Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Portrait of American painter Jasper Francis Cropsey
By Edward L. Mooney
From en.wikipedia.org

Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900) was born in Rossville, Staten Island, and early on displayed a keen interest in drawing and architecture. While still a young teen, Cropsey was awarded diplomas from the New York Mechanic's Institute and the American Institute of the City of New York for an elaborate architectural model. He then apprenticed with architect John Trench, who encouraged Cropsey to explore his talent in drawing and painting. Cropsey attended classes at the National Academy of Design, which constituted his formal art training. In 1843, Cropsey opened his own architectural firm in New York, the same year he first exhibited at the National Academy.
Cropsey was a strong admirer of the works of Thomas Cole, and by 1845 he devoted himself entirely to painting landscapes. He first traveled to Greenwood Lake, New Jersey in 1844 to paint the lake and the surrounding landscape. It soon became his favorite painting sight. Greenwood Lake was well known as an idyllic, picturesque area of green banks and placid water and it was there that he met and fell in love with Miss Maria Cooley, whom he married in 1847. Cropsey and his wife often returned to the area to visit her family and to paint the various areas surrounding the lake.

Mount Washington from Lake Sebago
Oil on canvas
Private collection
From New Hampshire Historical Society

InAugust 1849, Jasper F. Cropsey set out from New York City on a two-week sketching excursion to the White Mountains. Traversing Sebago Lake, about fifty miles from Mount Washington, Cropsey made two studies inscribed “Lake Sebago.” Later, in 1867, he used one of these studies, a distant view of Mount Washington (above), as the source for at least five canvases. The foregrounds, which differ in each of Cropsey’s three large paintings of the mountain, were products of the artist’s imagination. Working in his New York City studio, Cropsey turned his sketches into an autumnal view with the distant peak of Mount Washington covered by snow.
(New Hampshire Historical Society)

The Spirit of War, 1851
Picture taken at National Gallery of Art
Washington, D.C., USA
From Wikipedia

Catskill mountain house, 1855
From bergoiata.org

Cropsey 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 1855, and resided seven years in London, sending his pictures to the Royal Academy and to the International exhibition of 1862.
During his seven years in England, Cropsey kept company with leading figures in the British art world, including the director of the National Gallery, Sir Charles Eastlake, and author John Ruskin, leader of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who influenced a generation of American and British painters through his advocacy of painting natural objects in their natural settings. While abroad, Cropsey began exhibiting the autumnal scenes that would become his hallmark. His monumental Autumn—On the Hudson River of 1860 (National Gallery of Art, Washington D. C.) was lauded by Queen Victoria and the London press, earning Cropsey trans-Atlantic repute as “America’s painter of autumn.”
(Hollis Taggart Galleries)

Starrucca viaduct Pennsylvania,1865
All images from bergoiata.org

Shortly after his return to America, Cropsey undertook American Autumn, Starruca Valley, Erie Railroad, a large painting celebrating a prosperous nation newly at peace. A chromolithograph after the painting was published by Thomas Sinclair of Philadelphia, which immediately put Cropsey’s work within easy reach of a mass market. He was commissioned by Milton Courtright to paint Valley of Wyoming (1865, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), a painting measuring seven feet in width. The sale of these paintings gave him the money necessary to build Aladdin.
(Hollis Taggart Galleries)

Mounts Adam and Eve
Oil on canvas,1872
Courtesy of Reynolda House
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Source the-athenaeum.org
From Wikipedia

Mounts Adam and Eve, Orange County, New York (above), presents such a scene as it recaptures the beauty of the famous hills and valleys Cropsey witnessed daily while at Warwick. Whether a token of the artist’s nostalgia for times past or a simple evocation of memorable scenery, Mounts Adam and Eve exemplifies the style and vibrant colors for which Cropsey and his fellow Hudson River School painters were known.
He combined a number of landscape elements to create a work that is at once picturesque and symbolic. The panoramic view he painted allows one to experience a stunning expanse of wilderness that includes a vast body of water, a mountain range, and billowing clouds that hover above the distant horizon line. Cropsey paid equal attention to each plane of space, giving the work multiple points of interest. The foreground, framed at right by repoussoir trees of brilliant autumnal colors, captures the eye and leads it to the marshlands of the middle ground. In the deep background are Mounts Adam and Eve, the namesakes of the painting.
The flawless sanctuary of Mounts Adam and Eve exudes a sense of the future, as the untrodden territory is presented as a landscape to be explored. As related by Albert Boime, the panoramic views employed by Hudson River School painters often referenced ideas of expansionism and Manifest Destiny. By allowing the viewers of their paintings to see, and therefore possess, undiscovered lands, these artists helped forward the idea that expansion was associated with American progress. Whether or not Cropsey intended his audience to interpret Mounts Adam and Eve in this manner, he created a work that expressed his personal reaction to the Edenic landscapes of the United States. Mounts Adam and Eve, Orange County, New York reveals the fortuitous result of “nature passed through the alembic of man.”
(Questroyal Fine Art, LLC.)
By the 1880s, Cropsey could no longer afford what had become an extravagant lifestyle. Aladdin was sold by his creditors, and in June 1885 the Cropseys settled in a modest home in the town of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. Cropsey began painting the Hudson River and the Palisades, the rocky outcroppings on the Hudson’s west bank that are visible from Hastings. Although his landscape subject matter remained the same, his palette became increasingly high-keyed as a result of his contact with the English Pre-Raphaelites.
(Hollis Taggart Galleries)
Jasper Francis Cropsey moved his family to the picturesque village of Hastings-on-Hudson in 1885, leaving his home in Warwick, New York, which he had named “Aladdin,” and its numerous repairs far behind him. The artist began anew; purchasing a house he would affectionately call “Ever Rest.” The many paintings he created there serve as a testament to the fulfillment and pleasure he experienced while at Hastings-on-Hudson.
(Questroyal Fine Art, LLC.)
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.
Jasper Cropsey died in anonymity at Hastings-on-Hudson on June 22, 1900 but was rediscovered by galleries and collectors in the 1960s. Today, Cropsey's paintings are found in most major American museums, including the National Gallery of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Timken Museum of Art in San Diego, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Denver Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Works by Cropsey also hang in the White House.
Cropsey and his wife Maria are buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.
Cropsey was a founding member of the American Water Color Society. His other memberships included the Century Club, the Lotos Club, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Artists Aid Society.
(Hollis Taggart Galleries)

