Posts Tagged ‘American painter

14
Jul
15

Thomas Eakins photography

July 2015

 

Please click on the photography for a larger version of the image.

Marcus

 

 

For Eakins, the camera was a teaching device comparable to anatomical drawing, a tool the modern artist should use to train the eye to see what was truly before it.

 

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In the 1880s, through a series of technical advances that greatly simplified its practice, photography had expanded from being the province solely of the specialist into an activity accessible to the millions. To define photography as a discipline distinct from its casual, commercial, and scientific applications became the overriding goal of many American artists in the last two decades of the century, who claimed for it a place commensurate with those artistic endeavors that celebrated the complex, irreducible subjectivity of their makers. The photographs of Thomas Eakins are a perfect example of this development.

In addition to being an accomplished painter, watercolorist, and teacher, Thomas Eakins was a dedicated and talented photographer. Working with a wooden view camera, glass plate negatives, and the platinum print process, he distinguished himself from most other painters of his generation by mastering the technical aspects of the new medium and requiring his students to do the same. For Eakins, the camera was a teaching device comparable to anatomical drawing (43.87.23; 43.87.19), a tool the modern artist should use to train the eye to see what was truly before it.

Although it is not known from whom or when Eakins learned photography, it is clear that by 1880 he had already incorporated the camera into his professional and personal life. The vast majority of photographs attributed to Eakins are figure studies (nude and clothed) and portraits of his pupils (43.87.17), extended family (including himself) (43.87.23), and immediate friends (41.142.2). More than 225 negatives survive in the Bregler collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and approximately 800 images are currently attributed to Eakins and his circle – ample proof of the intensity with which Eakins worked with the camera.

Eakins did not generally use photographs as a preparatory aid to painting, although there are a small number of oils which have direct counterparts in existing photographs: the Amon Carter Museum’s The Swimming Hole [below] and the Metropolitan’s Arcadia [below] being the foremost examples. To the contrary, Eakins saw a different role for photography – one related to his extraordinary interest in knowing the figure and improving his sensitivity to complex figure-ground relationships. Committed to teaching close observation through the practice of dissection and preparatory wax and plaster sculpture, Eakins introduced the camera to the American art studio. At first his photographs were likely quick studies of pose and gesture; later, perhaps during the process of editing and cropping the negatives, and then making enlarged platinum prints, he saw the photographs as discrete works of art on paper, at their best on equal status with his watercolors.

The artistic freedom of the classical world that Eakins strove to bring to life in his academic programs at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (and in his Arcadian paintings) also appears as an important element in many of his nude studies (43.87.19) with the camera. These photographs, far more than the paintings, celebrate the male physique; even today, more than a century after their creation, their unabashed frontal nudity still has the power to shock contemporary eyes.

Text from The Metropolitan Museum of Art website

 

Thomas Eakins 'Thomas Eakins and J. Laurie Wallace at the Shore' 1883

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)
Thomas Eakins and J. Laurie Wallace at the Shore
1883

 

Thomas Eakins 'Thomas Eakins and J. Laurie Wallace at the Shore' 1883

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)
Thomas Eakins and J. Laurie Wallace at the Shore
1883

 

 

The great American painter and photographer Thomas Eakins was devoted to the scientific study of the human form and committed to its truthful representation. While teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Eakins made at least two excursions with his students in order to make a series of nudes out of doors. This photograph was probably made during the summer of 1883 at Manasquan Inlet at Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Although neither of the figures in this study play the pipes, the photograph seems related to the unfinished oil Arcadia, in the Metropolitan’s collection [below]. Posed at the edge of a lake, with hands behind their backs, or dangling, the figures seem to float, lost in thought. They are neither athletes nor swimmers contemplating a dip in the water, but two common men – professor (Eakins) and student (J. Laurie Wallace) – each an Adam. Direct and revealing, such photographs celebrate the body and increase our understanding of Eakins’ refined naturalism and his respect for the essential beauty and complexity of the human form. (Text from The Metropolitan Museum of Art website)

