Joan M. Rehlin
We’re celebrating Black History Month by highlighting Edward Mitchell Bannister in this mini art history post. Bannister (c. 11/1828–1/9/1901) was a prominent 19th century Canadian-American artist, who was born in New Brunswick and moved to New England in his early 20s. While living in Boston, Bannister initially used his artistic skills to tint daguerreotypes, which were introduced during the mid-1800s. He married in 1857, and in 1870, he and his wife settled in Providence, RI.
Inspired by the works of the French Barbizon School of painters, Bannister's pastoral landscapes and seascapes emphasize mood and shadow. He became one of the well-known Tonalist artists, and several of Bannister’s paintings were selected for group exhibitions at the Boston Art Club and Museum. In 1876, Bannister won a bronze medal – the highest honor awarded to oil paintings – for his Under the Oaks at the Philadelphia Centennial, the country's first national art exhibition. In 1880, he was among the group of artists who founded the Providence Art Club to encourage art appreciation in their area, and the organization honored him with the title of Artist Laureate. A successful career artist, Bannister was described in A History of African-American Artists as “a professional artist who lived by his painting.”
Although Bannister was dedicated to racial equality, rather than focus artistically on equal rights he created paintings that present universal harmony, spirituality, and liberty. During his lifetime, he was widely admired within the East Coast art world. Unfortunately, he lapsed into obscurity for nearly a century, for reasons associated mainly with racial prejudice. Then, beginning in the 1970s, Bannister’s work was again collected. He was also celebrated posthumously through a variety of cultural events including, in 1978, having the Rhode Island College dedicate its art gallery in Bannister’s name and exhibit his work. Bannister’s River Scene, shown here, is currently displayed in the Honolulu Museum of Art.
River Scene, oil on canvas, 1883, Edward Mitchell Bannister
As group administrator of the Midwest America Artists Group on FAA/Pixels, I'm posting the top-3 winning creations in this group’s recent contest, which showcased its active members’ best artwork. Lots of fantastic creations were entered, with these three winning First, Second, and Third Place. Congratulations to all three artists! Click on the image links, below, to visit these artists and their images on FAA/Pixels, and consider sharing these award-winning creations on your own social media, too.
Experience in Hand. acrylic on canvas by Bill Dunkley
Nighthawk, oil on canvas by Joseph Kemeny
Cocker Spaniel, oil on canvas by Janet Guss
Joan M. Rehlin
A mini art history post, featuring Louise Caroline Alberta (3/18/1848 – 12/3/1939) who was the sixth of eight children of Great Britain’s Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Although she was a prolific artist, because Princess Louise was also a female and member of the British royal family, her artwork remained largely unknown until recent years.
At the behest of their father, Princess Louise and her siblings were taught strict, practical tasks such as cooking, farming, and carpentry. When Princess Louise demonstrated artistic talents, her mother allowed her to study at the National Art Training School. Yet, due to her royal rank the princess was not allowed to pursue an artistic career. Not to be deterred, the princess continued creating art, and when her husband. Lord Lorne, Duke of Argyll, was named Canada's Governor General, they moved to Ottawa’s Rideau Hall where Princess Louise hung her paintings and installed her sculpted works. While in Canada, they founded the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and the princess continued creating artwork with a fondness for depicting scenery near their cottage on the Cascapedia River.
Several of Princess Louise’s sculptured works remain standing today, including: 1) a statue of Queen Victoria in front of the Royal Victoria College, Montreal, now McGill University; and 2) one outside Kensington Palace where the magnificent statue, created to mark the Queen’s golden jubilee, both flatters as well as suggests the chilly nature of its subject. Due to increasing ill health, the last public appearance Princess Louise made was at the Home Arts and Industries Exhibition in 1937, two years before her death. Her passing, at age 91, left a wealth of artistic creations which include, clockwise from upper left:
A View of Lake Como, watercolor, 1871
View from Lorne Cottage, watercolor, c. 1879
Queen Victoria, sculpture at Kensington Palace, 1893
Joan M. Rehlin
Another of our mini art history posts...
Jean-Antoine Watteau (October 10, 1684–July 18, 1721), known as Antoine Watteau, was a French painter and one the leading Rococo artists of the 18th century. Watteau shifted the waning Baroque style to the less formally classical, more naturalistic, witty, and playful Rococo style, which is considered a major period in the development of European art.
