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Carl Holsøe, Master of Rooms

The Artist's Wife sitting at a Window in a sunlit Room, ca.1900

Carl Vilhelm Holsøe
was born on the 12 of March, 1863 in northeast Denmark. Holsøe studied in Copenhagen and under the Danish Master Peder Krøyer. Unlike many painters who worked outdoors and favored the majestic landscapes of their environment, Holsøe chose the psychological mood of the domestic interior and the way light spills into rooms. Although Holsøe is often compared to his contemporary and friend, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Holsøe is more authentic and less vacant emotionally. His use of sunlight captures the mindfulness of the moment in a way that is reminiscent of Dutch Masters, utilizing the power of quiet and reading as emotionally satisfying and tranquil.

In the painting above, his wife sits in a kitchen chair looking out the window. On the table are cups of tea and a teapot that Holsøe gently lights the rims. The drapes are of a texture so thick it almost seems like pastel. Look at the greenish reflections on …
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Raimundo de Madrazo, Master of Strokes

Birthday Wishes, ca. 1880

Born on the 24th of July, 1841 in Rome, Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta was a Spanish realist painter. Coming from a long line of painters in the family, Raimundo moved back to Spain and studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, then in Paris under Léon Cogniet. Raimundo stayed in Paris most of his life and like his family did mostly portraiture. Raimundo is distinctly unique from most in the way he paints fabric and drapery...elevating the women of his era in their beautiful shimmering dresses like very few artists in history. Despite this interesting niche Raimundo was a brilliant portrait painter of both men and women. Look closely in his brushwork and the influence of Velázquez is unmistakable, yet Madrazo has an ability to make those strokes dance.

In Birthday Wishes above, the narrative is clear: a woman reads a card addressed to her from an admirer while holding a bouquet of flowers. The background was a green underpainting …

Albert Edelfelt, the Finnish Master

Boys Playing on the Shore, 1884

Born on July 21, 1854 in Southern Finland, Albert Edelfelt was a successful Finnish Realist painter. While studying art in Helsinki in his late teens, Edelfelt became frustrated by the type of instruction in Finland at that time and, after a brief stint in Antwerp he moved to Paris studying under Gérôme. Edelfelt's work is comprised of both portraiture and landscape, where he often painted en plein air and equally adept in both oils and watercolour. His popularity rose in his lifetime during his time in Paris and attracted many admirers, including Van Gogh. Edelfelt's style is warm and fresh, almost like Sorolla yet with a deep respect for his own culture and people despite living in Paris for so many years. His realism is inviting and mindful, with an innate sense of colour for all of his compositions and portraits.

In Boys Playing on the Shore above, Edelfelt brings us back to childhood with a remarkably muted palette. Despite the sunshine the…

Winslow Homer, Land and Sea

The Fog Warning, 1885

Born February 24, 1836 in Boston, Winslow Homer was an American painter and printmaker. Homer was largely self-taught, working in both oils and watercolor, known for combining the landscape and sea with figures. His work is characterized by a bold palette, vivid textures and often dramatic use of light. Homer painted in such a way that he immerses the viewer into his subject matter using all of the senses, particularly in his seascapes. With his stylish, walrus moustache and skimmer hat Homer traveled throughout Paris, England, Canada, Cuba and America with instinct that captured a land in a way that is strangely hypnotic and present. His influence spread far and include artists such as Howard Pyle and N. C. Wyeth, among others.

In The Fog Warning above, Homer uses a low perspective and props the man in the boat at a strong diagonal to really emphasize the undulating current of a restless sea. Yet despite the choppy waters the fisherman has caught a good fish an…

The Genius of Ramon Casas

Open Air Interior, 1892

Born on January 4, 1866 in Barcelona, Ramon Casas i Carbó was a Spanish portrait painter and graphic designer. He was a contemporary of Santiago Rusiñol, both founders of the Spanish art movement modernisme. Where Santiago painted pensive interiors and moody landscapes, Casas focused more on the portrait and figure with a penchant for costume and posture. His palette often consists of more muted tones with vibrant color accents. Casas enjoyed a lengthy and prominent career throughout Europe and South America where he often exhibited in shows with his friend Rusiñol.

In Open Air Interior above, Casas encapsulates a quiet moment outdoors during tea time. I love these kind of paintings for their calm visual intensity. The way that man sits in his chair, lost in thought while his wife carefully stirs her tea...this is the kind of mindfulness in the subjects that makes us, the viewer, envision ourselves in this scene. Casas paints the far wall of the house in cool…