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Each of these artists was inspired by the work of another famous artist.
Reworking a Unique Style
Contemporary American painter Miriam Schapiro has always been interested
in incorporating images associated with women into her work. Her mixed-media
collages are filled with the simplified, abstracted, repeat patterns
with sewing, embroidering, and quilt making. In her works, the artist
the richly patterned fabrics traditionally associated with women. In many
of her pieces she includes references to important female artists of the
Schapiro created a series of paintings called Frida and Me. These works
were focused around the image and subject matter used by early 20th-century
Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (left). Schapiro's collage Conservatory Portrait
of Frida Kahlo (right) reflects Kahlo's powerful self-portraits as well
as her manner of dressing in bright, patterned, traditional Mexican
In this work, Schapiro also uses bits of fabric and swirls of paint to
suggest the sculpture, tiled architecture, tropical flowers and plants
Miriam Schapiro, b. 1923. Conservatory-Portrait of Frida Kahlo (detail),
1988. Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, Ohio.
Repainting a Famous Image
Contemporary South American artist Fernando Botero says, "I want to take
well-known images that have become part of popular culture and do something
different with them." Botero has taken Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa (left)
and turned her into a chubby little girl (far left), with tiny features
in the center of her face.
Botero is known for his heavy, rosy-cheeked figures. The artist says,
painters depict figures of a certain fullness. In Spanish-speaking
beauty is associated with a handsome, well-nourished person. The idea of
extreme thinness is very modem and very Western." By changing one of the
most famous faces in art into an oversize child, Botero may be making a
comment about the restrictions tradition places on both fashion and art.
American painter Chuck Close has spent the past 35 years painting heads.
At the beginning of his career, Close was sometimes considered a Pop artist.
His huge, highly detailed, tightly cropped faces pointed out contemporary
society's reliance on secondhand visual experiences. His images, made up
of repeated marks, suggest computer scans, printed reproductions, or
images. Close paints heads because "heads matter to everybody."
Close describes the people he paints as a kind of extended family. He has
known his subjects for years. Most are established artists like Elizabeth
Murray, Robert Rauschenberg, or Roy Lichtenstein (above). Working from
a photo, Close uses a grid to enlarge it to the size of his canvas. He
then builds the image block by block. Seen up close, each of the marks
he uses looks like a separate little abstract painting. Close's painting
technique is his own, but the small strokes he uses in Roy could also be
seen as a reference to Lichtenstein's famous Benday dots.