Died on 03 December 1789: Claude
Joseph Vernet, French seascapist born on 14 August 1714.
Vernet was one of the leading landscapists of the period. From 1733 to 1753 he worked in Rome, where he was influenced by the light and atmosphere of Claude and also by the more wild and dramatic art of Salvator Rosa [20 Jun 1615 15 Mar 1673]. With Hubert Robert [22 May 1733 15 Apr 1808], he became a leading exponent of a type of idealized and somewhat sentimental landscape that had a great vogue at this time. Vernet was particularly celebrated for his paintings of the sea-shore and ports, and on returning to Paris in 1753 he was commissioned by Louis XV to paint a series of the sea-ports of France. The sixteen which he did are in the Louvre. Vernet belonged to a family of French painters of which two other members attained distinction: his son Antoine-Charles-Horace Carle Charlot Vernet [14 Aug 1758 27 Nov 1836], and his grandson Émile-Jean-Horace Vernet [30 Jun 1789 17 Jan 1863]
Shipwreck (1759, 96x135cm) _ The French marine artist Claude-Joseph Vernet specialized in harbor views. This sublime and very effective scene is a good example of his works.
Storm with a Shipwreck (1754, 87x137cm) _ Vernet's considerable contemporary reputation was largely founded on such agreeably terrifying images as this, which were also particularly prized by English collectors.
Born on 03 December 1755: Gilbert
Stuart, US painter specialized in portraits, who died on
09 July 1828.
Gilbert Charles Stuart was born in North Kingston, Rhode Island. He grew up in Newport, R.I., where he studied painting before going to London in 1775. There he became the pupil of the expatriate US painter Benjamin West [10 Oct 1738 11 Mar 1820] and was much influenced by the work of the English portrait painters Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds. In 1792, after establishing himself as a fashionable portrait painter in London and Dublin, Stuart returned to the U.S. His portraits, which number nearly 1000, brought him lasting fame, particularly the three he did of George Washington. His two most familiar portraits of Washington, of which he made over 100 copies, are the so-called Vaughan half-length type (1795) and the so-called Athenaeum portrayal (unfinished; 1796). Stuart also did portraits of Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison and of the British kings George III and George IV.
Josiah Quincy (1806) James MacDonald of Inglesmauldie (1785) Reverend William Ellery Channing (1815) William Rufus Gray (1807) Richard Yates (1800) George Washington (1796) Washington at Dorchester Heights (1806) James Madison (1807) John Adams (1810) John Adams (1826)
Died on 03 December 1919: Pierre
Auguste Renoir, French Impressionist
painter born on 25 February 1841.
Like Monet, Renoir endured much hardship early in his career, but he began
to achieve success as a portraitist in the late 1870s, earlier than his
friends. In 1879-80, he sent several portraits to the official Salon, among
of the Actress Jeanne Samary and Portrait
of Mme Charpentier and Her Children. The artist found himself at
a critical point. In 1880, he met Aline Charigot, a common woman, whom
he would marry in 1890, they had 3 sons: Pierre [1885-]; Jean Renoir
[15 Sep 1894 12 Feb 1979], who would become an important film director
and, in 1962, write a lively and touching biography, Renoir, My Father;
and Claude [1901-], called “Coco”. The same year, 1880, Renoir broke his
right arm and for some time painted with his left hand. In 1881, he traveled
to Algeria, later to Italy, where he was impressed by Raphael
[06 Apr 1483 06 April 1520] and the Pompeii frescoes. The
Luncheon of the Boating Party is certainly one of Renoir’s finest
Renoir was freed from financial worries after the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel began buying his work regularly in 1881. By this time Renoir had 'traveled as far as Impressionism could take me'. In 1881-1882 he traveled to Algeria and Italy, where his exposure to ancient and Renaissance art led him to introduce into his impressionism a new linear and sculptural solidity. The change is seen in The Umbrellas , which was evidently begun before the visit to Italy and finished afterwards; the two little girls on the right are painted with the feathery brush-strokes characteristic of his Impressionist manner, but the figures on the left are done in a crisper and drier style, with duller coloring. This “dry style” was a search for solid form and stable composition, a search which led him back to the masters of the Renaissance. He worked more carefully and meticulously, his colors became cooler and smoother.
