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Tag: Art and Artist Files

Surrealism for the Masses: Finds from the Art and Artist Files

 

Caption Reads: "Salvador Dali (above, pictured with his portrait of Picasso) believes that he is ideally suited to create a comic strip for Americans"-- Hirshhorn
“Salvador Dali (above, pictured with his portrait of Picasso) believes that he is ideally suited to create a comic strip for Americans”– Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library.

 

The world of modern art is at times criticized for a certain reputation of exclusivity and mystery in which the more inaccessible a certain artist or artwork may be, the more valuable and reputable the art becomes. Salvador Dali, the most famed member of the twentieth century avant-garde movement, Surrealism, on the other hand, challenges this perception that artistic creation is a closed-off affair for an elite few. Sure, Dali was no humble man of the people, and in fact is famous for his eccentric, narcissistic personality as he continually declared himself the most talented and significant artist of his generation (let’s not forget his autobiography graciously titled Diary of a Genius). However, Dali walks the line between artist and popular culture sensation as he created artwork that was meant to be seen and consumed by everyone. Many examples of Dali’s remarkable work may be found in the Art and Artists Files of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library and the American Art & Portrait Gallery Library at the Smithsonian, as well as the nearby National Gallery of Art Library.

Elaine de Kooning: Portraits in the Art and Artist Files

Announcement for Elaine de Kooning's exhibition of portraits at Washburn Gallery, 1994-- AAPG
Announcement for Elaine de Kooning’s exhibition of portraits at Washburn Gallery, 1994– AAPG

The National Portrait Gallery is currently exhibiting the work of Elaine de Kooning in the show Elaine de Kooning: Portraits, organized by Brandon Brame Fortune, the Portrait Gallery’s chief curator and senior curator of painting and sculpture. Elaine was an active member of the Abstract Expressionists in New York, a group known for a style defined by vivid colors, spontaneity and emotive strokes of thick, layered paint on monumental canvases. She married fellow Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning in 1943. However, Elaine’s work was not solely abstract, in fact, the majority of her work is representational in nature—a style that could be categorized as Figurative Expressionism.

African American Artists and the Hudson River School

Recently, you may have heard  about the ways art from the Hudson River School has been a source of inspiration for new artistic works. Well, the luminous landscape paintings have inspired us, too. In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to highlight a couple of African American artists with ties the school. These artists have paintings in the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection as well as an Art and Artist Files in the American Art/Portrait Gallery Library.