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ART “4” “2”-DAY  31 December
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^ Born on 31 December 1753: Abraham van Stry I, Dutch artist who died on 07 March 1826.
— Abraham van Stry (1753-1826) was a painter of oils and watercolors born in Dordrecht. A versaitile painter, van Stry first made still life scenes of flowers and fruit. Later, obliged to assist his father, Leendert van Stry, he began to make history paintings and landscapes. Van Stry painted interiors and genre scenes in the style of Gabriel Metsu and Pieter de Hooch, and his landscapes reveal a close study of Cuyp. Van Stry also painted illusionistic grisaille imitations of marble reliefs, a popular decor in the Netherlands since the Renaissance. These were known as "witjes" ("wit" or white) after Jacob de Wit (1695-1754), who gained international renown in this style. In 1774 Abraham van Stry founded the society "Pictura" of Dordrecht. Beginning in 1818 he was a member of the Antwerp Academy. His works earned several prizes in Paris and London.
Young Sweethearts (36x46cm) _ This is a genre scene of the type popular in eighteenth-century Holland. Middle-class patrons delighted in their status and possessions, and enjoyed painted representations of this kind
^ Born on 31 December 1842: Giovanni Boldini, Italian painter who died on 12 January 1931.
— Fils d'un artiste de Ferrare spécialisé dans la peinture religieuse, Boldini apprit son art à l'Académie de Florence et fit la connaissance au café Michelangelo du groupe des Macchiaioli, qui aiguisèrent son sens de la touche libre et des rapports colorés intenses. Le choix facile des sujets, une facture brillante et minutieuse, une touche onctueuse, ont concouru au vif succès qu'il connut au cours de ses séjours à Londres et à Paris (1869 - 1871), consacrant sa vocation mondaine.
      Fixé définitivement à Paris en 1872, il se mêla au cercle des peintres qui fréquentaient le Salon. Il commença alors la célèbre série de ses portraits parisiens. Son coup de pinceau plus libre et plus nerveux annonce son style définitif, cette manière fiévreuse et elliptique qui s'épanouira pleinement vers 1886, au moment où il devient une célébrité du monde parisien, avec ses amis le peintre Helleu et le dessinateur Sem. Au cours des décennies suivantes, les plus prestigieuses personnalités du Paris de la fin du siècle posèrent devant lui.
The Misses Muriel and Consuelo Vanderbilt
Mrs. Graham Fair Vanderbilt Mrs. Whitney Warren, Sr (1908) — Madame X (1907) — Cafe Scene (1887) — Portrait Study of a WomanPortrait of Whistler Asleep (1897) — Lady Colin Campbell (1897) — Count Robert de Montesquieu (1897) — Parigi di NotteReclining Nude (55x74cm) — Madame Charles Max - Count Robert de MontesquiouHenri Rochefort Cecilia de Madrazo Fortuny (115x69cm)

^ Born on 31 December 1869: Henri Matisse, French painter who died on 03 November 1954.
—  Matisse was born at Le Cateau-Cambrésis in the North of France. His parents, Emile Matisse and Héloise Gérars, had a general store selling household goods and seed. Henri planned on a legal career, and in 1887/88 studied law in Paris, in 1889 he was employed as a clerk in a solicitor’s office. It was in 1890 that he was first attracted to painting. Confined to his bed for nearly a year (1890) after an intestinal operation, he chose drawing as a pastime. Then the hobby took best of him and he decided for the painting career.
     The long years of learning followed: in 1891 Matisse studied under Bouguereau at the Académie Julian, and in 1892 transferred unofficially to Gustave Moreau’s studio at the École Beaux-Arts, where he met Marquet, at the same time attending the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs. In 1894 his daughter Marguerite was born, though Matisse did not marry the mother, Amélie Paraere, till 1898.
      In 1896 he made a successful début at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and a year later displayed there his large canvas La Desserte, which showed the influence of the Impressionists. After Moreau’s death in 1898, he studied briefly with Cormon, then left the École des Beaux-Arts and entered the Académie Carrière where he met Derain and Puy and attended evening classes in sculpture. In 1899 his son Jean, and then, in 1900, his son Pierre were born. Financial difficulties made him to stay for some time with his parents.
      During the period of 1899-1904 Matisse participated in a group exhibition at Berthe Weil’s Gallery (1902), painted townscapes with Marquet in Paris, spent the summer of 1904 working with Signac and Cross at Saint-Tropez, and in 1905-6 painted views of Collioure.
