Dalí joined the Parisian surrealists after leaving Spain’s national art academy in 1925. His rocky relationship with its leader, André Breton, led to expulsion from the group in 1939. The next year he and his wife, Gala, fled Europe to escape the war. While living in the United States from 1940 to 1948, Dalí made works whose startlingly creative imagery and hard-edged style attracted portrait commissions and commercial projects, such as collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney.
Painter and designer Jean-Gabriel Charvet studied at the École de Dessin in Lyon, France. From 1795 to 1810 he designed scenes for wallpaper production, including this one for Joseph Dufour, before starting a drawing school in Annonay. Dufour trained in the wallpaper industry in Lyon, a center for textile and wallpaper production. In 1797 he founded his own factory in nearby Mâcon with his brother Pierre. Following the success of his panoramic wallpapers, Dufour established a factory in Paris.
A native San Franciscan who studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and Mills College, Ray Beldner describes himself as a “conceptual materialist.” Like a cultural anthropologist who attempts to adopt a critical stance of his own culture, Beldner often appropriates ordinary objects. He is best known for a series of works fabricated from US currency, which offer a pointed commentary on issues of cultural capital and exchange.
Walt Kuhn began his career as a cartoonist for a variety of New York publications. He began painting around the same time, associating with other artists who were inspired by the realism taught by Robert Henri. Around 1911, Kuhn broke from Henri’s followers, joining Arthur B. Davies and his associates who were organizing the landmark Armory Show of 1913. Kuhn helped organize and promote this exhibition, which helped introduce many Americans to international modern art.
Teikichi Hikoyama came to San Francisco from Japan in 1901. Little is known about his three-decade stay in the Bay Area, where he made a meager living giving private art lessons. He lived with the family of a publisher in San Francisco’s Japantown in the 1910s and 1920s, and used a printing press he kept in a studio in the family’s basement to create what may have been the first woodblock prints produced in California by a Japanese American artist.
José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros are known in Mexico as “Los Tres Grandes,” the three founders and masters of the modern Mexican Muralist movement. Fusing a Social Realist style with subject matter derived both from Mexican history and contemporary politics, these artists promoted an indigenous and nationalist art that advocated for social change and helped promote Mexican cultural identity.
Guy Pène du Bois was born in Brooklyn, New York. A writer and artist, he critiqued New York society and culture through his pen and his paintbrush. He studied with William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri, though he eventually shook off the dark realism of his teachers in favor of simplified, satirical paintings of the fashionable upper class. In his writings, du Bois promoted new art movements and publicized the 1913 Armory Show, which became a landmark event in American art.
John Marin’s prints, watercolors, and paintings earned him a critical reputation as the most important American artist of his generation. Through his close association with the influential art dealer and critic Alfred Stieglitz, Marin played a key role in introducing the theories and techniques of European modernism to American art. Employing a visual vocabulary of personal signs, symbols, and metaphors, his cityscapes, landscapes, and seascapes moved between naturalism and abstraction.
Born in Sweden, Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt came to the United States at the age of 13. He settled in Chicago, where he studied at the Art Institute and worked for a Swedish newspaper. He became an assistant to the painter Albert Herter, whom he accompanied to Paris in 1900. Nordfelt remained in Paris for a few years, eventually leaving for Santa Fe, New Mexico. There he painted images of the indigenous Pueblo peoples and the vivid landscapes of the Southwest.