Monday, October 31, 2022

09 paintings on Halloween night with John William Waterhouse, Mariska Karto, Johfra Bosschart, Francisco de Goya, Jan or Frans Verbeeck, Norman Lindsay, Gustave Moreau, and Franz von Stuck, with Footnotes

John William Waterhouse  (1849–1917)
The Magic Circle, c. 1886
Oil on canvas
height: 182.9 cm (72 in); width: 127 cm (50 in)
Tate Britain 

This is one of Waterhouse's earlier works, and reflects his fascination with the exotic. The woman in this picture appears to be a witch or priestess, endowed with magic powers. Her dress and general appearance is highly eclectic, and is derived from several sources: she has the swarthy complexion of a woman of middle-eastern origin; her hairstyle is like that of an early Anglo-Saxon; her dress is decorated with Persian or Greek warriors. In her left hand she holds a crescent-shaped sickle, linking her with the moon and Hecate. With the wand in her right hand she draws a protective magic circle round her. Outside the circle the landscape is bare and barren; a group of rooks or ravens and a frog – all symbols of evil and associated with witchcraft – are excluded. But within its confines are flowers and the woman herself, objects of beauty. More on this painting

John William Waterhouse (April 6, 1849 – February 10, 1917) was an English painter known for working in the Pre-Raphaelite style. He worked several decades after the breakup of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which had seen its heyday in the mid-nineteenth century, leading to his sobriquet "the modern Pre-Raphaelite". Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the Impressionists, his artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.
Born in Italy to English parents who were both painters, he later moved to London, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art. He soon began exhibiting at their annual summer exhibitions, focusing on the creation of large canvas works depicting scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Greece. Later on in his career he came to embrace the Pre-Raphaelite style of painting despite the fact that it had gone out of fashion in the British art scene several decades before. More on John William Waterhouse

Mariska Karto
Soul collectors, ca. 2021
Photograph on Aluminum
43 1/2 × 43 1/2 in | 110.5 × 110.5 cm
Private collection

Soul collectors are supernatural creatures, spirits, entities, angels, demons or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to guide them. Appearing frequently on funerary art, psychopomps have been depicted at different times and in different cultures as anthropomorphic entities, horses, deer, dogs, whip-poor-wills, ravens, crows, vultures, owls, sparrows, and cuckoos. When seen as birds, they are often seen in huge masses, waiting outside the home of the dying. More on Soul collectors

Mariska Karto is a fine art photographer born in Suriname and raised in the Netherlands. The breadth of her oeuvre is a masterful homage to Classicism in art history. Her multidisciplinary skill as a figurative sketcher draws a connection to the meditative practises of Renaissance draughtsmen like Leonardo, and her knowledge of fabrics as a textile artist is comparable to the dexterity of Ingres and Titian. However it is Karto’s mastery of contemporary photography that leads viewers to witness realistic images compelled by classical tradition.

Her sensual portraits depict the beauty of the female form; soft, glowing skin that venerates these women as cult icons. She conjures up an environment of lushly draped fabrics.

Karto has impressed collectors and establishments around the world, and garnered a faithful following. Her wild success is consistently documented by prize competitions across the globe; most recently she was awarded First Prize Gold Award at the Prix De La Photographie De Paris in 2016. More on Mariska Karto

Johfra Bosschart
Witches sabbath, c. 1972
Oil on panel
98 x 67 cm
Private collection

Witches’ sabbath, nocturnal gathering of witches, a colourful and intriguing part of the lore surrounding them in Christian European tradition. The concept dates from the mid-14th century when it first appeared in Inquisition records. The sabbath, or sabbat, derived probably from the term for the seventh day used by the Jews, might be held on any day of the week, though Saturday was considered rare as being sacred to the Virgin Mary.

Reports of attendance at sabbaths varied; one confessed witch reported a gathering of 10,000. Witches reputedly traveled to the sabbath by smearing themselves with special ointment that enabled them to fly through the air, or they rode on a goat, ram, or dog supplied by the devil. 

