23/10/2020

The Greatest 450 Artists of all Time

History is filled with very few artists who significantly changed the course of art history – Giotto, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Goya, Courbet, Manet, Cezanne, Picasso, Kandinsky, Duchamp, Pollock, Warhol and Beuys all spring to mind. Yet, for every epoch altering figures like these, there a legion of minor talents whose gimmicks only held people’s attention for a week or two. There are also many masters like Bosch, El Greco, Dix, Balthus and Freud who did not change art history but who provided a salutatory exception to the rule.


The history of art is a capricious mistress, often quick to raise up and often just as quick to drop. The history of art is littered with artists who achieved a sizeable measure of acclaim, critical kudos, and sales but whose names that have disappeared completely under the dust of time and their reputations returned to nothingness. There are also artists like; Guido Reni, Bartolome Murillo, Anton Raphael Mengs, Lord Frederic Leighton, Ernest Meissonier, Alexandre Cabanel, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Hans Makart, Ferdinand Hodler, Bernard Buffet, Jules Olitski, and Julian Schnabel - who were critically lauded in their day and lavished with official awards and financially successful beyond the dreams of most struggling artists - but who quickly fell out of favour. Likewise, there are artists like Pontormo, La Tour, El Greco, Vermeer, and Friedrich, who were moderately known in their local area in their lifetime but who sank into oblivion after their deaths, only to be rediscovered in the early twentieth century. In fact, even the very greatest artists of art history Giotto, Raphael, Michelangelo, Rubens, Rembrandt, Poussin, Ingres and Picasso have all fallen in and out of critical favour sometimes for centuries (only Titian seems to have avoided this.) Moreover, there is a small list of artists like; Grünewald, Vermeer, Friedrich, Blake, Constable, van Gogh, and Modigliani who were unappreciated in their own life times but who in time have become famous, admired, copied and central to the canon of art.                                                


So, art is a subjective and irrational subject, individual experts may hold strongly held views on the value of one artist over another, but in the end, personal judgment is nothing but strongly held opinion. Perhaps the best we can do is garner a consensus of taste which might arrive at a more conclusive judgment, but it is subject to the whims of fad and fashion as particular artists speak more forthrightly to us at a given time. So, the following list is my very personal and subjective top four hundred and fifty Western artists of all time. This list has been based upon forty-nine years of reading art history books, watching art documentaries and making countless visits to museums in Dublin, L.A., Paris, Amsterdam, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Cork, Berlin, New York and Washington DC.       


The perfect artist has yet to be born - every artist has flaws and limitations. When I was young, I thought Picasso the greatest artist who had ever lived. I valued his capacity for invention and productivity. However, with age I have come to look with greater scepticism at Picasso’s easy facility, frenetic productivity and elevation of ideas above aesthetic quality and emotional resonance. Frankly if only van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece or Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights remained they would still be as important to art history as Picasso. Likewise, Michelangelo has also always struck me as an inhumanly gifted artist undeniably brilliant in sculpture, painting and drawing yet too heroic and domineering for my liking. That is why I now consider Rembrandt the greatest artist of all time, because painting for painting - he produced the greatest expressions of the human condition I know. Rembrandt combined incredible technical skill, with emotional integrity and human compassion, unsurpassed in art history. This compassion and insight into the human condition was also evident in his stunning drawings and etchings. However, I could easily make an argument for the top spot amongst any of the artists in my top ten.
     


This list is almost totally devoted to Western artists of the last seven hundred years. This is because of two fundamental reasons. Firstly – most artists before Giotto in the West were anonymous craftsmen who seldom signed their own work and thus have no individual reputation. Secondly my Western ignorance of Egyptian, Japanese, Chinese, Indian and other non-Western sources is so great – I have included only a handful of such masters who have caught my untrained eye.            


For me the greatest artists in art history have also been the greatest masters of their craft. Mere experimentalism only results in meaningless gimmickry. Yet it also has to be admitted that academically correct art rarely surprises or fascinates. Art is thus a strange balancing act between these and many other subtle extremes. My choices were based upon a number of critical factors. Firstly, the artist's capacity to create works of universal vision. Secondly, their technical skill and originality. Thirdly, their character and personality and the emotional depth of their work. Fourthly, their impact on the course of art history. Fifthly their overall intellectual achievements as indicated in their manifestos, diaries, letters and autobiographies. Finally, my judgments have been made to my direct response to their work in the flesh.                                            


I have leaned away from artists whose work was ugly, theoretical, sentimental, kitsch or simpering. Although there might be a quite solid look to my list, in fact there were many days when my choices varied slightly from the proscribed list. However, overall the following list provides a broad map of my aesthetic landscape.
 
