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DEATHS: 1902 SPENCER — 1885 HUGO
BIRTHS: 1733 ROBERT — 1848 VON UHDE — 1844 CASSATT
^ Born on 22 May 1733: Hubert Marius Robert, Parisian Rococo painter who died on 15 April 1808.
— French landscape painter sometimes called "Robert des Ruines" because of his many romantic representations of Roman ruins set in idealized surroundings. Robert went to Rome (1754), was elected to the French Academy there, and became a friend and associate of the renowned etcher of architectural subjects Giambattista Piranesi. In 1759 he joined Abbé de Sainte-Non and the French painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard in travels through southern Italy and Sicily. Each man influenced the other's style but not the other's choice of subjects. At the Villa d'Este, Tivoli, Robert produced a quantity of red chalk drawings of ancient buildings in ruined parks, animated with small figures.
      Returning to Paris (1765), Robert became a member of the French Royal Academy in 1766. A gifted decorative artist, he based his paintings on his Italian drawings, and his popularity was enhanced by exhibitions at the Salons from 1767 on. In addition to Italian landscapes, he painted scenes of Ermenonville, Marly-le-Roi, and Versailles, near Paris, and of the south of France, with its ruined Roman monuments. He also directed the design of the English garden at Versailles.
      Under Louis XVI he became Keeper of the King's Pictures and one of the first curators of the Louvre. Although imprisoned and sentenced to death during the French Revolution, he continued to work. (He owed his life to another person with the same name being mistakenly guillotined in his stead.) He collaborated with Fragonard on a commission for the Musée Français in the Louvre during the 1790s, but at the time of his death he was forgotten.

LINKS
The Bastille in the First Days of its Demolition (1789; 600x920pix _ ZOOM to 1400x2147pix) _ What? Was he too impatient to wait for it to look like some decent ruins? And had he not yet developed the imagination he would demonstrate seven years later when painting the non-existent ruins of the perfectly sound Louvre?
Arrangement Suggestion for the Grande Gallerie at the Louvre (1796; 600x764pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1783pix)
Imaginary View of the Grande Gallerie in Ruins (1796; 600x736pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1717pix) _ What he predicts will happen if the Revolutionary government doesn't adopt his suggestion for arrangement and, above all, does not increase his budget? Is that why they decided to guillotine him (or at least some poor slob with the same name... as long as heads roll, why would the Revolution care whose?) ?
Avenue in a Park (1799, 59x39cm) _ This painting is a good example of Hubert Robert's refined art. Robert, a French painter of the second half of the 18th century, is known mainly for his landscapes decorated with imaginary architecture and little figures, in which happiness, reality and fiction, archaeological taste and sense of decoration are all mingled. Avenue in a Park is a late work in the painter's career, testifying to the permanence of his style and to his taste for a nature that has been disciplined and made decorative by man. The subject matter still reflects the "douceur de vivre" so dear to the 18th century. An avenue lined with trees with their tops intertwined leads the spectator towards the bottom of the garden. In the center, a young girl is playing on a swing, activated by two companions. A group of people to the right are looking on. The whole painting bathes in a soft harmony of browns, grays and greens against a bluish sky background. The red coat of the man leaning against the pedestal catches the viewer's eye.
      The antique statues — reposing satyr and faun playing a flute — flanking the tree-lined opening in the foreground had been earlier captured by Robert in a red chalk drawing of various Greco-Roman sculptures conserved in the Capitol. The artist has repeated them here the other way round. The young musician in turn had appeared in several of Robert's paintings. Arriving in Rome in 1754, Robert stayed there for over 10 years. It is there that he met the Abbé de Saint-Non, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and in particular Gian Paolo Panini, who was to have a lasting influence on him. He also became friends with Fragonard. The little painting in Brussels confirms the close links between the art of "Robert of the Ruins" and Fragonard's poetic universe. The avenue of trees also refers to the many parks and gardens in Italy and the Ile-de-France which were to nourish his imagination throughout his long and successful career. Robert exhibited at every salon from 1767 to 1798, becoming "designer of the King's gardens" in 1777 and much later, after the revolutionary tumult, producing plans for converting the Grande Galerie of the Louvre into a museum.
Le Pont du Gard (1787, 242x242cm) _ Hubert Robert, who learned his trade during a long journey through Italy, was a very producti8ve artist. He took over from Pannini the theme of ruins, but in his hands it became less dry and more picturesque.
Washerwomen below a Bridge - (24x33cm) _ Hubert Robert in his large-scale decorative works was often conventional, but in his works on a small-scale he was a very fine painter, with a sensitive and spontaneous technique.
Imaginary View of the Grande Galerie in the Louvre in Ruins (1796, 114x146cm) _ French painting in the second half of the 18th century displays the overlapping or intermingling of pre-Romantic and Neoclassical pictorial ideas, and nowhere is this clearer than in the work of the 'painter of ruins', Hubert Robert. He obtained his ideas from Italy, where he admired the paintings of ruins by Giovanni Paolo Pannini, and witnessed the first excavations in Pompeii. Praised by Diderot, he was immediately consulted when antique pieces were to be placed in the park of Versailles. But his great work was the realization of the Louvre Museum. A comparison of two of his paintings, the first showing a ruined barrel-vault hall, and the second the Grande Galerie in the Louvre, immediately reveals the source of the idea for the top lighting and the "antique effect" that the newly designed gallery is open to the sky. The sublimity of antique ruins was to be transferred to the real building, and this in turn was to be a treasure chest of art and a worthy successor to its antique models.
Design for the Grande Galerie in the Louvre (1796, 112x143cm) _ Hubert Robert's great work was the realization of the Louvre Museum. A comparison of two of his paintings, the first showing a ruined barrel-vault hall, and the second the Grande Galerie in the Louvre, immediately reveals the source of the idea for the top lighting and the "antique effect" that the newly designed gallery is open to the sky. The sublimity of antique ruins was to be transferred to the real building, and this in turn was to be a treasure chest of art and a worthy successor to its antique models.
The Draftsman of the Borghese Vase (1775, 36x29cm) _ Rome's ancient ruins was a source of inspiration in the late 18th century, as this drawing shows. Distorting the proportions of the scene like Piranesi, Robert composed an architectural "capriccio" from a number of set pieces that were freely designed and rendered in the manner of veduta. The artist of the title is seen sketching the gigantic Borghese Vase on a square above the Forum, which had a view to the Coliseum - a building whose vertical dimensions Robert extended by adding an additional series of arcades. The Borghese Vase was actually never exhibited close to the Coliseum, but was situated in the Borghese gardens. The inscription illuminates an idealized relationship to Antiquity: Rome's former glory is still revealed in its ruins. With the brownish red-chalk crayon typical of the late 18th century, Robert achieved subtly drawn as well as painterly effects. The fragile, delicate contours and the schematic manner in which the foliage of trees is depicted recall the Rococo.
—(060510)
click for WAR SPIRIT AT HOME^ Died on 22 May 1902: Lilly Martin Spencer, US painter born in England on 26 November 1822.
— At the age of eight, Lilly Martin and her family emigrated to the US, and after three years in New York they moved to Marietta, Ohio. In 1841 her father took her to Cincinnati, where she exhibited and received help from artists such as the animal painter James Henry Beard [1812–1893]. However, she refused the offer of the city’s most important art patron, Nicholas Longworth, to assist in her art studies in Boston and Europe. Instead she stayed in Cincinnati and married an Englishman, Benjamin Spencer, by whom she had thirteen children, seven living to maturity. In 1848 they moved to New York to take advantage of the greater professional opportunities.

