Chris Plytas

Photography by Chris Plytas

Born in 1953 in London, Chris Plytas is an established contemporary visual artist whose work covers the psychology of self-image and identity. His photographic portraiture works have been admired often for their way of unearthing the primal and sensual core of their subjects, and the way they sometimes straddle the borderline between beatific innocence and animal rage.

From 1974 to 1977, Plytas studied fine art, painting and sculpture at St. Martins School of Art in London and earned a BFA with honors. After graduation, he developed his darkroom skills on landscape and portraiture photography.Plytas also  did reportage photography for publications, in which he covered  events such as night clubs, concerts, fashion shows, the Royal Wedding, and the Cannes Film Festival.

During the period form 1977 to 1985, Chris  Plytas did photographic printing, layouts, and personal design realization in London for Vivienne Westwood, the English fashion designer largely responsible for bringing punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream. In 1982, he became Director of Berwick Universal Pictures, Limited, an award-winning documentary film company based in Soho, London.  Starting in 1985, Plytas began concentrating on his own personal, black and white, fine art photography, shot with Hasselblad cameras, for exhibition and personal archives. 

Chris Plytas’ first series, entitled “Australia”, was shot over a six month period mostly in the New South Wales and Victoria provinces of Australia. This large body of work, consisting of landscape and portraiture, was exhibited in 1987 at London’s Photographers Gallery and toured Europe for six years with support from Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, a public collection of France’s contemporary art. 

Starting in 1987, Plytas engaged in a six-year shoot for his series “Hadrian: The Violence and Sexuality of Adolescence” series, a coming of age story shot in real time. His next series “Le Corps Enjeux (The Body)” was shown as part of the Mois de la Photo exhibition, sponsored by Audiovisuel and Kodak,  held in Paris in 1988. Plytas spent a year from 1992 to 1993 in the Xi’an and the Yannan regions of China, where he shot his “China: Voyage to the East” portfolio, a series which he dedicated to Sun Wukong, the trickster Monkey King.

Known for his exhibited photographic series, Chris Plytas began to receive commissions for portraiture work. His “Family Portraits” series was commissioned by the De Ganay Archives and, at present, consists of forty-eight individual portraits of members of the French aristocratic family. He has also received portraiture commissions from various  other European  and American families 

After shooting his “Miami Beach” series in  1994.  Plytas  has continued working, throughout his career, on multiple personal portfolios, some of which have been exhibited and published. These include his “The Burden of Classicism”; “Nature and Nurture”; “Youth: A Retrospective” shot in Italy; “Beach-Scapes” shot in  Italy and Sicily; a series entitled “Allegorical Portraits”; and “Blood Ties”, a portfolio documenting family member connections.

In addition to his participation in numerous group exhibitions, Plytas  has shown his work in solo gallery exhibitions, including  Paris’ Galerie PONS in 1995, Paris’ Galerie Serge Aboukrat in 2000, a 2002 exhibition in Italy entitled “Frascati Doc”, an exhibition project at the Chateau de Courances in France in 2004, and in 2015 a Paris exhibition entitled “What is Erotic?”. 

Chris Plytas’ work is available in limited editions and custom portfolios. Private individual or family portraits can be commissioned. His website is located at: https://www.chrisplytas.com/index

Insert Images:

Chris Plytas,, Title Unknown (Slogan on Wall), 1992-93, China, Voyage to the East Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Chris Plytas,, “Boy and Girl Entwined”, 1986-2003, The Body Series, Silver Gelatin Print

Luigi Lucioni

Paintings by Luigi Lucioni

Born in 1900 in Malnate, a small town near Milan, Italy, Luigi Lucioni was an accomplished etcher and artist who painted precisely described landscapes, still-lifes, and portraits over his sixty year career. Working with a strong feeling for his subjects and with great technical skill. Lucioni was a classical realist with a modern perspective, who drew inspiration from the Italian Renaissance artists, as well as the work of Paul Cezanne and landscape artist Claude Lorrain.

Lucioni’s body of work, both landscape and portraiture, was a result of close observation, meticulous delineation, and the careful positioning of compositional elements. He was paid close attention to the textures, patterns, colors, and the arrangement of shapes that would effect his compositions. 

In August of 1911, Luigi Lucioni came to the United States with his family, where they landed in New York Harbor with three hundred-fifty other third-class passengers. After being processed, the family initially moved into an apartment on Christopher Street in Manhattan before finally eventually settling, in 1929, at Union City, New Jersey. At age fifteen, Lucioni entered a competition for admission to Cooper Union, a private college with full scholarships to admitted students, and was accepted. 

In 1915, Lucioni began studying drawing and painting at the Cooper Union, where he received sound criticism from painting instructor and muralist William de Leftwich Dodge. Through Dodge’s influence, Lucioni developed a determination not to adapt to current trends in art but to pursue his own artistic vision. At age nineteen, he entered New York City’s National Academy of Design, where he studied etching under William Aueerbach-Levy. As a student, Lucioni met and was acquainted with many in the city’s circle of gay artists, including painter Jared French, photographer George Platt Lynes, writer Lincoln Kirstein, and artist Paul Cadmus, with whom he became romantically involved. 

In 1924, Lucioni was awarded a Tiffany Foundation Scholarship, which enabled him to spend part of every year for the next decade painting at Tiffany’s Oyster Bay, Long Island, estate. In 1925 he traveled to Italy for the first time since he had left the country as a boy. Lucioni’s encounter with Italy’s Renaissance art, which included the works of Botticelli, Raphael, and Piranesi, had a profound affect on his developing painting style. Upon his return to the United States from Italy, Luigi Lucioni lived and worked in a townhouse at 33 West 10th Street in New York City.

In 1928, Lucioni painted his “Portrait of Paul Cadmus” which memorialized the passion of both artists for the works of painter Piero della Francesca. Using a modern, close-up format, Lucioni modeled Cadmus against the geometric backdrop of a creased white cloth, capturing a piercing gaze that is at once mysterious and mesmerizing. In 1931, Lucioni  was commissioned to paint a Vermont landscape and, struck by the beauty of the mountains, eventually purchased a farmhouse in 1939 near Manchester, where he spent his  summers.

 In 1938, Lucioni met actress and singer Ethel Waters through a mutual friend, writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten, who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance. The result of this meeting was the 1939 “Portrait of Ethel Waters”, which last seen publicly in 1942 and presumed lost, is now in the collection of the Huntsville Museum of Art. In 1939, Lucioni also painted the “Portrait of Jared French” in which he used a  close-up format to capture the textures of French’s  hair and skin with fine details; Lucioni also highlighted French’s face by placing it against an off-white cloth background.