1.    Rembrandt Harmenzoon Van Rijn.
2.    Pablo Picasso.
3.    Francisco Goya.
4.    Vincent van Gogh.
5.    Michelangelo Buonarroti.
6.    Jan Van Eyck.
7.    Hieronymus Bosch.
8.    Titian (Tiziano Vecellio).
9.    Diego Velázquez.
10.    Eugène Delacroix.
11.    Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto.
12.    El Greco.
13.    Giotto di Bondone.
14.    Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
15.    Greek Sculptors of The Pergamon Alter 200 BC.
16.    Albrecht Dürer.
17.    Mathis Grünewald.
18.    Leonardo Da Vinci.
19.    Edgar Degas.
20.    August Rodin.
21.    Jan Vermeer.
22.    Frans Hals.
23.    Thèodore Géricault.
24.    Edward Manet.
25.    Egon Scheile.
26.    Jean-Michel Basquiat.
27.    William Turner.
28.    Edvard Munch.
29.    Jackson Pollock.
30.    Marcel Duchamp.
31.    Francis Bacon.
32.    Willem De Kooning.
33.    Jean-August-Dominique Ingres.
34.    Paul Cézanne.
35.    Lucian Freud.
36.    Gustav Courbet.
37.    Hans Holbein the Younger.
38.    Pieter Brueghel The Elder.
39.    The Limbourg Brothers.
40.    Salvador Dalí.
41.    Andy Warhol.
42.    Lucas Cranach the Elder.
43.    Alessandro Botticelli.
44.    Masaccio (Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone).
45.    Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini.
46.    Piero Della Francesca.
47.    Paul Klee.
48.    Jean Chardin.
49.    Jean-Antoine Watteau.
50.    Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio).
51.    Amedeo Modigliani.
52.    Paul Gauguin.
53.    Anselm Kiefer.
54.    Toulouse-Lautrec.
55.    James Ensor.
56.    Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.
57.    Jacques Louis David.
58.    José de Ribera.
59.    Balthus.
60.    Julian Schnabel.
61.    Edward Hopper.
62.    Henry Darger.
63.    Francisco Zurbarán.
64.    Agnolo Bronzino.
65.    Casper David Friedrich.
66.    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.
67.    Emil Nolde.
68.    Otto Dix.
69.    Max Beckmann.
70.    John Constable.
71.    Richard Gerstl.
72.    John Singer Sargent.
73.    Oskar Kokoschka.
74.    Gustav Klimt.
75.    Georg Baselitz.
76.    Peter Paul Rubens.
77.    Katsushika Hokusai.
78.    Antonio Correggio.
79.    Ando Hiroshige.
80.    Wassily Kandinsky.
81.    Max Ernst.
82.    Fra Angeleco.
83.    Jean Dubuffet.
84.    Joseph Beuys.
85.    Paolo Veronese.
86.    Théodore Chassériau.
87.    Gerhard Richter.
88.    Piet Mondrian.
89.    Martin Kippenberger.
90.    Hans Memling.
91.    Donatello.
92.    Claude Monet.
93.    Juan Miró.
94.    Mark Rothko.
95.    Chaïm Soutine.
96.    William Blake.
97.    Alberto Giacometti.
98.    Honoré Daumier.
99.    Jean-Antoine Watteau.
100.    Antonin Artaud.
101.    Lovis Corinth.
102.    Kazimir Malevich.
103.    Pierre Bonnard.
104.    Leon Kossoff.
105.    Franz Kline.
106.    Antoni Tàpies.
107.    Francis Picabia.
108.    Petrus Christus.
109.    David Salle.
110.    Francois Boucher.
111.    Cy Twombly.
112.    Robert Motherwell.
113.    De Chirico.
114.    William Hogarth.
115.    Andrea Mantegna.
116.    Giorgione.
117.    Paolo Uccello.
118.    Albrecht Altdorfer.
119.    Fragonard.
120.    Robert Rauchenburg.
121.    Yves Kline.
122.    Sigmar Polke.
123.    René Magritte.
124.    Auguste Renoir.
125.    Bruce Nauman.
126.    Giovanni Bellini.
127.    Piero Manzoni.
128.    Kees Van Dongen.
129.    Camille Pissarro.
130.    Anthony Van Dyke.
131.    David Hockney.
132.    Antonio Canova.
133.    Van der Weyden.
134.    Winslow Homer.
135.    Adolf Von Menzel.
136.    Arnold Böcklin.
137.    Duccio.
138.    Cimabue.
139.    Henri Rousseau.
140.    Henri Matisse.
141.    Jeff Koons.
142.    Damien Hirst.
143.    Constantin Brancusi.
144.    Kurt Schwitters.
145.    Adolf Wolfi.
