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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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    There is little lack of photographs of the TWA terminal designed by Eero Saarinen at JFK Airport in New York City, but I'll add to that pile in this post.

    For some background on the terminal, its Wikipedia entry is here.

    It was an astonishing building when it opened in May of 1962, and remains so. TWA was staggering by the 1980s however, entering its first bankruptcy in 1991 and ten years later its remains were acquired by American Airlines. The terminal has had an equally uneven existence, and the plan is to transform it into a hotel -- the structure being the hotel's public areas (as best I can tell).

    With one exception, the photos below were taken by me in June of 1965. They originally were slides that I scanned, cropped in many cases, and most had their color adjusted. They are not great photographic art, but might give you the flavor of the place when it was still fairly new.

    Gallery

    View of the TWA terminal when nearly completed.

    The approach was through a parking lot that is long gone.

    Heading towards the entrance from the passenger drop-off zone.

    The clock says it's nearly 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

    The tube-like shape in the background is a passageway to the airplanes.

    View from the upper level.

    A conversation nook.

    The restaurant-bar.  The tail of a KLM airliner is seen at the extreme left.

    Another view from the second level. It's now exactly 6 p.m.

    Flight information board.  The parking lot can be seen in the background.

    The building is visually entertaining because all those sweeping shapes have to come together here and there to create interesting details such as this.

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    Albert Guillaume (1873-1942) was a French illustrator and painter with a satirical mindset. His Wikipedia entry is here.

    Guillaume usually poked fun at the haute bourgeoisie, so for this post I decided to present some of his works dealing with the theatre.

    Gallery

    Musique savante
    The music lover seems inspired, but I'm not so sure about the others nearby.

    La Loge au théâtre
    He tended to depict pretty younger women with older men, so maybe there was a good deal of that during the Belle Époque and later.

    Les admiratrices (Lucien Guitry dans sa loge) - 1922

    Private opera box
    A group utterly fixated on what's happening on stage.

    Au theatre - 1920s

    Les retardataires
    The performance of the late arrivals.

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  • 10/27/16--01:00: Edmund F. Ward
  • Edmund Franklin Ward (1892-1990) was not as famous as some other illustrators during the 1890-1960 heyday of American magazine illustration. But he was competent and had his successes, especially in the 1920s.

    Ward's brief Wikipedia entry is here and other links touching on his career are here and here.

    As can be seen below, his 1920s style is similar to that of contemporary illustrators such as Dean Cornwell who painted in thick oils. As many other illustrators did, Ward altered his style and media to go along with changing illustration fashion. One result of this is that there is no distinctive Ward style.

    Gallery

    Dean Cornwell illustration - 1919
    Compare the 1920s illustrations by Ward below to this Cornwell.

    Trouble on the Trail - 1923

    The Stowaway - The Kelly Collection - 1924

    We Mean Business - Kelly Collection - 1924

    Egyptian vignette - 1923
    Vignette format illustration was common for secondary story illustrations. The lead illustration might have conventional rectangular borders, but others in the same magazine piece or illustrations in later issues containing other parts of the same, continuing story might be vignetted.

    Vignette - story illustration

    Vignette- story illustration

    Vignette - Saturday Evening Post story illustration

    Caught in the Act
    This possibly unfinished illustration or study was made around the mid-1930s. Note that the green hat in the mirror is not that same shape as the one in the foreground.

    Thunder on the Plains - This Week magazine, February 1936
    Here we see a change to watercolor or perhaps colored inks.

    GE Lamps advertisement - 1946
    An example of Ward's postwar work.

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  • 10/31/16--01:00: Cyrus, the Senior Cuneo
  • Cyrus Cincinnati Cuneo (1879-1916) died young from a freak accident: blood poisoning from a hatpin prick at a dance.

    At the time, he was a successful illustrator and painter based in England. Today he might be better known as being the father of Terence Cuneo, a beloved and honored British illustrator.

    But he wasn't British by origin. Cyrus (or "Ciro" as he was called) was born in San Francisco to Italian immigrants, growing up in the North Beach part of town. He became a boxer to help support himself while studying art in Paris where he greatly impressed James McNeill Whistler, one of his teachers. A biographical note is here, and a PDF with useful information is here.

