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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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    The 1890s were a time of secession movements in German-speaking countries, wherein groups of artists broke away from current exhibition organizations in order to set up their own. The most famous of these from our current perspective was the Vienna Secession.

    But the first was the Munich Secession. Like the others, one of the founding issues had to do with artistic style and subject matter. This tended to take the form of increased openness to non-Academic works, though the impact was not nearly so strong as the early-1900s Modernist "isms" that shook the art world and led to today's chaotic scene. (By the way, in my opinion the link above tends to overstate the Munich Secession: its golden years were only from 1892 to around 1912.)

    The first president of the Munich Secession organization was Bruno Piglhein (1845-1894), a professor at Munich's Academy of Fine Arts. His Wikipedia entry is brief. But then, Piglhein's life was fairly brief -- he died aged 46. The entry mentions that it took a while for his career to develop. He had to resort to making pastels of attractive women to earn a living before he was given the project of creating a panorama of Christ's crucifixion that was later destroyed in a fire.

    That project solidified his career for the next and final seven or eight years of his life, including his appointment to the Academy's faculty. Perhaps due to his short career and his teaching duties, it's likely that Piglhein's production of paintings was fairly small. At any rate, not many can be found via a Google search. Below are some of the images I did find.


    Girl with Hat and Fan - pastel

    Woman from the Alban Hills - pastel
    Examples of the pastel depiction of women.

    Im Wartezimmer - Frau Piglhein - Mrs. Piglhein in the Waiting Room

    Schwerttänzerin - Sword Dancer

    Orientalischer Frauenakt - Oriental Female Nude
    The same model was used for both images.

    Madonna with Child
    The title is what I found on the Web.  But the female figure's costume is suggestive of that of a Catholic Sister.  The circular wording appears to be in Cyrillic (also possibly with other alphabets, including Greek) and beyond my ability to translate.

    Blinde in Mohnfeld - Blind Woman in Poppy Field - 1889
    Perhaps Piglhein's best-known painting.

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    Willard Mullin (1902-1978) is considered by many, including me, to be the best-ever American sports cartoonist. He's likely to hold that informal title for a long time because sports cartooning is essentially extinct in these days of shrunken newspapers that still manage to have huge color photos on their front pages and a correspondingly deficit of words. Oh, well ....

    Mullins' New York Times obituary is here. But a more interesting link is here: besides many examples of Mullin's cartoons it includes a step-by-step set of photos showing how he worked.

    Mullin apparently had little or no formal art instruction. That didn't stop him from gaining a good deal of knowledge about human and animal anatomy -- skeletal and muscular -- to be able to depict subjects both accurately or in hugely exaggerated ways. Many of his cartoons were of the exaggerated kind, but he fairly often would include a realistic portrait of a sports personality. These he usually derived from photographs using a pantograph. But he didn't slavishly trace his reference photos. Instead, as he once put it, he used the pantograph as a sketching tool.

    Although he worked in other places on his way to sports fame, Mullin's best-known work was done for the New York World-Telegram evening newspaper, those cartoons usually focusing on New York City teams.

    Click on the images below to enlarge.


    This shows the characters he created representing pre-1958 New York baseball teams. From left to right are New York Giants (National League), New York Yankees (American League) and Brooklyn Dodgers (National League). The Giant is a bumbling hulk, the Yankee is a coldly efficient athlete, and the Dodger is Mullins' most famous creation, the Brooklyn Bum.

    Here the Brooklyn Bum discusses Willard Mullin.

    A panel dealing with Yankee shortstop Phil Rizutto that combines a portrait with cartoons.

    The New York Yankee infield caricatured.

    I'm not sure what this is, given all the whited-over text.  The general subject seems to be baseball Spring Training.  It includes a rare (for Mullin, who usually dealt with men's sports) female.

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    Hans Thoma (1839-1924), according to some sources Germany's most popular artist around the turn of the 20th century, is difficult to characterize. Well, it's difficult for me. I used the label Pre-Raphaelite in the title of this post mostly because the feeling of a number of his works echoes that of the English group. But other works, especially those dealing with religious themes, might be termed Symbolist. Yet Pre-Raphaelite paintings often had large doses of what later became classed as Symbolism. Sigh: I find this taxonomy stuff frustrating, and should learn to leave that to professional art critics and curators.

    Thoma's English Wikipedia entry is here, but for more information I suggest you click on the left-hand panel, select Deutsch, and have it translated if you don't know German. Otherwise, a bit more biographical information in English is here.

