Tag Archives: 20th century art

#FineArtFriday: Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches by Joseph Farquharson 1903

Title: Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches

Publisher: Hallmark Cards

Genre: landscape art

Date: Circa 1903

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 82 x 119.25 cm. (32 5/16 x 46 15/16 in.

What I love about this painting:

There is something haunting, a nostalgic echo of times long gone in this picture. The snow is thick and heavy, and the sheep are fluffy in their long coats. Winter has come and the shadows are long, but the conical haystacks across the lane contain plenty to last through the harshest season. The afternoon light is reflected on the snowy landscape and in the branches, a perfect golden luminosity, the hue that presages imminent dusk. 

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Joseph Farquharson DL RA (4 May 1846 – 15 April 1935) was a Scottish painter, chiefly of landscapes, mostly in Scotland and very often including animals. He is most famous for his snowy winter landscapes, often featuring sheep and often depicting dawn or dusk. The unusual titles of many of Farquharson’s paintings stand out and are sometimes long. Many of them were taken from poems by Burns, Milton, Shakespeare, and Gray. Farquharson was very patriotic and well versed in Scottish literature.

The remarkable realism of Farquharson’s work can be attributed to his desire to work en plein air. This had to be carried out in a unique way which was adapted to the harsh Scottish climate. Farquharson had constructed a painting hut on wheels, complete with a stove and large glass window for observing the landscape. Likewise to achieve as realistic a result as possible when painting the sheep which frequently appear in his snowscapes, he used a flock of “imitation” sheep which could be placed as required in the landscape of his choice. Farquharson painted so many scenes of cattle and sheep in snow he was nicknamed ‘Frozen Mutton Farquharson’.

Farquharson inherited the title of Laird in 1918 after the death of his elder brother Robert, a doctor and MP for West Aberdeenshire.

In 2008 the original of the 1901 painting Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches came to light, for the first time in 40 years, when the lady owner put her house up for sale. The painting, which she had bought from a Bond Street dealer in the 1960s for £1,450, was expected to fetch up to £70,000 when it was offered for sale by auction at Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh. Nick Carnow, a director at the auctioneers, form said that the unnamed seller was moving to a smaller house and would not have room for the painting. In fact it sold for more than twice that estimate to another private collector in Scotland for £147,600.


Credits and Attributions:

Beneath the Snow Encumbered Branches Joseph Farquharson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia contributors, “Joseph Farquharson,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Joseph_Farquharson&oldid=982764133 (accessed January 1, 2021).

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The shortening winter’s day is near a close Farquharson.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The_shortening_winter%27s_day_is_near_a_close_Farquharson.jpg&oldid=354603464 (accessed January 1, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Hastings: the Front by Theodore Casmir Roussel 1908


Title: Hastings: the Front.

Medium: Watercolor.

Signed and dated: Theodore Roussel 1908.

Dimensions: 6.75×10 inches. Framed: 13.75×16 inches.”

Hastings is a seaside town in East Sussex on the south coast of England, south east of London. In the 19th and early 20th century, when this painting made, the railway enabled ordinary tourists and visitors to reach the town, and it became a popular seaside resort.

What I love about this painting:

I love watercolors. The medium allows for a dreamy atmosphere, and in this case, the artist has presented us with the impression of a sundrenched afternoon at the seashore. Roussel’s work grew more atmospheric as he grew older, but he was known more for his classically depicted nudes than as an impressionist. However, it’s clear he had an eye for impressionism and the ability to show a story with watercolors.

Tourists stroll along the breakwater in front of the hotels, wearing broad hats and coats. Like many days at the beach on the Washington Coast, where I live, even in summer the wind often carries a chill.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Theodore Casimir Roussel (1847–1926) was a French-born English painter and graphic artist, best known for his landscapes and genre scenes. He came to painting late, in 1872, after his military service had ended, and he was entirely self-taught. His earliest works were scenes of daily life, rendered in the style of the Old Masters. In 1878, he moved to London and, two years later, married the widow Frances Amelia Smithson Bull (1844–1909), a distant collateral relative of James Smithson. In 1885, he met James McNeill Whistler, who became a lifelong friend and mentor.


Credits and Attributions:

Hastings: the Front by Théodore Roussel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia contributors, “Theodore Roussel,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Theodore_Roussel&oldid=896039278 (accessed December 3, 2020).

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#FineArtFriday: Bridge at Ipswich by Theodore Wendel ca. 1905

  • Artist:  Theodore Wendel  (1859–1932)
  • Title:    Bridge at Ipswich        Date:   circa 1905
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: Height: 61.5 cm (24.2 ″); Width: 76.2 cm (30 ″)
  • Collection: Museum of Fine Arts

One of the artists whose work I viewed at the Tacoma Art Museum last Friday is a little known Impressionist painter,  Theodore Wendel. I had never heard of him and have had a difficult time finding information on him. By digging around, I was able to cobble together some of this very intriguing artist’s story.

Most of the photos  that I shot with my cell phone while at the museum are not useful other than to identify the artists whose work I viewed. For that reason, I have returned to Wikimedia Commons to find a good example of his sterling work. Today’s image, Bridge at Ipswich, is a perfect example of his best work.

What I find interesting about this painting is how small the sky is and how large the bridge. Most plein air painters make the sky a prominent feature of their work. I like the way the land beyond the bridge dominates the painting, despite the size and solid feeling of the bridge.

About the Artist:

Theodore Wendel was born on July 19, 1857, in Midway, Ohio. He studied at the McMicken School of Design. In 1876 he traveled to Munich, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy. He associated with a group of artists, including Frank Duveneck. He studied at Duveneck’s school of art until returning to the US in 1882. In 1886 he went to Giverny, France, where he met and became close friends with Claude Monet.

Monet and the art of his circle impressed Wendel. He was one of the first artists to change their style from the heavier palette of classical realism to the lighter palette of Impressionism.

He returned to America in 1889 and adapted this new influence to the landscape of New England. He taught at Cowles Art School and at Wellesley College until his marriage in 1897. He married one of his students, Philena Stone.

He and his wife purchased a farm in Ipswich. Both painting and the craft of managing his farm consumed him—he loved both occupations equally.

Unfortunately, after an infection in the jaw in 1917, Wendel was mostly unable to paint until his death in 1932.


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Theodore M. Wendel – Bridge at Ipswich – 1978.179 – Museum of Fine Arts.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Theodore_M._Wendel_-_Bridge_at_Ipswich_-_1978.179_-_Museum_of_Fine_Arts.jpg&oldid=358706162 (accessed January 10, 2020).

Most of the information for this article was gleaned from Theodore Wendel, an American impressionist, 1859-1932, by John I.H, Baur.

I also found information on Wendel at the Vose Galleries website, Theodore Wendel, 1859 – 1932.

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