By Alexis Simpson
Last weekend we breezed through The Chicago Institute of Art and were in awe of the artwork. It is quite powerful to see a particular piece of art in person after seeing it a zillion times in photos. We compiled a list of some of our pieces.
ACROBATS AT THE CIRQUE FERNANDO BY PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR (FRENCH) (FRANCISCA AND ANGELINA WARTENBERG) OIL ON CANVAS, 1879: One of four permanent circuses in Paris, the Cirque Fernando opened in 1875. The two girls painted were ages 17 and 13. After their performance, the girls bowed and gathered up tissue-wrapped oranges tossed to them in appreciation.
YOUNG WOMAN SEWING BY PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR (FRENCH) OIL ON CANVAS (FRENCH) 1870: This was painted on Renoir’s first visit to an estate of his patron Paul-Antoine Berard at Waremont on the Normandy coast.
TWO SISTERS (ON THE TERRACE) BY PIERRE-AUGUSTE RENOIR (FRENCH) OIL ON CANVAS 1881: This painting is a homate to springtime youth and beauty on the terrace of the Fournaise family’s restaurant on the Sene River at Chatou-where, six years before, Renoir made a different painting.
ROCKS AT PORT-FOULPHAR, BELLE-ILE BY CLAUDE MONET (FRENCH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1886: Belle-Ile was known for its dramatic cliffs, rock formations, and grottoes. Monet came here attending to sotay two weeks but was there for two months instead.
MADAME ROULIN ROCKING THE CRADLE (LA BERCEUSE) BY VINCENT VAN GOGH (DUTCH) 1889 **One of my fave!!
THE BEDROOM by VINCENT VAN GOGH (DUTCH( OIL ON CANVAS, 1889: Van Gogh’s 3 versions of this composition are the only record he made of the inside of the Yellow House where he lives in the south of France. The houses symbolized his dream of a community of artists working together to create art for the future The first version was made to decorate one of the bedrooms for his first gust, Paul Gauguin. Ganguin’s stay was full of drama due to Van Gosh’s self-mutilation. The second version was made a year after the first when he was living in in asylum. This painting was probably one of the most exciting to see in person because I’ve seen it so many times in print, and seeing it in person was so surreal!
AT THE CONCERT BY HENRI DE TOULOUSE-LAUTREC (FRENCH) LITHOGRAPH FROM A ZINC PLATE; BRUSH, CRAYON, AND SPATTER WITH SCRAPER IN BLUE-BLACK OR BLACK, BROWN, RED AND YELLOW ON CREAM WOVE PAPER, 1896
AT THE MOULIN ROUGE BY HENRI DE TOULOUSE-LAUTREC (FRENCH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1892/95 NOTE: The photo shows is only a portion of the painting, my favorite part.
BALLET DANCERS BY HENRI DE TOULOUSE-LAUTREC (FRENCH) OIL ON PLASTER, TRANSFERRED TO CANVAS, 1885/86
WATER LILIES BY CLAUDE MONET (FRENCH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1906: “Know that I am absorbed by my work, “Claude Monet wrote to a friend in 1908. “These landscapes of water and reflections have become an obsession. It is beyong my power as an old man, and yet I want to manage to render what I feel. I have destroyed some….Some I’ve begun again…and I hope that out of so many efforts, something will emerge.”
THE STAR BY EDGAR DEGAS (FRENCH) PASTEL ON CREAM WOVE PAPER, EDGE-MOUNTED ON BOARD, 1879/81
DANSEUSES ROSE BY HILAIRE-GERMAIN-EDGAR DEGAS (FRENCH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1878: This was donated to the museum by an anonymous loan. I wonder who?!
YELLOW DANCERS (IN THE WINGS) BY EDGAR DEGAS (FRENCH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1874/76: Degas first painted dancers as an independent subject in 1871. Dance was his most devoted subject, as he observed countless performances and rehearsale at the Paris Opera. Here he placed hispoint of view in the wings, as if he was an elite patron who got to roam and socialize backstage.
RESTING BY ANTONIO MANCINI (ITALIAN) OIL ON CANVAS, 1887
THE FESTIVAL BY SIR EDWARD JOHN POYNTER (ENGLISH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1875
THE CAPTIVE SLAVE BY JOHN PHILIP SIMPSON (ENGLISH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1827: Simpson was making a bold statement when he painted this because the slave trade was a controversial moral and political issue. Ira Aldridge is the name of the model, a free-born son of a preacher in New York he later became a state actor. The gaze of the subject is meant to convey a yearning for freedom.
A YOUNG LADY WITH A PARROT BY ROSALBA CARRIERA (ITALIAN) PASTEL ON BLUE LAID PAPER, MOUNTED ON LAMINATED PAPER BOARD, 1730: The wealthy art collector Pierre Crozat persuaded this artist to visit him in Paris. She is now known at the person who brought the art of pastel portraiture to France.