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Portrait of Richard Parkes Bonington
Ashmolean Museum
Author Alexandre-Marie Colin (1798-1873)
From gl.wikipedia.org

Richard Parkes Bonington
by Margaret Sarah Carpenter
Given by William Callow, 1877
From npg.org.uk
Richard Parkes Bonington (b Arnold, nr Nottingham, 25 Oct 1802; d London, 23 Sept 1828) was born in the town of Arnold, 4 miles from Nottingham in England. His father was successively a gaoler, a drawing master and lace-maker, and his mother a teacher. Bonington learned watercolour painting from his father and exhibited paintings at the Liverpool Academy at age 11.
In 1817, Bonington's family moved to Calais, France where his father had set up a lace factory.
At this time, Bonington started taking lessons from the painter François Louis Thomas Francia, who trained him in English watercolour painting.
In 1818, the family moved to Paris to open a lace retail outlet. It was Paris where he first met Eugène Delacroix, who he became friends with. He worked for a time producing copies of Dutch and Flemish landscapes in the Louvre. In 1820, he started attending the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under Antoine-Jean, Baron Gros.
It was around this time that Bonington started going on sketching tours in the suburbs of Paris and the surrounding countryside. His first paintings were exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1822. He also began to work in lithography, illustrating Baron Taylor’s "Voyages pittoresques dans l'ancienne France" and his own architectural series "Restes et Fragmens". In 1824, he won a gold medal at the Paris Salon along with John Constable and Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding.

The Harbor, Le Havre, c.1821
From handprint.com

Almost immediately from the moment his pictures were publicly exhibited in 1822, Bonington was hailed as a leading talent among the new generation of painters who reacted to the strictures of academic painting that derived from the severe, classicizing style of Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), the leading artist of the French Revolutionary era. Against this style, which was limited to parables from Plutarch, stiff aristocratic portraits and postcards from the Roman countryside (all rendered with a cold, chiseled clarity called "air"), the new generation favored genre paintings of fishmarkets, fields and local laborers painted with emotion and the "atmosphere" of natural effects of light and weather. So a contemporary would see The Harbor, Le Havre, c.1821, (above) as innovative for its hazy aerial perspective, commonplace subject matter, and human figures with their backs turned to us. He would also find the painting recognizably English in style and execution — the broad, flat washes and contrast of warm oranges and browns against cool blues closely follows the style of the leading watercolor painters in the English watercolor societies, such as John Varley. Bonington was impressive too for his technical skill: those light ripples along the shore were not reserved with a resist, or added later with gouache, but were traced by the brush as it laid down the water's reflected colors, including the gradations in tone in the reflections from the top to bottom edge. And the last unique feature of Bonington's style is his remarkable sense for color harmonies, which Delacroix described as gemlike.
(Bruce MacEvoy at handprint.com)
Richard Parkes Bonington is the painter most often credited with bringing the English watercolor movement to Europe in paintings of great technical command and color lyricism.
(Anny Su at abcgallery.com)

Oil on canvas
Current location Wallace collection
Source The Yorck Project
From commons.wikimedia.org

Szene in der Normandie
Oil on canvas
Current location Tate Gallery, London
From commons.wikimedia.org

Boats near the Shore of Normandy
Oil on canvas, 1823-24
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
From Web Gallery of Art at wga.hu

