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6 x 8"
oil on panel


My oh my, I'm glad to be back to painting a few small pieces.  I've been working on several projects for future group shows which you'll see down the road.

Okay... about this new painting....

Thomas Eakins is best known for his paintings of athletic rowers on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia and his extraordinary painting The Gross Clinic.  He taught at the Pennsylvania Academy and those paintings brought him fame and transformed the school into the leading art school in America. 

Eakins found the study of anatomy to be essential in his teachings, however, it was frowned upon by the academy and Victorian Philadelphia in the 1880's.  After treading on ice, during one of his live model classes, he removed a loincloth from a male model to show the trace of a vital muscle and all hell broke loose.  Protests by students and parents forced Eakins to resign at the request of the Academy's board. 

The Model by Thomas Eakins is part of the collection in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.  Get to this museum if you can.  It's so worth the trip.

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9 x 12"
oil on panel


A woman viewing one of my personal-favorite paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago - Portrait of Juanita Obrador by Joan Miro.

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8 x 10"
oil on panel


The two paintings featured, The Annunciation by Gerard David, were part of a multi-storied polyptych (typically an altarpiece consisting of more than three panels) commissioned in the early 1500's by a wealthy Italian banker and diplomat - for the high altar of the Benedictine abbey church of San Gerolamo della Cervara. 

Gerard David was a Netherlandish painter and manuscript illuminator, born around 1460 in Bruges, where he became the leading painter around the age of 34 and was known as one of the town's leading citizens.  He became dean of an artist guild, taught for years and around 1519 he and one of his students got into a dispute over a number of paintings and drawings the student has collected from other artists.  David was owed a large debt by this man, took hold of those works of art, only to be sued, ordered to return the artworks and served time in prison.

The two panels The Annunciation hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

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6 x 6"
oil on panel


You might have run across Edgar Dega's sculpture of the young ballerina in several different art museums.  You're not crazy.  This Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen resides in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  When I visited the museum, it was not encased in a glass box, which made a huge difference in appreciating this perfect figurative sculpture.  And I mean perfect.

Degas painted young ballet dancers numerous times.  At rehearsals, stretching exercises and lessons in ballet studios.  He drew them in pastels and charcoal, painted them in oils.  The model for Little Dancer was Marie van Goethem who posed for the only sculpture exhibited in Dega's lifetime in 1881.  Little Dancer was originally executed in wax and later cast in bronze around 1922, after Dega's death.  Which is why you maybe have seen one yourself.

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8 x 6"
oil on panel


It's been my observation that men really like this Portrait of Balzac by Auguste Rodin.  The sculpture stands in the large French Impressionism gallery in the Art Institute of Chicago, strikingly bolder than the oil paintings by Renoirs and Degas, to name a few.

The Portrait of Balzac was one of several bronze sculptures commissioned by a literary society in the 1890's, in honor of the famous French novelist Honore de Balzac.  Rodin immersed himself in studying the writer - reading all his books, visiting his birthplace and studying all known existing portraits.  It took Rodin seven years before he created this particular one - intending to stress Balzac's 'vitality and candor' in a full nude portrait that was immediately rejected by the literary society and the public at large.

This rejection, among others, didn't prevent Rodin from becoming the most famous artist in the world at the beginning of the 20th century.  He is best known for the marble sculpture The Kiss and the bronze, The Thinker.   Not to mention there's an entire museum in Philadelphia, the Rodin Museum, devoted to the man. 

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9 x 12"
oil on panel


A Rembrandt painting is always recognizable.  Often a portrait, often dark, warm tones and dramatic light cast on the face - and in the case of his 1631 portrait Old Man with a Gold Chain, a repeated, favorite sitter.  The unidentified man, often mistaken for Rembrandt's father, is ennobled in an outfit of all the trappings of the wealthy - a steel gorget around his neck, a dark-purple robe, a plumed hat with peacock feathers and a gold chain and medallion over his cloak.  This is what he did. He simply wanted to portray a straggly, old man appearing more interesting and colorful.

Old Man with a Gold Chain hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

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8 x 6"
oil on panel


The woman here is seemingly taking a cue from Pointing Man by Alberto Giacometti in the Museum of Modern Art.  My mom, who was a painter, printmaker and occasional sculptor,  L-O-V-E-D Giacometti.  I was introduced to this artist at a very young age, by my mom, who taped up dozens of his works on the wall of her studio.

Giacometti was born in Switzerland in 1901, took on formal training in the arts during the era of Cubism and the craze of tribal art - much like Pablo Picasso.  He dabbled in Surrealism for a while, broke off from that to the emergence of Existentialism.  He created small, thin figurative sculptures which took off because of the overall dismal, suffering atmosphere from World War II, and he became quite the popular artist of that time.

His works evolved all through the 50's and 60's, during which time he painted numerous portraits, which my mom was crazy over.  I am too.

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6 x 8"
oil on panel


This new painting is a smaller study of one I'm thinking of doing larger.  I wanted to test out the woman's skirt.  I like her skirt.

She stands in front of a crowd-pleasure in the Art Institute of Chicago - Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Two Sisters (On the Terrace) which hangs in the French Impressionism gallery.  Renoir named the painting Two Sisters, the first owner of the painting titled it On the Terrace.

Like Renoir's famous Luncheon of the Boating Party, the setting for Two Sisters was at a restaurant with outdoor seating.  In 1925, it was sold to a woman from Chicago for $100,000.  She requested the Renoir be donated to the Art Institute after her death where it has hung since 1932.

You may remember Donald Trump had a reproduction hung in his jet, before he ran for President.  The New York Times reporter Timothy O'Brien interviewing Trump was told it was the real thing.  O'Brien replied "Donald, it's not.  I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called Two Sisters (on the Terrace) and it's hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago. That's not an original."

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Yes!  I have my Mac back in my studio.  Turned out I had to replace 'the body' with a refurbished iMac and put my old hard drive, 'the heart', into the new body.  Thanks to Ben at Onyx.  You saved my sanity and my career.  Lesson today, ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR STUFF.

I painted this new piece with my little, old laptop helping out.


 9 x 12"
oil on panel
sold


My new painting features one of my favorite Edward Hopper's, Hotel Room.  I saw it at an exhibition of Hoppers at the Art Institute of Chicago a few years ago.  It, like many others, expresses solitude, in a hotel setting which was the first in a long series of paintings set in different hotels.

Hotel Room depicts a woman lost in her own thoughts, too tired to unpack, checking the time of her train the next day.  I particularly love the stark vertical, horizontal and diagonal shapes surrounding her.  And it's a scene we can all relate to - pooped out from traveling, plopping ourselves on the bed surrounded by luggage, wondering what the next day brings.

My painting will be part of the grand opening of the Red Piano Art Gallery in their new home in Bluffton SC, a quaint little area filled with galleries, restaurants and markets.  






They have moved from Hilton Head Island, just a few miles away.  The expected date is June 1st - stop in if you're in the area.

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I'm on a forced break from painting - my studio Mac is in the hospital.  So I'm gardening....

~ Happy Mother's Day to all the great moms out there.


 
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