Luis Barragan (1902-1988)
The noted Mexican architect Luis Barragán never forgot the vibrant forms and colours of the Mexican countryside where he grew up. Bougainvillea blossoms were his madeleine, and their magenta hue became so crucial to him that he kept a piece of pink paper by his bedside as he lay dying."
René Magritte (1898-1967)
When in 1925 a friend of Magritte shows him the reproduction of the picture of Chirico "the Song of Love", " the painter cannot retain his tears; " it was, he will say later, one of the most moving moments of my life ", “my eyes saw the “la pensée" (idea, conception, thought) for the first time "
Robert Altman (1925 - 2006)
"If anyone on the set [of M*A*S*H] came up with a joke that was in worse taste than the one we were going to use, we'd go for the worse one," director Robert Altman once recalled. "Why? Nothing could be in worse taste than kids coming home in body bags. We weren't just earning salaries and passing the time — we really felt that we could try anything. When M*A*S*H opened in New York, [screenwriter] Ring Lardner, Jr said to me, 'You've ruined my film.' He didn't say anything when he won "If anyone on the set [of M*A*S*H] came up with a joke that was in worse taste than the one we were going to use, we'd go for the worse one," director Robert Altman once recalled. "Why? Nothing could be in worse taste than kids coming home in body bags. We weren't just earning salaries and passing the time — we really felt that we could try anything. When M*A*S*H opened in New York, [screenwriter] Ring Lardner, Jr said to me, 'You've ruined my film.' He didn't say anything when he won
Claude Monet (1840-1926)
While living near Paris, Claude Monet was frequently badgered by aspiring artists, the boldest of whom would set up their easels right beside his. "They would follow me about for days together," he later recalled. "I could not get rid of them. Where I went, they went. What I painted, they would paint also. They made me look at their work and then, when not to be impolite, I had said two or three words, they would go away and tell the world that they were pupils of Monet!"
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)
At 13, Georgia O'Keeffe was disappointed when her first drawing (for an art class at the Sacred Heart convent school) was deemed "too small and too black."
Michael Cimino (1939)
Cimino tells the story of how De Niro was first to see the script and asked to see the locations. Cimino and De Niro went to visit the steel mill used in the movie and were shown about by Chuck Aspegren. So impressed were they by him that they offered him a part in the movie. That's a pleasant enough anecdote to hear about, but Cimino saves the excitement for last when he explains the chilling story behind the Russian roulette scene and the real-life near-helicopter crash.
Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988)
Clare Boothe Luce spiriting sculptor Isamu Noguchi, chisel in hand, into her Manhattan apartment to touch up her marble bust after a secret nose job.
Man Ray (1890-1976)
While Hemingway and Henry Miller lived on fried potatoes and the kindness of strangers, Ray tooled around in a sports car paid for by his lucrative portraits.
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (on a painting hanging at the museum)
This Rembrandt etching is linked to an eighteenth-century anecdote. The print is supposed to have been made during a visit by Rembrandt to the country estate of Jan Six. This prominent Amsterdam patrician was a friend and patron of the artist who wagered Six that he could make an etching of the view in the time it took a servant to go to the village to buy a pot of mustard. The etching is supposed to have been the result of the bet. A nice story, perhaps, but it does not explain this particular etching: that bridge was not on Six's estate at Hillegom, but on a tributary canal of the river Amstel. Rembrandt sketched the bridge from a spot about fifteen minutes walk from Het Kalfje tavern, in the direction of Ouderkerk.
Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
Calder developed his own one-man circus, with tiny performers made of "cork, wire, wood, yarn, paper, string, and cloth," carefully engineered to walk tightropes, dance, tame lions, lift weights, and engage in gymnastics and acrobatics in and above the ring. Acting as omniscient ringmaster, Calder would manipulate the wire performers while his wife wound circus music on the gramophone in the background.
Lucas Samaras (1936)
During the exhibition, in an interview at the museum with critic Barbara Rose, Samaras revealed something of his neurotic sense of apprehension by reporting how he broke out in a rash of pimples after experimenting with the pointillist technique in his artwork. "It was almost as if someone was punishing me," he stated, and when Rose asked if he often had that feeling, Samaras admitted flatly, "I do."
Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770)
For an artist whom we identify as a child of the Age of Absolutism, it perhaps comes as a surprise to recognize that he worked only once in a "major" court-at the very end of his life, Madrid. Rather, he seems to have been something of a workaholic: it has been said that he covered more square feet of wall space than any other artist in history. Perhaps the most interesting thing about him is to observe how much of his life he spent on a scaffold, 20 or 50 feet off the ground.
Gustave Doré (1832-1883)
Anecdotes told frequently about Doré relate how he began to draw when about 4, that he always had a pencil in hand, and that he preferred his pencils sharpened at both ends.
Hans Holbein (1497-1543)
Of the portrait of Anne of Cleves (plate V), the author writes, "This is the portrait that Holbein was said to have made too flattering, at the instance of Thomas Cromwell. If this story be true, this unfortunate consort of Henry VIII must have been singularly homely in appearance. This oil-painting...gives the suggestion of a woman who could not have roused interest in anybody, and the peculiar quality of something akin to inspiration that Holbein brought to nearly all portrait painting is conspicuous by its absence."
Ray Evans (1915-2007)
Alfred Hitchcock was putting together a picture called The Man Who Knew Too Much. He wanted Jimmy Stewart to star, but Stewarts' agent (MCA) said he couldn't have Stewart unless he took another of their clients, Doris Day, for the female lead, and Livingston & Evans to write the songs for her. The other 99.99% of their careers, Livingston & Evans would get the job, and then call their agent to put together the deal. As mentioned before, this was the only time the roles were reversed. Initially, Hitchcock didn't want Doris Day, AND he didn't want a song (even though Doris' character was a singer in the film).
Well, he relented on Doris Day (ultimately coming to believe she did a wonderful job) AND he told Jay and Ray that he had found a way to use a song in the story. He told them he didn't know what kind of song he wanted, but that it would help if it had a foreign title (because Stewarts' character was a roving ambassador), and the song had to be sung to a little boy. Well, Jay had recently seen a picture called
The Barefoot Contessa, in which Rosanno Brazzi had taken Ava Gardner to his ancestral castle in Italy. Carved there in stone was the family motto: Che Sera Sera. He explained to her what it meant. Jay thought it might make a good song title, so he wrote it down (in the dark). When they got the Hitchcock assignment, Jay and Ray both knew it was the perfect title. They changed the spelling to the Spanish "Que Sera Sera" because there are so many Spanish-speaking people in the world. The phrase is spelled the same in French as well (which probably explains the international popularity of the song). Jay sang the finished song for Hitchcock, who remarked,"I told you I didn't know what kind of a song I want. That's the kind of song I want". He then walked out and they didn't see him again for years.
Allan McCollum (1944)
McCollum himself told an anecdote about being asked to supply props for the movie "American Psycho." However the filmmakers didn't want the responsibility of keeping the artwork safe, so McCollum gave them permission to copy his work and then they sent him the copies when they were done. He now has them, six "Surrogate Paintings," or maybe he meant six surrogate paintings.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Some company recently was interested in buying my `aura´. They didn´t want my product. They kept saying, `We want your aura´. I never figured out what they wanted. But they were willing to pay a lot for it. So then I thought that if somebody was willing to pay that much for it, I should try to figure out what it is.
William Merritt Chase (1849-1916)
He posed for a few minutes before making a series of rushes upon the canvas, retiring from each attack with dramatic posturing. During the whole process he emitted through his mustaches a hissing sound that somehow gave a mysterious solemnity and importance to the scene. In less than an hour, with marvelous deftness, he had brushed in a completely realized portrait. It was so dazzling a performance that we were left breathless and subdued.
Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510)
So averse was he to marital domesticity that an anecdote has Botticelli report that he "walked like a mad man all over Florence throughout the night" rather than return to a nightmare in which he was married.
