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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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    Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889) was an important member of the French academic art establishment during the second half of the 19th century. Although he placed second in the 1845 Prix de Rome competition, a bureaucratic quirk allowed him funding to study in Rome 1846-1850. In 1855 he was appointed Knight of the Legion of Honor, and he became an Officer in 1863. He opened his own studio in the École des Beaux-Arts that same year. He was a member of the Salon jury in the 1860s. In 1870 he became a Salon vice-president. And in 1875 he became chairman of the Salon's paintings jury. Cabanel's health declined in the late 1880s and he died in January 1889.

    His fairly brief Wikipedia entry is here. Perhaps the most interesting information there is a list of his Beaux-Arts pupils. They include Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, Eugène Carrière, Pierre-August Cot, Jules Bastien-Lepage, Henri Gervex, Aristide Maillol, Henri Regnault, Solomon J. Solomon and Adolphe Willette.

    As for his art, Cabanel was not a pure pompier school academician, though did produce works of that kind.

    Below are examples of Cabanel's paintings in chronological order.


    Albaydé - 1848
    Painted while studying in Rome.

    Death of Moses - Musée Fabre version - 1850
    Displayed on his return from Rome.

    The Glorification of St. Louis - c.1854

    The Birth of Venus - 1863
    Probably Cabanel's most famous Painting. It can be found in Paris' Musée d'Orsay.

    Emperor Napoléon III - 1865

    The Druidess - 1868

    Christina Nilsson as Pandora - 1873

    The Nymph Echo - 1874
    Note the loosely painted setting.

    Phaedra - 1880
    Here everything is hard-edge.

    Mary Victoria Leiter, later Lady Curzon - 1887

    Olivia Peyton Murray Cutting - 1887
    Compare the poses and settings of these ladies painted the same year. Was Cabanel "mailing it in" as his health declined?

    Cleopatra Testing Poisons on Condemned Prisoners - 1887
    Perhaps his last "pompier" work.

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    This post has nothing whatsoever to do with art. But Bill Shakespeare's plays give me license to change the pace now and then, so here is another post with a dump of old photos I took.

    The occasion was my army assignment to Korea back in the days before 1970 or thereabouts when many troops were deployed overseas by ship rather than by air.

    Nothing profound here, but I hope a few readers will enjoy seeing how some things were, those many years ago. I sailed from the Oakland Army Terminal in September of 1963, arriving in Korea early that October. I left Korea in August of the following year a few days after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident that set off America's formal involvement in the Vietnam War, arriving in Oakland for my discharge at the start of September. Click on the images to enlarge.


    Hawaii: Waikiki as seen from the Punchbowl. That's Diamond Head at the left, and the long, flat structure on the right near the shore is the Ala Moana shopping mall that opened four years earlier. High-rise hotels were starting to sprout, but were still few compared to now.

    Here is Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki's main drag. This was probably taken near the Moana hotel. The tall building in the distance is still there, as can be seen below in the Appendix.

    The beach at Waikiki. The pink building is the famous Royal Hawaiian hotel, and the white buildings to the right are the Moana hotel and its Surfrider annex. At the far left the new, tall Ilikai Hotel is rising. Today, the backdrop to this scene is high-rise structures.

    Yokohama harbor, our first Far East stop.

    On deck at sea aboard the General Hugh J. Gaffey.

    Sergeants and other E-4 and higher ranks debarking at Naha, Okinawa.

    The Gaffey docked at Naha. The 1944-vintage ship was 608 feet long (slightly less than 200 meters) and was designed to hold 5,200 troops. When I sailed, there might have been 1,500 aboard.

    The port area at Inchon, Korea and Wolmi-Do island is at the right. On the far side of it is where on 15 September 1950 MacArthur's troops landed far behind the North Korean lines to turn the tide during the first phase of the Korean War. The Gaffey is in the distance at the left behind the masts of the landing barge. Tides at Inchon are extreme, so a ship as large as the Gaffey could not approach the shoreline and we had to use the barges to come ashore.  The army trucks by the barges will be taking us to Ascom City for processing and assignment to our units.

    The plaza across from the Seoul, Korea main railroad station from where this picture was taken. The vehicles include Japanese-made sedans, hopsung vans and busses built on army truck chassis. I was on my way south to Taegu for duty at the headquarters of the 7th Logistical Command.

