So who designed the true coat of the Chester Blue Coat?

blue coatThe Blue Coat Hospital, is the site of a medieval hospital originally known as  St. John the Baptist, located at Upper Northgate Street, in the English city of Chester,  Cheshire.

The Blue Coat Hospital was founded by the Bishop of Stratford (1700) to house and educate the poor boys in religion and learning. Despite its ‘Blue Coat Hospital name‘, it was a boy’s school, rather than an hospital where the students learned their four ‘R’s’: “reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic and religion.”.

To qualify as a “Blue Coat“, parents had to prove that they had not enough money to send their sons to regular boarding school. Then, once qualified, their son was dressed in the distinctive blue uniform that represented The Blue Coat.

So who designed the true coat of the Chester Blue Coat on the edifice of this building?

The answer is, I still do not know


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Compare the Pair #14: Cagey Keiji’s Poorman’s Voormann

32beatles-revolverRevolver was released in the UK 50 years ago on 5th August 1966. It was released 3 days later in the US. Revolver is considered to be The Beatles psychedelic rock album, it lives up to this title with its track “Tomorrow Never Knows” which featured tape loops, backward recordings, using vari-speedings, reversed tapes and close audio miking which led to the invention of Automatic Double Tracking(ADT) – a technique invented by Abbey Road Studio engineers.

Album tracks include: Taxman, Eleanor Rigby (featuring a classical string octet), I’m Only sleeping, Love You To, (with its Indian music backing) Here There and Everywhere, Yellow Submarine, She Said She Said, Good Day Sunshine, And Your Bird Can Sing, For No One, Doctor Robert, I Want To Tell You, Got To Get You Into My Life, Tomorrow Never Knows”.

Tomorrow Never Knows“was adapted from Timothy Leary’s book ‘The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead‘.  It was this song that influenced Klaus Voormann’s cover art for the album.

Voormann received a Grammy Award for the Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts Award in 1966. Voorman combined his four large line drawings with a collage of photos by Bob Whitaker (who shot the infamous “Butcher Cover” for The Beatles Yesterday and Today LP. His spacey collage of drawings and photos complemented the songs that reflected the group’s LSD experiments during its production.

Klaus Voormann (born on 29 April, 1938) is a German-born bassist, record producer and artist whom The Beatles met in their Hamburg days in the early 1960s.  He was a bassist for Manfred Mann’s band from 1966-1969 and produced Trio’s hit “Da Da Da” in the 80s.

32ito - black magical mystery tourAbove:  “Black Magical Mystery Tour” 2010 Shinko Music Entertainment E-book, analog collage and drawing 31.5×31.5cm.

The artist is Keiji Ito born in 1958 in Tokyo, Japan. He is the Director of Unidentified Frying Graphics Inc and a guest lecturer and Professor of Art and Design at Kyoto University of Art. His main works include: painting, collages, art direction and art work for advertisements, books, music CD sleeves, video clips, etc. Some examples of his work include:

  • Cover art works in Japanese magazines such as BRUTUS and Cut
  • Art direction or art work of CD sleeves for BONNIE PINK, Orange Pekoe
  • Book list: ‘Sunshine Girl Meets Gravity Boy‘ (UFB). More information about Keiji Ito can be found at this website or his Facebook page.
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Partake in a Stake of the Great William Blake

william blakeEnglish painter, poet and print-maker, William Blake (b. 28 November 1757 – d. 12 August 1827) was largely unrecognised during his lifetime. He was born in Soho, London, the third of seven children; and left school at the age of ten. He was later to continue his education at home by his mother.

Drawn towards art, Blake started engraving copies of drawings of Greek antiquities and classical forms through to the works of Raphael and Michelangelo. It was during this time that Blake made explorations into poetry.

william blake anteaus1Despite joining the Royal Academy in 1779, Blake despised its director Joshua Reynolds. During his 6 year tenure, he rebelled against what he regarded as the unfinished style of fashionable painters such as Rubens, championed by Reynolds.  Although Blake came to detest Reynolds’ attitude towards art, especially his pursuit of “general beauty” he exhibited on six occasions between 1780 and 1808.

