’s work didn’t impress her at all. She wrote, “Rene went to see Monet and found him at work on large panels of water lilies. One would have to build a room especially for them I suppose. I must say his Nemphes [Les Nympheas] pictures look to me like glorified wall paper. You have some of the best work. I won’t go so far as D. who thinks he has done nothing worth doing for 20 years, but it is certain that these decorations without composition are not to my taste.” – from letter to long-time friend Louisine Havemeyer, Sept. 8, 1918.

Cassatt was witty, elegant, and while socially skilled, she loved solitude. Typical for the day, most of her close friends were women. She was, however, also good friends with Degas and her male art teachers. She was avidly interested in politics and literature and her letters contain many literary references. She was never married, career success being more important to her. She was plagued by serious visual health problems in her later years that affected both her art and quality of life. She died on June 14, 1926 in her French Chateau at the age of 81.


Cassatt’s visual disorders: Cataracts & diabetic retinopathy

Cassatt’s visual problems began in 1900, at age 56. Her acuity began to decline, and she reported her sight to be getting progressively dimmer. In 1910, she relinquished printmaking due to these difficulties. In 1912, at age 68, she was diagnosed with cataracts by the famous ophthalmologist, Edmond Landolt, M.D., who had earlier treated Degas. Unfortunately no records survive. Cassatt visual problems were exacerbated by lack of care, as it was difficult to find doctors to treat civilians during WWI. By 1915, at the age of 71, Cassatt was forced to give up her work. Cassatt was diagnosed with diabetes around 1919 and experienced a concurrent retinopathy.

Cassatt’s visual decline had tremendous impact on her psychological well-being. Her problems, which she attributed to painting, shortened her artistic career. In a letter to her good friend Louisine Havemeyer in 1913, she wrote, “I have overlooked my bodily welfare, but I have worked so hard besides, and nothing takes it out of one like painting. I have only to look around me to see that, to see Degas a mere wreck, and Renoir and Monet too.” Wartime conditions also seemed to be taking their toll. Cassatt wrote, “Since I saw you last, I have been so ill, no one thought I would recover – but I did, and then I overworked and when the war cloud burst, I broke down under my responsibilities & it has taken me all winter to get well again, – & my sight is enfeebled.” – from letter to Theodate Pope, June 8, 1915 (Villa Angeletto).


Treatment: Cataracts
In 1917, Cassatt had a cataract operation on her right eye. She subsequently experienced opacity of the posterior lens capsule in the same eye, worsening her already diminished sight. Cassatt dreaded the forthcoming operation on her left eye. On May 24, 1919 she wrote, “My sight is getting dimmer every day. I find writing tires my eyes. I look forward with horror to utter darkness and then an operation which may end in as great a failure as the last one.” Cassatt’s premonitions proved correct; poor results were obtained when the left eye was operated on in 1919 when she was 75. Cassatt was greatly distressed; she could not read, could not paint, and was suffering from the effects of diabetes. It is thought that Cassatt underwent a treatment of radium inhalations, a therapy used for many diseases in the 19th century. The dangers of radium were not fully known, and this type of therapy was used for treatment of cataracts as well as diabetes.


Impact on her work

Cassatt’s visual problems forced her to switch from oils to pastels, which are easier to work with demand less precision. The precision of and detail in her early work is evident in her painting of her sister Lydia (left), painted when Cassatt was 36. Note the fine detail in the lace of Lydia’s hat and in the folds of her dress.

As her visual problems advanced, the meticulous lines that were characteristic of Cassatt’s earlier works became strident, bold strokes of color. This can be seen in her pastel of Margot (right), done at age 58, by which time, Cassatt had experienced visual difficulties for two years. Although a lovely picture in its own right, in comparison to Lydia, Margot is rendered with a more limited range of colors and relatively little detail. In her later works, her color range became similarly limited, and her canvases larger to accommodate for her loss of acuity.

Americans in Paris W010

Little Girl in Armchair 1878 mary_cassatt_spring_margot_standing_in_a_garden_postcard-r34a84d6a46ac45d09976c969a902ab04_vgbaq_8byvr_630







Alfred Reginald Thomson, 1894–1979

by richard

Alfred Reginald Thomson RA (10 December 1894 – 27 October 1979) was an English artist, most notable for being an official War Artist to the Royal Air Force during World War Two.[1]



Thomson’s portrait of George medal holder Charity Bick

Thomson was born in Bangalore in India where his father was a British civil servant.[2] Thomson was deaf from birth and when the family returned to Britain from India he attended the Royal School for Deaf Children at Margate.[3] Later in life he was known, in the press, as the “deaf and dumb” artist.[4]

Sister Fry 1939 Alfred R. Thomson 1894-1979 Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1940 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05107

Sister Fry 1939 Alfred R. Thomson 1894-1979 Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1940 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05107



Cocktail Bar 1931

Although Thomson attended the London Art School in Kensington for a time, he was largely self-taught as an artist and his first paid work was designing posters for a whisky company. He also created a series of posters for Daimler Cars.[2] At the end of the First World War Thomson established himself as a commercial artist and figure painter.[2] In the 1930s he created a series of murals for the Duncannon Hotel in London.[2] Thomson also had a talent as a caricaturist and he drew his fellow artists and friends.[2]

Thomson completed a number of commissions for the War Artists’ Advisory Committee during World War Two and in September 1942 became a full-time salaried artist attached to the Air Ministry, taking over the post that Eric Kennington had resigned from. Thomson painted several portraits of RAF air crews and also medical and civil defence subjects.[5][6]

In 1945 Thomson was elected to the Royal Academy and soon became a highly respected society portrait painter.[7] He also continued to paint murals, most notably for the Science Museum and the London Dental School.[3] In the 1948 Olympic Games in London, Thomson became the last person to win a Gold Medal for painting as medals for art were abandoned in subsequent Olympic games.[8]


  1. Jump up ^ “Artist biography;- Alfred R Thomson”. Tate. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e “Mr A.R. Thomson”. Obituaries. The Times (60482). London. 23 November 1979. col G, p. 14.
  3. ^ Jump up to: a b “Artist: Alfred Thomson”. room4art. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  4. Jump up ^ “Alfred Thomson RA (1894-1979)”. Archived from the original on 2009-07-03.
  5. Jump up ^ Imperial War Museum. “War artists archive;- A.R. Thomson”. Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  6. Jump up ^ Brain Foss (2007). War paint: Art, War, State and Identity in Britain, 1939-1945. Yale University Press. ISBN978-0-300-10890-3.
  7. Jump up ^ “Alfred Thomson R.A”. Royal Academy. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  8. Jump up ^ *“The Official Report of the Organising Committee for the XIV Olympiad London 1948″ (PDF). London: The Organising Committee for the XIV Olympiad. 1951: 535–537. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2012.