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A blog about about painting, design and other aspects of aesthetics along with a dash of non-art topics. The point-of-view is that modernism in art is an idea that has, after a century or more, been thoroughly tested and found wanting. Not to say that it should be abolished -- just put in its proper, diminished place.

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  • 06/02/16--01:00: The Los Angeles Broad
  • I visited the new Broad art museum in downtown Los Angeles March 1st with my wife and some LA friends. It contains much of the collection of Eli and Edythe Broad, which is focused on American postmodern art. The website of The Broad is here, and its Wikipedia entry is here.

    As Faithful Readers should know by now, I consider most postmodernism silly, and a good chunk of it not even art. So I'll set that aside and deal with the building. It is a long way removed from functionalist, International Style purity. It's even entertaining in a sterile sort of way.

    Here are some snapshots I took.


    The Broad as seen from the Disney concert hall side of the street. The building has a core clad in that sheath of slanted openings.

    A view of the opposite side of the building.

    Looking out at the street from the lobby.

    The lobby from near an entrance.

    Another view of the lobby.

    The lobby-level museum shop.

    The escalator seen at the gallery level. Behind it is the elevator and farther back is the stairway.

    View from the opposite direction.

    A gallery featuring Andy Warhol "art."

    This shows a relationship of the interior and the exterior cladding. That's a Roy Lichtenstein painting on the far wall.

    Gallery view showing the ceiling and its lighting.

    This was the cutest architectural touch. I took this while partway down the stairway from the main gallery floor to the lobby. Seen here is a window to the storage room.

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    Robert Bechtle (b. 1932) is a genre painter of the so-called photorealist variety. Come to think of it, almost any photorealist painting is genre because it depicts what a photograph (or combined extracts from several photographs) captures of the everyday physical and social world of humans. Bechtle's Wikipedia entry is here.

    Bechtle bases his paintings on photographs he has taken. Unfortunately, I have never seen one of his paintings in person, so I can't report just how hard-edge they are. But a video posted on the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art website suggests that there is painterly action when viewed from really close.

    One thing I especially like about Bechtle's art is that he includes carefully done images of actual automobiles -- not some tossed-off generic car-shaped collection of paint that I find all too often.


    '58 Rambler - 1967

    '62 Chevy - 1970

    '64 Valiant - 1971

    '71 Buick - 1972

    '63 Bel Air - 1973

    Alameda Gran Torino - 1974

    S.F. Cadillac - 1975

    Near Ocean Avenue - 2002
    I find this interesting because it looks like Bechtle used an old slide or print as its basis. That is, the colors have yellowed and the cars shown in the foreground are no more recent than the mid-1970s -- yet the painting is dated 2002.

    Alameda Intersection - Clay and Mound Streets - 2004
    This is the painting featured in the video linked above.

    Santa Barbara Motel - 1977
    I include this to show that Bechtle paints subjects other than cars. Indeed this looks a lot like some motels near Santa Barbara's waterfront, though I can't say which one he's depicting here.

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    Joe De Mers (1910-1984) was a leading illustrator of fiction in major American magazines -- he signed his last name in two parts, but it is often combined as "DeMers" in many references.

    I didn't notice any useful biography on a brief Google search, but I can report this: He was born in San Diego, trained in Los Angeles' Chouinard and then at the Brooklyn Museum. Worked in Hollywood, but his main career was with the famed Cooper Studio in New York. He retired to Hilton Head, South Carolina.

    His style was similar to that of Coby Whitmore and several others active in the 1950s. Such illustrations typically offered only enough background and stage-setting details to provide context. Featured were the subject person or persons, often as only heads and shoulders. Media was usually gouache or casein, these allowing for rapid work and lack of the messiness that oil paints might cause when works are transported.


    De Mers did some pin-up work while building his career. This was in an Esquire calendar for March 1948.

    The whole thing as seen before reproduction.

    From "The Invisible Bride" - Ladies' Home Journal, May 1954.

    Note the spare staging.

    De Mers adds some distortion to the tables in the foreground.

    I'm thinking this last image is from the late 1950s or early 60s, given the Bernie Fuchs - inspired style change.

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    Mikhail Vasilyevich Nesterov (1862-1942) was a Russian painter in Czarist days with strong religious beliefs who remained after the Revolution. Yet was able to live out his days while not conforming to the Soviet artistic system. Apparently he managed to survive via portrait painting.

