Louis XV, king of France, often called Jean-Baptiste Oudry to Versailles to paint the royal hounds--in the king's presence. "Monsieur Oudry had acquired such a habit of conversing with high-ranking persons and of working in their presence that he painted as calmly at the court as he would in his own studio," marveled a contemporary. Though his father was a painter and art dealer, Oudry's first serious training came from portrait painter Nicolas de Largillière. By about 1720, the young man was concentrating on animals, hunts, and landscapes. He became a member of the Académie de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1719 and a professor there in 1743. From 1726 Oudry had great success designing tapestries. In 1734 he was named director of the Beauvais tapestry manufactory, which he re-established by bringing in artists like François Boucher. Two years later, he became director of the Gobelins manufactory. Supervising all tapestry production gave Oudry considerable influence on French decorative arts. He also had a large studio and was literally overwhelmed by commissions. His clients included Czar Peter the Great of Russia and the Queen of Sweden. Oudry's work was marked by attention to detail combined with freedom of execution. A master of chiaroscuro, he maintained a lifelong interest in light and reflections.
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Bell was born in Seattle, WA in 1906, and he later moved to Staten Island, NY. It was in New York City where he found the inspiration for his work, the city and its people, focusing on daily life subjects. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Art Students League with John Sloan. Exhibition venues include the Corcoran Gallery, Museum of Modern Art and the Tacoma Art Museum.
Michele Cascella (1892-1989) Michele Cascella was a very congenial and humane person, as well as a tenacious worker. The techniques Michele used were pastels, pencil and pen and ink drawings, oils, watercolors, ceramics, lithography and textiles. His most frequent subjects were the landscapes of Abruzzi, locations all over Italy, Portofino, Paris, London, New York, California, Mexico, Hawaii, Tuscany, flowers, portraits and still life. Michele himself said that Henry Rousseau and Picasso had the greatest impact on the art world, while Van Gogh, Utrillo and Raoual Dufy most influenced his own work. He is referred to as an Italian Impressionist, post-impressionist and neo-impressionist. Also primitivism and crepuscular landscape artist are used to describe his work. Michele’s works are preserved at: The Basilio Cascella Civic Museum in Pescara The Pinacoteca Comunale M. Cascella in Ortona The Risorgimento Museum and the Historical Collections in Milan The Victoria and Albert Museum in London The National Modern Art Gallery in Turin Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in Rome The Museum of the Jeu-de-Paume in France The National Gallery of Luxembourg The House Museum of Gabriele D’Annunzio in Pescara The De Saisset Art Gallery of Santa Clara University in California, Permanent Collection The Modern Art Gallery in Brussels, The National Modern Art Gallery in Rome.
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A painter of pop-art realism combined with a great respect for traditional methods and subject matter, Wayne Thiebaud is one of the most prominent of the Bay Area painters in California in the latter part of the 20th century. His reputation spread far beyond his own state. In his painting, he focuses on the commonplace in a way that suggests irony and objective distance from his subjects. He also makes a point of keeping an independent distance from the New York art scene. He was born in Mesa, Arizona, in 1920, and for one summer during his high school years he apprenticed at the Walt Disney Studio and then studied at an Los Angeles trade school the next summer. He earned a degree from Sacramento State College in 1941. From 1938 to 1949, he worked as a cartoonist and designer in California and New York and served as an artist in the United States Army. In 1950, at the age of thirty, he enrolled in Sacramento State where he earned a Master's Degree in 1952 and began teaching at Sacramento City College. In 1960, he became assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, where he remained through the 1970s and influenced numerous artist students. However, he did not have much following among Conceptualists because of his adherence to basically traditional disciplines, emphasis on hard work rather than creativity, and love of realism. On a leave of absence, he spent time in New York City where he became friends with Willem De Kooning and Franz Kline and was much influenced by these abstractionists as well as Pop Artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. During this time, he began a series of very small paintings based on images of food displayed in windows, and he focused on their basic shapes. Returning to California, he pursued this subject matter and style, isolating triangles, circles, squares, etc. He also co-founded the Artists Cooperative gallery, now Artists Contemporary Gallery, and other cooperatives including Pond Farm, having been exposed to the concept of cooperatives in New York. In 1960, he had his first one-man shows in San Francisco at the Museum of Art and New York at the Staempfli and Tanager galleries. These shows received little notice, but two years later, a 1962 New York Sidney Janis Gallery exhibition officially launching Pop Art, brought him national recognition although he disclaimed being anything other than a painter of illusionistic form. In 1963, he turned increasingly to figure painting, wooden and rigid with each detail sharply emphasized; in 1967 his work was shown at the Biennale Internationale, and in 1985, he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.