I actually did this painting last October in time for Fall Art Tour, but haven’t posted it until now. The location is Governor Dodge State Park, Wisconsin. Last summer we canoed around the lake with friend, Logan, who was very game about climbing over rocky banks and through bushes to reach the best fishing spots. It was a lot of fun as we maneuvered the canoe forwards and backwards, trying to find the best angles.
On Day Two we were scheduled to visit Lerna, the Argos Museum and the Skouras Winery. I’d heard of Lerna with respect to Mycenaean artifacts, but didn’t know anything about it other than the name. Mythologically Lerna was the location of the Hydra who guarded one of the entrances to the underworld, slain by Heracles as the second of his labors. Mysteries, sacred to Demeter, were celebrated there.
There are Neolithic and Bronze Age ruins at Lerna, notably the House of Tiles, an administrative center with a fortification wall. It is a “corridor house,” with four central rooms sided by two corridors used for storage and to let on to stairways to the upper story. It isn’t considered to be a domestic dwelling because there was no hearth, according to Sandy, and because it was left alone after destruction, except to raise a tumulus over it and sink shaft graves into it, which suggests it had some sort of sacred significance.
It is thought to have some administrative function because of the number of stamp seals found here.
The stamp seals used within the precinct were identical to those in central Anatolia.
Interestingly, Sargon of Akkad in his Geography claimed “the Land Beyond the Land of Lead” to be his. Sandy suggested that Lerna was in this Land Beyond. I’ve tried to find more about this Geography of Sargon, but wasn’t able to substantiate the suggestion.
There are other buildings like the House of Tiles in Messenia and Attica. The House was burnt around 2600. The Tumulus was created on top of it around 2000 and the shaft graves were sunk around 1500. It’s hard to show how interesting this site is, because there are not poetic looking remains, but one of the interesting things was the juxtaposition of a house with a Megaron and Apsidal houses from the Middle Helladic Period. An Apsidal House is one with a semicircular wall at one end.
A Megaron is a structure built around a Great Room, featuring a central hearth, a vented clerestory and colonnade. It is the absolute hallmark of a Mycenaean building and all the great Myceanean fortresses feature a megaron in the main building.
Prior to the Myceanean Period (1600-1200 BC roughly), apsidal houses were the typical model and afterwards they continued so. In fact Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic churches all take their design from the Greek apsidal house.
The basic configuration of a Cathedral
Yesterday, Sandy told us that Poseidon means “lord of the earth;” don or dan meaning earth in Indo-European. In the Iliad, the Achaeans are called Argives and Danaans interchangeably.
According to Egyptian records, the Danaia became mercenaries for Thutmose III when the new political organization, the Mycenaean, rose at Lerna and elsewhere in the Argive plain around 1500. The Greeks must have been astounded by the sophistication of the Egyptians and the Minoans of Crete. Greek religious ideas were borrowed from Egypt: Makaretes, the land of the dead, and the idea of the Elysian Fields, to be specific. (I have always found it notable that the shades of the dead in the Odyssey Book Eleven are unconscious and unable to speak until they have been given blood to drink, showing that an earlier Greek idea of the soul was not of a conscious one.) These Danaia would have been Hellene. The former population, called Pelasgian, were probably the same kin as the Cycladic islanders.
The Mycenaeans adopted sea-fairing from the Cyclades. There were large, coarse (only in comparison to the Minoan pithoi), ceramic jars half buried in the ground for storage. Potteries of the bronze age world needed to be located near a source of water and a large supply of firewood. They weren’t to be found just anywhere, so archaeologists can often trace ceramics to a certain pottery or workshop. There are, of course, stylistic similarities to help identify them. Potters, however, also traveled and made pithoi from local clays, but with Cycladic designs. These very large jars were sent by ship all over the Mediterranean world. On the Uluburun wreck, one large pithos was filled with small, fine ceramic vases, a trade item in themselves.
