BRIC-A-BRAQUE by Bob Kessel


BRIC-A-BRAQUE by Bob Kessel



CITRON by Bob Kessel





LE JOUR by Georges Braque



Georges Braque was born on May 13, 1882, in Argenteuil-sur-Seine, France. He grew up in Le Havre and studied evenings at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts there from about 1897 to 1899. He left for Paris to study under a master decorator to receive his craftsman certificate in 1901. From 1902 to 1904, he painted at the Académie Humbert in Paris, where he met Marie Laurencin and Francis Picabia. By 1906, Braque’s work was no longer Impressionist but Fauve in style; after spending that summer in Antwerp with Othon Friesz, he showed his Fauve work the following year in the Salon des Indépendants in Paris. His first solo show was at Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler’s gallery in 1908. From 1909, Pablo Picasso and Braque worked together in developing Cubism; by 1911, their styles were extremely similar. In 1912, they started to incorporate collage elements into their paintings and to experiment with the papier collé (pasted paper) technique. Their artistic collaboration lasted until 1914. Braque served in the French army during World War I and was wounded; upon his recovery in 1917, he began a close friendship with Juan Gris.


After World War I, Braque’s work became freer and less schematic. His fame grew in 1922 as a result of an exhibition at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. In the mid-1920s, Braque designed the decor for two Sergei Diaghilev ballets. By the end of the decade, he had returned to a more realistic interpretation of nature, although certain aspects of Braque’s Cubism always remained present in his work. In 1931, Braque made his first engraved plasters and began to portray mythological subjects. His first important retrospective took place in 1933 at the Kunsthalle Basel. He won First Prize at the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, in 1937.


During World War II, Braque remained in Paris. His paintings at that time, primarily still lifes and interiors, became more somber. In addition to paintings, he also made Braque etchings, lithographs, engravings, prints and sculpture. From the late 1940s, he treated various recurring themes, such as birds, ateliers, landscapes, and seascapes. In 1954, he designed stained-glass windows for the church of Varengeville. During the last few years of his life, Braque’s ill health prevented him from undertaking further large-scale commissions, but he continued to paint, make lithographs, and design jewelry. He died on August 31, 1963, in Paris.





It may be this love is a debt I am paying,
due to the destiny of my line,
and that Aphrodite is exacting a tribute of me for all my race.
Europa – this is the first beginning of our line – was loved of Zeus;
a bull’s form disguised the god,
Pasiphaë, my mother, a victim of the deluded bull,
brought forth in travail her reproach and burden.

– Ovid, Heroides



Bob Kessel’s art series “PICASSO IN PARIS” features pictures based on the works of the Pablo Picasso. These pictures are available as signed and numbered limited edition original fine art prints. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.


MINOTAUR by Pablo Picasso

Art is a human development before it is an aesthetic phenomenon, and Pablo Picasso, the twentieth century metaphysician, autobiographically represents his world translated into a personal aesthetic expression. As a Spaniard it was inevitable that the bull, the bullfight, and eventually the Minotaur, would concern Picasso.

The Minotaur, half-man, half-bull, virile and noble, but ultimately monstrous. The Surrealists loved the Minotaur and his Labyrinth as a symbol of man’s convoluted mind and animal nature.

The Minotaur myth emerged in the arts: Matisse illustrated Henry de Montherland’s Pasiphaë: Chant de Minos; Max Ernst’s Labyrinth and his Wheel of the Sun both allude to this myth, while his Spanish Physician shows a woman flirtatiously dropping her hankerchief before a minotaur-like figure; Giorgio de Chirico made many versions of sleeping The Soothsayer’s Recompense surrounded by labyrinthine colonnades, arches, and facades; and Victor Brauner depicted a wide-awake Ariadne on conveyance that Ernst Trova could have built for his Falling Man; while Masson continued his variations on the Pasiphaë-Labyrinth-Minotaur idea often greatly influenced by Picasso.

LAS MENINAS by Bob Kessel


LAS MENINAS by Bob Kessel

Bob Kessel has a new art series “ART HISTORY” featuring pictures like “LAS MENINAS” shown above. Copying famous paintings is a time honored tradition among artists. Bob Kessel follows in this tradition with his take off on Velazquez’s famous painting. This picture and others are available as signed and numbered limited edition fine art prints. Contact Bob Kessel for pricing and availability.

Pablo Picasso also interpreted LAS MENINAS in several paintings.

“To me there is no past or future in art. The art of the great painters who lived in other times is not an art of the past; perhaps it is more alive today than it ever was.” – Pablo Picasso


LAS MENINAS by Velazquez


LAS MENINAS by Pablo Picasso

… and below, a takeoff of a takeoff-


PICASSO’S MENINAS by Richard Hamilton

Le déjeuner sur l’herbe by Bob Kessel


Above is an interpretation of
“Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” by Bob Kessel

Copying famous paintings is a time honored tradition among artists.
Bob Kessel follows in this tradition with his take off on Manet’s
“Le déjeuner sur l’herbe”.