    He was born in a small town in the Black Forest, far from from Munich and other art centers, and more than 30 years before Bismarck created a unified Germany. Yet he was able to work his way up from decorating cuckoo clocks (an important Black Forest product then and now) to eventually becoming a professor at the Grand Ducal Art School in Karlsruhe and director of the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, the state art museum there.


    Self-Portrait with Love and Death - 1875
    I suppose he had a reason for showing red paint on his brush, because almost no red can be found otherwise.

    Self-Portrait - 1899
    Painted when he was 60.

    Taunus Landscape - 1890
    The man and his dog in the foreground are overwhelmed by the rest of the painting, including much sky and its clouds.

    Spätsommertag im Schwarzwald - Late Summer in the Black Forest - 1892
    Here he was capturing the darkening leaves.

    Spring - 1894
    There are sheep with their owner's mark painted on them, a woman in the distance apparently doing some work, and some young people in the foreground.  These latter are jammed at the bottom of the canvas, the girl's dress and feet being clipped off, as is the left foot of the boy playing a fife.  Those figures and their activities (such as they are -- the girl seems bored) are somewhat hard to explain other than they might have been dragged there by the distant women and ordered to entertain themselves until she was done with whatever she was doing.

    Diana Under the Tree
    Diana was the goddess of animals as well as of hunting.

    Frau mit Kind in der Hängematte, (Cella Thoma mit Nichte/Adoptivtochter Ella; das Motiv ist älter als das Bild) - Woman and Child in a Hammock (Cella Thoma with Adopted Daughter Ella; a Scene That Took Place Years Before) - 1896

    Uncle Ludwig Maier - 1898
    Interesting contrast between the craggy face and the smooth background.

    The Flight into Egypt
    Thoma painted a number of religious-themed works.

    The Temptation of Christ


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    Some older American colleges and universities have a springtime Ivy Day tradition that, among other activities, involves placing a stone plaque on a building and perhaps planting ivy nearby. They were doing that at Penn when I was there, though as a grad student I wasn't involved. Penn still has its Ivy Day, but I don't know if any ivy is still planted.

    Ivy is not physically kind to building exteriors and camouflages a building's architecture. It's my impression that actual ivy is disappearing from Ivy League buildings and elsewhere: correct me if I'm wrong.

    One example of disappearing ivy is the famous Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Once upon a time it was covered with ivy, and now it has none.


    The Empress as seen from a ship in the mid-1920s. The dark areas are ivy.

    A view from the 1940s. The hotel got its final major enlargement in 1928 and much of that part is ivy-covered.

    A July, 1948 photo with, in the background, the north side of the hotel (at the left in the previous image) covered with ivy.

    A photo of the Empress I took in 2013. The north (left) part of the hotel is now ivy-free, but plenty remains on the original section.

    A photo I took recently, following the hotel's latest renovation. There's no ivy to be seen. A big improvement, in my opinion.

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    Wilhelm Maria Hubertus Leibl (1844-1900) was enough of an influence on some well-known late-19th century German painters that the label Leibl-Kreis (Leibl Circle) was coined.

    However, as noted here, Leibl himself was greatly influenced by Gustave Courbet. One possible result of this was his usual practice of composing paintings on the fly rather than doing a lot of careful preparatory work as academicians would do. (James Gurney had a short post about Leibl's technique here.)

    This did not prevent Leibl from painting a subject more than once. So while each work might have been done extemporaneously, collectively they might be considered studies. Examples of his depiction of one subject are included below.

    In general, his paintings as found on the Internet tend to be free, sketchy. But he was quite capable of working in a more precise manner.


    Die drei Frauen in der Kirche - Three Women in Church - 1881
    This seems to be Leibl's most famous painting. It is carefully done ... not spontaneous.

    Porträt des Malers Paul v. Szinyei-Merse - Paul von Szinyei-Merse, Painter - 1869
    This early portrait is sketchy indeed. Might it actually be a study?

    Rosine Fischler Gräfin Treuberg - Rosine Fischler, Countess Treuberg - c. 1877
    Another carefully-done work.

    Rosine Fischler Gräfin Treuberg - Rosine Fischler, Countess Treuberg - c. 1877-79
    Whereas this portrait of the same subject seems to be a study: note, for example, an alternative right arm and the apparent lack of a signature.

    Portrait of Maria Ebersberger - artist's housekeeper
    No date on this Sketch. She seems to be the subject of the following two or three images -- and quite possibly the nearest of the three women in church shown above.

    Farm Girl
    That is the title attached to the image as I found it on the Web, but it's clearly Maria Ebersberger.

    Peasant Girl - 1880
    Again, the Internet title -- but also Maria (compare the ear as well as other features to the images above).

