ART 4 2-DAY 10 November v.9.a0
Born on 10 November 1859: Théophile
Alexandre Steinlen, Swiss-born French Art
Nouveau illustrator, printmaker, painter, and sculptor, specialized
He died on 14 (13?) December 1923.
_ Almost throughout his entire career Steinlen lived in Boulevard Montmartre praising Paris and the everyday life of its people with their sorrows and joys. Steinlen's artistic idiom is so expressive that his works attract people at first sight, the more so because many of his drawings were widespread in lithographs. After studying at the University at Lausanne and working as an apprentice designer in a textile factory in Mulhouse, Steinlen arrived in Paris in 1881 and quickly established himself in Montmartre, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. In 1883 the illustrator Adolphe Willette introduced him to the avant-garde literary and artistic environment of Le Chat Noir cabaret which had been founded in 1881 by another Swiss expatriot, Rodolphe Salis. Steinlen soon became an illustrator of its satirical and humorous journal, Chat noir, and an artistic collaborator with writers such as Emile Zola, poets such as Jean Richepin, composers such as Paul Delmet, artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec and, most important, the singer and songwriter Aristide Bruant, all of whom he encountered at the Chat Noir. Bruant’s lyrics incorporate the argot of the poor, the worker, the rogue, the pimp, and the prostitute, for whom Steinlen’s empathy had been awakened on reading the novel L’Assommoir (1877) by Émile Zola [1840-1902]. Steinlen became the principal illustrator for Bruant’s journal Le Mirliton (1885–1896) and for the various books containing his songs and monologues, including the two volumes of Dans la rue (1888–1895). — The students of Steinlein included Jacob Steinhardt and Yakov Tugendkhol’d.
— Ball in Paris's Suburb (1892, 33x54cm; 560x912pix, 340kb)
–- The curious cat and the knitting work (gillotype 37x28cm; 1134x869pix, 81kb) _ 15 small images progress from the knitting alone, to the cat playing with the ball of yarn, to a bigger ball of yarn with the cat inside.
–- La Fillette Avalée par un Chat (gillotype 38x25cm; 1177x845pix, 103kb) _ In 14 progressive small drawings, a cute little girl, out for a walk, sees two birds, feeds them, catches them and puts them in a bag, then is seen by a black cat, who gradually becomes gigantic and then swallows her, all but her shoes and the bag, from which the birds escape.
–- Le Terme Franco-Russe (31x26cm; 978x814pix, 127kb) colored drawing for a cover of the periodical la feuille _ the full cover (37x26cm; 1146x814pix, 136kb) _ A historical event (the emigration from Alsace-Lorraine of those who wanted to remain French after the 09 June 1871 German annexation?) is symbolized by a (German?) policeman evicting a (French?) family; a baby sitting on the floor holds a French and a German Imperial flags (but what does Russia have to do with that?).
–- Arguments Frappants (31x25cm; 928x749pix, 123kb) monochrome drawing for a cover of the periodical la feuille _ the full cover (37x26cm; 1124x793pix, 146kb) _ a mob is beating up and kicking a man prone on the pavement.
— V'là l'choléra qu'arrive (1898; 575x471pix, 112kb)
–- La Grande Soeur (etching 23x17cm; 1084x806pix, 128kb) _ She is holding a baby and, next to her, there is a black... no, not cat, but dog!!!
–- L'Enfant malade (etching 37x30cm; 932x795pix, 54kb)
250 prints at Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (not all of cats)
>Died on 10 November 1843: John
Trumbull, son of colonial Connecticut governor, US painter,
architect, and diplomat, specialized in Historical
Subjects (US War of Independence), born on 06 June 1756. He studied
Trumbull's importance lies in his historical paintings memorializing events in the US War of Independence. Applying Benjamin West’s and John Singleton Copley’s realistic innovations in history painting to US subjects, he created a series of images, reproduced in countless illustrations, that have become icons of US nationalism. They are also symbolic of his lifelong political and artistic identity.
— Born in Lebanon Connecticut, John Trumbull was the son of Jonathan Trumbull, the only colonial Royal Governor to embrace the Patriot cause. His mother was Faith Robinson, a descendant of Pilgrim leader John Robinson. He was also the first painter in the English American Colonies to have a college education, being a graduate of Harvard, entering the class of 1773 in the Junior Year at age fifteen.
His father wanted him to pursue either the ministry or law, feeling that the manual crafts were beneath the family dignity, but once at Harvard, he lost no time making the acquaintance of John Singleton Copley, the leading portrait painter in the Colonies. After graduation, Trumbull taught school for a winter in Lebanon, but continued his study of painting, much to his fathers chagrin.
