Károly Ferenczy

Paintings by Károly Ferenczy

Born into a Viennese Hungarian-Jewish family in February of 1862, Károly Ferenczy was a teacher and a productive painter. He initially studied law and completed a degree at Vienna’s College of Economy. Encouraged by wife and painter, Olga Fialka, Ferenczy decided to explore painting and traveled to Italy. In 1887, he studied painting in Paris at the Académie Julain and began his painting career in Hungary, where he started painting in a naturalistic style, influenced by French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage. . 

In 1893, Ferenczy took his  family to Munich, where he attended free classes given by the Hungarian painter Simon Hollósy, a leading proponent of Realism and the Naturalist Movement.  Hollósy encouraged, among his students, an appreciation for the French painters and their techniques, particularly the practice of open air painting. Returning with his family to Hungary in 1896, Ferencsy joined fellow artists István Réti and János Thorma at Nagybánya, now called Baia Mare, a municipality on the Săsar River.

In 1896, Károly Ferenczy, along with Réti and Thorma, founded a summer retreat for artists at Nagybánya. This eventually developed into an artist colony which attracted many artists from Hungary interested in learning the open-air style taught by Simon Hollósy. Ferenczy has his first exhibition in Budapest in 1903, which began his career as an artist. Three years later, he accepted a teaching position at the Royal Hungarian Drawing School, now known as the Hungarian University of Fine Art. Ferenczy, however, remained strongly associated with the artist colony, where he would return in the summers to teach.

Considered the leader of Hungarian impressionism and post-impressionism, Ferenczy concentrated on mostly studio paintings, which consisted of a traditional array of genres, including nudes, urban scenes of circus performers, and still life paintings. In his later years, his work ranged from portraits to nudes and Biblical scenes. A highly productive artist in both lithography and painting, Károly Ferenczy died in March of 1917.

The Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest holds a collection of fifty-one paintings. The museum held a major retrospective of his work in November of 2011 which included nearly one hundred-fifty paintings, eighty prints and drawings, as well as photographs, letters, and catalogues related to his life and art. His work is held in other regional institutions, including the Frenczy Károly Museum, and in many private collections.

Insert Image: Károly ferenczy, “Self Portrait”, 1893, Oil on Canvas, 69 x 52 cm, Hungarian National Gallery

Andreas Fux

Photography by Andreas Fux

Born in East Berlin of the German Democratic Republic in 1964, Andreas Fux is a photographer whose body of work focuses on how the human individual evolves into his own artistic creation. He belongs to the Prenzlauerberg photo artist scene, which documented the last decade of the German Democratic Republic. 

Andreas Fux initially trained from 1980 to 1982 as an electrician. In 1983, he began his own sstudy of  the process and techniques of photographic work. During the years between 1983 and 1988, Fux exhibited his photographs in private gallery spaces. His first published works appeared in a 1988 issue of Das Magazin, a monthly East Berlin magazine that focused on culture and lifestyle. Working as a freelancer, Fux provided the publication with black and white photographs covering Berlin’s punk and youth culture.

 In 1989, Fux worked on photo productions for Deutsche Film-Aldiengesellschaff, the state-owned film studio of East Germany. Since 1990, he has been working as a freelance photographer for various newspapers and magazines, as well as executing his own photographic projects. In 1992, Fux’s first solo photographic book was published entitled “The Russians”; it was a supplement to his solo exhibition, of the same name, at the Janssen Gallery in Berlin, a show which later traveled to Hamburg and Munich. 

Andreas Fux gained a wider audience for his work with the 2005 series “The Sweet Skin”, which covered a decade of works between 1995 and 2005. For this series of portraits which focused on tattoos and skin scarification; he followed the lives of his models, with daily documentation and night shoots in his studio. Against a mostly white background and in the silence of the photo studio, nude photographs of his models were taken, in which the contrast between intimacy of the body and clinical sterility of the room was exaggerated. In another series entitled “At the End of the Night”, whose topic was body culture, the nude, and sexuality, Fux posed his subjects against a black background with a selective light source that modeled and fragmented the models sculpturally. 

Fux’s 2001 series “The Horizonte” is reminiscent in its formality of the 1980s “Seascapes” series done by Japanese photographer and architect Hiroshi Sugimoto, in which Sugimoto bifurcated the landscape images exactly in half by the horizon line. At the beginning of September 2001, Fux travelled across the North Sea on board a Ukrainian training sailboat. For this series, he celebrated the beauty of the horizon as an interaction between sea, clouds and light. The images of “The Horizonte” series were seen by the critics as an expression of calm and innocence. For his 2010 series “Kerberos and Chimaira”, Fux staged his motifs in a wind tunnel at Berlin-Adlershot. Using the strict compositions of expressionism and the aesthetic codes of the latex and fetish scene, his series examined  a dangerous and often not considered proximity between the erotic picture codes of fetishism and the aesthetics of National Socialism.

