Arthur Streeton

Arthur Streeton

(1867-1943)

by
Armand Cabrera

Arthur Streeton was at the forefront of a small group of Australian painters responsible for creating an Impressionist style in the 1880’s.

Born in a small town near Melbourne, Australia, Streeton worked as an apprentice lithographer and spent his free time painting and drawing around the area. Streeton was part of a younger generation of artists who admired the French Barbizon Painters. It was this direct approach to painting outdoors and recording contemporary life that attracted the young Streeton to the Barbizon School.


In 1886, while sketching near Melbourne, the Streeton met artists, Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin. This marked an important turning point in Streeton’s career. He was invited to join the other artists in their painting camp and began associations with them that would last for Streeton’s lifetime.

Streeton, Roberts and McCubbin organized the very first Impressionist show in Australia. Called the “9 by 5 Impression Exhibition”, the majority of the 183 paintings on display were sketches painted on cigar box lids measuring 9 by 5 inches. The subject matter was more personal than anything exhibited before and redefined the definition of “acceptable” art.

The years following this landmark show found Streeton broadening both his abilities and subject matter. In 1896, after a successful solo show, he decided to travel to Europe to seek greater fame and fortune.

Success in London greatly increased Arthur Streeton’s significance in Australia. On his return to Melbourne in 1906, Streeton received a hero’s welcome. His solo exhibitions were a financial success. Streeton returned to London in 1908 and married. He joined the Medical corps during WWI and was appointed as an official war artist. Streeton finally return home in 1920, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Arthur Streeton was acknowledged as Australia’s greatest landscape painter. In this position, he increasingly became an outspoken conservationist—denouncing the destruction of his beloved Australian landscape. In the final years before his death, Streeton’s paintings reflected an unflinching dedication to preserving the land he loved.

Bibliography

Arthur Streeton 1867-1943
Geoffrey Smith
National Gallery of Victoria

Golden Summers Heidelberg and Beyond
Jane Clark and Bridget Whitelaw
International Cultural Corporation of Australia

Quote

It seems an amazing thing to me that a community which is progressive and businesslike in so many ways, should suffer hundreds and hundreds of acres of valuable timber to be destroyed to facilitate some work of the moment when so little is gained from it.
Arthur Streeton
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Edward Redfield

Edward Redfield


By

Armand Cabrera

During his lifetime, Edward Redfield was second only to John Singer Sargent for receiving medals honoring an American painter. Of Quaker heritage, Edward Redfield was born in Delaware in 1869. His father ran a successful nursery. In 1885 to 1889, Redfield studied at the Pennsylvania Academy under Thomas Anschutz. With a monthly allowance from his family, he left home to continue his studies in Paris at the Academie Julian, under William Bouguereau. In France, Redfield lived at the Hotel Deligant in Brolles, just outside of Paris. It was here that he met and married the innkeeper’s daughter, Elise Deligant. Returning to the United States in 1893, Elise and Edward moved in with his family. In 1898, they purchased land in Center Bridge, a small town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Edward Redfield lived there for the remainder of his life.


Redfield’s Bravura Style of painting and his fidelity to the alla prima approach separates him from other painters of his time. Redfield regularly finished 50” x 56” canvases outdoors “in one shot”…describing his process. He painted outdoors, regardless of the weather, producing some of the finest snow scenes ever painted. Redfield was exclusively dedicated to painting directly from nature. He destroyed any piece that did not live up to his exacting standards, sometimes destroying fifty or more paintings at a time. He was one of the founding members of the New Hope School of Painting, which focused on intimate regional scenes of America in Bucks County.

In 1948, a year after his wife passed away, Edward Redfield painted his last picture. Instead of continuing to paint with failing health and eyesight, he stopped painting entirely. Redfield realized that he no longer could produce the high quality of painting he demanded from himself. Edward Redfield died on October 19, 1965, at the age of 96.


Bibliography
Edward Willis Redfield1869-1965
J.M.W. Fletcher

QuoteWhat I wanted to do was go outdoors and capture the look of a scene, whether it was a barn or a bridge, but how it looked on a certain day. So I trained myself to set down what I saw all in one day, working sometimes eight hours or more. I never painted over a canvas again; I think it ruins them. Either you’ve got it the first time or you haven’t.
~Edward Redfield

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Jules Bastien Lepage

Jules Bastien Lepageby
Armand Cabrera

Jules Bastien Lepage was born in the village of Damvillers, Meuse, France, on the 1st of November 1848. He spent most of his childhood there. Bastien quickly showed a facility for draftsmanship and was encouraged by his family to pursue a career as an artist.

Bastien first studied art at Verdun in 1867 and then in 1869 traveled to Paris. He was admitted to the Ecole des Beaux-arts, working under Alexandre Cabanel. In 1874, Bastien exhibited “Portrait of my Grandfather,” and received a Third Class Medal. The next year, he received a Second Class Medal in the Prix De Rome Competition. In 1879, he received the Legion of Honor Cross for his painting of Sarah Bernhardt. He briefly spent time at the Art Colony in the village of Grez-sur-Loing. By 1883, Bastien led the Naturalist Movement and overwhelmed the art world. Tragically, Bastien Lepage died a year later at the young age of thirty-six from a virulent form of stomach cancer. He was at the pinnacle of his career.

From the beginning, Bastien received favorable reviews from art critics and a devout following from the younger painters in France. Their enthusiasm bordered on Religious fervor. Bastien was constantly covered in the local press and was a major influence on the outdoor movement that spread throughout Europe and America.

His naturalistic portrayals of peasants and rural life were seen as a fresh alternative to the academic paintings in the salons at the time. Unlike the Impressionists, Bastien did not completely abandon his technical facility for an alla prima approach. Instead, he created his paintings over a period of weeks in glass studios under natural light. His large paintings were a combination of almost photo-like realism and extensive areas of the canvas merely suggesting detail. The effect was unique and powerful.

