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HOMEWORK HELP: BEN NICHOLSON

Posted 1 July 2015 by Kat

Who made this? Who is Foxy and Frankie? It’s kind of silly! It was made by Ben Nicholson of course! Let’s meet him!

Ben Nicholson OM, Foxy and Frankie (1) 1933 © Angela Verren Taunt 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Ben Nicholson OM, Foxy and Frankie (1) 1933 © Angela Verren Taunt 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Ben Nicholson was a British Modernist who made Abstract paintings in neutral colours that featured squares, circles and rectangles. They were very simple and flat. Here is the first abstract painting he ever made. What do you think of it? Do the shapes remind you of anything?

Ben Nicholson OM, 1924 (first abstract painting, Chelsea), c.1923–4 © Angela Verren Taunt 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Ben Nicholson OM, 1924 (first abstract painting, Chelsea), c.1923–4 © Angela Verren Taunt 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

This picture is painted on a canvas, but later he painted on wooden boards. He would use a razor blade to scrape back the paint so that the pictures looked weather beaten and old as if they had been eroded by time.

Nicholson was born in England in 1894 and married the artist and sculptor Barbara Hepworth. They often worked together and found inspiration in each other’s artwork. Do you work with friends and family? Have you ever tried to make art with someone else?

Photographs of Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth in the Mall studio [c 1932] © reserved. Tate Archive

Photographs of Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth in the Mall studio [c 1932] © reserved. Tate Archive

Nicholson’s father was a very famous and eccentric artist called William Nicholson who had a great influence on him. While he was studying at the Slade School of fine art in London, Nicholson discovered Cubism, which inspired him to start experimenting with new modernist ideas.

In 1934 Nicholson visited the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian in his studio in Paris. He was very impressed with the feeling of light Mondrian had created. He began to make paintings inspired by Mondrian using primary colours and tones of blue, grey and white. This painting is called June 1937. Can you see any similarities between Nicholson’s painting and this one by Piet Mondrian?

Ben Nicholson OM June 1937 (painting) 1937 © Angela Verren Taunt 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Ben Nicholson OM June 1937 (painting) 1937 © Angela Verren Taunt 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red 1937–42 c. Tate

Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red 1937–42 c. Tate

Until the Second World War many people thought Nicholson’s paintings were outrageous and he struggled to make a living from selling them. In 1940 he moved to St Ives in Cornwall where he studied the subtle colours of the landscape. He began to find his own style that reflected the greys, browns and greens of the countryside. Other artists who were also interested in abstract art also moved to St Ives, and soon there were many artists living in the little fishing village and they became known as the St Ives Group.

Do you see the boats in this image? I wonder where he painted this? Why do you think he put the jugs and cups in the front of the painting?

Ben Nicholson OM, 1943-45 (St Ives, Cornwall) 1943–5 © Angela Verren Taunt 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Ben Nicholson OM, 1943-45 (St Ives, Cornwall) 1943–5 © Angela Verren Taunt 2015. All rights reserved, DACS

Nicholson died in 1982 and by then he was considered to be one of Britain’s finest artists who had introduced many new and exciting ideas about Modern art to Britain!

What do you think of this work? Does it remind you of other artworks? How does his work make you feel?
Let us know in the comments below.

You can see some of Ben Nicholson’s work in the new Barbara Hepworth exhibition at Tate Britain now! :)

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HOMEWORK HELP: BARBARA HEPWORTH

Posted 23 June 2015 by Kat

Barbara Hepworth was a very famous British sculptor, who was born in Wakefield in 1903.

Photographs of Ben Nicholson taking a photograph of Barbara Hepworth [c 1932] Tate Archive

Photographs of Ben Nicholson taking a photograph of Barbara Hepworth [c 1932] Tate Archive

Her earliest memories were from driving though the countryside with her family. She never forgot the shapes made by the roads, hills and fields and they inspired her to make some amazing artwork…

She studied at Leeds School of Art with Henry Moore, who became a life-long friend. This is what his work looked like. What do you think are the similarities and differences in their work?

Henry Moore OM, CH Family Group 1949, cast 1950–1 © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Henry Moore OM, CH Family Group 1949, cast 1950–1 © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved

Here is an early sculpture by Hepworth made in 1929.

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Infant 1929 © Bowness

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Infant 1929 © Bowness

It is of her son Paul, who was born in 1929. It is made of wood that has been sandpapered until it is smooth and glossy. The baby looks as if he is lying on his back, but Hepworth has made the sculpture stand upright, like a wooden icon. It also looks a bit like an African carving. Many modern artists were influenced by African art at this time.

Barbara’s most important sculptures were abstract. They were made of wood, stone and bronze. Barbara said her work was a way of ‘holding a beautiful thought’. Do you agree?

In the 1930s, Hepworth became part of a group of artists who stopped making art that looked like people and started making abstract art. She met with a lot of international artists, like Picasso, Mondrian and Kandinsky! She was pretty cool.

