L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mother and child - two maternal portraits by Henri-Pierre Danloux

Portrait of madame de L'Horme and her son, 1801.
This work clearly shows the influence of Danloux's exposure to and admiration of the work of contemporary British portrait painters.
Composition, light, color harmony, rendering - all first rate.
The exquisite detail of the the spoon and bowl, reflected in the polished surface of the elegant table, all washed with the gold of the curtain....
The rendering of the cradle, its fringed drape and, especially, the glorious swathe of butter-colored satin, is quite wonderful.
The artist's wife, Marie-Pierrette-Antoinette de Saint Redan, with their son, Jules, circa 1791.
Her dramatic gesture - a request for quiet so as not to wake the child - doesn't make sense if one fails to recognize the cradle.
The elegant toilette, fashionable furniture, the embroidery frame; all are a reflection of the aristocratic milieu of the artist's clientele.
The brushwork is much looser here - ten years earlier - than in the later painting.


 Henri-Pierre Danloux (24 February 1753, Paris – 3 January 1809, Paris), French painter, mainly known for his portraits. Orphaned at an early age, he was brought up by his architect uncle. From the age of seventeen, he was a pupil of the genre painter Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié and later joined the studio of history painter Joseph-Marie Vien, whom he followed to Rome in 1775. He only returned to France in 1783, settling in Lyon - where he also married - but he moved to Paris two years later, where his reputation grew as a portraitist to the aristocracy. A royalist, Danloux emigrated to London in 1792 to escape the French Revolution. There, at the height of his powers, he secured commissions from a number of British and French émigré patrons. But he was also quite influenced by such fashionable English portrait painters as Thomas Lawrence, John Hoppner, and George Romney. In 1793, he exhibited at the Royal Academy. In 1801 he returned to France, where he died eight years later, just weeks short of his fifty-sixth birthday.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Archie Savage - photographs by Carl Van Vechten, 1942

Archie C. Savage (19 April 1914, Norfolk - 4 February 2003, Los Angeles), American dancer, choreographer, teacher, and actor.  Born in Virginia and raised in Harlem, he joined the "Hemsley Winfield's Dance Troupe" in the mid-1930's, before moving on to the company of Katherine Dunham in 1939. An important figure in the history of African-American dance, in addition to his work with Dunham and running his own troupe, he also performed in seven Broadway productions, most notably in the original production of South Pacific. And he was featured, variously as a dancer/choreographer/actor, in more than two dozen films, perhaps most memorably as the "negro dancer" in La Dolce Vita. In the latter part of his career he focused more on choreography, and eventually devoted his energies solely to teaching. He died two months short of his eighty-ninth birthday.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lives grown together - four family portraits

Unknown French family, unknown artist, possibly Jean Jacques Hauer, circa 1789-91.
"The Contest for the Bouquet", The Family of Robert Gordon in Their New York Dining-Room, by Seymour Joseph Guy, 1866.
The Saithwaite Family, by Francis Wheatley, circa 1785.
Stephen and Virginia Courtauld with their pet ring-tailed lemur Mah-Jongg, by Leonard Campbell Taylor, 1934.