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Articles on this Page
- 07/24/17--01:00: _Roger Broders' Earl...
- 07/27/17--01:00: _Emilian Lăzărescu, ...
- 07/31/17--01:00: _Modigliani's Wife a...
- 08/03/17--01:00: _Franklin Booth's Th...
- 08/07/17--01:00: _Fragonard's "Music"
- 08/10/17--01:00: _August Macke: Restr...
- 08/14/17--01:00: _Some William James ...
- 08/17/17--01:00: _A Pre-Impressionist...
- 08/21/17--01:00: _A Large Tiepolo at ...
- 08/24/17--01:00: _Bernd Steiner, Post...
- 08/28/17--01:00: _Alma-Tadema, Miniat...
- 08/31/17--01:00: _Atypical Winterhalt...
- 09/04/17--01:00: _Some Frans Hals Bru...
- 09/07/17--01:00: _In the Beginning: G...
- 09/11/17--01:00: _Gainsborough's Sket...
- 09/14/17--01:00: _George Spencer Wats...
- 09/18/17--01:00: _J. Allen St. John: ...
- 09/21/17--01:00: _John Quincy Adams, ...
- 09/25/17--01:00: _Some Hard Female Faces
- 09/28/17--01:00: _Thomas Hart Benton'...
- 07/24/17--01:00: Roger Broders' Earlier Posters
- 07/27/17--01:00: Emilian Lăzărescu, Romanian Painter
- 07/31/17--01:00: Modigliani's Wife at the Norton Simon
- 08/03/17--01:00: Franklin Booth's Theodore Roosevelt
- 08/07/17--01:00: Fragonard's "Music"
- 08/10/17--01:00: August Macke: Restrained Modernist
- 08/14/17--01:00: Some William James Aylward War Art
- 08/17/17--01:00: A Pre-Impressionist Renoir Painting
- 08/21/17--01:00: A Large Tiepolo at the Norton Simon
- 08/24/17--01:00: Bernd Steiner, Poster Artist with No Set Style
- 08/28/17--01:00: Alma-Tadema, Miniaturist
- 08/31/17--01:00: Atypical Winterhalter at the Getty
- 09/04/17--01:00: Some Frans Hals Brushwork
- 09/07/17--01:00: In the Beginning: Georges Seurat
- 09/11/17--01:00: Gainsborough's Sketchy Brushwork and Background Treatment
- 09/14/17--01:00: George Spencer Watson: Portraits and Nudes
- 09/18/17--01:00: J. Allen St. John: Monochrome Illustrations
- 09/21/17--01:00: John Quincy Adams, Austrian Portrait Artist
- 09/25/17--01:00: Some Hard Female Faces
- 09/28/17--01:00: Thomas Hart Benton's "America Today" Mural at the Met
Roger Broders (1883-1953) was a French poster artist who created around 100 posters for the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée (Compagnie des Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée) (PLM) railroad. His English language Wikipedia entry is here.
I wrote about his Art Deco / Moderne posters here. This post presents some of his work done before his late 1920s transformation to highly simplified illustrations.
Emilian Lăzărescu (1878-1934) was a versatile painter who spent much of his career in his native Romania. The latter bit of information tells why he is essentially unknown to the art world at large. It's usually the case that artists from out-of-the-way countries are ignored unless they either move to an artistic center such as Paris, London or New York, or they spend considerable time in such places. For example, probably the most famous Romanian artist is the sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876-1958), who spent more than 50 years of his life in Paris.
As for Lăzărescu (a contemporary of Brancusi), a casual Google search revealed little of use other than a brief Wikipedia entry in Romanian (you can have Google translate it).
Below are examples of his work. Most are undated, so I arranged them according to my best guess as to their chronological order. Some were made in Paris where he studied art. Others depict Great War scenes. Most deal with fashionable women and their activities.
The Norton Simon museum in Pasadena, California has one of the many portraits Amadeo Modigliani made of his common-law wife Jeanne Hébuterne during the few years of their relationship before his death and her suicide.
A lengthy (for Wikipedia) biography of Modigliani (1884-1920) is here, and the entry for Jeanne Hébuterne (1898-1920) is here. A commentary on their relationship is here.
Below are images of Jeanne.