146.    Günter Brus.
147.    Hans Bellmer.
148.    Louise Bourgeois.
149.    Matthias Weischer.
150.    Camille Corot.
151.    Hans Baldung Grien.
152.    Heindert Hobbema.
153.    Andrea del Sarto.
154.    Andrea del Verocchio.
155.    Augustus John.
156.    Carel Fabritius.
157.    Philip Guston.
158.    Eric Fischl.
159.    Nicolas de Staël.
160.    Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida.
161.    Wang Hui.
162.    Willem Kalf.
163.    Frank Kupka.
164.    Jacek Malczewski.
165.    Kazimierz Stabrowski.
166.    Antoine-Jean Gros.
167.    Joseph Cornell.
168.    Józef Mehoffer.
169.    Antonio López Garcia.
170.    Paula Rego.
171.    Brice Marden.
172.    Diego Rivera.
173.    Maurice Vladmick.
174.    Andre Derian.
175.    Hans Arp.
176.    Pierre-Cecile Pavis de Chavannes.
177.    Man Ray.
178.    Odilon Redon.
179.    Annibale Carracci.
180.    Ferdynand Ruszczyc.
181.    Sandro Chia.
182.    Albert Oehlen.
183.    Witold Wojtkiewicz.
184.    Wojciech Weiss.
185.    Walter Sickert.
186.    Graham Sutherland.
187.    Carlo Crivelli.
188.    Germaine Richier.
189.    Joseph Kosuth.
190.    Sindey Nolan.
191.    Jasper Johns.
192.    August Strindberg.
193.    Agusta Walla.
194.    John Everett Millais.
195.    Christian Schad.
196.    Jean-Baptise Greuze.
197.    Giorgio Morandi.
198.    Il Guercino.
199.    Franz Von Stuck.
200.    Enzo Cucchi.
201.    Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.
202.    Alfred Sisley.
203.    Luc Tuymans.
204.    Lucio Fontana.
205.    Jean Fautrier.
206.    Asger Jorn.
207.    Mathew Barney.
208.    Marino Marini.
209.    Basilica de San Marco.
210.    Samual Palmer.
211.    Giambologna.
212.    Heindrick Avercamp.
213.    Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
214.    Jean Fouquet.
215.    Antonello.
216.    Tilman Riemenschneider.
217.    Sir Joshua Reynolds.
218.    Arnulf Rainer.
219.    Frida Kahlo.
220.    George Grosz.
221.    Pietro Cavallini.
222.    Wilhelm Sasnal.
223.    Michaël Borremans.
224.    Hans Josephsohn.
225.    Fred Tomaselli.
226.    Artemisa Gentileschi.
227.    Gustave Moreau.
228.    Wilhelm Hammershoi.
229.    Barnet Newman.
230.    Morris Louis.
231.    Berthe Morisot.
232.    Louis Soutter.
233.    Paula Modersohn-Becker.
234.    Maurice Utrillo.
235.    A.R. Penck.
236.    L.S. Lowry.
237.    Tracey Emin.
238.    Anders Zorn.
239.    Jules Pascin.
240.    Henri Cartier Bresson.
241.    Hannah Höch.
242.    Blinky Palermo.
243.    Neo Rauch.
244.    Juan Gris.
245.    Adolph-William Bouguerau.
246.    Raymond Pettibon.
247.    Hubert Robert.
248.    Robert Ryman.
249.    Grayson Perry.
250.    Max Liebermann.
251.    Mary Cassett.
252.    Fra Filippo Lippi.
253.    Nicolas Poussin.
254.    Claude Lorrain.
255.    Giulio Romano.
256.    Paul Delvaux.
257.    Ross Bleckner.
258.    Marcel Broodthears.
259.    Donald Judd.
260.    Umberto Boccioni.
261.    Arshil Gorky.
262.    Miquel Barcelo.
263.    Pierre Soulages.
264.    Gary Hume.
265.    Sally Mann.
266.    The Chapman Brothers.
267.    Chris Ofili.
268.    Gregor Schneider.
269.    Gilbert and George.
270.    Ilya Kabakov.
271.    Ron Mueck.
272.    Luca Signorelli.
273.    Richard Hamilton.
274.    Mark Chagall.
275.    Jack Butler Yeats.
276.    Euan Uglow.
277.    Martin Disler.
278.    Lee Krasner.
279.    Ferdinad Hodler.
280.    Henri Fuseli.
281.    Pietro de Cortona.
282.    Felicien Rops.
283.    James Whistler.
284.    George Stubbs.
285.    Jacob van Ruisdael.
286.    Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
287.    Edward Kieholz.
288.    Sir John Lavery.
289.    Erich Heckel.
290.    Benvenuto Cellini.
291.    Masolino.
292.    William Orpen.
293.    Stephen Campbell.
294.    Dorothea Tanning.
