Konstantin Somov

Konstantin Somov, “The Boxer”, Portrait of Mikhailovich Snejkovsky, 1933, Oil on Canvas, 54.8 x 46 cm, Private Collection

Born in Saint Petersburg in November of 1869, Konstantin Andreyevich Somov was a Russian artist and founding member of the artistic movement Mir Iskusstva, World of Art, that became a major influence on Russian artists of the early twentieth-century. Konstantin Somov was the second son of Andrei Somov, an art historian and senior curator at the Hermitage Museum, and Nadezhda Konstantinovna, a talented musician and well-educated daughter of the Lobanovs nobility. 

Konstantin Somov attended the Karl May School in Saint Petersburg where he became close friends with classmates Dmitry Filosofov, later author and literary critic, and Alexandre Benois, future historian and influential designer for the Ballets Russes. At the age of twenty, Somov entered the Imperial Academy of Arts and studied from 1888 to 1897 under Ukrainian-born historical and portrait painter Ilya Repin. While at the academy, he developed lasting friendships with Sergei Diaghilev, the future founder of the Ballets Russes, and Léon Bakst, a painter who became an influential costume designer for Diaghilev’s company.

In the summer of 1895, Somov and Alexandre Benois stayed at a dacha in the village of Martyshkino near the coastal city of Oranienbaum. The landscapes he created and exhibited became his first major success with praise from both critics and artists. Somov graduated from the Academy in 1897 and continued his education at the Académie Colarossiin Paris. From 1897 to 1890, he worked on a portrait of Elizaveta Martynova, clothed in an old-fashioned dress, entitled “Lady in Blue”. Martynova was a painter, a graduate of the Imperial College of the Arts, who died at the age of thirty-six from tuberculosis. In this portrait finished four years before her death, Martynova’s delicate and trembling figure, frail with yellowish skin, stands alone in a park facing spectators with a face full of sorrow.

After the founding of the Mir Iskusstva in 1898, Konstantin Somov served as an editorial board member and contributed illustrations and designs to its magazine edited by Sergei Dlaghilev. During the 1910s, he created a series of harlequin scenes and illustrations for a poetry volume by Alexander Blok. Somov’s work was now exhibited in the United States and Europe, particularly in Germany where a 1909 monograph on his work was published.

In 1910 at the age of forty, Somov met the eighteen-year old Methodiy Lukyanov who became his close longtime companion and part of the Somov family. Lukyanov helped in the household, organized exhibitions and became Somov’s trusted advisor and critic. Somov painted many portraits of Lukyanov, among which is a large 1918 portrait which depicted Lukyanov seated on a sofa in pajamas and robe; this work is now housed in St. Petersburg’s Russian Museum. Somov and Lukyanov’s relationship would continue for twenty-two years until Lukyanov’s death from tuberculosis in April of 1932.

Konstantin Somov had a penchant for drama and was drawn to the elegant but bawdy nature of French erotic writing of the 18th century. From 1907 to 1919, he worked on illustrations, some suggestive and others explicit, for “Le Livre de la Marquise”, an anthology of eighteenth-century erotic French poetry and prose by Lachos, Casanova and Voltaire. Somov’s work became more erotic as time progressed. The most explicit of these was an eight-hundred copy edition published in 1917 at St. Petersburg’s R. Golike & A. Vilborg & Company. 

Although initially greeted with enthusiasm, the Russian Revolution from 1917 to 1923 created a deterioration in living conditions. Shortly after the government nationalized his apartment, Somov was evicted; he did however manage to retain the rights to his own artwork. In December of 1923, Somov became part of the Russian Exhibiton and, as a member of the delagation, traveled to the United States where he represented the city of Petrograd. He never returned to to his homeland. After leaving the United States in 1925,  Somov settled in Paris where he reunited with his old friends Alexandre Benois, Léon Bakst and Benois’ niece, the painter Zinaida Serebryakova. 

Konstantin Somov, in terms of his artistic influences, felt closer to the Old Masters rather than the work of his contemporaries. He was particularly drawn to the work of eighteenth-century Rococo painter François Boucher known for his idyllic pastoral scenes. While in Paris, Somov predominantly painted miniatures and portraits. The still life became one of his favorite subjects and would perform an important role in his portraits as it added additional information on the sitter.

Even though established as a well-known artist, Somov continued to live a reclusive lifestyle. In June of 1930, he met Boris Mikhailovich Snejkovsky. Born in Odessa in July of 1910, Snejkovsky was the son of a captain of the Russian Volunteer Fleet and traveled frequently with his family until they settled in Paris. During the 1930s, Snezhkovsky would model, both clothed and nude, for many of Somov’s works including illustrations for an edition of “Daphnis and Chloe”. In February of 1923, Somov painted a portrait of his model entitled “The Boxer”, a half-length nude oil-portrait with boxing gloves on the wall. Snezhkovsky also served as the model for Somov’s 1937 “Obnazhennyl Iunosha (Nude Youth)” now in the State Russian Museum.

Konstantin Andreyevich Somov died in May of 1939, at the age of sixty-nine, in Paris, France. He is buried in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery, south of Paris. In 2016, Russian art historian Pavel Golubev founded the Somov Society to preserve and study the life and works of Konstantin Somov. Goluvev curated the 2019 “Konstantin Somov, Uncensored” at Ukraine’s Odessa Fine Arts Museum and sponsored the 2019 colloquium “The Lady with the Mask: Homosexuality in the Art of Konstantin Somov” at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Top Insert Image: Konstantin Somov, “Self Portrait”, 1921, Pencil Watercolor on Paper, Private Collection

Second Insert Image: Konstantin Somov, “Vladimir Aleksandrovich Somov”, Konstantin Somov’s Nephew, 1925, Oil on Canvas

Third Insert Image: Konstantin Somov, “Lady in Blue”, Portrait of Yelizaveta Martynova, 1897-1900, Oil on Canvas, 103 x 103 cm, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Fourth Insert Image: Konstantin Somov, “Boris Snejkovsky with Cigarette”, 1938, Oil on Canvas, 46.4 x 38 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Konstantin Somov, “Daphnis and Chloe”, 1930, Watercolor Illustration, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, United Kingdom



Paul-Marc-Joseph Chenavard

Paul Chenavard, “Divine Tragedia”, 1865-1869, Oil on Canvas, 400 x 550 cm, Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay), France

Born in December of 1808 in the city of Lyon, Paul-Marc-Joseph Chenavard was a French painter who believed art’s goal was the advancement of society’s welfare and cultural development. A philosopher as well as a painter, he was well read and traveled. Throughout his life, Chenavard maintained a personal connection with both artistic and missionary groups. 

Chenavard initially entered the Palais Saint-Pierre, now the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon, where he studied alongside painter Joseph Benoit Gulchard, born in Lyon in November of 1806. Chenavard and Gulchard left the Palais in 1824 and took classes under classical sculptor Jean-François Legendre-Héral.

In 1825, Paul Chenavard entered Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts where he studied in the studio of Neo-classical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, a historical painter best known for his portraits. Gulchard, with the assistance of the painters Paul-Jean and Hippolyte Flandrin, later entered the Paris studio of Ingres in 1827. In that year, Chenavard traveled to Italy where he first encountered the works of Michelangelo and other Renaissance masters. 

Chenavard created a relatively small body of distinctively styled work that reflect the influences he encounterd during his trip to Italy.  In 1888, he produced a charcoal drawing “The Last Judgement”, a densely packed scene of contorted bodies, horn-blowing angels and the crowned Archangel Michael. At the top of the scene is Christ depicted without the traditional halo, a statement of Chenavard’s humanistic beliefs. 

Paul Chenavard also created a large mural design entitled “The Battle Between the Gods of Olympus and the Giants”. The tableau, likely a presentational work, was executed on four sheets with architectural details pasted at the top. Similar in style to “The Last Judgement”, it contains a scene full of figures engaged in battle. Chenavard’s drawings, most likely an allegory of philosophical references, were exhibited at the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris and are currently housed in Lyon’s Musée des Beaux-Arts.

After the 1848 Revolution, Charles Blanc, the Director of Fine Arts reporting to the Minister of Public Instruction, commissioned a decoraton from Chenavard for the Paris Pantheon, which was to serve as a temple of humanity. For this project, Chenavard designed a mosaic for the main feature which would present an impartial treatment of all religious traditions. However in December of 1851, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte returned the Pantheon back to the authority of the Catholic Church, thus the project was abandoned.

For the 1869 Paris Salon, Paul Chenavard returned to the idea of illustrating religion’s history. He created his “Divine Tragedia” as a counterpoint to Dante Alighieri’s 1308-1321 “The Divine Comedy”. Accompanied with a booklet of commentary, Chenavard’s tableau was met with incomprehension from both the public and critics. It was considered too complex and overly filled with references to multiple philosophical ideas. 

Chenavard’s “Divine Tragedia” was purchased by the French government which designated the Musée du Louvre as the responsible organism for the work. Given to the collection of the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, the tableau was only exhibited for a short time until the museum’s 1974 exhibition. The “Divine Tragedia” was housed at the Louvre from 1974 to 1986, at which time it was added to the collection of the Musée d’Orsay. 

Paul-Marc-Joseph Chenavard died in Paris in 1895 at the age of eighty-seven. His body in interred at the new Cimetière de Loyasee at Lyon. 

Top Insert Image: Portrait of Paul Chenavard from Édouard Baldus’s “Histoire de Artisted Vivants”, 1852, Albumen Print from Wet Collodion Negative, 17.6 x 13.2 cm, Alma Kroeger Fund

William Bruce Ellis Ranken

The Artwork of William Bruce Ellis Ranken

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in April of 1881, William Bruce Ellis Ranken was a British painter and Edwardian of the English aesthetic movement of the late 19th century. Originated in the 1860s German Romanticism, Aestheticism valued the appearance of music, literature and the arts over their functions. The movement, which included such artists as William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, challenged Victorian culture by asserting Art did not have any instructive or ethical purpose; rather, the basic factor of art was beauty.

The son of Mary and Robert Burt Ranken, a wealthy and successful lawyer, William Ranken spent his childhood living on vast estates in Scotland and England. He attended Eton College and later the Slade School of Art where he studied under draftsman and painter Henry Tonks, one of the first British artists influenced by the French Impressionists. Among Ranken’s fellow students was Ernest Thesiger, the grandson of the 1st Lord Chelmsford and drama student who became a lifelong friend.

