Sunday, January 14, 2018

05 Painting, Streets of Paris, by the artists of the time, Part 16 - With Footnotes

Manfred Lindemann-Frommel, 1852 - 1939, GERMAN
Oil on canvas
59 by 73.5cm., 23 by 29in.
Private collection

The Porte Saint-Martin is a Parisian monument located at the site of one of the gates of the now-destroyed fortifications of Paris. It is located at the crossing of Rue Saint-Martin, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin and the grands boulevards Boulevard Saint-Martin and Boulevard Saint-Denis.

The Porte Saint-Martin was designed by architect Pierre Bullet at the order of Louis XIV in honor of his victories on the Rhine and in Franche-Comté. Built in 1674, it replaced a medieval gate in the city walls built by Charles V. It was restored in 1988. More on The Porte Saint-Martin 

Eugène Galien-Laloue, (1854-1941)
Quais de Paris, Oil, c. 1920
Oil on canvas
44 x 65.5 cm
Private collection

The painting shows a part of the Seine dockside with fishermen, merchants, ships and the cityscape in the background

Eugène Galien-Laloue (1854–1941) was a French artist of French-Italian parents and was born in Paris on December 11, 1854. He was a populariser of street scenes, usually painted in autumn or winter. His paintings of the early 1900s accurately represent the era in which he lived: a happy, bustling Paris, la Belle Époque, with horse-drawn carriages, trolley cars and its first omnibuses. Galien-Laloue's works are valued not only for their contribution to 20th-century art, but for the actual history, which they document. His work can be seen at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Louvier; Musée des Beaux-Arts, La Rochelle; Mulhouse, France.

A typical Galien-Laloue painting depicts sidewalks and avenues crowded with people or tourists mingling before the capital's monuments. He also painted the landscapes of Normandy and Seine-et-Marne, as well as military scenes he was commissioned to produce in 1914. The Republic of France selected Galien-Laloue to work as a 'war artist,' both during the Franco-Prussian War and World War I, chiefly in watercolor. More on Eugène Galien-Laloue

Eugene Galien-Laloue, (French, 1854-1941)
Au Bord de la Seine
Oil on canvas
19 x 25 inches.
Private collection

From the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, from the Place de la Concorde to the Grand and Petit Palais, the evolution of Paris and its history can be seen from the River Seine. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame and the Sainte Chapelle are architectural masterpieces while Haussmann's wide squares and boulevards influenced late 19th- and 20th-century town planning the world over. More on Banks of the Seine

Eugene Galien-Laloue, (French, 1854-1941), see above

Pascale Taurua, France, b. 1961
du côté de Paris
Oil on canvas
 47.2 H x 47.2 W x 1.2 in

 A french girl taking a break on a "haussmannien" balcony.

Haussmann's renovation of Paris was a vast public works program commissioned by Emperor Napoléon III and directed by his prefect of the Seine, Georges-Eugène Haussmann, between 1853 and 1870. It included the demolition of medieval neighborhoods that were deemed overcrowded and unhealthy by officials at the time; the building of wide avenues; new parks and squares; the annexation of the suburbs surrounding Paris; and the construction of new sewers, fountains and aqueducts. Haussmann's work was met with fierce opposition, and he was finally dismissed by Napoleon III in 1870; but work on his projects continued until 1927. The street plan and distinctive appearance of the center of Paris today is largely the result of Haussmann's renovation. More on "haussmannien" architecture

Pascale Taurua is a painter born in 1961, in the French Polynesia. Her father was a carpenter, so she had access from an early age to different materials, which influenced her to start making her first creations. But it was her grandmother and her passion for fabrics, which taught Pascale everything about colors.

After studying at the Conservatory of Art in Papeete,Tahiti, Pascale decided to travel a lot in order to discover new sources of inspiration, colors and patterns, it was as well an opportunity for her to turn definitively to the field of design and painting.

It was also during her trips that Pascale experimented with a new technique that consisted in taking off posters and then modified them by adding paint, following the dripping technique inspired by Jackson Pollock.