    His Wikipedia entry is here, and more information from Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery is here.


    Vision of the Young Bartholomew - 1890
    It seems this painting helped launch Nesterov's career.

    Taking the Veil - 1897-98
    Another of his many paintings with a religious theme.

    Entombment of Alexander Nevsky - 1900
    An historical theme here.

    Portrait of Alexei Maksimovich Gorky - c.1901

    Portrait of Lev Tolstoy - 1907

    Portrait of Yekaterina Petrovna Nesterova - his second wife - 1905

    Olga Nesterova in Riding Habit - his oldest daughter - 1906

    Femme nue
    Sold in 2007 at Christies Paris auction for about $14,000 (link here). Dimensions are 45,6 x 47,5 cm. (17 7/8 x 18¾ in.). The link to Christies does not mention that this is a copy of a painting by Tyrolian artist Leo Putz.

    Sommertraeume - by Leo Putz - 1907
    The dimensions of "Summer Dreams" are 119.5 x 110 cm -- much larger than Nesterov's copy. I can conform this, because I viewed the Putz painting several years ago when it was in Seattle. I wrote about Putz here.

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    Leif Peng had an interesting 26 October 2011 post on his Today's Inspiration blog regarding the decline and death of some general-interest magazines that had supported what I'll call traditional illustration.

    Such magazines were called "slicks" because they were printed on smooth paper instead of cheaper newsprint or rough-textured "pulp" paper. Many of these magazines had circulations in the millions of copies when the U.S. population ranged from around 63 million in 1890 to about 180 million in 1960 (the number now is more than 320 million).

    The archetypical general-interest magazine was the Saturday Evening Post, whose content was a mix of short stories and non-fiction articles, the former being decorated by images from famous illustrators. Covers also used illustration, the two most prolific cover illustrators being J.C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell.

    The advent of radio in the 1920s had no noticeable effect on circulation of "slicks," and the most prominent ones also weathered the Great Depression of the 1930s. What brought them down was television, following the end of the 1948-1952 TV station license moratorium resulting in a surge of new television stations rapidly spreading across the United States.

    Below is a listing of prominent magazines with their prime publication lifespans.

    Saturday Evening Post -- 1897-1963 (as a weekly publication)

    Collier's -- 1888-1957 (the Post's main competitor)

    The American Magazine -- 1906-1956

    Liberty -- 1924-1950

    McCall's -- 1973-2002

    Ladies' Home Journal -- 1883-2014 (as a weekly or bi-weekly)

    Life -- 1936-1972 (Time, Inc. version)

    Look -- 1937-1971 (like Life, was photo oriented)

    I included Look Magazine because it is another good example of a mass-circulation publication that failed to survive very far beyond the 1960s. McCall's was a magazine for women that included short stories illustrated by many of the top names in the field, including Bernie Fuchs. The American and Liberty were lesser general-interest magazines. The Time Incorporated version of Life (they bought the title from an existing magazine) was primary photograph-oriented. But when dealing with subjects where good photos were unavailable, leading illustrators were brought in to provide images.

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    Late February, we visited The Broad, a new museum in downtown Los Angeles (background here). The collection of Eli and Edythe Broad is housed there, a collection focused on postmodern art of the period 1960-1990, if the impression it gave me is halfway correct.

    I am not a fan of the kind of art. Nevertheless, I did come across a few artists and their works that interested me. One of these was Mark Tansey (b. 1949) who I was essentially unaware of. Some background regarding him can be found here, here and here.

    Some examples of his work are below. All the paintings date from 1979-90, a period when he did what I consider his most interesting work.


    The Innocent Eye Test - 1981

    The Occupation - 1984
    1980s New York City occupied by 1914-vintage troop from Imperial Germany.

    Triumph of the New York School - 1984
    Allegory showing Great War clothed French artists surrendering to World War 2 garbed New York modernists.

    Triumph ... key to depictions
    I found this helpful graphic on the web.

    Action Painting II - 1984

    Forward Retreat - 1986

    Forward Retreat: flipped detail
    I took this photo at The Broad.  From right to left are (1) a 1917 Great War French soldier, (2) a 1914 German Great War Soldier, (3) a 1917 Great War British or American soldier, and (4) a polo player.