click for full paintingLINKS
The Artist and Her Family at a Fourth of July Picnic (1864, 126x160cm)
We Both Must Fade (Mrs Fithian) (1869, 183x136cm)
Young Husband, First Marketing (1854, 74x63cm)

War Spirit at Home (1866) _ The mother reads a newspaper announcing Grant's 04 July 1863 victory at Vicksburg, a turning point in the Civil War, after a siege started on 19 May 1863. This painting, rather than being a celebration of the Union victory, is a scathing denunciation of war and perhaps a commentary on male values. The war has brought chaos into the home, now manned by women. The cross in the folds of the newspaper probably reflects both the mother's suffering and the deaths caused by the war. Spencer is one of the first artists to deal with women's issues. Her mother was a Fourierist, a group that advocated a degree of communal living so that such services as day care of young children would be available to give mothers free time.
— Contrast First at Vicksburg, another artist's painting of the first Union troops to reach the top of the Confederate defenses, on 19 May 1863: [click on image >]
 
^ Born on 22 May 1848: Friedrich Hermann Karl “Fritz” von Uhde, German painter who died on 25 February 1911.
— He came from a family of civil servants with artistic interests. In 1866 he briefly attended the Hochschule der Bildende Künste in Dresden, but he was bored by the teaching and in 1867 he joined the army. In 1877, despite being an officer, he took leave of absence, having decided after all to be an artist. He was determined to succeed rapidly in order to justify his late start and almost to the end of his life, therefore, his work revealed a tension between innovation and conformity.
— After a disappointing year of studies at the Academy in Dresden, Uhde joined the Guards regiment in 1867; in 1868 he was promoted to Lieutenant. After making the acquaintance of Hans Makart in Vienna in 1876 he left military service in order to dedicate himself to painting. After he was refused an apprenticeship with Carl Theodor von Piloty, Wilhelm Lindenschmit and Wilhelm von Diez he relocated to Paris in 1879 and worked in the studio of Mihály von Munkácsy. In 1880 he returned to Munich where he had close contact with Max Liebermann under whose influence he developed his naturalistic-impressionistic style. In 1892 he belonged to the group of founders of the Munich Secession. Along with Liebermann, Lovis Corinth and Max Slevogt, Uhde is considered to be one of the most important German Impressionists. With his religious paintings he created realistic redemptive scenes with present-day focus.

LINKS
Selbstbildnis (1904; 600x487pix
Die drei Töchter des Künstlers im Garten (1885; 600x723pix) _ as grown-ups.
Familienkonzert (1881; 600x827pix)
Heideprinzeßchen (1889; 600x483pix)
The Hard Path (1890, 117x127cm; 900x985pix, 126kb)
— The Picture Book  (1889, 61x51cm)
Zwei Mädchen im Garten (1892; 145x117cm; 400x323pix, 21kb)
Die Töchter des Künstlers (1896; 400x494pix, 24kb) _ as children (despite the date)
Die Schulstunde (1899; 400x501pix, 37kb)
Die Kinderstube (1889, 111x139cm; 400x489pix, 42kb)
 
Victor Hugo^Died on 22 May 1885: Victor-Marie Hugo, French author born on 26 February 1802 who was also an artist.
HUGO THE AUTHOR AT HISTORY “4” “2”DAY
— That titan of Romanticism who is now best known as the author of Les Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris, spewed out thousands of pages of plays, verse, novels, criticism and political, social and philosophical essays throughout his career. Few connoisseurs outside of France have realized that he also spewed out drawings — about 4000 of them. Hugo the artist was as big a dynamo as Hugo the litterateur. He produced only works on paper of astonishing invention, spontaneously dashing them off in dark brown or black pen-and-ink wash, sometimes with touches of white and rarely with color. Most are small, and date from the 1850s and 1860s. Not surprisingly from an author, Hugo was expert at tapping into the unconscious. His otherworldly "Planet" drawings immediately bring to mind Odilon Redon.
      Other works are Romantic outpourings that can seem more than a little weird on closer inspection. These dark and wind-whipped landscapes and/or brooding castles, cells, and escarpments occupy an ambiguous space made more unsettling by quick shifts in scale and undecipherable figures in the distance. Perhaps more shocking to the contemporary viewer are Hugo's proto-Surrealist use of automatic techniques and his proto-Abstract Expressionist experiments with tache and free brushwork. To keep his art fresh, he would cheerfully experiment with his children's stencils, ink blots, puddles and stains, lace impressions, "pliage" or folding (i.e. Rorschach blots), "grattage" or rubbing, using match sticks or his fingers instead of pen or brush, and even toss in coffee or soot to get the effects he wanted.
Victor Hufo      It seems that some drawings were made with his left hand or while not looking at the page. His Mushroom (1850), for example, has a sickly, poisonous cast from sparingly applied orange and green. This monumental fungus looms over a landscape like something that crawled out of a recently nuked field. Radical shifts of scale, a plethora of textural effects and various layerings of ink wash make this surreal vision endlessly haunting. The work is a technical tour de force, done with pen and brown ink-wash, black ink and crayon, white gouache, reserves and a stencil, watercolor, and by partly scraping and rubbing the sheet and by dabbing it with his fingers.
      Lyrical abstractions, mystical nether worlds, and vaguely limned castles, landscapes, seascapes, all aswirl in tempests or eerie in moonlight, plus architectural motifs and even calling cards were churned out by Hugo with the same spontaneity of the pen and brush that he employed for his writings. They convey a turbulent search for meaning beyond the ordinary, as do Hugo's literary works. Hugo would turn from writing to art, whenever sentences eluded him, often using the end of his quill pen to start a drawing. His art kept helped to keep his words flowing, while his love of words fed his art.
      Beside labeling and inscribing drawings, Hugo would at times incorporate words as formal elements. The latter is often the case in his ornately handmade calling cards, like a 1855 effort with the letters of his name forming a stand for a drawing of a landscape with castle, all this hovering in the center of a sheet saturated in brown ink with some ghostly white clouds. Many of his calling cards were created as gifts to visitors and friends while he was in political exile from France (1855-1870) and living in the English Channel Islands. His drawings, originally a sideline, became much more to Hugo shortly before his exile. He stopped writing to become more involved in politics and turned to drawing as his exclusive creative outlet during the period 1848-1851.
      In 1853, he became interested in séances, or "table-turning." It wasn't long before Hugo quit, but not before he realized how effective those sessions were in setting free his unconscious. His artwork became much more experimental from that time forward. Hugo considered himself a true artist, keeping his most radical works to himself. Although he tried to hide his art from the public, he shared his drawings with family and friends. Some people did see at least a few of his works, and they garnered favorable comments from many artists (van Gogh liked them) and were fought over by his admirers. In his will, he left the many in his possession to the Bibliothèque Nationale. Hugo may have been right to fear that his art, if known by the public, would overwhelm his fame as a literary giant. While much of Hugo's output of words is all but unreadable today, it is hard to imagine his drawings would ever be considered dull.

