Monday, February 29, 2016

George Washington Lambert, 1905-1910

George Washington Lambert (1873-1930), born in St. Petersburg, Russia, lived in Germany and England before migrating to Australia in 1887, went to Paris around 1900, to London the following year where he remained until returning to Australia in 1921, living there until his death from heart failure, age 57. He is generally regarded as Australian, as that was his citizenship.

His short Wikipedia entry is here. It mentions that he was the father of noted musician Constant Lambert (1905-51).

So far as I am concerned, the most distinctive period of Lambert's career was approximately 1905-1910, and the images below are from then. Lambert's style was strong, featuring solid, visible drawing. Faces are usually painted smoothly, but other parts of the same painting are often somewhat blocked in using disciplined, visible brush strokes.


Equestrian Portrait of a Boy - 1905

Sybil Walker in a Red and Gold Dress - 1905

Lotty and a Lady - 1906

Portrait Group: The Mother - 1907

The Sonnet - 1907

Portrait Group - 1908

Miss Alison Preston and John Proctor on Mearbeck Moor - 1909

King Edward VII - 1910

Holiday in Essex - 1910

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fernand Toussaint, Yet Another Interesting Belgian

Fernand Toussaint (1873-1956) was a Belgian painter who, like so many other competent artists from that country and elsewhere, failed to make a serious mark in the Paris-dominated art world of his time. Perhaps for that reason biographical information on the Internet is slim, the most detailed being here.

I just referred to Toussaint as "competent." There is nothing wrong with that, and it's surely better than being incompetent. His defect, to the extent he had one, was that his work didn't stand out strongly. To put it another way, there wasn't a large dose of individual style that proclaimed Toussaint!! to the world.


Arranging Flowers

Le Sillon - poster
Around 1900 many Fine Arts painters also did commercial work such as this.

Bruxelles la vie moderne - c. 1905
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this looks like the Boulevard Anspach or thereabouts.

Jeune femme contemplant de croquis
She is looking at sketches, it seems. The style is also sketchy.

La collectioneuse - 1913
A more committed appreciator of art.

Portrait de femme
This looks unfinished, but Toussaint signed it, so it's done.

Three Strollers

Seductive Pose
I guess I forgot to mention that one of Toussaint's specialties was painting attractive women.

Woman with a Fan
I like this mural style painting, probably because it reminds me of the work of Frank Brangwyn (who spent time in Belgium).

Monday, February 22, 2016

Saturnino Herrán: A Mexican Brangwyn and Lambert

Saturnino Herrán (1887-1918) was a Mexican painter who died aged 31 after an operation for a gastric problem. His Wikipedia entry is here and a longer biography that includes an evaluation of his work is here. Charley Parker blogged about him here.

Herrán was an almost exact contemporary of Diego Rivera, a more famous -- but lesser, in my opinion -- painter. One wonders whether Herrán would have evolved his subjects and style in the direction of Rivera, Orozco, Siqueros and others whose careers spanned the 1930s and often dealt with political subjects.

As it was, his style apparently was influenced by Frank Brangwyn and, to my mind, is similar to many of George Washington Lambert's works. Herrán was an excellent draftsman and his paintings include lines that help define his subjects. In a word, it can be called muralistic.  But then, he also painted murals, so it all makes sense.


El rebozo - 1916
A study for the paintings below.

La criolla del rebozo

El Ciego - blind man - 1914

La criolla del mantón - 1915

Girl with Calabaza - 1917

La dama del mantón - his wife

La criolla del mango

La cosecha - 1909

La ofrenda - 1913

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Towards the End: Lawren Harris

Lawren Harris (1885-1970), who I wrote about here, was a key member of Canada's famous Group of Seven painters. His Wikipedia entry is here.

Unlike most noteworthy artists, Harris never experienced even moderately serious financial problems because his family was the Harris of Canada's Massey-Harris farm implement firm. And of course he had many of the right social connections that allowed him to gain influence in the Canadian art establishment of his time.

