Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AMERICAN ACADEMIC CLASSICAL ARTIST



A figure painter in the conservative tradition of the late 19th century French, Henry Bacon is associated primarily with watercolors of scenes of Normandy and Egypt. Many of his landscapes have figures, well drawn and often romanticized bucolic, peasant types.
He was also one of the first Americans to be admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and became a promoter of the use of watercolor in pure washes, without opaque coloration. He also showed his genius for Impressionist effects of weather and light, particularly on reflective surfaces such as water.
(Website of Comenos Fine Art and 300 Years of American Art by Michael David Zellman at askart.com)


Along the Seine
From allpaintings.org


At the Well
From allpaintings.org


General View of the Acropolis at Sunset
From From museumsyndicate.com


The Departure from New York Harbor
Oil on Canvas
Private Collection
From istanbularthouse.com


Repose
From museumsyndicate.com


The Erechtheum
Owner Smithsonian American Art Museum
From museumsyndicate.com


Henry Bacon (1839 in Haverhill, Massachusetts – 13 March 1912 in Cairo) was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1839. During the American Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army on 16 July 1861 and acted as a field artist for Frank Leslie's Weekly while he served as a soldier within the 13th Massachusetts Infantry. Badly wounded at Bull Run, he was discharged on 19 December 1862.
(ecrater.com)
He was discharged so that he and his wife were able to travel to Paris in 1864. That October the two stayed in Brittany. Robert Wylie spotted the couple two years later in a restaurant and described Bacon as “a handsome fellow of about our age of twenty with long, dark hair and a generally artistic aspect.” Bacon must have been well versed in the French language, history and culture, for he was admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; one of his teachers there was Alexandre Cabanel. Moreover, he rubbed shoulders with Thomas Eakins in Gérôme’s atelier. At that time, Bacon earned money by writing “penny-a-liners” for Boston newspapers. In 1866 he was in Ecouen, studying with Edouard Frère. Bacon exhibited no fewer than thirty-one paintings at the Paris Salon between 1867 and 1896. These include genre works, historical scenes and shipboard subjects. One example of the latter is an accident at sea: Steamer Taking a Pilot from 1885 (location unknown). Bacon also exhibited at the National Academy of Design (1872-83). The Quilting Party (Jo Ann and Julian Ganz, Jr.), which Bacon shipped from Paris, was part of the NAD’s 1872 show.
(Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D. at askart.com)
One popular work in the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 was Bacon’s Boston Boys and General Gage, 1775 (Dimock Gallery, George Washington University), in which American children protest the encroachment of British soldiers upon their sledding areas. Dwyer and Miller (1995) explain that “the children’s plight [was] a metaphor for the larger struggle of the colonists.”
(Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D. at askart.com)


The Tourist and the Fisherwoman, 1870
From allpaintings.org


On Shipboard, 1877
From museumsyndicate.com


First Sight of Land
Oil on canvas
In the collection of Art and Elaine Baur
From metmuseum.org


Late-nineteenth-century Americans' familiarity with modern tourism was abetted by the advent of regular transatlantic routes, faster and more comfortable vessels, and reduced fares. Here, Bacon, who made many transatlantic crossings, tells a story of shipboard life on the luxurious French mail steamer the Péreire. The prominent mast indicates that even steam-powered liners used auxiliary sails to take advantage of good winds and reduce fuel consumption. The well-dressed young passenger, who has cast aside her tartan lap robe and book and risen from her chair, proclaims that women were venturing abroad in greater numbers during the 1870s than ever before to "finish" their education and prepare for marriage. Bacon offers only a fragmentary, open-ended narrative: because the book is a salmon-covered paperback associated with French publishers, the woman may be returning to America, yet her excitement suggests she is arriving in Europe.
(.metmuseum.org)
In 1878 Bacon’s Land! Land! (perhaps the picture in the collection of John I. H. Baur) was on view at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. When the French impressionists came upon the scene, Bacon assumed they were “afflicted with some hitherto unknown disease of the eye; for they neither see form nor color as other painters have given them to us, or as nature appears to all who do not belong to this association.” Such a sober, meticulously accurate painter as Bacon could not understand “green or violet flesh,” purple trees and blue lawns.
(Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D. at askart.com)


The Departure, 1879
From museumsyndicate.com


The Peasant Girl, 1883
From allpaintings.org


Beach at Etretat, 1890
From museumsyndicate.com


Etreat
Oil on Panel, 1890
Federal Reserve Board Coll. Washington USA
From cgfa.acropolisinc.com


Egyptian Pyramids
watercolor over graphite, 1897
Honolulu Academy of Arts
From en.wikipedia.org


Obelisk--Karnak in 1900
watercolor over graphite, 1900
Honolulu Academy of Arts
From en.wikipedia.org


Starting in 1895 Bacon limited his activity to the watercolor medium and he began to visit exotic locales, such as Egypt, Ceylon and Greece. Around 1900 the Bacons moved to London. Mrs. Bacon published Our Houseboat on the Nile in 1902 and her husband died in Cairo in 1912.
(Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D. at askart.com)


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