12 Paintings, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, with Footnotes. # 24

Pedro Sáenz y Sáenz

Chrysanthemums/ Madame Butterfly, ca. 1900

Oil on canvas

81 x 55 cm

Propiedad de la Excma. Diputación Provincial de Málaga

Madame Butterfly: In 1904, a U.S. naval officer named Pinkerton rents a house on a hill in Nagasaki, Japan, for himself and his soon-to-be wife, “Butterfly”. Her real name is Ciocio-san. She is a 15-year-old Japanese girl whom he is marrying for convenience, since he intends to leave her once he finds a proper American wife, and since Japanese divorce laws are very lax. The wedding is to take place at the house. Butterfly had been so excited to marry an American that she had earlier secretly converted to Christianity. After the wedding ceremony, her uninvited uncle, a bonze, who has found out about her conversion, comes to the house, curses her and orders all the guests to leave, which they do while renouncing her. Pinkerton and Butterfly sing a love duet and prepare to spend their first night together.

Three years later, Butterfly is still waiting for Pinkerton to return. The American consul, Sharpless, comes to the house with a letter which he has received from Pinkerton which asks him to break some news to Butterfly: that Pinkerton is coming back to Japan, but Sharpless cannot bring himself to finish it because Butterfly becomes very excited to hear that Pinkerton is coming back. Sharpless asks Butterfly what she would do if Pinkerton were not to return. She then reveals that she gave birth to Pinkerton’s son after he had left and asks Sharpless to tell him.

The next morning Sharpless and Pinkerton arrive at the house, along with Pinkerton’s new American wife, Kate. They have come because Kate has agreed to raise the child. But, as Pinkerton sees how Butterfly has decorated the house for his return, he realizes he has made a huge mistake. He admits that he is a coward and cannot face her, leaving Suzuki, Sharpless and Kate to break the news to Butterfly. Agreeing to give up her child if Pinkerton comes himself to see her, she then prays to statues of her ancestral gods, says goodbye to her son, and blindfolds him. She places a small American flag in his hands and goes behind a screen, cutting her throat with her father’s hara-kiri knife. Pinkerton rushes in, but he is too late, and Butterfly dies. More on Madame Butterfly

Pedro Saenz Saenz ( Malaga , 14 as October as 1863 – Malaga , October as January as 1927 ) was a  Raphaelite painter, belonging to the Malaga school of painting . Disciple of Bernardo Ferrándiz , he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando . 

He completed his training in Rome in 1888, where he met other Spanish painters such as Simonet , Sorolla or Viniegra . At this stage he is also influenced by Art Nouveau and Catalan modernism .

His work can be considered academic , but has a predilection for the themes of romantic symbolism, as in The grave of the poet or Stella Matutina , both at the Museum of Málaga and both made him a medal in 1901. 

Among his works predominate portraits and female nudes, luminous and detailed, and some portraits, such as those of the Town Hall of Malaga . Some other of his paintings to review are: The amateur , Carlota or the Portrait of the Marchioness of Loring. More Pedro Saenz Saenz 

ANDY WARHOL, (1928-1987) 

Hélène Rochas, c. 1974

Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas

101.6 x 101.6 cm. (40 x 40 in.) 

Private collection

Helene Rochas (1921 – 2011). Nelly Brignole studied dance and acting before meeting at 19, the fashion designer Marcel Rochas whom she soon married and became Hélène – much more elegant than Nelly. Beautiful and graceful, she perfectly embodied the Femme Rochas, she was her husband’s ideal muse and model and had to renounce to her acting career even though she was offered a role in Jacques Becker’s Golden Helmet. When her husband died in 1955, she proved she was not only a pretty face and took over his perfume brand and managed to make it become an international flourishing company. His death also helped ‘La Belle Hélène’ grow free of her Pygmalion’s influence and she could finally decide what to wear and developed her own artistic taste – more modernist and subtle. The friend and inspiration of many fashion designers such as Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent, she imprinted contemporary art’s mythology with the portrait Andy Warhol depicted of her in 1975. More Helene Rochas

Andy Warhol (born Andrew Warhola; August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American artist, director and producer who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertising that flourished by the 1960s. 

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Warhol initially pursued a successful career as a commercial illustrator. After exhibiting his work in several galleries in the late 1950s, he began to receive recognition as an influential and controversial artist. 

Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city of Pittsburgh, which holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. More on Andy Warhol

Anders Zorn, Swedish, 1860-1920

Isabella Stewart Gardner in Venice, c. 1894

Oil on canvas

91 x 66 cm (35 13/16 x 26 in.)

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

While visiting the Gardners in Boston in February 1894, Anders Zorn made an etching of Mrs. Gardner, which neither of them considered to be a complete success. Later that year Zorn and his wife visited the Gardners in Venice, staying for several weeks as their guests in the Palazzo Barbaro. He attempted again to make a portrait of Mrs. Gardner, but continued to struggle with the task. One evening, Mrs. Gardner stepped out into the balcony to see what was happening outside, and as she came back into the drawing-room, pushing the French windows open, Zorn exclaimed (according to Morris Carter): “Stay just as you are! That is the way I want to paint you.” He went instantly for his materials, and then and there the portrait was begun. More on this painting

Isabella Stewart Gardner (April 14, 1840 – July 17, 1924) was a leading American art collector, philanthropist, and patron of the arts. She founded the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Isabella Stewart Gardner had a zest for life, an energetic intellectual curiosity and a love of travel[citation needed]. She was a friend of noted artists and writers of the day, including John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler, Dennis Miller Bunker, Anders Zorn, Henry James, Okakura Kakuzo and Francis Marion Crawford.

Gardner created much fodder for the gossip columns of the day with her reputation for stylish tastes and unconventional behavior. The Boston society pages called her by many names, including “Belle,” “Donna Isabella,” “Isabella of Boston,” and “Mrs. Jack”. Her surprising appearance at a 1912 concert (at what was then a very formal Boston Symphony Orchestra) wearing a white headband emblazoned with “Oh, you Red Sox” was reported at the time to have “almost caused a panic”, and remains still in Boston one of the most talked about of her eccentricities. More on Isabella Stewart Gardner 

Anders Leonard Zorn (18 February 1860 – 22 August 1920) was one of Sweden’s foremost artists. He obtained international success as a painter, sculptor and etcher. From 1875 to 1880 Zorn studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm. Members of Stockholm society approached him with commissions. Zorn traveled extensively to London, Paris, the Balkans, Spain, Italy and the United States, becoming an international success as one of the most acclaimed painters of his era. It was primarily his skill as a portrait painter that gained Zorn international acclaim based principally upon his incisive ability to depict the individual character of his model. At 29, he was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur at the Exposition Universelle 1889 Paris World Fair. More Anders Leonard Zorn

Kerri-Jane Evans, South Africa, born in 1967. 

Winter Portrait

Oil on board

60 x 60 cm

Everard-Read Gallery, Johannesburg

In this age of cybernetics, cynicism and simulacra, there exists the misconception that art should say big things about big issues. It is a discourse driven by ‘the idea’ and lubricated by the nutrients of parody, commentary and critique. The paintings of Kerri-Jane Evans move against this flow. And the term ‘flux’ is central to her vision because, like the constant shifts of light and colour that determine and regulate the cycles of day and night, colour and brushstroke in her paintings ebb and flow, and her forms seem to morph from solid and substantial to the ethereal. It is as though Evans is reluctant to impose too much authority or ownership on the paintings.

She never completes one painting before starting another. She works – or rather reworks – on all simultaneously. Each work in inherently, deliberately incomplete. In places her mark is stylized and linear, only to be subverted by her loose brushstrokes and unpredictable palette. For Evans the greatest challenge is to accept the paradox of incomplete endings. “The image never reaches completion; rather it stops at the point where it is taken away, almost like a small death.” More on Kerri Evans

Jeremy Mann, b. 1979

The Muse, c. 2012

Oil on panel

48 x 48 in.

Private collection

 

“A muse is anything but a paid model. The muse in her purest aspect is the feminine part of the male artist, with which he must have intercourse if he is to bring into being a new work. She is the anima to his animus, the yin to his yang, except that, in a reversal of gender roles, she penetrates or inspires him and he gestates and brings forth, from the womb of the mind. Painters don’t claim muses until painting begins to take itself as seriously as poetry. Andrea del Sarto, an Italian painter born in 1486, was famously married to his muse, Lucrezia, whose features so closely approached his ideal that he made all his female figures in her likeness, at a time when most other painters were building their beautiful female images on the well-loved bodies of boys. Since then, artists as different as Rubens, Bonnard, Renoir, Charles Blackman and Brett Whiteley have painted their wives over and over again, but their wives were their subjects rather than their muses.” More on a muse