    Cuneo was versatile, as can be seen in the collection below.

    Gallery

    Illustration from a book of A.J. Raffles stories by E.W. Hornung

    Canadian trapper attacked by wolves
    Cuneo spent some time in Canada, mostly doing artwork for Canadian Pacific.  This illustration might be for a fiction piece.

    Frontispiece for "The Air Patrol" by Herbert Strang (pseudonym)

    The Sinking of the Gneisenau
    This looks like an Illustrated London News sort of illustration. The Gneisenau was a German cruiser, part of Admiral von Spee's fleet that was mostly destroyed by the British in the Battle of the Falklands, 8 December 1914.

    Japanese Tea Garden
    Now for a change of pace from book and magazine illustration ...

    The Picnic

    Nell Marion Tenison - the artist's wife

    The Diners - 1913

    Arriving at the Ball

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  • 11/03/16--01:00: New York City People: 1965
  • During the 1960s, rigid following of women's clothing and grooming fashions began to fall away. I find it fairly easy to guess the approximate dates of when photos taken in the years from around 1910 until about 1960, even if there were no cars in the background to refine my analysis. But after 1960, it isn't at all that simple.

    Yes, the current scene of casual clothing with plenty of dominant logotypes is different from what one saw 50 years ago, but not by all that much. Today, 50-year-old scenes don't strike me as old-fashioned  seeming as 50-year-old scenes did in 1966 -- or 100-year old scenes do today (the same scenes, of course, from 50 years farther out).

    Below are photos I took of people in New York City in June of 1965. While the subjects do not appear totally modern, they are close enough that they can be seen as simply people, and not participants in a retro costume party.

    Gallery

    Tourists on Sixth Avenue.

    Women on Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center in background.

    Women near Sixth Avenue.

    Passing out pamphlets, Fifth Avenue & 49th Street.

    Window shopper, East 49th Street.

    Vendor, Downtown Manhattan.

    Vendor, Sixth Avenue & 51st Street.

    Carriages at the Plaza.  The building at the left across Fifth Avenue is the Sherry-Netherland, at the right is the Savoy Plaza.

    Unloading a Cadillac, Central Park South.

    Masked girls crossing Madison Avenue for some unknown purpose.

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    I really need to see an actual painting by Florentine artist Sergio Cerchi to be sure of what he's doing. This site suggests that his paintings are built atop collections of panels. But just looking at images of the on the internet, I can't rule out the possibility that those seeming panel edges are simply lines painted on a normal artists' canvas.

    Another difficulty I'm experiencing with this post is that information regarding Cerchi on the internet is almost nil. For instance, nowhere have I found his birthdate. What we know is that he has spent all or nearly all his life, training and career in Florence and that he has a strong interest in music as well as art. Here is his own web site. It's a bit hard to navigate, but clicking on his photo leads to a brief self-statement. Otherwise, there are many examples of his work.

    Cerchi interests me because he seems knowledgeable about history and art history. Plus, he is skilled at depicting people and giving them a sense of psychological mystery in many cases. His use of rectangular elements is quirky, but adds additional interest for the viewer. Also, many of his works are square, often having a one-meter format, the same as Gustav Klimt used for his Attersee landscapes.

    Gallery

    Appuntamento

    Il Drago

    Quixote II

    La Passeggiata

    Samurai

    Diana

    Eva

    Leda

    Ventaglio II

    Butterfly

    Cielo

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    New York City has been demolishing its past and rebuilding since it was established by the Dutch in 1624. Recent decades have seen successful efforts to preserve buildings that otherwise might have been destroyed.

    This post is a photo essay showing some photos I took in April of 1962 when I was stationed at Fort Slocum (also gone), the summer of 1963 when I was at Fort Meade, Maryland, and in June of 1965 when I was gathering information for my Masters thesis. Perhaps some readers who are New York fans might appreciate them.

