Monthly Archives: June 2021

June 10

Psychic Hélène Smith and Surrealist Automatism

On the 10th of June 1929, famous late-19th century French psychic medium and artist Hélène Smith (née Catherine-Elise Müller) died in Geneva. She was considered “the Muse of Automatic Writing” by the Surrealists, who looked up to her as a conduit to surrealist knowledge. Smith outrageously claimed that she was able to communicate, amongst others, with Martians, Victor Hugo […]

June 09

Donald Duck and Wartime Propaganda

On the 9th of June 1934, Donald Duck debuted in Disney’s The Wise Little Hen, which was part of the Silly Symphonies series of theatrical cartoon shorts. The anthropomorphic white duck with a yellow-orange bill, legs, and feet, dressed in a blue sailor suit with a cap and a black or red bow tie, is […]

June 08

The Feminine Side of Cubism: Marie Laurencin

On the 8th of June 1956, Cubist artist Marie Laurencin died in Paris at the age of 72. During her lifetime, Laurencin achieved a successful international reputation, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. Even earlier though at the Salon des Indépendants (1910-1911) and the Salon d’Automne (1911-1912) she exhibited alongside Pablo Picasso, and Cubists associated […]

June 07

Beau Brummell: The Dandy as Social Revolutionary

On the 7th of June 1778, the most famous dandy in Regency England Beau Brummell was born in Downing Street, London. Despite his middleclass background, he studied at Eton and Oxford, where he quickly gained popularity among his school friends and tutors, always challenging the official dress codes with his reinvented looks. His wit, originality and […]

June 06

Hans Prinzhorn: Curating the Art of Mental Illness

On the 6th of June 1886, German psychiatrist and art historian  Hans Prinzhorn was born in Hemer, Westphalia. After obtaining a doctorate in art history and philosophy from the University of Vienna, he decided to train in England as a singer, but ended up studying medicine and became an Army surgeon in WWI.  In 1919, he […]

June 05

Robert Docker and the ‘Heavy’ Issue of Light Music

On the 5th of June 1918, English composer, arranger and pianist Robert Docker was born in London. The son of a Paddington gas worker, Docker studied piano, viola and composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After serving in the army during World War II, he became a freelance musician, playing the piano, arranging broadcasting […]

June 04

Female Decorative Artists in Early 20th-Century Britain

On the 4th of June 1879, British illustrator and designer Mabel Lucie Attwell was born in Mile End, London. At the turn of the century, her drawings of sentimentalized rotund cuddly infants, started appearing in various media such as: cards, calendars, nursery equipment, pictures, crockery and china ware, dolls, postcards, advertisements, posters, books and figurines. […]

June 03

Josephine Baker: Muse of Modern Architecture

On the 3rd of June 1906, the American dancer, singer, and actress Josephine Baker was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her life story is a typical ‘rags to riches’ tale. Born in poverty, having lived in the slums of St. Luis, where she slept in cardboard shelters and searched for food in garbage bins, she […]

June 02

The Portrait Miniature: Art-Object-Memory

On the 2nd of June 1804, Danish 18th century Court miniaturist and Royal Danish Academician Cornelius Høyer died in København, Denmark. The works Høyer executed for the Danish and other European courts were diminutive in size, often 40 mm × 30 mm or approximately 1-1.5 inches, oval or round in shape. Among his best known […]

June 01

Paco Peña: Flamenco and the Question of National Identity in Spain

On the 1st of June 1942, the Spanish Flamenco composer and guitarist Paco Peña was born in Córdoba, Spain. Regarded as one of the world’s foremost traditional Flamenco players, Peña began his professional career very early in life. He learnt playing the guitar at the age of six, and by twelve he made his first professional appearances. […]