ART 4 2-DAY 19 December v.9.b0
BIRTH: 1869 REDFIELD
Died on 19 December 1890: Eugène
Louis Lami, French painter and lithographer born on 12 January
— As a boy his health was so delicate that he was taught by a tutor at home. In 1815, after seeing some of his sketches, Horace Vernet took him into his studio. Overburdened with work himself, Vernet then sent him in 1817 to Antoine-Jean Gross studio at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he remained for three years, while also continuing to work with Vernet. While in Gross studio he met Paul Delaroche, Théodore Gericault and R. P. Bonington. Although Bonington taught him the art of watercolor painting, Lamis early work was largely in the field of lithography. In 1819 he produced a set of 40 lithographs depicting the Spanish cavalry, which reflect his fascination for military subjects. These were published in Paris under the title Manejo del Sable. However, his largest project of this period was a set of lithographs called Collections des uniformes des armées françaises de 1791 à 1814 (18211824), all of which (except for a few by Horace and Carl Vernet) were produced by Lami himself. A series of six lithographs representing characters from Byron designed by Gericault and Lami appeared in Paris in 1823, and in the same year he began a number of caricatures entitled Contretemps.
— Lami first studied painting with Horace Vernet, who in 1817 sent him to study with Baron Antoine-Jean Gros at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. There he met Thèodore Gèricault and learned the art of watercolor painting from the English Romantic, R. P. Bonington. Much of Lami's early work was in lithography, which had only recently become a commercially viable medium. Between 1819 and 1821 he produced numerous lithographs depicting the Spanish cavalry, as well as a large series illustrating the uniforms of the French Army. Lami's paintings of military subjects caught the attention of royalty and he quickly established ties to the French court. Louis-Philippe commissioned him to make a number of military paintings for the chateau at Versailles, which the King turned into a museum in 1837. At this point, Lami began to concentrate on court life, painting scenes of the bourgeoisie. He then turned to watercolor, which would remain his favorite medium for the rest of his life. In his later years, he became increasingly interested in depicting historical events. At the age of seventy-nine, Lami helped establish the Society of French Watercolorists. He continued to work until his death at the age of ninety.
— The Battle of New Orleans (1840, 347x550pix, 33kb) _ Lami painted the moment of the US victory over the English at the Battle of New Orleans, fought just outside the city in Saint Bernard Parish. To the right US flags wave as Andrew Jackson and his advisors look upon the celebrating troops. The free men of color and pirate Jean Laffite in the foreground reveal the diversity of Jackson’s troops. To the left, General Packerham lies fatally wounded on horseback, surrounded by the fallen or retreating British troops in their redcoat uniforms. Lami, who studied art with Lucien-Alphonse Gros, Horace Vernet, and at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, painted five large battle scenes for the Versailles Palace. He offered to sell The Battle of New Orleans and The Battle of Yorktown to William Corcoran for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Despite Corcoran’s initial refusal, the paintings were repeatedly reoffered to him through Z. B. Stearn, a Richmond, Virginia, dealer. Corcoran finally relented, and in 1878 he bought both of the paintings for fifteen hundred dollars. Instead of adding the works to his gallery, he presented The Battle of New Orleans to the state of Louisiana and The Battle of Yorktown to the state of Virginia. The Battle of New Orleans was displayed in the St. Louis Hotel in the French Quarter. Later it was hung in the senate chambers of the capitol in Baton Rouge until 1907, when it was damaged by fire and transferred to the Louisiana State Museum. The painting was again damaged in the 1988 Cabildo fire. Today the conserved painting hangs in the newly renovated Cabildo on Jackson Square in New Orleans.
— Charles Ier recevant une rose des mains d'une jeune fille, au moment où il est conduit prisonnier au château de Carisbrook, pour être bientôt condamné et exécuté (1829, 89x115cm; 76kb) _ of Charles I [19 Nov 1600 – 30 Jan 1649] of England. His absolutist tendencies were opposed by Parliament and his middle-of-the-road religious policies by the Puritans. This led to the English Civil War (1642-1649), his defeat and execution, followed by the military dictatorship of Cromwell [25 Apr 1599 – 03 Sep 1658].
— Marie Stuart at the Hunt (62x105cm; 772x1283pix, 233kb) _ Mary Stuart [08 Dec 1542 – 08 Feb 1587] was “Mary Queen of Scots” from 1542 to 1567 and queen consort of France (1559–1560). Her unwise marital and political actions provoked rebellion among the Scottish nobles, forcing her to flee to England, where she was eventually beheaded as a Roman Catholic threat to the English throne.
— Inauguration of the Crystal Palace (1851, 53x38cm; 1164x840pix) _ The Crystal Palace, designed by Sir Joseph Paxton [03 Aug 1801 – 08 Jun 1865], was a remarkable construction of prefabricated parts. It consisted of an intricate network of slender iron rods sustaining walls of clear glass. The main body of the building was 563 meters long and 124 meters wide; the height of the central transept was 33 meter. The construction occupied some 7 hectares on the ground, and its total floor area was about 92'000 square meters. On the ground floor and galleries there were more than 13 km of display tables. It was built for the Great Exposition at whose opening on 01 May 1851 it was inaugurated. After the exposition, it was taken down and rebuilt at Sydenham Hill, where it stood from 1854 until destroyed by fire on 30 November 1936.
— A Couple Embracing in an Artist's Studio (1881, 20x25cm) _ Overcome with emotion, a young painter throws his brush and palette to the ground and falls on his knees before his model. The subject of this watercolor, an amorous couple, recalls the carefree and pleasure-filled themes of the earlier Rococo period. The costumes and interior details make further reference to this period. After spending many years painting military scenes with panoramic views and dramatic skies, Eugène Lami turned his attention to bourgeois society. He began painting ceremonial scenes from court life, which provided festive and colorful material for his canvas. Lami spent the later years of his life making watercolors of historical events.
