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VMFAEU_110204_023.JPG: Winslow Homer
Army Teamsters, 1866
In the first phase of his career during the Civil War, Homer followed the Union army on its campaign in Virginia, working as an illustrator for Harper's Weekly. His paintings and engravings based on army life established his reputation as a leading American artist. In this painting, a variant of The Bright Side (Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco), four teamsters relax during a break in the action, while a fifth peers from their tent. Supplies for the army were transported by packs of mules, usually driven by African Americans who were often escaped or liberated slaves. While some of Homer's early images of black figures were ambiguous or prone to caricature, his later respectful and thoughtful paintings of the 1870s, such as A Visit From the Old Mistress, challenged established stereotypes of the period.
Recent conservation treatment of this painting has revealed Homer's original composition that includes the mule at the right and clover insignia. Research is ongoing.
VMFAEU_110204_069.JPG: Eugene Delacroix
Scene from the Romance of "Amadis de Gaule", 1860
Delacroix illustrates a moment in the life of the noble Amadis de Gaule, a fictional character from a medieval Spanish romance that was well known in France. Amadis must prove his love to Princess Oriana through chivalrous acts such as the scene depicted, wherein he rescued an imprisoned damsel from the traitor Galpan. After entering the castle and defeating the guards, Amadis fights Galpan to death, thus avenging the woman's honor and demonstrating his chivalry to Oriana. Delacroix expresses the Romantic Movement's affinity for violent emotion, which he reinforces with strong color contrasts and bravura brushwork.
VMFAEU_110204_075.JPG: Theodore Gericault
Scene from the Epidemic of Yellow Fever in Cadiz, ca 1819
Gericault's interest in human suffering continued to preoccupy him even after his immense Raft of the Medusa (showing the terrible aftermath of a shipwreck) failed to win approval at the Salon exhibition ni 1819. This small but powerful scene -- also a sensational subject from modern life -- was no doubt intended as a study for a much larger work that Gericault characteristically never finished.
VMFAEU_110204_083.JPG: Eugene Delacroix
Study of a Calcutta Indian, ca 1820
This casually composed and quickly executed painting is part of a series of costume studies of the same Bengali Indian -- possibly a merchant visit to France. Along with other sketches of similar subjects, this painting represents a fascination with Eastern and other foreign cultures that Delacroix considered the living embodiment of antiquity.
VMFAEU_110204_090.JPG: Louis-Leopold Boilly
Study for "L'entree du Jardin Ture," ca 1812
VMFAEU_110204_096.JPG: Alfred Stevens
Woman in a Studio, 1862-1865
VMFAEU_110204_102.JPG: Henri Joseph Harpignies
The Colas Road, 1885
VMFAEU_110204_112.JPG: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Cobot
Goatherd Beside the Gulf, 1870
This painting typifies Corot's later style, which combines scenes from his Italian travels with more classical compositions. Here, a goatherd and two goats are framed by popular elk and oak trees; a small village is partially visible on the banks of a glistening body of water. The hazy atmosphere, conveyed through soft, diffused tones, suggests a tranquil mood. Corot's work evokes an idealized landscape -- rustic and secluded -- inhabited by herdsmen leading simple yet happy lives.
VMFAEU_110204_115.JPG: Eugene Boudin
Pardon in Finestere, ca 1865-70
In this atmospheric painting, Boudin depicts a group of women in Finistere, the westernmost region of Brittany, participating in a pardon. Pardons were pilgrimages undertaken with the hope of receiving blessings and forgiveness for sins. The women are shown wearing the traditional Breton costume. This is one of several paintings Boudin completed on this theme, including his first Salon entry in 1859.
VMFAEU_110204_123.JPG: Eugene Boudin
The Regatta, ca 1859
Boudin was the son of a mariner from the town on Honfleur, and scenes of the harbor were among his favorite subjects. Paintings such as this one reveal his careful study of the ships as well as the character of seaside light and air. By combining a luminous palette with animated brushwork and glimpses of contemporary life, Boudin anticipated the work of the Impressionists.
VMFAEU_110204_132.JPG: Eugene Boudin
The Beach at Trouville, Stormy Weather, 1894
This painting combines Boudin's love for the ocean with her interest in weather. The stormy sky dominates the beach, shown at low tide and devoid of human presence. Fellow artist Camille Coror once called Boudin "the king of skies"; here the sky becomes the true subject of the artist's dramatic work.
VMFAEU_110204_141.JPG: Camille Pissarro
Landscape, St. Thomas, 1856
In this St. Thomas landscape, heat seems to emanate from the surface of shore and sea alike. Two of the island's inhabitants seek a reprieve in the shade of the palm trees and shrubbery. The small number of Pissarro's tropical landscapes suggests that the artist perhaps created these paintings as personal remembrances of his birthplace.
