Saturday, July 22, 2017

12 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, with Footnotes. # 24

Pedro Sáenz y Sáenz
Chrysanthemums/ Madame Butterfly, ca. 1900
Oil on canvas
81 x 55 cm
Propiedad de la Excma. Diputación Provincial de Málaga

Madame Butterfly: In 1904, a U.S. naval officer named Pinkerton rents a house on a hill in Nagasaki, Japan, for himself and his soon-to-be wife, "Butterfly". Her real name is Ciocio-san. She is a 15-year-old Japanese girl whom he is marrying for convenience, since he intends to leave her once he finds a proper American wife, and since Japanese divorce laws are very lax. The wedding is to take place at the house. Butterfly had been so excited to marry an American that she had earlier secretly converted to Christianity. After the wedding ceremony, her uninvited uncle, a bonze, who has found out about her conversion, comes to the house, curses her and orders all the guests to leave, which they do while renouncing her. Pinkerton and Butterfly sing a love duet and prepare to spend their first night together.

Three years later, Butterfly is still waiting for Pinkerton to return. The American consul, Sharpless, comes to the house with a letter which he has received from Pinkerton which asks him to break some news to Butterfly: that Pinkerton is coming back to Japan, but Sharpless cannot bring himself to finish it because Butterfly becomes very excited to hear that Pinkerton is coming back. Sharpless asks Butterfly what she would do if Pinkerton were not to return. She then reveals that she gave birth to Pinkerton's son after he had left and asks Sharpless to tell him.

The next morning Sharpless and Pinkerton arrive at the house, along with Pinkerton's new American wife, Kate. They have come because Kate has agreed to raise the child. But, as Pinkerton sees how Butterfly has decorated the house for his return, he realizes he has made a huge mistake. He admits that he is a coward and cannot face her, leaving Suzuki, Sharpless and Kate to break the news to Butterfly. Agreeing to give up her child if Pinkerton comes himself to see her, she then prays to statues of her ancestral gods, says goodbye to her son, and blindfolds him. She places a small American flag in his hands and goes behind a screen, cutting her throat with her father's hara-kiri knife. Pinkerton rushes in, but he is too late, and Butterfly dies. More on Madame Butterfly

Pedro Saenz Saenz ( Malaga , 14 as October as 1863 - Malaga , October as January as 1927 ) was a  Raphaelite painter, belonging to the Malaga school of painting . Disciple of Bernardo Ferrándiz , he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando . 

He completed his training in Rome in 1888, where he met other Spanish painters such as Simonet , Sorolla or Viniegra . At this stage he is also influenced by Art Nouveau and Catalan modernism .

His work can be considered academic , but has a predilection for the themes of romantic symbolism, as in The grave of the poet or Stella Matutina , both at the Museum of Málaga and both made him a medal in 1901. 

Among his works predominate portraits and female nudes, luminous and detailed, and some portraits, such as those of the Town Hall of Malaga . Some other of his paintings to review are: The amateur , Carlota or the Portrait of the Marchioness of Loring. More Pedro Saenz Saenz 

ANDY WARHOL, (1928-1987) 
Hélène Rochas, c. 1974
Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas
101.6 x 101.6 cm. (40 x 40 in.) 
Private collection

Helene Rochas (1921 - 2011). Nelly Brignole studied dance and acting before meeting at 19, the fashion designer Marcel Rochas whom she soon married and became Hélène – much more elegant than Nelly. Beautiful and graceful, she perfectly embodied the Femme Rochas, she was her husband's ideal muse and model and had to renounce to her acting career even though she was offered a role in Jacques Becker's Golden Helmet. When her husband died in 1955, she proved she was not only a pretty face and took over his perfume brand and managed to make it become an international flourishing company. His death also helped 'La Belle Hélène' grow free of her Pygmalion's influence and she could finally decide what to wear and developed her own artistic taste - more modernist and subtle. The friend and inspiration of many fashion designers such as Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent, she imprinted contemporary art's mythology with the portrait Andy Warhol depicted of her in 1975. More Helene Rochas

Andy Warhol (born Andrew Warhola; August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American artist, director and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertising that flourished by the 1960s. 

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Warhol initially pursued a successful career as a commercial illustrator. After exhibiting his work in several galleries in the late 1950s, he began to receive recognition as an influential and controversial artist. 

Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city of Pittsburgh, which holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. More on Andy Warhol


Anders Zorn, Swedish, 1860-1920
Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, c. 1894
Oil on canvas
91 x 66 cm (35 13/16 x 26 in.)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

While visiting the Gardners in Boston in February 1894, Anders Zorn made an etching of Mrs. Gardner, which neither of them considered to be a complete success. Later that year Zorn and his wife visited the Gardners in Venice, staying for several weeks as their guests in the Palazzo Barbaro. He attempted again to make a portrait of Mrs. Gardner, but continued to struggle with the task. One evening, Mrs. Gardner stepped out into the balcony to see what was happening outside, and as she came back into the drawing-room, pushing the French windows open, Zorn exclaimed (according to Morris Carter): “Stay just as you are! That is the way I want to paint you.” He went instantly for his materials, and then and there the portrait was begun. More on this painting

Isabella Stewart Gardner (April 14, 1840 – July 17, 1924) was a leading American art collector, philanthropist, and patron of the arts. She founded the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Isabella Stewart Gardner had a zest for life, an energetic intellectual curiosity and a love of travel[citation needed]. She was a friend of noted artists and writers of the day, including John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, Dennis Miller Bunker, Anders Zorn, Henry James, Okakura Kakuzo and Francis Marion Crawford.

Gardner created much fodder for the gossip columns of the day with her reputation for stylish tastes and unconventional behavior. The Boston society pages called her by many names, including "Belle," "Donna Isabella," "Isabella of Boston," and "Mrs. Jack". Her surprising appearance at a 1912 concert (at what was then a very formal Boston Symphony Orchestra) wearing a white headband emblazoned with "Oh, you Red Sox" was reported at the time to have "almost caused a panic", and remains still in Boston one of the most talked about of her eccentricities. More on Isabella Stewart Gardner 

Anders Leonard Zorn (18 February 1860 – 22 August 1920) was one of Sweden's foremost artists. He obtained international success as a painter, sculptor and etcher. From 1875 to 1880 Zorn studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm. Members of Stockholm society approached him with commissions. Zorn traveled extensively to London, Paris, the Balkans, Spain, Italy and the United States, becoming an international success as one of the most acclaimed painters of his era. It was primarily his skill as a portrait painter that gained Zorn international acclaim based principally upon his incisive ability to depict the individual character of his model. At 29, he was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur at the Exposition Universelle 1889 Paris World Fair. More Anders Leonard Zorn


Kerri-Jane Evans, South Africa, born in 1967. 
Winter Portrait
Oil on board
60 x 60 cm
Everard-Read Gallery, Johannesburg

In this age of cybernetics, cynicism and simulacra, there exists the misconception that art should say big things about big issues. It is a discourse driven by ‘the idea’ and lubricated by the nutrients of parody, commentary and critique. The paintings of Kerri-Jane Evans move against this flow. And the term ‘flux’ is central to her vision because, like the constant shifts of light and colour that determine and regulate the cycles of day and night, colour and brushstroke in her paintings ebb and flow, and her forms seem to morph from solid and substantial to the ethereal. It is as though Evans is reluctant to impose too much authority or ownership on the paintings.


She never completes one painting before starting another. She works – or rather reworks – on all simultaneously. Each work in inherently, deliberately incomplete. In places her mark is stylized and linear, only to be subverted by her loose brushstrokes and unpredictable palette. For Evans the greatest challenge is to accept the paradox of incomplete endings. “The image never reaches completion; rather it stops at the point where it is taken away, almost like a small death.” More on Kerri Evans


Jeremy Mann, b. 1979
The Muse, c. 2012
Oil on panel
48 x 48 in.
Private collection

"A muse is anything but a paid model. The muse in her purest aspect is the feminine part of the male artist, with which he must have intercourse if he is to bring into being a new work. She is the anima to his animus, the yin to his yang, except that, in a reversal of gender roles, she penetrates or inspires him and he gestates and brings forth, from the womb of the mind. Painters don't claim muses until painting begins to take itself as seriously as poetry. Andrea del Sarto, an Italian painter born in 1486, was famously married to his muse, Lucrezia, whose features so closely approached his ideal that he made all his female figures in her likeness, at a time when most other painters were building their beautiful female images on the well-loved bodies of boys. Since then, artists as different as Rubens, Bonnard, Renoir, Charles Blackman and Brett Whiteley have painted their wives over and over again, but their wives were their subjects rather than their muses." More on a muse