At the outbreak of the War of Independence, Trumbull marched to Boston under the command of Gen. Joseph Spencer, as Adjutant of the 1st Connecticut Regiment. Stationed at Roxbury, he witnessed the Battle of Bunker Hill from there, which was the closest he ever came to any of the subjects of his great historical paintings. He came to the attention of General Washington by drawing a plan of the enemies works in front of the Patriot Army on Boston Neck, and was shortly thereafter appointed his Aide-de-Camp (General Order of 27 July 1775). In June of 1776, upon the assumption by General Gates of the command of the Army in the Northern Department, Trumbull was appointed his Adjutant. After service at Crown Point and Ticonderoga, he resigned on 22 February 1777, ostensibly because his commission as a Colonel was dated some three months later than his appointment to that rank by General Gates.
Trumbull moved to Boston and hired as a studio the painting room built by artist John Smibert. He found still there several copies by him from celebrated pictures in Europe, which he found very useful.' With the exception of a short term of service as volunteer Aide-de-Camp to General Sullivan in Rhode Island, Trumbull remained in Boston until the autumn of 1779 when he determined to go to England to study under Benjamin West, one of the leading painters in Europe and official Painter of Historical Subjects to George III.
Trumbull reached London in July of 1780 and presented to West a letter of introduction from Benjamin Franklin. He began work immediately, occupying a painting room with Gilbert Stuart, who was also a student under West at the time.
Trumbull was arrested on 18 November l780, and threatened with hanging as an American spy, in retaliation for the hanging of Major Andre, the British spy who conspired with Benedict Arnold. He was incarcerated until June 1781, when West and Copley interceded with the king, and he was released upon condition that he leave the kingdom.
Trumbull returned to London in 1784 to complete his studies under West and attend classes at the Royal Academy, and the influence of West can be clearly seen during this period. West himself desired to do a historical series on the US War of Independence, but feared loss of Royal Patronage, and Trumbull began to meditate seriously the subjects of national history, of events of the War of Independence, which became the great objects of his professional life. Trumbull's ambition, tempered as it was by Westas influence, finally crystallized into a determination to become the painter of the US War of Independence. Several of his historical paintings were begun and two finished in West's studio, including The Battle of Bunker Hill (1786).
Trumbull met Thomas Jefferson in London in the summer of 1785. Upon his invitation Trumbull later visited Paris, and there submitted to him his two finished paintings The Battle of Bunker Hill and The Death of General Montgomery at Quebec. Both Jefferson and John Adams, then Minister to Great Britain, helped Trumbull to select ten additional events to be painted, of which Trumbull completed eight.
The sketch for The Declaration of Independence was made at Jefferson's house in the Grille de Chaillot in 1786 with his information and advice. Returning to London, Trumbull completed the composition of The Declaration of Independence, The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, The Battle of Trenton, and The Battle of Princeton while in West's studio. He left out the faces, however, intending to fill them in from life whenever possible. Thus, the face of John Adams was painted in London in the summer of 1787, Trumbull saying that just before Adams left the Court of St. James's he: "had the powder combed out of his hair. Its color and natural curl were beautiful, and I took that opportunity to paint his portrait in the small Declaration of Independence".
In the autumn of 1787, Trumbull again visited Jefferson and there painted his portrait into the same canvas, and the portraits of the French officers in "The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis" "were painted from life in Mr. Jefferson's house." Apparently he also left certain details in the backgrounds to be finished later from sketches made on the spot.
As Congress was to assemble in New York in December of 1789, Trumbull went there to pursue his work. He also hoped to sell engravings of his historical paintings, but that project failed. While there he had sittings from Washington, and likewise painted the portraits of many distinguished characters into several of the canvases, and later he traveled throughout the country on the same errand. In addition he painted many small portraits as pencil sketches or oil on mahogany to be used in the scenes determined upon but not yet designed. He also visited and sketched historic places so that he might become familiar with the actual setting of the events he was depicting.
During these years (1789-1794) Trumbull lived, for the most part, in the new nation's capitol, New York City (some believe because Gilbert Stuart had taken up residence in Boston), supporting himself by painting portraits while seeking in vain to obtain the financial backing of the Government for his project. The portraits of this period, when Trumbull was fresh from six years' study abroad, at least three of which were passed under the instruction of West, are considered his best work and rank equally with examples of any US painter of the time. He is known for fluid brushstrokes and subtle glazes, and also produced a very few landscapes that anticipate the Hudson River School.
Failing to obtain Government support, Trumbull accompanied John Jay to London in May 1794, and acted as his secretary while he was negotiating what became known as Jay's Treaty. In 1796 Trumbull was appointed one of the commissioners to carry out one of the Articles of that Treaty; and remained about eight years in London engaged in this work.