— Arrival of Queen Victoria and the Duke of Wellington at St. James's Palace (1851, 15x19cm; 520x666pix, 118kb) _ Most of the career of Arthur Wellesley, 1st duke of Wellington [01 May 1769 – 14 Sep 1852] was in the past when Victoria [24 May 1819 — 22 Jan 1901] became queen on 20 June 1837. As a revered elder statesman, he could be a sort of father figure to the young queen.
— Assassination of Henri IV (23x34cm; 486x700pix,96xm) _ King of France, Henri IV [13 Dec 1553 — 14 May 1610] died stabbed by François Ravaillac [1578 - 27 May 1610], who, for this, was tortured and died dismembered by the pull of four strong horses on his arms and legs.
Died on 19 December 2004: Tom
Wesselmann, US Pop artist born on 23 February 1931. He is
best known for modernizing the classic female nude into a flat, enigmatic,
— Wesselmann was born in Cincinnati. He had no interest in art until he was in his 20's. During the Korean War, he was drafted into the Army from college. Resenting the disruption, he redirected an interest in humor into cartooning. Sent to Fort Riley, Kansas, to be trained in aerial photography interpretation, he set about teaching himself to draw. After the Army, he studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. At a teacher's suggestion, he moved to New York in 1956, where he enrolled in the tuition-free Cooper Union School of the Arts. He supported himself by selling cartoons to magazines, but gradually shifted his focus to the fine arts, at a point when their fineness was being actively questioned. By the late 1950's, he was making large collages from magazine clippings and more rugged materials like cardboard boxes and movie posters scavenged from the streets and subways. But he was most inspired by interior images of female nudes by Bonnard and Matisse, and he soon started calling his own versions Great American Nudes.
Along with Andy Warhol [06 Aug 1928 – 22 Feb 1987], Roy Lichtenstein [27 Oct 1923 – 29 Sep 1997], Claes Oldenburg [28 Jan 1929~], James Rosenquist and Jim Dine, Wesselmann belonged to a generation of artists who gave US art and culture a new sense of itself. They found inspiration, source materials and even working methods in areas beyond art: in advertising, movies, food labels, household appliances, newspaper front pages and in commercial art techniques like silkscreen, Benday dots and billboard painting. The changes they wrought continue to reverberate through contemporary art and life.
Wesselmann's sleek, hard-edge, mostly pink silhouettes of reclining female torsos or big cutout lips exhaling clouds of cigarette smoke were distinguished from his fellow Pop artists by a sensuous heat and close-up intimacy that were one part sex and four parts astutely considered color and scale. The images were distant relatives of pinups, filtered through the billboard genre but with a formal infrastructure developed from careful attention to the paintings of de Kooning, Matisse and Mondrian. His goal was an image that was "aggressive," as he once put it, and that he experienced for the first time at the Museum of Modern Art in 1958 in front of a large canvas by the Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell.
In 1961, Wesselmann met Henry Geldzahler, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Geldzahler looked at his work and recommended it to the painter Alex Katz, who offered Wesselmann a show at the Tanager Gallery, a co-op of Abstract Expressionist artists. The show, held at the end of 1961, was one of the first signs of an aesthetic shift that would be more sharply defined in the early months of 1962, with solo shows by Rosenquist at the Green Gallery and by Lichtenstein and Warhol at the Leo Castelli Gallery. Wesselmann had his next three solo shows at the Green Gallery. After it closed, he joined the Sidney Janis Gallery, whose New Realists exhibition in October 1962 made Pop Art official.
In the 1960's, Wesselmann expanded on his collages in still lifes and interiors-with-nudes that often combined painted images with real objects, including radios, television sets, refrigerator doors and bathroom fixtures. Perhaps under the influence of other Pop artists, he deliberately eliminated any sign of the painter's hand, preferring the more hard-edged commercial art look. In his "Smokers" series of the 1970's, he zeroed in on the female nude with a series of enormous cutout details: ruby-red lips, manicured fingernails and cigarettes.
As time progressed, Wesselmann sometimes seemed less like an instigator than an extremely adept follower of Pop Art indebted to Rosenquist, or more tangential artists such as Katz or John Wesley. But the heat and flatness of his color, the shallowness of his compositions, the suave paint handling and the presence or intimation of the female nude remained characteristic of Wesselmann.
He experimented with materials and techniques and even ventured into sculpture. His gifts as a draftsman were demonstrated in a series of landscapes and nudes made of painted, cutout aluminum, a material also employed in abstract reliefs that paid homage to de Kooning. At the time of his death, he was working on a series of nudes painted in an Abstract Expressionist style.
Wesselmann wrote a third-person autobiographical account of his development, Tom Wesselmann (1980).
— Bedroom Painting No.13 (1969; 567x708pix, 97kb)
— Still Life #24 (350x435pix, 64kb)
— Bedroom Painting # 38 (1978, 213x246cm; 300x400, 29kb)
— Photo of “installation” Great American Nude # 54 (1964, 177x215x99cm)
–- Great American Nude #96 (555x788pix, 28kb) partly seen; features a radio, an orange, and flowers in a vase. For this poster-like picture, a greater fool paid $1'472'000 at a Sotheby's auction on 14 November 2006.
–- Face #4 (533x755pix, 18kb) facing upward, dark brown skin, wide-open mouth; flat colors. The pseudonymous Thomas Vaisselle has metamorphosed this simplistic picture into the intricate symmetrical abstractions rich in fine detail:
_ About Face! (2007; 724x1024pix, 278kb _ ZOOM to 1024x1448pix, 549kb _ ZOOM + to 2636x3728pix, 2966kb) and
_ À Effacer (2007; 724x1024pix, 278kb _ ZOOM to 1024x1448pix, 549kb _ ZOOM + to 2636x3728pix, 2966kb) and
–- Seascape #5 (716x800pix, 27kb) two feet (one deformed) raised skyward.