295.    Andres Gursky.
296.    Christian Boltanski.
297.    Malcolm Morley.
298.    Robert Campin.
299.    Pisanello (Antonio Pisano).
300.    Mario Merz.
301.    Jenny Saville.
302.    Alison Watt.
303.    Peter Blake.
304.    Philips Koninck.
305.    Jean-Francois Millet.
306.    Nicola Pisano.
307.    Paulus Potter.
308.    Thomas Gainsborough.
309.    Edward Burns Jones.
310.    Antonio & Piero del Pollaiuolo.
311.    Andrea Pisano.
312.    Benozzo Gozzol.
313.    Jim Dine.
314.    Luca Della Robbia.
315.    Elsworth Kelly.
316.    Santiago Sierra.
317.    Vito Acconci.
318.    Henry Moore.
319.    Juli Gonzales.
320.    William Morris.
321.    Jan Steen.
322.    Giovanni Antonio Canaletto.
323.    Konrad Klapheck.
324.    Eva Hesse.
325.    Louise Nevelson.
326.    Clifford Still.
327.    Mimmo Paladino.
328.    Jules Olitski.
329.    Kenneth Noland.
330.    Gustave Caillebotte.
331.    Eugene Boudin.
332.    Larry Poons.
333.    Adriana Varejão.
334.    Bridget Rily.
335.    William Holoman Hunt.
336.    Lorenzo Lotto.
337.    Joacme Patenier.
338.    Lorenzo Ghiberti.
339.    Christo.
340.    Albert Marquet.
341.    Henri Fantin-Latour.
342.    Verrocchio.
343.    Il Sodoma.
344.    Edouard Vuillard.
345.    Thomas Eakins.
346.    Adrian Ghenie.
347.    Jean Arp.
348.    Hernan Bas.
349.    Richard Diebenkorn.
350.    Vladimir Tatlin.
351.    Jacob Epstein.
352.    Alexander Rodchenko.
353.    Pieter be Hooch.
354.    Alexander Calder.
355.    Markus Lüpertz.
356.    Eduardo Chillida.
357.    Raoul Hausmann.
358.    Anton Raffael Mengs.
359.    Rudolf Schwarkógler.
360.    La Tour.
361.    Sir Thomas Lawrence.
362.    Betty Tomkins.
363.    Robert Smithson.
364.    Robert Morris.
365.    Richard Serre.
366.    Domenico Ghirlandaio.
367.    Carl André.
368.    Tiepolo.
369.    Parmigianino.
370.    Jacopa da Pontormo.
371.    Nicolas Hilliard.
372.    Dieric Bouts.
373.    Antonio Mancini.
374.    Leon Golub.
375.    Giovanni Boldini.
376.    Hans Makart.
377.    Karel Appel.
378.    Richard Prince.
379.    Giovanni Battista Moroni.
380.    Robert Delaunay.
381.    Meret Oppenheim.
382.    Naum Gabo.
383.    Chuck Close.
384.    Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
385.    Guido Reni.
386.    Sir Lawerence Alma-Tadema.
387.    Walter de Maria.
388.    Lazslo Moholy-Nay.
389.    Claes Oldenburg.
390.    Victor Hugo.
391.    Werner Büttner.
392.    Patrick Graham.
393.    Bodys Isek Kingelez.
394.    Ellen Gallagher.
395.    Gillian Ayres.
396.    Basil Blackshaw.
397.    Brian Maguire.
398.    Paul Doran.
399.    Rainer Fetting.
400.    Michael Landy.
401.    Marlene Dumas.
402.    Jorg Immendorf.
403.    Jiři Georg Dokoupil.
404.    Vija Celmins.
405.    Georges Mathieu.
406.    Bill Viola.
407.    Mike Kelly.
408.    Franz Marc.
409.    Günther Uecker.
410.    Colin Martin.
411.    Alexi Von Jawlensky.
412.    Arthur Boyd.
413.    Roy Lichtenstein.
414.    Corneille.
415.    Vic Muniz.
416.    Mark Quinn.
417.    Kiki Smith.
418.    Perugino.
419.    Ai Weiwei.
420.    Haim Steinbeck.
421.    Gavin Turk.
422.    Peter Doig.
423.    Victor Vasarely.
424.    Walter Stohrer.
425.    Arman.
426.    Jean Tinguely.
427.    Niki de Saint Phalle.
428.    Nathaniel Hone.
429.    Daniel Maclise.
430.    Walter Osborne.
431.    Micheal Farrell.
432.    Hughie O’Donoghue.
433.    Barrie Cooke.
434.    Nick Miller.
435.    William Leech.
436.    Camille Souter.
437.    Dorothy Cross.
438.    Gentile da Fabriano.
439.    On Karwara.
440.    Rineke Dijkstra.
441.    Cindy Sherman.
442.    Käthe Kollwitz.
443.    André Masson.
444.    John Martin.
445.    Barbara Hepworth.
446.    Werner Tubke.
447.    Rebecca Horn.
448.    Nancy Spero.
449.    Sophie Calle.
450.    Dan Flavin.