LINKS
Le vieux pont de Lucerne (343x600pix, 49kb)
Le Roi des Auxcriniers (42x29cm; 499x600pix, 49kb)
Gavroche à onze ans (600x480pix, 49kb)
Tête de profil à droite (1869, 23x15cm).
Tête de profil, tournée vers la droite au recto et vers la gauche au verso (1869, 22x19cm)
Paysage (1871, 25x35cm; 442x600pix, 40kb)
Octopus with the initials V. H. (1866)
Planète (1854)
Tache d'encre légèrement retouchée sur papier plié (1857)
—(060510)
^ Born on 22 May 1844: Mary Stevenson Cassatt, expatriate US Impressionist painter who died on 14 June 1926, specialized in Children.
— Painter and printmaker. Attended Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 1861-1865. Worked briefly with Charles Joshua Chaplin in Paris but preferred to study and copy old masters independently. After a brief return to the US, traveled to Italy. Spent 8 months at Parma studying Correggio. Exhibited for the first of five successive years at the Paris Salon in 1872. Became member of the Impressionist group in 1877, and exhibited with them 1879-1881 and 1886. Cassatt greatly admired Gustave Courbet, but was particularly allied with the Impressionists. Edgar Degas was her close friend and influenced her style in the late 1870s. Soon after 1900, Cassatt's eyesight began to fail and by 1914 she was no longer working.
— Mary Cassatt lived and worked in France as an important member of the Impressionist group. Cassatt was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. In 1861 she began to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, but proclaimed her independence by leaving in 1866 to paint in France. By 1872, after studying in the major museums of Europe, her style began to mature, and she settled in Paris. There her work attracted the attention of the French painter Edgar Degas, who invited her to exhibit with his fellow impressionists. One of the works she showed was The Cup of Tea (1879), a portrait of her sister Lydia in luminescent pinks. Beginning in 1882 Cassatt's style took a new turn. Influenced, like Degas, by Japanese woodcuts, she began to emphasize line over mass and experimented with asymmetric composition — as in The Boating Party (1893) — and informal, natural gestures and positions. Portrayals of mothers and children in intimate relationship and domestic settings became her theme. Her portraits were not commissioned; instead, she used members of her own family as subjects. France awarded Cassatt the Legion of Honor in 1904; although she had been instrumental in advising the first US collectors of Impressionist works, recognition came more slowly in the United States. With loss of sight she was no longer able to paint after 1914.
^
— Mary Cassatt was the daughter of an affluent Pittsburgh businessman, whose French ancestry had endowed him with a passion for that country. She studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and then traveled extensively in Europe, finally settling in Paris in 1874. In that year she had a work accepted at the Salon and in 1877 made the acquaintance of Degas, with whom she was to be on close terms throughout his life. His art and ideas had a considerable influence on her own work; he introduced her to the Impressionists and she participated in the exhibitions of 1879, 1880, 1881 and 1886, refusing to do so in 1882 when Degas did not.
      She was a great practical support to the movement as a whole, both by providing direct financial help and by promoting the works of Impressionists in the USA, largely through her brother Alexander. By persuading him to buy works by Manet, Monet, Morisot, Renoir, Degas and Pissarro, she made him the first important collector of such works in the US. She also advised and encouraged her friends the Havemeyers to build up their important collection of works by Impressionists and other contemporary French artists.
      Her own works, on the occasions when they were shown in various mixed exhibitions in the US, were very favorably received by the critics and contributed not a little to the acceptance of Impressionism there. Despite her admiration for Degas, she was no slavish imitator of his style, retaining her own very personal idiom throughout her career. From him, and other Impressionists, she acquired an interest in the rehabilitation of the pictorial qualities of everyday life, inclining towards the domestic and the intimate rather than the social and the urban (Lady at the Teatable, 1885), with a special emphasis on the mother and child theme in the 1890s (The Bath, 1891). She also derived from Degas and others a sense of immediate observation, with an emphasis on gestural significance. Her earlier works were marked by a certain lyrical effulgence and gentle, golden lighting, but by the 1890s, largely as a consequence of the exhibition of Japanese prints held in Paris at the beginning of that decade, her draftsmanship became more emphatic, her colors clearer and more boldly defined. The exhibition also confirmed her predilection for printmaking techniques, and her work in this area must count amongst the most impressive of her generation. She lived in France all her life, though her love of her adopted countrymen did not increase with age, and her latter days were clouded with bitterness.
^
— Mary Cassatt especially liked children, doting on her nieces and nephews and the offspring of friends. Naturalism and sensuality of a pure, elemental, and nonsexual sort are the hallmarks of Cassatt's portrayals of childhood during the 1880s and 1890s. An example is Children on the Shore, which she showed at the last Impressionist exhibition, in 1886. While this seaside subject is unique in her oeuvre, the close-up focus on the pair of toddlers and the firm draftsmanship are typical of the artist's style in the 1880s. This painting has the sharp outline that things and people have on the sand with the background of water and sky. The short arms and the dollish faces let you guess the flesh under a thick laver of suntan. The sensuousness of Cassatt's rendering of youngsters in Children in a Garden, makes them like flowers in the heat.
      The physicality in Cassatt's work seems to have made some uncomfortable. Eloquently capturing a moment between rest and play, Portrait of a Little Girl portrays the daughter of friends of Degas in an interior with Cassatt's dog. Cassatt submitted the painting to the US section of the 1878 Paris Exposition universelle: its rejection enraged her. The jury could have been affronted by the girl's insouciant sprawl: she has flopped into the chair, looking hot, disheveled, exhausted, even bored. With her clothing pushed up to reveal her legs and petticoat and her left arm lifted and bent around her head, the young model can be perceived as totally unconscious and innocent or as coquettish and sexually precocious. It has been argued that the girl's pose derives from the traditional, erotic odalisque and thus was intended to foreshadow her adult sexuality. But in fact it seems that the attraction of this image lies in its naturalism. Children are less self-conscious than adults; they continually, rearrange their clothes and limbs and are often unaware of social conventions. Thus the work can be seen to reflect the then-current view of children as pure and unfettered beings. The jury may have objected to the artist's radical handling of the background. As in her domestic interiors of the time, she reduced spatial depth by choosing a sharp, high angle for the floor, crowding the chairs together, and abruptly cropping the windows. Again, as in Children on Shore, the viewpoint from which the subject is observed is low and empathetic — the same level from which a child would see.
      Cassatt had completely absorbed from her Impressionist colleagues Caillebotte, Degas, and Renoir, as well as her study of Japanese prints, the modern idea that the background of a painting might be as significant as the foreground. She understood that establishing a tension between the two would capture the immediacy of vision, as well as mimic or falsify by turns, the focal shifts of human sight and perception. Thus the space and the objects in Portrait of a Little Girl that surround the figure seem to be in motion; the floor lifts up, and the chairs appear to have slid into various, almost accidental positions, not unlike that of the young girl. These changing elements affect our perception of the painting's psychological subtext: in contrast to one made clear by direct, outward gaze, that of Cassatt's “subject” is more complicated and elusive; the little girl's sideways glance, which avoids ours, makes her independent of us. She is in a world of her own, one that adults could fully understand only by recapturing their childhood personae.
^
—      The most famous woman Impressionist painter, Mary Cassatt, was born in Allegheny, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Cassatt family was affluent and cultured: Mary's father was a stockbroker, while her mother, who came from an old established Pennsylvania family, was an accomplished woman who spoke French and read widely, and provided Mary with an excellent example to follow. It is, perhaps, no accident that so many of the women in Mary Cassatt's paintings are engaged in simple, self-contained tasks like reading or sewing, since these were the everyday activities of the Cassatt household. 
    As a child, Mary traveled widely in Europe, since the family moved from Paris to Heidelberg and Darmstadt in search of a specialist who could help cure her brother Robbie's diseased knee joint, and to find the superior schooling that her brother Alexander needed for his future engineering career. This travel enabled Mary to learn both French and German while she was still young - linguistic skills that were prove immensely useful in later life.
      In 1861, when she was sixteen, Mary Cassatt decided to study art seriously and enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, apparently against the wishes of her father, who thought it inadvisable that she should extend herself beyond the domestic role for which she was intended. She remained there for four years before moving back to Europe with her mother for a two-year stay before the breakout of the Franco-Prussian war. Henceforth, Mary was to spend most of her life in exile from her native country, reflecting a feeling among some women of her generation that Europe offered an escape from what they saw as the oppressive, patriarchal attitudes of the US. She was later to say; “After all, give me France. Women do not have to fight for recognition here if they do serious work. I suppose it is Mrs. Potter Palmer's French blood which gives her organizing powers and determination that women should be someone and not something.”