–- Great American Nude #94 (638x800pix, 35kb)
–- Study for Bedroom Painting #23 (round 799pix diameter, 37kb) toes
–- Bedroom Painting for Roz (463x799pix, 22kb) a foot and an orange
–- Barbara in the Bedroom (799x760pix, 49kb) face
–- Still Life With Blonde and Orange Curtain (1999, 38x52cm; 587x800pix, 35kb) _ In this poster-like picture in flat colors, the blonde is only part of a face featureless except for a mouth. So Vaisselle has reconstructed the face, and added fine details and textures, resulting in the complex symmetrical semi-abstractions (best appreciated at their highest zoom level):
_ Life at the Still With a Blonde (2007; 724x1024pix, 220kb _ ZOOM to 1024x1448pix, 527kb _ ZOOM + to 2636x3728pix, 3493kb) and, now splitting the face,
_ Twin Half-Blondes Lurking in the Wings (2007; 724x1024pix, 220kb _ ZOOM to 1024x1448pix, 527kb _ ZOOM + to 2636x3728pix, 3493kb)
–- Still Life With Blonde (677x832pix, 41kb) colorful rudimentary picture drawn with extremely thick lines. The blonde: only the left edge of the face of a reclining woman. There is also most of a goldfish bowl with a fish, fruits, flowers, and a large violet area (part of a curtain?) in the background. _ Vaisselle has combined these two Still Life With Blonde and transformed them into a series of wonderfully detailed maximalist abstractions, which can be reached by clicks of the mouse from the asymmetrical
_ Moving Death Without Brunette (2007; 550x778pix, 115kb _ ZOOM 1 to 778x1100pix, 229kb _ ZOOM 2 to 1100x1556pix, 467kb _ ZOOM 3 to 1710x2418pix, 1132kb _ ZOOM 4 to 2658x3760pix, 2229kb) and from the symmetrical
_ Au Pré de ma Blonde (2007; 550x778pix, 118kb _ ZOOM 1 to 778x1100pix, 238kb _ ZOOM 2 to 1100x1556pix, 492kb _ ZOOM 3 to 1710x2418pix, 1214kb _ ZOOM 4 to 2658x3760pix, 2417kb)
–- Still Life With Goldfish (630x809pix, 64kb) sketchy
Born on 19 December 1869: Edward
Willis Redfield, Pennsylvania Impressionist painter who died
— Redfield was the leading spirit of Pennsylvania "Impressionists" and critics praised his matter-of-fact depictions that avoided sentiment and anecdotal detail. A native of Delaware, Redfield studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (under William Merritt Chase) before traveling to Paris with Robert Henri in 1887. He later recalled that, when he was in France, "our gods were painters like Degas and Monet." As early as 1891, when he was in the art colony of Fontainebleau, the artist was fascinated by the beauty of a landscape cloaked in snow, a subject which would become his signature theme after returning to the United States. Redfield’s working method was to paint on site and to allow one "tone" to infuse the scene in color and in mood.
— Redfield, born in Delaware, moved shortly thereafter with his family to Philadelphia. As a youth, he frequently spent summers in the rural parts of the Delaware River Valley. After extensive and varied study in Philadelphia, from 1881 to 1887, Redfield gained admittance to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He graduated in 1889 and immediately sailed for Europe. In France, joined by Henri, he attended the Académie Julian and matriculated in the École des Beaux-Arts in 1890. What he enjoyed most in France, however, was not the instruction or the Old Masters, but the great contemporary landscapes by Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro.
After marrying the daughter of an innkeeper in the art colony of Fontainebleau, Redfield returned to live in the Philadelphia area from 1893 to 1898. From then on, except for a trip to France in 1899, he lived in Center Bridge, Pennsylvania in the Delaware River Valley. As early as 1891, when he was in Fontainebleau, the artist was fascinated by the beauty of a landscape cloaked in snow. During his visit to Paris in 1899, he and Henri would paint views of the snow-covered city at night, using broad bruslistrokes and somber palettes punctuated with black. By 1904, Redfield had begun to use larger canvases to capture more luminous, panoramic, snow scenes of the New Hope region. Concurrently, he had begun to use more expressive, calligraphic bruslistrokes creating the style for which he would become famous and attracting a whole group of landscape painters to this region.
The Burning of Center Bridge (1928) _ Edward Willis Redfield was one of the leaders of Bucks County's nationally known group of visual artists who lived and worked in the New Hope area beginning in the early 1900's. This group was best known for the school of landscape painting they founded called Pennsylvania Impressionism. Redfield, along with Daniel Garber, is considered one of the leading artists of the group, receiving dozens of major awards. On Sunday, 22 July 1923, lightning struck the wood-covered, 112-year-old Center Bridge, located just north of New Hope, Pennsylvania, very close to Redfield's home. Redfield, his son Laurent, and daughter-in-law Dorothy, were returning home from a visit to painter Joseph Pearson in Huntingdon Valley, PA. When they approached Center Bridge, they saw smoke and Redfield feared his house was on fire. He rushed home and found it was not his house that was on fire, but the nearby covered bridge. He gathered his family and went to watch. There, Redfield joined another Pennsylvania landscape painter, William Lathrop, to view the burning bridge from the river bank as firemen feverishly attempted to extinguish the blaze. Redfield later remarked, "Lathrop said it was a pity it couldn't be painted. So I took out an envelope and made some notes and painted all the next day. The following day, I painted it again." The Burning of Center Bridge is one of two resulting versions by Redfield. It is an unusual work for him, as it is his only known painting done from memory; most of his other works were landscapes done on-site in one sitting.
— Late Afternoon (Delaware River) (97x127cm; 343x452pix, 47kb) _ This is one of Redfield’s classic panoramic winter scenes, showing a vista from Mike Mullins Hill across the Delaware River to New Jersey, at Center Bridge, Pennsylvania, where Redfield had settled in 1898.
— Laurel Run (1916, 97x127cm; 373x495pix, 46kb) _ When Redfield painted this, he was riding the crest of a wave of popularity as one of the US's pre-eminent landscape painters. Both the US public and art establishment had embraced Redfield's distinctive, broadly-brushed works as individual, virile, and dynamic answers to French Impressionism. Influenced by his friend and fellow painter, Robert Henri, Redfield rejected the French Impressionist aesthetic as too perfumed and genteel for capturing the frank, rugged vitality of the US. Rather, he felt that spontaneous, energetic, yet deeply- experienced, gestural interpretations of his home environment near New Hope, Pennsylvania would result in better portraits of his much-loved Delaware River Valley and, in turn, the US.