Eero Saarinen (1910-1961)
A famous anecdote concerns the fact that Eero's competition award for the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was sent in error to his more famous father.
Allan McCollum (1944)
achs was wandering through Strawbridge's when he espied some giant ginger jars in solid colors--basically copies of McCollum's "Perfect Vehicles," giagiant ginger jars, in this case turned to use as store decor. Now McCollum, who is a man who makes copies of copies, questions uniqueness and uniformity, and thinks mass production is a good thing, would really have loved these copies. So Sid tried to take a photograph, but store security intercepted him before he could focus. What would have been the pinkerton scrooge's point, I wonder? He was protecting copies of copies from being copied. Then again, maybe that proves McCollum's point about the value of the mass produced item.
Jean Charlot (1898-1979)
Charlot recounts an anecdote from his days in Los Angeles working with the printer Kistler. Apparently Kistler expected him to bring a Maya antiquity to copy, and when he did not, Kistler gained confidence in him as an artist.
Ray Edward Johnson (1927-1995)
“The contents is the contents; the stamp are the stamp; the address are the address. It is very clear your question ‘Is this an art form’ is the art form.”
Rem Koolhaas (1944)
The film about Rem Koolhaas’ meanderings through Lagos offered an amazing if somewhat short view on the almost uncontrolled and explosive evolution of the city over the course of 4 years (1998-2002). One notable anecdote was that some market vendors had built their own little prison for detaining local criminals. No need for police and interviewed people seemed quite happy about this. Opportunity moves in mysterious ways.
Not many anecdotes concern the Eiffel Tower, but one is suitable here “I can’t find the Eiffel Tower,” comments the bewildered tourist. “Is it lost again?” responds the Parisian.
Gilbert (1943) & George (1942)
George: 'We believe it is wrong that there is a Tate Britain and a Tate Modern. You can't judge artists by their passports. It's an apartheid. An apartheid in art!' Gilbert: 'Then they said: "OK, half in Tate Britain and half in Tate Modern." So we said: "Oh, yes! And then we will have a ship [they mean going up and down the Thames between the two galleries] with a big shit round it!"' ...
Chaim Soutine (1893-1943)
Chaïm Soutine once horrified his neighbours by keeping an animal carcass in his studio so that he could paint (Carcass of Beef). The stench drove them to send for the police, whom Soutine promptly lectured on the relative importance of art over hygiene. On Tuesday the 7th of February 2006 this painting sold for £7.8m to an anonymous buyer in London.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.
Romare Bearden (1911-1988)
"I was in the apartment the night Homage to Mary Lou (1984) was delivered from the master printer. Bearden excitedly unwrapped the edition, which was to be sold as a benefit for his wife's dance company. When he revealed the lithograph, I could understand his passion. It is his finest print, exuding the warmth and touch of his collages."
Leroy Neiman (1922)
“Mike Piazza represents the healthy, perfectly conditioned athlete. In his moves, effortless and graceful, you see an ideal, picture-perfect sports hero in action. A fierce competitor, Piazza is the ultimate professional. When Mike was traded to the New York Mets in 1998 he had expressed his strong desire to Mets management that he wear number 31, which he had worn for a decade with the Dodgers. The trouble was, John Franco, the Mets long-time star relief pitcher, had been wearing that number for many years. But Franco gave the number to Piazza. In appreciation for John Franco's extraordinary generosity, Mike commissioned me to do a painting of Franco, which he presented to Franco as a thank you gesture. That's the sort of guy Mike is.”
William Hogarth (1697-1764)
Certain noble-man, remarkable for ugliness and deformity, employed Hogarth to paint his picture—a behest which the artist executed with only too scrupulous fidelity. The peer was disgusted at so correct a representation of himself, and refused to take or pay for the picture. After numerous ineffectual negotiations with his lordship on the subject, Hogarth addressed him the following note: Mr. Hogarth's dutiful respects to Lord —; finding that he does not mean to have the picture which was drawn for him, is informed again of Mr. Hogarth's pressing necessities for the money. If, therefore, his lordship does not send for it in three days, it will be disposed of, with the addition of a tail and some other appendages, to Mr. Hare, the famous wild-beast man; Mr. H. having given that gentleman a conditional promise on his lordship's refusal.' The ruse was successful; the price agreed on was paid for the picture, which was forthwith destroyed.
Ray Johnson (1927-1995)
In one of the funnier moments in “How to Draw a Bunny,” a 2002 documentary about the artist Ray Johnson, Morton Janklow, the literary agent, recounts how Mr. Johnson offered to sell him some collages featuring the agent’s silhouette writes Randy Kennedy in the New York Times. A price was named. Negotiations ensued by mail. New prices were proposed, and collages came and went like produce on a grocery scale. At one point Mr. Johnson announced that he had emblazoned images of Paloma Picasso on some collages, and that “Palomaization” meant, of course, that he would have to double his prices. After more than a year of frustration Mr. Janklow finally understood: Mr. Johnson, who died in 1995, had never intended to sell the collages. His letters, works of art in their own right, had just been his eccentric way of exploring the basic absurdity of attaching a dollar value to something as spiritual as art.
Chaim Soutine (1893-1943)
An often- repeated anecdote about Soutine, originating with his patron Madeleine Castaing, is that he used up to forty brushes in the course of a painting session, tossing them away one after another in a frenzy of creativity.
Laurence Stephen Lowry (1887-1976)
A London crook used a credit card stolen from James Bond star Sean Connery to try to pull off a £250,000 art sting, according to Fleet Street sources. Posing as the actor's art agent, the gold-fingered conman calmly walked into the Kapil Jariwala gallery in New Burlington Street and used Connery's credit card to buy a £250,000 painting by 20th-century British artist Laurence Stephen Lowry. He asked for it to be delivered to an Edinburgh hotel on the day of the Scottish Parliament elections. At first it seemed to add up -- Connery has been active in the elections -- but the gallery staff double-checked with Connery's people and discovered the sting in time. Police are investigating.
Robert Hughes (1938)
In 1970, he got a call from Time (on a neighbor's phone; his had been disconnected) offering him a job as the magazine's art critic. His anecdote about this incident is a perfect snapshot of the good old days of cultural journalism: The editor who called him was drunk from his habitual three-martini lunch; Hughes was stoned to the gills on hash and, in his paranoia, assumed he was talking to the CIA. They worked it out; he took the job, moved to New York, and over the course of 30 years churned out hundreds of eloquent, witty, briskly opinionated columns for his target audience of intelligent, nonspecialist readers.
Jeff Koons (1955)
Actually, he had his assistants paint it. From what I gleaned in the opinion, when you get to be a bigshot artist, you don't actually have to paint or sculpt things; you get some inspiration and your staff does the messy work.
Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
Alexander Schouvaloff, founder of the Theatre Museum branch of London's Victoria and Albert Museum, has written a thoroughly engaging, detailed essay on theater design that places the Lifar collection in historical context. His anecdotes are priceless. He relates tales of dancers who stood still while Matisse painted flowers on their skirts and of others who could barely execute their leaps in Giorgio de Chirico's weighty dresses encrusted with architectural motifs.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
In the 1970s Warhol produced a group of large oxidation paintings, so called because they were created by pissing onto canvases prepared with copper paint, the resulting patterns the effect of oxidation. Warhol had friends create these, and he watched the young men piss on them to create them. An anecdote runs that Warhol had the men drink a particular type of Mexican beer because it produced an effect he liked.
These works involved Warhol in a director/voyeur role. They also make points about the relationship between high and low art (since they are like Pollock paintings, but actually made from piss).
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
During World War II Picasso suffered some harassment from the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied Paris. An inquisitive German officer, coming into his apartment, noticed a photograph of Guernica lying on a table. "Did you do that?" he asked Picasso.
"No, you did," said Picasso.
