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Maurice Ravel and Musical Impressionism

Maurice Ravel and Musical Impressionism

On March 7, 1875, French composer, pianist and conductor Maurice Ravel was born. In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France‘s greatest living composer. He liked to experiment with musical form, as in his best-known work, Boléro (1928), in which repetition takes the place of development. Maurice Ravel entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1889. There he managed to compose a few of his earliest and best known works including the…
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Walter Dorwin Teague and U.S. Industrial Design

Walter Dorwin Teague and U.S. Industrial Design

On December 18, 1883, American industrial designer, architect, illustrator, graphic designer, writer, and entrepreneur Walter Dorwin Teague was born. Often referred to as the “Dean of Industrial Design”, Teague pioneered in the establishment of industrial design as a profession in the US. Regarded as a classicist and a traditionalist despite a later shift to modern tastes, Teague is recognized as a critical figure in the spread of mid-century modernism in America. He…
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The Decorative Art of Alphonse Mucha

The Decorative Art of Alphonse Mucha

On July 24, 1860, Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist Alphonse Mucha was born. Mucha is known best for his distinct style. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs. So many, that for sure you will know one of his designs that have become an Art Nouveau icon. Alphonse Maria Mucha was born in the town of Ivančice, Moravia, the son of a local court usher and his second…
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The Collages of Kurt Schwitters

The Collages of Kurt Schwitters

On June 20, 1887, German artist Kurt Hermann Eduard Karl Julius Schwitters, known as Kurt Schwitters was born. Schwitters worked in several genres and media, including Dadaism, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography, and what came to be known as installation art. He is most famous for his collages, called Merz Pictures. Kurt Schwitters was born in Hanover, Germany, the only child of Eduard Schwitters, the (co-)proprietor of a…
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John Henry Pepper and Pepper’s Ghost

John Henry Pepper and Pepper’s Ghost

On June 17, 1821, British inventor John Henry Pepper was born. Pepper is primarily remembered for developing the projection technique known as Pepper’s ghost, building a large-scale version of the concept by Henry Dircks. Furthermore, he toured the English-speaking world with his scientific demonstrations. He also entertained the public, royalty, and fellow scientists with a wide range of technological innovations. John Henry Pepper was highly influenced by the teachings of the chemist…
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Gustave Courbet and French Realism

Gustave Courbet and French Realism

On June 10, 1819, French painter Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet was born, who led the Realism movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected academic convention and the Romanticism of the previous generation of visual artists. Gustave Courbet was born in in Ornans, a village in the Franche-Comté in eastern France, to Régis and Sylvie Oudot Courbet, a prosperous farming family with anti-monarchical feelings. After…
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Thomas Gainsborough and the British Landscape School

Thomas Gainsborough and the British Landscape School

On May 14, 1727, English portrait and landscape painter, draughtsman, and printmaker Thomas Gainsborough was baptized. Gainsborough became the dominant British portraitist of the second half of the 18th century. He painted quickly, and the works of his maturity are characterized by a light palette and easy strokes. He preferred landscapes to portraits, and is credited as one of the originator of the 18th-century British landscape school. Thomas Gainsborough probably began painting…
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Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age

Billy Wilder and Hollywood’s Golden Age

On June 22, 1906, Austrian-born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist and journalist Billy Wilder was born. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood‘s golden age. With The Apartment, Wilder became the first person to win Academy Awards as producer, director and screenwriter for the same film. Born as Samuel Wilder to a Jewish family in Sucha Beskidzka, Austria-Hungary, to Max and Eugenia Wilder, the owners…
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