Trumbull returned to New York in 1804 and sought to rebuild his practice as a portrait painter, but his ten years of foreign service, during which time he seldom exercised his talent, seem to have robbed his hand of much of its ability. Very few of the portraits of this period (1804-l808) evidence his earlier talent. Trumbull attributed his lack of success to the embargo placed by President Jefferson in the autumn of 1808 on all commerce, which he says threatened "the prosperity of those friends from whom I derived my subsistence," but it almost seems as if his genius had flared for a few brief years and then gone out forever, so marked is the division between the work of his youth and that of later life. In any event, he once more went abroad in 1809, and was stuck in England by the outbreak of the War of 1812, and forced to remain there until August of 1815.
The Capitol in Washington DC having been partially destroyed by the British in 1814, Trumbull saw the opportunity in its restoration of realizing his ambition, and he applied for the commission to decorate the Rotunda with enlargements from his small originals. For this purpose several of the canvases were exhibited in the House of Representatives in 1816 and as a result a resolution passed both houses of the Congress to employ Trumbull to make four paintings: "Commemorative of the most important events of the American Revolution, to be placed, when finished, in the Capitol of the United States." Trumbull wrote to Jefferson on 26 December 1816: “The Declaration of Independence is finished — Trenton, Princeton, and York Town which were long since finished & engraved — I shall take them all with me to the Seat of Government. in a few days that I may not merely talk of what I will do but show what I have done.”
The choice of the subjects and the size of the paintings, were left to the President. Trumbull tells of his interview with Madison, in which the President first suggested the Battle of Bunker Hill as one subject, but as only four of his paintings had been ordered, he recommended The Surrender of General Burgoyne, The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, The Declaration of Independence, and The Resignation of Washington. These were finally selected by President Madison and Trumbull was engaged for the sum of $32'000 to enlarge them to a size of eighteen feet by twelve feet, with life-size figures.
Trumbull first enlarged The Declaration of Independence and exhibited it during the years 1818-1820 in several cities. Public expectation was perhaps never raised so high respecting a picture, as in the case of this painting; and although the painter had only to copy his own beautiful original of former days, a disappointment was felt and loudly expressed. Faults which escaped detection in the miniature, were glaring when magnified — the tone and the coloring were not there — attitudes which appeared constrained in the original, were awkward in the copy — many of the likenesses had vanished." On 01 September 1818, John Quincy Adams wrote in his diary “Called about eleven o'clock at Mr. Trumbull's house, and saw his picture of the Declaration of Independence, which is now nearly finished. I cannot say I was disappointed in the execution of it, because my expectations were very low; . . . I think the old small picture far superior to this large new one.”
The Surrender of Cornwallis was enlarged next and in turn was exhibited in New York, Boston and Baltimore in 1820.
The Surrender of General Burgoyne' and The Resignation of Washington were enlarged from compositions painted at about this time, and the four enlargements were installed in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington under Trumbull's supervision in 1824.
Trumbull was a first class painter in miniature. His small portraits are in oil paints on canvas or on wood, and his work in this field is excelled only by some of the miniatures by Malbone, and equalled only by the best work of Fraser and Trott. The pictures of the Battle of Trenton and Princeton, are among the most admirable miniatures in oil that ever were painted. The same may be said of the portraits in the small picture of the Surrender of Cornwallis. Some of Trumbull's life-size portraits done before 1794 (when he left painting for diplomacy) will stand the severest test, but when, however, in 1816, at the age of sixty, he undertook to enlarge his small originals, twenty by thirty inches, to a size twelve by eighteen feet, the result bears silent witness to the fact that he had had no training in this branch of art and for twenty years before he had been at best an unsuccessful painter.
Trumbull lost the sight of one eye in childhood, and the concomitant lack of depth perception exaggerated by advancing age may, to some extent, explain the flat look of the enlargements.
The importance of the canvases and miniatures lies in the fact that they are original portraits from life and are the work of Trumbull's early and brilliant youth and in a field in which he excelled, while the enlargements therefrom are the work of his declining years.
Trumbull attempted in vain to induce the Government to commission him to fill the remaining panels of the Rotunda. and failing thus to sell his collection of Revolutionary portraits to the nation, his impaired health and failing powers brought him onto bad times, wherein at last he sought another way by which to use his early work to furnish support for his old age.
Trumbull tells, in his Reminiscences, the pathetic story of how, when funds began to diminish, he was forced to sell "scraps of furniture, fragments of plate, etc.," and of how many pictures remained on his hands unsold, and to all appearance unsaleable. It occurred to him that although "the hope of a sale to the nation, or to a state, became more and more desperate from day to day," yet some private institution might be willing to possess the paintings, making payment therefor by a life annuity. He first considered his alma mater, Harvard, but finally chose Yale, as it was within his native state.
