Monday, October 25, 2021

John Christen Johansen, Early 1900s American Portrait Artist

John Christen Johansen (1876-1964), brief Wikipedia entry here, was a successful American portrait artist during the early decades of the 20th century.  However, he is not well known today.

I need to mention that as of mid-July when this post was drafted, his Wikipedia entry was flawed.  A short, better biographical sketch is here.

It seems that Johansen originally painted landscapes before focusing on portraits of men -- probably a more lucrative artistic pursuit.  Most of the examples I found on the Web were works related to his commission to portray the 1919 Versailles conference that concluded the Great War.  These portraits tended to be competently made, though their colors were rather drab.


Woodrow Wilson study (cropped) - c. 1919
This was used as cover art for a recent biography of Wilson.  I like the way Johansen blocked in Wilson's head and facial structure.

Daniel Chester French - 1925
He painted several portraits of his Stockbridge, Massachusetts summertime neighbor who is best known for sculpting the seated Lincoln in the Washington DC Lincoln Memorial.

Signing of the Treaty of Versailles - 1919
What he was sent to France to portray.

Georges Clemenceau - 1919
French wartime Prime minister.

Marechal Joseph Joffre - 1919
Joffre, now a Marshal of France, led French armies during the first years of the Great War.  His most important accomplishment was realizing that his prewar Plan XVII was a failure, then repositioning his forces to defeat the German armies in the Battle of the Marne in early September 1914.

General Joseph Joffre by Henri Jacquier - 1915
Similar pose to Johansen's, though details differ.  I have no idea if there was any connection between these two works.

Generale Amade Diaz - 1919
Diaz assumed command of Italy's army after failures by his predecessor and was successful against German and Austro-Hungarian forces.

Henry Clay Frick - n.d., presented to the Frick Collection in 1943
Probably painted circa 1910.

Interiors - 1925
Like the Versailles scene above, Johansen often liked his subjects low, below tall windows.  Note the brighter coloring than the portraits above.

Elizabeth, Queen of the Belgians by M. Jean McLane - 1921
M. Jean McLane (1878-1964), Wikipedia entry here, was Johansen's wife and also a portrait artist.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Alexey Lipatov's Dieselpunk Illustrations

Airship Persephone

Alexey Lipatov is a Ukrainian illustrator from (or in) Dnieper (Dnipro).  I can't be more precise or add any further information about him because I could find none during a casual Web search.

Lipatov's illustration style is competent, but not particularly distinctive.  He is versatile in subject matter, though most of his production that I came across was in the Fantasy and Dieselpunk subject categories.

Featured here are some Dieselpunk examples.  That's because I have a mild, unexplainable interest in Dieselpunk and Steampunk.  Lipatov's illustrations are light, good-humored.  You might fancy them too.  Titles are either mine or what I saw on the Web.  Click on the images to enlarge somewhat.


Girl Mechanic
Perhaps a spoof on Soviet-era propaganda posters.

Seaplane and Girl
Sort of a mid-1930s airplane with a Daffy Duck emblem.

Full Moon
Note the two machine guns on the floatplane's nose.

Inspired by some early-1930s Soviet, German and French aircraft.

Arrival in Utopia
A touch of Film Noir.  What might the lady be carrying in that violin case?

Hovercraft Photo Shoot
Lipatov made several drawings featuring fantasy hovercraft.

Plane and Pilot
A late-1930s kind of aircraft, though the motors are too small to give it sprightly performance.

That appears to be an actual Dornier Do X seaplane in the background -- not a Lipatov invention..

Monday, October 11, 2021

Albert Henry Collings, British Portrait Artist

Albert Henry Collings (1868-1947) is yet another British portrait artist appearing in this blog.  Given that I've written around 1,400 posts, I'm not willing to go back through them and make a count -- but I've posted about plenty of them.  Even in the age of photography, they somehow eked out a living despite all the competition.

There isn't much Internet biographical information on Collings, so his Wikipedia entry will have to do for now.

Collings' subjects seem to have been mostly women.  He painted non-portrait work, but the interesting examples I found are not quite safe for viewing in an office setting.  These can probably be found via an Internet search engine.