At the age of twenty-three, Ranken had his first exhibition of work at London’s Carfax Gallery which well received by artists and art critics. In his career, he worked in the mediums of watercolors, oils and pastels. In 1907, Ranken moved to the Chelsea area of London where he and his friend Thesiger began to associate with the Edwardian Aesthetes. They moved in London’s artistic, literary, and theatrical circles and became frequent guests at John Singer Sargent’s studio and friends with stage actress Beatrice Tanner, better known by her stage name Mrs. Patrick Campbell. Ranken also became a close friend with photographer Baron Adolph de Meyer, famed for his portraits of Queen Mary, John Barrymore, Lillian Gish and other celebrities.  

After the outbreak of World War I, William Ranken and John Singer Sargent traveled to America. Sargent introduced him to one of America’s leading patron and collector of the arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner, known for her intellectual curiosity and unconventional behavior. Through his connection with Gardner, Ranken received commissions to paint portraits of the wealthy, including the Vanderbilts, the Asters, and the Whitneys. Upon his return to England in the 1920s, he was given commissions from the British royal family and the aristocracy for portraits as well as interior images of their homes.

After the success of his American visit and his commissioned work in England, Ranken purchased Warbrook House, a historical estate built in 1724 by architect John James and located in Eversley, Hampshire. He undertook a considerable amount of repair work on the building; he also created paintings depicting several of its rooms. These works were included in Art Deco architect Basil Ionides’ 1926 “Color and Interior Decoration”. During England’s depression years of the 1930s, Ranken found the maintenance costs too extensive and made the decision to sell the estate in 1935 to Isabella Rosalind Humphreys-Owen, the daughter of Sir Edward Elias Sassoon, 2nd Baronet of Bombay. 

In addition to portraiture, William Ranken painted landscapes and did interior design work for architects. He worked alongside Basil Ionides on the remodeling of the renowned Claridges Restaurant, the height of luxury dining in London. Rankin pursued interests in music, embroidery, antiques and gardening. Among his many friends and patrons were such notables as songwriter Cole Porter; writer Violet Keppel Trefusis,; art collector Henry Davis Sleeper; William Lygon, the 7th Earl Beauchamp; Hugh Patrick Lygon; and American actress and interior designer Elsie de Wolfe. 

In March of 1941, William Bruce Ellis Ranken died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage in London. He was buried near his former Warbrook estate at the historic St. Mary’s Church in Eversley, North Hampshire. His sister, Janette Ranken-Thesiger, donated over two-hundred of his works to public galleries and museums in the United Kingdom. Ranken’s other works are in private collections and either damaged or destroyed during the air raids of World War II. His work can be found in the public collections of the National Museums of Northern Ireland, Glasgow Museum, Portsmouth Museum and the Government Art Collection of the United Kingdom, among others. 

Notes: Ernest Thesiger, who was bisexual, married Ranken’s sister, Janette Mary Fernie Ranken in 1917. The next year, Ranken painted Thesiger’s portrait; this painting is now housed in the Manchester City Galleries. Thesiger became a well-known English film and stage actor with appearances in Noël Coward’s 1925 “On with the Dance” and George Bernard Shaw’s 1923 “Saint Joan”. Friends with director James Whale since 1919, Thesiger was cast in Whale’s 1932 “The Old Dark House” and later given the role of Dr. Septimus Pretorius in Whale’s 1935 “Bride of Frankenstein”. 

As a member of the 2nd Battalion of the 9th London Regiment, Queen Victoria’s Rifles, Thesiger was sent to the Western Front in 1914, where he was wounded in the trenches. With his hands damaged, he developed sewing kits for soldiers similarly injured to provide activity and pain relief. In addition to his career as an actor, Thesiger became Vice Patron of the Embroiderers Guild. In 1960, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In January of the following year, Ernest Thesiger died in his sleep from natural causes and was buried at Brompton Cemetery in London.

Top Insert Image: Adolph De Meyer, “William Bruce Ellis Ranken”, 1903, Vintage Print, Private Collection

Second Insert Image: William Bruce Ellis Ranken, “Battersea Power Station, London”, circa 1940, Oil on Canvas, 68.6 x 56.1 cm, Forens Art Gallery, Hull, England

Third Insert Image: William Bruce Ellis Ranken, “Hibiscus Flower”, 1922, Oil on Canvas, 137.2 x 106.7 cm, Nottingham Castle, England

Bottom Insert Image: Photographer  Unknown, “William Bruce Ellis Ranken”, circa 1900-1910, Gelatin Silver Print, Kirkcudbright Galleries

Ernst Neuschul

Ernst Neuschul, “Messias”, Self-Portrait, 1919, Oil on Canvas, 95.5 x 55.5 cm, Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, East Midlands, England

Born in 1895 in Aussig, North Bohemia now the Czech Republic, Ernst Neuschul was a painter of the German Expressionist movement. He was the eldest of three sons born to ironmonger Josef Neuschul and Jeanette Feldmann, members of the town’s prestigious and influential Jewish community. Neuschul received his primary education at Auseig’s State Gymnasium but left without graduating. 

Neuschul wanted to study at the Academy of Arts in Prague; however, his parents refused to financially support his attendance. He worked in Prague as a painter and attended courses at the Academy as an extern participant. Neuschul then went to Vienna, attended the K.K. Graphische Lehranstalt, and became captivated by the paintings of Austrian artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, as well as those by Oskar Kokoschka whose theories on vision played an important role in the development of Viennese Expressionism. 

At the outbreak of World War I, Ernst Neuschul avoided conscription by relocating to Kraków, Poland in 1916. He continued his studies at Kraków’s Art Academy studying under Art Nouveau artist Józef Mehoffer. In the summer of 1918 Neuschul went to Prague, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts under Franz Thiele. In Prague during August of that year, he met Lucie Lindermann, a Dutch-Javanese dancer raised in Berlin who performed under the name Takka-Takka, When the war ended, Neuschul entered Berlin’s Academy of Art where he was awarded the Rome Prize in 1918. 

In July 1919, Neuschul had his first solo exhibition of 39 works at Weinert’s salon in Prague. He and Lindermann took an apartment in Berlin and embarked on a series of trips to Java and the East Indies. Upon his return, Neuschul became involved with East Indian dance, wrote scripts for experimental films based on Asian myths, and designed dance costumes for his wife, who performed with them in theaters in Lucerne and other cities. On the twenty-fourth of July in 1922, Neuschul and Lucie Lindermann were married in Berlin; in the following years she became his most important model.

In 1926, Neuschul became a member of Berlin’s November Group, a collective of expressionist artists and architects who shared socialist values and sought a greater voice in the organization of art schools and new laws surrounding the arts. An important breakthrough came to Neuschul in 1927; for the first time, he was noticed by a broad public in Germany. Neuschul successfully participated in eight exhibitions, six of them in Berlin with his work praised in multiple press articles. In the same year Neuschul received a contract with Berlin’s renowned Neumann-Nierendorf Gallery, which now ensured the artist a regular income. In the following years he also participated in exhibitions in many German cities. 

On November 13, 1928, Ernest Neuschul and Lucie Lindermann divorced. In 1929 he became a member of the Reich Association of Visual Artists in Germany. Two years later, Neuschul took over the chair of drawing and painting at the Charlottenburg Municipal Art School. In 1933, Neuschul became the last chairman of the November Group before it was banned by the Nazis. At his last exhibition in February 1933 at the “Haus der Künstler” on Schöneberger Ufer in Berlin, his works on display were confiscated and many of them destroyed. Immediately after these events, Neuschul fled to Czechoslovakia. Lucie Lindermann and Neuschul’s later second wife Christl Bell saved the works in his Berlin studio and brought them to Aussig.

In mid-1935, Neuschul received an invitation to Moscow from the Moscow Artists’ Union. In September of1935, he and his wife Christl traveled to Moscow with forty works created between 1929 and 1934. The state newspaper Pravda reported very positively on his solo exhibition at the Museum of New Western Art in Moscow; as a result, Neuschul subsequently received a number of commissions. Among others, he was commissioned to paint portraits of Josef Stalin and Georgi Dimitroff. On January 1, 1936 Neuschul became a member of the Moscow Union of Artists and the Union of Soviet Artists. Shortly before the beginning of Stalin’s second purges, Ernst Neuschul received advice from Andrei Bubnov, the People’s Commissar for National Education, to leave Moscow as soon as possible.

In February 1936, Neuschul gave a lecture on the Soviet Union in Aussig. The Prague press’s June 1936 pictorial supplement “Die Welt am Sonntag” reported in detail on Neuschul’s stay in the Soviet Union. In 1937, his last exhibition took place in his hometown of Auseig. In this exhibition two of Neuschul’s works were cut up and smeared with swastikas. On the third of November in 1937, Neuschul left his hometown of Aussig for good and moved with his family to Prague before the Czechoslovak borderlands were annexed by Hitler’s Germany in 1938.

Neuschul became a member of the Oskar Kokoschka Club and gave lectures on Degenerate Art, a category that was given to his own work. In 1938, Neuschul was on the Nazi blacklist and, as a Sudeten German, was threatened with extradition to the Third Reich by the Czech authorities. On March 10, 1939, Neuschul deregistered with the police and continued to live as an “illegal” in Prague. Through a connection to the British Labour Party, he was able to prepare his family’s emigration to England. The German Wehrmacht, not yet connected to the Gestapo, issued the exit permit, and on March 24, 1939, the Neuschul family left for England via Holland. Neuschul’s mother, who stayed in Prague to care for Neuschul’s sick brother, was later murdered in Auschwitz with those family members still in Prague.

On May 19, 1939, Neuschul became a member of the Free German Artists Association in England. As a rejection of the past, he changed his name from Neuschul to Norland. Neuschul lived in the family house in London-Hampstead until the end of his life. On September 11, 1968, Ernest Neuschul died at the age of 73.

At the beginning of Ernst Neuschul’s artistic activity, expressionism was in vogue, with intense colors in abstract forms. For his own work, Neuschul transformed this style into the more concrete style of New Objectivity. Gradually socially critical themes found their way into his range of motifs. Neuschul depicted the fringe groups of society; he painted drunkards, women on the streets, and workers in the fields or at their machines. During his time in Moscow, Neuschul was given to understand that he should paint the workers in the style of Socialist Realism that expressed the ideal state. He rejected this idea and continued to paint what he saw and not what he was supposed to see. After the war, Neuschul continued to abstract his style, but like other émigrés who had left Germany, he was unable to match the success he had enjoyed before he fled. Neuschul was rediscovered in Germany in 2001, when the Kunstforum Ostdeutsche Galerie, in cooperation with the Czech Republic, organized a four-week retrospective of his paintings in Regensburg.

