A few paintings from the forest of Fontainebleau

Painting of the Forest of Fontainebleau,
Paintings of the Forest of Fontainebleau, Alphonse Asselbergs, Christian Zacho, Francois Auguste Ortmans, Claude Monet, George Charles Aid, Gustave Courbet, Gustave Dore, Peter Burnit, Theodore Rousseau, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

Wikimedia Commons, with its wonderful, clunky mishmash of art images — superb high quality high resolution images from the best sources next to low resolution low quality and off color images from questionable sources — has some equally eccentric systems of categorization, which results in the delightful ability to browse through a category like “Paintings of forests“, and highly specific subcategories like “Paintings of forêt de Fontainebleau” (the forest of Fountainebleau).

The forest of Fontainebleau is an area of still relatively wild forest and rock formations about 35 miles (60 km) southeast of Paris. It attracted the first wave of painters known to paint en plein air in significant numbers.

Initially it was Corot, and then other painters who were similarly interested in painting directly from nature, and who would collectively come to be known as the Barbizon School, named for the nearby town that was their base. Later they were joined by the early French Impressionists, who were highly influenced by the Barbizon painters.

The images above were all selected from the single Wikimedia Commons page for paintings from the forest of Fountainebleau — on which you will find more examples, as well as links to higher resolution images, and even links to subcategories of that category.

(Images above: Abbot Handerson Thayer, Alphonse Asselbergs, Christian Zacho, François Auguste Ortmans, Claude Monet, George Charles Aid, Gustave Courbet, Gustave Doré, Peter Burnit, Théodore Rousseau, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot)

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Frits Thaulow Winter Landscape

Winter Landscape, Frits Thaulow, pastel and watercolor on canvas
Winter Landscape, Frits Thaulow, pastel and watercolor on canvas

Winter Landscape, Frits Thaulow, pastel and watercolor on canvas, roughly 22×36″ (55×92 cm). Link is to past auction on Christie’s (large image here), I would assume present location is a private collection.

No one painted the surface character of small streams, winter or otherwise, like 19th century Norwegian Painter Frits Thaulow.

 
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Happy Leyendecker Baby New Year 2022!

Leyendecker Baby New Years 1922
Leyendecker Baby New Years 1922

As I’ve done every New Year’s Eve since 2006, I’ll wish Lines and Colors readers a Happy New Year with one of American illustrator J. C. Leyendecker’s wonderful New Year’s covers for the Saturday Evening Post, in this case from 1922.

Leyendecker was the first to represent the new year as a baby (originally — and occasionally afterward — a cherub) in his illustration for the SEP New Year’s cover in 1906. Over the following three plus decades, his New Year’s covers made the idea into one of our cultural icons.

His New Year’s babies were often involved in some way in the events of the year. In this case, our 1922 baby is marking the recent signing of the U.S.-German Peace Treaty after the end of WWI by salting the tail of the Dove of Peace. Salting a bird’s tail was thought to render the bird incapable of flying away.

The image at top is a digitally restored version of the image from the cover that is being offered as a print by FineArtAmerica. Below it is the cover reproduction from the Saturday Evening Post site.

Whatever else happens this year, may you find joy and inspiration in the great art of the past and present, and in the creation of art yet to be seen!

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Fragonard wash drawing

View of an Italianate park with figures, a villa behind, Jean-Honore Fragonard
View of an Italianate park with figures, a villa behind (details), Jean-Honore Fragonard

View of an Italianate park with figures, a villa behind, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, brown wash over brown ink lines and black chalk, roughly 13 x 11″ (33 x 47cm); link is to Sotheby’s past auction, large image here.

In this beautifully sensitive drawing, 18th century French painter, draftsman ad printmaker Jean-Honoré Fragonard, who specialized in such things, gives us an idealized view of an idealized park on an ideal day.

I love how delicately and vaguely some elements are suggested, like people, architecture, stairs and background foliage, and yet how definite and complete the overall drawing appears.

This is one of those drawings in which the vague word “wash” is used to describe the medium, leaving me in question as to whether it is ink wash or watercolor, both of which can be used to similar effect.

 
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Christophe Vacher (update)

Christophe Vacher
Christophe Vacher

Christophe Vacher is a French painter and concept designer who I first wrote about back in 2007. He has worked for studios like Disney, Dreamworks, ad Universal, and his movie credits include titles like Dinosaur, Hercules, Tarzan, Treasure Planet, Enchanted and Dispicable Me.

On his website, you will find examples his personal and professional work in both traditional and digital media, as well as sketches and preliminary designs. On the “Technique” page, you will find a step-though and process notes for the panting shown above, bottom.

In addition to his imaginative design and refined rendering, I particularly enjoy the way he conveys a sense of scale and grandeur in many of his images.

There is a collection of his work available on Amazon, which can be accessed through this page. Some of his original art is available through his galleries on Saatchiart and Singulart.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Emelie Preyer Still Life with Grapes and Peaches

Still Life with Grapes and Peaches, Emelie Preyer , oil on canvas
Still Life with Grapes and Peaches, Emelie Preyer , oil on canvas

Still Life with Grapes and Peaches, Emelie Preyer, oil on canvas, roughly 7 x 9″ (17 x 23 cm)

A wonderfully tactile still life from German painter Emelie Preyer, who was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I love the she has emphasized imperfections, with the inclusion of the fly (or perhaps a tiny wasp?), the insect ravaged leaf, and the traces of what I take to be insects going after the smaller fruits in the foreground.

 
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