Jeremy Mann (American, b.1979) is a painter best known for his moody, dark cityscapes. Mann graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Fine Art painting, and later attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Working on wood panels, Mann employs various techniques when creating his pieces, including staining the surface, wiping away paint with solvents, and applying broad marks with an ink brayer. Mann uses vivid, atmospheric colors, and is often inspired by the city of San Francisco, where he currently lives and works. In addition to his urban scenes, he also paints still lifes, and portraits of young women in his characteristically impressionistic manner. He has exhibited at venues around San Francisco and throughout the United States, at galleries such as John Pence Gallery, the Studio Gallery, Christopher Hill Gallery, and Principle Gallery, among others. More on Jeremy Mann

John Singer Sargent, American, 1856-1925
Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner, c. 1888
Oil on canvas
190 x 80 cm
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Mrs. Gardner sat for Sargent during his visit to Boston in January 1888. He was paid $3000 for the portrait, which was exhibited to great acclaim at Boston’s St. Botolph Club. The work also inspired gossip and legend: someone jokingly titled it “Woman: An Enigma,” while others believed that the sensuous display of flesh deliberately echoed the scandal recently created by Sargent’s Madame X. Mrs. Gardner herself said that she rejected eight renderings of the face until she was satisfied. Jack Gardner seems to have asked his wife not to publicly show the portrait again while he was alive, and indeed the portrait was placed in the Gothic Room, which remained private until Mrs. Gardner’s death. More on this painting

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

He was trained in Paris prior to moving to London. Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, although not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his "Portrait of Madame X", was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. He lived most of his life in Europe. More on John Singer Sargent


John Singer Sargent,  American painter
Caterina Vlasto, (or Catherine), c. 1897
Oil on canvas
148.6 x 85.4 cm (58 1/2 x 33 5/8 in.)
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Caterina (or Catherine) Vlasto, born. 30 July 1875 Londen, UK, the eighth of nine children  and died 3 June 1899 London, UK.  She was the second youngest of her siblings. 

When Sargent painted her she would have been 22. The piano is identified (by Ormond and Kilmurray) as the Bechstein which was in Sargent's Tite Street studio. 

The ancestors of the Vlasto family have been traced back to the island of Chios (Greece) and Constantinople (Turkey) of the 15th century. They were a noble family but were scatted in the 16th century to escape persecution from the Turks. By the 1800's they were all over Europe. Although Catherine was born in London, her father -- Alexandre (Antoine) Vlasto -- was born in Trieste, Italy (1833), and his father was born on the Greek island of Chios (1804). More Caterina Vlasto

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

His parents were American, but he was trained in Paris prior to moving to London. Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, although not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his "Portrait of Madame X", was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. He lived most of his life in Europe. More John Singer Sargent


Georges Moreau de Tours, (1848 – 1901, French)
Blanche de Castille, 19e siècle
Nevers ; musée de la Faïence

Blanche of Castile (Spanish: Blanca; 4 March 1188 – 27 November 1252) was Queen of France by marriage to Louis VIII. She acted as regent twice during the reign of her son, Louis IX: during his minority from 1226 until 1234, and during his absence from 1248 until 1252. She was born in Palencia, Spain, 1188, the third daughter of Alfonso VIII, king of Castile, and Eleanor of England. Eleanor was a daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Louis VIII and Blanche were crowned on August 6. Upon Louis' death in November 1226 he left Blanche, by then 38, regent and guardian of his children. Of her children Louis was the heir — afterwards the sainted Louis IX — he was twelve years old. She had him crowned within a month of his father's death in Reims and forced reluctant barons to swear allegiance to him. St. Louis owed his realm to his mother and remained under her influence for the duration of her life. 