Trumbull, throughout his life, appreciated the importance of his Revolutionary portraits and never wavered from the conviction that some day their great historic value would be recognized, and he believed that their exhibition would be a source of revenue to the College. The matter was suggested to the Trustees of Yale College by a friend, and a contract, dated 19 December 1831 was signed, by which Trumbull, in consideration of an annuity of $1000, in addition to the miniature portraits of persons distinguished during the Revolution, and certain copies of old masters, deeded to Yale: “Eight original paintings of subjects from the American Revolution, viz.,
1. The Battle of Bunker's Hill.
2. The Death of General Montgomery at Quebec.
3. The Declaration of Independence.
4. The Battle of Trenton.
5. The Battle of Princeton.
6. The Surrender of General Burgoyne.
7. The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis.
8. Washington resigning his Commission.”
Yale bound itself to erect a fireproof building for the reception of the paintings, of such form and dimensions as Trumbull should approve, and after the paintings were arranged that they should be exhibited and the profits first applied to the payment of the annuity, and all the profits after his death perpetually appropriated towards defraying the expenses of educating poor scholars in Yale College.
Trumbull afterward supervized the building of the Trumbull Gallery, which stood upon the Yale Campus until the year 1901. He made, later, several additions, so that the Gallery in 1841, when he wrote his Reminiscences, contained, in addition to the miniatures: "fifty-five pictures by my own hand, painted at various periods, from my earliest essay of the Battle of Cannae, to my last composition, The Deluge, including the eight small original pictures of the American Revolution, which contain the portraits painted from life.”
It is true that Trumbull chose to depict in The Battle of Bunker's Hill and in The Death of General Montgomery at Quebec, the success of the enemy, and in regard to Bunker Hill he is said to have adopted the British rather than the American account of the battle. At the same time, these canvases contain portraits from life painted by one of the first painters of the age, a man who had served in the War of Independence and who was familiar with the scenes of action. Trumbull in writing to Jefferson of his qualifications to paint the scenes of the Revolution, quite rightly stated that: "some superiority also arose from my having borne personally a humble part in the great events I was to describe. No one lives with me possessing this advantage, and no one can come after me to divide the honor of truth and authenticity, however easily I may hereafter be exceeded in elegance." (Letter to Jefferson, 11 June 1789).
Nowhere else can be found likenesses of many of the actors in these scenes, and nowhere else can be found together so many original portraits of persons prominent in the US War of Independence. The Trumbull canvases and miniatures, containing about two hundred and fifty portraits, are the most important source of original information that exists on the likeness of these historical personages..
The inscription over Trumbull's tomb on the Yale campus ends with these lines:
To his Country he gave his
SWORD and his PENCIL
— Trumbull, an army officer and aide to George Washington during the War of Independence, painted, between 1819 and 1824, the first four of the eight paintings in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol. Trumbull's paintings treat episodes from the US Revolutionary period — two civil and two military:
1) Declaration of Independence in Congress, at the Independence Hall, Philadelphia, July 4th, 1776 (1819). It depicts a formative moment of the Revolution, although not the actual signing of the Declaration of Independence. Rather, it portrays the committee charged with drafting the Declaration reporting to the President of the Congress. Trumbull here affirms the central tenet of republicanism: the priority of select individuals working in concert for the greater good. The setting for the painting is formal and rational; authority rests in the balance achieved at the table, where the President of the Congress, John Hancock, offsets the writers of the Declaration--John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and others. The Doric cornice of neo-classical architecture alludes to the classical republicanism the founding fathers sought to establish through both the Enlightenment and American revolutions.
2) Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, October 19th, 1781. (1820) Balance continues, as does the rationalization and formal ritual emphasized in the Declaration. Unlike the Declaration, however, this painting revisits an acknowledged defeat, one which ended the war. The national decision depicted in the signing of the Declaration of Independence began formal hostilities: in Surrender of Lord Cornwallis these hostilities have passed, and order returns. Notice how the two sides create a rough parity between the armies and their equally dignified groups of flags, troop columns, and horses. Only General Lincoln's superior position on horseback, General George Washington backstage, and the rising smoke from the British side betray the victor. And even here the white horse of the victor harmonizes with the white flag of the vanquished to retain a respectful equanimity. This surrender concludes what Trumbull views as a gentleman's disagreement, a quarrel that has been gravely fought and honorably won.
3) The Surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York, October 17th, 1777 (1822) Dignified ritual and balance reign: the cannon to the right and the horse and rider on the left balance the painting around the fulcrum of the victorious Colonial general. This exaltation of the individual in a harmonious worldly setting--the only trace of battle here is the cannon in the foreground--sustains the gentlemanly deportment and respect of the first two paintings, and echoes the Enlightenment's view of man as central in the universe. General Gates comprises the axis of the painting; his democratic views are valorized. As he hospitably accepts Burgoyne's sword, both officers tacitly admit the superiority of the Colonial position. Pictorially, Gates and Burgoyne are matched so that the shift in status is minimal. Humanism and republicanism, not god and monarchy, rule the day. As in Cornwallis at Yorktown, an epic conflict has occurred, but civilization remains secure.