Laurel Run, a stream in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is a particularly fine example of Redfield's snow scenes. The sun-dappled winter landscape with a stream flowing rapidly through it is one of a handful of motifs in which he specialized. In this work, the artist was especially fluent in his mastery of texture. Rich, heavily-impastoed pigments spontaneously, yet eloquently, capture the delicate tracery of the wintry screen of leafless branches, trunks, and bushes, the icy wet flow of the rushing stream, and the varied bulk of the wet, fallen snow as outlined in the crisp light and further defined by the dancing blue shadows. Further interest is created through careful design. The intriguing, V-shaped composition, defined by the elbow of the rushing stream and the curve of the row of trees, enlivens the painting by breaking through its richly-painted surface to carry the viewer into the landscape.
Redfield painted all of his works on site and energetically, at one go, to impart a direct spontaneity and truth to their interpretation of the surroundings. In Laurel Run, there is an intimacy which results from the artisfs familiarity with his subject and spontaneous depiction of it. Redfield continued to paint landscapes in the Delaware River Valley until 1953. During these five decades of activity, he exhibited extensively in group and solo exhibitions and earned more medals than any other US artist except John Singer Sargent. The height of Redfield's career was certainly the period of Laurel Run. It was then that Redfield, George Bellows, and Henri were at the aesthetic vanguard of contemporary painting in the US with their various forms of painterly realism. And it was then that Redfield was at the technical peak of his dexterity in handling paint.
— Lobsterman’s Cove (1948, 66x81cm; 440x540pix, 207kb)
— A Farm In Winter (39x56cm; 440x648pix, 158kb)
Died on 19 December 1851: Joseph
Mallord William Turner, British Romantic landscape painter
and engraver, born on 23 April 1775, specialized in landscapes
scenes, considered by the French Impressionists
as having given art a turn that impressed them.
Turner's expressionistic studies of light, color, and atmosphere were unmatched in their range and sublimity. His marine paintings are particularly notable.
— William Turner was born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, sometime in late April or early May 1775 (although the artist himself liked to claim that he was born on 23 April, Saint George's Day and coincidentally Shakespeare's birthday).
One of the finest landscape artists was J.M.W. Turner, whose work was exhibited when he was still a teenager. His entire life was devoted to his art. Unlike many artists of his era, he was successful throughout his career.
Turner was born in London. His father was a barber. His mother died when he was very young. The boy received little schooling. His father taught him how to read, but this was the extent of his education except for the study of art. By the age of 13 he was making drawings at home and exhibiting them in his father's shop window for sale.
Turner was 15 years old when he received a rare honor--one of his paintings was exhibited at the Royal Academy. By the time he was 18 he had his own studio. Before he was 20 print sellers were eagerly buying his drawings for reproduction. He quickly achieved a fine reputation and was elected an associate of the Royal Academy. In 1802, when he was only 27, Turner became a full member. He then began traveling widely in Europe.
Venice was the inspiration of some of Turner's finest work. Wherever he visited he studied the effects of sea and sky in every kind of weather. His early training had been as a topographic draftsman. With the years, however, he developed a painting technique all his own. Instead of merely recording factually what he saw, Turner translated scenes into a light-filled expression of his own romantic feelings.
As he grew older Turner became an eccentric. Except for his father, with whom he lived for 30 years, he had no close friends. He allowed no one to watch him while he painted. He gave up attending the meetings of the academy. None of his acquaintances saw him for months at a time. Turner continued to travel but always alone. He still held exhibitions, but he usually refused to sell his paintings. When he was persuaded to sell one, he was dejected for days. In 1850 he exhibited for the last time. One day Turner disappeared from his house. His housekeeper, after a search of many months, found him hiding in a house in Chelsea. He had been ill for a long time. He died the following day.
Turner left a large fortune that he hoped would be used to support what he called decaying artists. His collection of paintings was bequeathed to his country. At his request he was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.
Although known for his oils, Turner is regarded as one of the founders of English watercolor landscape painting. Some of his most famous works are Calais Pier, Dido Building Carthage, Rain, Steam and Speed, Burial at Sea, and The Grand Canal, Venice.
| Turner is renowned especially
for his dynamic treatment of natural light effects in land and marine subjects.
His work is of direct importance in the development of impressionism.
Turner was born in London and educated at the Royal Academy of Arts. At the age of 15 he exhibited his paintings at the academy and continued to show his work there until 1850. He was elected an associate of the academy in 1799 and a full member three years later. He traveled widely throughout his career, extensively touring England and Scotland and later France, Switzerland, and Italy. In 1807 he became professor of perspective at the Royal Academy and in 1845 was appointed deputy professor. Turner's early paintings were predominantly watercolors and his subjects mostly landscapes. By the late 1790s he had started exhibiting his first oil paintings, eventually transferring to the oils the same vibrance of color that had proved so successful in his watercolors. His mature work falls into three periods.
During the first period (1800-20) Turner painted many picturesque mythological and historical scenes in which the coloring was subdued and details and contours were emphasized. He was influenced by the 17th-century French landscape painter Claude Lorrain, notably in the use of atmospheric effects, as in The Sun Rising Through Vapor (1807), and in the treatment of architectural forms, as in Dido Building Carthage (The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire) (1815). Turner also produced numerous engravings for his unfinished collection Liber Studiorum (1806-19).
The paintings of the artist's second period (1820-35) are characterized by more brilliant coloring and by diffusion of light. In two of Turner's best works, Bay of Baiae with Apollo and the Sibyl (1823) and Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus (1829), his use of light lends radiance to the colors and softens architectural and topographical forms and shadows. During this period he also executed a number of illustrations for books on topography and a collection of watercolors depicting Venetian scenes.
Turner's artistic genius reached its culmination during his third period (1835-45). In such works as Snow Storm: Steam Boat Off a Harbor's Mouth (1842), Peace Burial at Sea (1842), and Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway (1844), he achieved a vibrant sense of force by presenting objects as indistinct masses within a glowing haze of color. Some of the forces represented are the strength of the sea and the rhythm of rain. Other famous works of this period include The Fighting Téméraire (1839), The Sun of Venice Going to Sea (1843), and The Approach to Venice (1844). Turner died in London.