Notes: The University of Birmingham, England, has a short article on Ernst Neuschul’s 1931 painting “Black Mother”, painted at a time in which the Nazi Party was making significant gains in elections. The article can be found at: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/historyofart/research/projects/map/issue3/arts-trail-pages/ernst-neuschul-black-mother.aspx

In 1924, Ernst Neuschul painted his biblical scene “Samson II”. An interesting article on its creation process can be found at Berlin’s Jewish Museum website located at: https://www.jmberlin.de/en/ernest-neuschul-samson-II

Top Insert Image: Helen Craig, “Ernst Neuschul”, circa 1960s, Gelatin Silver Print, Collection of Helen Craig

Second Insert Image: Ernst Neuschul, “Black Mother”, 1931, Oil on Canvas,  100.5 x 65.5 cm, Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, England

Third Insert Image: Ernst Neuschul, “Laundress”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvass, 100.3 x 65.1 cm, Private Collection

Fourth Insert Image: Ernst Neuschul, “Woman ironing”, circa 1930, Oil on Canvas, 65 x 46 cm, Staattiche Museen, Berlin

Bottom Insert Image: Ernst Neuschul, “Meine Drei Frauen”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 81 cm, Private Collection 

Geoffrey Laurence

The Artwork of Geoffrey Laurence

Born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1949, Geoffrey Laurence is an American painter, illustrator, educator and designer of both graphic and interior work. Although considered an artist of the realism school, he is more concerned with the emotional responses that can be achieved through various painting techniques. Laurence finds figurative painting to be artificial by its very nature and, thus, an abstraction of the observed life-experience. For him, the goal of all painting is to engage the viewer in an emotional narrative.

Geoffrey Laurence’s parents were naturalized Americans, refugees from Europe and Holocaust survivors. At four years of age, Laurence moved with his family to England where he received his education. In 1965, he entered London’s Byam Shaw School of Art where he studied under geometric painter Bridget Riley. After receiving his London Certificate in Art and Design in 1968, Laurence studied graphic design for a year under poster artist Tom Eckersley at the London College of Printing. In 1969, he studied under Frederick Gore, the Head of the Painting Department, at Saint Martins School of Art where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1972.

Laurence moved to New York City in 1992 and attended the New York Academy of Art where he studied with painter and draftsman Eric Fischl and realist painter Vincent Desiderio. Laurence received his Master of Fine Arts Cum Laude in 1995. He worked freelance for the next tweety years in different art-related fields. Laurence was an illustrator for several magazines, including “Woman’s World” and “Look Now”, as well as a graphic designer for such companies as Pineapple and British Petroleum. 

In the fashion industry, Geoffrey Laurence created a range of t-shirts for Walt Disney, the British online clothing retailer Burton and the UK-based global retailer French Connection. He also created work for fashion designer Katherine Hamnett and such companies as PampleMouse and Muscle Sport. During the 1990s, Laurence did interior design work for restaurants including London’s Zen restaurant chain. His design work has appeared in Vogue Magazine, the Royal Institute of British Architects magazine and the London Evening Standard. In addition to applying his skills to freelance work, Laurence continued his focus on figurative drawing and painting, work which regularly appeared in exhibitions. 

Exposed to art since early childhood, Laurence has always been fascinated with the history of its development from early cave paintings to European masterworks. He sees art, which is older than verbal language, to be a major part of being human, that distinction which establishes human identity and elevates man from mere mechanical life. Laurence’s work has evolved over the course of his career and developed into two general themes. The first is maintaining a balanced link between pre-1900 classical painting and work of a more contemporary nature. The second is the continuation of a meaningful visual response to the Holocaust, a personal dedication resulting from his being the offspring of concentration camp survivors.

Geoffrey Laurence has been painting and exhibiting his work both in the United States and Europe for over forty-five years. In addition to group and solo gallery exhibitions, his work has been exhibited at the Brighton Museum in the United Kingdom; Taos, New Mexico’s Van Vechten-Lineberry Museum; Sacramento’s Center for Contemporary Art; the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in Wisconsin; and Chicago’s Zhou B Art Center, among others. Laurence was recently a finalist at the 2023 ARC Art Renewal Centre Salon in New York City.

Among Laurence’s many honors have been the 1995 Walter Erlebacher Award, the 2004 Robert Rauschenberg Award, the 2006 George Sugarman Foundation Grant, the 2017 Palm Art Award, the 2018 PoetsArtists/Bauhaus Award, and the 2023 Robert Rauschenberg Grant. Laurence has taught at the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, the Santa Fe School of Art at SFCC, Seattle’s Gage Academy of Fine Art, and Santa Fe’s Bettina Steinke Studio. He is currently represented in the United States by Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery in Romeo, Michigan.

Geoffrey Laurence’s website, which includes technical resources for artists, classes, and contact information, can be located at: http://www.geoffreylaurence.com

Second Insert Image: Geoffrey Laurence, “Animal Nature”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 50.8 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Geoffrey Laurence, “The Brother”, 2006, Oil on Canvas, 96.5 x 71.1 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Geoffrey Laurence, “Hold Fast”, 2004, Oil on Canvas, 198.1 x 182.9 cm, Private Collection

Steve Huston

The Paintings of Steve Huston

Born in 1959 and raised in Alaska, Steve Huston is an American painter, draftsman and educator. He graduated with his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Prior to graduation, Huston was creating illustrations for such clients as Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Paramount Pictures, Caesar’s Palace, and Universal Studios. 

As an academic, Huston taught life drawing and painting, as well as, composition and anatomy at the Art Center College of Design. He later taught such classes at Warner Brothers Studios, Disney’s Animation and Gaming Divisions, Blizzard Entertainment, and DreamWorks Studios. In 1995, Huston began a career as a fine artist; he won top prizes for his work at both the 1995 and 1996 California Art Club Gold Medal Exhibitions. 

Passionate about having an artistic life, Steve Huston has created and taught art for the last forty years. He ia a painter of both landscapes and figurative works. Among Huston’s figurative works are scenes of men engaged in activities that require energy and movement, either in labor or sport. He has created an extensive series that depicts the sport of boxing; this Boxer series reveals both the tension and the energy that pervades the sport. Huston’s Worker series presents men intensely engaged in heavy labor work that requires both strength and stamina. These manual workers are depicted in the everyday tasks of carrying wooden beams, lifting large wooden crates, and moving objects.

Among those sources which have influenced Huston’s artwork are the works of Rembrandt and Italian Renaissance painter Titian; the early American Tonalist painters such as George Inness and Charles Eaton; the art projects of the the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration; and the graphic power and heroic character of the American Comic Book form. 

Steve Huston’s work has been featured in American Art Collector, Art News, Southwest Art, Harper’s Bazaar, American Artist and Western Art & Architecture, among other publications. His work has been exhibited at the Academy of Art College of the Carnegie Art Museum, the Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art, London’s Albemarle Gallery, the Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara and the Timothy Yargar Fine Art Gallery in Beverly Hills. Huston was also a frequent exhibitor at New York City’s prestigious Eleanor Ettinger Gallery from 1998 to its closing in 2013.

Steve Huston’s website, which features images of his work, livestream classes and limited edition prints, can be found at: https://stevehustonart.com

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Steve Huston”, 2019, Color Print for CGArchives January 2019

Second Insert Image: Steve Huston, Figure Studies from Sketchbook, Brown Ink and Gouache on Paper

Bottom Insert Image: Steve Huston, Title Unknown, (Three Workers), Date Unknown, Worker Series, Oil on Canvas

Hans Holbein the Younger

Hans Holbein the Younger, “An Unidentified Man”, circa 1535, Black and Colored Chalks, White Gouache, Pen and Ink, Metapoint, Royal Collection Trust, England

Born in 1497 in the city of Augsburg, Hans Holbein the Younger was a German-Swiss portraitist and printmaker who worked in the Northern Renaissance style that occurred in Europe north of the Alps. The culture and influence of the Italian Renaissance was brought to northern Europe’s local art movements by the trade and commerce between Italy and the Low Countries in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Considered one of the greatest sixteenth-century portraitists, Holbein also produced religious art, Reformation propaganda, and book designs.

Hans Holbein the Younger was the second son of painter and draftsman Hans Holbein the Elder. He and his brother, Ambrosius, trained at their father’s Augsburg art and craft workshop until 1515 when they, as journeyman painters, traveled to Basel, the Swiss center of education and the printing trade. Apprenticed to Basel’s leading painter and printmaker Hans Herbster, they found work as designers of metal cuts and woodcuts for the city’s printers. In 1515, the Holbein brothers received a commission from theologian Oswald Myconius to create  margin drawings for that year’s edition of scholar Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam’s Latin essay “In Praise of Folly”.

In 1517, Holbein traveled to Switzerland’s central city of Lucerne where he worked with his father on murals for merchant Jakob von Hertenstein; he also created designs for stained glass works. In the winter of that year, it is suspected Holbein journeyed to northern Italy where he studied the fresco works of Andrea Mantegna, a painter who had experimented in the art of perspective. Holbein, upon his return to Lucerne, painted two panels at Hertenstein’s house with copies of Mantegna’s large egg tempera canvases.

Hans Holbein relocated to Basel in 1519, joined the Painters’Guild, and became a citizen of the city. In this productive period, he created internal murals for the Council Chamber at the Town Hall, a series of religious paintings and designs for stained glass windows. Working in book design through publisher Johann Froben, Holbein created woodcut designs for the “Dance of Death”, a late Middle Age allegory of death; illustrations of the Old Testament; and the title page of Martin Luther’s Bible. He also designed twelve alphabet fonts ornamented with depictions of Greek and Roman gods, and the heads of Caesars, poets and philosophers. 

While in Basel, Holbein painted a series of portraits, among them the portrait of the young scholar Bonifacius Amerbach, son of the printer Johannes Amerbach, and a double portrait of Basel’s Mayor Jakob Meyer and his wife, Dorothea. Sent to the Court of England by Antwerp’s secretary Pieter Gillis, Holbein painted two portraits of Sir Thomas More, one with his family; a portrait of William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury; the German astronomer and mathematician Nicholas Kratzer, a member of Thomas More’s scientific circle and tutor to More’s children; and courtiers such aa Lady Anne Lovell and Comptroller of the Royal Household Sir Henry Guildford and his wife, Lady Mary. 

In England circa 1536-1537, Hans Holbein officially entered the service of King Henry VIII. One of his first commissions was a 1537 mural for the Palace of Whitehall. It was the first life-size full-length portrait of a monarch to be created in England. A fire in the seventeenth-century destroyed the mural; however several copies of the section depicting Henry VIII survive. Holbein was often sent to Europe to sketch portraits of potential brides for the king due to his skill at rendering faces. A series of his drawings dated between 1526 and 1543 were  bound in a book and are kept within the Royal Collection, a majority of these portraits being housed at Windsor Castle. 