During the course of his successful career, Luigi Lucioni  exhibited in New York with the Ferargil Gallery, the Associated American Artists, and the Milch Gallery. In 1932, he became the youngest person to have a painting purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lucioni passed away on July 22nd of 1988 in New York City..

Lucioni’s work is in the collections of many leading American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Dallas Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Top Insert Image: Luigi Lucioni, “Rose Hobart”, 1934, Oil on Canvas, 76.7 x 61 cm, Private Collection

Middle Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Luigi Lucioni”. 1930, Photographic Print, 13 x 18 cm, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Museum 

Bottom Insert Image: Luigi Lucioni, “Resting Athlete”, 1938, Oil on Canvas, 110.5 x 122 cm, Private Collection

Jacques Azéma

Paintings by Jacques Azéma

Born in 1910, Jacques Azéma was a French artist who made Marrakech his home in 1930. At the age of twenty, he had traveled throughout North Africa, until he finally settled in Morocco, his home for the next fifty years.

Azéma’s work grew from his fascination with Morocco’s geometric patterns prevalent in its architecture, mosques, and tiled walls and floors. Influenced by the works of the Surrealists, his soft, richly colored works include scenes of artisans at work, Marrakech street scenes, entertainers in the Jemma el Fna square, and local traditions among the people. 

Azéma’s small-format paintings reveal a dreamlike representation of Morocco, which closely represents the pictorial language of such surrealists as Giorgio de Chirico and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Azéma’s paintings greatly influenced a large number of aspiring Moroccan artists during the 1930s, including Marrakech artist Mohamed Ben Allel, whom Azéma encouraged to paint without heed of traditions.

Jacques Azéma was a professor of drawing and painting in Marrakech. As part of the group organized by Mahjoub Ben Seddik, one of the founders of the Moroccan Labor Union, Azéma taught painting workshops at Casblanca’s École des Beaux-Arts from 1962 to 1974. He also taught animated painting workshps at Marrkech’s Lycée Mangin High School, where he made an impact on its art students.

Jacques Azéma passed away in 1979 in Marrakech. A retrospective of his lifetime achievements and unique body of work was shown in 2008-2009 at the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech. Many of his works are in private collections.

Carlos Mérida

Top Image: Carlos Mérida, “The Three Princesses”, 1955, Lacquer and Casein on Parchment on Laminated Wood, 41 z 32 cm, Saint Louis Art Museum

Bottom Image: Carlos Mérida, “Los Hechiceros (Sorcerers)”, 1958, Oil and Polytec on Panel, 70.2 x 109.9 cm, Private Collection

Born  in Guatemala City in December of 1891, Carlos Mérida was a Guatemalan artist who was one of the first artists to fuse European modernism to Latin American themes. His heritage was of mixed Spanish and Maya-Quiché ancestry, a culture he promoted  throughout his career. Although initially studying both art and music, Mérida, due to the partial loss of his hearing at age fifteen, concentrated his talents on his artwork, with a particular emphasis on painting.

Mérida entered Guatemala City’s Institute of Arts and Crafts, and later enrolled at the Institute of Science and Letters, where he became interested in the avant-garde movement. In 1910 at the age of nineteen, Mérida, with the help of Catalan artist, poet and writer Jaime Sabartés, organized his first solo exhibition at the offices of EL Economista, one of Guatemala City’s newspapers. Later in the same year, seeing little opportunity for an art career in Guatemala, he traveled to Europe where he settled in Paris, sought employment, and traveled the continent. 

During his stay in Europe, Mérida became acquainted with many of Europe’s  emerging artists, such as painters Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and Amedeo Modigliani. He also met Latin American artists who were studying in Europe at that time, including Diego Rivera, Ángel Zárraga, and Gerardo Murillo Cornado. Mérida exhibited his work, primarily figurative and landscape, at the Independent Salon and the Biroux Gallery, both located in Paris. 

Returning to Guatemala in 1914, Carlos Mérida developed an interest in the diversity of his country’s folklore and pre-Hispanic art,  which he began to use as a theme for his work. He exhibited his new work in the following year at his second show in Guatemala, an exhibition that would mark the beginning of modern painting in Guatemala. In 1919, after staying five years in Guatemala, Mérida moved to Mexico City. Gaining recognition for both his easel and mural works, he had his first exhibition in Mexico in 1920 at the National School of Fine Arts and, in the same year, his first show in the United States at the Hispanic Society of New York. One of Mérida’s earliest projects in Mexico was working on the great 1922 mural at the National Preparatory School as an assistant to Diego Rivera, who introduced him to the politically driven Mexican Social-Realism movement.  

In the late 1920s, Mérida returned to Europe, where his work underwent a shift inspired by the avant-garde works he encountered. Over the two decades from 1928 to 1948, Mérida had forty-five exhibitions in the United States, including New York’s 1922 Independent Artists Exhibition , and eighteen shows in Mexico, including  the 1940 International Surrealist Exhibition in Mexico City.

Carlos Mérida is best known for his mural and canvas work, most of which was executed in Mexico. He also did engraving, theater set design, and mosaic work; however, his preference was towards works on canvas. Like his contemporary Rufino Tamayo,  with whom he shared a 1930 exhibition at the Art Center of New York, Mérida generally did not paint large-scale narrative paintings, and was more interested in painting than politics. His work was not concerned with the representation of things, but rather a concept of them.

Mérida’s body of work shows a progression of experiments in form, color and techniques, with music and dance, two passions in Mérida’s life,  influencing the work’s rhythmic flow.  From 1907 to 1926, during the art world’s transition from Impressionism to Cubism, his early work in Europe was figurative, influenced by the works of Picasso and Modigliani. Mérida’s surrealistic phase began in the late 1920s and continued to the middle of the 1940s. At this time, he became one of Mexico’s first non-figurative painters with a series of works leaning towards abstractionism. From 1950 until his death, Mérida’s work is marked with a focus on geometric forms, particularly those found in indigenous cultures such as the Maya.

Carlos Mérida, convinced of a need to establish a natively American art form, felt it was important to emphasize his New World identity and culture. His work reflected on both Aztec and Maya cultures, including its folklore, and promoted its indigenous motifs. Mérida painted the indigenous people and landscapes of Mexico and Central America without the sentimental overtures of his predecessors. The discovery of the Bonampak ruins in 1946, with its temple frescoes, bas-reliefs, and burials, inspired him with new ideas which eventually led to his integrating painting and sculpture into architecture. 

In 1932, Mérida, along with Carlos Orozco Romero,  founded the dance school of the Secretaiat of Public Education which he oversaw for three years. His interest in dance led to designing stage sets and costumes for twenty-two performances from 1940 to 1979. He also documented one hundred and  sixty-two examples of indigenous dance, including pre-Hispanic. Mérida’s first retrospective was in 1966, followed by one in 1981 and again in 1992. A man committed to promoting the handcrafts and folk art of Latin America, particularly those of Guatemala, Carlos Mérida died in Mexico City at the age of ninety-four on December 21st of 1985.

