Lowell Herrero (1921-2015) RIP

Lowell Herrero of Calistoga, California, died from natural causes on November 28, 2015 at the young age of 94 after a very active and full life. He was born in

Source: Lowell Herrero : St. Helena Star

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George W. Bush: The Art of Leadership

The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy is an exhibit of 30 portraits of world leaders painted by President George W. Bush. The paintings are on display at the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, from April 5 to June 3, 2014.

I place a high priority on personal diplomacy. Getting to know a fellow world leader’s personality, character, and concerns made it easier to find common ground and deal with contentious issues. That was a lesson I had picked up from Dad, who was one of the great practitioners of personal diplomacy.” – President George W. Bush

Former First Dog Barney, RIP (2000-2013)

Barney, the Scottish Terrier that lived in the White House with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, passed away on February 1, 2013. Born on September 30, 2000, Barney died at age 12 after battling lymphoma.

Since retiring and moving back to Texas, President Bush has been painting landscapes and dog portraits. This portrait of Barney is one of the President’s paintings. It is signed “43.”

Barney Bush

Portrait of Barney
by President George W. Bush

President Bush issued the following statement:

Laura and I are sad to announce that our Scottish Terrier, Barney, has passed away. The little fellow had been suffering from lymphoma and after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness.

Barney and I enjoyed the outdoors. He loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch. He was a fierce armadillo hunter. At Camp David, his favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green.

Barney guarded the South Lawn entrance of the White House as if he were a Secret Service agent. He wandered the halls of the West Wing looking for treats from his many friends. He starred in Barney Cam and gave the American people Christmas tours of the White House. Barney greeted Queens, Heads of State, and Prime Ministers. He was always polite and never jumped in their laps.

Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House. He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend. Laura and I will miss our pal.

Arthur Okamura, RIP

This morning I received an email from Stephen Beal, President of California College of the Arts, bearing sad news:

FROM PRESIDENT STEPHEN BEAL

Dear CCA Community,

I’m very sad to report the death of Professor Emeritus Arthur Okamura. He passed away on July 10 near his home in Bolinas. He was 77.

Arthur taught at CCA for 31 years. Upon his retirement in 1997 he was awarded the distinction of professor emeritus. A master teacher, he inspired generations of artists with his impassioned commitment to his work. Although “retired,” he taught a weekly art class at the New School at Commonweal, a health and environmental research institute in Bolinas, and was working on a new series of paintings at the time of his death.

Born in Long Beach, California, Arthur and his family relocated to Chicago after World War II. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In the 1950s he came back to the west, eventually settling in Bolinas in 1959. He was a prolific painter who also worked in screenprinting and drawing. His work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. You can read more about his remarkable life here.

A celebration of Arthur’s life is planned for later in the summer. We will apprise the community of the details once they are confirmed.

We have lost a very important member of the CCA community. In his 31 years at the college, Arthur was an influential mentor to hundreds of students and a great friend to his fellow faculty members and staff. He will truly be missed. On behalf of the college, I extend my sincere condolences to Arthur’s family.

Sincerely,
Stephen Beal
President

Arthur Okamura was my teacher for “Introduction to Screenprinting,” my first year at CCA. I was timid in my approach to this medium, and Arthur didn’t exactly take the pressure off. One day he came up behind me saying anxiously, “What the f— are you doing? What the f— are you doing?” Well, I was probably letting the ink dry on the screen, or something equally idiotic. But I learned to love the medium enough to take another screenprinting class with another wonderful teacher, Malaquias Montoya.

Arthur was the graduate advisor to a fellow student, Gayle Antokal. She is enormously talented, but had not yet hit her stride when she had a solo show of her work on campus. Arthur chastised her, saying “You are making stew when you should be making souffle!” I’m happy to say that Gayle now makes the most exquisite “souffle.” Her mentor would have been very proud.

Mona Lisa Revealed

An exhibit entitled Joconde: From the Mona Lisa to the Nude Gioconda is on display from June 14 through September 30, 2009, at the Museo Ideale Leonardo Da Vinci in Vinci, Italy, Leonardo’s birthplace. It features 5,000 paintings, sculpture and new media created over the past 500 years, inspired by Leonardo’s immortal portrait of Mona Lisa.

