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Artist Biographies

Alphabetical A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

C

Calder, Alexander
Campbell Finkelstein, Gretna
Cerny, Charles
Cezanne, Paul
Chagall, Marc
Chéret, Jules
Cobelle, Charles
Cocteau, Jean Maurice Eugene Clement
Coleman, James
Collins, Earl
Colquhoun, Robert
Cooper, Thomas Sidney
Coppedge, Fern Isabel Kuns
Le Corbusier
Cornwell, Dean
Cortez, Jenness
Cosson, Jean-Louis-Marcel
Cotton, William
Crawford, Ebenezer
Cromartie, James H.

Alexander Calder

Alexander Calder
1925-1976
American Kinetic/Modernist

One of America’s best-known sculptors, “Sandy” Calder became most famous for his kinetic abstract mobiles. He created works in a variety of mediums including watercolor, oil paint, gouache, etching, serigraph, jewelry, sculpture, tapestries, and theater stage settings. He was nurtured in an art environment, as his father and grandfather were both well-known sculptors. His fascination with machines led to his earning a degree in mechanical engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1919. In 1923, he enrolled in the Art Students League in NYC. In 1926, he went to Paris where he lived for the next seven years and began making wire sculpture. Calder’s mobiles were first shown in the U.S. in 1932. The following year, he moved back to America and bought a home in Roxbury, CT, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. He died in 1976, coincidentally at the same time as the Whitney Museum of American Art hosted a major retrospective of his work.

Gretna Campbell Finkelstein

Gretna Campbell Finkelstein
1922-1987
American expressionist landscape painter

Gretna Campbell was born in the Bronx, NY in 1922. In 1945 she studied at the Art Student’s League and in the late 1940’s she helped found Pyramid Gallery, where she exhibited her first solo show. In the 1950s she won a Fulbright Fellowship to France and spent time painting in Italy. In 1959, she had a solo show at Zabriskie Gallery. Gretna taught at the Philadelphia College of Art from 1963-1971, followed by the Yale School of Art until 1986. She has also taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and the New York Studio School. Gretna died July 14, 1987, and during the same year The New York Studio School had a memorial exhibition, as did the Ingber Gallery. Her works are included in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the MoMA.

Charles Cerny

Charles Cerny
1892-1965
American/French/Czech Republic

Charles Cerny was a painter who was born in 1892. While not much biographical information is available in this artist, it is evident that he painted a multitude of still life works varying in theme. Some themes he painted are maritime, musical, tobacco, and scientific. The artist died in 1965.

Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne
1839-1906
French Impressionist still life and landscape painter

Paul Cezanne was born in 1839 in Aix-en-Provence in France. In 1852, he entered the College Bourbon, where he met and befriended Emile Zola. In 1857, he attended the Free Municipal School of Drawing in Aix where he studied drawing under Joseph Gibert, a Spanish monk. From 1858-1861, under his father’s wishes, he attended the law school of the University of Aix. He then left for Paris where he met Camille Pissarro. Cezanne’s early work focused on groups of large, heavy figures in landscapes, and, later on, he became interested in working from life and developed an airy painting style. His paintings were shown in the first exhibition of the Salon des Refuses in 1863, which displayed works that had not been accepted by the jury of the official Paris Salon, and who had rejected Cezanne’s works from 1864-1869. While Cezanne is most known for his paintings, he did make nine prints during his lifetime, five etchings and four lithographs. All of the etchings date from 1873, when he experimented with Armand Guillaumin. Before 1895, Cezanne exhibited twice with the Impressionists, and in 1895 the Parisian dealer, Ambroise Vollard gave the artist his first solo exhibition. Although he was finally gaining recognition, he chose to work in isolation, usually painting in Provence. Cezanne died of pneumonia in Provence in 1906.

