Winslow Homer

Winslow Homer


By
Armand Cabrera

Winslow Homer was born on February 24, 1836 in Boston and raised in nearby Cambridge. At nineteen, Homer was apprenticed to a lithographic shop. He found the job monotonous, so at twenty-one, Homer left to launch himself into a career as a freelance illustrator.

Although self-taught, Homer excelled in drawing. After moving to New York City Harpers Weekly, the most prominent American Magazine at the time, hired the young artist as an illustrator. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Harpers Weekly sent Homer to the Virginia front. Instead of depictions of battles, Homer focused on the daily life of the troops. His honest portrayal of the soldiers has become one of the best historical records of how they dressed and lived.

Illustration did not artistically satisfy Homer for long. Soon after the end of the war, he began to seriously pursue painting as his main source of income. Homer took lessons from Frederick Rondel, a Boston genre painter. After a month of the most basic training, Homer completed his instruction, bought some oil painting supplies and ventured into the outdoors to paint directly, observe and learn from nature.

Homer’s earliest paintings are genre scenes of American rural life. The unique quality of these scenes is found in Homer’s ability to paint the motif simply and directly with an eye for light and color. His fidelity to painting from life obviously enhanced this facility.

Homer lived a dual life as illustrator and artist until he was almost forty. Then at the height of his illustration career—he stopped. Homer turned his full attention to oil and watercolors. He continued to work from nature and develop his technical skill. Homer’s work simplified and became even more powerful. His watercolors show an ability and sureness of handling that few artists ever realize. Most of these pieces were painted outside of Maine and many were painted during his winter travels away from his studio.

In 1883, Homer moved from New York City to Maine and built a studio on Prout’s Neck. This was his home for the rest of his life. In 1910, Winslow Homer died in his studio at the age of 74.


Bibliography

Winslow HomerLloyd Goodrich
Whitney Museum of American Art 1973

Winslow Homer WatercolorsHelen A. Cooper
Yale University Press 1986

QuoteA painter who begins and finishes indoors, that which is outdoors, misses a hundred little facts…a hundred little accidental effects of sunshine and shadow that can be reproduced only in the immediate presence of Nature.
This making of studies and then taking them home is only half right. You get composition, but you lose freshness; you miss the subtle and, to the artist, the finer characteristics of the scene itself.~ Winslow Homer

Anders Zorn

Anders Zorn

By
Armand Cabrera

Anders Zorn was born in Mora, Sweden on February 18, 1860. Although his mother never married Zorn’s father and Anders never met him, Anders was acknowledged and allowed to carry his father’s name. His grandparents raised Zorn. At the age of 15, Zorn attended the Royal Academy in Stockholm.


His initial interest was sculpture, but he later switched to watercolors. In 1880, one of his watercolor paintings was recognized at the student exhibition. This introduced him to Stockholm society and many commissions soon followed. Zorn married Emma Lamm in 1885.

In 1887, the Zorn’s spent time in St. Ives in Cornwall, England. It was here he changed his medium to oils. His second oil painting was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1888 and was bought by the French State.

Zorn’s oil portraits launched him into international acclaim. The use of a limited palette of red, yellow, black and white added an economy and unity to his paintings. His ability to capture the individual character of his models and his bravura brushwork attracted many patrons.

Zorn also embraced naturalism; painting models outdoors or in natural settings for the sitter instead of the artist’s studio.

In 1893, Zorn was chosen to supervise the Columbian World Fair in Chicago, Illinois. This was the first of many lucrative trips to the USA for Zorn and his wife. He received many portrait commissions from American society—including several Presidents and Isabella Stewart Gardner, the most prominent American art patron of the time.

In 1896, the Zorn’s returned to Sweden and began to build Zorngarden in Mora. The Zorn’s helped to preserve folk culture of Mora, establishing a music contest and schools in the area. Zorn is credited with creating a folk music revival in Sweden. Zorn was also a successful sculptor and etcher producing nearly 300 etchings in his career.

Zorn died on August 22,1920.

Emma survived Anders by 21 years. She created a museum in his honor and continued the philanthropic work to preserve the ancient culture of Dalarna, and the folk dialect and traditions of Mora started with her husband.


Bibliography
Zorn Swedish Painter and World Traveler
Gerda Boethius
English Text

Anders ZornAlbert Engstrom
Swedish Text

Zorn’s Engraved Work
Two Volumes
Karl Asplund
English Text

Quote
Where others found inspiration in dreams I found it in Nature. Many have called that a lack of imagination. I gladly call it a love of reality.~ Anders Zorn

Richard Parkes Bonington

Richard Parkes Bonington


By
Armand Cabrera

Richard Parkes Bonington was born in Arnold, England in 1802. His family moved to Calais, France in 1817, then moved again to Paris. The young Bonington spent time copying pictures in the Louvre. He met Eugene Delacroix in Paris and the two artists became lifelong friends. At fifteen, Bonington entered the studio of Baron Gros. Bonington rose quickly in the ranks. His bravura painting and excellent drawing facility garnered much praise throughout his career. The Academic schedule of drawing from casts soon bored Bonington and he found himself at odds with his teacher. By 1821, the relationship reached its breaking point and he set out on his own path of study.


