Monday, February 22, 2021

Hans Makart, Who Influenced Klimt

Hans Makart (1840-1884) influenced Gustav Klimt and others, according to his Wikipedia entry.  I am not sure just what that influence might have been, because Klimt's trademark style did not emerge until nearly 15 years after Makart's death.

That said, Makart had a highly successful, prolific career despite his early death at age 44.

Having mentioned Klimt, I thought I might as well feature some Makart depictions of women because women were Klimt's favorite subjects.

The images below are in reverse alphabetical order just for the fun of it.  Given his comparatively brief career, I made no effort to track stylistic evolution.


Zerline Gabillon - 1873

Sarah Bernhardt - 1881
Almost more of a sketch than a formal portrait.

Portrait of a Young Woman - c.1883
A fairly late work -- and she doesn't seem all that young.

Karoline Gomperz - c.1870
And this is comparatively early.

Gräfin Palffy
"Gräfin" is a reference for "Countess."

Dora Fournier-Gabillon - c.1879

Charlotte Wolter as Messalina - 1875

Anna von Waldberg - 1883-84.
Another late work.

Amalie Makart am Klavier

Adele Gräfin Waldstein-Wartenberg - 1874

Monday, February 15, 2021

Color Photographs ... Enhanced!!

From time to time I come across shops that feature large-format color photographic prints having dramatic views and striking colors.  Apparently there is a fairly strong market for such images.

In some cases those color schemes are not what I've ever seen in nature.  Are my eyes failing me?  Or were the original photos digitally enhanced?

Offhand, I don't know for certain, but I'm pretty sure there was some enhancing going on.  Check out my experiment below.


The first two examples are by Peter Lik.  I've seen this one in his stores.  The subject is Manarola in Cinque Terre, Italy.  The buildings seem brighter than I think they should be, and the foliage more green. The sea seems more placid and blue than I would expect.

Here again the foliage green in the foreground strikes me as being a bit false.  The lighting on the clouds seems on the strong side, though I have seen such colors for Hawaiian sunsets.

Photo from an unknown source via  Colors look exaggerated.

Now for my experiment.  This is an iPhone photo I took recently on the grounds of the Waikoloa Beach Marriott on Hawaii's Big Island.

I moved it to my iMac, selected it for Preview, and went to Adjust Color in the Tools menu.  Then I moved the Saturation bar to the extreme and made a few small adjustments to some other controls to achieve the result in the above image.  It seems similar to the kind of likely enhancements shown in the first three images.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Andrew Loomis Illustrations

William Andrew Loomis (1892-1959) is known today for his series of art/illustration instruction books.  I have copies of most of them, and they are very good.  But he made his career as a successful illustrator in Chicago.  I'm inclined to classify him as a member of the "Chicago School" illustrators who worked in a lush, somewhat painterly style -- the likes of Haddon Sundblom and Gil Elvgren.  A bit of background on Loomis is here.

Below are examples of his commercial, non-instructional art.  The first images are from the 1920s. then from the '30s and a little later.  Many were made for advertisements, some are story illustrations and a few might have been made for his own purposes.


Birthday scene, probably ad art.

Coca-Cola ad from around 1920, or maybe a little earlier to judge by the clothing of the woman in the background.

Advertising art for Kellogg's cereals.  Note his use of light.

Another light-intensive work, this from 1928.  The green on her hair is interesting, reflecting the color of the window curtains.  Click to enlarge.

Art for a Chevrolet automobile advertisement, 1929.

Vignette format illustration from the 1930s.

Dramatic scene in a magazine story illustration.

"The Accused" story illustration.  Again note Loomis' use of lighting.

"The Fall."  His portrayal of the lady's legs is convincing (though they seem a little short): I feel sorry for his model doing this pose.

Romantic story scene.

Sultry smoker.

I think this a very nicely made.  If possible, I urge you to click on it to enlarge it so that you can study Loomis' technique here.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Dennis Ziemienski's Retro Art

Dennis Ziemienski (b. 1947) paints images that I think are both fun and interesting.  That's because they are a form of Retro, evoking 1920s and 1930s western America.  A lot of the original images of this kind were still around when I was a boy, which might well be why I like Ziemienski's work as well as paintings by some other artists who do similar things.

