Joan M. Rehlin
This month, which celebrates all mothers, is the perfect month to highlight Mary Stevenson Cassatt. Cassatt (5/22/1844–6/14/1926), who regarded herself as a figure painter, focused a large portion of her work on the intimate bonds between mothers and children.
Cassatt was born in Allegheny City (now part of Pittsburgh) before moving with her family to Philadelphia. Cassatt’s mother, educated and socially active, had an important influence on her daughter’s artistic abilities. Cassatt traveled abroad with her mother and, at age 11, attended the Paris World Fair where she viewed the work of Edgar Degas, who later became a colleague and mentor. At age 15, Cassatt enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, a prestigious institution that invited women artists to pursue their studies in its museum, paving the way for women to obtain formal art training.
Cassatt moved to Paris in 1866 where she lived most of her adult life. She continued her studies through private instruction with masters from the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1868, one of her paintings was jury-selected for exhibition in the Paris Salon. Returning briefly to the States in 1870, she placed two paintings in a New York gallery, but even though the artwork had many admirers, neither was purchased. She returned to Europe in 1871, and was invited by Degas In 1877 to show her work with a group of artists who called themselves Impressionists. Exhibiting with the Impressionists, Cassatt used her share of the profits to purchase works by Degas and Claude Monet.
Although she and the other female members of the Impressionists group were discouraged from meeting in Paris’ public cafés with the mostly male members, Cassatt enjoyed benefits provided by the wave of feminism during her lifetime, and she supported women’s suffrage. Beginning in 1887, Cassatt no longer identified herself with any art movement, experimenting instead with a variety of techniques. Cassatt was most prolific in oils and pastels.
Her painting,Mère et enfant (shown here), is one of Cassatt's many renditions of motherhood. This work was exhibited in New York at the 1913 Armory Show, aka the International Exhibition of Modern Art.
Mère et enfant (Reine Lefebre and Margot before a Window). oil, 1902, Mary Cassatt
Joan M. Rehlin
As part of our promotional support of the national Prevention of Cruelty to Animals campaign, our April mini art history post highlights Thomas Gainsborough (5/14/1727–8/2/1788). Considered the primary British portraitist of the second half of the 18th century, Gainsborough is also recognized for his great love of dogs.
Gainsborough’s affectionate artistic portrayal of dogs is in keeping with his advocating kindness toward animals, and he is attributed with encouraging people to see dogs as individual, sentient beings. Best known for portraits of people, e.g. “The Blue Boy” (1770), Gainsborough included dogs in many of his human portraits. In addition, he depicted dogs as the only subject in a number of artworks created on commission. And his “Tristram and Fox” painting (c. 1775) is a portrait of his wife’s and his two dogs, who were considered family members.
Gainsborough’s father recognized his young son’s talent, and at the age of 13, Gainsborough was permitted to move to London to study art. In 1761, he began exhibiting paintings in what is now the Royal Society of Arts. In 1769, he was a founding member of the Royal Academy of Arts, and was an ongoing exhibitor at the institution which continues today to promote visual works of art through exhibitions and education. Gainsborough, an experimental as well as technically proficient artist, applied paint quickly in a style that combined poetic sensibility with his observations of nature. He preferred to paint landscapes over portraits, but because his portraits were more popular, in the 1770s he began depicting the subject in a landscape setting.
The painting shown here is a lesser-known but, nonetheless, our favorite Gainsborough painting, and is hanging in the Duke of Buccleuch’s ancestral home.
Henry Douglas-Scott 3rd Duke of Buccleuch, oil painting, c 1760, Thomas Gainsborough
Along with promoting the artwork of Jim Rehlin and other artists, Rehlin Graphics / Fine Art supports animal rights. And as our poster (below) states, this month is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.
To highlight this particular cause, we’re sharing a link to a website that lists some of the things people can do to help prevent animal cruelty, including making adoption your only choice when bringing home a four-legged friend. For more details, please visit the ASPCA website or their FB page. Then do whatever you can to prevent animal cruelty — not just this month, but every month — by speaking up and showing your support online and elsewhere.
Artwork poster, below, created by Jim Rehlin who used his First Pack painting, changed the color to the monochrome shade of our RG / FA cover image, and then added the type.
Joan M. Rehlin
In honor of Women's History Month, our March mini art history post highlights Lydia (Lilla) Cabot Perry. An American Impressionist painter who was influenced by the work of her mentor, Claude Monet, Perry (1/13/1848–2/28/1933) painted portraits and, to a lesser degree, landscapes. Although she created sketches at an early age, she received no formal artistic training until age 36 when she began taking lessons in Boston.
In 1874, she married Thomas Sergeant Perry, and in 1887 when her husband’s career required a move to France, the family settled in Paris where she enrolled in the Académie Colarossi. Unlike the government-sanctioned École des Beaux Arts, the Académie Colarossi was more progressive and accepted female students. Between 1889 to 1909, Perry spent nine summers in Giverny, France, where she formed a friendship with Claude Monet whose impressionistic handling of color and light greatly inspired her work. In 1897, Perry moved with her husband to Japan where she found new inspiration for her creative process and developed a unique style that combined western and eastern traditions.
Perry was dedicated not only to her own artistic evolution and career, but also to the careers of other artists. Her efforts enabled a new generation of women to stake their claim in the art world, and through her advocacy for the Impressionist movement in the United States, she helped American Impressionists, such as Mary Cassatt, to gain exposure and acceptance. Perry also furthered the American career of Claude Monet, by lecturing on his talents and showcasing his works, and she helped found the Guild of Boston Artists, which supported Impressionism as a respected artistic style in the United States.
Beginning in the early 1890s, Perry’s Impressionist paintings won medals at important exhibitions in Boston, St. Louis, and San Francisco. Between 1894 and 1897, her work achieved international acclaim, including being exhibited in Paris at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Champ de Mars.
The Green Hat, self-portrait, 1913, Lilla Cabot Perry
Congratulations to the Midwest America Artists group's Spring Logo Contest winners! As administrator of this FAA/Pixels group, I’m sharing the winning creations, which were chosen by a jury consisting of MAA group members. The First Place Logo winner will be added to MAA's homepage on March 20th, the beginning of the Spring season. To view these three winning paintings 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, if you'd like to view the contest's Other Top Finishers, click on this Winners page.
FIRST PLACE / Logo Winner
Welcome Spring, Acrylic by Alana Judah
Bringing in the Clothes, Acrylic by Norm Starks
Hey Hey 353, Pebeo Paint on Glass by Phil Strang
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
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.