Turner was only fourteen years old when he was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools. He started his career by painting watercolors and producing mezzotints under the strong influence of John Robert Cozen's work. Then, in 1796, he launched into oil painting, working in the neoclassical manner of Richard Wilson and Nicolas Poussin, with results that found wide acclaim. He exhibited his first picture Fishermen at Sea (1796) in the Royal Academy exhibition in 1796. He was elected an Associate in 1799 and in 1802 a full member of the Royal Academy. Turner was one of the most prolific painters of his time. He traveled extensively in England, Scotland and Ireland, and also on the Continent (France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy).
In 1802, he visited Paris for the first time, where he studied the Old Masters in the Louvre, above all Dutch seascapes and Claude Lorrain's compositions, which lastingly influenced him. Turner's first private showing, at his own house, took place in 1804. During this period, thanks to the increasing concentration on the atmospheric effects of light, his original style began to evolve, a process that culminated during trips to Italy between 1819 and 1829.
Like the works of Constable, Turner's seemingly effortless watercolors and oil sketches were based on impressions of nature. But his perception of the world differed vastly from Constable's. Turner's pictures transcend ordinary appearances, conveying a visionary sense of the forces at work in the universe.
In his atmospheric depictions of shipwrecks and natural disasters such as The Shipwreck (1805), Snow Storm: Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps (1812), A Storm (Shipwreck) (1823), Shipwreck off Hastings (1825), Fire at Sea (1835), Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth (1842) reality and fantasy merge and color is used to metaphorically evoke the power of natural phenomena. By abandoning form or merely outlining it, Turner lent color autonomy and endowed it with a power of its own. This achievement was to be especially influential on XX century art. Turner's other best works are The Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory (1808), The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire (1817), Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1823), A Ship Aground (1828), The Fighting Téméraire Tugged to Her Last Berth to Be Broken up (1838), Peace - Burial at Sea (1842), The Dogana, San Giorgio, Citella, From the Steps of the Europa (1842), Light and Color (Goethe's Theory) - The Morning after the Deluge - Moses Writing the Book of Genesis (1843), Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway (1844).
MORE and yet MORE — 28~page biography
— Self-Portrait (1799, 58x72cm; _ ZOOM to 2038x2024pix, 254kb) _ This is a Romantic self-image. Turner's eyes are rock-steady, piercing, almost like a bird's. All about him are shadows and mystery. With his unkempt hair, his white neckerchief and silver waistcoat, he paints himself as a hero, staring us down unblinkingly. By painting himself head-on, however, Turner also does his best to minimize the effect of his huge nose. This feature was captured far more cruelly in a profile portrait of him at the age of 17 by George Dance, in which, with his long hair and homely features, Turner looks like a French revolutionary hooligan. He is a revolutionary in this painting, too, but an intellectual and aesthetic one. By depicting himself in tenebrous, intense isolation, he sets himself apart as an artist with a mission.
It is superbly dramatic. The unlit background sets him off and seems empty, as if it were deep space and he were a star. He is all light: his blond hair, ruddy cheeks, scarf and waistcoat glow. As a self-portrait, it is also distinctive in what it leaves out. Painters tended to depict themselves in the act of painting. That is how we see Sir Joshua Reynolds in his Self-Portrait (1749) or William Hogarth in his from 1757. Yet Turner does not even hold a brush. In this painting, like Rembrandt in many of his self-portraits, Turner shows himself as just a face and a mind, without any social or professional attributes. The comparison with Rembrandt is surely intended. The shadowiness around Turner and his glowing flesh seem to emulate the Dutch master. By painting himself in this way, Turner asserts that art takes place in the head. His art is one not of appearance but of imagination. He does not show you something, but provokes you to imagine it. This portrait is a manifesto for the way his works try to awaken the inner eye.
Although Rembrandt provided plenty of models of self-portraits as a young man, it is his late Self-Portrait at the Age of 63 (1669), of which this portrait's sombre intensity reminds you. James Barry's Self-Portrait (1802) and Goya's Self-Portrait (1815), are equally brooding. But the closest analogy for the heroic presence Turner lends himself is in contemporary portraits of Napoleon — for whom Turner had a certain sympathy, as can be seen in War: The Exile and the Rock Limpet..
— War. The Exile and the Rock Limpet (1842, octagon 79x79cm) _ This painting is a pendant to Peace - Burial at Sea. Here, Turner embodies the idea of war in the figure of Napoleon, seen in exile and under guard on Saint-Helena against an apocalyptic sunset. He is watching, and thinking about, the limpet which, in spite of its tiny size and enforced habit of attachment, is at least free to live its natural existence. Much derided when first exhibited, Turner’s painting is best seen as an attempt to come to terms with the dominant forces of his time: war itself, and the flawed genius who had waged it so widely and destructively.
— Peace - Burial at Sea (1842, 87x87cm; 733x705pix, 90kb) _ This painting is the companion to War – The Exile and the Rock Limpet. Whereas War is epitomized by Napoleon, Peace shows the deep and solemn calm of the funeral of Turner's friend and colleague, the painter David Wilkie. He had died on board ship while returning from the Middle East in 1841, and was buried at sea off Gibraltar. Critics disliked the harsh blackness of the ship's sails, but Turner defiantly said “I only wish I had any color to make them blacker”.
— Slave Ship aka Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On (1840, 91x12cm; 603x800pix, 112kb _ ZOOM to 1241x1648pix, 385kb) _ This is of Turner's most celebrated works, a striking example of the artist's fascination with violence, both human and elemental. The painting was based on a poem that described a slave ship caught in a typhoon, and on the true story of the slave ship Zong whose captain, in 1783, had thrown overboard sick and dying slaves so that he could collect insurance money available only for slaves lost at sea. Turner captures the horror of the event and terrifying grandeur of nature through hot, churning color and light that merge sea and sky. The critic John Ruskin, the first owner of Slave Ship, wrote, “If I were reduced to rest Turner's immortality upon any single work, I should choose this.”