Jeremy Mann (American, b.1979) is a painter best known for his moody, dark cityscapes. Mann graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Fine Art painting, and later attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Working on wood panels, Mann employs various techniques when creating his pieces, including staining the surface, wiping away paint with solvents, and applying broad marks with an ink brayer. Mann uses vivid, atmospheric colors, and is often inspired by the city of San Francisco, where he currently lives and works. In addition to his urban scenes, he also paints still lifes, and portraits of young women in his characteristically impressionistic manner. He has exhibited at venues around San Francisco and throughout the United States, at galleries such as John Pence Gallery, the Studio Gallery, Christopher Hill Gallery, and Principle Gallery, among others. More on Jeremy Mann

 

John Singer Sargent, American, 1856-1925

Portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner, c. 1888

Oil on canvas

190 x 80 cm

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Mrs. Gardner sat for Sargent during his visit to Boston in January 1888. He was paid $3000 for the portrait, which was exhibited to great acclaim at Boston’s St. Botolph Club. The work also inspired gossip and legend: someone jokingly titled it “Woman: An Enigma,” while others believed that the sensuous display of flesh deliberately echoed the scandal recently created by Sargent’s Madame X. Mrs. Gardner herself said that she rejected eight renderings of the face until she was satisfied. Jack Gardner seems to have asked his wife not to publicly show the portrait again while he was alive, and indeed the portrait was placed in the Gothic Room, which remained private until Mrs. Gardner’s death. More on this painting

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

He was trained in Paris prior to moving to London. Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, although not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his “Portrait of Madame X”, was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. He lived most of his life in Europe. More on John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent,  American painter

Caterina Vlasto, (or Catherine), c. 1897

Oil on canvas

148.6 x 85.4 cm (58 1/2 x 33 5/8 in.)

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Caterina (or Catherine) Vlasto, born. 30 July 1875 Londen, UK, the eighth of nine children  and died 3 June 1899 London, UK.  She was the second youngest of her siblings. 

When Sargent painted her she would have been 22. The piano is identified (by Ormond and Kilmurray) as the Bechstein which was in Sargent’s Tite Street studio. 

The ancestors of the Vlasto family have been traced back to the island of Chios (Greece) and Constantinople (Turkey) of the 15th century. They were a noble family but were scatted in the 16th century to escape persecution from the Turks. By the 1800’s they were all over Europe. Although Catherine was born in London, her father — Alexandre (Antoine) Vlasto — was born in Trieste, Italy (1833), and his father was born on the Greek island of Chios (1804). More Caterina Vlasto

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his evocations of Edwardian era luxury. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.

His parents were American, but he was trained in Paris prior to moving to London. Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter, although not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon, his “Portrait of Madame X”, was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter, but it resulted in scandal instead. From the beginning his work was characterized by remarkable technical facility, particularly in his ability to draw with a brush, which in later years inspired admiration as well as criticism for a supposed superficiality. His commissioned works were consistent with the grand manner of portraiture, while his informal studies and landscape paintings displayed a familiarity with Impressionism. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work, and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air. He lived most of his life in Europe. More John Singer Sargent

Georges Moreau de Tours, (1848 – 1901, French)

Blanche de Castille, 19e siècle

Nevers ; musée de la Faïence

Blanche of Castile (Spanish: Blanca; 4 March 1188 – 27 November 1252) was Queen of France by marriage to Louis VIII. She acted as regent twice during the reign of her son, Louis IX: during his minority from 1226 until 1234, and during his absence from 1248 until 1252. She was born in Palencia, Spain, 1188, the third daughter of Alfonso VIII, king of Castile, and Eleanor of England. Eleanor was a daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Louis VIII and Blanche were crowned on August 6. Upon Louis’ death in November 1226 he left Blanche, by then 38, regent and guardian of his children. Of her children Louis was the heir — afterwards the sainted Louis IX — he was twelve years old. She had him crowned within a month of his father’s death in Reims and forced reluctant barons to swear allegiance to him. St. Louis owed his realm to his mother and remained under her influence for the duration of her life. 