The Greatest 250 Draughtsmen of All Time

The following list contains, in my personal opinion, the greatest two hundred and fifty (mostly Western post 1300AD) draughtsmen of all time. The selection was based upon the body of drawn work that has been preserved by them and that I have seen in the flesh and in reproduction. With the exception of watercolours and pastels - drawing ability in painted work was not considered. Because watercolour was included, artists like Turner and Constable were ranked as high as they were. I also took into account printed work. Emphasis was placed upon traditional representational skills, including knowledge of anatomy but also upon creative and inventive use of works on paper. Credit was also given for the artists, ease of facility, depth of emotion, visual originality and versatility in all the drawing mediums including printmaking.

1.    Albrecht Dürer.
2.    Leonardo Da Vinci.
3.    Michelangelo Buonarroti.
4.    Francesco Goya.
5.    Rembrandt Harmeszoon Van Rijn.
6.    Egon Schiele.
7.    Edgar Degas.
8.    Jean-August-Dominique Ingres.
9.    Pablo Picasso.
10.    Eugène Delacroix.
11.    Vincent van Gogh.
12.    Katsushika Hokusai.
13.    Thèodore Géricault.
14.    Honoré Daumier.
15.    Hans Holbein the Younger.
16.    Sir Peter-Paul Rubens.
17.    Jean-Antoine Watteau.
18.    Limbourg Brothers.
19.    Il Guercino.
20.    Henri Toulouse-Lautrec.
21.    Oskar Kokoschka.
22.    Gustav Klimt.
23.    Paul Klee.
24.    August Rodin.
25.    William Turner.
26.    Salvador Dalí.
27.    Ando Hiroshige.
28.    17th Century Mughal Drawings.
29.    Edvard Munch.
30.    Alessandro Botticelli.
31.    Francois Boucher.
32.    William Blake.
33.    Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio).
34.    Paul Cézanne.
35.    Cave Paintings.
36.    Annibale Carracci.
37.    Georges Rouault.
38.    Paul Seurat.
39.    James Ensor.
40.    Andrea Mantegna.
41.    Jean-Michel Basquiat.
42.    John Singer Sargent.
43.    Emil Nolde.
44.    Max Beckman.
45.    Otto Dix.
46.    Giovanni Piranesi.
47.    Henry Darger.
48.    Edward Manet.
49.    Adolf Wolfi.
50.    Odilon Redon.
51.    George Grosz.
52.    Jacopo Carucci, gen. Pontormo.
53.    Jim Dine.
54.    Joseph Beuys.
55.    Adolf Von Menzel.
56.    José de Ribera.
57.    Giovanni Battista Naldini.
58.    Agostino Carracci.
59.    Andrea del Verrochio.
60.    John Constable.
61.    John Sell Cotman.
62.    Proudhon.
63.    Jean-Baptiste Greuze.
64.    Claude Lorrain.
65.    Pisanello (Antonio Pisano).
66.    Paul Gauguin.
67.    Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.
68.    Cy Twombly.
69.    Alberto Giacometti.
70.    Antonio López Garcia.
71.    Kathe Kollowitz.
72.    Louise Bourgeois.
73.    Georg Baselitz.
74.    Anselm Kiefer.
75.    Henri Matisse.
76.    Henry Moore.
77.    Julies Pascin.
78.    Jacque-Louis David.
79.    Gustav Courbet.
80.    Jean-Honoré Fragonard.
81.    Günter Brus.
82.    Il Parmigianion.
83.    Jean Chardin.
84.    Samuel Palmer.
85.    Amedeo Modigliani.
86.    Antonin Artaud.
87.    Willem de Kooning.
88.    David Hockney.
89.    Juan Miró.
90.    Aubrey Beardsley.
91.    Hans Bellmer.
92.    John Robert Cozens.
93.    Johann Heinrich Fuseli.
94.    Thomas Gainsborough.
95.    Augustus John.
96.    Gustave Moreau.
97.    Wang Hui.
98.    Max Ernst.
99.    Nicholas Hillard.
100.    Paolo Veronese.
101.    Lucas Cranach The Elder.
102.    Thomas Rowlandson.
103.    Francois Marius Granet.
104.    Peter Brueghel The Elder.
105.    Anthony van Dyke.
106.    Felicien Rops.
107.    Antonio Correggio.
108.    Thomas Girtin.
109.    Edward Hopper.
110.    Andrew Wyeth.
