Rachel’s Favorite Artists

March 25, 2009

I’ve been asking people lately who their favorite artists are. I started doing this because I was in the process of collecting pictures of some of my favorite artists, who have clearly influenced my art, to share here. I got curious about what other people were drawn to. I’m mostly talking about the historical sort of artists here, by the way.

Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky

First of all, I can not over-emphasize how much I adore Kandinsky. The lines and the color and the shapes – the movement – is all so purposeful. I love when Kandinsky talks about trying to express music in his paintings. As someone who played (oboe, cymbals, chimes, handbells) in bands and choirs for many years, I immensely appreciate the communication of that feeling. I can see the woodwinds and the brass and the percussion in his compositions.

Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky was not afraid to take chances. He did things with his art that were unexpected. There are things that we may never understand about the pieces, but we can also see what we see, and that’s what happens everyday in the world anyway so it’s wonderful.

Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky, Several Circles, 1926. This is probably my favorite piece by my favorite artist. I don’t even know how to properly explain why I like it so much. It seems so simple, doesn’t it? But you try doing that and then tell me how simple it is.

Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky

This is another fantastic one in that same style, colorful transparent images on black.

Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky

So you can clearly see how Kandinsky has influenced my paintings, and it’s all been completely unintentional. When I’m painting I don’t think of what other people have painted. I think about the struggle of the subject in my painting.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright

From that I’m sure you could gather that I’m also very inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, and yes, I do consider him an artist. The clean lines and geometric patterns, the use of natural elements and seamless integration, and even the choice of materials, all seem to me to work in harmony to create a work of art.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright

It’s most interesting to me to see the way in which Wright left certain spaces blank, and how other areas he included great detail.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright

Hans Hofmann

Hans Hofmann

The way Hofmann talked about the push and pull of colors is very interesting to me. It takes a lot of guts and intention to know that you are going to place bright yellow right there in the middle of all those blues and greens. To know when to stop, where the line should go. To know how your brush will apply the paint to the canvas. These are not mistakes. They are all very intentional placements of paint.

Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko

Millions of people the world over know Rothko, but I wish I could get them all in from of an original Rothko at some point. His paintings are so much more impressive in person. I always wish I had larger canvases when I’m painting. The way his paint felt must have been incredible.

Franz Kline

Franz Kline

Ah Franz Kline. So many German artists on my list! I love how Kline is sort of like Hans Hofmann with wild abandon. It’s inspiring and moving. The way the paint flows, you could get lost in his paintings if you look at them too long. I also find it interesting that although I usually love black and white artwork, I really enjoy Kline’s pieces where he used color. I wonder if you paint a lot with black and white, you begin to see color differently.

Paul Klee

Paul Klee

This is such a fantastic Paul Klee. To me it looks like the endless farm fields of the Midwest out of an airplane window – a sight that I am very familiar with. Fantastic perspective.

Paul Klee

Paul Klee

This piece is really interesting to me, because it’s like he goes from the Midwest to Africa, and I can relate to that. I want to go back and ask him where the camels came from, and why these colors. It’s like a mirage.

Joan Miro

Joan Miro

So whenever I read about Joan Miro they’re always saying, oh he was so playful. Like I said, see whatever you want to see, because you’re going to anyway.

Joan Miro

Joan Miro

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso

Don’t get me wrong, Picasso’s paintings are great and all, but what I realy enjoy are his sculptures. As everyone knows, Chicago has some of the greatest architecture in America, so it’s only fitting that the art that goes along with it is also great and grand.

Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder

My all-time favorite scultures are always massive, huge metal pieces. I love Alexander Calder so much he is probably my second favorite artist, after Kandinsky, and followed closely by Frank Lloyd Wright. This giant black sculpture is inside the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. Incidentally, that is where Barack Obama’s office was before he became the President of the United States.

Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder

This is the pink flamingo Calder in Chicago, or whatever you think it looks like.

Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder

Maybe a chunk of the San Francisco bridge or something?

Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder

Calder also did mobiles. The ones on really large scale are cool. But so are the small ones like below.

Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder

Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti

Finally, we have Giacometti, and I love his small scultures so much because they are simultaneously very real to what we know, and also very unreal. They make you think. The Hirshorn in DC is one of my favorite museums and they always had Giacomettis there that I’d go look at while I studied for international relations class, or something like that.

Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti

Ok, so tell me, who are your favorite artists?

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