Tag Archives: 19th century art

#FineArtFriday: Twilight Confidences by Cecilia Beaux 1888 (revisited)

Twilight_Confidences_by_Cecilia_BeauxTwilight Confidences by Cecilia Beaux  (1855–1942)

Date: 1888

Medium:  oil on canvas

Dimensions: 23 1/2 x 28 inches, 59.7 x 71.1 cm

Inscriptions: Signed and dated: Cecilia Beaux

What I love about this painting:

There is an honesty, a real sense of intimacy depicted here. The feeling of sisterhood between the two women is conveyed across the years. One holds an object with a personal meaning. She tells the other something about that object, something she feels she may be judged for. The other takes in what she has been told and accepts it for what it is.

About this painting via Wikimedia Commons:  

Cecilia Beaux was a leading figure and portrait painter and one of the few distinguished and highly recognized women artists of her time in America. Her figures are frequently compared to Sargent’s, but her style relates also to other international leaders of late-19th Century portraiture, including Anders Zorn, Giuseppe Boldini, Carolus-Duran and William Merritt Chase. She was born and lived mostly in Philadelphia, traveling frequently to Europe, especially France from a young age, and exhibited widely in Paris, Philadelphia, New York and elsewhere. Her first acclaimed work, Les Derniers jours d’enfance, a mother and child composition, was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1887, and Beaux followed it there the next year, spending the summer of 1888 at the art colony at Concarneau in Brittany. Here she painted her remarkable Twilight Confidences of 1888, preceded by numerous studies, which are in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Lost for many years, this much admired canvas is Beaux’s first major exercise in plein-air painting, in which the figures and the seascape are artfully and exquisitely juxtaposed, and sunlight permeates the whole composition.


Credits and Attributions:

Twilight Confidences, Cecilia Beaux, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Twilight Confidences by Cecilia Beaux.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Twilight_Confidences_by_Cecilia_Beaux.jpg&oldid=355146645 (accessed April 16, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth J.M.W. Turner 1842

J.M.W. Turner

Title: Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth

Artist: J. M. W. Turner

Year: 1842

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 91 cm × 122 cm (36 in × 48 in)

Location: Tate, London, Great Britain

About this Picture, Via Wikipedia:

The painting depicts a paddle steamer caught in a snow storm. This marine painting is showing a Romantic era’s painter’s depiction of a snowstorm on water at its best, fully developing the bold, daring Romantic fantasy of Turner. Turner was unrivaled in depicting the natural world unmastered by mankind and exploring the effects of the elements and the battle of the forces of the nature. Turner worked first as a watercolorist, and he started to work much later with oils. He later applied the techniques he learned in watercolour onto oil paintings.

It is typical of the late style of Turner. Turner’s tints and shades of colours are painted in different layers of colour, the brushstrokes adding texture to the painting. The colours are monochromatic, only a few shades of grey, green and brown are present, having the same tone of colours. The silvery pale light that surrounds the boat creates a focal point, drawing the viewer into the painting. The smoke from the steamboat spreads out over the sky, creating abstract shapes of the same quality like the waves.

An inscription on the painting relates that The Author was in this Storm on the Night the “Ariel” left Harwich. Turner later recounted a story about the background of the painting:

“I did not paint it to be understood, but I wished to show what such a scene was like; I got the sailors to lash me to the mast to observe it; I was lashed for four hours, and I did not expect to escape, but I felt bound to record it if I did.”

He was 67 years old at the time. Some later commentators doubt the literal truth of this account. Other critics accept Turner’s account, and one wrote, “He empathized completely with the dynamic form of sovereign nature.”  This inscription allows us to better understand the scene represented and the confusion of elements.

Turner had investigated the interactions between nature and the new technology of steamboats in at least five paintings in the previous decade. Throughout his career, Turner engaged with issues of urbanism, industry, railroads and steam power. [1]

About the Artist, Via Wikipedia:

Joseph Mallord William Turner RA (23 April 1775 – 19 December 1851), known in his time as William Turner, was an English Romantic painter, printmaker and watercolourist. He is known for his expressive colourisations, imaginative landscapes and turbulent, often violent marine paintings. He left behind more than 550 oil paintings, 2,000 watercolours, and 30,000 works on paper. He was championed by the leading English art critic John Ruskin from 1840, and is today regarded as having elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting.