Tony Shafrazi attacked Picasso's "Guernica" with a can of spray paint in order to create his "own" artwork, and was imprisoned, then returned to New York as a successful dealer in graffiti art.
Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)
While the plaster was being finished at Van Dongen's studio, the photographer Brassaï came to photograph it at the invitation of Maillol, who felt it would make a good poster for the Petit Palais exhibition. While Brassaï and Maillol were inspecting the sculpture on 21 December 1936 they noticed:
that the weight of the material has caused 'La Montagne's' left shoulder to begin to slip … Probably the iron armature has given way Maillol is beside himself, and so is everyone else. Can the disaster be prevented; Van Dongen fetches some planks to shore up the weakened shoulder, while the sculptor tries to strengthen it with freshly mixed plaster In the end, the sculpture is saved, and two hours later I manage to photograph it, with Maillol looking like a midget beside the colossus.
One day in 1932, the first time he visited Picasso's studio, Brassai accidentally left behind a blank glass photographic plate. Picasso returned it the next day after making the black object into an artwork. Scratching on the tiny plate (9 by 6 centimeters), Picasso had room only for a few strokes, but by gouging out the emulsion on one side and putting color on the other, he produced a powerfully stylized silhouette of a woman's head for printing. This image turned out to be a two-dimensional version of the Marie-Therese bust and became the seed of a celebrated Picasso oil painting, ''Woman in Front of a Mirror,'' in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Another better-known anecdote claims that when finishing the Moses (San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome), Michelangelo violently hit the knee of the statue with a hammer, shouting, "Why don't you speak to me?"
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)
A poor and then unknown Jean-Michel Basquiat crashed in a friend's house in 1983 with his similarly unknown girlfriend, Madonna (they threw off "vibes of ambition, like heat from a stove").
Keith Haring (1958-1990)
For the idea of illustrating the ten commandments led to a restriction in form: Haring himself described how he had to be able to fit ten canvases into the five round arches of the Museum for Contemporary Art in Bordeaux without actually knowing what pictures he was going to paint on them. Only the number ten gave him the solution then, and it is a lovely anecdote, how after arriving in France he first got hold of a Bible in order to refresh his knowledge of the commandments.
Duncan Phillips (1886-1966)
In the 1950s, the art critic Hilton Kramer had come to learn of a French painter recently deceased by the name of Pierre Bonnard. Bonnard was not well represented in the collections in New York, but was extraordinarily well represented here. Phillips had regarded Bonnard as one of the great painters of his generation and collected 31 examples of his work. Kramer came here prepared to immerse himself in the visual language of Bonnard but couldn’t find a single picture. Delighted by what he saw otherwise and greatly impressed with the collection, he harassed the staff about seeing the work of Bonnard, without much success. But just as he was leaving, a limousine pulled up and an angular old gent unfolded himself out of the backseat. There wasn’t much question as to who he was. Hilton looked at Phillips and said, “I’m a great admirer of what you’ve done. I came all the way from New York to see the paintings by Bonnard, but there is nothing on view.” Phillips said, “Well, young man, that’s because the Bonnards are in my dining room – why don’t you come to lunch?” So they drove to the Phillips house. The Bonnards were lining the sides of the dining room and, at the end, was the great Braque Gueridon tabletop still life.
Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924)
Europa, which is Titian at his most powerful as a painter. Mrs. Gardner felt personally so connected to this work that she put the fabric of her favorite ball gown beneath it. I like to think that she took off her gown and hung it up beneath this picture and climbed into it. It has become the stuff of legend.
Two fellow students who “hung out” at the Rose Art Museum, as I did, were Adam Weinberg, now the director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Gary Tinterow, now a distinguished senior curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We have all kept in touch, and there is no question that we all feel our college museum experience was absolutely seminal in starting us down the paths we have taken. I relate this anecdote because I feel it illustrates the central place of the university art museum in visual arts education in this country more clearly than almost anything else I could say to you.
Several anecdotes reveal that Michelangelo's skill, especially in sculpture, was greatly admired in his own time. It is said that when still a young apprentice, he had made a pastiche of a Roman statue (Il Putto Dormiente, the sleeping child or Cupid) of such beauty and perfection, that it was later sold in Rome as an ancient Roman original. In fact, he damaged the statue and buried it in order to fool the buyer, Cardinal Raffaele Riario. After the truth was revealed, the Cardinal later took this as proof of his skill and commissioned his Bacchus.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Picasso was relaxing on a beach in the south of France when he was accosted by a small boy clutching a blank sheet of paper. The child had evidently been dispatched by his parents to solicit an autographed drawing. After a moment's hesitation, Picasso tore up the paper and drew a few designs on the boy's back instead. He signed his name with a flourish and sent the child back to his parents. Relating the incident at a later date, Picasso remarked thoughtfully,
"I wonder if they'll ever wash him again?"
Frank Zappa (1940-1993)
The first thing you have to know about art is that it has a frame. If it doesn't have a frame, you say, "What is that shit on the wall?". But if it has a frame, you say "Uh, that's art", and after that, it's just a matter of opinion.
Stan Douglas (1960)
Stan Douglas' anecdote about showing video stings during commercial breaks on a PBS channel in British Columbia. The station got complaints about these weird little vignettes, so they started putting up a short disclaimer explaining that these were art works. And promptly everyone said, 'Uh, that's art', and they no longer looked at them with the freshness the unmarked interventions provoked. Calling it art stopped it being art.
Pierre Klossowski (1905-2001)
Jungo tells an anecdote (Portrait d'un ami, Jean-Paul Jungo 34-35) about his first purchase of a Klossowski drawing in the artist's Paris studio in 1974. The story has it that Klossowski warned the banker that Swiss customs officials would most likely confiscate the work as "une oeuvre licencieuse." While Jungo made it back to Morges with the painting in tow, and without any intervention by Swiss customs, Klossowski's provocative warning undoubtedly added to the pleasure of taking such a drawing back to Switzerland.
Tintoretto (c. 1518-1594)
Ridolfi is our authority for saying that Tintoretto had only been ten days in the studio when Titian sent him home once and for all. The reason, according to the same writer, is that the great master observed some very spirited drawings, which he learned to be the production of Tintoretto; and it is inferred that he became at once jealous of so promising a scholar.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
A poor artist owned a supposed Picasso. He sent it via a friend for the master to authenticate it. Picasso: "It's false."
From a different source the friend brought another and another Picasso-painting. Each time Picasso disowned them. Yet the third time the man said, "But I saw you paint this one with my own eyes."
"I can paint false Picasso as well as anyone," retorted Picasso. Then he bought the first painting for a sum four times as high as the owner had originally hoped it would fetch.
Jean-Baptiste Nattier (1678-1726)
On an oil painting by Jean-Baptiste Nattier, entitled Joseph and Potiphar's Wife: In a biblical anecdote, a young man, Joseph, rejects advances by Potifar's wife. The painting shows the elegant boudoir of Potiphar's wife where she is stark naked and Joseph is trying to escape from her grasp. As her right arm reaches him, he flinches from her and shuts his eyes in shame.
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
Rembrandt's prints brought him fame and no small advantage, in particular through the device of slight changes and small and unimportant additions, which he made on his prints, thanks to which they could be sold again as fresh ones. Nay, the demand was at that time so great that people were not considered true amateurs who did not possess the Juno with and without the crown, the Joseph with the light and the dark head and so on.
Hans Baldung Grien (1484/5-1545)
His artistic style is characterized by vibrant coloring and slightly distorted proportions. As for his personal style, he favored the color green for his attire; this anecdote possibly explains the source of the nickname "Grien."
Alex Katz (1927)
“The painter Alex Katz delighted Schuyler by refusing to believe him when he said that he had attended [without graduating] Bethany College in West Virginia. ‘Nah, you’re Harvard,’ Katz said.” Koch, who has not written art criticism, “wrote plays partly for the pleasure of collaborating with painters who did the sets.” And though he was the one heterosexual in the group, his friend and collaborator Larry Rivers recalled that he “talked and acted as gay as the rest.”