      On her return to Europe in 1872, Mary Cassatt went to Parma in Italy where she stayed for several months studying the paintings of the Italian Masters Correggio and Parmagianino, and where she may have also studied graphic art with Carlo Raimondi. It says a great deal about the determination of the young artist that she was prepared to brave a somewhat lonely and isolated existence in order to achieve her aim. It is also significant that she should have felt a need to turn to these two particular painters, as they were both masters of the Madonna-and-child theme, and subject paintings of women and children were to prove so critical to her own work. From Parma, the artist went to Madrid, where she spent some time absorbing the lessons of Velazquez in the Prado, and where she painted the Spanish-influenced Torero and A Young Girl. From Madrid, Mary went to Antwerp where she studied the art of Rubens for a time.
      Cassatt knew and befriended Edouard Manet. The two artists lived near each other, had mutual friends, and met from time to time. Although she and Manet did not seem to have the same close relationship that she had with Edgar Degas, Cassatt knew him well, and in 1880 even spent the summer with her family at Marly-le-Roi near Manet's villa. She was also highly influenced by his art, and many of her early works show Manet's broad touch and his strong tonal contrasts. She was responsible for sending many of his paintings to the US.
      The early years in Paris were a particularly happy time for Mary Cassatt, and this gaiety is reflected in the subject matter she chose for her paintings. She depicted young girls setting in the loge at the opera, women taking tea, knitting and reading. Many of her models were drawn from her close family and friends, such as her mother and her sister Lydia, who had moved to Paris to live with her in 1877. On the whole, Cassatt preferred to paint peasant women who took care of their own children, rather than the more affluent mothers who delegated the task to nannies or nursemaids.
      In 1891, Mary Cassatt had her first one-woman show at the gallery of Durand-Ruel. The year after, she was invited by Mrs. Potter Palmer to paint the south tympanum in the Women's Building at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago - a commission she gladly accepted, as she had always been a champion of the feminist cause. Her chosen theme was "Modern Woman", which she illustrated with a three-part composition. In the center she showed "Young Women Plucking the Fruits of Knowledge and Science", on the left-hand panel she showed "Young Girls Pursuing Fame", and on the right she depicted the arts of music and dancing. The colors are cheerful, since it was felt that, as the painting was done for a national fete, the mood should be jubilant.
      The winter of 1893-1894 found Mary Cassatt in Antibes, recovering from the effort of producing her color prints and the mural for Chicago. It was there she began to paint one of her largest canvases, The Boating Party, which was highly influenced by Manet's painting In the Boat, which she had persuaded the Havemyers to buy for their collection. At the end of the following year, Mary had her second one-woman show at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris, and she bought the Chateau de Beaufresne at Mesnil-Theribus on the Oise, 43 km from Paris, which was to be her summer home for the rest of her life.
     It was not until 1898 that Mary Cassatt, for the first time since she had settled in Paris in 1874, visited the US, in order to see her family and friends. She had delayed her return home until this point partly because she was afraid of sea travel, and also because her ailing parents had needed her to stay with them in Paris. But after her mother died in 1898, there were no close family links to keep her in Europe, and she was free to visit her brothers Gardner and Alexander and their families in Philadelphia and Boston. While in the US, Mary Cassatt decided to concentrate on pastels alone, as they were more portable than oils, and therefore more suitable for the journey home. Most of the subjects she painted there were women and children. Her attention was rather diverted from her own work when she returned to Europe; she made an extended visit to Italy with the Havemyers to advise on the purchase of paintings.
      The artist continued to produce a large number of paintings and pastels during the early years of the century, and she managed to preserve her good health and strength until she was in her sixties. However, after a tragic trip to Egypt in 1912 during which her brother Gardner died, she found herself depressed, ill, and unable to work for almost two years. Her eyesight was gradually failing due to inoperable cataracts and because of this, the colors in her pastels became more and more strident and less subtle, although the artist considered them to be her best works. After a last outburst of work in 1913, Mary Cassatt stopped producing pictures almost entirely, and retired to the South of France during the first world war. She lived on in seclusion and virtual blindness, unable to work, until her death in at the Chateau de Beaufresne.
^
—    Mary Stevenson Cassatt was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, US, into a well-to-do family. Her father, Robert Cassatt, was a successful stockbroker and financier. Her mother, Katherine Kelso Johnston, came from a banking family, which had provided her with a good education. The Cassatt family was of French Huguenot origin; they escaped persecutions and came to New York in 1662.
      During the childhood of the future artist, the family traveled in Europe, lived in France and Germany (1851-1855). During her 4-year stay in Europe Mary became fluent in French and German. Returning to Pennsylvania in 1855, the Cassatt family settled in Philadelphia. At the age of 15 Mary decided to become an artist and enrolled in 1861 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. She took art classes for 4 years (1861-1865) and continued to pursue studies on her own. Soon she got frustrated with the education in the US. She felt she needed to study in Europe, her choice was Paris. Her mother supported her daughter’s desire. Since the Ecole des Beaux-Arts did not admit women, she (in 1866) studied for a short period in the studio of Charles Chaplin, then took private lessons from Jean-Léon Gérôme. In addition, Cassatt registered among the copyists at the Louvre. In 1868 her painting was exhibited for the 1st time in the Salon. The most important influence on Cassatt in the years before 1875 was exercised by Edouard Manet, although he did not accept students, she saw his works and they were much discussed both by painters and art critics.
      The Franco-Prussian war (1870) made Cassatt return to the US for the next year and a half. The US atmosphere was so discouraging that she almost gave up painting. Late in 1871 she was on her way back to Europe, setting in Parma, where she copied works by Correggio for the archbishop of Pittsburgh. In Parma she spent 8 happy months.
     In late September of 1872 she went to Spain studying first the paintings of Velázquez, Murillo, Titian, and Rubens at the Prado, then continuing on to Seville, where she began to paint her first major body of works based on Spanish subjects: Spanish Dancer Wearing a Lace Mantilla, Toreador and others.
     After a brief return to Paris in April of 1873, she visited Holland and Belgium, and then traveled back south to Rome. In 1874 Cassatt finally decided to settle in Paris. Aided by her elder sister, Lydia, who joined Mary in Europe, she took an apartment and studio.
      Lydia was not only the elder sister, but also the closest friend and model of Mary. There are eleven known works with Lydia, among them are The Cup of Tea, Lydia Working at a Tapestry Loom, Lydia Crocheting in the Garden at Marly, Woman and Child Driving. Lydia died at the end of 1882 of Bright’s disease, and it was a severe blow to Mary.
     Cassatt became known as a portrait painter and was sought after by American visitors to France: Portrait of an Elderly Lady. As the sitters are often known, many of Cassatt’s works can be considered portraits: Mary Ellison Embroidering, Reading Le Figaro.. Her work differed from the stiff academic tradition of portrait painting as a mere likeness insofar as most of her subjects were either engaged in some kind of activity or caught in a casual pose.
      In 1877 Cassatt met Degas, who advised her to join the Impressionists. “I accepted with joy. Now I could work with absolute independence without considering the opinion of a jury. I had already recognized who were my true masters. I admired Manet, Courbet, and Degas. I took leave of conventional art. I began to live.” A close friendship with Degas began, which lasted until Degas’ death in 1917. Degas and Renoir greatly influenced her style of painting. For a long time Cassatt was even thought of as a student of Degas. Though their relations were those of two friends, and the influence was mutual. Once, on seeing some of Mary’s work, Degas said that he would not have admitted that a woman could draw so well.
In 1877 her parents came to Paris to live with her permanently. Success of the IV Impressionist Exhibition, and Cassatt’s in particular, made her father believe at last that the daughter had chosen the right way in life. Between 1879 and 1882 The Independents, as the Impressionists used to call themselves, held their group exhibitions annually, thus providing Cassatt with the opportunity to show her work. In the US she was exhibiting regularly with the Society of American Artists in New York.
     The two decades around the turn of the century proved to be a highly successful and productive period for Cassatt. She focused almost exclusively on the depiction of mothers and children, these works today are her best-known and most popular, e.g. The Child's Caress., The Bath. Almost all of Cassatt’s mother and child scenes do not depict actual mothers with their own children, since the artist preferred to select his models and match the appropriate physical types in order to achieve the desired results. From 1890 she also produced prints, e.g. The Letter, In the Omnibus, etc. Cassatt’s father died in 1891, and the mother in 1895.
    In 1898 Mary returned to the US for the 1st time in over 25 years, visiting relatives, friends and collectors. In 1901 she visited Italy and Spain, in 1908 made the last trip to the USA. In 1910-12 she traveled extensively in Europe and in the Middle East. In 1904 she was accepted into the Legion of Honour and in 1910 became a member of the National Academy of Design in New York.
      Cassatt’s last years were overshadowed with the loss of close people, relatives and friends. She suffered from many diseases, like diabetes and had cataracts on both eyes, which eventually reduced her to near blindness. She lived in solitude at the Château de Beaufresne, accompanied only by her longtime housekeeper, Mathilde Valet, or in the south of France. At the outbreak of WWI Cassatt had to give up painting entirely.
     Cassatt’s name is less familiar than those of her fellow Impressionist painters Degas, Monet or Renoir. However, Mary Cassatt is highly original and interesting painter and her talent does not yield to those with well-known names.