Left: Antaeus Setting Down Dante and Virgil in the Last Circle of Hell (illus. from “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri). Blake has used pen and ink; and watercolour over pencil and black chalk; with sponging and scraping to achieve this outcome.

Blake met and married Catherine Boucher on 18th August, 1782 at St Mary’s Church, Battersea. Despite her illiteracy, Blake taught her to read, write and become an engraver. Thereupon she became an invaluable aid, helping to print his illuminated works and maintaining his spirits throughout numerous misfortunes. In turn, she helped him colour his printed poems.

In 1788, aged 31, Blake experimented with “Relief Etching,” a method he used to produce most of his books, paintings, pamphlets and poems. The process is also referred to as “illuminated printing.” This involved writing the text of the poems on copper plates with pens and brushes, using an acid-resistant medium. Illustrations appeared alongside words in the manner of earlier illuminated manuscripts. He then etched the plates in acid to dissolve the untreated copper and leave the design standing in relief. This is the reversal of the usual method of etching, where the lines of the design are exposed to the acid; and the plate printed by the intaglio method.

Blake used illuminated printing for most of his well-known works, including his more  famous written poems: “The Lamb”, “The Tyger” and “Songs of Innocence and of Experience”, as well as “The Book of Thel” and “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.”

In 1800, Blake moved to a cottage at Felpham, in Sussex (now West Sussex), to take up a job illustrating the works of William Hayley, a minor poet. It was in this cottage that Blake began Milton from 1804-1808. The preface to this work includes a poem beginning “And did those feet in ancient time“, which became the words for the anthem “Jerusalem“.

Blake returned to London in 1804 and began to write and illustrate “Jerusalem” which became his most ambitious work; having conceived the idea of portraying the characters in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.”

william blake - vala hyle & skofeldAbove – “Vala, Hyle & Skofeld” (Plate 51, from Jerusalem ca.1820, relief etching, white-line etching printed in orange ink with watercolour pen and ink and gold paint).

Jerusalem was the last and the longest of Blake’s Prophetic Books. It tells of the struggles of Albion and his female counterpart Jerusalem; and their fall and final redemption through Christ. Here Vala, shown crowned, represents the fallen Jerusalem overcome; and incarcerated in the fiery depths of absolute despair. Her companions are Hyle, and Skofeld.

william blake - dante running from the 3 beasts(Above: Dante running from the three beasts).

The commission for Dante’s Divine Comedy came to Blake in 1826 with the aim of producing a series of engravings. Blake’s death in 1827 cut short this enterprise, and only a handful of watercolours were completed; and because of this, Blake’s intent may be obscured. It is said that Blake’s central preoccupation was his feverish work on the illustrations to Dante’s Inferno; where he is said to have spent one of  his last shillings on a pencil to continue sketching.

On the day of his death, on 12 August, 1827, Blake worked relentlessly on his Dante series. Eventually, it is reported, he ceased working and turned to his wife, who was in tears by his bedside. Beholding her, Blake is said to have cried,

Stay Kate! Keep just as you are
I will draw your portrait
for you have ever been an angel to me.

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San Marco Basilica, the Church of Gold

st marks basilicaThe Basilica of St. Mark (San Marco) in Venice, Italy has stood since 829 in the time of Doge Giustiniano Partecipazio who had it built to hold the remains of the Evangelist St. Mark who became the one patron of the city. It became the Basilica of St. Mark with its shape derived from the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles in Constantinople – one of the wonders of Byzantine architecture. It was destroyed by fire in 927 and rebuilt in the same architectural form that it has today by Doge Domenico Contarini between 1043-1071.

venice - basilica of st mark baptisteryThe Baptistery has stood since 1350 from the time of Doge Andrea Dandolo. In the middle is the great baptismal pool by Tiziano Minio, Desiderio da Firenze and Francesco Segala (1545); the latter made the statue of St. John the Baptist which was cast in 1575. On the right is the Venetian Gothic Art tomb of Andrea Dandolo.