    Gallery

    Art Students League, West 57th Street (1962)
    The building still exists, but overshadowed and overhung by a large modern tower, as this Observer article reports.

    Columbus Circle, Gallery of Modern Art under construction (1962)
    Millionaire Huntington Hartford favored a more traditional variety of modern art, so he had this building created to display it. The exterior was sheathed in marble, but only bits were in place when I photographed it. Edward Durell Stone was the architect. I visited it once, and all I remember was that it seemed cramped. The museum closed in 1969 and this explains what happened since. Yes, that's the Empire State Building at the left, sighted down Broadway.

    Savoy Plaza Hotel (1963)
    It's the building to the right. This isn't a good photo and many fine ones can be found on the internet. I include it because it's mine. The hotel was replaced by the large, nondescript, General Motors Building. The tall building is the Sherry-Netherland hotel-plus-apartments that still stands. The Savoy Plaza Wikipedia entry is here.

    Singer Building (1963)
    This was for a short while (1908-09) the tallest building in the city. It was demolished by taking it apart bit-by-bit in 1968. Its tall shaft was capped by the slightly bulbous top pictured here.  It never looked right to me. More information is here.

    Tribune Building (1962)
    During the late 1800s some newspaper offices clustered near City Hall, and the Tribune was one of them. The building by Richard Morris Hunt was completed in 1875 and demolished in 1966. More information is here.

    Subway entrance/exit, Park Avenue South & East 28th Street (1963)
    This is what subway entrances often looked like early in the 20th century. They were disappearing when I made a point of taking this picture. The drab-looking neighborhood has been gentrified, if Google street views are any guide.

    42nd Street, west of Times Square (1965)
    This stretch of 42nd Street has been spruced up a little in recent times. Fifty years ago it was more gritty, as can be seen here. Those movie theaters were second-run houses. When a movie had its initial run, it would be seen around the corner in Times Square on Broadway or Seventh Avenue. When attendance fell off, the film would move to a house on 42nd where prices were lower and affordable for people with limited entertainment budgets. Back in those pre-internet days, one way of telling the commercial success of a movie was to take note of how long it lasted in Times Square before it went to 42nd.

    Railroad yard revealed below new construction, Park Avenue (1965)
    The Wikipedia entry on Park Avenue mentions that the street is partly built over railroad tracks. In my New York days, the New York Central and New Haven lines came down Park and then around 50th Street fanned out to Grand Central Terminal's gate system. The photo was taken while construction was getting underway at 299 Park Avenue, the Westvaco Building, as it was first called. The link mentions that the tracks under the building site were those of the New Haven. Since not many buildings are built along this stretch of Park, my camera captured a rare sight.

    Ziegfeld Theatre (1965)
    The Ziegfeld Theatre designed by Joseph Urban opened in 1927 and was demolished in 1966 as this Wikipedia entry reports. When my photo was taken it was clearly on its way out. So, like the subway entrance above, I made sure to photograph it.

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    Austin Briggs (1908-1973) never settled into a distinctive style, shifting over time according to his personal artistic development and the influence of changing illustration fashions and client expectations. What was consistent was his great skill in drawing people.

    A short Wikipedia biography is here and a fairly brief biography on the Norman Rockwell Museum site is here. A more detailed biography can be found here. Commentary on his methods is here. Some statements by Briggs himself are here and here. David Apatoff writes about Briggs' sketchbooks here.

    Briggs was a top-notch illustrator. I hope a book about him and his art is in the works somewhere.

    Gallery

    Flash Gordon - Sunday spread - 21 December 1947
    Briggs drew the daily Flash Gordon comic strip and later took over the traditional Sunday version from its creator, Alex Raymond. Raymond was the best at drawing it, but Briggs was not far behind.

    American Airlines ad - Saturday Evening Post - 15 January 1949

    American Airlines ad art

    Plymouth ad art - late 1940s
    This was an odd advertising campaign for a low-priced car because a Plymouth does not appear. Some luxury can brands had used this strategy, however, apparently somewhat successfully.

    Illustration - c. 1957

    Ad art - 1951
    I'm not sure if this is for Buick or American Airlines. And it might not be for an advertisement. I am clueless regarding this.