Above is “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” by Edouard Manet

This painting has been much copied,
but did you know that the arrangement of the figures in
“Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe” were themselves borrowed from
a famous 1514 engraving “The Judgment of Paris”
by Raimondi after a work by Raphael?


Above is “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” by Raimondi

“Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” by Manet was interpreted by many artists, most notably Picasso in a series of 27 paintings, 6 prints and 140 drawings! Here is an example.


Above is “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” by Pablo Picasso



There are many movies about artists out there, Bob Kessel recommends these. Some are obscure but all are worth watching. Many of the artists in these movies are included in the Artists on Art series by Bob Kessel. Portraits of famous artists drawn in the style of the artist depicted. Each picture has a quote by that artist. Many will be surprised by the not so well known quotes.

The Horse’s Mouth
(1958) Director: Ronald Neame
Alec Guinness is Gulley Jimson. He is broke, difficult, conniving, uncouth, and a welcher – but an artist. The visions in his head may not really satisfy him when realized, but the quest continues, for the perfect wall. The Beeders leave for six weeks of vacation and return to find a 7000 pound committment and the wall of their living room a national treasure, even though living with a wall mural of feet is not their cup of tea. Then – in a bombed out church scheduled for demolition – THE wall that can become his vision.

La Belle Noiseuse
by Jacques Rivette 1991 run time 236 minutes
French film. the uncut 4 hour version is a must see.
Where most films don’t show the artwork the artist makes, this movie has the camera linger on the artwork as it is created. Although not about a recognizable famous artist, it captures the alchemy of an artist and his model better than any other movie.

Adventures of Picasso
(original title: Picassos äventyr) is a 1978 Swedish film comedy directed by Tage Danielsson, starring Gösta Ekman, as the famous painter. A Monty Pythonesque crazy, laugh out loud slapstick comedy.

Wolf at the Door
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Max von Sydow Director: Henning Carlsen
Donald Sutherland plays an excellent Gaugin. He takes you through his life from deserting his family in Denmark through his time in Paris with all the other artists of his day to his travels in Tahiti. Always kept your attention. Highly recommend movie for it’s content and for the history value.

Edvard Munch
(1976) Starring: Geir Westby, Gro Fraas Director: Peter Watkins
Famously described by Ingmar Bergman as a “work of genius”, Peter Watkins’ multi-faceted masterpiece is more than just a bio-pic of the iconic Norwegian Expressionist painter. Focusing initially on Munch’s formative years in late 19th Century Kristiania (now Oslo), Watkins uses his trademark style to create a vivid picture of the emotional, political and social upheavals that would have such an effect on his art.
The young artist (Geir Westby) has an affair with “Mrs Heiberg” (Gro Fraas), a devastating experience that will haunt him for the rest of his life, and his work is viciously attacked by the critics and public alike. He is forced to leave his home country for Berlin, where, along with the notorious Swedish playwright August Strindberg, he becomes part of the cultural storm that is to sweep Europe.

Lust For Life
1956 Dir Vincente Minnelli
I like this mostly for the over the top comic performances.
Kirk Douglas gives an Oscar-nominated performance in Vincente Minelli’s adaptation of Irving Stone’s torrid life of Vincent van Gogh. It perpetuates the romantic myth of the tortured artist (some of the best are very well-adjusted, you know!) but is an enjoyable, if not entirely accurate, portrait of a great artist.

Van Gogh
(1992) Starring: Jacques Dutronc, Alexandra London Director: Maurice Pialat
Jacques Dutronc is simply extraordinary as Vincent, his acting filled with subtlety. He doesn’t stoop to histrionics or scenery-chewing…he doesn’t need to. Every gesture, every facial expression, every look in his eyes says something about the character. No wonder he won a Cesar for the role. This is neither the Vincent of “Lust for Life” (Kirk Douglas’ tormented soul searching for love and understanding) nor the Vincent of “Vincent and Theo” (Tim Roth’s mad-as-a-hatter egoist). This Vincent has a quiet cup of coffee before he goes to work in the morning and escapes Dr. Gachet’s house to enjoy a solitary lunch in the wheatfields (the latter is one of my favorite moments of the film–simple but lyrical). There’s no sign of the “mad artist” of the van Gogh mythology. The suicide comes as much a surprise in the film as it must have in real life. We don’t see it coming.

Moulin Rouge
(1952) Starring: José Ferrer, Zsa Zsa Gabor Director: John Huston
Nominated for seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and winner of two, this visually stunning biography of master artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is a “painting come to life” (Time)! “Flawlessly directed” (The Hollywood Reporter) by John Huston (The African Queen), from a script by Anthony Veiller and Huston, Moulin Rouge is simply “irresistible” (Newsweek)! As a dwarf, Toulouse-Lautrec (Jose Ferrer) believes he’s too ugly to ever fall in love. So he loses himself in painting and cognac. A fixture at Paris’ infamous turn-of-the-century Moulin Rouge nightclub, Lautrec meets a girl from the street who then breaks his heart. Luckily, newfound artistic success, copious amounts of drink and friendship with a new woman keep him alive. Will he be able to mend his broken heart in time to recognize the true love now staring him inthe face?