Seminar Artists

Egon Schiele

An Austrian painter, a protégé of Gustav Klimt, and a major figurative painter of the early 20th century.

Schiele’s body of work is noted for the intensity and the large number of self-portraits he produced. The twisted body shapes that characterize Schiele’s paintings and drawings make the artist a notable exponent of Expressionism. The most important collection of Schiele’s work is housed in the Leopold Museum, Vienna.

Madchenakt-mit-pelzbesetztem-Mantel Man-With-A-Protruding-Tongue Nude-woman-hair-dressing Sailing-ships-in-the-waves-exciting-water-(the-harbour-of-Trieste)


I really like Schiele’s work. It’s very playful and realistic. I especially love the drawing technique used on the water to reflect the image. Very basic lines but it makes the whole image come together.

Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt was a controversial figure in his time. His work was constantly criticized for being too sensual and erotic, and his symbolism too deviant. Today, they stand out as the more important paintings ever to come out of Vienna.

1883: Klimt, his brother Ernst and Franz Matsch form the Känstlercompanie (Company of Artists) and start a productive cooperation. Works for theaters, churches and museums were ordered by several patrons.

1886-1892: Klimt executes mural decorations for staircases at the Burgtheater and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. He contributes for a series called Allegories and Emblems. Its success leads to a second large order, containing Klimt’s painting “Tragedy”, announcing all of his stylistic characteristics: gold paint, areas of detail and areas of abstract space, symbolism, the female figure.

1905: Several artists and Klimt himself resign from Secession and form a new association called “Kunstschau” (Art Show)

The-Kiss-284x300 The Kiss


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I love the use of colour in these images. They are quite mesmerising. And the portraits are softly sketched but with enough detail for the faces. 

Jan Svankmajer

After studying at the Institute of Industrial Arts and the Marionette Faculty of the Prague Academy of Fine Arts in the 1950s, Jan Svankmajer started working as a theatre director, chiefly in association with the Theatre of Masks and the Black Theatre. He first experimented with film-making after becoming involved with the mixed-media productions of Prague’s Lanterna Magika Theatre. He began making short films in 1964, and continued working in the same medium for over twenty years, when he finally achieved his long-held ambition to make a feature film based on Lewis Carroll‘s Alice in Wonderland (Alice (1988)). He has also exhibited his drawings, collages and ‘tactile sculptures’, many of which were produced in the mid-1970s, when he was temporarily banned from film-making by the Czech authorities. He has been a card-carrying member of the Prague Surrealist Group since 1969.




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I have to say I’m not a fan of Svankmajer. It reminds me too much of Brother’s Quay! Very surreal, creepy and bewildering.

Otto Dix

Otto Dix was a German artist, painter and print maker. His depictions of mechanized warfare and post-war Berlin continue to shape our impressions of the Great War and Weimar society. Along with George Grosz, Dix was one of the more important figures in New Objectivity. While Grosz delved into the shadows of modern society, Dix stared into the abyss. 

This site catalogs the artist’s work through which it attempts to tell the story of Germany through the early part of the 20th Century until his death in 1969. That story is decidedly told through Dix’s perspective. It is a story of modern war, its aftermath … and femme fatales.



George Grosz


German-American draughtsman and painter, born in Berlin. Studied drawing at the Dresden Academy 1909-11 and at the School of Arts and Crafts in Berlin 1912-14; also for several months in 1913 at the Atelier Colarossi in Paris. Served in the army 1914-15 and again briefly in 1917, but spent the rest of the war in Berlin where he made violently anti-war drawings, and drawings and paintings attacking the social corruption of Germany (capitalists, prostitutes, the Prussian military caste, the middle class). Played a prominent role in the Berlin Dada movement 1917-20 and collaborated with John Heartfield and Raoul Hausmann in the invention of photomontage. First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Hans Goltz, Neue Kunst in Munich 1920. Many of his drawings were published in albums (Gott mit unsEcce HomoDer Spiesser-Spiegel etc.), and he was subject to prosecutions for insulting the army and blasphemy. Visited the USA in 1932 to teach at the Art Students League, New York, and settled there 1933. In the latter part of his career he tried to establish himself as a pure painter of landscapes and still life, but also painted many compositions of an apocalyptic and deeply pessimistic kind. Returned to Berlin in 1958, but died there a few months later.

