Joaquin Sorolla

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

By
Armand Cabrera

Sorolla was born in 1863 in Valencia, Spain. At two years of age, his parents died in a cholera outbreak that left him orphaned. His aunt and uncle raised him. He initiated his artistic learning in 1877 with the sculptor Cayetano Capuz. Four years later, Sorolla won a grant to study painting in Rome. He completed his education in Rome, studying under Francisco Pradilla. While there, he developed a distinct ability for depicting the effects of light. After returning to Spain in 1890, Sorolla settled down in Madrid. He began his professional career with successes, prizes and important orders. Of note, Sorolla won the National Medal of Beautiful Arts in 1892 and 1895 and the Grand Prix of the Exhibition of Paris of 1900. In these years, he painted works of social criticism, which granted a certain prestige to him in both Madrid and Paris.

1900 saw Sorolla move away from salon painting and follow a more personal vision. Sorolla tied the academic traditions of painting to the open air painting of the impressionists. An artist of enormous production, between 1880 and 1920, Sorolla executed over 4,000 paintings and sketches and some 8,000 drawings. He sent 500 paintings to his first show in Paris. His popularity extended through all of Europe, giving exhibitions in Berlin (1907) and London (1908). In 1909, Sorolla delivered 356 works to New York City for exhibition and sale. More than half sold and 160,000 people viewed his show. The success in America provided an important order for him: the decoration of the main room of the Hispanic Society of America. Funded by Archer Huntington, Sorolla was commissioned to paint fourteen panels to represent the people and customs of the diverse regions of Spain. The project took seven years to complete.

Sorolla collapsed from a stroke in 1920 while painting a portrait in his garden. Sadly, he was paralyzed for three years and died the 10th of August 1923 at the age of sixty.

Bibliography

Sorolla: The Hispanic Society
Pricilla E. Muller and Marcus B. Burke

The painter Joaquin Sorolla
Edmund Peel

Sorolla
Trinidad Simo

Quote
“All the mistakes committed by artists are due to their having separated themselves from truth, believing that their imagination is stronger. There is nothing stronger than nature. With nature in front of us we can do everything well.” ~ Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

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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

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Sir Frank Brangwyn RA


By
Armand Cabrera

Frank Brangwyn was born in Bruges Belgium, in 1867. In 1874, his family moved to England. Frank Brangwyn received some artistic training in the workshops of William Morris, but received no formal artistic education. At the age of seventeen, one of Brangwyn’s paintings was accepted at the Royal Academy. His canvas, “Funeral At Sea”, painted in 1890, won a Medal of the 3rd Class at the 1891 Paris Salon.


When there was a strong interest in Orientalism, Brangwyn worked as a deck hand traveling to the Black Sea and Turkey. He created many outdoor paintings and drawings of Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Africa.


In 1895, the Parisian art dealer, Siegfried Bing, commissioned Brangwyn to decorate the exterior of his Galerie L’Art Nouveau. Brangwyn began mural painting as part of his repertoire. Brangwyn received many mural commissions.

In 1901, he painted murals for the Great Hall at Skinners, London. They were eventually completed in 1909.
Brangwyn painted eight murals for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, 1915. They are now located in the lobby at the Herbst Theatre.

His most famous murals are the British Empire Panels painted 1925 – 1932. They were commissioned to commemorate the First World War. The sixteen works cover 3,000 square feet in total. They were originally intended for the House of Lords at Westminster, but rejected for being too colorful and spirited. They are now located in Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales.

In 1930, Brangwyn was chosen by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. along with Diego Rivera to decorate the RCA Building in New York City. The murals were completed in 1934.

In 1936 Brangwyn presented the city of Bruges, Belgium with over four hundred works. In return, Bruges made Brangwyn a Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold II and Citoyen d’Honneur de Bruges (only the third time the award had been given). He was knighted in 1941.


As well as murals, paintings and drawings, Brangwyn also created designs for furniture and stained glass, ceramics, table glassware, buildings and interiors. In addition he illustrated books.

Brangwyn died on the 11th of June 1956 at his home in Sussex.

Bibliography

Frank Brangwyn the Bruges Collection
Dominique Marechal
Generale Bank 1987

Frank Brangwyn 1867-1956Leeds Museums & Galleries 2007

British Empire Panels Designed for the House of Lords By Frank Brangwyn
Frank Rutter
Lewis 1933

Frank Brangwyn and His Work
Walter Shaw Sparrow
Dana Estes and Company1911

Quote
Art is individuality added to tradition
~Frank Brangwyn

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Gustav Bauernfeind


by
Armand Cabrera
Johann Gustav Adolf Bauernfeind was born in 1848 in Sulz am Neckar near Stuttgart, Germany. Bauernfeind had shown an aptitude for mechanical and freehand drawing. He decided to become an architect. He attended the Stuttgart Polytechnic Institute from 1864 to 1869. In 1870, Bauernfeind joined an architectural firm in Stuttgart under Professor Wilhelm Baumer.