After a period of experimentation with what he called his manière aigre in the mid 1880s, Renoir developed a softer and more supple kind of handling. At the same time he turned from contemporary themes to more timeless subjects, particularly nudes, but also pictures of young girls in unspecific settings. He returned to hot rich colors and free brushwork of his earlier days to portray nudes in sunlight, a style, which he continued to develop to the end of his life: The Bathers (1887).
Renoir fully established his reputation with a solo exhibition held at the Durand-Ruel Gallery in Paris in 1883. In 1887 he completed a series of studies of a group of nude female figures known as Les Baigneuses. These reveal his extraordinary ability to depict the lustrous, pearly color and texture of skin and to impart lyrical feeling and plasticity to a subject; they are unsurpassed in the history of modern painting in their representation of feminine grace. Many of his later paintings also treat the same theme in an increasingly bold rhythmic style.
As Renoir's style became grander and simpler he also took up mythological subjects (The Judgement of Paris), and the female type he preferred became more mature and ample. A retrospective at DuMond-Ruel in 1892 was met with great popular success.
Other notable paintings by Renoir include La Loge (1874); Girl with a Fan (Mlle. Alphonsina Fournez) (1875) and The Swing (1875); The Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881); and Vase of Chrysanthemums (1895) one of the many still lifes of flowers and fruit he painted throughout his life.
In 1886, the art dealer Durand-Ruel exhibited 32 of Renoir's paintings in New York, thus opening the US market for Impressionism. The evidence of Renoir’s (and other Impressionists’) success in the USA is a great number of their pictures in US museums.
In December 1888, Renoir suffered the first attacks of arthritis, which would cripple his hands; in 1898 after a serious attack of the disease his right arm was paralyzed. From now on he painted, overcoming strong pains, strapping a brush to his wrist. From 1903 (by which time he was world-famous) he lived in the warmth of the south of France. The rheumatism eventually crippled him (by 1912 he was confined to a wheelchair), but he continued to paint until the end of his life, and in his last years he also took up sculpture, directing assistants (usually Richard Guino, a pupil of Maillol [08 Dec 1861 27 Sep 1844]) to act as his hands (Venus Victorious). In 1919, not long before Renoir's death, he finished, in great pain, his large-scale composition The Great Bathers (The Nymphs). Renoir died in Cagnes.
Renoir is perhaps the best-loved of all the Impressionists, for his subjects pretty children, flowers, beautiful scenes, above all lovely women have instant appeal, and he communicated the joy he took in them: Why shouldn't art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world. He was one of the great worshippers of the female form, and he said I never think I have finished a nude until I think I could pinch it.
| Renoir and Monet
worked closely together during the late 1860s, painting similar scenes of
popular river resorts and views of a bustling Paris. Renoir was by nature
more solid than Monet, and while Monet fixed his attentions on the ever-changing
patterns of nature, Renoir was particularly entranced by people and often
painted friends and lovers. His early work has a quivering brightness that
is gloriously satisfying and fully responsive to what he is painting, as
well as to the effects of the light.
Renoir seems to have had the enviable ability to see anything as potentially of interest. More than any of the Impressionists, he found beauty and charm in the modern sights of Paris. He does not go deep into the substance of what he sees but seizes upon its appearance, grasping its generalities, which then enables the spectator to respond with immediate pleasure. "Pleasure" may be decried by the puritanical instinct within us all, but it is surely the necessary enhancer that life needs. It also signifies a change from Realism: the Impressionists' paintings have none of the labored toll of the peasants of Millet's [04 Oct 1814 20 Jan 1875], for example. Instead they depict delightful, intimate scenes of the French middle class at leisure in the country or at cafes and concerts in Paris. Renoir always took a simple pleasure in whatever met his good-humored attention, but he refused to let what he saw dominate what he wanted to paint. Again he deliberately sets out to give the impression, the sensation of something, its generalities, its glancing life. Maybe, ideally, everything is worthy of attentive scrutiny, but in practice there is no time. We remember only what takes our immediate notice as we move along.