111.    David Casper Friedrich.
112.    Paula Rego.
113.    Puvis de Chavannes.
114.    Albrecht Altodrfer.
115.    Kees Van Dongeen.
116.    Antonello da Messina.
117.    Raymond Pettibon.
118.    Andy Warhol.
119.    Walter Sickert.
120.    Arnulf Rainer.
121.    Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.
122.    Franz Kline.
123.    Julian Schnabel.
124.    John Everett Millais.
125.    Gustave Dore.
126.    Frank Auerbach.
127.    R. B. Katij.
128.    Francesco Clemente.
129.    Andrea Mantegna.
130.    Xu Hong.
131.    Victor Hugo.
132.    Balthus.
133.    Marcantonio Raimondi.
134.    Amico Aspertini.
135.    Philip Pearlstein.
136.    Jean Fautiner.
137.    Antoni Tàpies.
138.    Théodore Chassériau.
139.    Pierre Klossowski.
140.    Francis Picabia.
141.    William Hogarth.
142.    William Orpen.
143.    Francisco Zurbarán.
144.    Maria Fortuny I Marsal.
145.    Henry Tonks.
146.    Jacques Callot.
147.    George Stubbs.
148.    Van der Weyden.
149.    Charles Le Brun.
150.    Titian (Tiziano Vecellio).
151.    Antoine-Jean Gros.
152.    Edward Hopper.
153.    Martin Schongauer.
154.    Giovanni Benedotto Castiglione.
155.    Salvator Rosa.
156.    Frans Snyders.
157.    Albertinelli.
158.    Gossaert.
159.    Andre d’Angnolo gen. del Sarto.
160.    Francois Clouet.
161.    Wols.
162.    Robert Motherwell.
163.    Jasper Johns.
164.    Pierre Joseph Redoute.
165.    Jacques Fouquieres.
166.    John James Audubon.
167.    Martin Kippenberger.
168.    Pierre Bonnard.
169.    Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto.
170.    Carl Rottmann.
171.    Rudolf von Alt.
172.    Hundertwasser.
173.    Nicolas de Staël.
174.    Jean-Michel Atlan.
175.    Pierre Soulages.
176.    Hans Baldung Grien.
177.    Euan Uglow.
178.    Richard Diebenkorn.
179.    Camille Corot.
180.    Francesco Guardi.
181.    Stanley Spencer.
182.    Ludovico Carracci.
183.    El Greco.
184.    Jean Louis Forain.
185.    Maurice Utrillo.
186.    Jean Dubuffet.
187.    André Masson.
188.    Juan Gris.
189.    George Braque.
190.    Il Parmigianino.
191.    Pierre-Hubert Subleyras.
192.    Lorenzo Lotto.
193.    Del Piombo.
194.    Jacopo Bellini.
195.    Fra Bartolommeo.
196.    Richard Parks Bonington.
197.    Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
198.    Lorenzo di Credi.
199.    Filippino Lippi.
200.    Burne-Jones.
201.    Giovanni Bernini.
202.    Pietro da Cortona.
203.    Charles-Francois Daubigny.
204.    Corneille.
205.    Patrick Graham.
206.    Brian Maguire.
207.    Brice Marden.
208.    Werner Tubke.
209.    Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.
210.    Hubert Robert.
211.    Paul Signac.
212.    Henri-Edmond Cross.
213.    Camille Pissarro.
214.    Jean Francois Millet.
215.    Maurice-Quentin de La Tour.
216.    Zoran Music.
217.    Julius Bissier.
218.    André Derain.
219.    Sam Francis.
220.    Mark Tobey.
221.    Berthe Morisot.
222.    Philip Guston.
223.    A.R. Penck.
224.    Giorgio Morandi.
225.    Giorgio de Chirico.
226.    William Mulready.
227.    Constantin Guys.
228.    Vittore Carpaccio.
229.    Giovanni Antonio Canaletto.
230.    Auguste Renoir.
231.    Johan Barthold Jongkind.
232.    Aristide Maillol.
233.    Jean Arp.
234.    Wassily Kandinsky.
235.    James McNeill Whistler.
236.    Alessandro Allori.
237.    Fernand Leger.
238.    Luca Cambiaso.
239.    Francesco Primaticcio.
240.    Hugo van der Goes.
241.    Jean Etienne Liotard.
242.    Henri Michaux.
243.    Bruce Nauman.
244.    Donald Sultan.
245.    Ellen Gallagher.
246.    Dominic McGill.
247.    Marlene Dumas.
248.    Keith Haring.
249.    Cai Guo Qiang.
250.    Hughie O’Donoghue.

