Monday, September 13, 2021

Paintings at Daniel Chester French's "Chesterwood"

Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), Wikipedia entry here, was probably the most noteworthy American sculptor following the death of Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  His most famous work is the statue of the seated Abraham Lincoln in Washington DC's Lincoln Memorial.

French lived many years in his Chesterwood estate in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.  It's not far from the Norman Rockwell Museum in the same township, and well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Today's post does not deal with French's sculptures.  Instead, it features some paintings I spotted while touring Chesterwood.  Two are by French himself, who handled paint brushes nearly as well as sculpting tools.  The others are by artist friends of his.

Images are iPhone 12 photos I took along with some that I found on the Internet.


Portrait of French by John Christen Johansen
(1876-1964), a well-known portrait artist in his day.  My photo.

Display case with paintings -- panning right-to-left, first image.

French's 1914 portrait of his daughter Margaret French (1889-1973) ... Wikipedia entry here.

Display case, second image.

Another painting of Margaret by French.

Portrait of Margaret by Robert Vonnoh (1858-1933).  Apologies for the poor resolution, but that was what the Internet had.

Photo of Margaret in the same setting.

1934 Photo of sculptor Margaret French Crosson with bust of her father.

Display case, third image.

Portrait of Daniel Chester French by Robert Vonnoh, 1913.

Display case, final image.  These portraits are probably by Johansen.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Multi Ritratti: Salammbô

Salammbô was a fictional character created by Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) for his sensational  novel of the same name.  She was cast as the daughter of Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, who in history was the father of Hannibal.  Hannibal fought Rome and is best known for crossing the Maritime Alps with an entourage that included war elephants.  Military buffs tend to focus on the Battle of Cannae wherein a Roman army was destroyed by a Carthaginian pincer attack.

As for Salammbô, a summary of the novel can be found in the previous link above and probably elsewhere on the Internet.  She was provocative enough that artists and even filmmakers sought to portray her.

Images of Salammbô below are in chronological order. Click on most to enlarge.


By Georges Rochegrosse - 1886

Design by Victor Prouvé - 1893
This design was adapted for a cover of Flaubert's book.

By Georges Rochegrosse - Salammbô et les colombes - 1893
Unlike some artists, Rochegrosse (who painted many Oriental nude or mostly-nude women) chose to portray Salammbô clothed.

By Léon Bonnat - "Rose Caron in the Rôle of Salammbô" - 1896

by Alphonse Mucha - "Incantation" - for Sarah Bernhard - 1897
This considered to represent Salammbô.

By Gaston Bussiere - 1907

By Georges Rochegrosse - 1910
His third version of Salammbô.

Film poster - 1925
I cannot make out the name of the artist.

Newspaper illustration by Dan Smith - 3 April 1927
Smith is little-known today, perhaps because of his common name and because much of his work was for newspapers rather than magazines.

Recent video game image of Salammbô found on the Internet

Monday, August 30, 2021

A New Book About Artists Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman

The Pontiac advertisement illustration above was part of a famous 1959-1972 series. The car was illustrated by Arthur M. Fitzpatrick (1919-2015), Wikipedia entry here.  The background was by Van Kaufman (1918-1995).  It is of the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco.

Early in his career Fitzpatrick worked as a car stylist at Briggs (which made bodies for carmakers) and Hudson as well as "Dutch" Darrin's California organization.  After World War 2 he shifted to automobile advertising art, delineating vehicles for advertisements and brochures.

Kaufman studied art in Los Angeles and worked for Walt Disney painting backgrounds and doing some animation work.  Following the war he went into freelance illustration and began working with Fitzpatrick in 1950.

A new book titled "Art Fitzpatrick & Van Kaufman: Masters of the Art of Automobile Advertising" arrived in my mailbox a few days ago.  Here is the cover:

 It is filled with illustrations of Pontiacs, Buicks, Mercurys and a few other brand cars.  It also has a good amount of text that describes the working methods of the artists.  I was fascinated, reading the book in one session.

The website for the book is here.

Illustration Magazine issue No. 73 has some material on "Fitz" and "Van" by the book's author. And the book's website has some sample pages for your inspection.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Fantasy Art at the Norman Rockwell

If you are interested in American illuatration and find yourself in the vicinity of western Massachusetts, a must-see site is the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.  While it displays many of Rockwell's works, it also has exhibits dealing with other illustrators.  Until 31 October of this year there's an exhibit featuring fantasy illustration.

For some reason illustrations of dragons and other mythical creatures don't interest me very much, so I skipped through the exhibit quickly, focusing my iPhone on works by illustrators who do interest me.  Those works had minimal monster content.

Below are some of my photos.  Featured are details of the original artwork for readers interested in technique.  They are presented in chronological order.  Click on images to enlarge.