Victoria ('Via') Florence de Burgh Long, Lady Gibbs - 1908
This is the earliest painting I can document: he was about 40 at the time.

Blue and Gold Dress


Kimono and Kylin - 1917
Women posing wearing kimonos was an artistic fashion in those days.

Miss Melhursh

Portrait of a Lady
Striking lady strikingly painted.

She modeled for Collings more than once.  I think she is the woman in the previous image and perhaps in "The Blue and Gold Dress" above..

Woman with hat and veil
Might be a Great War widow,

King George VI in Coronation Robes
A number of artists made similar paintings.  I'm not sure if His Majesty posed for Collings or if photographs were used.  The king's height seems slightly exaggerated.

The Studio Mirror - 1929
Based on what Google image searches turned up, this might be Collings' best-known work.  The model might be Yasmin.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Gustave Doré, Painter

Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré (1832-1883) is best known for engraved illustrations of the Bible, Paradise Lost and other works.  He also painted and sculpted -- some paintings are featured in this post.

His fairly brief English Wikipedia entry is here, and more information about him can be found in his French Wikipedia entry here.

As best I can tell from these and a few other Internet sources, Doré had little or no formal art training, though he was the friend of artists who might have given him tips now and then.

The images of his paintings below are arranged chronologically.


Dante et Virgile dans le neuvième cercle de l'Enfer - 1861
Ninth Circle of Hell, an impressive painting similar to his illustration work.

The Fall of the Rebel Angels - 1866
Again illustration-like, but not as good as the previous painting.

La Siesta, Memory of Spain - c.1868
Being a skilled draftsman, that carried over into this oil painting.

Le Christ quittant le prétoire - Christ Leaving the Praetorium - c.1870
Doré might have lacked academic training, but he painted scenes that academicians would have.

Sister of Charity Saving a Child, Episode in the Siege of Paris - 1870-71
Doré was trapped in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War siege and was a member of la garde nationale during the time of the Commune.

Scottish Highlands - 1875
He had business interests in Britain and traveled there, hence this and other landscape paintings.

The Ascension - 1879
Another religious painting.

La Vallée de larmes - The Valley of Tears - 1883
Perhaps Doré's last painting.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Some Norman Rockwell Studies

I was touring New England in June and made sure to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

On display were some examples of Rockwell's studies for his Saturday Evening Post cover art.  His studies were extremely detailed, little different from the final art apart from being drawn in pencil and lacking color.

Although this was highly labor-intensive, Rockwell in later years had an assistant to do some chores such as transferring a drawing to canvas, taking care of oil paints, cleanup, and such.

Below are some iPhone photos I took.  Click on them to enlarge.


Land of Enchantment - 1934
These are sketches of details and not a full-scale study.

The finished painting.

A detail derived from the lower sketch.

Detail based on the upper sketch.

The Gossips - 1948
Study for one of his most famous Post covers.  Note the size compared to the nearby information plaque.

Detail featuring Rockwell's wife.  He pictured himself on the bottom row of the previous image.

Mermaid - 1955

The mermaid seems pretty sexy for the 1955 Post, but the final was the same pose as here.

The Art Student - 1955
This compared the study with the final art.  Most of the background details differ, so it's likely that a later study was made.

Just Married - 1957
This is highly detailed indeed.  Note that Rockwell paid attention here to light-dark values using other media then pencil.

Detail of the figures.

Monday, September 20, 2021

More Glen Orbik Guilty Pleasures Noir Paintings

I wrote about the guilty pleasures of Glen Orbik (1963-2015) noir illustrations here.  He painted many more than what I presented then, so it's time to offer more examples.

Maybe some day I'll do a post comparing book cover artists that might help put Orbik in context.  Spoiler alert: He was among the very best.

Some of the images below can be enlarged by clicking on them.


"After Hours"

Anne Steelyard

Book cover illustrations such as this required blank areas for title, author, and other text placement.


"Lex 2000"
Superman villain Lex Luthor running for president.

Unfortunately, I could not locate a title for this illustration.


"Valley of Fear" by A.C. Doyle