William Stanley Haseltine

William Stanley Haseltine
William Stanley Haseltine was a 19th century American painter who studied in the US and Europe.

Originally from Philadelphia, where he studied at the University of Pennsylvania and exhibited early in his career at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he moved to New York, for a time working out of a building that also housed studios for Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt.

Haseltine produced studio works from his sketches and watercolors painted on location in Europe, and eventually transitioned to American subjects, particularly of the New England coast.

After the death of his wife, he remarried and moved to Europe, where he would spend his later career based in Rome, but traveling extensively and painting a variety of European subjects.

I particularly like his watercolor and gouache studies — in their more finished form filled with light — and in their more abbreviated form taking on the charming quality of part drawing/part painting — often on toned paper.

Trove of John Berkey Art

John Berkey
I’ve written previously about John Berkey, the terrific illustrator known primarily for his fantastic visions of space flight, science fiction and future worlds.

Most often, when you find references to Berkey’s work, it is to his famous and influential style of space art and science fiction. Most people, even those who are rightly impressed by berkey’s well-known work, aren’t aware of the breadth and stylistic range of his career as an illustrator.

Berkey collector and enthusiast Jim Pinkoski has long maintained a terrific blog devoted to John Berkey’s art, and more specifically, to the art that you rarely see — calendar illustrations, advertisements, posters, magazine covers and interior illustrations covering a wide variety of topics.

Pinkoski has apparently searched through magazines, poster sources, second hand shops, archives, art galleries and a number of other sources to find examples of Berkey’s art that are (unjustifiably) rarely, if ever, seen elsewhere. More importantly, he has had assistance from Demi Berkey, and direct access to John Berkey’s files for many of the pieces.

Pinkoski was the author of an article on John Berkey in issue #36 of Dan Zimmer’s Illustration magazine (long sold out, but maybe you can chance across a copy).

The topics on the blog are arranged in the right column, and the site is extensive, with over 1,700 images. Though most of the images are not large, Pinkoski often posts detail crops, and annotates the images with comments on the piece or general information about the artist’s history.

Berkey remains one of the most influential artists among contemporary illustrators of science fiction, space art and concept art. His range of subjects included history, western scenes, cars, ships, planes, hunting, fishing, nature — even romance novel covers — in addition to art for NASA and magazines like Popular Mechanics, Reader’s Digest and TV Guide.

The John Berkey Art site is a treat, and I look forward to its continued expansion.

(For more, including links to additional sources for images, see my 2010 update post on John Berkey.)

Drawings and Prints from the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art: Paolo Pagani, John Singer Sargent, Denijs Calvaert, Jacques Callot, Pierre Paul Prud'hon, Mariano Fortuny
Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Exhibitions subtitled “Selections from the Permanent Collection” never sound dramatic, but shows of master drawings from collections like those of the Met (or the Morgan Library or the National Gallery) are actually rare treasures.

Drawings and prints are considered delicate, subject to light damage and are shown infrequently. Your chances of seeing the same master drawing twice in your lifetime are slim, though it does happen.

The Met and the National Gallery in DC are notable for their efforts to rotate out selections from their superb collections on a regular basis (the Philadelphia Museum of Art was doing this for a while, but sadly seems to have abandoned the practice).

The current selection from the Met will be on display until January 4, 2015, and runs concurrently with About Face: Human Expression on Paper, another exhibition from the permanent collection, that ends on December 13, 2015.

Both have online galleries with links to the individual entries for the works, most of which have download or zoom links to high-res images.

If you have never seen an exhibition of master drawings in person, you should take advantage of the chance if you have it. Drawings and prints, I think, suffer even more in reproduction than paintings, giving up their most sublime characteristics only when confronted in person — not that there isn’t a good deal of enjoyment to be had from web or print images.

(Images above, with details: Paolo Pagani, John Singer Sargent, Denijs Calvaert, Jacques Callot, Pierre Paul Prud’hon, Mariano Fortuny)

Self-portraits #13

Self-portraits: Henri Martin, Marie-Suzanne Roslin, James Tissot, Ernest Meissonier, Peder Severin Kroyer, Giovanni Boldini, Camille Pissarro, Anne-Louis Girodet, Fairfield Porter, Ralph Hedley

More in my ongoing series of posts about artists’ self-portraits.

I find self-portraits fascinating not just for the range of time periods and styles, but for the interesting variation in the way artists pose themselves.

(Images above, links to my posts: Henri Martin, Marie-Suzanne Roslin, James Tissot, Ernest Meissonier, Peder Severin Kroyer, Giovanni Boldini, Camille Pissarro, Anne-Louis Girodet, Fairfield Porter, Ralph Hedley)

Steven Assael (update)

Steven Assael
Steven Assael is a well-known figurative painter based in New York who I first wrote about in 2009. His subjects range from straightforward portrait and figure painting to varying levels of implied narrative. All are handled with a painterly finesse, subdued palette, subtle value relationships and a foundation of superb draftsmanship.

The latter is also evident in Assael’s drawings — largely in graphite or chalk — in which he demonstrates a confident combination of gesture and careful observation.

Assael has a repeated theme of weddings, brides and their gowns, though I haven’t come across an artist’s statement that gives any background on his choice of subjects.

There is a video of Assael drawing and discussing his process on YouTube, as well as some other videos. Daniel Maidman has written a rather poetic description of Assael’s painting process on Huffington Post.

Assael teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the New York Academy of Art. There is a student blog related to his classes.

Steven Assael’s work will be on view in a solo show, Steven Assael:New Paintings and Drawings at the Forum Gallery in New York, from November 12 to December 31, 2015. There is also a portfolio of his work on the gallery’s website.

Eye Candy for Today: John Martin’s The Bard

The Bard, John Martin
The Bard, John Martin

The link is to a zoomable version on the Google Art Project; there is a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons. The original is in the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle, UK, but their website is so poorly arranged I can’t even give you a link to the item.

Though 19th century British Romantic painter John Martin did paint scenes from Shakespeare, such as the meeting of the three witches with Macbeth, the Bard referenced here is from a poem of the same name by John Gray.

As Edward I conquers Wales in the 13th century, he encounters a bard who curses the king and his family line, predicts the return of Welsh self-rule, and makes his escape across a river and into the mountains beyond.

Martin has addressed the scene with his characteristic flair for scale and drama (modern concept artists take note — see my post on John Martin).

I love the scraggly nature of the trees — almost taking on the character of the rocks — and the wonderful multiplicity of planes of depth, particularly in the middle of the composition (as highlighted in my second detail crop, above).