LINKS
Self-Portrait (1878, 60x45cm; 1100x757pix, 180 kb)
Self-Portrait (1880; 956x679pix, 115kb)
Children Playing with a Cat (1908, 84x104cm; _ ZOOMable to 1698x2094pix, 731kb)
The Caress (1902, 83x69cm; _ ZOOMable to 2017x1566pix, 542kb)
Jules Being Dried by His Mother (190093x73cm; _ ZOOMable to 2652x2025pix)
Girl Arranging Her Hair (1886, 75x62cm; _ ZOOMable to 2511x2027pix, 1024kb)
Lydia Seated at an Embroidery Frame (1881; 65x93cm; _ ZOOMable to 1403x2067pix, 668kb)
Hélène de Septeuil (1889, 64x41cm; _ ZOOMable) holding her young son.
Lady at the Tea Table (1883, 86x74cm; _ ZOOMable)
Maternal Kiss (1896, 56x46cm; _ ZOOMable to 2614x2064pix, 1138kb)
Elsie in a Blue Chair (1880, 89x64cm; _ ZOOMable)
Moise Dreyfus (1879, 81x65cm; _ ZOOMable)
At the Window (1889, 30x25cm; _ ZOOMable to 2000x1557pix, 824kb)
Sara Holding a Cat (1908, 41x33cm)
At the Français, a Sketch aka At the Opera (1878; 600x484pix _ ZOOM to 1045x805pix, 148kb _ ZOOM+ to 1400x1129pix)
Study of a Woman With a Fan (Miss Mary Ellison) (1880; 600x456pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1064pix)
A Little Girl (1878; 600x888pix _ ZOOM to 1400x2072pix) _ sprawled on a blue stuffed armchair, with a little dog lying on a similar armchair, and a matching armchair and sofa in the background.
Lady Knitting (1882; 600x428pix _ ZOOM to 1400x999pix)
Drinking Tea (1880; 881x1239pix, 1920kb _ ZOOM to 1489x2118pix, 740kb)
Two Young Ladies in a Loge (1882; 600x476pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1111pix)
Lady at the Tea Table (1885; 600x500pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1167pix)
The Boating Party (1894; 600x784pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1829pix)
After the Bath (1904; 600x940pix _ ZOOM to 1400x2193pix)
— The Crochet Lesson (1913; 946x802pix, 172kb)
Toreador (1873; 1103x857pix, 195 kb)
Mrs. Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren (1880; 596x1111pix, 166kb)
Woman and Child Driving (1881; 600x872pix, 231kb _ ZOOM to 780x1123pix, 197kb _ ZOOM+ to 1400x2035pix) _ Actually only the woman is driving the 1-HP vehicle through a park, while the bored 4-year-old (her grand-daughter?) is just sitting next to her; and, in the backward-facing back seat, there is a young man wearing a top hat.
Robert and His Sailboat (1882; 1040x792pix, 199kb)
Master Robert Kelso Cassatt (1882; 884x1111pix, 277kb) — The fingers of his right hand seem deformed.
271 images at the Athenaeum

