365 Days of Art: December 22 – Basquiat is Born

December 22, 2014

"Untitled (Skull)", Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1984

“Untitled (Skull)”, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1984

December 22, 1960

Jean-Michel Basquiat, painter, player, attention-getter, friend/frenemy to Andy Warhol, is born.

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365 Days of Art: December 21 – Donors Raise $68M to Keep Painting in Philly

December 21, 2014

The Gross Clinic, by Thomas Eakins, 1875

The Gross Clinic, by Thomas Eakins, 1875

December 21, 2006

A group of Philadelphia donors raises $68,000,000 to keep the painting The Gross Clinic by favorite son Thomas Eakins in Philadelphia.

A month earlier, the painting breaks auction records (highest price for an Eakins painting, and highest price for an American portrait) when it sells jointly to the National Gallery of Art and the Crystal Bridges Museum. The deal to keep it in Philly matches that price, and will display it alternately at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where Eakins once taught (and was fired).

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365 Days of Art: December 20 – Frida and Diego Leave the US

December 20, 2014

Friday y Diego, circa 1931 in San Francisco

Friday y Diego, circa 1931 in San Francisco

December 20, 1933

After almost four years of living in the US to work on Diego’s various mural projects, Diego and Frida depart NYC for Mexico.

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365 Days of Art: December 19 – Nathan Oliveira is Born

December 20, 2014

Nathan Oliveira, Seated Woman Fur Coat, 1961

Nathan Oliveira, Seated Woman Fur Coat, 1961

December 19, 1928

Nathan Oliveira, one of my favorites, is born.

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365 Days of Art: December 18 – Leonardo Draws Fire Set by Swiss

December 19, 2014

Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (believed to be self-portrait), Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1510-1515

Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (believed to be self-portrait), Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1510-1515

December 18, 1511

Leonardo draws a fire set by Swiss invaders within a landscape drawing of Milan.

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365 Days of Art: December 17 – Man Buys Raffle Ticket; Wins a Picasso!

December 18, 2014

Pablo Picasso, Man in the Opera Hat, 1914

Pablo Picasso, Man in the Opera Hat, 1914

December 17, 2013

A 25-year old man wins a Picasso after buying a $140 raffle ticket.

Jeffrey Gonano, who works for his family’s fire sprinkler business, says he’s considering loaning the piece to a museum so that it can be enjoyed by the public. He sounds like a nice, down-to-earth guy, saying that entering the raffle is an extension of a newfound interest in art. His girlfriend even buys him a photograph by a Buddhist artist for Christmas.

I’m glad I actually gave it to him before,” she said, “because if I gave it to him afterward, that would look pretty insignificant compared to a Picasso.”

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365 Days of Art: December 16 – Agnes Martin Dies

December 17, 2014

Agnes Martin, The Tree, 6 feet by 6 feet

Agnes Martin, The Tree, 6 feet by 6 feet

December 16, 2004

Agnes Martin, abstract painter and tough old bird, dies at age 92.

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365 Days of Art: December 15 – Leaning Tower of Pisa Reopens

December 15, 2014

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

December 15, 2001

The leaning tower of Pisa is reopened to the public, and declared stable for at least 300 more years.

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365 Days of Art: December 14 – Roger Fry is Born

December 15, 2014

Roger Fry, by Roger Fry, 1930-1934

Roger Fry, by Roger Fry, 1930-1934

December 14, 1866

Roger Fry, British artist and art critic, is born.

He holds many roles in his lifetime, including writer, painter, member of London’s Bloomsbury group, expert on Italian Old Master paintings, inventor of the term “post-Impressionists”, and Curator of Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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365 Days of Art: December 13 – Winslow Homer is Published

December 13, 2014

Winslow Homer, Old Mill (The Morning Bell), 1871

Winslow Homer, Old Mill (The Morning Bell), 1871

December 13, 1873

Harper’s Weekly publishes Old Mill (The Morning Bell) by Winslow Homer.

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365 Days of Art: December 12 – Artists Protest Whitney to Demand More Female Inclusion, Cornell Hosts a Party

December 12, 2014

Artists Ann Arien and Lucy Lippard protest outside the Whitney Museum, 1970

Artists Ann Arien and Lucy Lippard protest outside the Whitney Museum, 1970

December 12, 1970

Artists with police whistles protest at the opening of the Whitney Annual because of the few women the Whitney historically exhibits. Faith Ringgold recalls:

In the fall of 1970 Poppy Johnson, Lucy Lippard and I, formed an ad hock [sic] women’s group to protest the small percentage of women in all past Whitney Annuals…Our goal for the 1970 annual was 50% women…The Whitney Museum became the focus of our attention. We went there often to deposit eggs. Unsuspecting male curatorial staff would pick up the eggs and experience the shock of having raw egg slide down the pants of their fine tailor–made suits. Sanitary napkins followed… Generally, everywhere the staff went they found loud and clear messages that women artists were on the Whitney’s “case.” The Whitney Annual that year was to be a sculpture show… Because of the Whitney’s well-known preference for abstract art, …Betye Saar and Barbara Chase-Riboud…were the ones I unconditionally demanded to be in the show. Saar and Chase-Riboud became the first black women ever to be exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The total percentage of women in the Whitney annual in 1970 was twenty-three percent as opposed to the previous year’s average of five to ten percent. This was better than ten percent, but it still wasn’t fifty. We decided to demonstrate during the opening to make that point… At a pre-determined time, Lucy Lippard and I began to blow our whistles… We continued to blow. The people gathered around us and we formed a big circle on the floor. Then we got up and walked around chanting, “Fifty percent women, fifty percent women.” Throughout the show we demonstrated every weekend, blowing our police whistles and singing off key…”.

