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;…

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…

Carlos Mérida – The Eighth Heaven (1961)

With his extensive travels through Europe and the Americas, Carlos Mérida was lucky enough to experience two very different approaches to painting. On one hand, there was the European avant-garde with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Paul Klee who were moving towards an abstraction of art. On the other hand, there was…

Wassily Kandinsky – Composition IX (1936)

With the new discoveries in science, including Einstein’s famous theory of relativity at the beginning of the 20th century, artists started questioning the limited, illusory reality they were experiencing. There must be more beyond the physical world, they thought. Art became a way to test the notion that a deeper, spiritual dimension was within reach…

Julie Mehretu – Stadia I (2004)

Half Ethiopian, half American, abstract artist Julie Mehretu moved with her family to the US when she was only seven years old. Her immigrant status made her more sensitive to what makes a culture, an environment, more curious about how history, social norms, and the development of architecture through time infuse the physical space around…

Zeng Fanzhi – Blue (2015)

He is one of China’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Blending Western art with Chinese calligraphy, Zeng Fanzhi’s art was initially heavily influenced by German Expressionism. More recently, Zeng started to branch out (pun intended) and embrace a more abstract style, all while bringing to fruition his signature motif – the amalgam of intertwining lines which…