Tag Archives: portrait

Elaine de Kooning: Portraits

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Elaine de Kooning (1918 – 1989) (born Elaine Marie Fried) works on a series of portraits of President John F. Kennedy in her studio, New York, New York, 1964. Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

I am absolutely dying to visit The National Portrait Gallery’s current exhibition, Elaine de Kooning: Portraits, curated by Brandon Brame Fortune, the Portrait Gallery’s chief curator and senior curator of painting and sculpture. I have had an obsession with the portraits of Elaine de Kooning, specifically her male portraits, since graduate school. The expressive and immense figures of men, which emerge from the canvases of artist Elaine de Kooning, are a stunning snapshot of the male figures, famous and unknown, of the New York art scene of the early to mid-twentieth century.

Elaine de Kooning was a dynamic force in the New York School, known for her beauty, artistic talent, and confident nature. She quickly formed connections throughout the abstract expressionist circle, including with artist Willem (Bill) de Kooning, Elaine’s future teacher, husband and friend. Though a prominent figure within the New York artists’ circle, as well as a prolific writer, art critic and artist herself, Elaine was often overshadowed by her husband Bill, as well as the other male abstract expressionist who dominated the art world. Though Elaine explored numerous themes within her paintings, portraits of the male figure seemed to persist throughout her career, abetted by her access to numerous male figures in the New York art circle.

Elaine de Kooning

Elaine de Kooning was one of the few abstract expressionists, as well as one of the only women, who explored the subject of male portraiture during the mid-twentieth century. Yet, rather than allow portraiture to limit her artistic direction, ‘E de K’ used her subjects to reveal the inner characters of the important male figures of post-World War II America, and expand the subject matter of Abstract Expressionism.

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One Year Anniversary

Matt Haas Photography

Celebrating one year of marriage with this handsome guy! Happy anniversary Mr. xo

Photo by Matt Haas Photography

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Mother’s Kiss

Mary Cassatt, The Bath, c. 1891, Drypoint and soft-ground etching in yellow, blue, black, and sanguine

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! I’m lucky to have an incredible mother and mother-in-law—exemplars of kindness, generosity, and hardwork—and to be surrounded by so many strong and inspiring women, friends and family alike. The subjects of American painter and printmaker, Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), often took the form of her family, including her sister Lydia—her intimate portraits capturing both the social and private lives of women, and most notably the connection between mother and child. Highly influenced by her mentor and fellow Impressionist, Edgar Degas, Cassatt’s figural compositions demonstrate an impressionistic palette, while drawing from Japonism simplicity and color-blocking techniques—visible in 1960’s ukiyo-e, Japanese wood-block prints. Cassatt’s honest, yet not overly-sentimental portraits, act as timeless glimpses into the bond between mother and child.

Mary Cassatt, Maternal Caress, c. 1891, Color drypoint, aquatint, and soft-ground etching

Mary Cassatt

Mary Cassatt, The Child’s Bath, 1893, Oil on canvas

Mary Cassatt, Gathering Fruit, c. 1893, Drypoint and aquatint in color

Mary Cassatt, Gathering Fruit, c. 1893, Drypoint and aquatint in color

Mary Cassatt, Mother’s Kiss, 1890-1891, Drypoint and aquatint on laid paper

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Latest Love: Kees van Dongen

Kees van Dongen (Dutch, 1877–1968), Place Vendome, 1918–20, Oil on canvas

I’ve always adored this work, Place Vendome, a permanent resident of The Mrs. Harry L. Bradley Collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Although Dutch-born French painter and printmaker, Kees van Dongen, is most renowned for his sensual female portraits, I find myself drawn to his charmingly vibrant scenes of bustling Parisian streets, crowded racetracks and teeming seascapes. Van Dongen remained committed to the short-lived Fauvist style throughout his career, his subjects emerging from strong painterly strokes, and stretches of bold unblended color.

Kees van Dongen, Maria, 1907–10, Oil on canvas

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Natural History: Portrait Society Gallery

In celebrating the re-opening of the Portrait Society in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, after three months of renovation, the gallery will be presenting three new shows, including Natural History: Barbara Ciurej & Lindsay Lochman.

Ciurej and Lochman’s collaborative photographs features portrait busts of women, cloaked in the forms of plants. Described by the artists as:

“portraits into tangled shadows of time. Grafting techniques from the history of photography, the cyanotype impressions of botanicals pay homage to Anna Atkins’ use of the medium in the nineteenth century…They speak of evanescence and hidden nature.”

Greatly looking forward to the opening tonight!

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Etsy Favorites

Though I’m not allowing myself to buy any more prints until I frame the massive pile of works in my closet, that doesn’t seem to stop me from saving endless lists of favorite art and artists on Etsy. At such affordable prices, it’s impossible to not imagine perfectly arranged gallery walls, or solo lovelies featured in our apartment’s empty nooks.

The most favored of the favorites—

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