VMFAEU_110204_152.JPG: Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Pena
The Edge of the Forest at Fontainebleu, 1870
VMFAEU_110204_157.JPG: Camille Pissarro
Coconut Palms by the Sea, St. Thomas, 1856
This is one of several pieces Pissarro painted of his birthplace, St. Thomas, after moving to France in 1855. He was essentially self-taught, and Cezanne later commented, "He had the good fortune to be born in the Antilles. There he learned to draw without masters." Nearly twenty years later, Pissarro's interest in the direct observation of nature and light influenced the Impressionist movement. Pissarro is the only Impressionist to have exhibited in each of their eight group shows.
VMFAEU_110204_163.JPG: Eugene Boudin
The Beach at Trouville, 1864
In order to escape the city, the Parisian upper classes visited Trouville, one of many small fishing villages on France's northern coast that attracted tourists. Boudin was disturbed by the clash of these vacationers with the fishermen, sailors, and villagers he had known from his youth. Although he said he felt "a certain shame at painting their idle laziness," Boudin recognizes the wealthy Parisians as his clients and depicted their leisure activities with considerable skill.
VMFAEU_110204_171.JPG: Eugene Boudin
Woman Washing, Trouville, 1863
This depiction of a washerwoman working among fishing boats contrasts vividly with Boudin's scenes of the Parisian bourgeoisie relaxing on the beaches of Trouville. In the foreground, a woman stoops over soiled laundry, which she will rinse in the water, rub together using sand as an abrasive, and then beat against the stones and rocks. The bank recedes into space on the diagonal; a bridge in the background signals the rapid urbanization of this growing resort town.
VMFAEU_110204_179.JPG: Henri Fantin-Latour
Grapes in a Basket and Apples, 1880
Fantin-Latour is perhaps best known for his mastery of the still-life genre. Here he precisely renders the grapes and apples, emphasizing their shapes and colors as well as the way light defines their forms. His realistic approach to this subject matter recalls the Roman writer Pliny's famous story in which the artist Zeuxis depicted grapes so realistically that birds tried to eat them.
VMFAEU_110204_186.JPG: Gustave Courbet
Landscape in the Jura, ca 1866
Throughout his turbulent life, Gustave Courbet maintained a connection with his hometown of Ornans, located in the Jura, a mountainous area of eastern France. In this depiction of the wild and rugged region, the artist rendered with powerful simplicity the conjunction of a massive rock form with an equally large tree.
VMFAEU_110204_193.JPG: Henri Fantin-Latour
Bouquet of Zinnias, 1902
Although he became friends with the Impressionists, Fantin-Latour always considered himself a Realist and Gustave Courbet his principal influence. This painting -- with its balanced, pyramidal composition -- demonstrates his exactly observation of color, light, and texture. A contemporary observer once testified that Fantin-Latour would study each flower as carefully as one would study a human face.
VMFAEU_110204_199.JPG: Gustave Courbet
Gustave Chaudey, 1868
This modest portrait is an important document of both a friendshuip and a violent political period in the history of France. Courbet was a friend of Gustave Chaudey, a lawyer who represented the artist in business and legal affairs. Both men supported the radical government called the Paris Commune, which ruled Paris in 1871. However, Chaudey was suspected of treason by the Commune and subsequently imprisoned. Courbet argued unsuccessfully for his release: Chaudey was executed on May 29, 1871, just six days before the Communard government fell.
VMFAEU_110204_206.JPG: Eugene Boudin
A French Fishing Fleet with Packet Boat, 1889
In this painting, a fishing fleet is under sail on a very windy day off the coast of northern France. Boudin's rapid brushstrokes capture the wind-blown clouds and white-capped waves. To the right of the fleet, a puff of steam rises from a packet boat (a coastal or river streamer that plied a regular route and carried passengers, freight, and mail). With the juxtaposition of traditional sailing vessels and modern steam power, Boudin explores the theme of modernization common in much of his work. It has been suggested that this painting was exhibited in the Salon of 1889, possibly as a companion to Entrance to the Port of Le Havre, which is also in this collection.
VMFAEU_110204_213.JPG: Eugene Boudin
Entrance to the Port of Le Havre, 1888
The 19th century was a time of rapid expansion for the port city of Le Havre, situated on the northern coast of France and nicknamed "gateway to the ocean." Boudin's depiction of the port is more finished than many of his other compositions. The relative lack of loose brushwork is likely due to its conception as a painting destined for the Salon, possibly as a companion piece to French Fishing Fleet with Packet Boat, which is also in the collection. The image demonstrates Boudin's characteristic interest in weather and the play of light on stormy skies.
