Friday, September 22, 2017

Skies Painted by John Constable

John Constable
Cloud Study
1821
oil on paper, mounted on panel
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Cloud Study
1821
oil on paper, mounted on panel
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Cloud Study
1822
oil on paper, mounted on cardboard
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

" . . . the interest in clouds has long been seen as a characteristic preoccupation of the Romantics.  They epitomize the evocative and emotive power of atmospherics.  Constable's famous remark that the sky was the 'chief organ of sentiment' in a picture has often been quoted as a sign of this new concern.  In his case this interest was combined with a precise observation of cloud types informed by recent meteorological advances, notably those by Luke Howard, the creator of the modern system of cloud classification.  Indeed, the evolution of the scientific study of meteorology can be seen as part of that great upsurge of 'earth sciences' in the Romantic era that brought a new understanding of the transient and effervescent." 

– William Vaughan, from Samuel Palmer: Shadows on the Wall (Yale University Press, 2015)

John Constable
Cloud Study
1822
oil on paper, mounted on panel
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Coastal Scene with Cliffs
ca. 1814
oil on paper, mounted on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Waterloo Bridge
1815-25
oil on canvas
Cincinnati Art Museum

John Constable
Landscape at East Bergholt
ca. 1805
watercolor
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Golding Constable's House, East Bergholt (the artist's birthplace)
ca. 1809
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Study of Cloudy Sky
ca. 1825
oil on paper, mounted on panel
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Ploughing Scene in Suffolk
1824-25
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

"Constable's 'realistic' landscape constituted a strike against the traditional image of rural bliss, the Pastoral.  In his view (and that of many others) he was challenging the idyllicism of the conventional Pastoral and replacing it with an authentic view of the countryside as a working environment.  . . .  This was the position proclaimed by Constable with his call for a 'natural painture'.  His work had become, particularly since his successful exhibition of The Haywain in 1821, a rallying point for the supporters of the view that landscape should address the observable and everyday."   

– William Vaughan, from Samuel Palmer: Shadows on the Wall (Yale University Press, 2015)

John Constable
Hampstead Heath with Bonfire
ca. 1822
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Osmington Village
1816-17
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
View on Hampstead Heath, early morning
1821
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Stonehenge at Sunset
1836
oil on paper, mounted on panel
Yale Center for British Art

Self-portraits by modern European men

Anton Graff
Self-portrait with eyeshade
1813
oil on canvas
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Francisco Goya
Self-portrait with Dr Arrieta
1820
oil on canvas
Minneapolis Institute of Art

George Hendrik Breitner
Self-portrait with pince-nez
ca. 1882
oil on panel
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

ON RACHMANINOFF'S BIRTHDAY

Quick! a last poem before I go
off my rocker. Oh Rachmaninoff!
Onset, Massachusetts. Is it the fig-newton
playing the horn? Thundering windows
of hell, will your tubes ever break
into powder? Oh my palace of oranges,
junk shop, staples, umber, basalt;
I'm a child again when I was really
miserable, a grope pizzicato. My pocket
of rhinestone, yoyo, carpenter's pencil,
amethyst, hypo, campaign button,
is the room full of smoke? Shit
on the soup, let it burn. So it's back.
You'll never be mentally sober.

– written in 1953 by Frank O'Hara and published in Lunch Poems (1964)

Paul Gauguin
Self-portrait
1885
oil on canvas
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

Vincent van Gogh
Self-portrait
1889
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Richard Gerstl
Semi-nude self-portrait
1904-05
oil on canvas
Leopold Museum, Vienna

Richard Gerstl
Nude self-portrait with palette
1908
oil on canvas
Leopold Museum, Vienna

Egon Schiele
Self-portrait with striped shirt
1910
drawing with pigment
Leopold Museum. Vienna

Egon Schiele
Nude self-portrait
1910
drawing with pigment
Leopold Museum, Vienna

Egon Schiele
Seated male nude (self-portrait)
1910
drawing with pigment
Leopold Museum, Vienna

Egon Schiele
Self-portrait with splayed fingers
1911
drawing with pigment
Leopold Museum, Vienna

Egon Schiele
Self-portrait with lowered head
1912
oil on canvas
Leopold Museum, Vienna

Egon Schiele
Self-portrait with striped sleeves
1915
drawing with pigment
Leopold Museum, Vienna

William Orpen
Ready To Start (self-portrait)
1917
oil on panel
Imperial War Museum, London

"Painted shortly after his arrival in France, Orpen is inspecting himself in the mirror wearing his military uniform.  In a wonderfully revealing self-portrait, he sets out an artistic agenda of colour, pattern, light and texture and a social agenda of drink and sensuality that were to be fulfilled during his time in France."

 curator's notes, Imperial War Museum

Thursday, September 21, 2017

19th-century Picturesque

Adolph Menzel
Building-site with Willows
1846
oil on canvas
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

"Our common Willow of the woodier sort delights in Meads and Ditch-sides, rather dry, then over wet (for so they last longest) and would be planted of stakes as big as one's leg, cut at the length of five or six foot, and fix'd a foot or more into the earth; the hole made with an Oaken-stake and beetle, or with an Iron-crow (some use a long Augur) so as not to be forced in with too great violence: But first, the Trunchions should be a little slop'd at both extreams, and the biggest planted downwards: To this, if they are soak'd in water two or three days (after they have been siz'd for length, and the twigs cut off ere you plant them) it will be the better.  Let this be done in February.  Arms of four years growth will yield substantial sets to be planted at eight or ten foot distance; and for the first three years well defended from the Cattel, who infinitely delight in their leaves, green or wither'd."

 from Sylva (1664) written on commission for the Royal Society in London by John Evelyn (1620-1706) – edited by Guy de la Bédoyère for Boydell Press (1995) – "unfortunately under the Interregnum the destruction of landed estates, royal forests and other woodland in search of quick profits had created a potential crisis for the restored monarchy . . ."