      In 1905 and 1906 Matisse, his talent now fully developed, exhibited at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants together with Derain, Marquet, Vlaminck, Rouault and others and sparked off controversy. The group was ironically nicknamed “Les Fauves”. At that time Matisse displayed a tendency towards monumental, decorative compositions. If in 1900 it was only to earn some money that he took on the task of painting a frieze for the World Fair at the Grand Palais in Paris, in 1907 he worked with enthusiasm on a ceramic triptych, Nymph and Satyr, for Osthaus’s mansion in Hagen, Westphalia. In 1908 Matisse painted the monumental canvas The Red Room (Harmony in Red); and in 1909-10 executed two large decorative panels, The Dance and The Music on commissions from the Moscow businessman S. Shchukin.
      Sculpture, too, began to occupy a significant place in Matisse’s artistic endeavor and was exhibited for the first time in 1912, in New York. At this time, Matisse set forth the theoretical basis for his art in his Notes d’un peintre (1908) and expounded his views on painting in the art school (l'Atelier Matisse), which he had organized. But soon teaching began to weigh heavily on the artist, and he withdrew more and more frequently to Issy-des-Moulineaux.
      In 1910 Matisse visited Munich to see an exhibition of Islamic art, in 1911 Seville, then Moscow on the invitation of S. Shchukin, and at the end of that year, Tangier, Morocco. From 1914 to 1918 he divided his time between Collioure, Paris and Nice. In 1918 a Matisse-and-Picasso exhibition opened at the Guillaume Gallery: it was to a certain extent indicative of the role of these two painters in contemporary art.
      In 1920 Matisse designed the stage sets and costumes for S. Diaghilev’s ballet The Nightingale (to Stravinsky’s music) and in 1939 for Léonide Massine’s ballet Rouge et Noir (to the music of Shostakovich’s first Symphony). In 1931-33 he painted a large decorative composition, The Dance;  the same years he fulfilled etching illustrations for Mallarmé’s Poésies. In 1934-35 Matisse produced cartoons for carpets, based on James Joyce’s Ulysses.
      During the Second World War Matisse lived in the south of France – Bordeaux, Ciboure, Nice. In 1941 he underwent a serious operation. Confined to bed for most of the ensuing period, he turned his attention to book design and illustrations. He designed and illustrated Henri de Montherlant’s Pasiiphaë in 1944, Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, Mariana Alcoforado’s (*) Lettres Portugaises (70 lithographs) and Reverdy’s Visages (14 lithographs) in 1946, André Rouveyre's Repli (12 lithographs) in 1947, and Ronsard’s Amours in 1948. His unique book Jazz, published in 1947, contained a facsimile reproduction of the text written in the artist’s own hand and illustrations executed in gouache after Matisse’s cut-outs.
      It was only after the end of the war that Matisse turned anew to monumental compositions. He executed sketches for the stained-glass panel representing St. Dominique in the church at Assy (1948), the interior decoration for the Dominican chapel of Notre-Dame du Rosaire at Vence (1948-51), and sketches for the stained-glass panel Rose for the Uniate Church in New York (1954). In his last years he devoted a great deal of his time to cut-outs and brush drawings.
— Regarded by some as the most important French painter of the 20th century. Leader of the Fauvist movement (c. 1900). Pursued the expressiveness of color throughout his career. Subjects were largely domestic or figurative, and a distinct Mediterranean verve presides in the treatment.
— Henri Matisse was the most important French painter of the 20th century, rivaling Picasso in his influence. His background was diverse. He studied under Bouguereau and Gustave Moreau and experimented with Pointillism, which he found rigidly confining. Later, building on the work of Cézanne and Gauguin, he and André Derain developed Fauvism, a much freer and more expressive style of painting which was in fact the forerunner of Expressionism.
