Saturday, December 24, 2011

Watchful Waiting

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Francis Coates Jones (American painter, 1857–1932) Woman in White
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Birthday

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Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller (Austrian artist, 1793–1865) Grandmother's Birthday

Self-Taught Art & A Birthday Poem for Me

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American Self-Taught Artist Mary Tillman Smith 1904-1995

For my December birthday 2 years ago, my friend, music & art critic Geoffrey Himes, surprised me with a song he had written for me. We both collect Southern American self-taught art. I am especially fond of pairing birds & snakes around the house, you know, the good & evil thing. Well, anyway, here is the song.

She's got snakes on her wall,
She's got snakes on her wall,
And they whisper and slither
Wherever they crawl.
She's got snakes on her wall.

She's got worms in her drink,
She's got worms in her drink,
Yes, they pickle and tickle
The way that you think.
She's got worms in her drink.

Well, it's not your
Everyday kind of a home.
When you go to visit,
You're never alone.

There are ghosts in the windows,
Indian Chiefs in the hall,
There are lions on the lawn
And snakes on the wall.

She's got moon in her face.
She's got moon in her face;
The bright light comes
From some other place.
She's got moon in her face.

She's got bells in her voice.
She's got bells in her voice,
Yes, they're tolling for you,
No, you don't have a choice.
She's got bells in her voice.

Well, she's not your
Everyday kind of a girl.
With just one kiss,
Your head starts to swirl.

Soon the beetles are giant
And the elephants small,
You'll see lions on the lawn
And snakes on the wall.

She's got snakes on her wall,
She's got snakes on her wall,
And they whisper and slither
Wherever they crawl.
She's got snakes on her wall.

(No, I have never kissed the gentleman...but I do love the song.)
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Ohio Portrait & Genre Painter Allen Smith Jr 1810–1890



Allen Smith Jr (American artist, 1810–1890) The Artist's Mother


New York-trained artist, Allen Smith, Jr. settled in Cleveland, Ohio in 1841, having been in New York City from 1930, and swiftly rose to prominence there as a portrait & genre painter.


Allen Smith Jr (American artist, 1810–1890) The Young Mechanic


Like all artists, Smith suffered greatly during the Panic of 1857, forcing him to take a job in James F. Ryder’s studio where, according to his employer’s advertisements, he produced the “best oil painted photographs in Ohio.”


Allen Smith Jr (American artist, 1810–1890) A Lady


With 8 children to support, Smith collaborated with other photographers in times of need, both in Cleveland & Cincinnati, but ended his days happily in Ohio's Lake County, painting landscapes in the Big Creek Valley.

Okay, just one more boy & his dog before I sign off. This dog has a little bird in his paws...

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Moses B Russell (Ameican artist, 1809-1884) Nathaniel B Fessenden Boston 1850
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The Lovely Portraits of American Samuel Waldo 1783-1861 & the mystery over who painted them

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Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Elizabeth Mary Huntington Griswold


American portrait painter, Samuel Waldo was born in Windham, Connecticut into a family who recognized & encouraged their son's artistic talent. At age 16, he left home to study art in Hartford with Joseph Steward, a retired minister who painted portraits. Waldo did some sign painting at first & then opened a portrait studio in Hartford. He met John Rutledge of South Carolina, who invited him down to paint commission portraits. He was so successful in the South, that the profits from this sojourn financed 3 years of study in England with expatriates Benjamin West & John Singleton Copley. Under West, he worked with other American artists in England at the time.


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Mrs Samuel L Waldo detail 1826


By 1809, he had returned to the US & settled in New York, where he encouraged a strong American Academy of Fine Arts. Because of his early connections to the state, he also exhibited with the South Carolina Academy of Fine Arts. Many of his portrait subjects were prominent New Yorkers from the emerging merchant class. From 1820 to 1854, he worked with an apprentice, William Jewett, (c 1792-1874) in a highly successful portrait painting partnership until Jewitt's retirement. Because no portraits survive that can be attributed directly to William Jewett, some believe that Jewett’s contributions to their joint efforts were limited to painting draperies, accessories, & backgrounds. However, Jewett’s portrait style may have so resembled that of Waldo, his teacher, that they may have been able to work on the likeness together without much difference being apparent in the resulting images. Some think that Waldo did the overall design & executed the heads & hands. Many attribute portraits between 1820-1854 to both artists.


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Lucinda Mack


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Abigail Avery van Zandt


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Abigail Louise Smith Tallmadge 1833


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Electra Barrell (Mrs Sampson Wilder) 1823


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) detail Susan Carrington (Mrs Najah Taylor) 1831


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Marie Underhill Van Zandt


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Mrs Nathan Bunton (Charlotte Pomeroy)


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Deliverance Mapes Waldo and her son 1830


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Mrs C V Lindsley 1844


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Mrs James K Bogert Jr.