VMFAEU_110204_221.JPG: Frederic Bazille
The Artist's Studio, Rue Visconti, Paris, 1867
Painted in tones of gray with highlights of white and gold, this work illustrates Bazille's impressionistic tendencies: loose brushstrokes, commonplace subject matter, and a photograph-like cropping of the composition. The warming stove, bench, easel, and palette invite the viewer into the studio of the artist occupied in the Sixth Arrondissement of Paris from July 1866 to December 1867. The large framed painting on the easel may be Bazille's colorful Terrace at Meric (1866-67), which had just been rejected from the 1867 Salon. This painting (now at the Musee du Petit-Palais in Geneva, Switzerland) depicts the Bazille family on the terrace of their country home near Montpellier. The bright light and vibrant color of that outdoor scene contrasted with the subdued tones in this depiction of Bazille's studio show the artist's considerable range.
VMFAEU_110204_227.JPG: Edouard Manet
On the Beach, Boulogne-sur-Mer, ca 1868-69
This is Manet's only painting of the beach in Boulogne-sur-Mer, located on the northern coast of France. Working in his studio from eighteen pencil sketches of groups of people, Manet placed the figures onto the flattened background with little regard for scale or perspective. He shows the fashionable tourists with a bathing machine -- pictured in the left middle ground -- that carried swimmers across the wide beach and into the water. Manet is one of the first artists to depict the "travel dress" for women, notable for a shortened hem that exposed the ankles. The painting can be related to beachscapes by Eugene Boudin and to Berthe Morisot's On the Beach in 1873, also in this collection, and likely influenced by this painting.
VMFAEU_110204_240.JPG: Berthe Morisot
The Jetty, Isle of Wight, 1875
This painting, completed during Morisot's 1875 trip to England's Isle of Wight, probably represents the area known as West Cowes. A contemporary critic of L'Echo universal wrote, "Several of her canvases represent views of the Isle of Wight and it is impossible not to recognize it; when you look at them quickly, blinking your eyes, the greenery, sky, the houses of England are there before us. You should not, for example, come closer nor look at details; the illusion disappears and you find yourself in the presence of monstrous beings, incoherent dabs and crazy perspective." Victor Chocquet, an avid collector whose portrait by Cezanne is also in this collection, purchased the painting in 1879.
VMFAEU_110204_248.JPG: Berthe Morisot
On the Beach, 1873
In this painting, Morisot depicts the sky, ocean, and beach of Les Petites Dalles near Fecamp, a favorite vacation spot in Normandy for the artist and her family. Like Mamet's earlier On The Beach, Boulogne-sur-Mer, also in this collection, topographical details give way to an atmospheric view that recedes into space. The simple, evenly lit scene, likely captured en plein air (outdoors) from the boardwalk, emphasizes the sketchy groups of figures framed by two lampposts.
VMFAEU_110204_253.JPG: Alfred Sisley
Fish on a Plate, 1865-67
This is one of only nine still-life paintings Sisley executed in his lifetime. This early example was painted only a few years after Sisley declared his intentions to pursue a career as an artist, disappointing his parents who hoped he would take on the family textile business. Upon joining the studio of Charles Gleyre in 1862, Sisley met Monet, Renoir, and Bazille, with whom he remained friends after the studio closed the next year. This painting already demonstrates Sisley's dedication to capturing the effects of light with a loose brushstroke, a focus that would lead to his reputation as one of the Impressionists most true to the movement's ideals.
VMFAEU_110204_266.JPG: Paul Gauguin
Still Life with Oysters, 1876
Guaguin was a self-taught artist who, when this painting was completed, was still worknig as a stockbroker and banker. Although he traveled in artistic circles and was friends with Camille Pissarro, he would not become a full-time artist until he lost his job following the stock market crash of 1882. Nevertheless in this early painting, Gauguin achieves a strong degree of realism; his heavy use of black, his thick brushstrokes, and the overall dramatic setting of this elegant supper reveal the influence of Edouard Manet.
VMFAEU_110204_282.JPG: Alfred Sisley
The Watering Pond at Marly with Hoarfrost, 1876
Sisley lived in Marly-le-Roi, approximately nine miles outside Paris, from 1875 to 1877. He painted twelve views of the watering pond there -- a remnant of the 17th-century system of aqueducts, pools, and fountains that provided the landscape setting for the Chateau de Marly, the country retreat of Louis XIV. By the time Sisley moved to Marly, the chateau had been demolished, and the pond functioned as a place for washing clothes and watering horses,. Sisley's interest in varying light and weather conditions and in the ordinary activities of daily life is characteristic of the Impressionists. Sisley remained true to Impressionist ideals throughout his career despite his failure to attain the economic success of his peers.
VMFAEU_110204_287.JPG: Alfred Sisley
The Thames at Hampton Court, 1874
In July 1874, Jean-Baptiste Faure, the baritone of the Opera-Comique and an avid collector of Impressionist paintings, financed and accompanied Sisley on a trip to Europe. After a brief visit to South Kensington, Sisley moved to Hampton Court -- the site of a royal palace farther up the Thames River -- and remained there until early October. Hampton is easily accessible by rail from London and was a very popular resort for residents of the city. Although this scene is devoid of people, several of Sisley's other paintings at Hampton depict vistors enjoying the area's leisure activities, including swimming, walking, and boating. Here the focus is on transferring the impression of light and color directly to the canvas with a characteristically loose brushstroke.