Cockatoo with Watch Faces, by Joseph Cornell, 1949

Cockatoo with Watch Faces, by Joseph Cornell, 1949

December 12, 1971

Joseph Cornell, known for being so shy that he disappears for an hour in the bathroom to avoid social interactions, hosts a party at his house, with art critic Dore Ashton, writer Octavio Paz and his wife, and editor Barbara Burn.

Ashton recalls:

Knowing his love for desserts, Barbara had baked a pie, and thus, I’m inclined to think, set the tone for the long afternoon. Joseph, who knew of my friendship with Paz, had asked me and when he caught sight of Octovio’s vivacious French wife, he smiled broadly — something few of his acquaintances had ever witnssed. Usually Joseph’s smile was small, hesitant. During the afternoon, Joseph spoke with unaccustomed ease, bringing forth his knowledge of French poetry and engaging in an animated discussion of Mallarmé’s sonnets with both Octavio and Marie-José [Paz’s wife]. He took us to the cellar, showed us all his works in progress as well as some completed boxes and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Before we left, he drew me aside, and whispered with a certain ingenuousness: “Was he really an ambassador?”

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365 Days of Art: December 11 – Stolen Mona Lisa Recovered in Hotel Room, Séraphine Dies

December 11, 2014

La Gioconda (popularly known as The Mona Lisa), Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-1517

La Gioconda (popularly known as The Mona Lisa), Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-1517

December 11, 1913

By appointment, antiques dealer Signor Geri and director of the Uffizi Gallery Signor Poggi arrive at Leonardo Vincenzo’s Florence hotel room to inspect what Leonardo claims is the stolen Mona Lisa. Leonardo removes underwear, shoes, a shirt, and a false bottom from a trunk, to reveal the Mona Lisa.

Geri and Poggi are convinced the painting is the original because of the Louvre seal on the back. Poggi bluffs that he needs to authenticate the painting by comparing it with other da Vincis in the Uffizi’s collection. Incredibly, Vincenzo allows the men to walk out with the painting.

Geri and Poggi send the police in to arrest Vincenzo, whose real name is Vincenzo Peruggia.

Now to solve the mystery: it’s far easier than anyone has imagined. Peruggia’s only goal has been to return the painting to Italy. He becomes obsessed with this Robin Hoodesque idea while working at the Louvre five years before. Because many of the guards know and recognize him still, he’s able to walk into the Louvre easily. He takes the painting when he see the Salon Carré is empty. He brings it into a secluded staircase, removes it from its frame, hides it under his painter’s smock, and walks out of the museum.

Art lovers everywhere are overjoyed to hear the Mona Lisa is found. She goes on a celebratory tour of Italy before being returned to France at the end of the month.

December 11, 1942

Séraphine Louis, known as “Séraphine de Senlis”, a self-taught painter of flowers, patterns, and religious imagery, dies in a mental hospital. The movie inspired by her life and work (Séraphine) is incredible.

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365 Days of Art: December 10 – Art Thief Tries to Negotiate Return of Mona Lisa

December 10, 2014

La Gioconda (popularly known as The Mona Lisa), Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-1517

La Gioconda (popularly known as The Mona Lisa), Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-1517

December 10, 1913

A man enters Geri’s antique shop in Florence, and after waiting for the other customers to leave, announces that he is in possession of the stolen Mona Lisa. The man gives his name as Leonardo Vincenzo, and says he has the painting in his hotel room. He explains that he has stolen the painting in order to wrest it back from France and return it to Italy, and asks for a half million lire. His two stipulations are that it be hung in the Uffizi Gallery, and never returned to France. He is put out by what he views as Napoleon’s theft of one of Italy’s rightful pieces of heritage.

Like a smooth operator, Signor Geri, the shop owner, agrees to the price but stalls for time, saying that the director of the Uffizi must see the painting. Leonardo suggests they all meet in his hotel room the next day to take a look.

After Leonardo leaves, Geri contacts the police and the Uffizi.

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365 Days of Art: December 9 – De Kooning Gets in Barfight

December 9, 2014

Willem de Kooning, Door to the River, 1960

Willem de Kooning, Door to the River, 1960

December 9, 1960

Willem de Kooning, drunk at the Cedar Tavern, punches an Air France engineer in the teeth and is subsequently sued for $100,000.

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365 Days of Art: December 8 – Frida and Diego Try Marriage Again

December 8, 2014

Frida and Diego sign the register in San Francisco, December 8, 1940.

Frida and Diego sign the register in San Francisco, December 8, 1940.

December 8, 1940

After being divorced for a little more than a year, Frida and Diego marry for the second time, at the courthouse in San Francisco. He goes to work later that day, on the murals on Treasure Island. When he takes off his shirt, his assistants and the public spectators who are there see that his undershirt is covered in Frida’s magenta lipstick.

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