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Davis Art
2014 Catalog
art education curriculum
Artist Biographies
Select a letter below to see the biographies for artists
whose last names start with that letter.
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Gag, Wanda (United States, 1893-1946)
Gag gained critical respect for her woodcuts, lithographs, and paintings in oil and watercolor. She also wrote and illustrated children's books. Her book, Millions of Cats, has been reprinted many times and translated into several languages.

Gainsborough, Thomas (England, 1727-1788)
Gainsborough was one of England's finest portrait artists. He was very popular and is known for accurate faces and loose brushstrokes that catch the light reflecting off fabric. In the background, he often added a large area of landscape. Although Gainsborough painted more than one thousand portraits, pure landscapes were his favorite subject. These works, many based on memory, influenced later generation of English painters.

Galván, Jesús Guerrero (Mexico, b.1910)
Galván who began his training as a sign painter, later turned to teaching. He was influenced by the European artists who used color expressively, as well as the direct expressiveness of the work created by the primary school children he taught.

Garcia, Rupert (United States, b.1941)
Garcia's artwork is influenced by his Mexican (Chicano) heritage and studies of mass media, especially posters with political and cultural content dealing with the oppression of minority groups. He devoted seven years of his career to creating such posters in a style influenced by Pop Art. His recent work in pastels is a more personal and subtle expression of related themes.

Gaudí, Antonio (Spain, 1852-1928)
Gaudí was one of the most inventive architects of the twentieth century. His buildings have unusually complex textures, colors, and many curved forms. The curved forms seem to be inspired by natural forms such as bones, vines, or trees. Many of his buildings include elaborate mosaic surfaces or wrought iron work.

Gauguin, Paul (France, 1848-1903)
Gauguin was a successful stockbroker who started painting for relaxation. But in 1883, he quit his job to paint. Within a few years he couldn't support his family, and the artist began a long search for a better way of life. Eventually Gauguin traveled to the islands of the South Pacific, where he painted some of his greatest works. His paintings are known for their simple forms, brilliant colors, and outlined, flat shapes.

Gehry, Frank O. (United States, b.1929)
Frank O. Gehry designs buildings to capture the essence of their purpose. For example, the California Aerospace Museum certainly reflects the building's function. Angles and planes barely seem to contain the dynamic action that the word aerospace implies. While its interior spaces are contained and intimate, the overall structure is bursting with energy. A more recent commission of Gehry's, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum places its expressive emphasis on a stainless steel facade. However, the main body of the building is an ordinary rectangle, an ideal space in which to exhibit works of art.

Gentileschi, Artemisia (Italy, 1593-1653)
Gentileschi is one of the earliest known important women painters. An artist who lived during the Baroque period, she was a follower of the painter Caravaggio. She was also taught by her father, who was an artist, too. Like the works of Caravaggio, Gentileschi's paintings include strong contrasts of dark and light. One of her best-known works is Judith and Maidservant with duumlrer the Head of Holfernes.

George Grosz (United States, 1893-1959)
German-born Grosz became a United States citizen in 1938. While in Germany, he created many satirical drawings of German soldiers and politicians. His early works contrast the themes of affluence and consumption with poverty and disease. His later works include landscapes, still lifes, and imaginary subjects.

Georgia O'Keeffe (United States, 1887-1986)
Born and raised on a large farm in Wisconsin, Georgia O'Keeffe was an American pioneer of Abstraction. Unlike other ground-breaking artists, her training and influences were entirely American. O'Keeffe first drew and painted representationally. This work did not satisfy her, and she began making abstract drawings of land forms from memory. Her early subjects were gigantic close-up paintings of flowers or flower parts. She always took her forms from nature, no matter how abstractly she depicted them and often worked with an element of surprise in order to shock the viewer into seeing differently.

Ghiberti, Lorenzo (Italy, 1381-1455)
The artist Ghiberti designed and sculpted two famous sets of doors for the baptistry in Florence, Italy. Each door is cast in bronze and covered with gold. The religious scenes that decorate the doors are filled with energy and drama. The first pair of doors alone took Ghiberti more than twenty years to complete. The second set of doors, later called The Gates of Paradise, are considered his masterpiece.

Giacommetti, Alberto (Switzerland, 1901-1966)
Giacommetti was a Swiss sculptor who worked in Italy for several years before going to Paris. He created a series of figures that were stick thin. Their emaciated and elongated forms were cast in plaster over a wire armature. His figures have come to be recognized as a powerful symbol of the loneliness and alienation of humanity in this century. The personal symbolism and expressive quality of his figures place Giacommetti in the realm of Expressionism even though he was not formally associated with any of the Expressionist groups.

Gidman, Claude (Canada, 20th century)
Gidman has designed a variety of public transportation vehicles that accommodate the physical needs of the driver and passengers. One of Gidman's buses, The Orion II, can be adjusted to the level of the sidewalk, providing easy access for people in wheelchairs as well as other passengers.