One of the paintings was recently discovered behind the paneled wall of a private library, where it was hidden for nearly a century. It is a portrait of a naked Mona Lisa, and was once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte’s uncle, the French ambassador to the Vatican, Cardinal Joseph Fesch.
mona2_232x300MonaLisa_221x300

Yale, Van Gogh, Lenin and the Nationalization of Art

At first Chairman Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized private land and “redistributed” it to the Russian peasants. They nationalized the banks and industry. Personal property was confiscated for the state, including the art collections of the Russian industrialists.

General Secretary of the Communist Party Josef Stalin sold off some of the “nationalized” art treasures to raise money to build the Soviet Union’s faltering economy. Much of the stolen art was sold in the United States.

Night Café (1888) by Vincent van Gogh

Night Café (1888) by Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh’s Night Café had belonged to industrialist Ivan Morozov, until it was seized by the Communists, along with his textile factory, land and art collection in 1918. In 1933 or 1934, it was purchased through a New York Gallery by an art collector named Stephen Carlton Clark.

The son of the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, Mr. Clark founded the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. He was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Modern Art from 1939 to 1946. A Yale alumnus, Mr. Clark bequeathed the painting to Yale University upon his death. It has been in the Yale collection since 1961.

Yale is now being sued for return of the painting and monetary damages by Pierre Konowaloff, the great-grandson of the Russian industrialist Ivan Morozov. Mr. Konowaloff’s attorney, Allan Gerson, makes the claim that the painting was acquired illegally, comparing the “looting” of art by Chairman Lenin to the looting of art done by Nazis.

There have been successful legal challenges to ownership rights in the case of art stolen by the Nazis. However, as Yale attorney Jonathan Freiman writes in papers filed with the court, although at odds with American values, “it was accepted at the time, as it is now, that the sales by the Soviet government were valid, as were later acquisitions of the paintings. Yale had no reason to question the legitimacy” of the bequest.

“The university believes it is the rightful owner and that the outcome of its filing will confirm that,” said Yale spokesman.

See Also:
Russian heir fights Yale over van Gogh painting [AFP; May 28, 2009]
Attorney: Yale turned blind eye when acquiring art [AP; June 3, 2009]

Damien Hirst, Dead Cows and Cradles of Hope

“I have a really good business manager,” said Damien Hirst. “He told me a long time ago ‘You’d better make sure that you’re using the money to chase your art ideas rather than the art to chase your money ideas.’ Which is a very important thing to never forget.”

That is sound advice coming from Mr. Hirst, 44, the “most prominent member of the group known as Young British Artists” Mr. Hirst, with the help of his business manager, has become a multi-millionaire. The “art” upon which Mr. Hirst has built this fortune includes “pickled sharks, the corpse of a cow suspended from a rope, its entrails lying beneath it alongside banknotes, and the severed head of a cow covered in live, buzzing flies.” The dominant theme of his body of work (pun intended) is death.

So it is particularly sweet that Mr. Hirst has teamed with one of his biggest collectors, Victor Pinchuk, to fund a new neonatal center in Kiev, Ukraine, “Cradles of Hope.” Mr. Hirst donated $320,000 to the Victor Pinchuk Foundation for the purchase of 60 pieces of equipment used to treat babies born with extremely low birth weight. The money came from the sale in February 2009 of a painting called “Dark Days.”

The Victor Pinchuk Foundation was established in 2006 by Ukrainian billionaire industrialist Victor Pinchuk. The goal of the foundation “is to contribute to the modernization of Ukraine and to bringing up a new generation of Ukrainian leaders who are committed to serving the country.” The Foundation has six ambitious fields of focus: Health, Education, Culture, Human Rights, Ukrainian Economy, Local Community.

See Also:
Damien Hirst says crisis will stimulate artists [Reuters; April 24, 2009]
Hirst Teams with Pinchuk to Fund Ukrainian Neonatal Center [ARTINFO; April 24, 2009]
Damien Hirst [Wikipedia]
Viktor Pinchuk [Wikipedia]