Stanhope Forbes

Stanhope Forbes
1857-1947

By
Armand Cabrera

Stanhope Forbes was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1857. When he was eleven, Forbes began drawing at the encouragement of family friends who took him on sketching trips. In college, Forbes began studying under John Sparkes. Sparkes emphasized drawing from casts and models, as opposed to copying drawings by the masters. Forbes enrolled in the Royal Academy School and briefly studied under Millias, Leghton and Alma Tadema.


In 1880, Forbes traveled to France, enrolling in the studio of Leon Bonnat near Montmartre. In Bonnat’s classes, Forbes was trained to paint from life. However, Bonnat did not sympathize with outdoor painting that was becoming popular with the students at the time. By 1881, Forbes was working in Cancale with other students who revered painting outdoors. The sale of a figure painting to the Walker Art Gallery so inspired Forbes that he dedicated his career to outdoor figure work.

Forbes finished his two years of study in France and returned home to England where he was anxious to establish himself as an artist. He began searching for a picturesque village to paint. He settled on Newlyn in Cornwall. Artists had been visiting the coast of Cornwall for years. A recently built rail stop to Penzance, only a few miles from Newlyn, allowed artists to live in the area and still have easy access to London and their galleries. Because of Forbes’ financial and critical success, he was considered the leader of the Newlyn Colony.

In 1886, he became engaged to Elizabeth Armstrong—an artist who had come to Newlyn to paint the year before. They married in 1889.

Forbes fidelity to outdoor figure work required a Herculean effort. He did not believe in painting nature as is compositionally and so each painting required much planning.

One of his most successful works, “A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach” is 4 feet by 5 feet, with more than 26 figures. For this painting, Forbes had to contend with the challenges of weather and changing effects of light. To complicate matters, models were often unreliable.

Many of Forbes paintings were finished over months, not days, requiring the complexity equal to a movie set. To avoid losing precious time when the weather was inclement, Forbes painted interior scenes. Usually he was working on at least two paintings at the same time—one outdoor and one interior. His greatest successes came during the 1880’s and 1890’s. Forbes continued to paint Newlyn and its citizens for the rest of his life. He died in 1947 at the age of 90.


Bibliography
Stanhope Forbes and the Newlyn SchoolCaroline Fox
1993 David and Charles Publishing

The Good and Simple Life Artist Colonies in Europe and America
Michael Jacobs
1985 Phaidon Press

QuoteTo plant one’s easel down in the full view of all and work away in the midst of a large congregation needs a good deal of courage: but it takes even more to boldly ask some perfect stranger to pose for one under such trying conditions. But our principles demanded it and convinced of their virtue, I always strove to be consistent to them.
-Stanhope Forbes

Giuseppe Abbatti

Giuseppe Abbati
By
Armand Cabrera

Giuseppe Abbati was born on January 1, 1836 in Naples, Italy. He was the son of Vincenzo Abbati, a painter known for his depictions of interiors at the court of the Duchess of Berry. While in Venice, Abbati studied at the Academy with Grigoletti. He returned to Naples in 1853 and followed in his father’s footsteps—painting interiors. In 1860, Abbati fought for unification with Garibaldi’s troops in Sicily. He was wounded in battle and lost his right eye in the attack of Capua.
That same year, Abbati settled in Florence and became involved with the movement, “I Macchiaioli”. He eventually embraced their commitment to outdoor painting. In 1861, he entered two paintings of interiors in the National Exposition and was awarded a medal. In protest over the jury, he refused the medal. After the Exposition, at the encouragement of the other members of the Macchiaioli, Abbati gave up painting interior scenes in his studio. He adopted the interests of the group and sketched directly from life all’aperto (out-of-doors). His small works painted in the following years are exquisite examples of outdoor paintings that truly stand with the best of the French Impressionists.


Because of his training, Abbati excelled at architecture and light falling across natural surfaces—such as wood and stone. Many of the scenes he painted were concerned with the contrasts between interior and exterior light sources. It was Abbati’s belief that white and black were extremes that rarely appeared in nature as you see them on a palette. Because of this belief, Abbati used white and black sparingly. In his paintings, Abbati controlled the sense of light with a selective range of tones and a controlled gradation of color.

On February 21, 1868, Abbati was bitten by his dog and died in Florence of rabies. He was only 32 years old.

Bibliography
The Macchiaioli Italian Painters of the Nineteenth CenturyNorma Broude
Yale University Press 1987

Quote
Each artist proceeds empirically, trying hard to reproduce his own impressions of nature, and gradually he develops his own color range and tonality, an endeavor which is a completely individual, and a completely personal one.~ Giuseppe Abbati

John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent
By
Armand Cabrera

John Singer Sargent was born on the 12th of January 1856 in Florence Italy. His parents had left America to live in Europe. Because the family constantly traveled, Sargent developed few ties to any one country. He spoke four languages, played the piano and mandolin expertly, and held a great knowledge of literature and art.

Sargent enrolled in the Atelier of Carolus Duran when he was 18 years old. Duran’s approach to painting was to stress accurate values combined with free and rapid brushwork, Au Premier Coup. Sargent quickly rose to the top of his class. His bravura style and naturalist subject matter was well received by critics. Sargent painted with Monet; however, he was never an Impressionist. He was too grounded in academic training to relinquish good drawing and strong value plans for color alone.

In the beginning of his career, Sargent painted society portraits. He created a scandal when he painted a famous society woman in a risky pose with one strap of her dress fallen off her shoulder. The now famous portrait of Madame X seems tame by today’s standards of taste. At that time period, the painting caused such a stir that Sargent was forced to flee Paris for London.

