Volume 2, Number 12
New SegPlayPC™ Patterns
There's two new SegPlayPC™ pattern collections available this month.
One new set is Edward Bannister - African American Artist.
Edward M. Bannister (1828 - 1901) was an African American artist in the late 19th century whose works focused on landscapes and seascapes, with an emphasis on pastoral subject matter. Although well known in his adopted home of Providence, Rhode Island, his talents were forgotten for over a century due to among other reasons, racial prejudice. We've pulled together a large collection of his works in this pattern set. There are some of his more recognized works included (Driving Home the Cows, The Doryman, Approaching Storm, Sabin Point). There are also many other examples of his landscape works, and also some still lives, and a few portraits.
Edward Bannister - African American Artist
Another SegPlayPC™ set available this month is Coffee Break.
Coffee is a widely consumed beverage prepared from beans of the coffee plant. The beans are generally roasted and stored. When coffee is prepared, the beans are ground and then brewed which water is passed over the grounds absorbing their flavor. Our set of coffee patterns is based on a fun set of coffee-related illustrations which show people drinking coffee, as well as coffee machines, and coffee pitchers and cups.
Starting with the latest Edward Banniser set, we've upgraded our pattern set install software. There were a number of reported bugs involving false messages about insufficent disk space when installing the sets. Hopefully this change will fix that problem.
Our new SegPlay™ version based on Adobe's Flash technology is just about ready for prime time. If you want to give it a while, please visit the SegPlayFlash™ site (remember its still work in progress!) And please, drop us an email at email@example.com and let us know what you think of the new version.
We're starting to give some though on redesigning our website a bit to make it easier to navigate. Like an overstuffed closet, we've added a bunch of pages over the past 7 years and need to do a bit of cleaning up.
We're always looking for more appealing art pieces for our SegPlay™ online paint by number collection. If you are an aspiring artist and am interested in setting up a free personal category on SegPlay to showcase some of your work in our fun paint by number world, drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you enjoyed reading this newsletter. Please feel free to pass it on to a friend or colleague. If you have any comments or suggestions about this newsletter, please drop us an email to: email@example.com.
Happy Painting (and have a Happy New Years!!)
-Mark & Beth
Artist Of The Month: Edward Bannister
African American Artist
Edward Mitchell Bannister (1828–1901) was an African American landscape painter who painted in the tranquil and rustic style of the French Barbizon School. One of the most important artists in New England in the 19th century, he was the first African American to receive national recognition, winning the bronze medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, and was one of the founders of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Bannister was born in the small, coastal town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada. His father was a black man from Barbados, in the West Indies and his mother was a white Canadian of Scottish ancestry. Bannister’s childhood was happy and his mother actively encouraged his interest in painting, but tragedy struck the family early: Edward Bannister’s father died when he was only six years old, bringing economic hardship upon the family. His mother died a few years later.
The death of his parents meant the young Bannister was left to fend for himself. At first, he became a servant in the household of a wealthy family in St. Andrews, but soon left to work as a cook on board a ship sailing the Eastern seaboard. After a few years, he settled in Boston where he worked as a barber in the black community.
Edward Bannister was entirely self-taught; he never had any formal art education, but still he loved to visit the museums and art galleries of Boston to teach himself about art and he kept practicing his skills. Sometime during the 1850s he learned the technique of daguerreotype. These early photographs were hand-tinted and Bannister soon found employment hand-coloring the images.
While he was working as a barber, Edward Bannister had met Christina Carteaux, an intelligent, accomplished and successful Rhode Island business woman who owned two beauty salons. They married in 1857. Christina was of Narragansett Indian descent and was very active in the fight against slavery and the struggle for minority rights. She was also well-off and encouraged her husband to paint full time. He opened his own studio and was soon exhibiting and selling his work in Boston, working in a style based on the landscapes of the Barbizon School. He also became an active advocate for the rights of black soldiers of the Union during the Civil War. Christina started raising funds to pay the difference in wages between black and white Union soldiers and she also set up a nursing home for aged black women that functioned until 1993.
Edward and Christina moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1870. There, Bannister joined the circle of local artists and became a highly respected member of the city’s artistic community. He was one of a group of Providence artists who founded the Rhode Island School of Design, which is still one of the nation’s most prestigious art schools.