Giorgio de Chirico (Greece/Italy, 1888-1978)
Giorgio de Chirico produced a series of cityscapes, which are crisp and clean. Most of them have buildings of tremendous solidity that are lit from the side so that long shadows are cast. Small figures produce a feeling of loneliness and despair and appear to be the last beings left in the otherwise deserted city. Vast spaces and large flat areas create a sensation of impending doom. De Chirico changed his style in later years to more traditional approaches and failed to live up to his early promise as an experimenter and leader in personal expression.

Giorgione da Castelfranco (Italy, 1478-1510)
The Late Renaissance artist Giorgione did not paint many works. But he was among the leading artists of his time. He worked in Venice, an important city in northern Italy. Giorgione is known for paintings that capture a soft, misty sunlight. He uses this light to help create a strong sense of unity within a composition.

Giotto (Italy, about 1267-1337)
Giotto is one of the greatest European artists to have lived before the Renaissance. At that time, most artists were not interested in painting people and things as they saw them. Giotto's paintings are important because they revived the art of working from nature. His masterpiece is a series of frescoes that depict the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary. They decorate the walls of a small chapel in Padua, Italy.

Glackens, William (United States, 1870-1938)
Glackens, who began his career as a newspaper illustrator, became a member of the Ashcan School, a group of painters who wished to portray the lives of poor and middle-income people in urban settings. Many of his works focus on urban life as if it were a colorful spectacle, even among the people who live in a dreary, crowded environment.

Golden, William (United States, 1911-1960)
Golden's interest in graphic design began in high school. Some of his award-winning designs have visual symbols that complement or extend the meaning of the lettering. His best- known design is the eye logo for the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).

Gonzales, Julio (Spain, 1876-1942)
Gonzales began his career as a painter, but is known primarily for the realism of his work in bronze and innovative abstract sculpture. He was among the first artists to use industrial materials and techniques, including welding, to transform metal rods and sheets into sculpture.

Gordon, Theodore (United States, b.1924)
Gordon, a college graduate, doodled for about thirty years without regarding his work as art. In 1981, he found art books that made him aware that his work was a type of Expressionist art. He sent some of his work to several art experts and in the same year, became recognized as an innovative self-taught artist. His work is now in many collections in the United States and Europe.

Gorky, Arshile (Armenia/United States, 1904-1948)
Gorky became the pioneer of an American artistic revolution called Abstract Expressionism. His major contribution was in developing a unique style of abstraction influenced by his personal feelings and inner thoughts. Some of his works are based on the abstraction of representational objects, but the shapes are so personal that they cannot often be recognized. Each viewer must interpret his works in his or her own way. Gorky does not provide a clue, nor do his titles help because they are also very personal.

Gottlieb, Adolph (United States, 1903-1974)
Adolph Gottlieb was an Abstract Expressionist whose work became larger and larger. He developed a set of visual symbols in his art by combining opposite shapes, such as a disk and a ragged-edged form. The disk, often a soft-edged roundish shape, is calm and geometric, while the ragged shape breaks out of any containment. People have labeled his shapes 'bursts' and 'blasts.' Although Gottlieb did not mind other readings of his work, he only wanted to make the two opposite shapes work together as a unit.

Goya, Francisco (Spain, 1746-1828)
The great Spanish artist Goya is without doubt the genius of Romantic painting and printmaking. He became court painter to King Charles IV of Spain and was responsible for painting the official portraits of the royal family. After a severe illness in 1792, the artist became totally deaf. Goya is known for works of great power and emotion, such as Third of May, 1808. This monumental painting shows the slaughter of Spanish rebels by French troops.

Graves, Michael (United States, b.1934)
Michael Graves is one of the leaders of Post-Modernism in the United States. No other architect of the Post-Modern era has understood as much about Classical forms as Graves or used them to create such powerful new forms. Graves has often said that he designs as if he were a child, and the Public Services Building in Portland, Oregon, bears this out. On first look, the building resembles a child's colorful construction, but it is actually a marvelously sophisticated design. This building is considered by many architects to be the first important monument in the Post-Modernist movement.

Graves, Nancy (United States, 1940-1995)
As a child, Nancy Graves wandered behind the scenes of a Massachusetts museum where her father was on staff. She was particularly fascinated by the laboratories that created dioramas and taxidermy habitats. Her work II-11-94 is a melding of science and the natural world in which a huge starfish and flower dance together at the base, while manufactured items help complete the Z-like form. Her delicate balance of shape, color, and texture establishes an overall lyrical quality that defies the actual weight of the metal sculpture.

Gropius, Walter (Germany, 1883-1969)
Walter Gropius was an early practitioner of the International Style, the forerunner of contemporary architecture. During his career, he headed the Bauhaus, a German art school that stressed science and technology as major resources for art and architecture. Many modern concepts of design which affect contemporary artistic ideas were originated at the Bauhaus.

Gropper, William (United States, 1897-1977)
Gropper studied art within the tradition of Realism and worked as an editorial cartoonist. His editorial cartoons and many of his paintings were created to expose social injustice and to express his political views.

Grünewald, Matthias (Germany, about 1480-1528)
Matthias was the last and most powerful of the expressive Gothic artists. He painted only a limited number of works, but his single greatest masterpiece is the Isenheim Altarpiece. It is made of many different panels that open. Two of the religious paintings that make up the work are the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. They are among the most dramatic and astonishing works of religious art.


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