Saturday, July 31, 2010

An Unusual Cassatt Portrait

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Portrait of a Woman 1872

Here is a Mary Cassatt portrait much more similar to the early 18th-century portraits of colonial American women. Cassatt painted Portrait of a Woman in 1872, during an 8-month stay in Parma, Italy.

It was during this, her 3rd trip abroad from her home in Pennsylvania, that Cassatt decided to settle in Europe permanently.

Painted several years before Cassatt eagerly adopted Impressionism, this portrait shows the influence of Italian Baroque painting, with its golden light, classical drapery, & monumental proportions.

Portrait of a Woman is one of several paintings the artist made of monumental, costumed women during her studies in Parma. Its sense of depth differs from Cassatt's later work, in which space is more flattened.

Later, like other Impressionists, Cassatt became more interested in painting everyday subject matter & natural gestures, than she was concerned with theories about light & brushwork technique, which she was concentrating on in this early portrait. Around 1876, Edgar Degas painted a portrait of Cassatt, as she was just beginning her career as an Impressionist.

For additional works by Mary Cassatt click here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mary Cassatt (1844–1926)

“I have not done what I wanted to, but I tried to make a good fight.” Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt (1844–1926) Young Lady in a Loge

For additional works by Mary Cassatt click here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Before I jump into my next garden posting, which is about chaos, I must admit; that I have been feeling the need for a little order in this blog, the kind of visual order offered by pattern. The most famous 19th-century English pattern & craft devotee was William Morris (1834-1896), who believed that art & society are inextricably linked. From time to time I will post a William Morris design.

1876 Pimpernel

Art for Morris meant not only the fine arts of painting & sculpture but "that great body of art by means of which men have at all times ... striven to beautify the familiar matter of everyday life."

1885 Fritillary

He believed that such art arose from a basic human instinct to create, & was "a joy to the maker & user alike" which satisfied personal creative talent & enriched society as a whole.

1873 Acanthus Wallpaper

But the traditions upon which such art rested - the skills of the artist-craftsman, which Morris saw exemplified in medieval workshop practice & the guild system - had been eroded.

1874 Larkspur Wallpaper, polychrome version

Since the Renaissance, the concept of the artist as a unique & special genius had led to a diminution in status of the craftsman & an inevitable division between the fine & decorative arts.

1881 St. James

This distinction had a particularly adverse effect on applied art, especially during the 18th-century, when the rise of an affluent middle class led to an increased demand for furniture & furnishings. In 1861, William Morris founded the decorative arts firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co to undertake carving, stained glass, metal-work, paper-hangings, chintzes (printed fabrics), & carpets.

1876 Chrysanthemum Wallpaper

Morris revived old crafts & traditions, often immersing himself in historical texts or seeking out craftsmen from whom he could learn dying arts. The company's offerings soon extended to include, besides painted windows and mural decoration; furniture; metal & glass wares; cloth & paper wall-hangings; embroideries; jewelery; woven & knotted carpets; silk damasks; & tapestries.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bringing the Sun & the Garden Indoors by Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935)

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Flower Girl 1888

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Flower Market 1895

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Marechal Niel Roses

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). The Table Garden

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). The Altar and the Shrine 1892

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). The New York Window

Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Against the Light

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) in the Garden

Although Mary Cassatt is usually remembered for her paintings of mothers and children, she also painted a few lovely garden portraits. Here are some of my favorites.

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Lydia Seated in the Garden with a Dog in Her Lap

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Red Poppies Detail

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Young Woman Sewing in a Garden

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Lydia Crocheting in the Garden at Marley 1880

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Young Woman Sewing in the Garden 1886

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). The Cup of Tea 1879

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Women & Walls by Winslow Homer (1836-1910)

The sun will not rise or set without my notice, and thanks. Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) Peach Blossoms

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) Girl in a Garden

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) Peach Blossoms

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) Girls with Lobster

Winslow Homer (1836-1910) The Garden Wall

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mary Cassatt's (1844-1926) Children in Summer

A little girl may begin, at five or six years of age, to assist her mother; and if properly trained, by the time she is ten, she can render essential aid. From this age until fourteen or fifteen, it should be the pricipal object of her education to secure a strong and healthy constitution, and a thorough practical knowledge of all kinds of domestic employments.
Catherine E. Beecher, A Treatise on Domestic Economy, 1843

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Children Playing on the Beach 1885

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Children in a Garden 1878

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Child in a Straw Hat 1886

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thomas Eakins' (1844-1916) Melancholy Women of Summer

If you follow this blog, you already know that I am drawn to close-up portraits that capture the essence of a person without being distracted by their clothing or surroundings. They seem to me to be more honest depictions reflecting either the painter's bias or the sitter's mood.

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). Portrait of Alice Kurtz

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). Portrait of Weda_Cook 1891

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). Portrait of Miss Lucy Lewis 1896

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). Portrait of Mrs. Leigo

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916). Portrait of Maude Cooks 1895

American Garden & Park Hero

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). Portrait of Fredrick Law Olmstead.

Turquerie by John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925)

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). Almina, Daughter of Asher Wertheimer

See this blog's earlier postings on Turquerie.

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925) from European Loggia to American Veranda

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). Villa Torre Galli The Loggia

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). A Gust of Wind

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925) On the Veranda at Ironbound Island, Maine.

John Singer Sargent's (1856 - 1925) Beloved Lily

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). Garden Study of the Vickers Children

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). Millets Garden

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). Carnation Lily Lily Rose

The same lily was also a favorite of Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (1848-1903).

Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (1848-1903). Among the Lilies

American John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925) in European Gardens

John Singer Sargent was not actually brought up in America. Sargent was born in Florence, Italy, and spent his childhood & adolescence touring Europe with his American parents who had decided on a nomadic lifestyle abroad in pursuit of culture rather than a more secure existence back home.

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). Villa di Marllia Lucca

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). Villa di Marlia Fountain

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925)The Garden Wall

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). Villa Torlonia Frascati.

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). Garden in Corfu 1