    Constructing the Grand Canyon - 1990

    A Short History of Modernist Painting - 1979-80
    Another painting I saw at The Broad.  Below are some detail photos I took.

    History ... detail

    History ... another detail

    History ... yet another detail

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    Carel Willink (1900-1983) experimented with various Modernist "isms," finally settling into a version of "Magic Realism" that he called "Imaginary Realism." Essentially, everything in his paintings was done in a realistic manner, but placed in unusual circumstances, as the images below indicate. I find them strange, yet oddly appealing.

    Willink's short Wikipedia entry is here and a useful chronology on a website devoted to him is here.

    Besides his Imaginary Realist paintings, Willink made a good living as a portrait artist, his portraits usually featuring the hard-edge style of his other works.


    Farmhouse with tree - 1918
    Painted before he assumed his signature style.

    Stadsgesicht (Cityscape) - 1934

    The Dirigible - 1933

    Self-Portrait with Wilma van der Meulen - 1934
    Wilma was his first wife. She died in 1960.

    Landschap met omvergeworpen beeld - 1942

    Mathilde tussen de monsters - 1966
    Mathilde de Doelder was another wife -- his second according to the second link above. Some sources state that he had four wives; if so, Mathilde would be the third. A while after they divorced, she was found dead, naked in bed, a gunshot wound to the left temple and a gun held in her right hand. These last two details lead some to speculate that she was murdered.

    Reclining Venus - 1975
    The subject is Sylvia Quiël, Willink's last wife, some 44 years younger than he. She has devoted the time since his 1983 death to her art and his memory.

    Willink painting Sylvia

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    David Jagger (1891-1958) was very good at depicting people.

    Although his images were highly realistic, they very seldom crossed the line into hard-edge style. His subjects were often posed in interesting ways (aside from in many commissioned, official-appearing portraits). In general, I find his works interesting, pleasing and impressive thanks to his skill in making them.

    On the other hand, Jagger's paintings are so reality-oriented that they often give no hint of a personal style. To put it another way, his personal style was so attuned to representation that, in most instances, it can be hard for a viewer to think "Aha! That's a Jagger." Exceptions are some dramatic paintings of women that might be said to have a "Jagger look."

    Apparently not much is known about his life. For what it's worth, here is his Wikipedia entry. And for your amusement, you might try this link wherein an art scholar (I presume) tries without much success to fit Jagger's work into a 21st century ideological procrustean bed.

    Below are examples of his work. For more examples of his commissioned portraits, link here.


    Jagger painting actress Vivien Leigh - Sept, 1941 (copyright NPG)
    This shows how well Jagger could nail his subjects' appearance.

    Lord Baden-Powell - 1929
    According to Wikipedia, this is Jagger's most famous painting. That said, I don't consider it his best or most interesting.

    HRH Queen Mary - 1930
    He was able to land commissions from important people.

    Charles Jagger - the artist's brother - 1917
    The date by the signature looks a lot like 1914, but the clothing is more suggestive of the 1917 British army. This shows that Jagger could paint freely if he chose to do so.

    Portrait of Mrs. Kate Irene Pears

    Kathleen - the artist's wife
    A nice, dramatic pose and many soft edges help us to focus on her face.

    Sewing - the artists's wife
    No date on this one either, but Kathleen looks a few years older than she did in the previous portrait. Much thin painting here. Perhaps Jagger was experimenting. Some of the paintings below might also be of Kathleen (note the eyebrows).

    Lady with a Fan
    I don't notice a fan, but that's the title the Internet gives me. Regardless, this is a very interestingly composed painting that looks like it dates from the mid-1930s.

    Woman with a Silk Scarf - 1926
    The Internet has it that it's a scarf, though to me it almost seems she's wearing what looks like a shawl, due its size. This painting is more thinly painted than most of the others shown here, revealing that Jagger could and did alter his style at times.

    Woman with teacup
    A dramatic expression on a face with odd features -- note the eyes and area around the mouth. The hand and cup/saucer are hard-edge, unlike the rest of the painting. Makes me wonder if these details were unfinished in spite of the artist's signature indicating completion.

    Lady in Green
    Yet another of those dramatic, interesting poses. Notice that Jagger places a dark background object behind the subject's head to create a central dark zone from top to bottom, contrasting with the light gray background areas.

    Portrait of a Lady
    Here Jagger delves deeper into hard-edge territory. The background reminds me of George Washington Lambert's 1905-10 works. The subject's face is one of the more softly-painted parts of the image.

