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ART “4” “2”~DAY  26 February
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^ Born on 26 February 1915: Raúl Anguiano Valadez, Mexican painter.
— Anguiano, born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, developed a portentous work in his beginnings; was medullary part of the movement "Jóvenes Pintores de Jalisco", cofounder of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana and of the Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura La Esmeralda, also cofounder of the Taller de la Gráfica Popular and member of the League of Revolutionary Writers and Artists. His initial work was based in a realistic mexican vision that touched in moments the universe of dreams; without concessions, the young Anguiano created works worthy of recognition as the legacy of a great master and "The thorn" is a forceful example. Already in his last years, the master Anguiano has led to a work that is far from his original plastic motivations.
The Thorn (1966, 110x159cm) _ This is a work that with masterful stroke, attests the life of the lacandones in the jungle of Chiapas; work accomplished in acrylic on canvas, presents an indian with knife in hand who is taken a thorn from the sole of the foot, the environment is that of desolation and leads the spectator to sense a precarious feeling in which live these indigenous of Mexico. As the background we can observed a devastated jungle, the large tree stumps show the destructive hand of man that is going leveling his environment. This work is a judgment about the presence of man as a destructive element of an unrepeatable planet.
^ Died on 26 February 1660: Peeter Neeffs I (or Neefs, Nefs), Flemish painter specialized in Religious Subjects, born in 1578.
— He studied under Hendrik van Steenwyck II and was active in Antwerp. Most of his pictures are interiors of Gothic churches, some of them night scenes illuminated by artificial light. They are generally small, painted on copper, and executed in a precise, neat way, similar in style to those of the Steenwycks. His son, Pieter Neefs the Younger (1620-after 1675) painted the same subjects and it is very difficult to distinguish between their hands. Another son, Lodewijk (born in 1617) was also a painter, but little is known of his work.
Interior of a Church _ The Steenwijck tradition of painting church interiors was continued in Antwerp by the Flemish painters Pieter Neeffs the Elder, who entered the Antwerp guild in 1609 and died in 1660, and his son Pieter Neeffs the Younger, their hands often are virtually indistinguishable. Neeffs the Elder, however, made one innovation; he can be credited with popularizing church interiors seen by night dramatically illuminated by one or two sources of artificial light.
^ Born on 26 February 1802: Victor-Marie Hugo, French author who was also an artist. He died on 23 May 1885.
— That titan of Romanticism who is now best known as the author of Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris, spewed out thousands of pages of plays, verse, novels, criticism and political, social and philosophical essays throughout his career. Few connoisseurs outside of France have realized that he also spewed out drawings — about 4000 of them. Hugo the artist was as big a dynamo as Hugo the litterateur. He produced only works on paper of astonishing invention, spontaneously dashing them off in dark brown or black pen-and-ink wash, sometimes with touches of white and rarely with color. Most are small, and date from the 1850s and 1860s. Not surprisingly from an author, Hugo was expert at tapping into the unconscious. His otherworldly "Planet" drawings immediately bring to mind Odilon Redon.
      Other works are Romantic outpourings that can seem more than a little weird on closer inspection. These dark and wind-whipped landscapes and/or brooding castles, cells, and escarpments occupy an ambiguous space made more unsettling by quick shifts in scale and undecipherable figures in the distance. Perhaps more shocking to the contemporary viewer are Hugo's proto-Surrealist use of automatic techniques and his proto-Abstract Expressionist experiments with tache and free brushwork. To keep his art fresh, he would cheerfully experiment with his children's stencils, ink blots, puddles and stains, lace impressions, "pliage" or folding (i.e. Rorschach blots), "grattage" or rubbing, using match sticks or his fingers instead of pen or brush, and even toss in coffee or soot to get the effects he wanted.
      It seems that some drawings were made with his left hand or while not looking at the page. His Mushroom (1850), for example, has a sickly, poisonous cast from sparingly applied orange and green. This monumental fungus looms over a landscape like something that crawled out of a recently nuked field. Radical shifts of scale, a plethora of textural effects and various layerings of ink wash make this surreal vision endlessly haunting. The work is a technical tour de force, done with pen and brown ink-wash, black ink and crayon, white gouache, reserves and a stencil, watercolor, and by partly scraping and rubbing the sheet and by dabbing it with his fingers.
      Lyrical abstractions, mystical nether worlds, and vaguely limned castles, landscapes, seascapes, all aswirl in tempests or eerie in moonlight, plus architectural motifs and even calling cards were churned out by Hugo with the same spontaneity of the pen and brush that he employed for his writings. They convey a turbulent search for meaning beyond the ordinary, as do Hugo's literary works. Hugo would turn from writing to art, whenever sentences eluded him, often using the end of his quill pen to start a drawing. His art kept helped to keep his words flowing, while his love of words fed his art.
      Beside labeling and inscribing drawings, Hugo would at times incorporate words as formal elements. The latter is often the case in his ornately handmade calling cards, like a 1855 effort with the letters of his name forming a stand for a drawing of a landscape with castle, all this hovering in the center of a sheet saturated in brown ink with some ghostly white clouds. Many of his calling cards were created as gifts to visitors and friends while he was in political exile from France (1855-1870) and living in the English Channel Islands. His drawings, originally a sideline, became much more to Hugo shortly before his exile. He stopped writing to become more involved in politics and turned to drawing as his exclusive creative outlet during the period 1848-1851.
      In 1853, he became interested in séances, or "table-turning." It wasn't long before Hugo quit, but not before he realized how effective those sessions were in setting free his unconscious. His artwork became much more experimental from that time forward. Hugo considered himself a true artist, keeping his most radical works to himself. Although he tried to hide his art from the public, he shared his drawings with family and friends. Some people did see at least a few of his works, and they garnered favorable comments from many artists (van Gogh liked them) and were fought over by his admirers. In his will, he left the many in his possession to the Bibliothèque Nationale. Hugo may have been right to fear that his art, if known by the public, would overwhelm his fame as a literary giant. While much of Hugo's output of words is all but unreadable today, it is hard to imagine his drawings would ever be considered dull.
Octopus with the initials V. H. (1866) — Planète (1854) — Tache d'encre légèrement retouchée sur papier plié (1857) — Landscape with Castle (1848, 12x20cm) — L'Éclair (1868, etching 22x13cm, facing L'Éclair by Hugo's friend Paul Meurice)

Died on a 26 February:
1903 Edmund Mahlknecht, Austrian artist born on 12 November 1820.

Born on a 26 February:

1937 Eduardo Arroyo, Spanish artist. — Eduardo Arroyo, pintor y escultor español.
1836 Elihu Vedder, US Symbolist painter who died on 29 January 1923. — LINKSDeath of Abel (The Dead Abel)..., (1869) — The Sphinx of the Seashore (1879) — Dominicans. A Convent Garden, near... (1859) — Bed of the Torrent Mugnone, near..., (1864) — The Rescue (Tennyson study for wood... (1864)
1821 Félix François Georges Philibert Ziem (or Siem), French painter who died on 11 November 1911 [at 11:11:11 ?]. — LINKSVenise (54x81cm)
1808 (see at 20 February) Honoré de Daumier whose birth date was more probably 20 February.
1651 Pieter IV van der Hulst (or Hult, Verhulst), Dutch artist who died in 1927. — Relative? of sculptor Rombout Verhulst [1624-1698]?

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