Learning from the Masters Series

I am inspired by the most famous of paintings, the most famous of the great masters, the most shared, the most copied and the most revisited in the history of art. I love to reinterpret the great masters messages, to learn their techniques and to explore the same subject with new mediums and new techniques.

I always try to do the same subject in many different ways. I love the idea of an image that sticks to your memory and that is easy to recognize cross-culturally. Nothing is ever completely original, coming out of nothingness. Reference to the past is inevitable. References to the past are everywhere. References to the past are an explicit part of my Learning from the Masters Series.

Learning from the Masters Series - Albrecht Dürer

Dürer's Rhinoceros

What inspired me in Dürer's Rhinoceros are his highly-detailed representation of a Rhinoceros captured in a woodcut print within such a small format (with image size 21.3 x 29.5 cm and sheet size 23.8 x 29.9 cm), and that, in spite of the small format, his Rhinoceros appears as one of the strongest icons in the art history. Dürer revolutionized printmaking, elevating it to the level of an independent art form.

Dedichen's Rhinoceros

As Dürer apprenticed with his father, who was a goldsmith, was influenced by Venetian color and design and used tempera in his paintings, I decided in my series to paint the Rhino as a tempera painting, executed with luminous pigments on gold leafs. A lot of experimentation went into the achievement of the intense colour luminance and the craquelure that resembles the beautiful skin of the rhino. Neither intaglio, lithography, woodcut, screen printing etc enabled a transfer of the colour luminance of the pigments from the painting to the paper. Hence, I resorted to archival pigment printing. I have combined Dürer's Rhinoceros with Warhol's philosophy, which was to catch images we all recognise and add pop art colours to them.

Albrecht Dürer. Rhinoceros. 1515. Woodcut.
Henriette Dedichen. Rhinoceros. 2019. Archival Pigment print.

Learning from the Masters Series - Gustav Klimt

Klimt's The Kiss

What inspired me in Klimt's "The Kiss", oil incorporated with gold on canvas, is its powerful presence with its life-size figures (180cm x 180cm), the influence of the gold-detailed religious art of the Middle Ages as well as the influence of the sacred works created by artists of the Byzantine Empire. "The Kiss" is the final painting of Klimt's Gold Period, during which he incorporated gold leaf into his works.

Dedichen's The Kiss

As Klimt admired the mosaics in the church of San Vitale, I admire the patterns in the two lovers' cloaks, reminding me of japanese woodcuts. In my version of "The Kiss", I decided in my series to paint the Kiss as a tempera painting, executed with luminous pigments on gold leafs. Here again, a lot of experimentation went into the achievement of the craquelure that resembles the icons from the Middle Ages. I have created an archival pigment prints series of the Kiss, inspired by Japanese printmaking and elements of Klimt's signature Art Nouveau style as well as Warhol's philosophy - "200 is better than one"

Henriette Dedichen. The Kiss. 2020. Archival Pigment print.

Learning from the Masters Series - David Hockney

Hockney’s The Bigger Splash

The Bigger Splash from 1967, is undoubtedly one of the most iconic Pop art images of the 20th century. What inspired me in The Bigger Splash is Hockney's use of turquoise, his idea of painting a splash that lasts for two seconds, the fact that it took him two weeks to paint this event, and that he is an artist who constantly reinvents himself and who cannot be defined by a style or through subject matter.

Dedichen's Splash

In contrast to Hockney’s The Bigger Splash, where the geometric order of the composition is almost too still, too refined and too composed, my Splash is caotic and represents plenty of physical energy and fun. Here again, I have painted on gold leafs with tempera and created a pigment print.

Henriette Dedichen. Splash. 2021. Archival Pigment print.