Article
5 comments

Studio Visit

Diana Kurz is a naturalist and figurative painter based in Soho, NYC. She was born in 1936 in Vienna, Austria. Kurz explains, ” My parents and I came to the US via Italy, Switzerland, England (where I learned to speak English) and Ireland. Because of the large body of work I have done on the subject of the Holocaust, I think it is important to mention that we were forced to flee Vienna in 1938, and that although we came to the United States when I was four years old, the events of WW II directly affected my life and childhood. Family history and my parents’ generosity in raising two of my orphaned cousins, survivors of concentration camps, as their own children instilled in me an awareness of the importance of social justice and caring for others.” To read a more in-depth biography, reprinted from Veteran Feminists of America, go HERE.

Diana Kurz and her mother in Europe when she was about 2 1/2 or 3.

Diana with a hip, mod, Sassoon inspired pixie cut in her Paris studio in 1965.

And later in her Soho studio – one of the lucky few to find these hidden Soho loft gems in the 1970s (before the area became the trendy, commerce center it is today).

Like in the Wizard of Oz, we just went from Black & White to Color! This is Diana today standing in front of one of her paintings. Look a that necklace!

She has exhibited her work extensively in solo and group shows nationally and internationally and her work is in many distinguished private and public collections including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Rose Art Museum, Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien in Austria; The Jewish Museum of Vienna; Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Hudgens Center for the Arts, GA; Savannah College of Art and Design, and Yad Vashem. Among the numerous awards she has received are a Fulbright Grant in Painting to France;  New York State Council on the Arts CAPS Grant; American Center Residency in Paris; Austrian Federal Ministry of the Arts/VCCA Artist-In-Residence in Vienna;.Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency. Kurz has been on the faculty of distinguished art schools including Pratt Institute, Queens College, Cleveland Institute of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, SUNY at Stony Brook, University of Colorado in Boulder, and Philadelphia College of Art (now known as University of the Arts). She has a Bachelor of Arts cum laude degree in Fine Arts from Brandeis University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from ColumbiaUniversity.

John in the Studio, oil on canvas, 57″ x 68″

Ann in Striped Dress, oil on canvas, 72″ x 51 1/2″, Collection of Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts

Women painters were rare in the 1960’s and so the best compliment she would ever receive at the time was “that could have been painted by a man” (How horrible)! Although it might not show at first glance in her works, Kurz studied the compositions of Piet Mondrian at great length. Her canvases are heavily influenced by the the exploration of lines and color composition.

Silver Spring Monkeys, #2, Monotype, 6″ x 8″

The Hudson River Downtown Study #2 ,oil on paper on canvas, 7″ x 10″

I have had the pleasure of meeting Diana on several occasions – we talked over cookies and tea just last week! We first met during my time at Columbia University while I was the Project Manager for an amazing endeavor called “Art Cart: Saving the Legacy”. Enough on the history, now for a present-day studio visit:

Alternate uses for Cento Tomato Paste. 

Not shown in the photo, the other kitty and an adorable lap dog – DIXIE!

A detail. 

What inspires you to succeed and create? What do you need in your office or workspace so that you can be successful?  I have a garden gnome given to me by my friend Sonja that has been in every apartment in which I have ever lived. It travels with me, and is always lurking in the corner, helping me to conjure ideas!

Article
0 comment

An Artist’s Dwelling (4)

Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter and protege of the Austrian symbolist (and lover of the female body), Gustav Klimt. Schiele is most famous for his twisted bodies, hyper sexualized sketches, grotesque, and almost endless self-portraits. He is considered an early expressionist painter who leans toward figurative painting. Figurative art is considered to be drawn from actual objects or persons – therefore it is representational rather than based in imagination. Expressionist painting allows the artist to transform works based solely on emotion and subjective perspectives and distortions – often these works are not in the realm of “the real”. Technically speaking an expressionism painting and a figurative painting are at odds with one another – one aims to be wholly based in “fact” and the other in “feeling”. This dichotomy adds a layer of beautiful confusion to Schiele’s paintings.

Egon Scheile, The Little City II (View from Bohemian Krumlov), 1912-1913, Oil on Canvas (Wikipedia Commons)

Egon Schiele, Fräulein Beer, 1914, Oil on Canvas (Wikipedia Commons)

Early in the artist’s career, while studying with Klimt, he met a woman named Valery (Wally) Neuzil. Some consider this woman to be a mistress of Klimt, however she appeared as a model in Schiele’s works as well. Together, they escaped what they considered “the conservative society” of Vienna to the countryside of Neulengbach. The rent was inexpensive because it was so far from this city (what Brooklyn is the NYC). This allowed Schiele to afford more space for his studio.  This home became a gathering place for many delinquents and children in the area – it was also where Schiele painted several youths in questionably pornographic situations (many of whom were considered below the age of consent). Paris von Guetersloh, a young artist who was Schiele’s contemporary, remembered that the establishment was overrun with them:

They slept, recovered from beatings administered by parents, lazily lounged about – something they were not allowed to do at home – combed their hair, pulled their dresses up or down, did up or undid their shoes … like animals in a cage which suits them, they were left to their own devices, or at any rate believed themselves to be.

Egon Schiele, Kauernde

[Read more]