Art Sunday: Marie Bracquemond – On the Terrace at Sèvres

Marie Bracquemond (1 December 1840 – 17 January 1916) was a French Impressionist artist, who was described retrospectively by Henri Focillon in 1928 as one of “les trois grandes dames” of Impressionism alongside Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt. Her frequent omission from books on artists is sometimes attributed to the efforts of her husband, Félix Bracquemond.

Many of her best-known works were painted outdoors, especially in her garden at Sèvres. One of her last paintings was The Artist’s Son and Sister in the Garden at Sèvres. Bracquemond participated in the Impressionist exhibitions of 1879, 1880, and 1886. In 1879 and 1880, some of her drawings were published in La Vie Moderne. In 1881, she exhibited five works at the Dudley Gallery in London.

She died in Paris on January 17, 1916. Bracquemond was included in the 2018 exhibit Women in Paris 1850-1900.


Art Sunday: Eugène Boudin – Boulevard de Fossés in Pontoise

Eugène Louis Boudin was one of the first French landscape painters to paint outdoors. Boudin was a marine painter, and expert in the rendering of all that goes upon the sea and along its shores. His pastels, summary and economic, garnered the splendid eulogy of Baudelaire; and Corot called him the “King of the skies”

Art Sunday: Mary Cassatt – In the Box

Mary Stevenson Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker. She was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh’s North Side), but lived much of her adult life in France where she befriended Edgar Degas and exhibited with the Impressionists. Cassatt often created images of the social and private lives of women, with particular emphasis on the intimate bonds between mothers and children.

She was described by Gustave Geffroy as one of “les trois grandes dames” (the three great ladies) of Impressionism alongside Marie Bracquemondand Berthe Morisot.  In 1879, Diego Martelli compared her to Degas, as they both sought to depict movement, light, and design in the most modern sense.


Art Sunday: Pierre-Auguste Renoir – The Umbrellas

The Umbrellas is an oil-on-canvas painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, painted in two phases in the 1880s. It is owned by the National Gallery in London as part of the Lane Bequest but is displayed alternately in London and at the Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. From May 2013 to 2019, it returned to Dublin for a six-year period.

The painting measures 180.3 centimetres (71.0 in) high by 114.9 centimetres (45.2 in) wide. It depicts a busy street scene in Paris, with most of the people depicted using umbrellas against the rain. To the right, a mother looks down at her daughters, each fashionably dressed in the styles of 1881 for the afternoon promenade. She largely conceals a female figure at the centre of the frame, caught in the act of raising or lowering her umbrella, suggesting that the rain is about to start or stop. The principal female figure to the left of the frame, a milliner’s assistant or modiste modelled by Renoir’s lover and frequent subject Suzanne Valadon, holds up her skirt against the mud and water on the road as she carries a hatbox, but has no hat, raincoat or umbrella.

A vigorous young bearded gentleman seems to be about to engage her, perhaps to offer her shelter under his umbrella. She, and one of the two girls to the right with a hoop and stick, look out at the viewer, while most of the other people go about their business. Unconventionally, the focus of the painting is not at its centre, and many of the figures are cut off by the frame as if the painting were a photograph. The composition appears natural, but the angles of the umbrellas are carefully arranged to form geometric shapes, with the main figure’s bandbox and the girl’s hoop adding rounded elements. The colours are largely blues and greys: a pattern of umbrella canopies across the top of the painting, and the dresses and coats of the people lower down.


Art Sunday: Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec – At the Moulin Rouge

At the Moulin Rouge is an oil-on-canvas painting by French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. It was painted between 1892 and 1895. It is one of a number of works by Toulouse-Lautrec depicting the Moulin Rouge cabaret built in Paris in 1889; the others include At the Moulin Rouge, The Dance, and the poster Moulin Rouge: La Goulue. Included in the background is a self-portrait of the artist.

The painting portrays near its center a group of three men and two women sitting around a table situated on the floor of the cabaret. From right to left, the people at the table include: Édouard Dujardin, dancer La Macarona, photographer Paul Secau, and photographer Maurice Guibert. In the right foreground, apparently sitting at a different table, is a partial profile, with her face lit in a distinctive light, of English dancer May Milton. In the background on the right is Moulin Rouge dancer La Goulue and a woman. The center-left background shows Toulouse-Lautrec himself, as well as Gabriel Tapié de Céleyran.