VMFAEU_110204_294.JPG: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pensive (La Songeuse), 1875
Renoir challenges our normal expectations of portraiture by showing his subject with her back to us. This view seems a formal device whereby he juxtaposes the rich range of blacks in the lower half of the painting with an explosion of color above. Renoir created this work around the time of the first Impressionist exhibition, and it is a classic example of his elegant subject matter and free brushwork at the time.
VMFAEU_110204_300.JPG: Claude Monet
Field of Poppies, Giverny, 1885
This is one of four paintings of poppy fields that Monet completed during the summer of 1885 in Giverny, where the artist resided from 1883 until his death almost forty-five years later. The painting illustrates a change in Monet's technique, which occurred in the 1880s: he consciously treats the landscape as a vehicle for opposing bands of colors -- red, green, and blue. He may have added to the painting in the studio in order to unify the surface. The painting received widespread recognition at its United States premier in 1886 and was one of Monet's first works purchased by an American collector.
VMFAEU_110204_309.JPG: Claude Monet
Camille at the Window, Argenteuil, 1873
Monet and his wife, Camille, moved to Argenteuil, a growing Parisian suburb on the seine, in December 1871. They rented the house which still stands at 2 Rue Pierre Guienne, until 1874, when they moved around the corner. Monet placed his easel in the property's extensive garden in order to view Camille through a mass of fuchsias, begonias, geraniums, and other potted plants. His love of flowers and gardens would continue throughout his career, and his position of being outside looking in is a reminder of his commitment to plein-air (outdoor) painting. The subject matter -- a suburban garden -- is distinctly modern, and the small, varied brushstrokes are characteristic of his paintings at this time.
VMFAEU_110204_317.JPG: Alfred Sisley
Wild Flowers, ca 1875
Of the nine known still-life paintings by Sisley, this is the only flower subject. He approached the canvas in a characteritistically Impressionist manner, depicting the play of light on a vase of flowers in front of a window. Unlike his landscapes of the early 1870s, exemplified by The Thames at Hampton Court, also in this collection, where he applied harmonious and tonal color using a broader brushstroke, this painting demonstrates Sisley's later style. The brushstrokes are more vigorous and the artist uses an increasingly varied palette, seen in the bright red and pink tones accentuated by flecks of yellow in the floral arrangement.
VMFAEU_110204_325.JPG: Camille Pissarro
The Quai du Pothuis, Pontoise, 1872
Views of Pontoise and its environs were among Pissarro's most frequent subjects after 1866, the year he settled there. The bridge over the Oise River that gave the town its name is visible at the left ("pont" is French for bridge). Here, Pissarro portrays the town's traditional aspects (horse-drawn carts and peasant women) in a thoroughly modern, fully Impressionist style.
VMFAEU_110204_332.JPG: Stanislas Lepine
La Bievre, Paris, ca 1880
The Bievre River flowed north through the Left Bank of Paris. Once known for both its periodic flooding and unsavory stench, it is now entirely paved over.
VMFAEU_110204_340.JPG: Stanislas Lepine
The Dock at La Villette, Paris, ca 1876-80
Lepine shows the busy docking facility at La Villette, in north-eastern Paris. The artist, though little known today, exhibited in four of the eight Impressionist exhibitions.
VMFAEU_110204_350.JPG: Stanislas Lepine
The Seine at Charenton, 1880
The subject here is the confluence of the Seine and Marne rivers. Charenton, an eastern suburb of Paris, is visible at the right.
VMFAEU_110204_356.JPG: Stanislas Lepine
View of Paris, before 1874
Lepine shows us the Seine River flowing through the heart of Paris. The church in the center of the composition is Notre Dame Cathedral.
VMFAEU_110204_369.JPG: Johan Barthold Jongkind
The Seine at Bas Meudon, 1865
Jongkind, who studied at the Academy of Drawing in the Hague, shows a clear grounding in the Dutch landscape tradition tempered by the influence of open-air painters such as Eugene Boudin. Boudin, in turn, influenced Claude Monet and other Impressionists. Bas Meudon is located in the southwest suburbs of Paris.
VMFAEU_110204_385.JPG: Henri Rousseau
Tropical Landscape -- An American Indian Struggling with a Gorilla, 1910
VMFAEU_110204_399.JPG: Aristide Maillol
Nymph, ca 1930-31
VMFAEU_110204_405.JPG: Aristide Maillol
Nymph, ca 1930-31
VMFAEU_110204_411.JPG: Berthe Morisot
Young Woman Watering a Shrub, 1876
Berthe Morisot often painted intimate, domestic scenes. Here the artist depicts her sister, Edma Pontillon, watering plants on the terrace of the Morisot family home at 5 Rue Guichard in Paris's Sixteenth Arrondissement. Edma's simple housedress allows Morisot to explore the play of light over white, a common interest in Impressionist painting. This painting further demonstrates the 19th century association of women with the home and exemplifies the Impressionist interest in urban and suburban gardens also seen in the Mellon collection's Cantille at the Window.