Here is an early abstract sculpture she made…

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Mother and Child 1934 © Bowness

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Mother and Child 1934 © Bowness

I bet you can guess which part is the mother and which is the child?

Hepworth wanted to create art that was calm, that people could enjoy looking at and would not make them feel uncomfortable or anxious. She began to make sculptures and drawings that were inspired by the landscape and nature around her.

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Winter Solstice 1970 © Bowness

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Winter Solstice 1970 © Bowness

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Hepworth and her family moved to St Ives in Cornwall. St Ives was a very popular place for artists to live. Hepworth and her husband, the artist Ben Nicholson formed the St Ives Group. The artists of the St Ives Group wanted their sculptures to look like they had been formed by the landscape, or like pebbles found on the seashore. This sculpture is called Oval. Do you think it looks a bit like a stone that has had its edges smoothed down by the force of the sea?

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Oval Sculpture (No. 2) 1943, cast 1958 © Bowness

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Oval Sculpture (No. 2) 1943, cast 1958 © Bowness

Barbara wanted people to look at the world in a different way, she wanted you to use her sculptures to frame a landscape. Look through her work, over it, from far away or really close.

She was asked to make art for public places like outside the United Nations building in New York or on Oxford Street in London.

Hepworth passed away in 1975, but her smooth, organic looking sculptures still make many people look at the world differently today!

We really do love Barbara Hepworth at Tate Kids and we have lots of activities and games to do inspired by Hepworth. You can download our free drawing app, make a necklace, carve soap or even explore her garden!

See her sculptures in real life at our new exhibition at Tate Britain or down in St Ives in her studio!

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HOMEWORK HELP: JACKSON POLLOCK

Posted 17 June 2015 by Kat

Who is that man making a mess on the floor? Why that’s Jackson Pollock and he is a really cool artist!

Jackson Pollock, 1950 Photograph by Hans Namuth Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona © 1991 Hans Namuth Estate

Jackson Pollock, 1950
Photograph by Hans Namuth Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona
© 1991 Hans Namuth Estate

Pollock is a famous American artist who invented a new way of painting called Action painting.

He dripped paint onto a large canvas on the floor. It was called Action painting because Pollock would move very quickly across the painting, dribbling the paint in long, wobbly lines. Sometimes he threw the paint onto the canvas and some of his paintings still have footprints on them where he stepped in the paint.

Pollock was born in 1912 in Wyoming in America. When he was eighteen he moved to New York and trained as a mural painter. This meant he was used to working on a very large scale and so the idea of painting on a big canvas didn’t scare him at all.

In 1943 a very rich art collector called Peggy Guggenheim asked him to make a mural for her. Pollock was so excited that he ripped down a wall in his house so that he could fit a 20 foot canvas inside. Peggy was very pleased with the painting and she gave him an exhibition at her gallery.

Pollock was a member of the Abstract expressionist group, these were young New York artists who made paintings that were non-representational, meaning they didn’t look like anything. Instead, they tried to show emotions, like happiness or anger.

The Abstract Expressionists were also influenced by a form of Surrealist art called Automatism.

Do you know what Automatism is?

Get a piece of paper and a pencil. Put your pencil on the paper. Then close your eyes and let your pencil draw all over the paper. Now open your eyes. You have just made your first piece of Automatism.

You could also use the same technique in the Tate Create Jazzy Drips.

This painting is called Summertime, Number 9A, 1948. It was made at a happy time in Pollock’s life when he had just moved to a farmhouse in the countryside with his wife.

Jackson Pollock, Summertime: Number 9A 1948, © Pollock - Krasner Foundation, Inc.

Jackson Pollock, Summertime: Number 9A 1948, © Pollock – Krasner Foundation, Inc.

Do you think it is a sunny painting?

Pollock also enjoyed listening to music, and the title could refer to a popular song called Summertime by George Gershwin. Jackson Pollock died in 1956, but his work continues to inspire artists from all over the world to experiment and invent other ways of painting.

We are super excited at Tate because there is an awesome Jackson Pollock exhibition at Tate Liverpool! Plus there are some amazing free activities for you guys too, like Paint Archery! We can’t wait! :)

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TOP 5 FATHER’S DAY GIFTS

Posted 15 June 2015 by Kat

Still don’t know what to get your pops this Father’s Day? We hope our Top 5 gift ideas from the Tate collection will set your creative juices flowing!

1. Beard kit
Ok he might not have a beard…but why not be inspired by some of the greatest beards in art, and draw your dad with a new beard! Maybe get him a comb too! Boom, hip dad catered for.

Julian Opie, Gary, popstar 1998–9 © Julian Opie

Julian Opie, Gary, popstar 1998–9 © Julian Opie

Robert Mapplethorpe, Lawrence Weiner 1982, printed 1991, © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Robert Mapplethorpe, Lawrence Weiner 1982, printed 1991, © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

2. A jazz lesson
Add some cool into your dad with a little introduction to all things jazzy. The upcoming Jackson Pollock exhibition might be a great little adventure for you both!

