I’ve just come back from five days in Saint Louis, MO with my daughter, Iphigeneia, and friends, Anna and Sue. I tried to take photographs of paintings I particularly liked in the Saint Louis Art Museum, which I will post here, but with the warning that some are slightly distorted and cropped, due to the angle from which I could view the painting and sometimes a little blurry due to the lighting available. Hopefully you will get a taste of the art available to see in Museums in Saint Louis.
Nona, Geneia, Sue and Anna in front of the St Louis Art Museum
The Apotheosis of Saint Louis
Saint Louis a.k.a. Louis II of France, a crusading French King from the 13th Century, is the symbol of the city.
Old Homestead in Connecticutt by Willard Leroy Metcalf
This is my personal favorite painting in the Museum. It depicts a New England house on a moonlit night and is so charming, I instantly wanted to step into the scene and enjoy the music of crickets and the evening breeze, then join the cozy party indoors. Notice the lit window on the side of the house.
A Portrait by Anders Zorn
Anders Zorn is a 19th Century Swedish painter who is widely admired for his loose, elegant brushwork and glowing colors, very like John Singer Sargent.
The Banks of the River Oise by Charles-Francois Daubigny
Daubigny is my favorite painter of the Barbizon School. He often painted landscapes at dusk and is particularly admired for his river scenes. The first Daubigny I ever saw was at the Cincinatti Art Museum: One half of the painting was of a shadowed hillside just before sunset. There are cows lying in grass in the shade. The last rays of sunlight are illuminating the opposite side of the painting, where one can see a greater distance. It was that point in the day where one can still see with great clarity everything around you, but wouldn’t be able to photograph it. The shadows would end up too deep and the sunlit areas too bleached. At that time of day everything appears to have its own inner luminosity, but it will vanish in a quarter of an hour. Daubigny was brilliant at depicting that light. He was out there with his canvas capturing it and memorizing it. My photograph of the painting of the Oise above does not do it justice. One must see Daubigny’s paintings to appreciate how good they are.
Medway, Massachusetts by George Inness
An American painter who evoked the atmospheric beauty of landscape was George Inness, who studied in France and was won over by the Barbizon vision. As can be seen in the painting above, Inness’ interest was in the emotions that landscape and being outdoors can evoke, and saw it as a means to cultivate spiritual appreciation. “The poetic quality is not obtained by eschewing any truths of fact or of Nature…Poetry is the vision of reality.”
Woman Standing Near a Pond by Edward Mitchell Bannister
While going through the Saint Louis Art Museum, I noted three paintings that were described as being painted by an African-American. (If the artist’s race had not been mentioned in the write-up, I wouldn’t have known.) It was interesting and impressive, because of the time period in which they lived and worked. Bannister lived from 1828 to 1901. As often happens in the art world, though Bannister was successful and well known in his day, he was largely forgotten. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1970s brought attention to his work once more and it began to be celebrated and collected again. As can be seen in the painting above, Bannister’s work deserves the attention.
Geneia particularly liked this portrait by Renoir
The Tenth Street Studio by William Merritt Chase
A Pond Near the Road by Theodore Rousseau
A contemplative painting by Frank Benson
Renoiresque portrait -- I'm afraid I don't remember by whom
Street of the Great Captain at Cordoba by Childe Hassam
Stairway at Auvers by Vincent Van Gogh
An Orientalist Painting in the Impressionistic Styte
Unfortunately, I don’t remember who painted this. I have always found Orientalist paintings colorful and interesting. I especially like the paintings of Jean-Leon Gerome. This one was unusual, because it was painted by an impressionist. I’m afraid I only carried my camera through the museum, not a note-pad, and I don’t remember the artist.
Landscape by John Henry Twachtman
One of the things that was pointed out about Twachtman’s work was the “shimmering effect” he created with broken color. This painting really does have the shimmering effect that water vapor and sunlight might create. When viewed closely, the paint is very layered and broken.
American Impressionist Painting
I don’t remember the artist, but one of the amusing things about things about this artist, is that when the Impressionists first exhibited in France, this American artist regarded their paintings with “horror.” Twenty years later he was painting just like them. Our senses are educated in beauty by familiarity.
Attachment by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer
Too bad it’s a little blurry.
Arab Horsemen a la Delacroix
I don’t remember who painted this, but I liked it. There was a Delacroix painting too, with its characteristic, violent postures and action. Here is that one. It’s a little blurry.
