Category: Figurative Art

The Strange Side of Edgar Degas

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Dancer Onstage with a Bouquet, c 1876

A new exhibition of rare Edgar Degas monotypes reveals a more daring and experimental side to the artist.

Ballet Scene, 1879

Edgar Degas is celebrated for his impressionistic studies of ballet dancers, but a new exhibition will reveal lesser-known work. The Museum of Modern Art’s Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty will be the first time his monotypes have gone on display in the US in more than 50 years. And while it will feature some familiar subjects, viewers may be surprised to find depictions of brothels and industrialised landscapes hanging on MoMA’s walls. “The exhibition really focuses on Degas’ experimentation, trying to understand the leaps he made in terms of his approach and his technical innovations,” curator Jodi Hauptman tells BBC Culture. “It argues that it’s in his monotypes where he takes the most risk, and where he is the most modern.”

Dancer Onstage with a Bouquet, c 1876

“A monotype is where the artist draws on a metal plate and then sandwiches that metal piece with a damp piece of paper before running through a printing press,” Hauptman explains. While other forms of printmaking involve carving into wood or incising into a metal plate, in monotype the artist simply draws on the plate, allowing changes to be made until the very last moment. Hauptman thinks this encouraged a kind of “spontaneity” in Degas. “It encouraged him to be more free and liberated with his drawing,” she says. “It’s very different from the precise drawing he was trained in as a young artist.”

Ballet Scene, 1879

Autumn Landscape, 1890

Hauptman believes Degas used monotype as a way of “capturing modern life”, and it is in his series of landscapes where he is arguably at his most modern. “For their time, they are really radical as they verge on abstraction,” she explains. In Autumn Landscape, Degas tried to capture the view from a moving train. “You have to think what it would have felt like in the 19th Century for someone who’d only ever moved at the speed of a horse to then move at the speed of a train,” she continues.

Heads of a Man and a Woman, c 1877–80

Movement is a consistent theme in Degas’ work, but particularly in his monotypes. It appears again here, where he has smeared the faces of his subjects. “It’s as if the artist is only catching a glimpse of them as he races by,” Hauptman suggests. This monotype offers a glimpse into what it must have felt like for Degas, living in the rapidly expanding Paris of the 1870s. In many ways, monotype was the perfect medium to, as Hauptman says, “describe the changing nature of contemporary urban life,” due to its fluidity.

Factory Smoke, 1877-79

A Strange New Beauty is MoMA’s first exhibition of these works. It features 120 monotypes along with another 60 related pieces, including paintings, drawings, pastels and sketchbooks. “It’s not that Degas invented monotype, but he just embraced it with such enthusiasm and took it as far as it can go,” Hauptman notes. In Factory Smoke, Degas manipulated the ink to illustrate the movement of smoke across the skies of Paris. “There is a relationship between the way the smoke moves across the plate and how the ink also would have done, so there’s a beautiful meeting there.”

Waiting for the Client, 1879

Degas doesn’t depict prostitutes in any other medium but monotype. Hauptman finds his representation of the brothel and its inhabitants particularly interesting, as they are often cropped or appear on the edge of the work. “There is an emptiness at the centre, and you get sense of the brothel being a place of constant exchange,” she explains. The client is even more peripheral in this work – you can just about see him on the far left edge of the portrait. “The client is often depicted as a little hesitant, while the women are together as a group. I think that says something about that relationship,” she says.

Frieze of Dancers, c 1895

Degas made monotypes in two bursts of activity – in the mid-1870s until the mid-1880s, before returning to it the following decade, using oil paint instead of black printer’s ink. “That’s an important innovation as oil paint responds in a different kind of way to the press,” Hauptman says. According to the curator, Frieze of Dancers is one of the most important works to feature in the exhibition, as it encapsulates the idea of “the multiple and variation in a single work”. Does the painting feature four dancers, three dancers, or just one? That is for the viewer to decide, but Hauptman suggests that you can see it as a single dancer in four different moments. “With that in mind, we might relate the work to contemporary time motion studies of the photographers Muybridge and Marey, who we know Degas was interested in,” she says. As a result, the painting takes on a filmstrip-like quality that alludes to cinema.