Carlos Mérida’s works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Brazil’s Museo de Arte Moderno in San Paolo, the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.

Top Insert Artwork: Carlos Mérida, Untitled, 1925-27, Lithograph, Images of Guatemala Series, 22.8 x 33 cm, San Antonio Museum of Art

Bottom Insert Artwork: Carlos Mérida, “El Ojo del Adivino (The Eye of the Fortune Teller)”, 1984, Oil on Canvas, 105.2 x 90.7 cm, Private Collection

Frank Duveneck

Paintings by Frank Duveneck

Born in October of 1848 in Covington, Kentucky, Frank Duveneck was an American etcher and painter. He began painting in his early teens and was employed as an assistant to Wilhelm Lamprecht, a graduate of Munich’s Royal Academy who began a mission to decorate churches in the Cincinnati region. In 1869, Duveneck traveled to Munich where he intended to continue his study of church decoration.

After developing an interest in easel painting, Duveneck enrolled in 1870 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he studied under painters and illustrators Wilheim Diez and Alexander Strähuber.. Gaining distinction for his work, Duveneck won a prize in 1872 that entitled him to a studio of his own. Some of his best known works were painted during his time in Germany, including his 1872 “Whistling Boy”. one of Duveneck’s first renditions of working-class ruffians, now housed in the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Frank Duveneck’s work of this period are painted in a vigorous style that reveals the influence of Wilhelm Leibi, who was the leader of a group of young German realists guided by French  realist Gustave Courbet’s innovative and social-themed work. Duveneck’s early style, with its generally dark colors and expressive brushwork, was a melding of contemporary German practice with his interest in the techniques of the Old Masters, particularly the seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painters.

Duveneck returned to Cincinnati in 1873, and, in the following year, exhibited portraits he had painted in Germany. His reputation as an artist in the United States began with a successful 1875 Boston exhibition of his work where his bold and spontaneous style caused a sensation. Despite encouragement to stay in Boston and paint commissioned portraits, Duveneck returned to Germany where he set up a studio in Munich and began to develop a reputation among its American students.

After a trip to Venice in 1877, Frank Duveneck opened his own painting school in Munich, which soon drew the attention of studying artists. His students, who would become known as the Duveneck Boys, included such future artists as portrait painter and illustrator John White Alexander, and impressionist landscape painters Theodore Wendel and John H. Twachtman. In 1879 Duveneck and his students traveled to Italy, where they would remain for the next two years spending winters in Florence and summers in Venice.

Duveneck was elected to the Society of American Artists in 1880. Around this time, he became interested in etching and produced several works in this medium which were similar in style to those of James Whistler, whom Duveneck had met in Venice. This collection of works were exhibited in a London exhibition in 1881. After 1880 Duveneck altered his painting style to one of lighter colors and less somber lighting effects, which might have been a response to his stay in Italy.

In March of 1886, Frank Duveneck married Elizabeth Boott, one of his students. They lived at Villa Casteliani in Florence for two years and had one son, Frank Boott Duveneck. After his wife’s 1988 death of pneumonia in Paris, Duveneck made the decision  to return in the following year to the United States. He taught painting classes at Cincinnati, New York and Chicago, and frequently traveled to Europe throughout the 1890s. Duveneck became a teacher at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1890 and became a regular faculty member in 1900. He was elected into the National Academy of Design in 1905, and became a full Academician in 1906. 

Duveneck exhibited his works in a private room at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco; his works were received with great acclaim, and he was awarded a Special Gold Medal of Honor. Before his death in Cincinnati on January 2, 1919, Frank Duveneck donated a large and important group of his works to the Cincinnati Art Museum, which remains the center for Duveneck studies. His works can be seen at the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, Boston’s Museum of Fine Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.

Top Insert Image:  J. Land, Portrait of Frank Duveneck, 1877, Detail, Photographic Sepia Print on Cabinet Card, Smithsonian Institution

Middle Insert Image: Frank Duveneck, “Study for ‘The Harem Guard”, 1879, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 66 cm, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco

Bottom Insert Image: Frank Duveneck, “Self-Portrait”, 1877, Oil on Canvas, Cincinnati Art Museum

 

 

Gustave Caillebotte

Paintings by Gustav Caillebotte

French painter and art collector Gustave Caillebotte was born in 1848 in Paris to Céleste Daufresne and Martial Caillebotte, a wealthy textile mill owner. He began drawing and painting at a young age on his family’s estate in Yernes, located south of Paris. Caillebotte studied law, completing  his law degree in 1868, and received his law license in 1870. Soon after his graduation, he was drafted to serve in the Franco-Prussian war as a member of the Garde Nationale de la Seine from July of 1870 to March of 1871.

Following the war, Caillebotte decided to pursue an artistic career. He visited the studio of Realist academic-painter Léon Bonnat, who reinforced his decision to take art as a serious career. In 1872, Caillebotte enrolled at the Êcole des Beaux-Arts and studied under Bonnat;  however, he spent most of the time painting in his own studio at the family home. Within a short period of time, Caillebotte suffered several losses in his family life: his father died in 1874, his brother Rene in 1876, and his mother died in 1878. The family fortune was divided between the remaining two brothers, Gustave and Martial, both of whom agreed to the sale of the Yerres estate and moved to an apartment in Paris. 

Beginning in 1874, Gustave Caillebotte met and befriended several artists who were working outside the influence of the Academie des Beaux-Arts; these artists included Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-Augustus Renoir, Camille Pissarro, and Giuseppe De Nittis. Caillebotte  made his artistic debut in 1876 at the Second Impressionist Exhibition in Paris, a show that would establish him as an indispensable figure in the group both artistically and financially. This loosely knit group of impressionist, avant-garde artists rejected the academic style of painting and the formality of the official Salon’s traditional exhibition protocols.  

Caillebotte’s style, which so outraged the contemporary critics and academics, conversely inspired later artists to use some of his more radical compositional techniques. His paintings often contained highly unusual perspectives, such as viewpoints looking up from below at a slanting floor, and viewpoints gazing down from an indistinctive perch or standing on the edge of an intimate scene. Caillebotte also cropped his protagonists and scenes in an unconventional manner, such as the foreground figures in his 1877 “Rue de Paris; Temps de Pluie” and 1878 “The Painter Under His Parasol” whose lower body portions are beyond the image plane. These innovative techniques became features of future avant-garde artists from Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso.

