Eye Candy for Today: Robert Spear Dunning still life

Still life with Orange and Plum, Robert Spear Dunning
Still life with Orange and Plum, Robert Spear Dunning (details)

Still life with Orange and Plum, Robert Spear Dunning; oil on canvas, roughly 8 x 10″ (20 x 25 cm); link is to image file page on Wikimedia Commons; as far as I know, the original is in a private collection.

19th century American painter Robert Spear Dunning gives us an elegantly simple painting of an orange and a plum. His exposure of the interior of the orange, and his meticulous eye for texture and color, lend the painting a feeling of complexity comparable to a more elaborate composition.

Though he also painted landscapes, Dunning’s primary subjects were arrangements of fruits or vegetables, occasionally augmented with dishware.

Dunning was sometimes criticized for continuing traditions from the middle of the century into a later period when they had fallen out of favor, a characteristic for which I admire him.


Adrian Tomine

Adrian Tomine, New Yorker cover, Dec 7, 2020
Adrian Tomine, New Yorker cover, Dec 7, 2020

Originally from California, Adrian Tomine is an illustrator and cartoonist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Tomine has taken to his adopted city so well that he has become a reader favorite contributor to the New Yorker.

His New Yorker covers, as well as many of his other illustrations and drawings, have that wonderful combination of evocative artwork and wry observation that exemplify the best of the magazine’s cover art. His artwork uses a streamlined line and color fill approach, reminiscent of the European ligne claire style of comics art.

As a case in point, his cover for the new December 7, 2020 issue of the New Yorker (images above, top) pretty well catches the whimsical side of the 2020 zeitgeist.

The New Yorker has a wonderful new online feature called Cover Story in which they give you background on the creation of the current issue’s cover; here is the one for Tomine’s December 7, 2020 cover.

Tomine is the author/illustrator of a number of books of drawings and comics, many of which are published by Drawn & Quarterly, and the latest of which is The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist (Bookshop.org link).

There is a video overview of some of his titles by “panellogy 080” on YouTube.

Tomine’s website contains examples of his illustrations and information about his books and comics, as well as offering prints and original art for sale.

Unfortunately, his online gallery is of the wearisome “pop up and close, pop up and close” variety, which discourages casual browsing, and the images offered are small. You might find it helpful to augment your visit to his website with this Google image search I’ve set up for Tomine’s work on newyorker.com.