From Lerna, we drove to an ancient pyramid that has not been successfully dated. It may have been a watch tower; it may have been meant for sacred activities. It’s very odd, but apparently there were a number of them in Pausanias’ day. A Second Century AD traveler and geographer, Pausanias was told, while traveling in Argos, that it was a memorial for Argive soldiers who died in war. That is as good an explanation as any. Apparently, Argos sort of declined during the Geometric (1050-700 BCE) and Archaic (800-480 BCE) periods, after having been quite important in the Mycenaean. The Argives remained neutral in both the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars.
Anyway, the pyramid was made with large stones and was two stories high. Whether it tapered to a peak or had any windows, it is impossible to tell. The depressions for the second story floor joists are clearly visible inside, cut into the stone.
The building stones on the interior are large and square cut, but on the outside they are sheared off to create a smooth incline on the exterior side. There is an imitation (?) Mycenaean triangle-topped doorway on one side of the Eastern face, set back by a foot or so from the rest of the wall. It lets onto a corridor running along the Southern interior. At the end of the corridor is a door to enter the one room interior opening on the North side end of the corridor. If there was a closable door, it would have been utterly dark inside, without lamps, a good place for mysteries. It was curious. Sandy thinks it’s a piece of archaizing from the Geometric Period, but there’s no way of knowing for sure. Other scholar think it is Mycenaean.
Honestly, it would make the greatest fort!
After the Pyramid, stopped to look at some old trains while Miranda organized snacks to tide us through our next stop.
After lunch we visited the Greek Theater in Argos. It was built to accommodate 20,000. There was a Roman schema added in front, providing a floodable, sealed semi-circle that could accommodate mock sea battles. Sandy stood on the speaker’s stone and read from Pausanias. Pausanias mentioned a famous woman poet named Telesilla, whom I’ve looked up. She’d make a great protagonist in a novel (which I of course should write…..).
She was considered to be one of the nine, great, female Lyric poets of Greece and was responsible for a metrical innovation that was named after he. As a child, she was sickly, so she went to the Pythia to consult about her health. Pythia told her to “serve the Muses” – that would be a great motto on a family crest — and Telesilla devoted herself to poetry. When Cleomenes, the King of Sparta, invaded the land of the Argives in 510 BC, he defeated and killed all the hoplites of Argos in the Battle of Sepeia and massacred the survivors. Thus when Cleomenes led his troops to Argos there were no warriors left to defend it. According to Pausanias, Telesilla stationed on the wall all the slaves and all the males normally exempt from military service owing to their youth or old age. Also, she collected the arms from sanctuaries and homes, armed the women and put them in battle position. When the Spartans appeared, they made a battle cry to scare Telesilla and the other women, but Telesilla’s army didn’t scare, stood their ground and fought valiantly. The Lacedaemonians, realizing that to destroy the women would be an invidious success while defeat would mean a shameful disaster, left the city. Would this make a good movie, or what!
According to Pausanias at Argos there was a statue in front of the temple of Aphrodite dedicated to Telesilla. The statues depicted a woman who holds in her hand a helmet, which she is looking at and is about to place on her head and books lying at her feet (although it would equally represent Aphrodite, in her character as wife of Ares and a warlike goddess — the books, however, seem out of place).[ The festival Hybristica or Endymatia, in which men and women exchanged clothes, also celebrated the heroism of her female compatriots.
We’d had only snacks thus far that day, because we were going to the Skouras Winery for a tour and tasting and lunch as well. Our guide was thin as a rake, had long bushy hair contained in a ponytail and was a total showman; we all thought him over the top, but engagingly so. It called forth a response and we needed to play along.
He proudly described their latest prize winner. We tasted two whites and two reds. I wanted to buy the best red and have it shipped to my friend, Andrea, as a surprise, but the showman discouraged me, saying it would be too expensive — this actually turned out to be true, as I found out when I left a new and unused hair dryer at the hotel and it would have cost $140 to send to the USA. Now that’s inflation! — so I bought a bottle to drink and share on the trip. I knew Olivier was going to show us his video of the Santorini and Crete Tour, so I thought I’d offer it as refreshment when we did that.