Occurrences at the sabbath were represented by inquisitors as including obeisance to the devil by kissing him under his tail, dancing, feasting, and indiscriminate intercourse. More on the Witches’ sabbath

Franciscus Johannes Gijsbertus van den Berg (15 December 1919, in Rotterdam – 6 November 1998, in Fleurac) or just Johfra Bosschart was a Dutch modern artist. Johfra and his wife, Ellen Lórien, established in Fleurac (Dordogne - France) in 1962. They lived in the Netherlands before that. Johfra described his works as "Surrealism based on studies of psychology, religion, the Bible, astrology, antiquity, magic, witchcraft, mythology and occultism." More on Johfra Bosschart

Francisco de Goya  (1746–1828)
Witches, or Incantation, c. circa 1797-1798
Oil on canvas
height: 45 cm (17.7 in); width: 32 cm (12.5 in)
Museo Lázaro Galdiano
Francisco de Goya  (1746–1828)
Witches' Flight, Ca. 1798
Oil on canvas.
Museo Nacional del Prado

Three bare-chested characters wearing dunce caps hold a fourth, nude character in the air while another lies on the floor, covering his ears, A sixth figure flees, his head covered with a white cloth. With his hand, he makes the gesture intended to protect him from the evil eye. At the right of the scene, a donkey stands out against the neutral background. This was one of six canvases Goya sold to the Duke and Duchess of Osuna in 1798, as decoration for their country house in La Alameda. They are linked to the etchings from his Caprichos series, in which he presented scenes of witches and witchcraft similar to this one. This painting was acquired by the Prado Museum in 1999 with funds from the Villaescusa legacy. More on this painting

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker. He is considered the most important Spanish artist of late 18th and early 19th centuries and throughout his long career was a commentator and chronicler of his era. Immensely successful in his lifetime, Goya is often referred to as both the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. He was also one of the great portraitists of modern times. More on Francisco José de Goya

Jan or Frans Verbeeck (Active Mechelen, 16th century)
The Witches' Sabbath
oil on panel
27 ¾ x 37 in. (70.5 x 93.9 cm.)
Private collection

While the influence of local traditions concerning witches and their degenerate night-time activities were rife in Germany and the Netherlands, and clearly had a great influence in informing the work produced by artists working in the region, in this Witches’ Sabbath the Verbeeck family reveal a more international trend of influence. Indeed, as Professor Vandenbroeck has discussed, it is likely that, as with many Netherlandish painters during the period, members of the Verbeeck family travelled to Italy. The impact of such travels can certainly be seen in the present work. While the iconographic programme and conception of the composition, as well as figures such as the crouching hooded figure at the left of the panel (which evidently references Dürer’s Saint Anthony of 1519), suggest the painter’s use of local visual traditions, other elements demonstrate wider knowledge. The figure at the summit of the dense clouds of smoke, looking back over her shoulder at the viewer, for example, suggests that the artist was familiar with the Libyan Sibyl from Michelangelo’s ceiling for the Sistine Chapel. The way in which the witches are clothed too suggests a knowledge of other figures from this scheme, like the women beneath the True Cross in the Sistine Last Judgement. Scenes of witchcraft in Italy were also known and Agostino Veneziano’s famous The Carcass (Lo Stregozzo) must have been known to the Verbeecks, given the inclusion of the skeletal mount ridden at the left of this picture. More on this painting

Frans Verbeeck or Frans Verbeeck the Elder (c. 1510 – 24 July 1570, Mechelen). There is very little known about Frans Verbeeck. He was a member of the Verbeeck family of artists based in Mechelen. There were about 15 painters recorded in the archives of Mechelen with the name Frans Verbeeck. There were also multiple artists with the name Jan Verbeeck active in Mechelen. Frans Verbeeck is the best-known of the artists in the family.

