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Showing posts from February 10, 2019

African Masks - Ethnology and Aesthetics

The concept of "Art" was alien to traditional Africans and "Art for art's sake" was rare in Africa.  Spirits inhabited everything in African life; the rivers that provided fish, the fields that produced the crops, and the forests that housed the game animals to eat.  Likewise, masks and sculptures were parts of rituals such as fertility and initiation ceremonies, as well as special royal court and agriculture celebrations.

A performer might dance at the end of a dignitary's funeral with a wooden mask and costume created with oil paint, feathers and fabric, with the hope that the newly departed spirit will find their way to the land of ancestors.  The living will appeal to the deceased spirit world from time to time for intercession and assistance with burdens and concerns.  Where the Africans saw their older masks as "sacred" carrying great spiritual weight, the early 20th century cubists such as Picasso and Juan Gris appreciated these masks for b…

Margaret Casey Gates, Washington, DC Artist (1903-1989)

Margaret Casey Gates, Washington, DC Artist (1903-1989) Normally, I accomplish extensive research before I sit down to write my artist blog.  Today is different, the information on Margaret Gates from the Archives from American Art website is so good and complete.  I am going to share it with you:   Margaret Casey Gates was born in 1903 in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. She studied art in the studio of Bertha Perry, and from 1924 to 1926 at the Corcoran Art School. She later studied under Henry Varnum Poor at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. After working as a commercial artist from 1928-1929, Casey began studying at the Phillips Memorial Gallery in 1931 under C. Law Watkins. There, she met her husband, painter Robert Franklin Gates, and married on January 7, 1933. Robert Franklin Gates (1906-1982), who came to Washington, D.C. in 1930, also studied at the Phillips Gallery Art School and worked with Karl Knaths between 1934 and 1947. Between 1934 and 1941, Robert Gates, …