John Marin (1870-1953)
He was entering the subway, wearing a raincoat, going round a corner, tipped to one side, and Rosenfeld thought, 'he looks just like his watercolors!'" From which Porter concludes that "not his face, which was Emersonian, but his gesture, expressed what Analytical Cubism also expressed: the jazziness and fragmentation of the twentieth century."
John James Audubon (1785-1851)
As a child, he had passed countless happy hours combing the banks of the Loire River in search of feathers and nests and eggs. And he had watched, he asserted, a pet parrot's brutal demise at the hands of another family pet, a monkey.
Suzanne Valadon (1865-1938)
Suzanne Valadon paraded the streets of Paris with a nosegay of lettuce and live snails.
Yves Tanguy (1900-1955)
Yves Tanguy's wife hurled a forkful of fish at her husband's mistress, Peggy Guggenheim.
Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
On February 25, 1970, Oliver Steindecker, Rothko’s assistant, found the artist in his kitchen, lying dead on the floor in front of the sink, covered in blood. His arms had been sliced open with a razor lying at his side. During autopsy it was discovered he had also overdosed on anti-depressants. He was 66 years old.
Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847-1917)
Albert Pinkham Ryder saw himself as an inch worm at the end of a leaf "trying to find something out there beyond the place on which I have a footing”.
Katharine Kuh (1904-1994)
Katharine Kuh would meet with Clyfford Still at his home in Maryland when the artist would see no one else from New York.
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)
Frida Kahlo's fierce determination overcame a terrible accident, 35 subsequent surgeries and constant pain to produce images of real power.
Joan Miro (1893-1983)
“At the height of the surrealist movement, when the big demonstrations were going on, everyone was supposed to do something scandalous, to throw mud in the collective bourgeois eye. It was considered a major achievement to do something outrageous right out on the street. ... Miro was expected to justify his presence in the group in some manner. So what did he do? He went around declaiming politely, 'Down with the Mediterranean.' The Mediterranean is a pretty big, indefinite area. ... 'Down with the Mediterranean' was the only outrage that went unpunished.”
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1771)
Tiepolo's generous Venetian heart enabled him to assist a jealous fellow artist when the latter's plot to have Tiepolo beaten by thugs backfired and the perpetrator became himself the victim.
James Rosenquist (1933)
"I'm interested in contemporary vision--the flick of chrome, reflections, rapid associations, quick flashes of light. Bing-bang! Bing-bang! I don't do anecdotes; I accumulate experiences."
Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721)
Jean-Antoine Watteau's portrait of the clown character Pierrot, considers the theory that the painting was actually the artist's melancholy self-portrait.
Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (1887-1986)
The story of the now-famous O'Keeffe returning to the site of one of her early teaching positions, appearing in her old room during a class led by her former supervisor, striding to a cabinet and removing her remaining drawings, then leaving without a word.
Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
When Reverend Mother Gilles, Mother Superior of the Vence convent, expressed surprise that Matisse had thanked her for letting him design her chapel, he told her "[But] I'm doing it for myself." Feeling betrayed by this comment, Sister Jacques-Marie interjected: "But you told me you were doing it for God," to which Matisse replied, "Yes, but I am God."
Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825)
Jacques-Louis David's rendition of a scene from classical Roman history helped spur the French Revolution.
Salvador Dali (1904-1989)
Dalì relates an anecdote about being expelled from art school after refusing to take a test from professors he thought knew less than him.
William Hogarth (1697-1764)
He was engaged by Joshua Morris, a tapestry worker, to prepare a design for the Element of Earth. Morris, however, having heard that he was "an engraver, and no painter," declined the work when completed, and Hogarth accordingly sued him for the money in the Westminster Court, where, on the 28th of May 1728, the case was decided in his (Hogarth's) favour.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806)
You'll examine the frenetic work of Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and hear how he boasted of painting a master work in only one hour.
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610)
The Caravaggio masterpiece, The Death of the Virgin, which was commissioned for the Roman Church of Santa Maria della Scala a Trastevere, but was rejected by the clergy because the model for Mary was identified as a prostitute
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)
The first of Bernini's fountains was the Fountain of the triton (1640). His most famous fountain, the spectacular Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi) in the Piazza Navona, Rome, is also a source of anecdotes about his rivalry with Francesco Borromini (whose Sant'Agnese in Agone church faces the fountain): one of the Bernini's river gods, it was said, cowers in terror at the unsteady-looking facade of Sant'Agnese.
Titian (c. 1490 - 1576)
Titian's "sacred conversation" depicts the Madonna and Child, St Catherine, the Donor and St Dominic in a landscape setting. The brilliant colour and fine detail in fabric, foliage and facial expressions form an intense composition. An anecdote in the audio notes relates Michelangelo's quip after visiting the young Titian's studio: "He paints well, but it's a pity he can't draw!"
Salvador Dali (1904-1989)
Every day he ate the same food in the same restaurants and took the same walks, carrying a little piece of driftwood to ward off evil spirits
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
"Almost every evening, either I went to Braque's studio or Braque came to mine....A painting wasn't finished unless both of us felt it was"
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Rilke was kind of depressed and had writer's block and Rodin, who seemed never to know this attitude, said: "Get outside - go to the zoo, look around!" Rilke went there and wrote "The Panther". The rest is history!
I love stories like this. I also love that Rodin was one of the only Frenchmen (artists) to admire and embrace Sargent while Monet and his buddies belittled him all the while cashing the checks he wrote them.
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
A happy client once said, "Sargent saw beyond the veil of flesh & painted her very soul." Sargent said, "If there was a veil there I should have painted it, too - I can only paint what I can see". The idea of painting souls and spirits and spiritual things lies in the ability to paint the visible stuff very well. Besides, what color is a soul? Would that be thalo green or orange?
Nam June Paik (1932-2006)
Paik once applied for a Rockefeller Foundation grant and in the section that asked what he wanted the money for, he wrote "To destroy all national television"
Josef Sudek (1896 -1976)
Sonja Bultaty tells an anecdote about helping Sudek photograph Prague. It portrays the special relationship between him and the city. “I remember one time, in one of the Romanesque halls, deep below the spires of the cathedral [St. Vitus] - it was dark as in catacombs - with just a small window below street level inside the massive medieval walls. We setup the tripod and camera and then sat down on the floor and talked. Suddenly Sudek was up like lightening. A ray of sun had entered the darkness and both of us were waving cloths to raise mountains of dust 'to see the light,' as Sudek said. Obviously he had known that the sun would reach here perhaps two or three times a year and he was waiting for it.”
Eugene Atget (1857-1927)
From the age of 50, he lived solely on milk, bread, and pieces of sugar.
Berenice Abbott (1898-1991)
Her most famous anecdote of the period came from her work in the rundown neighborhood known as the Bowery. A man asked her why a nice girl was visiting such a bad area. Abbott replied, "I'm not a nice girl. I'm a photographer."
Joan Miró I Ferra ( 1893-1983)
The image of Chicago art collector Mort Neumann, caught on a cruise ship with a waiting artist and a six-year-old reluctant to yield his art supplies: "Little boy, Miró wants to draw with your crayons! You naughty little boy! Miró wants to draw with your crayons! "
Fake Chinese Section at the 1867 Paris World Exhibition
Pieter van Wesemael, in Architecture of Instruction and Delight: A socio-historical analysis of World Exhibitions as a didactic phenomenon (1798-1851-1970), p. 254, he faults the organizer of the second French world exhibition in 1867, with creating a 'fake' Chinese section:
A less enchanting was the fact that LePlay, in his endeavour to achieve completeness, decided to simulate a Chinese submission when the refusal of the Chinese regime to participate threatened to disturb the global pretension of his exhibition. The fake Chinese section, everything but representative of the culture of this empire, served exclusively commercial interests.