Between paintings and collages, Pascale Taurua's pieces are a combination of street art and a more academic art, the artist loves the balance between softness and vitality, tenderness and strength which can be appreciated in all her pieces. More on Pascale Taurua

FRANCOIS GEROME, French (b. 1895) 
Portrait of Woman with Dog at Les Champs Elysee Paris
Oil on canvas

24 x 30 inches 
Private collection

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is an avenue in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, running between the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle, where the Arc de Triomphe is located. It is known for its theatres, cafés, and luxury shops, for the annual Bastille Day military parade, and as the finish of the Tour de France cycle race. The name is French for the Elysian Fields, the paradise for dead heroes in Greek mythology. It is one of the most famous streets in the world. More on the Champs-Élysées

François Gérôme (born 1895 in Paris) was a French painter. He is best known for his paintings of women depicted at picturesque spots throughout Paris including the Place de la Concorde and in front of the Opéra. In these representations, the women usually engage the viewer with their frontal pose and direct gaze outward. Gerome used oils, typically on canvas or on board. He signed his paintings with his first initial and last name, but was also known to sign in his alias B. Kovacs. More on François Gérôme 

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

03 Paintings by self-taught Algerian artist in the U.S. for the first time

Baya Mahieddine (1931–1998)
Femme attablées (Women at table), 1947
Gouache on board
19 1/2 x 25 3/8 in
Collection Adrien Maeght, Saint-Paulde-Vence, France 
© Photo Galerie Maeght, Paris.

Baya: Woman of Algiers is the first North American exhibition of works by the self-taught Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine (1931–1998). Known as Baya, she was born in Bordj el-Kiffan and orphaned at age five. Encouraged by her adoptive French mother to pursue art, she began as an adolescent to paint gouaches and make ceramics. Her work was soon discovered by fabled gallerist Aimé Maeght who, along with André Breton, organized an exhibition in Paris in 1947. Baya’s colorful depictions of women, rhythmic patterns, and bright palette drew the attention of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, with whom she later collaborated in the renowned Madoura pottery studio in Vallauris. Celebrated in both Algeria and France, Baya has yet to gain international recognition. Woman of Algiers reexamines Baya’s career within contemporary, Surrealist, “outsider,” and Maghreb post-colonial art contexts.  The exhibition features works drawn from the Maeght Family Collection, Paris, as well as several Madoura ceramics by Picasso and a video by London-based French-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira. Baya is curated by Natasha Boas and will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by  Boas, André Breton, Assia Djebar, and Menna Ekram. More on this exposition at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery 

Mother and children, 1969 
Gouache and watercolor on paper, signed lower right 
99 x 148 cm at sight - 39 x 58 1/4 in. 

Baya MAHIEDDINE known as BAYA (1931-1998)
Basket of fruits and birds, c. 1979
Gouache on black canson,
51 x 101 cm 

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

05 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, of the 18th & 19th C., with Footnotes. #24

Franz Xaver Winterhalter, (1805-1873), German
Elisabeth Kaiserin von Österreich, c. 1865
Oil painting on canvas
117 × 158 cm (46.1 × 62.2 in)
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

Elisabeth of Bavaria (24 December 1837 – 10 September 1898) was Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, and many others (see Grand title of the Empress of Austria) by marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph I.

Born into the royal Bavarian house of Wittelsbach, Elisabeth enjoyed an informal upbringing before marrying Emperor Franz Joseph I at the age of sixteen. The marriage thrust her into the much more formal Habsburg court life, for which she was unprepared and which she found uncongenial. Early in the marriage she was at odds with her mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie, who took over the rearing of Elisabeth's daughters, one of whom, Sophie, died in infancy. The birth of a male heir, Rudolf, improved her standing at court considerably, but her health suffered under the strain, and she would often visit Hungary for its more relaxed environment. She came to develop a deep kinship with Hungary, and helped to bring about the dual monarchy of Austria–Hungary in 1867.

The death of her only son Rudolf, and his mistress Mary Vetsera, in a murder–suicide at his hunting lodge at Mayerling in 1889 was a blow from which Elisabeth never recovered. She withdrew from court duties and travelled widely, unaccompanied by her family. She was obsessively concerned with maintaining her youthful figure and beauty, which were already legendary during her life. While travelling in Geneva in 1898, she was stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni. Elisabeth was the longest serving Empress of Austria, at 44 years. More on Elisabeth Kaiserin von Österreich

Franz Xaver Winterhalter, (1805-1873), German
Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, c.1864
Oil painting on canvas
Hofburg in Vienna, Austria

Portrait of Elisabeth depicting her long hair, one of two so-called "intimate" portraits of the empress; although its existence was kept a secret from the general public, it was the emperor's favourite portrait of her and kept opposite his desk in his private study

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (20 April 1805 – 8 July 1873) was born in a small village in Germany's Black Forest, Franz Xaver Winterhalter left his home to study painting at the academy in Munich. Before becoming court painter to Louis-Philippe, the king of France, he joined a circle of French artists in Rome. In 1835, after he painted the German Grand Duke and Duchess of Baden, Winterhalter's international career as a court portrait painter was launched. Although he never received high praise for his work in his native Germany, the royal families of England, France, and Belgium all commissioned him to paint portraits. His monumental canvases established a substantial popular reputation, and lithographic copies of the portraits helped to spread his fame. 

