Thursday, January 20, 2011
Fine Arts Friday: Painters Painting Their Children
My Little Daughter Dorothy by William Merritt Chase, 1894.
William Merritt Chase has once again inspired me, thanks to this painting in which he (the unseen artist) and his daughter take such delight in each other. Chase has set her before a heavy frame for a large artwork--art being the backdrop to her young life. But her stance is not languid in any way as if she were a mere art appendage or adornment of scenery. She is dressed for going out--to be her own self and make her own world, as I imagine, given her plucky expression, she did.
Jean Renoir Drawing by Auguste Renoir, 1901
I saw this painting this past year at an exhibition of Renoir's late works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Internet does not do it justice, as Renoir's brushstrokes in the painting are almost like caresses, giving the painting a soft effect although the substance and weight of the subject remain. The son became the great movie director. Through the close juxtaposition of Jean's face and hands with the drawing, Renoir captures the intensity of thought in his son--a celebration of childhood creative tension and concentration.
Portrait of the Artist's Daughter, Julie by Berthe Morisot, 1886
Julie Manet was the daughter of the French impressionist Berthe Morisot and the niece of the ground-breaking French painter, Eduard Manet, who also painted portraits of Morisot and Julie. This portrait was done with pastels. Here, although Julie looks like she is peacefully reading a book, the frenetic lines in the dress suggest that she is a lively soul and at any moment might leap up from the chair and skip out to the garden.
The Fairy Tale aka Tanis Seated by Daniel Garber, 1917
This young girl, on the other hand, is absorbed and will not be moving til the story (or painting) is finished. I like this portrait for the beautiful light that Daniel Garber, a Pennsylvania impressionist, wraps his daughter in against a wall softened by its texture and fawn-like color. Her pose and concentration tell me that Tanis feels perfectly safe and secure in her chair as her father watches and paints.
Portrait of a Boy in Fancy Dress aka "Titus" by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1655.
This is an early and lesser-known portrait of the great master's son, Titus. The National Gallery of Art in Washington says that evidence suggests that this might not be Titus, but does not say what the evidence is. It looks like Titus to me--the apple of his father's eye.
A Daughter by Carl Larsson, 1897
Carl Larsson delighted in painting his children. I chose this painting because of the ambiguity in his daughter's face and in her position alone at the table, which suggests that she is in the middle of a situation. Clearly there is someone sitting on the other side of the table outside of our view, or through the door out to the kitchen, who has captured this child's attention. Is she fascinated but doubtful of a conversation between two other children at the table? Is an adult gently reprimanding her? Or is she just patiently watching through the kitchen door for the food to come to the table?