In The Boating Party Lunch, a group of Renoir's friends are enjoying that supreme delight of the working man and woman, a day out. Renoir shows us interrelationships: notice the young man intent upon the girl at the right chatting, while the girl at the left is occupied with her puppy. But notice too the loneliness, however relaxed, that can be part of anyone's experience at a lunch party. The man behind the girl and her dog is lost in a world of his own, yet we cannot but believe that his reverie is a happy one. The delightful debris of the meal, the charm of the young people, the hazy brightness of the world outside the awning - all communicates an earthly vision of paradise.
One of Renoir's early portraits, A Girl with a Watering Can, has all the tender charm of its subject, delicately unemphasized, not sentimentalized, but clearly relished. Renoir stoops down to the child's height so that we look at her world from her own altitude. This, he hints, is the world that the little one sees not the actual garden that adults see today, but the nostalgic garden that they remember from their childhood. The child is sweetly aware of her central importance. Solid little girl though she is, she presents herself with the fragile charm of the flowers. Her sturdy little feet in their sensible boots are somehow planted in the garden, and the lace of her dress has a floral rightness; she also is decorative. With the greatest skill, Renoir shows the child, not amid the actual flowers and lawns, but on the path. It leads away, out of the picture, into the unknown future when she will longer be part of the garden but an onlooker, an adult, who will enjoy only her memories of the present now depicted.
Madame Clémentine Valensi Stora (L'Algérienne) (1870)
Mother, Child, and Cat (1895, 117x104cm)
Landscape at Beaulieu (1893, 65x81cm)
L'Enfant au Biscuit (Jean Renoir, son of the artist, future film director) (1899, 62x48cm) Bazille Working (at his easel) Claude Monet (reading book, holding pipe) Claude Monet Reading the Paper Les Parapluies (1882 and 1886) La famille de l'artiste Madame Charpentier and Her Children, Georgette-Berthe and Paul-Émile-Charles (1878) Jeanne Samary.
La Grenouillère _ This painting has all the ingredients of Impressionism: a sketch-like painting, which to contemporaries seemed unfinished, no carved-out details, a glitter of sun reflecting the movements of the water, the boats partly truncated to convey a sense of the passing moment, and the individual details toned down in favor of the overall picture. But, the depiction of reality is still there. Renoir has depicted an actual moment and life as it is lived, a fragment without any greater depth of interpretation. The theme is a new one: instead of something heroic, we have a casual, trivial excerpt from reality, held together by the lighting.
Born on 03 December 1830: Lord
Frederick Leighton, English Pre-Raphaelite
painter and sculptor who died on 25 January 1896.[photo]
The acknowledged leader of the Victorian classical school of painting, Frederic Leighton was born in Scarborough, the son of a doctor. His grandfather, Sir James Leighton, was court physician to Czar Alexander I of Russia; and Sir James' son was also a doctor. Soon after Nicholas I became Czar in 1825 the Leighton family left Russia and spent the ensuing years travelling around Europe, giving their only son, Frederic, first-hand acquaintance with its cultural and artistic treasures.
Unlike most major artists of the nineteenth century Leighton did not study at the Royal Academy Schools, but received his training in Brussels, Paris and Frankfurt. In 1852 he went to live in Rome, where he moved in a large artistic circle which included Thackeray [18 Jul 1811 24 Dec 1863], Robert Browning [07 May 1812 12 Dec 1889] and some of the most important French painters of the time.
On his return to England in 1855, his historical painting Cimabue's Madonna Carried in Procession through the Streets of Florence was shown at the Royal Academy, where it received a rapturous reception from the critics and was later bought by Queen Victoria. It was the start of what was to be a glittering career that took him to the very heights of his profession.