Frans Verbeeck became a master of the local painter's guild in Mechelen in 1531. He was dean of the guild on multiple occasions including in 1563, 1564 and 1565.

The Verbeeck family formed a dynasty of artists producing a large output of paintings in a workshop with multiple branches. They produced mainly compositions of a small scale using tempera rather than oil. Despite the difficulty of distinguishing between the artists in the Verbeeck group, some works have been attributed specifically to Frans Verbeeck. More on Frans Verbeeck 

Norman Lindsay
Witches Carnival
Watercolour
45 x 33.5cm
Private collection

Norman Alfred William Lindsay (22 February 1879 – 21 November 1969) was an Australian artist, etcher, sculptor, writer, editorial cartoonist, scale modeller, and an accomplished amateur boxer.

In 1895, Lindsay moved to Melbourne to work on a local magazine with his older brother Lionel. In 1901, he and Lionel, his older brother, joined the staff of the Sydney Bulletin, a weekly newspaper, magazine and review. His association there would last fifty years.

Lindsay travelled to Europe in 1909. In Naples he began 100 pen-and-ink illustrations for Petronius' Satyricon. Visits to the then South Kensington Museum where he made sketches of model ships in the Museum's collection stimulated a lifelong interest in ship models. The Lindsays returned to Australia in 1911.

Lindsay wrote the children's classic The Magic Pudding which was published in 1918. Many of his novels have a frankness and vitality that matches his art. In 1938, Lindsay published Age of Consent.

Cartoons, by Lindsay, were used both for recruitment and to promote conscription during World War I.
Lindsay also worked as an editorial cartoonist, notable for often illustrating the racist and right-wing political leanings that dominated The Bulletin at that time.

Lindsay influenced numerous artists, notably the illustrators Roy Krenkel and Frank Frazetta; he was also good friends with Ernest Moffitt. More on Norman Alfred William Lindsay

Gustave Moreau  (1826–1898)
Diomedes devoured by his horses, c. 1865
Oil on canvas
height: 140 cm (55.1 in); width: 95.5 cm (37.5 in)
Rouen Museum of Fine Arts

Diomedes was a barbaric king of the Bistonian tribe of Thrake who fed his mares on a diet of human flesh. Herakles was sent to fetch these horses as the eighth of his twelve Labours. He captured the beasts alive and left them in the care of his young squire Abderos while he went off to deal with King Diomedes. He returned to discover the boy had been devoured by the mares and in anger fed them their master's corpse which stilled their unnatural appetites.

Gustave Moreau (6 April 1826 – 18 April 1898) was a French Symbolist painter whose main emphasis was the illustration of biblical and mythological figures. Moreau was born in Paris. His father, Louis Jean Marie Moreau, was an architect, who recognized his talent. His first painting was a Pietà which is now located in the cathedral at Angoulême. He showed A Scene from the Song of Songs and The Death of Darius in the Salon of 1853. In 1853 he contributed Athenians with the Minotaur and Moses Putting Off his Sandals within Sight of the Promised Land to the Great Exhibition.
 
Moreau became a professor at Paris' École des Beaux-Arts in 1891 and among his many students were fauvist painters Henri Matisse and Georges Rouault. Jules Flandrin, Theodor Pallady and Léon Printemps also studied with Moreau.
 
During his lifetime, Moreau produced more than 8,000 paintings, watercolors and drawings, many of which are on display in Paris' Musée national Gustave Moreau at 14 rue de la Rochefoucauld (9th arrondissement). The museum is in his former workshop, and began operation in 1903. André Breton famously used to "haunt" the museum and regarded Moreau as a precursor of Surrealism. More on Gustave Moreau

Franz von Stuck, (1863-1928)
The Murderer, c. 1891
47 x 46 cm
Oil on canvas
I have no further description, at this time