As a portrait painter, Sargent had no equal. His ability to render the subtlest expressions kept him busy throughout his career. His seemingly effortless brushwork garnered him praise and criticism. Sergent’s most vocal critics claimed he had too much facility and no content in his work.

At the peak of his success in 1907, Sargent abandoned painting portraits. His interest in his mural projects and landscape paintings replaced his need for commissioned work. Sergent’s successes provided sufficient income to stick to his principles…except in a few rare occasions. Sargent’s landscape and figure paintings are a tour de force of bravura painting. His watercolors of Venetian scenes are especially fine examples of this style.

John Singer Sargent died in 1925 at the age of sixty.

Bibliography

John Singer Sargent Catalogue Raisonné Project (In Four Volumes)
Elaine Kilmurray and Richard Ormond
Yale University Press

Sargent Abroad
Elaine Kilmurray and Richard Ormond
Yale University Press

John Singer Sargent
Carter Ratcliff
Abbeville/ Artabras

QuoteOnly after years of the contemplation of Nature can the process of selection become so sure an instinct; and a handling so spontaneous and so freed from the commonplaces is final mastery, the result of long artistic training.
~John Singer Sargent

Thomas Moran

Thomas MoranBy
Armand Cabrera

Thomas Moran was born in 1837 in Bolton, England—the fifth of seven children. His father was a handloom weaver. The industrial revolution motivated the family to move to the United States to escape unemployment and poverty. The Moran family settled in Kensington, near Philadelphia. Thomas Moran’s older brother, Edward, was the first to pursue art and become a successful marine painter. Young Thomas never had any formal training but was influenced by his older brother and his brother’s studio mate, John Hamilton. Thomas began frequenting his brother’s studio by 1855 and accompanied him on sketching trips. In 1862, the brothers returned to England to study the works of J.W.M. Turner. Thomas made copies of the paintings he saw at the National Gallery, trying to replicate the color and luminosity of Turner.


When Thomas returned to America, he found work as both a fine artist and a commercial illustrator. In 1871, at the request of Scribner’s Magazine, he was to redraw an amateur’s sketches of a trip to the Yellowstone region in Wyoming. Based on the unusual terrain in the sketches, Thomas decided to visit Yellowstone for himself. He borrowed money so he could accompany a survey party that was returning to the area later that year. The trip so inspired the young artist that he dedicated his life to the depiction of the American West.

Thomas Moran never painted with oils while traveling; instead he preferred to make sketches in watercolor, gouache and pencil and later translate these into his great pictures. He was not interested in recording nature literally. For Thomas, the truth was in his impression of the place. He used all means at his disposal to heighten the effect he was after.

It is believed that Thomas Moran’s paintings helped to secure Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon as National Parks. His paintings, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Chasm of the Colorado and Mountain of the Holy Cross became icons of the American Landscape.

At the turn of the century, Thomas Moran was attacked for being outdated. However, Moran’s paintings never fell out of favor with the public. He enjoyed continued artistic success until his death at the age of ninety.

Bibliography
Thomas MoranNancy K. Anderson
Yale University Press

Splendors of the American West: Thomas Moran’s Art of the Grand Canyon and YellowstoneAnne Morand, Joni L. Kinsey, Mary Panzer
Birmingham Museum of Art

Thomas Moran The Field Sketches, 1856-1923Anne Morand
University of Oklahoma Press

Quote
In working I use my memory. This I have trained from youth, so that while sketching I impress indelibly upon my memory the features of the landscape and the combinations of coloring so that when back in the studio the watercolor will recall vividly all the striking peculiarities of the scenes visited. ~Thomas Moran

Edgar Payne

Edgar Alwin Payne

By
Armand Cabrera

Edgar Payne was born in Missouri in 1883. His parents were farmers. Edgar’s early life was spent helping out on the family farm. At the age of twenty he left home and spent a few years doing odd jobs to survive. In 1905 he moved to Houston with two of his sisters and earned his living house painting. His interest in art led him to open a scene painting studio in Dallas. By 1907 he had moved to Chicago briefly taking classes at the art institute. He continued to make his living from scene painting and began selling his paintings at the palette and chisel club.
Edgar Payne’s first trip to California was in 1909. It was here he met his future wife Elsie Palmer. They married in 1912

By 1912 Edgar was receiving much more attention for his easel work and he had a show of 65 paintings at the palette and Chisel club in May of 1913. All of the paintings were sold.
The Payne’s moved to Laguna Beach California in 1917. It was from Laguna Beach that Payne began his many painting trips to the Sierras and the Southwest. In 1922 he traveled to Europe for two years with his family. Edgar painted many pictures of fishing life and mountain scenes while overseas.
It was Payne’s practice to make many sketches on location and make larger finished pictures back in his studio from those smaller works. It was because of this his paintings tend to have a repetitive look compositionally. This is especially true of his Sierra scenes.

His book on painting ‘Composition of Outdoor Painting’ is still in print today because of its no nonsense approach to the craft of painting.
Edgar Payne died in 1947 after a long fight with cancer.

Bibliography

The Composition of Outdoor Painting
Payne Studios
Edgar Payne

The Payne’s, Edgar and Elsie
Payne Studios
Rena Neumann Coen

Edgar Payne 1882-1947
Goldfield Galleries Exhibition Catalog
Nancy Moure

Quote

Learning the art of painting is not an easy task. It takes a great deal of intelligence, keen analysis, study and practice. ~ Edgar Payne