Tag Archives: 20th century art

#FineArtFriday: The Straw Ride – Russley Park Remount Dep’t, Wiltshire by Lucy Kemp-Welch

About this painting, via Wikipedia:

Three women exercising horses in a remount depot. They take their charges through their paces in an indoor straw ride. Each woman rides one horse and leads another.

During World War One women were employed at Army Remount Depots in training and preparing horses for military service. Kemp-Welch was commissioned by the Women’s Work Section of the Imperial War Museum to paint a scene at the largest such depot, one staffed entirely by women, at Russley Park in Wiltshire. The Museum authorities were unhappy with the painting, The Ladies Army Remount Depot, Russley Park, Wiltshire which Kemp-Welch first submitted but were aware of a larger and much better composition on the same subject that she had painted and intended to sell to a private client for £1,000. Kemp-Welch agreed that the second painting, The Straw-Ride- Russley Park, Remount Dep’t Wiltshire was the better of the two and agreed to sell it to the IWM to fulfill her commission. However, she was unable to agree a fee with the Women’s Work Section and after protracted discussions, donated it free of charge to the Museum.

 

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

Lucy Elizabeth Kemp-Welch (20 June 1869 – 27 November 1958) was a British painter and teacher who specialized in painting working horses. She is best known for the paintings of horses in military service she produced during World War One and for her illustrations to the 1915 edition of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty.

In 1924, for the Royal Exchange, Kemp-Welch designed and completed a large panel commemorating the work of women during World War One. From 1926 onwards she focussed on depicting scenes of gypsy and circus life and spent several summers following Sanger’s Circus, recording the horses.

She resided in Bushey, Hertfordshire for most of her life and a major collection of her works is in Bushey Museum. They include very large paintings of wild ponies on Exmoor, galloping polo ponies, the last horse-launched lifeboat being pulled into a boiling sea, heavy working horses pulling felled timber and hard-working farm horses trudging home at the end of the day.


Credits and Attributions:

Lucy Kemp-Welch, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:The Straw Ride- Russley Park Remount Dep’t, Wiltshire Art.IWMART3160.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:The_Straw_Ride-_Russley_Park_Remount_Dep%27t,_Wiltshire_Art.IWMART3160.jpg&oldid=262266456 (accessed March 18, 2021).

Wikipedia contributors, “Lucy Kemp-Welch,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lucy_Kemp-Welch&oldid=996250015 (accessed March 18, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Belvedere 1927 Seldon Connor Gile

Title: Belvedere

Artist: Seldon Connor Gile

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Date: 1927

Inscription: signed and dated by Artist: Gile 27


What I love about this painting:

This is a view of San Francisco Bay from a hill in the town of Belvedere, California. Belvedere is located on the San Francisco Bay in Marin CountyCalifornia. Consisting of two islands and a lagoon, it is connected to the Tiburon Peninsula by two causeways.

It is a place the artist clearly loved, and he had his home nearby in Tiburon.

The intensity of color as one looks down the hill toward the shanties lends an atmosphere of purity, of fresh air, and approaching springtime to the painting.

Bold strokes of red and blue convey the atmosphere that is quintessential to Northern California. He offers us a sense of wonder, of peace, of modest post-WWI prosperity in this painting. We are shown the depth of color and vibrancy of a time and sense of place that has long vanished.

This is an era we usually see through old black-and-white photographs and jerky, scratchy newsreels.

Even rundown and undeveloped properties in Tiburon and Belvedere now sell in the high millions. Starving artists and middle-class workers can rarely acquire vacation shanties in that area.

About the Artist, Via Wikipedia:

Selden Connor Gile (20 March 1877 – 8 June 1947) was an American painter who was mainly active in northern California between the early-1910s and the mid-1930s. He was the founder and leader of the Society of Six, a Bay Area group of artists known for their plein-air paintings and rich use of color, a quality that would later figure into the work of Bay Area figurative expressionists.

Though Gile was steadily employed at jobs other than art until the age of 50, his artistic output, primarily from marathon weekends spent painting, was considerable. 1915, the year of the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, marked the beginning of his maturation as an artist, despite that fact that Gile and the Society of Six would not exhibit their art beyond a few occasional paintings until 1923. From their first exhibition at the Oakland Art Gallery on March 11, 1923 to the sixth and final show as a group in 1928, Gile and the Society of Six were generally well received by critics. In the spring of 1927, Gile quit his job as an office manager for Gladding, McBean and Company and moved from his cabin on Chabot Road in Oakland (also known as the “Chow House” where the Society of Six would meet on weekends), into a cottage he had kept since the early 1920s on San Francisco Bay in TiburonMarin County to paint full-time.

Selden Gile continued to paint and exhibited in various group shows every year until 1937. During the 1930s, the number of his oil paintings declined in favor of watercolors. Another change likely brought on by the mood around the Great Depression was to include more people, particularly workers, in his paintings. Despite his discomfort with larger formats, Gile took on the town of Belvedere’s only WPA mural commission, painting a mural for the public library, where he served as a part-time librarian. Towards the end of his life, unable to pay his rent, Gile took on another mural commission, this time for a railroad office in San Francisco. He is remembered from his time in the Tiburon/Belvedere area:

“…as a loner, independent, and very proud. [Gile] enjoyed cordial relationships with some of his neighbors, often chatting with them on the street or in doorways, but he consistently refused their hospitality…In the end Gile was a sick, alcoholic old man surrounded by paintings he never sold, lonely, and not painting. The process of painting and camaraderie that he had enjoyed were past now.”

A few months before he died, Selden Gile checked himself into the Marin County Hospital and Farm, where he spent the rest of his life. On June 8, 1947, Gile died of cirrhosis of the liver.


Credits and Attributions:

Belvedere, California 1927 by Selden Connor Gile, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Selden Connor Gile Belvedere 1927.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Selden_Connor_Gile_Belvedere_1927.jpg&oldid=525009834 (accessed March 11, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: While reading the newspaper by H. A. Brendekilde 1912

Artist: H. A. Brendekilde  (1857–1942)

Title: While reading the newspaper news

Date: 1912

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 61 cm (24 in); Width: 85 cm (33.4 in)

Inscriptions: Signature and date bottom right: H. A. Brendekilde / 1912

What I love about this painting:

There is a story in this well-executed painting. I particularly like the details: the patched trousers of the gardener, the mud on his clogs, the other man’s wooden leg— I like the way they are juxtaposed against the lush spring garden and prosperous village life of Denmark in 1912.

Their hands and clothes indicate they have stopped work to read the newspaper. Both men seem stunned. Are they perhaps reading of the death of King Frederick VIII, who died on 14 May 1912?

Whatever they are reading, the cat remains undisturbed by the news.

H. A. Brendekilde was a forerunner of the social realist style, embraced by Diego Rivera. His early work often depicted the daily lives of the rural working class.


Credits and Attributions

While reading the newspaper  by H. A. Brendekilde 1912 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:H. A. Brendekilde – Mens du læser avisen nyheder (1912).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:H._A._Brendekilde_-_Mens_du_l%C3%A6ser_avisen_nyheder_(1912).jpg&oldid=300367623 (accessed February 5, 2021).

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#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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