The proximity to the natural landscapes and shoreline enabled Bannister to further develop his style of landscape painting and in 1874 he produced his masterpiece, Under the Oaks, which won the bronze medal, the first prize, at the 1876 U.S. Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. It was the highest honor that could be awarded to an American artist. The painting was sold to an art dealer after the show for $1,500 and all trace of the painting has since been lost.
Towards the end of his life Edward Bannister suffered from ill health and financial loss. As he grew older, the Barbizon School’s style of painting that he had adopted fell out of fashion and he started to lose his memory. In 1901 he died of a heart attack during a prayer meeting at his local church. After his death, his fellow artists organized an exhibition of his paintings, but his work then lay forgotten until the rise of the Civil Rights movement in the 1970s when his art was rediscovered. He is now celebrated as one of the great masters of American painting.
You can find a large collection of Edward Mitchell Bannister patterns to use with SegPlayPC™  here.
Art in the News:
Painting Returned to Rightful Owners in Nazi-Era Art Lawsuit
The wheels of justice sometimes turn slowly, but 70 years after a German artwork, Girl From the Sabine Mountains, was forcibly expropriated from its owner and auctioned by the Nazis, a U.S. Court has ruled that the painting must be returned to his estate.
In 1937 the painting was the property of Max Stern, a Jewish art dealer. His Dusseldorf art gallery was shut down by the Nazis and around 400 of his paintings were auctioned off at preferential prices to Nazi party members. The painting was bought by Dr. Karl Wilharm, a high ranking member of the Storm Troopers. Max Stern, fearing for his life, fled to England and then settled in Montreal, Canada where he rebuilt his life and became a successful art dealer. But he never forgot what had happened to him in Germany; he hunted for his looted paintings, but never succeeded in recovering even one. Max Stern died in 1987 and left his estate to three Canadian universities who are continuing the efforts to recover his lost artworks.
The painting, meanwhile, was inherited by Wilharm’s stepdaughter, the 84-year-old Baroness Maria-Luise Bissonnette, who lives in the United States. According to the Associated Press, in 2003, Bissonnette tried to auction the painting, and the Stern estate was alerted through a database of lost and stolen art. The painting was withdrawn from sale and a suit was filed against Bissonnette in a U.S. District Court after she refused to give up the painting, claiming that her stepfather had legally purchased it.
“This is the first case [in the nation] in which a forced sale is found to be the equivalent of a theft”, said Thomas R. Kline, counsel for the Stern estate. The painting, believed to have been painted by 19th century German artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter, who had painted portraits of the Czar of Russia and Queen Victoria, is valued at around $67,000-$94,000.
A previously unknown work by famous 17th century artist Pieter Breughel the Younger was discovered by an art expert while examining an amateur collector’s artifacts on a TV program called “Between Art and Kitsch.”
The painting, which was made around 1620, is a small, circular work of 6.7 inches in diameter and portrays a farmer and his wife leaning against a tree. Breughel signed the work on the tree trunk. The owner is an old lady who had bought the painting from an antique shop in 1950 for around $925; today it is valued at $143,000.
Beaver’s Big Brother Exhibits Artwork at the Louvre Museum
Actor Tony Dow, who played Beaver’s big brother Wally in the famous 1950s TV series, has been chosen to exhibit one of his abstract sculptures at the Louvre museum in Paris, the Associated Press reports.
Dow, who is 63 years old, has been painting since he was a teenager in the 1960s. In addition to acting, he also worked as a TV show director and visual effects producer. He came to know gallery owner Robert Berger, co-owner of a Beverly Hills art gallery when the two were guests on a morning radio show, and he is one of several sculptors represented by the gallery selected to have his works displayed in a special exhibition at the Louvre this coming December.
"Having something shown at the Louvre is about as good as you can get," says Dow, who lives in Los Angeles. The sculpture they selected is a bronze figure of a woman holding a shield entitled Unknown Warrior.
Outside the Lines
Art Trivia – American Artists
Edward Mitchell Bannister’s gravestone is engraved with his favorite items: a palette and a pipe.
All the paintings in Georgia O’Keefe’s first major exhibition were unsigned and had no titles. The exhibition itself was entitled One Hundred Pictures.
Charles Willson Peale painted seven portraits of George Washington. He also made him a set of dentures!
The splendid landscape paintings of Albert Bierstadt convinced Congress that the natural beauty of America had to be protected and led them to create the National Parks system.