The mosaic work on the walls, vaults and domes was by Venetian workmen in the 14th C and portrays episodes from the life of St. John the Baptist and the infant Jesus. On the end wall is the great Crucifixion with the portrait of Andrea Dandolo in the dome; and above the baptismal font is Jesus Christ who invites the Apostles to preach the glad tidings; and below; all around is the Apostles in the act of baptising people from various countries.

Due to its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power,  the Basilica has been known by the nickname Chiesa d’Oro (Church of gold).

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Oh! brave white horses! you gather and gallop

adam lindsay gordonThe Australian poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon (born 19 October, 1833 – died 24 June, 1870) lived at 10 Lewis Street, in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, in 1868 during the last years of his life, after having migrated to Australia in 1853, after having been born in born at Fayal in the Azores.

An expert rider, he would often gallop his horse to the local Marine Hotel to drink, sing and gamble. The old hitching-post to which he tethered his horse is still there at the pub and the hotel has created an “Adam Lindsay Gordon Lounge” in his commemoration, complete with historical relics from the poet.

On 24 June, 1870, the day before his book Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes was published, Adam Lindsay Gordon walked through the early morning frost to the scrub on the foreshore at the end of Park Street, Brighton and shot himself.

  • In his pocket was a “lucky charm” Lion shilling.
  • His body was found by William Allen, a local Brighton storekeeper.

“The Swimmer” is one of the poems from Bush Ballads and Galloping Hymns.  It was later set to music by Sir Edward Elgar as the fifth and last song in his song-cycle “Sea Pictures”.  The following is the last verse from “The Swimmer“:

Oh! brave white horses! you gather and gallop,
The storm sprite loosens the gusty reins;
Now the stoutest ship were the frailest shallop
In your hollow backs, on your high arched manes.
I would ride as never [a] man has ridden
In your sleepy, swirling surges hidden,
I would ride as never man has ridden
To gulfs foreshadowed through straits forbidden,
Where no light wearies and no love wanes,
No love, where no love, no love wanes.

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Cheezels are more than a Mynah Attraction

peter trusler-cheezels

Don’t get me wrong!

Not for one moment am I saying that Peter Trusler’s art is rubbish, but I love the use of rubbish within Peter Trusler’s art! Especially the inclusion of a discarded, empty Cheezels bag. (Def: highly cheesy crunchy savoury snack, beloved by children of all ages!).

The above image is featured in “Birds of Australian Gardens” by Australian artist Peter Trusler. Trusler was born in Yallourn in country Victoria. He studied oil painting under the Ballarat artist Jessie Merritt and is a science graduate from Monash University. He is a foundation member of the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia and his work is represented in collections throughout Australia. Among the publications featured in this illustration are the Gould League’s Bird Habitatat Wall-chart series and Rigby’s Every Australian Bird Illustrated.

He describes the above featured Common mynah (acrdotheres tristis) as the larrikin of the streets. They are members of the large starling family Sturnidae and were originally introduced to control insect pests. The Common mynah is aka the Indian Myna.

  • Their food source is varied, including insects; such as wasps, flies, beetles, and their larvae and sugar ants; household scraps, seeds, and fruit.
  • The strutting common mynah rarely neglects an opportunity to investigate food sources, and thus a diet of Cheezels may become a part of their diet.

However, there is one trick that humans can do that mynahs cannot do when it comes to eating Cheezels; and that is to place one Cheezel ring over each finger (and thumb). Therefore, at a party, we can run away from the Cheezel’s bowl with up to 10 Cheezels before anyone can bat an eyelid and realise that the bowl is now severely depleted.

Wey ho! nibble, nibble, nibble, yum, yum, yum, Cheezels are the way to go, I’m not dumb!

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Here’s to the old camel joke – One Hump or Two

margaret river caveHere is an example of what I call ‘Natural Art.

I found this marvelous example of ‘natural art’ form in the Jewel Cave, at Margaret River, in south Western Australia. To me, there is no doubting that it looks like a dromedary camel.