    Approaching San Francisco on my way home aboard the General J.C. Breckenridge, the same class of ship as the Gaffey.

    Still offshore. The Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point and Alcatraz are in the background. Many of the soldiers about to be discharged tore their rank insignia from their sleeves for some reason. I did not, for some reason.


    I visited Honolulu recently and took some photos in an attempt to do a "Then and Now" for some of the images shown above.

    I couldn't duplicate the point-of-view of the Kalakaua Avenue scene due to the presence of more recent buildings, so this was taken from the opposite direction. The "tall" drum-shaped building in the 1963 photo can be found near the center of the image, above the cars.

    A December 2016 view of the Waikiki beach area from a slightly different angle and closer. The Moana is at the right and the Royal is at the center.

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    John White Alexander (1856-1915) -- Wikipedia entry here -- painted some interesting stylized pictures featuring women. Like most artists, he also painted many less formal works. A while ago I posted about several paintings he made that featured women clad in outfits featuring the color green.

    I was on a rare (for me in recent years) visit to New York City early September and managed to spend an hour or two at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and viewed a few fragments of its huge, world-class collection.

    While there, I snapped a few photos of Alexander's circa-1906 Study in Black and Green, more of a sketch than a finished work. The Met has these few words to say about it.

    My establishment shot.

    Closer in, slightly cropped.

    Tighter view of the face and hands.  Alexander seems to have done some underpainting and layering.  Most brush strokes not on the subject's face are obvious.  Alexander's brushwork on the hands and arms follows the paths of the forms rather than including strokes across those paths -- something other artists often do.  This a reason for calling this painting a sketch or study: he seemed to have worked fairly quickly and didn't bother to define the forms' structures in much detail.

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    Henry Patrick Raleigh (1880-1944) was one of those illustrators who both captured and helped to define glamorous aspects of 1920s and early 1930s America.

    David Apatoff's take on Raleigh's style is well worth reading. And here is a web site devoted to Raleigh.

    His son Christopher did a book on Raleigh a few years ago and provided the text for a new book about the man and his art by Auad Publishing Company (web site here). This book can be ordered via that site or, for those who prefer to use Amazon, the link to it is here.

    Christopher Raleigh's account is both interesting and useful. The quality of the reproductions, especially those in color, is uneven. That might have been due the need to scan publications printed 90 or so years ago when printing quality was not nearly as good as now and where the paper the illustrations were printed on has suffered from age. Some or even many of the reproductions might have come from original works in Christopher Raleigh's collection. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify reproduction sources other than those from scans of advertisements. Identification of dates and publications of illustrations is sketchy: one "unknown" illustration is shown in a photo of an assemblage of Saturday Evening Post pages on the final page of the book, another's date is fairly clearly seen by Raleigh's signature).  However, most readers can estimate approximate dates by the depicted women's fashions, and few readers would be familiar with the stories and situations Raleigh was illustrating, so precise identification isn't very important in most cases.

    Quibbles aside, the book's value lies in the biographical information and, especially, the many wonderful illustrations Henry Raleigh made during his heyday. It's well worth its price.

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    Charles Joseph Watelet (1867-1954) was a Belgian painter who studied under Alfred Stevens for a while and, like Stevens, usually painted women. About the only biographical information that I could find regarding Watelet on the Internet is here.

    Briefly, he rebelled against family tradition and took up painting in his early twenties. For financial reasons he eventually had to leave Paris and return to Belgium where he gradually built his reputation, eventually moving to Brussels and winning awards.

    His most interesting period was the 1920s and 30s when he painted women dressed and undressed. Below are examples of his work. In case you are viewing this at the office, be warned that the nudes are at the bottom, so be careful how you scroll down.


    Jeune élégante allongée dans un canape

    Madame Godart - 1933

    Lady in white
    From around 1900.

    Jeune femme
    Watelet could capture personality.

    Seated woman in front of mirror
    Interesting pose and setting.

    Young woman in white - 1924

    Girl in satin gown - 1929
    The 1920s facial makeup he depicts makes this young lady more artificial looking than the one in the previous image.

    Looking in the mirror - 1924
    Another interestingly posed subject -- nude, but not obviously so.

    Le modele intimide - 1929

    Les ballerines
    This seems to be one of Watelet's later works where he simplified his subjects faces and other details.

