Lines and Colors art blog
  • Eye Candy for Today: Virginia Frances Sterrett illustration

    Illustration from Rosalie's Tree, Virginia Frances Sterrett
    Illustration from Rosalie's Tree, Virginia Frances Sterrett (details)

    Rosalie saw before her eyes a tree of marvellous beauty, illustration from Rosalie’s Tree, Virginia Frances Sterrett

    Image is sourced from this blog post from Jack Guignol.

    For more, see my previous post on Virginia Frances Sterrett.


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  • Antonietta Brandeis

    Antonietta Brandeis
    Antonietta Brandeis

    Antonietta Brandeis (AKA Antonie Brandeisová) was an Austrian/Hungarian painter active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    She studied at the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts, and is most recognized for her paintings of that extraordinary city.


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  • Eye Candy for Today: Gerrit Dou’s A Woman playing a Clavichord

    A Woman playing a Clavichord, Gerrit Dou
    A Woman playing a Clavichord, Gerrit Dou

    A Woman playing a Clavichord, Gerrit Dou, oil on panel, roughly 15 x 12 inches (38 x 300 cm); image is from Wikimedia Commons; the original is in the collection of the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

    There is also a zoomable version on the Google Art Project, but it’s quite dark, as is the one on the Dulwich site. Presumably they’re the same.

    I’ve never seen the original, so it’s difficult to judge the true nature of the darkness and color of the image. However, my experience has been that museums often display images of the paintings in their collections that are much darker than the original. This may be deliberate, I don’t know.

    The Wikimedia image, though credited to the Google Art Project, has apparently been brightened by someone along the way. This usually results in overbright, unrealistic images, but in this case — if someone altered this, they knew wht they were doing.

    I think the Wikimedia version, which I’ve used here, appears more natural, particularly given that Dou was a contemporary of Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch.


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  • Jules Bastien-Lepage (revisited)

    Jules Bastien-Lepage
    Jules Bastien-Lepage

    Jules Bastien-Lepage was a French painter active in the late 19th century. His depictions of rural life were in a style called naturalism, an offshoot of realism, an art movement led by Gustave Courbet (as opposed to the more general use of the term today).

    His paintings of field workers and village life came from his own rural upbringing and the sympathy with which he imbues them is genuine, as exemplified by his portrait of his grandfather (images above, 4th down).

    I find fascination with his subtle and understated handling of values, along with his subdued color palette; both feel ideally suited to his primary subject matter. However, at times he painted in a higher key, as in his portrait of actress Sara Bernhardt (images above, 6th down).

    Bastien-Lepage is best known for his painting of Joan of Arc, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (images above, bottom two).

    For more, see my previous post on Jules Bastien-Lepage.


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  • Eye Candy for Today: Steinberg’s iconic View of the World from 9th Avenue

    View of the World from 9th Avenue New Yorker cover by Saul Steinberg
    View of the World from 9th Avenue New Yorker cover by Saul Steinberg (detail)

    View of the World from 9th Avenue, March 29, 1976 cover of The New Yorker, Saul Steinberg; ink, colored pencil and watercolor; 26 x 19 inches (71 x 48 cm).

    Whether you’re seeing this for the first time (in which case, you’re welcome), or you’ve seen it a hundred times and had the poster on your wall, it’s always worth looking at this delightful and insightful image of how New Yorkers might see the world.

    On the one hand, it can be seen as arrogance on the part of residents of the Big Apple, bit I think Steinberg meant it more as a comment on the way we all have a relativistic view of the world based on the familiarity of our immediate surroundings, and how it affects our perception of events elsewhere.

    It was so well received, The New Yorker applied for a copyright assigned to the artist and reproduced it as a very popular poster. Since then it’s been copied, reproduced and reprinted on everything from T-shirts to desk pads. It’s been parodied and played off of countless times.

    Unfortunately — and to the dismay of the artist — this became primarily what Steinberg became known for, and not for the overall range of his brilliant drawings and cartoons.

    For more on my high regard for this remarkable artist, see my 2006 post on Saul Steinberg.


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  • Edward Seago

    Edward Seago painting
    Edward Seago paintings

    At various points in my life, I’ve had the delightful experience of encountering an unfamiliar artist whose work made me say: “Wow! How could I have not known about this painter before?!” 20th century English painter Edward Seago was one of those artists. I came across his work about 20 years ago, and he has since remained a favorite.

    It might be hard to understand my reaction from small images, but it’s in the details I find fascination, particularly in the character of his brush handling. Aware of that, I’ve tried to give some feeling of what I mean by including detail crops from all of the images I’ve posted above.

    Though he also painted very nice watercolors, I think of Seago as the artist whose oil paintings should be in the dictionary under the definition of “painterly”. Rough, loose and seemingly casual, his brushy textures are a joy to my eye. Perhaps I’m unusual that way, I don’t know, but I find particular pleasure in the character of the way he lays down paint on the canvas.

    Because so much of the delight I find in Seago’s work is in the character of his brush work, I recommend the images of his paintings to be found on the major art auction sites, particularly the Bonham’s auction site under Past Lots, which are high resolution and can be zoomed in to a level of fine detail.

    Notice how most of his edges appear soft — not by blending — but by virtue of the softening effect of broken color. I also like his muted palette and the atmospheric feeling he achieves in much of his work.

    Oh, and did I mention his clouds? Oh yeah — wonderful clouds.


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