  • The Jewel Cave is the biggest show cave in Western Australia, which features four massive chambers.
  • It is also home to one of the longest straw stalactites found in any tourist cave in the world.
  • The stalactites and straws have to be seen to be believed stretching, suspended and hanging across the ceiling like vines and dancing cobwebs.
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Ghostbikes that Celebrate the Cycle of Life

ghostbikeA “Ghost Bike” aka “Ghost-Cycle” or “White-Cycle”,  is a bicycle set up as a roadside memorial in a place where a cyclist has been killed or severely injured.  Apart from being a memorial, it is usually intended as a reminder to passing motorists to share the road.

Ghost Bikes are usually junk bicycles painted white;  and sometimes adorned with an attached  placard; locked to a suitable object close to the scene of the accident.

The first recorded “Ghost Bike” was recorded as occurring in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2003. Since then, “Ghost Bikes” and other small and sombre memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street are memorialised in time.

The example shown above serves in commemoration of the 4th anniversary for John Cornish  who was runned down and killed on Sunday, July 22, 2012 near the Brighton Sea Baths, Melbourne.  Cornish was a triathlon coach at Tri-Alliance. To find out more about “Ghostbikes” see the Ghostbikes website.

I also dedicate this post to “Julian” (2013) who is sadly missed by many of his former friends and colleagues, who will continue to remember and celebrate his eternal Cycle of Life.

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Webb’s Hope of Deliverance – Justifies its Existence

cathy weiszman - AD HopeBust of poet A.C. Hope by Cathy Webb, Garema Place, Canberra, Australia (2012).

Alec Derwent Hope AC OBE (21 July 1907 –13 July 2000) was an Australian poet and essayist known for his satirical slant. He was also a critic, teacher and academic.

Hope was born in Cooma, New South Wales, and educated partly at home and in Tasmania. He attended Fort Street Boys High School, Sydney University, and then the University of Oxford on a scholarship. Returning to Australia in 1931 he then trained as a teacher, and spent some time drifting.

He worked as a psychologist with the New South Wales Department of Labour and Industry, and as a lecturer in Education and English at Sydney Teachers College (1937–44). He was a lecturer at the University of Melbourne from 1945 to 1950, and in 1951 became the first professor of English at the newly founded Canberra University College, later of the Australian National University (ANU) when the two institutions merged, a chair he held until retiring in 1968.

Although he was published as a poet while still young, The Wandering Islands (1955) was his first collection and all that remained of his early work after most of his manuscripts were destroyed in a fire. Its publication was delayed by concern about the effects of Hope’s highly-erotic and savagely-satirical verse on the Australian public.

From 1968, Hope was appointed Emeritus Professor at the ANU. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1972 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1981 and awarded many other honours. He died aged 93, in Canberra, on 13 July, 2000; having suffered dementia in his last years. He is buried at the Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery.

When Hope was once asked what poets do for Australia, he replied;  “They justify its existence”.

About the Sculptor – Cathy Webb:

  • St Joseph & Baby Jesus, life-sized bronze at St Joseph’s Church, Moorebank, Sydney (2012).
  • “Poet’s Corner”, Busts of Judith Wright, David Campbell, and A.D. Hope, (see above) Garema Place, Canberra City (2012).
  • Blake Prize Finalist, Sir Herman Black Gallery, University of Sydney (2005).
  • Giant’s Creek Art Prize, Sculpture Section, Highly Recommended (1997).
  • Waverley Art Prize, Sydney Winner Sculpture Section (1996)
  • Dip. Fine Art, National Art School, Sydney (1995).
  • Technical Assistant, Sculpture Department, National Art School, Sydney (1990-1994).

You can visit more of Cathy Webb’s work at her website.

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I Love the Flower Girl – (I don’t Know Why She Just Simply Caught My Eye)


(Above image:) La femme au Bouquet” aka “Woman with Flowers” by Jean-Pierre Cassingneul, reminds me of the words from a 1960s song “(I Love) The Flower Girl” by the band The Cowsills,

Jean-Pierre Cassigneul is a French painter known for his serene portraits of women mostly in hats that recall the French Post-Impressionist avant-garde, which reflect the works of Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, as well as influences and frequent allusions to other aspects of the Années Folles.

