In honor of July 4th, Masterworks Fine Art would like to present American artists that we feature in our gallery as they exemplify the ingenuity, integrity, and drive of America’s founding fathers who fought for independence and freedom. Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, Sam Francis, Andy Warhol, and Deborah Butterfield are all American artists who have played pivotal and influential roles in their chosen art forms.
Alexander Calder was born in Pennsylvania and encouraged to create at a young age. Despite his talents, Calder did not originally set out to become an artist, but became an engineer. He did sketches for local papers and magazines which brought about a renewed passion. This was further fueled in his creation of both wire sculpture and kinetic art. As the inventor of the mobile and stabile sculpture, Calder also created paintings, lithographs, toys, tapestry and jewelry. As he stated of his inspiration; “The underlying sense of form in my work has been the system of the Universe, or part thereof. For that is a rather large model to work from.”
Jasper Johns hails from Georgia and is at the forefront of American art. His richly worked paintings of maps, flags, and targets led the artistic community away from Abstract Expressionism toward a new emphasis on the concrete. Johns laid the groundwork for both Pop Art and Minimalism. Today, as his prints and paintings set record prices at auction, the meanings of his paintings, his imagery, and his changing style continue to be subjects of controversy. Constantly challenging the technical possibilities of printmaking, painting and sculpture, Johns laid the groundwork for a wide range of experimental artists; “When something is new to us, we treat it as an experience. We feel that our senses are awake and clear. We are alive”.
Sam Francis is a prolific Californian artist. Considered one of the premier colorists of the twentieth century, his exciting, movement-driven, multi-faceted splatter/brush paintings are classified as Abstract Expressionism, but he is also closely associated with Color Field painting. Color Field painting is type of abstract art that consists of broad areas of low-contrast color on a very shallow picture plane. Francis held a deep love for color and had a brilliant awareness of the contrasts in colors and lights which is displayed in his work; “Color is born of the interpenetration of light and dark.”
The leading figure in the visual art movement known as Pop Art and one of the most sought after and successful American artists of all time is Andy Warhol. There is no denying this Pennsylvanian’s brilliance at removing everyday objects or celebrities from their context and isolating them to challenge the traditional art culture and views on commercialism. Warhol’s life is well known and his art still breaks auction records, and we are fortunate to offer his works; “Once you ‘got’ Pop, you could never see a sign again the same way again. And once you thought Pop, you could never see America the same way again.”
Last, but certainly not least, is the American sculpturist Deborah Butterfield. Born in California, she chose to create self-portraits using images of horses. Butterfield crafts the horses out of scrap metal, cast bronze, wood, wire, and organic materials such as mud. She photographs the frame of the figure before she puts the material on which enables her to piece the work together from all angles giving the horses their realistic movement of body through which we are then able to interpret the emotion and context . Interestingly, she only works in the winter, so her works usually take 3 to 5 years to complete.