An odd thing about Modigliani's art, at least as a Modernist, is that his female "portrait" subjects are nearly or entirely unrecognizable, and those of men not much better. This Telegraph article mentions that he would paint his subjects indirectly, combining visual memory and his feelings about them.
Franklin Booth (1874-1948) was something of a genius as a pen artist. When young, he unconsciously used pen and ink to imitate engraved illustrations he saw in magazines. When he discovered what he was doing, he must have liked the results he was getting, because he used the same general approach for most of the rest of his career. (Apparently some of his later works incorporated scratchboard. And he did do some conventional illustration in color.) More information about his life and career is here.
Below is a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt by Booth worth careful examination.
This is a very large image compared to most found on this blog. Even so, it is a cropped version of the original. I kept it large so that you'll be able to see how Booth used various pen strokes and hashing angles to yield a convincing portrait of the president. Click on the image to enlarge it further.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) was a leading French Rococo painter who happily painted many risqué scenes pleasing to his Ancien Régime clientele. He painted other subjects as well, including portraits, but scenes featuring partly clad women in upper-class settings are what he is best known for. Some biographical information is here.
The Norton Simon museum has some Fragonards that I saw when I was there in April. One, titled "Music" (ca. 1760-65) interested me because it was less cluttered that his better-known works.
First, a few of Fragonard's characteristic works.
Perhaps his most famous painting.
This also was on display at the Norton Simon.
August Macke (1887-1914) was a modernist painter and founding member of the short-lived Blue Rider (Der Blaue Reiter) group of painters. His Wikipedia entry is here, and an assessment of his life and work is here.
It is impossible to be sure what stylistic path Macke would have followed had he lived a normal life span, because he died age 27 in combat as the Western Front was forming in the aftermath of Germany's defeat in the Battle of the Marne.
As the title of this post indicates, my take on Macke is that he had too much regard for real world appearances to get fully sucked into the modernist "isms" of the early 20th century. Whether this restraint would have continued beyond 1914 is anyone's guess. My opinion is that he was one of the most likable modernist German painters of his time.
Macke appears to be wearing his army uniform, which dates this photo in October 1908 or later, as that was the month he began his required service. Elisabeth, who he married in 1910, is the subject of three images below.
A more modernist version of Elisabeth but, as usual, a restrained Modernism.
A landscape without Fauvist coloring.
A scene in Bonn.
A painting from Macke's imagination. Wild West adventure stories were popular in Wilhelmine Germany.
He experimented with Orphist abstractions, a new art fashion at the time.
Colors here are more poster-like than Fauvist.
"Large, Bright Display Window" is my English title to this watercolor that includes some Cubist elements. The female figure is not Cubist, as Macke seemed reluctant to depart far from that reality.
Another in a series showing women shopping for clothing and fashion articles.
William James Aylward (1875-1956) was an illustrator who specialized in maritime subjects. That didn't mean he couldn't do other things, and he was selected to become one of a small group of war artists send to France to depict activities of the AEF (American Expeditionary Force). I wrote about him here, and a link with biographical information and examples of his work is here.
David Apatoff at his Illustration Art blog has a series of posts dealing with a Smithsonian exhibit of work done by those artists, including Aylward (one of these posts is here).
I hopped over to his link to the exhibit (here), and selected some examples of Aylward's 1918 work to show below.
The St. Mihiel Salient was a longstanding German bulge on the Western Front. Its eradication was one of the more important tasks assigned to the AEF in September, 1918.
Note the peaceful French countryside in the background. It's not clear if this was land behind AEF lines before the attack or some distance north or northeast following the collapse of the salient.
One of Erich Ludendorff's 1918 offensives thrust the German army across the Marne River at Château-Thierry, a city where a battle was fought. Aylward's illustration was probably made after the Germans were pushed back.
Mont Saint Père is about four miles up the Marne from Château-Thierry, so again this was made after the failure of Ludendorff's offensive. I think it is a very nice work.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) is known as a French Impressionist, but he wasn't always one. For example, I posted here about a time when he doubted Impressionism. This, and more about him and his art can be found in his Wikipedia entry.
So when I visited the Norton Simon museum in Pasadena, California in April I wasn't surprised by his 1867-68 vintage painting of the Pont des Arts, a footbridge over the Seine connecting the Louvre with the École des Beaux-Arts.