16/08/2020

Batty Old Rose Wylie: OAP Feminist Mascot

On Wednesday 25th March 2015, Carol and I dropped into The Douglas Hyde Gallery to see an exhibition of paintings by Rose Wylie. Rose Wylie’s pastiches of 80’s infantile painting alla Donald Baechler did not provoke any feelings from me good or bad - other than amazement that her shameless pastiches were thought significate by curators. That Baechler himself was a minor Post-Modern Mannerist and Wylie’s pastiches were even more devoid of painterly passion - only made things worse. I was left feeling totally blank when looking at her dry, affected and uninspired work. Its only vague interest for me was in detecting similarities between Wylie’s flaccid, vacuous work and Schnabel’s and Basquiat’s use of distressed surfaces, Jonathan Meese’s equally infantile drawing and painting style and pop culture references - and countless other grown-up artists who archly appropriated the innocent expression of children for their own cynical ends. Frankly drawing like a child had stopped being interesting in August 1988 with the death of Basquiat. At the age of forty-four, I was tired of all the rehashes of style I now witnessed and realised there was no meaning to any of them other than as tombstones to a Western painterly tradition that was bankrupt and condemned to terminal repetition. It seemed to me that art now, was just a matter of having a catchy, politically correct, media story - like Wylie a female painter who had only achieved recognition late in her seventies. It also struck me that in an art world obsessed only with sales - tame pastiche that could be quickly sold - was preferred to troubling originality that might take years to be appreciated. Art had become a middle-class parlour game where everyone who behaved themselves - received a prize for participating. 

 

But apparently, I was alone in my contempt for Wylie. Because three years later she featured in Imagine… Rose Wylie: This Rose is Blooming a documentary on the English painter who had only achieved recognition and success in her late seventies. Watching the documentary and seeing people gush over Wylie’s clichéd child-like paintings - felt like seeing an elderly female version of Tony Hancock being worshiped by art lovers in The Rebel – except this was not a satirical comedy – it was real life in the art world in 2018! 

