Thursday, November 14, 2019

Robert Brough's Short, Promising Career

Robert Brough (1872-1905) was a Scottish painter whose career was cut short by injuries sustained in a train accident. Some background information is here and here.

He was capable of making fine society portraits in the vein of John Singer Sargent (who was his friend), while also earlier in his career creating boldly painted images where strong brushwork dominated -- perhaps influenced by the Glasgow Boys.

I was unaware of him until I recently encountered two of his works in Venice's Ca' Pesaro museum.

"Twixt Sun and Moon" (1895) as captured by my iPhone. I couldn't find Internet images of this and the following work. Click on this image and the next three to enlarge.

"Twixt Sun and Moon" detail. Note the brushwork.

"St. Anne of Brittany" (1895).

"St. Anne of Brittany" detail.

Now for some images of Robert Brough paintings found on the Internet.


Breton Women - c. 1893
He made a number of sketches such as this during his time studying in France. Doubtless the basis for the paintings featured above.

Sweet Violets
A combination of solid and wispy. Similar in spirit to Giovanni Boldini.

Captain Sir Harry Brooke of Fairley - 1903
Society portrait of a man.

Miss Maude Lawrence - 1898
Society portrait of a woman with a John Singer Sargent touch.

Mrs William Pyper - 1900
Society portrait featuring strong brushwork aside from key features.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Fernand Lungren: Some Eurpean Scenes

Fernand Harvey Lungren (1857-1932) is not well known, but in his day traveled widely and knew many important fellow artists. Places he lived include: New York; Cincinnati, Ohio; London; Santa Fe, New Mexico; California (Los Angeles and Santa Barbara); Paris, and Egypt. For more details, link here.

He worked in oils, gouache, watercolors, pastels and perhaps other media for his illustration work. On the other hand, though his approach was representational, his style varied over time and place, not being recognizably distinctive.

Since his settings were widely spaced -- from Paris cafés to Egyptian pyramids to southwestern American deserts to the California coastline, I limited the images below to scenes he painted in Europe during the first half of his career.


The Café - 1882
Perhaps Lungren's best known work -- highly simplified style for its time.  Had he continued painting something like this, he would be remembered better (though might have had trouble selling his works as art fashions evolved).

In the Café - c.1882
A variation on the first image.

Paris Street Scene - 1882
Watercolor of a rainy day.

The Gardens of Luxembourg - c. 1882-84
John Singer Sargent painted a scene this sort.

Piccadilly Spring Morning - 1899
Piccadilly Street, not Piccadilly Circus.

Liverpool, Docking a Liner - 1899
Another atmospheric scene.  He probably entered England at Liverpool on his return to Europe.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Whitney Darrow, Jr. of the New Yorker

Whitney Darrow, Jr. (1909-1999) was a mainstay cartoonist for the New Yorker magazine in its 1930s heyday and beyond. His Wikipedia entry notes that he was a Princeton University graduate who, unlike most other New Yorker cartoonists, wrote the captions to his work.

James Gurney posted about Darrow's method of producing a cartoon here. Rather than me discussing Darrow's work, do link to Gurney because he offers a lot of important information along with step-by step illustrations.

Examples of Darrow's work are shown below. I have no dates for them, but his style changed little over the years. And I've taken the liberty to explain some of the jokes because many viewers of this blog are not Americans and are likely to miss the humorous points.


"Your father and I are now separated, Robert. After this you will please refer to him as 'that heel.'"

"I don't know what it is, Mr. Mardley, but there's something about this room that gives me the willies."
As an aside, the setting seems vaguely like my apartment.

"The gentleman wants to know if you'd care to join him in a little argument."
Most of Darrow's situations take place indoors, so he was careful to get the perspective and other details right.

"I paint what I see."

"I agree it's a monument to the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright but as a museum..."
This was from about 1959 after Wright's Guggenheim museum in New York opened. Its gallery is a descending spiral while the paintings are hung in true vertical/horizontal fashion. As Darrow points out, viewing is slightly disorienting.

"She's not really mine. I'm just watching her for a friend."

"Notice, class, how Angela circles, always keeping the desk between them..."
The setting is a business school class for secretaries (note the shorthand translations under the English words on the blackboard). The instructor is showing the girls how to avoid an amorous boss.

"And last but not least..."
Here the will of a deceased rich man is being read out: guess who might get the most money.

"What's the use of arguing, dear? Let him punch you in the jaw and get it over with."
New York traffic hasn't improved much since Darrow drew this in the late 1930s.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Finally!! I Got to See Klimt's Judith II

This was a twenty-year epic struggle for me. Okay, I exaggerate -- but the twenty-year part is true.

Since the late 1990s I've been fortunate enough to view most of the important paintings by Gustav Klimt. But one eluded me. It was the second of his paintings dealing with the Biblical subject Judith beheading Holofernes.

The painting is housed in Venice's Ca' Pesaro museum located on the Grand Canal, but not close to the main tourist zones.

The first time I visited Venice, in the late 1990s, the museum was undergoing renovation and so the painting was inaccessible. My second visit was while on a bus tour with my late wife, and I could not fit visiting it due to all the tour group activities. I was on a cruise the third time I got to Venice. But arrival was delayed until early afternoon due to heavy fog, so I simply hung out in the tourist zone, having limited time available. About a week ago I arrived via another cruise ship and bought a one-day vaporetto pass that made getting to and from Ca' Pesaro easy. And, Happy Day!!, the painting was on display and not off on loan (unlikely, because it is perhaps the museum's most famous possession).

The image at the top of this post and most of those below were taken by me using an iPhone. Click on them to enlarge.


Klimt's 1901 Judith I.

Image of Judith II (1909) found on the Internet.

As seen by my iPhone.

Lower part of painting featuring Holofernes.

Detail of Judith.