— Fall of the Rhine at Schaffhausen (1806, 149x240cm; ---500x800pix, 91kb _ ZOOM to ---1130x1810pix, kb) _ Turner was among the most original landscape painters of the nineteenth century. In 1802 he visited the Swiss Alps, making more than four hundred drawings that he used for decades as source material for grand paintings. Turner captured the force of the famous waterfall at Schaffhausen by flattening thick paint with a palette knife, so that the water seems to have the solidity of the rocks whose shape it echoes. In the foreground, a mother rushes to protect her child from fighting cart horses; the scene provides local color, but also underscores the insignificance of human concerns before the power of nature, a romantic theme very much to Turner's taste.
— View from the Terrace of a Villa at Niton, Isle of Wight, from Sketches by a Lady (1826, 46x61cm; 597x785pix, kb _ ZOOM to 1222x1607pix, 334kb)
— Dover Castle from the Sea (1822, 40x60cm; 541x800pix, 92kb _ ZOOM to 1176x1741pix, kb)
–- The Unpaid Bill (The Dentist Reproving his Son's Prodigality) (1808, 59x80cm) _ In the manner of David Teniers. It is the earliest known British picture of the interior of a dentist's surgery at the start of the 19th century. It is a scene that few people at the time are likely to have seen, for there were only some 40 dentists in London and 20 in the rest of England. It was auctioned on 27 November 2002 at Christie's in London, having been estimated at about £250'000.
–- The Grand Canal, Venice (1830, 77x127cm; 448x739pix, 42kb _ .ZOOM to 896x1478pix, 320kb _ .ZOOM+ to 1792x2957pix, 1147kb) _ This could have been titled Impression, Sunshine; but then, what would Monet in 1872 have called this?
a different The Grand Canal, Venice (1837, 150x112cm; 590x441pix, 74kb) _ In this depiction of Venice's Grand Canal flooded with light, Turner displays the chromatic brilliance that made him one of the leading artists of his day and a key figure in the Romantic movement. Like many of his contemporaries, he was drawn to this magical city of extraordinary light and exotic buildings. When this work was shown at the Royal Academy in 1837, it was simply called Scene--a Street in Venice in the catalogue; it was exhibited with a quotation from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (Act III, scene iii):
Antonio: Hear me yet, good Shylock.
Shylock: I'll have my bond.
That text suggested there was a narrative element to the subject. In fact, at the lower right edge, Shylock, a paper, knife and scales in hand, leans over to confront the viewer. His action and those of the other people in this crowded scene of pageantry are difficult to interpret.
— F#*>/F#*>The Lagoon in Venice (24x34cm; full size)
F#*>/F#*>View of Kenilworth Castle (1830, 29x45cm; half~size _ F#*>/F#*>ZOOM to full size)
— F#*>/F#*>Landscape (23x29cm)
— Mortlake Terrace: Early Summer Morning (1826; 600x800pix, 91kb _ ZOOM to 1200x1600pix, 216kb) _ This canvas painted for William Moffatt depicts his estate at Mortlake, on the Thames just west of London. Like so many of Turner’s works, it is based on numerous preparatory drawings, in which the artist recorded the topography and studied various ways of balancing the mass of the house and land against the open river and sky. A companion view of the terrace and river on a summer evening as seen from a ground-floor window of the house is listed next. Shown in the Royal Academy exhibition of 1826, Mortlake Terrace I was praised for its “lightness and simplicity.” Turner’s penchant for a luminous shade of yellow is again a dominant feature of the painting.
— Mortlake Terrace at nightfall (1827, 92x122cm; 529x700pix, 129kb) almost monochrome _ detail: boats (390x520pix, 68kb) _ This second version of Mortlake Terrace is a view from the house, looking directly west into the luminous glow of the setting sun. Turner established the quiet mood of the late-afternoon scene with two ivy-covered elm trees, whose soft, feathery leaves and curving limbs frame the painting. Long shadows create elegant patterns on the lawn that almost obscure the human element in the scene. Scattered about are a gardener's ladder, a hoop, a doll on a red chair, and an open portfolio of pictures that have been just left behind by figures watching the Lord Mayor's ceremonial barge. The painting was done about eight years after Turner's first stay in Venice, where his perception of nature and the physical world was profoundly changed by the city's unique light and atmosphere. Light immobilizes the river and gives its surface a dreamlike shimmer. The stable mass of the classical gazebo, the delicate linear clarity of its architectural details, and the carefully depicted windows in the buildings on the left bank of the river coexist in Turner's vision with the heavy impasto of the sun's forceful rays that spill over the top of the embankment wall and dissolve the stone's very substance.
— Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway (1844; _ ZOOMable
— The Slave Ship (1840; _ ZOOMable)
— The Burning of the Houses of Parliament Version 1 (1834; _ ZOOMable) _
Version 2 (1834; _ ZOOMable) Version 2 detail (_ ZOOMable)
— Odysseus Deriding Polyphemus (1829; _ ZOOMable) _ detail (_ ZOOMable) _ an ancient battle at sea.