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    Émile Jean-Horace Vernet (1789-1863), who painted using the name Horace Vernet, was the son and grandson of artists, as this Wikipedia entry states. His father was Carle Vernet (1758-1836) and his grandfather was Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789).

    Horace was born in the Louvre, where his parents were living at the Revolutionary time. According to his father's sketchy Wikipedia entry, Horace's aunt was a victim of the Terror. However, the rest of the family avoided her fate despite their connections to the Ancien Régime. As for the adult Horace, he made sure to have ties to whatever régime was in power, be it Bourbon, Orléans or Bonaparte. Due to these connections as well as his talent, Vernet had a successful career in those pre-modernist times.

    His subject matter was military scenes, Orientalism and portraits. Examples are below.


    Statue of Vernet at l'Hôtel de ville de Paris
    An indication of regard for Vernet.

    Napoleon - 1815
    An early work painted the year of Napoleon's return and Waterloo.

    Napoleon's Tomb - 1821
    Painted the year after Napoleon's death on St. Helena.

    Napoleon Bonaparte Leading the Troops Over the bridge of Arcole - 1826
    Vernet painted several scenes of Napoleon's battles.

    Charles X of France - c.1826

    Study of Olympe Pélissier as Judith - 1830
    Olympe Pélissier (1799-1878) had an interesting life, as this link indicates.

    Portrait of a Lady - 1831

    La prise de Constantine - 1837
    The French Foreign Legion during the conquest of Algeria.

    Self-Portrait - 1835
    Note his North African garb here an in the statue in the first image.

    Scene from the Mexican Expedition of 1838 - 1841

    Arabs Traveling in the Desert - 1843

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    Charles X (Charles Philippe, 1757-1836), the last main-line Bourbon king of France, ruled for almost six years (1824-1830) before abdicating and being succeeded by Louis-Philippe, duc d'Orléans. Two of his brothers, Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, preceded him as king. Louis XVI was beheaded after the Revolution and Louis VIII became king with the post-Bonaparte restoration. Charles' Wikipedia entry is here.

    Charles was pre-photography, but barely. However, portraits of him by different artists show striking agreement regarding his appearance while king, so we can be reasonably sure how he looked. In several instances in the images below, he is wearing the same costume (though medals on his chest vary from portrait to portrait).

    Note that several portraits have his lips slightly parted. This must have been a strong characteristic and one that Charles apparently didn't mind being displayed.


    Charles when Comte d'Artois, by Henri Pierre Danloux - 1798

    By François Gérard (and atelier), detail - c.1825

    By Georges Rouget

    By Thomas Lawrence - 1825

    By Robert Lefèvre - 1826

    By Léon Cogniet

    By Horace Vernet

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    While dashing through New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art early in September, I came across Fleur de Lis (c. 1895-1900) by Robert Lewis Reed (1862-1929). His Wikipedia entry is here, and I wrote about him here. The Met's website page on the painting is here.

    At the time the painting was made, Reid was practicing the American version of Impressionism where broken color and visible brush strokes were combined with greater attention to drawing than in classical French Impressionism, and where key areas such as faces were painted more traditionally. Fleur de Lis has a similar feeling to some of paintings of women by Frederick Frieseke and Richard E. Miller.

    Image of Fleur de Lis from the Met's web site.

    My establishment / aide-memoir photo.  Note the difference in color due to artificial lighting in the museum and perhaps sensors in my camera.

    Close-in photo. This is slightly cropped, and I also played around with the color which is still slightly more in the red direction than the colors in the museum's image above. Reid painted fairly thinly here, though parts of flowers and the subject's clothing show stronger brushwork. Note the blueish background color touches on the subject's face, hair and hands. Also bits of her hair color spotted elsewhere. This helps to unify the painting.

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    Elwin Martin (Larry) Stults, Jr. (1899-1996) was a commercial artist active from the 1920s into the 1940s and perhaps for a while beyond. The Stults website has some biographical information here. It seems he spent part of his career working in Haddon Sundblom's shop (I wrote about Sundblom here).

    Stults is perhaps best-known for his illustrations for Hupmobile cars that appeared in 1926 and 1927. He invariably included an attractive young woman in his illustrations; men were optional. I like these ads because they are so very-1920s, a time that has interested me for most of my life.