During the late 1870’s, Bastien’s stature as a painter eclipsed even the Impressionists. It was not just his technique that garnered him praise from artists and critics alike; it was his philosophy about painting. Bastien believed in painting what the artist knows—letting nature’s truths guide their work. His paintings were an unromantic view of rural life depicted in a way in which people could relate.

Bastien’s early death served to raise his status to generations of younger artists who had been influenced by his truthful teaching and philosophy.

Bibliography

Beyond Impressionism the Naturalist Impulse
Gabriel P Weisberg
Abrams 1992

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

Jules Bastien LepageNicolas Chaudun
Musée d’Orsay 2007

QuoteAn Artist who has no roots cannot be a proper artist. It is much better to paint the countryside in which one was brought up than to work in alien surroundings.
~Jules Bastien Lepage

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Asher B. Durand

Asher B. Durand


By
Armand Cabrera

Asher Brown Durand was born August 21, 1796, in Jefferson Village, New Jersey (now called Maplewood). Durand was one of eleven children. When Durand was 16 years old, he apprenticed as an engraver to Peter Maverick, studying for five years. He then became a partner in the firm, running the New York branch. After he contracted to make an engraving of the painting of the Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull, Durand secured his reputation as one of the finest engravers in the country.

Durand helped found the New York Drawing Association in 1825. The next year, the Association was renamed the National Academy of Design.

In 1835, Durand was commissioned by art patron, Luman Reed, to paint portraits of the first seven Presidents of the United States. The commission was instrumental in establishing Durand’s reputation as a painter. After Reed’s death, Durand began corresponding and painting with landscape painter, Thomas Cole. Durand’s interest in landscape painting grew with Cole as both his friend and mentor. Thomas Cole was the finest landscape painter in America at that time. Durand and Cole often traveled together to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to paint outdoors.

Durand exhibited his studies from nature in the annual National Academy of Design (NAD) shows. Critics responded favorably to the fresher, naturalistic views. This break from tradition established him as a modern painter. Durand became President of the National Academy of Design and held the post from 1845 until 1861.

In 1848, Thomas Cole died unexpectedly. Durand was crowned his successor in the national press.

Durand authored ‘Letters on Landscape Painting’ — a series of nine articles for the magazine, The Crayon. Durand’s philosophy about landscape painting resonated with the press. For years, there had been a cry for American art, separate from European ideology. Durand’s insistence on the study of nature as the source of truth in landscape painting gained a following among younger artists. He continued Cole’s legacy, promoting an American school of art with landscape painting at its forefront. Where Cole’s landscapes were still painted in the European tradition of allegorical reference, Durand’s ideal embraced a more naturalistic approach. He set the stage for the Barbizon and Impressionist aesthetics that would overtake the Hudson River School romanticism.

Durand continued to paint outdoors into his eighties. He died at the old age of ninety. He attributes his long, healthy life to embracing Sylvester Graham’s system of vegetarianism and clean living.

Bibliography


The Life and Times of Asher B. Durand
John Durand
Kennedy Galleries

Kindred Spirits: Asher B. Durand and the American LandscapeLinda S. Ferber Editor
Giles Limited Publishing

QuoteI would urge any young student in landscape painting, the importance of painting direct from nature as soon as they have acquired the first rudiments of art.
~Asher B Durand

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Granville Redmond

Granville Redmond


By
Armand Cabrera

Grenville Richard Seymour Redmond was born on March 9, 1871 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He later changed his name to “Granville Redmond” when he began his professional career.

Granville became deaf when he contracted scarlet fever at the age of 2 ½ years and he never again gained the ability to speak. His family moved to San Jose, California when Granville was four. Granville boarded at the California School for the Deaf in Berkeley, California from the time he was 8 until he graduated at 19. Upon his graduation, Superintendent Warring Wilkinson convinced the Board of Directors at the school, in recognition of Granville’s artistic and academic achievements, to pay his tuition to the California School of Design and let him continue to board at the California School for the Deaf.

Granville received the W.E.B. Award for Life Drawing in his second year at the school. The award gave him free tuition for a third year at the school. At the end of his term at the California School of Design, Granville had few prospects and knew he needed to continue his education. Once again, the Superintendent for the California School for the Deaf intervened and on Wilkinson’s recommendation, Granville was granted a two year loan by the Board of Directors to study in Paris.

Granville studied at the Academie Julian under Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul-Laurens. After three years of study in Paris and only moderate success, Granville returned to the United States in 1898, settling in Los Angeles. He opened a studio and began painting and creating illustrations for magazines.

In 1899, Granville married Carrie Annabelle Jean. The couple had three children. In 1910, the Redmond’s moved to Menlo Park, just south of San Francisco. In 1916, the family moved again to Belvedere in Marin County on the San Francisco Bay. World War I started, Granville’s sales dropped and he obtained work as a silent actor signing on with Charlie Chaplin’s studio in Marin County. He continued both professions for the rest of his life.

As his success as a landscape painter grew, Granville focused his subject matter on the California coastal range from Marin County in the North to Laguna Beach and Catalina Island in the South. His style ranged from Tonalism, (an almost monochromatic look), to a bright Impressionist palette with broken color.
Granville Redmond died of heart failure on May 24, 1935 at the age of 65.


Bibliography

Granville Redmond
Oakland Museum 1988
Plein Air painters of the Southland
Ruth Westphal
Westphal Publishing 1986

Quote

It is impossible for artists to succeed in art unless they work with thought and true insight…one must as he paints on a canvas try and put his soul into the work.
~Granville Redmond

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