Martin Lewis

Martin Lewis, etching

Martin Lewis, etchings, drypoint, aquatint and engraving

Martin Lewis was an Australian/American printmaker, illustrator and painter active in the first half of the 20th century.

He is known primarily for his etchings of wonderfully evocative scenes of urban life, often focusing on the effects of artificial light in nighttime scenes.

In much of his work, shadows and areas absent of light play a role as important as objects and areas of light. The balance and play between them give his compositions a dynamic and visceral feeling of atmosphere and place.

Among his friends was Edward Hopper, who asked Lewis to teach him the fundamentals of etching.

[Via William Wray]


Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt Peale’s portrait of Rubens Peale

Rubens Peale with a Geranium, Rembrandt Peale

Rubens Peale with a Geranium, Rembrandt Peale

Rubens Peale with a Geranium, Rembrandt Peale, oil on Canvas, roughly 28 x 24 inches (71 x 61 cm); in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, DC.

Link is to the NGA page, which has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image. There is also a zoomable version on the Google Art Project, and a downloadable version on Wikimedia Commons.

The American painter and naturalist Charles Willson Peale named most of his children after noted artists or scientists. Some of them took up the interests of their father, Rembrandt became a noted portrait painter, and Rubens a botanist and later in life a still life painter.

Here, a young Rembrandt Peale paints a portrait of his 17 year old brother Rubens holding his prize specimen of a geranium — at the time an exotic plant, not native to the Americas — supposedly the first grown on the continent. Rembrandt has given the plant a careful and portrait-like treatment to honor his brother’s accomplishment.


J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

J.M.W. Turner Sketchbooks

J.M.W. Turner Sketchbooks

English painter and printmaker J.M.W. Turner, who was active in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was astonishingly prolific. On his death, he left over 550 oil paintings, 2,000 watercolors and more than 30,000 works on paper.

Many of the latter are pages from his sketchbooks, and many of those are in the collection of the Tate Britain as part of the extraordinary Turner Bequest, which brought the museum’s holding of Turner’s works to over 37,000.

The Tate has put a number of these online, in a special section of their website: J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings, Watercolours.

The resource is divided into 5 chronologically arranged sections from different points in the artist’s career, and within that, the works are arranged in subsections by location or other theme. Exploring is a matter of drilling down through the categories to subcategories.

Eventually, you will come to pages in which an individual sketchbook or thematic group of works is available in a slideshow. In the initial window of that slideshow there are usually two tabs, allowing you to choose between “Entry” (the slideshow) and “At a glance” or “Artworks”. Choosing the latter will open up thumbnails of the images arrayed directly on the page, making them much easier to browse.

For example, in the section “1819-29 Italy and After“, there is a subsection for “Rivers of England c. 1822-4” and a subsequent subsection for “‘Rivers of England’ Watercolours“.

From there you can click on a thumbnail to go to the detail page for an artwork, and there click on the image for an enlarged view. Most of the images are available in a nicely large size.

A number of the sections contain sketchbook pages that are so light or barely notated that they may be of less interest, but if you patiently dig around, you will be rewarded with many extraordinarily accomplished works in watercolor and gouache.

The sections for “Loose Studies of Paris and the Seine” and “Meuse-Moselle Gouache and Watercolour” (among others) are particularly of interest to those who are interested in Turner’s masterful handling of gouache as a sketching medium.

This project is so extensive, so wonderful and so engrossing, that I will issue a Time Sink Warning.


Eye Candy for Today: Emilio Sanchez-Perrier river landscape

On the Banks of the Guadaíra with a boat, Emilio Sanchez-Perrier, 19th century landscape oil painting

On the Banks of the Guadaíra with a boat, Emilio Sanchez-Perrier, (details)

On the Banks of the Guadaíra with a boat, Emilio Sánchez-Perrier; oil on panel, roughly 12 x 16 inches (32 x 40 cm); in the collection of the Museo CarmenTyssen Málaga. Click on the image on their page for access to zoomable and downloadable versions. There is also a downloadable file of the same image on Wikimedia Commons.

Sánchez-Perrier’s apparent realism is surprisingly painterly when viewed in detail; much of the visually soft quality of the foliage appears to be produced with stipple effects, perhaps by pouncing with the end of a stiff brush.


Algernon Newton

Algernon Newton paintings cityscapes

Algernon Newton paintings cityscapes

Algernon Cecil Newton was a British painter active in the early to mid 20th century. Newton is known for his cityscapes with canal fronting buildings and landscapes of open hills and isolated trees.

Newton’s approach, with stark contrasts of value and texture, evokes stillness and perhaps even a suspension of time, giving his paintings a magic realist quality. A number of his cityscapes feature canals with reflections of buildings in them; and he was sometimes referred to as the “Canaletto of the canals”.

Algernon Newton’s grandfather, Henry Newton, was the founding “Newton” of the art materials manufacturer Winsor & Newton. Algernon Newton found little success until late in his career, though he is now considered a significant figure in 20th century British art.


Eye Candy for Today: Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (details), John William Waterhouse

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, John William Waterhouse, oil on canvas, roughly 70 x 36 inches ( 175 x 92 cm); with preliminary sketch, both images on Wikimedia Commons; the original painting is in Gallery Oldham, but their website doesn’t offer details about the painting. The sketch is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

English painter John William Waterhouse — whose later work was much influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters — took the mythological character of Circe as his subject for three paintings.

In this one, inspired by the account in Homer’s Odyssey, the sorceress has used her knowledge of herbs and potions to turn Ulysses’ crew into swine, one of whom can be seen at her feet.

A regal Circe, seated on a lions head throne and clad in a diaphanous gown, holds a wand and a cup of the potion, both enticing and daring Ulysses to take what is offered. A wary Ulysses (Odysseus) can be seen in the mirror to our right, his ship to our left.