Although Watteau’s father expected his son to follow him into the construction field, Watteau showed an early talent in painting. At the age of 18, he moved to Paris where he found employment and honed his artistic talents at several studios, developing a style of drawing that was admired for its sophisticated elegance. Watteau’s major influences included Peter Paul Rubens’ series of elaborate canvases created for Queen Marie de Medici, as well as the work of the Venetian masters.
Watteau was admitted to the French Academy and is credited with inventing the fêtes galantes genre, a term coined in 1717 by the Academy to describe Watteau’s bucolic, idyllic scenes that include a flair for the dramatic. Watteau’s paintings detail not only theatrical flamboyance but also a wistfulness regarding the transience of love and other earthly delights, a dichotomy Watteau understood all too well. Although surrounded by riches, coquetry, and elegance, Watteau didn’t partake of this charmed world due mostly to having contracted tuberculosis, the disease that took his life when he was only 36.
More than most other 18th century artists, Watteau is celebrated now as having influenced every aspect of art during the Rococo period, including painting, costumes, interior design, plays, and music. Watteau’s The Feast of Love is currently in the Old Masters Gallery in Dresden, Germany.
The Feast of Love, oil painting, c. 1718–1719, Jean-Antoine Watteau
ᗯISᕼIᑎG EᐯEᖇYOᑎE TᕼE ᗷEST TᕼIS SEᗩSOᑎ ᕼᗩS TO OᖴᖴEᖇ, ᗩᑎᗪ ᗩ ᑭEᗩᑕEᖴᑌᒪ ᗩᑎᗪ ᕼᗩᑭᑭY ᑎEᗯ YEᗩᖇ!
This year's e-card was created by Jim Rehlin, using his pen and ink drawing, Carolers.
Joan M. Rehlin
A holiday mini art history post...
Thomas Nast (9/27/1840–12/7/1902) was born in Germany and immigrated with his family to the United States when he was a young child. Although he did poorly overall in school, he excelled in drawing. At 15 Nast enrolled at the National Academy of Design in NYC, and at 17 his drawings first appeared in Harper’s Weekly magazine.
Nast became a staff illustrator with Harper’s beginning in 1862, and was associated with the magazine until 1886. Considered the father of the American cartoon, Nast reportedly exerted more political power than any other 19th century artist. He created political caricatures (e.g., Boss Tweed / Tammany Hall) and symbols (e.g., Republican elephant), plus refined others (e.g., Democratic donkey, Uncle Sam).
Of importance to our holiday mini art history post is the fact that Nast also created the modern-day depiction of Santa Claus, as a jolly man delivering presents to children. Nast based his Santa drawings on older, traditional German figures — from his fond childhood memories of a bearded Sankt Nikolaus, who distributed treats at Christmastime — and on the description of Santa by Clement Moore in the well-known poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas.
Merry Old Santa Claus, illustration, 1881, Thomas Nast
Congratulations to the Midwest America Artists group's Winter Logo Contest winners! As administrator of this FAA/Pixels group, I’m sharing the winning artwork, all of which were chosen by a jury consisting of MAA group members. The First Place Logo winner will be added to MAA's homepage on December 21st, the beginning of the Winter season. To view these four winning creations in a larger format, and to congratulate the winning artists, click on the images, below. Please consider sharing these contest winners on your social media. In addition, to view the contest's Other Top Finishers, click on this Winners page link.
FIRST PLACE / Logo Winner
Winter Country Walk, acrylic by Bill Dunkley
December Beauty, watercolor by Carolyn Rosenberger
THIRD PLACE TIE (alphabetical order)
Snow Blown, acrylic by Sonja Jones
Moonlit Snowy Scene on the Farm, watercolor by Conni Schaftenaar
by Joan M. Rehlin
One of our mini art history posts...
N. (Newell) C. (Convers) Wyeth (10/22/1882–10/19/1945) was a renowned American artist and patriarch of a family of famous artists, notably son Andrew and grandson Jamie. Wyeth began creating watercolors at age 12, and his artistic interests were inspired and encouraged by his mother who was acquainted with Thoreau and Longfellow. He studied at the Howard Pyle School of Art in Delaware with Pyle, himself, where Wyeth refined his craft as a painter and illustrator.