The Fireside, c 1880-85

There are two kinds of monotype in Degas’s work: light-field and dark-field. When working with the former, he would draw on a plate just as he would on paper, but the latter was a subtractive process. The result is figures that appear to be emerging out of the darkness, as seen here, in The Fireside.

Three Women in a Brothel, Seen from Behind, c 1877–79

While a monotype only produces one image, Degas would often run the plate a second time using whatever ink was left. This created a ghost image, which he used as a ‘tonal map’ for a new work. Using pastels, Degas would often create something completely new with the second image. “In those pairs you see something that is the same and different. You see the ways he saw possibilities of making more than one form,” Hauptman says. “For Degas, he always saw possibility.”

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Liberty Leading People by Eugene Delacroux

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Liberty Leading People by Eugene Delacroux

In the Salon of 1822, Eugene Delacroix ( 1798-1863), exhibited a scene from the Divine Comedy. But there was nothing in this livid vision of Virgil and Dante in Hell very surprising to a public familiar with Caravaggio, and the Raft of the Medusa. It was not until two years later, before the Massacre of Scio, that the critics inveighed against the “massacre of painting”

Delacroix had, in fact, transformed his pictorial language in the interval; inspired by the English landscape painters he had loaded his palette with brilliant colours and illumined Gros’ robust impasto with the glint of Oriental tissues and the marble tints of putrefaction. This time, the work was frankly revolutionary; the young Romanticists rallied round Delacroix, and the struggle against the classical tradition began; no durable school resulted from it, but the consequences were such as to transform the very conception of art.

To these young Romanticists art was not the realisation of an abstract ideal, but the expression of an individual soul, and the more original the artist, the greater the value of his works. He should not fear to manifest his vigorous personality; on the contrary, he should defend it jealously against external influences, against all the forces that, by limiting his personality, tend to obscure his genius.

Romanticism was the revolt of sensitive faculties, hitherto disciplined by the play of definite ideas. Latent and irresponsible forces rose from unconscious depths to reject classical logic. For logic, with its fixed principles, is identical among all men; it has a sort of eternal existence, superior to the minds which successively exercise it; and the Romanticist affects to despise this faculty which makes individuals similar.

During the second half of the nineteenth century, scholars gradually supplanted poets in the general governance of minds. The Romanticist, Victor Hugo or Delacroix, like Narcissus bending over his fountain, only looked at Nature to see the reflection of himself. To him, the universe was but a storehouse of images on which he drew to give colour to his poetry. When these exuberant personalities had sobered down, reality appeared to them, and interested them.

The landscape painters had set the example; following in their wake, painters and sculptors, as well as writers, began to think that absolute exactitude was the true ambition of art; this submission to the object is a scientist’s virtue, and, indeed, Naturalism is the artistic form of the positive spirit.

During this period, the continuity of French life was interrupted by sudden revolutions. Artists were not, of course, unmoved by the agitations which keep us poised, as it were, between revolution and compression; but the convulsions of social fury did not disturb the radiant summits of art.

Architecture, which always expresses the general character of communities clearly, was at once very prolific, and somewhat lacking in originality; this seems to show that the general existence was not so unstable as it seemed to be, and that society had not yet evolved a new form of collective life. These abrupt changes were after all only a question of political régime, a battle of pure theory or of personal interest. Governments, whatever they are, must always have one and the same object, which is to aid in the increase of riches.

The conflicting movements which agitated superficial France must not be allowed to hide that deep current, the slow pressure of which nothing can resist. Every day, a rather larger number of men achieve a little ease, or in other words, a relative prosperity and an average intellectual culture. This was the great social event of the nineteenth century, and modern art was to manifest this indefinite enfranchisement of the middle classes after its fashion.

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Decoration Tips for Your Cafe

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Tenderness by Renate Holzner

How to decorate with a coffee house cafe theme in your kitchen is easy to learn and implement. If you love all the different types of coffees, or just simply love the feel of your favorite morning stop, you can have a room that is inspired from your passion.