    Briggs illustrated for American Airlines and General Motors. The DC-6 in the background is positioned similarly to such planes in a series of American Airlines ads, but it lacks the complete AA paint scheme. The Buick is clearly a Buick, not the sort of anonymous car design illustrators placed in settings unrelated to a specific automobile brand. The Buick also seems to have a New York license plate, something unusual in car ad illustrations.

    Nero Wolfe story illustration

    Archie Goodwin depicted in a Nero Wolfe story illustration - Saturday Evening Post - 21 June 1958

    Service with a Smile - Douglas Aircraft ad art
    From the days when smoking was allowed on flights.

    Drawing

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    William Arthur Breakspeare (1855-1914) was from Birmingham, getting much of his art training there. He spent a brief period in Paris, and lived in London starting in 1881 while retaining ties to Birmingham. His Wikipedia entry contains those and a few other details. There is little else about him on the Internet.

    Breakspeare could paint competently and was able to made a career as an artist in Victorian and Edwardian times. His subjects tended to be 17th century scenes, pianos and pretty women. And his interpretations of these were conventional most of the time. As is the case for many lesser-known artists, he occasionally could make paintings worth noting.

    Here are examples of Breakspeare's paintings.

    Gallery

    The Contract
    In theory, this might be an illustration or otherwise a reference to literature or an historical event because there is little intrinsic meaning in the depiction.

    The Eve of Battle
    The same applies here.  There is little in the way of the drama or tension I would expect in a real-world pre-battle situation.  In this painting, the men at the table seem quite calm and satisfied.  The cavalier at the right has a look of concern, but serves no dramatic purpose unless the painting is an illustration of an historical or literary source.

    If Music be the Food of Love
    Breakspeare usually included pianos where music was part of the action.  Here the man seems to be playing an organ.

    Distant Thoughts
    More of a sketch than a finished work, but interesting in that regard.

    Resting
    One of his better-known works.  Pretty fancy girl for a harvester.

    The Alluring Student
    Hmm.  A piano also beckons.

    The Reluctant Pianist
    This looks like the same piano and bench, but away from the window.

    Blue Eyes
    She is the same woman wearing the same dress as in the previous painting.

    The End of the Evening
    Finally, a scene that's not Victorian.  Very Edwardian in spirit, I'd say.

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    There are plenty of images on the internet of Pierre de Mougins' paintings, but almost nothing in the way of biographical information. This link will have to do.

    Mougins was born in 1966 in Antony, France (a little ways west of Orly airport), claims to be self-taught and inspired by the likes of de Chirico and 1920s painters. He has lived in Berlin in recent years where he has begun painting on stones.

    The paintings that interest me the most have an Art Deco look to them. There is something about the passage of time that allows us to create an image (not necessarily accurate) in our minds that is a distillation of a past era. Which is part of what Mougins does, though he can't completely escape influences from his own times.

    Gallery

    De fête au café

    Au Lapin Agile
    The Lapin Agile was an artists' hangout on Montmartre around the turn of the 20th century. It still exists.

    billiards

    How Long is Now

    Rue de la soie

    Jazz club

    La grande parade

    Suze
    Well, that's my guess as to the title. It could be reference to a French drink or possibly to 1930s cabaret singer Suzy Solidor, who the blonde strongly resembles.

    Riviera scene

    backstage

    dancer

    In the Auction Room

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    New York City's famed Waldorf-Astoria hotel (1931 version) is set to be closed early in 2017 for renovation and partial conversion to condominiums. That's what this Wikipedia entry mentions as of the time this post is being drafted (5 October 2016).

    My wife and I decided to stay at the Waldorf to experience it before its closure. She had stayed there as a college student on her way to a European tour and I spent a few nights there in the late 1970s while on a business trip.

    Below are some photos I took of present details. I suppose most of these will be preserved, but don't know for sure.

    Gallery

    An architectural rendering of the hotel from before it was built. It's on display on the lobby floor. Some reflections are on its protective glass, so the image is slightly degraded.


