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Showing posts from 2018

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…

Santiago Rusiñol, the Catalonian Master

Aranjuez Garden. Arbor, II, 1907

Born on 25th of February, 1861 in Barcelona, Santiago Rusiñol was a Spanish painter and poet. A master of color harmony with a fondness for lush greenery and thoughtful observation of figures, Rusiñol is like one of those fine wines you wish you had discovered sooner. He is unique in how he seems to effortlessly oscillate between Realism and Impressionism without missing a beat, and yet what ties his work together is his supreme understanding of mood and presence. Having trained under Tomás Moragas, Rusiñol evolved into his modernisme movement and leaving a deep impression on Pablo Picasso, among others.


In the garden of Aranjuez Garden Arbor, II above, Rusiñol's very warm earth palette is enthralling. Although loosely painted in the foliage and trees we can instantly sense the verdant beauty of this wonderful park south of Madrid, still enjoyed today by Spaniards and tourists. The yellow and red trees off to the left appear as if on fire, burning …