By 1823 he was working closely with Francia (then in Paris) to prepare his own lithographic series on architectural ruins, Restes et Fragmens (Remnants and Fragments); but he also contributed to other architectural publications, studied medieval armor and dress for historical and costume paintings, began painting in oils, and toured northern France with an extended stay in Dunkurque. After the famous Salon of 1824, where he received a gold medal along with John Constable and Anthony Copley Fielding, demand for his work increased significantly. He probably met Samuel Prout at this time.
(Bruce MacEvoy at handprint.com)

Watercolour, 1825
Wallace Collection, London
From Web Gallery of Art at wga.hu

Vista de la Costa de Normandia, 1825
Current location Musée du Louvre, Paris
From epdlp.com

Shipping Off the Kent Coast
Pen, grey ink and watercolors over pencil, 1825
Presented by Prof. Luke Herrmann
Through the National Art Collections Fund
(from the Bruce Ingram Collection), 2002
From arthistory.upenn.edu

This 1825 watercolor coast scene (above) belongs to a prolific period of such scenes produced in Bonington’s life. The artist took short travels back to his native England. A trip in 1825 had a considerable impression on his watercolors due to a renewed interest in Constable and Turner. The coast of Kent is located off of southeastern England and was a major port in the nineteenth century. Although it has not been established whether Bonington passed through Kent on his travels back from London to Paris when this watercolor was executed, it is entirely possible. This watercolor was preparatory to an oil painting in the Wallace Collection and closely resembles those of the Dutch and Flemish traditions in the seventeenth century. In fact, port scenes of van der Cappelle or van de Velde are frequently invoked in discussions of this drawing, which Bonington painted shortly after returning from London. During much of his training in Paris, Bonington spent extensive time in the Louvre looking at, studying, and copying Dutch and Flemish paintings, including marine and coast scenes. The lowness of the watercolor’s horizon and the large amount of the canvas left to the sky, along with his attention towards atmospheric qualities and light techniques, can likely be attributed to Bonington’s predilection for the seventeenth-century masters Cuyp and Ruisdael.
While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what types of ships these are, it is likely that they are associated with transportation of goods. The boat in the front resembles a cargo ship, to its left a smaller vessel perhaps a fishing boat, and the largest vessel in the background most closely resembles an ocean-going ship. The light sweeps of color to denote the sky, clouds, and horizon-line is perpendicular to the vertical ship masts which again contrast with the undulating waves of the sea. Verticals and horizontals interpentrate to forge a balanced composition. Bonington utilizes the “scratching out” technique, a method of pigment removal with a sharp instrument, to outline and highlight the waves of the sea. The effect is vivid, creating a more textural and almost frothy quality, particularly at the leftmost edge of the boats.
(Anny Su at abcgallery.com)
Bonington traveled to London in 1825 where he studied historical costumes in Westminster, met important artists, publishers and art dealers, and toured along the northern coast with Eugène Isabey and Delacroix before returning to Paris to take up lodgings with Delacroix. In 1826 Bonington made a two month trip through Switzerland and northern Italy with a fellow painter, Charles Rivet, composing many drawings and oil sketches but fewer watercolors. In 1827 he made a second trip to London and continued to exhibit and to appear in lithographic publications, and was working strenuously on his various commissions. He made a third trip to London in 1828 and received notice for paintings exhibited at the British Institution for the Promotion of Fine Arts, but collapsed during a sketching tour of the Seine that summer, apparently sick with tuberculosis. His health began to deteriorate rapidly, and he was taken to London by his parents for treatment, but died two weeks after his arrival.
(Bruce MacEvoy at handprint.com)

El Parterre de Agua de Versalles, 1826
Current location Museo del Louvre, Paris
From epdlp.com

On the Coast of Picardy
Oil on canvas, 1826
Wallace Collection, London
From Web Gallery of Art at wga.hu

Henri III and the English Ambassador
Oil on canvas, 1827-1828
Wallace Collection, London, UK
From Web Gallery of Art at wga.hu

Sunset in the Pays de Caux
Watercolour, 1828
Wallace Collection, London
From Web Gallery of Art at wga.hu

A Venetian Scene
Watercolour, c. 1828
Wallace Collection, London
From Web Gallery of Art at wga.hu

Although Bonington's art had certainly benefited from the example of his brilliant French friends, his influence on French painting was incomparably greater. He introduced into France a new quality of light and color in the treatment of the sea, the sky, and the landscape, as in Normandy Coast; he placed his medieval towns and the undulating French farmlands in the ever-shifting light of day. Under the influence of Delacroix, Bonington painted groups of figures in interiors, particularly Shakespearean subjects. He read Sir Walter Scott, as everyone then did, and the medieval chronicler Froissart, whose language had a powerful charm for him. Bonington drenched his history pictures in local color, and he had a joyful sense of the past, exemplified in Henry IV and the Spanish Ambassador, with no interest in the dark and melancholy side of the romantic vision.
It was Bonington's ambition to blend the skill of the Dutch with the vigor of the Venetians and the light and atmosphere of the English; not altogether successful in the first two categories, he completely succeeded in rendering and passing on the extraordinary English magic. He brought the spontaneity and brilliant coloring of British landscape painting, particularly watercolor, to Delacroix, Géricault, and Isabey and hence to the Barbizon school, which in turn led to the impressionists.
Many sources comment on Bonington’s artistic precocity at such an early age. When both of his parents’ careers failed, Bonington’s father acquired a sum off of selling his son’s works. Even after the artist’s death, his father continued to sell his son’s works. When inventory dwindled, his father would try to pass off his own works as those of the artist’s. Not only does this show that Bonington was recognized in his day, but also that his works were in marketable demand. His watercolors and landscapes were regarded very highly, and in France, was one of the first artists to paint outdoors rather than in the studio. A group of paintings previously attributed to the artist were actually painted by close followers, another testament to the influence Bonington had on nineteenth-century watercolors.
(Anny Su at abcgallery.com)