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall
1887-1985
Russian born, New York/France affiliated painter and master printmaker, known for abstract peasant themed paintings

Born in Vitebsk, Russia, his original name was Moishe Shagal (Segal), but when he became a foremost member of the Ecole de Paris, he adopted French citizenship and the French spelling of his name. To understand Chagall's work, it is necessary to know that he was born a Hasidic Jew, heir to mysticism and a world of the spirit, steeped in Jewish lore and reared in the Yiddish language. In the mysterious world of Kabbala and fantastic ancient legends of Chagall's youth, the imaginary was as important as the real. His extraordinary use of color also grew out of his dream world; he did not use color realistically, but for emotional effect and to serve the needs of his design. The circus he views as a mirror of life; the crucifixion as a tragic theme, used as a parallel to the historic Jewish condition, but he is perhaps best known for the rapturous lovers he painted all his life. His love of music is a theme that runs through his paintings. When France fell during the war, Chagall accepted an invitation from the Museum of Modern Art to immigrate to the United States. The day before he arrived in New York City, June 23, 1941, the Nazis attacked Russia. The United States provided a wartime haven and a climate of liberty for Chagall. In America he spent the war years designing large backdrops for the Ballet. He waited for three years after the war before returning to France, to a home and studio in rustic Vence. Chagall died on March 28, 1985 in St. Paul de Vence, France.

Jules Chéret

Jules Chéret
1836-1932
French Belle Époque painter and lithographer

Born in Paris to a poor family of artisans, Jules Cheret established a three-year apprenticeship with a lithographer. From 1859-1866 Cheret trained in lithography in London and, on his return to France, he created vivid posters of cabarets, music halls, and theaters. His most outstanding contribution was the creation of advertising posters that inspired an industry of new poster designers such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Charles Cobelle

Charles Cobelle
1902-1998
French-born American naïve painter

Charles Cobelle was born in Alsace-Lorraine, France, and became a US citizen in the late 1920s. He began his career in Paris after earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at the University of Munich. Later he studied at the L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and with Marc Chagall, even apprenticing with Raoul Dufy. Once in the United States, he lived in Connecticut and continued to create mixed-media paintings. Cobelle was commissioned to paint murals for several commercial establishments, including Neiman Marcus in Dallas, The Desert Inn in Las Vegas, and the Teheran Restaurant in New York City. His works are in private collections throughout the country, as well as in the public collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT.

Jean Maurice Eugene Clement Cocteau

Jean Maurice Eugene Clement Cocteau
1889-1963
French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, playwright, artist, and filmmaker

Jean Cocteau was born in Maisons-Laffitte, Yvelines, France to a socially prominent Parisian family. His father was a lawyer and amateur painter who committed suicide when Cocteau was nine. Jean left home at the age of fifteen and published his first volume of poems, Aladdin’s Lamp, at nineteen. During WWI, he served in the Red Cross as an ambulance driver. It was at this time that he met artists Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani. Cocteau and Picasso joined Sergey Diaghilev in Rome where Picasso did the set designs and Cocteau wrote for the ballet, Parade. His writing and art expression were surreal in style, and he became an ongoing influential exponent of this style. However, he was proudest of his poetry and ever insisted that he was primarily a poet. Cocteau died in 1963.

James Coleman

James Coleman
b. 1949
American animation artist

James Coleman was born in Hollywood, CA. He spent three decades at Disney Studios creating animation art for more than twenty-five films including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He had an abiding interest in fine art and painted many works of art when he was not working for Disney.

Earl Collins

Earl Collins
1925-1992
Connecticut/New York affiliated marine painter

Earl Collins was born in New Haven, CT and was a painter who focused primarily on marine painting. From his childhood, he grew up around boats and spent hours sketching busy harbor and boat scenes. When he was twelve, he worked on a commercial fishing boat. Collins served for three years in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, he went to Paris to study under Swiss artist Rudolph Eicher and learned Old Master techniques. Missing the ocean life, Collins moved back to the U.S. when he was twenty-seven and became the Captain of two large merchant ships. In 1962, he bought and became Captain of the largest commercial sword fishing vessel in the U.S. From 1971, he was a member of the American Society of Marine Artists. His works are in the collections of the Chrysler Museum and the U.S. Navy Collection.