    In Erwartung - Waiting / Anticipation - 1898
    The Internet date is 1898, whereas the above images of Maria Ebersberger seem to be from around 1880. Nevertheless, this seems to be Maria shown at about the same age.

    Miesbacher Bäuerin - Miesbach Farm Girl - 1896
    A later portrait sketch.

    Strickende Mädchen auf der Ofenbank - Girls Knitting - 1892-95
    And another of Leibl's later paintings.

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  • 10/08/18--01:00: Kerry Ury's Nighttime Scenes
  • Let's call it a mini-genre. Maybe even a micro-genre. I'm thinking of urban nighttime scenes -- exteriors and interiors. Many artists depicted these sorts of things on occasion, but few devoted sizable amounts of their careers to it. Toulouse-Lautrec's cabaret work might qualify. Another artist, and one who is known for dealing with the night, is Leo Lesser Ury (1861-1931).

    Ury's Wikipedia entry is here, and from there you can link to a slightly longer German version. The latter mentions that Ury feuded with Max Liebermann, and Liebermann's entry (which seems to be taken from an online translation, given its awkward phrasing) notes that Liebermann and Lovis Corinth also were feuding. Note to self: I need to learn more about Liebermann 'cause he sounds interesting.

    As for Ury, his career received boosts from Adolph Menzel and Corinth. His personality seems to have been that of a loner, and I found no note of him ever marrying. But his art was well-regarded in his day, and I noticed that one of his pastels was auctioned for more than $200,000 a while ago.

    Ury's style doesn't much appeal to me. That said, I find his oils and pastels interesting due to their subject-matter. That's probably because the period of European history that I study the most is from around 1860 to the end of World War 2. I'd love to hop into the nearest time machine and visit Berlin circa 1910.


    Unter den Linden - 1922
    Unter den Linden is Berlin's main street. At one end is the Brandenburg Gate, the other is just short of the Museum Island, and between are such items as a university, some embassies, and the Adlon Hotel. The view above seems to be from on the north side near Pariser Platz, looking east.

    Brandenburger Tor - Brandenburg Gate - mid-1920s
    Looking west on Unter den Linden in Pariser Platz. I include these daytime scenes to show another side of Ury's work.  Now to the night stuff ....

    Parisian Boulevard by Night - 1880s

    Im Café Bauer, Berlin - 1888-89

    Abend im Café Bauer - Evening in Café Bauer - 1898

    Im Café Victoria, Berlin - 1904

    Couple in a Café - pastel - 1910

    Reading Newspapers in a Café - pastel - 1913
    A café scene, but in daytime. I include it because of the depiction of reflected light on the tabletops.

    Café de la Paix bei Nacht, Paris - 1920
    Hard to tell the point of view, but the background is most likely Avenue de l'Opéra even though it seems too brightly lighted.

    Vor dem Café (Berlin bei Nacht) - By the Café / Berlin at Night - 1920s

    Rainy Night, Berlin - 1920s

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    Carl Vilhelm Holsøe (1863-1935) was a Danish artist (Wikipedia entry here) who painted a surprising number of similar scenes.

    Those scenes were interiors with similar windows and furnishings populated by a young woman. Superficially, this is similar to a number of the known works by the famed Dutch artist Johannes (Jan) Vermeer where there was a window towards the left side of the painting, one or a few human subjects (usually female), and varying room décor.

    Holsøe painted other subjects -- often different interiors -- but I thought it would be fun to present a set of his paintings that portray essentially the same sort of thing. Besides paned windows, some on French doors, nearly every painting contains a tall, narrow mirror. Titles are omitted in the Gallery below.


    The general setting without a young woman.

    Finally, Holsøe provides The Old Switcheroo -- the woman is outside.

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    Edwin Howland Blashfield (1848-1936), Wikipedia entry here, specialized in mural painting. He was successful at that, winning a number of major commissions: the link has a list of many of these.

    Blashfield studied engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a while, then left to pursue art. An inheritance allowed him to go to Paris in 1869 where he studied under Léon Bonnat. He remained in France until 1881.

    Although his time in France coincided with the rise of French Impressionism, his style remained traditional, but not strictly Academic. This worked well for him as a muralist, because American government-funded murals in the decades around 1900 tended to have uplifting themes often manifested by symbolic characters.

    The examples of Blashfield's work shown below are mostly not murals because those could be huge, often integrated into a building's architecture, and hard to photograph. Instead, I feature easel paintings and drawings. I should add that some of his best-known easel paintings are quite large -- almost mini-murals.


    Photo of Blashfield and assistants working on dome mural for Wisconsin's capitol building.

    Photo of Wisconsin capitol mural "Resources." The men at its base provide its scale.

    The Musician - 1874
    From his Paris days.