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Sherwood Anderson
From ohiochannel.org

An excellent storyteller, Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941) seems to be preoccupied by a need to describe the plight of the "grotesque" - the unsuccessful, the deprived, and the inarticulate. He sensitively describes poverty and eccentricity. His simple style, in the oral tradition of storytelling, influenced writers like Hemingway and Faulkner who, in 1956, acknowledged Anderson as "the father of my generation of American writers and the tradition of American writing which our successors will carry on."
(Paul P. Reuben at csustan.edu)
Anderson's two first novels were WINDY MCPHERSON'S SON (1916) and MARCHING MEN (1917), both containing the psychological themes of inner lives of Midwestern villages, the pursuit of success and disillusionment. His third novel, Winesburg, Ohio, was "half individual tales, half long novel form", as the author himself described it. It consisted of twenty-three thematically related sketches and stories. Written in a simple, realistic language illuminated by a muted lyricism, Anderson dramatized crucial episodes in the lives of his characters. The narrative is united by the appearance of George Willard, a young reporter, who is in revolt against the narrowness of the small-town life and who acts as a counterpoint to the other people of the town. The individual tales of Winesburg, Ohio, and Anderson's other collections of short stories, THE TRIUMPHS OF THE EGG (1921), HORSES AND MEN (1932), and DEATH IN THE WOODS (1933), directed the American short story away from the neatly plotted tales of O. Henry and his imitators. The stories in these books are characterized by a casual development, complexity of motivation, and an interest in psychological process.

Winesburg, Ohio (Title Page)
Credited to Jonathan Cape of London
From encyclopediavirginia.org

In WINESBURG, OHIO, Anderson became one of the first American writers to use modern psychological insights, especially those of the Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. Anderson's characters tend to make themselves into what the author called grotesques. Anderson believed that there were once hundreds of truths, all of them beautiful. But people tended to adopt only one truth and call it theirs. According to Anderson, the moment "one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood."
(Sherwood Anderson by Daniel Mark Fogel, Ph.D., Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Louisiana State University. at pbs.org)
Anderson's novel DARK LAUGHTER (1925) became a bestseller. In the story the disillusioned protagonist travels down the Mississippi imagining the kind of book Mark Twain might now write. From New Orleans Anderson moved to New York for some time, and from there finally to Marion, Virginia, where he built a country house, and worked as a farmer and journalist. He travelled again in Europe and wrote to his son John, a young painter: "I've a notion that, in America, you will be less bothered with homosexuality inclined men. However the arts have always been a refuge for such men. They are, as I think you have guessed, the less vigorous men. There is some distinct challenge of life they do not want to meet, and can't meet." In 1927 he bought both of Marion's weekly newspapers, one Republican, one Democrat, and edited them for two years. Anderson wrote columns under the pen name Buck Fever. To earn extra income he continued his series of lectures throughout the country. When Anderson separated from Elizabeth Prall in 1929, he gave the edition ship of the newspapers to his son Robert. Commissioned by Today magazine, Anderson studied the labor conditions during the Depression and published his articles in PUZZLED AMERICA (1935). Anderson's newspaper pieces were collected in HELLO TOWNS (1929), RETURN TO WINESBURG (1967) and THE BUCK FEVER PAPERS (1971).
After his death, Anderson's reputation soon declined, but in the 1970s, scholars and critics found a new interest in his work. During his lifetime Anderson wrote two autobiographical works, A STORY-TELLER'S STORY (1924) and semi-fictional TAR: A MIDWEST CHILDHOOD (1926). His MEMOIRS (1942) and LETTERS (1953) were published posthumously, as the more definitive THE MEMOIRS OF SHERWOOD ANDERSON (1969). In A Story-Teller Story the author explained why he disregarded dates in his autobiographies: "I think it was Joseph Conrad who said that a writer only began to live after he began to write. It pleased me to think I was after all but ten years old. Plenty of time ahead for such a one. Time to look about, plenty of time to look about."
Anderson was born in Camden, Ohio, the third of seven children of Erwin M. and Emma S. Anderson. After Erwin's business failed, the family was forced to move frequently, finally settling down at Clyde, Ohio, in 1884.
Partly as a result of these misfortunes, young Sherwood found various odd jobs to help his family, which earned him the nickname "Jobby." He left school at age 14.
Anderson moved to Chicago near his brother Karl's home and worked as a manual laborer until near the turn of the century, when he enlisted in the United States Army. He was called up but did not see action in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. After the war, in 1900, he enrolled at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Eventually he secured a job as a copywriter in Chicago and became more successful.
In 1904, he married Cornelia Lane, the daughter of a wealthy Ohio family. He fathered three children while living in Cleveland, Ohio, and later Elyria, Ohio, where he managed a mail-order business and paint manufacturing firms.
In November 1912 he suffered a mental breakdown and disappeared for four days. He was found wandering around in nearby cornfields. Soon after, he left his position as president of the Anderson Manufacturing Co. in Elyria, Ohio, and left his wife and three small children to pursue the writer's life of creativity. Anderson described the entire episode as "escaping from his materialistic existence," which garnered praise from many young writers, who used his "courage" as an example.
Anderson moved back to Chicago, working again for a publishing and advertising company. In 1916, he divorced Lane and married Tennessee Mitchell.
Although his short stories were very successful, Anderson felt the need to write novels. In 1920, he published Poor White, a rather successful novel. He wrote various novels before divorcing Mitchell in 1922 and marrying Elizabeth Prall, two years later.
Anderson's third marriage also failed, and he married Eleanor Copenhaver in the late 1920s. They traveled and often studied together. In the 1930s, Anderson published Death in the Woods, Puzzled America (a book of essays), and Kit Brandon, which was published in 1936.
Anderson dedicated his 1932 novel, Beyond Desire, to Copenhaver. Although he was much less influential in this final writing period, many of his more significant lines of prose were present in these works, which were generally considered sub-par compared to his other works.
"Beyond Desire", set during the 1929 Loray Mill Strike in Gastonia, NC, resulted in yet another satirical mention by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway included a minor character in his 1937 novel To Have and Have Not who is an author. This character is working on a novel of Gastonia.
Anderson died in Panama at the age of 64 while on a cruise to South America. An autopsy revealed that he had accidentally swallowed a toothpick (presumably in a martini olive), which had perforated his colon and caused a fatal case of peritonitis. He was buried at Round Hill Cemetery in Marion, Virginia. His epitaph reads, "Life, Not Death, is the Great Adventure."
Anderson's final home, known as Ripshin, still stands in Troutdale, Virginia, and may be toured by appointment.

