Eye Candy for today: Daniel Ridgway Knight fishing scene

Two Women Fishing, Daniel Ridgway Knight
Two Women Fishing, Daniel Ridgway Knight

On Wikimedia Commons. Original is in a private collection.

Speaking — as I was in this Eye Candy post on Peder Mønsted, about paintings that look smoothly refined from a distance, but are wonderfully painterly in detail — here is a summer scene by Daniel Ridgway Knight.

I’m long overdue to write a dedicated post on Knight, who is a personal favorite of mine, and I’ll try to follow up on that before long.

Anders Zorn’s etchings

Etchings by Anders Zorn
In my post on the paintings of the terrific Swedish artist Anders Zorn back in March of this year, I promised to follow up with a post on his amazing etchings.

I just love etchings, they have a line quality and visual charm unlike any other medium. There are three artists at the very top of my list of favorite etchers: Rembrandt, Whistler and Anders Zorn.

Zorn’s subjects were generally portraits, nudes and interior scenes, which he rendered with a smoky flurry of soft lines — often in drypoint — that carry an extraordinary feeling of light and atmosphere. His portraits included noted figures like Grover Cleveland, artists like Augustus Saint Gaudens (above, 5th down) and a number of self portraits (above top and second from the bottom).

Despite unpredictable variations in apparent paper color, there is a fairly good selection of Zorn’s etchings on Wikimedia Commons, from which the above images were drawn. Many are available in high resolution (look for those with file sizes over 1mb), in which you can see his remarkable use of line.

See my previous post on Anders Zorn.

Eye Candy for Today: Mønsted Summer landscape

Eye Candy: Summer landscape with river floodplain, Peder Mork Monsted
Summer landscape with river floodplain, Peder Mørk Mønsted

On Wikimedia Commons. Original is in a private collection. 32×48 inches (81x121cm)

I love the way paintings like this, and Mønsted’s in particular, look at first to be smoothly finished and refined, but reveal themselves on closer inspection to be wonderfully painterly.

Howard Brodie

Howard Brodie
Today is Memorial Day here in the U.S. Though primarily associated with a three-day weekend, barbecues and the unofficial start of summer, it is a day designated to honor those Americans who died while in military service. One way to do this, perhaps, is to develop a better understanding of the experiences of soldiers at war.

Howard Brodie was a well known WW II American combat artist, whose drawings of the front line experiences of soldiers in combat earned him the respect of both his fellow soldiers and the journalism community at large. He was considered one of the best war correspondent artists.

During the Second World War, Brodie was a regular contributor to the Army weekly, Yank magazine, and covered both the Pacific and European theaters of war. He did not carry a gun, but worked as a medic when needed. After covering the Battle of the Bulge, he received a Bronze Star for “aiding the wounded and coolness under fire”.

Brodie’s wonderfully loose, gestural drawings, often done with Prismacolor pencils, capture the experience of combat with an immediacy and emphasis not found in photographs.

I’m sometimes stuck by the similarity in style between Brodie and WW II GI cartoonist Bill Mauldin; though which way influence may have passed, I don’t know.

Before the war, Brodie attended the California School of Fine Arts and worked as a time as a sports illustrator for the San Francisco Chronicle. Afterward, he went back to work for the Chronicle, again covering sports; but the magazine eventually sent him to cover the Korean War, and later, the war in Vietnam.

Afterward, Brodie had a long career as a courtroom artist, covering notable trials such as those of Jack Ruby, James Earl Ray, Charles Manson and the Chicago Seven. He also served as a consultant for several hollywood war movies.

Brodie was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 2001, and the article by Victor Juhasz marking the occasion is probably the best piece on the artist. Juhasz, to whom Brodie was a friend and mentor, also has a personal remembrance on his blog, accompanied by images of Brodie’s work.

Brodie was featured in the PBS documentary They Drew Fire: Combat Artists of WW II, which I covered here.

Yvan Duque

Yvan Duque
Yvan Duque is a French illustrator, about whom I can find little information, other than a relation to a studio or group known as L’Encre Blanch (White Ink).

Duque has a web presence in the form of a Tumblog, a presence on the L’Encre Blanch Behance gallery and a store on Etsy.

The work, which appears to be done in water media like gouache or watercolor, has a wonderfully graphic sensibility, and utilizes both strong and subtle value contrasts simultaneously. I particularly enjoy Duque’s texturally stylized tree trunks and bark.

Duque’s work is currently on display in California, as part of the Gallery Nucleus exhibition, Adventure Awaits: Destinations Real & Imagined, that runs until June 15, 2014.

A few paintings from 1879

A few paintings from 1879: Edouard Manet, Ilya Repin, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Eva Gonzales, Albert Bierstadt, Henri Fantin-Latour, Arnold Bocklin, Josefina Holmlund, Jean-Baptiste van Moer, Claude Monet, James Jacques Joseph Tissot, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Frederick Leighton, John Singer Sargent
I’m constantly astonished and delighted at what a cornucopia of art was the late 19th century.

I don’t know of a period in which there was a greater array of disparate styles and movements. Had the preceding centuries not also been bountiful with wonderful work, I’d be tempted to call it a second Renaissance.

I have to think the main reason it isn’t often recognized as one of the great periods of artistic flourishing is the rewriting of history — and the deliberate denigration of the styles of that era — by the 20th century Modernist establishment. (If you notice, in most art history books and textbooks written from the mid-20th century onward, the only important art from the late 19th century is that which is counted in some way as leading up to 20th century Modernism. Everything else is either a minor footnote, or worse: facile, vacuous calendar art completely bankrupt of real artistic merit.)

But enough flame bait (sigh); here’s a small sampling of some work from a single year: 1879 — most of it pulled from at single page of example pieces on Wikimedia Commons, where you can while away hours (and hours) looking at work by a variety of artists, arranged by year (Time-Sink Warning).

(Images above, with links to my posts: Édouard Manet, Ilya Repin, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Eva Gonzalès, Albert Bierstadt, Henri Fantin-Latour, Arnold Böcklin, Josefina Holmlund, Jean-Baptiste van Moer, Claude Monet, James Jacques Joseph Tissot, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Frederick Leighton, John Singer Sargent)