Website alert: At his instructional website Sight-Size, artist Darren Rousar has posted an article, Carolus-Duran's Methods, that provides historical context, a good summary of the topic, many illustrations, and a video. Duran's methods are well known, but it's good to see a demonstration. Furthermore, this self-portrait was new to me because it is privately owned. It was auctioned in 2018 by Bonham's, a reminder that galleries are a good source of images.
Picturing a World
Anna Nordgren—another Scandinavian female artist who studied first at the Académie Julian and then with Carolus-Duran! She was in Paris at just the time the real Jeanette or my fictional character could have known her. She even exhibited at the Salon of 1879, which plays a part in Where the Light Falls. If I had known Lady in a Train Window when I was first researching the novel, I wonder how it might have shaped my imagination?
Maybe while New York is under a ghastly orange haze, it's wrong the wrong time to post a sepia photograph; but I got such a kick out running across this carte-de-visite , that I can't resist. According to the seller, the picture was taken in 1865 even though the card commemorates Carolus-Duran's winning of a silver medal at the World's Fair of 1878. And doesn't he look young and handsome! For Ferdinand Mulnier's sensitive portrait of Jeanette's other teacher, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, click here. For many more of Mulnier's photographs, click here.
It's not hard to find 19thC depictions of women wearing kimonos painted by male artists—Monet, Stevens, Whistler, Chase. But what interests me as I think about how Japonisme might touch my character, Jeanette, is the extent to which female artists drew or painted them. Et voilà, in addition to Marie Danforth Page—Fanny Fleury! She even studied with Carolus-Duran.
Blog post alert: Paintings of the Hutsuls in the Carpathians has artwork by several 19th and early-20th C artists depicting the life of the Hutsul people in what is now Ukraine. It reports that of twenty-five thousand remaining Hutsuls, twenty thousand live in Ukraine—may they be safe. Many of the pictures in the post could suggest stories; and it interests me that at least one of the artists, Teodor Axentowicz, studied with Carolus-Duran. I've chosen this Madonna by Kazimierz Sichulski, however, just because it is gorgeous (well, and because of its 1909 date, so close to my magic year, 1908).
Website alert: One thing leads to another. While I was searching last week for a photo of Carolus-Duran in his studio, I came across this image of one of his paintings inside its original Salon-style frame. It appears in the fascinating, highly detailed, illustrated post, John Singer Sargent & the framing of his pictures. I didn't know about The Frame Blog website, but, wow, does it seem worth exploring!
This photograph shows how many props, bibelots, and other furnishings filled Walter Gay's own studio. In looking for a photo of Carolus-Duran in his for comparison, I was delighted to find that a post—Where the Light Falls: An American Artist in Paris—is still available at the American Girls Art Club in Paris … and Beyond website. It has many images that illustrate the novel, including one of Carolus in his studio at his organ.
Website tip: I've just run across this drawing of Claude Monet by Carolus-Duran, which is up for sale. They were friends, and it's fun to see that they posed for each other informally. I suspect both would be astonished (and flattered?) at the asking price of $26,000!