Max Kurzweil – Lady in Yellow Dress (1899)

Max Kurzweil was miserable. The Austrian artist had spent his life vacillating between passion and depression, excess and withdrawal. Like Gustave Caillebotte he was stuck between the conservatism of his bourgeois upbringing and the changing tides in art. But Kurzweil couldn’t feel too sorry for himself, for his playground was bohemian Vienna at the turn…

Caspar David Friedrich – The Monk by the Sea (1808 – 1810)

“I am not so weak as to submit to the demands of the age when they go against my convictions,” a defiant Caspar David Friedrich declared as his art and the Romantic ideals of the early nineteenth century were falling out of favor towards the end of his life. “I spin a cocoon around myself;…

Cry Me a River: The ‘Bad Art Friend’ in Art History

A few days ago the New York Times published “Who Is the Bad Art Friend?”, an enthralling narrative piece that took social media by storm. The premise seems straightforward from the onset: one woman (Dawn Dorland) donates a kidney, the other one (Sonya Larson) writes about it in a short story. I’m expecting a Netflix…

Gyula Benczúr – Narcissus (1881)

We all know the story by now. Narcissus, a beautiful youth, sees his reflection in a pond and falls in love with his image. Yearning to touch the handsome face staring back at him, but realizing that he cannot, Narcissus pines away and dies. After death, in his place sprouts a flower bearing his name….

Emil Filla — Reader of Dostoevsky (1907)

The first time I saw Reader of Dostoevsky I laughed.  It looked exaggerated, like a meme of someone who had just spent the last thirty minutes scrolling through Twitter. Mind you, it’s possible that my reaction was due to my mixed feelings for Dostoevsky himself.  Anyone who has struggled through the Russian’s long winded paragraphs…

The Journey Within: František Kupka’s Self-Portraits

One of the saddest things I’ve learned in recent weeks was that as we grow older a yellow pigment accumulates on our retinas and changes the way we see the world. Colors fade, dimness increases, the blue sky loses its crispness. We’re stuck in a 1960’s Polaroid. And even though there are countless indignities to…