Today in History: Ludwig Hohlwein born in 1874

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Today in History: Ludwig Hohlwein born in 1874

On this day in 1874, the famous German poster artist Ludwig Hohlwein was born. Hohlwein was a trained and practicing architect. He moved to Munich in 1906 where he started to focus his talents on poster design. A self-taught graphic artist and influenced by the work of the Beggarstaff Brothers, Hohlwein showed an extraordinary talent for decorative compositions and color combinations. Breaking with Art Nouveau, he quickly became one of the leaders of the German “Plakatstil,” departing from ornaments or embellishments and simplifying the artwork through the use of form, flat colors and bold shapes.

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Happy Birthday, Mick Jagger !

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Happy Birthday, Mick Jagger !
The English music icon and Rolling Stones front man is celebrating his 78th birthday today.

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Today in History: Mata Hari

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Today in History: Mata Hari sentenced to death
On this day in 1917, the exotic dancer Mata Hari is sentenced to execution by firing squad by a French court for spying on Germany’s behalf during World War I.

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Today in History: Alphonse Maria Mucha is born in 1860

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Today in History: Alphonse Maria Mucha is born in 1860

On this day in 1860, the talented Czech Art Nouveau poster artist, illustrator and designer was born. Mucha initially worked as a theatrical scene painter in Vienna before a benefactor discovered his talents and financed his art studies in Munich and Paris. Mucha stayed in Paris where he designed his first posters. His breakthrough came in 1894 when he created the famous Gismonda poster starring Sarah Bernhardt. The actress was so impressed with Mucha’s work that she offered him a 6-year contract which paved the road for the artist’s subsequent success. Over the next 15 years, Mucha became the model Art Nouveau artist, creating posters, advertisements, calendars, postcards, and magazine and book illustrations. His work typically featured beautiful women surrounded by elaborate flowers. Mucha returned to live in Czechoslovakia around 1910 where he produced his masterpiece, a set of 20 mural paintings, the Slav Epic, depicting the history of his nation. He died in 1939, several months after being arrested and interrogated by the Nazis, following Germany’s occupation of Czechoslovakia.

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Today in History: “Degenerate Art” exhibition opens in 1937

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Today in History: “Degenerate Art” exhibitions opens in 1937

On this day in 1937, the infamous Degenerate Art (Entartete Kunst) exhibition in Munich, Germany. Organized by Adolf Ziegler and the Nazi Party, the exhibition presented some 650 paintings, sculptures and prints by over 100 (primarily) German artists, incl.  works by famous artists such as Otto Dix, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Emil Nolde and Kurt Schwitters. The “degenerate” works were defined as art that was insulting to any artistic skill and feeling. Even the presentation of the artworks by the Nazi regime was intentionally chaotic: the chosen venue was dark, rooms were very narrow. Paintings were displayed without frames; many were accompanied (or partially covered) by derogatory slogans. The “unhealthy” modern art presented an image of chaos that stood in stark contrast to the Nazi ideal of male heroism or the glorification of the womanhood. Over one million people attended the exhibition in the first six weeks alone. The display lasted until November 30, 1937.

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Today in History: Lithography was invented in 1798

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Today in History: Lithography was invented in 1798
On this day in 1798, German author Alois Senefelder invented the lithographic printing method (from the Greek, “stone printing”). Looking for an inexpensive method for copying his manuscripts, Senefelder was experimenting with etching techniques using acid resisting inks on a flat stone surface. He soon discovered that his method allowed printing from the flat surface of the stone alone. Compared to conventional copper engraving, it enabled a much faster way of working. Lithography made printing much more affordable and available to more people (f.ex. in art and newspaper printing). By 1830, Senefelder’s process had become the dominant method of pictorial reproduction in the printing industry.

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Today is National Lottery Day

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Today is National Lottery Day
If you’re feeling extra lucky on July 17th, it might be because it’s National Lottery Day! Celebrate the way lotteries contribute to local and state programs. Historically, lotteries date back to the 15th century. While early lotteries funded village needs, they also were vital to strengthening defenses. Money raised would also feed and clothe the poor. According to Random Riches author, Manfred Zollinger, one of the oldest lotteries dates back to 1441 in Bruges, Belgium.

In the United States, early lotteries paid for cannons during the American Revolution. They also raised money to pave roads up and down the East Coast. Today, lotteries are state-owned and operated. The funds they gather support government programs and the communities the lotteries serve.

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Today in History: First documenta opened in 1955

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Today in History: First documenta opened in 1955

On this day in 1955, the documenta in Kassel, Germany, opened its doors for the first time. The documenta is perhaps one of the most important cyclically recurring exhibitions for modern and contemporary art in the world. Founded in 1955 by artist and curator Arnold Bode, the exhibition was initially scheduled to take place every 4 years, but has been staged in 5-year intervals since 1972. Every documenta is limited to 100 days of exhibition. In its inaugural year, the showcase had 130,000 visitors and a budget of roughly 180,000 Euros. 60 years later (according to 2012 figures), the documenta attracts over 900,000 people and boasts a budget that exceeds 30 million Euro.

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Today in History: Washington DC declared capital of the United States in 1790

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Today in History: Washington DC declared capital of the United States

On this day in 1790, the young American Congress declares that a swampy, humid, muddy and mosquito-infested site on the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia will be the nation’s permanent capital. “Washington,” in the newly designated federal “District of Columbia,” was named after the leader of the American Revolution and the country’s first president: George Washington. It was Washington who saw the area’s potential economic and accessibility benefits due to the proximity of navigable rivers.

George Washington, who had been in office just over a year when the capital site was determined, asked a French architect and city planner named Pierre L Enfant to design the capital. In 1793, the first cornerstones of the president’s mansion, which was eventually renamed the “White House,” were laid. George Washington, however, never lived in the mansion as it was not inhabitable until 1800. Instead, President John Adams and his wife Abigail were the White House’s first residents. They lived there less than a year; Thomas Jefferson moved in in 1801.

Source: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/

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Today is National Nude Day

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Today is National Nude Day
On July 14th, laundry is unnecessary. Enjoy an air bath or explore the naturist movement. National Nude Day is a way to keep cool on a hot, sticky summer day. Nudist groups around the world celebrate this holiday and take it quite seriously! Nudists (also known as naturists) are not perverts, even though their desire to go “au natural” might be offensive to the conservative population! Nudists are individuals who believe the human body is most beautiful in its natural state. Whether or not you agree with them, nudists encourage people to shed the restrictions of clothing and be natural.

Noted for enjoying the natural state, Benjamin Franklin would reportedly take air baths by the open window of his room allowing the fresh air to drift around his birthday suit. The postmaster didn’t invent the naturist movement, nor did it take any particular nation by storm. Its observance is firmly planted during the middle the summer months of the Farmer’s Almanac for a good reason; the Northern Hemisphere doesn’t mess around in January!

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