In most of his drawings, Holbein tended to concentrate on the face of the sitter and left more abstract lines to delineate the clothing. Depending on the part of the portrait he was sketching, he would often change mediums. Scholars believe he began his portraits with red chalk and then worked on subtle shading for facial contours. Holbein next applied fine lines of colored chalk for the features and finished with dark black ink for blocks of flat tone on the hats. Due to the darker handling of key facial features, the changing mediums created a more complex rendering of the face. 

Hans Holbein utilized a colored ground in his portrait sketches. He had a range of prepared drawing papers ready for use and selected the tone most apt for the complexion of his sitter. Using this method, Holbein quickly established the color accuracy of his sitter’s face; this also became the established practice later used by watercolorist William Turner for his open-air landscape paintings. Holbein used touches of watercolor or gouache to further extend the value range and to enhance a particular feature, such as the eyes or beard. He also employed a method known as silverpoint, drawing fine lines with a silver stylus on a prepared ground; the effect of which are marks that tarnish into warm brown tones through oxidization over time.

After entering King Henry VIII’s service, Holbein altered his paintings’ portrait style. He focused more intensely on his sitter’s facial features and largely omitted props and settings. Holbein applied this clean technique to the miniature portraits of Princess Christina of Denmark and Jane Pemberton Small, the wife of a London cloth merchant. At Burgau Castle, he later painted the portrait of the prospective bride of King Henry, Anne of Cleves. For this portrait, Holbein decided to paint her full-faced and elaborately attired. Aside from his official duties, Holbein continued to paint many private portrait commissions of merchantmen and courtiers. 

Hans Holbein the Younger died, at the age of forty-five, in London near the end of 1543. Although Flemish art historian Karel van Mander stated in the early 1600s that Holbein died of the plague, it is more likely he died from an infection as friends attended his bedside. Holbein, in October of 1543, had made a signed and witnessed will; however it was not witnessed by a lawyer. John Antwerp, a goldsmith and friend, legally undertook the administrations of Holbein’s last wishes, settled the debts, provided for Holbein’s family, and dispersed his remaining effects. Holbein’s gravesite is unknown. Not one note or letter from his hand survives. 

Top Insert Image: Hans Holbein the Younger, “Portrait of Unidentified Woman”, circa 1532-1543, Black and Colored Chalk, Pen and Ink on Pale Pink Prepared Paper, Royal Collection Trust, England 

Second Insert Image: Hans Holbein the Younger, “An Unidentified Man”, circa 1535, Black and Colored Chalks, Pen and Ink, Brush and Ink on Pink Prepared Paper, 27.2 x 21 cm, Royal Collection Trust, England

Third Insert Image: Hans Holbein, “John More, Son of Thomas More”, circa 1526-1527, Black and Colored Chalks on Prepared Paper, Royal Collection Trust, England

Foourth Insert Image: Hans Holbein the Younger, “Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey”, circa 1532-1533, Black and Colored Chalk with Pen and Ink on Pale Pink Prepared Paper, Royal Collection Trust, England

Bottom Insert Image: Hans Holbein, “Lord Thomas Vaux”, Date Unknown, Detail, Black and Colored Chalk, Pen and Brown Ink, Black Was and White Opaque Watercolor on Pink Prepared Paper, Royal Collection Trust, England

Ross Jones

The Artwork of Ross Jones

Born in 1966 in the small community of Otaki, Ross Jones is a painter from New Zealand whose works are intermixed with elements of surrealism. All of his carefully designed paintings contain hints that lead the viewers to various narratives. Jones combines objects, vintage toys, and personal photographs with his childhood memories to depict worlds of whimsy, remembrance and personal freedom.

Ross Jones spent his early years in Otaki, a town of five-thousand people that remained basically unchanged through the years. He graduated from the School of Design Innovation at the Victoria University of Wellington, previously Wellington’s School of Design. Ross spent the next fifteen years creating commissioned work for private individuals and companies, including New York’s Penguin Books, Bank of America, The Wall Street Journal and Time Incorporated. He currently paints personal work full time from his studio overlooking the Hauraki Gulf north of Aukland.

Over the years, Jones has been inspired by the work of both fine artists and commercial illustrators. Among these artists are Winslow Homer, Howard Pyle, Edward Hopper, David Hockney, the Wyeth family, and Maxfield Parish. Jones was particularly attracted to the composition and unique blending of color in Parish’s work. He was also drawn to the clean lines featured in Art Deco furniture and the seemingly effortless design compositions of vintage French posters. 

An important factor in his choice of painting subjects is Ross Jones’s fascination with everyday objects, those most often taken for granted, as well as those extraordinary occurrences that happens in one’s life. He includes just enough detail in his work to initiate a story; the goal being that the viewer complete the narrative through their own experiences. Working with a carefully researched color palette, Jones uses every opportunity to play with the light in his paintings. He shapes the mood of each painting by his attentive use of multiple light sources, linear and aerial perspectives, and stretched shadows. Jones often distorts both shapes and architecture to increase the drama and compositional dimensions. 

Ross Jones’s work is held in private collections in England, Ireland, North America, Australia and New Zealand. His work has been regularly featured and sold at many New Zealand gallery exhibitions including the Boyd-Dunlop Gallery in Napier; the Parnell Gallery in Parnell, Aukland; the Central Art Gallery in Queenstown; the RedSea Gallery in Brisbane City; and the Flagstaff Gallery in Devonport, Aukland. 

Notes: Ross Jones’s website, which includes exhibitions, contact information, and both original work and limited edition prints for purchase, is located at: https://jonesthepainter.com

The Central Art Gallery has an online article in which Ross Jones discussed his style and techniques, as well as those artists who have inspired and influenced him. This article can be found at: https://centralart.co.nz/collections/ross-jones-1

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Ross Jones and 2018 Maiden Voyage”, Color Print

Bottom Insert Image: Ross Jones, “Anonymous Delivery”, 2012, Oil on Linen, 95 x 115 cm, Private Collection

Scipione Pulzone

Scipione Pulzone, “Portrait of Jacopo Boncompagni”, 1574, Oil on Canvas, 121.9 x 99.3 cm, Private Collection

Born in 1544 at the coastal city of Gaeta in the Kingdom of Naples, Scipione Pulzone, also known as Il Gaetano, was a Neapolitan painter of the late Italian Renaissance. He painted many important religious works; however, he excelled in portraiture with exceptionally rendered artistic details. One of the most celebrated artists in Rome, Pulzone was also one of the most original portraitists of the Counter Reformation, that period of Catholic resurgence that was initiated in response to the Protestant Reformation in Europe.

Scipione Pulzone is believed to have been a student of Jacopino del Conte, an Italian Mannerist painter active in both Rome and Florence. His portrait style was influenced by the works of Raphael and the international style of work from the Hapsburg court in Austria, particularly the portraits done by Anthonis Mor. Mor’s formal style of court portraits, with grandiose and self-possessed ostentation, was extremely influential on court painters throughout Europe.

Many of Pulzone’s paintings, particularly his religious scenes, show the strong influence of painter Girolamo Siciolante de Sermoneta’s latter works, which were executed in the reformist naturalist style. Pulzone painted his “Mater Divinae Providentiae”, an image of Mary and the Child Jesus, around 1580. In 1664, the painting became the possession of the Barnabite Fathers who placed the art piece in a small chapel at the rear of Rome’s San Carlo ai Catinari church where it continues to draw many religious followers.

In 1593, Scipione Pulzone finished his 1588 commissioned altarpiece “The Lamentation”  for the Passion chapel on the right side of the Chiesa del Gesù, the mother church of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Intended to complement the austere interior space of the church, this painting rejected popular stylistic motifs and avoided narrative anecdotal details to create a meditative, devotional icon. Finely rendered details such as the tears of the Virgin, the crown of thorns held by Saint John, and the pallor of Christ’s body are presented to the viewer for contemplation.

Pulzone worked in both the Florentine and Neapolitan courts, as well as, in Rome, where he was commissioned to paint the portraits of two Popes, Pius V and his successor Gregory XIII known for commissioning the Gregorian calendar. While in Rome, Pulzone painted two major works: the 1585 “Our Lady of the Assumption” for Rome’s church of San Silvestro al Quirinale and “Christ on the Cross” for Rome’s Santa Maria in Vallicella. 

Scipione Pulzone died in Rome on the first of February in 1598 at the age of fifty-four. 

Notes: Scipione Pulzone’s “The Lamentation”, originally at the  Chiesa del Gesù, was anonymously gifted to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1984 (Accession Number 1984.74). It is currently listed as not on view.

At the online Artsy, there is an article on Scipione Pulzone’s 1574 “Portrait of Jacopo Boncompagni”, which includes the history of the painting and Boncompagni’s life, as well as, the two men’s close personal relationship. Pulzone named his first-born son Giacomo (Jacopo is a variant of the classical name Giacomo) and Boncompagni was selected to became Giacomo’s godfather. This article is located at: https://www.artsy.net/artwork/scipione-pulzone-called-il-gaetano-portrait-of-jacopo-boncompagni-three-quarter-length-in-armor

Top Insert Image: Scipione Pulzone, Portrait of Unidentified Noblewomen, circa 1580-1589, Oil on Canvas, 119 x 91.2 cm, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland 

Second Insert Image: Scipione Pulzone, “Self Portrait”, 1564, Oil on Canvas, 43.5 x 34.5 cm, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands

Bottom Insert Image: Scipione Pulzone, “Portrait of Urban Vii”, circa 1590, Oil on Canvas, 131 x 99 cm, Private Collection

Alejandro Pasquale

The Artwork of Alejandro Pasquale

Born in Buenos Aires in 1984, Alejandro Pasquale is an Argentine painter. In 2002, he entered the Universidad Nacional de les Artes in Buenos Aires to pursue an arts education. Two years later, Pasquale left the university and continued his education under the tutelage of local artists. Among those artists active at this time in Buenos Aires was painter Eduardo Stupia who works almost extensively in black and white with occasional use of color. In both 2013 and 2014, Pasquale participated in Stupia’s workshops at the highly regarded Torcuato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires.

Alejandro Pasquale’s work resides in the art category of magic realism, a realistic portrayal of the world with additional mystical or cryptic elements. His intriguing drawings and paintings, predominately figurative, abound in highly detailed elements. With a background in art based on his love of nature, Pasquale places his figures in lush, natural surroundings; however, he obscures their faces and emotions through masks composed of foliage and flowers. With their sense of sight covered, the figures are removed from the external world and absorbed into a state of internal contemplation.

In 2011, Pasquale was recognized for his drawings in the Salon de Mayo held at the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts “Rosa Galisteo de Rodriguez” in Santa Fe, Argentina. In 2015, he was a finalist at the National Painting Biennial in the city of Rafaela. In the same year, Pasquale won the first award at the National Exhibition of Contemporary Art held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Junin, a provincial city of Buenos Aires. In 2017, he was awarded a scholarship to participate in the Encontro de Artistas Novos exhibition held at the Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Pasquale also participated in the Salón Nacional de Arts Visuales held in 2021 at Buenos Aires’s Palais de Glace.

Alejandro Pasquale is a regularly appearing artist with the Beinart Gallery in Melbourn, Australia; the Victor Lope Gallery in Barcelona, Spain; the Quimera Gallery in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Stone Sparrow Gallery in New York City; and the Daniel Raphael Gallery in London. In addition to his many solo and group exhibitions, he continues to exhibit in many international art fairs. Alejandro Pasquale’s work is included in many private collections around the world. 

“The intention of my work is to be a necessary reminder that, even though we often overlook it, we are a horizontal part of the great network of living beings that co-inhabit this earth. We belong, on the day we allow ourselves to recognize this, to this immense and magical nature. We are nature.”  —Alejandro Pasquale

Notes: Images of Alejandro Pasquale’s work and contact information can be found at the artist’s website located at: https://alejandropasquale.com

Alejandro Pasquale’s work can also be seen at Saisho, an online art market site, and at the avante-garde Beinart Gallery where Pasquela has had several solo exhibitions. 

Saisho is located at: https://www.saishoart.com/alejandro-pasquale

Beinart Gallery is located at: https://beinart.org/collections/alejandro-pasquale


Julien Nguyen

The Paintings of Julien Nguyen

Julien Nguyen’s work is firmly situated in the academics of art history and its philosophies as well as the informalities of everyday life; his images are often populated with fellow artists, lovers and friends who have posed for him in his Los Angeles studio. A history enthusiast, Nguyen uses the past as a lens through which he views, analyzes, and recreates the present moment. He harmoniously blends iconographic images, such as Renaissance altarpieces, with more contemporary components, such as video-game graphics, to create tableaux of lavish colors and delicate forms that speak to his personal life. 

Nguyen works consistently in his studio to develop a more traditional studio practice, as well as, further improve his skills and techniques. He works in oil paints and tempera on a variety of substrates including canvas and linen, wood panel, and copper and aluminum sheets. Besides tableaux with posed acquaintances, Nguyen has produced carefully planned, complicated devotional images of traditional subjects such as Saint John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary, and the Temptation of Christ. 

In addition to his paintings, Julien Nguyen has collaborated with designers in the fashion field. He first worked with Cosima Gadient and Christa Bösch, the founders of the avant-garde fashion label Ottolinger. The designers’ 2017 Fall collection was based on Nguyen’s painting “The Baptism”, which shows a young man being baptized in a silvery river. The Spanish luxury fashion house Loewe partnered with Nguyen for its Fall/Winter 2023 Paris Fashion Week show that was held in January of that year. He created three artworks for Loewe: a miniature watercolor on vellum, done in the style of Elizabethan portraitist Nicholas Hilliard, which depicted his muse Nikos decorated with messages and symbols, and two digital artworks that featured Nikos in a Paris hotel. The watercolor miniature was the feature image on the show’s invitation. 

Two works by Nguyen, “Executive Function” and “Executive Solutions”, which depicted nymphs and demons on the front page of The New York Times,  were included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial in New York City. He had solo exhibitions at Munich’s Kunstverein München in 2014, New York’s Swiss Institute in 2018, and Cincinnati’s Comtemporary Art Center in 2019. 

Julien Nguyen participated in a group show, titled “Positioner”, from October through December at the Matthew Marks Gallery in Los Angeles in 2018. He had his first major solo exhibition, titled “Pictures of a Floating World”, from June to August in 2021 at the Matthew Marks Galllery in the Chelsea district of New York City. Nguyen’s next solo exhibition at the Matthew Marks Gallery will be in Los Angeles from June 24 to August 12 in 2023. This will be his first one-person show in Los Angeles in seven years; it will feature fourteen new paintings and works on paper. 

“(Julien Nguyen) achieves what few artists manage, the acceptance that nothing is new and nothing lasts, that we inhabit a world built beautifully from the rubble of other worlds, and that is is here we make our stand.”  —Travis Diehl

Note: Julien Nguyen’s painting “Semper Solus” was up for auction at Sotheby’s in October of 2022. After receiving fourteen bids, the oil and tempera on wood panel portrait sold for 453,600 Pounds (503 723 US Dollars).

Further information on Julien Nguyen’s 2023 Los Angeles exhibition can be found at the online site of the Matthew Marks Gallery located at: https://matthewmarks.com/exhibitions/current

Second Insert Image: Julien Nguyen, “Study for the Temptation of Christ”, 2019, Oil on Panel, 62.2 x 52 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Julien Nguyen, “Hic Manebimus Optime”, 2021, Oil on Linen on Panel, 51 x 41 cm, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

Joseph Fortuné Séraphin Layraud

Joseph Fortuné Séraphin Layraud, “Étude de Torse”, 1861, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 81 cm, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France

Born in October of 1833 at the commune of La-Roche-sur-le-Buis, Joseph Fortuné Séraphin Layraud was a French painter and, in his later years, a professor at Académie des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes. The son of Jean Pierre Paul Layraud and Marie Anne Amic, he painted historical scenes, landscapes, religious and mythological subjects, and portraits.

Joseph Layraud began his initial art training in 1853 at the historic port city of Marseille. He relocated to Paris in 1856 and studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts under Léon Cogniet and Tony Robert-Fleury, both painters of portraits and historical scenes. After finishing his studies, Layraud traveled to Rome where he took up residence at the Villa Medici until 1870. He distinguished himself as a painter of history and portraits; the work he exhibited at the 1863 Rome Exhibition won the Grand Prix de Rome. 

After his stay in Rome, Layraud traveled through Italy and Portugal where he produced primarily landscapes and portraits. He entered several works at the 1872 Paris Salon for which he was awarded medals. In 1876, Layraud painted the “Portrait of the Portuguese Royal Family” which portrayed the members of the ruling House of Braganza, King Luis I dressed in a hunter’s outfit, his wife Maria Pia of Savoy, and their two children, Carlos I and Infante Afonso. This painting is now housed in the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda in Lisbon. Layraud’s two portraits of Queen Maria Pia, executed in the same year, are also housed in this national collection,

While in Lisbon, Joseph Layraud also painted a portrait of Elisa Friederike Hensler, Countess of Edla. She was a Swiss-born American actress and singer, who married the former King Ferdinand II of Portugal, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. After leaving Portugal, Layraud returned to France where he exhibited his work in both the 1889 and 1900 Expositions Universelles held in Paris. In recognition of his work, Layraud was appointed Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur in 1890, with a later promotion to Officer in 1903.

In 1892, Layraud received an appointment as professor at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Valenciennes. Among his many pupils were such artists as Naturalist painter and printmaker Jules Chaine, portrait painter Max Albert Decrouez, and Lucien Hector Jonas, a painter of both religious and military scenes. Joseph Layraud lived in Valenciennes until his death in October of 1913; he is buried at the Communal Cemetery of St. Roch in Valenciennes. 

Layraud’s work can be found in the Musée d’Orsay, Valenciennes’s Musée des Beaux-Arts, the Ajuda National Palace, Musée Saint-Loup in Troyes, and the Smith College Museum of Art in Massachusetts, among others.

Top Insert Image: Joseph Layraud, “The Artist in His Studio”, (Recto), 1899, Oil on Canvas, 97 x 66 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Joseph Layraud, “Der Morgen Danach (The Morning After)”, 1884, Oil on Panel, Dimensions and Location Unknown

Roland Caillaux

The Artwork of Roland Caillaux

Born in January of 1905, Roland Ferdinand Caillaud was a French film and theater actor, as well as, an illustrator and painter. Known professionally as Roland Caillaux, he was a key figure among the literary and artistic celebrities who lived and worked in Saint-Germain-des-Prés of Paris’s sixth Arrondissement. 

The son of a wealthy Parisian family, Roland Caillaux inherited enough money upon the death of his parents to enable him to live a comfortable life free from financial restriction. He had a residence at  5 Rue de l’Ancienne-Comédie in the sixth Arrondissement of Paris and maintained a studio space on the Rue Boulard in the fourteenth Arrondissement. Caillaux was openly homosexual and enjoyed the relative freedom of Paris in the 1930s. He developed friendships with many of the writers, artists and filmmakers of the period including Jean Cocteau, Maurice Sachs, François Sentein, Jean Marais, Marcel Carné, and Jean Genet, among others. 

In his lifetime, Caillaux was best known as a film and theater actor. His first appearance, an uncredited role, was in director Jaque Catelain’s 1924 drama film “La Galerie des Monstres”, a story of a young married couple’s tribulations after they join a circus. After playing the role of Le Sergent in Jene Renoir’s 1928 “Tire au Flanc”, Caillaux was given the role of Grippe-Soleil in Tony Lekain and Gaston Ravel’s 1929 “Figaro”, a film adaption of the 1778 Beaumarchais play “The Marriage of Figaro”. In the same year, he had a role in René Hevil’s film “Le Ruisseau (The Stream)”, and appeared onstage in a brief run of Vladmir Kirchon and Andreï Ouspenski’s play “La Rouille” at the Théâtre de l’Avenue in Paris. 

The height of Roland Caillaux’s acting career occurred in 1930 with appearances in two films: “Soyons Gais” and composer John Daumery’s comedy musical “Le Masque d’Hollywood” directed by Clarence Badger. In the same year, he was in two theatrical performances: playwright Georges Neveux’s first notable work “Juliette ou la Cié des Songes” and Edmond Haraucourt’s “La Passion” held at the Comédie-Française. In 1932, Caillaux appeared in two films: the character of André Duval, Sergent de Spahis, in Rex Ingram and Alice Terry’s “Baroud” and a lead role in Georges Lacombe’s comedy “Ce Cochon de Morin”. His final film role was Lieutenant Jean Dumontier in Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein’s 1934 “Itto” which, filmed in French Morocco, received a nomination for Best Foreign Film at the 1935 Venice Film Festival.