    First Court of Temple of Ramses III, Medinet Aboo - 1887
    Blashfield traveled a good deal, and this is an oil sketch made in Egypt.

    Portrait of Evangeline Blashfield, the Artist's Wife - 1889

    The Festival of Spring - c. 1890

    Three Muses

    Terpsichore - drawing for Adolph Lewisohn residence - 1894

    Dance - hall panel for Adolph Lewisohn - 1899
    Probably destroyed when the West 57th Street house was altered or, later, demolished: I wonder what it actually looked like in color.

    Angel with the Flaming Sword

    The Call of Missouri Trumpet (Missouri Watching the Departure of Her Troops) - 1918
    A Great War painting. Trumpeters from historical times are at the left, a doughboy trumpeter in the distance.

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    There is almost no Internet information regarding the skilled American portrait painter Raymond Perry Rodgers Neilson (1881-1964). The most detail I could find is here.

    It seems that Neilson was a 1905 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who resigned from the service in 1908 to study art. He returned to the navy as a Lieutenant (equivalent to army captain rank) when the United States entered the Great War and served as an aide to Vice Admiral William Sims who commanded U.S. naval operations in Europe (the latter point from this source): clearly Neilson had connections. The second link also mentions that he was "Member American Artists Professional League. N.A.; Clubs: Salmagundi, Century. Home and Studio: 131 E. 66th St. New York City 21, New York." That address was not and is not in a shabby neighborhood. But then, he was married to the daughter of a Pittsburgh steel maker.

    The first link notes: "Neilson studied with William Merritt Chase and at the Art Students League with George Bridgman and George Bellows. He continued his art education in Paris, studying at the Académie Julian, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Académie Colarossi, and the Academie Grande Chaumière." This surely took place mostly before the war began in 1914 and when many American artists returned home.

    Now for speculation about connections with Richard E. Miller (1875-1943). Miller's Wikipedia entry is here. It mentions that Miller spent much of his time from perhaps 1900 to 1914 in France, spending some summers with the colony of American artists in Giverny, nearby where Claude Monet lived. Neilson and Miller might well have met either there or in Paris. In 1917 Miller moved to arty Provincetown at the northern end of Cape Cod, even during the 1920s only a day's journey from New York City where Neilson was based.

    Now consider the images below.

    This Miller painting is of a young woman holding a necklace. He painted many somewhat similar works both before and after the war. Moreover, he often posed his subjects in the same costumes, as I posted here. Not all Miller paintings seem to be dated, but his one is almost surely from his Provincetown days. Note his signature at the lower left (click to enlarge).

    Here is a near-copy by Neilson whose signature it at the lower right.  The model is the same, and the poses are nearly identical. The dresses differ in that Neilson's version has a blue item on her waist (I'm not sure what it's called). The backgrounds are essentially the same, but differ in details such as the positioning of the French door at the left and tabletop items at the right.

    Here is a Miller painting featuring what appears to be a different model, but where background items are arranged similarly to those in Neilson's painting. Even the costume and the lighting on the floor are about the same. Ditto the brushwork.

    Photo of Miller in his Provincetown studio.

    A painting by Neilson in his typical style, also done in the 1920s.

    I should add that Neilson painted a few other Impressionist-style paintings of women that can be found by Googling on him and then selecting Images. From the looks of these, they might have been done in Giverny before the war.

    What to make of this?

    Almost certainly Neilson was experimenting with Miller's style, perhaps because he was, or was about to become a painting instructor and wanted to re-familiarize himself with Impressionist portraiture. Furthermore, he surely knew Miller.

    From this, I can think of two alternatives.  The first is that Neilson went to Provincetown and worked on his painting during the time Miller was painting the two images of his shown above.

    A second, possibly more likely explanation is that Neilson visited Miller and semi-copied elements from both while Miller provided some coaching. A variation on this is that Neilson saw the paintings together elsewhere while doing his version -- though I consider this possibility unlikely.

    Please comment if you have more solid information about this matter.

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    The tour bus arrived at the hotel soon enough for me to get my suitcase to my room and then quickly walk across town, arriving at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery about 35 minutes before its 5 p.m. closing. That gave me little time to check out the shop, get oriented to the somewhat confusing layout of the building, and still view some paintings of interest to me.

    Below are some highlights from that short visit. Click on images to enlarge.


    The Departure of John and Sebastian Cabot from Bristol on Their First Voyage of Discovery, 1497 - by Ernest Board - 1906
    I wrote about Board here, noting that this painting has interested my for a long time. It hangs in the entrance area of the museum and is covered by protective material that's reflective, preventing getting a decent photo of it. Seeing it in person was the main motivation for my visit.