In 1248, Blanche again became regent, during Louis IX's absence on the Crusade, a project which she had strongly opposed. In the disasters which followed she maintained peace, while draining the land of men and money to aid her son in the East. She fell ill at Melun in November 1252, and was taken to Paris, but lived only a few days. More on Blanche of Castile

Georges Moreau de Tours (4 April 1848, Ivry-sur-Seine - 12 January 1901, Bois-le-Roi) was a French history painter and illustrator. In 1865 he entered the École des Beaux-Arts, where he studied with Alexandre Cabanel. He was a regular exhibitor at the Salon from that time until 1896. In addition to his canvas paintings, he produced three scenes for the wedding chamber at the Town Hall in the Second Arrondissement. More on Georges Moreau de Tours

Circle of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (Bruges 1561-1635 London)
Portrait of a lady, traditionally identified as Elizabeth Throckmorton
Oil on panel, trimmed
108.7 x 78.4cm (42 13/16 x 30 7/8in)
Private collection

Elizabeth "Bess" Raleigh, (16 April 1565 – circa 1647), née Throckmorton, was Sir Walter Raleigh's wife and a Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber to Queen Elizabeth I of England. Their secret marriage precipitated a long period of royal disfavour for both her and her husband.

Queen Elizabeth first became aware in May 1592 of the secret marriage. She first placed Bess and Raleigh under house arrest, then sent them to the Tower of London, in June 1592. Raleigh was released from the Tower in August 1592 and Bess in December 1592. Elizabeth expected the couple to sue for pardon, but they refused to, and Raleigh remained out of favour for five years.

The couple remained devoted to each other. Due to Raleigh's frequent absences, whether on expeditions, diplomatic duties, or in prison, Bess had to shoulder an unusual level of responsibility for a woman of her time.

The couple's third son was born in January 1605, by which time Raleigh was a prisoner in the Tower of London. He was christened within the walls of the Tower in the church of St Peter ad Vincula. After Raleigh's execution in 1618, Bess worked tirelessly to re-establish her late husband's reputation and, in 1628, saw a Bill of Restitution restore the Raleigh name 'in blood', which allowed her one surviving son to inherit.

Bess is said to have had her husband's head embalmed and to have carried it around with her for the rest of her life. An account from 1740 claims that, after Bess' death, Raleigh's head was returned to his tomb in St Margaret's, Westminster. More on Elizabeth "Bess" Raleigh

Jeanne Fourquet Jeanne Laisné Jeanne Hachette Résistance Beauvais
Watercolor engraving engraved in 1841
26 x 17 cm
Original document of the XIXth century

Jeanne Laisné (born 1456) was a French heroine known as Jeanne Fourquet and nicknamed Jeanne Hachette ('Joan the Hatchet'). She was the daughter of a peasant.

She is currently known for an act of heroism on 27 June 1472, when she prevented the capture of Beauvais by the troops of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. The town was defended by only 300 men-at-arms, commanded by Louis de Balagny.

Illustration H. Grobet
Jeanne Hachette, heroine of the Siege of Beauvais, 1472
History of France

The Burgundians were making an assault, and one of their number had actually planted a flag upon the battlements, when Jeanne, axe in hand, flung herself upon him, hurled him into the moat, tore down the flag, and revived the drooping courage of the garrison. In gratitude for this heroic deed, Louis XI instituted a procession in Beauvais called the "Procession of the Assault", and married Jeanne to her chosen lover Colin Pilon, loading them with favours. A statue of her was unveiled on July 6th, 1851. More on Jeanne Laisné


Doreen Southwood, b. 1997
The Dancer, 1997
Bronze, steel, enamel paint and fabric
70 x 45 x 50 cm each
Private collection

Doreen Southwood (born 1974) is a South African artist, designer, and boutique owner based in Cape Town. She works in a wide variety of media in her artwork, producing sculptures, objects, prints, film, and more, which she often bases on personal experiences and self exploration. Her  Afrikaans upbringing inform much of her work.

In 2003, Southwood was named the overall winner of the Brett Kebble Art Awards for her painted bronze sculpture, "The Swimmer."  (Below) The sculpture featured a young woman gazing blankly ahead as she stands on the end of a diving board. 