Caillebotte helped finance and organize the Third Impressionist exhibition, in which he exhibited eight paintings. Included in this show was his best known work, the 1875 “Floor Scrapers”, which had been rejected and deemed vulgar by the official Salon in 1875 for its depiction of common laborers. Caillebotte played a major role as a source of patronage and financial support for artists, such as Monet and Pissarro who were still endeavoring to achieve more widespread success. His family wealth enabled his to pursue his own artistic career and provide support for his artistic friends whose means were limited; it also enabled him to collect their work, often purchased at inflated prices. In 1876 Caillebotte purchased several works by Monet, and also paid the rent for some of his friends’ studios. He was also a major force in convincing the Louvre Museum to purchase Édouard Manet’s 1863 controversial painting “Olympia”, which had caused a scandal at the Salon’s 1865 exhibition for its cold and prosaic treatment of the female nude. 

In 1877, Caillebotte was the central organizer of the Third Impressionist Exhibition, which now had become an independent, unofficial and distinctly avant-garde salon. Although an important force in the avant-garde movement, his work did not explore the effects of light as did the other members’ work. Caillebotte was more a Realist in style, more aligned with the early works of Monet, Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet. He exhibited seventeen paintings at the seventh impressionist exhibition and, along with Monet, refused to participate in the final 1886 exhibition due to tensions between artists.

Gustave Caillebotte relocated to a property in Petit-Gennevilliers, a suburb on the Seine River, in 1881. A former yacht racer, he became active in constructing yachts and spent a majority of his time discussing philosophy, politics, literature and art with his brother Martial and good friend Augustus Renoir. By the early 1890s, Caillebotte was barely painting; he had stopped producing the large canvases for which he was known in the previous decades. In 1894, at the age of forty-five, while working in his home garden, Caillebotte collapsed and died suddenly of a stroke. He is buried at the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in southeastern Paris.

Following his death, Caillebotte’s estate, in keeping with his will, attempted to make a generous donation of his large collection of paintings, which contained both his and other artists’ works, to the French State. The 1894 donation spurred controversy, which emphasized the still prevalent French Academy’s resistance to avant-garde art and artists. Academy officials, with the artist Jean-Leon Gerome in the lead, attempted to prevent the transfer of the works by the Impressionists and the important Post-Impressionists, such as Paul Cézanne, to the French National Museum. 

These impressionist works had been consistently refused admission to the official Salons through the years; and the art establishment continued to oppose acceptance of what they referred to as unhealthy art. Only a portion of the works in the collection, of which only two were by Caillebotte, were ultimately accepted. In 1911, nearly thirty works from Caillebotte’s collection were purchased by Albert C. Barnes, an American physician, businessman, and art collector; these works form the core of the extensive collection of Modernist works at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Until the 1950s, when Caillebotte family members began selling works from their private collection, including paintings by Caillebotte as well as works by other artists he had acquired, Caillebotte’s work was for the most part forgotten. Most of these works from the private collections were eventually purchased by Albert Barnes in 1954 and added to the Barnes Foundation. With the purchase of Caillebotte’s 1877 “Paris Street, Rainy Day” by the Art Institute of Chicago in 1964, the work of Caillebotte was brought again to the attention of collectors and the public.

Tope Insert Image: Gustave Caillebotte, “Self Portrait”, 1892, Oil on Canvas, 40.5 x 32.5 cm, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Second Insert Image: Gustave Caillebotte, “The Orange Trees”, 1878, Oil on Canvas, 154.9 x 116.8 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Third Insert Image: Gustave Caillebotte, “Balcony, Boulevard Haussmann”, 1880, Oil on Canvas, 69 x 62 cm, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madird

Bottom Insert Image: gustave Caillebotte, “Self Portrait in the Park at Yerres”, 1875-1878, Oil on Canvas, 64 x 48 cm, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Walter Stuempfig

Paintings by Walter Stuempfig

Walter Stuempfig was one of Philadelphia’s most highly regarded painters of the mid-twentieth century. He is known primarily for his landscapes of the Philadelphia area and the shores of New Jersey. Stuempfig’s work is often pervaded with a sense of poetic melancholy that has led to his frequent classification as a romantic realist.

Born in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia in January of 1914, Walter Stuempfig’s initial education was at the Germantown Academy from which he graduated in 1930. He spent a year studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania before enrolling, in October of 1931, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Stuempfig studied under modernist illustrator and painter Henry McCarter, the impressionist landscape painter Daniel Garber and realist landscape painter Francis Speight. 

In 1934, Stuempfig won the William Emlen Cresson Memorial Travel Scholarship for study abroad. He traveled frequently to Europe, and he was deeply influenced by the European masters, particularly Nicolas Poussin, Caravaggio, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. From his initial exhibition in 1932 until  1966, Stuempfig regularly exhibited in the annual exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy. He had his first successful exhibition, as an American realist painter, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 1942 “Artists for Victory” show. 

Discovered by art gallery director R. Kirk Askew, Stuempfig had his first one man show in 1943 at the Durlacher Brothers Gallery in New York. His show was sold out on opening night, with both the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art adding his work to their collections. Stuempfig continued to be represented by the Durlacher Brothers Gallery through 1961. In 1947, the Corcoran Gallery purchased his painting “Two Houses” which had won second prize in the biennial competition that year for contemporary American paintings.

Walter Stuempfig had married his wife Lila Hill, a sculptor who also studied at  the Pennsylvania Academy, in 1935. Upon his wife’s death in 1946, he concentrated more intensely on his artwork. working from his studio in the Chestnut Hill area of northwest Philadelphia. Stuempfig  would spend his summers painting at New Jersey’s shore area and the Manayunk area of Philadelphia. In 1948, he became an instructor in drawing and composition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, where he taught until his death, after a long illness, in November of 1970.  

As a painter, Walter Stuempfig worked independently, and remained outside the mainstream of the contemporary artistic movements. He was a prolific artist, producing over fifteen hundred works of figure compositions, landscapes and architectural subjects, portraits, and still lifes, all done in the style of romantic realism. Stuempfig had a subtle and polished painting technique; his figurative work had a great subjectivity, which was often infused with nostalgia and personal sentiment.

Walter Stuempfig’s paintings can be found in many private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Top Insert Image: Walter Stuempfig, “Queen of the Seas Casino”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 48.1 x 55.9 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Walter Stuempfig, “Sturgeon”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 45.7 x 35.6 cm, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Jesse Hazel Arms

The Paintings of Jesse Arms

Born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 27, 1883, Jesse Hazel Arms was a painter, illustrator, printmaker, and muralist. She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago under Danish-American portraitist John Johanson and spent the summers studying with marine painter Charles Woodbury at his summer art colony school in Oguinquit, Maine. Following a short trip to Europe in 1909, Arms returned to her hometown of Chicago, where she worked as an artist and interior decorator.