This painting represents General Burgoyne on 16 (17?) October 1777, attended by General Phillips, and followed by other officers, arriving at the field tent of General Gates with a number of the principal officers of the American army assembled nearby. The confluence of Fish Creek and the North River, where the British left their arms, is shown in the distance, near the head of Col. Scammell; the troops are indistinctly seen crossing the creek and the meadows, under the direction of Colonel (later Governor) Lewis, then quarter-master general, and advancing towards the foreground; they disappear behind the wood, which serves as a backdrop to the three principal figures; and again appear (grenadiers, without arms or accoutrements) under the left arm of General Gates. Officers on horseback, American, British, and German, precede the head of the column, and form an interesting cavalcade, following the two dismounted generals, and connecting different parts of the picture. Trumbull planned this picture as early as 1786, as it is in the list agreed upon in conference with Jefferson and Adams, but in his proposals to publish engravings (New York, 02 April 1790) it is stated that it had not as yet been executed. Among Trumbulls effects was a finished sketch in outline and partly filled in with India ink, endorsed on the back by Trumbull "Surrender of General Burgoyne, Lebanon, August 1791". Another was a pencil sketch endorsed with the proportions of the figures. A third was an outline sketch in pencil of General Gates' tent, as it appears in the finished picture. A fourth was a finished sketch in sepia endorsed "Saratoga, scene from the rising ground nigh the church, on which was General Gates's marquee, Sep. 28, 1791, J. Trumbull." A fifth was a sketch in pencil endorsed "Maj. Gen. Gates New York Dec. 1790"; also a pencil portrait endorsed "B. Gen. Glover, Marblehead Nov. 13 1794" At Yale University, one can find the following miniature portraits endorsed on the back by Trumbull with the name and date when painted and the words "Capture of General Burgoyne," evidently used in this painting:
— Major William Lithgow (sketch 1791, 108kb) (he is the first one at the left edge of Saratoga, cropped out of the reproduction linked to above)
–- Capt. Thomas Youngs Seymour (1793; 675x553pix, 32kb) (he is on horseback, at the extreme left foreground, in Saratoga, his face cropped out of the reproduction linked to above)
— A cropped Saratoga was reproduced on a 2-cent US postage stamp issued on 03 August 1927.
4) General George Washington Resigning His commission to Congress as Commander in Chief of the Army at Annapolis, Maryland, December 23rd, 1783. (1824). In this, the greatest of the four paintings, Trumbull conjures a return to the civil obeisance which marked the Declaration. The Founding Father defers to the United States, the individual submits to the deliberative, and the executive power yields before Congress. The impetus for Washington's noble decision is present in the visitor's gallery, in his wife, Martha, and grandchildren, symbols of the family and private sphere. The gallery sits atop an Ionic capitol, signifying the classical origins of republicanism and the rational order on which democracy rests. Washington's willingness to resign, to give up his power to others in order that he might return home to a domestic life, speaks of his confidence in the capacity of the young nation to continue its democratic experiment.
Two other paintings by Trumbull further explain his Rotunda works; these pictures reveal similar, even more explicitly rendered themes constitutive of Trumbull's republicanism:
5) .The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775 (1786; 775x1200pix, 96kb). _ British officer Major Small prevents a grenadier from bayoneting the helpless Warren. The painting emphasizes the virtue of self-restraint, a trope common to each of Trumbull's four Rotunda paintings. Magnanimity, generosity, and the example of the beneficent, humble ruler all find expression here. These themes are recapitulated in Washington's Resigning. Jules David Prown writes that "the fundamental theme is humanitarianism and generosity, the bonds that unite humans, rather than the forces that set them at each other's throats.
6) The Death of General Montgomery in the Attack on Quebec (1786). Trumbull provides us with a similar analogy, this time in relation to the Declaration. Here three revolutionaries mark the death of General Montgomery, who is struck in a pose similar to that of the Pietà. This painting may have been based on Jacques-Louis David's The Oath of the Horatii (1785), in which three classical figures raise their arms to swear an oath of vengeance
John Singleton Copley's The Death of the Earl of Chatham (1781), also probably influenced Trumbull's Quebec. Here Members of Parliament cradle the collapsed earl, amidst a "sea of legs" like that for which Representative John Randolph criticized the Declaration in 1828.
Trumbull uses the same imagery of Horatii in Quebec, where the three revolutionaries raise their arms to the dying Montgomery, and in Declaration, where the drafting committee of Jefferson and others resemble this formation. Although in Declaration, Trumbull places it in the context of the legislature, where the focus of the painting is a dying man, that of the revolutionary soldier and leader. Following this analysis, if President John Hancock's table in the State House at Philadelphia in Declaration is equated to the Pietà of General Montgomery in Quebec, as well as to Copley's dying earl, the Declaration of Independence becomes equivalent to salvation and martyrdom as well as to its more traditional importance as a covenant.