 

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) 'Arcadia' c. 1883

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)
Arcadia
c. 1883
Oil on canvas
98.1 × 114.3 cm (38.6 × 45 in)
Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Thomas Eakins 'Thomas Eakins and J. Laurie Wallace at the Shore' 1883

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)
Thomas Eakins and J. Laurie Wallace at the Shore
1883

 

Thomas Eakins (1844-1916)  'Swimming / The swimming hole' 1885

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)
Swimming / The swimming hole
1885
Oil on canvas
27.625 × 36.625 in (70.2 × 93 cm)
Amon Carter Museum of American Art

 

Thomas Eakins 'Unidentified model, Thomas Anschutz and J. Laurie Wallace' 1883

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)
Unidentified model, Thomas Anschutz and J. Laurie Wallace
1883

 

Thomas Eakins 'Unidentified model, Thomas Anschutz and J. Laurie Wallace' 1883

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)
Unidentified model, Thomas Anschutz and J. Laurie Wallace
1883

 

Thomas Eakins. 'Wrestlers' 1899

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)
Wrestlers
1899
Oil on canvas
48 3/8 x 60 in. (122.87 x 152.4 cm)
Image: Museum Associates/LACMA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Image Library

 

 

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01
Apr
11

Exhibition: ‘Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera’ at the Brooklyn Museum, New York

Exhibition dates: 19th November 2010 – 10th April 2011

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The first and last photographs are a knockout – and then just look what Rockwell does with them!

The background of traditional ‘flash’ behind The Tattoo Artist (1944, below) is inspired as is the humour in the crossing out of the names. The book of the English painter Augustus John nonchalantly placed on the counter in the photographic studies for Soda Jerk (1953) is delicious. Just fantastic to see some of the preparatory work behind the paintings.

Many thankx to the Brooklyn Museum for allowing me to publish the artwork and text in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘Photograph for The Tattoo Artist’
1944
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, March 4, 1944
11 ¼ x 8 ¾ in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘Photograph for The Tattoo Artist’
1944
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, March 4, 1944
11 ¼ x 8 ¾ in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
The Tattoo Artist
1944
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, March 4, 1944
Oil on canvas
43 x 33 in.
Collection of the Brooklyn Museum
Gift of the artist 
©1944
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘Photograph for Going and Coming’
1947
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, August 30, 1947
11 1/4 x 15 5/8 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
Going and Coming
1947
Tear sheet, The Saturday Evening Post, August 30, 1947
13 5/8 x 10 5/8 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collection 
©1947
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
‘Photographs for The Problem We All Live With’
1964
Study for Look, January 14, 1964
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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“To create many of his iconic, quintessentially American paintings, most of which served as magazine covers, norman rockwell worked from carefully staged study photographs that are on view for the first time, alongside his paintings, drawings, and related tear sheets, in Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera. The exhibition, which will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum from November 19, 2010, through April 10, 2011, was organized by the norman rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, following a two-year project that preserved and digitized almost 20,000 negatives.

Beginning in the late 1930s, norman rockwell (1894–1978) adopted photography as a tool to bring his illustration ideas to life in studio sessions. Working as a director, he carefully staged his photographs, selecting props, locations, and models and orchestrating every detail. He began by collecting authentic props and costumes, and what he did not have readily available he purchased, borrowed, or rented – from a dime-store hairbrush or coffee cup to a roomful of chairs and tables from a New York City Automat. He created numerous photographs for each new subject, sometimes capturing complete compositions and, in other instances, combining separate pictures of individual elements. Over the forty years that he used photographs as his painting guide, he worked with many skilled photographers, particularly Gene Pelham, Bill Scovill, and Louis Lamone.

Early in his career Norman Rockwell used professional models, but he eventually found that this method inhibited his evolving naturalistic style. When he turned to photography, he turned to friends and neighbors instead of professional models to create his many detailed study photographs, which he found liberating. Working from black-and-white study photographs also allowed Rockwell more freedom in developing his final work. “If a model has worn a red sweater, I have painted it red – I couldn’t possibly make it green.… But when working with photographs I seem able to recompose in many ways: as to form, tone, and color,” Rockwell once commented.

