Monday, May 30, 2022

Ramon Casas' Women

Ramon Casas i Carbó (1866-1932), Wikipedia entry here, was one of those excellent Barcelona-based artists active in the decades around 1900.  Most of his paintings and drawings are of people.  He was especially skilled at depicting faces and personalities.

His parents were wealthy, so he did not need to endure periods of artistic struggle.  Most of his career was spent in Barcelona, though when a young artist he split his time between Barcelona and Paris.  He also spent some time in Madrid where he made portrait drawings.

Those drawings were mostly or entirely of men, and men likely were subjects of much of his commissioned portrait work, though images of these paintings are essentially absent in Internet searches.  Besides his portrait drawings, most Web images are of women.  Some of these are shown below.


Antes del baño - 1894
This is perhaps my favorite Casas painting.

Montserrat Casas - 1888
His older sister.

Belisa Casas amb Vestit Gris - 1889
His younger sister.

En el Moulin de la Galette - 1892
Another well-known painting.  Madelaine is smoking a cigar, but that must have been okay in Montmartre in those bohemian days.

La Parisina - 1899
Seven years later, this Parisienne is shown in a costume with similar colors to those seen in the preceding image.

Après le bal - c.1899
Another Paris painting featuring a beautiful young woman.

La Parisienne - 1901
Something of a sketch, but signed and dated by the artist.

Júlia Peraire - c.1908
His model, mistress, and eventual wife.

Lola Vidal de Utrillo (Dolors Vidal Ribot)  - 1911
She was the wife of painter Miguel Utrillo, possible father of french painter Maurice Utrillo, son of Suzanne Valadon.

La Trini - 1916

Monday, May 23, 2022

Drawings by Bernard Boutet de Monvel

Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1881-1949), biographical information here and here, was a leading Art Deco / Moderne era artist.  He is best known for his illustrations and portraits, though those were not all the areas he worked in.

Boutet de Monvel's father was a well-known illustrator of children's books, and Bernard had entry to high society, the subject of portraits and fashion illustrations.

Today's post features some of his drawings that often served as studies or preliminary versions of finished illustrations.  His style is simple, linear, and somewhat geometric due to the straight, ruled lines that were commonly used.

He was very good at what he did.


For 1929 model year advertising, he illustrated advertisements for Hupmobile, lending the American brand an aura of French sophistication.

Cartoon of a family inspecting an in-progress portrait.

Dancers.  Even though this is a study, he took care to sign it (and all the others).

Fashion study at the left.

Cartoon: man confronts Cubist painting.

Elégante au porte-cigarette - study for Harper's Bazaar magazine illustration, 1929.


Note the careful perspective work.

Another Harper's Bazaar study.

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.