Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin


Friday, March 15, 2013

Edmund Charles Tarbell (update)

Posted by Charley Parker at 2:57 pm

Edmund Charles Tarbell
Edmund Charles Tarbell was the primary founder of the “Boston School” of American Impressionism, one of the most important of the painters called American Impressionists, and to my mind, one of the great American painters in general.

Since I last wrote about Tarbell back in 2006, many more resources have become available for viewing his work on the web, and I’ll take advantage of this update post to list some of them, and to post more of Tarbell’s beautiful paintings.

Unfortunately, the two best books I know of about Tarbell and his work are not as directly available as they were, but you can still find them used or new from some sellers: Impressionism Transformed: The Paintings of Edmund C. Tarbell and Edmund C. Tarbell: Poet of Domesticity.

Rather that repeating my description of Tarbell, his stunning impressionist portraits and figures and his elegant Vermeer-inspired interiors, I’ll refer you to my two previous posts: Edmund Tarbell and Edmund Tarbell (revisited).

In the latter post, I mention a brief email contact I had with the stepdaughter of one of Tarbell’s three granddaughters, as she was showing her stepmother “Tarbie” how her grandfather’s work was mentioned and displayed on the web.

[Correction: One of the images originally accompanying this post was actually by Frank Benson, Not Tarbell (the result of late night editing - sigh). After several alert readers pointed it out to me, I've replaced it, and another that could have been in question, with other images. See this post's comments for more.]

4 comments for Edmund Charles Tarbell (update) »

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  1. Comment by Jason Waskey
    Friday, March 15, 2013 @ 11:04 pm

    Mmmmmmm… Tarbell.
    Thank you Charlie for posting more info on one of my all time faves…

  2. Comment by Mark P
    Saturday, March 16, 2013 @ 11:15 am

    It’s refreshing to be able to visit a “regularly”! updated site that features artist from all genre and era quite equally, Thanks, though it’s to my shame you do the hard work for me:) One thing that is so noticeable ,to me, about the paintings made prior to, I suppose, the second quarter of the 20th century is the incorporation of the canvas into the painting. As I am lead to believe most of today’s paints are superior or at least equal to those made in days of yore but it is my belief that the canvas, the linens of yesteryear are far superior. The interior with tea set and those wonderful glowing oranges by Tarbell are fascinating but looking to the edges of canvas and all about I see the weave itself being used intentionally. I do realize that there are many painters still working this way but it seems to be a bit of a lost art. I’m aware of D. Leffel’s influence and he uses it so well, for very good reason! IMO it is of greater importance to have a fine grade support then to have the best paints, whether canvas ,or paper for watercolour. Unfortunately, fine Belgian linen is a bit beyond my means for for the most part…much less for study/practice. Not everything has improved through modern chemistry/industry.

  3. Comment by Leo
    Monday, March 18, 2013 @ 7:55 am

    The fifth painting down (Eleanor) is not by Tarbell, but frank benson. That floral still life also looks uncharacteristic of Tarbell, though it may well be his.

  4. Comment by Charley Parker
    Monday, March 18, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

    Thanks, Leo — right you are about the Benson. (Thanks also to Armand and Peter for spotting the same mistake.) These things happen when I’m trying to finish out a post in a hurry late at night.

    I’ve replaced the image with one I believe to be of two of Tarbell’s granddaughters.

    Here is the Benson originally referred to.

    The still life is listed by the Athenaeum as being from a private collection, so I can’t verify it’s attribution. I’ve substituted a still life I know to be in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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