William James Müller
Hanham Lock on the Avon
ca. 1840
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

Gustav Richter
Lake in the Riesengebirge
1839
oil on canvas
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg
Avalanche in the Alps
1803
oil on canvas
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg

Johan Thomas Lundbye
Danish Coast View from Kitnæs on Roskilde Fjord, Zealand
1843
oil on canvas
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

John Martin
Kensington Gardens
1815
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

"But to turn this just indignation into Prayers, and address my self to our better-natur'd Country-men: May such Woods as do yet remain intire be carefully Preserv'd, and such as are destroy'd, sedulously Repair'd.  It is what every Person who is Owner of Land may contribute to, and with infinite delight, who are touch'd with that laudable Ambition of imitating their most illustrious Ancestors, whose Names we find mingl'd among Kings and Philosophers, Patriots and good Commonwealths-Men.  For such were of old Solomon, Cyrus, and Numa; Licinius sir-named Stolo, Cato, and Cincinnatus; the Pisoes, Gabii, Cicero, Plinies, and a thousand more whom I could ennumerate, that disdain'd not to exercise themselves in these Rusticities, as esteeming it the greatest accession of Honour to dignifie their lasting Names with such Rural marks as have consecrated their Memories, and transmitted them to us through so many Ages and Vicissitudes of the World."

Edwin Landseer
Highland Landscape
ca. 1830
oil on panel
Yale Center for British Art

John Constable
Trentham Park
ca. 1801
oil on paper, mounted on canvas
Yale Center for British Art

Caspar David Friedrich
Morning in the Mountains
before 1823
oil on canvas
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Knut Baade
Cloud-study
1838
oil on paper
National Gallery of Norway, Oslo

Jean-Achille Benouville
View of Roman Countryside
1848
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Jean-Victor Bertin
Italian Landscape
1812
oil on canvas
National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo


Carl Gustav Carus
Memory of a Wooded Island in the Baltic Sea (Oak Trees by the Sea) 
ca. 1834-35
oil on canvas
Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden

"But to discourage none, Oaks prosper exceedingly in gravel, and moist Clays, which most other Trees abhor; yea, even the coldest clay grounds that will hardly graze: I have read, that there grow Oaks (some of which have contain'd ten loads apiece) out of the very Walls of Silcester in Hantshire, which seem to strike root in the very Stones.  It is indeed observ'd, that Oaks which grow in rough, stony grounds, and obstinat clays, are long before they come to any considerable stature; for such places, and all sort of Clay, is held but a step-mother to Trees; but in time they afford the most excellent Timber, having stood long, and got good rooting: The same we may affirm of the lightest sands, which produces a smoother-grain'd Timber, of all other the most useful for the Joyner.  What improvement the stirring of the ground about the roots of Oaks is to the Trees I have already hinted; and yet in Copses where they stand warm, and so thickn'd with the under-wood, as this culture cannot be practis'd, they prove in time to be goodly Trees."

Johan Christian Dahl
Study of Drifting Clouds
1835
oil on paper, mounted on cardboard
National Gallery of Norway, Oslo

Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edgar Degas, Contemporaries

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Head of a young woman
ca. 1863-65
drawing
Cantor Center, Stanford University

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Jane Morris asleep on a sofa
ca. 1869-71
wash drawing
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
La Donna della Finestra (Lady of Pity)
1881
oil on  canvas
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Loving Cup
ca. 1867
watercolor
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Loving Cup (compositional study)
1867
drawing
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Woman seated at embroidery frame
1870
drawing
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Rossetti was born in 1828 and Degas in 1834. Proceeding from different cultural expectations and different niches within their cultures, both pursued the same fashionable nineteenth-century art-wish for fresh expression and personal distinction. United in that search  united even in the obsession to fulfill it by describing the forms of women  each yet found something quite different. Unalike as they remain, both also remain unmistakably of their day. There is no conspicuous evidence that they took any interest in each other.

Edgar Degas
Breakfast - After the bath
ca. 1895-98
pastel
Fondation Beyeler, Switzerland

Edgar Degas
After the bath
ca. 1895
pastel
Phillips Collection, Washington DC

Edgar Degas
After the bath
1888-89
pastel
Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek, Copenhagen

Edgar Degas
After the bath
1885
black chalk and pastel
Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Edgar Degas
After the bath
ca. 1884-86
pastel
Musée d'art moderne André Malraux, Le Havre

Edgar Degas
After the bath - woman drying her hair
ca. 1895
drawing
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas

Edgar Degas
Le petit cabinet de toilette
ca. 1878-80
drypoint
gift from Degas to Camille Pissarro
British Museum

Edgar Degas
Woman ironing
begun 1876, completed 1887
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC