Monday, September 25, 2023

Anastasia Vostrezova, Painter of the Ballet

Anastasia Vostrezova, born 1981, is a Russian representational painter known for her depictions of ballet dancers.  A brief biographical note is here, and more information is here.

Vostrezova is skilled, her paintings generally being well composed and pleasingly executed.  That said, she also seems to have an eye on the mid-level art market that likes professionally-done, but not profound paintings featuring people.


Self-Portrait in a Hat

Self-Portrait in a Theater Costume
A pastel work.

Now for a few ballet-related paintings.

The Old Buffet
As best I can tell from images of her paintings found using Internet searches, her subjects are always women.

The Antique Shawl
Note the variation is brushwork between the subject and dress/background.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Bartow Van Voorhis Matteson - 1920s Illustrator

Bartow Van Voorhis Matteson (1894-1984) was an illustrator active in the 1920s who might have transitioned to Fine Arts later during his long life.   I can find virtually no biographical details about him on Google and Bing searches or in my reference library.

Below are some examples of his illustration work, most from the 1920s.  Some are competently done, and appeared in some of the better magazines.  A few others are of lesser quality.


U.S. Army Medical Department poster - c.1918
Matteron signed this as an Army lieutenant.  I don't think this poster is well-done artistically and persuasively.

Vignette format Western romance scene
Matteson did a number of Western romance story illustrations.  This is not his best: note the poor anatomy at the man's neck and shoulder.

Farm scene
Story illustration.

The Courtship
Another Cowboy romance.  Essentially the same costume as seen above.  The girl is nicely depicted.

Under the Moonlight
From the same story as the preceding image?  Costumes are nearly the same.  Or did Matteson simply repeat the same sort of clothing again and again when called to do Western love stories?

Gypsies Paused at the Clearing
This is comparable to 1920s illustrations by better-known artists such as Dean Cornwell.

Heartache at Sea
Another competent work.

Lovers and swans scene - The Country Gentleman magazine - 1926
For reasons of printing economy in those days, many illustrations were created and printed in duotone.

The Proposal - 1930
The lady is poorly drawn: her head is too large for her body.

Monday, September 11, 2023

George Frederic Watts: Some Portraits

George Frederic Watts (1817-1904) was an important 19th century British artist, as is noted here.

Among many other things, that Wikipedia entry mentions: "He was also admired as a portrait painter.  His portraits were of the most important men and women of the day, intended to form a 'House of Fame'.  In his portraits Watts sought to create a tension between disciplined stability and the power of action.  He was also notable for emphasising the signs of strain and wear on his sitter's faces.  Of his British subjects many are now in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery..."

Today's post presents several of those portraits from 1864 through 1871, a period when many of them were painted.

Shown are mostly art- and culture-related personalities, subjects apparently dear to Watts' heart, as he was part of that tribe.  Artistically, they are accurate from a representational standpoint.  They are rather dark, brownish -- an appearance that was fashionable in late-1800s Britain, as a visitor to London's National Portray Gallery will notice.


Giuseppe Garibaldi - 1864
Garibaldi was a political figure thanks to his effort to unity Italy.  But that also made him a figure of popular culture -- there's even a mountain named after him in far-off British Columbia.

Ellen Terry in "Choosing" - 1864
Watts was briefly married to this famous actress.  She ran out on him.

Robert Browning - 1866
The poet.

Algernon Charles Swinburne - 1867
Another poet.

Florence Nightingale - 1868
The famous nurse of the Crimean War.

Daniel Gabriel Rossetti - 1870
Pre-Raphaelite painter.

William Morris - 1870
Arts and Crafts movement personality.

Frederic Leighton - 1871
Famous painter.

Edward Millais - 1871
Pre-Raphaelite painter.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Edwin Lord Weeks, American Orientalist

Edwin Lord Weeks (1849 – 1903) had wealthy parents and so was able to study art and visit exotic places.  His Wikipedia entry notes:

"In 1872 Weeks relocated to Paris, becoming a pupil of Léon Bonnat and Jean-Léon Gérôme.

After his studies in Paris, Weeks emerged as one of America's major painters of Orientalist subjects.  Throughout his adult life he was an inveterate traveler and journeyed to South America (1869), Egypt and Persia (1870), Morocco (frequently between 1872 and 1878), and India (1882–83)."

Orientalism was a fasionalble painting genre in the last three decades of the 1800s.  Typical subject matter was the Middle East, though French orientalists often favored scenes from France's North African empire thanks to its convenience.  Weeks' teacher Gérôme is an important example.

British and the fewer American orientalists often cast a wider geographical net, taking in Turkey and British Empire locations as well are places of British influence such as Egypt and Persia.

So it was with Weeks, as noted above.  Many of the scenes in the Gallery below are set in India, some in Persia, and others in unidentified locations (though a scholar of costumes and architecture could probably make a close guess).

Weeks had a strong representational style and was highly productive over a comparatively short 30-year career.


The Temple and Tank of Walkeschwar, Bombay

Photo: Weeks in his studio
Note the size of some of his works.

Along the Ghats, Mathura

Perfumer's Shop, Bombay

Horses of the Ford - Persia

La princess de Bengale

Persian Café - The Pottery Seller

Street Scene in India