Since Park West Gallery was founded in 1969, its mission has been to inspire an appreciation for art by way of education. On November 25, the Southfield, Michigan gallery welcomed eager art enthusiasts to learn more about art through an art history seminar.
Park West Gallery Director David Gorman led the “400 Years of Art History” seminar, kicking off the Holiday Sale and 2016 Pino Collection. From old art masters like Rembrandt to contemporary artists like Peter Max and Yaacov Agam, Gorman took collectors on a fascinating journey through several centuries of art history and the development of various artistic styles.
“It is our job as art lovers to instill a passion for the arts in the next generation,” Gorman said. “Art enriches our lives and encourages creativity and critical thinking.”
During the lecture, Gorman examined several legendary artists whose styles and artwork continue to inspire artists today. The goal was not only to teach about art but to help develop a deeper artistic passion through learning.
After the invention of photography in the 19th century, artists were no longer shackled to long hours of creating realistic portraits. Because cameras could capture an image in a fraction of the time, a handful of innovative artists began to redefine art. By using thicker brush strokes on the canvas, Impressionist artists sacrificed detail for streaks of color, various interpretations of light and tangible emotion.
“To paint Impressionistic art was to capture the impression of that scene rather than the photo-realistic representation of it,” Gorman explains.
Legendary artist Pino is a well-known painter who was inspired by the spirit of Impressionism. Pino’s eloquent portrayal of women and families emanates palpable emotions in a loose, expressive style. Unlike true Impressionist artists, Pino’s paintings are tight and detailed around the faces and hands—arguably the most difficult subjects to paint.
“It is said that you have to know the rules before you can break them,” Gorman says. “Pino knows the rules and breaks them perfectly.”
One of the lesser-known styles of art discussed during “400 Years of Art History” was Fauvism. At the beginning of the 20th century, Fauvist artist Henri Matisse founded the artistic movement. Fauvism is a style of art characterized by bold brush strokes and vibrant colors unencumbered by the natural world.
“Nonrepresentational colors such as purple skies and blue trees were the hallmark of Fauvism,” Gorman explains. “Fauvism was all about the freedom of color.”
During the seminar, Gorman highlighted contemporary Fauvist artist Marcel Mouly. Mouly’s colorful interpretations of blue and red sailboats alongside purple and pink trees embrace the nonconformist spirit of Fauvism.
“Although a shortly-lived movement, one can still see the influence upon many contemporary artists to this day,” Gorman says.
Determining artistic taste is an important part of art education. During his lecture, Gorman challenged collectors to redefine their artistic preferences by taking a second look at a style of art that is often misunderstood: Surrealism.
Founded in the 1920s by Andre Breton, the Surrealist movement strove to unlock the imagination by stimulating the subconscious. Gorman featured Joan Miro as an example of a Surrealist artist. Inspired by Catalan folk art and the art of children, Miro was called “the most Surrealist of us all” by Breton himself. Looking at a work of art from Miro, a room full of people can decipher different images in his paintings.
Although artistic tastes vary, Gorman emphasized the importance of taking the time to look at different types of art.
“To ask someone what they like is to limit them to what they already know,” Gorman said.