It's a comparatively early Renoir, before French Impressionists such as Claude Monet began using broken (or divisionist) color. The Norton Simon web site's blurb on the painting states; "Planted in the heart of Paris, we stand on the Left Bank of the Seine, looking upstream toward the wrought-iron Pont des Arts... The crisp shadows and liberally applied black are typical of Renoir’s early career, when the artist and his friend Monet set out to document their changing city in a celebrated series of views to which this one belongs."
Monet is mentioned, but there also are hints of Édouard Manet in some of the nearly-flat color areas.
As I've mentioned before, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770) is one of my favorite pre-19th century painters. I posted about his early works here, and about his female faces here. And here is his Wikipedia entry.
The Norton Simon museum in Pasadena, California collection includes a very large Tiepolo, "The Triumph of Virtue and Nobility Over Ignorance" (1740-50, perhaps 1743). Their web site mentions "This painting was designed for a ceiling in the Palazzo Manin in Venice. Virtue is dressed in white with a sun symbol on her breast. Beside her, Nobility holds a statuette of Minerva and a spear. To the left, Fame blows her trumpet. Below, the figure of Ignorance is being vanquished."
Even though it's a ceiling painting, it works fairly well when displayed on a Norton Simon wall. The main ceiling effect is that the depictions are made from a low point of view.
Typical of Tiepolo, Virtue is represented by the pouty blonde model found in many of his works.
Bernd Steiner (1884-1933) was an Austrian illustrator and artist best known (though he is far from famous) for his posters. The only biographical information I could find on a quick Google search was this Wikipedia entry in German. The translation feature for once yielded a text that largely made sense in English. Unfortunately, the entry is brief. Basically, Steiner was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army during the Great War and had his right hand (presumably the one he drew using) badly injured. Regardless, he was able to continue his career, and most of the images of his work on Google are post-war.
By the late 1920s he was living in Bremen, Germany, doing posters for the North German Lloyd steamship company and teaching art. But he returned to Austria, dying in Vienna aged 49.
As the title of this post indicates, Steiner had no recognizable style. On one hand, this meant he could stay current with changing illustration fads and fashions. On the other, this probably contributed to his lack of the fame that the likes of A.M. Cassandre and Ludwig Hohlwein attained in the poster field.
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) was both popular and financially successful in his day. Then Victorian-era art went seriously out of fashion after his death. Times change, pendulums swing, and if your grandparents had sprung for one of his paintings in 1945 and willed it to you, it might be worth several -- perhaps even tens of -- millions today. More about him here.
About six years ago I wrote about Alma-Tadema and his 1894 painting "Spring" that is a public favorite at the Getty in Los Angeles. I visited the Getty again in April and took more photos of it and its details.
When seen in art books, his paintings tend to give the impression of being large. Some are, but many are surprisingly small. And some of his larger paintings contain many small elements. Such is the case with Spring. Below are a few detail photos I took. Click on them to enlarge.
The subject painting for this post isn't an early one, because Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873) was about 38 years old when he painted it. But it (and one other of the same subject) has a different feeling that those made before and after.
The painting is "Portrait of Leonilla, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn" (1843), described here on the J. Gaul Getty Museum web site.
And here is Winterhalter's Wikipedia entry. It mentions that he made a highly successful career as a court portraitist. One result, according to the entry, was that his work is difficult to categorize in terms of the various movements of his day. Another is that he was looked down upon by other artists.
Setting that aside, let's turn to Leonilla's portrait and a few other Winterhalters to provide context. Included are two photos I took in April at the Getty that you might want to click on to enlarge.
An early example of Wilterhalter's court paintings.
Painted a year before our subject painting.
One of Winterhalter's best-known works.
One of his last paintings.
The subject painting as seen by my camera at the Getty.
I found this image on the Web. It was dated vaguely as being from the 1840s, but appears to have been made about the same time as our subject. It, too, has the same stylistic spirit. However, the Wikipedia entry on Leonilla has it that its date was around 1836 and painted in Italy along with a portrait of her husband (that I could not find via a Google search). I'm doubtful regarding this claim, given the similarity in painting style and her hair style in both paintings, but could easily be mistaken. Also, I could find no photos of her in a brief Google search, so can offer no other evidence of Leonilla's appearance. She lived to be 101, by the way.