Ryan McGinness (1972)
Mostly I was amused by his anecdote where he denied MTV access to his Deitch space, fearing that his installation was going to be co-opted to boost MTV's street-cred/-hip factor - excatly how does this differ from giving a talk in the W + K atrium surrounded by nike and adidas designers?
Robert Rauschenberg (1925)
Born in Texas, Rauschenberg wanted to be a minister but gave it up because the church prohibited dancing and he loved to dance.
At the Biennale a friend from Dublin, another freelance writer, asks for a copy of the Gary Hume catalogue at the British pavilion, showing her press accreditation. She's told she needs a union card to get any press information. When she says that she's a freelance, that art writers in Dublin don't need press cards, the new internationalism is explained to her immediately: "You're not in Dublin now. You're in Great Britain."
Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
On Turner´s Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth exhibited 1842: The lengthy title provides an elaborate description of exactly what the paddle steamer was doing in such terrible weather conditions; it also includes a personal anecdote claiming that Turner actually witnessed the storm. Later, Turner claimed to a friend that he had been tied to the mast of a ship in order to experience the drama, and had not expected to survive. In fact, this story, and its location in Harwich, were probably invented, but the painting itself is still a strikingly convincing evocation of a storm at sea, the result of a lifetime's experience on Turner's part.
Nam June Paik (1932-2006)
The printer Wolfgang Hainke spoke about a limited edition set of 200 prints that he made in collaboration with NJP and that he needed NJP to sign, so he flew out to New York and on the Saturday that he arrived, Hainke called NJP's home to see if he could bring the prints over for NJP to sign - but Shigeko, NJP's wife, answered his request by saying "we don't work on weekends" - Hainke was upset about this and thought of immediately leaving NYC but but ended up hanging out an extra few days which was lucky and somewhat odd, since on the following Tuesday afternooon, NJP called to say that it was OK to bring the prints over now since he was ready to sign them. It was 9/11.
Arshile Gorky (1904-1948)
Later in life Gorky would tell Mougouch that while still in Boston he swam out into the Charles River intending to drown himself, but then mid-river had the thought "What about painting?" and swam back to shore as quickly as he could.
Chuck Close (1940)
Printmaker David Lasry is an inveterate collaborator, even partnering up with artists without their knowledge. Owner of New York's Two Palms Press, Lasry is concerned with drawing out the print potentials of those who have never used the medium. And so when star painter Chuck Close repeatedly ignored his invitations to work together, Lasry simply appropriated one of Close's paintings. Anecdote reports that when he sent the print to Close with a note explaining this is what he could do for him, the artist phoned Lasry the very next day.
Jerry Saltz, art critic for The Village Voice
Then, in what was undoubtedly the highlight for all in attendance, Saltz proceeded to narrate a comical slideshow from his recent artistic excursion to Utah in order to see Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty. The intrepid critic trekked through Mormon country, only to find that a large, naked and possibly even more passionate pilgrim was asleep in the water, basking in the celebrated wake of the man-made formation.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
The artist frequently bought sketchbooks with transparent pages and would trace his own drawings from the back. Richardson ended with the tale of a noisy Picasso working upstairs in the studio. The artist was proud and muscular enough to do without studio assistants - except when it came to welding. 'He wouldn't drive a car, much less weld,' the scholar imparted. 'He had too much respect for his hands.'
Nam June Paik (1932-2006)
Sometime in the early 60s, while attending a very noisy, almost unlistenable triple concert where there were three simultaneous orchestras playing under the direction of three separate conductors, one of the conductors, Karlheinz Stockhausen, stopped the music in the middle of the performance and reprimanded the third violin for being out of tune, at which point Paik decided right there and then that if Stockhausen could hear that one out of tune violonist in the midst of the cacaphony of noise in the hall, then he, Paik, was in the wrong business, and ceased thinking of himself as a musical composer which then opened the door to him becoming a visual artist (and that was nicely transitioned in the title of his first gallery show, "Exhibition of Music - Electronic Television")
Man Ray (1890-1976)
Man Ray used the arm of a dressmaker's mannequin rather than a pointer when lecturing.
László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946)
Moholy-Nagy, on the other hand, liked to look at Edward Weston's pictures upside down, which did not endear him to Weston.
Ansel Adams (1902-1984)
Ansel Adams was so appalled at the print quality of an abstract composition by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy that he requested permission to reprint it, then tore up his newly detailed version when he realized it was no longer an abstraction.
Barnett Newman (1905-1970)
I want particularly to make clear that if Motherwell wishes to make Marcel Duchamp a father, Duchamp is his father and not mine nor that of any American painter that I respect.
Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574)
In a famous anecdote, Vasari recounts Michelangelo's comments after visiting the studio of Titian, who was in Rome for a brief sojourn in the mid-1540s: Michelangelo supposedly praised Titian, "saying that his coloring and style pleased him very much but that it was a shame that in Venice they did not learn to draw well from the beginning." Vasari thus identifies the essential distinction between Central Italian and Venetian art: while no Italian artist or critic would deny the importance of both drawing (disegno, which includes good design) and coloring (colorito, which implies the act of applying paint to canvas), Central Italians privileged the former and Venetians the latter.
Once The Last Judgement was completed, the depictions of nakedness in the papal chapel was considered obscene and sacrilegeous, and Cardinal Carafa and Monsignor Sernini (Mantua's ambassador) campaigned to have the fresco removed or censored, but the Pope resisted. After Michelangelo's death, it was decided to obscure the genitals ("Pictura in Cappella Ap.ca coopriantur"). So Daniele da Volterra, an apprentice of Michelangelo, was commimssioned to cover with sort of perizomas (briefs) the genitals, leaving unaltered the complex of bodies.
Vasari tells the story of how Pope Boniface VIII sent a messenger to Giotto with a request for samples of his work. Giotto dipped his brush in red and with one continuous stroke painted a perfect circle. He then assured the messenger that the worth of this sample would be recognized. When the pope saw it, he "instantly perceived that Giotto surpassed all other painters of his time."
Michelangelo's skill, especially in sculpture, was greatly admired in his own time. It is said that when still a young apprentice, he had made a pastiche of a Roman statue (Il Putto Dormiente, the sleeping child) of such beauty and perfection, that it was later sold in Rome as an ancient Roman original.
Georgia O Keefe (1887-1986)
Someone read a delightful biography of Georgia O'Keefe written for children and was enthralled by the anecdote about the young Georgia who would eat all around the hole in the donut because she was intrigued by its use of space! The biography also mentioned that Georgia O'Keefe liked to wear black because she didn't need to think about what she was wearing and could focus on the color in her painting
David Hammons (1943)
When the artist David Hammons recently rejected an invitation to do a show at the nonprofit exhibition space Triple Candie, the gallery's directors, Shelly Bancroft and Peter Nesbett, did one anyway. They mounted an unauthorized retrospective in the form of photocopies of Mr. Hammons's works taken from books, catalogs and magazines.
Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1669-1779)
One day, an artist was making a big show of the method he used to purify and perfect his colours. Monsieur Chardin, impatient with so much idle chatter, said to the artist, “But who told you that one paints with colours?” “With what then?” the astonished artist asked. “One uses colours,” replied Chardin, “but one paints with feeling.”
Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)
It's the scene in Julian Schnabel's film Basquiat where Basquiat nonchalantly tells Warhol that he's been invited to DJ at the Palladium. The point made is that Basquiat had arrived as an artist. People even cared to know what his favorite records were.
J. Paul Getty (1892-1976)
When a friend of Richard St. John, who worked at Forest Lawn, the California cemetery where movie stars such as Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable and Jean Harlow are buried, passed along an anecdote about oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, St. John was inspired to write "J. Paul Getty at Forest Lawn." The friend had told St. John that while Getty's request to be buried at the museum in Los Angeles that bears his name was being considered, his body was stored at Forest Lawn with indigents.