As Trumbull grew older, he became increasingly isolated from his younger contemporaries of the mid-century. Between the peace of 1783 and his death in 1843 two generations had arisen and Trumbull was, to the greater number of them, like one who lingered on the shores of time or had perchance returned from another world, like a Rip Van Winkle.
— Mather Brown and Charles Loring Elliott were students of Trumbull
–- William Pinkney (64kb _ .ZOOM to 277kb)
–- Mrs. William Pinkney (Ann Maria Rodgers) (1800, 74x63cm; 1119x919pix, 63kb _ .ZOOM to 2240x1848pix, 638kb)
–- Mrs. Rufus (Mary Alsop) King (1800, 78x65cm; 1115x926pix, 71kb _ .ZOOM to 2252x1864pix, 774kb)
–- Philip Church (1784, 45x35cm; 1134x876pix, 61kb) _ at age about 5
— George Washington (1780, 91x71cm; 866x650cm; 146kb)
–- The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 (1787-1820; 847x1500px, 82kb) _ Thirty-six of the original members of the original forty-seven members of the first Congress were painted from life, years after 1776. Trumbull spent a quarter of a century tracking down people and painting them from life.
— Niagara Falls from below the Great Cascade on the British Side, 1808, (1808; 400x594pix, 74kb) _ John Trumbull and his wife spent a week at Niagara Falls in August of 1807. Trumbull returned in September of the following year and sketched the cataracts from below. His sketchbook now at Yale has eight drawings that were produced on these trips. Trumbull stayed on the British side and did not venture to the US side which was wilderness. The work above is based on a pencil drawing dated 13 September 1808 at 15:00.
— The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill (1786; 514x776pix, 110kb _ ZOOM to xpix, kb) _ Joseph Warren [11 Jun 1741 – 17 Jun 1775] was a physician and American Patriot leader who was serving as a private volunteer at the Battle of Bunker Hill, although he had been appointed a Major General three days earlier.
— The Death of General Montgomery (1786; 530x500pix, kb) Trumbull painted this in West's studio in London where he was studying under West. Irish-born Major General Richard Montgomery [02 Dec 1736 – 31 Dec 1775] was an American Patriot General who was killed during a futile American effort to take Quebec from the British. Aaron Burr [06 Feb 1756 – 14 Sep 1836], possibly the second best known US hero-turned-villain (after Benedict Arnold [14 Jan 1741 – 14 Jun 1801]), attempted in vain to carry Montgomery's body from the field. If Trumbull had painted this death scene a decade or so later, before Burr, in a duel, shot and killed Alexander Hamilton [January 11, 1755 or 1757 – 11 Jul 1804] and was tried for treason (and acquitted, for lack of evidence, on 01 September 1807), perhaps he might have elevated Burr to Hero.
Burr's efforts to rescue Montgomery are related thus: “Grapeshot pouring into the imperfect light of the dawn mortally wounded Montgomery and two of his aides. The general's last words were to Burr. "We shall be in the fort in two minutes," he said even as "he recieved the grapeshot & fell in his arms." Of those in the front row, only Burr and a French guide remained alive, and Burr's earnest efforts to rally the men behind him and push on were countermanded by an order to retreat from the slain general's successor in command. Aaron's Princeton classmate, Samuel Spring, had come north as chaplain of the expedition. It is from Spring that we have the memorable story of Burr's final actions at Pres-de-ville that morning. As the other Americans fled before the pursuing Canadians, Aaron lingered behind in a futile effort to carry off the body of Montgomery and ensure it a proper burial. The minister's story, as told years later, had little Burr hoisting the general, a big man, to his shoulders, and then stumbling through deep snow for several yards before dropping his burden to avoid capture."
— The Sortie Made by the Garrison of Gibraltar (1789, 180x272cm; 327x500pix, 50kb) _ This painting depicts the events of the night of 26 November 1781, when British troops, long besieged by Spanish forces at Gibraltar, made a sortie against the encroaching enemy batteries. The focal point of the painting is the tragic death of the Spanish officer Don Jose de Barboza. Abandoned by his fleeing troops, he charged the attacking column alone, fell mortally wounded, and, refusing all assistance, died near his post. Trumbull portrays him rejecting the aid of General George Elliott, commander of the British troops. This work, the largest and last of three versions of the subject that Trumbull painted between 1786 and 1789, demonstrates his ambition to solidify his reputation on the basis of the highly respected genre of history painting.
