Art Sunday #136: Emily Carr – Odds and Ends


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Emily Carr (December 13, 1871 – March 2, 1945) was a Canadian artist and writer inspired by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.  One of the first painters in Canada to adopt a Modernist and Post-Impressionist painting style, Carr did not receive widespread recognition for her work until late in her life. As she matured, the subject matter of her painting shifted from aboriginal themes to landscapes—forest scenes in particular.  As a writer, Carr was one of the earliest chroniclers of life in British Columbia. The Canadian Encyclopedia describes her as a “Canadian icon”.

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Carr

 

Art Sunday #135: Seymour Fogel – The Wealth of the Nation


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Seymour Fogel (August 24, 1911 – December 4, 1984) was an American artist whose artistic output included social realist art early in the century, abstract art and expressionist art at mid-century, and transcendental art late in the century. His drive to experiment led him to work with expected media – oil paints, watercolors, and acrylics – as well as unconventional media such as glass, plastics, sand, and wax.

The murals Seymour Fogel executed for the PWAP expressed a persistent optimism – a faith in the institutions and qualities of the American character that many said had been trampled and destabilized by the Great Depression.

Fogel was, in this mural, illustrating Roosevelt’s dictum that “In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people.”

Sources:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seymour_Fogel

and

https://russelltetherfineart.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/seymour-fogel-and-the-art-of-american-optimism/

Art Sunday #134: Paul Nash – The Menin Road


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The Menin Road is a large oil painting by Paul Nash completed in 1919 that depicts a First World War battlefield. Nash was commissioned by the British War Memorials Committee to paint a battlefield scene for the proposed national Hall of Remembrance. The painting is considered one of the most iconic images of the First World War and is held by the Imperial War Museum.

The Menin Road depicts a landscape of flooded shell craters and trenches while tree stumps, devoid of any foliage, point towards a sky full of clouds and plumes of smoke, bisected by shafts of sunlight resembling gun barrels. Two soldiers at the centre of the picture attempt to follow the, almost, unrecognisable road but appear to be trapped by the landscape. Nash composed the picture in three broad strips. The foreground is filled with shell craters and debris, which block access to the road in the middle of the picture. The only possible path, to the side of one of the mud pools, is blocked by a fallen board. Across the centre of the picture, shell holes punch into the road at regular intervals, while debris further breaks up the road, as do the shadows from a line of trees alongside it. Beyond the trees, the battlefield stretches to the horizon, with a wood of stunted trees on the right hand side and to the left a series of seven zigzag streams, that also fail to reach the horizon and escape. Nash came to consider this painting to be his finest work.

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Menin_Road_(painting)

Art Sunday #133: Georges Croegaert – Private Indulgence


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Georges Croegaert (7 October 1848 – 1923) was a Belgian academic painter who spent most of his career in Paris. He is known for his genre paintings of elegant society women and humorous depictions of cardinals executed in a highly realist style.

Possibly looking for a lucrative niche in the market, Croegaert started to paint ‘cardinal paintings’, sometimes also referred to as ‘anti-clerical art’. These paintings depict Roman Catholic cardinals in a sumptuous setting typically engaging in some banal activity. Georges Croegaert was not the only artist in Paris practicing in this genre. Others who made a name in the genre include the Italian Andrea Landini and the Frenchmen Jehan Georges Vibert, Charles Edouard Delort and Marcel Brunery.  By depicting cardinals participating in activities such as ‘approving the artist’s nude model’, card games, excessive or sumptuous eating and drinking and indulgent pastimes such as philately and painting, these painters poked fun at the excessive and sometimes debauched lifestyles of the upper echelons of the Catholic clergy.  There was clearly a large demand for these paintings as evidenced by the fact that so many artists worked in this genre. The tone of Croegaert’s cardinal paintings was humorous and slightly mocking rather than overtly anti-clerical. Croegaert’s very detailed technique was perfectly suited for this genre as it allowed him to depict the excesses of the cardinals’ lifestyle amid an environment of ornate furnishings, tapestries, glass and silverware rendered in realistic detail. He was particularly accomplished in capturing the vivid reds and purples of the cardinals’ robes and the characterisation and humour in the faces of his somewhat pathetic subjects.

He died in Paris in 1923 after a long and successful career.

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Croegaert

 

Art Sunday #132: Paul Cezanne – Girl at the Piano


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Cezanne painted this work at Jas de Bouffan, an estate near Aix which belonged to his parents. The figures here are the artist’s mother and sister. Music-making was a popular theme with innovatory artists at this time and the subtitle of the work, “The Overture to Tannhauser”, recalls Richard Wagner, who had become the symbol of the new kind of art. Restrained and tense in its colouring, which is based largely on a contrast of black and white, the painting has a strangely positive mood. The composition is balanced, with a sense of enclosure and unity, people and objects forming a single material world. The intimate scene has nothing everyday about it, and seems to have been transformed into something sublime and ceremonial. A friend of the Impressionists, showing his works at their exhibitions, Cezanne nonetheless soon discovered that his was a totally different view of the world, and took his own, independent artistic path.

