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21st Century 'Masters'

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Are there any contemporary artists that anybody could see classifying as 'masters'? That is, artists who someday will be looked upon with the same reverence as, say, Rembrandt, Michaelangelo, etc. If not, who was the last 'master'? I remember reading about a Time(?) magazine article that asked if Jackson Pollock was the greatest living painter. He is certainly not recognized today by the general public as a master, so much the less at the time.

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His stuff is not widely available online, but this site has some of Spencer's images, and links to others. His work is easier to appreciate when it's on display, but this will give you some sense of it.

This site concentrates on some of the more scandalous aspects of Spencer's life.

I wish I could find more online. If you want to see more reproductions, I highly recommend this book, which I picked up at the Hirshhorn Museum after viewing a Spencer exhibit.

Edited by Christian

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Frederick Hart. He was also quite religiouss

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/hart_frederick.html

www.frederickhart.com/

http://www.jeanstephengalleries.com/hart-wolfe.html

Frederick Hart, b. 1943; The Artist the Art World Couldn't See

By Tom Wolfe

Frederick Hart died at the age of 55 on Aug. 13, two days after a team of doctors discovered he had lung cancer, abruptly concluding one of the most bizarre stories in the history of 20th-century art. While still in his 20's, Hart consciously, pointedly, aimed for the ultimate in the Western tradition of sculpture, achieved it in a single stroke, then became invisible, and remained invisible, as invisible as Ralph Ellison's invisible man, who was invisible ''simply because people refuse to see me.''

Not even Giotto, the 12-year-old shepherd boy who was out in the meadow with the flock one day circa 1270 using a piece of flint to draw a picture of sheep on the face of a boulder when the vacationing Florentine artist Cimabue happened to stroll by and discover the baby genius -- not even Giotto could match Frederick Hart's storybook rise from obscurity.

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In Philadelphia, Andrew Wyeth is revered, but he's a native son, so we're mostly likely a bit biased.

John Singer Sargent is almost unparalleled among portrait artists, but lacks a broad body of work. His work commands the highest prices at auction, with his "group with parasols" last month setting an all-time record for an American impressionist work: $23.5M.

a. I wouldn't call Sargent and impressionist and in fact the impressionist 'chastised' him for not following their path. (he was bewildred how monet painted without black)

b. He produced quite a large body of watercolours that are as respected as his portraits c. less impressive, he also did murals for the MFA Boston and the Boston Public Library including 'the triumph of religion' and murals for one of Harvard's libraries as well.

d. I would add NC Weyth to that list , as an illustrator. Both the wethys are respected far outside Brandywine. I would consider him (andrew) the greatest living american master.

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And we could add all the great media critics of the 20th century, like Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Richter, Hockney, Paolozzi, etc... But whether we could call any of these artists "masters" is really hard to say. I just got to walk through the Picasso museum in Barcelona (which is organized chronologically), and it was fascinating to see him mastering style after style before finding his own voice (or "voices") and consistently bettering himself. I have never been on the Picasso bandwagon, but the sheer natural talent he possessed was immeasurable. Certainly "masterful."

Comparing Paolozzi or Hockney to someone like Picasso is tough. Was Paolozzi a "master" artist? By late 20th century standards, absolutely. But could he have worked with such simple ease in as many historical styles and forms as Picasso could when we was just 17 years old? Probably not.

It seems that after Warhol plasticized commercial fine arts, the new standard for being a "master" became a matter of either how far an artist could push the boundaries of whatever materials they were using (like Lee Bontecou), or how concretely they could objectify (objectify in the sense of "making them objects") elements of our everyday experience. Long story short, I as well am wary of talking of contemporary artists the same way we talk about Velasquez or Picasso because quite often they just weren't trained the same way. We have to look at them differently, experience them differently, and appreciate them differently. Richter was an impressive technical painter for example. His hyper-realism really set a new standard. But his most beautiful and enriching works are his most abstract (formally "talentless") ones.

In terms of the 20th century, I would really want to toss in Miro and Matisse. Miro is totally underrated, his creativity was boundless.

Sorry, my two cents was a lot longer than I thought it would be.

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If we extend this discussion to architects, I would say that without question Frank Gehry would be considered a master. Best known for the Guggenheim in Spain, and maybe the Experience Music Project in Washington state, he has designed a number of buildings and structures, as well as his own line of furniture. His architectural style has always been revolutionary and controversial, not to mention unmistakeable.

It wasn't until I went to the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland (to see The Cure on their brilliant Dream tour for Bloodflowers) that I realized his mastery firsthand. That was hands down the best-sounding venue I've ever been to. No matter where you went, the acoustics were glorious and full, and the layout itself was beautiful. It wasn't until later that I found out Gehry had designed it, and then it all made sense to me.