Dinner Table (1897) _ detail (the servant) — La Jeune Fille en Rose (1923) — Fleurs (1950) — Autoportrait (1944) — Self-Portrait in a Striped T-Shirt (1906) — Self-Portrait (1918) — Le bonheur de vivre (1906). — Sea at Collioure (1906) — The Bank (1907) — La Conversation (1909) — Odalisque, Half-Length (The Tatoo) (1923) — Odalisque (1923) — Odalisque, Harmony in Red (1926) — Odalisque in a Gauze Skirt (1929) — Odalisque on a Turkish Sofa (1928) — Odalisque with Green Scarf (1926) — Decorative Figure on an Ornamental Background (1926) — Notre-Dame, une fin d'après-midi (1902, 72x5cm) — Polynesia, The Sea (1946) — The Dance 1 _ The Dance 2 _ The Dance 3 (1933) — Music (1910) _ detailWoman Reading (1894) — The Inattentive ReaderReader in the Garden (1921)

Icarus (1947, 42x26cm) _ This bold and playful image is one of twenty plates Matisse created to illustrate his groundbreaking book Jazz. The illustrations derive from maquettes of cut and pasted colored papers, which were then printed using a stencil technique known as "pochoir." Here, the mythological figure Icarus is presented in a simplified form floating against a royal blue nighttime sky. Matisse's flat, abstracted forms and large areas of pure color marked an important change in the direction of his later work and ultimately influenced "hard-edge" artists of the 1960s like Ellsworth Kelly and Al Held.
      This work, one of Matisse’s well-known cutouts, accompanied the text of "The Airplane" in his book Jazz. Depicting a man with a red circle pasted on for his heart falling through the night sky, the subject matter of this cutout was typical of other scenes in this book. The pure colors speak of the past but more specifically of the sickness Matisse had suffered during World War II. The cutouts of 1943 are the first art pieces that Matisse worked on at night, in lamplight rather than sunlight. His night, in these scenes, speaks of insomnia and emptiness, abstractions that can be filled only by painting and memory. By foregoing the literal in his art at this point, Matisse is said to have been surrendering the body, which was aged, in favor of the mind. The childish act of cutting and then combining pure colors symbolized for Matisse a return to the past, to the "human element" of art.
La Danse (1910) [different the 3-panel Dance of 1933) _ This painting features five naked women dancing on a green and blue background, a color combination symbolic of the earth. The two women whose faces are turned away from the viewer cannot reach their hands together. Each figure is involved in her own world, connected to but distant from the others. In this crude, simple depiction of humans and nature, Matisse succeeded in revealing his vision of the universal. The individual, though for the most part unaware of his deep link with the rest of the world, cannot separate himself from others. Nature is the modest background that in fact subtly dominates life. This painting is only one of many for which Matisse used his extensive studies of nude women.
_ Matisse dedicated his career to developing a decorative, expressive form of abstraction. Among his best known works is the mural-sized canvas Dance (II), commissioned in 1909 by Sergei Shchukin, a Russian merchant who had previously purchased several of Matisse’s paintings. Intended for a grand, three-story staircase in Shchukin’s home, Matisse conceived of Dance (II) as part of a suite of three paintings: Dance (II), Music, and a scene of repose. Because of the scandal Dance (II) and Music caused at the Salon d’Automne of 1910 — Matisse’s use of intense, vibrant colors in the former was even more shocking than the male nudes that populate Music — Shchukin briefly hesitated before accepting the two canvases. For unknown reasons, he refused the third canvas, which Matisse reworked several times between 1909 and 1916, when he titled it Bathers by a River. The idea of dance clearly occupied Matisse’s imagination for several years. A ring of dancers appears in the distant background of Matisse’s Le bonheur de vivre, 1905–6 (now in the collection of the Barnes Foundation), a painting that celebrates life’s hedonistic pleasures. Dance (II) literally and figuratively expands this theme: five nude women hold hands as they cavort atop a grassy knoll, entirely filling the canvas. The stylized lines of the dancers’ bodies radiate energy and grace. The group’s circular motion directs attention to the center of the canvas, indicating unity and balance. Matisse rendered the scene in vivid shades of red, blue, and green that emphasize the intense joy of the dance. Vibrant, lyrical, exultant — this ring of dancers eternally symbolizes life’s ecstasy.
Luxe, Calme, et Volupté (1904) This painting marks a transition from the Impressionist style of Matisse’s early days to his later obsession with "making colors sing, without paying any heed to rules and regulations." The pastel colors — often depicting the two legs of a woman in different colors — conjure the mystical feeling of Baudelaire’s poem, from which this title is taken. In itself, the Pointillist style was not successful for Matisse; he found it too logical and did not sincerely feel a part of the work. What he played with in the paint and began to understand, however, was the purity of color. The joy portrayed in this painting through the clean, fresh light helped Matisse discover his artistic strength. In addition, this painting marks the first time Matisse depicted nudes in the sensual and carefree way that characterized many later works of his career. In a sense, this painting represents Matisse’s rite of passage into himself. He moved to Nice soon after completing this work, and he continued to progress in the reflections on color for which he is known.
