Thursday, September 7, 2017

1860s in Oil, Watercolor, Gouache

Honoré Daumier
Avant l'audience (Before the hearing)
ca. 1860-65
Phillips Collection, Washington DC

The man whose image is presented here
and who by the most penetrating art
affords us means of laughing at ourselves –
this man, dear reader, is a philosopher.

He mocks us – true, he is a satirist,
and yet the energy with which he paints
(or etches) Evil and its aftermath
demonstrates the beauty of his heart.

His mirth is the reverse of Melmoth's sneer
or the snickering of Mephistopheles,
licked by the lurid light of a Fury's torch
that burns them to a crisp but leaves us cold –

a glance at their glee shows it for what it is,
a painful caricature of gaiety;
while Daumier's spreads like sunlight, glad and free,
a sign of kindness, evidence of grace.

– from Les Fleurs du Mal (1857) by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Richard Howard (1982)

Eugène Delacroix
Botzaris surprises the Turkish camp and falls fatally wounded
ca. 1860-62
oil on canvas
Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio

Eugène Delacroix
Shipwreck on the coast
oil on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Edgar Degas
Portrait of Mlle. Fiocre in the ballet La Source
ca. 1867-68
oil on canvas
Brooklyn Museum

Nov. 1883

To Ludovic Halévy

     The little Chabot arrived both very surprised and very pleased at having been called to M. Meyers to renew her engagement.  The Mlles. Salle and Sacré were called at the same time.   She was offered a sum that she says is very small.  She was getting 2,200, they offer her 2,400.  We must try and help her to get 2,600 or 2,800 for the first year.  Moreover, Mr. Meyer offers her 2,700 for the next year, that is to say for 1885; and for 1886 3,000 francs.  So it is an increase of 200 francs or 300 at most for which she is asking for this year and she says that she deserves it for all sorts of reasons; she was a pupil at 16 years, she was moved up after each examination etc. . . .

     So try to get her:
     1st. 2,700 francs or 2,800 francs for 1884;
     2nd. 3,000 francs for 1885;
     3rd. 3,500 francs for 1886
     The contract she has to sign is for 3 years.

     The petitioner is in a great hurry and quite simply wishes you to go to the Opera this evening.  I am much afraid that you will have to go to the Rois en Exil or even to Simon Boccanegra where I am presenting myself this evening at no. 177 in the name of Mr. Verdi. 

     In a word, do what you think best, write to Mr. Vaucorbeil, for it would seem to be really urgent.  Moreover you know how everything is done at the Opera.


     The said demoiselle Chabot sends you her respects.        

– from Degas Letters, edited by Marcel Guérin, translated by Marguerite Kay (Oxford: Bruno Cassirer, 1947)                          

Gustave Courbet
Autumn Sea
oil on canvas
Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Japan

Gustave Courbet
Low tide at Trouville
oil on canvas
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Gustave Courbet
Nude woman with a dog
oil on canvas
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Gustave Courbet
The weir at the mill
oil on canvas
Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin

Gustave Courbet
Three young Englishwomen by a window
oil on canvas
Ny Carlsberg Glyptothek, Copenhagen

Lars Hertervig
Island Borgøya
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Norway, Oslo

John La Farge
oil on panel
Berkshire Museum, Massachusetts

Alphonse Legros
Cupid and Psyche
before 1867
oil on canvas
Tate Britain

Adolph Menzel
Choirstalls in Mainz Cathedral
watercolor, gouache
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Camille Pissarro
The Marne at Chennevières
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh