Edward Hopper – New York Movie (1939)

“In these days of wars and rumors of wars – haven’t you ever dreamed of a place where there was peace and security, where living was not a struggle but a lasting delight?” This is the question that starts off Frank Capra’s 1937 movie, Lost Horizon. “Of course you have. So has every man since…

Joan Semmel – Intimacy/Autonomy (1974)

If to empathize means to put yourself in someone else’s place, then Joan Semmel’s self-portraits offer us an exercise in empathy. Four decades before selfies became a thing, this American artist was resorting to photography to document her body and sexuality, an approach that offered her a unique vantage point, further explored through painting. One…

Andy Warhol – Green Coca-Cola Bottles (1962)

With his ad nauseam repetitions of commercial items like Coca-Cola bottles and Campbell Soup cans, you could easily think that Andy Warhol’s art was a social critique of mindless, impersonal consumerism. What better way to epitomize globalization and the greedy corporate world, after all, than by evoking the ubiquitous Coke bottle? As it turns out,…

George Tooker – Landscape with Figures (1965)

With the advent of abstract expressionism, George Tooker was for decades forgotten, until the 1980s when he re-established himself as a prominent figure of American painting. Although his subject work varied, the most powerful scenes the American artist ever produced are deeply satirical in nature, a social commentary on the human condition amid an increasingly…

Andrew Wyeth – Frostbitten (1962)

Overshadowed by postwar abstractionists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, lacking the attention-grabbing presence of Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth (1917 – 2009) remains, in spite of all that, one of the most popular American artists. At just 31, his painting Christina’s World brought him fame and recognition, after being purchased by the Museum of Modern…