As a visual artist during the period from 1940 to 1960, Caillaux worked in his Rue Boulard studio where he produced landscapes, portraits, lithographs and drawings. The rare erotic works he produced were meant to be circulated among his circle of friends in the arts, cinema and music worlds. In Paris in 1945, Roland Caillaux produced what is probably his best known illustrated work, “Vingt Lithographies pour un Livre que J’ai Lu (Twenty Lithographs for a Book I Read)”, a folio of twenty homoerotic lithographs loosely presented in printed wrappers within a cloth folding box.

Caillaux’s “Vingt Lithographies pour un Livre que J’ai Lu” was published in a small run of one-hundred fifteen copies without the name of the author, illustrator or printer. The lithographs were accompanied by text, attributed to novelist and playwright Jean Genet, that contain variant excerpts from two poems, “Notre Dame-des-Fleurs” and “The Parade”. These two poetic works by Genet were later published in a limited edition run, entitled “Poems”, in 1948 by Editions L’Arbalète. 

Roland Caillaux passed away in Paris in December of 1977. Many of his illustrations, not publicly seen before, were discovered by Nicole Canet of Paris’s Galerie Au Bonheur du Jour and subsequently exhibited. Caillaux’s works are housed in many private collections and frequently appear in international auctions. 

Note: The spelling of Roland Caillaud’s birth name was written with a “d”; however, throughout his career as an actor and draftsman, he wrote his last name with an “x”. In regards to his drawings, those not erotic were signed Roland Caillaux; while the erotic drawings were signed with a “spider” signature, a small spider web with an “x” in the middle.

Nicole Canet’s Galerie Au Bonheur du Jour, located in the heart of Paris, represents work by Caillaux and other artists in the fields of painting, illustration and photography. The gallery also publishes a wide collection of catalogues. Galerie Au Bonheur du Jour is located online at: https://www.aubonheurdujour.net 

Top Insert Image: Dora Maar (Henriette Théodora Markovitch), “Portrait of Roland Caillaux”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Roland Caillaux, “Sailor”, 1932, Oil on Canvas on Cardboard, 26 x 21 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Dora Maar (Henriette Théodora Markovitch), “Portrait of Roland Caillaux”, 1935, Gelatin-Argent Negative on Flexible Support in Cellulose Nitrate, 18 x 13 cm, Le Centre Pompidou, Paris

Greg Drasler

The Paintings of Greg Drasler

Born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1952, Greg Drasler is an American painter known for his metaphorical images that explore the formation of identity and memory. His representational work incorporates elements of abstraction, surrealism, and the postmodernist elements of graphic design. 

Drasler’s paintings of elaborately constructed interior spaces, symbolic and commonplace objects, and patterned panoramas hold enigmatic puzzles and psychological mysteries that intrigue the viewer’s sense of perception. A major component of his work is the exploration of liminal spaces and thresholds between public and private, real and imaginary, and object and environment. Liminality, in anthropology, is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage. Participants in effect stand at the threshold of their previous self-identification and their new existence established by the rite. 

Greg Drasler uses the strategies of bricolage, the creation of a work from a diverse range of objects, to place the viewer in a state of liminality. His images of suitcases, men with hats, automobile interiors, film sets, and the American highway contain symbols, metaphors, visual puzzles and puns. Humor, nostalgia and a sense of the uncanny are contained in these examinations of the Self and its relationship to local culture and both personal space and location. 

In the 1960s, Drasler became interested in art as a career through his exposure to the contemporary art of his time. A major influence on his life’s work came from James Rosenquist’s awe-inspiring 1964-65 “F-111”, a painting of fifty-nine interlocking panels that enclosed the viewer. Drasler was also influenced by sculptor Horace Clifford Westermann, a master of traditional carpentry and marquetry techniques, as well as the representational artists of the Chicago Imagists such as Jim Nutt, whose work was inspired by pop culture, and Robert Brown for whom collected art and objects functioned as important source materials.

In 1976, Drasler entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study art. He committed to the medium of painting in 1978 and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1980. After receiving his degree, Drasler enrolled in the university’s Year in Japan Program, a period which focused his work on the relationship between identity and place presented through the use of domestic functional imagery. After completing his Master of Fine Arts in 1983, Drasler relocated to New York City and began to exhibit his work professionally. The first exhibition of his paintings was in the first “On View” held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in 1983.

Greg Drasler’s earliest work focused on builder and handyman imagery that served as an allegory for self-construction. His first series, executed between 1987 and 1990, was the “Baggage Paintings”, which depicted plush luggage in random but carefully composed states, either stacked as in “Samson and Delilah” or grouped as in “Baggage Claim”. The meticulously detailed groups of baggage, whose lighting and color were playfully painted, presented allegories of identity, luxury, and privacy. Drasler’s 1990 painting from the series, “His”, depicts two upright traveling trunks in a room. One contains a set of six drawers while the other is opened to reveal an empty space for hanging clothes. The bright golden light that emanates from the interior of the trunk, almost magically, is in stark contrast to the dull interior of the room.

With the support of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in 1991 and a subsequent National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1993, Drasler began “Cave Paintings” which depicted intricately constructed, ornate interior living spaces that served as metaphors for one’s creation of the Self, as well as, the relationship to one’s personal, domestic space. These tableaus with their architecture, wallpaper and fabric were distinguished by human absence and trope-l’oeil obfuscation. The illusionistic perspective and the meld of motifs were designed to create a voyeuristic view of unsettling presence and closely guarded secrets, a similar sensation akin to painter Giorgio de Chirico’s famous piazza paintings. “Cave Paintings’ were first presented at New York’s Queens Museum of Art in 1994, followed by exhibitions in Seattle, Boston and New York.

Greg Drasler’s “Tattoo Parlor” series explored wallpaper patterns and the psychological imprint they have on a room’s occupants. One group from the  series was “Jesus Wallpaper”, that consisted of papered walls of loosely rendered iconic images of Jesus and assorted hanging objects; the “Jumping Jesus” installation, for instance, contained hanging auto jumper-cables.  Starting in the early 2000s, Drasler’s investigations of liminal spaces included automobile interiors, Hollywood illusionism, and the great American road trip. After seeing cutaway automobile props used in film sets, which exist as both interior and exterior spaces, he employed that image in several paintings including the 2006 “Green Screen” and the 2010 “Internal Combustion”. 

With a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, Drasler drove across country, during which he gathered ideas for what became his “Road Trip”series, expansive vistas of the Midwest that often depicted the vernacular architecture of the American roadhouse. These paintings included large areas of criss-cross patterning, often looking like quilts in the sky, that suggested the vast reach of the landscape and its division into property. A major work of this series was the 2016 six-panel “Stratocaster Suite” which presented a stop-motion sequence in the style of Eadweard Muybridge when displayed across the wall.

Greg Drasler’s essay “Painting into a Corner: Representation as Shelter” was published in editor Joseph Scalia’s 2002 “The Vitality of Objects: Exploring the Work of Christopher Bollas”, published by Continuum Press, London, and Wesleyan Press. He collaborated with poet Timothy Liu for the 2009 “Plolytheogamy” published in 2009 by Philadelphia’s Saturnalia Press; it was comprised of interleaved images of Drasler’s paintings and Liu’s poetry. Drasler has taught and lectured at schools, including Princeton University, Pratt Institute for the past twelve years, Williams College, Hofstra University, and Montclair State University. Starting in 2007, he has been represented by New York’s Betty Cuningham Gallery on the Lower East Side. 

Notes: A biographical narrative by Greg Drasler on his life, as well aa contact information and video projects, can be found at the artist’s site located at: https://www.drasler.com

More information on Greg Drasler’s work can be found at the Betty Cuningham Gallery website located at: http://www.bettycuninghamgallery.com/artists/greg-drasler 

Second Insert Image: Greg Drasler, “Green Room”, Cave Painting Series, 1997, Oil on Canvas, 177.8 x 127 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Greg Drasler, “Houdini”, 1987, Oil on Canvas, 177.8 x 152.4 cm, Private Collection

Fourth Insert Image: Greg Drasler, “Wiggle Room Post It”, Wiggle Room Series, 2000, Oil on Canvas, 147.3 x 132 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Greg Drasler, “Slide Lecture”, Cave Painting Series, 1995, Oil on Canvas, 147.3 x 132.1 cm, Private Collection

Albert Wainwright

The Artwork of Albert Wainwright

Born in the historic market town of Castleford, West Yorkshire in 1898, Albert Wainwright was painter, illustrator, and designer of theatrical costume and sets. A prolific artist, his body of work includes thousands of watercolors, drawings, painted ceramics, costume and theatre designs and book illustrations, which reveal him to be an artist of powerful inventiveness and ability.

The youngest of three children, Albert Wainwright had a Methodist upbringing and an early interest in art. He attended Castleford’s Secondary School where he met classmate Henry Moore and began a friendship secured by their mutual interest in art. Until 1920, Wainwright and Moore would correspond to each other through illustrated letters, even as soldiers in the first World War. Although encouraged by his father to seek a profession as an engineer, Wainwright was given permission to train in the arts through the persuasive efforts of his secondary school’s art teacher.  

In 1914, Wainwright entered Leeds Arts University in West Yorkshire. Through his studies, he was influenced by the works of illustrator Aubrey Beardsley and Russian painter and theatrical designer Léon Bakat, as well as, the new works created by the Viennese Secessionist artists. Wainwright was also drawn to the fluid use of line, exaggerated forms, and dynamic use of pattern and color in the works of painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. 

After his service in the Royal Flying Corps, Albert Wainwright rejoined his family who now lived in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. He transformed a room in the family home for use as a studio where he continue his work as artist and designer. In 1920 at the age of twenty-two, Wainwright had his first solo exhibition at Leeds City Art Gallery which, well received, gained him the support of Leeds University’s Vice Chancellor Sir Michael Sadler and influential art critic Frank Rutter. He also gained representation by London’s Goupil Gallery which held solo exhibitions of his work in 1921 and 1922.

In 1927, Wainwright was appointed temporary art master at Castleford’s Secondary School for two years. During this period, he went on a school excursion to Germany, the first of his many journeys to Europe, both alone and with his partner. This was a time of great social and political change in Europe, particularly in Austria and Germany with the rise of fascist movement. Beginning with this trip to Germany, Wainwright began a regular practice of illustrating sketchbooks with people he contacted and landscapes he admired. After his family bought a cottage in 1930 at Robin Hood’s Bay, he would spend every summer there to paint watercolors of people on holiday, beach scenes, and depictions of the town’s red roofs. 