    The Park Avenue entrance.

    A closer look at the exterior ornamentation.

    View towards Park Avenue from inside that entrance.

    Panning to the left of the previous image, we find this.

    Foyer view opposite from the previous photo.

    Opposite the entrance is this hallway and elevator lobby leading to the main lobby.

    Inside the main lobby. The elaborate clock was from the original Waldorf-Astoria located on the present site of the Empire State Building.


    Two views of Peacock Alley, located on the north side of the main lobby. It's a bar and restaurant, but the original was a passage in the old Waldorf-Astoria where elegant ladies could and would promenade.

    Door grillwork on the lobby level.



    Tower elevator door decorations.

    This was our room in the Towers. I include this photo because, unlike the public areas pictured above, this is likely to disappear during the renovation.

    As you probably noticed, the Waldorf-Astoria is an example of Art Deco architecture and ornamentation. Very little of the geometric kind of Art Deco here, but more of the "organic" style seen in the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (Wikipedia entry here), which had its roots in Art Nouveau.

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    Around the time I visited Poland's National Museum, a few paintings by Edward Okuń (1872–1945) were in the same room as many of those by the more famous Symbolist Jacek Malczewski. But the gallery guidebook stressed that in portraits, his style tended to be Art Nouveau. His Wikipedia entry does not categorize him.

    Okuń came from what the entry calls an aristocratic family, and he had an inheritance that probably left him free to pursue art pretty much as he desired. He began his training in Czarist Warsaw and them moved on to Munich and Paris. During the first two decades of the 20th century he was in Italy, thereby avoiding the Great War battles in Poland and only returned to Warsaw after the 1920-21 Soviet-Polish war. He continued to visit Italy and painted there. Okuń was not able to escape World War 2 and was in Warsaw during the 1944 uprising and German retaliation.

    Gallery

    Portrait of the Artist's Wife - 1904

    Philistines - 1904

    View Through Window - 1905

    The Winner - 1910

    Self-Portrait - 1913

    Musica Sacra - 1915

    The War and Us - 1923

    Naples Bay and Vesuvio - 1937

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    Not long ago I came across some frothy paintings of elegant women in various Paris settings. By their costumes, the period of those settings is the Belle Époque of the 1890s and early 1900s.

    The artist was Victor Guerrier. Various web sites credit those paintings to a Victor Guerrier whose dates are 1893-1968. But there seems to have been another French painter named Victor Guerrier who lived 1858-1953. There is essentially no biographical information about either man.

    Given his dates and the Belle Époque settings, it would seem that the earlier Guerrier should have been the artist. The style of the signatures on the paintings hints at that as well. But if all those art auction, etc. websites state that the 1893-1968 Guerrier was the artist, then he would have to have concentrated on the Belle Époque as an artistic faux-sentimentalist, having been a boy in those times.

    If anyone knows the truth about this puzzling matter, please let us know in Comments.

    Here are some of those paintings.

    Gallery

    À la terrasse

    Cafe sociery
    This looks to be set just before or after the Great War.

    Élégantes à Paris
    By the Luxembourg grounds, the Panthéon in the background. I don't notice the McDonald's I sometimes visit that should be at the far right of the image.

    Femme Élégante

    Flower shopping
    Guerrier painted several flower shopping scenes.

    La Brasserie Mollard

    La promenade
    Is that the Café de la Paix in the background?

    The Terrace

    Le menu

    Scene on the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne (now the Avenue Foch)

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    Julius Rolshoven (1888-1930) spent about 40 years of his life in Italy, as this Wikipedia entry states. He was born in Detroit, studied art at Cooper Union, and then went off to Germany for a while before going to Italy where he studied under Frank Duveneck. After Italy entered the Great War, he moved to Taos, New Mexico where he soon became part of its art colony scene. Postwar, he continued to travel between Taos and Florence.

    A somewhat different take on his biography is here. It says he was in Paris studying at the Académie Julian and didn't move to Florence more or less permanently until 1902. It mentions that he was "forced" to leave Italy. Perhaps that had to do with family ties to Germany.