Photo of author Sherwood Anderson
29 November 1933
From en.wikipedia.org

Works by Sherwood Anderson:
Windy McPherson's Son. Anderson's autobiographical first novel concerns life in a small Iowa town and a youth's departure to Chicago to make his fortune. The novel sounds many of Anderson's characteristic themes: the mixed nature of small-town American life, the warping power of material success, and the challenge of male-female relationships.
Marching Men. Anderson's second novel is an unfocused, poetic meditation on social improvement, set in the Pennsylvania coal-mining country, where an idealist attempts to organize the miners.
Mid-American Chants. Anderson's collection of rough-hewn verses reflects the author's contention that "I do not believe that we people of Midwestern America, immersed as we are in affairs, hurried and harried through life by the terrible engine-- industrialism--have come to the time of song."
Winesburg, Ohio. Anderson's landmark short story collection provides glimpses of frustrated small-town American life from the perspective of the central consciousness of young reporter George Willard. The stories are linked by their common setting and by Anderson's concept of "grotesques," characters warped by their environment and inwardly divided. The collection's realism, intensity, and criticism of ordinary American life are harbingers of the direction that American fiction would subsequently follow.
Poor White. This story of an Ohio town going through the transition from agriculture to industrialization is regarded by most critics as Anderson's greatest achievement as a novelist.
The Triumph of the Egg. Subtitled "A Book of Impressions from American Life in Tales and Poems," Anderson's glimpses of ordinary life emphasize futility, thwarted instincts, and repressed emotions. The volume includes some of his best stories, such as "The Egg" and "I Want to Know Why."
Horses and Men and Many Marriages. The first is a collection of short and longer stories, mainly about horseracing. The second is a novel about a respectable businessman who breaks out of a deadened, conventional lifestyle.
A Story Teller's Story. Anderson begins a fictionalized autobiography, which he would continue in Tar: A Midwest Childhood (1926) and conclude with Sherwood Anderson's Memoirs (1942).
Dark Laughter. Juxtaposing the sterility of white civilization with the unrepressed lives of blacks, the novel follows a Chicago reporter as he travels the Mississippi and returns to his Indiana hometown. It becomes the only commercial success among Anderson's novels but fails to restore his critical reputation and would inspire Ernest Hemingway's parody, The Torrents of Spring (1926). Hemingway later apologized for the attack, stating, "I thought he was going to pot the way he was writing and that I could kid him out of it by showing him how awful it was."
Hello Towns! And Nearer the Grass Roots. The first is a celebration of small-town American life; the second justifies Anderson's retirement to a small Virginia town to become a newspaper editor.
Perhaps Women. The writer's curious amalgam of poetry, narrative, and opinion mounts an attack on modern life and posits that perhaps the solution to modern problems will come when women are in charge.
Beyond Desire. In his first novel in seven years, Anderson shifts his setting from the Midwest to a Southern mill town but continues his exploration of a youth's search for meaning and fulfillment and a community's dislocation due to industrial change.
Death in the Woods and Other Stories. Arguably Anderson's strongest collection, the volume includes the title work, which Anderson considered his best, and the masterful "Brother Death." The bankruptcy of the book's publisher, Liveright, prevents wide distribution, and the volume has never received the attention it deserves.
Puzzled America. The writer surveys the state of the nation in a series of sketches of miners, textile workers, and farmers. Irving Howe would observe that the work "is one of the few books that convey a sense of what it meant to live in depression America."
Kit Brandon. Anderson's final novel concerns a Virginia mountain girl who struggles as a mill worker, shop girl, and finally a moonshine runner. Written in an attempt to be "more objective," the novel is considered the best constructed of any of Anderson's longer works.
Home Town. Anderson publishes a collection of autobiographical essays and portraits in pictures and text of small-town American life. Reviews note a mellowing of the author, and one describes him as a "cheerful Chekhov."

