Have students research impressionism, abstraction, and expressionism. Place these styles on a timeline and then on a map according to where they first became popular. Find paintings in each style and discuss.
After showing the video segment, ask students which paintings they liked the best and why. Have them write an essay on their artist of choice and find two additional artworks from their artist that was not shown on the video. Have students analyze these works of art.
Use the section with Sheldon Tapley and the Cezanne work to introduce or study still life. Compare the Cezanne still life and Tapley’s analysis with Martin Rollins’ analysis of the Claesz still life in the segment “How to Respond to a Work of Art.”
This video excerpt is from the KETs series Looking at Painting. The three one-hour programs in this art appreciation series explore the genres of realism, expressionism, and abstraction through the work and comments of 14 accomplished artists from across Kentucky and through examining their works as well as those of other artists. Each program features fascinating visits to the artists’ studios and to three art museums to see hundreds of paintings by both contemporary Kentucky painters and Old Masters. In each program, artists discuss origins (why they became artists), process (how they work), ideas (what ideas inform their work), and touchstones (works they like by other artists).
Painter Sheldon Tapley discusses a work by Paul Cezanne. Cezanne (1839-1906) was one of the greatest of the post-impressionists. His works were influential in the development of many 20th century artists and art movements, especially Cubism. His art, misunderstood and discredited by the public while he was alive, grew out of Impressionism, but eventually challenged the values of 19th century painting through his insistence on personal expression and on the integrity of the painting itself.
Painter Ann Tower talks about a portrait by Alice Neel (1900-1984). The purpose of Neel’s art was expressive. She painted portraits because she wanted to not because she wanted to make money. Neel painted portraits of people who appealed to her artistic sensibilities, and in this way, she is best understood as expressing herself through her portraits.
Museum curator Julien Robson and painter Robert Tharsing discuss work by Jackson Pollock. Pollock (1912-1956) was an influential American painter in the realm of abstract expressionism. He popularized the “drip style” of abstract painting.