That night after dinner, we eschewed the nightcap and headed back to the hotel so I could type up some notes before I forgot them and to go to bed early. I wrote a long entry about Lerna and Epidauros as an e-mail to myself, but when I went to send it, my “session had timed out” and it disappeared. I was so annoyed. After that, however, whenever I wanted to send myself a message about what we’d done that day, I sent notes in shorter installments. I must say, apart from that experience, I did love having an iPad with a keyboard along with me on the trip.
First of all, Nafplio (Nauplion):
Nafplio is the loveliest town and it’s where we arrived on the first evening of our Tour and stayed throughout. It’s situated on a gulf, with restaurants facing the sea, narrow pedestrian streets — such a relief after noisy Athens — balconies, French doors and spectacular fortresses crowning the heights.
Second Day: Troezen and Epidauros
We had an early morning in store, driving first to Troezen to see what had been identified to Pausanias, in his travels in the second century AD, as the Theseus Stone. According to the legend, Aethra, Theseus’ mother, had slept with both the god and King Aigeus of Athens at the temple of Poseidon in a single night, later giving birth to the hero. Aigeus left his sword and his sandals under a great stone with a firm command that his identity not be revealed until the day that their child could lift it and find what lay beneath. We had a good laugh as Sandy and Jean-Pierre lifted it in charade and Olivier filmed.
Troezen was one of Poseidon’s earliest cult centers, which syncs perfectly with Mary Renault’s portrayal in The King Must Die. (The city contributed ships to the Greek invasion of Asia in the Iliad. In the 6th Century, Themistocles sent the Athenian women and children there for protection from the Persians, when they abandoned Athens to be sacked and instead defeated the Phoenician fleet at sea. The oracle at Delphi had revealed that Athens would be protected by “wooden walls.”)
From the Stone, we walked up to a Hellenistic watchtower, identifiable by the drafted margins on its corners, on which a Byzantine top had been added. At least that’s what I understood at the time. Since then I’ve read that the Diateichisma Tower was originally built in the 5th century BC, but the superstructure is medieval. In any case, it didn’t exist in Theseus ‘ day.
We continued on along a mountain path to reach the Devil’s (daimon’s) Bridge over a narrow gorge, an ancient construction and one of the last remaining intact bridges in Greece.
There is a small aqueduct running along one side of the bridge. The path we were on leads along the stream to a town on the other side of the mountain. I could imagine Theseus traveling towards his fateful meeting with Gerkyon and afterwards hunting bandits along just such a path. I imagine it’s the reason The King Must Die was on our Tour reading list. I’m glad I’d just reread it. (Geneia had read The Last of the Wine instead – she’s read The King Must Die before – according to my instructions, so she had a feel for Classical Athens.) Interestingly, Troezen’s deity, Poseidon, predates Zeus, and his name means Lord of the Earth in Indo-European. In The King Must Die,Mary Renault makes much of the sky god that is displacing the older, earth-mother religion of mainland Greece, and portrays Crete as a stronghold of the old religion. The novel was written in 1958, and there is much material to consider in understanding the religion of Bronze Age Greece, many threads, but the greater antiquity of an earth-shaker, perhaps chthonic (within the earth) god is interesting.
From Troezen we stopped for a seaside lunch next to a large bay. We were served fresh cucumber, tomato, feta, onion and lettuce salad, fresh steamed broccoli, green beans with lemon and grilled Dorada fish, all with the most luscious Tzaziki Sauce, full of garlic and dill, I’ve ever tasted. It was all local and terrific.
It began to rain when we reached Epidauros and we walked up to the theater in a sprinkle. It held off long enough for us to have a thorough look at it and climb to the top.
