Monday, October 16, 2023

Blogging Notice

Note to regular readers:

I have written more than 1,500 Art Contrarian posts since 2010.  I am about to turn 84 years old, and no longer follow the art world except casually.  That means I'm finding it difficult to come up with topics for posts.  Besides, I've said most of what I want to say on the subject.

So, rather than posting to a fixed schedule, I've decided to post whenever I feel the need to do so, much like David Apatoff does for his excellent Illustration Art blog.

Besides the occasional blogging here, I'll continue to post regularly on my Car Style Critic blog that deals with automobile styling and history, subjects I follow closely.

Thank you for your interest in Art Contrarian.

Monday, October 9, 2023

More Konstantin Korovin Paintings

I last wrote about Konstantin Alekseyevich Korovin (1861-1939) here.  His Wikipedia entry is here.

He painted in a painterly (visible brushstroke), Impressionist style both in the Russian phase of his career and later in France.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, he carries this further that I prefer.  This is best for landscapes, but the first portrait shown below works well when not seen enlarged (as you can do by clicking on it if you're viewing this on a desktop computer or possibly on a laptop).

All that said, Korovin's works were often pleasing and interesting.


Portrait of Mariinsky Theatre singer Vera Aleekseevna Dorofeeva - 1920
It isn't easy to do a convincing portrait of a young woman using strong brushwork, but Korovin succeeded here.

Z. Pertseva - 1921
Perhaps due to it being nearly a full-figure work, his sketchy approach is less effective on Pertseva.

Gourzouf - 1914
Russian Empire resort town.

Gurzuf - 1915
Different transliterations from the Cyrillic, same place in Crimea the following summer.

Moscow - 1914
The Kremlin is at the left, St. Basil's Cathedral is above the streetcar on the bridge over the Moskva River.

French Port in Summer
Another summer resort painting in the 1920s or 1930s.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Didier Graffet, French Steampunk Illustrator

Didier Graffet, born 1970, is a French painter/illustrator specializing in Steampunk and fantasy subjects.   Some background regarding him is here.

As best I can tell, most artists of that genre nowadays produce digital images.  Graffet, however, seems to have mostly or entirely painted using acrylics.  That is more laborious than digital, given the amount and type of detail he uses.  But the result is something tangible that can be sold for a good price, if auction values for some of his works are any clue.

Below are examples of his paintings found on the Internet.


Angel City
First, to place Graffet's work in context, a fine example of digital Steampunk art by the well-known Stephan Martinière.

A New York City fantasy by Graffet.  He compresses Broadway, showing the 23rd Street's Flatiron Building (slightly altered) in the middle ground and Times Square closer in.

Detail of the previous image.  The Paramount Theatre at the right is in the same spirit as the actual Paramount of the late 1920s.  The nearest southbound car is a Jaray-type streamlined Maybach of 1935.  Other cars seem to be Graffet's inventions, as is the double deck bus at the left. 

A country scene with castles in the background and Viking-type ships approaching us.

Graffet used that vehicle's shape in several of his paintings.

Here one is at a loading platform.  The people on the balcony are dressed in circa-1920 fashion.

Trafalgar Celebration
Trafalgar Square, London.  HMS Victory sits by Nelson's monument while a huge dirigible loiters overhead.  The people are dressed as in the 1890s.

Métro Gare du Nord
The train station for points north of Paris.  The façade is there, but far, far above street level.  The sign fragment at the upper left advertises trains for London.

Le Tour
Eiffel Tower as seen from across the Seine.  Some of the airships are steam powered, highly unlikely in reality, but found in Steampunk illustrations by other artists.