Inspired by  Arnold Bocklin's painting, Murderer pursued by Furies, but with an even greater sense of excitement and drama, in 1891 Stuck painted his first version of the despair and remorse which pursue a criminal after his deed. The ancient Furies, the goddesses of vengeance, hide behind a rock as they lie in wait for the murderer who has just killed his victim. The sight of these ugly creatures is a foretaste of the torments awaiting the murderer. The figure of the murderer is derived from Klinger's etching 'Pursuit' in which a man in a similar pose runs away on a narrow path. More on this painting

Franz Stuck (February 23, 1863 – August 30, 1928) was a German painter, sculptor, engraver, and architect. Born at Tettenweis near Passau, Stuck displayed an affinity for drawing and caricature from an early age. To begin his artistic education he relocated in 1878 to Munich, where he would settle for life. From 1881 to 1885 Stuck attended the Munich Academy.

In 1889 he exhibited his first paintings at the Munich Glass Palace, winning a gold medal for The Guardian of Paradise. In 1892 Stuck co-founded the Munich Secession, and also executed his first sculpture, Athlete. The next year he won further acclaim with the critical and public success of what is now his most famous work, the painting The Sin. Also during 1893, Stuck was awarded a gold medal for painting at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and was appointed to a royal professorship. In 1895 he began teaching painting at the Munich Academy.
Having attained much fame by this time, Stuck was ennobled on December 9, 1905 and would receive further public honours from around Europe during the remainder of his life. He continued to be well respected among young artists as professor at the Munich Academy, even after his artistic styles became unfashionable. More on Franz von Stuck




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Saturday, October 29, 2022

01 Painting, Streets of Paris, Stanislas Victor Edouard Lépine's Paris, Bords de Seine vers Pont Marie, with footnotes, Part 83

Stanislas Victor Edouard Lépine (CAEN 1835-1892 PARIS)
Les bords de Seine vers Pont Marie
Oil on canvas
33 x 46,5 cm (13 1⁄8 x 18 1⁄2 in.)
Private collection

The Pont Marie is a bridge which crosses the Seine in Paris, France.

The bridge links the Île Saint-Louis to the quai de l'Hôtel de Ville and is one of three bridges designed to allow traffic flow between the Île Saint-Louis and the Left and Right banks of Paris. The Pont Marie links the Right Bank and is the counterpart of the Pont de la Tournelle which is built along the same line but serves to connect the Île Saint-Louis with the Left Bank. More on the Pont Marie

Stanislas Victor Edouard Lépine (October 3, 1835 – September 28, 1892) was a French painter who specialized in landscapes, especially views of the Seine. Lépine was born in Caen. An important influence in his artistic formation was Corot, whom he met in Normandy in 1859, becoming his student the following year.

Lépine's favorite subject was the Seine, which he was to paint in all its aspects for the rest of his life. He participated in the first Impressionist exhibition, held at Nadar's in 1874, although he is generally not considered an Impressionist. His paintings are placid in mood and are usually small in scale. Lépine was awarded the First Prize medal at the Exposition of 1889. He died suddenly in Paris in 1892. More Stanislas Victor Edouard Lépine





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Friday, October 28, 2022

01 Painting by Giovanni Battista Torriglia's The artist's studio, with footnotes

Giovanni Battista Torriglia (Italian, 1858-1937)
The artist's studio
Oil on canvas
65 x 52 1/2in (165.2 x 133.4cm)
Private collection

Giovanni Battista Torriglia was an Italian painter of genre subjects. He was born in Genoa but his artistic training took place in Florence. He devoted himself to painting scenes of life in the countryside. Themes of charming peasants were in great demand in Italy and throughout Europe towards the end of the 19th Century. Torriglia was particularly adored for his warm and sympathetic view of the wholesomeness of peasant family life. His multi-figured compositions display great visual details enriched further by strong narrative elements.