In 2001 she opened a shop in Cape Town called Mememe, which seeks to make the work of African fashion designers available to the public. Southwood's own designs have been featured in fashion weeks in Johannesburg and Cape Town  and are known for embodying features of the feminine and nostalgic. More on Doreen Southwood



Doreen Southwood,  b. 1997
The Swimmer, 2003
Painted bronze
175 cm x 42.3cm x 232 cm
Private collection





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12 Orientalist Paintings by Artists from the 19th Century, with footnotes, 17

Arthur Melville, (1858–1904)
A Moorish Procession, Tangier, c. 1893
Watercolour on paper
59.30 x 79.80 cm
National Galleries of Scotland

Melville conveys the atmospheric clamour of a local parade led by drummers and pipers. He evokes its exotic character, underlined by the colourful clothes and hooded cloaks of the participants, with his 'blottesque' technique. The resulting blurred edges and striking accents of pure colour, from pigment applied onto wet paper, suggest a wonderful sense of movement in brilliant sunlight. The vibrant city of Tangier attracted many artists, and Melville, inspired by his friend the painter Joseph Crawhall, visited it twice in the spring of 1890 and 1893. More on this painting

Arthur Melville (1858–1904) was a Scottish painter, best remembered for his Orientalist subjects. He was born in Guthrie, Angus in 1858 and brought up in East Lothian. He attended the Royal Scottish Academy Schools before studying in Paris and Greece. The colour-sense which is so notable a feature of his work developed during his travels in Persia, Egypt and Turkey between 1880 and 1882. To convey strong Middle Eastern light, he developed a technique of using watercolour on a base of wet paper with gouache applied to it.

Melville, little known during his lifetime, was one of the most powerful influences in the contemporary art of his day, especially in his broad decorative treatment with water-colour, which influenced the Glasgow Boys. Though his vivid impressions of color and movement are apparently recorded with feverish haste, they are the result of careful deliberation and selection. He was at his best in his watercolors of Eastern life and colour and his Venetian scenes, but he also painted several striking portraits in oils. More on Arthur Melville

ALFRED AGACHE (1843 - 1915)
Enigme, c.  1888
Oil on canvas, 
2,80 m x 1,69 m, 
Musée des Beaux Arts de Rouen.

The title of the work, Enigma, is explicit: the picture itself is this enigma. In the Salon of 1888 where it is presented, it is was accompanied by a poem by Edmond Haraucourt (1856-1941)  "Priestess of the enigma and daughter of the mystery / I keep under heaven the secrets which he wishes to make / And I know the future as a fait accompli. / But I have closed my austere soul / In the pride of silence and the peace of forgetfulness. ".

The modernity of the energetic pattern of this canvas still strikes us today; The planes are largely brushed and articulated angularly. The contrasts of light and color are brought to their paroxysm. The iconographic elements are rare and deliberately chosen, whether it be the Egyptian motif painted on the wall or the admirable giant poppy flowers, the red blood of which slices on the orange of the background. 

ALFRED AGACHE, (1843 - 1915)
Enigme, c.  1888
Detail

This mysterious woman could be a Parque, a subject dear to Agache, or Isis as the hieroglyphic suggests, or an archetype of the femme fatale. In any case this flower of forgetfulness thrown on the steps, this mask that the woman has just taken off. More on Enigma

Alfred-Pierre Joseph Agache (29 August 1843 – 15 September 1915), also known simply as Alfred Agache, was a French academic painter. Little is known of Agache's life. He was born in Lille, France, and exhibited his work frequently in Paris until his death. He seems to have specialized in portraits and large-scale allegorical paintings. He was a member of the Société des Artistes Français, and won a third-class medal in 1885 for his work. He may have been friends with American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler and French writer Auguste Angellier; the latter dedicated a book to him around 1893.

Two of his pieces, "Vanity" and "The Annunciation", were shown at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893. He was awarded the Légion d'honneur. He died in Lille in 1915. More on Alfred-Pierre Joseph Agache
Alfred Choubrac, PARIS 1853 - 1902
SCHEHERAZADE AND THE SULTAN, c. 1878 
Oil on canvas
131 x 90 cm 51 1/2 by 35 1/2 in.
Private collection

Alfred Choubrac (1853–1902) was a French painter, illustrator, draughtsman, and poster artist.

His posters were very influential and famous during World War II. His most famous poster is that of Au Joyeux Moulin Rouge, based on the popular Parisian nightclub Moulin Rouge. He contributed to the satirical weekly Le Courrier français.