— Abergavenny Bridge, Monmountshire, clearing up after a showery day
— Boscastle, Cornwall (_ ZOOMable)
— Campo Santo, Venice (_ ZOOMable)
— Conway Castle (_ ZOOMable)
— Dover Castle (_ ZOOMable)
— Fall of the Trees, Yorkshire (_ ZOOMable)
— Falmouth Harbour, Cornwall (_ ZOOMable)
— First Rate, taking in stores (_ ZOOMable)
— Folkestone from the Sea (_ ZOOMable)
— Interior of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire
— Ivy Bridge, Devonshire (_ ZOOMable)
— Keelmen heaving in coals by night (_ ZOOMable)
— Kilchern Castle, with the Cruchan Ben Mountains, Scotland Noon (_ ZOOMable)
— Melrose Abbey (_ ZOOMable)
— Mont Blanc from Fort Roch, Val D'Aosta (_ ZOOMable)
— Norham Castle, on the River Tweed (_ ZOOMable)
— Passage of Mount Cenis (_ ZOOMable)
— Peace (_ ZOOMable)
— Portsmouth (_ ZOOMable)
— Rainbow aka A View on the Rhine from Dunkholder Vineyard, of Osterspey and Feltzen below Bosnart. (_ ZOOMable)
— San Giorgio Maggiore in the Morning (_ ZOOMable)
— Santa Sabes and the Brook Kedron (_ ZOOMable)
— Saint Erasmus in Bishop Islips Chapel, Westminster Abbey (_ ZOOMable)
— Sunrise. Whiting Fishing at Margate (_ ZOOMable)
— The Battle of Fort Rock, Val d'Aoste, Piedmont (_ ZOOMable)
— The Chapter House, Salisbury Chathedral (_ ZOOMable)
— The Devil's Bridge, Saint-Gothard (_ ZOOMable)
— The Exile and the Snail
— The Grand Canal, Venice (_ ZOOMable)
— The Vale of Ashburnham (_ ZOOMable)
— Totnes, in the River Dart (_ ZOOMable)
— Transept of Ewenny Priory, Glamorganshire (_ ZOOMable)
— Valley of the Brook Kedron (_ ZOOMable)
— Welsh Bridge at Shrewsbury (_ ZOOMable)
— Weymouth, Dorsetshire (_ ZOOMable)
— Whitby (_ ZOOMable)
— Woolverhampton, Staffordshire (_ ZOOMable)
— The Fighting Téméraire Tugged to her Last Berth to be Broken Up (1838, 91x122cm; _ ZOOMable) _ detail (_ ZOOMable) _ When this painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1839, the catalogue entry included an epitaph on the ship, derived from Ye Mariners of England of Thomas Campbell [27 Jul 1777 – 15 Jun 1844]: “The flag which braved the battle and the breeze, no longer owns her.” Turner was seen on board a Margate steamer sketching the passage of the Téméraire upriver to Beatson's shipbreaking yard at Rotherhithe on 06 September 1838, although what he saw and what he painted are two different things. Thus we know from contemporary newspaper reports that the Téméraire was towed by two tugs, and another observer of the towing later testified that the painter invented the spectacular sunset. He also altered the Téméraire. It is certain that a few years earlier she had no yards — the cross-masts from which the sails were hung — and indeed when she was towed upriver in 1838 she had had all her masts removed. Turner also compressed the scene topographically, so that we are looking eastwards towards the Thames estuary on the left, and westwards towards London on the right. Yet it is easy to see why he made these changes. The Téméraire has had all her masts and sails restored to denote what she had been in her heyday, and she glides above rather than in the water, somewhat like a ghost ship. In one of Turner's loveliest matchings of timing to dramatic subject, we see the day coming to its end, with a moonrise signifying the proximity of night. In the case of the doomed vessel that night will be a long one. _ See more comments on Turner's alterations, and other comments, by Ruskin; and an 1859 engraving (_ ZOOM _ ZOOM+ not recommended) by J. T. Willmore which rectifies some of Turner's alterations.]
The Téméraire was famous as one of the most valiant ships in Nelson's fleet in his death and victory at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805
Téméraire was launched in 1798, but in 1803 was decomissioned at Plymouth. It was commissioned in October 1803 by Capt E. Harvey.
At the battle of Trafalgar Téméraire was directed to take station astern of Nelson's flagship Victory. Because of the damaged state of the latter, station keeping was very difficult and Téméraire suffered from the enemy's heavy raking fire. She opened fire at Neptune and Redoutable losing her mizen-top-mast to the latter. Téméraire hauled up to avoid being raked by the Neptune, and discoved Redoutable coming out of the smoke and nearly on board her; meanwhile Neptune wore and opened such a heavy raking fire from her broadside that Téméraire lost her fore-yard and main-top-mast and her fore-mast and bowsprit were damaged. Although unmanageable she continued to bombard Redoutable with her larboard guns killing or wounding more than 20O of her crew as the Frenchman's bowsprit passed over Téméraire's gangway. Hand grenades from the French fighting tops set fire to Téméraire's foresail but this was soon extinguished.
The British crew of 660 was now reduced to about 550 effectives and since these had mostly been sent below by Capt. Harvey for shelter from the hand grenades it must have seemed to Fougueux, approaching on her starboard side, that she was completely disabled. However, as the French ship approached within 10O meters, Téméraire's broadside opened and crippled her. She ran foul of the British ship and was immediately boarded by Lieut. Thomas Fortescue Kennedy; Mr James Aarscott, master; Mr Robert Holgate, midshipman, with 20 seamen and 6 marines. Within ten minutes the French had been driven off the quarter-deck and Lieut. Kennedy and his 28 followers had taken complete possession of her. The main-mast of Redoutable fell across the afterpart of Téméraire and formed a bridge onto the French ship and a party under Lieut. John Wallace went over to take possession.
Téméraire's losses were heavy: — 47 officers and men were killed and 76 wounded and 43 more were lost on board her two prizes in the gale that followed the battle. Two-and-a-half meters of her lower deck on the starboard side had been stove in and her masts and rigging badly damaged so she refitted at Gibraltar before returning to England with Royal Sovereign, Tonnant, Colossus, and Leviathan. Capt. Harvey was made a rear admiral and all the lieutenants were promoted to commander. Capt. Lamour took command of Téméraire.
In 1807 Téméraire was refitted at Portsmouth, then, under Capt. Sir Charles Hamilton, was part of the Channel fleet and, in 1808, went along the coast of Spain. On 11 March 1811 Capt. Joseph Spear took command. Téméraire became the flagship of Rear Admiral Pickmore, third in command in the Mediterranean.
On 07 August 1811 the British fleet anchored in Hyeres Bay. When they were getting under weigh on the 13 August the wind fell and Téméraire drifted close to a battery of 36 pounders on the Cap des Medes at the N.E. end of the island of Porquerolles. The second shot struck the master, Mr. Robert Duncan, while he was talking to Capt. Spear at the gangway, took off one of his legs and badly wounded the other, then passed though the quarter deck and dismounted one of the main deck guns. Five seamen were wounded by splinters. The Téméraire immediately opened a heavy fire on the enemy battery which prevented any other shots hitting her while she was towed out of range. Mr. Duncan would not allow the surgeon to operate until a miniature of his wife had been hung around his neck. He went on to make a good recovery and was still alive 16 years later.
