John Grabach

John R. Grabach
Growing up in Delaware and living for many years in southeastern Pennsylvania, I’ve become familiar with most of the historic regional schools of painting from this part of the eastern seaboard, like the Brandywine School, the New Hope School (otherwise known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists), the Hudson River School, the Ashcan School and others in New York and Boston.

But I was in Lambertville, New Jersey over the weekend, and in talking to Beverly Alverson, a consultant at the Union Gallery, I learned of a regional school of which I was unaware, the Newark School of Painting, a small group of painters centered on the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts (which closed in 1997).

Prominent among those painters were Henry Gasser, Adolf Konrad and John R. Grabach.

Like Gasser, who was his student, Grabach painted in the spirit of the Ashcan School, depicting the gritty everyday reality of workers and tenement life in Newark and New York in a brusque, rough-hewn style much in keeping with his subject matter.

In many of his compositions, Grabach skews perspective and arranges the complexity of cityscapes into strongly geometric formations, giving a sensation of unbalance that suggests the clamor and bustle of city streets.

He also depicted scenes of sailors, ships and docks, as well as painting figurative works.

Grabach is the author of a book on How to Draw the Human Figure, and there are a couple of monographs on his work that are available from used book sources.

Online image resources for Grabach’s work are somewhat scattered, but I’ve assembled what I can below.


Eye Candy For Today: Paul Sandby gouache of Queen Elizabeth Gate

Queen Elizabeth Gate, Paul Sandby, gouache on paper
Queen Elizabeth Gate, Paul Sandby

Link is to zoomable image on Google Art Project; downloadable high-res file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Yale Center for British Art.

Gouache and watercolor on paper, roughly 14 x 18 inches (36 x 47 cm).

A wonderful effect of being precise without being stiff. Sandby appears to use wavering edges on many of his straights here, similar to those I’ve noticed in drawings by Canaletto (also here).


Michal Jasiewicz

Michal Jasiewicz, watercolors
Michal Jasiewicz is a Polish architect whose avocation and passion is painting in watercolor.

Like other artists trained in architecture or architectural rendering, Jasiewicz’s work is characterized by a foundation of solid draftsmanship that allows his to apply his colors freely without losing the sense of underlying geometric strength.

I particularly like that characteristic of his work as well as his skilled contrast of hard and soft edges.

Jasiewicz conducts workshops in Poland and elsewhere, including an upcoming one in Valencia, Spain, 13 November – 17 November, 2017. (There are additional examples of his work on the workshop info page.)

There is a brief interview with Jasiewicz on Art of Watercolor.


Sara Tyson (update)

Sara Tyson, lllustration
Sara Tyson is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Ontaio, Canada, who I first profiled back in 2007. Her illustration clients include the Washington Post, Smithsonian Magazine, Harvard Business Review, The Globe & Mail, Road & Track, Penguin Group, McGraw-Hill Ryerson and Harcourt Publishers, among others.

Tyson works in a highly stylized and often strongly geometric style, that at times is overtly Cubist in its effects.

Her rich but controlled palette is nicely augmented with textural passages, adding extra vibrancy to both her highly styled and more naturalistic subjects.


“Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice” at the Getty

Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice at the Getty

When I first came across reproductions of the painting St. Francis in the Desert by Venitian master Giovanni Bellini years ago, my immediate thought was: here is an artist who is constrained by his time to painting religious subjects, but really, really wants to paint landscape.

Seeing that painting in person at the Frick Collection in New York — and again as recently as a few weeks ago — has only reinforced my impression, as has my observation of other works by Bellini.

His often intricate and highly textural landscapes make a striking contrast to his softly luminous and superbly finessed figures.

Though landscape as a subject for painting was present in Greek and Roman murals, it was subsumed into religious and history painting for centuries, not emerging again as an independent subject until the early 16th century in the Netherlands, and the 17th century in Italy and elsewhere.

In the Renaissance, it was Bellini who elevated the place of landscape in religious painting; and despite the fact that he was not a “pure” landscape painter, and that his landscapes were rich with metaphor and religious symbolism, he should be considered one of history’s greatest and most influential landscape artists.

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has mounted what promises to be a stunning show of works by Bellini that focuses attention on his landscapes. Though St. Francis in the Desert is not part of the show, there are dazzling works on loan from the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice; Galleria Corsini and Gallerie degli Uffizi, Florence; the Louvre and RMN-Grand Palais, Paris; and the National Galleries of Art, London and DC, as well as other public and private collections.

Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice is on view at the Getty Center until January 14, 2018.

There is a book accompanying the exhibition, also available on Amazon: Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice.

There is a show checklist here. Inexplicably, the Getty’s website appears to have limited images from the show to that list and a slideshow of eight images, mostly detail crops. (Why museums don’t take better advantage of images on their websites to generate interest in exhibitions continues to boggle my mind.)

The Los Angeles Times has a review of the show with larger, more complete images.

Those of us who can’t get to the exhibition in person can take it as a jumping off point to explore images of Bellini’s work with appreciation for his landscapes in mind. A good place to start might be the zoomable images on Google Art Project.


Eye Candy for Today: Peder Mønsted woodland interior

A Woodland Stream, Peder Mork Monsted landscape painting, oil on canvas
A Woodland Stream, Peder Mørk Mønsted

Link is to Wikimedia Commons, which has a high res version of the file. The original was sold through Sotheby’s in 1987 and is presumably still in a private collection.

As far as I can tell, the majority of Mønsted’s paintings seem to be in private collections. He is one of my favorite painters, based solely on seeing images of his work; I’ve never seen an original in person.

If anyone is aware of Peder Mønsted paintings in public collections here in the U.S. (particularly on the mid-Atlantic states), I would love to know about them.