    Portrait of a woman - 1945
    A sketch or study done later than the others shown here.

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    I seldom post here regarding sculpture. That's because I've never really sculpted, and therefore am reluctant to discuss something I'm not familiar with on a technical basis. But I am willing to comment about sculptures that I like or hate from the perspective of a casual observer.

    Such is the case now with "sprites." The sprites I'm presenting below are some of the sprites designed as decorations for Chicago's Midway Gardens (1914-1929), a dining, drinking and amusement place on the city's south side near the University of Chicago campus. It was never really successful, at first due to being undercapitalized and later because of Prohibition (of alcoholic drinks in the USA 1920-33). Chicago's climate might have been another factor. There were several sprite designs, and some were preserved before Midway Gardens was demolished.

    The architect for Midway Gardens was Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), who claimed responsibility for the sprite sculptures. But the working sculptor of those sprites was Alfonso Iannelli (1888-1965) whose later career included industrial design. So who actually designed those sprites, Wright or Iannelli? Nowadays, Iannelli is usually given the credit. But Wright paid a great amount of attention to the ornamentation of his buildings and surely had strong ideas as to what those decorative sprites should like. He must have set the theme and must have approved of the final designs even if the unlikely case that he never made a sketch of their form and decorative details was true. That is, he probably was fairly deeply involved with the sprites and does deserve as much or more credit than Iannelli.

    Whatever actually happened in the architectural and sculpting studios took place more than 100 years ago, so we will never know the true story with certainty.

    Stylistically, the Midway Gardens sprites are of the geometric branch of Art Nouveau, as opposed to what might be called "organic" Art Nouveau that featured tendrils and other plant-related decoration. It was the geometric Art Nouveau that transitioned into geometric Art Deco (which also had a curved branch ... consider those deer and borzoi dog decorations).

    Earlier this year I was in the Phoenix, Arizona area, where sprites (or reproductions) are found. Below are some photos I took.


    Here are two sprites on the front lawn of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel (1929), a building where Wright served as a consultant to the architect of record.

    A sprite found elsewhere on the grounds of the Biltmore.

    Its pose is rigid, the face has a serious expression.

    The sprites on the front lawn have tilted heads and they are smiling. Their decorations are different from those on the other sprite.

    I spotted this sprite on the grounds of Taliesin West, Wright's winter stomping ground. It has the serious, rigid pose and for some reason is painted, the colors being American Southwest desert-related.

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    My latest e-book has just been released at That's the cover above.

    It deals with automobile grilles and other details of the “face” or front end of a car. Facial appearance has long been an important consideration in the automobile industry because it is a major means by which people – especially potential buyers – identify makes of cars.

    Over the years, different brands (actually their management, stylists, marketing and advertising personnel and consultants) have taken varying approaches to continuity of styling themes for fronts of their cars. The degree of such continuity is the theme of this book.

    More than 30 brands are dealt with here, some sketchily, others in detail, depending on the points I think need to be made.

    In most cases, there is considerable model-year coverage for American cars from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. That is because this was the time when styling evolution largely ended, when cars received so-called “envelope” bodies where fenders and other items were no longer the clearly distinct objects they were before. Therefore stylists began to grapple with new themes that were more fashion-related than having to do with goal-related lines of body development.

    Chapters are ordered alphabetically by brand, so readers are urged to first read the Introduction and then skip around the chapters depending upon their interest in the various makes of cars. The format of the chapters can be characterized as a series of captions to the images presented.

    Brands covered are Rolls-Royce, Plymouth and Volkswagen (in the Introduction), followed by in separate chapters: Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, Ford, Honda (Civic), Hudson, Imperial/Chrysler Imperial, Jaguar, Lancia, LaSalle, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Mercury, Nash, Oldsmobile, Packard, Pontiac, Saab, Studebaker and Volvo.

    Thanks to Amazon's automated conversion-to-Kindle processing, the illustrations are not as large as they were in my Word draft. Therefore, for people buying the book, I suggest they download it to their device with the largest available screen.

    But thanks again to Amazon, if you have a desktop computer or a laptop with a reasonably large screen, they have a free Kindle App that displays the book and lets you size a page so that the images are as large as they were originally. Of course, you need to have already purchased the book and downloaded it to your iPad, Kindle or other device before you can access it via the app.