Commissions to decorate the interior of churches in the towns of Sester Levante, Monte Figogna and Salviolan reinforced the popularity of his work. More on Giovanni Battista Torriglia




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Monday, October 24, 2022

01 Painting, Streets of Paris, Victor Gabriel Gilbert's Le pavillon de la Marée aux Halles-Centrales de Paris, with footnotes, Part 82

Victor Gabriel Gilbert (PARIS 1847-1933)
Le pavillon de la Marée aux Halles-Centrales de Paris, c. 1881
Oil on canvas
86 x 122,5 cm (34 x 48 in.)
Private collection

The building, which was an answer to Emperor Napoléon’s III (1808-18773) sanitary demands and reforms, fascinated the first photographers.

At each of the 1878, 1879, 1880 and 1881 Salons, Gilbert exhibited at least one painting depicting the Halles of Paris. Gilbert's  composition depicting the fish pavilion, which was at the time in the north of the market, at the intersection of Lescot and Rambuteau streets, was awarded a medal in the 1880 Salon. More on this painting

Victor Gabriel Gilbert born in Paris the 13 February 1847 and died in the 21 July 1933. He was a French painter. He is buried in Montmartre cemetery in Paris. In 1860 he apprenticed to a painter and decorator. He followed with evening art classes under the direction of Father Levasseur, the School of the City of Paris. In the late 1870s, his taste for naturalism is developed and he turned to genre painting with scenes of streets, cafes, markets, especially that of Halles . He obtained a second class medal at the Salon of 1880 and a silver medal at the 1889 World Fair . It becomes a member of the French Society of Artists in 1914.

Victor Gilbert was appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1897, and received the Prix Léon Bonnat in 1926. More on Victor Gabriel Gilbert





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Monday, October 17, 2022

01 Painting, Streets of Paris, Harry Kernoff's Sunday Evening – Place du Combat, Paris, with footnotes, Part 81

Harry Kernoff, R.H.A., 1900 - 1974
Sunday Evening – Place du Combat, Paris, c. 1937
Oil on board
63.5 by 94cm.; 25 by 37in.
Private collection

In the present example, rather than the more customary Dublin scene, Kernoff provides a glimpse of Paris yet with the same distinctive flair. Bathed in the last of the evening sun which casts long and playful shadows, Parisiens – from flat-capped commuters, tradesmen and the rounded and suited gentleman half appearing behind the flowing canopy – conclude their day. A well-groomed poodle adds an extra note. Meanwhile, the glass on the distinctive Parisian table invites us to join Kernoff in taking it all in. Indeed a seat here feels rather irresistible. Kernoff was a master of his craft. More on this painting

Before the liberation of Paris, the square was called the Place du Combat and was renamed in honour of the French communist resistance hero, Pierre Georges, whose nom-de-guerre was Colonel Fabien.

The headquarters of the French Communist Party, designed by the Brazilian communist and utilitarian architect Oscar Niemeyer is located here, as is a station of the Paris Métro. Nearby is the former location of the medieval Gibbet of Montfaucon, a multi-tiered gibbet that was for most of its history outside Paris' city walls. More on Place du Combat

Harry Aaron Kernoff RHA (1900-1974) was a  portrait, landscape and decorative painter, born in London to a Russian father and Spanish mother, but relocated to Dublin when he was 14. Kernoff studied drawing and painting during night classes at the Metropolitan School of Art. In 1923, he won the Taylor Scholarship and became a full-time art student. 

Harry Kernoff was to remain in Dublin for the rest of his life. Noted above all for his genre-painting, he was one of few artists to paint the city and its people, which he did with great empathy. In addition, he painted the Irish landscape as well as numerous portraits. 

In 1926 he began showing at the Royal Hibernian Academy, averaging about five paintings in each exhibition from then until 1974 - an extraordinary achievement.