Choosing the colors when you want to know how to decorate with a coffee house cafe theme in your kitchen can be based on what you already have. When decorating with this style, and if you can completely remodel your kitchen, you can choose your favorite. But if you are stuck with what you have, almost any color can be made to fit. The trick is in the accessories and the finishing touches.

The first step, if you are able to, is to get a small table and chair set that sits one to four people. A wrought iron one, with a glass top, that is usually used outside fits well in this style. Throw a couple of comfortable seat cushions on the chairs to make it practical. The only centerpiece that you need is a sugar and creamer tray set in the center. If you want an extra touch of elegance, place a single flower in a bud vase to complete the look.

Next, have a small shelf within easy reach of the sitting area. Place a few favorite poetry books or novels there for morning enjoyment. Don’t forget a place to set your favorite newspaper on.

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The Sensational Character of Art

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The Sensational Character of Art

The first force of a work of art is its appeal to the senses. This is direct and immediate. It is the physical effect, almost utterly unescapable whenever there is presented to anyone a vigorous composition in color or in tone or a strong rhythm of song or of motion.

Religion which has disdained the arts as sensuous has not, therefore, escaped sensationalism. It has developed the sensational preacher. He is the man who preaches for a sensuous effect. He has greater success usually in getting people to come to hear what he has to say than in having something worth while to say when they get there. This is not always true but it is so very commonly. Our most thoughtful ministers, those under whose preaching the more serious-minded people desire to sit, are little given to sensational preaching.

Their form is good form but it is not nowadays florid, overly dramatic, or eccentric form. They touch upon timely themes of the day, not as advertising captions but for real discussion. Your true and proper sensationalist develops rhetoric, gesture, perhaps even hair cuts, newspaper themes, and peculiar exercises calculated to rouse interest and produce a momentary enjoyment or excitement.

Sensationalism is necessary for religion, but not this kind. I would rather that my boys should be appealed to by the noble sensationalism of excellent paintings, brilliant music, and noble ritual than by the sensationalism of an evangelist crawling about on all fours like a bear show.

The Sensational Character of Art

However much we may desire to spiritualize our religion, we are not disembodied spirits, we are compact together of flesh and spirit– “Nor soul helps flesh more now, than flesh helps soul.”

Our view of human nature and of the bodily life is very different from that of the Reformation theology. Our new utilization of the fine arts is to be based upon the new psychology and upon the new theology rather than upon Calvinism.

The impulses of the flesh may develop downward. But also every human instinct may become the root of a possible spiritual virtue. If our task is still partly to mortify the flesh, it is also to understand it and use it for good. If spirtual experience is an incorporeal thing, its beginning is usually something born in the mystery of the bodily being. We do not have the same reasons for fearing the arts that the Puritan had, as he did not have our reasons for using them.

Sensationalism has always been deep and constant in human life and in religion and always will be during the life of earth. The Hebrew prophets not only used abundant imagery in speech but actual physical objects and eccentricities of conduct to capture attention and press home their message. It seems questionable whether Jesus performed his works of healing for this purpose, but hardly questionable that his approach to the city on the Day of Palms was a form of sensational appeal. It may be said of it, as it may be said of other sensational conduct, that it was done for effect. Precisely so, for that is the way to be effective.

Our modern church has rather too little than too much of appeal to the senses. It is not sufficiently interesting or sufficiently thrilling. I do not at all object to the sensational methods of the orator or of the evangelist in their proper place. But the sensational preacher should not be the pastor and teacher of a normal church, large or small. That form of appeal to the senses is in the long run neither so effective nor so beneficial as quieter forms–music, decoration, architecture, and liturgy. The oratorical type may be more thrilling at the moment but less lasting than the rhythms set going by the finer arts.