Memoirs. One of the author's most impressive achievements is this blend of fact and fiction that traces the stages of his artistic development.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Louise Abbema, ca. 1885
Unidentified photographer
(Artists in their Paris studios), 1880-1890
Archives of American Art

A Game of Croquet
From members.cox.net

Louise Abbema
From passionforpaintings.com
Louise Abbéma (b. 1858, d. 1927) started painting in her teens and was the pupil of two well known artists, Charles Chaplin and Jean-Jacques Henner. It was evident that she was destined to be an artist and even at the age of fourteen she was producing wonderful pieces of art such as the painting named Game of Croquet. She was an only child and was encouraged by her parents in her artistic pursuits.
A French painter in the Impressionist style, as well as an engraver, sculptor, and writer, Louise Abbéma was one of the most successful women artists of her day. Her media were etching, pastel, and particularly watercolor; as a writer, she collaborated with the journals Gazette des Beaux-Arts and L'Art. She is best remembered for her portraits and genre scenes, and for her relationship with Sarah Bernhardt, but Abbéma also painted flowers again and again. They appear throughout her oeuvre--women hold them in bunches, they fill vases, and they are the subjects of her still-lifes.
She was the great granddaughter of actress Mlle Contat and Comte Louis de Narbonne. Through her aristocratic family, she had an early introduction to the arts. Tellingly, however, in 1903, Abbéma wrote that it was lesbian painter Rosa Bonheur who "...decided me to become an artist."
(gltbq.com )

Elégante place de la Concorde
Carnavalet Museum
From worldvisitguide.com

Portraits of a brother and sister
The Luppe family
oil on panel
From johnmitchell.ne

Jeanne Samary (1857-1890)
Sociétaire de la Comédie-Française
Donation François-Gérard Seligmann (2000)
From worldvisitguide.com

Sarah Bernhardt
From en.wikipedia.org
The portrait lesbian actress Sarah Bernhardt, whom she met five years earlier, was exhibited at the Paris Salon des Artistes Français of 1876 (at Carolus-Duran's suggestion, she had begun showing work in the Salon the previous year.) Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt was an immediate success for the young painter, and Abbéma became Bernhardt's official portraitist.
Soon after this success, Abbéma made a bronze medallion of Bernhardt (the only known sculpture by her), which she exhibited at the Salon in 1878. In turn Bernhardt, herself a sometime sculptor, exhibited a marble bust of Abbéma at the same Salon. Abbéma later made drawings after both sculptures. Abbéma and Bernhardt maintained a close friendship throughout their lives.
Abbéma's long relationship with Bernhardt, coupled with the fact that she never married, has been the basis for the widespread assumption that she was a lesbian.
(Carla Williams at glbtq.com)
Sarah Bernhardt was a great actress of the time, indeed, some say the greatest. She appeared on the stage in both Europe and America. She also appeared in some of the very first silent movies. Louise created pieces of art featuring the actress throughout her life and many said that they were lovers. The well known actress was also a painter, sculptress and writer and perhaps it was the mutual love of the arts which drew them together. They were both known for being rather eccentric and unconventional.

Self Portrait, (about 1895-1900)
Source 3.bp.blogspot.com
From en.wikipedia.org
Louise Abbema was enormously talented and she also received commissions to paint other well known figures of the day such as Ferdinand de Lesseps, the well known engineer who created the Suez Canal and Don Pedro the Emperor of Brazil. She also painted a portrait of Charles Garnier, the famous nineteenth century architect responsible for the design of the Opera House in Paris.
Her talents included interior design and she also received a number of civic commissions to paint panels and murals in such places as the Opera House in Paris and also the many town halls and theatres in the city. She also painted the Governors Palace in Dakar in Senegal. She was designated an Official Painter of the Third Republic. However, she did not only accept commissions for the ‘great’ buildings of the time, she was also happy to grant requests for her to produce works of art in private homes. She was a regular exhibitor at the Paris Salon. She also exhibited in Chicago in 1893.