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    Dean Cornwell (1892-1960) was one of the most outstanding American illustrators of his day. I wrote an "Up-Close" post about him here, and here I observed that changing illustration fashions forced him to alter his style by the 1940s and 50s -- a change for the worse, in my opinion. Between his interesting, bold, painterly style of the 1920s and his late work, Cornwell spent a good deal of time and effort as a painter of murals, and requirements for mural painting also affected his illustration style to some degree.

    But it seems I need to change my mind ... a little, at least. Early this year this book about Cornwell was published. It contains large details of some Cornwell illustrations that indicate he didn't change his style as completely as I had assumed. Chalk some of that up to the fact Internet images tend to be fairly small, and a large painting reduced to 600 by 800 pixels, say, loses a good deal of detail.

    Below are some images of Cornwell's work to illustrate my point regarding style continuity. All can be enlarged by clicking on them, and a few are very large. I note the latter in the captions.


    From "The Desert Healer" - 1922
    An example of Cornwell's 1920s style. Brushwork is bold and visible aside from certain details that are smoothly rendered.

    From "Sergeant of Chasseurs" - Cosmopolitan, April 1929
    The face of the girl in the red cloche hat is smoothly painted, but most of the rest features Cornwell's usual style. Click on the image for significant enlargement.

    From "The Lady Said Goodbye" - 1941
    Following fashion, Cornwell used a more "hard edge" approach in this illustration. The woman's face, hands, leg, scarf and dress lack the painterly touch. Ditto the brim of the man's hat.

    Couple above stream - c. 1938
    I'm not sure about this illustration's date. The woman's hair style could be 1936-49 or perhaps earlier, and her dress is pre-1940. She and her accessories are not rendered in Cornwell's painterly style, though much of the rest of the illustration is.

    From "The Robe" - 1947
    I used this illustration in the earlier post where I showed how Cornwell's style had changed to suit the times. However, as in the previous two images, we see that his adjusted style is mostly for the main subjects. Backgrounds and other details bear evidence of his earlier technique. Click on the image for significant enlargement.

    From "The Robe" (detail) - 1947
    Another illustration from the series. The cavorting Romans in the foreground as well as much of the setting recall his earlier work.

    "Fara Swears Revenge" from "The Big Fisherman" - 1948
    Another example where parts of the illustration followed Cornwell's earlier practice. Click on the image for significant enlargement.

    Land of Tropical Splendor - c. 1950
    This was done for a Colombian fruit promotion. I'm not at all sure of its date. This is a case where very little of the classical Cornwell style can be found. Click on the image for significant enlargement.

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    Zsolt Bodoni (1975- ) is a Budapest-based painter who creates dark (usually), vaguely Surrealistic scenes combining nearly realistic drawing with nearly abstract settings. He is basically hinting at things, but includes enough detail in a painting to make viewers such as me very interested in what he has going on.

    A biographical note is here. It states: "Born in Élesd, Romania in 1975, Zsolt Bodoni received his MFA from the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, Hungary." I should point out that he comes from a place in northern Romania close to the eastern border of Hungary, a zone where ethnic Hungarians had lived for centuries.

    Bodoni usually paints in acrylics and oil, but sometimes overpaints photographs with acrylics. Many of his paintings are large, between one or two meters on their longest side.


    Ignis Fatuus - 2011

    In Bloom - 2012

    Horses - 2012

    Untitled - 2014
    Some of Bodoni's more recent paintings are brighter.

    Untitled - 2014
    Another brighter, recent work.

    The Room - 2012

    Szent Istvan II - 2010
    Saint Stephen is the name of this imaginary aircraft carrier.

    Merlin - 2010
    The Merlin was a World War 2 vintage V-12 aircraft motor designed and built by Rolls-Royce.

    Propeller - 2010
    Rear view of a Merlin with its propeller.

    Stalin's Head - 2008

    Stalin's Boots - 2009

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    I wrote about Albert Victor Eugène Brenet (1903-2005) here. He was a popular French illustrator and marine painter for many years (French Wikipedia entry here).

    He enjoyed going on-site to capture the scenes he wanted, acquiring a sketchy style that he would sometimes use in more formal works and advertising art. Below are some examples.


    Le Train Bleu - album cover
    The Train Bleu was an express train that whisked tourists to the French Riviera. Milhaud wrote the score for a ballet using it as its setting. The illustration was probably made for other purposes and later used for the album. Below is a similar illustration by Brenet.

