Eye Candy for Today: Jongkind Laundry Boat on the Seine

Bateau-Lavoir pres du Pont-Neuf, Paris; Johan Jongkind
Bateau-Lavoir prés du Pont-Neuf, Paris; Johan Jongkind

From our vantage point in time, we have a tendency to call paintings like this one — with its loose, painterly brushwork, depiction of everyday events, and contrasting complementary colors — “impressionistic”.

It’s another reminder that the characteristics we associate with French Impressionism were not invented out of whole cloth by Monet, Renoir, Sisley and Bazille, but were in large part a logical progression from painters who immediately preceded them.

Like similar works by Charles-François Daubigny, this was painted several years prior to Monet’s first known painting, let alone the height of the Impressionist style, which came a decade later.

Here, Johan Jongkind, a Dutch painter who worked extensively in Paris, portrays a laundry boat moored in the Siene near the Pont-Neuf.

This is hardly the romantic image we have of the Seine in the 19th century, but that was part of the point of the move toward “Realism” instigated by painters like Courbet and Corot, that the everyday activities or ordinary people were worthy of painting, not just the romanticized and idealized visions of Academic painting.

Jongkind painted at least one other interpretation of this scene — a composition in darker light, with a vantage point closer to the boat and bridge — that is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was painted perhaps earlier the same year.

The painting shown here is currently in a private collection; it was sold through Sotheby’s auctions in 2011.

Link is to Wikimedia Commons, which has a downloadable version of the image.


Odile Richer

Canadian painter Odile Richer
Canadian painter Odile Richer takes a refined realist approach to her compositions of faces and figures.

The often complex backgrounds against which she places her models, and the clothing in which she poses them, offer a dense variety of textures, shapes and value relationships that contrast with the faces of the models themselves.

Often there is an element of whimsey in her arrangements.

Richer is represented by RDJ Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY, and her work is currently on display as part of the Women Painting Women group show I recently covered.


Eye Candy for Today: Marten van Valckenborch Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel, Marten van Valckenborch the Elder
The Tower of Babel, Marten van Valckenborch the Elder

The link is to a zoomable version of the image on Google Art Project; there is a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons; the original is in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden State Art Museums.

Flemish Renaissance painter Marten van Valckenborch painted a number of complex compositions depicting the Biblical story of the building of the Tower of Babel (of which you can find some other examples here and here).

I’ve found this one in particular to be striking in its dark, sombre tones, set against a light but clouded sky and framed by a cradle of dark foreground elements.

The repetition of forms and change in size of the elements as the tower ascends has a fascinatingly recursive feel to it.

It’s interesting to compare Van Vlakenborch’s interpretations to that of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which was undoubtedly a primary influence on them, and on similar takes on the subject by other artists.

The story of the Tower of Babel is a story of hubris, a term we should all have in our awareness as we watch current events unfold.


Denise Dumont

Denise Dumont, landscape paintings
Denise Dumont is a Delaware based artist who applies her fresh, painterly approach to urban, rural and particularly coastal scenes of Delaware, Maryland and New England.

I enjoy her scenes of dune paths and vegetation, in which she plays with effects of shadow, light and texture. She finds similar characteristics in the portrayal of snow covered paths in winter.

Dumont’s work is currently on view in Odessa, Delaware at the Historic Odessa Foundation, until October 15, 2017.

[Via WHYY]


Chris Malbon

Chris Malbon, UK illustrator
Chris Malbon is a UK based illustrator and designer who works in both traditional and digital media.

He has done work for a number of agencies and clients including work for Sony, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Nike and MTV.

Malbon’s approach varies with his project, but is often vibrant with texture and color. He sometimes does complex collage-like compositions with multiple figures and objects intertwined into a graphic design, with strong contrasts of detailed areas to open space.

[Via iSpot]


Eye Candy for Today: Jacob van Walscapelle Still Life with Fruit

 Jacob van Walscapelle oil painting, Still Life with Fruit
Still Life with Fruit, Jacob van Walscapelle

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable high-res file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the National Gallery of Art, DC, which also has zoomable and downloadable versions of the image.

Compared to some of Van Walscapelle’s more elaborate 17th century still life paintings, this one is relatively small (16 x 14 inches, 40 x 35 cm) and the subject matter simple, but it has all the visual punch of his larger compositions.

It’s full of beautiful touches — the delicate rendering of the hazelnut husks, the gentle definition of the wine glass, the rich, dramatic rendering of the pomegranate and grapes, and the wonderfully naturalistic twining of the grape vines.

Look at the drops of water on the stone top to the left of the nuts, and the almost not there rendering of the support under the stone. There are also droplets of water on the pomegranate and the grape leaf.

I love the way the entire composition seems to emerge from darkness, and yet is so bold in its center, without losing the sense that everything is connected and lit by the same light source.