Robert Colquhoun

Robert Colquhoun
1914-1962
Scottish painter, printmaker and theatre set designer

Robert Colquhoun was born in 1914 in Kilmarnock and was educated at Kilmarnock Academy. He won a scholarship to study at the Glasgow School of Art, where he met Robert MacBryde who became his life partner and professional colleague. His early works depict agricultural laborers and workmen, but his style developed into a more Expressionistic style, heavily influenced by Pablo Picasso, and focused on the theme of the isolated, agonized figure. Colquhoun was a prolific printmaker, producing a large number of lithographs and monotypes throughout his career. He died in London in 1962.

Thomas Sidney Cooper

Thomas Sidney Cooper, RA (Royal Academy)
1803-1902
British landscape painter

In his hometown of Canterbury, England, Thomas Sidney Cooper became one of England's most prominent mid 19th century painters, with his signature work being bucolic landscapes with cattle and sheep. He began painting in Canterbury as an employee of a carriage painter and also in the theatre as a painter of backdrops. His talent was recognized, and he was invited to become a student at the Royal Academy in London, where he was especially encouraged by portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830). Cooper also spent four years in Brussels. There he became very impressed with the painting of peaceful landscape and marine genre scenes of Albert Cuyp (1620-1691) and other Dutch Old Masters, especially those who painted landscapes with billowing skies and grazing cattle. It was a motif he adopted for his own work. He was also much influenced by the brightness of the palette of the Belgian artist, Eugene Veroeckhoven (1798-1881). As his career progressed from the time he returned to London in 1831, Thomas Sidney Cooper became known as “Cow Cooper” because of the many precisely painted bucolic landscapes he did with grazing cattle. Cooper was also known to have painted sheep. The best years of his career in terms of public attention were in the 1840s and 1850s, which was during a period when Prince Albert and Queen Victoria commissioned him to paint their herds. He became a regular exhibiter at the Royal Academy. "No one has broken his record of sending at least one picture to the Royal Academy of Arts summer exhibition every year from 1833 to 1902, a total of 266 entries." In 1882, he founded an art school in Canterbury, and his work is at the Canterbury Royal Museum.

Fern Isabel Kuns Coppedge

Fern Isabel Kuns Coppedge
1883-1951
Pennsylvania, Kansas, Illinois affiliated, Pennsylvania Impressionist painter known for landscapes, snow scenes and coastal paintings

Fern Isabel Kuns was born in 1883 in Decatur, Illinois. She attended high school in Topeka, Kansas, where her teachers encouraged her to pursue further art training. She enrolled at the University of Kansas and in 1910 married Robert Coppedge, a biology professor at the University. Fern continued her art studies at the Art Institute of Chicago and later at the Art Students League in New York City. Beginning in 1918, she attended classes on a fellowship at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where Daniel Garber was one of her teachers. Coppedge became a plein-air Impressionist painter associated with those from the New Hope Art Colony in Pennsylvania. In 1920, she bought a studio in Lumberville and participated in the group’s first exhibition that year. In 1929, she built a house and studio on the main street in New Hope. A member of many artist clubs and associations, Coppedge participated in a variety of exhibitions throughout her life. She died in 1951.

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris – Le Corbusier

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris - Le Corbusier
1887-1967
French architect, designer, painter

Born as Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris in Switzerland, Le Corbusier was attracted to the visual arts from a young age and studied at the La-Chaux-de-Fonds Art School studying architecture. In 1907, he traveled to Paris where he worked in the office of August Perret, the French pioneer of reinforced concrete. In 1908, he studied architecture in Vienna with Josef Hoffmann. In 1910/1911, he worked near Berlin with renowned architect Pter Behrens, where he met Ludwig Mies va der Rohe and Walter Gropius. More than anything else, it was his visit to the Charterhouse of the Valley of Ema that influenced his architectural philosophy. He believed that everyone should have the opportunity to live as beautifully and peacefully as the monks in the sanctuaries at the Charterhouse. In 1920, he adopted Le Corbusier (from his maternal grandfather’s name Lecorbésier) as a pseudonym. Between 1918 and 1922 he concentrated his efforts on Purist theory and painting. It was after 1922 that he began designing structures that were to be built. He was responsible for the urban planning of the Parisian slums after the devastation of World War II. He died in 1965.