The older religions all make more effective use of the noble and more commendable forms of appeal to the senses. One would not expect to get the following testimony from a modern free churchman, but here it is: “The Japanese know how to produce effects, they have a sure instinct as to the moods in which a person should stand before a temple or shrine. Hence they study the approaches to their sacred spots almost as much as they do the elaboration of the spots themselves. The Shintoists have their torii or more likely lines of torii before each shrine; the Buddhists love to place their houses of worship and meditation in the midst of great trees or on the tops of hills which they approach by moss-covered staircases of stone…

When one has removed his shoes and penetrated to’ the inner shrine and stands on the soft matted floor before the image of the Great Buddha, the subtle power of idolatry when wedded to high art becomes apparent in an unmistakable way. The sense of solemnity, of quietness, of peace is in the very air, and there comes to one a new sympathy toward those who know only this way of consolation.” These beautiful and skillful arrangements are planned for their direct and immediate effect upon the senses and they are effective.

Nor would one naturally expect the testimony written by one of the most distinguished New England clergymen of the nineteenth century, a leader and representative of the best thought of his day. Dr. Theodore Munger describes the cathedrals and cathedral services of the English Church. And then he adds: “Here lies the secret of public worship; we do not worship because we feel like it, but that we may feel.

The feeling may have died out under the pressure of the world, but coming together from mere habit, and starting on the level of mere custom, we soon feel the stirring of the wings of devotion, and begin to rise heavenward on the pinnacles of song and prayer. This is well understood in England, and underlies the much criticised ‘Cathedral system.’ Here is a mighty fact tremendously asserted; it forces a sort of inevitable reverence, not the highest and purest indeed, but something worth having. It becomes the conservator of the faith, and in the only way in which it can be conserved, through the reverent sentiment and poetry of our nature… The main value of the established church is its lofty and unshaken assertion of the worth of worship–keeping alive reverence, which is the mother of morality, and furnishing a public environment for the common faith.

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Renoir Art: Two Sisters on the Terrace, 1881

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Renoir Art: Two Sisters an the Terrace, 1881

Two Sisters or On the Terrace is an 1881 oil-on-canvas painting by French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The dimensions of the painting are 100.5 cm × 81 cm. The title Two Sisters (French: Les Deux Sœurs) was given to the painting by Renoir, and the title On the Terrace (French: Sur la terrasse) by its first owner Paul Durand-Ruel.

Renoir worked on the painting on the terrace of the Maison Fournaise, a restaurant located on an island in the Seine in Chatou, the western suburb of Paris. The painting depicts a young woman and her younger sister seated outdoors with a small basket containing balls of wool. Over the railings of the terrace one can see shrubbery and foliage with the River Seine behind it.

In 1880 to 1881, shortly before working on Two Sisters, Renoir worked in this particular location on another well-known painting, Luncheon of the Boating Party.

Jeanne Darlot (1863—1914), a future actress who was 18 years old at the time, was posing as “the elder sister.” It is unknown who posed as the “younger sister,” but it is stated that the models were not actually related.

Renoir began work on the painting in April 1881 and on July 7, 1881, it was bought by the art dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, for 1,500 francs. The painting was presented for the first time to the public at the 7th Impressionist exhibition in the spring of 1882. In 1883 it was known to be in the collection of Charles Ephrussi, an art collector and a publisher, but in 1892 the painting was returned again to the collection of the Durand-Ruel family.

In 1925, the painting was sold to Annie S. Coburn from Chicago for $100,000. After her death in 1932 the painting was bequeathed to the Art Institute of Chicago, where it has remained since 1933.

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Francisco Goya: The Father of Modern Art

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Execution of the Defenders of Madrid, 3rd May, 1808, 1814

Francisco Goya, considered to be “the Father of Modern Art,” began his painting career just after the late Baroque period. In expressing his thoughts and feelings frankly, as he did, he became the pioneer of new artistic tendencies which were to come to fruition in the 19th century. Two trends dominated the art of his contradictory; they actually were not. Together they represented the reaction against previous conceptions of art and the desire for a new form of expression.

In order to understand the scope of Goya’s art, and to appreciate the principles which governed his development and tremendous versatility, it is essential to realise that his work extended over a period of more than 60 years, for he continued to draw and paint until his 82nd year.

The importance of this factor is evident between his attitude towards life in his youth, when he accepted the world as it was quite happily, in his manhood when he began to criticise it, and in his old age when he became embittered and disillusioned with people and society. Furthermore, the world changed completely during his lifetime. The society, in which he had achieved a great success disappeared during the Napoleonic war. Long before the end of the 18th century Goya had already turned towards his new ideals and expressed them in his graphic art and in his paintings.

