Sunday, November 22, 2015

Laurits Tuxen 1853-1927

Armand Cabrera

Laurits Regner Tuxen was born in Copenhagen in 1853 His father was the director of the naval dockyards there and Laurits was fascinated with the sea from an early age.  He entered the Royal Academy in Copenhagen at age 14 and very quickly was recognized for his abilities and rose to the top of his class.

He wanted to be a Marine painter but was guided into figure painting because of his skill with portraits and became a successful court painter throughout Europe painting many pictures of royal families and weddings. There are twenty-seven paintings by Tuxen in the Royal Collection, Windsor. His work for the English court extended across the reigns of three monarchs: Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V.

 He started visiting the artists’ colony in Skagen around 1870.  He was good friends with the artists there, especially P. S. Kroyer and Michael Anchor. After the academy Laurits travelled to Paris and studied under Leon Bonnat at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. It was Bonnat that guided Laurits toward Naturalism.

 After embracing this new style Laurits work became freer in handling, lighter in tone and more colorful in his palette. making him very successful with patrons around Europe.  He maintained a residence in Paris and was in great demand for over thirty years. 

Some of his more famous paintings during this time include the wedding of Tsar Nicholas II, The portrait of Queen Victoria, the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II,  The coronation of George V and The crowning of Queen Alexandra,

In 1880 he took a position as a professor at the school of artistic studies in Copenhagen. The school was founded to counteract the conservatism of the Royal Academy there and Tuxen was the first professor to introduce Naturalism to his students.

 In 1886 he married Ursule de Baisiex and the couple had three daughters. Tragically in 1899 his wife and oldest daughter died from tuberculosis. In 1901 Laurits remarried Frederikke Treschow and they built a home in Skagen and Laurits and his family became a permanent member of the artists’ colony there. He was instrumental in the foundation of the Skagen museum. In Skagen he finally pursued marine and genre painting of local scenes and family and friends. Laurits Tuxen Died in 1927.

The Painters of Skagen
Knud Voss (English Translation by Peter Shield)
Stok-Art Publishers 994

Monday, November 16, 2015

Art and Free Speech

Armand Cabrera

I have been writing these articles for over ten years now and in that time I’ve rarely strayed from the narrow topic of the general nuts and bolts of art but with recent events taking place here in this country and around the world I feel compelled to speak out against what I see as an assault on free speech.

Art does not exist in a vacuum. To flourish it needs certain conditions and to my way of thinking the most important is the free exchange of ideas. Ideas that challenge our comfort zones and push our boundaries and even may offend us are an important part of what goes into making all forms of great art.

In this country free speech is being strangled on college campuses by individuals who only want a platform for their narrow worldviews. They have set themselves up as the overlords of all things right and good and in doing so have destroyed any chance for dialogue between opposing viewpoints. Surprisingly this is coming from the left side of the political spectrum instead of conservatives.

This goes against everything America was built on. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right even when it is distasteful or outright offensive. As an artist I am well acquainted with this kind of fascist control over what people can say or do or write or draw. In my career I have been blocked from showing my art because it had religious overtones, political commentary, nudity, violence or in some cases fantasy elements.  I abhor censorship as much when this comes from the left as I do when it comes from the right of the political spectrum.

Stifling free speech leads to an insular worldview and limited thinking which leads to extreme and sometimes violent intolerance of other viewpoints. Reports of students spitting on people listening to speakers they disagree with or locking out and threatening journalists trying to report on news events shows how far they have fallen from American values on our campuses.

Even more disturbing are the recent bombings around the world showing that democracies are being threatened by extreme fundamentalism. Attacks on musicians, writers, journalists and cartoonists some with murderous outcomes for the victims of the aggression, have been increasing around the globe. This type of attack goes against the core beliefs of a free democracy and capitulation to the aggressors is not the answer. No ideology, social or religious, should be exempt from criticism or outright ridicule by anyone in a free society.

Artists of all disciplines have always pushed society’s boundaries. They have always been the forefront of free thought. In my opinion the world is now a better place because of this, do not let a few extremists who fear progress and change alter that. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fall in the Tidal Basin

Armand Cabrera

I had a great time painting in the Tidal Basin yesterday. The fall weather was perfect with temps in the low 60’s. The paintings I did were small 9 x 12's 

The crowds were low compared to spring during the blossoms but for me the color was just as nice. It was easy to drive in and park near the Ohio Street Bridge and walk a few hundred yards to my first painting location.

It is a little past peak at the basin but the trees at the Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting pool are still green. The mall was mixed with some trees completely denuded of leaves and some just turning.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rene Bull

Armand Cabrera

Rene Bull was born in 1872 in Dublin, Ireland. His father was English and his mother French
Rene studied engineering in Paris but decided he wanted to pursue art and took drawing lessons from the famous cartoonist Emmanuel PoirĂ© who went by the pseudonym Caran d’ Ache. 

When Rene returned to England in 1892 he settled in London and began creating wordless cartoons for Illustrated Bits and Pick Me Up.

In 1896 he became a war artist for the Black and White news magazine. He covered the Afghan War the Armenian Massacre and the Greco Turkish War. In 1900 he was severely wounded covering the Boer War.

Returning to England he worked as an illustrator and cartoonist. He is most remembered for his illustrations for The Arabian Nights in 1912 and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in 1913 and Gulliver’s Travels in 1928.

Rene Bull died in 1942

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Illuxcon 8

Armand Cabrera

Illuxcon 8 is fast approaching and I am working to get everything ready before I leave next Tuesday.

I will have 8 new paintings and a number of drawings this year as well as some prints of favorite images.
This will be my fifth year showing my work and my fourth time in the Main Show.
If your going to the show make sure you stop by and say hi.

Only the Stars Endure 9 x 12 oil on panel