Included in the exhibition will be more than one hundred framed digital prints alongside paintings, drawings, magazine tear sheets, photographic equipment, and archival letters, as well as an introductory film. Among the paintings on view will be the Brooklyn Museum’s painting The Tattoo Artist – one of many that Rockwell created during World War II – depicting a young sailor stoically having his arm tattooed, shown alongside working photographs by Gene Pelham, and the watercolor Dugout, also from the Museum’s collection, portraying the Chicago Cubs baseball team being jeered by fans of the Boston Braves. This work will be displayed along with the September 4, 1948, Saturday Evening Post cover on which it appeared and study photographs by Gene Pelham.

Among the magazine covers included in the exhibition are several from The Saturday Evening Post, for which Rockwell worked for nearly fifty years before turning his attentions to more socially relevant subjects for Look magazine, with which he had a decade-long relationship. Included is The Art Critic, showing an aspiring artist scrutinizing paintings in a gallery, which appeared in the April 16, 1955, issue. The exhibition also includes several series of photographs and the final paintings and magazine tear sheets, among them the July 13, 1946, Saturday Evening Post illustration Maternity Waiting Room, shown along with a series of images by an unidentified photographer that served as details of the final work, which portrays ten anxious soon-to-be fathers.

Norman Rockwell became one of the most famous illustrators of his generation through his naturalistic, narrative paintings done in a readily recognizable style, which appeared in national magazines that reached millions of readers. Born in 1894 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, he left high school to study at the National Academy of Design and later the Art Students League of New York. By the age of eighteen he was already a published artist specializing in children’s illustration and had become a regular contributor to magazines such as Boys’ Life, the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America, where he was soon named art director. In 1916 he painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post, beginning a forty-seven-year relationship that resulted in 323 covers and was the centerpiece of his career.

Early in his career Rockwell had a studio in New Rochelle, New York. He later moved with his wife and three sons to Arlington, Vermont, where many of his family and neighbors served as models in working photographs for his illustrations, which began to focus on small-town American life. In 1943 a fire destroyed his Vermont studio, along with numerous paintings and many of the photographic studies. A decade later the family relocated to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In 1963 he severed his forty-seven-year association with The Saturday Evening Post and began to work for Look magazine, where, during his ten-year association, he produced work that reflected his personal concerns, including civil rights, America’s war on poverty, and space exploration.”

Press release from the Brooklyn Museum website

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
New Kids in the Neighborhood
1967
Tear sheet, Look, May 16, 1967
13 x 20 ½ in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘
Photograph for Shuffleton’s Barbershop’
1950
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, April 29, 1950
11 5/16 x 7 15/16 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
Shuffleton’s Barbershop
1950
Cover Illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, April 29, 1950
Oil on canvas
45 ¾ x 42 ½ in.
Collection of the Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA 
©1950
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘Photograph for Soda Jerk’
1953
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, August 22, 1953
9 ½ x 7 9/16 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909–2004)
‘Photograph for Soda Jerk’
1953
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, August 22, 1953
9 ½ x 7 9/16 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections
Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
Soda Jerk
1953
Tear sheet, The Saturday Evening Post, August 22, 1953
13 5/8 x 10 5/8
 in.
Norman Rockwell Museum Archival Collections 
© 1953
SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

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Norman Rockwell (American, 1894–1978)
The Dugout
1948
Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, September 4, 1948
Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite on two sheets of conjoined cream, moderately thick, moderately textured wove paper
19 x 17 13/16 in.
Collection of the Brooklyn Museum
Gift of Kenneth Stuart 
© 1948
SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis

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Gene Pelham (American, 1909-2004)
‘Photograph for The Dugout’
1948
Study for The Saturday Evening Post, September 4, 1948
Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust
Licensed by Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Illinois

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Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn
New York 11238-6052

Opening hours:
Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Brooklyn Museum website

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Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Études’ 1994

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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