As an artist, Goya was by temperament far removed from the classicals. In a few works he approached Classical style, but in the greater part of his work the Romantic triumphed.

Born in Zaragoza, Spain, he found employment as a young teenager under the mediocre artist José Luzán, from whom he learned to draw and as was customary, copied prints of several masters.

At the age of 17 he went to Madrid. His style was influenced by two painters who were working there. The last of the great Venetian painters—Tiepolo and the rather cold and efficient neo-classical painter—Antonio Raphael Mengs. In 1763 he entered a competition at the Royal Academy of San Fernando, and failed, as he did in the year 1766. In 1770, he want to Rome and survived by living off his works of art.

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Endless Love and Figurative Abstract

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Endless Love and Figurative Abstract

Alfred Gockel, Alexander (he goes by Alex, but his name is “Alfred”) was born in the coal mining town Lüdinghausen, Germany in 1952. Gockel’s first work was published when he was only eight years. He wanted to become an engineer, but at the age of 16 Gockel started working in the coal mines in Germany. When the mining industry has slowed, many locals found themselves unemployed.

The struggle Gockel felt at that time continues to do his work of art today. “I like to touch the soul of the viewer with my colors,” says Gockel. “Often in my paintings I use elements that reflect my difficult past, when a boy, I worked in coal mines. But my goal is to express my joy of life, and show that we can overcome many obstacles through the expressions of the beauties of life. ”

After more than two years in the army, Gockel refocused its attention on the arts and in 1973 he enrolled at the Polytechnic Academy in Munster, Germany. Gockel studied art and design and learned the techniques of lithography and serigraphy. After graduation, Gockel teaches graphic design and typography at the Academy. In the early 1980s Gockel has decided to concentrate on his art full time. In 1983 he and his wife Ingrid founded an art publishing company, Art Before, a player currently ranked in the abstract segment of the market, with customers in over 50 countries worldwide.

From its humble beginnings, Gockel has become one of the most prolific distributors of posters of modern art in the world. According to some estimates, sales in more than 10 million worldwide, they can be seen in design studios and private and large companies in the world. Gockel, was commissioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee to create an official piece of artwork for the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Gockel’s unique style – boldly colored abstract images doubled in thick black on a white canvas – has become his signature. “The art in both culture and the influences he imitates,” Gockel said. “I’m influenced by colors, symbols, textures, fibers and models used by different cultures around the world. ”

Still active in his “spare time” Gockel plays tennis, walks in the German forests with his two dogs, or riding Harley Davidson with his wife. They enjoy spending time at their favorite spot on the island of Sylt.

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Trish Biddle and Art-Deco Style Artworks

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Trish Biddle and Art-Deco Style Artworks

Trish Biddle is published internationally, and is collected around the world. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, American artist Trish Biddle studied at the Dallas Institute of Art, before beginning her career as an illustrator and textile designer. Her process of drawing, painting and designing melded onto canvases, creating romantic images and her unmistakable Art Deco figurative paintings.

Her expertise in capturing nature and light creates richly colored, breath-taking canvases. With a well-defined style, broad, romantic strokes and vibrant color, Trish paints figurative, floral, fashion icons and children’s art. She travels the world and enjoys translating her experiences into oil on canvas.

Trish Biddle

Showcasing her sense of design, Trish captures the Art Deco style of fashion, elegance, sophistication and the simplicity of the era. Tamara De Lempicka who defined Art Deco painting as we know it, Argentinean tango dancers and depression era dance marathons have all inspired Trish’s vintage, figurative paintings. The faces are obscured purposely to allow the viewer to identify with the images of the graceful dancers their own romantic notions. Backgrounds are evidence of textile, ironwork and architectural designs extracted from her own designs and travels. Trish currently resides in Westlake Texas.