Due to his circumstances, besides his efforts to get the establishment to accept modernism, Harris' "struggles" in art largely had to do with improving his skills. And perhaps more importantly, seeking a kind of art that meshed with his strong interest in Theosophy, a spiritual belief system that had a burst of popularity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Theosophy-related concerns seem to have strongly influenced Harris's drift from representational to abstract painting over the arc of his career. The turning point took place during the years he lived an Santa Fe, New Mexico, whose art colony included other budding abstractionists.


The Corner Store - 1912
An example of Harris' representational works.

North Shore, Lake Superior - 1926
One of his best-known paintings from the mid-point of his career where real-world objects were simplified.

Abstract No. 7 - ca. 1939
Harris for a while had the habit of testing abstractions by viewing them with different orientations -- the idea being that the abstract design would hold up no matter which way the painting was displayed. I've seen at least two orientations of this on the internet. The one above is that used by the Vancouver Art Gallery, where the painting resides.

Composition No. 1 - 1940
One of his most strictly geometric works.

Abstract Painting No. 20 - ca. 1943
Drifting from Geometry.

LSH 134 - 1950
A more "organic" look is now in place.

Untitled - 1952

Abstraction - 1964
This was painted around the time Harris had a heart attack.  By the time he died, he had developed dementia and his final painting were of blobs built up with wispy strokes somewhat like is seen here.

Monday, February 15, 2016

More Philadelphia Suburban Rail Car Photos

Several years ago I posted regarding 1930s-vintage rolling stock used on suburban Philadelphia railcar lines. Since then, I scanned slides I took in April 1969 of some of those cars. They aren't very good portraits of the equipment, but perhaps they might nevertheless be of interest to some readers.

Most of the photos are of the Philadelphia & Western suburban line that ran from Norristown to Philadelphia's 69th Street Station where riders heading for the city center would have to change to a different transportation mode. I caught a car at Haverford and rode it to 69th on my photography expedition.


P&W car near Haverford Station (cropped)

P&W car entering Haverford Station (cropped)

P&W car at Haverford Station

P&W car near Haverford Station (cropped)

P&W car at 69th Street Station

P&W car at 69th Street Station (cropped)

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company cars at 69th Street Station (cropped)

Red Arrow Liberty Liner at 69th Street Station (cropped)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Gray Steampunk World of Vadim Voitekhovitch

Vadim Voitekhovitch, painter of gray, gloomy-atmosphere, northern European Steampunk scenes was born and raised in Belarus and has been working in Germany since 2004. And that's about all I know about personal details from a short Google search.

I find most of his images fascinating because he creates an almost-believable world of circa-1900 European cities and towns where airships and other never-quite-happened contraptions abound. Besides his attention to detail, Voitekhovitch gives his scenes believable atmospherics. Northern Europe is gloomy a good part of the year, after all.


Fleet at Sea
The coal-fired warships are similar to 1890s French cuirassés designs such as the Masséna, featuring extreme tumble-home sides and ram bows. The airships also seem to have coal-fired steam engines: note the dark smoke from their stacks.

In a Distant Country
Harbor scene.  I like the rust on the battleship -- it makes the scene more believable.

No One Will Come Back
Setting off to war, though the people seem indifferent aside from the woman near the cannon and another with her young son near the stairway.

Old Harbour
Details include what might be a steam-powered omnibus and an airship "carrier."

Postal Dragon
Loading mail aboard from the rickety tower.

Stolen Sky

The Road to Babylon
Two scenes with airships, while the rest of the technology is pre-automobile.

The nearest airship is attached to a loading platform.

Gloomy Morning
Again, no cars.

Closeup of a Voitekhovitch airship.  Note the rust on the sides and what looks to be a royal or national crest on the rudder.  Clearly, his airships are impossible from an engineering standpoint.  The rust implies steel cladding -- very heavy.  They are powered by steam, often from coal-fired boilers.  Steam engines, boilers and filled coal bins are very heavy too.  Finally the size of the steel-clad "air bag" is much too small to house enough hydrogen to lift all that weight.  But I can easily ignore such matters because the world he has created is so enchanting for a history and design buff such as me.