This post is mostly intended for readers who paint or are interested in technique. The subject is a work by Frans Hals (c.1582-1666) -- extensive Wikipedia entry here -- titled "Saint John the Evangelist" (1625-28).
I came across it when visiting the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles in April. The Getty's Web site deals with the painting here.
It was painted long after St. John's time, so Hals either created an imaginary image or, more likely, got someone to pose and represent the Evangelist. What interest me most about the painting is how Hals treated the hands. Click on that photo to enlarge.
Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859-1891) was a founder of the color-dot technique of Pointillism and is best known for his paintings in that style. As this mentions, he had a few years of formal art training before his military service, and then went on to his brief career as a painter.
Also mentioned is that Seurat did a good deal of preparation before making his large, Pointillist paintings -- understandable, given their subject matter, composition and coloring. Part of this preparation involved smaller studies. And before that phase of his career he did paint many small works that had an impressionist feeling.
This is the painting Seurat is most famous for.
Here is the earliest Seurat that I could locate. Done while attending the École des Beaux-Arts.
An early post-Army painting. Wispy and not nearly as solidly conceived as most of this later works, but at this point, he was probably just experimenting with Impressionist ideas.
A mix of a few well-defined and ill-defined forms. Brushwork is nondescript.
Brush strokes here are more obvious.
Stronger brushwork for the riverbank, similar to what is found in the following images.
A good deal of hatching brushwork in the vegetation.
I found this at the Norton Simon in Pasadena. It's a small study (compare its size to the information plaque). The museum's web site deals with it here.
People with only a casual exposure to art history -- perhaps an introductory college class on the subject -- might think that painters used tight brushwork and hard edges up to the time of the French Impressionists. They would be largely correct. Mediaeval, Renaissance and Academic paintings are mostly rather solid-looking affairs.
And yes, they might be aware of a few exceptions such as Frans Hals. But they might not realize that, by the late 1700s, several important painters were not making totally solid paintings. That was because subjects of portraits looked crisp and carefully done (this is what viewers mostly focused on -- faces, etc.). What tends to be ignored are other parts of the same painting that were not painted with the same exactitude.
This post considers Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) and his painting Portrait of Anne, Countess of Chesterfield (1777–1778) that resides in the Getty in Los Angeles.
Biographical information on Gainsborough can be found here, and the Getty's web page on the painting is here.
Let's take a look.
George Spencer Watson (1869-1934) is yet another Royal Academy painter active early in the last century who was competent, made a decent living, and is now largely forgotten. He mostly made portraits, but also turned out some very nice paintings of nudes, and painted some landscapes and religious scenes. A brief Wikipedia entry on him is here.
This post mostly deals with his portraits. Stylistically, he was not influenced by Modernism until perhaps near the very end of his career. Some unfinished works are shown that might interest readers who paint and others interested in how artists go about their business.
Office viewing warning: The nudes are at the bottom of the image stack, so scroll carefully.
This probably dates from around 1900. I failed to notice any earlier works by Watson via Googling.
A portrait of Watson's wife in the Tate collection.
Also in the Tate collection.
I'll guess that this was painted after 1920, possibly not long before he died. If the subject's costume were more finished and the hair style more visible, dating would be easier.
This might be Mary, the artist's daughter.
An example of Watson's landscape work.
This too is probably unfinished: note the date and the sketchy brushwork in the lower part of the painting. The subject is Barbara Beaton, a sister of Cecil Beaton, the famous photographer (though before finding a detailed caption, I was guessing that she was Nancy Beaton, her more famous sister).
I find the unconventional pose interesting.
I like this painting a lot, partly because of the (again) slightly different-from-the-usual pose and setting. But the best part, to my way of thinking is Watson's treatment of color. This was probably painted in the mid-to-late 1920s, before high-quality color photography was available. So he had to do this without that kind of photographic reference.
I previously wrote about J. Allen St. John (1875-1957) here, mostly dealing with his color illustrations for books by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950). Background information on St. John can be found here and here.
St. John is considered by many to be highly influential to later generations of illustrators dealing in Science Fiction and, especially, Fantasy art. That is probably more to do with establishing certain conventions than his abilities as an illustrator. In the post cited above I mentioned "reproductions of his paintings often strike me as having too-fussy brushwork." I think this tendency carries over to his monochrome illustrations, especially those rendered in pen-and-ink.