To demonstrate the acoustics, we were invited to declaim something from the center stone. The Brits and Belgians had no trouble quoting Shakespeare and Jean-Paul began to recite the Iliad in Greek. He recited about three lines and I would have loved to pick up exactly where he left off — that would have been so cool — but by the time it was my turn, I had to recite all seven of my lines in order to remember any of them. (My obscure party trick finally came in handy.) A number of our party had seen Greek plays performed live in this theatre. (How handy it is to live in Britain or some other European country! The USA is a very long way away.) They are a very well-traveled lot. I learned over lunch that Jeremy and Linda are Sibelius fans and had just spent a week at a Sibelius Festival in Lahti, Finland, where a new concert hall has so perfected the acoustics; they heard parts of his music which they’d never heard before.
I can’t make sense of the map we were given now, but will relate the order in which we saw things in the compound of Asklepios. First of all we were shown a hotel, which was composed of a square of adjacent rooms, where visitors could stay in Roman times. Then there is a Greek bath house, where cold water was used for their ablutions. The Romans later built another luxury model for themselves, as they didn’t appreciate the Spartan values of their originators.
After that we walked past the very large Temple of Asklepios wherein a Roman Odeon was added in the center. (Sandy challenged us to each write an Ode to be recited at the end of the tour.) There was a Tholos under reconstruction. (I like reconstruction, because it helps the imagination, makes sense of the remains and it appears to me, protects them as well.) The Tholos was built between 360 and 300 BC. It was the center of the chthonic (underworld) mystery cult of Asklepios, once a Homeric hero and later a god. Sculptures there were credited to the Argive architect and sculptor, Polykleitos, who is also credited with the magnificent theater.
There was a building, the Enkoimeterion, a dormatory where patients who had come to the Temple of Asklepios could stay while they waited to be healed.
I knew I have seen a painting in the style of Tadema of suppliants sleeping in the Temple, waiting to receive a dream from the god with a course of treatment. It turns out that it is by Waterhouse and I saw it in Montreal!
A Sick Child Brought to the Temple of Aescapulius, John Waterhouse 1877
Sandy told us about how the Greeks had discovered the meridians of the body along which Chinese Acupuncture is practiced. Hippocrates of Kos had asserted that the blood vessels ran along these meridians.
The Greek approach to healing: First they had to confess what moral wrong had brought on the illness. Once that was cleared up, they became partners in their own cure. There seem to have been any number of sacred (white) snakes about the precinct (Greek name, Ophis), who might come out and lick a wound, for example, but be remembered in the dream as a handsome young man who performed the act, then spoke to the sufferer, giving them advice. These snakes were shipped all over the Mediterranean for use at other Asklepions. One is wrapped around the symbolic Staff of Asklepios to this day the symbol of medicine. We made it to the Museum before it began to rain again. There were many statues of Hygiena, Asklepios’ daughter, Athena and Asklepios himself. The thing I liked most were the Roman rain gutters, which were formed of terracotta acanthus leaves, punctuated with lion’s heads through which water spouted.
All the terracotta pieces were elegantly painted with designs in black, white and red. As soon as we reentered the coach, it began to pour in earnest. Incidentally, Asklepios is not a Greek name. Sandy said there was some discussion on the part of etymologists that the name might come from “assili-peha,” a Hittite word meaning”well-being.” I enjoyed that connection.
On the bus ride home we passed a Mycenaean Bridge. The bridge belonged in Mycenaean times to a highway between the two cities, which formed part of a wider military road network. The structure is 72 ft long, 18.4 ft wide at the base and 13 ft high. The width of the roadway atop is about 8 ft. The sophisticated layout of the bridge and the road indicate that they were specifically constructed for use by chariots. Built ca. 1300–1190 BCE, the bridge is still used by the local populace. Imagine! It is certainly over three thousand years old.
Miranda took us for a short walk to show us the city-center of Nauplion, Syntagma (Constitution) Square, but we didn’t continue because of the weather. Nauplion was the first capital of independent Greece. More about that tomorrow. There is a Venetian building, now the Archaeological Museum, but I don’t know its original purpose.