VMFAEU_110204_420.JPG: James Tissot
Mrs. Newton with a Child by a Pool, ca 1877-78
Mothers with children were a very traditional subject in art beginning with Madonnas in the religious art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. This painting is a sketch for a larger work (present location unknown) and was probably done en plein air (outdoors), as was the common practice of contemporary French Impressionists. The woman shown here was the artist's mistress and favorite model, Mrs. Kathleen Newton.
VMFAEU_110204_426.JPG: Henri de Toulouse Lautrec
At The Bar, ca 1886
Cafes and other drinking establishments were not only gathering places for French artists but also among their favorite subjects. The eclectic mix of artists, writers, workers, and performers who gathered in Paris's cafes to discuss artistic and political ideas (as well as to drink and be noticed) appealed directly to Lautrec, who found such spectacles typical of modern life. Here, the left-hand figure is likely the artist himself. Lautrec famously used his friends and acquaintances from all walks of life as his subjects -- it is possible that the right-hand figures represent the cabaret dancer called Valentin and Lautrec's cousin and friend, Gabriel Tapie de Celetran.
VMFAEU_110204_435.JPG: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
The Artist's Son, Jean, Drawing, 1901
The subject of artistic impulses in children has been a popular one in art since the 17th century. In this painting, Renoir simplified his palette to a limited range of grays and browns and monumentalized the composition in a classic pyramid in order to draw our attention to the young Jean's intense concentration. Renoir seems to want us to sympathize with the plight of this lovingly observed young artist struggling over his childish drawing. Jean (1894-1979) went on to become a famous film director in France and Hollywood.
VMFAEU_110204_442.JPG: Paul Cezanne
Victor Chocquet, ca 1877
Victor Chocquet was a customs official who avidly collected art. He became a supporter of Cezanne early in the artist's career and was the first person to commission a portrait from him. Chocquet particularly admired the modeling Cezanne achieved through the buildup of small brushstrokes and the use of complementary colors, such as the green and red tones of the checks as seen in this Post-Impressionist portrait. Upon Chocquet's death, there were more than thirty paintings by Cezanne in his collection.
VMFAEU_110204_451.JPG: Vincent Van Gogh
Laundry Boat on the Seine, 1887
Van Gogh spent two years in Paris living with his brother Theo, an art dealer who represented modern artists including Monet and Pissarro. Through his brother, van Gogh met many artists and intellectuals and became fully immersed in the intellectual circles of the avant-garde. In this painting, he demonstrates the trademarks of his mature style: tactile, heavy brushstrokes; and Impressionist approach to color; and shortened perspective. The subject of van Gogh's painting is a laundry boat licensed to a man named Lebreton and docked on the outskirts of Paris, near the Pont de Clinchy.
VMFAEU_110204_457.JPG: Jacques Villon
The Three Orders: The Castle, the Church, the Land, 1944
This painting of Beaugency, the village where Villon was living during the outbreak of World War II in France, was met with great acclaim when it was first exhibited in Paris just months after the city was liberated. The title refers to the three divisions of pre-Revolutionary French society -- the nobility, the clergy, and the commoners. Villon treats his traditional subject in a highly ordered Cubist manner that conveys a stable, calm vision of the French town. Indeed, Beaugency was one of the few towns in the region that escaped the war largely undamaged.
VMFAEU_110204_463.JPG: Jacques Villon
Horseback Riding at Chantilly, 1950
Villon, who was the brother of Dada artist Marcel Duchamp, began his artistic career as a newspaper caricaturist and print-maker. He was one of the organizers of the group Section d'Or (Golden Section), a name that refers to a mathematical proportion first discovered in antiquity and thought to offer an ideal aesthetic standard rooted in classical forms. Here Villon employs precise geometric forms to express the momentum of the horses at the famous French racecourse in Chantilly, outside Paris.
VMFAEU_110204_471.JPG: Pablo Picasso
Pigeon on a Perch, 1960
Late in his career, Picasso -- ever the innovator -- continued to push the limits of his own pictorial language. He began to look increasingly at the world of Old Masters such as Velasquez and Delacroix to explore new techniques, such as the painterly brushstroke, particularly evident in this calligraphic patterns on the dark background of this painting.
VMFAEU_110204_479.JPG: Pablo Picasso
The Chinese Chest of Drawers, 1953
Picasso was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, and by the 1950s he had also become one of the most well known. Photo-essays in Life magazine, a full-length film, and retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Grand Palais in Paris were devoted to the artist and his work. Although he had long since departed from the hard abstraction of Analytic Cubism, this painting -- though decorative in tone -- retains the broken forms and skewed perspective that are characteristic of Picasso's oeuvre.