Turner was born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, to a modest lower-middle-class family. He lived in London all his life, retaining his Cockney accent and assiduously avoiding the trappings of success and fame. A child prodigy, Turner studied at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1789, enrolling when he was 14, and exhibited his first work there at 15. During this period, he also served as an architectural draftsman. He earned a steady income from commissions and sales, which due to his troubled, contrary nature, were often begrudgingly accepted. He opened his own gallery in 1804 and became professor of perspective at the academy in 1807, where he lectured until 1828. He travelled to Europe from 1802, typically returning with voluminous sketchbooks.

Intensely private, eccentric and reclusive, Turner was a controversial figure throughout his career. He did not marry, but fathered two daughters, Eveline (1801–1874) and Georgiana (1811–1843), by his housekeeper Sarah Danby. He became more pessimistic and morose as he got older, especially after the death of his father, when his outlook deteriorated, his gallery fell into disrepair and neglect, and his art intensified. In 1841, Turner rowed a boat into the Thames so he could not be counted as present at any property in that year’s census. He lived in squalor and poor health from 1845, and died in London in 1851 aged 76. Turner is buried in Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Snow_Storm:_Steam-Boat_off_a_Harbour%27s_Mouth&oldid=1000619190 (accessed March 3, 2022).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “J. M. W. Turner,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=J._M._W._Turner&oldid=1075008053 (accessed March 3, 2022).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Joseph Mallord William Turner – Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth – WGA23178.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_Snow_Storm_-_Steam-Boat_off_a_Harbour%27s_Mouth_-_WGA23178.jpg&oldid=618892271 (accessed March 3, 2022).

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#FineArtFriday: Fishermen at Sea by J. M. W. Turner 1796

Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_Fishermen_at_Sea_-_Google_Art_ProjectArtist: J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851)

Title: Fishermen at Sea

Genre: marine art

Depicted place: The Needles, off the Isle of Wight

Date: 1796

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 914 mm (35.98 in); Width: 1,222 mm (48.11 in)

What I love about this painting:

I love seascapes, in all their many forms. This particular painting is dark in many ways beyond the obvious. It is a night scene, and it tells us a story of the dangers that fishermen face. Fish don’t care about the weather and some fish can only be caught at night.

If you must go out in the stormy dark, sometimes the catch is death.

We see an event unfolding by moonlight, observed by three seagulls sailing on the wind. Two boats, one a small vessel and the other a larger boat, tossing upon the rough sea, both with their sails furled. This tells us they fear being driven onto the rocks known as the Needles.

A line has been cast toward the larger boat, but no one is tending it. Nearly all the art scholars say it is a fishing line, but it seems rather stout for a fishing line, and there is only one line in the water although two ships are braving the storm. Waves threaten to wash everything overboard on both boats.

I’m a storyteller; to my imagination this scene looks less like a fishing expedition and more like a rescue, as if the rope has been cast toward the other vessel to bring it close.

This is the beauty of great art. It inspires the imagination to think beyond the obvious, to look outside the accepted view and to find new ways of looking at things.

The warm glow of lantern in the stern of the smaller boat casts little light and is the only warmth in this scene. The moon has emerged from behind the clouds and illuminates the action.

Whether this is merely a rough night of fishing or a rescue at sea, this a powerful moment of fear and bravery.

About this painting via Wikipedia:

Fishermen at Sea, sometimes known as the Cholmeley Sea Piece, is an early oil painting by English artist J. M. W. Turner. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1796 and has been owned by the Tate Gallery since 1972. The painting measures 36 by 48.125 inches (91.44 cm × 122.24 cm). It was the first painting by Turner to be exhibited at the Royal Academy. It was praised by contemporary critics and founded Turner’s reputation, as both an oil painter and a painter of maritime scenes. Art historian Andrew Wilton has commented that the image: “Is a summary of all that had been said about the sea by the artists of the 18th century.”

The painting depicts a moonlit view of fishermen on rough seas near the Needles, of the Isle of Wight. It juxtaposes the fragility of human life, represented by the small boat with its flickering lamp, and the sublime power of nature, represented by the dark clouded sky, the wide sea, and the threatening rocks in the background. The cold light of the Moon at night contrasts with the warmer glow of the fishermen’s lantern. [1]

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Joseph Mallord William Turner RA (23 April 1775 – 19 December 1851), known in his time as William Turner,[a] was an English Romantic painter, printmaker and watercolourist. He is known for his expressive colourisations, imaginative landscapes and turbulent, often violent marine paintings. He left behind more than 550 oil paintings, 2,000 watercolours, and 30,000 works on paper. He was championed by the leading English art critic John Ruskin from 1840, and is today regarded as having elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting.