Bonington preferred to paint on location and record nature and modern life. Longing to break from the stylized stage settings and mythic genre of most academic landscapes,
Bonington set out on a sketching tour to Normandy. He explored painting and sketching from life, focusing on coastal scenes. In 1822, he illustrated travel books for Parisian publishers. The success of these illustrations led to his demand with publishers, dealers and collectors. During this time, Bonington studied the art of lithography and received financial backing to publish his own set of lithographic views of Normandy.

Bonington received a Gold Medal for his entry in the Salon of 1824. The Salon was a turning point for landscape art. Young painters sought to overthrow the restrictions on subject and finish set by the Academics. Leading the attack were the English painters.

Although Bonington’s career spanned less than ten years, his influence on French painting was profound. Bonington was skilled in watercolors and oils and also created fine lithographs and engravings. He was the link between the English landscape painters, Turner and Constable, and the Barbizon School and the Impressionists.

Bonington fell ill during a sketching trip and contracted a complication of pulmonary consumption. He died one month before his 26th birthday.

Bibliography
Richard Parkes Bonington ‘On the Pleasure of Painting’
Patrick Noon
1991 Yale University press

Quote Lithography is drawing itself. In it we discover the hand, the thought of it’s author: it is not a faithful copy; to our mind it is the echo of the model, it is a mirror that reflects and multiplies the original.~ R.P. Bonington

*Albert Thomas DeRome

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by
Armand Cabrera
Albert Thomas DeRome was born in 1885 near San Luis Obispo, California. He studied art for two years at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco under Arthur Matthews. Following his schooling, DeRome worked as a cartoonist for the San Jose Mercury News and also as a commercial artist. He eventually worked as a sales manager for George Hass and Sons. This allowed DeRome to travel and paint throughout California, Nevada and Arizona. During this time, his painting partners included many prominent artists including William Keith, Percy Gray, Will Sparks and Gunner Widforss.

In 1931, DeRome suffered a serious head-on auto accident. An insurance settlement stipulated that he could no longer work as a professional artist. He moved to Pacific Grove, California, where his recovery took many years. DeRome continued to paint and exhibit as an amateur and would frequently trade his paintings for goods and services or give them away to family and friends. DeRome was equally adept at watercolor and oils, working in both mediums throughout his career.DeRome preferred to work in a small format. Most of his paintings were no larger than 18” x 24”. He is known for his beautiful pastel color harmonies and strong design. Many of his paintings were of the San Francisco Bay Area and coastal scenes along the dunes of Monterey Bay, including Carmel and Pacific Grove. He had a tradition of writing the date, time of day and other details about the painting on the back of his canvases. He even went as far as to include comments by observers, friends and other artists.

DeRome won many awards for his work, despite the restrictions placed on him by his insurance settlement. Among others, his awards included 6, First Place prizes at the Monterey County Fair between 1939 and 1947. Albert Thomas DeRome died in Carmel on July 31, 1859 at the age of 74. Tragically, many of his paintings were destroyed in the 1991Oakland Hills Firestorm.


Bibliography


Albert Thomas DeRome 1885 1959Walter A. Nelson-Reese
WIM Publishers 1988

Carl Larsson

by
Armand Cabrera
 
The Swedish artist Carl Larsson was born in Stockholm, on May 28, 1853. His family was poor and his parents split at an early age. He lived with his father and brother in slum housing in Stockholm’s East End. In 1866 at the age of thirteen his teacher urged him to apply to the Stockholm Academy of Fine Arts where he was accepted to the preparatory school there. After three years at the age of sixteen Larsson was promoted to the Antique School of the academy. He was promoted again to the Model School and then the Painting School of the Academy. It was at this time he began working as an illustrator for the publication Kasper. In 1874 Larsson won a medal for his painting Moses Abandoned by His Mother. In this same year he was also promoted at Kasper.
The next two years Larsson was awarded two more medals for his paintings. In 1877 he traveled to France staying in Paris and spent time in Barbizon and Grez-Sur-Loing.He began painting in the barbizon style and was influenced by Bastien Lepage. One of his watercolors from Grez was awarded a third class medal at the Paris Salon of 1883.
In 1883 Larsson also married Karin Bergöö another artist, they had eight children together. Larsson’s family life became the focus of his most famous work. Larsson wrote and illustrated many books on his new life as husband and father. The joyous scenes he painted of his home and family catapulted him to fame throughout the world and the decorations and furniture Karin created for the interiors launched a new style of interior design.

He continued his illustration career and also began painting murals. In 1909 a book of Larsson’s watercolors was published in Germany. It was titled The House in the Sun and sold 40,000 copies in three months. Throughout his career Larsson continued exhibiting his paintings and won many awards. He also completed several large murals and frescoes. His last mural Midwinter Sacrifice was painted for the National Museum and rejected by the museum committee. The mural was finally repurchased by the museum from a private collector in 1997 and hung in its intended space. Carl Larsson died in 1919.

Bibliography

The World of Carl Larsson
Görel Cavalli- Björman and Bö Lindwall
Green Tiger Press 1982

Quote

“The fate of Midvinterblot (Midwinter Sacrifice) broke me! This I admit with a dark anger. And still, it was probably the best thing that could have happened, because my intuition tells me — once again that this painting, with all its weaknesses, will one day, when I’m gone, be honored with a far better placement.” Carl Larsson