In the evening I visited with Dominique. I found out she hosts concerts for 100 people in her salon. Her daughter plays the harp, I think, and is marrying a man who plays the Turkish lute. Their honeymoon plans involve gypsying around Europe with a horse and caravan!
We left dinner last night following Bernard and Lindsay out to find a cocktail. Bernard had noticed a restaurant/bar, where he was sure he could find a good Manhattan, which we repaired to. There was loud music playing inside, but we situated ourselves outside around the corner, where we could hear ourselves think. I ordered a Manhattan, Lindsay a G & T, Geneia a Tequila Sunrise, Jean-Paul a Famous Grouse and John, a Napoleon brandy. (John is 89 years old and gamely visiting all the sites with us, walking up hills and clambering over rocks in spite of being bent over. I can’t imagine my mother doing the same on her own at his age. Something to aspire to.) Later we were joined by Olivier and Dominique. We ended up talking about the upcoming last season of Downton Abbey with interest all around. What fun! It just goes to show you how the BBC brings people together!
Last weekend, my friend Josephine and I drove down to Jacksonville, IL for a very special event at the David Strawn Gallery.
Louise Bone, Curator and Collector
I heard about Nellie Knopf for years through our friend, Jenny Norris Peterson, because her mother was a devoted collector of this Jacksonville artist. Louise had graduated from MacMurray College, where Nellie had taught. Although she never met her, she was fascinated. .
Born in Chicago, Knopf studied at the Art Institute of Chicago under John Vanderpoel and Frederick Freer, graduating in 1900. That same year she joined the faculty of the Illinois Women’s College at Jacksonville (now MacMurray College.) She received her doctorate from the College in 1935, and continued to teach there until 1943. From 1910 to 1917 Knopf spent summers studying with Charles Woodbury in Ogunguit, Maine. She also studied with Birger Sandzen at the Broadmoor Academy.
Knopf began making summer painting trips in the West in 1921. She used two sabbaticals in 1923-1924 and 1941-1942 to visit California, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Texas and Colorado. She went to Glacier National Park during the summers of 1925 and 1926, and in later years traveled to Mexico. After retiring, Knopf moved to Lansing, Michigan and later to Eaton Rapids, Michigan.
Knopf primarily painted landscape views in oil, working in a modernist style with loose brush work. She exhibited her paintings extensively including such venues as the Corcoran Gallery, National Academy of Design, Kansas City Museum of Art, and the Detroit Institute of Arts. In 1987 MacMurray College held a major retrospective of Knopf’s work.
Louise entertained the crowd with anecdotes from her years of hunting Knopfs in antique shops and approaching private persons who had inherited, her nerve-wracking moments and greatest triumphs. She was not the only collector whose paintings were being exhibited, of course, but only two of them regaled us with stories of the hunt. We were also entertained by John Beeskow.
With only rare exception I did not photograph the names of the paintings or their contributors, since there were crowds of people at the exhibit and I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone. From the bio provided at the beginning of this entry, one can guess at the locals, based upon her travels.
By and large her paintings of Maine are among her earliest. I particularly like the way they are painted. Later paintings show the influences of painters like Cezanne — at least to my eyes.
This painting of junked cars was a particular favorite of mine, probably because of the subject matter. No one junks cars like this after all, so it has the vintage feel of its time. I would buy it in a second, if I could afford it.
We were served wine when we walked through the door and a violinist began to play Ashkolan Farewell underneath this Civil War era style painting. I don’t know whether it was actually from that area; it may have been painted posthumously from a photograph, but it was evocative nonetheless.
Louise and Chet Bone own another painting Nellie did of this subject. She painted flowers in the wintertime. Her florals are among the paintings I like best. At MacMurray, Nellie lived in the dormitory with the women students and ate in the cafeteria in order to conserve money for summer travels.
Artist and Organizer, Tabby Ivy, and Jenny
Meeting Tabby was one of the pleasures of this excursion. Tabby met Louise when she was organizing an exhibit of women who had painted Glacier National Park, past and present, for the Hockaday Museum in Kalispell, MT, and made the trip to Illinois to enjoy friendship and art.
