Tag Archives: 19th century portraits

#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: Self-Portrait as a Distressed Poet by Augustus Leopold Egg

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Leopold Augustus Egg was born to Joseph and Ann Egg, and baptised in St James’s Church, Piccadilly, on 30 May 1816. He had an elder brother, George Hine Egg.

His father Joseph Egg was a wealthy gunsmith from the distinguished gun making family, who immigrated to London from Huningue, Alsace. Egg was educated in the schools of the Royal Academy, beginning in 1836. Egg was a member of The Clique, a group of artists founded by Richard Dadd and others in the late 1830s (c. 1837). Egg sought to combine popularity with moral and social activism, in line with the literary work of his friend Charles Dickens. With Dickens he set up the “Guild of Literature and Art”, a philanthropic organisation intended to provide welfare payments to struggling artists and writers. He acted the lead role in “Not So Bad As We Seem,” a play written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton to raise funds for the organization. His self-portrait in the role is in Hospitalfield House in Arbroath.

Egg’s early paintings were generally illustrations of literary subjects. Like other members of The Clique, he saw himself as a follower of Hogarth. His interest in Hogarthian moral themes is evidenced in his paired paintings The Life and Death of Buckingham, depicting the dissolute life and sordid death of the Restoration rake George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham. Yet his paintings often took a humorous look at their subjects, as in his Queen Elizabeth Discovers she is no longer Young (1848).

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Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Self Portrait as a Distressed Poet Augustus Leopold Egg (1816–1863) Hospitalfield.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Self_Portrait_as_a_Distressed_Poet_Augustus_Leopold_Egg_(1816%E2%80%931863)_Hospitalfield.jpg&oldid=530289957 (accessed March 26, 2021).

Wikipedia contributors, “Augustus Egg,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Augustus_Egg&oldid=1005078766 (accessed March 26, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Monet Painting in His Garden by Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1873

Monet Painting in His Garden by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Date: 1873

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions : Height: 46 cm (18.1 in); Width: 60 cm (23.6 in)

Collection: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

What I love about this painting:

Renoir shows us that Claude Monet’s garden is lush and a little wild, like the man who owns it. Yet, although he is the subject of this painting, Monet is completely focused on his work. The colors are vivid, which inspires me since my own garden is only now shaking off the depredations of winter. I would love to spend time in this riotous garden.

Renoir visited his good friend many times during the years Monet lived at Argenteuil, a village on the right bank of the Seine river near Paris. In 1873, Monet purchased a small boat equipped to be used as a floating studio, which must have been a draw for Renoir and his friends.

About the artist (via Wikipedia):

In 1862, Auguste Renoir began studying art under Charles Gleyre in Paris. There he met Alfred SisleyFrédéric Bazille, and Claude Monet.  At times, during the 1860s, he did not have enough money to buy paint. Renoir had his first success at the Salon of 1868 with his painting Lise with a Parasol (1867), which depicted Lise Tréhot, his lover at the time. Although Renoir first started exhibiting paintings at the Paris Salon in 1864, recognition was slow in coming, partly as a result of the turmoil of the Franco-Prussian War.

Renoir was inspired by the style and subject matter of previous modern painters Camille Pissarro and Edouard Manet. After a series of rejections by the Salon juries, he joined forces with Monet, Sisley, Pissarro, and several other artists to mount the first Impressionist exhibition in April 1874, in which Renoir displayed six paintings. Although the critical response to the exhibition was largely unfavorable, Renoir’s work was comparatively well received.  That same year, two of his works were shown with Durand-Ruel in London. 

 


Credits and Attributions:

Monet Painting in His Garden by Pierre-Auguste Renoir / Public domain

Wikipedia contributors, “Pierre-Auguste Renoir,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pierre-Auguste_Renoir&oldid=949963500 (accessed April 17, 2020).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Renoir-Monet painting.png,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Renoir-Monet_painting.png&oldid=338421916 (accessed April 17, 2020).

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#FineArtFriday: Portrait of Madame X by John Singer Sargent 1884


What I love about this Painting:

I love everything–the moody colors and textures–she needs no necklace, no jewels to prove she is someone unforgettable.

Madame X is mysterious; she is a promise unspoken.

She is dangerous the way uncharted seas are.

Her pose, the elegance of the black dress, the turn of her head—this portrait shouts “Here is a woman to be reckoned with.” Everyone who knew Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau said that in this Portrait of Madame X, American expatriate artist  John Singer Sargent captured something real, something true about the woman, something well beyond the unashamed sexuality of the portrait.

About this painting, via Wikipedia:

(John Singer Sargent’s) most controversial work, Portrait of Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau) (1884) is now considered one of his best works, and was the artist’s personal favorite; he stated in 1915, “I suppose it is the best thing I have done.” When unveiled in Paris at the 1884 Salon, it aroused such a negative reaction that it likely prompted Sargent’s move to London. Sargent’s self-confidence had led him to attempt a risqué experiment in portraiture—but this time it unexpectedly backfired. The painting was not commissioned by her and he pursued her for the opportunity, quite unlike most of his portrait work where clients sought him out. Sargent wrote to a common acquaintance:

I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. …you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.

It took well over a year to complete the painting. The first version of the portrait of Madame Gautreau, with the famously plunging neckline, white-powdered skin, and arrogantly cocked head, featured an intentionally suggestive off-the-shoulder dress strap, on her right side only, which made the overall effect more daring and sensual. Sargent repainted the strap to its expected over-the-shoulder position to try to dampen the furor, but the damage had been done. French commissions dried up and he told his friend Edmund Gosse in 1885 that he contemplated giving up painting for music or business.

Writing of the reaction of visitors, Judith Gautier observed:

“Is it a woman? a chimera, the figure of a unicorn rearing as on a heraldic coat of arms or perhaps the work of some oriental decorative artist to whom the human form is forbidden and who, wishing to be reminded of woman, has drawn the delicious arabesque? No, it is none of these things, but rather the precise image of a modern woman scrupulously drawn by a painter who is a master of his art.”


Credits and Attributions:

Wikipedia contributors, “John Singer Sargent,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Singer_Sargent&oldid=904608954 (accessed July 25, 2019).

Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), by John Singer Sargent, 1884 PD|100

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), John Singer Sargent, 1884 (unfree frame crop).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Madame_X_(Madame_Pierre_Gautreau),_John_Singer_Sargent,_1884_(unfree_frame_crop).jpg&oldid=358225955 (accessed July 25, 2019).

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