Leighton settled in London in 1860 and in 1868 turned to painting subjects from mythology. His decision to abandon historical paintings coincided with a sudden upsurge of interest in Hellenism; even women's evening wear was influenced, Greek gowns that gave women a new-found freedom of movement becoming fashionable.
Leighton suddenly found himself the centre of attention, with his paintings the talk of London. He was elected President of the Royal Academy in 1878, and became a baron in 1896 (full title: Baron Leighton of Stretton), the only English artist to receive this honor. But by then he was a sick man who was suffering from angina. He died in 1896. His will included a bequest of £10'000 to the Royal Academy. The poet Algernon Swinburne [05 Apr 1837 10 Apr 1909] composed a memorial elegy:
'A light has passed that never shall pass away
A sun has set whose rays are unequalled in might'.
Although at the time of his death Leighton was something of a national institution, his reputation quickly declined and his work and all that he stood for became objects of derision. It was to be another 60-70 years before his work would come into fashion again.
Leighton's beautiful home at 2 Holland Park Road, South Kensington, London is now a museum Leighton House. Here you can see the opulence in which Leighton lived, and view paintings by Leighton, Burne-Jones [28 August 1833 17 June 1898] and other Pre-Raphaelite artists, including Mariana in the South (by John William Waterhouse) and The End of the Quest (by Sir Frank Dicksee).
Cymon and Iphigenia (1884) _ According to Leighton this painting, more than any of his other pictures, represented 'both my art and my style'. The story is taken from Boccaccio, and tells how Cymon, a wild and brutish young man, is so struck by the sight of the sleeping Iphigenia that he falls in love with her, gives up his former wild ways and marries her. [Cymon and Iphigenia by Millais (1848) _ by West (1773) _ caricature by Gillray (1796)]
Pavonia (1859) The model for this painting was Nanna Risi who eventually married the German painter Anselm Feuerbach [12 Sep 1829 04 Jan 1880].
Lieder Ohne Wörte (1861, 102x63cm) _ Leighton commented that in this picture he sought 'to translate to the eye of the spectator something of the pleasure which the child receives through here ears.'
The Garden of the Hesperides (1892) _ According to legend, the garden island of the Hesperides was where the daughters of Hesperus sang a lullaby to the dragon guarding the golden apples, which were later to be stolen by Hercules.
Flaming June (1895, 47x47cm) _ The model for this painting was Dorothy Dene, who was the inspiration for Leighton's work from the mid 1880s. Flaming June is an excellent example of the lack of respect given to Victorian art between the years 1920-70. This painting was put up for auction in the 1960s and failed to meet its reserve price of $140. It was then promptly snapped up by the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico. Thirty years later, in 1990, Leighton's Dante in Exile fetched £1'000'000 at auction an illustration of how fashion dictates the art market.
— A Girl with a Basket of Fruit (1863) — Acme and Septimus — Actaea, the Nymph of the Shore (1868) — Bacchante (1895)
— Clytie (1892) — Clytie (1896) _ Clytie was the nymph who loved Apollo, was abandoned by him, and turned into a sunflower, which always turns its head to the sun. The model was Dorothy Dene.
— Daedalus and Icarus (1869) — Greek Girls Playing Ball (1889) — Helen of Troy — Idyll (1881) — Invocation — Lachrymae (1895) — Light of the Harem (1880) aka The Fairest of Them All — Mother and Child aka Cherries — Odalisque (1862) — Perseus and Andromeda (1891) — Perseus on Pegasus Hastening to the Rescue of Andromeda (1896, unfinished at Leighton's death) — Return of Persephone (1891) — Seaside Flowers — Solitude — Sybil — The Bath of Psyche (1890) the pose of Psyche is taken from the classical statue of Venus Kalipigge at Naples. — The Fisherman and the Siren (1858, 66x48cm) — The Golden Hours — The Maid with the Golden Hair (1895) — The Music Lesson (1877) — The Painter’s Honeymoon (1864) — The Spirit of the Summit (1894) — Venus Disrobing for the Bath (1867) — Winding the Skein (1878)