Not many of us ever get to visit an artist’s studio while they’re working.  So mostly we have an imaginary idea of what painters actually DO to get the results they get. But every now and then someone sneaks in or charms their way in and gives us a look.  Above is the great Lucien Freud hard at work late at night.  Found here.

The above two photos were shot in the studio of Mr Freud’s long-time friend and fellow art giant Francis Bacon.  Upper one by Perry Ogden is FB’s studio at 7 Reece Mews, in South Kensington, London , seen here.  And the lower is Mr B’s studio as it was when he left it for the final time with his last picture just underway on the easel, a photo from the Tate Modern seen here.  Is Bacon under there somewhere?  More here.

One more artist giant of recent years, this one still painting and thinking about painting: Luc Tuymans. He too makes full use of the walls around him for, what, warming up, cooling down? Photo from somewhere on the internet.

Back in the days when artists–and everyone else–wore tights, it seems artists’ studios were pretty crowded places, with lots of artists sharing the same space.  Maybe it was real estate prices.  Maybe it was togetherness.  Or the cost of heating.

But if you got yourself a commission to paint a portrait of a swanky lady, you could just go to her place, just you, her, and the creepy guy in the weird black outfit.

Then all hell breaks loose again with the 19th century and painters like Courbet who couldn’t imagine working without a crowd.

It wasn’t long, however, until art became by choice, pretty much a solo, solitary undertaking for most of the artists whose names we now know.

Above, Kandinsky’s studio, very tidy, VERY tidy, even though he was giving birth to a revolution in art.  See here.

Mondrian was also tidy in his surroundings and also in his paintings, though again, what he was doing was breaking all the rules.  1926 Photo from here.

Then Mr Pollock came along to throw out the rule book all together–who needs a smock, who needs an easel, who needs tidy?  Photo from 1950 by Hans Namuth, seen here.

Above is Helen Frankenthaler at work.  Also working mostly on the floor.  These lovely pics by the great Ernst Haas, see them and more here 

Alexander Liberman, who was Art Director for Vogue magazine, compiled a book of photos of artist in their studios.  See some here.

One artist who made his studio wherever he happened to be was the great Keith Haring, this from a Brooklyn Museum show. 

And then there was Salvador Dali, always wanting to be noticed, but don’t you dare interrupt while he was in the middle of being a genius.  Above intrusion found here.

So the general idea may be–yes it is fascinating to see the artist at work, but beware, enter with care, and be careful what you wish for.   See other studio invasions here.