    The Delhi Durbar of 1903, The Governor's Procession or The State Entry - by Roderick MacKenzie - 1907
    Directly opposite is this huge work depicting an aspect of the Empire at its zenith.

    Detail of the above, photographed at the museum

    Holidays - by Harry Watson - c. 1920

    Detail of the above, photographed at the museum

    The Mackerel Shawl - by Algernon Talmage - 1910
    Its information plaque notes that Talmage mostly painted landscapes. Nevertheless, this is an eye-catching work.

    Detail of the above, photographed at the museum

    La belle dame sans merci - by Frank Dicksee - 1902

    The Briar Rose - No. 3, The Garden Court (Bristol version) - by Edward Burne-Jones - c.1885-90
    One of a series of four paintings crafted to fit in a room of the patron's house. It seems that Burne-Jones painted a second version of The Garden Court, as the museum does not have the original.

    Above painting, photographed at the museum
    The museum has above-average lighting, so my iPhone-based photos capture what I saw well. This painting was restored recently, so its colors are brighter than those in the previous, Web-based image of the Bristol painting.

    The Guarded Bower - by Arthur Hughes - c. 1865
    Hughes was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

    Above painting photographed at the museum
    It looks much better in its frame than in the previous, Interned-based image.

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    Wilhelm Trübner (1851-1917) created smoothly-painted scenes early in his career, but by his 30s had drifted to styles with increased emphasis on what are called "formal qualities" of a painting (the parts not related to depiction of a subject). This concept eventually evolved into pure abstraction, whereby all a painting had were such qualities (characteristics) and no subject matter. In Trübner's case, he mostly made paintings where brushwork was strongly evident, many brushstrokes done using wide, flat brushes.

    I posted about this kind of brushwork here, and included one of Trübner's paintings.

    His Wikipedia entry is here, and from it you might want to go to the German entry, which has more detail.

    Below are images of some of Trübner's paintings in this style, most of which are from around the year 1900.


    Cronberg in Taunus - 1896
    The kind of brushwork I've been mentioning can be seen at the lower left.

    Schloß Lichtenberg im Odenwald - 1900
    A later landscape painting with even more obvious brushwork.

    Erna von Holzhausen on Horseback - 1901
    This portrait is dominated by strong brushwork -- especially on the horse.

    Self-Portrait with Hat - 1902
    Heavy, flat brushstrokes are used selectively here: note the smooth background and largely smoothly painted coat and vest.

    Dame mit Schwarzem Halsband - Lady with Black Collar - 1909
    A later painting where Trübner was still using that style.

    Stehender Rückenakt - Back View of Standing Nude - 1898
    This was made before Fauvism and its arbitrary use of color. The use of blue on the figure helps relate it to the background. (I've noted in some other posts that it's not easy to fit nudes into outdoor settings with plenty of foliage ... skin tones and foliage are rough complementary colors. Here Trübner chose to use a nonrealistic color, blue, on both the nude and the folliage.)

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    Richard F. Lack (1928-2009) was somehow able to make a living as a professional artist in the second half of the 20th century while painting in an academic style. A good deal of background information about him can be found here and here: both are well worth reading.

    Lack at one point classified his type of painting as "Classical Realism," and some Wikipedia information on the subject is here.

    If you happen to be in the Pacific Northwest before 15 November, you might be able to visit an exhibit of his work at the Maryhill Museum located about 90 miles up the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.

    I greatly respect Lack's talent and courage in opposing dominant fads and fashions in painting. On the other hand, his style is a little too "finished" for my taste. Also, I find it hard to like the Symbolic subjects that he began to paint around 1970 and continued to do for much of the rest of his career.

    Below are images of some of his paintings along with a few photos I took at Maryhill in September.


    My Studio (In the Studio) - 1955
    Pictured is a friend of his.

    The Italian Hat (Vietorisz Kaitalin - Katherine Lack) - 1955
    Lack met this Hungarian-born lass in 1953 and married her two years later.

    Reading - 1960 (very slightly cropped)

    The Concert - 1961
    Lack was an enthusiastic musician and painted a number of scenes dealing with that subject.

    Self Portrait - 1962 as seen at Maryhill

    Mother and Child (Katherine and Peter Lack) - 1962

    Evening Jet Trails - 1963
    Again, Katherine.

    Medea, head study - 1970 - as seen at Maryhill
    Most of lack's studies included in the exhibit (there were many) were even more finished than this one.

    Medea and studies as seen at Maryhill
    The previous painting is at the far left and a pose sketch is at the right of the final work.

    Evening, Lake Superior - 1974
    Lack also painted landscapes and still lifes.