Winterhalter's portraits were prized for their subtle intimacy, but his popularity among patrons came from his ability to create the image his sitters wished or needed to project to their subjects. He was able to capture the moral and political climate of each court, adapting his style to each client until it seemed as if his paintings acted as press releases, issued by a master of public relations. More on Franz Xaver Winterhalter

John Singer Sargent, (American, born Italy, 1856-1925)
Rose Marie Ormond, c. 1912
Oil, canvas
80 x 58.4 cm
Private Collection

Rose-Marie (later Madame Robert André-Michel 1893-1918), was the niece to John Singer Sargent, daughter to Violet Sargent Ormond. Widow of Robert André-Michel  killed at Saint-Gervais, on Good Friday, 1918 by German bombardment. More on this painting

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

His parents were American, but he was trained in Paris prior to moving to London. Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, although not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his "Portrait of Madame X", was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. He lived most of his life in Europe. More John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent, (American, born Italy, 1856-1925)
Winifred, Duchess of Portland, 1902
Oil on canvas
Private collection

Winifred Anna Cavendish-Bentinck, Duchess of Portland DBE JP (née Dallas-Yorke; 7 September 1863 – 30 July 1954) was a British humanitarian and animal welfare activist. Born at Murthly Castle, Perthshire. She served as a canopy bearer to HM Queen Alexandra at the 1902 coronation of King Edward VII, and was Mistress of the Robes from 1913 until Alexandra's death in 1925. She married William John Arthur James Cavendish-Bentinck on 11 June 1889. They had three children.

The Duchess of Portland was a passionate animal lover, who kept stables for old horses and ponies, as well as dogs needing homes. In 1891, she became the first president of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and was vice-president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She was also president of the ladies committee of the RSPCA.

In 1889, she persuaded the duke to use a large portion of his horseracing winnings to build almshouses at Welbeck. She cared greatly for the local miners and supported them by paying for medical treatments, and organising cooking and sewing classes for their daughters. She also sponsored a miner, with an interest in art, to study in London.

In honor of her support, the Nottinghamshire Miners' Welfare Association petitioned the king on her behalf; and in 1935 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire on his silver jubilee. She was also made a Dame of the Order of Queen Maria Luisa in Spain. More on Winifred, Duchess of Portland

John Singer Sargent, (American, born Italy, 1856-1925), see above

Donato Creti, CREMONA 1671 - 1749 BOLOGNA
Oil on canvas
28 1/4  by 23 1/8  in.; 72.4 by 58.7 cm.
Private Collection

The sibyls were women that the ancient Greeks believed were oracles. The earliest sibyls, according to legend, prophesied at holy sites. Their prophecies were influenced by divine inspiration from a deity; originally at Delphi and Pessinos, the deities were chthonic deities. In Late Antiquity, various writers attested to the existence of sibyls in Greece, Italy, the Levant, and Asia Minor. More on The sibyls

Donato Creti (24 February 1671 – 31 January 1749) was an Italian painter of the Rococo period, active mostly in Bologna.

Born in Cremona, he moved to Bologna, where he was a pupil of Lorenzo Pasinelli. He is described by Wittkower as the "Bolognese Marco Benefial", in that his style was less decorative and edged into a more formal neoclassical style. It is an academicized grand style, that crystallizes into a manneristic neoclassicism, with crisp and frigid modeling of the figures. Among his followers were Aureliano Milani, Francesco Monti, and Ercole Graziani the Younger. Two other pupils were Domenico Maria Fratta and Giuseppe Peroni. More on Donato Creti

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

09 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, Raphael's muse Margarita Luti Part 1, with Footnotes. #22

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (March 28 or April 6, 1483 – April 6, 1520), known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.