Turner was born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, to a modest lower-middle-class family. He lived in London all his life, retaining his Cockney accent and assiduously avoiding the trappings of success and fame. A child prodigy, Turner studied at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1789, enrolling when he was 14, and exhibited his first work there at 15. During this period, he also served as an architectural draftsman. He earned a steady income from commissions and sales, which due to his troubled, contrary nature, were often begrudgingly accepted. He opened his own gallery in 1804 and became professor of perspective at the academy in 1807, where he lectured until 1828. He travelled to Europe from 1802, typically returning with voluminous sketchbooks.

Intensely private, eccentric and reclusive, Turner was a controversial figure throughout his career. He did not marry, but fathered two daughters, Eveline (1801–1874) and Georgiana (1811–1843), by his housekeeper Sarah Danby. He became more pessimistic and morose as he got older, especially after the death of his father, after which his outlook deteriorated, his gallery fell into disrepair and neglect, and his art intensified. In 1841, Turner rowed a boat into the Thames so he could not be counted as present at any property in that year’s census. He lived in squalor and poor health from 1845, and died in London in 1851 aged 76. Turner is buried in Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

Fishermen at Sea, J. M. W. Turner, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Fishermen at Sea,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fishermen_at_Sea&oldid=1000617338 (accessed January 21, 2022).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “J. M. W. Turner,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=J._M._W._Turner&oldid=1062349164 (accessed January 21, 2022).

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#FineArtFriday: Christmas Eve, Chromolithograph by Joseph C. Hoover & Sons

No_Known_Restrictions_Christmas_Eve_by_J._Hoover,_no_date_LOC_2122063062

Description: Christmas Eve, chromolithograph by J. C. Hoover and Sons

Date: 1880

About the publisher, via Art and Antiques Gallery’s website:

Hoover & Sons issued popular prints for the masses in the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. This was a business much like Currier & Ives, though Hoover & Sons issued chromolithographs. Joseph Hoover was one of the few native-born Americans who achieved success with chromolithography. Hoover started by making elaborate wood frames in Philadelphia in 1856, but within a decade or so he began to produce popular prints. Initially he mostly worked for other publishers, including Duval & Hunter, and he worked with noted Philadelphia artist James F. Queen. He also issued a few hand-colored, popular prints of considerable charm. During the Centennial, Hoover won a medal for excellence for his chromolithographs after Queens renderings.

In the 1880s, Hoover began to print chromolithographs, installing a complete printing plant by 1885. By the end of the century, his firm was one of the largest print publishers in the county, with an average annual production of between 600,000 to 700,000 pictures. Using chromolithography, Hoover was able to produce attractive, colorful prints that were still affordable for anyone to use as decoration for home and office. The audience for Hoover’s prints was quite wide, extending throughout the United States, and overseas to Canada, Mexico, England and Germany. The subjects issued by the firm are extensive, including genre scenes, still life images, views of American locations, and generic landscapes, including a series of charming winter scenes. [1]

About Chromolithography, via Wikipedia:

Chromolithography is a chemical process. The process is based on the rejection of water by grease. The image is applied to stone, grained zinc or aluminium surfaces, with a grease-based crayon or ink. Limestone and zinc are two commonly used materials in the production of chromolithographs, as aluminium corrodes easily. After the image is drawn onto one of these surfaces, the image is gummed-up with a gum arabic solution and weak nitric acid to desensitize the surface. Before printing, the image is proofed before finally inking up the image with oil-based transfer or printing ink. In the direct form of printing, the inked image is transferred under pressure onto a sheet of paper using a flat-bed press. The offset indirect method uses a rubber-covered cylinder that transfers the image from the printing surface to the paper.