Cassigneul was born on July 13, 1935, in Paris, France and studied at the École des Beaux Arts before holding his first solo exhibition at the tender age of 17. A year later, he was appointed a member of the Salon d’Automne.

  • From 1956-1960 he studied under various French artists prior to exhibiting at the Gallerie Bellechasse in Paris.
  • Since then he has exhibited throughout Europe, Japan, and the USA and has also illustrated several books, among them including: Le Tour de Malheur by Joseph Kessel.
  • As for “Woman with Flowers” by  Cassingneul it reminds me of the words from the 1960s song by the”The Cowsills which well describes the above image:

“Flowers in her hair, flowers everywhere.
I love the flower girl
Oh, I don’t know just why, she simply caught my eye,
I love the flower girl, She seemed so sweet and kind.
She crept into my mind”.

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Are a Pair of Hearts on a Tree Equal to This Heart of Stone?

marcus stone - absence makes the heart grow fonderAbove: “Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder“.

English historical genre painter and illustrator, Marcus Stone was born on 4th July, 1840, and according to the ‘Dictionary of Victorian Painters‘, he was trained by his father, Frank Stone ARA. Marcus began to exhibit at the Royal Academy, before he was eighteen years of age. A few years later he illustrated, with much success, books by Charles Dickens “Our Mutual Friend”, Anthony Trollope, and other writers who were friends of the Stone family.

Stone was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1877, and Academician in 1887. In his earlier pictures, he dealt much with historical incidents, but in his later work, he focussed on a particular type of dainty sentiment, treated with much charm, refinement and executive skill.

He mainly painted genre scenes set in 18th century or Empire costume  and his themes were mostly dramatic, sentimental or occasionally humorous. Some of the titles of his works include: “Rejected“, “The First Love-Letter“, “A Stolen Kiss” and “Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” (see above).

One of his canvases is in Tate Gallery in London. Most of his works have been engraved, and medals were awarded to him at exhibitions in all parts of the world.

A blue plaque commemorates Stone at his house at 8 Melbury Road, Holland Park. Stone married Laura Brown, the daughter of the Zealand merchant William Brown.

  • Although Marcus Stone died on 24 March, 1921, his artistic legacy lives on as evidenced by this precious Stone!
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Concrete evidence that Magnelli did Excelli

alberto magnelli - ronde oceanique Ronde Oceanique” 1937, (oil on canvas 114 x 146 cm).

Born in Florence, on 1 July 1888,  Italian modern painter Alberto Magnelli was a significant figure in the post-war Concrete Art movement. Starting off in 1907, despite having limited formal art education, Magnelli became established enough to be included in the Venice Biennial exhibition, two years later, in 1909.

Although his initial works were in the style of Fauvism, Magnelli joined the Florentine Avant-Garde artists and visited Paris where he met Guillaume Apollinaire and Cubist artists including Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Alexander Archipenko.

By 1915, Magnelli had adopted an abstract style incorporating both Cubist and Futurist elements.

  • By 1931 he had returned to Abstraction in the form of Concrete Art featuring geometric shapes and overlapping planes.
  • He moved to Paris, where he joined the Abstraction-Création group and became friends with Wassily Kandinsky, Jean Arp and Sophie Taueber.

Following the WW2, Magnelli returned to Paris which was to be his home for the rest of his life. He became a major figure in the post war concrete art movement and influenced artists such as Victor Vasarely, Nicolas de Staël as well as the concrete artists in South America such as Hélio Oiticica.

Magnelli died on April 20, 1971 at his home in Meudon, Paris.

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This Breton Woman & Child is no Patterson’s curse

ambrose patterson breton womanAmbrose McCarthy Patterson  Breton Woman and Child, 1908 (oil on canvas)

Australian born painter and print-maker, Ambrose McCarthy Patterson was born on 29 June 1877, in Daylesford, Victoria. Patterson studied at the Melbourne Art School under Emmanuel Phillips Fox and Tudor St George Tucker, at the National Gallery Art School in Melbourne and continued his studies in Paris at the Académie Colarossi and the Académie Julian under Lucien Simon, André Lhote and Maxime Maufra.

