Art Sunday #119: Paul Cezanne – The Card Players


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The Card Players is a series of oil paintings by the French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cézanne. Painted during Cézanne’s final period in the early 1890s, there are five paintings in the series. The versions vary in size, the number of players, and the setting in which the game takes place. Cézanne also completed numerous drawings and studies in preparation for The Card Players series. One version of The Card Players was sold in 2011 to the Royal Family of Qatar for a price variously estimated at between $250 million and $300 million, making it the third most expensive work of art ever sold.

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The largest version, painted between the years 1890–1892, is the most complex, with five figures on a 134.6 x 180.3 cm (53 × 71 in) canvas. It features three card players at the forefront, seated in a semi-circle at a table, with two spectators behind. On the right side of the painting, seated behind the second man and to the right of the third, is a boy, eyes cast downward, also a fixed spectator of the game. Further back, on the left side between the first and second player is a man standing, back to the wall, smoking a pipe and presumably awaiting his turn at the table. It has been speculated Cézanne added the standing man to provide depth to the painting, as well as to draw the eye to the upper portion of the canvas.  As with the other versions, it displays a suppressed storytelling of peasant men in loose-fitting garments with natural poses focused entirely on their game.

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A more condensed version of this painting with four figures, long thought to be the second version of The Card Players, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. At 65.4 x 81.9 cm (25 3/4 x 32 1/4 in), it is less than half the size of the Barnes painting. Here the composition remains virtually the same, minus the boy, with viewers’ perspective slightly closer to the game, but with less space between the figures. In the previous painting, the center player as well as the boy were hatless, whereas this version has all the men hatted. Also gone are the shelf to the left with vase and lower half of a picture frame in the center of the wall, leaving only the four pipes and hanging cloth to join the smoking man behind the card players.

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

Art Sunday #118: Salvador Dali -The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used As a Table


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The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used As a Table is a small Surrealist oil painting by Salvador Dalí. Its full title is The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used as a Table (Phenomenologic Theory of Furniture-Nutrition).  It makes reference to The Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer, a famous seventeenth-century work in which a painter, thought to be a self-portrait of Vermeer, is depicted with his back to us, in distinctive costume.  It is one of a number of paintings expressive of Dalí’s enormous admiration for Vermeer.

Vermeer is represented as a dark spindly figure in a kneeling position. The figure’s outstretched leg serves as a table top surface, on which sits a bottle and a small glass. This leg tapers to a baluster-like stub; there is a shoe nearby. The walls and the distant views of the mountains are based on real views near Dalí’s home in Port Lligat.  In Vermeer’s painting the artist leans on a maulstick, and his hand is painted with an unusual blurriness, perhaps to indicate movement. In Dalí’s painting Vermeer rests the same arm on a crutch.

It is unsigned and undated but known to have been completed c.1934.  It is currently on display at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, on loan from the E. and A. Reynolds Morse collection.

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

Art Sunday #117: Gerard ter Borch – The Gallant Conversation


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The Gallant Conversation is an oil-on-canvas painting from circa 1654 by Gerard ter Borch (the Younger). A late 18th century French print of the work is titled The Paternal Admonition, apparently believing it showed a father reprimanding his daughter, but modern art historians see it as a conversation between two prospective lovers, either a discussion of a betrothal or, more likely, a customer propositioning a prostitute in a brothel.

The painting shows a man talking to a young woman. The woman is dressed in an exquisite silver satin gown which immediately draws the viewer’s attention to her as the focus of the scene, while the man is in military dress and holds a finely decorated hat on his lap. Next to the man sits an older woman drinking wine, seemingly uninterested in the conversation between the man and the girl. To the side of the girl is a table with a burning candle, mirror, powder puff, combs and a trailing ribbon. Behind the man’s chair, a scruffy dog can be seen, and to the rear of the picture is a large bed.

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

Art Sunday #116: Helene Schjerfbeck – Dancing Shoes


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Helene Schjerfbeck (July 10, 1862 – January 23, 1946 was a Finnish painter. She is most widely known for her realist works and self-portraits, and less well known for her landscapes and still lifes. Throughout her long life, her work changed dramatically.

Dancing Shoes is one of Schjerfbeck’s most enduringly popular paintings. The subject was so popular that Schjerfbeck returned to the theme three times as well as executing a lithograph of it, the latter catapulting the painting to international fame. It depicts her cousin Esther Lupander. Esther had extremely long legs and for that reason the painting was nicknamed “The Grasshopper”. Executed in Realist style, the painting shows the clear influence of Schjerfbeck’s stay in Paris where she had expressed admiration for Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, and Mary Cassatt. It fetched £3,044,500 at a 2008 Sotheby’s London sale.

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

Art Sunday #115: Felix Vallotton – La Valse (The Waltz)


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Félix Edouard Vallotton (December 28, 1865 – December 29, 1925) was a Swiss/French painter and printmaker associated with Les Nabis. He was an important figure in the development of the modern woodcut.