A Married Couple 1930 by George Grosz 1893-1959 Drawing for 'The Mirror of the Bourgeoisie' circa 1925 by George Grosz 1893-1959 Suicide 1916 by George Grosz 1893-1959


Grosz’s work is quite amusing. I especially like the picture of the elderly couple. It’s quite stereotypical but comical at the same time and portrays his humour well.

Bob Fosse

Director-choreographer Bob Fosse forever changed the way audiences around the world viewed dance on the stage and in the film industry in the late 20th century. Visionary, intense, and unbelievably driven, Fosse was an artist whose work was always provocative, entertaining, and quite unlike anything ever before seen. His dances were sexual, physically demanding of even the most highly trained dancers, full of joyous humor as well as bleak cynicism — works that addressed the full range of human emotions. Through his films he revolutionized the presentation of dance on screen and paved the way for a whole generation of film and video directors, showing dance through the camera lens as no one had done before, foreshadowing the rise of the MTV-era of music video dance.

Fosse’s first fully choreographed show was 1954′s “The Pajama Game.” He often dressed his dancers in black and put them in white gloves and derbies, recalling the image of Charlie Chaplin. He incorporated all the tricks of vaudeville that he had learned — pratfalls, slights-of-hand, double takes.

His next musical, “Damn Yankees,” brought more awards and established his life-long creative collaboration with Gwen Verdon, who had the starring role. With her inspiration, Fosse created a stream of classic dances. By 1960, Fosse was a nationally known and respected choreographer. Yet Fosse struggled with many of his producers and directors, who wished him to tone down or remove the “controversial” parts of his dances. Tired of subverting his artistic vision for the sake of “being proper,” Fosse realized that he needed to be the director as well as the choreographer in order to have control over his dances.

Before Fosse, dance was always filmed either in a front-facing or overhead view. In his 1969 film version of SWEET CHARITY (Fosse’s 1966 stage version was based on an earlier movie by Italian director Federico Fellini, about a prostitute’s search for love; the film was commissioned by Universal Studios after the success of the stage version) and in later works, Fosse introduced unique perspective shots and jump cuts. These film and editing techniques would become standard practice for music video directors decades later.



Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire, born in 1899, began show business at the age of 5, performing on Broadway and in vaudeville with his sister, Adele. Then he headed to Hollywood where he began a successful partnership with Ginger Rogers for nine movies. By 1976, he had made 33 musical films with esteemed co-stars such as Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Ann Miller, Debbie Reynolds and Cyd Charisse. He also co-starred with the biggest actors of that time, including Bing Crosby, Red Skelton, and Gene Kelly.

Fred Astaire was not only a great dancer – changing the face of the American movie musical with his style and grace – but he was also an actor in many different dramatic and comedic roles in both movies and TV specials. He won multiple Emmys for his work in television. The Towering Inferno (1974) earned him an Oscar nomination. He received an honorary Academy Award in 1950 for his “unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures.”

Fred Astaire starred in 31 musical films. He was famous for his collaboration with Ginger Rogers in the following films:

Flying Down To Rio (1933)
The Gay Divorcee (1934)
Roberta (1935)
Top Hat (1935)
Follow The Fleet (1936)
Swing Time (1936)
Shall We Dance (1937)
Carefree (1938)
The Story Of Vernon & Irene Castle (1939)
The Barkleys Of Broadway (1949)


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Marlene Dietrich

Marlene initially trained as a violinist and turned to acting after a hand injury prevented her from furthering a career in music. In 1920 she began a career as an actress and by 1921 was attending the Max Reinhardt drama school and landed some small roles in the theatres in Berlin and parts in some silent films, but was relatively unknown at this point.

In 1929 while appearing in cabaret in Berlin she was spotted by director Josef Von Sternberg and he screen tested her for the role in The Blue Angel (Der Blaue Engel), with Emil Jannings in the lead role.

Following the success of The Blue Angel there followed an amazing collaboration between Dietrich and Von Sternberg and they made a further six memorable films together for Paramount in Hollywood; ‘Morocco’, ‘Dishonoured’, ‘Blonde Venus’, ‘Shanghai Express’, ‘The Scarlet Empress’ and ‘The Devil is a Woman’.

