Saturday, October 26, 2013

Who Painted This? #50

We need to have a little celebration this week - as we've now reached 'Who painted this? #50'.

Who painted this? #50
I've chosen a work which I actually photographed. It's a stunning still life painting.

You need to tell me - as a comment on this blog

  1. who painted this 
  2. including all the basics I want to know (see link to rules below).
  3. plus what you can find out about this artist and/or artwork 

The winner will be the person with the BEST complete answer rather than the first to respond - so you don't have to rush and you do have time to do some research.  Just get your answer to me by the end of Thursday your time.

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.  The questions which need answering don't stop at "Who painted this?".

How to participate in "Who painted this? #50"


PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.
Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer - search using words only on a database of images
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog - do not leave the answer on Facebook!
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer
  • if wrong it will be published
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is NOT THIS WEEK the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know. It's the person who does all this AND provides the BEST answer (see above)

Who Painted This #49 - The Answer

Peonies (1897) by Alphonse Mucha
  • Title of the artwork: Peonies
  • Name of the artist who created this artwork: Alphonse Mucha (1860 - 1939)
  • Date it was created: 1897
  • Media used: ink and watercolour, Height: 950 mm (37.4 in). Width: 795 mm (31.3 in)
  • Where it lives now: Scottish National Gallery
I'm betraying my age! When I was a student, there were more than a few rooms in college which had a Mucha poster with its Art Deco styling.

Mucha was in fact a French Art Nouveau painter - his art was regarded as "decorative" and he was known by the French version of his name.  I was surprised to find out that he was born in the Moravia - then part of the Austrian empire and now part of the Czech Republic 

I'm sure many of you realised that the original watercolour painting was a design for something  rather more decorative.
This is an original watercolour for a printed fabric. Although the individual flowers are detailed, retaining an element of naturalism, Mucha has stylized the stems to create the sensual curving lines associated with the art nouveau style. The thick, dark outlines of the flowers and flat areas of colour are also a feature of Art Nouveau. Mucha has used soft, pastel colours for the flowers and included gentle curving shapes in the background.
You can read more about the artist and this artwork on last week's post - Who Painted This? #49 http://makingamark.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/who-painted-this-49.html


    Who guessed correct?

    Who painted this #49? - A number of people got the answer correct and are listed below in alphabetical order
    However yet again (how does she do it!) the first person with the best answer was Bernadette Madden who only got the details correct but also added to our knowledge with this comment.  
    There was a time in the 1960s when almost every art student had some kind of Art Nouveau poster displayed somewhere..above a workbench or on a studio wall. Quite often this poster was by Mucha. Dramatic Art Nouveau graphics with their sharp black lines combined with sensuous curves found favour with the Flower Children , the young generation breaking away from the conventional in all walks of life. Born in 1860, in Moravia ( now the Czech Republic) Alfons Mucha is said to have been able to draw before he could walk. In his youth, he held a variety of jobs:In the law courts ( until he was sacked for drawing caricatures), Set designer ( until the theatre burnt down) and mural painter, where his talent impressed his client so much that he sponsored Mucha to study at the Academy of Art in Munich for two years followed by three years in Paris. After that , needing to make a living , he became an illustrator.He got his big break a few years later simply by being in the right place at the right time . While he was correcting proofs ( doing a friend a favour) in Lemercier`s Printing Works, Sarah Bernhardt, the biggest star on the French stage at the time. commissioned a poster for her new production "Gismonda". The job was urgent , Mucha was on the spot and got the commission.....and the rest is history. The poster was revolutionary, tall and elegant in shape, in strong yet subtle colours, it was very different to the theatre posters being produced up to then. The distinctive lettering and the halo effect around the head of the figure became Mucha`s trademark. In the following years he turned his hand to design of every kind, magazine covers, jewellery, menus, calendars,cutlery and fabric. He often used flowers and foliage as inspiration including in` Peonies`. This stylised piece, with its beautiful pale colours ,was designed to be repeat printed on fabric; when you look carefully you can see how the repeat pattern fits together.  Interestingly, there is a very similar version of this, listed as a wallpaper pattern, in the `Museé du papier peint ` in Rixheim, Alsace, in France. Many of Mucha`s designs are still in print in some form or another , he never seems to be long out of fashion. (It`s impossible in this potted history to show just how influential Mucha has been.) As recently as 2011, a Mucha inspired fabric was used by Cacharel in their Spring collection. Despite all his success, he still wished for recognition as a painter, a true artist.. and in the latter years of his life finally obtained sponsorship for a long cherished project. Charles Crane, an American millionaire agreed to fund the `Slav Epic`. Mucha celebrated more than 1000 years of Slav history in a series of 20 enormous paintings. These works were exhibited in various cities , then hidden during World War Two , then put in to storage. In 1968 they were finally placed on exhibition in the castle of Moravsky Krumlov. During the German invasion of Czechoslovakia , Mucha was arrested by the Gestapo and though he was released he never really recovered both mentally or physically and died of pneumonia in 1939. 

