Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eye Candy for Today: Solomon J. Solomon’s Breakfast Table

The Breakfast Table, Solomon J. Solomon
The Breakfast Table, Solomon J. Solomon

On Google Art Project, original is in the Ben Uri Gallery in London, which also counts several other paintings by Solomon in its collection, including the portrait of the artist’s daughter on a pony, which is seen at an angle, hanging on the wall to the right, in this painting of a room in the artist’s own house.

For more, see James Gurney’s article on the use on the use of black in this painting. (Gurney wrote the introduction to a new edition of Solomon’s classic book The practice of Oil Painting and Drawing.)

4 thoughts on “Eye Candy for Today: Solomon J. Solomon’s Breakfast Table

  1. aelle

    I agree when he, Solomon, requotes Rubens that “It is very dangerous to use white and black.”
    The woman, in black with her legs up on the sofa, in the painting is obviously a widow; his mother-in-law, and the person sitting opposite her is his grown-up daughter, who in the two paintings on the wall are the same daughter’s portraits as a child. I could be wrong. Is the portrait on the far right wall one of his late wife?

  2. aelle

    During WWI Solomon was Lieutenant-Colonel, to enable him the design of armoured observation posts disguised as trees, techniques that were already in use by the French.
    The British artist Solomon J. Solomon began his experiments with camouflage on the first day of the war. Created out of dyed butter muslin and mounted on bamboo canes in his mother-in-law’s garden in St Albans, his prototypes convinced him that it would be possible to screen trenches from enemy surveillance. Approached by Solomon, the War Office ordered further trials at Woolwich dockyards. The results were encouraging, but it took him many months to convince the military authorities of the advantages of employing artists. In a letter published in the Times on 27 January 1915, he pointed out that ‘invisibility is an essential in modern strategy.’ Since ‘to be invisible to the enemy is to be non-existent to him,’ he urged that the principle of countershading should be applied to the army’s khaki uniforms. This ‘more scientific’ adjustment would mean ‘clothing the lower limbs in a much lighter stuff than the body, and the cap and the shoulders’. Solomon also declared that the existing cap was conspicuous against most backgrounds, and ‘a most excellent target for the marksman’. It should be replaced with a helmet-shaped version, fitted with a visor that could be lowered to break up the visible outline of the face. As for the short tunic, this cast a highly visible shadow on the legs: better a long coat that could be buttoned back for marching and stiffened to reduce visible flapping. Against ‘colour uniformity’, Solomon saw advantages in the ‘broken effect’ that would be achieved if the men in each unit wore different coloured coats and tunics – winter blue, grey-green, khaki.
    General Haig, Commander-in-chief of the British forces in France, therefore instructed that Solomon be given the temporary officer’s rank. http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portraitLarge/mw93888/Solomon-Joseph-Solomon?LinkID=mp04176&role=sit&rNo=6

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