He was the younger brother of Léon Choubrac, also a poster artist. More on Alfred Choubrac

Oliver Dennett Grover, 1861 - 1927
Harem Scene (also known as The Finishing Touch), c. 1899
Oil on canvas 
195.58 cm (77 in.), Width: 167.64 cm (66 in.)
Swope Art Museum  (United States - Terre Haute, Indiana)

Oliver Dennett Grover (1861 Earlville, Illinois – 1927 Chicago), was an American landscape and mural painter. Grover's family moved to Chicago early in his life. There he spent much of his time sketching at the Academy of Design. Showing great promise he was enrolled at Munich’s Royal Academy in 1879, where he studied under Frank Duveneck. At the age of 19 he exhibited at Munich’s International Exposition. Grover followed Duveneck to Venice and Florence, and then went on to study in Paris from 1883 to 1885 under Gustave Boulanger, Jean-Paul Laurens and Lefebvre.

He returned to Chicago in 1885 and was appointed as an instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago for five years, also opening a studio and founding the Western Art Association. Between 1887 and 1892 he served on the faculty of the Chicago Art Academy. Ada Walter Shulz was among his pupils.

Grover became an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1913. During the last years of his life, he also became a board member of the Association of Arts and Industries which was a major influence in Chicago design in the 1920s and 1930s.  More on Oliver Dennett Grover

GUILLAUME SEIGNAC, (1870–1924) 
Odalisque
Oil on canvas
55.5 by 46.5cm., 22 by 18¼in.
Private collection

An odalisque was a chambermaid or a female attendant in a Turkish seraglio, particularly the court ladies in the household of the Ottoman sultan. An odalık was not a concubine of the harem, but a maid, although it was possible that she could become one. An odalık was ranked at the bottom of the social stratification of a harem, serving not the man of the household, but rather, his concubines and wives as personal chambermaids. Odalık were usually slaves given as gifts to the sultan by wealthy Turkish men. Generally, an odalık was never seen by the sultan but instead remained under the direct supervision of his mother, the Valide Sultan. More on An odalisque

Guillaum Seignac (1870–1924) was a French academic painter. He was born in Rennes in 1870, and died in Paris in 1924. He started training at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he spent 1889 through 1895. He had many teachers there, including Gabriel Ferrier, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and Tony Robert-Fleury. In addition to his training in the academic style, much of Seignac's work displayed classical themes and style, for example, his use of diaphanous drapery covering a woman's body is reminiscent of classical style, in particular the sculptor Phidias. In 1897, Guillaume Seignac regularly exhibited at the Salon and won several honors, including in 1900 honorable mention and in 1903 a Third Class medal. More Guillaum Seignac

Jean-Léon Gérôme, French, 1824-1904
LA GRANDE PISCINE À BRUSA (THE GREAT BATH AT BURSA)
Oil on canvas
70 by 100.5cm., 27 1/2 by 39 1/2 in.
Private collection

This splendid evocation of ladies lounging around an octagonal hot pool in a Turkish bath is set under the great dome of the caldarium in Yeni Kaplica, Bursa’s ‘New Baths’ built in 1552 from designs possibly by the Master Builder Sinan. Bursa had been the ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire before the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. By the time the present work was executed in 1885 Gérôme had moved away from heroic history painting towards archeological accuracy and objective realism. More on this painting

Jean-Léon Gérôme (11 May 1824 – 10 January 1904) was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects, bringing the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax. He is considered one of the most important painters from this academic period, and in addition to being a painter, he was also a teacher with a long list of students. More on Jean-Léon Gérôme

GEORGES ROCHEGROSSE, (1859–1938)
Idle Moments, c. 1888
Oil on canvas
54 by 65cm., 21¼ by 25¾in.
Private collection


Georges Antoine Rochegrosse (1859–1938) was a French historical and decorative painter. He was born at Versailles and studied in Paris with Jules Joseph Lefebvre and Gustave Clarence Rodolphe Boulanger. His themes are generally historical, and he treated them on a colossal scale and in an emotional naturalistic style, with a distinct revelling in horrible subjects and details. He made his Paris Salon début in 1882 with Vitellis traîné dans les rues de Rome par la populace (Vitellius dragged through the streets of Rome by the people) (1882; Sens). He followed this the year afterwards with Andromaque (1882–83; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen), which won that year's prestigious Prix du Salon. There followed La Jacquerie (1885; Untraced), Le mort de Babylone (The fall of Babylon) (1891; Untraced), The death of the Emperor Geta (1899; Musée de Picardie, Amiens), and Barbarian ambassadors at the Court of Justinian (1907; untraced), all of which exemplify his strong and spirited but sensational and often brutal painting. In quite another style and beautiful in color is his Le Chevalier aux Fleurs (The Knight of Flowers) (1894; Musée d'Orsay, Paris; RF 898). More on Georges Antoine Rochegrosse


