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Picturing a World

Carolus-Duran (1)

Because the real Jeanette Smith studied with Carolus-Duran, I knew from the beginning he would be a character in the novel—but not what a gift he would prove to be. In life, he was flamboyant. Besides being showy painter who invoked Velásquez each time he commenced a portrait, he was an accomplished  Read More 
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Painting from the same motif

It was not uncommon for 19th C artists to sketch or paint together from the same motif. Think of Renoir and Monet, Pissarro and Cézanne … or John Singer Sargent and the American illustrator Edwin Austin Abbey. I read about Sargent and Abbey at the same time I was reading about the Red Rose Girls because I was interested in both artistic friendships and illustration as a viable commercial career for trained artists.

Today’s image and topic come from a Gurney Journey post, where you can see Sargent’s depiction of the lay figure for what it is, a manikin.  Read More 
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Monet, Sargent, and "Impressionism"

BLOG TIP: Check out yesterday’s informative GurneyJourney blog post on how John Singer Sargent and Claude Monet defined Impressionism and what they had to say about each other’s art.
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Charlie Post

I’m not sure which came first, seeing Hovenden’s Self-Portrait or imagining Charlie Post. Like Charlie, Hovenden here seems to me pugnacious, introspective, dissatisfied, brooding, wistful, though his self-confidence is of a different stripe from Charlie’s obsessive belief in his work.

This self-portrait also points to a motif that could have been part of the novel but wasn’t, namely how musically accomplished many of the artists of this period were (including Carolus-Duran and John Singer Sargent). Notice how the scroll above the Hovenden’s violin peg box just touches the edge of the picture on his easel, symbolically joining the two arts. Similarly, in Marie Bashkirtseff’s self-portrait of 1880, the harp behind the painter just touches her palette. Read More 
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