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Mrs Stephen Allen


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Elizabeth Kolyer Harper


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Maria Clarissa Leavitt


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Mrs Edward Kellogg


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) Mrs Sackett


Samuel Lovett Waldo (American artist, 1783-1861) The Knapp Children


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Tea Time in 18th-century Massachusetts

Creamware Tea Pot from Leeds c 1780

In America during the 18th century, young & the old from all levels of society occasionally spent their leisure time taking tea together.

Elizabeth Fuller (1775-1856) was 14 years-old, when she started keeping a diary. She made regular entries from October 1790 through December 1792, while living with her family on a farm in Princeton, Massachusetts.

Unmarried young women in rural New England, often spent their days at home engaged primarily in textile production for both their own family's use & to trade for other items. In her diary, Elizabeth Fuller writes of washing, carding, & spinning wool, while assisting with everyday chores such as making cheese & cooking.

Dec 1, 1790 I went to Mr. Perry’s to make a visit this afternoon, had an excellent dish of tea and a shortcake. — Betsey Whitcomb at work there. Had a sociable afternoon.

May 8, 1791 — Sabbath. I went to church A.M. Mr. Thurston preached. Mr. John Rolph & his Lady & Mr. Osburn her Brother & a Miss Anna Strong (a Lady courted by said Osbourn) came here after Meeting and drank Tea.

To learn more about the difficult life of this 14-year-old farm girl in New England go to the 18th-Century American Women blog

Chelsea Fable Tea Pot, C.1752-3. Painted by Jeffreys Hamett O'Neal. Aesop's Fable of "The Goat In The Well."

Click here for more tea stories & tea pots.
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dance!

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18th-Century Dancing

Dance in the Morning

I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
And I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
And I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth,
At Bethlehem I had my birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be.
I am the Lord of the dance, said he.
I'll lead you all wherever you may be,
I will lead you all in the Dance, said he.

Dancing in a Grove in the 18th-century

Sidney Carter (1915–2004) wrote these words in 1963 Britain, to a 19th-century Shaker melody, "Simple Gifts" by Joseph Brackett. The tune was written by American Joseph Brackett (1797–1882) who first joined the Shakers at Gorham, Maine, when his father's farm helped to form the nucleus of a new Shaker settlement. The song was largely unknown outside of American Shaker communities; until it became world famous thanks to its use in Aaron Copland's score for Martha Graham's ballet "Appalachian Spring," 1st performed in 1944. Copland used "Simple Gifts" a second time in 1950, in his first set of "Old American Songs" for voice & piano, which was later orchestrated.

Dancing in the 19th-century

19th-Century Dance
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Time for More Hot Chocolate

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist Painter, 1841-1919) The Cup of Chocolate 1878

Weather's getting colder. Perhaps it is time to switch to tea. Too many built-in calories in hot chocolate...

Social Life in Jean-Louis Forain's Paris 1852-1931



Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Au Cafe 1879


Well, except for the costumes, today's social season seems to share many characteristics with the social season in the France of Jean-Louis Forain, Impressionist painter, lithographer, watercolorist, & etcher. Born in Reims, his family moved to Paris, when he was 8. He worked as a caricaturist for several Paris journals including Le Monde Parisien & Le rire satirique. He then enrolled at the École des Beaux Arts, studying under Jean-Léon Gérôme as well as Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Parisian Salon 1878


He was the youngest artist to participate in the feverish debates led by Édouard Manet & Edgar Degas at the Café de la Nouvelle Athènes. A follower & protégé of Degas, Forain joined the Impressionist circle in time to take part in the 4th independent exhibition in 1879; and he participated in 3 of the 4 landmark shows 1879-1884. His paintings focused on Parisian popular entertainments - the racetrack, the ballet, the comic opera, public gardens, & bustling cafés.


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Parisian Soiree 1878


In 1891, Forain married the painter Jeanne Bosc with whom he had a son, Jean-Loup in 1895. In his later years, Forain created numerous scenes of the Law Courts plus other social satire caricatures on French life. In 1931, shortly before his death, he was made a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Au Cafe 1872


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Au Cafe


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Au cafe


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Au Théâtre 1882


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Au théâtre, l'avant-scène


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Ball at the Paris Opera


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Chambre 1888


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Dans sa loge


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Entree au Restaurant


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) In the Cafe


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) La lettre et l'absinthe, vers 1885


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) La rencontre


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Le Buffet


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Le casino


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Le Diner


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Le Pianiste


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Le Soir au Jardin de Paris 1882


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Montmartre


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) Soiree at the Opera


Jean-Louis Forain (French painter, 1852-1931) The Butler & the Gentleman. c 1900.