MEEKNESS (DOUCEUR, OR MANSUETUDE) BY EUSTACHE LE SUER (FRENCH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1650: This painting literally glows in person. In the painting, the lamb stands for purity of the soul and the woman is intended to personify Christ’s message, ” Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”
AMERICAN GOTHIC BY GRANT WOOD OIL ON BEAVERBOARD, 1930: The artist visited a small town in Tiowa where he saw a modest home built in the style of “Carpenter Gothic.” The house inspired him to draw “American GOthic people” clinging to old values. The models were his dentist and sister positing as a farmer and his unmarried daughter. He paid careful attention to gender roles with the pitchfork symbolizing labor, and the plants symbolizing a woman’s domesticity. In 1930 this painting was an immediate sensation and is one of the most iconic paintings of the 20th century today.
WHITE NURSE BY PETER SAUL (AMERICAN) OIL PASTEL AND COLORED CRAYONS, AND FIBER-TIPPED AND BALLPOINT PENS, WITH GRAPHITE, ON IVORY WOOD PULP BOARD, 1965
FICTION COLOREE (COLORED FICTION) BY PASCAL KERN (FRENCH) CIBACHROME PRINT IN METAL FRAME, 1985
HONEY BEE SWARM WITH FLOWERS AND FRUIT BY PAUL STANKARD (AMERICAN) PAPERWEIGHT GLASS, 2012: This was made specially for the museum in honor of the reopening of the expanded paperweight galleries in 2012.
MADAME CARRELLE BY MAYER & PIERSON (FRENCH) PHOTOGRAPH SALTED PAPER PRINT, 1856/57: The photography studio was known as Mayer and Pierson. They liked to capture photographs of French society and royalty, most notably the family and court of Napoleon III.
EMILIANO AND EUFEMIO ZAPARA WITH THEIR WICECS BY HUGO BREHME (GERMAN, ACTIVE IN MEDICO) PHOTOGRAPH GELATIN SILVER PRINT, 1911 PRINTED 1970s: Brehme romanticized the cultural imagery of early 20th-century Mexico a year after Zapata and forces started the Mexican Revolution.This image continues to stand as a symbol of justice in Mexico.
RODEO, NEW YORK CITY BY ROBERT FRANK (AMERICAN) 1955/56
TENEMENT CHILDREN (CHILDREN ON THE FIRE ESCAPE) BY WEEGEE OTHERWISE KNOWN AS ARTHUR FELLIG (AMERICAN, BORN POLAND) GELATIN SILVER PRINT, 1940’S
BOWERY FOLLIES BY WEEGEE (AMERICAN) GELATIN SILVER PRINT, 1945. HA, one of the early music photographers:)
THE CRITIC BY WEEGEE (AMERICAN) GELATIN SILVER PRINT, 1943
DIANA AND ENDYMION BY JOHANN MICHAEL ROTTMAYR (AUSTRIAN) OIL ON CANVAS, 1690/95
THE CRUCIFIXION BY FRANSCISCO DE ZURBARAN (SPANISH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1627
THE PENITENT SAINT PETER BY JUSEPE DE RIBERA (SPANISH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1628/32: This painting shows the saint’s enraptured expression and heavenward gesture to suggest spiritual dialogue reflecting his bitter remorse after denying Christ.
JUPITER REBUKED BY VENUS BY ABRAHAM JANSSENS (FLEMISH) OIL ON CANVAS, 1612/13: In this painting, Venus grabs the hand of her son, Cupid and lectures a frowning Jupiter, while the rest of the gods gather on the clouds of Olympus. The squabble may be related to the Trojan War.
THE HOLY FAMILY WITH SAINTS ELIZABETH AND JOHN THE BAPTIST BY PETER PAUL RUBENES (FLEMISH) OIL ON PANEL, 1615. The Virgin’s, Saint Elizabeth watches as her son approaches the Virgin and Child. Saint John wears a fut as an allusion to the time he spent living in the wilderness prophesying the coming of Christ. He is also shown with a lamb because in his preaching he called Christ the lamb of God.
ADAM AND EVE BY LUCAS CRANACH THE ELDER (GERMAN) OIL ON PANEL, 1533/37
THE INFANTS CHRIST AND SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST EMBRACING BY JOOS VAN CLEVE AND WORKSHOP (NETHERLANDISH) OIL ON PANEL, 1520/25: One of my faves!
JUDITH BY JAN SANDERS VAN HEMESSEN (NETHERLANDISH) OIL ON PANEL, 1540: The biblical heroine Judith was known as a model of civic virtue in the Renaiisance due to saving the Jewish people from the armies of the Assyrian general Holofernes. She cut off the head of the drunken general after seducing him. The dangerous pwer of women was a recurrent and ironic theme in the art of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance in northern Europe. Note, the whole painting shows her naked torso but I loved the detail of her face so I photographed just that.
SAINT GEORGE KILLING THE DRAGON BY NERNAT MARTORELL (SPANISH) TEMPERA ON PANEL, 1434/35: The legend of Saint George is that he rescued a princess from a dragon that threatened her father’s kingdom.
Here are some extra shots I took mostly from our hotel room!