After traveling to Vienna with Professor Baumer, Bauernfeind returned to Stuttgart a year later. He found employment at an architectural firm with Professor Adolf Gnauth, an architect and painter. Gnauth helped Bauernfeind pursue painting, finding him a commission to paint Italian scenes for the German art publisher, Johann Christian Englehorn. Gustav painted the Italian views from 1873 to 1874.


He returned to Stuttgart in 1974 and later moved to Munich in 1876. In Munich, Bauernfeind furthered his abilities as a painter. He developed friendships with other German artists such as Heinrich Von Zügel and Ludwig Löfftz.


Bauernfeind is most remembered for his accurate portrayals of the Mideast. He traveled there four times. (1880-1881), (1884-1887), (1888-1889), (1896-1904). Bauernfeind worked in watercolors and oils outdoors. Many of these sketches were the basis for larger studio works. He believed in thoroughly immersing himself in his painting motifs—
in some cases, painting Orientalist outdoor scenes at great risk to his life. He carried a gun and would hire local bodyguards to help protect him. Being a foreigner, Bauernfeind was often spat upon or had objects thrown at him while painting. Sometimes he was threatened by crowds and would be forced to leave the area.

Gustav Bauernfeind died in Jerusalem on Christmas Eve, 1904 from heart failure while decorating the Christmas tree.

His paintings are recognized for their veracity and attention to detail.
Bauernfeind’s The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem sold for £3 million (USD 4,485,839.51) against a pre-sale estimate of £600,000-800,000 –June2007


Bibliography

The Life and Work of Gustav Bauernfeind
Orientalist Painter 1848-1904

Hauswedell & Co. 1990
Alex Carmel and Hugo Schmidt
Translated from German by Ted Gorelick


Quote

When I arrived in the country [ Jerusalem]nearly one and a half years ago I wanted to try my hand at landscapes, in regard to which I was not really aware of having embarked on a new field whose difficulties I might not be able to surmount. But the solemnity of mood in the late evenings and early mornings brought it home to me, and when all else has been subject to change and has more often repelled than attracted the observer, then no one will dispute that landscape has on the whole held on to its character. ~ Gustav Bauernfeind

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Edges


by
Armand Cabrera
(All images by Armand Cabrera)

The edge of a shape carries its essential information. The character, balance and weight of an object are in the edge. ~Harvey Dunn


An artist asked me to write about edges. The following is an abridged version of information I cover in my workshops. The concept may be difficult to digest in written form.

Edges are dependant upon point of view and angle of light. Edges will change 1) as you move or 2) as the light in the scene changes. There are two types of edges: 1) edges that divide the planes of a form and 2) edges that separate forms from each other. Most of the time, the edges that delineate plane changes within a form are less obvious than the edges between forms.


Once you understand this, look for the quality of the edge in relation to the objects around it. The quality of an edge is how soft or crisp it appears to you. The greater the contrast of value or hue—the sharper the edge will appear. The closer the value or hue—the softer the edge will appear.


The quality of an edge is dependant upon the separation of value and hue between the edge and its surroundings.

In most cases, paint the edge the way you see it in relation to the things around it. To do this, strive to get the value and the contour of your shape correct. Compare it to the totality of the scene. If you arbitrarily change some aspect of the shape, you have altered the quality of its edge weighed against the way you are seeing it. When you change an edge, change it for a reason and know what the outcome of the change is before you make it.


Artists often over-exaggerate the edges in their paintings. Edges are too crisp because the artist stares at an element with tunnel vision and doesn’t relate it to other elements or the painting as a whole. Edges are too soft because the artist haphazardly slaps paint around until everything is mush and mud on the canvas. Avoid this by mixing a color and placing it on the canvas…then leave it alone.

Remember, a crisp edge will bring more attention than a soft edge…so avoid too many hard edges in a painting. These edges will pull your eye to them and scatter the center of interest.

The best way to paint an edge is to paint the correct values and hues of the adjoining shapes. You don’t have to physically blend an edge or smear the paint to get an effect. Your painting will have more authority if you make a mark with your brush and let the blending happen optically.

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