Abbema calendar
A speciality of hers was paintings of watercolors and flowers and she was influenced by Japanese and Chinese painting in this genre. Flowers featured regularly in a number of her works and unlike other artists of the time she did not have a ‘niche’. She was multi-talented and also worked on illustrations for periodicals of the day and is well known for illustrations she created for calendars.
Among the many honors conferred upon Abbéma was nomination as official painter of the Third Republic. She was also awarded a bronze medal at the 1900 Exposition Universelle and in 1906 was inducted into the Légion d'Honneur.
Abbéma died in Paris in 1927. By the end of the 20th century, as contributions by women to the arts in past centuries received more critical and historical attention, her works were enjoying a renewed popularity.

Jardin Fleuri
( All images from corpusetampois.com)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Ansel Adams, 1974
Photographer, Mimi Jacobs (1971-1981)
Archives of American Art

Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 - April 22, 1984) was a hyperactive child and prone to frequent sickness and hypochondria. He had few friends but his family home and surroundings on the heights facing the Golden Gate provided ample childhood activities. Although he had no patience for games or sports, the curious child took to nature at an early age, collecting bugs and exploring Lobos Creek all the way to Baker Beach and the sea cliffs leading to Lands End, "San Francisco's wildest and rockiest coast, a place strewn with shipwrecks and rife with landslides."
His father bought a three-inch telescope and they enthusiastically shared the hobby of amateur astronomy, visiting the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton together. His father went on to serve as the paid secretary-treasurer of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific from 1925 to 1950.
After the death of his grandfather and the aftermath of the Panic of 1907, his father's business suffered great financial losses. By 1912, the family's standard of living had dropped sharply. After young Ansel was dismissed from several private schools for his restlessness and inattentiveness, his father decided to pull him out of school in 1915, at the age of 12. Adams was then educated by private tutors, his Aunt Mary, and by his father. His Aunt Mary was a follower of Robert G. Ingersoll, a 19th century agnostic, abolitionist and women's suffrage advocate. As a result of his Aunt's influence, Ingersoll's teachings were important to Ansel's upbringing. During the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, his father insisted that, as part of his education, Adams spend part of each day studying the exhibits. After a while, Adams resumed and then completed his formal education by attending the Mrs. Kate M. Wilkins Private School, until he graduated from eighth grade on June 8, 1917. In his later years, he displayed his diploma in the guest bathroom of his home.
His father raised him to follow the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson: to live a modest, moral life guided by a social responsibility to man and to nature. Adams had a warm, loving and supportive relationship with his father, but had a distant relationship with his mother, who did not approve of his interest in photography
In 1930 Adams met the famous photographer Paul Strand (1890–1976) while they were working in Taos, New Mexico, and the man and his work had a lasting effect on Adams's approach to photography. Strand encouraged Adams to change his approach from a soft expression of subjects to a much clearer, harder treatment, so-called "straight photography." This idea was further reinforced by his association with the short-lived, but important, group of photographers known as f/64 (referring to the lens opening which guarantees a distinct image), which included Edward Weston (1886–1958) and Imogen Cunningham (1883–1976). This group helped the development of photography as a fine art.
In one sense Ansel Adams's work is an extensive record of what is still left of the wilderness, the shrinking untouched part of the natural environment. Yet to see his work only as photographic images is to miss the main point that he tried to make: without a guiding vision, photography is not necessarily an important activity. The finished product, as Adams saw it, must be thought up before it can be executed. With nineteenth-century artists and philosophers (seekers of wisdom) he shared the belief that this vision must be inspired by life on earth. Photographs, he believed, were not taken from the environment but were made into something greater than themselves.
In 1941 the National Park Service commissioned noted photographer Ansel Adams to create a photo mural for the Department of the Interior Building in Washington, DC. The theme was to be nature as exemplified and protected in the U.S. National Parks. The project was halted because of World War II and never resumed.