Jesse Arms moved in 1911 to New York City where she became a student of painter and interior designer Albert Herter. She obtained employment with his company Herter Looms, a tapestry-textile design and manufacturing firm in New York City, where she specialized in tapestry cartoons until leaving the company in 1915. During her employment with Herter Looms, Arms assisted Albert Herter with his mural project for the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco and worked with Herter’s wife, still-life and portrait painter Adele Herter, as a private home decorator. 

Returning to her hometown of Chicago in 1915, Jesse Arms married Dutch-born painter and etcher Cornelius Botke. Together, they worked on murals in Chicago for the Kellogg Company and for the University of Chicago’s Noyes Hall, the social hub of the campus. In 1916, Jesse Arms gave birth to their only child, William. By 1917, after multiple exhibitions, she had gained recognition for her work and had won many awards both in Chicago and southern California. 

Following an initial visit in 1918 to California, Arms and her family relocated in 1919 to Carmel, California, where they became influential figures in the local art colony. The family eventually settled in 1927 on a ranch in Santa Paula, California, where Arms continued to paint and contributed to the managing of  the ranch. A prolific exhibitor of her work and member of both the California Art Club and the California Watercolor Society, Jesse Arms Botke died on October 2, 1971 in Santa Paula, California.

Jesse Arms was a prominent figure of the California School of Impressionism and became known for her exotic and richly decorated bird studies. Her highly detailed work depicted birds set in each species’ natural settings with an abundance of flora. Arms typically used oil paints, but also worked in watercolors and gouache; the backgrounds in her work were frequently embellished with gold and silver leaf. Arms also portrayed other subjects including genre and desert landscapes, and Native American figures.

Among the prizes award to Jesse Arms’s work are the 1918 Cahn Prize and the 1926 Shaffer Prize, both from the Art Institute of Chicago, and the 1938 Carpenter Prize from the Chicago Society for Sanity in Art. Her work can be seen in the collections of the San Diego Museum, Municipal Gallery of Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Maurice Grosser

Paintings by Maurice Grosser

Born on October 23, 1903 in Huntsville, Alabama, Maurice Grosser was an American writer, art critic, and painter. He attended Harvard University and graduated with a degree in Mathematics with honors in 1924. While at Harvard, Grosser received painting instruction from painter and professor Denman Ross, a trustee of Boston’s Museum of Fine Art. Grosser also studied both life drawing and painting at Boston’s Architectural School and South Boston’s Art School,

Awarded Harvard’s Sheldon Fellowship for a two year period, Grosser was able to study painting in both France and Italy. In 1925 in Paris, he met for the second time and began a relationship with American composer and critic Virgil Thomson, who became his life partner and frequent collaborator. After meeting Gertrude Stein in Paris in 1926, they returned to the United States and took up residence at New York’s Hotel Chelsea, where they presided over a salon which attracted leading figures in the arts, such as writer and poet Frank O’Hara, composer Leonard Bernstein, author Tennessee Williams, and avant-garde composer John Cage

Maurice Grosser first began his collaborative work with Virgil Thomson around 1928, when he assisted in the production of Thomson’s new opera “Four Saints in Three Acts”. The libretto for the opera was prepared by Gertrude Stein, the music was composed by Thomson, and the scenario was developed by Grosser. This opera was noted for its musical content, its form, and its portrayal of the European saints by a cast of black performers, with singers directed by Eva Jessye, a prominent black choral director. 

Grosser next worked with Thomson on his provocative 1947 opera “The Mother of Us All”, based on the life of social reformer Susan B.  Anthony. The libretto for this opera was written by Gertrude Stein, who sent the finished work to Thomson in March of 1946, just a few months before her death in July. The two-act opera premiered in May of 1947 with soprano Dorothy Dow as Susan B. Anthony. The work was a 1956 Off-Broadway production, part of the Santa Fe Opera’s 1976 season, and staged at the New York City Opera in 2000 and the San Francisco Opera in 2003. 

A third collaboration between Maurice Grosser and Thomson was the 1985 “18 Portraits”. For many years, they had made portraits, some dating from the 1920s, of mutual friends in both music and paint forms. The portraits of each sitter were presented in eighteen separate bi-folios, with a single sheet insert consisting of two pages of music and an original lithograph of a  pencil and charcoal portrait.

A writer as well as a painter, Maurice Grosser lived among a circle of avant-garde authors, artists, and musicians. He spent long periods living and working abroad, first in Paris and later in Morocco, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Israel, Nigeria, Canada, and Brazil. As an artist, Grosser painted in a conservative realist style, in which he depicted structured landscapes in New England, and in the southern and western states. He was also a portraitist whose more famous subjects were  his companion, composer Virgil Thomson, Scottish operatic soprano Mary Garden, writer and playwright Jane Bowles, and British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead.

Between 1956 and 1967, Maurice Grosser served as art critic for “The Nation” magazine. As an author, he wrote four books on painting and art criticism, including “Painting in Public / Painting in Our Time” in 1948 and republished in 1964; “The Painter’s Eye” in 1951; the 1962 “Critic’s Eye”; and “Painter’s Progress” in 1971. Grosser’s memoir entitled “Visiting Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas” was published posthumously in 2006 by New York Review Books. 

Maurice Grosser died on December 22, 1986, at the age of eighty-three. His ashes are interred at Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. Virgil Thomson died on September 30, 1989, in his suite at the Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan at age ninety-two. 

Note: Maurice and Virgil first met in 1920 while both were attending meetings of The Liberal Club at Harvard; but the intimate relationship between the two would not fully evolve until they met by chance in 1925 at the Parisian cafe “Deux Magots”.

Top Insert Image: Maurice Grosser, “Self Portrait”, 1925, Oil on Canvas, Location Unknown

Middle Insert Image: Maurice Grosser, “Self-Portrait”, 1985, Lithograph, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Carl Van Vechten, “Maurice Grosser”, 1935, Silver Gelatin Print, Library of Congress

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach

Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, “Toteninsel (Isle of the Dead)”, ca 1905, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150 cm, Private Collection

The son of a painter and teacher, Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach was born in the city of Hadamar, Germany,  in February of 1851. He received his initial training in the arts from his father Leonard Diefenbach, but also worked as a design draftsman for several photo studios and a railroad construction company. In 1872, Diefenbach traveled to Munich where he gained employment with Hanfstaengel, a photography publishing house, and entered the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, under historical painter Wilhelm Lindenschmit the Younger. In his studies, he became inspired by the Symbolist movement, particularly by the works of Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin.