    7 comments:

    Alyson Champ said...

    Still-life with Tuft of Marine Plants, Shells, and Corals

    Anne Vallayer-Coster

    oil

    1769

    51.2 X 38.2 inches

    To be found in the Louvre.

    Thank you for introducing me to yet another artist whose work I don't recall seeing before. I enjoyed reading about her, but writing a treatise I shall leave to others. :)

    Patrick Connors said...

    Who Painted This? #50

    Artist: Anne Vallayer-Coster, (1744–1818), Frnch

    Title: Still-Life with Tuft of Marine Plants, Shells and Corals

    Date: 1769

    Medium oil on linen

    Dimensions:130 x 97 cm [51.2 in x 38.2 in]

    This is one of my favorite paintings by Vallayer-Coster. Recently, I included it in two different lectures.

    Vallayer-Coster was one of four women who gained admittance into the French Royal Academy before the French Revolution. Not only was it unusual for a woman to gain admittance but she did so with two still lives, a genre that was then considered the least important in the hierarchy of painting. Her two 1770 submission pieces for the Royal Academy, "The Attributes of Painting" and "The Attributes of Music" are in the collection of the Louvre along with the depicted Marine Still Life painting.

    Commenting the following year on the Salon exhibit of 1771, the encyclopedist Denis Diderot noted that "if all new members of the Royal Academy made a showing like Mademoiselle Vallayer's, and sustained the same high level of quality, the Salon would look very different!" In 1781 she was given an apartment in the Louvre, an honor bestowed upon a few privileged artists. She enjoyed the patronage of Marie Antoniette and others in the Ancient Regime until the French Revolution. She survived the associations with the former monarchy and did enjoy important patronage afterwards;but, this was not enough and her career went into decline. She died in 1769 at the age of 73. By that time, she painted over 120 still lives- distinctive and original poems about the ordinary reinvented in her eye and brush into the extraordinary.

    Patrick Connors said...

    Who Painted This? #50

    Artist: Anne Vallayer-Coster, (1744–1818), French

    Title: Still-Life with Tuft of Marine Plants, Shells and Corals

    Date: 1769

    Medium oil on linen

    Dimensions:130 x 97 cm [51.2 in x 38.2 in]

    This is one of my favorite paintings by Vallayer-Coster. Recently, I included it in two different lectures.

    Vallayer-Coster was one of four women who gained admittance into the French Royal Academy before the French Revolution. Not only was it unusual for a woman to gain admittance but she did so with two still lives, a genre that was then considered the least important in the hierarchy of painting. Her two 1770 submission pieces for the Royal Academy, "The Attributes of Painting" and "The Attributes of Music" are in the collection of the Louvre along with the depicted Marine Still Life painting.

    Commenting the following year on the Salon exhibit of 1771, the encyclopedist Denis Diderot noted that "if all new members of the Royal Academy made a showing like Mademoiselle Vallayer's, and sustained the same high level of quality, the Salon would look very different!" In 1781 she was given an apartment in the Louvre, an honor bestowed upon a few privileged artists. She enjoyed the patronage of Marie Antoniette and others in the Ancient Regime until the French Revolution. She survived the associations with the former monarchy and did enjoy important patronage afterwards;but, this was not enough and her career went into decline. She died in 1769 at the age of 73. By that time, she painted over 120 still lives- distinctive and original poems about the ordinary reinvented in her eye and brush into the extraordinary.

    Colours and Textures said...

    Still Life with Seashells and Coral (1769) Anne Vallayer-Coster: Painter to the Court of Marie Antoinette
    oil on canvas
    It was hung in a temporary display in the Frick Collection and was in a show organised by the Dallas Museum of Art, starting at the National Museum of Art and travelled to France

    She was one of only 4 women (an 'honorary man') admitted to the Académie Royale before the French revolution.
    A decade later, Marie Antoinette fixed her up with a studio in the Louvre and commissioned a portrait, as did other members of Louis XVI's court.

    Bernadette Madden said...

    I`m delighted to be the winner this week and ,to celebrate the 50th "Who Painted This " I thought I`d set YOU a challenge, which I`ll send by email ( This is one challenge I don`t hold out any hope of winning but I thought it would be fun to try!
    Happy Fiftieth!
    Bernadette Madden

    Bernadette Madden said...