    Train Bleu leaving Gare de Lyon
    This railroad station is used for trains heading to Provence and other destinations. The illustration used for the album cover shows Train Bleu unloading in Antibes, or perhaps an imaginary, evocative station.

    Basilique Saint-Marc de Venise - c.1960

    Mechaniciens travailant sur un Thunderjet - c.1954
    The Armée de l'Air used American F-84s during the early 1950s.

    Directing armored car convoy

    Fuelling a Constellation
    Air France flew Constellations in the 1950s before the Jet Age.

    Imperial Airways poster - 1930s
    A poster done in a sketchy style. Perhaps this was expected of French illustrators.

    La preparation de l'hydravion

    La wagon restaurant
    A dining car scene, probably for a railroad client.

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    Earle K. Bergey (1901-1952) earned a good deal of his living painting cover art for "pulp" (printed on really cheap paper) magazines. But there was more to him than that.

    His Wikipedia entry mentions that Bergey studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts for four or five years, but this more detailed source mentions that his attendance was at evening school and that there is no record of his having graduated. Nevertheless, he probably received at least a little good training. Bergey worked at the Philadelphia Public Ledger newspaper for a while, but then drifted into painting pinups and pulp cover art. By 1948 he also was busy doing cover art for paperback books.

    Here are examples of his work.


    Starling Stories cover - May 1948
    This cover is pretty standard science-fiction pulp cover fare from those good old days featuring a monster, a heroic man and a scantily-clad woman in distress. One difference is that the illustration is slightly better done than what was usually seen on sci-fi mags ten years earlier.

    Fantastic Story Quarterly cover - Fall 1950
    Here we have pretty much the same thing, but with a better view of the BEM (bug-eyed-monster).

    Starling Stories cover - May 1951

    Starling Stories cover
    Two more Bergey sci-fi pulp covers. Note the similarity of the space ships diving towards the lower left corner of each cover. As for those large images of women, note that they are well done. It seems that Bergey liked to paint beautiful women and was good at it.

    Thrilling Wonder Stories cover - December 1950
    The lion in the background is also convincingly done.

    Pinup - mid-1930s

    Thrilling Love cover - March 1948
    Bergey offers this face that's part glamour and part girl-next-door -- a well-dressed version of Bettie Page.

    "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" paperback book cover - 1948
    The postwar paperback edition of Anita Loos' best-known book.

    Saturday Evening Post cover - May 25 1935
    Bergey was a Philadelphia guy, so he also did a cover for the town's most famous magazine.

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    A 19th century school of painting I find interesting is that of the Glasgow Boys (Wikipadia entry here, scroll down for Glasgow Boys material). One of the original Boys was Edward Arthur Walton (1860-1922), biographical information here.

    The paintings he did around the mid-1880s featured a style similar to that other Glasgow Boys such as James Guthrie and George Henry, who I wrote about here and here. Later on, his style became more conventional as he turned to portraiture to earn his artistic keep.

    I find his Glasgow Boys era paintings less interesting or well done than those of Guthrie or Henry. Perhaps he was paying more attention to technique than to the overall impression the paintings created.


    Brig o'Turk (The Trossachs) - 1879
    A pre- Glasgow Boys landscape.

    A Berwickshire Field-Worker - 1884

    Joseph Crawhall - 1884
    Crawhall was a fellow Glasgow Boy.

    Noon-day - 1885-86

    A Daydream - 1885
    One of Walton's best-known paintings.

    The White Flower
    This is undated, but seems to have been painting while Walton was changing his style.

    Miss Jane Aitkin - 1894
    Here Walton is painting thinly.

    Miss Aimée de Burgh (Mrs Quartermaine) - 1904
    Nice depiction of character.

    The Portfolio - 1905
    Back to heavy brushwork.

    Andrew Carnegie - 1911
    Not all of his subjects were unknowns.

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    As best this blog's internal Google search tool can tell, I've never posted about a Portuguese artist. Perhaps that's because there are no famous artists from Portugal. Consider this Wikipedia list -- none of the names mentioned is familiar to me.