Alois Senefelder, the inventor of lithography, introduced the subject of colored lithography in his 1818 Vollstaendiges Lehrbuch der Steindruckerey (A Complete Course of Lithography), where he told of his plans to print using colour and explained the colours he wished to be able to print someday. Although Senefelder recorded plans for chromolithography, printers in other countries, such as France and England, were also trying to find a new way to print in colour. Godefroy Engelmann of Mulhouse in France was awarded a patent on chromolithography in July 1837, but there are disputes over whether chromolithography was already in use before this date, as some sources say, pointing to areas of printing such as the production of playing cards. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

[1] Quote from Art and Antiques Gallery https://www.pbase.com/artandantiquesgallery/joseph_hoover_and_sons_prints (accessed December 24, 2021).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Chromolithography,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Chromolithography&oldid=1058870233 (accessed December 24, 2021).

Image Credit: Public Domain. Library of Congress via pingnews. Additional information from source: TITLE: Christmas Eve CALL NUMBER: PGA – Hoover, J.–Christmas Eve (D size) [P&P] REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-DIG-01601 (digital file from original print) LC-USZ62-49683 (b&w film copy neg.) RIGHTS INFORMATION: No known restrictions on publication. MEDIUM: 1 print. CREATED/PUBLISHED: [no date recorded on shelflist card]

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#FineArtFriday: Dort or Dordrecht: The Dort packet-boat from Rotterdam becalmed by J. M. W. Turner 1818

B1977.14.77

Artist: J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851)

Title: Dort or Dordrecht: The Dort packet-boat from Rotterdam becalmed

Genre: marine art

Date: 1818

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 157.5 cm (62 in); Width: 233.7 cm (92 in)

Collection: Yale Center for British Art

What I love about this painting:

The colors show us a windless evening in summer or fall, a time of day when the smoke from factories and chimneys lingers and turns the sky brown and gold, reflected on the waters.

This is a glimpse into the history of how we once moved goods and mail across long distances. Some packet boats were medium-sized ships, able to navigate shallow rivers and canals. Others were ocean-going vessels. Some were steam driven, but the one we see in this painting is an early ship, powered by the wind.

The wind has failed, and so the crew is being ferried off the ship via a smaller row-boat.

About this painting via Wikipedia:

The Dort, or Dort or Dordrecht: The Dort packet-boat from Rotterdam becalmed is an 1818 painting by J. M. W. Turner, based on drawings made by him in mid-September 1817.  It shows a view of the harbour of Dordrecht. It is the finest example of the influence of Dutch marine painting on Turner’s work.

It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1818, where it was described by The Morning Chronicle as “one of the most magnificent pictures ever exhibited, and does honour to the age”. In 1832, John Constable wrote of the picture, “I remember most of Turner’s early works; amongst them one of singular intricacy and beauty; it was a canal with numerous boats making thousands of beautiful shapes, and I think the most complete work of a genius I ever saw”.

It was purchased by Walter Fawkes for 500 guineas at the request of his son, and hung in the drawing room at Farnley Hall until it was bought by Paul Mellon in 1966. It was then donated to the Yale Center for British Art upon the founding of the centre. [1]

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Joseph Mallard William Turner was born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, to a modest lower-middle-class family. He lived in London all his life, retaining his Cockney accent and assiduously avoiding the trappings of success and fame. A child prodigy, Turner studied at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1789, enrolling when he was 14, and exhibited his first work there at 15. During this period, he also served as an architectural draftsman. He earned a steady income from commissions and sales, which due to his troubled, contrary nature, were often begrudgingly accepted. He opened his own gallery in 1804 and became professor of perspective at the academy in 1807, where he lectured until 1828. He travelled to Europe from 1802, typically returning with voluminous sketchbooks.

Intensely private, eccentric and reclusive, Turner was a controversial figure throughout his career. He did not marry, but fathered two daughters, Eveline (1801–1874) and Georgiana (1811–1843), by his housekeeper Sarah Danby. He became more pessimistic and morose as he got older, especially after the death of his father, after which his outlook deteriorated, his gallery fell into disrepair and neglect, and his art intensified. In 1841, Turner rowed a boat into the Thames so he could not be counted as present at any property in that year’s census. He lived in squalor and poor health from 1845, and died in London in 1851 aged 76. Turner is buried in Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:DortorDordrecht.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:DortorDordrecht.jpg&oldid=554289467 (accessed October 28, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Dort or Dordrecht: The Dort packet-boat from Rotterdam becalmed,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dort_or_Dordrecht:_The_Dort_packet-boat_from_Rotterdam_becalmed&oldid=1000618596 (accessed October 28, 2021).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “J. M. W. Turner,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=J._M._W._Turner&oldid=1050867512 (accessed October 28, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: The Spirit of War by Jasper Francis Cropsey 1851

