Fred Danziger (update)

Fred Danziger, landscapes and cityscapes

Fred Danziger, landscapes and cityscapes

Originally from Pittsburgh, Fred Danziger is a Philadelphia based painter whose work I have long admired, and who I wrote about previously in 2012.

Danziger’s subject matter ranges from cityscapes, rich with city lights and city dwellers, to contemplative landscapes, so calm as to seem as far away from the bustle of the city as possible. Over his history as a painter, he has also taken on a variety of other subjects and a range of approaches.

All of his work, though, strikes me as a product of focused observation, a keen sense of seeing what’s there, and perhaps through that, what may be hidden past the surface.

I’m particularly drawn to his sometimes large scale portrayals of little areas of the natural world — ripples of rain on the surface of a forest pool, a few leaves floating on a creek, beads of rain clinging to blades of grass or seashells gathered in a subtle circle of light.

His rendering of natural forms is often rich with a variety of colors; reds, greens, oranges, yellows and violets can be seen in a single tree trunk, yet they are handled with such a command of color and value that they read true as naturalistic forms.

I also find that his intimate glimpses of nature hint of the transformative power of quiet contemplation; and somehow, that carries over into his urban scenes, at though the shimmering city lights and movement of the people are just another expression of the natural world.

I’ve seen Danziger’s work in person before, but I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet him a few days ago at the opening of his new solo show at the F.A.N Gallery here in Philadelphia.

He works in gouache as well as in oil, and I had a chance to talk with him about that, as well as about his inspiration for painting subjects in general.

The show is a treat for those in the area who can get to see it, combining some of his larger works, which are often finished to a high degree, with some smaller, more informal plein air pieces, both of the local area and of Maine.

As galleries close and move out of the “Old City” area of Philadelphia that once featured numerous galleries and a thriving artist community, the F.A.N Gallery remains a bastion of exceptional representational art in Philadelphia. (If you can stop in to see the show, climb the little circular staircase to see more of the gallery regulars upstairs.)

Fred Danziger – Recent Work will be on display at the F.A.N. Gallery until October 27th, 2018. During that time the artist will be in the gallery each Saturday from 2-4 pm.

In addition to the selection of Danziger’s work on the gallery’s website, there is an extensive archive of his work on his own website.


Eye Candy for Today: William Holman Hunt watercolor still life

Still Life with Plums, William Holman Hunt, watercolor

Still Life with Plums, William Holman Hunt, watercolor (details)

Still Life with Plums, William Holman Hunt

Watercolor on paper, roughly 12 x 14 inches (30 x 37 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum. (Zoomable and downloadable versions of the image are available on the site.)

A beautiful and sensitively observed still life by the Pre-Raphaelite master. It appears to be done in a watercolor technique that combines the intricate application of drybrush and stipple.

It’s interesting to compare this to the similarly rendered watercolor still life paintings of William Henry Hunt. (As far as I know, the two Victorian painters just have similar names and are not related.)


Russ Kramer

Russ Kramer, marine artist, paintings of historic yacht races

Russ Kramer, marine artist, paintings of historic yacht races

Connecticut based marine artist Russ Kramer focuses much of his work on the drama of historic yacht races, emphasizing the movement of water and vertiginous angles of the boats as they are lifted and tossed by the power of the waves.

He has a touch for rendering roiled water in a way that feels palpable, capturing both its movement and visual texture.

Kramer also finds drama in the play of light on his subjects, enlivening even his portrayals of more sedate harbor scenes.

In addition to the images in his website gallery, you can find additional images of his limited edition prints. There is also a book available that collects some of his work.

[Suggestion courtesy of James Gurney]


Eye Candy for Today: William Merritt Chase Shinnecock landscape

Landscape: Shinnecock, Long Island, William Merritt Chase

Landscape: Shinnecock, Long Island, William Merritt Chase (details)

Landscape: Shinnecock, Long Island, William Merritt Chase

Link is to the painting in the collection of the Princeton University Art Museum, which has zoomable and downloadable version of the image on their website. There is also a downloadable image on Wikimedia Commons.

I have long been an admirer of the paintings of the 19th century American artist William Merritt Chase, for his portraits, interiors, still life and landscapes. Among his landscapes are a series of wonderful paintings from his summers living and teaching in the Shinnecock Hills area of eastern Long Island, New York.

These depict gently rolling hills and dunes covered in wildflowers, dune grasses and scrubby bushes, which Chase rendered with his beautifully textural variation on the loosely related styles that are together known as “American Impressionism”. The compositions often included members of Chase’s family, idyllically enjoying the summer sun and sea breezes.

I have found the character of the landscape in those paintings particularly interesting, as it’s quite unlike the shore areas and beaches I’m more familiar with in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and western Long Island.

I finally got to see some of the area where Chase lived and painted over the last few days on a mini-vacation to the area around Amaganssett, East Hampton and Montauk, on the far eastern end of Long Island, and somewhat east of where Chase had his summer home and school.

I found it fascinatingly different not just from beach areas elsewhere, but from any other place I’ve been — quite beautiful and not surprisingly an inspiration for Chase and his students.


Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson

Sara Paxton Ball Dodson, paintings

Sara Paxton Ball Dodson, paintings

Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson was an American painter, active in the late 19th century, who was born in Philadelphia and studied there at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as well as in Paris where she spent a notable portion of her career.

Her style and subject matter ranged from influences of French neo-classical painting to the Frency Symbolism and the Paris Salon to plein air landscape and Pre-Raphaelite painting.