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Picturing a World

Zorn’s bathers

As we near Labor Day, Anders Zorn’s bathers are a reminder of summer’s pleasures that will soon be coming to an end. I loved this picture when I was writing about my young artists in Pont Aven. Nudes were basic to academic training  Read More 

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Norman Garstin

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For the most part, I try to focus on lesser known women artists in this blog; but today my attention was caught by a man new to me, Norman Garstin. He studied with Carolus-Duran in Paris, painted in Brittany at about the same time  Read More 
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Diligence

My husband is transcribing 19th C correspondence at the American Antiquarian Society as a volunteer project. In his last batch of letters, he found two from Frederick Arthur Bridgman to one of the lenders who helped  Read More 
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Bastien-Lepage deleted

Only one truncated paragraph about Effie and Miss Isobel’s Pont Aven fête at the end of August 1879 survived editing. In the fuller account, the ladies are agog when they receive a drawing of Joan of Arc from Jules Bastien-Lepage for their  Read More 
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Pont Aven from above

When I was in the seventh grade, my teacher asked me to try to draw a picture looking downhill. It was a problem in perspective that my untutored self could not solve, but ever since I have noticed Read More 
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Breton farm

Jeanette experiences her art intensely when she is in the Jernagans’ orchard, looking down on their farm. Dow’s Evening was one of the Breton landscapes I had in mind when I imagined what she saw as she composed her major picture for the second summer in Pont Aven. Read More 
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Bathers

French artistic training in the 19th C centered on the nude figure, which was easily incorporated into paintings with classical subjects. Artists of modern life who wanted to put their training to use took up bathers as a subject, as Anders Zorn’s Against the Current illustrates the topic. My actual inspiration for the scene in which Jeanette, Amy, and Emily go swimming at Pont Aven was his painting Out, for which I cannot find a large reproduction online. I loved the way the figures in that painting are tonally part of the landscape, as they are in a related painting Opal.

EDIT: Well! Late in the day of this post, I have just double-checked the link to Zorn's Opal and been taken to the correct write-up but the wrong painting at the Worcester Art Museum. A weird computer glitch, which I hope becomes self-correcting. At least, the Eakins and Cezanne links below work! Read More 
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Pont Aven

This is a view of Pont Aven from the estuary looking back inland to the town. Ragland and Nagg have their studio near here, where Charlie Post is working on his huge painting of an oncoming wave.
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Diligence

After reaching the train station in Quimperlé on their way to the Breton seaside town of Pont Aven, Jeanette and her friends continue their journey in a French diligence or stagecoach. For van Gogh’s vivid painting of a southern example, click hereRead More 
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