The spirit of war

Title: The Spirit of War by Jasper Francis Cropsey  (1823–1900)

Genre: landscape

Date: 1851

Medium: painting

Dimensions: Height: 110.8 cm (43.6 in); Width: 171.6 cm (67.5 in)

Collection: National Gallery of Art

Place of creation: United States of America [1]

What I love about this painting:

The Spirit of War by Jasper Francis Cropsey is one of a two-part fantasy that Cropsey painted in 1851; the other is the Spirit of Peace. During Cropsey’s lifetime, these two paintings were his most celebrated, but now he is known more for his ethereal paintings depicting autumn scenes, several of which I have featured here.

This painting was inspired both by the aftermath of the Mexican-American War and the looming threat of the American Civil War. It shows the young artist’s love of Arthurian tales and demonstrates his ability to deliver a story. His signature luminism is still in its infancy here, yet one can see the seeds of what would become a mastery of light and illumination.

Cropsey contrasts light and shadow as if they were good and evil. He paints godlike mountains that reign over deep valleys and strongholds. In the foreground, a strong fortress represents prosperity, her richly attired knights riding out to do battle. In the distance, a citadel burns, the smoke of raging fires billowing toward the darkening sky.

This is a powerful painting, one that tells a story and shows an entire novel.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Jasper Francis Cropsey (February 18, 1823 – June 22, 1900) was an important American landscape artist of the Hudson River School.

Trained as an architect, he set up his own office in 1843. Cropsey studied watercolor and life drawing at the National Academy of Design under the instruction of Edward Maury and first exhibited there in 1844. A year later he was elected an associate member and turned exclusively to landscape painting; shortly after he was featured in an exhibition entitled “Italian Compositions”.

Cropsy traveled in Europe from 1847–1849, visiting England, France, Switzerland, and Italy. He was elected a full member of the Academy in 1851. Cropsey was a personal friend of Henry Tappan, the president of the University of Michigan from 1852 to 1863. At Tappan’s invitation, he traveled to Ann Arbor in 1855 and produced two paintings, one of the Detroit Observatory, and a landscape of the campus. He went abroad again in 1856, and resided seven years in London, sending his pictures to the Royal Academy and to the International exhibition of 1862.

Returning home, he opened a studio in New York and specialized in autumnal landscape paintings of the northeastern United States, often idealized and with vivid colors. Cropsey co-founded, with ten fellow artists, the American Society of Painters in Water Colors in 1866.

Cropsey’s interest in architecture continued throughout his life and was a strong influence in his painting, most evident in his precise arrangement and outline of forms. But Cropsey was best known for his lavish use of color and, as a first-generation member from the Hudson River School, painted autumn landscapes that startled viewers with their boldness and brilliance. As an artist, he believed landscapes were the highest art form and that nature was a direct manifestation of God. He also felt a patriotic affiliation with nature and saw his paintings as depicting the rugged and unspoiled qualities of America. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

[1] Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The-spirit-of-war.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The-spirit-of-war.jpg&oldid=565046310 (accessed June 17, 2021).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Jasper Francis Cropsey,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jasper_Francis_Cropsey&oldid=1018920537 (accessed June 17, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: A London Garden by Edith Corbet 1911

Edith_Corbet_A_London_gardenTitle: A London Garden

Artist: Edith Corbet (1846-1920)

Description: oil on canvas; 62 x 45 cm

Date: 1911

Signed and dated ‘Edith Corbet/1911’ (lower left).

What I love about this painting:

I love the serenity of older, slightly overgrown gardens. This garden is peaceful, with irises blooming, and beyond the gate, a path winds toward a pool ringed by hyacinths. Further beyond, steps lead to a home. Whoever lives here is lucky to have such a garden out their front door.

Birds find mature shrubbery attractive and make their homes there. Several birds are enjoying the birdbath, secure and safe from predators.

