Every so often, an artist encounters a kindred spirit and forges a relationship that incites a flurry of creativity for both parties. American painter Mary Cassatt remarked upon seeing the pastels of Edgar Degas that they “changed my life. I saw art as I wanted to see it.” Degas was equally struck by her talent, protesting that such wonderful paintings could not possibly have been “done by a woman!” but later confessing to have found “someone who feels as I do.” Renowned photographer and art promoter Alfred Stieglitz described a series of abstract charcoal drawings by a young Georgia O’Keeffe as the “purest, finest, sincerest things that had entered [his art gallery] in a long while.” He would later promote her art and inspire her to apply principles of photography to her paintings, and she would teach him a thing or two about Modernism. Mural painter Diego Rivera encouraged Frida Kahlo to paint in the folkloric and indigenous style that characterized his work – they ultimately became the most significant painters in 20th century Mexico, but at a great personal cost.
In this course, we will meet each of these legendary artists and learn about their aesthetic views. We will see how they fit into the art movements of their times. We will then delve into their artistic liaison with a fellow artist and discover the multiple ways each influenced the other and the legacy they left to us. And, on another level, we will explore the complex personal relationships that arose. It wasn’t always smooth sailing!
There will be a weekly presentation which includes the viewing of slides of the major works of a particular artist. Students will be encouraged to ask questions or to comment on the art throughout the presentation. Preparation time for each class will be about an hour and a half.