    Although there is little information about him on the internet and not many examples of his work, Rolshoven's lifestyle indicates that he was either a commercially successful painter or else had independent wealth, perhaps coming from his father's jewelry business.

    His European-oriented paintings are usually pleasing and skillfully done. In Taos, his style shifted, perhaps due to the surroundings or maybe because of influence by other artists. I prefer his traditional works.

    Gallery

    The Singer Lady Lillian Hune Henschel (née Bailey) - 1896

    Nude Model Reading a Sketchbook - c.1900

    Young Woman in Florence

    Assisi Market Girls

    Dona Tosca - 1923

    Taos War Chief

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    Roland H. Heyder (1956 - ) is a German painter who, according to the latest information I could find, is based in Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

    There are plenty of images of his work on the internet, but little in the way of biographical information. His web site is here, and from there you can link to "vita" for a few details. Heyder says he is self-taught and early-on was inspired by Salvador Dalí and Surrealism as well as Magical Realism.

    I find his art more difficult to pigeonhole. Like Dalí, Heyder paints in a smooth, hard-edge style. But his subjects are seldom distorted in a Dalíesque manner. Nor is there any claim that he is tapping into his Freudian subconscious, as the actual Surrealists claimed (largely falsely, I think).

    What Heyder does do is juxtapose items in wide-open settings that evoke the spatial feeling of Dalí and some other Surrealists. He also usually includes gorgeous, nude or partly-clad women in psychologically ambiguous situations.

    It takes a lot of work to create paintings like Heyder's. Yet he has created a large number of them, so he's clearly a hard worker. Click on the images below to enlarge.

    Gallery

    Photo of Roland Heyder at work
    His website states: "In terms of technique, I generally work on canvas prepared with at least two coats of gesso. I do a pencil sketch on paper, then on the canvas before painting with acrylic and then in oil." But this photo shows him painting directly in what seems to be oil in a top-down "window shade" manner. To do this, he would have to have spent time clearly defining his images and carefully establishing colors and their placement before staring the final painting.

    4000 Miles from the Washington coast - 1986
    Juxtapositions with a Surrealist feeling.

    Bedrohtes Stilleben (Threatened Still Life) - 1995
    More of the same, but with a whiff of Magical Realist Giorgio de Chirico.

    Kapitulation - 1986

    Museumseinbruch (Museum Break-In) - 1996

    Die neue Welt (The New World) - 1990

    Das Bild vom Frieren (Picture of Freezing) - 1984
    Note the expression on the face of the woman at the left; this enlivens what otherwise would have been a static scene.

    Das Castell - 2011
    This is about as Surrealistic as Heyder gets.

    Der alte Mann und das Meer (The Old Man and the Sea) - 1997
    The title is the same as that of an Ernest Hemingway novella, though its subject was entirely different from what Heyder shows here.

    Die Königin (The Queen) - 1998
    Chess allegory.

    Viktoria - 2012
    Something to do with her -- or the African falls?

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    Gerald Leslie Brockhurst (1890-1878) doesn't seem to be well known today, but does seem to have done well as an engraver and portrait artist in his day. His Wikipedia entry and this link sketch his artistic career as well as his messy marital situation.

    In 1914 he married Anaïs Folin, but met 16-year-old model Kathleen Woodward in 1928 who eventually became his mistress and, following his 1940 divorce, his second wife. Brockhurst renamed her for his purposes Kathleen Dorette -- the golden girl.

    The first link above mentions that he received a traveling scholarship to France and Italy in 1913 and was inspired by Italian Renaissance portraiture. That is why many of his portraits include bits of landscapes in the background. That might also have to do with the smooth, highly finished treatment of the faces of his subjects in such portraits.

    Gallery

    The Fan - 1915
    This might be his first wife, but not painted in the Italian style mentioned above.

    Ireland - 1916
    Again, perhaps his wife, now with a landscape background.

    Anaïs
    His wife again, in a very Renaissance manner that includes her costume. This might have been painted in the late 1920s when "Dorette" was entering the scene -- note that the background appears unfinished, though the painting is signed.