David Levinthal (1949)
"When I was doing the XXX series, where I live in New York, down the block is a lap-dancing club, and one of the lap dancers worked as an intern at the Polaroid studio," he said. "And she said to me, 'I'd like to talk to my boss about you bringing the camera to the club and photographing the women there.' The thought resonated with me for about a millisecond."
Virgil Elliot (1944)
Frida Kahlo could not paint worth squat. She was a primitive. A primitive is someone who knows next to nothing about painting, but tries anyway. She was an accessory to Diego Rivera, another primitive more highly rated than his talent warranted. The concept of greatness is demeaned when unworthy people are called great."
Clement Greenberg (1909-1994)
When Greenberg came to Pollock´s first one-person show, Mr. Goodnough recalls, he ''looked at one of my paintings and said he liked it, but he thought it was hung too high on the wall.'' To which the painter responded, ''I thought he liked high art.''
Luis Buñuel (1900-1983)
It was Carrière who told Wang an anecdote about Bunuel that unexpectedly provided the kernel of the Chinese Box screenplay. During the shooting of one their collaborations, the Spanish auteur had fallen in love with sweet-looking young actress in the cast. Like the old-world gentleman he was, Bunuel approached this woman with great propriety, taking her to fine restaurants in formal attire. On the set one day, overhearing some grips discussing the actress, Bunuel learned the startling truth: almost every functional male on the crew had already slept with her.
Salvador Dali (1904-1989)
"It was exactly during this period that I used to wake up at night to place the drop of varnish, more or less, on a painting. It was complete lunacy. Then Gala - we were in the midst of the war at the very time when Americans were leaving for the Pacific - said to me, ‘Really, what would you do if one day the same thing happened to you as to these boys who must leave for the war in airplanes every day to go and fight ? It seems that beside this your technical problems are not so insoluble ! It is much less dramatic !’ And I replied, ‘If they should do such thing to me, if they insisted on leaving, on parachuting’ - because at the time there was some possibility that foreigners would be enlisted - ‘well, in that case, I would not let YOU leave.’ I had completely forgotten that it was a question of my going and was convinced that if anyone had to go to war, it would be Gala !"
Krishen Khanna (1925)
Khanna had bought a painting of Padamsee, which he had loaned to Lalit Kala Akademi for a travelling exhibition. It came back damaged.
The story narrates how Khanna got back the damaged painting and half the insurance money. He restored the painting himself and earned five times as much from the insurance claim as he paid for the painting. After sharing a part of the profits with Padamsee and Bal Chhabda, who had sold Khanna the painting, Khanna made a small packet himself besides owning the Padamsee painting.
Daniel Libeskind (1946)
One explanation can be found in an anecdote Libeskind recounts in Breaking Ground. It is worth retelling, because it reveals something about architecture's role within the redevelopment process. Libeskind writes that when the committee was about to go Viñoly's way, Eddie Hayes called Pataki. (Hayes had been advising Libeskind since early in the competition, proving that, goofy glasses notwithstanding, the architect knew how to navigate New York.) Hayes, who roomed with Pataki in law school, simply referred to the governor as "The Guy." Libeskind quotes his lawyer's description of what happened:
And so I'm sitting there...looking at the paper, and I'm thinking, Holy whatever! They lost! And I think to myself, You know it's ridiculous that Eddie Hayes is going to have to push The Guy on something like this, but it's me or nobody. I've seen the model. I know the plans. I know the man. I know Libeskind's the right guy for this. So I call The Guy, and within a couple of minutes The Guy calls me back.
The string was tugged, and The Guy picked Libeskind's design.
Frans van Mieris (1635-1681)
The Leiden fine artist Frans van Mieris was so tipsy one evening that he fell in a sewer that had broken open; he was rescued by a shoemender in the nick of time.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669)
Rembrandt was a man of genius but also a high-handed artist who was greedy for money. For a joke his pupils painted farthings and halfpennies on the floor and the master was constantly stooping to pick them up.
Otto Marseus van Schrieck (1619-1678)
Otto Marseus van Schrieck, who filled his woodland still lifes with large numbers of insects and reptiles, is said to have been so successful in charming snakes that he could arrange them in any pose he wanted at a touch of his staff.
Jan Steen (1626-1679)
Jan Steen had to marry the daughter of his master Jan van Goyen because he had made her pregnant. Even in those days Steen was constantly drunk and always out of money. Later on, when he himself became an innkeeper he was, like the landlord in the Three Masts, more drunk than his customers.
Willem Kalf (1619-1693)
One evening on returning from a visit to Hellemans, Kalf fell over on a bridge: He certainly felt that he had been hurt; but not suspecting that it could have such dire consequences he went to bed and lay down; by the time the clock struck ten he was a corpse.
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
Theodore Roosevelt's idea of sculpture was stuffed moose heads, and he displayed an array in the State Dining Room.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
Marcel Duchamp was once asked how many people he thought really liked avant-garde art. He replied: "Oh, maybe ten in New York, and one or two in New Jersey."
Stan Brakhage (1933-2003)
Brakhage: "I met Pollock one time when I accompanied a friend who was invited with other critics to go see some new paintings in his famous Long Island barn. Evidently, Pollock was dead drunk, immobile and silent in a corner. After a moment, while looking at the traces of paint with which Pollock covered the canvas that was stretched across the floor, one of the critics risked a few words, talking about "chance operation." Pollock, awaking slowly from his drunken stupor, repeats the words, 'Chance operation?' He then takes a paintbrush, dips it into a pot of paint, and with one movement of his arm flings the paint across the length of the room squarely hitting the doorknob!"
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968)
Man Ray wrote about Duchamp's marriage in 1927 - "Duchamp spent most of the one week they lived together studying chess problems, and his bride, in desperate retaliation, got up one night when he was asleep and glued the chess pieces to the board. They were divorced three months later".
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)
It was in 1951. Jackson Pollock had a stunning show at the Betty Parsons Gallery. A large group of people were sitting around a table. And I remember one man in particular, an artist perhaps in his very early forties who said, "What a terrific show. Am I glad he did it. Now I don't have to."
M.C. Escher (1898-1972)
There's a great anecdote of Mick Jagger writing to Escher in the 60s, because he wanted him to design the next Rolling Stones album cover. "Dear Maurits..."
Escher wrote back saying "Don't call me Maurits", and that was the end of that.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Picasso was once asked what would he do if he was put in prison and if his brush, pencils and oils were taken away. Picasso answered “I would draw with my saliva on the prison walls.”
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792)
According to a clever anecdote, Sir Joshua Reynolds, who had very positive opinions on all subjects, preached to his students never to use blue for an important section of a painting, because blue floats. Thomas Gainsborough, who had a running feud with Sir Joshua, heard this and promptly dashed off the full length portrait of Master Buttall. The young man was painted in a blue garment to prove that blue may well be used as the main color in a painting. We now know this painting all over the world as The Blue Boy.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669)
The so-called Hundred Guilder Print is Rembrandt's most famous etching. Rembrandt began to make studies for this celebrated print earlier, but in its main types and in its final decisive achievement the etching belongs to the beginning of the mature period. The popular title, found in the literature as early as 1711, is derived from the high price the print is said to have fetched at a sale. According to an anecdote recorded by the eighteenth-century art dealer and collector J.P. Mariette in his Abecedario, it was Rembrandt himself who paid this sensational price for an impression of his own print.
There is an anecdote where Zeuxsis, a fifth century artist, supposedly died of suffocation from laughter, due to making a portrait of an ugly woman.
John Constable (1776-1837)
At the end of a lecture, a collector in the audience asked him, 'I suppose I had better sell my Berchems', to which Constable replied, 'No sir, that would only continue the mischief! Burn them!'
