#FineArtFriday: The Oracle by Marguerite Blasingame


The Oracle – Hawaiian Symbolist by Marguerite Blasingame

Date: circa 1935

Marguerite Blasingame was a Hawaiian artist, world-famous for her sculptures, but less so for her paintings. She painted in a “Symbolist” style, which is very different than surrealism, although the two styles appear to share some commonalities.

About the symbolist style in art, via Wikipedia:

The symbolist painters used mythological and dream imagery. The symbols used by symbolism are not the familiar emblems of mainstream iconography but intensely personal, private, obscure and ambiguous references. More a philosophy than an actual style of art, symbolism in painting influenced the contemporary Art Nouveau style and Les Nabis.

What I love about this picture:

The dreamscape is captivating, inviting you to look closer. The water and the land seem to embrace the figures and the plants, and also cradles the sun. It is perfectly balanced. The colors are intense yet muted; the curving sinuous figures seem both familiar and alien. This painting gives the viewer much to think about.

As a writer, I’m attracted to symbolism in art and literature. When an artist goes to the trouble of offering me something of substance to think about, their work stays with me. I find myself thinking about it long after setting the book down or leaving the gallery.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Marguerite Blasingame (1906 – 1947) founded the Hawaiian Mural Arts Guild in 1934, along with Isami Doi, Madge Tennent, and others. She died young, at the age of only forty one.

On Saturday 15 March 1947, fellow island artist Madge Tennent published the following tribute to Blasingame in The Honolulu Advertiser:

“To her many artist friends she represented a youthful and indomitable vitality in art, which was supported by a capacity for grueling hard work in her chosen field of true fresco and sculptured bas-relief in Hawaiian wood and stone. She was, by almost any way of thinking, too young to die. But the strangely wonderful thing is this, that she has in her sadly short young life, left more important works of art which have been placed where everybody may enjoy them, than any other island artist.”


Credits and Attributions:

Wikipedia contributors, “Marguerite Louis Blasingame,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marguerite_Louis_Blasingame&oldid=885666667 (accessed June 27, 2019).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The Oracle – Hawaiian Symbolist by Marguerite Blasingame.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The_Oracle_-_Hawaiian_Symbolist_by_Marguerite_Blasingame.jpg&oldid=276120985 (accessed June 27, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Symbolism (arts),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Symbolism_(arts)&oldid=894767208 (accessed June 27, 2019).

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