In 1248, Blanche again became regent, during Louis IX’s absence on the Crusade, a project which she had strongly opposed. In the disasters which followed she maintained peace, while draining the land of men and money to aid her son in the East. She fell ill at Melun in November 1252, and was taken to Paris, but lived only a few days. More on Blanche of Castile

Georges Moreau de Tours (4 April 1848, Ivry-sur-Seine – 12 January 1901, Bois-le-Roi) was a French history painter and illustrator. In 1865 he entered the École des Beaux-Arts, where he studied with Alexandre Cabanel. He was a regular exhibitor at the Salon from that time until 1896. In addition to his canvas paintings, he produced three scenes for the wedding chamber at the Town Hall in the Second Arrondissement. More on Georges Moreau de Tours

 

Circle of Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (Bruges 1561-1635 London)

Portrait of a lady, traditionally identified as Elizabeth Throckmorton

Oil on panel, trimmed

108.7 x 78.4cm (42 13/16 x 30 7/8in)

Private collection

Elizabeth “Bess” Raleigh, (16 April 1565 – circa 1647), née Throckmorton, was Sir Walter Raleigh’s wife and a Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber to Queen Elizabeth I of England. Their secret marriage precipitated a long period of royal disfavour for both her and her husband.

Queen Elizabeth first became aware in May 1592 of the secret marriage. She first placed Bess and Raleigh under house arrest, then sent them to the Tower of London, in June 1592. Raleigh was released from the Tower in August 1592 and Bess in December 1592. Elizabeth expected the couple to sue for pardon, but they refused to, and Raleigh remained out of favour for five years.

The couple remained devoted to each other. Due to Raleigh’s frequent absences, whether on expeditions, diplomatic duties, or in prison, Bess had to shoulder an unusual level of responsibility for a woman of her time.

The couple’s third son was born in January 1605, by which time Raleigh was a prisoner in the Tower of London. He was christened within the walls of the Tower in the church of St Peter ad Vincula. After Raleigh’s execution in 1618, Bess worked tirelessly to re-establish her late husband’s reputation and, in 1628, saw a Bill of Restitution restore the Raleigh name ‘in blood’, which allowed her one surviving son to inherit.

Bess is said to have had her husband’s head embalmed and to have carried it around with her for the rest of her life. An account from 1740 claims that, after Bess’ death, Raleigh’s head was returned to his tomb in St Margaret’s, Westminster. More on Elizabeth “Bess” Raleigh

Jeanne Fourquet Jeanne Laisné Jeanne Hachette Résistance Beauvais

Watercolor engraving engraved in 1841

26 x 17 cm

Original document of the XIXth century

Jeanne Laisné (born 1456) was a French heroine known as Jeanne Fourquet and nicknamed Jeanne Hachette (‘Joan the Hatchet’). She was the daughter of a peasant.

She is currently known for an act of heroism on 27 June 1472, when she prevented the capture of Beauvais by the troops of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. The town was defended by only 300 men-at-arms, commanded by Louis de Balagny.


Illustration H. Grobet

Jeanne Hachette, heroine of the Siege of Beauvais, 1472

History of France

The Burgundians were making an assault, and one of their number had actually planted a flag upon the battlements, when Jeanne, axe in hand, flung herself upon him, hurled him into the moat, tore down the flag, and revived the drooping courage of the garrison. In gratitude for this heroic deed, Louis XI instituted a procession in Beauvais called the “Procession of the Assault”, and married Jeanne to her chosen lover Colin Pilon, loading them with favours. A statue of her was unveiled on July 6th, 1851. More on Jeanne Laisné

Doreen Southwood, b. 1997

The Dancer, 1997

Bronze, steel, enamel paint and fabric

70 x 45 x 50 cm each

Private collection

Doreen Southwood (born 1974) is a South African artist, designer, and boutique owner based in Cape Town. She works in a wide variety of media in her artwork, producing sculptures, objects, prints, film, and more, which she often bases on personal experiences and self exploration. Her  Afrikaans upbringing inform much of her work.


In 2003, Southwood was named the overall winner of the Brett Kebble Art Awards for her painted bronze sculpture, “The Swimmer.”  (Below) The sculpture featured a young woman gazing blankly ahead as she stands on the end of a diving board. 


In 2001 she opened a shop in Cape Town called Mememe, which seeks to make the work of African fashion designers available to the public. Southwood’s own designs have been featured in fashion weeks in Johannesburg and Cape Town  and are known for embodying features of the feminine and nostalgic. More on Doreen Southwood

Doreen Southwood,  b. 1997

The Swimmer, 2003

Painted bronze

175 cm x 42.3cm x 232 cm

Private collection

Acknowledgement: Bonhams and others

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Author: zaidangallery

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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