Henry Moore (1898-1986)
'You may wonder why this sculpture is numbered "13",' said the curator, a smile of satisfaction appearing on his face...'Henry Moore,' the curator continued, in a voice that made it clear he believed he was addressing an ignorant bunch of tourists who might muddle up Cubism with sugar lumps, and who obviously had nothing better to do on a bank holiday Monday than visit a National Trust house, 'would normally produce his works in editions of twelve. To be fair to the great man, he died before approval was given for the only casting of a thirteenth example of one of his masterpieces.'"
Pierre Cartier (1878-1964)
The story goes that Mexican movie star Maria Felix walked into Cartier with her pet snake, says Judith Price, president of the jewelry institute. Felix said she wanted a "companion" for her snake. "That 'companion' is about the equivalent of 180 carats of diamonds.
Joao Batista Vilanova Artigas (1915-1985)
In 1961, Artigas designed both the building and a new curriculum for the architecture department at São Paulo University. His reforms were abolished in 1964 when a new dictatorial regime imposed censorship on all levels of cultural activity. According to an anecdote told by Artigas, one of the modifications he was forced to make during the years of planning was especially symptomatic of the times: The darkroom had to be repositioned so that the students using it could be supervised from the director's office.
Josef Albers (1888-1976)
When anyone asked Albers to comment on matters pertaining to Graphic Design, he would defer them to Lustig or Eisenman by saying, “I am not a Graphic Designer but my nonsense is helpful to them.”
Irma Stern (1877-1946)
She bought a doorframe from Zanzibar, and had it installed in her lavish home in Cape Town, but grew too fat and was compelled to go through it sideways.
Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)
On a trip to a Paris flea market by Breton and Giacometti when each was stymied by a particular artistic problem," he said. "For Giacometti, it was how to depict the face of his sculpture and at what height to position the hands and the arms. In the best Surrealist fashion, he found an aleatoric solution to his problem in a frightening iron mask with louvers for eyes, which had apparently been issued to the troops at the Argonne in World War I, and which he bought at the flea market.
Diego Rivera (1886-1957)
One day Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros sat around a table discussing murals and they happened to observe a pulqueria painter, that is, an artisan who painted the popular wall paintings in pulquerias or “taverns” where pulque was served; they drew their inspiration for the work to come, it is said, from his grasp of Mexican traditions.
Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Painter Emile Blanche explained that he made a surprise visit to the studio. There he found Rodin and Nijinski, naked, both of them sleeping as a consequence of beverage and heat after a work session.
Frederic Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904
At the unveiling day the head of the Statue of Liberty was covered by a French flag. Bartholdi stood alone in her head. He should discover the head after a speech of Senator William M. Evarts. At the bottom stood a boy to give him a sign. Evarts made a little break to breathe. The boy thought his speech was finished and swayed his handkerchief. So Bartholdi discovered the head too early.
Anselm Kiefer (1945)
An anecdote from that time (when Anselm was 21) reveals something of his temperament and ambition. Interested in how the celebrated architect Le Corbusier had designed the monastery at La Tourette, he got permission from the monks to spend three weeks there, living in a cell, sharing their meals, joining in their observances and rituals. He said he wanted to learn “how to give concrete material appearance to abstract religious ideas.”
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth"
Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
Bereft at the thought of his wife's dying, he spent her last night trying to capture her in a portrait, and in so doing contracted the flu himself and died three days later.
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)
On his working method "I think I'm painting a picture of two women but it may turn out to be a landscape".
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)
Wright was called to give testimony as an expert witness at a trial. He went with a friend, who sat as a spectator when Wright went to the witness box. To the introductory "State your name and occupation," Wright answered. "My name is Frank Lloyd Wright, and I am the world's greatest living architect." After the testimony, as Wright and his friend were leaving the courthouse, the friend asked, "Frank, how could you say that in court?" Wright's answer was, "I had to. I was under oath."
Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957)
Brancusi's Bird In Space was the subject of a famous court case when it was first exhibited in the US in 1926. Customs agents, not believing the work was art, had attempted to charge import duty on the machined metal object.
Antoni Gaudi i Cornet (1852-1926)
It happened in Mallorca, when at the table of bishop Campins one was talking about the excellence of the senses and someone said: "According to Saint Paul , the hearing is the sense of Faith". Then Antoni promptly replied: "If the sense of hearing is the one of Faith, the one of the view is superior, because it is the sense of glory". His affirmation was completely approved by the bishop, who hadn't
participated in the conversation up to then and said: "Right".
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)
There is a pretty anecdote that Thomas Gainsborough, if he ever had a tiff with his wife, would write a pacifying note, confiding it to his dog Fox, who delivered it to the lady's pet spaniel Tristram. The note was worded as in the person of Fox to Tristram, and Mrs. Gainsborough replied in the best of humors, as from Tristram to Fox.
Joseph Beuys (1921-1986)
The debates, discussions, and press conferences formed the artwork, but for those who were unable to attend the talks Beuys produced some 16 multiples, most of which are on view in this exhibition. Many of them have an anecdote attached. One features an image of a rabbit that Beuys noticed on a sugar packet while dining at Nye's Polonaise Room in Minneapolis. Enlisting the help of his dinner partners, he searched the sugar supply on each table, as well as in the restaurant's storeroom, for as many packets as he could find. With the addition of his rubber-stamped Haupstrom (Main Stream) image, they became the edition of 40 entitled American Hare Sugar (1974).
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
The two artists had a long-standing friendship, during which Gertrude Stein sat for more than 80 hours for his portrait of her. Picasso completed the painting just before he left Paris for Spain, where he studied African, Roman, and Iberian sculpture. But he felt dissatisfied with the face, which he erased by slapping with white paint before he left. Upon returning, and without having seen Stein for months, he painted the face, which looked markedly different from the rest of the painting and which, many complained, didn't look like Stein, either. Picasso's response: "Everybody says that she does not look like it but that does not make any difference. She will."
David Hockney (1937)
Dennis Hopper went to David Hockney's place to photograph Francis Bacon. Hopper didn't have any film, so he and Hockney went out to buy some. They drove all over town but came back and did the shoot without film because they couldn't find any.
Ed Ruscha (1937)
When legendary dealer Leo Castelli showed Ruscha an early 60's Roy Lichtenstein his first reaction was intense. "Oh my god it's awful, it goes against aesthetics, good taste and has a complete disregard for art history!" . But of course, he grew to like it.
Apelles (4th Century BC)
Famed painter Apelles was asked by Alexander the Great to make a portrait of his mistress Campaspe . He was so pleased with the painting that he said to the painter: You may take her, I prefer the painting.
Frank Gehry (1929)
The closest we come is in an anecdote from writer/architect Charles Jencks. He recalls when Gehry, at his Santa Monica home, went in the bathroom to shave; but it was too dark; so Gehry used a hammer to smash a hole in the wall, letting in enough light.
Théodore Géricault (1791 - 1824)
Floating on the sea of memory is an anecdote about a young artist--I think it was Géricault--whose teacher told him that his paintings resembled nature the way a violin case resembles a violin. So, too, an exhibition of paintings and its catalog are related in much the same way as a violin case and a violin. To the extent that a catalog molds an exhibition, it is like a violin case, and because viewing an exhibition is a temporal and mostly visual experience, it can be likened to a musical performance, temporal and mostly auditory. There is some resemblance in the shapes of exhibition and catalog, but one cannot substitute for the other. Sometimes the case is more elaborate than the instrument.
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944)
"One evening on entering his studio in the twilight, (Kandinsky) could not immediately recognize one of his pictures, which was standing on the easel. For a brief moment, he was convinced he was seeing a marvelous absolute harmony of colours and forms, while the objective context of his own painting remained unrecognized. The visionary day-dream only lasted for a moment, then it was gone. But it means that Kandinsky had subjectively seen an abstract composition before he had actually painted one."
