Eye candy for Today: Edward Redfield’s Winter in the Valley

Winter in the Valley, Edward Willis Redfield
Winter in the Valley, Edward Willis Redfield

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; original is in the Reading Public Museum. There is a downloadable version here, part of this article about a previous traveling show that featured the painting, but it seems overly saturated, I’ve color corrected that image for the images above to be closer to the museum’s version.

Edward Redfield — one of the turn of the century American painters known as the “Pennsylvania Impressionists” — was noted for his winter scenes. He often captured these on location in a single session, sometimes in extreme temperatures and winds that required him to lash his large canvas to a tree to continue painting.

Here, he presents a quiet sunlit winter’s day scene of a farmhouse in the Delaware River valley, with small communities flanking the river seen through the trees.

Redfield’s canvasses are a delight in person, their surfaces so thick with his paint strokes, you wonder how they can hold that much paint.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Claude Lorrain drawing of an oak tree

Study of an Oak Tree, Claude Lorrai
Study of an Oak Tree, Claude Lorrain

Roughly 13 x 9 inches (33 x 22 cm), pen and brown ink, brown wash, over graphite.

Link is to zoomable version on Google Art Project; downloadable version here, as part of this article on the Claudian Landscape; original is in the British Museum.

17th century French painter Claude Lorrain was one of the most influential landscape painters in Western Art, and his classical landscapes inspired painters for generations after. His influence on John Constable, for example, was considerable, and this drawing may have been direct inspiration for one of Constable’s own location oil sketches (as seen in this post on Constable, in the seventh image down).

Claude composed his large landscape paintings in the studio, but based their naturalistic details on field drawings. This one is perhaps more finished than most, with a beautiful composition of its own, a keen observation of detail and a wonderful sense of atmospheric perspective and distance.

I love how he has “turned” the form of the tree trunk, with the dimly lit ivy on the left edge leading into deeper shadow, through the subdued middle tones and out to the brightly lit bark at the right.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Frits Thaulow’s Winter

Winter, Frits Thaulow
Winter, Frits Thaulow

Link is to zoomable image on Google Art Project; downloadble high-res file on Wikimedia Commons; original is in The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway.

What better way to celebrate the Winter Solstice than with a super high-resolution image of a painting I haven’t see before by one of my favorite painters — Frits Thaulow!

I love the seemingly effortless finesse of his brushy application of paint, the gestural structure of the trees, the brief notation of figures and the marvelous paint textures in the sky and snow.

Happy Winter Solstice everybody!

 
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Eye Candy for Today: James Peale miniature portrait

Elizabeth Oliphant, James Peale, watercolor on ivory
Elizabeth Oliphant, James Peale

Watercolor on ivory, roughly 3 x 2 inches (7 x 5.8 cm ). Link is to Wikimedia Commons, original is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

In the late 18th, and through the mid 19th centuries, there was a demand for miniature portraits, both in the U.S. and in Europe. These were usually painted in watercolor or gouache on oval ivory, often in the form of pendants, and were kept as keepsakes.

Ivory seems to lend itself well to this kind of miniature water media painting, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington has a nice collection of them, accessed in drawers.

I had a chance to look through some of them on a visit to the museum a couple of years ago and I can see the appeal; many are beautifully painted, often in a delicately applied stipple technique, as is the case in this beautiful example by American artist James Peale.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Turner’s Dort Packet-Boat

Dortdrecht: The Dort Packet-Boat from Rotterdam Becalmed, J.M.W. Turner
Dortdrecht: The Dort Packet-Boat from Rotterdam Becalmed, J.M.W. Turner

In the collection of the Yale Center for British Art, which has both a zoomable and downloadable image on their site. There is also a zoomable image on Google Art Project, and a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons.

This was painted in 1818, just a few years before Turner’s work would take on the fiery glowing light for which he is best known.

There is obvious influence here, both in approach and subject matter, to one of the Dutch painters Turner most admired, Aelbert Cuyp — in particular, the latter painter’s famous take on the subject of a packet-boat in the same harbor, Maas at Dortrecht.

A packet-boat is a domestic carrier of freight and passengers that plies a set route on a regular schedule. Here, Turner portrays one in the Dordrecht (“Dort” to the locals) harbor, its sails set but without a breeze to fill them. He has used the calm water to advantage, fascinating our gaze with a range of reflections.

One of the things I also love about Turner’s harbor scenes is his wonderfully subtle rendering of distant, atmospherically muted cityscapes.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: William Henry Hunt watercolor and gouache still life

Apple, Grapes and a Cob-Nut , watercolor and gouache still life
Apple, Grapes and a Cob-Nut; William Henry Hunt

Watercolor and gouache over graphite; roughly 5 x 7 inches (13 x 19 cm); in the collection of the Yale Center for British Art, which has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image on their site.

Early 19th century English artist William Henry Hunt painted his exactingly detailed still life subjects — often fruit or birds’ nests — in a painstaking stipple technique over a ground of “Chinese White” (zinc white gouache). This gave them a luminescent quality admired by the Pre-Raphaelite painters, who took up the technique later in the century.

 
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