Archive for the ‘Unknown Artists’ Category

Zinaida Serebriakova

January 8, 2014 Leave a comment

File:Serebryakova SefPortrait.jpg


Zenaida Serebriakova (1884-1967), Russian aristocrat through and through,  was nonetheless a revolutionary to the bone. One of Russia’s first woman visual artists of note, she was born into a refined family–the Benois, whose founding ancestor, Louis Jules Benois, was a confectioner (pardon the pun)  who settled in Russia after fleeing the French Revolution.

Serebriakova received thorough instruction in painting, studying under Osip Braz, spending time in Italy, and finishing with a period at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris. She came to prominence when the above self-portrait, At the Dressing Table, was exhibited in 1909. A trip to Paris in 1924 to paint a large mural turned into decades-long exile when she was unable to return home. Her two younger children  joined her soon thereafter, but the Soviet government prevented her from resuming contact with her older children until the late 1950s.

Serebriakova traveled a great deal, especially in Africa, painting Arab and African women in native dress. Throughout her career, she remained dedicated to capturing the beauty of the world.


Self-Portrait: At the Dressing TableZenaida Serebriakova. 1909. (Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow); WikCmns; Public Domain.


Joze Gorjup, Slovenian Painter

September 30, 2013 3 comments

File:Jože Gorjup - Kopalke.jpg

RT will tell it straight: this translation was a tough one (partly because of all the place names and history). But persevere he did, and RT offers below his best shot at a translation of the information on Slovenian Wikipedia’s JG page.


Jože Gorjup (1907-1932) was a Slovenian painter, sculptor, and print-maker. He was born in the ancient abbey town, Kostanjevica na Krki, which today is protected as a cultural and historical site. When he was 18, Gorjup moved to Zagreb, where between 1925 and 1927, he studied sculpture with the renowned Ivan Mestrovic. Mastrovic was a mentor to Gorjup and deeply influenced his work. From 1927 to 1930, Gorjup studied painting in Florence. After graduating in 1930, he returned to Kostanjevica, where he worked on the renovation of St. Nicholas Church; his efforts there represent a mature synthesis of his work, which is clearly reflected in the church’s Slovenian paintings.

Gorjup’s art shows the influence of Italian Renaissance art and modern trends, especially static Arcadian figural art (i.e., art devoted to portraying a pastoral utopia).

A permanent collection of his work is housed at the Bozidar Jakac Gallery in Kostanjevica.


RT’s Related Posts: 1) A Strange and Beautiful Gift

Painting: Kopalke (Swimwear); before 1932, Joze Gorjup. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


Bruce Obomeyoma Onobrakpeya

September 10, 2013 2 comments

File:"Ahwaire and the Dog" - NARA - 558978.jpg


More discoveries, more beauty here.  This linocut drew RT’s attention to the traditional Urhobo story that it illustrates, Ahwaire and the Dog, and to its creator, Bruce Obomeyoma Onobrakpeya. So far, RT has turned up little about the story, but he did find a Wikipedia article on BOO–in Italian. So then Google Translator came to the rescue (not the first time it’s helped RT out), and RT provides his translation of the artist’s biography below.

RT will pause to note that, although he considers himself fairly well versed in the field of art, it amazes him that a successful and talented visual artist of Onobrakpeya’s caliber has remained unknown to him until now. Is it just that creative souls living on different continents can’t expect to be familiar with each other’s work? Or can we hope that artists around the world can indeed come into contact with each other and share their gifts across the globe?

(and what about Ahwaire and the Dog and the other Urhobo legends? Does a translation into English even exist? Time to check Amazon.)  RT


Bruce Obomeyoma Onobrakpeya (born 1932) is a Nigerian painter, sculptor, and carver.

Born in Agbarha-Otor in Nigeria’s Delta State, Onobrakpeya is the son of an Urhobo carver. Though raised as a Christian, he also learned traditional Urhobo religious beliefs.

Onobrakpeya’s family moved to Benin City, where he attended Western Boys High School and took drawing classes at the British Council Art Club. Early influences on his work include his art teacher Edward Ivehivboje and the watercolors of Emmanuel Erabor. After graduation in 1953, Onobrakpeya remained at WBHS to teach art, then taught for a year at Ondo Boys High School. In 1957, Onobrakpeya won a Federal Government Scholarship to the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology.

While at NCAST, Onobrakpeya began evolving an art linked to Nigerian folklore, myths, and legends. In 1958, he became involved in the Zaria Arts Society (later, the Zaria Rebels), a group of NCAST students that met to discuss art and begin the “decolonization” of Nigerian visual arts.  Onobrakpeya has stated that while NCAST helped strengthen his technical skills, it was ZAS that shaped his perspective as a professional artist and gave him the courage to seek his own mode of expression.

At this time, Onobrakpeya attended seminars on printing techniques in Ibadan, Oshogbo, and Ife, and at the Haystack Mountains School of Crafts in Maine. In 1959, his first exhibition was held in Ughelli in the Niger River delta.

Onobrakpeya’s work incorporates stylistic elements and compositions rooted in the decorative arts and traditional African sculpture. He elongates his figures, ignores perspective, and evokes the supernatural through the ambiguities of decorative elements. Onobrakpeya has contributed to the revival of contemporary Nigerian consciousness. He taught for many years at St. Gregory’s College, Lagos.

