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René Magritte 1898-1967
René Francois-Ghislain Magritte was born on November 21st, 1898, in Lessines, Belgium, the eldest of three boys. Even at an early age, he liked to draw, and was encouraged to do so by his father Léopold. He later started painting at the age of 12. Régine Bertinchamp, Magritte's mother, suffered from depression; one night, while the rest of the family was asleep she fled to go to throw herself over a bridge, into the river Sambre. A few days later, her body is found floating, her face covered by her nightgown; René, who was then only 14, was deeply scarred by the image, which was later going to reappear in some of his works (The Heart of the Matter). [...]
Francisco de Goya 1746-1828
Francisco Jose de Goya was born in Fuendetodos, Spain, on March 30th, 1746. His family later relocated to Saragossa, where Goya came to be under the tutelage of local artist Jose Luzan. A few years later, after a sojourn in Italy to study, Goya returned to Saragossa where he received his first commission, painting frescoes in the Cathedral of El Pilar. Goya got the commission through Francisco Bayeu, a fellow artist also from Aragón, who they say was influential in helping Goya develop his earlier style. [...]
Frida Kahlo 1907-1954
Frida Kahlo, was born on July 6th, 1907, in Coyoacàn, a part of Mexico City, one of four daughters to Matilde Calderón and Guillermo Kahlo. However, Frida often claimed to have been born in 1910, the year of the Mexican Revolution. Frida was of both European, and Mexican heritage. Frida's entire life was plagued with suffering, Stricken with Polio at the age of six, one of her legs would remain smaller than the other, which of course attracted stares and teasing from other children. [...]
Claude Monet 1840-1926
Claude Monet was born on November 14, 1840, in Paris. A few years later, his family moved the the Normandie harbor town of Le Havre, where his father ran a marine trade supply store. Monet spent most of his youth in Le Havre, drawing caricatures of the locals, a talent which got him into trouble at school. Claude was a rebel, and he frequently disobeyed the rules.
Regardless of her son's insubordination in school, Louise Monet was very encouraging of her son's budding talent. By the age of fifteen, Claude was selling caricatures for as much as 20 francs, which did not please his parents, who were well off from their prosperous business. [...]
Gustav Klimt 1862-1918
Gustav Klimt was born on July 14, 1862, in Baumgarten, Austria, the second seven children, the son of a poor jewelry engraver, It is only at the age of fourteen, after he enters the University of Plastic Arts in Vienna, that he begins developing his talent as an artist; he studied at the University until graduating at the age of twenty, at which time he had been commissioned to create several decorative works, making use of his training in modernist craftsmanship. [...]
Henri Matisse 1869-1954
Henri Matisse was born in 1869, at Cateau-Cambresis, France. He grew up in in Bohain-en-Vermandois, near the Belgian border, the son of a seed merchant. As opposed to most of the artists covered on this site, Matisse did not begin his artist's career at a very young age. In 1889, he studied law to become clerk, but a bad case of appendicitis, and the sojourn in the hospital made him take up painting as a way to occupy his convalescing time, and two years later, he decided to abandon law, and take up art studies. [...]
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