Van Gogh cut his ear off. Gauguin had a mid-life crisis and shacked up with frighteningly young Tahitian girls. Munch suffered from hallucinations. It’s a cliché that all great artists are crazy. However, the “tortured artist” stereotype certainly has a basis in fact — many famous artists’ most emotionally resonant works were created during times of emotional turmoil, the result of an all-consuming mental ailment. Not merely aesthetic masterpieces, these pieces offer great insight into an artist’s inner torment. Inspired by the fantastic Yayoi Kusama retrospective that’s currently up at the Whitney Museum, after the jump we look at some of history’s greatest mentally unstable artists and the work that beautifully captures their crises. … Read More
“The painting showed a hairless, oppressed creature with a head like an inverted pear, its hands clapped in horror to its ears, its mouth open in a vast, soundless scream,” Rick Deckard from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? descriptively observes. By now, the screaming fellow has become a pop culture icon, popping up with his mouth agape in film, literature, art, and animation. There’s even a set of Scream-inspired finger puppets. In celebration of Edvard Munch’s 148th birthday, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite cultural remixes of this notoriously neurotic gent. … Read More
TEFAF, the European Fine Art Fair that takes place every spring in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht, touts itself as “the world’s leading art and antiques fair.” In spite of the hype, there is glory coincident to the fair’s claims. This year, 260 exhibitors from 16 countries are offering fine antiques, rare books and manuscripts, maps, jewelry, Old Master paintings and sculptures, modern and contemporary art, photography, exceptional crafts, and design objects. Works on view range from Oceanic fetish figures carved in wood to decorative brooches made from hundreds of diamonds and museum-quality paintings that sell for millions.
Our top ten picks from the fair, which runs through the weekend, include one of Edvard Munch’s rare lithographic prints of a seductive Madonna; a sleek, bronze statue of pacing lion from the 1600s; Rembrandt’s masterful portrait of a pirate, which has a $47 asking price; a pair of Napoleonic folding chairs that look completely contemporary; a Helmut Newton photo of an androgynous fashion model sharing a smoke with a nude on a darkened Paris street; and a silhouetted portrait of artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster defined by a heap of cast hands and penises. Click through the images below to view our fair favorites. … Read More