Grand Canyon National Park
From archives.gov

Grand Teton
From archives.gov

Middle Fork at Kings River
View from S. Fork of Cartridge Creek
From archives.gov

In Rocky Mountain National Park
From archives.gov

Central Geyser Basin
Yellowstone National Park
From archives.gov

Yellowstone Falls
From archives.gov

Jupiter Terrace, Fountain Geyser Pool
Yellowstone National Park
From archives.gov

Large Formation
Hall of Giants in Carlsbad Cavern
From archives.gov

The Giant Dome
Largest stalagmite thus far discovered
From archives.gov

Two Medicine Lake
Glacier National Park
From archives.gov

St. Mary's Lake, Glacier National Park
From archives.gov

Saguaro National Monument
From archives.gov

Canyon de Chelly
From archives.gov

Boulder Dam, 1941
From archives.gov

Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico
From archives.gov

Dance, San Ildefonso Pueblo New Mexico, 1942
From archives.gov

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, 1941
From archives.gov

Corn Field, 1941
Indian Farm near Tuba City, Arizona
From archives.gov

Walpi, Arizona, 1941
From archives.gov

Flock in Owens Valley, 1941
From archives.gov

The holdings of the National Archives Still Picture Branch include 226 photographs taken for this project, most of them signed and captioned by Adams. They were taken at the Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Kings Canyon, Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Carlsbad Caverns, Glacier, and Zion National Parks; Death Valley, Saguaro, and Canyon de Chelly National Monuments. Other pictures were taken at the Boulder Dam; Acoma Pueblo, NM; San Idelfonso, NM; Taos Pueblo, NM; Tuba City, AZ; Walpi, AZ; and Owens Valley, CA. Many of the latter locations show Navajo and Pueblo Indians, their homes and activities.
The Kings Canyon photographs were taken in 1936 when the establishment of the park was being proposed. These prints were added by Adams to the mural project. The one photograph of Yosemite was a gift from Adams to the head of the Park Service, Horace Albright, in 1933.
In addition, there are eight photographs taken by Adams of Yosemite in the General Photographic Files of the National Park Service. These photos may still be under copyright protection.

Middle Fork at Kings River
View from S. Fork of Cartridge Creek
From archives.gov

Center Peak, Center Basin
From archives.gov

Half Dome, Apple Orchard, Yosemite
From archives.gov

In Adams's photographs the West is an abstract notion more appropriately understood in its transformation as photograph than in its actuality. Expression is more important than reality, idea more important than fact, the print more important than its subject. For it is only in the print that such magnificence can be unfailingly orchestrated. "Twelve photographs that matter in a year is a good crop for any photographer," Adams once said. An infinite number of visual confrontations with the landscape produces only twelve epiphanies.
The sense of the presence of the eternal world in Adams's photographs is achieved not only by his constant choice of sublime moments and viewpoints, but also by his legendary technical brilliance, which transforms an ordinary scene into a luminescent, fully realized, precious object.
To effect the formal purity and the transformations he desired, Adams developed the most careful, rigorously thought-out system of photographic control known to the field photographer: the Zone System. Adams wanted to go beyond conventional photographic recording, which, in his own words, is at best "acceptable though perhaps uninspired" and create a statement "acute and creatively expressive." In the Zone System, he engineered a technique by which the photographer could manipulate the photograph's internal tones without distorting essential photographic description. By means of filtration, development, and print controls, contrast could be heightened or softened and the placement of object values along the tonal scale could be predetermined by the photographer before the shutter was released. Thus a sand dune seen at sunrise could be transformed into an almost abstract composition of hard-edged black-and-white forms, a lone tree branch on the shore of Mono Lake could be made to stand out as if spotlit against a luminescent, floating background, and the north sky beyond Yosemite's Half Dome could be rendered a rich, velvet black. By using the Zone System, the photographer can darken those areas that in actuality provide an overabundance of distracting detail, lighten areas deep within natural shade, and intensify, simplify, or almost utterly obliterate the relationships between land, clouds, sea, rocks, foliage, and sky. Adams found in this system the answer that pictorialists in photography had long been seeking: a means of controlling the optical, mechanical medium with the same finesse the painter managed with the brush and palette.
Adams's concern with craft, technique, and reproduction quality helped initiate wide participation in expressive photography. He has shared his insights in numerous books and articles. His first technical manual, Making a Photograph (1935), contained the most accurate photographic reproductions since Stieglitz's Camera Work. And the Basic Photo Series (1948-1956) dispelled the atmosphere of alchemy surrounding photographic technique, allowing any photographer to produce a fine print.
Adams was also the author of his trilogy of technical instruction manuals (The Camera, The Negative and The Print). Photographs in Adams' limited edition book, Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail, along with his testimony, is credited with helping secure the designation of Sequoia and Kings Canyon as national parks in 1940.

1902 - Ansel Easton Adams born on February 20, at 114 Maple Street, San Francisco, the only child of Olive and Charles
1915 - Despises the regimentation of a regular education, and is taken out of school. For that year, his father buys him a season pass to the Panama-Pacific Exposition, which he visits nearly every day. Private tutors provide further instruction.
1916: Family Trip to Yosemite, Californina.
1925: Decides to become a pianist. Buys a grand piano.
1927: First acknowledged photograph.
1940 - Teaches first Yosemite workshop, the U. S. Camera Photographic Forum, in Yosemite with Edward Weston.
1953 he collaborated with Dorothea Lange on a Life commission for a photo essay on the Mormons in Utah
In 1962 Adams moved to Carmel, California, where in 1967 he was instrumental in the foundation of the Friends of Photography
1984 - Dies April 22 of heart failure aggravated by cancer