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The Dreamy Landscapes of Trouillebert

Rowboat, ca. 1800's Born on 1829 in Paris, France Paul Désiré Trouillebert was a French Barbizon painter. Often compared to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot for his very similar treatment of mood and trees, in fact one of Trouillebert's paintings was sold by a collector to the son of Alexandre Dumas (author of The Three Musketeers ) as a Corot with a forged signature. However, on this post I will be examining in closer detail why the style of Trouillebert is much more individual and distinct from Corot. In Rowboat above, Trouillebert varies the thickness and variety of the trees in this asymmetrical composition. What is beautiful about this painting is how the main source of light is a mysterious white glow at the horizon line of this very overcast day with the clouds becoming warmer as they near the top of the painting before turning dark to suggest imminent rain. Fishermen on a boat is not an entirely original theme, admittedly but the way in which Trouillebert's palet
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Hans Gude, Norwegian Lord of the Land and Sea

Norwegian Highlands in Sunrise, 1854 Hans Fredrik Gude was born on March 13, 1825 in Oslo (formerly Christiania), Norway. A Romanticist from the Düsseldorf school of painting , a German Romanticist school in the mid-1800's that produced an impressive array of artists painting in a very detailed yet powerfully emotional way. The landscape as an artistic genre, although very common today, was often regarded as a lower genre and something not as "serious" as the more religious, historical or portrait genres that dominated the art world for centuries. German Romanticism changed that in a relatively short period of time and attracted artists from all over the world to study at the prestigious Düsseldorf Academy . Gude's career established him as an icon of Norwegian artists and became a master of the seascape and a distinguished art professor in his later years. He often collaborated with artist Adolph Tidemand, a highly skilled portrait and figure painter on his own ri

Isaac Levitan, Russian Poet of Nature

Before the Storm, 1890 Born August 30, 1860, Isaac Ilyich Levitan was a Russian landscape painter. Born in Congress Poland to a Jewish family, Levitan would study art in Moscow where he would become friends with Anton Chekov and his brother, Nikolay who was also an artist. Levitan's work has a unique mood that is very distinct from the Impressionism of France and the Classicism of Russia...sometimes compared to Monet but still different. Levitan has a rare presence with astute attention to detail and a fascination with light at different times of day. At times highly accurate, while in his more personal work deeply Impressionistic and imbued with rich tone and color. There is something about Levitan that lingers in your mind long after seeing his work...in a way that is individual and personal, not attached to a specific genre or movement, but to the world around him. In Before the Storm , Levitan captures a moment so stunning it seems to defy words...of sunlight piercing

Tom Roberts, Australian Impressionist

Portrait of Florence, 1898 Thomas William "Tom" Roberts was born on March 8, 1856 in Dorchester England and a prominent member of The Heidelberg School , which was an Australian Impressionist art movement of the late 1800's. His family moved to Australia when he was 13, where he stayed for 12 years before returning to study in England and travel through Spain, where he met artists such as Ramon Casas . Roberts painted mostly landscapes and portraiture. His work is characterized by distinctive brushstrokes, subtle contrasts of edges, and a muted but natural palette in contrast to many of his contemporaries, who often used vibrant colors in their shadows. In Portrait of Florence above, Roberts shows us the scale of his talent and the Spanish influence. I love the wistful look on her face. The tactile fabric of her dress, in warm neutral tones seems to resonate with the background even though the tones are very similar. The pink ruffled collar is what grabs our attenti

Maurice Cullen, Canadian Impressionist

Moret, Winter, 1895 Maurice Cullen was born on the 6th of June, in St. John's, Newfoundland. Cullen grew up in Montreal before studying in Paris in 1888. Deeply inspired by the Impressionism of the period, Cullen developed a brushwork and palette that is rich and vibrant compared to most artists in the genre. He often approached the bucolic landscape with a fresh eye and bold use of colour that makes his work easy to identify and fun to study. In Moret, Winter above, Cullen uses thick brushes and beautiful impasto strokes with dazzling colours. The reflections in the river have a magical glow of warm against cool hues. Take a closer look at these brushstrokes: detail,  Moret, Winter

Ludwig Deutsch, Orientalist Master

The Palace Guard, 1900 Ludwig Deutsch was born on the 13th of May, 1855 in Vienna, Austria. He studied in Vienna briefly before moving to Paris in his twenties, where the Academic art of that period focused on Orientalism. Deutsch's work is characterized by high attention to detail, both in architecture and costume, dynamic color contrasts and effortless compositions. His use of body language in how it defines his subjects is also a key ingredient in his work that we'll be exploring more here. In The Palace Guard above, Deutsch uses a full toolbox of painter expertise to narrate this scene. Observe the textures in this painting. The roughness of the stone walls with architectural details in the floral motifs at left. The intricate contrasts of materials in the man's costume is truly mesmerizing here: a black mesh underdress with an orange sash and green patterned headdress and scarf. Note the recurring motif of patterned circles in the fine pattern of the scarf