By 1937 the pressure for Marlene to return to Germany was increasing, the Third Reich was running newspaper reports telling her to return to Germany and stop allowing herself to be the tool of Hollywood’s Jews. Marlene made the decision to become an American citizen and cut all ties with Germany, thus allowing her to continue her career.

In December 1953 Dietrich then swung her career around and took her ‘one woman show’ out on the road and toured for over twenty years, starting at the Congo Room in the Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas and then taking her show around the world.

Her last performance came in 1975 in Australia where she had an accident on the stage and this spelt the end of her shows and public appearances for a few years.

She was coaxed out of ‘retirement’ in 1978 to appear in a cameo role in a film called ‘Just a Gigolo’. In 1984 she agreed to be part of an audio-documentary made by Maximillian Schell called ‘Marlene’, but refused to be filmed.

enriquedelpozo md4a md11


Grayson Perry

Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition Preview Party 2009 - Arrivals

Grayson Perry is an English artist, known mainly for his ceramic vases and cross-dressing. Perry’s vases have classical forms and are decorated in bright colours, depicting subjects at odds with their attractive appearance. There is a strong autobiographical element in his work, in which images of Perry as “Claire”, his female alter-ego, often appear.


Perry uses the seductive qualities of ceramics and other art forms to make stealthy comments about societal injustices and hypocrisies, and to explore a variety of historical and contemporary themes. The beauty of his work is what draws us close.


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– Grayson Perry is quite a mystery! He seems extremely controversial in his attire/appearance, however his vases are detailed and artistic, quite rare. It’s clear he likes colour, throughout his lifestyle and his creativity, which I like. It’s also quite endearing to see a reflection of someone’s personality in their work. He obviously has a passion for his art and I can admire that.





Pierre et Gilles’s hand-painted photographs are both highly revered—the likes of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and PPR king François Pinault collect them—and instantly recognisable. Exquisitely colorful and perversely naïve, the French artists’ dreamlike portraits capture the intensity of their subjects, who include Andy Warhol, Iggy Pop, Madonna, Marc Jacobs, and Catherine Deneuve. “Their images are iconic, yet none of their sitters look robotic,” says shoe designer Christian Louboutin, a friend since the late 1970s. “That’s because everything is done by hand and they don’t use a computer, which can rub out the character of the face.”

Pierre et Gilles are an inseparable and unusual couple—“both in their professional and personal life,” according to Louboutin. In the increasingly technical world of photography they are extremely artisanal. “Each portrait takes about three weeks from the beginning to the end,” explains Gilles, “because we do everything from creating the décor to taking the picture to constructing the frame.” With regard to choosing ideas, “We are always inspired by the person’s personality,” says Pierre.

Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard


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– I am not really a fan of Pierre Et Gilles. Although I can appreciate their craftsmanship, their paintings are incredibly detailed to an extent I haven’t seen before, I can’t really appreciate it any further. Their scenarios are surreal but not in an appealing way. I wouldn’t want it hanging in my house!

David LaChapelle

David LaChapelle is known internationally for his exceptional talent in combining a unique hyper-realistic aesthetic with profound social messages.


“Mr. LaChapelle is certain to influence the work of a new generation of photographers in the same way that Mr. Avedon pioneered so much of what is familiar today.”

“Mr. Avedon said that ‘of all the photographers inventing surreal images, it was Mr. LaChapelle who has the potential to be the genre’s Magritte.'” 
The New York Times

LaChapelle’s photography career began in the 1980’s when he began showing his artwork in New York City galleries. His work caught the eye of Andy Warhol, who offered him his first job as a photographer at Interview Magazine. His photographs of celebrities in Interview garnered positive attention, and before long he was shooting for a variety of top editorial publications and creating some of the most memorable advertising campaigns of his generation.

After establishing himself as a fixture in contemporary photography, LaChapelle decided to branch out and direct music videos, live theatrical events, and documentary films.

In 2006, LaChapelle decided to minimize his participation in commercial photography, and return to his roots by focusing on fine art photography. Since then, he has been the subject of exhibitions in both commercial galleries and leading public institutions around the world.