As a gay man, Albert Wainwright exercised discretion in his life, a necessity felt by many during that era due to the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 which had made homosexuality illegal; often a letter of affection was sufficient to bring prosecution. He did have a life-long lover, George Collins, who was a schoolmaster and friend of the Wainwright family. Wainwright often refers to his sexual identity as a gay man in his work. His sketchbooks contain not only landscapes but also studies of men in uniforms at rest or play. Although generally clothed, Wainwright’s portraits of men were sensitively painted with alluring expressions. He considered these sketchbooks as personal and private documents and not intended for public view. 

Wainwright received many commissions to design costumes and sets for local theaters including the Leeds Art Theater and the Leeds Civic Playhouse. He designed for plays ranging from Greek tragedies to modern dramas by Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekov and Bernard Shaw. Wainwright designed sets and costumes for over one-hundred productions which included seven-hundred costumes for a single play in 1927, the “Miracle Play” held at Kirkstall Abbey on the north bank of the River Aire. 

Wainwright never achieved the same level of commercial success and recognition as his school friend, sculptor and lithographer Henry Moore, and had to supplement his art with teaching. In March of 1943, he applied for and was offered a teaching post for the duration of the war as an art teacher at the historic Bridlington School in Yorkshire. After teaching for only three months, Albert Wainwright was stricken with meningitis and died on a bus on his way to his Harrogate home in September of 1943. His work is in many private collections; the largest public collection of his work is housed at the Hepwotth Wakefield Gallery in West Yorkshire, England.

Notes: An extensive online collection of Albert Wainwright’s work can be found at “Albert Wainwright: The Unseen Archive” located at: https://sites.google.com/view/albertwainwrightunseenarchive/home

A short video on his life is available at the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery site located at: https://hepworthwakefield.org/our-art-artists/collections/highlights/albert-wainwright/

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Albert Wainwright”, circa 1912, Vintage Print on Card Stock, Hepworth Wakefield Collection, West Yorkshire, England

Second Insert Image: Albert Wainwright, “Portrait Study of George Collins”, Date Unknown, Watercolor on Paper, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Albert Wainwright, “The Dragon Slayer”, circa 1927-1938, Gouache on Paper, 39 x 54.3 cm, Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami Beach, Florida

Bottom Insert Image: Albert Wainwright, “Boy Sleeping”, Date Unknown, Watercolor on Paper, 23 x 27.5 cm, Private Collection

Géza Vörös

The Paintings of Géza Vörös

Born in 1897 in Nagydobrony, now the Ukrainian city of Velyka Dobron, Géza Vörös was a Hungarian painter. He studied at the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts under Ede Balló, a Hungarian graphic artist and painter best known for his portraits. After his studies, Balló lived and worked in Szolnok located on the Tisza River and the former mining town of Nagybánya (Baia Mare in Romania).

Géza Vörös painted landscapes, both rural and urban, still life arrangements, posed figurative works, and portraits. His stylized paintings reveal a keen sense of observation and subtle humor. Vörös’s work bears the objectivity of the Neo-Classical style as well as the elegant sensual aesthetic seen in works of Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts. 

In the early twentieth-century, Szentendre was a small provincial town on the Danube River, approximately twenty miles north of Budapest. During the period between the two World Wars, its established artist colony provided a shelter for numerous artists and writers. With Vörös’s arrival at Szentendre in 1929, his paintings changed from their earlier uninspiring shades of color to palettes of warm, soft colors. Vörös remained in the city until the 1940s, after which there is very little information on his life. 

Géza Vörös was a member of both the New Artists’ Association and the prestigious New Society of Artists. He was associated with Budapest-born painter Hugó Scheiber, a modernist painter whose work, initially executed in a post-Impressionist style, turned increasingly towards Futurism and German Expressionism. Scheiber was also a member of the New Society of Artists. 

Géza Vörös died in Budapest in 1957. A memorial retrospective of his work was organized in 1961 and held at Budapest’s Mücsarnok Kunsthalle, its historic Neoclassical styled Hall of Art. 

Note: If anyone has any additional biographical information on Géza Vörös, I would be interested in adding that to the biography. Please send it via my contact page. 

Top Insert Image: Géza Vörös, “Self Portrait”, 1935, Oil on Canvas, 60.5 x 50 cm, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Bottom Insert Image: Géza Vörös, “The Bird Preachers”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 70 x 70 cm, Private Collection

Josep Tapiró i Baró

The Artwork of Josep Tapiró i Baró

Born in February of 1836 in the Catalonian city of Reus, Josep Tapiró i Baró was a Spanish painter and one of the leading representatives of international Orientalism. He  was the first painter from the Iberian Peninsula to settle in Tangier. Through his thirty-seven years in Tangier, Tapiró was a direct witness to North Africa’s urban and cultural transformation under European colonialism. He is best known for his series of half-length portraits of traditional characters and religious scenes.

The son of hardware retailers, Josep Tapiró i Baró displayed an affinity for drawing in his early years. He began his formal art training in 1849 under Domènec Soberano, a prosperous wine merchant and self-taught artist who had founded a drawing school in Reus. At the age of thirteen, Tapiró met fellow student Marià Josep Maria Bernat Fortuny i Marsal. These young men, both exceptionally talented painters, established a friendship that lasted their whole lives. In 1853, Tapiró and Fortuny were given the opportunity to exhibit their work at a show held by the cultural and recreational association Casino de Reussense. 

In the latter part of 1853, Tapiró and Fortuny enrolled at Barcelona’s Escola de la Llotja where they studied under Claudi Lorenzale i Sugrañes, a Spanish painter associated with the German Nazarene movement for the revival of spirituality in art. Tapiró produced mainly historical and religious scenes during his time in Barcelona. In 1857, a group of four students, among whom were Tapiró and Fortuny, were given the opportunity to compete for a Rome study grant. The test was a portrait of Barcelona’s eleventh-century military hero Ramon Berenguer III. Marià Fortuny unanimously won the competition and left for Rome in 1858. 

Josep Tapiró i Baró traveled to Madrid in 1858 and enrolled at the School of Painting and Engraving which was a branch of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Ferdinand. He studied under portrait and historical painter Federico de Madrazo until his return to Barcelona in 1860. Tapiró assisted with the decoration of the façade of the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya, one of the few medieval buildings in Europe still functioning as a seat of government. 

At his arrival in Rome in 1862, Tapiró joined his friend Fortuny and was introduced to Fortuny’s circle of artists who regularly frequented the Antico Caffè Greco. This café, the oldest in Rome, was a historic meeting place for such figures as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, George Gordon Byron, Franz Liszt, and John Keats. While in Italy, Tapiró visited Naples and Florence with Fortuny, took watercolor classes and painted works that focused more on genre themes. In 1871, he and Fortuny traveled to Tangier in Morocco where they spent most of a year. While Fortuny painted scenes of courtyards and Moroccan landscapes, Tapiró painted detailed watercolors of common people and beggars. Their trip ended in 1872 with his return to Rome and Fortuny’s return to his wife and son in Granada. In 1873, Tapiró exhibited his Orientalist works at the International Art Circle in Rome. 

In November of 1874,  Josep Tapiró i Baró was shocked to learn of Fortuny’s sudden death in Rome from malaria he had contracted painting in the open air in Naples. Rather than remain in Rome or Spain, Tapiró decided in 1876 to join a diplomatic mission to meet Sultan of Morocco Hassan bi Mohammed. He moved into a house near the historical district of Tangier and acquired an old theater as a studio. Although he traveled as far as New York and Saint Petersburg to exhibit his work, Tapiró lived in Tangier for the rest of his life. Returning to the medium of watercolor, he painted a series of detailed, brooding portraits that, instead of his previous dramatic Orientalist style, documented the humanity of the Moroccan people.

In 1886, Tapiró married a Tangier native of Italian ancestry, twenty-year old Maria Manuela Veleraga Cano. Shortly after the marriage, they adopted the orphaned son of Maria’s friend who had recently died. In 1903, Tapiró contracted a lung infection which caused respiratory and cardiovascular problems that led to lack of energy and, by 1905, a decline in his career. The decline was compounded by the decrease in foreign visitors to Tangier due to a kidnapping of two British nationals and a rebellion led by Bou Hmara, a pretender to the throne of Morocco. 

In 1907, Josep Tapiró i Baró and his wife relocated to Madrid in order to promote his work at an exhibition held at the Circulo de Bellas Artes, a major cultural center. After their return to Tangier, Tapiró’s health problems worsened over time and led to his death, at the age of seventy-seven, in October of 1913. He initially was buried in Tangier; however, the government of Reus demanded in 1921 that he be recognized in his home town. Tapiró’s remains were moved to Reus in 1947 and reinterred near the burial space of his friend Marià Fotruny. The city of Reus placed a commemoration plaque on the house in which Tapiró was born.

Notes: The Catalan-speaking territories abide by the Spanish naming customs; however, the discrete surnames are usually joined with the word “i”, meaning and, instead of the Spanish “y”, a practice very common in formal contexts. Thus, Josep Tapiró i Baró’s first or paternal surname is Tapiró and the second or maternal family name is Baró.

For those interested in a deeper study of Spanish Orientalism, particularly in regard to the works of José Tapiró y Baró and Mariano Bertuchi Nieto, I recommend University of Edinburgh researcher Claudia Hopkins’s 2017 “The Politics of Spanish Orientalism: Distance and Proximity in Tapiró and Bertuchi”. The published version can be found online at: https://www.pure.ed.ac.uk/ws/files/41514515/Hopkins_Tapiro_Bertuchi_final_clean_copy.pdf

Top Insert Image: Marià Fortuny, “Portrait of Josep Tapiró i Baró, Tangier”, 1874, Ink Sketch on Paper, Private Collection

Second Insert Image:  Josep Tapiró i Baró, “An Oriental Atrium”, Date Unknown, Pencil, Watercolor and Bodycolor on Paper, 67.8 x 47.9 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Josep Tapiró i Baró, “Homme en Blanc”, Date Unknown, Watercolor on Paper, 64 x 47 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, ” Josep Tapiró i Baró”, circa 1865-70, Vintage Print, Provenance Unknown

Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti

Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti, “Warrior with Drawn Sword”, 1808, Oil on Canvas, 92.5 x 73 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Born in 1777 in the municipality of Maastricht in the southern Netherlands, Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti was a Dutch Neo-classical painter. The son of Italian lawyer Arnold Josua Joannes Alberti and his Belgian wife Maria Catharine Vogels, he was baptized on the 20th of June in 1777 in Maastricht’s Saint Martin’s Church.