Raphael, (1483–1520)
“Woman with a veil (La Donna Velata)”, c. 1516
82 by 61 cm (32 by 24 inches)
Galleria Palatina, Florence, Italy

La Donna Velata may not be Raphael's most famous painting to the layman, but it's considered to be in par with Leonardo's Mona Lisa. One of Raphael's distinctions is his attention to the clothing of the subjects of his portraits, this one depicting opulence. More on this painting

Margarita Luti (also Margherita Luti or La Fornarina, "the baker's daughter") was the mistress and model of Raphael. The story of their love has become "the archetypal artist-model relationship of Western tradition", yet little is known of her life. Of her, Flaubert wrote, in his Dictionary of Received Ideas, "Fornarina. She was a beautiful woman. That is all you need to know.

Raphael, (1483–1520)
Madonna della Seggiola/ Mary with Christ Child and John the Baptist, c. 1513-1514
Oil on panel
Diameter 71 cm
Pitti Palace, Firenze

Painted during his Roman period, this Madonna does not have the strict geometrical form and linear style of his earlier Florentine treatments of the same subject. Instead, the warmer colors seem to suggest the influence of Titian and Raphael's rival Sebastiano del Piombo. More on this painting
From 1517 until his death, Raphael lived in the Palazzo Caprini in the Borgo, in rather grand style. He never married, but in 1514 became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, Cardinal Medici Bibbiena's niece; his lack of enthusiasm seems to be shown by the marriage not having taken place before she died in 1520. He is said to have had many affairs, but a permanent fixture in his life in Rome was "La Fornarina", Margherita Luti, the daughter of a baker from Siena.

She was referred to as La Fornarina. In a letter of 1806, Melchior Missirini recounted the tale of their first meeting, of how Raphael fell in love after watching her as she bathed her feet in the Tiber in the garden beside his house in Trastevere, only to discover that "her mind was as beautiful as her body"

Raphael, (1483–1520)
Madonna di Foligno, c. 1511
Oil on wood, transferred to canvas
320 cm × 194 cm (130 in × 76 in)
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City

This painting was executed for Sigismondo de' Conti, chamberlain to Pope Julius II, in 1511. In 1799 it was carried to Paris, France by Napoleon. There, in 1802, the painting was transferred from panel to canvas and restored. In 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo, it was returned to Italy. 

Rather than sitting under a canopy, of the Umbrian or Florentine style, the Virgin is seated on clouds, embracing Jesus, while surrounded by angels. They look down upon Sigismonde de' Conti, kneeling in a red, fur lined cape. Conti is presented by St. Jerome on the right with his lion, appealing for the Virgin's protection. More on this painting

Raphael, (1483–1520)
Madonna di Foligno, c. 1511

Raphael was a "very amorous man and affectionate towards the ladies". He is said to have painted portraits of his mistress and to have assigned the engraver il Baviera to serve as her page. When commissioned by Agostino Chigi to decorate the Villa Farnesina, he was unable to dedicate himself properly to his work due to his infatuation - until she was allowed to come to live at his side. According to Vasari, it was Raphael's immoderate indulgence in "amorous pleasures", one day taken to excess, that brought on the fever which led to the young artist's death in 1520. On his deathbed he sent his mistress away "with the means to live an honest life".

Raphael, (1483–1520)
The Transfiguration, c. 1516–20
Tempera on wood
405 cm × 278 cm (159 in × 109 in)
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City

The Transfiguration is the last painting by Raphael. Commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de Medici, the later Pope Clement VII (1523–1534) and conceived as an altarpiece for the Narbonne Cathedral in France, Raphael worked on it until his death in 1520. The painting exemplifies Raphael's development as an artist and the culmination of his career. Unusually for a depiction of the Transfiguration of Jesus in Christian art, the subject is combined with an additional episode from the Gospels in the lower part of the painting.

In the first, the Transfiguration of Christ itself, Moses and Elijah appear before the transfigured Christ with Peter, James and John looking on In the lower register, Raphael depicts the Apostles attempting to free the possessed boy of his demonic possession. They are unable to cure the sick child until the arrival of the recently transfigured Christ, who performs a miracle. More on this painting

Raphael, (1483–1520)
The Transfiguration, c. 1516–20
Tempera on wood
Detail, the lower register

