Eye Candy for Today: CC Curran’s Lady with a Bouquet

Lady with a Bouquet, (Snowballs), Charles Courtney Curran
Lady with a Bouquet, (Snowballs), Charles Courtney Curran

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Birmingham Museum of Art (AL) which also has a zoomable version. Oil on panel, roughly 12 x 8 in (31 x 22 cm).

American painter Charles Courtney Curran was known for his genre paintings, often of well dressed young women in idyllic surroundings.

In this small painting, Curran’s wife poses for a delicately sensitive portrait in which her shadowed face is in the same value range as the foremost of the flowers in the bouquet she examines, both illuminated from behind by gentle sunlight from a window outside our view.

I particularly admire the rather daring way Curran has silhouetted her profile against the bright passage of one of the sunlit groups of blossoms, using the value contrast to advantage as the focus of composition, while taking the risk that it might overwhelm the delicate modeling of her face.

Throughout, the brushy paint application is so loose and confident as to appear almost casual, though Curran’s superb draftsmanship and the powerful naturalism of the scene indicate that his approach was anything but casual.

6 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: CC Curran’s Lady with a Bouquet”

  1. Should we look at paintings of portraits in a dark room?
    It’s peculiar that when I saw the paintings in a dark room at night the colors, especially the skin color of the face and hand, was realistically clearer and brighter.

  2. Btw, when will Charles Spencelayh (1865 – 1958) be exposed?
    War or no war, who cares? is one of a number of wartime paintings by Spencelayh with patriotic titles, including They’ll Always be an England (exh. RA 1940) and Why War? (1939).

  3. Snowball bush is a term that some use for hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp.) and viburnums (Viburnum spp.). Although they share the name snowball bush because of their large, white flower heads, hydrangeas and viburnums are distinctively different.
    The plural form species abbreviated spp.

  4. I was particularly drawn to the details of these paintings. Even though the lady’s face is in shadow, all of the details are present. Like a photographer shooting for the shadows.

  5. Perhaps your Delacroix quote from the header applies here.
    “I can paint you the skin of Venus with mud, provided you let me surround it as I will.
    – Eugene Delacroix”

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