    Dorette - 1933
    The second link above mentions that this painting created a sensation at a 1933 Royal Academy exhibit.

    Dorette - 1930s
    During the mid-1930s the fashion was plucked eyebrows replaced by penciled lines. Which is why Dorette's eyebrows differ from painting to painting.

    Jeunesse Dorée - 1934
    Perhaps the best-known Dorette painting.

    Margaret, Duchess of Argyll - c.1931

    Portrait of Mrs Lebus

    Ophelia - c.1937
    Dorette again, this time with natural eyebrows.

    Nadia

    By the Hills - 1939

    Wallis, Duchess of Windsor - 1939

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    Hugh Ferriss (1889–1962) is my favorite architectural delineator. He has plenty of other fans, if the nearly 200,000 results from Googling his name is any indication. A brief Wikipedia entry about him is here.

    Ferriss is probably best known for two aspects of his work. The first deals with 1920-1930 renderings of skyscrapers actually built or that were proposed but not built for one reason or another. The other is the set of speculative rendering of a future city collected in his book "Metropolis of Tomorrow" (1929). Many of these images are iconic of their times.

    He usually rendered using pencils, charcoal and related shading media. This suited the high-rise architectural themes of the 1920s -- styles known as Art Deco and something that might be called streamlined Gothic.

    The 1930s saw the Great Depression with its general lack of new construction aside from government buildings that often featured highly simplified classic themes with a hint of Deco. Post- World War 2 architecture soon conformed to International Style dictates. That is, tall buildings were severely rectangular with glass-and-steel cladding while lacking any form of decoration.

    Ferriss' successful 1920s rendering style and mediums were not really appropriate for depicting International Style buildings. They worked best with buildings with more intricate shapes, stone or brick cladding, and ornamentation. Although he was involved in some major projects, the resulting renderings were not nearly as impressive as his earlier works. This was despite an effort to adjust his style to the new circumstances.

    Gallery

    Wanamaker's Bridge (New York City) - 1917
    Wanamaker's was a major Philadelphia and New York City department store.

    American Radiator Building (New York City) - completed 1924
    The building still stands on West 40th Street across from Bryant Park.

    Fisher Building (Detroit) - 1928
    Located on West Grand Boulevard across the street from what then was General Motors' headquarters.

    The Majestic Hotel (Chanin Construction Co.) - 1930
    A speculative project, probably in New York City.

    Future city scene
    As was the case for the previous images, Ferriss' style matched the architectural style very well.

    Metropolis of Tomorrow - 1928
    Again, the buildings are sculpted masses where windows are comparatively small details.

    Metropolis of Tomorrow - c.1928
    Dramatic night scene. I wish I were at that cocktail party on the terrace at the lower right of the rendering.

    United Nations Headquarters - c.1948
    A proposed ensemble.

    United Nations Headquarters - c.1948
    More about the UN Headquarters here. Design began in 1947, a cornerstone was laid in 1949 and the initial grouping was completed by 1952. The tall Secretariat building is steel-and-glass on the longer sides, and all this reflective material is hard to depict using Ferriss' toolkit. Here he did his best to emphasize massing rather than fenestration.

    Lever House (New York City) - c.1949
    The Lever House, built 1950-52, was an early International Style office building in New York. Sensational when it was new, but now nondescript. It is on the west side of Park Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets. In this rendering, Ferriss selected a night setting that allowed him to capture some of the structural elements without the complication of reflections off the glass.

    Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts - c.1959
    The main Lincoln Center groundbreaking was in 1959, and the original ensemble largely complete by 1966. Shown here is the Metropolitan Opera House. It was completed in 1966. Given that Ferriss died in January 1962, it is likely that this is one of his last renderings.

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    The comparatively small -- but excellent -- Frick Collection in New York City has nearly ten percent of existing paintings by the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675), Wikipedia entry here.

    Wikipedia also has a list of his works (here) that contains links to images. According to the entry, there are 34 paintings currently considered actual Vermeer works. The Frick Collection has three of these. Other "large" Vermeer collections are: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (4); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (4); National Gallery, Washington, D.C. (3); and Mauritshuis, The Hague (3). So the Frick punches far above its weight in this regard.

