Saint Louis a.k.a. Louis II of France, a crusading French King from the 13th Century, is the symbol of the city.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Too bad it’s a little blurry.
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.
A better image may be viewed by clicking here.
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.”
For a better image, click here.
This painting depicted insanity patients being apprehended after a great earthquake in Messina in 1909. For a better image, click here.
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.
This lovely Perseus and Andromeda is painted on lapis lazuli. That’s what the deep blue is.
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.
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.
Another of the Barbizon School of painters, Henri-Joseph Harpignies painted this distant church in the Allier region of central France.
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
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.
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!