Monday, May 16, 2022

Molti Ritratti: King Alfonso XIII

Spanish King Alfonso XIII (1886-1941) abdicated his throne in 1931, dying ten years later in Rome of a heart attack at age 54.  Biographical information can be found here.

Even in the age of photography, kings and other royalty had formal painted portraits made of themselves.  So it was with Alfonso.  Most of the artists who painted him were Spaniards, if Internet image searches are evidence.  Some of the artists represented below are unknown to me, but three are important, one of whom was not Spanish.


Time cover - 23 July 1928
A photograph of the king.

By Gabriel Osmundo Gómez
Alfonso's portraits usually had him posed in military attire, and the attire varied from portrait to portrait.

By Carlos Váquez Úbeda
An exception to military clothing.

By Luis Menéndez

By Mariano Oliver Aznar

By José Moreno Carbonero
This is sketchy, but the uniform he's wearing is a post- Great War dress outfit, not formal attire.  Now for some portraits by well-known artists.

By Joaquín Sorolla - 1907
In the uniform of a hussar.

By Ramon Casas
An informal depiction by Casas, who was especially skilled at depicting subjects and their personalities.

By Philip de Laszlo - 1927
Laszlo made many portraits of Alfonso and his family.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Paul César Helleu's Women

Paul César Helleu (1859-1927) portrayed society women.   According to his Wikipedia entry he was eventually rich enough to buy yachts, a subject of his later paintings.

Unlike most portrait painters featured here, Helleu seldom worked in oils.  He preferred pastel and etchings.  Judging by images of his works found via Google and Bing searches, his heyday seems to have been 1895-1915 or thereabouts.

Some of the images below strike me as being rather conventional, a contemporary Gallic variation on stereotypical Gibson Girls.  Others are more interesting, better evoking the personality of the sitter.


Alice Guérin - 1900
Helleu married her.

James McNeill Whistler

Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough - c.1901

Madame Letellier - c.1900

Mme. Ryan

Suzanne - Étude de cinq têtes

Kiki Preston (Alice Gwynne) - 1900


Élégante au Chapeau

Pamela Mitford
One of the famous sisters.

Blowing a kiss

Monday, May 2, 2022

Ramon Casas Paints a Crowd

Catalonian artist Ramon Casas (1866-1932), Wikipedia entry here, was skilled at depicting people.  This was even the case with his crowd-scene paintings where hundreds of folks were shown.

One such painting is Corpus. Salida de la precesión de la iglesia de Santa María del Mar, a 1898 Barcelona scene.

In 2010 I visited Barcelona's Museo Nacional d'Art de Catalunya and took two detail photos of that work.  Perhaps artists and others reading this post might find Casas' treatment of individuals at small scale interesting.


The entire painting.

Left-center detail.

Center crowd.