    That sort of dog is also seen in 1920s and 30s Art Deco designs.

    The woman is very nicely done, -- the car, not so much.

    Here Stults tries a flatter, more diagram-like approach.

    The car's perspective is incorrect, but the lady is just fine aside from exaggerated proportions.

    This last illustration might not have made its way into an advertisement.

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    Lucien Labaudt (1880-1943), born in France, was largely self-taught, and spent most of his career in San Francisco where he is best known for murals he created at Coit Tower and, around 1936-37, for the Beach Chalet. Biographical information is skimpy on the Internet, but one snippet is here. Labaudt was a war artist when he died in a plane crash in India.

    His usual mural style was the 1930s-fashionable, simplified and slightly cartoonishly distorted way of depicting people and settings. Unlike many other San Francisco mural painters in the 1930s, Labaudt minimized political commentary in his pictures.

    Below are images of some of his murals along with two earlier easel paintings. Click on them to enlarge.

    Mural of Baker Beach in the Beach Chalet.

    Mural of Golden Gate Park in the Beach Chalet.

    Beach Chalet mural with Fisherman's Wharf scene.

    Beach Chalet mural featuring Golden Gate area.

    Detail of Beach Chalet mural of San Fancisco's waterfront. Labaudt usually included family members and friends in his murals. The man shown here is Harry Bridges, boss of the longshoremen's union that kept West Coast ports disrupted due to strikes for decades.

    "L'Atelier" (Workshop), a 1931 painting.

    "Composition" from 1927. Note how it differs from the Social Realist style of his later works.

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    Anders Zorn (1860-1920) is generally placed with John Singer Sargent and Joaquin Sorolla in the top rank of late-19th / early 20th century portrait painters. I posted about him here and here.

    It seems that New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has a very nice Zorn portrait, that of Mrs. Walter Rathbone Bacon (Virginia Purdy Barker), made in 1897 and presented to the museum by her in 1917.

    Since I seldom get to New York City these days and visit the Met even less often, I have to wonder if the portrait of Mrs Bacon has been on display very much. But it was on display when I visited early last September. Hence, the present post.

    This is the image of the painting found here on the Met's web site. If you click on it, your computer should be directed to an image that allows you to greatly enlarge areas of it you select. Seriously Up Close, in other words. One thing about the image: It is more yellowed than it appeared on display. I have to assume it was cleaned since it was photographed.

    This is a slightly cropped and doctored version of a photo I took during my hurried visit.

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    Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966) was famed in his day as an illustrator and painter. The advent of modernism forced him towards eclipse, but his reputation has grown considerably in recent decades. His Wikipedia entry is here.

    Parrish's works seem to be mostly in private collections along with a few scattered museums. For many of us, the most conveniently seen examples are murals in two bars. The west coast example is his Pied Piper mural at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The other is the King Cole mural in New York City's St. Regis Hotel. The locale is the King Cole Bar that I briefly visited last September.

    The mural dates to 1906 and has been in the St. Regis since 1932. Happily, it was given a cleaning a few years ago, as this New York Times article mentions.

    Here are some photos from our visit.


    Here it the whole huge thing. It is comprised of three joined canvas panels, the joins being clearly visible.

    The left-hand section showing the fiddlers three.

    The central section where King Cole occupies his throne.

    The right hand section showing the arrival of his pipe and bowl (that seems to be a jug here).

    A close-up of Cole taken by my wife who seems to have had her camera's flash activated, to judge by the colors compared to my non-flash photos. King Cole is wearing glasses that fog over his right eye. Moreover, he doesn't seem to be "a merry old soul," as the poem would have it. Elsewhere on the Internet can be found a possible explanation, and I leave it to any interested Constant Readers to discover this on your own.

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  • 02/09/17--01:00: Whistler at the Frick
  • New York City's Frick Collection is comparatively small, yet astonishingly good.

    For example, it holds nearly ten percent of all the known Vermeer paintings. Three, to be exact, two of which are very good and one so inferior that I wonder if it was actually done by that great artist. (You can find links to the Frick's works by name of artist here).

    Much of the collection was acquired during the lifetime of Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) and the New York museum at his Fifth Avenue mansion was established in 1935 following the death of his widow.