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– I really like the variety of LaChapelle’s work. There’s humour, the eccentricity, the peculiarity! There are some quite familiar photos I’ve seen as well, such as the Death by Burger photo, and the Lady Gaga Pink Room. There’s something quite fresh about his work too, rather than just black and white portraiture, there is talent in his layout for shooting, and the attention to detail is amazing too.

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons (born January 21, 1955) is an American artist known for his reproductions of banal objects—such as balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror finish surfaces. He lives and works in both New York City and his hometown of York, Pennsylvania.

On November 12, 2013, Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange) sold at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York for $58.4 million, above its high $55 million estimate, becoming the most expensive work by a living artist sold at auction.

Critics are sharply divided in their views of Koons. Some view his work as pioneering and of major art-historical importance. Others dismiss his work as kitsch: crass and based on cynical self-merchandising. Koons has stated that there are no hidden meanings in his works, nor any critiques.



Jeff_Koons_Gagosian  Puppy by Jeff Koons  Jeff Koons Violet Ice

– I think I like Koons’ work simply because it’s so modern. Yes it may be kitsch, but it’s obviously popular, other wise the balloon dog wouldn’t have sold for so much and breaking a record! It is the way the world works in this present day – society is mainly focused on self-image and merchandising. From what I’ve researched, his work is quite innocent – balloon animals, the giant flower puppy – but then we get to the kama sutra sculpture, Violet Ice, and his work becomes more controversial. Not to say that the sculpture isn’t very detailed and (what seems to be) a flawless sculpture, I just think I prefer the more “innocent” pieces!

Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus was born on March 14, 1923, in New York City. An artistic youth, she learned photography from her husband, actor Allan Arbus. Together, they found success with fashion work, but Diane soon branched out on her own. Her raw, unusual images of the people she saw while living in New York created a unique and interesting portrayal of the city. She committed suicide in New York City in 1971.

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” – Diane Arbus

Working with her husband, Diane Arbus started out in advertising and fashion photography. She and Allan became quite a successful team, with photographs appearing in such magazines as Vogue. In the late 1950s, she began to focus on her own photography. To further her art, Arbus studied with photographer Lisette Model around this time.

During her wanderings around New York City, Arbus began to pursue taking photographs of people she found. She visited seedy hotels, public parks, a morgue and other various locales. These unusual images had a raw quality, and several of them found their way into the July 1960 issue of Esquire magazine. These photographs proved to be a spring board for future work.

By the mid-1960s, Diane Arbus had become a well-established photographer, participating in shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, among other places. She was known for going to great lengths to get the shots she wanted. She became friends with many other famous photographers, including Richard Avedon andWalker Evans.



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– I watched a small video about Diane Arbus around the start of this academic year. She seemed a little troubled, but she had visions of what she wanted her photographs to look like. Such as the little boy with the toy grenade, she took various images of him just playing around in Central Park but only really displayed the photo of his playful face, holding a grenade – to make it more shocking and raw. I find that her work is interesting, especially to  visually witness such a variety of personalities through portrait.

Lisette Model

Austrian, 1901-1983

A refugee who “had to stoop to hustling, scrambling, and scraping by, and ultimately to street photography to support herself”.


lisette model  lisette model 2  lisette_model1

– I can see where Arbus got her inspiration from!

Joel-Peter Witkin

Joel-Peter Witkin (born September 13, 1939) is an American photographer who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work often deals with such themes as death, corpses (and sometimes dismembered portions thereof), and various outsiders such as dwarvestranssexualshermaphrodites, and physically deformed people. Witkin’s complex tableaux often recall religious episodes or classical paintings.


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Witkin’s work is very dark, but very intriguing. There are such bizarre details and props involved that it’s hard to really look away. I can see his work being very influential just for the amount of detail and the dark themes.

David Crowe

His first book, Visible Signs, published in 2003 by AVA, is an introduction to semiotics which was very well received by both students and teachers of Design. This was updated with a second edition in 2010. David has also published Left to Right, an exploration of the shift from Text to Image in Visual Culture. His work can also be found in publications about graphic design that illustrate his interest and expertise in typography and visual language systems. His work is featured in the recent publicationsThe Typographic Experiment by Teal Triggs and No More Rules – Graphic Design and Postmodernism by Rick Poynor. David has also written for design publications such as Eye magazine and Creative Review.





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