Breton Soldier by Thomas Hovenden, 1880
I’ve just come back from a business trip to St Petersburg, Florida, in which Lands’ End, Inc. held a School Uniform Fit Event for St Petersburg Catholic Highschool. As always, when I’m in a city for any length of time, I take advantage of any free time to hit the local Art Museum(s). St Petersburg is rich in that it has not one, but three: a Chihuly Museum, Salvatore Dali Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, which held the greatest interest for me and was conveniently open when I had a spare hour.
I have to admit, I have a crush on this guy. The artist is Thomas Hovenden, an Irish-American, who was hired by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts after they’d fired Thomas Eakins — just imagine! — because he insisted on his students learning to paint from the nude. Hovenden was, to me, a worthy choice. The brushstrokes are so luscious, rendering detail with such painterliness. And as for the model, why do Frenchmen always seem to have the best hair? Not that I wouldn’t recommend a different barber…..
City Window Series: Still Life with Fruit by Leon Kroll, 1920
A still life with fruit always brings Cezanne’s paintings to mind, but I like Kroll’s more realistic style and love the feeling it gives one to view an interesting cityscape out the window, especially when one is warm and cozy inside. Kroll was no doubt aware of Cezanne, as he completed his art studies in Paris.
Cafe Madrid (Mr and Mrs Chester Dale) by Guy Pene DuBois, 1926
Heart Ranch, Barber County Kansas, John Steuart Curry, 1929
The Curry Farm, John Steuart Curry, 1930
I like the Regionalist paints of John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton. Regionalism not only portrayed the Great Plains world in which they’d grown up, an area that had been neglected in art; it expressed dissatisfaction with the centralization of manufacturing that had occurred following the Industrial Revolution and touted independence and agrarian values in art. Curry depicted families surviving natural disaster, man versus nature. The Dust Bowl Years on the Great Plains had created great suffering due to complete crop failure and lack of job opportunities. Curry did not produce propagandist paintings like Diego Rivera; he chose to express the endurance and pleasures of the common man, making the inextinguishable human spirit his inspiration.
Portrait of Paul Robeson by Randall Davey, ca. 1920-1925
Portrait of Fletcher Martin with a German Pistol, George Bellow, 1943
There was too much of a glare on this painting to photograph it straight on. The contrast between the military helmet and the civilian clothes make me wonder whether Fletcher Martin is dressed for a reconnaissance mission or is a saboteur.
Cliff Dwellers’ Country, John Sloan, 1925
Contemplation by Jacques-Emile Blanche, 1883
This painting by Jacques-Emile Blanche is reminiscent of Edouard Manet and is perhaps of a model both artists painted. He also painted portraits of Henry James, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. (Click on the name to see the portrait.)
Portrait of Paul Gauguin c. 1900, by Georges-Daniel de Montfried
I thought this write-up of the relationship between Monfried and Gauguin was so interesting, I wanted to quote it in full.
Woman Reading by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1891
Still Life with Peonies by Henri LeBasque
I would buy this little painting any day of the week. I love the loose, effortless-looking brush strokes.
Laundresses on the Shore of the La Touques by Eugene Louis Boudin, 1883
Boudin famously convinced Claude Monet to begin painting “en plein-air,” that is, outdoors. I have always thought him a better painter than Monet. Again, I thought the Museum notes for this painting worth sharing, just because he was so influential. Though he paints more loosely, his work is significantly more realistic than the Impressionsists, so he is associated in my mind with CharlesFrancois Daubigny, who also painted rivers and lakes and is perhaps my favorite landscape artist.
Springtime in Giverny, Afternoon by Claude Monet, 1885
Houses of Parliament, Effect of Fog, London by Claude Monet, 1904
The Schie near Rotterdam by Johan Barthold Jongkind, c. 1867
Claude Monet called Jongkind, a Dutch painter, “his real teacher,” “to whom I owe the crucial training of my eye.”
The Road to the Villiage of Vertheuil, Snow by Claude Monet, 1879
To the left of the road is the house where Monet lived, and just above it is La Tourelles (The Turret), his landlord’s house.
