Claude Monet in His Studio Boat- painted by Edouard Manet – 1874
Did you know that before the impressionist artist Edouard Manet got to know Claude Monet he would become extremely upset and irritated when art critics reviewing both of their work got the two artists mixed up because their last names sounded so similar?
The Monet Family in The Garden at Argenteuil -by Edouard Manet- 1874
Later Manet and Monet became friends and Manet even painted a family portrait of Monet, his wife Camille and their son Jean.
Camille Pissarro and his wife Julie Vellay at Pontoise in 1877. Julie was once Pissarro’s mother’s maid.
Did you know that Paul Cezanne, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet and Camille Pissarro all had long-term romantic relationships that their parents highly disapproved of ? Some of them had to keep their relationships a secret in order to continue receiving money from their families.
Madame Rene D’ Gas by Edgar Degas- 1873
Did you know the artist Edgar Degas visited his brother in New Orleans and while there painted a beautiful portrait of his blind sister-in-law?
Berthe Morisot Reclining- by Edouard Manet- 1873
Did you know that impressionist artist Berthe Morisot was a frequent model for fellow artist Edouard Manet and some of his paintings of her are very suggestive and sensual? Later Berthe would marry Edouard’s brother Eugene.
Camille Pissarro Self Portrait- 1873
Did you know that during the Franco-Prussian war nearly 1,500 paintings of Pissarro’s were destroyed?
Those are just a few of the tantalizing tidbits I have already discovered while reading The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe. I will be leading a discussion of the book on August 7th at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. You still have time to buy the book at McNally Robinson and join me. You can register here. I was at McNally’s last Thursday and there were still plenty copies of the book available.
Without Him We Might Not Have Heard of Monet
A Tale of Two Portraits
Who is She?
For our latest sketching date my friend Esther and I went to the Winnipeg Art Gallery and were inspired by the bold and beautiful paintings of artist Norval Morriseau.
I finally finished coloring the drawing I made on our sketching date. I wonder where we will go to sketch next?
Bold and Beautiful
What a Sash
Meet You At the Folio
Filed under Art, Retirement
Rising Tide at Pourville by Claude Monet
In the French Moderns exhibit at the Winnipeg art gallery a painting by the very famous Claude Monet is surrounded by three works by Eugene Boudin, an artist whose name isn’t as recognizable as Monet’s. I think I know why Monet’s masterpiece is bookended by Boudin’s paintings.
Le Baie De Portrieux by Eugene Boudin
Eugene Boudin loved the ocean. His Dad was a ferry-boat operator who took Eugene out to sea as a young boy to teach him the ferry trade. One day however Eugene fell into the ocean and nearly drowned. His mother put her foot down. Eugene wasn’t going back out to sea. He was going to school. There a teacher noticed his artistic talent and the rest is history.
River Scene with Windmill at Dordrecht, Holland by Eugene Boudin
Eugene never lost his love of the sea however. It is the subject of many of his paintings and on the backs of each one he always wrote the weather conditions and the wind speed and direction on the day he painted. it.
Boudin was sixteen years older than Claude Monet. The two grew up in Normandy towns just twelve kilometers apart from each other – Boudin in Honfleur and Monet in La Rave but they got to know each other in Paris.
At about the same time as Eugene had his first painting accepted into the prestigious Paris Salon he met Claude Monet.
Caricature of French writer Mario Uchard by Claude Monet
The young Claude was making a living creating caricatures in charcoal and selling them to people on the streets of Paris. Boudin thought Claude was talented and encouraged him to spend a summer with him in the Normandy area painting seascapes. Eugene did not have an easy time convincing the young Monet but finally Claude reluctantly agreed. Monet would say later that summer of painting with Boudin changed his life, it was as “if a curtain had opened up before his eyes and he saw for the first time what painting was all about.” He became a landscape painter. Monet and Boudin remained life long friends.
The Beach at Trouville by Eugene Boudin
There are three landscapes by Eugene Boudin in the current French Moderns exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Although they can certainly be appreciated for their own beauty, the experience of viewing them is enriched when you know that if it wasn’t for Boudin there might not have been a landscape by Monet to also include in the exhibit.
Books and Brushes
Cezanne e moi
Who is She?
Circle August 7th on your calendar and join me at the Winnipeg Art Gallery at 11:30 am for the latest installment in the gallery’s Books and Brushes program. We will be discussing the book The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Susan Roe. I’m already a few chapters in and I’m learning lots of intriguing stuff about the creators of all the wonderful paintings in the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s French Moderns Show. We will talk about the book and wander through the galleries to see the work by the fascinating men and women whose lives and relationships are detailed in its chapters. McNally Robinson Booksellers has copies of the book in stock. I bought mine at their lovely new little shop at The Forks but they are at the Grant Park store as well. You still have plenty of time to buy one and read it before August 7th. You can register for the book club by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d love to have you join me!