Wyeth created over 3,000 paintings and illustrated 112 books during his lifetime, earning particular acclaim for the art he provided for Charles Scribner’s Sons. Among his book illustrations were creations for Treasure Island in the 1910s. Wyeth also expanded Scribner’s Illustrated Classics, a line of children’s books that included The Yearling, Kidnapped, and The Last of the Mohicans, and his illustrations gave children’s stories a realism seldom seen before then. In addition, Wyeth created posters, calendars, and other ads for clients such as Coca-Cola and Lucky Strike, and painted murals for various banks, hotels, and other public and private buildings. His non-illustrative landscape and portrait paintings changed in style from impressionism in the 1910s to realism in the 1930s. In 1941 N.C. Wyeth was elected to the National Academy.
Wyeth wed Carolyn Bockius in 1908, and the couple settled in the village of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania where they raised five children and resided for the remainder of his life. The painting shown here depicts the beautiful countryside surrounding Wyeth’s home.
Chadds Ford Hills, oil on canvas, c. 1931, N.C. Wyeth
As administrator of the Midwest America Artists (MAA) group on FAA/Pixels, I'm announcing the Top-3 Winners from among our MAA members who submitted artwork to our group’s recent Fun with Fall Colors Contest. For a closer view of their outstanding fall season artwork and to learn more about each artist, please click on the images, below. These winning creations are also highlighted on MAA group’s homepage. Congratulations to these artists (listed in alphabetical order):
• Sunflowers on the Rise, watercolor and ink by Kathy Braud
• Along the Creek, acrylic on canvas by Dave Farrow
• Fall Bonnet, acrylic on canvas by Sonja Jones
by Joan M. Rehlin
Another of our mini art history posts...
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa, better known as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, was a French artist who, along with Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin, is considered a prominent Post-Impressionist. Although he lived only 36 years, Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901) created a prodigious collection of elegant, avant-garde images — 700+ canvas paintings, 350+ prints and posters, 5,000+ drawings, and 250+ watercolors — depicting life during the theatrical and decadent fin de siècle in Paris.
Born into an aristocratic family, Toulouse-Lautrec suffered from health issues that were attributed to his parents also being first cousins. When his physical issues limited other activities, he turned his focus almost entirely to creating art and, at 8 years old, began drawing sketches and caricatures. He later received art training from several respected artists / instructors and, beginning in 1887, exhibited his works in a variety of venues both in and outside of Paris. When the Moulin Rouge opened in 1889, he was commissioned to create a series of posters and also had a seat reserved for him in the famous cabaret. In the mid-1890s, he contributed illustrations to the satirical Le Rire magazine. Toulouse-Lautrec shared a common label of social misfit with marginalized populations, and is attributed with instilling humanity in his realistic art that portrays them. He is quoted as stating, “Everywhere and always ugliness has its beautiful aspects; it is thrilling to discover them where nobody else has noticed them.”
Wanting to escape his physical and emotional pain, Toulouse-Lautrec reportedly filled his hollowed-out cane with liquor, never to be without something strong to drink. Unfortunately, his prolific artistic life ended prematurely due to alcoholism and syphilis. Included among his famous works is At the Moulin Rouge, The Dance (shown here) which is currently displayed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
At the Moulin Rouge, The Dance, oil on canvas, 1890, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Congratulations to the artists who created the top-3 winning images in Midwest America Artists Group's Fall Logo Contest! As administrator of this FAA/Pixels group, I’m sharing these contest winners which were chosen by a jury consisting of MAA group members. The Logo winner will be posted on MAA's homepage on September 22nd, the beginning of the Fall season. To view the artwork in a larger format, and to congratulate the winning artists, click on the images, below. Please consider sharing these contest winners on your own social media, too. In addition, to view the contest's Other Top Finishers, click on this Winners page link.
FIRST PLACE / Logo Winner
Changes, Colored Pencil by Pamela Clements
SECOND & THIRD PLACE / Tie (alphabetical order)
Fall Bonnet, Acrylic on Canvas by Sonja Jones
Quiet Reflections, Watercolor by Carolyn Rosenberger
by Joan M. Rehlin
Highlighting Rothko in this mini art history post…
Mark Rothko, né Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz (9/25/03–2/25/70), emigrated from Russia to the USA in 1913. At 17, he graduated with honors from secondary school and became adept at political discussions, promoting issues such as workers’ and women's rights. After attending Yale for two years, Rothko watched students sketch models in 1923 while he worked in New York’s garment district, and decided to turn to art. He took classes at several New York City art and design schools but considered himself mostly a self-taught artist.
