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Showing posts from 2020

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

Gustave Léonard de Jonghe, Belgian Prince

The Afternoon Visit, ca. late 1800's Gustave Léonard de Jonghe was born on February 4, 1829, in western Belgium. After training in Brussels he moved to Paris to further his career, where he would spend time back and forth between the two cities. De Jonghe's style evolved from a more academic Realism to Orientalism and into genre paintings of women, especially with children. Although often criticized for his sentimentality, de Jonghe still had a firm grasp of his subjects with a strong naturalism, an eye for texture and pattern, and a vibrant palette. Often compared to Alfred Stevens , another brilliant and respected genre painter from Belgium, De Jonghe continued the tradition using his own palette and eye for body language. In The Afternoon Visit above he seems to channel Sargent. The opulence and grandeur of the 19th century is depicted in a relaxed, airy naturalism. De Jonghe also captures the frilly dresses and all of its intricacies with ease. This young child fon

Federico Andreotti, the Fun Painter

The Wedding Dance, ca.1890's Born March 6, 1847 in Florence, Federico Andreotti was a genre and aristocratic painter. Andreotti's work is characterized by a vivid palette with elegantly dressed Rococo figures, revolving around the themes of flirtation and music. There is a spontaneity and naturalism in his figures that is contagious, even with the incredible detail and well-conceived compositions. Andreotti was astute enough to realize his era had already let go of the noble themes of his predecessors and he gleefully accepted. His style is very reminiscent of Eugene de Blaas , a contemporary from Rome and Vittorio Reggianini from Modena. Up close, however, Andreotti had a fairly loose brush and that sense of fun is evident in his modelling and blending. In The Wedding Dance above, Andreotti depicts a country wedding in the lush outdoors. Look at the young couple kicking up their heels. Andreotti creates movement and alacrity while taking us back in time. I love how t

Henry Lerolle, Forgotten Impressionist

The Organ Rehearsal, 1885 Henry Lerolle was born on October 3, 1848 in Paris. He studied at the popular 19th century Académie Suisse , whose alumni include Monet, Cézanne, Pissaro, and Manet amoung others, and under the private instruction of Louis Lamothe , who taught Degas and Tissot. Despite his incredible eye there seems to be a lack of productivity compared to his contemporaries yet what makes Lerolle unique is his dramatic use of light and bold colors. In The Organ Rehearsal above, we see one of the most breathtaking and underrated paintings of the 19th century. A singer rehearses a hymn at the Saint-François-Xavier in Paris to an open space of light— a brilliant composition that eschews any audience below completely and focuses on the main figures of the choir loft. This remarkable earth toned palette of browns, yellows and blacks, with a few accent colors, is superb. A couple of the standing figures off to the left have been painted in burnt sienna and yellows that make