    I visited the Frick Collection in September, the first time there in many years. Here are its Vermeers.

    Gallery

    De Soldaat en het Lachende Meisje (Officer and a Laughing Girl) - 1655-1660, acquired 1911
    The Frick web page for this painting is here.

    Mistress and Maid - c. 1667, acquired 1919
    Frick page for this one is here.

    Girl Interrupted at her Music - 1658-59 or 1660-61, acquired 1901
    Frick information here.
    Even though this is considered a genuine Vermeer, I have trouble believing it. That's because of the treatment of the people is not as polished as in other Vermeer paintings. Yes, the setting is typical with a window at the left and a map as background. And surely the paints and canvas were tested and found to be mid-17th century. If this is indeed by Vermeer, then I wonder if he was experimenting with a slightly different style of painting people, or perhaps the painting is unfinished.

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  • 12/22/16--01:00: The Prolific John Collier
  • John Maler Collier (1850-1934) was a British artist who cranked out a lot of paintings, especially portraits that were what many artists did (and still do) to keep bread on the table beneath the roof over their heads. Collier came from a successful family and married into another one, but still had to earn his keep via portraits. A rather odd (as of this writing) Wikipedia entry about him is here.

    Most of his portraits were competently done, but seldom came close to the artistic levels of contemporaries such as John Singer Sargent, Philip de Laszlo or William Orpen. His paintings of other subjects exhibited more technical and conceptual variety. Most seem competently done and some are interesting, though I find it hard to claim any as a true masterpiece.

    Below are examples of Colllier's portraiture and more casual works.

    Gallery

    Marion Collier, née Huxley, the Artist's Wife
    She of the famous Huxley family.

    Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield
    An example of a typical Collier commissioned portrait.

    Rudyard Kipling - 1900
    He also painted Kipling in 1891.


    Field Marshal Herbert Kitchener - 1910
    Collier was not above doing more than one version of a painting.

    Priestess of Bacchus - 1885-89

    Young Girl Draped in Tiger Skin
    The titles are as I found them on the internet, though the subject is the same.

    Lady Godiva - 1898
    This has a Pre-Raphaelite feeling to it.

    Mrs Osborne
    Probably done in the 1920s. A nice portrait using an interesting pose.

    Reclining Woman
    More hard-edge here, but also interesting. Note the Japanese screen in the background contrasting with the French settee.

    Sacred and Profane Love - 1919
    A modernized takeoff on a well-used subject. The composition is odd, and it's hard to notice the reflection of the officer returning from the war seen in the mirror because it's quite small. However, it does form the apex of a triangle based on the subjects' heads, which help a little.

    View Across Lake Como
    A rare Collier landscape.

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    Some readers have been enjoying viewing my old photos of New York City. So why not post more?

    The current batch of June, 1965 photos has less quality that some of the previous sets, but I hope the subject matter will be interesting. Click on the images to enlarge.

    Gallery

    Airliners at JFK Airport
    Shown are Boeing 707s, at least one DC-8, one or perhaps two Convair 880s or 990s, and an older Lockheed Constellation. The Aer Lingus in the foreground had boarding stairs positioned fore and aft. Casually approaching the plane are some passengers about to board. One is unlikely to see this at JFK nowadays.

    Women on Sixth Avenue

    People, Sixth Avenue

    Across 42nd Street from Grand Central Terminal
    The bus might not be air conditioned: note the open windows.

    Sherman Statue, Grand Army Plaza
    Nowadays the ensemble of Victory leading General Sherman and his horse is covered in gold leaf. I prefer the more sombre version shown here.

    Commuters on West 42nd Street
    The Port Authority bus terminal was (and is) located between 8th and 9th avenues and 40th and 41st streets. So it's likely that some of the people heading towards the left of this photo are on their way to the terminal and then on to New Jersey and home.

    West 42nd Street Store fronts
    Second-run movie houses and stores selling cheap goods were the rule on 42nd Street west of Times Square in 1965.

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