Jacksonville, which is only an hour from Springfield and less than that from Salem, where Lincoln practiced law, is rich in Lincoln associations. It is full of beautiful nineteenth century houses. There is a walking and driving tour. It is well worth the visit and I intend to return when I have more time.
Earlier in the spring, when I brought the boat up to our cabin, I asked my friend, Sandy, to model my Finnish folk costume. She modeled near the stone wall that Neal Peterson located for me on Knapp Road and by this marshy, woodland lake. This image of a lonely figure walking near water reminded me of The Wanderer by Jamie Wyeth, after which this painting is named:
I have wanted a Finnish folk costume for years, but couldn’t afford to buy one. When I was in Finland in 2000, a Southern Ostrobothnian costume cost over $2000! This year we had our International Family Reunion for the descendents of Antti and Tilda Olli and I decided I’d try to put something together. I found the skirt on E-Bay — I think it’s the very one I tried on at Vuorelma Oy in 2000 — and it was in my size! That was all I could find though. I decided I’d go ahead and have the rest of the costume made for me. Deb, at Deb’s Fashions to Fit in Platteville, WI, made me a vest. I happened to have the Emerald Green apron required from an Austrian Dirndl I’ve grown out of. For a blouse, I bought a Bunad Blouse from Open House Imports in Mount Horeb, WI. Geneia’s costume was harder, because the vertically striped, wool skirts worn in Finnish costumes proved impossible to find. There weren’t any ready-made on E-Bay for her, so I started shopping on Etsy. What I finally found was wool fabric woven in Latvia for folk -costumes there. I chose it because the Livonians, who wore this patterned wool, are a Finnic people and speak a related language. Deb sewed Geneia’s skirt, patterned after mine. We altered an Austrian vest, making it tie down the front, added my grandmother Selma’s apron and another Bunad Blouse. Kalevala Koru jewelry completed our outfits.
I did these paintings earlier in the spring, but hadn’t blogged them, because my connecting cable to upload pictures from my SLR to the computer stopped working, and it’s taken me this long to get a new cord. I had pix on my camera, but they weren’t really high enough resolution.
For those of you who don’t follow Rosewind Studio on Facebook, where I’d posted these before, we had an absolute hoot taking pictures. The snow was melting, so we had to work fast. My daughter was out there trying to stand in the snow, first lifting one foot and rubbing it vigorously on her calf, then the other, while the pugs kept trying to get in the picture and we kept laughing, because it was broad daylight and we were just out in our yard. (We live on the edge of town, so the view South is fields and woods, as in the paintings.) She had a swimsuit on under the beach towel, by the way. Sauna Girl is for sale at the McGregor Marquette (Iowa) Art Center and Afternoon Sauna is for sale at Phoebe’s Nest in Mineral Point (Wisconsin).
After our Lands’ End Fit Event in St. Petersburg, FL, we took an early morning flight directly to Salt Lake City for a one day Event at Waterford School in Sandy, a south side community. I had had no sleep whatsoever after our late night eating and walking around hopping St. Petersburg, where there is plenty of night life, so my eyes felt like gravel. We were arriving in Utah on a Saturday, however, and we weren’t setting up until Sunday evening, so I was determined not to waste a minute. I asked a very helpful young man at the front desk of our Sandy Hampton, “Where could I find the closest mountain hike to the hotel?” and subsequently drove ten minutes to be in the mountains and another ten minutes to a roadside parking space. There was no signage, so I didn’t actually know whether I’d reached my destination, but it didn’t seem to matter. I stepped out of my car and down a decline between trees to paradise. Ahhhhh……..
The air was filled with that indescribably delicious scent of water molecules being pulverized on stones and the whoosh of a rushing current. All stresses and tiredness fell away. “Why do I live in Wisconsin?” I wondered. I walked along this creek back and forth for about an hour.