At the age of five, Joannes Alberti moved with his parents to Amsterdam. He began his initial art training in 1796 at Amsterdam’s City Drawing Academy. For two chalk drawings of male nudes entered in competitions, Alberti won a third class prize in 1803 and a second class prize in 1804..These works are currently in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. In 1804, Alberti won the gold medal of honor at the Felix Meritis Society’s exhibition for his drawing “Marius Amid the Ruins of Carthage”. He won another gold medal in 1805 at the Felix Meritis Society for his drawing of the Greek Hellenistic king Antiochus IV Epiphanes. 

In the beginning of 1807, Alberti received a four-year student pension from the Kingdom of Holland’s Ministry of the Arts for studies in Paris and Rome. He found residence in Paris on the Rue Bataves and, on the fifth of March, enrolled in the École des Beaux Arts where he studied under history painter Jacques-Louis David until 1809. Alberti painted copies after the work of Flemish artist Antoon (Anthony) van Dyck and Italian artist Guido Reni, who painted primarily religious works. As a favored artist of Louis I, the King of Holland, he sent some of his work to Amsterdam for exhibitions in 1808 and 1810, 

In the middle of October in 1809, Joannes Alberti, along with fellow artists Josephus Augustus Knip and Peter Rudolf Kleijn, traveled to Rome, Italy. He met and took up residence with French painter and draftsman Claude Thiénon, who specialized in landscape scenery. Alberti made copies of old master paintings but also personal works. Among the works he shipped back to Holland in 1810 was his painting “Proculeius Prevents Cleopatra’s Suicide”. After returning to Paris, Alberti made engravings coped after master paintings. He also published an educational course on drawing entitled “Cours Complet Théorique et Pratique de l’Art du Dessin”. 

From baptismal records, we know that, through Alberti’s union with Marie Catherine Joséphine Neumeyer, a son named Pierre Charles Antoine Raphaël Alberti was born in Paris on the 12th of December in 1807. From the Departmental Archives of Haute-Marne, a birth certificate shows that a second son, François Eliza Charles Prosper, was born in the town of Giey-sur-Aujon on the 26th of January in 1813. 

Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti became a member of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1822. The Archives de Paris places his death in Paris on the 10th of May in 1832; he is buried in Paris’s Montparnasse Cemetery. Three of Alberti’s works are in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam: the 1808 “Warrior with Shield and Spear”, the 1808 “Warrior with a Sword” and the 1810 “Proculus Prevents Cleopatra’s Suicide”. His 1809 “Scene from the Polish Revolution” is housed in Berlin’s Staatliche Museum Preussischer KulturBesitz. 

Top Insert Image: Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti, “Warrior with Lance and Shield”, 1808, Oil on Canvas, 72.5 x 91.5, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Second Insert Image: Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti, “The Preaching of John the Baptist”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 82 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Joannes Echarius Carolus Alberti (Attributed), (Warrior with Spears and Shield), Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 112 x 88 cm, Private Collection

Georges Noël

The Artwork of Georges Noël

Born in December of 1924 in Béziers, one of the oldest cities in France, Georges Noël was a French painter. His work was greatly influenced by two French avant-garde art movements: Nouveau Réalisme, founded in 1960 by art critic Pierre Restany and painters Raymond Hains and Yves Klein which made extensive use of collage and assemblage, and French Art Informel, an approach to abstraction in the !940s and 1950s that emphasized improvisation and highly gestural techniques. 

Raised in the Castellón city of Pau, Georges Noël initially was an engineering student before his 1939 to 1945 studies of sculpture and painting. After his graduation, he worked for nine years as a draftsman and designer with the aeronautical firm Turboméca, a manufacturer of gas turbine turboshaft engines. In 1956, Noël relocated to Paris where, deeply impressed by the paintings of artists such as Jean Dubuffet and Paul Klee, he devoted his energies to painting. 

Noël’s painting was associated with the French and Italian Informel movement. He was an admirer of the work by Lucio Fontana, an Argentine-Italian painter best known for his tagli, slashed, mostly monochromatic canvases. Noël was also friends with Nouveau Réalisme artists Raymond Hains, Jacques de la Villéglé and François Dufréne. He achieved recognition and commercial success through his representation with noted art dealer Paul Facchetti. Noël’s first solo exhibition was at the Facchetti gallery in 1960; he regularly exhibited there from 1957 to 1968. 

During his stay in Paris, Georges Noël began to use paper laid down on canvas or torn and collaged newspaper as partial foundations for his painting. For his impasto, material paintings, he developed a mixture of powdery pigments, sand and polyvinyl glue which he layered onto canvas. In a gestural-automatic manner, Noël scratched symbolic signs or script into the partly hardened layer of paint to form the images he termed ‘Palimpseste’. With this term, he referred to the early stage of writing done by many cultures which involved the erasing and re-engraving of writen elements on stone or clay tablets. Noël’s wide vocabulary of signs showed his interest in the magic, symbolism and mystery of prehistoric, Mycenaean-Archaic and indigenous cultures.

In 1963 at a medieval abbey in Rowen, Noël met Margit Rowell who was training to be a medievalist. She would become his wife, life-time companion, and a  veteran art historian and curator with key positions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Guggenheim Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York. Feeling restless and seeking a change in venue and style, Noël moved with Rowell to New York City in 1968. After research and experimentation, he found the visual, geometric language he wanted to express in his work. Noël was represented by and exhibited with two major New York galleries from 1969 to his return to France: the internationally-based Pace Gallery and the renowned Arnold Herstand Gallery on Fifty-Seventh Street.

In 1982, Georges Noël and Rowell returned to France where he had a major exhibition at the Abbaye de Senanque in Provence, which was followed in 1985 by a retrospective at the Centre National des Arts Plastiques in Paris. Noël’s late stylistic development showed a unification of the gestural painting of his early work and the more structural compositions of his New York period. From 1985 forward, he exhibited regularly in Italy, Germany, and Japan. Noël’s work is currently represented for France by the Galerie Christophe Gaillard.

Through all the unusual diversity of styles during his fifty-year career, Georges Noël’s textured canvases and graphic interventions remained constant. His works on paper show the same spontaneous scripts and signs, either on wash, collaged or built-up surfaces. Considered one of the most important representatives of the French Informel movement, Georges Noël passed away in Paris in 2010 at the age of eighty-six. 

Noël’s work is found in private collections and institutions throughout the world, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bibliothèque National and the F.N.A.C. in Paris, and the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, among others. 

Notes: Georges Noël’s paintings, drawings and publications can be found at his website located at: https://www.georgesnoel.org

An informative interview between writer and curator Tenzing Barshee and Margit Rowell on Georges Noël’s life and work process can be found at the Mousse Magazine website located at: https://www.moussemagazine.it/magazine/theres-texture-without-touching-georges-noel/

Second Insert Image: Georges Noël, “Ohne Titel”, 1987, Mixed Media on Canvas, 106.5 x 75 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Georges Noël, “Palimpseste, Sones de Pensée”, 1962, Oil and Sand on Canvas, 116.5 x 89 cm, Private Collection

Jacques-Charles Derrey

Jacques Charles Derrey, “Untitled (Taking a Swim)”, 1935, Engraving on Paper, Edition of 60, 37.7 x 39.4 cm, Private Collection

Born in Toulouse in September of 1907, Jacques-Charles Derrey was a French engraver, painter and educator. He spent most of childhood and youth from 1914 to 1929 in Nantes with his maternal grandfather Félix Pommier, a painter and the curator of the Musée des Beaux-Arts. As a student at the Georges Clemenceau high school in Nantes, Derrey won first prize in its 1925 general drawing competition. He began his formal art training at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nantes in 1927. Derrey relocated to Paris in 1930 and studied at its École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts under impressionist painter Lucien Simon and portraitist and engraver Louis Roger until his graduation in 1935. 

In 1934, Derrey won the Prix Blumenthal, a stipend given to young French artists through the foundation supported by American philanthropist Florence Meyer Blumenthal. For his 1936 intaglio engraving “Job sur Son Fumier”, he was awarded the Grand Prix at the annual exhibition of the American Academy in Rome. For a period of three years beginning in 1937, Derrey was a resident at the French Academy in Rome located at the Villa Medici.

Jacques Derrey created twenty-five etchings for Belgian playwright and poet Maurice Masterlinck’s “Le Trésor des Humbles (The Humble Treasury)”, published in 1949 by Éditions Dancette. He produced illustrations, ten etchings and burin engravings, for the classic 1955 “Versailles”, which included historic text written by Louis XIV. Derry created original engravings for François-Albert Buisson’s 1960 “Le Cardinal de Retz: Portrait”, a biography of Jean François Paul de Gondi, an archbishop and agitator in the 1648 civil war in France.

Derrey also executed a series of illustrations depicting various aspects of an Lacq industrial plant owned by the National Society for Petroleum in Aquitaine. Starting in 1963, he provided engravings of stamp designs to be printed for several French departments and countries overseas, including Comoros, Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Senegal, Somalia, Upper Volta, and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. 

Along with his work as an engraver, Jacques Derrey drew and painted, using oils and gouaches, numerous landscapes in Italy, Corsica and the French provinces of Bearn and Brittany. He also executed work in fresco, most notably the fresco murals in the church of Sainte Marguerite located in the Paris commune of Perreux-sur-Marne. Derry’s work was exhibited in many salons and galleries including the 1936 Salon des Artistes Français where he won a gold medal, the Salon Comparaisons, the Salon Terre Latines, the Mignon-Massart Gallery in Nantes and Paris’s Marseille Gallery, among others. Derrey was a regular participant at the exhibitions of the Association de Deux Rives from 1970 to 1975.

In 1950, Derrey was appointed a Professor at the School of Fine Arts in Valenciennes and, two years later, became its Director until 1956. At that time, he became Drawing Master at the École Polytechnique in Paris where he founded an engraving workshop. He taught his vision of painting and general art at the school until his retirement in 1973. An ardent defender of contemporary Classicism, he was the author of several articles published in the magazine “La Peintre” and through publications of the school. 

Jacques-Charles Derrey was awarded the position of Laureate of the Institut de France in 1950 and named a Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1958. He died in Paris in May of 1975. Major retrospectives of Derrey’s work entitled “Entre Deux Rives” were held in January and February of 1988 at the Municipal Center for the Arts in Valenciennes and at the Musée National du Château de Pau from November of 1997 to March of 1998. An exhibition “Four Generations: A Family of Painters”, which included the work of Derrey, his grandfather Félix Pommier, his mother Juliette, and his son Charles, was held in the towns of Pénestin in 2004 and Saint-Marc-sur-Mer in 2012.

Middle Insert Image: Jacques-Charles Derrey, “Les Volets Bleus”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 46 x 55 cm, Private Collection