Téméraire's main mast had been sprung for some considerable time so she took the opportunity of going to Port Mahon to refit it. While there fever broke out in the ship and soon nearly half the officers and crew, including Capt. Spear were in hospital. The rear admiral and his captain would have removed to Royal George, which had been sent out to relieve Téméraire, but, due to Capt. Spear's bad health, Sir Edward Pellew decided to send him home in command of his own ship and by the time Téméraire got as far north as Cape St. Vincent everyone's health improved.
In 1812 Téméraire was out of commission at Plymouth. She was first laid up in the Hamoaze and then removed to Sheerness where she was used as a receiving ship from 1824. Finally, in 1838, she was sold to be broken up.
This painting is Turner's lament for the passing of the age of the great sailing ships. The Téméraire was a grand ship who now suffered the indignity of being towed away to a ship breaking yard by a modern steam tug bellowing smoke. The novelist W.M. Thackeray [18 Jul 1811 – 24 Dec 1863] described the painting as 'as grand a painting as ever figured on the walls of any Academy, or came from the easel of any painter. The old Téméraire is dragged to her last home by a little, spiteful, diabolical steamer. A mighty red sun, amidst a host of flaring clouds, sinks to rest on one side of the picture, and illumines a river that seems interminable, and a countless navy that fades away into such a wonderful distance as never was painted before. The little demon of a steamer is belching out a volume … of foul, lurid, red-hot, malignant smoke, paddling furiously, and lashing up the water round about it; while behind it (a cold grey moon looking down on it), slow, sad, and majestic, follows the brave old ship, with death, as it were, written on her.'
— Fishermen at Sea (1796, 91x122cm) _ Turner made his debut as an oil painter with this picture, in the Royal Academy Exhibition of 1796. In the work we look southwards towards the Needles, the group of rocks that extends along an east-west axis off the western end of the Isle of Wight. Yet we would not be able to see the southern coast of the Isle of Wight in the far distance if we looked from the selfsame viewpoint in reality, for it would stretch away to the left. Clearly Turner has ignored the constraints of literalism and brought Freshwater Bay and St. Catherine's Point into the picture so as to intensify our understanding of the relationship of the Needles to the adjacent island, as well as to create a more interesting background. In doing so he was probably following the injunctions of Reynolds to synthesize his landscape from the best features of several viewpoints, thus transcending the 'Accidents of Nature'. Such an interpretation is supported by the generalized title which does not specify a particular place.
The depiction of the sea demonstrates a mystery of both particularities and generalities. The understanding of the first can be seen in the way that the turbulent waters of the Solent are contrasted with the calmer waters of the English Channel beyond, while the comprehension of universals can be witnessed in Turner's projection of the underlying swell of the sea. And artistically a number of influences are apparent here. For example, the way the sea is painted shows the influence of the French marine painter Joseph Vernet, while the night effect has been influenced by Wright of Derby's moonlight scenes, and the shaping of the clouds demonstrates the influence of Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg. But the brilliance of lighting and the sense of bobbing movement are completely Turner's own.
— 97 ZOOMable images at Wikimedia — 61 images at ARC
2002 Return of Picasso painting looted by the Nazis
Thomas Bennigson sues in Los Angeles Superior Court for the return of Picasso's Femme en Blanc (aka Femme assise) of 1922, which belonged to his late grandmother (of which he is the only heir) and was looted by the Nazis in 1940.
His grandmother, Carlota Landberg, a Jew, managed to escape from Berlin and the Nazi persecution in 1938. She entrusted the painting to a Paris art dealer, J. K. Thannhauser. But the next year Word War II broke out, and in June 1940 the German troops occupied Paris and over half of France. Immediately they started to persecute Jews there, just as they had been doing in Germany, and confiscating all Jewish property on which they could lay their hands. This included the Picasso painting, according to a letter Mrs. Landberg received from the art dealer in 1958 when after searching for 13 years she was at last able to locate him. Mrs. Landberg tried in vain to find out what had happened to her painting, until she died in 1994.
It had probably been sold several times by 1975, when, what Mrs. Landberg never found out, it ended up at the Hahn Gallery in Manhattan, from which James Alsdorf bought it in 1975 for $375'000 and took it home to Chicago. After he died, his widow, Marilyn Alsdorf, in 2001, placed it to be sold by Los Angeles art dealer David Tunkl. Tunkl took the painting to Paris where he had a potential buyer, who, prudently, contacted the the Art Loss Register in London, which maintains a database of some 120'000 lost or stolen works of art. They had listed the painting and its owner, Carlota Landsberg. Failing to sell the painting, Tunkl took it back to Los Angeles.
The Art Loss Registry managed to locate Mrs. Landberg's grandson in Oakland, California, where he is living while studying law at UC Berkeley. He knew nothing of his grandmother's painting.
For much of 2002, Bennigson tried to settle out of court with Mrs. Alsdorf, who refused to give up the painting, and with Tunkl. On 18 December 2002, Tunkl sent the painting back to Chicago.
So, on 19 December 2002, Thomas Bennigson sues Alsdorf and Tunkl in Los Angeles Superior Court, asking for the return of his grandmother's painting, or $10 million. He alleges that they sent Femme en Blanc to Illinois to avoid a California law to take effect on 01 January 2003. It extends the statute of limitations for claims against galleries for the recovery of art looted by the Nazis until 31 December 2010.
The sitter in the painting is Sara Murphy [03 Nov 1883 – 10 Oct 1975], who socialized in the same avant-garde circle with Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway in the 1920s in France. She was a favorite model of Picasso and appears in many others of his paintings. Sara Murphy and her husband Gerald Murphy [25 Mar 1888 – 17 Oct 1964] were the models for Nicole and Dick Diver, the main characters in the novel (which they intensely disliked) Tender Is the Night (1934) by F. Scott Fitzgerald.