For his 2016 exhibition “Shame and Beauty”,  Andreas Fux opposed new portraits with a selection of older works, a combination which showed the development of his oeuvre over the years. His new work preserved the almost tender and respectful handling of his subjects found in his early works. The photographic sessions in which he bathed his models in soft light took an entire night, were meticulously planned, and took place in a highly sensitized atmosphere. This Berlin show contextualized the discussion on governmental and social repression and persecution; the works in this show had previously been exhibited by Fux in Moscow in September of 2015 under rather adverse conditions.

Andreas Fux has had solo exhibitions in Germany and abroad, including the Widmer and Theodoris Gallery in Zurich, the Photo Festival in New York, the Esther Woerdehoff Gallery in Paris and the Pasinger Fabrik Gallery in Munich.

A collection of Fux’s photo work from Berlin can be found at: https://andreas-fux.berlin

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

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

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

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. 

John Constable

John Constable, “Landscape with Double Rainbow”, 1812, Oil Sketch on Paper on Canvas, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

John Constable was born in East Bergholt, Suffolk. Largely self-taught, he was a probationer in 1799; and in 1800, he became a student at the Royal Academy schools. Constable exhibited from 1802 at the Royal Academy in London, and later at the Paris Salon. He was influenced by Dutch artists such as paitner and etcher Jacob van Ruisdael, generally considered the pre-eminent landscape painter of the Dutch Golden Age. The works of Peter Paul Rubens and Claude Gellée also proved to be influencial to Constable for their color use and composition.

For a student trained in the British Royal Academy at the turn of the 18th century, landscape was lower in the hierarchy of genres than biblical and historical subjects. John Constable was drawn to local landscapes rather than classic Mediterranean ones, and rather than transforming these into grand mythologies or allegories, he painted them using scientific methods of observation drawn from new fields like meteorology. Constable’s sketches were the firt ever done in oils directly from the subject in the open air.

John Constable used oil sketches to record the subtle effects of light and changes in the weather. This approach of his would later influence artists like those of the emerging French Impressionists. Sketches Constable did in Hamstead, England, which at that time was just a rural village outside of London, show storm clouds gathering or light piercing the atmosphere. His painting “Landscape with a Double Rainbow”, seen above, is dominatied by a deep blue sky and shows an unusual atmospheric event not fully understood by early 19th century science.

When compared to the varnished paintings of the predominant academic style, John Constable’s  canvases, composed of quick, broken brush strokes, were considered by comtemporary critics and most viewers to be “unfinished”. Constable’s 1821 completed painting “The Hay Wain” was shown at the Royal Academy and did not attract much attention. However, “The Hay Wain”, when shown with his other works, at the Paris Salon of 1824 earned a gold medal. The French Impressionists at that time, such as Delacroix and Géricault, were just beginning to gain prominence and challenge the early 19th century critics.

Jan de Clerck

Jan de Clerck, “De vermoeide Winden (The Tired Winds)”, 1937, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Born in Ostend, Belgium, Jan de Clerck studied briefly with the painter Camille Payen in Brussels, but was, for the most part, self-taught. He was much influenced by the exhibitions organized by the group La Libre Esthétique, and his first paintings date from the late 1890s. Quickly gaining in confidence and ability, De Clerck first exhibited his paintings in 1905.

Jan de Clerck developed an original technique of a sort of elongated pointillism of striped brushstrokes, producing landscapes and seascapes tinged with a Symbolist aesthetic. He often worked in mixed media, dragging the paint with short vertical strokes in order to build up the surface of the picture. This individual technique De Clerck made virtually his own: much of his best work up to 1920 is painted in this way.

A period of exile from Belgium during World War I, found De Clerke painting landscapes and camouflage, taking part in local exhibitions, and befriending such artists as Frank Brangwyn. After the war, Jan de Clerck returned to Ostend where his reputation continued to grow. He experimented with new techniques, often mixing pastel and watercolour, which he called ‘aquapastel’, to create the luminous effects he sought.

Further exhibitions of De Clerck’s work in Ostend, Liège and Ghent, as well as the publication of a book of reproductions of his work in 1928, served to advance his reputation. After 1933, however, there were no major exhibitions of De Clerck’s work for almost twenty years. His output began to decline, and he began to focus mainly on seascapes, always his favourite subject.

Cormac McCarthy: “The Iron Dark of the World”

Photographer Unknown, (The Iron Dark of the World)

“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