To demonstrate my point about St. John's dithering penwork, compare those illustrations to that of master pen-artists Franklin Booth (1874-1948) and Joseph Clement Coll (1881-1921). Some of the difference might be chalked up to the quality of paper used for printing their works. Book illustrations on the same kind of paper as the text couldn't support fine penwork. On the other hand, some books from the early decades of the 20th century had glossy paper tip-ins that allowed for much more detail and subtlety in the artwork. In such instances St. John would abandon pen-and-ink for charcoal or wash drawings.
Interesting fact: All the men mentioned above were near-contemporaries.
Here St. John does a better job on the lion than he does with Tarzan.
Some illustrations from another Tarzan book.
Here the depiction of Tarzan's body comes off fussier than that of the foliage.
This seems to have some wash or diluted ink work. Still, the pen strokes are largely haphazard, resulting in lack of clarity for the scene depicted.
Illustration for one of the John Carter of Mars novels. The background shading blends too closely to the definition of the subjects, reducing clarity.
This illustration was intended for slick paper, but St. John's use of shadows again hurts the composition.
All the images thus far, including this one, are probably scans from old books. This one seems to be from a slick tip-in, but it's hard to be certain what medium St, John used.
My previous St. John post included a reproduction of this image from a book, whereas what we see here looks like a scan of the original artwork. So far as I am concerned this wash drawing is his most successful illustration ever. The fussiness seen in the other images is absent. Why? I have no idea.
The title of this post might cause a sharp reaction for many American readers. That's because John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) was the sixth president of the Untied States, and not at all an Österreicher, let alone a portrait painter.
Of course we are dealing here with another John Quincy Adams. This one was a descendent of the President and lived 1874-1933. He became an Austrian because he was born in Vienna (and died there), the son of a Boston-born opera singer. He did spend time in the USA at various points in his life, but considered himself Austrian. His career is sketched here, but it's in German and you might have to have your computer translate.
There aren't many images of Adams' work on the Internet. A large share of them are in black and white -- presumably photos of paintings that were lost due to World War 2 or are otherwise untraceable. The images I selected for presentation are all in color.
One image I would love to have included is a fine portrait of Sara Sherman Wiborg, later the wife of businessman and artist Gerald Murphy, both famed for their 1920s French Riviera lifestyle (Wikipedia entry here). But so far as I know, it hasn't yet turned up on the Web.
In English, "Woman with Black Clothes and Hat."
That's "Emperor Franz Joseph I in the service uniform of an Austrian field marshal."
Part of what keeps this blog chugging along (we're now at more that 1,000 posts) is that I seem to have a modest knack for finding associations, for making comparisons. One of those occasions happened a few weeks ago while visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I viewed two paintings that I was already familiar with with, noticed a similarity, then recalled a photograph that struck me in the same way.
The painters were Thomas Anshutz, who I wrote about here, Thomas Hart Benton, whose early career I covered here, and the was photographer Walker Evans, Wikipedia entry here.
The nature of the subject matter is young women with "hard" expressions on their faces. They are surprisingly similar.
The subject is Rebecca H. Whelen, daughter of a Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts board member. Anshutz taught there for many years. This is an unusual pose for that time and place: a more tranquil expression would have been expected.
From a panel of Benton's America Today mural, now prominently displayed at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The subject is Elizabeth England, future wife of Charles Pollock, older brother of the more famous painter Jackson Pollock. The Pollock brothers studied under Benton, hence the connection.
From one of Evans' New York street scene photos of the late 1920s.
When I was in New York City last year, my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was rather hurried, so I didn't have time to track down Thomas Hart Benton's "America Today" mural, installed at the Met in 2014. This month, I had more time and found it.
The Met's website discusses America Today here, and here is a link to their publication dealing with the mural: very useful. I discussed Benton's early career here.
The mural was commissioned for the board room of The New School for Social Research's 1931 building designed by Joseph Urban. It was later purchased by Equitable, an insurance company in New York and displayed in linear fashion along a hallway. Then it was donated to the Met which restored it (with some difficulty: read the publication noted above) and displayed in a setting corresponding to the space of the New School boardroom where it initially appeared.
Below are a few photos I took, giving you an impression of how the mural is displayed at the Met. Not all panels are shown -- you can find plenty of images on the Internet. My purpose here is to remind you that the mural is there to be enjoyed when vising New York and the Met.