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Mmmm... I think it's impossible to tell what will have such impact on a short scale term. When we speak of these people as masters, we are talking about them influencing art as a whole in a different direction. The progressions are small steps in a long evolutionary process and I think that people such as Michael Angelo, etc. are masters because it is impossible to tell the history of art without referring to them. Whereas, as much as I'm sure that many of the 21st century masters have influenced people towards new movements, where those movements will end and whether down the road it will have changed the face of "art as a whole" is just plain impossible to tell.

Edited by gigi

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I don't think there are many "masters" as we understand the term today. I think art has taken a totally new direction. Odd Nerdom is a modern artist working out of Norway who paints in the style of and is as good as any number of "masters." His work is particularly reminiscent of Rembrandt, and he makes allusions to that in his work. His as good or better as any of them. He offers modern allegory in a classical/Baroque approach, and is as technically good (in my opinion) as any of the Masters we study. The bastard is getting rich too. Originals start at around $25,000 and go up from there. He is genuinely good.

But is he a master? Maybe a master of his craft. Maybe a master of a style of painting and art of a time gone by, mixed with a modern sensibility. I genuinely admire him. But I don't think he will be representing the time we currently live in.

I think the term "master" is archaic in our time. I think, in the future, a "master" will be any artist that provokes and speaks to art lovers of the future in a way that is relevant to our time and has at least decent craftsmanship. I think "masters" going forward will use digital and computer media interchangably with traditional mediums. I think today's masters will define themselves originally and be nothing like the "masters" that we've studied and tried to learn from in our traditional art classes. The will be reinvented, and will not necessarily be those who are enjoying commericial success today. (i.e. T. Kincaid *retch*)

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Guest Paul Kiler

So, do we have a preference for Artists making "Christian" Expression, or are we opening it up to Masters of the 20th Century..?

IMHO, for Biblically or Spiritually based Artists, I would put a few in as Masters...

Sadao Watanabe - Japanese Biblical Woodcuts

Barry Moser - American, his Bible of woodcuts published in 1999 is a truly marvelous Masterpiece.

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff - German Expressionist, painting and woodcuts

Girogio de Chrico - Paintings, primarily

Stanley Spencer - previously mentioned

Salvador Dali - even though I haven't quite reconciled his misogynistic images (profane) with his sacred imagery. Nonetheless, His sacred imagery is superb.

Johannes Schreiter - German, Stained Glass

Cliff McReynolds - American, Painter

Only by His Marvelous Grace,

Paul Kiler

Art as Servant Ministries

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Paul: If you could provide some links to Internet images of the woodcuts you mentioned, I'd love to see 'em. I could Google the various artists myself, but I'm sure you could do a better job of pointing me to the more significant works.

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Guest Paul Kiler

\mmmm...,

Here's a nice page with many nice woodcuts, Schmidt-Rottluff included...

http://www.udayton.edu/mary/gallery/exhibi...len/works2.html

And This page has the Masterful Lord's Prayer, by Max Pechstein

http://www.udayton.edu/mary/gallery/exhibi...elen/works.html

This is a good introduction to the Christian Iconography coming out of the German Expressionists...

" The most striking examples of Expressionist print series

employing Christian iconography were produced and published in the years

between the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and the early 1920s."

http://web.grinnell.edu/art/gexp/essays/religion.html

Sadao Watanabe Can be found here:

http://www.trocadero.com/Hanga/items/124479/en1store.html

http://www.trocadero.com/Hanga/items/124473/en1store.html

http://www.trocadero.com/Hanga/items/124463/en1store.html

http://www.annexgalleries.com/itemimages/big/12286.jpg

http://www.library.georgetown.edu/dept/spe..._jesus_1967.jpg

(which is Jesus and the Children)

I was looking, one by one, but here's the motherload...

http://www.scriptum.com/artist_collection....ist_fname=Sadao

Barry Moser:

All I can say is, go to your nearest Barnes and Noble, and get a copy today, of his Bible, their now down around twenty bucks... An *EXTREMELY* powerful set of Images........

"Barry Moser spent four years on his Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, which contains 232 fine engravings that many critics say surpass Dor

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Guest Paul Kiler

Here's a link for The Paul Nash Genesis images from 1924, considered by many to be one of the finest woodcuts books of the 20th Century...

http://www.delaceyfineart.co.uk/nash.htm

If you ever get to So Calif, I can show you a copy...

Or, I could even send you a file of one or more of the images...

Paul Kiler

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