                

Carol and I had seen Wylie’s paintings in the Douglas Hyde Gallery in March 2015 - but I had not been impressed by her shlock artwork. I thought Wylie was just a harmless, feminine and irrelevant pasticher of the infantile school of Picasso, Dubuffet, Basquiat, Donald Baechler, Tracey Emin, Martin Maloney and Jonathan Meese. And a figurative pasticher of dreadful Zombie Formalism. Sufficed to say I had seen it all before - and mostly done much better. Yet as an elderly woman, Wylie was spared the savage criticism that male Bad Painters had endured time and time again. Because in the politically correct world of 2018 – the only people targeted by hostile critiques were white males.                                                       

 

What Wylie’s success as an old female artist really told me, was that in an age when no one had had an important original idea in art since 1975, when all standards had been abandoned and nobody even cared or could tell the difference between talentless crap and a work of real genius - art had become about the token politically-correct identities of Neo-Salon mediocrities - all clambering up the greasy-pole to express their incompetent conformity. Wylie represented the dogged, charming female mediocrity - that had suddenly become a success partly as an antidote the nasty macho geniuses of art history burdened with all those elitist things like intelligence, talent, craft, skill, authenticity, integrity and originality. And Wylie’s success, gave dangerous hope to mature women taking night-courses in art schools - all around the world. But Wylie was not some obscure, naïve, old lady discovered by the art world. She was the middle-class widow of Roy Oxlade a relatively well know art writer, teacher and painter and her work owned a lot to his instinctual art and ideas. She had also taught art – though I pitied her pupils terribly! Moreover, she had been knocking around for decades trying to make it and I remembered seeing an advert for her dire work in Modern Painters magazine in the winter of 1998 - much the same time that Martin Maloney had his fifteen seconds of fame with his similarly faux-naïve painterly crap. Wylie’s eventual success in the noughties was a PR coup which presented her as a feminist and OAP heroine – which of course the liberal establishment lapped up!                                                        

 

Looking at the documentary, I realised that I had never in my life seen such a pile of stupid, talentless crap - promoted as important art by art world insiders like the mega influential curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and the increasingly batty Germaine Greer in a major documentary. When Wylie was asked by Alan Yentob why she used writing so much in her work she said: “Because, I don’t know, I like letters. I like writing on pictures. Also, it stops them being Rembrandt and Corot and… because they didn’t do writing, but the early people did.” I nearly had a fit. Don’t worry love, nobody is going to mistake your work for Rembrandt or even Corot! But I noticed dearie, that you did not mention artists like Picasso, Charlotte Salomon, Dubuffet, Twombly, Basquiat, Emin and Meese who used words in their paintings before you! Later, she compared icing a cake for her children with the squeegee paintings of Gerhard Richter! Now, I may have had philosophical differences with Richter the virtuoso Post-Modern painter - but frankly Wylie wasn’t fit or frankly competent enough to even clean his paint brushes! And comments like Wylie’s summed up the devolution of feminism. Early feminists still understood that most of the greatest artworks ever made had been made by men - but they humbly tried to achieve equal greatness - and test their narcissism against the Canon. But by the noughties and the fourth wave of feminism, all male achievement in art had been so rubbished by decades of female sniping and the Canon had been so vandalised by political correctness - that the very idea of artistic greatness had been decimated in favour of partisan, victim identities. And since by the noughties the art world population was overwhelming female – they could just make shit up to suit themselves. Having given up on producing a second rank, never mind first rank female artist (since it proved impossible no matter how much support, money and hype was lavished on them), the sisterhood filled with envious, impotent rage - simply castigated all standards in art as a conspiracy against women. And chose to adore any female artist of any ability - because at least they mirrored their own identity and the limits of their own talent and intellect. So, in July 2010 in The Guardian, Germaine Greer could write pantingly of Wylie’s “impressiveness” yet in December of the same year she could dismiss Picasso as just a “big show-off” and call most of his work “inherently trivial”.                                   

 

Seeing the likes of Wylie lauded by the art world and the BBC frankly made me sick to my stomach - and made me wonder why I had wasted my life on art. Because if this crap was what they thought was important in 2018 – their opinion was worthless and not worth courting.