    Girl in Blue: Homage to Paxton - 1983
    Lack studied under R.H. Ives Gammel (1893-1981) who, in turn, studied under William McGregor Paxton (1869-1941).

    Revelation of Saint John - 1980
    A Symbolist painting on a religious theme.  His Symbolist subjects also were influenced by psychiatrist Carl Jung.

    Some of Lack's Symbolist paintings displayed at Maryhill, via Underpaintings (Matthew Innis)

    One of Lack's palettes

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    Gottlieb Theodor von Hartenkampf Kempf, sometimes rendered Gottlieb Theodor Kempf von Hartenkampf -- I'm not sure which is preferred -- was an Austrian painter and illustrator born in Vienna in 1871 and died in 1964. Unfortunately, there seems to be little to no biographical information about him on the first few pages of Google searches in English and German. One source mentioned that he did some of his study in Paris.

    Fortunately, searches do turn up quite a few examples of his work. They indicate that he was good at capturing faces, an important test of artistic skill and training. For example, if you have ever visited museums with collections of portraits by American artists made before the early 1800s, you will notice that most of those works are comparatively crudely done. Moreover, a viewer must do some mental work to try to tease out what the subject looked like in real life. Sometimes one is reduced to mostly learning the subject had brown eyes and a long, somewhat droopy nose.

    By the 1930s, many artists and art critics claimed that the quality of a portrait was largely dependent on its presentation of the subject's character or personality. I have no problem with that, provided the subject's portrayal is representationally accurate. I do sometimes have a problem when the artist portrays his feelings about the subject in the portrait: imagine an exhibit of Donald Trump portraits by hostile painters living in Greenwich Village or Berkeley, California.

    As for Kempf, he could capture his subjects' physical appearance in a manner that made them believable. Below are a couple of portraits along with other examples of his work.


    Porträt Otto Wagner - 1896
    Wagner (1841-1918) was an important Viennese architect.

    Zigeunerin - Gypsy Woman

    Die Andacht - The Devotion

    Die Belauschung - Eavesdropping



    Jungfrau Maria - Mary as a Young Woman - 1935

    Definition here.

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    Eugène Galien-Laloue (1854-1941) was a prolific painter of landscapes and cityscapes, and is best known for his depictions of Paris. A brief Wikipedia entry is here, and from it you can link to a longer French version. But for a richly detailed exposition on him, I strongly suggest this site.

    It seems that Galien-Laloue -- Laloue was his actual family name -- was an odd character in several respects. He was something of a loner who focused on his work rather than the socializing that many famous Paris-based artists did. He had three wives, all of them sisters. He used several aliases when signing his paintings, presumably so that he could market them through more than one gallery.

    That aside, Laloue's gouache paintings were accurate depictions of Paris architecture as well as his scenes' atmospherics. This makes his works of interest to fans of Paris in the years 1880-1930. Most of the image below seem to have been painted in the early 1900s (he didn't date his works).


    Boulevard Saint-Germain

    La Bastille

    La Madeleine

    Madeleine Métro entrance
    A 1920s scene

    La place Saint-Michel

    Les quais de Paris

    Notre-Dame sous la neige
    Probably painted around 1916 -- the man in brown seems to be a British officer who really should be wearing his greatcoat.

    Les Halles
    This area was destroyed and replaced by that horrible Centre Pompidou.

    Arc de Triomphe (1)

    Arc de Triomphe (2)
    Both painted from almost the same spot, but in different seasons.

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    Actually, Peter Helck (1893-1988) illustrated other topics than early-1900s Vanderbilt Cup races and such, though many of his subjects did involve cars, trucks and other mechanical items. He had a successful career, being well known in his day.

    Helck's brief Wikipedia entry is here, a website by his grandson is here, and more detailed information regarding his early-1920s work in Europe can be found here. He was born in New York City, studied at the Art Students League there, and around 1920 worked with and apparently studied under the great Frank Brangwyn. Helck was of military age at the time of the Great War, but I've found no information regarding if he served or was in Europe due in part to that.

    Below are examples of his work.


    Brooklands racecourse paddock scene - 1920.

    Morris Crowley cover advertisement (cropped) on a 1920 issue of the Autocar magazine (British car magazines used to have ads as their cover art). This has a hint of Brangwyn, I think.

    Cover art for another British automobile magazine.

    Scene from an early race (the Web source did not identify it).

    Scene from 1908 Vanderbilt Cup race. In both these illustrations Helck includes the leaning-forward appearance of the featured race cars that was typical of race photographs from the early 20th century.  That distortion had to do with the relationship between a speeding subject and the vertical (low to high) movement of the camera aperture. That is, the lower part of the moving car was captured first, the upper part slightly later after it had moved, and the between part was the transition while the aperture was moving. Helck knew all this, but thought it worth retaining for his portrayals of that era to provide a "period" feeling.