Trish Biddle paintings are in corporate and private collections around the world, and she has been published internationally by Encore Art Group – Win Devon, Canadian Art Prints, Portal. Her art is available at most major retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond, Wal-mart, Target, Tuesday Morning, Michaels, TJ Maxx, and e-tailer Trish has had over $1 million in retail sales and been commissioned by Hilton hotels, Churchill Downs, Westminster Kennel Club and Del Mar Thoroughbread Club. Actress Eva Longoria Parker is a fan of Trish’s work, and used her art for her charity, Padres Contra El Cancer in Los Angeles.

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The Accolade Ceremony by Fine Arts View

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The Accolade Ceremony by Fine Arts View

The accolade is a ceremony to confer knighthood that may take many forms including, for example, the tapping of the flat side of a sword on the shoulders of a candidate or an embrace about the neck.

In the first example, the “knight-elect” kneels in front of the monarch on a knighting-stool when the ceremony is performed. First, the monarch lays the flat side of the sword’s blade onto the accolade’s right shoulder. They then raise the sword gently just up over the apprentice’s head and places it then on his left shoulder. The new knight then stands up after being promoted, and the King or Queen presents him with the insignia of his new order.

There is some disagreement amongst historians on the actual ceremony and in what time period certain methods could have been used. It could have been an embrace or a slight blow on the neck or cheek. In knighting his son Henry, with the ceremony of the accolade, history records that William the Conqueror used the blow.

The blow, or colée, when first utilized was given with a naked fist. It was a forceful box on the ear or neck that one would remember. This was later substituted for by a gentle stroke with the flat part of the sword against the side of the neck. This then developed into the custom of tapping on either the right or left shoulder or both, which is still the tradition in Great Britain today.

An early Germanic coming-of-age ceremony, of presenting a youth with a weapon that was buckled on him, was elaborated in the 10th and 11th centuries as a sign that the minor had come of age. Initially this was a simple rite often performed on the battlefield, where writers of Romance enjoyed placing it. A panel in the Bayeux Tapestry shows the knighting of Harold by William of Normandy, but the specific gesture is not clearly represented. Another military knight (commander of an army), sufficiently impressed by a warrior’s loyalty, would strike a fighting soldier on the head or his back and shoulder with his hand and announce that he was now an official knight. Some words that might be spoken at that moment were Advances Chevalier au nom de Dieu.

The increasingly impressive ceremonies surrounding adoubement figured largely in the Romance literature, both in French and in Middle English, particularly those set in the Trojan War or around the legendary personage of Alexander the Great.

In the Netherlands the knights in the exclusive Military Order of William (the Dutch “Victoria Cross”) are striken on both shoulders with the palm of the hand, first by the Dutch monarch (if present) then by the other knights. The new knight does not kneel.

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Renato Casaro Timeline

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Renato Casaro Timeline

Renato Casaro 1935 in Treviso / Northern Italy.

Graphic apprenticeship.

At the age of 17 first commissions for cinema-decoration in change for free tickets.

At the age of 19 moving to Rome – 1 year of work as voluntary at Studio Favalli.

At the age of 21 opening of his own studio in Rome becoming the youngest movie-painter in Italy. First commissioned poster for the German movie Two Blue Eyes.

1965 first international success with the worldwide used keyart for Dino de Laurentiis’s The Bible and first billboard on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard.

In the following years working with the big names of the movie-scene: Leone, Lelouch, Coppola, Petersen, Bertolucci, Rosi, Besson and the Studios in LA.

From 1979 numerous exhibitions and awards like “Best Keyart“ 1988 in US for The Last emperor or in 1991 for Dances with Wolves, just to name a few.

1985 invitation to lecture Istituto Europeo di Design, Rome / Italy.
1988 Honorary citizen of his home town Treviso / Italy and holder of the medal Totila.

1988 Honorary member of the Advertising-Association, Venice / Italy.

1992 Holder of the Medal “The iron mask“ of the city of Turin-Pinerolo / Italy for 30 years of life for movies“.

Since 1988 first paintings of his cycle Painted Movies including Invitation, 100 Years of Film, Paradise View.

Since 1985 regularly educational trips in Americas West on horseback for the cycle Going West and to African countries as to study African Wildlife for his Cycle African Impressions.

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