— The Sortie from Gibraltar (1788, 91x112cm; 521x800pix, 67kb _ ZOOM to 1333x2048pix, 310kb) _ Remembered today for his monumental painting The Declaration of Independence, on display in the US Capitol, Trumbull ambitiously recorded on canvas the major events of the US's founding. Connecticut-born and educated at Harvard, Trumbull served as General George Washington's aide-de-camp. In that position he acquired experiences that contributed to the vividness of his art. In 1786 he embarked on a series of paintings of the US War of Independence, to be reproduced in engravings. Because the painting of recent history (as opposed to the ancient past) was a relatively new undertaking, Trumbull's work drew mixed reactions. In 1784 Trumbull went to England in the hope of building a reputation there. Seeking a theme that would show the British in a positive light, he chose to depict the sortie at Gibraltar on the night of 26 November 1781, in which British forces overthrew a Spanish siege, set the Spanish military works ablaze, and mortally wounded their commander, Don José de Barboza. The British general George Augustus Elliott magnanimously offered Barboza sanctuary, but the Spaniard valiantly chose to die at the battle site abandoned by his men. The picture gains veracity from the delicate portraits of the British officers, which Trumbull made from life, and from his attention to the details of their regalia. The illumination of the scene by the bloody conflagration and the picture's dynamic composition-with the dying but defiant hero at the center, framed by frenzied action to the left and calm repose to the right-make this one of Trumbull's most successful paintings.
Born on 10 November 1847: Frederick
Arthur Bridgman, US painter specialized in orientalism,
who died in 1928.
Frederick Arthur Bridgman, the foremost US Orientalist, moved in 1866 to Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux Arts and under French Impressionist Jean-Léon Gérôme. His first solo exhibition was in New York City in 1881. He was appointed Chairman of the American Artists Jury for the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889.
— Frederick Bridgman was born in Alabama, the son of an itinerant doctor from Massachusetts. His father died when Frederick was only three years old and, sensing the north-south tensions prior to the Civil War, his mother decided to return with her two sons to Boston in the north. However they soon moved to New York where Frederick, already showing artistic talent, joined the American Banknote Company as an apprentice engraver. But in spite of his progress and the opportunities for rapid promotion, he preferred to dedicate his time to painting, taking evening drawing classes first at the Brooklyn Art Association, then at the National Academy of Design. It is recounted that he even rose at 4 o'clock every morning to paint before going to work.
Bridgman's studies soon produced results and in 1865 and again in 1866 he exhibited works at the Brooklyn Art Association. Encouraged by his success he gave up his job and in 1866, with the sponsorship of a group of Brooklyn businessmen, set out for Paris. However he soon found himself in Pont-Avent, the small village in Brittany which was home to a US artists' colony under the charismatic leadership of Robert Wylie [1839-1877] who painted dramatic rural landscapes. He stayed there for two summers, thinking also of becoming a landscape painter like Wylie.
In the autumn of 1866 Bridgman joined the atelier of Jean-Léon Gérôme in Paris. But entry was not easy since, officially, the ateliers of the École des Beaux-Arts were all full. His friend the painter Thomas Eakins went to great lengths pulling strings to enable entry of a group of US students, amongst whom were Eakins himself, Earl Shinn, the future Orientalist Harry Humphrey Moore, and Bridgman. He remained there for four years, spending his summers at Pont-Aven with Wylie.
Bridgman was soon exhibiting at the Paris Salons and his A Provincial Circus had much success at the Salon of 1870, so much so that he then sent it to America for exhibition at the Brooklyn Art Association. At this time he also had one of his canvases engraved for reproduction in the journal Le Monde Illustré and began to sell some of his work to the dealer Goupil, Gérome's father-in-law.
He spent the period of the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune painting rural scenes in Pont-Aven and in Spain. The winter of 1872-3 he spent in Spain and North Africa accompanied by an unknown English painter friend. Starting first in Tangiers, which he found picturesque but was apalled by the poverty, they quickly moved on, first by boat to Oran, then by train to Algeria - a country he found more conducive. There they lodged at a hotel in Biskra whilst renting an atelier in the poor quarter. In the evenings they sampled the local nightlife and their afternoons they spent exploring the surrounding villages and oases on horseback. Here they found the local color they were looking for - the crowds in the markets, the belly-dancers, even witnessing a fencing duel between two soldiers of the Biskra regiment. While there Bridgman worked assiduously, returning to Paris in the spring of 1873 with numerous painted canvases, oil sketches, pencil and ink drawings, together with some costumes and accessories he had used in his atelier.
The favourable response to his Algerian scenes in Paris led him to plan another visit to North Africa the following winter. Accompanying him this time was Charles Sprague Pearce, a student of Bonnat, whom he had met in the south of France the previous winter. Arriving in Cairo in December 1873, they worked in the city producing numerous sketches of the Islamic monuments, but also the street life, which was Bridgman's main inspiration. Then, encouraged by an enthusiastic English couple they had met at the opera, they set off to travel up the Nile, a journey lasting three-and-a-half months. They sailed as far as the Second Cataract and visited Abu-Simbel. Bridgman brought back to Paris over three hundred sketches and studies and yet more studio accessories.
