Tag Archives: 20th century landscape paintings

#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: Winter in Flanders by Valerius de Saedeleer 1927

Artist:   Valerius de Saedeleer  (1867–1941)

Title: Winter in Flanders

Date: 1927

Medium: oil and canvas

Dimensions: Height: 84 cm (33 in) Width: 96 cm (37.7 in)

Collection: Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Inscriptions: Signature and date bottom left: Valerius de Saedeleer / 1927

What I like about this painting:

I like the bold color of the houses against the snow. Viewing the farmstead through the zen-like simplicity of the dark trees is soothing. I particularly like way he portrays green-golden sky of an afternoon in a dark northern winter.

This is a pleasant, relaxing painting.

About the artist, via Wikipedia:

Valerius de Saedeleer  (4 August 1867 – 16 September 1941) was a Belgian landscape painter, whose works are informed by a symbolist and mystic-religious sensitivity and the traditions of 16th-century Flemish landscape painting. He was one of the main figures in the so-called first School of Latem which in the first decade of the 20th century introduced modernist trends in Belgian painting and sculpture.

From 1914 de Saedeleer and his family lived in Wales as refugees from the First World War. Together with his family and the family of his friend George Minne he lived a number of years in CwmystwythGustave van de Woestijne and George Minne and their families also resided in Wales during the war. The family de Saedeleer and other Belgian artists were brought to Wales by David, Gwendoline and Margaret Davies. The two Davies sisters were best known for putting together one of the great British art collections of the 20th Century. The initiative of the Davies family in inviting Belgian artists to Wales was prompted by their expectation that these artists would be able to inject local cultural life with their expertise. 

De Saedeleer’s daughters studied weaving, binding and tapestry at Aberystwyth. The second daughter Elisabeth became acquainted with William Morris‘ daughter Mary from whom she learned tapestry weaving. The family became so accomplished at weaving that they even started giving courses in the craft themselves. De Saedeleer may have undertaken some conservation work on items from the Aberystwyth University Collection. He also exhibited his paintings of local views in the University’s Alexandra Hall and was able to earn a living from his art. 

De Saedeleer remained in Wales until 1920, when he moved to Etikhove. In 1933 he became an honorary citizen of the city of Aalst. In 1937 he moved to Leupegem.  The work of de Saedeleer became gradually more decorative and he developed a luxuriant and whimsical calligraphy. His compositions often included a row of trees in the foreground, a Japanese-style effect with which he had already experimented before the war. This device is clear in the composition Winter in Flanders. He was also an accomplished colourist.  


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Valerius De Saedeleer – Winter in Flanders.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Valerius_De_Saedeleer_-_Winter_in_Flanders.jpg&oldid=402112537 (accessed February 12, 2021).

Wikipedia contributors, “Valerius de Saedeleer,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Valerius_de_Saedeleer&oldid=1005028837 (accessed February 12, 2021).

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#FineArtFriday: Bringing down marble from the quarries to Carrara, Sargent 1911

Artist: John Singer Sargent  (1856–1925)

Title: Bringing down marble from the quarries to Carrara

Date: 1911

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 71.4 cm (28.1 in); Width: 91.8 cm (36.1 in)

Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Inscriptions: Signature bottom left: John S. Sargent

What I love about this painting:

This picture details the relentless heat of the day, the back-breaking labor of men cutting marble. This is how quarrying was done prior to World War I, with steam-donkeys and great physical peril. The ropes are huge and heavy, and these men secure the dangerous load with practiced ease.

Carrara Italy is an important center for the extraction and processing of marble. The famous stone is white and exceedingly valuable.

One of Sargent’s great skills was the ability to convey the sensory impressions of an environment, depicting his characters outdoors in all the seasons.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

John Singer Sargent, January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American expatriate artist, considered the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his evocations of Edwardian-era luxury. He created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

Born in Florence to American parents, he was trained in Paris before moving to London, living most of his life in Europe. He enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter. An early submission to the Paris Salon in the 1880s, his Portrait of Madame X, was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter in Paris, but instead resulted in scandal. During the next year following the scandal, Sargent departed for England where he continued a successful career as a portrait artist.

From the beginning, Sargent’s work is characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. Art historians generally ignored artists who painted Royalty and “Society” – such as Sargent – until the late 20th century.


Credits and Attributions

John Singer Sargent, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“Carrara.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 16, 2021, 12:36 utc. 29 Jan 2021, 03:23 <//en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Carrara&oldid=118022943>.

“File:John Singer Sargent – Bringing Down Marble from the Quarries to Carrara (1911).jpg.” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. 15 Jun 2019, 13:13 UTC. 29 Jan 2021, 03:24 <https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:John_Singer_Sargent_-_Bringing_Down_Marble_from_the_Quarries_to_Carrara_(1911).jpg&oldid=354733943>.

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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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