Lucien Freud

Lucien Freud, “Rabbit on a Chair”, 1944, Pencil and Crayon on Paper, 48 x 31 cm, Private Collection

Born in Berlin in December of 1922, Lucien Michael Freud was a British painter and draftsman. He was the son of British architect Ernst L. Freud and the grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Lucien Freud’s “Rabbit on a Chair”, a pencil and crayon drawing executed in 1944, is one of his most refined and charming early works. It is a good example of his fascination with nature and his ability to express tone, texture, and shape.

Due to his upbringing and studies at London’s Central School of Art, Freud was probably familiar with Jean-Baptiste-Saméon Chardin’s finely executed watercolor and gouache depictions of rabbits or hares. and Albrecht Dürer’s 1502 “Young Hare”, widely produced in the early twentieth-century as a print. Dürer gradually animated his hare’s body by the use of a dry, small paintbrush to slowly build up the hair. Freud’s rabbit is executed with clean lines outlining the body of the animal and small pencil marks which move and curtl in the various directions of real fur.

Every fine detail of the rabbit, from its black whiskers and white tail to its mottled, golden-brown pelt, is a testament to Lucien Freud’s skilled draftsmanship. He used equal care in the execution of the rabbit’s resting place, a cane chair with its broken cane fronds and fallen shadows. Completed in two tones of mustard yellow and brown, the chair seat makes a geometrical and patterned backdrop for the rabbit. The seat’s vertical and horizontal lines fix the rabbit in place and draw the viewers’ eyes to the center of the picture plane. This use of background pattern also appears in Freud’s 1987 “Blonde Girl on a Bed”, in which the figure is depicted resting on a patterned bedspread.

Note: A short biography on the life and art of Lucien Freud, which included an image of his 1967-1968 “Two Men”, was published on this site in October of 2020. 

Insert Image: Clifford Coffin, “Lucien Freud”, March 1947 Studio Shoot, Silver Gelatin Print, Vogue Online September 2019

The Heliodor Tree Frog

Hans-Jürgen Henn and Alfred Zimmermann, “Heliodor Tree Frog”, Date Unknown, Heliodor and Gold, 15 cm in Height, Henn Gems

Designed by Hans-Jürgen Henn and Alfred Zimmermann, the “Heliodor Tree Frog” was intricately fashioned by master gemstone carver Alfred Zimmermann. The frog and its perch was carved from richly colored Ukrainian heliodor, a member of the beryl family known for its hexagonal crystals, vitreous luster, and range of color. The amphibian’s gemstone perch is set on a base of eighteen-carat yellow gold; the combined materials allude to the various textures of an exotic tree trunk in the wild.  

One of the most renowned lapidary artists of the last several decades, Alfred Zimmerman is a member of an Idar-Oberstein family of gemstone carvers. Originally an apprentice of Gerd Dreher, a fourth-generation stone carver, Alfred Zimmerman is also known for working in the “Fabergé” tradition. Zimmerman’s frequent subjects are either soldiers or peasants in folkloric attire but he is well known for animal carvings of transparent crystalline minerals. Zimmermann has recently retired after a long career of finely executed sculptures.

The third-generation of the Henn family in the gemstone trade, Hans-Jürgen Henn has over fifty years of experience in the trade. From an early age, he combined his passion for precious stones with mountaineering, during which he was always searching for the rare and undiscovered. Henn, the first to coin the expression Kashmir Peridot, had the passion and foresight to preserve the Dom Pedro Aquamarine as a single, dramatic stone. This stone, the largest aquamarine ever cut, was fashioned by Bernd Munsteiner, and gifted to the Smithsonian Institute in 2011.  

For information on exhibitions, jewelry, and objects of art, the Henn Gemstone website is located at: https://henngems.de/home/

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.

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

Trees at Slope Point

Photographer Unknown, “Trees at Slope Point, New Zealand”

Lying in the south-west Pacific Ocean, New Zealand consists of two main islands, the North Island and the South Island, in addition, Stewart Island and many, smaller islands lie offshore. 

Slope Point is the southernmost point of the South Island, located just south of the small settlements of Haldane and Waikawa. The land around Slope Point, with its eroded cliffs dropping to the sea, is devoid of houses and is primarily used for sheep farming. There are no roads going to Slope Point; access is reached by a fifty-minute walk following fading yellow markers. There is no public access allowed during the lambing season which extends from September to the end of November.

In the images above taken in Slope Point, the trees, hit with such persistently violent southern Antarctic winds, forcibly grow in the leeward direction. Unlike in the northern hemisphere, the westerly winds in the Southern Ocean are effectively uninterrupted by continents, often reaching speeds over one hundred miles per hour. 