Portrait art was another of his specialities, and he completed many portraits in a single sitting. Among his many subjects were: WB Yeats, James Joyce, James Connolly, Sean O'Casey, Liam O'Flaherty, Brendan Behan, Jerome Connor and Maurice MacGonigal. More on Harry Aaron Kernof




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Sunday, October 16, 2022

03 Paintings by Julio Romero de Torres' El pecado (The Sin), La Gracia (The Grace) and Las dos sendas (The Two Paths), with footnotes

Julio Romero de Torres, Cordoba, Spain, 1874 - 1930
El pecado (The Sin), c. 1913
Oil and tempera on canvas
185 x 202 cm
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

During the period from 1908-15, Julio Romero de Torres was inspired and deeply influenced by the Gallegan modernist writer and dramatist Ramon de Vallé-Inclàn. Not only did the writer lend the artist the titles of many of the paintings of this period, including that of the present work, but the artist strove to interpret on canvas the philosophy which served as the foundation of Vallé-Inclàn’s modernistic poetic theatre. His was a philosophy of duality, of the eternal coexistence of good and bad, which was also a tenet the Spanish philosopher and poet Rubén Dario espoused in his treatise Sensuality and Purity (Sensualidad y Pureza).

Artistically, Romero de Torres was influenced by both the established tradition of Spanish painting, culminating in the work of Francesco Goya at the beginning of the 19th century, as well as that of the Italian Old Masters studied on the artist’s trip to Italy in 1908 (fig. 1). Indeed, his artistic career can be divided into two periods; his formative years to 1908, during which he evolved through the Romantic tradition learned from his father (who was the museum director of the Museo de Bellas Artes de Córdoba), and after 1908, when his work developed into a more modern and theatrical representation.

This piece from 1915 is a product of the painter’s period of artistic maturity. Julio Romero de Torres conceived the piece, “El Pecado,” (The Sin) as a complement to the painting, “La Gracia,” (Grace) (See below). Julio Romero de Torres expresses it in a magnificent way in this painting "The Sin". Together with Grace and the painting titled, “Las dos sendas,” or The Two Paths, they form the trilogy on the same subject. These three paintings come together in their meaning, constituting a veritable painting cycle in which the heroic character is women. The duality of the moral code is a constant subject in the Romero de Torres artwork: the good and bad path, the mystic love and the profane love.

The scene unravels with a green sunset with the Almodóvar Castle in the background; in the foreground, the Chruch of Saint Hipólito in Córdoba and the beauty of the nude woman, lying down in a similar way to the Velázquez Venus, back-turned indifferent to the scene that is taking place before her. Four old gossiping women dressed for mourning argue about the convenience and occasion of the sin. The honor of this woman is the object of an animated conversation among them. More on this painting

Julio Romero de Torres, Cordoba, Spain, 1874 - 1930
La Gracia/ The Grace, c. 1915
Oil and tempera on canvas
w200 x h185 cm
Museo Julio Romero de Torres

The subject is mystic love and profane love and women are the protagonist of this duality. Julio Romero de Torres uses for this reason the same model as in "The Sin"; a complementary work without which it would not be possible to understand completely this piece.

In this canvas from 1915 it is observed the fall of a young nude woman that is subtly carried by two nuns. Just behind them, in the center is an old lady, symbol of wisdom. She keeps a redeeming attitude and seems to forgive the woman for just losing her honor. At the right, a woman dressed in black cries while she is holding a sprig of lily in her hand, symbol of lost purity. In the background, an imaginary landscape full of green and blue light and contrasts. On the left, the Saint Raphael Cemetery to the left, the Fuensanta Church, the River Guadalquivir, the Calahorra and the Campo de la Verdad, the Roman bridge, the Mosque and its tower, the façade of the Santa Marina Church, San Lorenzo, the architectural landscape of Córdoba and the Sierra Morena. More on this painting

Julio Romero de Torres  (1874–1930)
Las dos sendas/ The Two Paths, c. 1915
Oil and tempera on canvas
height: 171.5 cm (67.5 in); width: 141 cm (55.5 in)
Private collection

In Las dos sendas, Romero de Torres addresses the moral dichotomy of the modern world. With the juxtaposition of the three figures in the foreground, the artist suggests pictorially the bases of the arguments set forth in the Spanish Modernist philosophy of the early 20th century. By consecrating the duality of the human spirit, which Romero de Torres recognized to be simultaneously infused with joy and weighed down with afflictions, the artist creates a revolutionary popular image and uses it to subvert the accepted religious ritual.