Refusing to embrace any specific movement, Rothko was nonetheless credited with introducing Abstract Expressionism into the art world. His later works, especially, emphasize an emotional aspect, which is a component of Abstract Expressionism. Beginning in 1946, he created paintings that others labeled “multiforms,” which would eventually evolve into his signature style that displays horizontal blocks of contrasting color on immense vertical canvases. An example, shared here, is his Untitled (Yellow Red and Blue) oil on canvas. Several critics thought the size of his paintings was an attempt to hide a lack of substance. However, Rothko felt his large creations, with no human figures or landscape, possessed their own life force and allowed the viewer to feel “enveloped within” the painting.
Untitled (Yellow Red and Blue), oil on canvas, c. 1953, Mark Rothko
by Joan M. Rehlin
A mini art history tribute to Mildred Miller Weber (1886–1958), who was born, lived her life, and died in Pittsburgh, PA. Both an artist and an English teacher, she received a degree to teach English in the public schools, but she also found time to pursue her love of art. She painted in oil and watercolor, and as was the custom for young women during the late 1800s and early 1900s, she painted floral designs on ceramics, too. Along with those activities, Mildred Weber raised four children, the third oldest being Jim Rehlin’s mother, Martha.
Jim recalls his grandmother encouraging him to learn many useful life skills when young, including how to tie his shoelaces. Most importantly, Jim credits Grandma Weber with being the first artistic influence in his life. When he was an 8-year-old, she noticed Jim’s talent and gave him a box of oil paints, which he eagerly put to good use. This eventually led to his taking extracurricular painting classes at Carnegie Institute during his elementary school years (for more on Jim’s artistic education, please visit Jim’s Artist’s Statement webpage).
Grandma Weber was a loving, positive influence on her children and grandchildren, and encouraged Jim’s emerging artistic talent. Although she didn’t achieve artistic fame, many of us, especially Jim, believe that she has more than earned this mini art history tribute. Thank you, Mildred Miller Weber!
Untitled, oil on canvas, c. 1954, Mildred Miller Weber
Composite photo, clockwise: 1) Painting depicts the artist’s son’s back yard, which is shown in next photo; 2) Labor Day 1952, with Mildred (middle) and her children Emily, Martha, Harriet, and Dave; and 3) Mildred, in her college cap and gown.
by Joan M. Rehlin
Highlighting Manet in one of our mini art history posts...
Édouard Manet (1/23/1832–4/30/1883) was a French painter who was born, lived most of his life, and died in Paris. Rejecting the future originally envisioned for him by his father, who expected Édouard to pursue a career in law, Manet was encouraged by his uncle, Edmond Fournier, to pursue painting. Becoming engrossed in the world of painting, Manet opened a studio in 1856, and his early masterworks, Le déjeuner sur l'herbe and Olympia (both, 1863) are considered paintings that mark the start of modern art. Eventually, he developed his own style that would be acclaimed as innovative and would serve as a major influence for future painters.
As one of the first 19th-century artists to paint modern-life subjects, Manet was pivotal in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. He elaborated, “there are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another.” He often sat at Père Lathuille's restaurant on the Avenue de Clichy, which had a garden in addition to the dining area, where he would observe 19th-century Parisian social life. Many of his paintings of café scenes were based on sketches executed on the spot, including Chez le père Lathuille, shown here, which is currently located in the Musée des Beaux-Arts Tournai.
Chez le père Lathuille, oil on canvas, 1879, Édouard Manet
Congratulations to the Summer Logo Contest Winners for the Midwest America Artists (MAA) Group! As administrator of this group on FAA/Pixels, I’m sharing their contest-winning creative work, which was chosen by a jury of MAA group-member artists who participated in the contest. The First Place winning image will be posted in our MAA Group’s logo position at the beginning of the summer season. To visit these wonderful logo-winning creations in a larger format and congratulate the winning artists, click on their images, below. Please share this winning artwork on your own social media, too. In addition, you may view the contest's other top finishers by clicking this Winners page link.
Summer's Beauty, oil on canvas by Eric Renner
Left Standing, oil on canvas by Lynne Wright
10828 Swing Time, mixed media by Pamela Williams
Welcome to our Art Blog where we occasionally present topics of interest in the fine art world, including featuring artists other than Jim Rehlin. Some of the artwork has been created by long-departed but well-known greats; some, by compelling contemporary artists. All will be pieces we find worthwhile to share with you. If you like any of these, consider sharing the posts forward to your own blogs and other social media.