—(060510)

Died on a 22 May:


>2002 Catherine-Marie-Agnès Fal “Niki” de Saint-Phalle [29 Oct 1930–], French painter, sculptor, stage designer, and film maker. — She spent the first 20 years of her life in New York. A self-taught artist, on her return to Europe she began to work in a style similar to art brut. She first came to public attention through the Shots series (1960-1961), ironic parodies of Art informel painting, comprising plaster reliefs incorporating pockets of paint, which burst when fired at by visitors to the exhibition, thus staining the surface. Through these works Saint Phalle became associated with Nouveau Réalisme. She produced reliefs and sculptures made of objets trouvés and plastic toys; these were always playful and imaginary. Monsters and other fantastic creatures were also among her favorite themes (e.g. King Kong, 1963), while other assemblages were in the form of iconoclastic altars (e.g. O.A.S. Altar, 1962).
— She was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine in Paris to Jeanne Jacqueline (née Harper) and André-Marie Fal de Saint Phalle, a banker. The family moved to the United States in 1933. During her teens, she was a fashion model. At the age of sixteen she made the cover of Life (26 Sep 1949), and later the November 1952 cover of the French Vogue. At eighteen, de Saint Phalle eloped with author Harry Mathews, whom she had known since the age of twelve, and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts. While her husband studied music at Harvard University, de Saint Phalle began to paint, experimenting with different media and styles. Their first child, Laura, was born in 1951.
     De Saint Phalle rejected the staid, conservative values of her family, which dictated domestic positions for wives and particular rules of conduct. However, after marrying young and giving birth to two children, she found herself living the same bourgeois lifestyle that she had attempted to reject; the internal conflict led to her to suffer a nervous breakdown. As a form of therapy, she was encouraged to start painting. While in Paris, de Saint Phalle was introduced to the US painter Hugh Weiss who became both her friend and mentor, encouraging her to continue painting in her self-taught style. She subsequently moved to Deya, Majorca, Spain where her son Philip was born in May of 1955. While in Spain, de Saint Phalle read the works of Proust and visited Madrid and Barcelona where she discovered and was deeply affected by the work of Antonio Gaudí [25 Jun 1852 – 10 Jun 1926]. Gaudí's influence opened many previously unimagined possibilities for de Saint Phalle regarding the use of diverse material and objet-trouvés as structural elements in sculpture and architecture. De Saint Phalle was particularly struck by Gaudí's Park Güell which convinced her to create her own garden work that would combine both art and nature. Saint Phalle continued to paint, particularly after her family relocated to Paris in the mid-1950s. Her first art exhibition was held in 1956 in Switzerland where she displayed naïve style oil paintings. She then moved onto collage work that often featured objects of violence, such as guns and knives.
     In 1961, she became known around the world for her Shooting paintings. A shooting painting consisted of a wooden base board on which containers of paint were laid, then covered with plaster. The painting was then raised and de Saint Phalle would shoot at it with a .22 caliber rifle. The bullets penetrated paint containers which spilled their contents over the painting. This "painting style" was completely new, and she traveled around the world performing shooting sessions in Paris, Sweden, Malibu, California, and Amsterdam. Saint Phalle had stopped making these shooting pictures in 1963 as in her own words, ‘I had become addicted to shooting, like one becomes addicted to a drug'. The art critic Pierre Restany [24 Jun 1930 – 29 May 2003], founder of the Nouveau Réalisme movement, attended one of de Saint Phalle's exhibitions and subsequently invited her to join. As a result, she soon became involved in the ideas, festivals, and activities of this group which included such art personalities as Arman [17 Nov 1928 – 22 Oct 2005], César Baldaccini [01 Jan 1921 – 06 Dec 1998], Christo [13 Jun 1935~], Gérard Deschamps [1937~], François Dufrêne [1930 – 1982], Raymond Hains [1926 – 28 Oct 2005], Yves Klein [28 Apr 1928 – 06 Jun 1962], Martial Raysse [ – ], Mimmo Rotella [07 Oct 1918 – 08 Jan 2006], Daniel Spoerri [27 Mar 1930~], Jean Tinguely [22 May 1925 – 30 Aug 1991], and Jacques Villeglé [1926~]. During the 1960s, she became friends with US artists in Paris such as Robert Rauschenberg [ – ], Jasper Johns [15 May 1930~], Larry Rivers [17 Aug 1923 – 14 Aug 2002] and his wife Clarice Price Rivers, with whom de Saint Phalle collaborated over the years.
     After the "Shooting paintings" came a period when she explored the various roles of woman. She made life size dolls of women, such as brides and mothers giving birth. They were usually dressed in white. They were primarily made of polyester with a wire framework. They were generally created from papier mâché. Inspired by the pregnancy of her friend Clarice Rivers, the wife of US artist Larry Rivers, de Saint Phalle began to use her artwork to consider archetypal female figures in relation to her thinking on the position of women in society. Her artistic expression of the proverbial everywoman were named 'Nanas'. The first of these freely posed forms, made of papier-mâché, yarn, and cloth were exhibited at the Alexander Iolas Gallery in Paris in September of 1965. For this show, Iolas published her first artist books that includes her handwritten words in combination with her drawings of 'Bananas'. Encouraged by Iolas, she started a highly productive output of graphic work that accompanied exhibitions that included posters, books and writings.
     In 1966, she collaborated with fellow artist Jean Tinguely and Per Olof Ultvedt on a large scale sculpture installation, "hon-en katedral". for Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden. The outer form of "hon" is a giant, reclining 'Nana', whose internal environment is entered from between her legs. The piece elicited immense public reaction in magazines and newspapers throughout the world. The interactive quality of the "hon" combined with a continued fascination with fantastic types of architecture intensifies her resolve to see her own architectural dreams realized. During the construction of the "hon-en katedral," she met Swiss artist Rico Weber, who became an important assistant and collaborator for both de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely. During the 1960s, she also designed decors and costumes for two theatrical productions: a ballet by Roland Petit, and an adaptation of the Aristophanes play Lysistrata.
     In 1955 de Saint Phalle met Jean Tinguely and his wife, Eva Aeppli. She asked Tinguely to weld the armature for her first sculpture. In 1960, de Saint Phalle divorced her husband and that same year, Jean Tinguely and Eva Aeppli also divorced. De Saint Phalle and Tinguely subsequently moved into the Impasse Ronsin where they shared the same studio and lived surrounded by other artists, including Constantin Brâncusi [19 Feb 1876 – 16 Mar 1957]. It was in this period that Marcel Duchamp introduced the pair to the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí [11 May 1904 – 23 Jan 1989]. De Saint Phalle later went to Spain with Tinguely in order to attend a celebration honoring Dalí; while there, the pair created a life-sized exploding bull with plaster, paper and fireworks for the arena at Figueras. In 1963, they bought an old country inn outside of Paris to serve as both their home and studio, l'Auberge du Cheval Blanc in Soisy-sur-Ecole, some 50 km south of Paris. She married Jean Tinguely on 15 July 1971, thereby potentially acquiring Swiss citizenship.
     Influenced by Gaudí´s Parc Güell in Barcelona, and the garden in Bomarzo, de Saint Phalle decided that she wanted to make something similar; a monumental sculpture park created by a woman. In 1979, she acquired some land in Garavicchio, Tuscany, about 100 km north-west of Rome along the coast. The garden, Giardino dei Tarocchi, contains sculptures of the symbols found on Tarot cards. The garden took many years, and a considerable sum of money, to complete. It opened in 1998, after more than 20 years of work. Many of Niki de Saint Phalle's sculptures are large and some of them are exhibited in public places. — LINKS
Object (1964, 73x55cm; 1476x1089pix, 445kb)
Rêve de Jeune Fille (1972, 50x66cm; 470x624pix, 105kb) —(080521)

^ 1813 Johann-Jakob Dorner I, German painter born on 18 July 1741. He became a student of the Freiburg painter Franz Joseph Rösch [1724–1777] in 1753. In 1759 he moved to Augsburg to learn fresco painting from Joseph Bauer, then went to Venice. In 1760 he worked with Joseph Mages [1728–1769] in Augsburg as a façade painter and in 1761 went to Munich, where he was employed copying the Dutch paintings at Schloss Schleissheim. Following his portrait of Elector Max III Joseph at the Lathe with Graf Salern (1765), he was appointed a court painter in 1765. Between 1766 and 1769 he visited Düsseldorf and the Netherlands. After nine months at the Antwerp academy he was awarded first prize in history and genre painting. He also studied etching (1769) in Paris under Jean-Georges Wille. Dorner was presumably the father (or uncle?) of Johann-Jakob Dorner II [07 Jul 1775– 14 Dec 1852]. — The Munich connection: Johann Jakob Dorner, aus dem Breisgau 1761 nach München gekommen, machte hier eine bemerkenswerte Karriere. Schon 1765, noch unter Kurfürst Max III. Joseph wurde er zum Hofmaler und provisorischen Galerieinspektor ernannt. Anschließend machte er Studienreisen nach Paris und Versailles. Mit den dortigen Errungenschaften der Malerei kehrte er 1769 nach München zurück und erhielt hier am 1.08.1770 die Kurfürstliche Ernennung zum Galerieinspektor in München. Am 19.06.1780 folgte die Ernennung zum Hofkammerrat. Wichtig wurde Dörner in München durch die Eröffnung der später weltberühmten Gemäldegalerie ( damals noch im Hofgarten ) und durch die erste öffentliche Kunstausstellung 1788, damals mit der Beteiligung von 33 Künstlern wie Georg Dillis und vielen anderen.
Selbstbildnis mit Frau und Kind. (283x219pix, 10kb)
The Hard Landlady (1787; 312x400pix, 29kb)
Kaiser Ludwig der Bayer (289x216pix, 34kb) _ Ludwig IV [1283 – 11 Oct 1347] was duke of upper Bavaria (from 1294) and of united Bavaria (1340–1347), German king (from 1314), and Holy Roman emperor (1328–1347), first of the Wittelsbach line of German emperors. His reign was marked by incessant diplomatic and military struggles to defend the right of the empire to elect an emperor independently of the papacy, to consolidate his own position, and to improve the status of his family.
Scherenschleifer (82x67cm; 283x233pix, 19kb)
Landschaft bei Ehrenstetten (222x283pix, 17kb)


