Monday, November 29, 2021

Some Cruise Ship Art

Paintings or reproductions are commonly found in hotel rooms or similar accommodations such as cruise ship cabins.

Recently (October-November 2021) I found myself on a fancy cruise ship on the Mediterranean.  It had art almost everyplace.  Even each of the cabins seemed to have different works, and not just the same reproductions in the same spots.

The cruise ship was no art museum, and there surely was a painting acquisition budget.  A result was that nearly all this original art was of mediocre quality (according to my biased perspective).

Some iPhone snapshots I hurriedly made the day before the cruise ended are displayed below.  I didn't bother with abstract paintings, focusing on some that were somewhat representational.  Since the ship was built and fitted out in Europe, European paintings seem to be what was purchased.


La Visita by Arcadio Cancio - 2002
Quite Picasso-like.

"In the Circus" by Uver Solís - 1953
I'm not sure how to categorize this.

"Piano Woman" by Hiremio Santa Olaya García - 2011

There were a few strongly naturalistic paintings such as this one.  It had no title posted, nor the name of the painter.

Not badly done, though the brushwork on the woman's arms is unfortunate.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Mark English does Bernie Fuchs

Mark English (1933–2019) was an outstanding illustrator of the 1960s generation that included such greats as Bernie Fuchs and Bob Peak.  For an overview of his career and analyses of his work, I suggest you link to David Apatoff posts here and here.

I find English difficult to pin down due to his use of several distinctive styles.  A few examples are shown below.

But my main purpose here is to present two illustrations for 1963 Buicks done in the style of Bernie Fuchs, who at that time was extremely influential.  It's likely that an art director ordered English to "do some like Fuchs."  And English, a skilled illustrator still fairly early in his career who had a household to support, did.

Click on images to enlarge.


Albert Einstein

A "clinch"


Eddie Bauer catalog cover art

Viviane Woodard advertisement
English's signature is below the yellow flower.   It's similar to those in the car ads below.

Automobile Advertising Illustration

1963 Buick advertisement art (part)
His signature is next to the rear tire.

1963 Buick advertisement

1963 Buick advertisement art detail via
His signature is by the lower left corner. Note the similarity of his treatment of people to Bernie Fuchs' style shown next.  Also note how small the people are compared to the car.  This reduction of peoples' sizes was common car ad practice since the 1930s and perhaps before, the idea being to make the car seem impressively large.

1960 General Motors advertisement, Bernie Fuchs illustration

Seagrams ad art, circa 1960
This shows Fuchs' treatment of people at that time in more detail. Compare to English's Buick illustrations.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Molti Ritratti: Empress Eugénie of France

María Eugenia Ignacia Agustina de Palafox y Kirkpatrick, 19th Countess of Teba, 16th Marchioness of Ardales (1826-1920), known as Eugénie de Montijo, was empress of France 1853-1870.   She was the wife of Napoleon III.  Her Wikipedia entry is here.

She lived in the age of photography, but also had painted portraits made.  Her favorite artist seems to have been Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873), who specialized in portraits of royalty and the social well-to-do.

Below are some portraits of her, most by Winterhalter.  Many of the dates are speculative, though approximate, due to lack of information from Internet sources.


By Franz Xaver Winterhalter

Eugénie - c.1853
Probably painted around the time she became Empress.

Eugénie - c.1855
She had odd-looking eyes that challenged painters who wanted to paint flattering depictions.

The Empress Eugénie surrounded by her ladies in waiting - 1855

Eugénie - 1857
This reminds me of 18th century paintings of French royalty in the countryside.

Eugénie - c.1860
A profile view eliminated most of the eye problem.

Eugénie - c.1862

By Others

Photo: Eugénie and her family - c.1858
Her son Louis, Prince Imperial, was killed by Zulus while serving as a British army officer.

Eugénie by Edouard Boutibonne - c.1855

Eugénie by Edouard-Louis Dubufe - c.1858
Again, those eyes.

Eugénie by Edouard-Louis Dubufe - 1861

Monday, November 8, 2021

Robert Vonnoh, American Impressionist of Sorts

Robert William Vonnoh (1858-1933) is classified as an American Impressionist in his Wikipedia entry, and I used that in the title of this post.  As best I can tell from what I've read (not being any kind of authority regard Impressionism), American Impressionist art is more structured, less wispy, than high French Impressionism (think Claude Monet).  And so it was with Vonnoh, some of whose works seem hardly Impressionist at all.

Until recently, I had never heard of him.  Which is sad, because he was very competent.  On the other hand, I don't think of his work as being outstanding: no painting stands out, his style was not distinctive.

Below are examples of his work.


Margaret French - 1913
I came across Vonnoh while visiting Chesterwood in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in June.  Chesterwood was where sculptor Daniel Chester French lived and worked.  Above is my iPhone photo of a display case.  The painting of the woman in red is by French, the subject being his daughter Margaret.  The painting to its left is by Vonnoh, also of Margaret French.

Daniel Chester French - c.1913
Here is Vonnoh's portrait of French, who his best known for his seated Abraham Lincoln sculpture in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

Bessie Potter Vonnoh - 1907
Portrait of Vonnoh's wife, herself a sculptor of small works.

Bessie Potter Vonnoh at Her Dressing Table - 1912
A later portrayal of Bessie.

In Flanders Field (Coquelicots) - 1890
According to Wikipedia, this is Vonnoh's best known painting.

Beside the River (Grez) - 1890
I like this one better due to its composition and colors.

Grez scene
Painted on a somber day, it seems.

The Ring - 1892
In the American Impressionist style.

Ellen Axson Wilson and Her Daughters - 1913
This later interior scene lacks broken colors aside, perhaps, from the vegetation.

At the Helm (Edward Dale Toland) - c.1926
A late work.  Only the background hints of Impressionism.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Molti Ritratti: Georges Clemenceau

Georges Benjamin Clemenceau (1841-1929) was French Prime Minister 1906-09 and 1917-20.  As his Wikipedia entry mentions, he led a long, active life.  Besides being a politician, he had a medical degree and practiced journalism.  He is best known to history for his premiership during the Great War and the postwar Versailles Conference.

Many photographs of Clemenceau exist, but few painted portraits.  Most of that latter that I am aware of were made by well-known artists, as can be seen below.


Clemenceau by Édouard Manet - 1880
In some ways little more than sketch, Manet skillfully suggests the shape of Clemenceau's head and main facial features.

Clemenceau by Nadar - date unknown, probably late 1870s
Nadar was a famous photographer.

Clemenceau by Eugène Carrière - c.1889
Done in Carriére's distinctive style.  Like the Manet portrait, this is simple, yet a convincing likeness.

Clemenceau - c.1910

Clemenceau by John Christen Johansen - 1919
The American portrait artist Johansen was commissioned to paint the Versailles Conference.  That involved making a number of paintings of major men of the time.  I do not know how many of these subjects actually posed for Johansen, as some of these portraits resemble previous portraits by others or earlier photographs such as are juxtaposed here.  That said, Johansen's paintings show Clemenceau as being clearly older than in the photo, so perhaps he was at least able to observe and sketch Clemenceau if in fact no posing occurred.

Clemenceau and Lt. General John J. Pershing - c.1918
How Clemenceau appeared when Prime Minister during the war.

Clemenceau by Cecilia Beaux - 1920
Beaux was one of America's leading portrait artists.  Like the works by Manet and Carrière above, this painting is more sketchy than finished.