    I've been meaning to visit the Frick for some time. I was first there many decades ago, before my knowledge of art history was great enough to appreciate what I was seeing. More recently, I planned to visit, but instead spent far more time in the Metropolitan Museum of Art than expected, so never got to the Frick that day. While visiting New York last September I finally did return to the Frick. The only downside was that photography was prohibited.

    Two of the many works that interested me were portraits of women painted nearly ten years apart but in a similar spirit by James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) ... Wikipedia biography here. As was his slightly pretentious (in my feeble judgment) wont, Whistler's primary titles of these portraits named the theme he was dealing with, rather than the actual subject.

    "Symphony in Flesh Colour and Pink: Portrait of Mrs Frances Leyland" - 1871-74
    The Frick's webpage for this painting (acquired 1916) is here. Image copyrighted by the Frick.

    "Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux" - 1881-82
    It was acquired 1916-18 and its Frick link is here.

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    John C. Wenrich (1894-1970) was a fine architectural delineator. While he wasn't as famous as his near-contemporary Hugh Ferris, he was involved in some important projects, one of which was Rockefeller Center.

    Biographical information on Wenrich is scanty. This link is the best I could find using Google. And here is a blog dealing with Wenrich at a site featuring architectural illustration. It was the source of some of the images below.

    The current post presents some of Wenrich's Rockefeller Center work. He had a nice, effective touch that wasn't as dramatic or impressionistic as Ferris' renderings often were.


    This features the Maison Française (left) and British Empire Building (right) separated by the "channel." The buildings as completed feature less ornamentation than shown in the rendering.

    Rendering of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, best known to me as the RCA Building.

    An earlier rendering showing the RCA Building. The two tall buildings to the left were conjectural. The left-hand one was never built, but a building somewhat similar to the one to the right exists, though it lacks the tower and other details vary. Wenrich included the Empire State Building (3/4 of a mile -- about one kilometer -- south on Fifth Avenue) at the far left.

    Another rendering done at about the same time as the previous one. Those two tall buildings on Fifth Avenue appear, as do the low-lying Maison Française and British Empire Building nestled between them.

    Showing rooftop gardens on the Maison Française and British Empire Building. These buildings actually received such gardens. The orientation of Wenrich's image is a view from the southwest, where St. Patrick's Cathedral is shown at the top of the image on the other side of Fifth Avenue.

    This 1932 rendering depicts a proposed rooftop garden on the Radio City Music Hall theatre. It was never made, the same being the case for the skybridge shown crossing West 50th Street.

    This later rendering is of Rockefeller Center's essentially completed first phase planning. It doesn't quite agree with what was actually built. For instance, a Music Hall rooftop garden is still included.

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    Federico Armando Beltran Masses (1885–1949) was born in Cuba, but left for Barcelona when young. A controversial painting's reception led to his moving to Paris in 1916 where he continued his career. He returned to Barcelona late in life as his health failed. It seems that Beltran studied under Joaquín Sorolla, though it isn't clear for how long. In any case, Baltran's painting style was different from Sorolla's by the mid-1910s.

    A good deal of information about Beltran can be found here, here and here.

    I find it interesting that Beltran is quoted in the second link above as follows: "Lips, for Beltran Masses, were the only way to tell the true character of his sitters, as he explained to the Los Angeles Examiner in 1925, 'eyes may lie – lips never!'". A different perspective than most artists would have, but use it as a guide for viewing the images below.


    Tanagra - 1914
    This is the earliest of his works that I noticed on the Internet. He soon abandoned this Neoimpressionist style.

    Now for three similarly posed paintings...

    La Maja Maldita - 1918
    Carmen Tortóla Valencia is said to be the subject.

    La Marquesa Casati - 1920
    The famously extravagant Casati is said not to have paid for this portrait.

    Femme dans le chale espagno - c.1925

    King George VI - c.1938
    Beltran painted many well-connected subjects.

    Pola Negri and Rudolph Valentino - c.1925
    Beltran spent some time in Hollywood in the 1920s.

    Mrs Freda Dudley Ward (later Marquesa de Casa Maury) - 1921

    Madame Bonnardel, Condesa Montgomery - 1934
    Venice was a favorite setting for Beltran. Stunning portrait, this.

    Mme. Wellington Koo - 1934
    Wife of the famous Chinese politician and diplomat.