Stricken with typhus in 1873, Diefenbach began to develop an increasing interest in alternative lifestyles. After having a visionary experience, he founded the alternative community Humanitas in an abandoned stone quarry near Höllriegelskreuth, located nineteen kilometers south of Munich. This community was centered on a return to nature, the rejection of religion, a basic vegetarian diet, and the end of monogamy. In 1887, Symbolist painter and illustrator Hugo Höppener, known as Fidus, joined the community and, with Karl Diefenbach, worked on the sixty-eight meter, monumental silhouette frieze entitled “Per Aspera ad Astra”. 

An oddity in the era due to his lifestyle, Karl Diefenbach, after repeated conflict with his social surroundings including local authorities, accepted the invitation of Salzburg’s Art Association and relocated with his family to Vienna.  While in Vienna, he met and taught the Czech abstractionist painter and graphic artist Frantiek Kupka. Diefenbach’s  unorthodox lifestyle forced a second relocation; this time he traveled to Egypt where his work focused on the ancient ruins and temples of the land. Returning to Vienna in 1897, he founded a country commune, Himmelhof, near Vienna, which disbanded after two years.

Despite the many exhibitions of his work, Karl Diefenbach was not successful commercially, which forced him to declare bankruptcy. He traveled to Italy in 1900 and settled on the island of Capri where he exhibited his works to visitors for a small fee, explained his philosophy of life, and sold small versions of his major works. The years Diefenbach spent on Capri were the most productive of his life. He produced many large scale depictions of the island’s landscapes, most  were scenes of grottos and cliffs, but all were  infused with reflections on his inner searching.

The Symbolist painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach died on the island of Capri in December of 1913. After years of obscurity, his work was honored in a successful 2009 exhibition held at Villa Stuck in Munich, and two years later at the Hermes Villa in Vienna. A museum of his work was founded in 1974 in Certosa di San Giacomo on Capri, and many of his works can be seen in the Jack Daulton Collection in Los Altos Hills, California.

Note: Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach’s 1905 “Isle of the Dead” was inspired by the famous painting of the same name by the Swiss symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin, whose work Diefenbach held in much esteem.

Arnold Böcklin painted five versions of his “Isle of the Dead” between 1880 and 1901. He provided no explanation for the painting’s image; the title was not specified by Böcklin, but was given by the art dealer Fritz Gurlitt in 1883. The inspiration for it was evoked, in part, by the landscape of the English Cemetery in Florence, Italy, where Böcklin resided for many years.

Top Insert Image:  Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, Der Rettung Entgegen, 1900, Oil on Canvas, 65.5 x 90.5 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert mage:  Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, The Great Sphinx of Giza, 1903, Oil on Canvas, 240 x 335 cm, Private Collection

Naur Calvalcante

Photography by Naur Calvalcante

Naur Cavalcante is a designer and photographer, specializing in portraiture and commercial advertising, working in both Três Lagoas and São Paulo, Brazil. His work has been presented in the magazines: “Revista Planter”, “Revista Ella”, “Em Focco”, and the online magazines “Image Amplified” and “Morphosis”.

More information on the artist’s work can be located at: https://naurcavalcante.46graus.com

Andrea Pezzatti

Photography by Andrea Pezzatti

Andrea Pezzatti is a freelance photographer working in the fields of portraiture, commercial, and landscape photography. Based in both Montevideo and Paysandú, Uruguay, she has traveled worldwide, producing portfolios of her work in Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, and Sicily. Pezzetti is currently shooting her work with both the Canon Powershot GFX Mark iii and the Canon Eos 6D. 

More examples of Andrea Pezzatti’s work can be found at her 500px site located at: https://500px.com/p/andreapezzatti?view=photos

Lorenz Frølich

Paintings by Lorenz Frølich

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark in October of 1820, Lorenz Frølich was a painter, illustrator, etcher and graphic artist. He initially studied in Copenhagen under painter Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, now referred to as the Father of Danish painting, and in Dresden between 1843 to 1846 under fresco painter Eduard Julius Bendemann. Frølich later traveled to Paris and studied under historical painter Thomas Couture from 1852 to 1853. 

During his academic period, Frølich was influenced, by the impressionist movement through his friends Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Alfred Stevens, and constantly exhibited his work at the salons. Through his friendship with painter Thorald Læssøe, Frølich met painter and graphic artist John Thomas Lundbye, an encounter which swiftly turned into a close relationship. Existing correspondence between the two men shows their friendship was both intellectual and romantic, and lasted until at least 1840. 

Nordic sagas and the Danish landscape became the focus of both Frølich’s and Lundbye’s work as they traveled the country to depict the national flora, landscapes and local people. The two artists also did extensive illustrative work, specifically for children’s books. There are several personal works showing the strong bond and collaboration between the two artists during this period: a 1839 portrait of Frølich by Lundbye, now in the Hirschsprung Collection; Frølich’s 1939 “Portrait of the painter J. Th. Lyndbye”; caricatures made by Frølich in 1839 of Lyndbye as a dog; and Frølich’s drawing of the two artists painting outside in June 1839.

Lorenz Frølich produced original etchings for the 1853-55 “Illustreret Danmarkshistorie for Folket (Illustrated Danish History for the People)”; the 1844 “De Tvende Kirketaarne (The Second Church Tower)” by Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger; and the 1845 “Die Götter des Nordens (Gods of the North)”. Frølich’s illustrative work for author Hans Christian Andersen’s stories and the editions published by Pierre-Jules Hetzel in Paris, particularly Frølich’s realistic and candid depictions for the work “Mademoiselle Lili à Paris”, brought him recognition as a renowned illustrator.

Frølich was part of a circle of young Danish artists that, during the 1830s and 1840s, directed their attention towards the creation of a nationalistic form of Nordic art, with the aim of imitating nature in its purest form. He married Carolina Charlotta in de Betou in 1855 and was appointed a professor at Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Art in 1877. For the celebration of Frølich’s eightieth birthday held in November of 1900, Danish composer and violinist Carl Nielsen wrote the “Kantate til Lorenz Frølich-Festen”. Lorenz Frølich died in 1908 in Hellerup, Denmark. 

Insert Image: Lorenz Frølich, “Self Portrait”, 1860s, Oil on Canvas, 22 x 18 cm, Private Collection

David Levine

David Levine: Coney Island Watercolors

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in December of 1926, David Levine was an American artist and illustrator. He studied painting at the Pratt Institute in New York and, later in 1946, attended Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, graduating with a degree in education. Levine also studied under painter and teacher Hans Hoffman, whose teaching had a significant influence on post-war American avant-garde artists, including Helen Frankenthaler and Larry Rivers.

Along with doing illustrative work for publications, David Levine produced a body of paintings, many of which were destroyed in a later 1968 fire. Most of Levine’s paintings are watercolors, including portraits of ordinary citizens, seaside images of distinctive architecture, and scenes of vacationers enjoying the day at the beach. He often painted scenes of garment workers, remembering the workers in his father’s garment factory, and scenes of the bathers and amusement rides at Coney Island, a section of his Brooklyn hometown.