About the artist, via Wikipedia:

Edith Corbet née Edenborough (28 December 1846 – 1920) was a Victorian landscape painter, having close associations with the Macchiaioli group (also known as the Tuscans or Etruscans), who, in a break with tradition, painted outdoors in order to capture natural light effects and favoured a panoramic format for their paintings

She married the Victorian painter and illustrator Arthur Murch and moved to Rome, where she painted with Giovanni Costa, leader of the Macchiaioli group. In 1876 they both stayed in Venice. Olivia Rossetti Agresti wrote: Costa had a very high opinion of this artist’s gifts and used to remember with pleasure how on that occasion they used to go out together to paint from nature at Fusino (Agresti, 1904).

She frequently exhibited from 1880 to 1890 at the Grosvenor Gallery and the New Gallery. In 1891, after the death of her first husband, she married Matthew Ridley Corbet, one of the Macchiaioli group’s leading members, after which she exhibited mainly at the Royal Academy, visiting Italy and living in London for the remainder of her life. Corbet exhibited her work at the Palace of Fine Arts at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. She died in Hampstead, north London, in 1920. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Edith Corbet A London garden.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Edith_Corbet_A_London_garden.jpg&oldid=555317886 (accessed June 3, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Edith Corbet,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Edith_Corbet&oldid=936468065 (accessed June 3, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: The Fairy Mab, Henry Fuseli ca 1815-20

The Fairy Mab Johann_Heinrich_Füssli_038The Fairy Mab

Artist: Henry Fuseli  (1741–1825)

Date: from 1815 until 1820

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 70 cm (27.5 in); Width: 90 cm (35.4 in)

Collection: Folger Shakespeare Library 

Current location: Washington, D.C.


About the artist, via Wikipedia:

[1] Describing Fuseli’s style, the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica said that:

His figures are full of life and earnestness, and seem to have an object in view which they follow with intensity. Like Rubens he excelled in the art of setting his figures in motion. Though the lofty and terrible was his proper sphere, Fuseli had a fine perception of the ludicrous. The grotesque humour of his fairy scenes, especially those taken from A Midsummer-Night’s Dream, is in its way not less remarkable than the poetic power of his more ambitious works.

Though not noted as a colourist, Fuseli was described as a master of light and shadow. Rather than setting out his palette methodically in the manner of most painters, he merely distributed the colours across it randomly. He often used his pigments in the form of a dry powder, which he hastily combined on the end of his brush with oil, or turpentine, or gold size, regardless of the quantity, and depending on accident for the general effect. This recklessness may perhaps be explained by the fact that he did not paint in oil until the age of 25. [1]


Credits and Attributions:

The Fairy Mab by Henry Fuseli, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Johann Heinrich Füssli 038.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Johann_Heinrich_F%C3%BCssli_038.jpg&oldid=386917365  (accessed May 15, 2021).

[1] Wikipedia contributors, “Henry Fuseli,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Henry_Fuseli&oldid=1022033114 (accessed May 15, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Twilight Confidences by Cecilia Beaux 1888

Twilight_Confidences_by_Cecilia_BeauxTwilight Confidences by Cecilia Beaux  (1855–1942)

Date: 1888

Medium:  oil on canvas

Dimensions: 23 1/2 x 28 inches, 59.7 x 71.1 cm

Inscriptions: Signed and dated: Cecilia Beaux

About this painting via Wikimedia Commons:  

Cecilia Beaux was a leading figure and portrait painter and one of the few distinguished and highly recognized women artists of her time in America. Her figures are frequently compared to Sargent’s, but her style relates also to other international leaders of late-19th Century portraiture, including Anders Zorn, Giuseppe Boldini, Carolus-Duran and William Merritt Chase. She was born and lived mostly in Philadelphia, traveling frequently to Europe, especially France from a young age, and exhibited widely in Paris, Philadelphia, New York and elsewhere. Her first acclaimed work, Les Derniers jours d’enfance, a mother and child composition, was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1887, and Beaux followed it there the next year, spending the summer of 1888 at the art colony at Concarneau in Brittany. Here she painted her remarkable Twilight Confidences of 1888, preceded by numerous studies, which are in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Lost for many years, this much admired canvas is Beaux’s first major exercise in plein-air painting, in which the figures and the seascape are artfully and exquisitely juxtaposed, and sunlight permeates the whole composition.