The next morning I was joined for another opportunistic hike by three of my coworkers from St. Petersburg. We were looking for a longer hike, so again, the very nice young man at the front desk made another recommendation. We drove up another watershed gorge, Big Cottonwood Canyon, to Donut Falls Trail. Donut Falls cascades through a hole into a cave below. We found when we got there, however, that to reach it one must walk along a precipitous embankment on either side and it is impossible not to get one’s feet wet. That doesn’t sound like much of a problem and if I’d had my Gortex lined hiking boots on, I wouldn’t have hesitated, but I was wearing tennis shoes, the only walking shoes I had with me on the trip; I already had one blister and was forming another. For bare feet, the water was numbingly frigid and the rocks were sharp, the embankment muddy and fallen logs slippery. Falling seemed a likelihood, so I chose the better part of valor and watched as the Nadine and Kelli showed their mettle and scaling the rest of the gorge.
Nadine and Kelli are up there somewhere.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and got back just after noon, so the next stop for me (of course) was The Museum of Fine Art on the Utah University Campus.
It’s fitting that I should begin with a painting by an artist from Utah, who studied in France, eventually being accepted to exhibit in the Paris Salon in 1892.
The subject of the painting is Isabella Rattray Young. She was a pianist who married a British marine artist who belonged to the Royal Academie,…I mean Academy. I have to remember which country he was in.
I’d buy this painting, if I just happened to run across it, and it wasn’t in a museum, and I could afford it.
I had this photograph of Maude Adams as L’Aiglon (The Eaglet), the son of Napoleon, taped to my mirror for years during college. I think I clipped it out of a Life magazine about great American women. I thought hers such a beautiful androgynous face — she also played Peter Pan — and I wished I could look like her.
Minerva Teichert attended the Arts Student League in New York City, where she studied under the powerful personality of Robert Henri. Henri urged his students to forget about European movements and to create a new American style of art. His students were urged to explore social realist themes of the city, especially scenes of laborers and industry. Teichert absorbed his technique, but chose to paint themes that were familiar to her from her life in the West. When she left New York, Robert Henri said, “George Bellows, John Sloan and Minerva Kohlhepp — these are my bets…this girl from Utah you’re going to hear from.”
I had to text this painting to my daughter because, I mean, have you ever seen such a French look?! It’s so “hunh, hunh, hunh (all growly), ma jolie fille, come up to my apartement. Come see my satyr carvings? (What?) Oh, my hair is tousled…?”
I’ve just come back from a business trip to St Petersburg, Florida, in which Lands’ End, Inc. held a School Uniform Fit Event for St Petersburg Catholic Highschool. As always, when I’m in a city for any length of time, I take advantage of any free time to hit the local Art Museum(s). St Petersburg is rich in that it has not one, but three: a Chihuly Museum, Salvatore Dali Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, which held the greatest interest for me and was conveniently open when I had a spare hour.
I have to admit, I have a crush on this guy. The artist is Thomas Hovenden, an Irish-American, who was hired by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts after they’d fired Thomas Eakins — just imagine! — because he insisted on his students learning to paint from the nude. Hovenden was, to me, a worthy choice. The brushstrokes are so luscious, rendering detail with such painterliness. And as for the model, why do Frenchmen always seem to have the best hair? Not that I wouldn’t recommend a different barber…..
A still life with fruit always brings Cezanne’s paintings to mind, but I like Kroll’s more realistic style and love the feeling it gives one to view an interesting cityscape out the window, especially when one is warm and cozy inside. Kroll was no doubt aware of Cezanne, as he completed his art studies in Paris.
I like the Regionalist paints of John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton. Regionalism not only portrayed the Great Plains world in which they’d grown up, an area that had been neglected in art; it expressed dissatisfaction with the centralization of manufacturing that had occurred following the Industrial Revolution and touted independence and agrarian values in art. Curry depicted families surviving natural disaster, man versus nature. The Dust Bowl Years on the Great Plains had created great suffering due to complete crop failure and lack of job opportunities. Curry did not produce propagandist paintings like Diego Rivera; he chose to express the endurance and pleasures of the common man, making the inextinguishable human spirit his inspiration.