VMFAEU_110204_486.JPG: Kees Van Dongen
Races at Deauville, ca 1950s
By the middle of the 20th century, van Dongen had become a well-established artist whose portraits were very popular with French high society. He also traveled to many fashionable race-courses, including the one at the seaside resort town of Deauville, where races were originally run on the wide beach. Van Dongen depicts the scene in his characteristic style of bright, flat colors and loosely painted figures.
VMFAEU_110204_494.JPG: Kees Van Dongen
Blue Grass Races, ca 1957
Early in his career, van Dongen was closely associated with Fauvism, a movement characterized by the use of bold, often unmixed colors to create space and form and evoke emotion. Here van Dongen focuses on the rich color of the Kentucky bluegrass and the bright silks of the riders. The exhilarating finish becomes a blur of color rather than a precisely captured moment.
VMFAEU_110204_500.JPG: Raoul Dufy
Landscape, Villerville, 1930
The resort town of Villerville is located on the Normandy coast next to Trouville and Deauville and across the Seine River estuary from Le Havre, where Dufy was born. Dufy was impressed by the bright colors of Matisse and the Fauves at the Salon des Independants of 1905 and expanded his palette in kind. The calligraphic brushstrokes show a flair for the decorative -- appropriate since Dufy also designed textiles, ceramics, and architectural elements.
VMFAEU_110204_522.JPG: Kees Van Dongen
Parisian Lady, 1910
The bright, garish colors that set off this elegant Parisian woman and her precious pet attest to van Dongen's close association with Fauvism. Van Dongen's work often displays a whimsical sense of humor, seen here in the comical contrast between the woman's flamboyantly oversized hat and the minuscule dog.
VMFAEU_110204_529.JPG: Georges Braque
The Yellow Bouquet, 1952
During the last decades of his career, Braque expanded the range of his artistic output, producing color lithographs, stained glass, and sculpture in addition to paintings. He created a series of still-life paintings in which the subject is depicted against a stark background, exploring the relationship between figure and background.
VMFAEU_110204_537.JPG: Maurice Utrillo
Street in Sannois, ca 1911
Although Utrillo was the son of artist and model Suzanne Valadon, he did not begin to pursue his own art seriously until the age of nineteen when his mother suggested drawing and painting to help him recover from alcoholism. Utrillo was extremely productive throughout his career, and he painted many views of the streets of Paris and its suburbs. This street scene in Sannois shows Utrillo's exceptional draftsmanship in the precise lines of the buildings and gates.
VMFAEU_110204_543.JPG: Kees Van Dongen
Fancy Dog, 1920
Pets are frequent subjects of artists and patrons as seen in this painting and in George Stubbs's Mrs. French's White Lap Dog, also in the Mellon collection. Even in an abstract form shown in strict profile against a flat background of unmixed color, van Dongen is able to convey the preciousness of the animal.
VMFAEU_110204_547.JPG: Maurice Utrillo
The Barracks at Montmartre, 1940
Utrillo was raised in the Parisian neighborhood of Montmartre, an area made famous by artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, who depicted the colorful cabarets and cafes and the characters who inhabited them. Utrillo established a reputation as one of the foremost painters of cityscapes and Montmartre in particular. By the time he painted this scene, however, the intellectual and artistic heart of the city had moved to the neighborhood of Montparnasse located on the left bank of the Seine River.
VMFAEU_110204_554.JPG: Georges Braque
Fruit Dish and Fruit Basket, 1928
Braque, along with Picasso, was one of the earliest proponents of Cubism, a movement that had a significant effect on the course of 20th-century art. After seeing Picasso's Desmoiselles d'Avignon in 1907, Braque began steadily pushing the limits of abstraction in his own painting. In the 1920s, the artist's work became more decorous, as seen in this stylized depiction of fruit.
VMFAEU_110204_564.JPG: Georgio Morandi
White Still Life, 1946
Morandi was born in Bologna where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. Although influenced early in his career by Futurism and the "Metaphysical School," he never fully belonged to any particular artistic movement. He approached the craft of painting in a very classical manner and insisted on stretching his own canvases and creating his own paint. Morandi painted still lifes throughout his career, but after 1940 he began producing series in which he painted the same subject repeatedly, exploring the subtle differences achieved by varying viewpoints, light, or groupings of objects.
VMFAEU_110204_569.JPG: Giorgio Morandi
Still Life, 1959
Around 1940, Morandi devoted himself to producing multiple series of similar still-life paintings, steadily creating more abstract compositions by the 1950s. In his 1946 White Still Life, which is also in this collection, he rendered the objects in several tones, producing the effect of shadow and depth in the manner of traditional still lifes that convincingly translates a three-dimensional subject to a two-dimensional canvas. In this 1959 Still Life, however, Morandi used flat expanses of color, detaching his objects from the real world and placing them in an imaginary one where their relationship in space is less important than the artist's vision of them.