Source:  https://www.wikiart.org/en/paul-cezanne – and –

https://www.hermitagemuseum.org/wps/portal/hermitage/digital-collection/01.+Paintings/28717/

 

Art Sunday #131: Hugo Simberg – The Wounded Angel


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The Wounded Angel (Finnish: Haavoittunut enkeli) (1903) is a painting by Finnish symbolist painter Hugo Simberg. It is one of the most recognizable of Simberg’s works, and was voted Finland’s “national painting” in a vote held by the Ateneum art museum in 2006.

Like other Simberg works, the atmosphere is melancholic: the angelic central figure with her bandaged forehead and bloodied wing, the sombre clothing of her two youthful bearers. The direct gaze of the right-hand figure touches the viewer.

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wounded_Angel

Art Sunday #130: Anton Mauve – Shepardess


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Anthonij (Anton) Rudolf Mauve (18 September 1838 – 5 February 1888) was a Dutch realist painter who was a leading member of the Hague School. He signed his paintings ‘A. Mauve’ or with a monogrammed ‘A.M.’. A master colorist, he was a very significant early influence on his cousin-in-law Vincent van Gogh.

Most of Mauve’s work depicts people and animals in outdoor settings. In his Morning Ride in the Rijksmuseum, for example, fashionable equestrians at the seacoast are seen riding away from the viewer. An unconventional detail, horse droppings in the foreground, attests his commitment to realism.

His best known paintings depict peasants working in the fields. His paintings of flocks of sheep were especially popular with American patrons, so popular indeed that a price differential developed between scenes of “sheep coming” and “sheep going”.

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Mauve

 

 

Art Sunday #129: Balthasar van der Ast – Flowers in a Vase with Shells and Insects


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Balthasar van der Ast (1593/94 – 7 March 1657) was a Dutch Golden Age painter who specialized in still lifes of flowers and fruit, as well as painting a number of remarkable shell still lifes; he is considered to be a pioneer in the genre of shell painting. His still lifes often contain insects and lizards.

He was born in Middelburg and died in Delft.

His lifetime of works was once summarized by an Amsterdam doctor who said, “In flowers, shells and lizards, beautiful”

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balthasar_van_der_Ast

Art Sunday #128: Georges Seurat – A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte


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A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (French: Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte) painted in 1884, is one of Georges Seurat’s most famous works. It is a leading example of pointillist technique, executed on a large canvas. Seurat’s composition includes a number of Parisians at a park on the banks of the River Seine.

The Island of la Grande Jatte is located at the very gates of Paris, lying in the Seine between Neuilly and Levallois-Perret, a short distance from where La Défense business district currently stands. Although for many years it was an industrial site, it is today the site of a public garden and a housing development. When Seurat began the painting in 1884, the island was a bucolic retreat far from the urban center.

The painting was first exhibited in 1886, dominating the second Salon of the Société des Artistes Indépendants, of which Seurat had been a founder in 1884. Seurat was extremely disciplined, always serious, and private to the point of secretiveness—for the most part, steering his own steady course. As a painter, he wanted to make a difference in the history of art and with La Grand Jatte, succeeded.

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Sunday_Afternoon_on_the_Island_of_La_Grande_Jatte

Art Sunday #127: Ilya Repin – Barge Haulers on the Volga


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Barge Haulers on the Volga or Burlaki (Russian: Burlaki na Volge, Бурлаки на Волге) is an 1870–73 oil-on-canvas painting by the Russian realist painter and sculptor   . The work depicts 11 laboring men dragging a barge on the Volga River. The men seem to almost collapse forward in exhaustion under the burden of hauling a large boat upstream in heavy, hot weather.

The work is both a celebration of the men’s dignity and fortitude, and a highly emotional condemnation of those who sanctioned such inhumane labor.  Although they are presented as stoical and accepting, the men are largely defeated; only one stands out: in the center of both the row and canvas, a brightly colored youth fights against his leather binds and takes on a heroic pose.

Repin conceived the painting during his travels through Russia as a young man and depicts actual characters he encountered. It drew international praise for its realistic portrayal of the hardships of working men, and launched his career.  Soon after its completion, the painting was purchased by Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich and exhibited widely throughout Europe as a landmark of Russian realist painting. Barge Haulers on the Volga has been described as “perhaps the most famous painting of the Peredvizhnikimovement [for]….its unflinching portrayal of backbreaking labor”.