Jackson Pollock, Number 23 1948, © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2015

Jackson Pollock, Number 23 1948, © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2015

3. His favourite song lyrics
Be inspired by this William Blake and make your own artwork using the lyrics from his favourite song! This could be drawn, painted or even made into an installation!

William Blake ‘Songs of Innocence’: Title-Page 1789, reprinted 1831 or later c. Tate

William Blake ‘Songs of Innocence’: Title-Page 1789, reprinted 1831 or later c. Tate

Angela Bulloch, West Ham - Sculpture for Football Songs 1998, © Angela Bulloch

Angela Bulloch, West Ham – Sculpture for Football Songs 1998, © Angela Bulloch

4. Some tasty treats
Be that a full Sunday Roast dinner, a sausage sandwich for breakfast or even an exciting bowl of sweets. He’ll probably enjoy being spoilt through some form of tasty snack specially made for him. Plus I bet he’ll let you share the sweeties!

Roy Lichtenstein, Sandwich and Soda 1964, © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2015

Roy Lichtenstein, Sandwich and Soda 1964, © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2015

Patrick Caulfield, Sweet Bowl 1967, © The estate of Patrick Caulfield. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015

Patrick Caulfield, Sweet Bowl 1967, © The estate of Patrick Caulfield. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2015

5. Some advice
Dads are really good at giving advice but how about this Father’s Day give your dad some much needed words of wisdom. Print them on a poster, make them into a card, write them on the floor with chalk. Find the most creative way to show him much you care. :)

Martin Creed, Work No. 203: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT 1999 © Martin Creed

Martin Creed, Work No. 203: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT 1999 © Martin Creed

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HOMEWORK HELP: GEORGE STUBBS

Posted 10 June 2015 by Kat

He’s a pretty popular guy on My Gallery, but who is George Stubbs?

George Stubbs was Britain’s greatest sporting painter and is most famous for his paintings of horses, like the artwork below.

George Stubbs, Horse Frightened by a Lion ?exhibited 1763 c. Tate

George Stubbs, Horse Frightened by a Lion ? exhibited 1763 c. Tate

Stubbs taught himself how to draw and paint. He spent many days at home drawing and studying, and later he became an anatomy teacher at a hospital in York, England. This meant he taught students about how human and animal bodies work. Then in 1756 he decided to write a book on the anatomy of a horse. The book was a really popular and soon rich men were asking Stubbs to paint their horses.

George Stubbs, A Grey Hunter with a Groom and a Greyhound at Creswell Crags c.1762–4 c. Tate

George Stubbs, A Grey Hunter with a Groom and a Greyhound at Creswell Crags c.1762–4 c. Tate

Until the invention of the train and the motorcar, the best form of transport on land was a horse. In the mid 1700s when Stubbs was alive, horse breeding and racing became popular. All the rich men and women would go to the races and the horses were so famous that everybody knew their names (a bit like the way we know footballers’ names now).

Many of the horses Stubbs painted belonged to members of The Jockey Club. Here is a painting of a horse owned by one of the founding members of the Jockey Club. The horse’s name is Otho and the painting celebrates Otho winning at the Newmarket races.

George Stubbs, Otho, with John Larkin up 1768 c. Tate

George Stubbs, Otho, with John Larkin up 1768 c. Tate

What made Stubbs a great painter of horses was that he really loved horses and cared about them alot. Have a look at this picture of a grey stallion, Horse In The Shade of a Wood. There is no owner or jockey here, just a horse alone in the landscape. The horse is free, but there is still sadness in its eyes. Do you think Stubbs sometimes felt sorry for the horses he painted?

George Stubbs, Horse in the Shade of a Wood 1780 c. Tate

George Stubbs, Horse in the Shade of a Wood 1780 c. Tate

Stubbs liked drawing all animals, especially ones from exotic countries. He loved finding out about new species like zebras, cheetahs and moose.

George Stubbs, Leopards at Play 1780 c. Tate

George Stubbs, Leopards at Play 1780 c. Tate

Attributed to George Stubbs, Study of an Eagle date not known c. Tate

Attributed to George Stubbs, Study of an Eagle date not known c. Tate

I wonder what these animals are thinking…Have you ever gone to a zoo or farm and drawn the animals? Do you think you could capture their movements or how they growl and chirp? Maybe you could be inspired by George Stubbs to draw your own pet? If you have already, upload it on to My Gallery, like others below!

My Horse, by Diamond Animal, aged 8 from UK

My Horse, by Diamond Animal, 8 from UK

Fish By Anastasia, 13, from Devon

Fish By Anastasia, 13, from Devon

The Dog, By Legendary Man, 12 from London

The Dog, By Legendary Man, 12 from London

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