Louis Béroud

Louis Beroud

Louis Beroud

Louis Béroud was a French painter active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was known for his views of Paris — often of strikingly complex architectural subjects — and views of ornate interiors, in particular interior views of the Louvre museum.

Béroud was registered as a copyist at the Louvre and did several paintings of other copyists at work, as well as his fanciful interpretation of a painter surprised as his subject comes alive.

It was while painting his copy of Da Vinci’s La Gioconda (The Mona Lisa, image of Béroud’s copy above, bottom) that he came in to the museum one morning to find Da Vinci’s painting gone.

After inquiring of the staff if the painting was out for photography, it was discovered that it had been stolen.

(Yes, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911. It was subsequently found and restored to its place, but not without some interesting speculation as to the nature of the crime.)


Eye Candy for Today: The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge

The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge

The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge (details)

The Camp Meeting, Worthington Whittredge, oil on canvas, roughly 16 x 40inches (40 x 103 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image.

What I love most about this immersive, panoramic painting by Hudson River School artist Worthington Whittredge is his use of contrasts of dark against light and light against dark as your eye moves across the image.

My image crops do not give you the effect of the painting’s scope; take the trouble to go the the Met’s site and view it full screen.


Thomas Paquette: Defined by Water

Thomas Paquette: Defined by Water

Thomas Paquette: Defined by Water

Thomas Paquette is a painter from Western Pennsylvania, whose work I have featured several times before and who I continue to follow, as I am delighted and fascinated by his approach.

Paquette breaks up his compositions in areas of color that are often edged with contrasting or complementary colors. The color areas and edges are in rough patterns that have a fractal appearance, but blend to make a naturalistic whole from a distance.

The result is part naturalistic, part graphic and part textural, with energetic paint marks providing surface qualities that move the eye, even within images that are essentially tranquil.

Many of his oils are fairly large in scale, in contrast to his wonderful gouache paintings that are essentially miniatures, often in the range of three or four inches on a side.

You can find examples of both oil and gouache paintings on his website, as well as printed collections of his work. (I found the book of Gouaches to be particularly a treat, as most are reproduced at their actual size.)

Thomas Paquette’s work will be on display here in Philadelphia in a solo show at the Gross McCleaf Gallery: “Thomas Paquette: Defined by Water“, that runs from September 6th to 28th, 2019. The reception is Friday, September 6th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.


Eye Candy for Today: Cornelis Visscher, The Large Cat

Cornelis Visscher, The Large Cat, engraving

Cornelis Visscher, The Large Cat, engraving (details)

The Large Cat (Cat Sleeping), Cornelis Visscher, engraving, roughly 5 x 7 inches (14 x 18 cm)

I admire the way Visscher has varied the direction of his lines to indicate the natural texture of the cat’s fur, and the density of the lines to achieve his subtle variations in value.

The foreground foliage and background wall, indentation and daring little mouse give the composition depth, offsetting the dominance of the large figure of the animal within the frame of the image.


N. C. Wyeth

N. C. Wyeth illustrations and landscape paintings

N. C. Wyeth illustrations and landscape paintings

When I first started Lines and Colors back in 2005, I actually wondered if I might run out of artists I admire to write about. Some fourteen years and several thousand posts later, my list of potential subjects is longer than the lost of those I’ve covered.

There are some artists, however, who are among my very favorites, that I have not yet covered. In the case of N. C. Wyeth, I’ve allowed myself to be intimidated by the task of conveying my respect and and enthusiasm for his work, and I’m remiss in not getting to this post sooner.

Along with his teacher, Howard Pyle, Newell Convers Wyeth was both one of America’s best and most beloved illustrators, and one of America’s great painters in any sense.

Given Pyle’s stature, influence and level of accomplishment, it’s no mean feat that — in my opinion, at least — the student surpassed the master in many respects.

While Pyle brought a new level of dynamics and drama to previously staid and theatrical approaches to illustration, Wyeth took his teacher’s mastery of drama and cranked it up to 11, placing the viewer on the edge of impending action or danger.

In the process, Wyeth developed a dramatic and remarkable use of light and strong value contrasts, often setting a foreground character in deep shadow against a brightly lit background.

Wyeth was also a master of texture, and many of his settings and backgrounds resound with a beautiful naturalism that owes much to his secondary practice of landscape painting.

If you search, you will find many references to N. C. Wyeth’s career as an illustrator, both in collections and reproductions of the classic books he illustrated, titles like The Black Arrow, Robin Hood, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, The Mysterious Island, The Boy’s King Arthur, The White Company, The Last of the Mohicans and many others.

What you will see less often, but can find with some digging, are examples of Wyeth’s landscapes, both of the area around Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania — where he settled after moving to the area from his home in Massachusets in order to study with Pyle — and of the area around his eventual summer home in Maine.

In his landscapes in particular, but also in his illustrations, Wyeth was a restless experimenter. He was familiar with Daniel Garber and other artists of the nearby New hope school of Pennsylvania Impressionists, and many of his paintings draw on Impressionist technique. You can also see the influence of regionalist painters like Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood.

Wyeth taught all of his children art, most notably, his son, Andrew Wyeth. N. C. was an imposing figure, both in personality and in his ability, and I have to wonder if his overwhelming command of drama and bold color led Andrew to choose his path of muted colors, textural paint application and contemplative subject matter.

N. C. Wyeth also did commercial illustration, murals, still life and other subjects. There are significant collections of his work in the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Portland Museum of art in Maine, and in particular, in the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, PA.

I grew up in the area around Wilmington, Delaware and the Brandywine Valley, and I’ve been going to the Brandywine River Museum since it opened while I was in my early 20s. N. C. Wyeth has been a big influence on my appreciation of art in general and illustration in particular.

The museum ordinarily has an extensive exhibit of N. C. Wyeth’s work — as well at the work of his son, Andrew Wyeth, and his grandson Jamie Wyeth — but at the moment there is a special exhibition, N. C. Wyeth: New Perspectives, that features work drawn from the permanent collection, as well as many pieces borrowed from other museums and private collections, and includes a number of his rarely seen landscape paintings.

The exhibit runs until September 15, 2019.

There is a catalog accompanying the exhibit, and there are a number of other books with Wyeth’s work, including beautiful hardbound reproduction editions of many of the classics he illustrated as well as collections, like Visions of Adventure: N. C. Wyeth and the Brandywine Artists, that offers and introduction to some of his contemporaries and other students of Howard Pyle.

There is also a Catalogue Raisonné of his work, expensive as a two volume boxed set, but accessible in an online version courtesy of the Brandywine River Museum that is one of the best places to see some of N. C. Wyeth’s landscapes, even if reproduced smaller than we might like.


Ambrogio Alciati

Ambrogio Antonio Alciati, Italian Romantic portrait painter,

Ambrogio Antonio Alciati, Italian Romantic portrait painter,

Ambrogio Antonio Alciati was an Italian painter active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

He was primarily a society portrait painter, but many of his other canvasses were subjects of romance, courtship and passion.

His style evolved over time, a darker more classical approach giving way to painterly splashes of color.