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Jean-Michel Basquiat

(1960–1988) was born and raised in Brooklyn, the son of a Haitian-American father and a Puerto Rican mother. At an early age, he showed a precocious talent for drawing, and his mother enrolled him as a Junior Member of the Brooklyn Museum when he was six. Basquiat first gained fame as a teenage graffiti artist. By 1981, at the age of twenty, he had turned from spraying graffiti on the walls of buildings in Lower Manhattan to selling paintings in SoHo galleries, rapidly becoming one of the most accomplished artists of his generation. Astute collectors began buying his art, and his gallery shows sold out. Critics noted the originality of his work, its emotional depth, unique iconography, and formal strengths in color, composition, and drawing. By 1985, he was featured on the cover of
The New York Times Magazine as the hot, young artist in a booming market. Tragically, Basquiat died when he 27 years old of a drug overdose.   
Students hand-painted a Basquiat-inspired cabinet.

Vincent van Gogh 

was born on March 30, 1853, in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands. Van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter whose work, notable for its beauty, emotion and color, highly influenced 20th century art. He struggled with mental illness, and remained poor and virtually unknown throughout his life. Van Gogh died in France on July 29th, 1890 at age 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Although he wasn't famous during his lifetime, today he is considered one of the greatest and most influential artists of his time. Many of his paintings sell for millions of dollars today. 

Facts about Van Gogh: 

-After an argument with painter Paul Gauguin, van Gogh went home and cut off part of his left ear with a razor blade. He then wrapped up the ear in a cloth and presented it to a woman as a "present". 

-He would get so obsessed with painting that he often wouldn't eat. He had poor health as a result. 

- Some people think that he may have only sold one work during his lifetime. It was called The Red Vineyard.         

Students hand-painted a Van Gogh-inspired

Piet Mondrian          

(1872-1944) was born in the Netherlands. He was influenced by many artistic styles and even helped found an artistic movement called De Stijl. The paintings that Piet Mondrian is most famous for are rectangles of white and primary colors, dissected by black lines. He did not always paint this way, however. Mondrian’s first paintings depicted scenes found in real life. As his style grew and changed, he stopped using any colors besides the three primaries: red, yellow, and blue. Mondrian soon became interested in cubism. Cubism, which, is an artistic style in which the subject is broken into meaningful pieces and rearranged in a new order to show the most important parts of the object. Mondrian’s paintings became more and more abstract. Mondrian became friends with some other artists and together they began the new movement, De Stijl. They called the movement neoplasticism and today both names are correct. The members of the movement were searching to paint an even more honest truth than the cubists. They believed the essence, the foundation of all things could be found in the simplest form: straight lines and primary colors. 

Students hand-painted a Mondrian-inspired 

Alma Thomas

1891-1978) Alma Woodsey Thomas' life can be an inspiration to us all. As an undergraduate at Howard Universitiy in Washington, DC, she was the first Fine Arts major to graduate. Thomas then graduated from Columbia Teacher's College with an M.F.A. in 1934, and taught at Shaw Junior High School until her retirement in 1960. At first, she painted still lifes, fashioned ceramic sculpture and made marionettes. At the age of 55, Thomas returned to formal study at American University, abstract painting classes. Thomas switched from realism to abstract patterns of colorful geometric forms when Color Field Painting was still in its infancy. In the 1960s, she joined the local Washington Color School. Sizzlng hot with radiant colors, her inspiration came from the natural world, such as fallen leaves, the night sky or a bursting bouquet of flowers. In 1972, she became the first African American woman artist to mount a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. 
Students hand-painted a Thomas-inspired 

Katsushika Hokusai

(1760-1849) was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker. He was influenced by styles of Chinese painting. Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai is best known as author of the woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji which includes the internationally recognized print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, created during the 1820s. Hokusai created the "Thirty-Six Views" both as a response to a domestic travel boom and as part of a personal obsession with Mount Fuji. It was this series, specifically The Great Wave print, that secured Hokusai’s fame both in Japan and overseas.
Students hand-painted a Hokusai-inspired 

Gustav Klimt

(1862-1918 ) was born in Austria. He is known for his experimental, decorative painting style and his use of symbols in his work. Symbolist painters used mythological and dream-like images in their work. Gustav’s early murals were well received, and he enjoyed the success. However, as his career continued, he experimented more and more with vibrant color and painting in different ways. People did not like his new work as much. In fact, three paintings he created to display in the University of Vienna were refused because there was so much criticism on the “radical” themes and symbolic style. After that, Klimt became even more devoted to his own personal style of art. Klimt painted mostly women and landscape scenes. For several years, he experimented with using gold leaf and mosaic patterns in his works. Klimt died in Vienna on February 6, 1918, after suffering from pneumonia and a stroke. He left behind several unfinished pieces. Long after his death, many of his paintings were stolen by the German Nazi Army during World War II and lost. Since that time, some have been found and have sold at the highest prices ever recorded for an individual work of art. An art collector paid $135 million for the Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer I.
Students hand-painted a Klimt-inspired 

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso (1881-1973), known as Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer who spent most of his adult life in France. As one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil WarPicasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a realistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. During the first decade of the 20th century, his style changed as he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. His revolutionary, artistic accomplishments brought him universal renown and immense fortune, making him one of the best-known figures in 20th-century art.
Students hand-painted a Picasso-inspired

Diego Rivera

Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez, known as Diego Rivera (December 8, 1886 – November 24, 1957). He was born in Guanajuato, Mexico to a well-to-do family. Rivera began drawing at the age of three, a year after his twin brother's death. He had been caught drawing on the walls. His parents, rather than punishing him, installed chalkboards and canvas on the walls.  He became a prominent Mexican painter and the husband of Frida Kahlo. His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in Mexican art. Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals in Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City.
Students hand-painted a Rivera-inspired