Romero de Torres exhibited Las dos sendas at the National Paintings competition in 1912 but did not receive a medal, despite overwhelming support from the press and the artist’s intellectual supporters. However, the work was awarded the Gold Medal at the International Exhibition in Munich in 1913. This work is the first in the artist’s oeuvre to demonstrate the mystical enigmatic language with its powerful narrative elements that is so characteristic of the later works of Julio Romero de Torres. More on this painting

Julio Romero de Torres (9 November 1874 – 10 May 1930) began to paint under the instruction of his father, the well-known Andalucian artist and teacher, Rafael Romero Barros. Whilst growing up and studying art, he was exposed to the exciting emergence of Realism, Impressionism and Symbolism, giving rise to a unique style in which he combined the Realist traditions of Gustave Courbet and Mariano Fortuny, the photographic portraiture of Federico de Madrazo and the Impressionism of Aureliano de Beruete, Dario de Regoyos and Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. His early career developed well and he was rewarded with a mention of honour at the 1895 National Exhibition went on to win third class medals in 1899 and 1904.

Romero de Torres once described himself as a 'painter from the soul of Andalucia’. In the present work we see how he focused upon subjects based on folklore, in particular 'la mujer morena’ or brown skinned beauty. The strongly drawn sitter leans elegantly on a glazed ceramic amphora. She gazes directly at the viewer in a calm and cool manner inviting admiration and interest. Her elegant draped clothing and jewellery contrast with the mundane task of gathering water, but the work is pervaded by a sense of nobility and timelessness.. More on Julio Romero de Torres





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Sunday, October 9, 2022

01 Painting, Streets of Paris, Maurice Brazil Prendergast's Montparnasse, with footnotes, Part 80

Maurice Brazil Prendergast, 1858 - 1924
Montparnasse, circa 1907
Watercolor and pencil on paper
13 ¾ by 20 in., 34.9 by 50.8 cm.
Private collection

The Boulevard du Montparnasse is a two-way boulevard in Montparnasse, in the 6th, 14th & 15th arrondissements in Paris. Students in the 17th century who came to recite poetry in the hilly neighbourhood nicknamed it after "Mount Parnassus", home to the nine Muses of arts and sciences in Greek mythology.

The hill was levelled to construct the Boulevard Montparnasse in the 18th century. During the French Revolution many dance halls and cabarets opened their doors.

The area is also known for cafés and bars, such as the Breton restaurants specialising in crêpes located a few blocks from the Gare Montparnasse. More on The Boulevard du Montparnasse 

Maurice Prendergast was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, on Oct. 10, 1859. When his father's grocery business failed in 1861, the family moved to Boston. He and his younger brother Charles finished their formal education by the time each was 14. Maurice worked in a dry-goods store, lettered show cards, and began sketching landscapes and cattle. In 1886, he and his brother worked their way to England on a cattle boat; they may have gone to Paris as well. Returning to Boston, they worked at routine jobs in order to save $1,000 for a return to Europe. Maurice went to Paris in 1891 and studied with Jean Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian. He made rapid progress in 3 years, working from the model rather than from casts. He was fascinated with the life and movement in the parks, boulevards, and cafés.

When he returned to America in 1894, Prendergast was an accomplished watercolorist and had assimilated qualities from Édouard Manet, James McNeill Whistler, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre Bonnard, and Édouard Vuillard and from Japanese prints. He was the first American artist to appreciate and understand the importance of Paul Cézanne. Until 1905 the Prendergast brothers lived together in Winchester, Mass., their principal means of support being a frame-making shop. Maurice's work was included for the first time in a public exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1896; there was a one-man show in Boston the next year, and from this time until his death his paintings appeared in many exhibitions. More on Maurice Prendergast




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