"The Black Eagle of Prussia" by Gustave Doré - 1871
I think of Doré in terms of etchings.  Of course he could paint, and in color.  This is a black and white painting dealing with the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War that ended badly for the French.

Detail showing an angel fending off the evil eagle of Prussia.

"The Other Side" by Dean Cornwell - 1918
Cornwell usually dealt in conventional subjects, so this fairly early work is interesting in that he didn't need to research setting details.

Cornwell made use of oil paint and impasto during the first 15 or 20 years of his career.

"Lady Violetta and the Knave" by Maxfield Parrish - 1924
Parrish's style is the antithesis of Cornwell's.

He made considerable use of glazing in his Fine Art works, though perhaps not so much here.

"The Planet Wizard" book cover by Jeffrey Jones - 1969
This is slightly cropped.  A fairly early Jones that has hints of Frank Frazetta's style.

"Beauty and the Beast" by Thomas Blackshear - 1994
Blackshear, aside from postage stamp designs, seems to do more Fine Art work than illustration.

Detail.  Note hints of Gustav Klimt.

"The Creek" in "The Conquering Sword of Conan" by Gregory Manchess - 2005
Manchess' style is strong and painterly.

His brushwork in this small illustration is worth study.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Stefan Prohaczka's Dieselpunk Source Materiał

Stefan Prohaczka is highly regarded for his Dieselpunk digital art by fans of that genre.  Unfortunately, I could find no biographical information about him via Google other than he is (or was) based in Paris.

What I find interesting about his work is that it's often easy to spot his source material.  Not necessarily the exact image he used as part of the basis for an illustration.  Just the source subject itself.  Since Dieselpunk is a kind of alternative history, the use of thinly-disguised subjects can be justified.

Below are some examples, some of which I am personally familiar with ... for what little that might be worth.  Image titles are either from various websites or are my descriptive ones.  Click on images to enlarge.


Eurocentric Airlines
A steam-powered transport aircraft that couldn't possibly fly.  But who cares?

The Ferry Boat Kalakala
The Kalakala was operated in Puget Sound on the Seattle-Bremerton run by the Black Ball line.  I never rode it, but saw it many times when I was young.

Diesel City 7
A Noir train station scene.

General Motors Electromotive publicity
Although details varied over the years, Prohaczka's locomotive is clearly a GM diesel.

Dramatic scene
P-51 fighter planes, searchlights, what appear to be statues, and ...

1964-65 New York World's Fair Unisphere - via NY Times
I attended the fair in 1965.

AeroStream Cruiser
Another unflyable device.

General Motors Aerotrain - Robby Gregg photo
Prohaczka's image is of the Aerotrain locomotive.  I rode the Aerotrain from Chicago to Detroit in 1956.

Blimp Airlines
That's a dirigible, not a soft blimp.

Early Zeppelin
But the source is clearly a circa-1910 Zeppelin such as this one.

Pilot and Skyscapers
A wartime scene.  The large building in the background is ...

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1935
I've stayed there a few times.

Trans-Europa Express
Poster design.

20th Century Limited locomotive in 1939 - Daniel Hagerman photo
Industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss designed the cladding for this iconic New York Central locomotive.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Molti Ritratti: Judith

According to this Wikipedia entry, the Biblical book of Judith is not accepted by all Judeo-Christian faiths: her story might have been an invention.

Regardless, it's a great story that's had much appeal to artists for many centuries.  Beauty, sex and blood (the Jewish widow Judith slicing off the head of Holofernes, an Assyrian general) is almost irresistible subject matter that happens to be validated in the Roman Catholic Bible.

Many painting were made of that event, and a sampling is presented below in chronological order.


By Giorgione - Giuditta con la testa di Oloferne - c.1504
Here she seems calm, perhaps satisfied with her work.

By Lucas Cranach the Elder - c.1530
Holofernes is rather gruesome, but Judith is well-dressed and without a trace of spattered blood.

By Caravaggio - "Judith Beheading Holofernes" - 1598–1599
I regard this as the most satisfying depiction from a psychological standpoint: note her expression as well as his.

By Cristofano Allori - "Judith with the Head of Holofernes" - 1613
As mostly usual, no sign of spilled blood.

By Gentileschi Artemisia - "Judith Slaying Holofernes" - 1614–18
This is bloody and perhaps inspired by Caravaggio's painting.  It's also likely the most realistic depiction of an actual event of that kind.

By Augist Riedel - 1840
Holofernes is absent here.

By Charles Landelle - 1887
Here too.

By Gustav Klimt - 1901
Painted during Klimt's gold-leaf decorative phase, and almost as famous as Caravaggio's work.

By Georges-Antoine Rochegrosse - 1905
This shows Judith on her way to dispose of Holofernes.

By Gustav Klimt - 1909
Another fascinating Klimt painting.  I made this photo in Venice, where it reposes in the Ca' Pesaro museum.