There isn't much biographical information about him on the Internet.  A snippet on his Web page is here, and a litle more about him is here.  The former link inlcludes this: "His strong and richly colored images borrow much of their inspiration from early 20th century paintings and posters."

Ziemienski's painting have a posterlike look, a purposeful appearance that he could easily bring off in part because earlier in his career he was a commercial artist.


For non- North American readers, a carhop was a girl who delivered food to customers in their cars parked by a drive-in restaurant.  The green car closely resembles a 1941 Dodge.

Desert Cattle Drive
Ziemienski also painted simplified landscapes.

Desert Plunge
Mid-1930s New Mexico setting.

Giant Orange
There were orange juice stands like these in California as late as the early 1950s, though I'm not sure of their brand name.

Great Northern
The Great Northern Railroad was the most northerly line between Chicago and Seattle, so this scene hints at being just east of Glacier National Park.

Hot Springs
The bathing suit style is from around 1932.

Pasadena Orange Harvest
This evokes the early part of the 20th century.

Red Biplane
I haven't done the research to find if this was an actual plane or something Ziemienski made up.

Red Truck Overdrive
A 1956 Ford truck with a New Mexico license plate.

This might represent Lake Tahoe in the 1920s.

Western Lounge
Note the Life Magazine cover, dating this roughly from the late 1930s well into the 1940s.  I don't know if that was an actual cover photo.

Yellowstone from the Station Wagon
That's a 1937 Ford.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Danish Late-1800s Paintings by Carl Tomsen

Carl Christian Frederik Jacob Thomsen (1847-1912) seems to have been a fairly important Danish painter in his day.  His brief English language Wikipedia entry is here, but from there you can link to a much longer entry in Danish.

I know little about Danish art.  Even from the 1850-1930 period that interests me most across all nations.  The most famous circa-1900 Danish painter seems to be Thomsen's contemporary Peder Krøyer. Krøyer painted genrre scenes -- seashore settings, dinner parties and such.  Thomsen also did genre, though mostly from a different angle.

Both artists were conservative, making representational images in an era when Modernism was on the rise in France and elsewhere south of the Scandinavian countries.  Thomsen was technically skilled, but I find his work rather dull.

But then, perhaps that's what the Danish market expected of him.


En Søndag Eftermiddag - 1888
A Sunday afternoon gathering.  Nice depiction of light and shade.

The Honeymoon - 1893
Thomsen apparently chose to depict the morning after.  To my eyes, what we have here is a long-time married couple.

Arranging Daffodils - 1894
Again, nicely painted, but rather dull.  The wildest touch is the position of the lady's left leg.

A gathering -- I don't have a formal title for this
A rather fragmented grouping.

I Karnevalstiden - 1899

Portræt af kunstnerens datter Elise Thomsen - 1906
Thomsen's daughter.  She doesn't seem pretty, and the pose and lighting might be an attempt to hide that.

Portræt af ung kvinde - 1908
A fairly late work.  Not as smoothly painted as the 1890s scenes for some reason.

Moder Danmark
An etching of "Mother Denmark."

Monday, January 18, 2021

Frederick Sands Brunner, Yet Another Successful Unknown Illustrator

Frederick Sands Brunner (1886-1954) specialized in illustration art featuring pretty young women.  He had at least one Saturday Evening Post cover and two Coca-Cola images to his credit, so he indeed managed to hit the illustration Big Time.

On the other hand, he is unknown today, in that I could find no biographical information about him on casual Google and Bing internet searches.  Nor was he included in Walt Reed's "The Illustrator in America" reference book.

As best I can tell, although Brunner was quite competent, his work lacked that special touch more successful illustrator had.  His work strikes me as being similar to that of Andrew Loomis.  And Loomis was almost, but not quite in the league of Norman Rockwell, Mead Schaffer, John LaGatta and others.

Don't let me influence you.  Below is a sampling of what I mostly consider Brunner's better work for your consideration.


Taproot of Power illustration
A fairly early example, circa 1920.

Almost Quitting Time
Witty.  I like this.

Seated lady
The Internet source had much brighter colors, but my adjustment might be more realistic.

Saturday Evening Post cover art for February 16, 1935
Brunner's Big Time illustration

Clicquot Clib ad
For a now defunct beverage company.  The Eskimo lad was its trademark character.



Autumn Patterns
A 1939 illustration.

Reading Mother Goose stories

Prom Night