    Not even listed there is Adriano Sousa Lopes (1879-1944), some of whose work I've noticed on the Internet. His Wikipedia entry mentions that after studying art in Portugal, he went to France and studied under Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard and "from 1904 to 1912, he exhibited regularly at the Salon d'Automne." In 1917-18, during the Great War, he was commissioned as a war artist to depict Portuguese troops serving on the Western Front.

    The entry mentions that Sousa Lopes was a modernist, but later changed to a more traditional style. To me, his modernism was tepid. Mostly it boiled down to sketchiness in his paintings and the use of bright, faintly Fauvist color.

    On the whole, his work doesn't excite me, though a few paintings are interesting.


    As Ondinas - 1908
    A painting done in traditional style even though his French teachers were modernists. Perhaps this was done with the intent of pleasing the Portuguese art establishment of his time.

    Le Moulin Rouge - c. 1910
    More a sketch than a finished modernist work.

    I don't have a date for this, but guess from the clothing and hair style that it was painted around 1915. Sousa Lopes did a good job here.

    Ferme du Bois, distribuição do rancho
    A Great War engraving.

    Margerite Gros Perroux - 1920
    This surprised me, because it's so different from other Sousa Lopes paintings. For now, I'll have to trust the source site, but let me know if another artist painted this.

    At the Park - early 1920s
    This might be his wife.

    Blusa azul - 1925-28
    This is probably Sousa Lopes' best known painting, probably of his wife.

    Retrato Madame Sousa Lopes - 1927

    Great War mural panel in Museu Militar de Lisboa - early 1940s?
    Other artists might has assisted in the painting because Sousa Lopes' health was deteriorating.

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  • 07/28/16--01:00: Rudolph Belarski's Pulp Art
  • Rudolph Belarski (1900-1983) was one of many illustrators whose early career was spent painting covers for the many "pulp" (low-quality paper) magazines that were especially popular during the Great Depression of the 1930s thanks to their low prices and ability to distract readers from the hard times. A short biographical sketch is here.

    Belarski came from Pennsylvania's coal mining country, but was able to get away to New York City and study engineering and art at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute. Unlike his contemporary, Walter Baumhofer, Belarski never graduated from pulp to "slick" magazines, but he did move on to illustrating covers for paperback books.

    Below are examples of his pulp work, 1928-1943.


    War Stories cover - 16 August 1928
    Early Belarski cover art. It's not well done. The helmets of the (probably) American soldiers are a lot smaller than in reality, which helps to make the heads unconvincing.

    Aces cover art - July 1930
    This is better, though the scene is improbable -- the American pilot twisting around to fire the dead gunner's Lewis gun at a pursuing German fighter. Perhaps the magazine featured a short fiction story that included this action.

    British or American soldiers attacking
    Again, Belarski has trouble drawing Great War British style helmets, though these are better than in the earlier image.  The case was the same for many illustrators and fine artists, including William Orpen.

    War Birds cover - June 1936
    A Three Musketeers theme, though the flyers are in American planes.

    Thrilling Mystery cover - November 1936
    Damsel in distress. The red dress helps attract the attention of news stand browsers, a standard pulp cover practice.

    Argosy Weekly cover - 8 January 1938
    That airplane really interests me because it resembles the De Havilland Vampire jet fighter that first flew in 1943. Belarski's plane seems to be rocket powered.

    The Phantom Detective cover - n.d.
    Belarski's technique has improved considerably by the time this cover was painted -- I'm guessing it's from the end of 1930s or the early 1940s.

    Charging French poilus
    Probably painted in 1939 after World War 2 started but before France fell in June, 1940.  The helmets are convincing, as is the Char B1 bis tank in the background.

    Flying Stories cover - Fall 1943
    The geometry of the relationships of the aircraft and tracer bullet streams is haywire, but I assume the art director asked for lots of Japanese army fighters shooting, burning and otherwise keeping the USAAF B-17 occupied.

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    Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874–1939) was an American expatriate who spent most of the last 40 years of his life in France. A fairly lengthy Wikipedia biography is here. It mentions that he regarded himself as more self-taught than formally trained. This was despite that he had studied at Chicago's Art Institute, New York's Art Students League, and the Académie Julian in Paris as well as the Académie Carmen under Whistler. Even though he summered in Giverny, Monet's haunt, Frieseke did not consider himself influenced by him. Rather, he claimed Renoir was more of an influence.

    Considered an Impressionist, Frieseke was of the American variety, stressing drawing and depicting form as well as the play of colors.