Jasper Johns (1930)
Someone said, 'That son of a bitch (Leo)Castelli, you could give him a couple of beer cans and he could sell them.' It's a remark attributed to De Kooning. Johns had already been thinking about making sculptures of common objects, and he'd already been using doubled motifs like the two flags. So the remark fell on fertile ground. They're a classic example of Johns taking something absolutely literally. And although he keeps most of his sculptures, he made an edition of two, perhaps because in order to make the joke work Leo had to sell one of them.
An anecdote concerning Enshu is that when asked what conditions are necessary to create a masterwork of architecture, he answered that he could produce as many masterworks as desired if the following conditions were met:
There was no limit on expense. There was no limit on time. The client would not see the work until it was completed.
When he was a young man, Robert Stern, the current dean of the Yale School of Architecture, was walking down 57th Street and ran into an assistant of Paul Rudolph, who was then Yale's dean of architecture. According to Mr. Stern, the man was carrying 50 pairs of the sort of Corbusian glasses that Rudolph - not to mention Philip Johnson and many others in the profession - liked to wear.
"I said, 'Jeff, what are all those glasses for?'" Mr. Stern recalls in Perspecta 37, the latest issue of Yale's architecture journal. "He said, 'Well, Big Daddy is afraid that they may not be available in the future so he bought them all.'" Mr. Stern goes on to inform us that Rudolph "didn't even need glasses."
A deranged woman slashed Roy Lichtenstein´s “Nude in Mirror” which was being shown as part of the "Roy Lichtenstein Classic of the New” exhibit at the Kunsthaus Bregenz. A museum visitor and an employee held the woman until police arrived. She scratched a police officer in the face and bit another in the leg during questioning, The painting, owned by The Rush Family Collection in New York, had been insured for $6 million. The woman's identity was not released but she faces up to five years in jail. Lichtenstein died in 1997 at age 73.
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)
There are many anecdotes about Jackson Pollock's frequent and public urinating. The most famous involves Pollock pissing into Peggy Guggenheim's fireplace. If you believe the autobiographies, it all stemmed from pissing competitions the young Jackson had with his brother Sande. In any case, it's all tied up with pissing as a sign of masculinity. Pollock's painting technique, dripping paint on to flat canvases, also invokes the idea of his painting being a metaphor for pissing. And of the idea of the penis as a tool to draw with.
Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)
As Salvador Dalí used to tell it, when he first exhibited his ''Retrospective Bust of a Woman" in Paris in 1933, Pablo Picasso showed up with his dog. The pooch, seeing this curious sculpture of a bare-breasted woman, ants crawling about her mouth and forehead, corn slung round her neck, and a baguette balanced atop her head, ''leaped at the loaf of bread and devoured it."
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
On Sundays, Andy Warhol would buy an all-day pass and ride the streetcars all over the city, sketching the characters he observed. He soon discovered that when unwitting models realized they were being drawn, they became self-conscious, moved to another seat or left the trolley.
To avoid ending up with a batch of unfinished drawings, Andy combined disguise with the quick-sketch technique he had learned as a freshman. He took a shoe box, wrapped it up like a package, cut one end so it was hinged, placed a stack of paper and pencil stubs inside, then set forth on his forays to capture the gestures of his unsuspecting subjects. Andy referred to the resultant drawings as products of his Shoe Box Studio.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Many visitors to Picasso's home in the south of France were astonished to find that its walls boasted none of his own works. "Why is that, Pablo?" someone once asked. "Don't you like them?" "On the contrary - I like them very much," the painter replied. "It's just that I can't afford them."
Vincent van Gogh
In 1935 the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) sponsored America's first exhibition of the work of Vincent van Gogh. The American artist Hugh Troy - cynically assuming that many of those who flocked to the show were more interested in the lurid details of van Gogh's life than in his art - fabricated an "ear" from chipped beef and surreptitiously mounted it in a small blue velvet display case above a card reading: "This was the ear that Vincent van Gogh cut off and sent to his mistress, a French prostitute, 24 December 1888."
Troy's case was duly found by gallery staff and, prominently displayed, soon became a prime draw for the bustling crowds.
During Caravaggio's early years, "Mannerism" was the popular style, based on the practice of copying from the examples of former masters. Caravaggio rebelled against this movement and insisted on painting from live models. Once he was shown a Greek stature to study and copy, but made no reply. He only pointed to a crowd of people to show that nature had provided him with plenty of models and he didn't need to copy anyone else's.
Fra Filippo (1406-1469)
"It is said that Fra Filippo was so lustful that he would give anything to enjoy a woman he wanted if he thought he could have his way; and if he couldn't buy what he wanted, then he would cool his passion by painting her portrait and reason- ing with himself. His lust was so violent that when it took hold of him he could never concentrate on his work. And because of this, one time or other when he was doing something for Cosimo de' Medici in Cosimo's house, Cosimo had him locked in so that he wouldn't wander away and waste time.
After he had been confined for a few days, Fra Filippo's amorous or rather his animal desires drove him one night to seize a pair of scissors, make a rope from his bed-sheets and escape through a window to pursue his own pleasures for days on end. When Cosimo discovered that he was gone,he searched for him and eventually got him back to work. And after that he always allowed him to come and go as he liked, having regretted the way he had shut him up before and realizing how dangerous it was for such a madman to be confined.
Cosimo determined for the future to keep a hold on him by affection and kindness and, being served all the more readily, he used to say that artists of genius were to be treated with,respect, not used as hacks." (Quite right, too. From Vasari's 'Lives of the Artists')
Lucian Freud (1922- )
You’d think that if you were painting a portrait of someone, the last thing you’d do would be to make their ears stick out. But that’s just what Lucian Freud did with his portrait in his painting of Martin Gayford, entitled “Man in a Blue Scarf”.
Recounting what was happening in Modern Painters magazine, Gayford said: “Quite frequently, while he was painting, Lucian would learn forward to peer at the side of my face. Eventually he explained that what he was doing was looking at my ears.”
“They are quite big as they are, but they do not stick out to the extent that was required for the painting. So Lucian combined three viewpoints – one from straight in front, and two from either side so as to pull out my ears, widen my face, and construct the architecture of forms that he wanted.”
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
When Leonardo was a young man he walked the streets of Florence looking for a face he could use as a model for a portrait of Christ. He spent days until he found a young man who seemed to have the nobility, strength, and depth of character Leonardo was seeking. When Leonardo asked him, the young man agreed to be a model. Many years later, Leonardo was looking for a subject who would pose for a drawing he wished to make of Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Christ following the Last Supper. Again he spent days walking the streets until he found someone suitable. The man was tired and gaunt, as if he carried a great burden of suffering. When Leonardo approached him and asked him if he would pose as Judas for him, tears came to the man's eyes. Leonardo asked him if he had offended him and the man shook his head. Sorrowfully, he explained that he was the very same man Leonardo had asked years before to pose as Christ.
It happened at this time that Piero Soderini, having seen it in place, was well pleased with it, but said to Michelangelo, at a moment when he was retouching it in certain parts, that it seemed to him that the nose of the figure was too thick. Michelangelo noticed that the Gonfalonier was beneath the Giant, and that his point of view prevented him from seeing it properly; but in order to satisfy him he climbed upon the staging, which was against the shoulders, and quickly took up a chisel in his left hand, with a little of the marble-dust that lay upon the planks of the staging, and then, beginning to strike lightly with the chisel, let fall the dust little by little, nor changed the nose a whit from what it was before. Then, looking down at the Gonfalonier, who stood watching him, he said, "Look at it now." "I like it better," said the Gonfalonier, "you have given it life." And so Michelangelo came down, laughing to himself at having satisfied that lord, for he had compassion on those who, in order to appear full of knowledge, talk about things of which they know nothing.
Aristide Maillol (1861 - 1944)
I asked him [Maillol] one day why the beautiful figure of La Montagne had its hand raised "But!" said Maillol half closing his eyes, "to protect herself from the wind, of course"
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