Monday, 27 May 2013

Lucien Pissarro's engravings

Camille Pissarro’s portrait by Lucien Pissarro - Woodcut Print [Source: Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Henry S. Bowers, M4963]

"The two engravings you sent me are excellent and in the right style. Don't bother your head about those who can't understand your type of drawing, let them put themselves in your shoes. Your drawing is actually quite correct, when you have studied and understood it—one step more and it will not be so! Only keep your personality intact! Each of us has his qualities and faults, the important thing is to have many qualities."

Camille Pissarro - Letters to his son Lucien

Related resources

Monday, 13 May 2013

Polka Dots 2

After painting visitors in the Louvre-Lens museum, my earlier painting Polka Dot looked rough in comparison. This is because I used not much painting medium. I decided to rework it with paint mixed with refined linseed oil.

Polka Dot 2 - Oil on canvas panel (6" x 8") by Benoit Philippe

Follow the link to see the previous version, Polka Dot.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Pissarro on Mary Cassatt’s prints

I had the chance to see some prints by Mary Cassatt in 2007, at the Impressionnism from France and America Exhibition.
These prints are delicate and very personnal in their subject and execution. Mary Cassatt was clearly impired by Japanese prints, but re-interpreted with day to day western life themes.

"Under the horse chestnut tree", 1 print: drypoint and aquatint, color by Mary Cassatt [Source: Wikimedia

Camille Pissarro, who exhibited with Mary Cassatt and did some engravings himself, was interested in the technique the American artist used. In a letter dated April 3, 1891, he wrote to his son Lucien:
“It is absolutely necessary, while what I saw yesterday at Miss Cassatt's is still fresh in mind, to tell you about the colored engravings she is to show at Durand-Ruel's at the same time as I. (…)
You remember the effects you strove for at Eragny? Well, Miss Cassatt has realized just such effects, and admirably: the tone even, subtle, delicate, without stains on seams: adorable blues, fresh rose, etc. Then what must we have to succeed? . . . money, yes, just a little money. We had to have copper-plates, a boite a grain, this was a bit of a nuisance but it is absolutely necessary to have uniform and imperceptible grains and a good printer. But the result is admirable, as beautiful as Japanese work, and it's done with printer's ink!”

The Lamp – print by Mary Cassatt [Source: Wikimedia]

In another letter to Lucien dated April 25, 1891, he gives more details on Cassatt’s technique:
“Before leaving Paris I went to see Miss Cassatt. I watched her make color prints of her aquatints. Her method is the same as ours except that she does not use pure colors, she mixes her tones and thus is able to get along with only two plates. The drawback is that she cannot obtain pure and luminous tones, however her tones are attractive enough. We will have to make a more definitive trial of our own method to determine which is to be preferred.”

The Bath (1890-1891) by Mary Cassatt - drypoint and aquatint on laid paper - plate: 32.1 x 24.8 cm (12 5/8 x 9 3/4 in.) - sheet: 43.7 x 30.5 cm (17 3/16 x 12 in.) [Source: NGA]

Maternal Caress (1890-1891) by Mary Cassatt - Color drypoint and aquatint on cream laid paper; plate: 36.8 x 26.8 cm (14 1/2 x 10 9/16 in.); sheet: 43.5 x 30.3 cm (17 1/8 x 11 15/16 in.) [Source: NGA]

Related resources
 Book with Mary Cassatt’s prints

Monday, 6 May 2013

Is that Diderot?

This is the second painting in the Louvre-Lens series, after Louvre-Lens meditation. The painting this visitor is looking at is by Fragonard. The current title is "Figure of fantasy", but it used to be called "Diderot's portrait" (the French philosopher), which is now contested. You can see this painting in my post on the Paintings in the Louvre-Lens museum.

Is that Diderot? - Oil on canvas panel (6" x 8") by Benoit Philippe