Eye Candy for Today: Francois Bouçher chalk drawing

Francois Boucher chalk drawing of a male nude figure
Francois Boucher chalk drawing of a male nude figure (details)

Male Nude, Francois Bouçher; red chalk over black chalk on paper; roughly 20 x 13 inches ( 50 x 33 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, NY. There are both zoomable and downloadable imges on their site.

18th century French artist Francois Bouçher, who is more commonly noted for his Rococo drawings and paintings of sensuous women, here gives us a straightforward male nude study.

The forms of the musculature are so clearly defined that the drawing could be used as anatomical reference. He also gives the figure a sense of dimension and solidity, as well as a feeling of gravity in the leg that is supporting most of the model’s weight.

As was common with master chalk drawings of this time, the tones are rendered with hatching rather than being smoothy blended. Notice also the way he has accentuated parts of the outline of the figure, again contributing to turning the form and suggesting weight and volume.

Eye Candy for Today: William Merritt Chase pastel interior

Hall at Shinnecock, William Merrit Chase, pastel on canvas
Hall at Shinnecock, William Merrit Chase, pastel on canvas (details)

Hall at Shinnecock, William Merrit Chase, pastel on canvas, 32 x 41″ (82 x 104 cm); in the collection of the Terra Foundation for American Art.

The image on the page linked above is in a small slideshow, larger image here.

In 1891 American painter William Merritt Chase moved to the Shinnecock hills on Long Island, where he established the Shinnecock Summer School of Art and taught for more than 10 years. Here he gives us a view of the inside of his home with his family.

I love the fact that pastel can be used as both a drawing and painting medium. I would certainly call this a painting, but elements of it — like the stand for the ornate vase — have the quick gestural qulity of drawing.

In the mirrored door of the cabinet at the rear of the room, we can see a reflection of the artist at work.

I find it difficult to think that the red orange glow of the passageway above the cabinet and behind the other vase is either painted that color or made so by the sun. It seems to me purely a choice by the artist to enhance his composition.

Eye Candy for Today: Raphael figure studies

Raphael figure studies

Raphael figure studies

Nude Studies, Raphael, red chalk and metalpoint, roughy 16 x 11 in. (40 x 28 cm); link is to zoomable images on Google Art Project, downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons. original is in the Albertina, Vienna.

Raphael is considered to be one of the greatest draftsmen in history, and this relatively well known drawing of figure studies certainly a case in point.

Note the variation in value of the hatching and the beautifully defined musculature of the back, all with sure handed and seemingly casual lines.

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.

John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal at the Morgan Library

John Singer Sargent charcoal portrait drawings

John Singer Sargent charcoal portrait drawings

John Singer Sargent is known for his bravura society portraits in oil, as well as his masterful watercolors. The latter were painted largely for his own pleasure as he traveled. The former, which were his stock in trade, came to weary him late in his career, and at one point he simply stopped doing formal portraits in oil.

He continued creating portraits, however, but in the form of charcoal drawings. These are wonderfully economical, deceptively simple but insightful and evocative of personality. They are also beautiful examples of the power of charcoal and of chiaroscuro.

The Morgan Library and Museum in New York, which has a history of presenting wonderful shows of drawings, has mounted a show of Sargent’s charcoal portraits drawings in cooperation with the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal, will be on display at the Morgan Library until January 12, 2020. The exhibition will then move to the National Portrait Gallery, where it will be on display from February 28 to May 31, 2020.

The Morgan Library has a small set of preview images, which I’ve used for my examples, above, and I’ve linked to another source on Wikimedia Commons, though the quality of the reproductions there varies.

There is a catalogue accompanying the exhibition. For those on a budget, there is an unrelated Dover paperback of Sargent Portrait Drawings.

See also my previous post on John Singer Sargent’s portrait drawings.

Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer

Lucien Levy-Dhurmer, symbolist Artnouveau pastelstyles
Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer was a French pastellist, painter, ceramicist and designer whose influences and stylistic explorations included Art Nouveau, Impressionism, Symbolism, Islamic art, the Pre-Raphaelites and painting of the Italian Renaissance.

In his pastels, Lévy-Dhurmer takes advantage of the soft edges and atmospheric diffusion of color that medium enables to give his images an etherial quality and an air of mystery.