Dean Cornwell

Dean Cornwell
1892-1960
American illustrator and genre painter

Dean Cornwell was born in Louisville, KY in 1892. He received his first training from Paul Plaschke at the local YMCA and, by the age of eighteen, he was a cartoonist for the Louisville Herald. In 1911, he moved to Chicago where he worked in the art department for the Chicago Tribune and studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1914, he received his first major commission for The Red Book Magazine and, in 1915, he moved to New York and enrolled in the Art Students League and then at Harvey Dunn’s school of illustration in Leonia, NJ. His illustration work included Redbook and Cosmopolitan, and all of his illustrations were based on original paintings. In 1927, Cornwell began a five-year period of mural painting in California, including works at the Los Angeles Public Library and the Lincoln Memorial Shrine. He assisted the famed Mexican muralist painter, David Siqueiros with the Olvera Street mural, America Tropical. He died in New York in 1960.

Jenness Cortez

Jenness Cortez
b. 1944
American landscape and equestrian painter

Jenness Cortez was born in Indiana in 1944 and began her formal studies when she was sixteen under the guidance of Dutch painter, Antonius Raemaekers. She also attended the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and was a student at the Art Students League of New York. Beginning in 1977, and for the next twenty years, she received attention for her sporting paintings and her powerful depictions of horses. It was at this time that she focused on horses, mostly thoroughbred racehorses. During the 1990s, he interest in landscape began to grow and her landscape works evoke a certain transcendent quality rarely seen in contemporary realism. Later she moved to cityscapes, interiors, and still life painting.

Jean-Louis-Marcel Cosson

Jean-Louis-Marcel Cosson
1878-1956
French genre painter

Jean-Louis-Marcel Cosson was born in Bordeaux in 1878. He was a member of the Sociétaire des Artistes Français, receiving an honourable mention in 1901 and a third medal in 1911. His work was also represented at the Salon de la Nationale and the Tuileries. He is known for his scenes of dancers, the theatre, bars, interiors and also flowers. Throughout his career, Cosson was fascinated by the theatre; his oeuvre is filled with images of backstage, the wings, Opera foyers, dance classes and ballerinas. His canvasses sparkle with the light of footlights reflecting off the tutus of dancers and the elegant costumes of theatre goers. He was awarded numerous prizes in Paris, Versailles, Lucerne and Milan.

William Cotton

William Cotton
b. 1965
American abstract still life and fantasy portrait painter, active in New York City

William Cotton, primarily called Will, is a New York City artist known for large scale compositions of female nude figures that combine formal beauty with devices that arouse childish desires. He incorporates candy and sweets into his paintings that conjure up childhood dreams of excess. He has not created many abstract paintings, and most of his newer works include celebrities such as Katy Perry. These figural paintings with dessert foods are painted in a realistic style and realize much higher prices at auction and retail than the more abstract works.

Ebenezer Crawford

Ebenezer Crawford
1830-1874
English history and genre painter

Ebenezer Crawford was born in Belfast, Ireland, and studied at the Belfast School of Design. From 1859-1873, he exhibited about a dozen pictures at the Royal Academy. Biographical information on Crawford is limited, but he was known for his genre and musketeer paintings.

James H. Cromartie

James H. Cromartie
b. 1944
American Hard-Edge Realist painter

James Cromartie was born into one of North Carolina’s oldest and most prominent families. Growing up, he was inspired by the works of Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. In 1969, Nelson and Happy Rockefeller visited his gallery on Nantucket, buying two paintings. The following summer, Nelson returned to the gallery with his friend, Roger Firestone. The pair bought every Cromartie piece in the gallery and later promised their continued patronage indefinitely until James realized what would soon become his signature note—Hard-Edge Realism. In addition to his depictions of Nantucket, he is also known for his historical portraits and paintings of the White House, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Capitol, and the Supreme Court.

   
   

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