Credits and Attributions:

Twilight Confidences, Cecilia Beaux, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Twilight Confidences by Cecilia Beaux.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Twilight_Confidences_by_Cecilia_Beaux.jpg&oldid=355146645 (accessed April 16, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Ploughing in the Nivernais by Rosa Bonheur 1849

Rosa_Bonheur_-_Ploughing_in_Nevers_-_Google_Art_ProjectPloughing in the Nivernais by Rosa Bonheur

Genre: animal art

Date: 1849

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 1,340 mm (52.75 in); Width: 2,600 mm (102.36 in)

Inscriptions: Signature and date right: Rosa Bonheur 1849

About this painting via Wikipedia:

Oxen ploughing in Nevers or Plowing in Nivernais, is an 1849 painting by French artist Rosa Bonheur. It depicts two teams of oxen ploughing the land, and expresses deep commitment to the land; it may have been inspired by the opening scene of George Sand‘s 1846 novel La Mare au Diable. Commissioned by the government and winner of a First Medal at the Salon in 1849, today it is held in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

The Nivernais, the area around Nevers, was known for its Charolais cattle, which were to play an important role in the agricultural revolution that took place in the area in the nineteenth century. Rosa Bonheur gained a reputation painting animals, and Ploughing in the Nivernais features twelve Charolais oxen, in two groups of six. On a sunny autumn day they plough the land; this is the sombrage, the first stage of soil preparation in the fall, which opens up the soil to aeration during the winter. Humans play a minor role in the painting—the farmer is almost completely hidden behind his animals. The freshly-ploughed land is prominent in the foreground, while the landscape behind is basking in sunlight. The painting’s clarity and light resembles that of the Dutch paintings (esp. by Paulus Potter) which Bonheur had studied as part of her education.

According to Albert Boime, the painting should be seen as a glorification of peasant life and its ancient traditions; he places it in the context of the revolutionary year 1848, when cities were the scene of chaos and strife. [1]

About the artist, via Wikipedia:

Bonheur was born on 16 March 1822 in BordeauxGironde, the oldest child in a family of artists. Her mother was Sophie Bonheur (born Marquis), a piano teacher; she died when Rosa Bonheur was eleven. Her father was Oscar-Raymond Bonheur, a landscape and portrait painter who encouraged his daughter’s artistic talents. Though of Jewish origin, the Bonheur family adhered to Saint-Simonianism, a Christiansocialist sect that promoted the education of women alongside men. Bonheur’s siblings included the animal painters Auguste Bonheur and Juliette Bonheur, as well as the animal sculptor Isidore Jules BonheurFrancis Galton used the Bonheurs as an example of “Hereditary Genius” in his 1869 essay of the same title.

In a world where gender expression was policed, Rosa Bonheur broke boundaries by deciding to wear pants, shirts and ties. She did not do this because she wanted to be a man, though she occasionally referred to herself as a grandson or brother when talking about her family; rather, Bonheur identified with the power and freedom reserved for men. Wearing men’s clothing gave Bonheur a sense of identity in that it allowed her to openly show that she refused to conform to societies’ construction of the gender binary. It also broadcast her sexuality at a time where the lesbian stereotype consisted of women who cut their hair short, wore pants, and chain-smoked. Rosa Bonheur did all three. Bonheur never explicitly said she was a lesbian, but her lifestyle and the way she talked about her female partners suggests this.

Bonheur, while taking pleasure in activities usually reserved for men (such as hunting and smoking), viewed her womanhood as something far superior to anything a man could offer or experience. She viewed men as stupid and mentioned that the only males she had time or attention for were the bulls she painted.

Having chosen to never become an adjunct or appendage to a man in terms of painting, she decided she would be her own boss and that she would lean on herself and her female partners instead. She had her partners focus on the home life while she took on the role of breadwinner by focusing on her painting. Bonheur’s legacy paved the way for other lesbian artists who didn’t favour the life society had laid out for them.

Bonheur died on 25 May 1899, at the age of 77, at Thomery (By), France. She was buried together with Nathalie Micas (1824 – 24 June 1889), her lifelong companion, at Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris. Klumpke was Bonheur’s sole heir after her death, and later joined Micas and Bonheur in the same cemetery upon her death. Many of her paintings, which had not previously been shown publicly, were sold at auction in Paris in 1900. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

[1] Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Rosa Bonheur – Ploughing in Nevers – Google Art Project.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Rosa_Bonheur_-_Ploughing_in_Nevers_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg&oldid=380365743 (accessed April 8, 2021).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Ploughing in the Nivernais,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ploughing_in_the_Nivernais&oldid=975131991 (accessed April 8, 2021).

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