Two portraits by Raphael are identified as those of Margarita, La Fornarina (Below), where she is naked from the waist up, and La donna velata (Top). The former was already the subject of several early testimonies before featuring in a 1642 inventory of the Barberini collection. X-ray analysis during restoration work at the beginning of the twenty-first century revealed a ring with a ruby on the third finger of her left hand. She wears a ribbon with the artist's name; the ring may hint at betrothal and the depth of their bond. The latter work is identified as a portrait of Raphael's mistress, "whom he loved until he died, and of whom he made a most beautiful portrait, which seems spirited and alive". She also served as his model for the Virgin and in other religious works: her features have been traced in the Madonna della seggiola (Above), the Madonna di Foligno (Above), the kneeling figure in the Transfiguration (Above), the Stanze di Raffaello (Below), the Ecstasy of St. Cecilia  (Below), and in Galatea (Below)

Raphael,  (1483–1520)
Adam and Eve (ceiling panel), c. 1509 and 1511
Height: 120 cm (47.2 in). Width: 105 cm (41.3 in).
Apostolic Palace, Rome

Raphael,  (1483–1520)
The Ecstasy of St. Cecilia/ St. Cecilia Altarpiece, c. 1516–1517
Oil transferred from panel to canvas
220 cm × 136 cm (87 in × 54 in)
Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna

Completed in his later years, around 1516-1517, the painting depicts Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians and Church music, listening to a choir of angels. St. Cecilia's companions are identified in part by their attributes. Immediately to her right, John the Evangelist has an eagle, his usual symbol, peeking out around his robes. Beside him, Paul leans on the sword with which he had come to be identified in medieval art. Augustine of Hippo holds his crosier. Mary Magdalene holds the alabaster jar by which she is most commonly identified. More on this painting

Raphael,  (1483–1520)
The Triumph of Galatea, c. 1514
9' 8" x 7' 5".
Villa Farnesina, Rome

Galatea; "she who is milk-white", was a sea-nymph, the fairest and most beloved of the 50 Nereids. In Ovid's Metamorphoses she appears as the beloved of Acis. When a jealous rival, the Sicilian Cyclops Polyphemus, killed him with a boulder, Galatea then turned his blood into the Sicilian River Acis, of which he became the spirit. According to Athenaeus, the story was first concocted by Philoxenus of Cythera as a political satire against the Sicilian tyrant Dionysius I of Syracuse, whose favourite concubine, Galatea, shared her name with the nymph. Others claim the story was invented to explain the presence of a shrine dedicated to Galatea on Mount Etna. More on Galatea

Raphael did not paint any of the main events of the story. He chose the scene of the nymph's apotheosis. Galatea appears surrounded by other sea creatures whose forms are somewhat inspired by Michelangelo, whereas the bright colors and decoration are supposed to be inspired by ancient Roman painting. At the left, a Triton abducts a sea nymph; behind them, another Triton uses a shell as a trumpet. Galatea rides a shell-chariot drawn by two dolphins. Galatea was his only major mythology

When asked where he had found a model of such beauty, Raphael reportedly said that he had used "a certain idea" he had formed in his mind.  More on this painting

Acknowledgement: Wikipedia   , and others

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

03 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, of the 18th & 19th C., with Footnotes. #20

Konstantin Korovin, (1861–1939)
Portrait of Vera Fokina
Oil on canvas
82 × 66 cm (32.3 × 26 in)
Private collection

Fokina, Vera (1886–1958), a Russian ballerina. Born Vera Petrovna in 1886; died in New York on July 29, 1958; graduated from the St. Petersburg Ballet School in 1904; married Michel Fokine, in 1905 (died 1942); children: one son, Vitale Fokine.

Vera Fokina supported the reforms of her husband Michel Fokine and danced in many of his ballets under the aegis of the Diaghileff company. In 1918, she formally resigned from the Maryinsky Theatre and, in 1924, settled with her husband in New York, where they formed their own company. During the 1920s, Fokina made many concert appearances in America, while also traveling widely with her husband who worked for numerous companies. She retired from the stage around 1928. After her husband's death in 1942, her health began to deteriorate, and she died in 1958. More on Vera Fokina

Konstantin Alekseyevich Korovin (1861 – 1939) was a leading Russian Impressionist painter. Konstantin was born in Moscow. In 1875 Korovin entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

In 1885 he then traveled to Paris and Spain. "Paris was a shock for me … Impressionists… in them I found everything I was scolded for back home in Moscow", he later wrote. In 1888 he traveled to Italy and Spain. He painted in the Impressionist, and later in the Art Nouveau, styles.

Korovin's subsequent works were strongly influenced by his travels to the north. Korovin painted a large number of landscapes. The paintings are built on a delicate web of shades of grey. The etude style of these works was typical for Korovin's art of the 1890s. 

In 1900 Korovin designed the Central Asia section of the Russian Empire pavilion at the Paris World Fair and was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French government.

