Jan Bogaerts

Jan Bogaerts still life and landscape paitings
Jan Bogaerts still life and landscape paitings

Every once in a while I come across a painter to whom I have the delightful reaction of “Wow! How did I not know about this one before?”

That was my response when I stumbled across a painting by Johannes Jacobus Maria ‘Jan’ Bogaerts, a Dutch painter active in the early to mid 20th century, whose work carries wonderful echoes of his 17th century predecessors.

In searching for more of his work, I found beautifully subtle and muted landscapes, often cast in low light with subdued value relationships, and, in particular, striking still life paintings that are somehow simultaneously restrained and bold.

I’ve seen plenty of still life that would fit in the category of “realism”, but there is something about the balance of naturalistic representation and painterly effect in Bogaert’s simple arrangements that I find especially appealing.

Part of the appeal, I think, is his choice of still life objects that are chipped or cracked and otherwise show signs of age and wear, as well as background walls and tiles that show something of the same.

The best source I’ve found for images of Bogaert’s work is a Dutch gallery, Simonis & Buunk. Their page includes a bio of the artist as well as links to large images.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Jozef Van Lerius portrait

Portrait of Henriette Mayer van den Berg, Jozef Van Lerius
Portrait of Henriette Mayer van den Berg, Jozef Van Lerius

Portrait of Henriette Mayer van den Bergh, Jozef Van Lerius; oil on canvas, roughly30 x 25 inches (75 x 64 cm), link is to downloadable file page on Wikimedia Commons; original is in the Museum Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp, Belgium.

Jozef Van Lerius was a 19th century Belgian painter who painted biblical and mythological subjects as well as genre paintings and portraits.

In this portrait of art collector and museum founder Henriette Mayer van den Bergh — in whose collection this portrait hangs — Van Lerius demonstrates his command of soft edges, delicate value relationships and restrained color.

 
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Carl Larsson

Carl Larsson
Carl Larsson

Carl Larsson was a Swedish illustrator and gallery artist active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Though he also worked in oil and painted large frescos, Larsson was primarily known for his watercolors.

With a deft hand and a light touch, he depicted family and home in particular. In many cases, he used room interiors designed by his wife, Karin, who was an interior designer, and many of his watercolors take as their subjects his own home and family.

Before devoting himself to his most famous domestic scenes, he worked as an illustrator. Not very successfully at first, but his popularity shot up when magazines started to more regularly feature color illustrations.

For a short while, he painted en plain air in the Forests of Fontainebleau with members of the Barbizan school.

There are a number of his works in the Swedish National Museum of Fine Arts, including frescoes on several walls, but Larsson was disappointed when a painting the museum had commissioned, and for which a particular wall was prepared, was rejected by the museum’s board, apparently a victim of political fighting among various factions of the Swedish art community.

The painting, titled Midvinterblot (Midwinter Sacrifice), was considered by Larsson to be his best work. After refusal by the museum board, it was sold to a Japanese collector, and only a few years ago, was repurchased and permanently hung in its original intended place in the museum.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Meléndez Melon and Pears

Still life with Melon and Pears, Luis Egidio Melendez
Still life with Melon and Pears, Luis Egidio Melendez

Still life with Melon and Pears, Luis Egidio Meléndez, oil on canvas, roughly 25 x 33 inches (63 x 85 cm). Link is to zoomable image on Google Art Project; downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston..

A wonderfully tactile and sensual still life by the 18th century Spanish master. His command of texture, use of naturalistic color, and remarkable control of value allow us to mentally feel the objects his paintings.

 
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Fred Wessel (update)

Fred Wessel, egg tempera, gold leaf, silverpoint
Fred Wessel, egg tempera, gold leaf, silverpoint

Fred Wessel is a contemporary artist who is inspired by the artists, materials, and techniques of the early Italian Renaissance.

Working in the painstaking medium of egg tempera, Wessel paints jewel-like portraits, primarily of young women in somewhat classical poses. These are set off — as many paintings were in the early Renaissance — by flattened backgrounds incorporating gold, silver, and palladium leaf.

In this respect, he is exploring the aesthetic of the time in which a painting was not simply an image, but a precious object in its own right.

Though the technique is from the Renaissance, and carries the feeling of that approach, Wessel’s paintings simultaneously feel quite contemporary.

The Technique section of his website includes step-throughs of two of his paintings.

One of the galleries on his website is for “Constellations”, which appears to be a major theme in his work (images above, top four). These egg tempera portraits are set against backgrounds of star charts of various constellations done in or embellished with metal leaf.

You will also find galleries of florals and still life, as well as of drawings. Many of his drawings are done using the early Renaissance technique of metal point (images above, bottom), in which lines are drawn on prepared paper with a thin wire of silver or a similar soft metal. These are often set off with metal leaf as well.

See also my previous post on Fred Wessel from 2006.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Hellen Allingham landscape

The Basket Woman, Hellen Allingham
The Basket Woman, Hellen Allingham (details0

The Basket Woman, Hellen Allingham; watercolor; roughly 14 x 21 inches ( 37 x 55 cm); link is to past auction on Sotheby’s; large image here.

Victorian era English watercolor artist Helen Allingham was noted for her depictions rural life; in particular her paintings of traditional thatched roof cottages, which she idealized a bit by removing modernizations and restoring their appearance to their original state as best she could from available records.

 
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