Nov 042013
 

 

Fallen Monarchs, William Bliss Baker, 1886, Oil on Canvas, Brigham Young University Museum of Art

Fallen Monarchs, William Bliss Baker, 1886, Oil on Canvas, Brigham Young University Museum of Art

 

“This painting by William Bliss Baker received recognition from Alfred Trumble in his Representative Works of Contemporary American Artists published in 1887.

In his compilation, Trumble selected thirty of what he deemed the greatest works by the best living American artists, a grand praise for the not so well-known artist William Bliss Baker. Alfred Trumble proclaimed the ‘largest meaning’ in Fallen Monarchs to be ‘the story of eternal life and eternal decay.’

Trumble imbues Baker’s trees with near human sensibilities writing: ‘Stealing down through the tangle of thicket, half buried and lost here and there under the mantle of the passing year shakes down upon it, come the ghost of the stream whose moisture brings life to the overarching boughs, and feeds the branching rootlets with the sap they must send shooting up to the loftiest tendrils that shiver under the sky. Prone in their majesty the departed monarchs lie along it, as if imploring the vitality it can no longer give to them.’”

Excerpt from 150 Years of American Painting. Shop our prints of Fallen Monarchs.

 

Oct 182013
 
Let the Little Children Come unto Me, Carl Heinrich Bloch, date unknown, Oil on Copper, The Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle

Let the Little Children Come unto Me, Carl Heinrich Bloch, date unknown, Oil on Copper, The Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle

Mark 10:13 – 16

13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

“In this painting, Jesus’ disciples seek to prevent the young from approaching the Savior.  But their efforts are met with the Savior’s response, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” Here one young child slips unnoticed behind the Apostle.  The Savior gently holds the hand of a young boy and embraces another child. The children’s faces express a look of complete trust and contentment. As in many of Bloch’s paintings, a wide diversity of people is present-young and old, healthy and infirm, the believers and the merely curious. Above the Savior’s head is a richly woven fabric with long tassels. From the fifteenth century on, this “cloth of honor” appeared in artistic representations of important and powerful figures. It was most often hung in a long panel behind the person to represent his nobility or high rank. In this image, the cloth has been lifted up, perhaps as a sign of Christ’s openness as well as His nobility.”  Excerpt from The Master’s Hand: The Art of Carl Heinrich Bloch

Let the Little Children Come unto Me will be exhibited at BYU Museum of Art Sacred Gifts Exhibition November 15, 2013 through February 2014. Buy prints at the MOA Store.

 

Oct 022013
 
Lake Scene, Sanford Gifford, 1866, Oil on Canvas, Brigham Young University Museum of Art

Lake Scene, Sanford Gifford, 1866, Oil on Canvas, Brigham Young University Museum of Art

“The painting Lake Scene by Sanford Gifford, depicts a tranquil autumn landscape in the eastern United States.  Lake Scene may depict Lake Champlain from the Vermont side looking west toward New York.  The painting is specifically characteristic of Gifford in its use of hot colors and tinted atmospheric effects.  Atmosphere is a unifier of all features of the landscape, rather than a semi-obscuring veil.

As one takes a closer look, the painting’s empty foreground becomes strikingly apparent in what seemed at first glance to be a heavily foliated view.  Further inspection reveals two small figures in the left middle distance. They are constructing or mending a wall out of stone and logs, perhaps fashioned from the felled trees whose stumps are visible in the foreground.

Gifford’s painting is not merely a picturesque landscape.  The image portrays the American wilderness and it inevitable subjugation to the civilizing effects of a growing democracy. It is about primeval Eden that attracted many to its shores and the eventual nationalist fervor that took hold and reshaped it both literally and philosophically.  Consciously or not, Gifford’s work reflected an optimistic view. The work is ultimately about America in transition and, as such, is a study in contrasts-idealism and rationalism, progress and destruction, boundlessness and perimeters.”

Excerpt taken from 150 Years of American Painting

 

Come to the October First Friday event this Friday October 4th from 6-10pm at the MOA.

Purchase prints of Lake Scene.

Sep 192013
 
Le Premier Chagrin (The First Grief), Daniel Ridgway Knight, 1892, Oil on Canvas,  Brigham Young University

Le Premier Chagrin (The First Grief), Daniel Ridgway Knight, 1892, Oil on Canvas, Brigham Young University

“It sounds like a paradox, but it is a very simple truth that when to-day we look for ‘American art’ we find it mainly in Paris. When we find it out of Paris, we at least find a great deal of Paris in it.”

-Henry James, 1887

To American collectors, Daniel Ridgway Knight’s beautifully rendered painting of French peasant girls demonstrated that America had arrived culturally. The American wealthy class that emerged from the Civil War emulated European tastes. Attempting to prove that Americans could compete culturally with Europe, artists felt compelled to learn French styles. Knight mastered the academic style; he won many accolades in the French salons as well as popular success for his peasant paintings, was accepted into the 1892 Salon in Paris and was honored as one of the few works to be illustrated in the catalog. Sentimental peasants like these were one of the most popular subjects in the French salons. Knight’s idealized peasant girls inhabit a picturesque landscape untouched by urbanization.

 

Le Premier Chagrin is now on display in the BYU Museum of Art as part of the Shaping America exhibition. Prints are available at the MOA Store.

 

Jun 172013
 
Grain Fields, Edwin Evans, 1890, Oil on Canvas, Brigham Young University

Grain Fields, Edwin Evans, 1890, Oil on Canvas, Brigham Young University

“A native of Lehi, Utah, Edwin Evans did not decide to become an artist until almost thirty years of age. After initially studying with local artists in Salt Lake City, he left for France in 1890. This was just two years after the arrival in Paris of the first Utah artist, James Taylor Harwood, a boyhood acquaintance of Evans from Lehi. Soon after arriving in France, Evans joined a small group of Utah painters whose Paris art studies were being financed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In exchange for the art training, the artists were contracted upon their return to paint murals for the temple in Salt Lake City, which was nearing completion.

In Paris, Evans enrolled in Academie Julian, but like many other American students entrenched in academic studies he sought relief painting outdoors on the weekends and during the summer. The time he spent in the countryside near Paris inspired the major plein air work Grain Fields. After returning to Utah, Evans exhibited the painting at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where it won an honorable mention.

Evans’ haystacks can be viewed as symbols of survival and self-contained efficiency. Perhaps combining a joyful American optimism and a Utah/Mormon respect for hard work and industry, Evans’ Grain Fields celebrates the fecundity of the land and rejoices in a harvest scene that was reminiscent of home.”

Excerpt taken from 150 Years of American Painting

Purchase a print of Grain Fields