VMFAEU_110204_576.JPG: Rene Magritte
The Seducer, 1950
Magritte was one of the leading Surrealist artists who sought to achieve a "superior reality" in their art through a fusion of the conventional perceived view of the world and the unconscious -- especially as experienced through dreams. Magritte described this painting as a "pictorial solution" to the "problem of water." He arrived at this solution through a process he called "frantic contemplation," in which he spent days making almost identical sketches of the same subject until he achieved a vision that represented the "total reality" of both the logical (or conscious) and the mysterious (or unconscious).
VMFAEU_110204_583.JPG: Roger de la Fresnaye
The Turpentine Bottle, ca 1913
Despite La Fresnaye's use of simple geometric forms, several objects -- such as the bottle of turpentine, the bundled cloth to the left of the canvas, and the pot of tobacco to the right -- are easily recognizable. The artist uses blocks of color in a grid-like composition that sets off the horizontal forms of the table from the vertical forms of the wall beyond, creating a sense of depth in the painting. While it was traditionally viewed as a minor genre, still-life painting offered modernist artists an ideal medium in which to explore the relationship between the visual perception of the model and the formal qualities of painting.
VMFAEU_110204_589.JPG: Roger de la Fresnaye
Still Life with Bottle, Pipe, and Pot of Tobacco, 1913-14
La Fresnaye received a conventional artistic education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, but by 1910 he began working in a style influenced by Cubism. In this still-life painting, La Fresnaye is occupied by the Cubist fascination with simplicity of geometric form. However, unlike the Cubist work of the same period by Picasso or Braque, he maintains a realistic perspective, creating a sense of depth to the composition that is occupied by the table and the objects gathered on top. La Fresnaye's use of bright, high-pitched colors also sets him apart from the Cubists, who tended toward dark compositions with a small range of tones.
VMFAEU_110204_598.JPG: Edouard Vuillard
The Golden Chair, 1906
This portrait of the wife and son of French playwright Georges Feydeau demonstrates the artist's later interest in the lives of the Parisian bourgeoisie and intelligentsia. Feydeau's light comedies were extremely popular with Parisian theater-goers in the early years of the 20th century. His life, Marie-Anne, was the daughter of the famous portrait painter Carolus-Duran. Their prosperity permitted the ornate, rich decor captured in this portrait as well as a growing collection of contemporary art. In contrast to Vuillard's earlier, more flattened compositions, this portrait represents his later three-dimensional treatment of space and increasing realism, as he records even the smallest details.
VMFAEU_110204_606.JPG: Albert Marquet
Ebb Tide at Pyla, 1935
Water was an important subject for Marquet who was born near the port city of Bordeaux. He later traveled throughout Europe and North Africa painting views from the waterfront towns of Hamburg, Naples, Algiers, Rotterdam, Venice, and, as pictured here, Pyla-sur-Mer on France's Atlantic coast. Marquet has strikingly captured the effect of the warm light on the surface of the bay as well as the streams running down the beach with the receding tide.
VMFAEU_110204_614.JPG: Maurice de Vlaminck
Sailing Boat, Chatou, ca 1906
VMFAEU_110204_622.JPG: Albert Marquet
The Louvre, 1936
VMFAEU_110204_629.JPG: Pierre Bonnard
The Pont de Grunelle and the Eiffel Tower, ca 1912
VMFAEU_110204_636.JPG: Odilon Redon
Pond in les Landes, ca 1880
VMFAEU_110204_643.JPG: Edouard Vuillard
Remembrance of Romanel, near Lausanne, ca 1900
VMFAEU_110204_647.JPG: Pierre Bonnard
The Dining Room, ca 1940-47
VMFAEU_110204_654.JPG: Odilon Redon
Vase of Flowers, ca 1904
VMFAEU_110204_663.JPG: Felix Vallotton
The Green Room (Interieur, Vestibule, Effet de Lampe), 1904
VMFAEU_110204_671.JPG: Edouard Vuillard
The Artist's Mother in Her Apartment, Rue de Calais, Paris -- Morning, ca 1922
VMFAEU_110204_678.JPG: Albert Marquet
Still Life, ca 1900
VMFAEU_110204_688.JPG: Andre Derain
The Port of Douarnenez, 1936
VMFAEU_110204_696.JPG: Pierre Bonnard
The Open Window, ca 1919
VMFAEU_110204_703.JPG: Henri Matisse
Interior (La Fenetre Fermee), 1918-19
VMFAEU_110204_709.JPG: Edgar Degas
The Little Dancer, Fourteen Years Old, ca 1880-81 (cast ca 1919-32)
The original wax model of this striking sculpture was probably based on nude studies of a model -- a Belgian girl, Marie van Goethem (born 1864), who was a ballet pupil at the Opera when Degas first developed the composition (ca 1878). To a public accustomed to academic, carefully finished marble statues, the completed original wax figure, shown by Degas at the Sixth Impressionist Exhibition in 1881 -- dressed in a silk bodice, gauze ballet skirt, pink ballet shoes, with a satin ribbon around real hair -- must have seemed a shocking departure. Antagonistic critics of that period concentrated on the "ugliness" and "depravity" of the dancer, but more than one realized that the sculpture, with its "frightful realism," was "the first formulation of a new art." It is now admired by most art lovers as a tender depiction of adolescent innocence.