Images reblogged with thanks to : https://nubbsgalore.tumblr.com

Andreas Feininger

Andreas Feininger, “Dragon Fly Wing”, 1937, Photogram

Andreas Feininger, born in 1906, is the oldest son of famous painter Lyonel Feininger, and belongs to a generation of artists who, following the First World War, discovered photography anew and developed novel photographic approaches. Andreas Feininger’s lifework has been defined by two main thematic areas: cityscapes and nature studies. The architecture and life in his adopted hometown, New York, have captured imaginations for decades. And again and again, Feininger captured the poetry of the Manhattan skyline, its urban canyons, its skyscrapers, its bridges and elevated trains in images rich with atmosphere. With equal enthusiasm he also dedicated himself to nature photography. His images, which capture in minute detail insects, flowers, mussels, wood, and stone, bestow an almost sculptural character upon natural forms.

Andreas Feininger died on February 18th, 1999 at the age of 92 in New York. He lived for photography and is remembered as one of the most significant artists in the history of photography.

Note: A photogram is a photographic image made without a camera by placing objects directly onto the surface of a light-sensitive material such as photographic paper and then exposing it to light. The usual result is a negative shadow image that shows variations in tone that depends upon the transparency of the objects used. Areas of the paper that have received no light appear white; those exposed for a shorter time or through transparent or semi-transparent objects appear grey, while fully-exposed areas are black in the final print.

Anna Hyatt Huntington

The Sculptural Work of Anna Hyatt Huntington

A master of naturalistic animal sculputes, Anna Hyatt Huntington was born in 1876 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Adiella Hyatt, an amateur landscape artist, and Alpheus Hyatt, a professor of paleontology and zoology at Harvard University and MIT. During her childhood years, she developed a passion for drawing and an extensive knowledge of anatomy and animal behavior.

After studying several years to become a concert violinist, Huntington switched her studies to sculpture under portrait sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson at his Boston studio. Her first one-woman show, consisting of forty animal sculptures, was held in 1900 at the Boston Arts Club. During this year, Huntington produced her first commissioned work; two Great Danes cut from blue granite for wealthy Boston merchant Thomas Lawson.

After the death of her father and marriage of her sister, Huntington  left Boston, moving to New York City. She attended the city’s Art Students League, studying under marble sculptor George Grey Barnard and Hermon MacNeil, whose sculptures concentrated on American Indian subjects. Huntington studied briefly under Gutzon Borgium, the designer of Mount Rushmore, but left after criticizing his knowledge of animal anatomy. Choosing to be more independent, she started spending most of her time at the Bronx Park Zoo and circuses to model animals. The result of her observations there were her first major works: the 1902 equestrian work “Winter Moon” and the 1908 “Reaching Jaguar”.

Anna Huntington shared a studio with sculptor Abasteria St. Leger Eberle for several years, collaborating in partnership on works for two years. Two of their collaborative works were: “Men and Bull”, which won a bronze medal at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and “”Boy and Goat Playing” which was exhibited at the gallery of the Society of American Artists in 1906. Between 1906 and 1910, Anna Huntington, confident of her skills, traveled several times between New York, Paris and Naples, working on commissions and exhibiting her works.

After an early model of a Joan of Arc equestrian statue gained honorable mention in the 1910 Paris Salon, Huntington received a commission by the City of New York to produce a life-sized bronze statue from the model. After extensive research on medieval armor at the Metropolitan Museum and a search for the perfect horse model, Huntington finished the large-scale “Joan of Arc” clad in a full suit of medieval armor. The unvieling occurred on December 6th of 1915, marking it as New York City’s first monument made by a woman, and the first monument to feature a real woman of history as its subject.

In 1923 Anna Huntington married her husband, railroad heir and philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington, who supported her work both financially and emotionally. Anna Huntington continued to work on her sculptures, winning new commissions including the equestrian work “El Cid Campeador”, the cast-aluminum “Fighting Stallions” at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina, and “Diana” installed in 1948 at the National Academy of Design. 

In the late 1930s, Anna and Archer Huntington donated their Fifth Avenue townhouse to the National Academy of Design. A few years later, as Archer Huntington became quite ill, they donated their Haverstraw, New York, estate and zoo to the state of New York. In 1931, Anna and Archer Huntington established  Brookgreen Gardens, the first public sculpture garden in the United States. 

