Monday, May 16, 2022

Molti Ritratti: King Alfonso XIII

Spanish King Alfonso XIII (1886-1941) abdicated his throne in 1931, dying ten years later in Rome of a heart attack at age 54.  Biographical information can be found here.

Even in the age of photography, kings and other royalty had formal painted portraits made of themselves.  So it was with Alfonso.  Most of the artists who painted him were Spaniards, if Internet image searches are evidence.  Some of the artists represented below are unknown to me, but three are important, one of whom was not Spanish.


Time cover - 23 July 1928
A photograph of the king.

By Gabriel Osmundo Gómez
Alfonso's portraits usually had him posed in military attire, and the attire varied from portrait to portrait.

By Carlos Váquez Úbeda
An exception to military clothing.

By Luis Menéndez

By Mariano Oliver Aznar

By José Moreno Carbonero
This is sketchy, but the uniform he's wearing is a post- Great War dress outfit, not formal attire.  Now for some portraits by well-known artists.

By Joaquín Sorolla - 1907
In the uniform of a hussar.

By Ramon Casas
An informal depiction by Casas, who was especially skilled at depicting subjects and their personalities.

By Philip de Laszlo - 1927
Laszlo made many portraits of Alfonso and his family.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Paul César Helleu's Women

Paul César Helleu (1859-1927) portrayed society women.   According to his Wikipedia entry he was eventually rich enough to buy yachts, a subject of his later paintings.

Unlike most portrait painters featured here, Helleu seldom worked in oils.  He preferred pastel and etchings.  Judging by images of his works found via Google and Bing searches, his heyday seems to have been 1895-1915 or thereabouts.

Some of the images below strike me as being rather conventional, a contemporary Gallic variation on stereotypical Gibson Girls.  Others are more interesting, better evoking the personality of the sitter.


Alice Guérin - 1900
Helleu married her.

James McNeill Whistler

Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough - c.1901

Madame Letellier - c.1900

Mme. Ryan

Suzanne - Étude de cinq têtes

Kiki Preston (Alice Gwynne) - 1900


Élégante au Chapeau

Pamela Mitford
One of the famous sisters.

Blowing a kiss

Monday, May 2, 2022

Ramon Casas Paints a Crowd

Catalonian artist Ramon Casas (1866-1932), Wikipedia entry here, was skilled at depicting people.  This was even the case with his crowd-scene paintings where hundreds of folks were shown.

One such painting is Corpus. Salida de la precesión de la iglesia de Santa María del Mar, a 1898 Barcelona scene.

In 2010 I visited Barcelona's Museo Nacional d'Art de Catalunya and took two detail photos of that work.  Perhaps artists and others reading this post might find Casas' treatment of individuals at small scale interesting.


The entire painting.

Left-center detail.

Center crowd.

Monday, April 25, 2022

James McNeill Whistler's Tall Women in Colors

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903, biographical information here) occasionally painted full-length portraits of women.

As was usual for most of his paintings, he titled them using a color or two along with a non-art label such as "arrangement," "caprice," "harmony" and "symphony."

Examples of such works are shown below in approximate chronological order.   Click on them to enlarge.


Symphony in White No 1 - Joanna Hiffernan - 1861-62

Mrs Frances Leyland - c.1871-74

Arrangement in Black No. 2 - Portrait of Mrs Louis Huth - 1873
He was beginning to feature dark backgrounds.

Arrangement in Yellow and Gray - Maud Franklin - 1876

Arrangement in Black - 1881

Nocturne in Pink and Gray, Portrait of Lady Meux - c.1881-82

Arrangement in Black, La Dame au brodequin jaune – Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell - 1882-85

Harmony in Red Lamplight - 1886

Mother of Pearl and Silver, The Andalusian - Ethel Whibley - 1888-1900

Rose and Green, the Iris, Portrait of Miss Kinsella - 1902

Monday, April 18, 2022

Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg by Philip de Laszlo

Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena of Battenberg (1887-1969) was Queen of Spain until 1931when King Alfonso XIII abdicated.  Her grandson Juan Carlos became King in 1975. Her Wikipedia entry is here.

Below are portraits of her painted by Philip de Laszlo (1869-1937 -- biographical information here).  He came from Hungary to become a leading British portrait artist.  Besides his portraits, I included two photos of the Queen for comparison.


Painted in 1910, four years following her marriage to King Alfonso.

Painted in 1912.

This painting is dated 1920.  She was in her early thirties and Laszlo didn't have to work very hard to glamorize her.

From around the same time.  This formal portrait was less glamorized.

Photo of Victoria Eugenie from 1922.

This was part of a series Laszlo painted of her, the King, and each of their children.

A 1927 sketch or study he made in preparation for the portrait below.

The Queen wearing a mantilla, 1927.

Victoria Eugenie in 1930.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Giacomo Favretto -- Doing the Same Scene Twice

Giacomo Favretto (1849-1887) was prolific during his short career.  His Wilipedia entry is here.  I wrote about him here and here.

Favretto mostly painted genre scenes of his native Venice, as James Gurney discusses here.  A few times he painted the same setting; on one occasion the two paintings were nearly identical, as can be seen below.


Mercato del sabato un campo San Polo - 1883
Saturday market at the main plaza of Venice's San Polo district.  Note the woman in the green dress and the background buildings above her.

Al mercato - Mercato in campo San Polo
Although the hairdo is different, the clothing of the lady in the foreground seems the same as that of the woman in the green dress in the preceding image.  The background is seen in the same perspective as in that image.  Plus, the woman is in essentially the same position relative to the background in both paintings.

Un resauratore a Burano - c.1880
This painting and the one below are nearly identical. the most visible differences are minor details of the woman's pose.  Here, the title simply states that the painter on the island of Burano is restoring a paining.

Vandalismo - Poveri antichi! - 1880
But his version's title calls the restoration vandalism and takes pity on the old painting.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Portrait Drawings by Ramon Casas

Ramon Casas (1866-1932), Wikipedia entry here, was a leading Barcelona painter and illustrator.   Better at drawing than Picasso, in my opinion. 

Today's post features some portrait drawings made by Casas.  They are not dated, but might have been made in the early 1900s.  Note how he captures personalities.


Gonzalo Bilbao

Jaume Brossa

Joaquim Malats

Joaquim Salvatella
Note the touches of white paint on most of these images.

Josep Clara
The focus is on the face, the rest becomes sketchy.

Pablo Picasso
Probably in his early 20s.  Casas adds some background here, unlike the other drawings.  It suggests Paris' Montmartre more than Barcelona.  The artists spent time in both cites in the early 1900s.

Self-portrait - 1908

Júlia Peraire
She was Casas' model, mistress and (later) wife.

A sketch, perhaps as preliminary study for a poster.

This might also be Júlia.