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

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