Weislingen Captured by Gotz's Men by Eugene Delacroix
A better image may be viewed by clicking here.
Bridge in New York State
Three Women in a Studio by Max Beckmann
This was the most domestically pleasing of the many Max Beckmann paintings at the St Louis Art Museum. The description beside it included this note: “As with many of Beckmann’s early works, the painting is inscribed HBSL in the upper right, an abbreviation for Herr Beckmann Seiner Liebsten (Mister Beckmann to his love), a dedication to his first wife, Minna.”
The Sinking of the Titanic by Max Beckmann
For a better image, click here.
Scene from the Destruction of Messina by Max Beckmann
This painting depicted insanity patients being apprehended after a great earthquake in Messina in 1909. For a better image, click here.
Portrait of a Woman by Frans Hals
Repose in a Park by Jean-Baptiste Joseph Pater
The Promenade with the Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil by Claude Monet
Native American Horse Thieves portrayed a a French Artist
Presumably these are plains Indians. Note that one of them is wearing a leopard or jaguar skin. The French had a very romantic view of American natives ever since James Fennimore Cooper wrote and published the Leatherstocking Tales in France.
Skating Near a Town by Henryk Avercamp
Nana, Female Nude by Lovis Corinth
Perseus Rescuing Andromeda by Cavaliere D'Arpino
This lovely Perseus and Andromeda is painted on lapis lazuli. That’s what the deep blue is.
Wanderer on a Mountaintop by Carl Gustav Carus
Carl Gustav Carus was a friend of Goethe and a renaissance man. In 1811 he graduated as a doctor of medicine and a doctor of philosophy. In 1814 he was appointed professor of obstetrics and director of the maternity clinic at the teaching institution for medicine and surgery in Dresden. He wrote about art, psychology, especially that there is an antagonistic unconsicous poised against our conscious selves, and physicology, developing the theory of the vertebrate archetype.He learned landscape painting from Caspar David Friedrich, whose work the painting above strongly resembles.
Portrait of the Artist's Brother by Louise Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun
Louise Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun was an Eighteenth Century artist who painted many portraits of the French nobility, including Marie Antoinette. Her work was critically acclaimed in her lifetime. She was able to combine marriage, motherhood and a career in art, a fact that is commented on persuasively to Marie Grosholtz in Madame Tussaud, a new novel about the French Revolution. Marie Grosholtz was the maiden name of the famous and equally accomplished wax portraitist who later became Madame Tussaud. She lived, worked and survived the events of the French Revolution. I highly recommend this novel. Vigee Le Brun painted this portrait of her brother when she was only eighteen.
The Village Church by Henri-Joseph Harpignies
Another of the Barbizon School of painters, Henri-Joseph Harpignies painted this distant church in the Allier region of central France.
View in Sussex by Thomas Gainsborough
The Silver Goblet by Jean-Simeon Chardin
Calvary -- I don't know by whom
Detail from Attachment by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (Anna got a clearer picture than I did.)
This portrait is of some unfortunate painter’s father — I don’t remember which one — but he didn’t want his son to be an artist. It’s pretty apparent in his face, don’t you think? He didn’t think much of modeling for a portrait either, I take it.
Judith and Holofernes
The delicate mauve shading under the yoke she wears over her shoulders is supposed to indicate that she’s wearing a dress. It doen’t read like that to me, but the artist didn’t want to distract from her musculature to make the fabric more apparent. He meant her obvious physical strength to portray her strength of purpose as she kills the Assyrian invader.
Portrait of a Gentleman by Gilbert Stuart
Betalo Rubino, Dramatic Dancer by Robert Henri
This romantic interpretation of American Indians by a French artist has one of the horse thieves wearing a leopard or jaguar skin. It adds an exotic element. The French became enthralled with the American frontier when James Fennimore Cooper wrote his Leatherstocking Tales in Paris.
Still Life by William Merritt Chase
The Country School by Winslow Homer
Me below the statue of St Louis
Hope you enjoyed your abbreviated tour of the St Louis Art Museum. There were a number of paintings that were not currently on view — I know this from perusing the St Louis Art Museum Website — so I’ll have to get back there someday. I had thought to visit Kansas City, MO on this trip too, but it turned out to be impractical. Another day, another art trip!