If money were no object, which artist’s works would you hang in your home?
Legendary impressionist Mary Cassatt was born in Pennsylvania in 1844. She attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts against her wealthy parents’ wishes. Mary was frustrated by the school’s rules, which forbade female students from painting live models. Eventually she moved to France where she studied the masters and made extra money by copying and selling famous paintings at the Louvre. Edgar Degas, one of the early founders of Impressionism, became Mary’s mentor, and brought her into the fold of the Impressionist movement. Mary is best known for her oil paintings, which explore the intimate moments of women–especially the bond between mother and child. They have sold for as much as $2.9 million.
Twentieth century Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, is best known for her colorful and sometimes disturbing self-portraits which have been described as “surrealist” and as “folk art.” “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best,” said Frida, according to biographer Andrea Kettenmann. Her paintings capture emotional moments of her life, from her tumultuous marriage to artist Diego Rivera to the (physical and emotional) pain she endured after a bus accident left her barren. They have sold for as much as $5.6 million.
Georgia O’Keeffe was born on a dairy farm in Wisconsin in 1887. She attended a top art school in Chicago and won several student prizes, but eventually stopped painting entirely, and became an elementary school teacher in Texas. There, she began painting again, and those works–abstract flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones, and landscapes–became the basis for her first gallery show in New York. The gallery owner, famed photographer Arthur Steiglitz, fell in love with Georgia and left his wife to marry her. By the 1920s, Georgia was considered one the America’s most important artists. She continued painting right up until her death at age 98. Today her paintings sell for upwards of $6 million dollars each.
Helen Levitt (1913-2009) was a famously reclusive photographer who live and worked in Brooklyn, NY. She was known for her New York City “street photography,” especially her photos of local “children living their zesty, improvised lives,” as noted in her New York Times obituary. Some of her most famous photos were taken in the 1930s, because, Helen said: “That was before television and air-conditioning. People would be outside, and if you just waited long enough they forgot about you.” She took photos for 70 years before her death in 2009 at age 95.
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