    Mujer de Azul

    Tres Para Uno - c.1934
    Note the blue background in this and other images. It became associated with Beltran.

    Granadas - 1929
    Beltran made a number of paintings of nude or partly nude women that you ought to be able to find via Google or Bing.

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    Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956) was in his mid-60s when he painted murals for the lobby floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the tallest building in the original Rockefeller Center complex in New York City. (In its early years, Rockefeller Center was popularly called Radio City, and the Radio City Music Hall is the name of its famous huge theatre where the Rockettes danced.) The Center's web site mentions him here.

    Brangwyn is an artist that interests me greatly, especially for his work as a muralist. I posted about that aspect of his career here.

    It seems that the Rockefellers were in the market for Big Name Artists to create murals for their huge, Depression-era project. Matisse and Picasso were approached, but weren't interested. Diego Rivera, the well-known Mexican muralist accepted, but he famously created a work of political propaganda that was inappropriate for its setting and destroyed.

    So the Rockefellers dropped to their B-list, selecting Josep (José) Maria Sert and Brangwyn to paint huge, monochrome murals. Sert's murals are rather bombastic, and are better known than Brangwyn's because some are located in a large, open area. All of Brangwyn's are found on a side corridor.

    Worse, Brangwyn's murals are not very good. He was an interesting colorist, but the Rockefellers apparently desired monochrome murals that would blend with the rich, late Art Deco interior architecture and decoration of the building. It is possible that Brangwyn was also losing his touch due to age.

    When I was in New York City in September I made a point of tracking down his murals and photographing them. Unfortunately, lighting conditions and the comparatively cramped setting made it impossible to get decent photos. Still, I hope you will find them of interest.


    If you enter 30 Rockefeller Plaza from the eastern, sunken plaza side, this huge Sert mural awaits you. Branwyn's are to be found around the corner by the pillar seen at the far left of the mural.

    For some reason Brangwyn filled his Rockefeller Center murals with ugly people.

    Another mural.

    Detail of the mural in the previous image. Not being able to use color, Brangwyn had to resort to hatching. This, and his use of lightened paint to depict depth, resulted images that are weak by normal Brangwyn standards.

    The murals would wrap around corners. Here is a side-aisle example that's distorted because I couldn't shoot the photo squarely-on.

    This is a squared-up photomontage image found on the internet. Brangwyn used it for the mural shown in the next few images. This mural wrapped around a corner, and the soldier shown in the previous photo can be seen here at the left.

    That is Christ at the top. He is facing away because the Rockefellers apparently decided His face should not be shown.

    Detail of the above mural.

    Another detail. Note that in this set of murals Brangwyn chose to have many of his subjects depicted with large, oddly-shaped noses.  I can speculate why, but won't because I have no way of reading his mind.

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    Howard Somerville Adamson (1873-1952) who painted using the name Howard Somerville is one of those obscure British artists who made a few striking paintings.

    It seems that the most complete biographical information is here, though it's accessible for many of us only on Fridays. It's worth reading if you find that you might be interested in the artist. Apparently he was reasonably successful, being fairly widely exhibited in his day. He also made illustrations to earn his keep. A detailed critique of Somerville is here.

    The writer of the second link is Robert Holden, a New York City based artist who paints, among other subjects, portraits from life. Much of his post is a discussion regarding Somerville's possible use of photographs rather than live sitting as the basis for his portraiture. Holden has an axe to grind, given that he stresses his policy of painting from life in his blog's biographical statement. To me, this is not such a huge matter. Holden also complains about Somerville truncating his subjects around knee-level. This seems to be a signature style or trait Somerville probably used to distinguish his work; a number of his portraits have that feature, and some of them also feature a fairly large background area above the subject's head (a few examples are shown below).

    The first link, on the other hand, stresses that Somerville made little use of photography. Apparently this was in response to more than one accusation that Somerville made much use of that vile technology.


    The Red Bernous

    I find the two paintings above to be the most striking and interesting of Somerville's work. The portrait immediately above is of the actress Norah Baring.

    Miss Norah Baring
    Another portrait of Norah Baring. I could find no Internet photograph of Baring that matches the poses in the two portraits, so Somerville most likely did work from life or took his own reference photos or (perhaps most likely) made use of both possibilities in the same project. Note the amount of space above Baring's head.

