Brian's Morning Newsletter
November 30th 2009
Claude Monet. The Boat Studio (Le bateau-atelier).Oil on canvas. Barnes Foundation, Lincoln University, Merion, PA, USA. 1876.
Wow, and you thought I was through with the impressionists, well I was and then while searching for American artists and artwork on the Internet, quite by accident I found http://ibiblio.com, which is so much better than the Metropolitan Museum of Art's database format. Not to sound lazy, but with the Met's files, I had to rename every painting, whereas ibiblio already uses proper file names, as it is part of the Open Source community, indeed Ibiblio I was already familiar with, because it is a repository for Linux compatible software.
Ibiblio's images are big and reproduced in high quality, and the icing on the cake is there is a story behind each painting. Not that I think quantity matters, but with such a large selection of paintings which by the way are not limited to one museum, created for me, as I was opening and downloading these masterpieces an awe inspiring journey through the Impressionism movement. So this morning I will attempt to write something pseudo-intellectual about each piece of work shown.
Above is Claude Monet's Le bateau-atelier which for me exemplifies the Impressionists use of seemingly quick broad strokes of color especially in the reflections as if the master artist needed only a dash of paint placed without hesitation in what the viewer simply finds appealing warm and peaceful. When I look closely atthe boat studio , I wonder only for a moment at the randomness of the ripples in the water. If I had any talent, training and experience painting, I might wonder at the few chaotic strokes here and there, but then the serene beauty replaces any negative thinking by the viewer. In other words, the detail doesn't matter, in this style of painting it is the feel and emotion of the scene that is expressed by the painter.
Two Sisters (On the Terrace) by Pierre-Auguste
Renoir (oil on canvas, 39-9/16×37-/8 inches) is
housed at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The popularity of the Impressionist paintings is unprecedented in the world of art. Funny, when for the briefest of moments I think about the vagueness of the paint on the canvas, I can see that it doesn't matter one bit to appraisers. These paintings sell for many millions of dollars. Admittedly, much of Rembrandt's and the Renaissance artist's work is painted on walls and ceilings and not easily bought and sold, making Impressionism art portable and therefor marketable.
But who cares? We're not going to be bidding on a Monet anytime soon. Thank goodness for the electronic age and the Internet. One part of the Internet I never used was the downloading of music or movies, of course I had reasons, copyrighted material was always in the back of my mind, but it was the viruses I saw everyday when servicing customers' computers that really turned me off from downloading. I can vouch for this source, so feel confident that these images are clean.
Renoir's use of outlandish colors to express depth and emotion is borderline overwhelming in the Two Sisters recurring theme paintings. Two Sisters is one Impressionist painting which the viewer can inspect up close and there is just as much detail and emotion as felt viewing from a distance. The faces in Renoir's work, were responsible for more than a few "lost" moments as I saved all these painting in one file folder and used Linux to run a slide show.
Unbelievable, I was more fixated watching the slide show than watching House on Hulu.com. You know that is something because Nell and I are ridiculous movie buffs, we'll watch almost anything that doesn't have commercials, and be quite entertained. I still need to figure out how to get the slide show program to place the artist and title of the work in the slide show, becasue sometimes it is difficult to know when the artist changes, as these guys were collaborators, often the four of them would go out together and paint, which is why many of the artist have paintings with similar subject matter and names.
Yeah, these images would make a great DVD with titles and music in the background.
Camille Pissarro (French, 1830-1903). Chestnut Trees at Osny, ca. 1873. Oil on .25 1/2 x 31 3/4 (65 x 81 cm).
© Collection of Jacqueline J. McMullen
Camille Pissarro's work remains some of my favorite, and as we've seen artists of Renoir's stature are a hard act to follow. Some of my favoritism comes from my inherent love of the underdog, not to mention being a man named Camille, whatever reason I give a lot of leeway Pissarro. Nevertheless, give the above painting titled Chestnut Trees a moment, I tend to float right into the meadow, and out through and underneath the trees. I can think of no greater accomplishment of a artist than drawing the viewer into a work.
I don't want to leave it, but then the slide show moves forward…
Alfred Sisley Moret-sur-Loing
1891 Oil on canvas, 65 x 92 cm; Galerie H. Odermatt-Ph. Cazeau, Paris
Alfred, now there's a good manly name, but he is English born, not so French as his peers. Sisley's work was unknown to me, or I didn't recall it anyway, but then I had mind expanding formulative years, my sister Jill used to tell me. There are a lot of stupid things I remember all too clearly, and much information which slipped through the cracks. Oh well, whatcha gunna do? I yam what I yam.
Anyway, Sisley's work shown above is highly detailed architecture using perfect vanishing point perspective, more like Realism than Impressionism. What I see is the Realism aspect in the upper section of the painting, and Impressionism technique show more in the reflections. Whatever, I'm no art critic, I just love what I see here, a little of two worlds blended together in a masterpiece.
Le Petit Jardinier (The Little Gardener), c1866-67 oil on canvas Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
I may have posted this painting by Bazille before, but I believe it belongs here in this series, because of the style and use of colors. Obviously these guys can throw a landscape together, but from what I read, each of the Impressionists felt differently about including portraits in the style of en plein air. What I see when I look at the characters is more distinctness and separateness between each artists technique.
Yep these are some of the finest paintings I have ever seen.
So, what happened with my research into American artists?
Nell and I went to town Saturday, and bought new tires for the old Blazer, while we waited we spent our time at a shop on Bridge street, called Tome on the Range. While there I exclusively perused a book called (I think) American Art: History and Culture and yes I had a hard time putting it down too.
I will get to our American artists, but I'm not quite done with the French yet.
See ya in December
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