This New Year, 2018, promises to be an exciting one for anniversaries of artists. The major event is going to be the celebration of half a millenium since Tintoretto’s birth on 29 September, but there are many other significant anniversaries which I will be covering here. This is how the programme looks at present.
6 February: one hundredth anniversary of the death of Gustav Klimt, born 1862
Klimt’s figurative works have enjoyed great popularity over the last few decades, but he was also a keen and innovative landscape painter. Working from Vienna, Austria, he courted controversy in his art and private life, and was a major influence on Egon Schiele.
24 February: three hundredth anniversary of the death of Wú Lì 吴历 吳歷, born 1632
Wú was a Qing Dynasty landscape painter who converted to Catholicism and became influenced by Jesuit missions to China. He worked for the last thirty years of his life as a priest in rural areas.
24 March: one hundredth anniversary of the death of Władysław Ślewiński, born 1856
Ślewiński was born in Poland, and fled to Paris, where he trained as an artist. He became friends with Paul Gauguin, who was a major influence on his art, and spent much of his career at the artists’ colony of Le Pouldu in Brittany.
29 March: one hundredth anniversary of the death of Clement Nye Swift, born 1846
Swift travelled from his native Massachusetts to Paris to train, then lived and worked for ten years in the artists’ colony of Pont-Aven in Brittany, during the period before Paul Gauguin worked there.
9 April: one hundredth anniversary of the death of Niko Pirosmani, born 1862
Pirosmani was a Georgian painter who supplemented his income working as a sign-painter in the capital Tbilisi. His reputation has grown since the 1950s, and he is now probably the most famous artist from Georgia outside his native country.
14 April: two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Louisa Beresford, the Marchioness of Waterford, died 1891
Beresford was taught to draw by John Ruskin, taught to paint by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and modelled for Pre-Raphaelite artists. She spent twenty-two years decorating a school which she had designed for the tenants on her family estate, and was an expressive painter in watercolours.
3 May: one hundredth anniversary of the death of William Frederick Yeames, born 1835
Yeames studied painting in Dresden, London, Florence, and Rome, and painted in his studio in London from 1859. Although he achieved little critical success, his painting of And when did you last see your Father? (1878) remains a well-known work of the period.
19 May: one hundredth anniversary of the death of Ferdinand Hodler, born 1853
Hodler was a Swiss figurative and landscape painter whose large murals of patriotic motifs became popular at the time, but who was no stranger to controversy either. His figurative works often appear ritualised with symmetry and rhythm in the figures and their poses.
28 June: one hundredth anniversary of the death of Albert Henry Munsell, born 1858
Born in Boston, MA, Munsell trained as an artist, and started his career teaching art, but is famous for developing his colour order system from 1898 onwards. This has been a major influence on many artists since.
29 September: five hundredth anniversary of the birth of Tintoretto, died 1594
Tintoretto is one of the most famous Venetian artists of the Renaissance. Largely self-taught, he worked at a furious pace, creating a succession of major works. He seems to have left Venice on only one occasion, and spent much of his life working in his studio.
30 October: one hundredth anniversary of the death of Egon Schiele, born 1890
Schiele was a radical and controversial Austrian artist, whose figurative drawings, with their raw sexuality, have recently become popular. He is less well-known for his landscape paintings, though. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, he led a brief and turbulent life, and died at the age of twenty-eight, in the influenza pandemic of 1918.
22 December: one hundredth anniversary of the death of Charles Edward Perugini, born 1839
Perugini was an Italian painter who was brought to Britain by Frederic, Lord Leighton in 1863. He was a successful portraitist, and married Charles Dickens’ youngest daughter.
26 December: one hundredth anniversary of the death of Adelsteen Normann, born 1848
Normann was a Norwegian landscape painter who specialised in works showing the grandeur of his native country’s fjords, although he worked for much of his career in Berlin. It was he who invited Edvard Munch to exhibit his work in Berlin, so launching Munch’s career.
At some time during the year, the five hundredth anniversary of the birth of Mayken Verhulst, died 1599
Verhulst was considered at the time to be one of the four most important women artists in the Low Countries (the Netherlands and Belgium), and became the second wife of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, and Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s mother-in-law. Despite her reputation, there is no surviving painting which is securely attributed to her.
I look forward to researching these painters, and many others, over the coming year, and hope that you will join me in looking at their careers and paintings.
In the coming few months, I expect to complete my long series of articles examining the best paintings showing stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. I am already researching a successor series to that, and will announce it in due course.