    World War 2 vintage Campbell Soup advertising art featuring a Jeep.

    Chevrolet truck advertisement art, c. 1950.

    Story illustration of an accident while a locomotive was being loaded on a cargo ship.

    Story illustration with the caption "For a horrible instant Carter thought the jet was going to crash." - 1955.  Helck had to do some imaginative compositional work to provide drama while fitting the elements into the magazine's illustration hole.  In reality, that sort-of F-94 could not possibly avoid crashing if it were flying that low, that fast, and at that angle of attack.

    Example of non-machine subject matter.

    "The Old Ashburn Place."

    Study of scene from 1933 Tourist Trophy race held on the Isle of Man: Helck often signed his studies.

    Three more studies.

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    Isaac Lazarus Israëls (1865-1934) was a Dutch painter and son of Josef Israëls, an important 19th century artist. His Wikipedia entry is here. He received some training by his father and at an academy, but otherwise was self-taught. From 1905 to 1915 he was in Paris and London, but spent most of his career in the Netherlands.

    Israëls shed his academic style before he was 30. Thereafter, from what I can tell from images of his works on the internet, his style became quite sketchy, though he did not distort colors or proportions of his subjects. So he was a modernist to only a limited degree.


    Transport of Colonial Soldiers - 1883-84
    They were probably headed to the Netherlands East Indies.  This was painted a year or two after Israëls left the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague.

    Shop Window - 1894

    Woman in front of Van Gogh's Sunflowers - 1917-1918


    Two Hirsch Models, Ippy and Gertie Wehmann - c. 1916
    Hirsch was a department store found in several European cities, including Amsterdam.

    Gertie in a Fur Coat - c. 1917
    Gertie, again.

    Woman Walking on a Beach
    Israëls painted many beach scenes.

    Girl Sitting on a Beach
    This seems to be from around 1930, judging by the hairdo and costume.

    Artist in Atelier - 1918

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    Albert Beck Wenzell (1864-1917) isn't widely known today, even by illustration buffs such as me. That might be because most of his work was done during what some call the Golden Age of Illustration. My bias is that the gold happened mostly between 1915 and 1960. Judgment calls all around.

    Still, Wenzell was posthumously inducted into the Society of Illustrators' Hall of Fame as recently as 2005. Here is the Society's web page about him.

    Wenzell was very good at his tasks. His style was not the stiff, wooden sort of thing often found during his era. Instead, it edged towards the free and sketchy, though this varied by topic and perhaps the tastes of various magazine art directors he had to deal with.

    His subject matter seems to have largely been upper-class society folks. Such were the subjects of the fiction pieces he was hired to illustrate. And those subjects remained popular for decades following his death. Today's "sophisticates" -- especially of the academic variety -- are likely to view that in horror: How dare those propagandist magazine toadies glamorize those blood-sucking parasites!! Because readers of middle and even lower class origins liked to find how the upper class lived, dressed, and practiced manners. America has never been an India with a caste system.  Upward mobility has always been a possibility for most people. Those magazine stories with their Wenzell illustrations served as instruction manuals for achieving greater social polish.

    Most Wenzell illustrations found on the Internet lack dates. Research into contents of such old magazine copies that still exist might clear some of this up, but I think few people would be eager to take on such a task. Sometimes fairly close guesses can be made by observing the style of clothing of his female subjects.


    A Captive Audience

    Breakfast table scene

    Viennese Embassy Ball


    Woman with Putti (also known as Victorian Virgin with Cherubs)

    The Marriage Proposal

    Confrontation scene

    The Argument

    Three is a Crowd

    Idle Conversation

    The Couple

    Where Did I Put the Tickets?

    Rose in Garden

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    Pierre-Georges Jeanniot (1848–1934) fought in the Franco-Prussian war, later rising to the rank of Major. When offered promotion to commandant (lieutenant colonel), he resigned to become a full-time artist. From this Wikipedia entry, it isn't clear where he received artistic training, though the French version states it was from his father who for many years was director of l'École des Beaux-Arts of Dijon.

    The entry also mentions that Jeanniot became friends with some of the French Impressionists, especially Edgar Degas. And in 1906 he became a chevalier (knight) of the Légion d'Honneur, then officier par décret in 1929. Clearly, he was well-regarded in his day, though not widely known today, at least here in the USA.

    Besides painting, Jeanniot was an engraver and illustrator of books.

    As can be seen in the images below, he was highly skilled, though his works were not distinctive enough (in my judgement) to be instantly identifiable as done by him.