Over the years, Onobrakpeya has helped manage many arts events (including the Amos Tutuola Show, Lagos, 2000), and organizes the annual seminar Harmanattan in his hometown. He is the founder and president of the Bruce Onobrakpeya Foundation. Active since 1999, the foundation helps artists acquire technical skills and raises awareness of African art.

During his career, Onobrakpeya has exhibited in the United States, Canada, Zimbabwe, Germany, Britain, and Kenya. Major exhibitions have taken place at the Tate Modern in London; the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC; Malmö Konsthall in Malmö, Sweden; and The National Gallery of Modern Art in Lagos.


Linocut: Ahwaire and the Dog; Author: Onobrakpeya, Bruce Obomeyoma. NARA; Harmon Foundation. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


September 8, 2013 2 comments



a beautiful tatoo…

(reposted from thehumansarah)



Along Floats the Mangled Kahuna–A. Manookian

August 31, 2013 2 comments

File:Along floats the mangled Kahuna on the sea-caves calm water near to the sitting Marin whose spark of life has just flickered out.jpg

Wandering, rather in the manner of an 18th-century mariner, RT has stumbled across a treasure trove. In Hawaii, of course, though nothing else in this story is quite what one might have expected.

The clue that let RT know he had found something amazing is the above drawing, by one Arman Manookian and exhibited at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. The full title alone is enough to give the viewer pause: Along floats the mangled Kahuna on the sea-caves calm water near to the sitting [Francisco de Paula] Marin whose spark of life has just flickered out. A tale (or more than one) surely hangs on this title. Scurrying through the pages of Wikipedia, RT has assembled some data to help us decode the drawing: 1) a kahuna is a Hawaiian priest or magician; 2) Francisco de Paula Marin was an influential figure in the Kingdom of Hawaii under its first and perhaps greatest monarch, King Kamehameha I. FdPM is, among other achievements, responsible for introducing pineapples and coffee to Hawaii. But so far, RT has been unable to discover much about FdPM’s death other than its date–1837.

Arman Manookian seems a less legendary figure (if such is possible in this tale): Armenian, born in Constantinople in 1904, he survived the Armenian Holocaust and made his way to the United States, where he studied art. After graduating, he joined the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in Honolulu. He began to practice art, and his talent attracted significant commissions. Sadly, he committed suicide at 31. Today, his work, and especially his oil painting. is highly valued in Hawaii.

Hawaii, which RT visited several years ago, is an amazing place, and its history since discovery by Captain Cook is one of the most remarkable testaments to the resourcefulness of a native people dealing with the political realities of the 18th and 19th centuries. Why should we wonder that this period has produced illustrations worthy of an episode from Moby Dick? There is more poetry in life than we imagine.   RT

DrawingAlong floats the mangled Kahuna on the sea-caves calm water near to the sitting [Francisco de Paula] Marin whose spark of life has just flickered out, Arman Manookian; WikiCmns; Public Domain.


April 1, 2013 3 comments



a look at the signage of Coldstream in the Scottish Borders…  RT

(reposted from caralockhartsmith)



Let’s raise the stakes


looks like a new computer is in the works, and, who knows, maybe a new book too…  RT


Let’s raise the stakes.

samsung project (9) i drown my sorrows in the darkness of papua wamena


sounds delicious…  RT

(reposted from sonofmountmalang)


samsung project (9) i drown my sorrows in the darkness of papua wamena.

Luise Duttenhofer–Cut Paper Artist

February 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Christiane Luise (Louise) Duttenhofer (1776–1829) was an important German silhouette artist of the Beidermeier period (1815–1848). Her cut paper illustrations show classical and romantic influences. Though she was quickly forgotten after her death, her work was rediscovered early in the 20th century.

The daughter of an evangelical deacon, Louise was born in Waiblingen; her father died when she was three, and she was raised by her mother and grandmother.

In childhood, Louise drew portraits and caricatures and began experimenting with scissors and paper, producing Gothic ornaments. As an adolescent, at the suggestion of her great-uncle, a professor of morals at the Stuttgart Gymnasium, she took drawing lessons, soon surpassed her teacher—but this led to no professional degree, since women were limited to learning “typical female” skills. Despite these restrictions, Louise managed to learn French.

During this period, it was virtually impossible for a woman to become a visual artist; in 1804, Louise married the engraver Christian (Friedrich Traugott) Duttenhofer, two years her junior. The couple honeymooned in Rome, where Louise absorbed many artistic influences that would later appear in her work. Between 1805 and 1818, the couple had seven children, four of whom died in infancy.

File:Antiquariatsmesse Stuttgart, Logo.jpg

Gertrud Fiege has aptly characterized the couple’s relationship: “Christian reproduced the engravings of others—before photography and modern printing, important and necessary work. His wife, imaginative, original, and creative, was drawn to innovation. Evidently, she was moody and could draw blood with her pointed humor. She suffered from depression and retired at different times into herself, but would emerge affectionate and communicative. In mock resignation, Christian referred to his wife as “family friend” in their correspondence, but this likely reflected positive feelings.”

(RT’s translation and summary, with much help from the Wikipedia translation app, of the German Luise Duttenhofer Wikipedia article.)

RT knew nothing of Louise Duttenhofer until stumbling across her cut-paper work in WikiCommons this evening. She clearly was an artist of the first order, anticipating the strong graphic style of the later 19th and early 20th centuries, but has not received (at least in America) the recognition she deserves. Another minor artist with major talent.

Images: top: Goose Boy; middle: Reconciliation; bottom: Antiquarian Fair. All images: Luise Duttenhofer, WikiCmns, Public Domain.