    Even so, it took Frieseke a while to establish his best-known style, The images below do not include his very earliest works, but show what he was producing during his first five years or so in France.


    The Garden in June - 1911
    As usual, I include an establishing image, this showing the kind of painting Frieseke is best known for.

    Luxembourg Gardens - 1901
    Here he shows interest in the effects of light and shade, but he does this without the use of broken colors.

    Landscape, Le Pouldu, Brittany - 1901
    This painting seems to have been done with thinned paints that were then wiped.  The famous American illustrator Bernie Fuchs also did something like this at times.

    Medora Clark at the Clark Apartment, Paris - 1903
    Another fairly thinly painted work, but less sign of wiping.

    Nasturiums (Girl with Book) - 1904
    The flesh areas are painted conventionally here, but much of the rest is made of heavier or more distinct brushwork.

    The Green Sash - 1904
    To me, this seems Whistler-like with a strong hint of Japanese-influenced flatness in the setting.

    Ballerina - 1904
    Another fairly conventional work, but again the setting is flattened.

    Lady with Parasol - 1905
    The lower half seems Van Gogh- like, the upper part more like Gauguin.

    Lady with Parasol - 1908
    Even though Frieseke was approaching his signature style, this painting includes thin, wiped areas as well as more solidly depicted parts.  No divisionism or broken colors.  This would have been a really nice painting except for the botched boat (if that's what it is).

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    A while ago I wrote about Winston Churchill's art. Relatedly, this Telegraph article on Churchill's painting mentions regarding Churchill, that: "First, although he didn’t have any formal training, he learnt from the best. Churchill studied with his friend Sir John Lavery, the Irish artist best known for his portraits, and later learnt a new aspect of his craft from W R Sickert, who had a profound impact on modern art in Britain. Most important was Churchill’s close friendship with another major 20th-century British artist, William Nicholson, of whom he remarked: he was 'the person that taught me most about painting'".

    Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949), Wikipedia entry here, might be better known today as being the father of modernist painter Ben Nicholson. In his time, Sir William was well known in Britain for his paintings, illustrations, engravings and stage settings.

    In the Gallery section below, portraits are featured first, this to demonstrate his ability level in an area requiring acute observation. The second part shows some of his landscapes, the subject matter of his pupil, Winston Churchill.



    Lady in Yellow - 1893

    La Belle Chauffeuse - 1904

    James Matthew Barrie - 1904
    Creator of Peter Pan.

    Max Beerbohm - 1905
    British essayist and caricaturist.

    The Girl with a tattered Glove - 1909

    Miss Wish Wynne, Actress, in the Character of Janet Cannot for the Play "The Great Adventure" - 1913

    Miss Maude Nelke - c.1914
    Socialite and patron of the arts.

    Field Marshal Jan Smuts - 1923
    Prominent South African leader.


    La Place du Petit Enfer, Dieppe - 1908

    The Cornfield - 1925

    The Bathing Pool at Chartwell - 1934-35
    Chartwell was Winston Churchill's home in Kent.

    Matadero, Segovia - 1935

    A Grade Near Midhurst - 1936

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    Romà Ribera i Cirera (1848-1935) was a Catalonian painter whose genre was high society, though one source stated that he would have preferred to portray poor people. His Catalan Wikipedia entry is here, and the one in Spanish here. More biographical detail, also in Spanish and Catalan, is here.

    In brief, Ribera received formal art training in his native Barcelona, then moved to Rome for a few years where his paintings began to gain recognition. Goupil, the French art dealer, featured his work, and he lived in Paris for a while, eventually returning to Barcelona. He lived to age 86, but his final years were in poverty.

    Like a many artists of his generation, Ribera was skilled and well-trained. Better yet, he was able to paint interesting scenes in a pleasing way. His highly representational style was helpful early in his career, but seems to have made his work increasingly passé, even in comparatively artistically conservative Spain.


    Dama con traje de noche - 1893

    De soirée - c. 1894

    Woman powdering her nose

    Going to the Ball

    Dona de l'antifaç
    Woman with ball mask.

    Salida del baile
    Exiting the ball.

    Epilogo de un baile de máscaras - c. 1891
    Following a masked ball.

    Sleeping woman
    An "after the ball" scene?

    At the theatre?

    Sortida del Liceu - c. 1913
    Leaving the Barcelona opera house.

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