Monday, November 6, 2017

Scenic European Watercolors - 19th century

Anonymous Russian artist
View of Moscow from Trinity Gates of the Kremlin
ca. 1800-1810
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Samuel Prout
ca. 1805
Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The Chair and Table Maker

     The chair-maker has democratized the throne.
     The chair is the throne of all men.  There now is something which even the bear who wisely sits himself down on the moss,  there now is something which even the bear has not invented.
     Like the leech and the pig, man also eats.  But decently the aforesaid maker presents him with a chair.
     Ever since then he eats in state, higher than the beasts.
     The maker of chairs and tables separates us from the earth.
     "It is seemly," says he, "not to eat where the worms wait for us."
     Then, by means of the table he brings the food half-way to our mouths.  For the table is the first floor of the earth, as heaven is its garret.
     Oh, admirable work of this man, which delivers the featherless biped from the animality which lives on the earth.
     The Greek has not done better for our sublimity.  

Joseph Mallord William Turner
On the Washburn
ca. 1815
Yale Center for British Art

Caspar David Friedrich
Rock Gates in Neurathen
ca. 1826-28
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

John Sell Cotman
A Summer Day
ca. 1827-37
Yale Center for British Art

Adam Menelaws
Landscape in the Alexander Park at Tsarskoye Selo
after 1828
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Caspar Scheuren
Study of a Tree
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

Andreas Achenbach
Snowy Forest
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

Jean Lubin Vauzelle
Jardin des Tuileries, Paris
before 1837
British Museum

The Alchemist

     His wife each morning entreats him to remember that gold is the only god of the household.  As regards himself, gold is not his care, nor the finding of it, nor the secret of life.  The intoxication of research alone takes hold of him in its adorable cradle.
     Death is his dreaded enemy, for undoubtedly it will come but a few hours before the moment in which he should have triumphed. 

Samuel Palmer
Summer storm near Pulborough, Sussex
ca. 1851
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Edward Lear
Abu Simbel, 10:30 am, 9 February 1867
watercolor, gouache
Yale Center for British Art

Léon Bonvin
The Farm
Morgan Library, New York

Henri Harpignies
The Fisherman
Victoria & Albert Museum, London

James McNeill Whistler
Silver and Blue - Southampton
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

The Electrician

     He weaves the nervous system into the flesh of houses.
     He endows them with a sensitive epidermis.  The house lives in all its corners, everywhere the wires creep along the crevices.
     If one knocks on the wall, the nerves cry out, ring, crackle, blaze up; it is a loud hysteria.
     The electrician with his long wires adds to our will.  We are all at once in the cellar, in the garret, in the garden, at the front door.  Prospero had no swifter messenger.  Everywhere the winged sprite flies on our service taking the narrow road of the wires. 

 poems are from 12 Occupations by Jean de Boschère (1878-1953), translated in 1913 by Ezra Pound