RICARDO VILLEGAS CORDERO, 1849 - 1896
The storyteller
Oil on canvas
58 by 41cm., 23 by 16in.
Private collection

Ricardo Villegas Cordero ( Seville , 1849 - 1896 ) was a Spanish painter. He was the brother of painter Jose Villegas Cordero , better known than he. 2 He drowned in the river Guadalquivir , after falling from the boat where he traveled.

His presented works at the National Exhibition of 1887. He received a gold medal second class at the International Exhibition of Munich in 1888. In the National Exhibition of 1890 he presented a painting titled La muerte de Viriato , which represented the assassination of the Lusitanian leader. He also produced painting in the orientalist and North African Style. More on Ricardo Villegas Cordero 

Lalla Essaydi, Moroccan, b. 1956
Les Femmes du Maroc: Harem #11, 2009
Chromogenic prints (c-print) mounted on aluminum, in three parts
40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm.)
Private collection

Moroccan born photographer Lalla Essaydi explores Arab female identity by hand-painting Arabic calligraphy in henna on different surfaces such as female bodies, fabric and walls. Through her compositions, Essaydi references nineteenth century Orientalist style and rejects traditional objectified representations of Arab women. The artist critiques French painters such as Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Eugène Delacroix who often painted middle-eastern harems filled with eroticized Arab female bodies. Her photographs address and deconstruct the complex power structures imposed on the Arab female body by alluding to historical stereotypes. 

Lalla Essaydi, Moroccan, b. 1956
Harem, #12

In her series Harem, Essaydi refers to the dangerous nature of the harem, contrasting the idealistic setting that Western artists previously depicted. The artist places her figures within the Moroccan Palace Dar El Basha and dresses them in patterns similar to the palace’s mosaics, wood carvings and stained glass. By camouflaging the women’s bodies into the background, Essaydi illustrates how women seemingly appear as another piece of décor in the room. To counter societal norms, Essaydi utilizes calligraphy and applies henna to adorn the female bodies. The text is not necessarily meant to be read or understood, but rather alludes symbolically to the restrictions faced by women in today’s societies and how they find their voice despite all imposed restrictions. Through the perspective of an Arab woman living in a Western world, Lalla Essaydi redefines Arab female identity. More on Lalla Essaydi

Lalla Essaydi, Moroccan, b. 1956
Harem, #15 (2009)

Théodore Chassériau,  (1819–1856)
Orientalist Interior: Nude in a Harem, c. between 1850 and 1852
Oil on panel
Height: 46 cm (18.1 in). Width: 38 cm (15 in).
Private collection

Théodore Chassériau (September 20, 1819 – October 8, 1856) was a French Romantic painter noted for his portraits, historical and religious paintings, allegorical murals, and Orientalist images inspired by his travels to Algeria.

Chassériau was born in El Limón, Samaná, in the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic). In December 1820 the family left Santo Domingo for Paris, where the young Chassériau soon showed precocious drawing skills. He was accepted into the studio of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres in 1830, at the age of eleven, and became the favorite pupil of the great classicist, who regarded him as his truest disciple.

After Ingres left Paris in 1834 to become director of the French Academy in Rome, Chassériau fell under the influence of Eugène Delacroix, whose brand of painterly colorism was anathema to Ingres. Chassériau's art has often been characterized as an attempt to reconcile the classicism of Ingres with the romanticism of Delacroix. He first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1836, and was awarded a third-place medal in the category of history painting. In 1840 Chassériau travelled to Rome and met with Ingres, whose bitterness at the direction his student's work was taking led to a decisive break.

In 1846 Chassériau made his first trip to Algeria. From sketches made on this and subsequent trips he painted such subjects as Arab Chiefs Visiting Their Vassals and Jewish Women on a Balcony...

After a period of ill health, exacerbated by his exhausting work on commissions for murals to decorate the Churches of Saint-Roch and Saint-Philippe-du-Roule, Chassériau died at the age of 37 in Paris, on October 8, 1856. More on Théodore Chassériau