Born on a 22 May:


^ 1935 Ivan Chuikov (or Chuykov), Russian painter. The period of his esthetic searches was not long, he got sick and tired of painting in its classical version, and then came the era of “Windows”, i.e., three-dimensional closed windows facing the outer world. This world brought the happy surprise of a “bulldozer exhibition” where Chuikov met many Moscow underground members; and that marked the beginning of his life in art. In 1991 he wrote: “The works of the past few years are based on the general idea of an image as a thin film placed on a plane or voluminous construction. The image may completely coincide with that construction, may coincide with it partially, or not coincide with it at all. I can only add that the problems of style, esthetics as such, are of no interest to me. The esthetic aspect of my works is determined by the pursuit of simplicity and certain conscious restrictions: the absence of deformation, simplification of texture, and a preset use of colors. The sky should be blue, the greenery—green, the body—pink. I have no other interest in the field of traditional esthetics”
–- Buoy (347x482pix, 18kb) _ detail (429x482pix, 10kb) _ The pseudonymous Chuck Yousuv has metamorphosed this picture into the fantastic twin abstractions
      _ Boy, Buy Bay Buoy (2007; 724x1024pix, 230kb _ ZOOM to 1024x1448pix, 445kb _ ZOOM+ to 2636x3728pix, 2893kb) and
      _ Buy Bay Buoy, Boy (2007; 724x1024pix, 230kb _ ZOOM to 1024x1448pix, 445kb _ ZOOM+ to 2636x3728pix, 2893kb)
Supremacist Composition (1989, 180x130cm, mostly blank space; 54kb)
Sunset III (1989, 180x130cm; 650x473pix, 37kb)
Fragment of Postcard No.16 (2003 , 180x130cm, mostly flat blue space; 800x523pix, 81kb)
Window (1973, 83x100cm; 250x305pix, 37kb) _ Yousuv has transformed this simple picture into the richly detailed twin abstractions
      _ Wind! Oh! (2007; 775x1096pix, 346kb _ ZOOM to 1096x1550pix, 719kb _ ZOOM+ to 1700x2404pix, 1777kb _ ZOOM++ to 2636x3728pix, 4400kb) and
      _ Widow (2007; 775x1096pix, 346kb _ ZOOM to 1096x1550pix, 719kb _ ZOOM+ to 1700x2404pix, 1777kb _ ZOOM++ to 2636x3728pix, 4400kb). —(070215)

1925 Jean Tinguely, Swiss painter and sculptor who died (main coverage) on 30 August 1991. —(090521)

1881 (Julian date) Mikhail Fyodorovich Larionov: go to Gregorian date 03 June.

^ 1879 Bessie Ellen Edna Davidson, Australian expatriate painter who spent most of her life in France, where she died on 22 February 1965. Bessie Davidson was born in Adelaide on 22 May 1879, daughter of David and Ellen Davidson, nee Johnson. She was educated in Adelaide and first studied there in 1899 under Rose McPherson (later Margaret Preston). After exhibiting with the South Australian Society of Arts in 1901-03 in both the annual and federal exhibitions, she left Adelaide for Europe on 02 July 1904 with Rose McPherson, going first to Munich where she enrolled briefly at the Kunsterlinner Verein. She left Munich in November 1904, going to Paris with McPherson.
     In Paris, Davidson attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière where her teachers initially were Raphael Collin and Gustave Courtois, and also the US artist Richard Miller whose light-filled domestic scenes appear to have influenced her work of the 1910s and early 1920s. She became a friend of the Australian artist Rupert Bunny, with whom she is also said to have studied. Another important influence was Lucien Simon with whose family she spent vacations in Brittany where she painted some of her first ‘plein air’ scenes. Davidson’s first experience of exhibiting her work in Paris was at the Salon des Artistes Français (or the ‘Old Salon’) at the Grand Palais in April 1905. She developed a taste for travel and at this time visited different parts of France, as well as Italy, Belgium, England and Scotland, and in 1906 went with McPherson to Morocco and Spain.
      In December 1906 Davidson returned with McPherson to Adelaide where they leased a studio and gave lessons and exhibited their work. In March 1907 they showed paintings from their two years in Paris. In the following three years Davidson exhibited regularly at the South Australian Society of Arts, her work including still lifes, portraits and landscapes. In 1908 the Art Gallery of South Australia purchased her portrait of fellow artist Gladys Reynell, titled Portrait of Miss G.R.. It is typical of her early formal tonal works.
      Davidson returned to Paris in 1910, stopping briefly in India en route. Before the outbreak of World War I she also visited Russia. In Paris she became the student of René-Xavier Prinet, one of the founders of the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. At the same time she moved into the studio in rue Boissonade in Montparnasse that was to be her home until her death in 1965. Prinet’s classical training in ‘modern’ subjects was to be the underlying influence on her painting throughout her career, combining as it did both discipline and the freedom to experiment and to bring her own essential character to her work.
      In mid-1914 she returned to Adelaide to see her family, and it was then that she painted her light-filled domestic scene, Mother and Child. At the outbreak of World War I she returned immediately to Paris, joined the Red Cross and worked throughout the war as a nurse, volunteering first to work with typhoid patients and later becoming the Head Nurse of a ward for the seriously wounded. She was awarded the French ‘Medal of Recognition’ at the end of the war.
      Except for the years of both world wars, Davidson exhibited frequently in Paris at Salons and in mixed shows in private galleries. In 1920 Davidson was the first Australian woman to be elected as Associée of the Societé Nationale des Beaux-Arts. This was followed in 1922 by the far rarer honor of her elevation to Sociétaire, a first for any Australian to that date. In 1930 Davidson became founding Vice-President of the Société des Femmes Artistes Modernes, a position she held for almost a decade.
      With the German invasion in May 1940, Bessie Davidson chose to remain in France but managed to escape ahead of the invading forces to south of the demarcation line, first to Chabanais and then in August to Grenoble in the French Alps. where she continued to paint daily. In October 1944, following the liberation of Paris, she returned to her Montparnasse studio where she continued to live and paint for the rest of her life.
      After the war she continued her practice of spending certain times of the year in different places, never traveling without her little portable paint-box. She spent summers at Villeneuve in Savoie, where in the mid-20s she began to paint landscapes. After the war she went instead to her country house at Buchy, north of Rouen. She often went in Spring to Guéthary, a small French coastal town near the border of Spain where she painted many scenes of the coast and sea. She regularly visited relatives in Scotland where she painted many landscapes, but made only one more trip back to her home in Adelaide, in 1950.
Le Livre Vert (1912, 92x73cm; 600x467pix, 90kb) _ This is typical of the ‘portrait of an interior’ genre that was fashionable at this time, evoking an atmosphere of feminine domesticity and private reverie. Davidson used decorative elements to convey a certain sense of mystery and to hint at double entendre. The young woman may well be close friend Rose McPherson (Margaret Preston) who, with Gladys Reynell, stayed in an apartment in Paris formerly occupied by Bessie Davidson.
Grenoble (1943, 17x23cm; 341x450pix, 46kb)
Madame le Roy assise de dos dans un interieur (1920, 70x59cm)
Still Life (1928, 62x90cm)