In Paris he became a friend of compatriot famous soprano Nellie Melba, and Patterson’s brother, Tom, married Melba’s sister, Belle. Through Melba’s influence, he was able to continue his studies with John Singer Sargent. He became part of the Paris arts scene and exhibited at the first Salon d’Automne exhibitions. He had five paintings at the 1905 Paris Salon at which Henri Matisse and the fauves stunned the art world.

  • After a visit back home, in between 1900-10, Patterson spent the following seven years in Hawaii.
  • Following a year in San Francisco, he moved to Seattle to work as a freelance artist, perhaps being the first modern artist in that city.
  • In 1919 he established the University of Washington School of Painting and Design.

Patterson married painter and former student Viola Hansen in 1922, and the two became major figures of the arts in the Pacific Northwest region. Patterson taught until his retirement in 1947.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia), the Honolulu Museum of Art, the National Portrait Gallery (Canberra, Australia), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum and the Tacoma Art Museum are among the public collections holding Patterson’s works.

  • Ambrose Patterson died in Seattle on 26 December, 1967.

Breton Woman and Child (featured above) was last exhibited at the Australian Impressionists in France Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (15 June-6 October, 2013).

According to Dr. David Hansen, Senior Researcher and Specialist at Sotheby’s Australia, who saw this artwork which was sold in November 2013; suggests that this work was recently discovered in Belgium and the woman’s traditional costume of the Jeannaise maid and the intimate and sentimental wriggling of he child suggests that it is the artist’s daughter Anne (Nancy) who was born in January 1907.

P.S. As for Patterson’s or Patersons Curse, (Echium plantagineu, aka Salvation Jane); Australia has an invasive plant which originated from, and is mostly used in South Australia, due to its use as a source of food for grazing animals when the less drought tolerant grazing pastures die off. Despite its negative name, Paterson’s Curse has positive values: as a fodder plant, and with proper handling, it can be valuable fodder over summer for cattle and sheep, but not livestock without ruminant digestive systems.

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Franz Kupka – Etude par la Fugue

Franz Kupka – etude par la fugueAbove: Etude par la Fugue (1911-1912) –  oil on canvas 66cm x 66cm

Painter and graphic artist František Kupka, (also known as Frank or François Kupka), was born in Opočno, eastern Bohemia (now Czechoslovakia), on 23 September, 1871. He was a pioneer and co-founder of the early phases of the abstract art movement and Orphic Cubism (Orphism). The basis of Kupka’s abstract works arose from an understanding of realism, which later evolved into pure abstract art.

From 1889-1892, Kupka studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where he painted historical and patriotic themes.  He then enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, where he concentrated on symbolic and allegorical subjects.

  • He was influenced by Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach (1851–1913) and his naturalistic life-style.
  • He exhibited at the Kunstverein, Vienna, in 1894.
  • Kupka worked as an illustrator of books and posters and during his early years in Paris, and became known for his satirical drawings for newspapers and magazines.
  •  His work became increasingly abstract around 1910–11, reflecting his theories of motion, colour and Orphism.

In 1936, his work was included in the exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and in an important show with another Czech painter Alphonse Mucha at the Jeu de Paume in Paris.

  • A retrospective of his work took place at the Galerie Mánes in Prague in 1946, as well as an exhibition at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles.

Kupka died in June 24, 1957, in Puteaux, France.

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Take a Looker at this Harry Brooker

harry brookerEnglish artist, Harry Brooker was born in August 1848, near Regents Park in London and lived until September 1940; when he suffered a stroke during an air raid. He married Edmee Isabel Short (featured in the above work: “The Treasured Volume”,  Christopher Wood Gallery, London).

  • Together he and his wife  had six children.
  • Brooker was a ‘genre painter’, who portrayed domestic scenes, often of children at play.
  • He exhibited at the Royal Academy and other London and provincial exhibitions.
  • Between 1875 and 1920 he painted in excess of 120 paintings including portraits and still life. Many of these still exist in both private collections and public galleries.

After Edmee died in 1920, Brooker aged 72 ended his painting career.

Without his art, we would have been much more crooker, if we had not discovered the art of Harry Brooker!

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