    La Ligne de feu, épisode de la bataille du 16 Août 1870 - Firing Line, an Episode During the Battle of Mars-la-Tour, 16 August, 1870 - c. 1881

    Réservistes de 1870 - Reservists During the Franco-Prussian War - 1882

    Elèves caporaux sur l'esplanade des Invalides à Paris - Group of Trainees on the Esplanade of the Invalides, Paris - 1883

    Une Élégante au Café - Elegant Woman in a Café - 1883 (pastel)

    The Pink Camelia - 1897


    Une chanson de Gibert dans le salon de madame Madeleine Lemaire - A Song by Gibert in the Salon of Madame Madelaine Lemaire - 1891

    Élégante au salon - Elegant Lady at a Salon - 1905

    Woman in Café - 1910

    Portrait de Henriette assise avec un châle - Henriette Seated with a Shawl - 1926

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    Most tours of England's West Country take in the city of Bath, that once was a Roman site and for many is a Jane Austen mecca. But not far down the road to the west is Bristol, which also is worth a visit, though its character is different.

    Architecturally, and due to its siting, the Bristol building that interests me the most is the Wills Tower on the Wills Memorial Building. It sits on one of Bristol's hills as part of Bristol University, a "red brick" institution that received its royal charter in 1909.

    The tower's construction was begun in 1915, but completion was delayed until 1925 due to the Great War. Its architect was Sir George Herbert Oatley (1863–1950) who was the university's architect for a number of years. It is a tall (215 foot, 65.5 meter) structure nicely composed using plain and highly decorated areas that play off one another.


    The tower as seen looking up Park Street in 1939 where it serves as a focus.

    Park Street is just off to the right of this view that I took the last time I was in town. This street is Queens Road that becomes Park Row and heads downhill as it bends left beyond the edge of the photo. The building at the left is the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery that has some interesting paintings in its collection.

    The massive corners have little decoration and the rest of the tower is quite Gothic.

    Street level view.  A nice touch is the shields placed above the tall windows.

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    Lionel-Noël Royer (1852-1926), according to his English language Wikipedia entry, is best known for his large paintings of the life of Joan of Arc located in the Basilica of Bois-Chenu in Domrémy, her home town. His French Wikipedia entry also notes that he is known "ainsi que du tableau Vercingétorix jette ses armes aux pieds de Jules César." The latter ("Vercingétorix Throwing his Weapons at the Feet of Caesar" - 1899) is probably better known outside France because it has been used as book cover art. It's the image at the top of this post (click on it to enlarge).

    Royer fought in one Franco-Prussian War battle, so was qualified to paint battle scenes even though he followed convention and overly dramatized the action.  Following the war he studied art at l'École des beaux-arts de Paris under Alexandre Cabanel and William Bouguereau.

    Royer painted simple subjects, but excelled in dealing with complex scenes with casts worthy of a Cecil B. DeMille Biblical movie. Well, fewer people than in film crowd scenes, but plenty on artists' canvases.

    Below are more examples of his work. But I have to say that I like the Julis Caesar painting best, even though the French link above states "Les historiens soulignent notamment le fait que Vercingétorix ne s'est certainement pas présenté en armes devant César au moment de sa reddition (il aurait été massacré par la garde romaine). Le cheval est à l'époque une monture romaine, les Gaulois utilisant plutôt des poneys (plus petits). Le tableau traduit surtout une volonté d'héroïser le personnage de Vercingétorix." That is, what Royer painted probably did not actually happen the way he depicted the surrender.


    Joan of Arc at the coronation of Charles VII at Reims
    Click on the image to enlarge.

    Bataille d'Auvour
    Also known as the Battle of Mans, fought 10-12 January 1871.  A large but rag-tag French army was defeated by the Prussians. This battle, along with the end of the Siege of Paris a few days later, marked the end of the main military phase of the Franco-Prussian War

    Le Lieutenant-Colonel Athanase de Charrette à la tête des Zouaves Pontificaux – Bataille de Mentana - 3 Novembre, 1867
    This battle was between Garibaldi's Italians and an army comprised of the French and Papal Zouave troops. The Italians were defeated.

    Marchande de Fleurs - The Flower Seller
    The flower seller is at the lower right corner with her push-cart. At the lower left is a red automobile that dates the painting as from a few years around 1905. The large building is the Hôtel de Ville, Paris' city hall, and the tall structure at the right is the Notre-Dame.

    The Muses Garden
    The opposite of Royer's war paintings.

    Allegory of Summer
    Confirmation that he studied under Bouguereau.

    Étude pour la figure de l'amour

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