^ 1820 Thomas Worthington Whittredge, US Hudson River School painter who died on 25 February 1910. {same birthday and same deathday as von Uhde, but 27 more years of life.}— Whitredge started painting landscapes influenced by the works of Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand. He spent five years in Düsseldorf and five years in Rome, where he posed for Emmanuel Leutze as Washington Crossing the Delaware. In 1865 Whittredge went on a 3000-km government tour of the Rocky Mountains with landscape painters John Frederick Kensett and Sanford R. Gifford. He painted vast panoramas like
      _ Crossing the Platte (1870, 38x58cm) and forest scenes such as The Trout Pool (1870) and The Camp Meeting (1874).
LINKS
The Amphitheatre of Tusculum and Albano Mountains, Rome (1860, 61x102cm)
Gathering the Buckwheat (37x40cm)
Indian Reservation (1870, 38x76cm)
The Camp Meeting (1874, 40x103cm)
The Trout Pool (1870, 91x69cm)
–- Inside a Forest aka Wooded Interior (51x38cm; 1130x825pix, 95kb)
–- The Artist's Dog (36x28cm; 1125x842pix, 70kb _ .ZOOM not recommended to 1800x1347pix, 144kb) _ This has been metamorphosed by the pseudonymous Sam Waiztentons Witsenter into the richly detailed and colorful pair of abstractions (best appreciated at full magnification)
      _ Dog Gone (2007; 775x1096pix, 334kb _ ZOOM to 1096x1550pix, 704kb _ ZOOM+ to 1700x2404pix, 1827kb _ ZOOM++ to 2636x3728pix, 3974kb) and
      _ Doc Cone (2007; 775x1096pix, 334kb _ ZOOM to 1096x1550pix, 704kb _ ZOOM+ to 1700x2404pix, 1827kb _ ZOOM++ to 2636x3728pix, 3974kb).
–- ‘Sunrise’, view of Drachenfels from Rolandseck (15 Sep 1850, 67x97cm; 700x1038pix, 35kb _ .ZOOM not recommended to 1166x1730pix, 93kb) _ Rolandseck, now called Oberwinter, is located on the left bank of the Rhine, 14 km SEE of Bonn. The ruins of the Castle of Drachenfels are about 1.5 km outside of town.
Peaches (1894, 39x56cm)
June Paradise Valley (33x39cm)
–- Villa d'Este, Tivoli (1856, 40x30cm; 800x641, 45kb _ color corrected 800x641, 61kb) vomit-yellow sky; color correction by Witsenter.
72 images at the Athenaeum —(070517)

^ 1700 Michel-François Dandré-Bardon, French painter and teacher who died on 04 July 1783. He was the author of Traité de peinture suivi d'un essai sur la sculpture (1765) and of Costume des anciens Peuples, a l'usage des artistes illustrated with 352 plates displaying the costumes and accessories of the peoples of antiquity: the Greeks, Romans, Israelites, Hebrews, Egyptians, Persians, Scythes, Amazons, and others. — LINKS
The Adoration of the Skulls (53x64cm) _ left-central detail _ lower-right detail _ lower-left detail
La prédication de Saint François
La Naissance (35x27cm) —(060510)

^ >1650 Richard Brakenburg, Dutch painter who died on 28 December 1702. A native of Haarlem, Brakenburg was the student of Hendrick Mommers. The greatest influence on his work however was Jan Steen. This is clearly evident in the present painting, and Brakenburgh's most accomplished works have often been attributed to Steen. Brakenburg, together with Cornelis Dusart, belonged to the second generation of students of Adriaen van Ostade [1610-1685]. In his work the peasant genre became overlaid with petit-bourgeois mannerism and pictorial style became a cultivated convention.
–- A Family on a Terrace (1691, 47x55cm; 616x732pix, 44kb _ .ZOOM to 1232x1465pix, 170kb)
The May Queen Festival of Haarlem (1700; 41x48cm)
Het Sint Nicolaasfeest (1685, 49x65cm) _ Rond een tafel lopen kinderen met hun cadeaus. Links zit een meisje met een pop, daarachter een huilende jongen die een roe heeft gekregen. De Reformatie bracht grote veranderingen in de Nederlanden. Katholieke kerken werden protestants, en katholieke feesten werden verboden, het Sint Nicolaasfeest niet uitgezonderd. Het Sint Nicolaasfeest was tot de zestiende eeuw helemaal een katholiek feest. Naast missen in kerken, Sint Nicolaasmarkten op de pleinen en Sint Nicolaasprocessies door de straten, was 'Sint Nicolaasavond' (de avond voor de sterfdag van bisschop Nicolaas op 6 december) ook thuis te vieren. Eind zestiende eeuw, kreeg de Sint het moeilijk in het openbaar. In Noord-West Europa won het protestantisme het van het katholicisme, en werd het Sint Nicolaasfeest verboden. In Duitsland en Engeland stierf de Sint Nicolaasverering daarom uit. Ook in de Nederlanden probeerden protestanten St. Nicolaasvieringen te verbieden: heiligen bestonden niet in protestantse ogen, en bisschoppen deden teveel aan de katholieke kerk denken. Het Sint Nicolaasfeest in 1685. In steden en dorpen verbood het bestuur 'al dat roepen, schreeuwen en bidden tot Nicolaus' dat kinderen deden, zoals een protestant uit Leiden schreef. Bijna overal werd het verboden Sinterklaas af te beelden op bijvoorbeeld speculaaspoppen, of om Sinterklaasliedjes te zingen. In Tiel werd het in 1618 zelfs verboden je schoentje te zetten! Al snel kwam er onrust over zoveel protestantse ijver. In Amsterdam kwam in 1663 de jeugd in opstand: zij eisten het Sinterklaasfeest terug. Uiteindelijk ging het stadsbestuur akkoord, zolang het maar binnenshuis gebeurde. Vandaar dat het Sinterklaasfeest ook nu geen openbaar religieus feest meer is met allerlei optochten in en rond de kerk, maar een familiefeest, thuis. Als je het feest nog steeds als religieus en katholiek wilde zien, moest je dat voortaan zelf weten: zolang anderen er maar geen last van hadden. —(070518)
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updated Friday 22-May-2009 1:21 UT
Principal updates:
v.8.40 Thursday 22-May-2008 1:49 UT
v.7.40 updated Friday 18-May-2007 17:56 UT
v.6.40 Friday 19-May-2006 2:58 UT
v.5.40 Saturday 21-May-2005 22:54 UT
Saturday 22-May-2004 20:13 UT