    Sylvia - 1922

    Butler Wood

    Elissa Landi
    Another painting with plenty of space above the subject's head.

    Elizabeth Woodville

    The sitter's first name apparently was Florence, and she attested that she sat for this painting.

    In the Studio IV, Self Portrait
    No truncation at the knees here.

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  • 02/27/17--01:00: More Edgar Maxence
  • Edgar Maxence (also Edgard Maxence -- né Edgar Henri Marie Aristide Maxence -- 1871-1954) was a French painter with a Symbolist bent. His English Wikipedia entry is here, but it's brief, and the French version is little better. I posted "Edgar Maxence: Symbolism via Women"here, and decided to present more images of his work in the present post.

    Mexence mostly used attractive younger women as subjects and tended to place them in religious or otherwise spiritual settings. There were exceptions, of course, and a few are included below.


    Le calme du soir - 1903

    Concert d'Anges - 1897

    Jeanne Maxence - 1898

    Le livre de la paix - 1929

    Snow Queen
    This painting and the one immediately above seem to have featured the same model.

    Femme de profile lisant - 1914

    Femme en prière
    Two mixed-media works.


    Femme - 1897

    Portrait du femme

    Portrait du femme - 1941
    A fairly late work.

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    Ernst Deutsch-Dryden (1887-1938), born in Vienna, died in Los Angeles, changed his last name from Deutsch to Dryden following some sort of plagiarism scandal. A German-text Wikipedia entry for him is here, but the automated translation is awkward. This is often the case, given German syntax. Also, his last name (Deutsch) is translated as "German" which is what Deutsch means in English, and this might add confusion for some readers. Much of the same ground is covered in English here.

    Apparently Deutsch-Dryden (I decided to use both last names) was personally elegant as were the elegant subjects he depicted so elegantly.

    His subjects were usually ladies and automobiles -- especially Bugattis.


    No, not radios: this Blaupunkt (Blue Dot) was a brand of cigarettes.

    Poster for Bugatti Automobiles featuring a Type 35.

    Cover art for Die Dame (The Lady) magazine. Yes, that's a Bugatti in the background.

    Die Dame automobile number cover, November 1928.

    Perhaps Die Dame cover art for its 1926 Christmas number.

    Die Dame cover illustration.

    Elegant scene.

    Fashion illustration with a Bugatti-like car.

    Fashion art with Venice as setting.

    More elegance, but casual here.

    Jane Régny was the pseudonym for a Parisian fashion designer specializing in sportswear.

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    The image above is of the painting "A Summer Night" (1923) by Stanley Cursiter (1887-1976) featuring Poppy Low. Cursiter was from the Orkneys, but spent most of his career in Edinburgh where, among other things, he was Director of the National Galleries of Scotland. During the Great War he devised a new means of interpreting aerial reconnaissance photographs. He was also a champion of modernist art and some of his paintings were in that mode both early and late in his career, though they were not very good in my judgment.

    Biographical information on Cursiter can be found here, here, and here, but some important details vary.

    Beside dabbling in modernism, Cursiter also painted landscapes, particularly of Orkney scenes. Where he excelled was portraiture. Besides the usual mix of politicians and military officers, he painted some interesting works featuring family and friends. One of those friends was Poppy Low, who seemed to be somewhere around 16-22 years old when Cursiter was using her as a favorite model. Several of those paintings were group portraits that included his attractive wife Phyllis and his sister.

    The images below are copyrighted by his estate, but I hope the estate will not mind the publicity this post will provide Cursiter. Not every painting featuring Poppy is presented here. And it's possible that some of the young women who I thought were Poppy were actually someone else. (For instance, there's a portrait of "Roberta" that looks like Poppy. But might Poppy's actual name have been Roberta?) I should add that so far I have found no details regarding her life.


    Poppy and Phyllis at the Window
    That would be Poppy on the right.

    Black and White and Silver - 1921
    An early paining featuring Poppy.

    Girl with a Jug - 1921

    Poppy Low - 1922

    The Seamstress - 1923

    Summer Afternoon
    I think that's Poppy in the background.

    House of Cards - 1924
    I'm not so sure about this, though one source I skimmed stated the she was used for this painting.

    Chez Nous: Artist, Self Portrait, Director of the National Galleries of Scotland, with his wife Phyllis Eda Hourston, and his model Poppy Low - 1925

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