The museum's cast is one of twenty-three known versions, all cast after Degas' death. The original wax model is now in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
VMFAEU_110204_719.JPG: French 19th-Century Art:
Together with his wife, Rachel "Bunny" Lambert Mellon, Paul Mellon assembled a collection of French painting that is remarkable both in its scope and the exceptional quality of the individual works. However, Mr. and Mrs. Mellon never intended to become systematic collectors, but instead acquired works that appealed to their sensibilities.
"We both like to wander down the byways of art, too, looking for something that catches our eye or for minor works that nonetheless recall happy memories or otherwise appeal to our hearts." -- Paul Mellon, 1992
Focusing mainly on the Impressionists and their precursors, such as the Barbizon School and Romantic painters, Paul Mellon appreciated the directness of observation and spontaneity of brushwork that were hallmarks of these artists. The collection reflects his preference for plein air (outdoor) painting and the aesthetic value of tranquility, especially as found in nature. He also particularly liked small-sized paintings for their "intimacy and their human appeal."
"Bunny and I... have always loved the out-of-doors. Perhaps this explains our affinity for the Impressionists. For never before or since in the unfolding pageant of art have painters so brilliantly captured the poetry of the countryside." -- Paul Mellon, 1967
The collection Mr. and Mrs. Mellon gave to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts comprises masterpieces of every period from Romanticism to Cubism. Mr. and Mrs. Mellon gave a large part of their collection to VMFA during his lifetime, and he subsequently bequeathed many more works of art. Mr. Mellon himself supervised the details of the original installation -- this wing, which he also gave in 1985 in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia and Sydney and Frances Lewis.
"It seems to me that art makes one feel the essence of something, turning the ordinary, everyday object or scene into a universal one. Like poetry for Wordsworth, it is 'emotion recollected in tranquility.' " -- Paul Mellon, 1992
VMFAEU_110204_726.JPG: Edgar Degas
Julie Burtey, ca 1867
VMFAEU_110204_734.JPG: Edgar Degas,
Arabesque over the Right Leg, Left Arm in Line, ca 1882-95
VMFAEU_110204_747.JPG: Edgar Degas
Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot, ca 1896-1911
VMFAEU_110204_752.JPG: Edgar Degas
Alfred Niaudet, ca 1877
VMFAEU_110204_760.JPG: Degas the Sculptor:
During his life, Degas was primarily known as a painter and exhibited only one sculpture -- The Little dancer, Fourteen Years Old -- in 1881. That work, though much beloved today, met with critical scorn for its "ugliness" and uncompromising realism. Though Degas continued to make sculptures of ballerinas, horses, and other figures, he never showed them in public. It was a great surprise, therefore, when more than a hundred sculptures were found in Degas' studio after his death in 1917. These were cast in bronze by the sculptor Adrien Hebrard (1865-1937) in editions of twenty-two.
The waxes in VMFA's Mellon collection are especially precious not only because they are unique (unlike the later multiple bronze casts), but also because they are sculptural equivalents to sketches, directly showing the workings and reworkings of the artist's hand. Through ceaseless and careful observation, Degas was able to capture the smallest movements of ballerina and horse. Focusing his attention -- and ours -- on fleeting moments that would otherwise be forgotten. Degas created a monument to things past.
VMFAEU_110204_762.JPG: Edgar Degas
Woman Seated in an Armchair, Wiping Her Neck, cast ca 1919-21
VMFAEU_110204_769.JPG: Edgar Degas
The Schoolgirl (Woman Walking in the Street), cast 1956
VMFAEU_110204_774.JPG: Edgar Degas
Prancing Horse, ca 1865-90
VMFAEU_110204_780.JPG: Designed by Frederick Wilson
Made by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company
Christ Resurrection Window (for All Saints Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia), 1900
At the turn of the 20th century, leaded-glass windows made by the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company were in great demand by American churches. This window was created for All Saints Episcopal Church in Richmond by Frederick Wilson, who designed thousands of religious figural windows and mosaics for Tiffany. Wilson's work exemplifies the dramatic effects of color, light, and texture that could be achieved in glass through a variety of innovative techniques.
All Saint's Episcopal Church began in 1883 as Monumental Church, in what then constituted Richmond's West End. This window was installed in its West Franklin Street location between 1898 and 1901. When the church moved to its new building on River Road in Henrico County in 1957, the window was placed in storage where it has remained until recent years.
The Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company created additional windows for All Saints Episcopal Church around 1899. These windows -- which can still be seen at the church's River Road location -- include The Beatitudes in the chapel and the Te Deum in the chancel.
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