Together with portrait artist Aaron Shikler, David Levine founded a salon for artists interested in collective sketching and painting, the Painting Group, in 1958. In the early 1960s, he developed his skills as a political illustrator. He illustrated his first work for The New York Review of Books in 1963, subsequently drawing more than thirty-eight hundred caricatures of famous artists, writers and politicians for the Review’s publication. Levine produced other work of combined equal quantity for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone Magazine, Time, Sports Illustrated, and Playboy, among others.

David Levine was elected in 1967 into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member and became a full Academician in 1971. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, and several collections have been published, including Knoph’s 1978 “The Arts of David Levine” and the book “American Presidents”, published in 2008 by Knoph, which features his drawings of U.S. Presidents, covering a span of five decades.

In 2006, David Levine was diagnosed with macular degeneration, and with the gradual loss of his vision, produced no new work after April of 2007. A man who drew people of all political persuasions with the same acid treatment, David Levine died in December of 2009 of cancer at the age of eighty-three.

Maurice Brazil Prendergast

Artwork by Maurice Prendergast

Born in 1858 in Saint John’s, Newfoundland, Maurice Brazil Prendergast was a post-impressionist artist who worked in watercolor, oil paints, and mono-type. At a young age with very little schooling, he was apprenticed to a commercial artist in Boston, where he became influenced by the bright-colored and flat-patterned work. A shy, reserved individual, Prendergast remained a bachelor throughout his life, closely attached to his artist brother Charles, a gifted craftsman and artist. 

Starting in 1892, Prendergast studied for three years in Paris at the Atelier Colarossi, under painter Gustave Courtis,  and at the Académie Julian. During one of his early stays in Paris, he met the Canadian landscape painter James Morrice. Under the influence of Morrice, Prendergast began sketching on wood panels scenes of elegantly dressed women and children at the seaside resorts of Saint-Malo and Dieppe. Later, drawing inspiration from the post-impressionists Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, he developed a more sophisticated modern style, with boldly contrasting, jewel-like colors, and flattened, patterned forms rhythmically arranged on a canvas.

Returning home in 1895, Prendergast shared a studio with his brother, continuing in his work to focus on people strolling in parks, on the beach, or traveling the city streets. A trip to Venice in 1898 exposed him to the genre scenes of early Renaissance narrative painter Vittore Carpaccio and encouraged him toward even more complex and rhythmic arrangements. Prendergast also became one of the first Americans to embrace the work of Cézanne, understanding and using Cézanne’s expressive use of form and color.

A successful exhibition of the work Prendergast produced in Venice was held in 1900 at the Macbeth Galleries in New York. In 1907 he traveled to France; where,  after contact with the Fauvist movement, he started painting works with startling bright colors and staccato brushstrokes. Later in 1907, Prendergast exhibited his new work in a show with the group of artists known as The Eight, exponents of the Ashcan School. 

In 1913 Prendergast was invited to participate in the famed Armory Show in New York City which was largely arranged by his friend, landscape painter Arthur B.  Davies. In 1914, he settled in New York, along with his brother Charles, where he enjoyed great success with collectors such as Duncan Phillips, and attracted a number of important patrons, including John Quinn, modern art collector Lillie B. Bliss, and Dr. Albert Barnes, the founder of the Barnes Foundation. 

During his final years of his career, Maurice Prendergast spent his time sketching during the summers in New England and painting in New York in the winters. In frail health by 1923, he died a year later, in February of 1924, at the age of sixty-five.

Henry-Robert Brésil

Paintings by Henry-Robert Brésil

Born in September of 1952 in Gonaīves, Haiti, Henry-Robert Brésil began to paint in his childhood, fascinated by the landscape of Haiti and its wildlife. At twenty-one years of age, he moved to Port au Prince in 1973, where his luminous jungle landscapes, instantly recognizable for his repetitive use of jungle vegetation, often populated with pink flamingos, received much attention. Although the majority of his oil on canvas work is of medium size, Brésil has also painted canvases of monumental size, with skyless scenes filling the surface.

Brésil won the ISPAN-UNESCO Prize in 1981 from its Institute for the Safeguarding of the National Patrimony. After the award, he began exhibiting in all the major galleries of Haiti. Recognized in major art books on Haitian art, Brésil’s work has been exhibited worldwide, including in the United States, Italy, France, Switzerland, Japan, Puerto Rico, and his native country of Haiti. 

A meticulous artist who became quite eccentric in his later years, Henry-Robert Brésil was tragically killed, at the age of forty-seven, in 1999 during a violent altercation that took place at a local market restaurant. 

Cormac McCarthy: “The Sky to the North Had Darkened”

Photographer Unknown, (Imminent Storm)

“By early evening all the sky to the north had darkened and the spare terrain they trod had turned a neuter gray as far as the eye could see. They grouped in the road at the top of a rise and looked back. The storm front towered above them and the wind was cool on their sweating faces. They slumped bleary-eyed in their saddles and looked at one another. Shrouded in the black thunderheads the distant lightning glowed mutely like welding seen through foundry smoke. As if repairs were under way at some flawed place n the iron dark of the world.” 

—Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Jeffrey Smart

Paintings by Jeffrey Smart

Influenced by the Australian modernism of the 1940s, Jeffrey Smart dedicated himself to the representation of the modern city. He executed each painting with classical precision and included repetitious architectural motifs, referencing the Renaissance perspective. Smart painted stark portrayals of contemporary life, choosing as his subject matter the highways, trucks, factories, and even the vacant lots of everyday scenes.

Jeffrey Smart was born in Adelaide, Australia, in 1921. He studied part-time in the late 1930s at the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts under painter Marie Tuck and Rupert Bunny, a master of figure composition. Beginning in 1939, Smart also trained at the Adelaide Teachers College for two years. In this period, Smart visited the studio of Adelaide-based artist Doritt Black, who introduced him to the rules of dynamic symmetry, as seen in the work of the Old Masters and developed by avant-garde artists such as Braque, Cézanne, and Léger. 

The 1940s were a period of artistic growth and raise to fame for Smart, who started to exhibit in group shows alongside other emergent Australian artists, including Jaqueline Hick and Horace Trennery, and was given in his first solo show at Kosminsky Gallery in Melbourne in 1944. In 1945, Smart painted “The Waste Land I” and “The Wasteland II”. These desolate rural views, inspired by T.S. Eliot’s poem of the same name, point to the development of the artist’s distinctive hyper-clear and timeless version of landscape painting.