    Artist....Anne Vallayer-Coster
    Title....Still life with tuft of Marine Plants, Shells and Corals
    Date....1769
    Medium...Oil on canvas
    Where it is...The Louvre
    How I found it... I Googled Still Life Shells and it came up quite quickly
    In the past , understandably, many of the women who managed to carve out a successful career for themselves in the arts came from families already involved in the making of beautiful objects. In 1744, French artist Anne Vallayer was born in to just such a family. Her mother was a painter of miniatures and her father a master goldsmith. Little is known of her formal training in painting,( or,indeed of much of her life ) , but, however she learnt how to paint, she was confident enough, at the age of 26 to present two paintings to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture for approval. She was immediately admitted as both an associate and a full member. She soon came to the attention of Marie Antoinette and was given a studio in the Louvre in 1781. (One of the few dissenting voices was that of Diderot, who commented that while the two pieces she showed in the 1781 Salon were "painted with truthfulness ,the execution was cold and weak") Around the same time she married Jean-Pierre Coster and added his name to hers.Though Vallayer-Coster painted portraits in the early part of her career, she soon abandoned them in favour of still life. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries figurative painting was thought of as the most important,especially narrative work which could be seen to have a meaning. But,due to social constraints, it was difficult for women to get any kind of practice in drawing the figure , a fact which often pushed them towards painting what they had around them....family portraits, food , fruit,,etc. Vallayer-Coster became a serious still life painter and made the genre more serious in the process. She painted meticulous flower studies,musical instruments, bowls of fruit and more. With the advent of easier travel and an upsurge of interest in the linking up of science and nature,objects such as exotic shells made their appearance in Europe. "Still life with tuft of Marine Plants, Shells and Corals" is said to have seventeen different kinds of sea plants, all beautifully arranged and painted. Though at first glance this looks like a static composition. the undulating shapes in the background bring to mind the movement of water and the cool and limited palate gives a sense of the hardness of the coral. The picture was bought by the Prince de Conti, a first cousin of Louis XV. Anne Vallayer -Coster seems to have lived a quiet and productive life, she survived the French Revolution, in spite of her connections to the Court, dying in 1818. Interestingly a number of her paintings are now in the Louvre, close to where she did a lot of her work.

    John O'Grady said...

    Katherine, Happy 50th Who Painted this?
    Here is my contribution for this week.

    The Who Painted this? #50 is a painting by Anne Vallayer-Coster, a French painter born in 1744 who died in 1818.

    When first seeing this painting, I was curious. I thought it might be from the 18th Century so I searched for 18th Century still life with shells and corals and it came up. I clicked on the link and it took me to Terminartors.

    Her painting, called ‘Still-Life with Tuft of Marine Plants, Shells and Corals’ (in French ‘Panaches de mer, lithophytes et coquilles’) is an oil on canvas 97 cm x 130 cm created in 1769 that’s kept in Musée du Louvre in Paris. On their website, it says that in 1776 she sold this painting with an accompanying ‘pendant’, a matching painting, to Louis-François de Bourbon, prince de Conti, a collector of paintings and shells. Following the death of the collector, the painting was sold again in 1777 though the matching painting had been lost.

    Anne Vallayer Coster was born in a well to do artistic family. Her mother painted miniatures while her father was a royal goldsmith. She trained with various artists including Madeleine Basseport, a renowned botanical artist and Joseph Vernet famed for his marine paintings.

    In 1770, at age 26, she was unanimously voted in the ‘Académie Royale’, an organisation modelled in 1648 on an Italian academy such as ‘Accademia di San Luca’ that aimed to professionalise the artists working for the French court and give them a stamp of approval. Only a few select women were allowed to join their ranks; Vallayer was one of four accepted before the French Revolution of 1789.

    She grew up during the age of enlightenment when knowledge, science, philosophy and the arts were promoted and shared widely. ‘L’Encyclopédie’ instigated by Diderot and with contribution from philosophers, writers and scientists had just been published between 1751 and 1772.

    Although she painted portraits and other themes and subjects such as trompe-l’oeil bas reliefs and miniatures, she excelled at painting still-life. This subject matter was considered a lesser art form more likely the preserve of women and yet, influenced by various masters including Dutch painters and JBS Chardin, she developed her own style, precise, colourful, smooth, a kind of photorealism with a twist.

    No wonder her paintings appealed to the upper classes and royalty, a milieu she had access to through her father’s occupation. In 1779, Queen Marie Antoinette even became a patron. Her paintings reflected their own image.

    This painting is exquisite, carefully composed and painted. Vallayer-Coster expertly used her sense of detail and texture, her talent with colours and lights to create a sophisticated painting with a three dimensional quality where each object, in a blend of illusion and reality works as an allegory of its time. For instance, shells are exotic, rare and collectibles. She chose to paint a selection with sea plants and corals on a wooden board that suggests stability though sea plants move to the rhythm of water currents and tides. They epitomise the age of enlightenment and discovery and symbolise exploration, scientific discovery and by extension power and wealth.
    An exhibition organised by the Dallas Museum of Art and curated by Eik Kahng was held in 2002 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Called “Anne Vallayer-Coster: Painter to the Court of Marie Antoinette", it was the first exhibition to overview Anne Vallayer-Coster’s work.
    John.

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