Category Archives: WInnipeg Art Gallery

Japanese Art and the Impressionists

As I studied the impressionist artists of the late 1800s to prepare to give tours of the current French Moderns exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, one of the things that fascinated me was how many of the impressionist painters were influenced by Japanese art.  In 1854 Japanese ports opened to trade with the west and Japanese items began coming into France. A shop near the Louvre called Le Porte Chinoise sold all kinds of Japanese items. In 1867 Japan held an art exhibition in Paris and Japanese woodblock prints became all the rage. Two pieces in the current French moderns exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery illustrate this Japanese influence.  the wave courbetThis is The Wave by Gustave Courbet.  Many argue that Courbet was directly influenced by the print below. 

the wave Hokusai

The Wave – a woodcut by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai

Mary_Cassatt_-_The_Letter_-_NGC_29876

The Letter by Mary Cassatt- 1890

Another artwork where the Japanese influence is clear is this one by Mary Cassatt. After Mary had seen the exhibition of Japanese color woodcuts in Paris in 1890 she was inspired to make ten prints of her own using the aquatint technique. The Letter was one of them.

Many other French painters were also influenced by the Japanese printmakers, including Monet, Manet and Degas. It is just one of many interesting aspects of the work currently on display at the French Moderns exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. 

Other posts……….

Tantalizing Tidbits

Without Him We Might Not Even Recognize the Name Monet

A Tale of Two Portraits

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Japan, WInnipeg Art Gallery

Oh To Be A Kid At the Fringe Festival

marylou working at the fringeOn Friday and Saturday I worked in the Winnipeg Art Gallery tent at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. The kids section of the festival is set up just beside Old Market Square.  What a fun place it is to be.  snakes and ladders at the fringeThere are expert face painters on hand and there is a giant snakes and ladders game.  four square at the fringeYou can play four-square, hang out and read books in the Winnipeg Public Library space or do a little movement and dancing and drama with talented and entertaining instructors.  fringe for kidsThere are all kinds of tossing games to play and of course you can visit the Winnipeg Art Gallery tent and make some art.  On Friday we made paper bag puppets and on Saturday the children were doing water-color paintings.  One little girl did ten paintings in a row all so creative and colorful.  It was great fun getting to know the children and helping them with their art.  self portrait at the fringeOn Saturday my colleague Marion made a water-color painting of me.  

Marion my colleague from France

Marion is from France but has been working at the Winnipeg Art Gallery for the last four months.  In a few days she heads off to the Yukon on the next leg of her Canadian adventure  I will miss her.  

tossing games at the fringeI had never visited the children’s area of the Fringe Festival before.  I am glad I got to work there and see all the kids have such a great time.  

Other posts……..

Two Artists

Olympus Inspired Art

A Children’s Masterpiece

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Childhood, WInnipeg Art Gallery

Tantalizing Tidbits

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. 

Other posts………

Without Him We Might Not Have Heard of Monet

A Tale of Two Portraits

Who is She? 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Books, WInnipeg Art Gallery

Without Him We Might Not Even Recognize The Name Monet!

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. 

Eugene Boudin

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.  

Claude Monet

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.

Other posts……..

Books and Brushes

Cezanne e moi

Who is She? 

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, WInnipeg Art Gallery

Books and Brushes

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 education@wag.ca

I’d love to have you join me!

Other posts……..

Impressionist? 

A Tale of Two Portraits

Who is She? 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Books, WInnipeg Art Gallery

A Tale of Two Portraits

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.  

kees van dongen william davenportThe 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. bondini florence blumenthal

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. 

Other posts…..

Who is She? 

Impressionist? 

Inuit Art Isn’t Just Soapstone Carvings

1 Comment

Filed under Art, WInnipeg Art Gallery

Who Is She?

marie laurencin woman in scarf“Who is she?”  On Saturday after I gave my first tour of The French Moderns exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery a woman stayed behind to ask me about a painting that intrigued her.  It was called Femme au Foulard or Woman With A Scarf. She thought the woman in the painting looked sort of mysterious and melancholy. The gallery visitor had never heard of Marie Laurencin the artist and I had to confess I hadn’t either.  I thanked the woman for her interest and promised I’d find out more about Marie Laurencin.  

Marie_Laurencin,_c.1912,_Paris

Marie Laurencin in 1912

I’ve since learned that Marie was a French artist who lived from 1883-1956.  She was an illegitimate child raised in Paris by her aloof and authoritarian mother and a mostly absentee father who was married to another woman. Like the great impressionist painter Renoir who got his start painting porcelain, Marie did porcelain painting in Sevres France before returning  to her Paris birthplace and studying oil painting.  

marie-laurencin-group-of-artists-1908-trivium-art-history.1200x0

Group of Artists painted by Marie Laurencin in 1908 features Marie with artist Pablo Picasso to her left and writer Guillaume Apollinaire to her right. Picasso’s model and muse Fernande Olivier is leaning on her hand.

In Paris Marie met the painters Pablo Picasso and Henri Rousseau and began a six-year relationship with Guillaume Apollinaire a poet, playwright and short story writer and a great fan of the cubist art movement. Their relationship ended in 1913. Marie married a German baron in 1914. She would later divorce her alcoholic husband and never married again. 

alice in wonderland illustration by marie laurencin

Alice in Wonderland illustration by Marie Laurencin

Marie was a painter, printmaker and stage designer.  She illustrated the 1930 edition of Alice in Wonderland.

Portrait of author Somerset Maugham by Marie Laurencin

In 1936 she painted a portrait of her friend the British playwright Somerset Maugham who had a home on the French Riveria. She usually charged men double what she charged women for portraits but her Maugham portrait was a gift to him.  

Le Bal élégant, La Danse à la campagne by Marie Laurencin- 1913

Marie often exhibited with Cubist artists but her paintings weren’t typical of that art movement. Her work has been described as soft, pastel and feminine a real contrast to the vivid, geometrical work of many Cubists. A friend once said….. “there is something of a fairy wand in the brush of Marie Laurencin.” 

Marie_Laurencin-Tete_de_Jeune_Fille_1909_

Tete de Jeune Fille or Head of a Young Girl by Marie Laurencin 1909

Interestingly in 1983 a hundred years after she was born the Musee’ Marie Laurencin opened in Nagano, Japan to display more than 600 pieces of Marie Laurencin’s work collected by Masahiro Takano. The museum has since been relocated to Tokyo. 

ile-de-france-1940

Ile de France 1940 by Marie Laurencin

There are only a handful of women whose work is displayed in The French Moderns exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. I knew about three of them, Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot and Gabriele Münter, but thanks to my inquisitive tour participant on Saturday I will now be able to tell future visitors I guide about a fourth woman artist Marie Laurencin.

Note: An excellent article in the Women in World History Biographical Encyclopedia provided a great deal of information about Marie Laurencin. 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, WInnipeg Art Gallery