Reading by Berthe Morison, 1888
Berthe Morisot exhibited in the first Impressionist Art Exhibit ever held, along with the other pioneers of Impressionism, Monet, Degas etc. She married Edouard Manet’s brother, Eugene, and unlike many women painters of the time, notably Mary Cassatt, who never married, managed to be both a mother and married woman AND a constantly productive artist. She only missed one Impressionist show, the year her daughter was born.
Three Bathers near a Wooded Point by Camille Corot, ca. 1865-1870
Again, the museum notes are worth reading. Corot is hard to pin down with respect to any movement in art. A Corot painting always looks exactly like a Corot painting. That dark gray, olive green is always present, as well as the airiness of his trees and subdued blue of the sky is a hallmark, but Corot is in a class by himself.
Shepherd and his Flock by Charles Jacque, c. 1850
Charle Jacque was a friend of Jean-Francois Millet, and followed him to the village of Barbizon and the Forest of Fontainebleu, where they painted simple and humble subjects instead of the Greek Myths, religious subjects and Classical dramas favored by the Academy. I think it is gorgeous. It’s much like the landscape of Wisconsin.
Julia Foster Ward by Jules-Joseph Lebebvre, 1880
This is likely a postpartum painting commissioned after Julia’s death. The crown of Morning Glories may symbolize the transience of life, especially for one who blooms only briefly as a young woman.
A Man with Two Loaves of Bread by Jean-Francois Rafaelli, 1879
This painting was perhaps inspired by Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. It’s hero, Jean Valjean, is imprisoned for years for stealing bread to feed his sister’s children. Rafaelli studied with the academic painter, Jean-Leon Gerome, but became associated and exhibited with the Impressionsists by virtue of his subject matter.
The Choice Rug by Addison Thomas Millar, 1890
Orientalism refers to the painted portrayal of a romanticized view of North Africa and the Near East, areas that Europeans were interested in colonizing in the 19th Century. Orientalist paintings are always among the ones I like best in any museum. They are rich in color, not stiff with indiscernible brushstrokes, nor disappointingly meager in realistic detail.
A Louis XV Interior by Walter Gay, 1915,
I included the Museum notes about this painting, because my love for paintings and love for interior decorating, collectible porcelain and antiques goes hand in hand. I can easily identify using my own home and those of my friends as subjects.
The “Home Sweet Home Cottage’, Soutth Hampton, Long Island by Childe Hassam,1916
Landscape with Woman Carrying Washing Towards the River by Thomas Worthington Whittredge, c. 1880s
Florida Landscape (St Johns River) by Thomas Moran, 1877
One of the greatest landscape artists of all time, along with Frederic Church and Albert Bierstadt, Moran was instrumental in persuading Congress to establish Yellowstone National Park due to his stunning portrayals of its landscape. This painting was inspired on a trip to St. Augustine with his wife, Mary Nimmo Moran, who was a first-rate etcher and landscape painter in her own right. Here is an example of her work:
What a well matched couple!
Early Moonrise Florida by George Inness, 1893
Capri and Mount Solaro by Theordore Robinson, 1890
Venetian Landscape BY John Henry Twachtman, 1878
Evening in Giverny by John Leslie Breck, c. 1891
This moonlit painting of the village of Giverny is the antithesis of the scene we associate with that name, but I suppose the village may have been fairly stark. Monet’s gardens were a bower of watery loveliness away from the workaday world.
Evening in Grez, France by William Anderson Coffin, c. 1881-1882
The French village of Grez-sur-Loing became an artists’ colony south of the forest of Fontainebleau. Grez attracted artists and writers in the latter half of the 19th century, Camille Corot being one of the first who painted there. During the 1870s and 1880s, other notables at Grez included author Robert Louis Stevenson, composer Frederick Delius, and painters like John Singer Sargent, Theodore Robinson and Willard Metcalf.
St Petersburg Catholic Highschool Fit Event: From left to right, Kelli, Anna, Sarah, Nadine, Me, Debra, Chris and Ford
With Nadine and Chris at the Historic Vinoy Hotel in St Petersburg