The Red Studio (1911) "A painter exists only in terms of his pictures," Matisse once said. The studio, in that case, is the sacred home that the artist devotes his life to maintaining and enriching. This painting, one of many that depicted an artist’s studio, is famous for the warm, deep red that dominates it. On a simple level, this work itemizes the objects and other paintings from Matisse’s studio at Issy-les-Moulineaux. The picture is both spatial and flat, since the perspective lines and outlines of three-dimensional objects are drawn only in light yellow lines, while flat objects such as pictures are filled in with color. In addition, the theme of "art in art" (paintings inside a painting), culminated in this piece, followed Matisse throughout his life. According to Matisse, the artist was confined to his studio; though his imagination and observations could venture outside of the studio, the essence of his life never would.
Interior of the Chapel of the Rosary, Vence _ Matisse began working on this four-year project in the late 1940s. In 1941, he had undergone an operation, and he wanted to thank the nuns who took care of him during his convalescence. The chapel is small and modest, embracing light as its main and purest feature. All the art forms in the building -- drawing, sculpture and architecture -- were subordinated to a spiritual opening through stained glass to the light outside. His chief aim "was to balance a surface of light and color against a solid wall with black drawing on a white background." He used paper cutout maquettes for the windows and vestments according to the notion that this material was "form filtered to its essentials." The simplicity characteristic of this chapel, mixed with the profound emotion with which Matisse viewed its creation, made the building his masterpiece. Both in philosophy and craftsmanship, Matisse saw the chapel as his "revelation."

(*) Soror Mariana Alcoforado (1640-1723) nasceu e faleceu em Beja. Era uma religiosa que professou no Convento da Conceição em Beja, tendo sido escrivã e vigária do mesmo convento. Foi-lhe atribuída a autoria das Lettres Portugaises, publicadas em Paris em 1669 por Claude Barbin. No mesmo ano são publicadas em Colónia com o título Lettres d'amour d'une religieuse portugaise. Nesta última edição, uma nota informa que as cartas foram dirigidas ao cavaleiro de Chamilly e tinham sido traduzidas para francês por Guilleragues. Boissonade faz saber em 1810 que encontrou um manuscrito das cartas que indica que a autora das mesmas se chamava «Mariana Alcaforada, religiosa em Beja». Os investigadores actuais duvidam, no entanto, da atribuição desta autoria. As cartas tiveram várias traduções para português
— Les Lettres portugaises traduites en français ont paru, sans nom d'auteur, le 04 janvier 1669, chez le libraire Claude Barbin, "au Palais, sur le second perron de la Sainte-Chapelle". L'auteur en serait un certain chevalier de Guilleragues, dont on ne connaît que ce seul texte.

Died on a 31 December:
1970 Henri de Waroquier, French artist born on 08 January 1881.
1889 Joseph Pierre Olivier Coomans, Belgian artist born on 28 July 1816.
1877 Gustave Courbet, leading French realist painter born on 10 June 1819. — LINKSLe bois aux bichesChute d'EauLa VagueVaguesLes Falaises d'ÉtretatBords de la SeineEnterrement à OrnansCribleuses de bléLe studio de l'artisteBonjour, Monsieur CourbetCourbet au Chien NoirSelf~Portrait (you may want to increase the brightness of your screen for this one) — Woman in a Podoscaphe (1865; 911x1103pix, 146kb) — P.-J. Proudhon en 1853 with two young girls, one drawing, one playing (1865; 818x1105pix, 164kb) — Pierre-Joseph Proudhon alone (1865; 1128x892pix) — The Beach at Trouville at Low Tide (1865; 761x1026pix) — The Beach at Trouville at High Tide (1865; 791x1127pix) — Deer in the Snow (1867; 890x1108pix) — Dear Taking Shelter from the Winter Snow (1866; 831x1129pix, 350kb)
1864 August-Karl-Friedrich von Kloeber, German artist born on 21 August 1793.
1698 Joost (or Jan) van Geel, Dutch artist born on 20 October 1631.
1679 Ottmar Elliger I, Swedish artist born on 08 September 1633.
1676 Klaes Molenaer, Dutch artist born before 1630. — Relative? of Jan Miense Molenaer [1610-1668] ?

Born on a 31 December:
1864 Hans am Ende, German artist whose end on this earth came in 1918.
1861 René François Xavier Prinet, French artist who died on 01 February 1946.
1751 Giovanni-Battista Lampi I, Italian artist who died on 11 February 1830.


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