In Paris he rented an atelier in the same building as Pearce and another American, E H Blashfield. There he commenced painting several ambitious reconstructions of antique Egyptian life, seeming to have forgotten his original ambition of being a landscape artist of the Bretan or Algerian countryside! The first, The Mummy's Funeral, was exhibited at the Salon of 1877 and was remarkably successful, becoming an exhibition favourite. It was engraved, copied and finally bought by the proprietor of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett. His reputation then made, he married a young heiress from Boston, Florence Mott Baker.
The peak of his career probably came with the mounting of a personal exhibition displaying over three hundred of his works at the American Art Gallery, the major innovation of this exhibition being the inclusion of a large number of his sketches besides the usual new paintings and prints of older works. His work was highly praised not only for the variety of subjects but also the fine quality of their execution, their frankness, fidelity, freshness and beauty. Following this success, Bridgman was elected a member of the National Academy of Design.
In the winter of 1885-1886, Bridgman returned to Algiers with his wife, not just to work but because of his wife's failing health (she was showing signs of a hereditary neurological illness) - the climate there was much kinder and life more peaceful. However he could also return to his favourite compositional subject - daily Algerian life. He lodged his wife and family at a hotel and obtained for himself the services of a guide, Belkassem, who found him a place to work in the Casbah. It was the tiny home of a widow called Baia who lived there with her seven year old daughter, Zohr. He worked from a shady corner of their terrace from which vantage point he could paint both domestic scenes and daily life on the street. He became a good friend of the family and carried on a correspondence with Baia long after his return to France.
In 1888 Bridgman published a long fully illustrated account of his stay in Algiers in Harper's Monthly. It was taken from his larger, more complete publication of the same year entitled Winters in Algiers which also described his previous stays in the city and which was sumptuously illustrated with wood engravings of his drawings and paintings.
The next decade was a period of uninterrupted success. He was honored with having five works displayed at the 1889 Universal Exhibition in Paris. The following year a personal exhibition, similar to that of 1881, of about 400 of his pictures took place at Fifth Avenue Galleries in New York. When it moved on to Chicago it contained less than a hundred of these works - evidence of significant sales, enabling him to significantly expand his Parisian home on the Boulevard Malesherbes. Its extravagant decor in classical and oriental style led the artist John Singer Sargent to say that it was one of the two sights worth visiting Paris to see; the other being the Eiffel tower!
There he continued to paint even more exotic North African scenes. However, feeling a need for new subject matter, he later made an attempt at a symbolist style, even turning to society portraiture, and then, in the 1890's, returning to historical and biblical themes just like his mentor Gérôme. But non of this later work was as successful as his Orientalist compositions of the previous decade.
In 1901 Bridgman's wife, Florence, finally succumbed to her lengthy illness and died. Three years after this he married again, at the age of 54, to Marthe Yaeger. The marriage was to be long and happy.
After the First World War, his popularity declined and he moved out of Paris to Lyons-la-Forêt in Normandy where, although continuing to paint, he died in 1928 almost forgotten by his former admiring public.
Along with his fellow-countryman Edwin Lord Weeks, Frederick Arthur Bridgman is considered to be one of the doyens of the US Orientalist school.
— The Procession of the Sacred Bull Anubis (111x70cm; _ ZOOMable)
— Cleopatra on the Terraces of Philae
— Arab Women at the Town Wall (1925, 50x73cm)
– An Egyptian Procession (1902, 84x160cm)
– L'Armée du Pharaon Engloutie par la Mer Rouge (1900, 115x211cm)
– Le Retour (1892, 62x47cm)
– Spanish Lady (1887, 125x69cm)
– Near The Kasbah (1881, 133x115cm)
– La Jeune Mauresque, Campagne d'Alger (1880, 78x50.2cm)
– The Reading Lesson (1880, 108x86cm)
— Funérailles d'une Momie (1876, 113x232cm)
— The Bathing Beauties (1872, 59x109cm)
– Almeh Flirting with an Armenian Policeman, Cairo (55x46cm)
– An Eastern Courtyard (43x59cm)
– An Eastern Veranda (60x91cm)
– Apollon Enlevant Cyrène (86x138cm)
– At the Oasis (56x92cm)
– Cleopatra's Barge (83x159cm)
– Dolce Far Niente (50x60cm)
– Harem Girl (74x61cm)
— L'Indolence (98x113cm)
– On the Coast Of Kabylie (74x125cm)
– Reclining by a Stream (50x91cm)
– The Harem Boats (100x150cm)
– Women at the Cemetery, Algiers (101x152cm)
– Women Drawing Water From The Nile (92x132cm)
A Street in Algeria