There was too much of a glare on this painting to photograph it straight on. The contrast between the military helmet and the civilian clothes make me wonder whether Fletcher Martin is dressed for a reconnaissance mission or is a saboteur.
This painting by Jacques-Emile Blanche is reminiscent of Edouard Manet and is perhaps of a model both artists painted. He also painted portraits of Henry James, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. (Click on the name to see the portrait.)
I would buy this little painting any day of the week. I love the loose, effortless-looking brush strokes.
Boudin famously convinced Claude Monet to begin painting “en plein-air,” that is, outdoors. I have always thought him a better painter than Monet. Again, I thought the Museum notes for this painting worth sharing, just because he was so influential. Though he paints more loosely, his work is significantly more realistic than the Impressionsists, so he is associated in my mind with CharlesFrancois Daubigny, who also painted rivers and lakes and is perhaps my favorite landscape artist.
Claude Monet called Jongkind, a Dutch painter, “his real teacher,” “to whom I owe the crucial training of my eye.”
To the left of the road is the house where Monet lived, and just above it is La Tourelles (The Turret), his landlord’s house.
Berthe Morisot exhibited in the first Impressionist Art Exhibit ever held, along with the other pioneers of Impressionism, Monet, Degas etc. She married Edouard Manet’s brother, Eugene, and unlike many women painters of the time, notably Mary Cassatt, who never married, managed to be both a mother and married woman AND a constantly productive artist. She only missed one Impressionist show, the year her daughter was born.
Again, the museum notes are worth reading. Corot is hard to pin down with respect to any movement in art. A Corot painting always looks exactly like a Corot painting. That dark gray, olive green is always present, as well as the airiness of his trees and subdued blue of the sky is a hallmark, but Corot is in a class by himself.
Charle Jacque was a friend of Jean-Francois Millet, and followed him to the village of Barbizon and the Forest of Fontainebleu, where they painted simple and humble subjects instead of the Greek Myths, religious subjects and Classical dramas favored by the Academy. I think it is gorgeous. It’s much like the landscape of Wisconsin.
This is likely a postpartum painting commissioned after Julia’s death. The crown of Morning Glories may symbolize the transience of life, especially for one who blooms only briefly as a young woman.
This painting was perhaps inspired by Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. It’s hero, Jean Valjean, is imprisoned for years for stealing bread to feed his sister’s children. Rafaelli studied with the academic painter, Jean-Leon Gerome, but became associated and exhibited with the Impressionsists by virtue of his subject matter.
Orientalism refers to the painted portrayal of a romanticized view of North Africa and the Near East, areas that Europeans were interested in colonizing in the 19th Century. Orientalist paintings are always among the ones I like best in any museum. They are rich in color, not stiff with indiscernible brushstrokes, nor disappointingly meager in realistic detail.
I included the Museum notes about this painting, because my love for paintings and love for interior decorating, collectible porcelain and antiques goes hand in hand. I can easily identify using my own home and those of my friends as subjects.
One of the greatest landscape artists of all time, along with Frederic Church and Albert Bierstadt, Moran was instrumental in persuading Congress to establish Yellowstone National Park due to his stunning portrayals of its landscape. This painting was inspired on a trip to St. Augustine with his wife, Mary Nimmo Moran, who was a first-rate etcher and landscape painter in her own right. Here is an example of her work:
What a well matched couple!
This moonlit painting of the village of Giverny is the antithesis of the scene we associate with that name, but I suppose the village may have been fairly stark. Monet’s gardens were a bower of watery loveliness away from the workaday world.
The French village of Grez-sur-Loing became an artists’ colony south of the forest of Fontainebleau. Grez attracted artists and writers in the latter half of the 19th century, Camille Corot being one of the first who painted there. During the 1870s and 1880s, other notables at Grez included author Robert Louis Stevenson, composer Frederick Delius, and painters like John Singer Sargent, Theodore Robinson and Willard Metcalf.