In 1905 Korovin became an Academician of Painting and in 1909–1913 a professor at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

During World War I Korovin worked as a camouflage consultant at the headquarters of one of the Russian armies. In 1923 he moved to Paris to cure his heart condition and help his handicapped son. There was supposed to be a large exhibition of Korovin's works, but the works were stolen and Korovin was left penniless. For years, he produced the numerous Russian Winters and Paris Boulevards just to make ends meet.

In the last years of his life he produced stage designs for many of the major theatres of Europe, America, Asia and Australia, the most famous of which is his scenery for the Turin Opera House's production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's The Golden Cockerel.

Korovin died in Paris on 11 September 1939. More on Konstantin Alekseyevich Korovin

Jules Lefebvre  (1834–1912)
Graziella, c. 1878
Oil on canvas
78 3/4 x 44 1/4 in. (200 x 112.4 cm)
Metropolitan Museum of Art

During the second half of his life, Lefebvre's meticulously executed portraits and paintings of nudes were regularly shown in the Paris Salons. He won many awards, including the prestigious Prix de Rome, three Salon medals, and the French Legion of Honor. The American collector Catharine Lorillard Wolfe—who bequeathed to the Museum 143 pictures, commissioned "Graziella" in 1878. It depicts the Neopolitan fisherman's daughter, who is the heroine of Alphonse de Lamartine's novel of the same name. A smoking Mount Vesuvius is visible in the background. More on this painting

Graziella is an 1852 novel by the French author Alphonse de Lamartine. It tells of a young French man who falls for a fisherman's granddaughter – the titular Graziella – during a trip to Naples, Italy; they are separated when he must return to France, and she soon dies. Based on the author's experiences with a tobacco-leaf folder while in Naples in the early 1810s, Graziella was first written as a journal, and intended to serve as commentary for Lamartine's poem "Le Premier Regret".

First serialised as part of Les Confidences beginning in 1849, Graziella received popular acclaim. An operatic adaptation had been completed by the end of the year, and the work influenced paintings, poems, novels, and films. The American literary critic Charles Henry Conrad Wright considered it one of the three most important emotionalist French novels. More on Graziella

Jules Lefebvre, (1834–1912)
Graziella, c. 1878

Jules Joseph Lefebvre (14 March 1834 – 24 February 1912) was a French figure painter, educator and theorist. Lefebvre was born in Tournan-en-Brie, Seine-et-Marne, on 14 March 1834. He entered the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1852 and was a pupil of Léon Cogniet.,He won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1861. Between 1855 and 1898, he exhibited 72 portraits in the Paris Salon. In 1891, he became a member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts.

He was professor at the Académie Julian in Paris. Lefebvre is chiefly important as an excellent and sympathetic teacher who numbered many Americans among his 1500 or more pupils. Among his famous students were Fernand Khnopff, Kenyon Cox, Félix Vallotton, Ernst Friedrich von Liphart, Georges Rochegrosse, the Scottish-born landscape painter William Hart, Walter Lofthouse Dean, and Edmund C. Tarbell, who became an American Impressionist painter.

Lefebvre died in Paris on 24 February 1912. More on Jules Joseph Lefebvre

Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) (French, Paris 1908–2001 Rossinière)
Thérèse Dreaming, c.1938
Oil on canvas
59 x 51 in. (149.9 x 129.5 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

With closed eyes, Balthus's pubescent model is lost in thought. Thérèse Blanchard, who was about twelve or thirteen at the time this picture was made, and her brother Hubert were neighbors of Balthus in Paris. She appears alone, with her cat, or with her brother in a series of eleven paintings done between 1936 and 1939. More on Thérèse Dreaming

A petition to cease displaying this provocative painting by Balthus on the walls of New York’s Metropolitan Museum has struck a raw nerve at a moment when US society is publicly, painfully grappling with issues of sexual harassment and misconduct. More on the petition

An unusual figure in the history of twentieth century painting, Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) (French, Paris 1908–2001 Rossinière) both traveled among and drew upon the work of other major artists of his time, while at the same time following a unique individual trajectory. He was mentored by, friends of, and/or even collaborated with seminal creative figures from different eras, while cultivating his own highly refined style of painting. The scenes he usually depicted were very ordinary bourgeois interiors or outdoor settings, which nonetheless managed to reveal the heightened inner states of his subjects (often young females) as well as the states of mind of those who might be viewing them. More on Balthus

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