Between 1948 and 1950, Smart travelled to America and Europe, and then moved in Paris in 1949 to study at the Académie Montmartre under Fernand Léger. His several visits to European museum collections in this period will bring Smart to become particularly fascinated with the art of Giorgione, Giovanni Bellini, and especially Piero della Francesca, whose clarity of forms and rigorous use of perspective would greatly influence Smart’s works. In 1950, he lived on the island of Iachia in the bay of Naples, painting alongside contemporaries Donald Friend, Michael Shannon, and Jacqueline Hick. 

Upon his return to Australia in 1951, the artist settled in Sydney, where he will remain for the next twelve years. In the same year he won the Commonwealth Jubilee Prize for his 1951 painting “Wallalroo”, a scene from the daily life of that copper mining town. During his years in Sydney, Smart also worked as an art teacher and art critic at the Daily Telegraph while continuing to paint landscapes. Works from this period, such as the 1962 “Copper Park” and “The Cahill Expressway”, painted also in 1962, mark the beginning of Smart’s mature style, characterized by an increased hyper-clarity and meticulously crafted compositions.

The year 1963 was crucial in the artistic and personal life of Jeffrey Smart, who resumed his travels around Europe and permanently moved to Rome with Australian artist and partner Ian Bent. Thoughout the 1960s and 1970s, Smart’s artistic career gained momentum thanks to prominent solo shows and exhibitions in his homeland of Australia and around the world, including the 1967 solo exhibition at the Redfern Gallery in London and the American touring group show “The Australian Painters 1964-1966”. 

In 1971, Smart purchase a farmhouse in the countryside of Arezzo, a  small town in Tuscany, where he would remain for the rest of his life. This move marked the start of the most prolific period in the his career. Starting from the 1970s, Smart dedicated himself to interpreting the landscape of modern Italy, mixing his own personal and imaginary relationship with the land with his precision details of climate, life, and landscape. While most of his work includes landscapes, in the 1980s and 1990s, Smart produced a small number of portraits and self-portraits, contrasting the accurate likeness with visionary urban settings. 

Jeffrey Smart’s last work entitled “Labyrinth” was completed in 2011, at which time he officially retired. The artist died in Arezzo in 2013 at the age of ninety-two. Even though he lived as an expatriate for most of his life, the majority of his works is now housed by Australian museums and galleries. 

“My only concern is putting the right shapes in the right colors in the right places. It is always the geometry” —Jeffrey Smart

Simon de Pury

Simon de Pury, “Monte Carlo in November”, 2019

Born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1951, Simon de Pury is a photographer, art auctioneer and collector. His art career began when he studied Japanese painting techniques at the Tokyo Academy of Fine Arts. He began his auctioning career working for the Swiss auction house Kornfeld and Klipstein in Bern. 

After studying at the Sotheby’s Institute, de  Pury in 1974 began working for Sotherby’s London and Monte Carlo offices, later moving to the new Geneva, Switzerland, branch. He was curator of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection from 1979 to 1986. In 1986, de Pury was appointed chairman of Sotherby’s Switzerland and later became chairman of Sotherby’s Europe.

In 2020, Simon de Pury became artistic director of the new United Kingdom gallery Newlands House, set in an 18th century townhouse in West Sussex. He is overseeing the gallery’s programming, which is dedicated to modern and contemporary art, photography, and design. 

George Inness

George Inness, “Sunset at Etretat”, c 1875, Oil on Canvas, 51.4 x 76.8 cm, Private Collection.

Born in Newburgh, New York, in May of 1825, George Inness grew up on the family farm in Newark, New Jersey. His art training consisted of studying under itinerant artist John Jesse Barker, who had studied with portrait painter Thomas Sully, and a year’s apprenticeship with the  engraving firm of Sherman & Smith and then with Currier & Ives. 

In 1843 Inness was accepted into the National Academy of Design, where he rejected the fashion for sentimental scenes and painted quiet landscapes of the natural world. After taking additional lessons from French landscape painter Régis François Gignoux in 1843, Inness first began exhibiting in New York at the National Academy of Design in 1844. He officially joined the New York art world when he opened his own studio in the city two years later. 

Inness’s first international trip in 1851 took him to Rome and Florence. In Florence, he met the portraitist William Page and almost certainly discussed the works of Titian, which Page often copied and which moved Inness’ style in a more painterly direction. Perhaps most important, through Page, Inness came to know the writings of the Swedish scientist, theologian and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg, which increasingly shaped his personal and aesthetic philosophy. During a Paris stop on his way back to the United States, Inness attended the Salon and for the first time saw paintings by the Barbizon school artists. While Inness was inspired by the idea of divine significance in nature, he was drawn to the fresh, loose brushwork and overt emotional significance of Barbizon paintings. 

After a move to Medfield, Massachusetts in 1860, Inness spent four years painting pastoral scenes in the fresh air in an effort to improve his health. In 1866, he received a commission to paint a series on a central theme of Swedenborgian doctrine. Collectively entitled “The Triumph of the Cross,” the three paintings—only “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” survives intact—used the trope of the pilgrim’s journey to manifest the transition from the desolate, natural realm, illuminated only by a glowing cross in the sky, to the verdant spiritual realm. A profile on Inness in the July 1867 “Harper’s Weekly” defined him as a Swedenborgian and marked the first public affiliation of the two men. 

In 1870, Inness began a four-year stay in Europe. In Rome, he rented the studio on the Via Sistina said to have been occupied by Claude Lorrain. During these years, he created landscape paintings primarily in two styles: one group with crisp, geometric spaces that resonate with Swedenborg’s description of the structured character of the spiritual realm, and a second group with generalized spaces and rich, gestural brushwork.

In the summer of 1875, Inness lived in the recently opened grand hotel Kearsarge House at the base of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Inness painted several landscapes of the mountain, concentrating not on the majestic scenery but rather the atmospheric effects he observed. In June 1878, he rented the Dodge estate in Montclair, New Jersey; during the next sixteen years, he would perfect his signature style of painting.

In 1879 and 1883, Inness spent two summers painting on Nantucket Island, where his style continued to change, using softer tones that approached the colored atmosphere and tonal qualities of his late work. In December 1884, he purchased the estate in Montclair and, the following February, moved to the estate permanently, though he continued to retain his studio in New York. His membership in the Society of American Artists, founded in 1878, underscored his commitment to expressive painting. His progressive stance in politics continued with his involvement in Henry George’s single-tax movement and his profound concern for workers’ rights.

Inness’ body of work, which comprises more than 1,150 paintings, watercolors, and sketches, remains an extraordinary testament to his lifelong devotion to landscape painting and his ongoing search for fresh pictorial techniques. Often described as a Tonalist, Inness remains distinct from such artists as James Whistler and Dwight Tryon in his commitment to the Swedenborgian belief in the existence of a relationship between the natural and spiritual realms.