Art World Cup 2014: Quarter-finals

  • 14 July 2014

Will Turner triumph over the might of Picasso? Can Kahlo eclipse Hokusai? And do Monet, Kandinsky, Klee and Dürer have what it takes to reach the semi-finals?

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Frida Kahlo (Mexico) vs Hokusai (Japan)

Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and Japan's Hokusai were two of the surprise victors of the round of sixteen, eliminating Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn and Renaissance genius Michelangelo respectively. Kahlo is no stranger to overcoming adversity: as a teenager she sustained terrible injuries in a tram crash, resulting in lifelong health issues, but channelled her isolation into creating one of the most powerfully autobiographical bodies of work in the visual arts. In contrast, Hokusai lived a long and prosperous life. In his later years he came to be known as Gakyo Rojin Manji – The Old Man Mad About Art – and left behind seven decades of art, ranging from landscapes to erotica, when he died aged 88. Both artists have had a remarkable tournament so far, but whose hopes will end at the quarter finals?

Claude Monet (France) vs Wassily Kandinsky (Russia)

Claude Monet​ recorded the most one-sided win of the tournament so far, taking 84% of the vote against Bosnian-Herzegovinan artist Mersad Berber, while Wassily Kandinsky triumphed comfortably over Portugal's Paula Rego. Each artist was responsible for creating one of art's great '-isms': the Frenchman was the leading architect of impressionism, while his Russian counterpart was almost single-handedly responsible for creating abstract expressionism. Despite their differences – and having most of mainland Europe between them – the two artists' careers occasionally coincided: Kandinsky's early figurative works were inspired by an exhibition of Monet's Haystack series, while Monet's later works tended towards abstraction as his eyesight faded. Which -ism will survive to the semis?

Pablo Picasso (Spain) vs JMW Turner (England)

After chalking up identical victories in the previous round – Pablo Picasso triumphed over Cildo Meireles with 70% of the popular vote, while JMW Turner knocked out El Greco by the same margin – two of the tournament's biggest names come together in a battle for a spot in the semi-finals. Both artists were precocious talents: at age 14 Picasso painted his Portrait of Aunt Pepa, which Juan-Eduardo Cirlot described as 'without a doubt one of the greatest in the whole history of Spanish painting', while Turner exhibited works at the Royal Academy from the month of his 15th birthday. Either would be a deserved winner of the Art World Cup, but one of their tournaments has to end here. Can Turner carry England's hopes to the last four?

Paul Klee (Switzerland) vs Albrecht Dürer (Germany)

​On past form, Paul Klee goes into the quarter-finals as the clear favourite. The Swiss artist took a comfortable victory with 73% of the vote against Argentina's Benito Quinquela Martin, while Albrecht Dürer narrowly edged ahead of René Magritte in the previous round, scraping through to the quarter finals with just over half of the vote. The two artists are among the most intellectual in the competition: Klee was praised for his wisdom in the plastic arts, music and literature, and became a prolific writer on art theory and aesthetics; Dürer, on the other hand, was a skilled mathematician and theorist who published revolutionary theoretical treatises on perspective and proportions. Will previous results count for anything in this battle of the brains?

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