A Tale of Two Portraits
Who is She?
Part of the heritage mural at the Upper Fort Garry Park in downtown Winnipeg that shows indigenous children being taken away from their parents to residential school.
Just over a decade ago I was teaching grade ten and eleven English at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School. For one reading assignment I gave my students some memoirs written by residential school survivors. For most of them this was their first introduction to this shameful part of Canadian history. Many of my students were shocked. “Did this really happen?” they asked me in disbelief.
I led tours for more than a hundred teens during the recent seven months long Insurgence Resurgence exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It featured indigenous artists from across Canada. The nature of some of the art pieces on display led me to ask the junior and senior high students if they had heard of residential schools. Without exception they all had, and most could tell me about their devastating legacy. The young people on my tours knew far more about indigenous history and culture then I ever would have growing up in Canada in the 1950s and 60s and far more than teens knew even a decade ago.
I realize we have a long way to go to achieve real truth and reconciliation but things are changing.
Bold and Beautiful
Another Shameful Chapter in Canadian History
They dominate the room! “Who are those people?” That’s what visitors on my tours say immediately upon entering the third gallery of the French Moderns show currently at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. They are drawn to a pair of huge portraits, one of a man and one of a woman facing each other on the gallery’s walls.
The man is William S. Davenport. He was an American dental surgeon living and working in France in 1925 when his portrait was painted. The tiny red mark on his suit lapel represents the French Legion of Honor he was awarded for his work in the American Ambulance Core during World War I as the assistant chief of the facial and jaw reconstructive surgery division. He served as a dentist to the Belgian royal family and was one of the first dentists to have his testimony in court accepted for using dental records to identify human remains. According to his obituary Mr. Davenport was also an artist himself and good friends with the American painter James Whistler.
The artist who painted Mr. Davenport was Kees Van Dongen. He was born in Rotterdam where he worked in the family brewery, studying art in the evenings. He moved to Paris in 1897 and remained there for most of his life. He was part of the Fauve art movement whose artists were known for the use of bright color hence the bright red and blue markings on Mr. Davenport’s face. Kees Van Dongen was really more famous for painting portraits of women than men and when he was in his eighties painted an iconic one of French actress Brigitte Bardot.
The woman is Florence Meyer Blumenthal. Florence was also an American living in Paris. She and her husband had one home in Paris, and another in the South of France but still maintained a home in New York as well. Florence Blumenthal was also awarded the French Legion of Honor in her case for donating money to a Paris Children’s Hospital and establishing the Prix Blumenthal a grant awarded each year to a young French artist to aid them financially and to draw the United States and France closer together through the arts. Florence was a sister to the publisher of the Washington Post Eugene Meyer and an aunt to his daughter Kay Graham(think the movie The Post) who eventually became the paper’s publisher. Florence and her husband George donated millions of dollars to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well as to New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital in memory of their son George Jr. who died as a young boy.
The portrait of Florence Blumenthal was painted by Giovanni Boldini an Italian artist who moved to Paris in 1872 and was good friends with impressionist painter Edgar Degas. Interestingly like Mr. Davenport, the dentist, Boldini was also good friends with the American artist James Whistler and Boldini’ s portrait of Whistler is a part of the Brooklyn Museum collection as are the portraits of Davenport and Blumenthal. In almost all his portraits of women Boldini has them pose in evening gowns. According to an article in The Daily Art Magazine Boldini used swirling loose brushstrokes to have those gowns take on a life of their own. His nickname was The Master of Swish.
If you haven’t already been to see the French Moderns exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery you need to come. These portraits are only two of the many intriguing artworks on display.
Who is She?
Inuit Art Isn’t Just Soapstone Carvings
On Monday my friend Esther and I met in Assiniboine Park to sketch. Esther had picked a spot with a great view of The Pavilion. We spent an hour and half or so creating our own versions of the scene.
My friend Esther’s sketch.
Assiniboine Park has a special significance for my family. My parents got engaged in the park close to seventy years ago. My Dad was in the middle of his proposal when a guard knocked on the window and told him the park was closing for the evening. The Pavilion was also the site for my brother and his partner’s wedding over a decade ago.
My rendition of the park pavilion.
Assiniboine Park was a great place to sketch. Esther and I have decided we will try to sketch together once a month. I wonder where we will go next?
I’m Trying to Draw Cartoons
When Did You Stop Drawing?
Don’t Be Scared to be Creative
Filed under Art, Winnipeg