Alois Kalvoda

Alois Kalvoda, paintings of birches and Czech landscapes
Alois Kalvoda was a Czech painter who was active primarily in the early 20th century.

Though he traveled and studied in Paris and Munich, most of his work focused on landscapes of his native country. These were painted in a naturalistic style early in his career, and in an increasingly impressionist approach as his career progressed.

Particularly striking are his numerous paintings of birches and birch groves.


Eye Candy for Today: Young Girl Carrying a Pumpkin, Fausto Zonaro

Young Girl Carrying a Pumpkin, Fausto Zonaro
Young Girl Carrying a Pumpkin, Fausto Zonaro

Link is to zoomable file on Google Art Project; there is also a downloadable version of that file on Wikimedia Commons.

The original is in the Sakıp Sabancı Museum in Istanbul, Turkey. The museum also has a zoomable version of the file, but it looks over-saturated to me. The real appearance of the painting could be somewhere between the two, but given the choice between them, I feel the Google file is likely to be more accurate.

Fausto Zonaro was an Italian painter who spent a good part of his career in Istanbul. In this simple subject, he has contrasted the orange of the pumpkin against the background greens and muted color of the girl’s dress, but kept the contrast in check by adding the green area of the pumpkin and having the girl’s hand and forearm cover a good bit of the surface.

I love Zonaro’s painterly approach to suggesting the texture of the ground and the strewn bits of other plants.


Beautiful “rediscovered” Constable

Dedham Vale With The River Stour In Flood From The Grounds Of Old Hall, East Bergholt, John Constable, rediscovered Constable landscape
Dedham Vale With The River Stour In Flood From The Grounds Of Old Hall, East Bergholt, John Constable

We’re fortunate that so much of the world’s great art is currently in museums and public collections. Works in private collections can often go unseen by the public for decades, or even hundreds of years.

From time to time, works that have gone unseen for extended periods become available and enter the art market.

This is the case with a newly “rediscovered” painting by John Constable, and boy is it a beauty!

Of those Constable paintings that I have not seen in person, it is already one of my favorites.

The painting is currently set to be part of the December 2017 Old Masters Evening Sale at Sotheby’s, one of the premiere auction houses through which high valued art reaches the market (see my 2009 post on Sotheby’s). If you have an extra $3 or $4 million lying around, maybe you can pick it up for over your couch.

There is a reasonably large zoomable photo on the Sotheby’s auction listing, but a much higher resolution image accompanying this article on Art Market Monitor (even larger than my detail crops would indicate).

There is also an article on the Sotheby’s site that describes the find: “Important Constable Rediscovered After 50 Years“.


Eye Candy For Today: Leon Bonvin’s Basket of Apples

Still Life: Basket of Apples, Pear, Walnuts and Knife; Leon Bonvin
Still Life: Basket of Apples, Pear, Walnuts and Knife; Léon Bonvin

Original is in the Waters Art Museum, which has both a zoomable and downloadable file. There is also a zoomable image on Google Art Project and a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons, though the one on the Walters’ site is larger.

Another beautiful and sensitively realized watercolor still life by 19th century French artist Léon Bonvin, who had to paint in whatever spare time he could find while managing a family restaurant.


Mark Reep (update)

Mark Reep, imaginary landscape drawings in pencil ink and charcoal
Mark Reep is an artist based near Pittsburgh who I first profiled back in 2006. His dreamlike, enigmatic imaginary landscapes are rendered monochromatically in graphite, charcoal and ink.

His monochromatic approach seems to heighten the sense of mystery, as textural rock faces, towers and islands emerge from mist and fog, their exact boundaries obscured.

His isolated towers of rock, jutting up from valleys lost in mist, predate similar imagery from the movie Avatar by many years.

I particularly admire the geometric strength of his compositions, in which negative space often plays a prominent role.

There is an interview with Reep in the Strathmore Artist Papers site from February.

Reep’s blog, which he titles dreams in black and white, sometimes has larger reproductions of his drawings than his website.

Thare are prints and other items featuring Reep’s drawings and photographs on Fine Art America and RedBubble, and originals on West End Gallery.


John Grabach

John R. Grabach
Growing up in Delaware and living for many years in southeastern Pennsylvania, I’ve become familiar with most of the historic regional schools of painting from this part of the eastern seaboard, like the Brandywine School, the New Hope School (otherwise known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists), the Hudson River School, the Ashcan School and others in New York and Boston.

But I was in Lambertville, New Jersey over the weekend, and in talking to Beverly Alverson, a consultant at the Union Gallery, I learned of a regional school of which I was unaware, the Newark School of Painting, a small group of painters centered on the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts (which closed in 1997).

Prominent among those painters were Henry Gasser, Adolf Konrad and John R. Grabach.

Like Gasser, who was his student, Grabach painted in the spirit of the Ashcan School, depicting the gritty everyday reality of workers and tenement life in Newark and New York in a brusque, rough-hewn style much in keeping with his subject matter.

In many of his compositions, Grabach skews perspective and arranges the complexity of cityscapes into strongly geometric formations, giving a sensation of unbalance that suggests the clamor and bustle of city streets.

He also depicted scenes of sailors, ships and docks, as well as painting figurative works.

Grabach is the author of a book on How to Draw the Human Figure, and there are a couple of monographs on his work that are available from used book sources.

Online image resources for Grabach’s work are somewhat scattered, but I’ve assembled what I can below.