Following Archer Huntington’s death in 1955, Anna Huntington returned to full-time art work, despite being in her 80s. Between 1959 and 1966, she completed five more equestrian statues, including one of the late nineteenth century writer and activist  José Marti, one of a young Abraham Lincoln, and one of a young Andrew Jackson. On Huntington’s ninetieth birthday in 1966 she was still working, reportedly on a bust of the composer Charles Ives. Around the end of the 1960s, Huntington finally retired from creative work. She died on October 4, 1973, in Redding, Connecticut, following a series of strokes at the age of 97.

Note:  The Brookgreen Gardens contain many of Huntington’s works and many figures by other artists, the acquisitions being a boon to struggling artists of the Depression era. Now a National Historic Landmark, it is the most significant collection of figurative sculpture, in an outdoor setting, by American artists in the world. It also has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and contains thousands of acres of Wildlife Preserve.

Calathea Majestica

Photographer Unknown, Calathea Majestica

The tropical plant Calathea Majestica is native to South America’s countries of Colombia and Venezuela. Calathea plants are part of the family of plants known as Marantaceae, which is a species of flowering plants from tropical areas such as Africa and South America. Calathea are famous for their wide, green, colorful leaves with stripes of very light green. In nature, these plants, being very tolerant of low light, are found in jungles and at the base of trees

 

Joseph Conrad: ” The Mirror of the Sea”

Photographer Unknown, Title Unknown, (Dolphin Sails)

“Nowhere else than upon the sea do the days, weeks and months fall away quicker into the past. They seem to be left astern as easily as the light air-bubbles in the swirls of the ship’s wake, and vanish into a great silence in which your ship moves on with a sort of magical effect.”
Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea

Edward Julius Detmold

Wasps by Edward Julius Detmold

Edward Julius Detmold, “Common Wasps”, From “Fabre’s Book of Insects”, 1935, Tudor Publishing Company

Painter, printmaker and illustrator Edward Julius Detmold was born in London in 1883 along with his twin brother Charles Maurice Detmold. Provided patronage by their uncle Edward Shuldhan, the two brothers studied painting and printmaking under the tutelage of their uncle Henry Detmold, also an artist. In 1898, at the age of 13, the twins exhibited watercolors at the Royal Academy, and issued a portfolio of color etchings that same year that quickly sold out and brought them notoriety. In 1899 Edward and Charles began illustrating books jointly, begining with “Pictures from Birdland”, which was commissioned and published by J.M. Dent. This was followed by a portfolio of watercolors inspired by Kipling’s “The Jungle Book”.

The brothers’ tandem success, however, was ended with the sudden death by suicide of Charles in 1908. Edward Detmold threw himself into his work, beginning with an illustrated ” Aesop’s Fables” that included 23 color plates and numerous pen and ink drawings. This began a decade of intense productivity, in which the Detmold’s execptional eye for the detail and complexities of nature allowed him to achieve his place among the best illustrators of the Victorian era.

Edward Detmold continued to illustrate numerous books, including Maurice Maeterlinck’s “The Life of the Bee”, Camille Lemonnier’s “Birds and Beasts”, his own “Twenty Four Nature Pieces”, and Jean-Henri Fabre’s “Book of Insects”. However by 1921, after witnessing the horrific results of World War I and feeling a disillusionment with his own art, he had reached the end of his zenith. Though Edward Detmold went on to illustrate one last edition of “The Arabian Nights” in 1924, he had effectively ended his career with the publishing of a literary book of aphorisms entitled “Life”. He retired to Montgomeryshire, England, and died in 1957, also from suicide.

The Dragon Tree

Photographer Unknown, The Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco)

The Dracaena draco, or the Dragon tree, is a subtropical tree in the genus Dracaena, native to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira, and locally in western Morocco. It has been introduced to the Azores. The tree  is a nmoncot with a branching growth pattern currently placed in the asparagus family. When young it has a single stem. At about ten to fifteen years of age, the stem stops growing and produces a first flower spike with white, lily-like perfumed flowers, followed by coral berries. Soon a crown of terminal buds appears and the plant starts branching. Each branch grows for about ten to fifteen years and re-branches, so a mature plant has an umbrella-like habit. It grows slowly, requiring about ten years to reach 1.2 metres (4 ft) in height but can grow much faster.

Victoria Crowe

 

Victoria Crowe, “Ferragosta: Fireworks and Crocosmia Lucifer”, 2017, Oil on Linen, 22 x 24 Inches

Born in London, Victoria Crowe trained at the Kingston School of Art and the Royal College of Art. She moved to Scotland in 1968 and began teaching at Edinburgh College of Art. Crowe is a painter of still life, interiors, landscapes and portraits, and works in oil and in watercolour.

Crowe’s  work is often autobiographical and visits to Italy, Madeira, Egypt and India have influenced her work. She has several portraits in the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection, the National Portrait Gallery of London, and the Royal Scottish Academy..