His woodcut subjects included domestic scenes, bathing women, portrait heads, and several images of street crowds and demonstrations—notably, several scenes of police attacking anarchists. He usually depicted types rather than individuals, eschewed the expression of strong emotion, and “fuse[d] a graphic wit with an acerbic if not ironic humor”.  Vallotton’s graphic art reached its highest development in Intimités (Intimacies), a series of ten interiors published in 1898 by the Revue Blanche, which deal with tension between men and women.  Vallotton’s woodcuts were widely disseminated in periodicals and books in Europe as well as in the United States, and have been suggested as a significant influence on the graphic art of Edvard Munch, Aubrey Beardsley, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%A9lix_Vallotton

Art Sunday #114: Vincent Van Gogh – Still Life: Vase with Twelve Sunflowers


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Sunflowers (original title, in French: Tournesols) are the subject of two series of still life paintings by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The earlier series, executed in Paris in 1887, depicts the flowers lying on the ground, while the second set, executed a year later in Arles, shows bouquets of sunflowers in a vase. In the artist’s mind both sets were linked by the name of his friend Paul Gauguin, who acquired two of the Paris versions. About eight months later van Gogh hoped to welcome and to impress Gauguin again with Sunflowers, now part of the painted Décoration for the Yellow House that he prepared for the guestroom of his home in Arles, where Gauguin was supposed to stay. After Gauguin’s departure, van Gogh imagined the two major versions as wings of the Berceuse Triptych, and finally he included them in his Les XX in Bruxelles exhibit.

Van Gogh began painting in late summer 1888 and continued into the following year. One went to decorate his friend Paul Gauguin’s bedroom. The paintings show sunflowers in all stages of life, from full bloom to withering. The paintings were considered innovative for their use of the yellow spectrum, partly because newly invented pigments made new colours possible.

In a letter to Theo, Vincent wrote:

“It’s a type of painting that changes its aspect a little, which grows in richness the more you look at it. Besides, you know that Gauguin likes them extraordinarily. He said to me about them, among other things: ‘that — … that’s… the flower’. You know that Jeannin has the peony, Quost has the hollyhock, but I have the sunflower, in a way.”

Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunflowers_(Van_Gogh_series)

Art Sunday #113: Armand Guillaumin – Sunset at Ivry (Soleil couchant à Ivry)


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Armand Guillaumin (February 16, 1841 – June 26, 1927) was a French impressionist painter and lithographer.

Noted for their intense colours, Guillamin’s paintings are represented in major museums around the world. He is best remembered for his landscapes of Paris, the Creuse département, and the area around Les Adrets-de-l’Estérel near the Mediterranean coast in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France. Guillamin was called the leader of the École de Crozant, a diverse group of painters who came to depict the landscape in the region of the Creuse around the village of Crozant. One of these depictions, titled Landscape in Crozant, is housed in the Chicago Institute of Arts.  His bust is in the square near the village church.

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

Art Sunday #112: Leonid Afremov – Waltz


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Leonid Afremov ®(born 12 July 1955 in Vitebsk, Belarus) is a Russian–Israeli modern impressionistic artist who works mainly with a palette knife and oils. He developed his own unique technique and style which is unmistakable and cannot be confused with other artists. Afremov is mainly known as being a self-representing artist who promotes and sells his work exclusively over the internet with very little exhibitions and involvement of dealers and galleries.

Before the advancement of online sales and eBay, Afremov was a struggling artist. He was born in Vitebsk, Belarus, and lived there until 1990. Between 1990 and 2002 he lived in Israel, and from 2002 to 2010 in Boca Raton, Florida. Afremov currently resides in the popular resort town Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, near Cancun. He paints mainly landscape, city scenes, seascapes, flowers and portraits. Most of his work is considered very colorful and politically neutral.

Source:  https://afremov.com/Leonid-Afremov-bio.html

Art Sunday #111: Alice Bailly – Self Portrait


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Alice Bailly (25 February 1872 – 1 January 1938) was a radical Swiss painter, known for her interpretations on cubism, fauvism, her wool paintings, and her participation in the Dada movement. In 1906, Bailly had settled in Paris where she befriended Juan Gris, Francis Picabia, and Marie Laurencin, avant-garde modernist painters who influenced her works and her later life.

Bailly’s most famous work is said to be her painting titled “Self Portrait,” painted in 1917. The painting represents a more avant-garde approach to self-portraits than was normally accepted at her time. The painting incorporates many styles. Her three-quarter-turned pose indicates a traditional self-portrait, while the red, orange and blue hues show Fauve influences. When looking at her arms and hands, the arching lines represent the influence of Italian Futurist art.

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

Art Sunday #110: Mykola Pymonenko – Maundy Thurs


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Mykola Kornylovych Pymonenko (9 March 1862, Priorka, near Kiev – 26 March 1912, Kiev) was a Ukrainian painter; associated with the Peredvizhniki. He is best known for his urban and rural genre scenes of working-class people.

He died in 1912 after a short, serious illness. He was buried at the Lukyanivka Cemetery, Kyiv. His posthumous exhibition at the Academy of Arts, which took place in early 1913 featured 184 paintings, 419 sketches and 112 pencil drawings. In 1959, a street was named after him and, in 1997, a museum devoted to him was opened in Malyutyanka, a village where he painted during the summers, in the Kiev-Sviatoshyn Raion. Several of his works have alternate versions, often painted years apart.

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