Elie Anatole Pavil - Quay of Tournelle at Sunset in Winter

Pavil (1873 – 1948) was born in Odessa, Russia in 1873. He went to Paris in 1892. He established himself in Montmartre, on the Rue Caulaincourt. For most of the next fifty years he painted the cafes, the beautiful women, the jazz bands and artist ateliers of Paris. His paintings show an intimate knowledge of the inhabitants of the streets and alley’s of Montmartre. Elegant couples dancing, beautiful models posing, working men finishing their day with a drink at the bar, all were captured in Pavil’s carefully balanced compositions, many of which show the distinct the influence of Degas and Renoir.

Alfred Thompson Bricher - Quiet Day near Manchester [1873]

Alfred Thompson Bricher (1837 - 1908) began his career as a painter of autumnal landscapes, but by the late 1860s he had become a specialist in seascapes. His favourite subjects were the beaches and headlands of the New England coast, and he excelled at depicting such scenes in calm weather and lit by serene, luminous skies. At his best he was capable of equaling the finest work of fellow marine painters John Frederick Kensett, Sanford Robinson Gifford, and Martin Johnson Heade. A Quiet Day near Manchester, 1873, depicts a scene on the Massachusetts coast north of Boston and seems to have been particularly inspired by Kensett, who had died unexpectedly the year before. The mass of meticulously delineated rocks at the left side of the composition and the expansive sweep of sea and sky bring to mind works such as Kensett's late Beach near Beverly. Although Bricher painted many pictures over the course of his long career (he continued working until his death in 1908), the superb A Quiet Day near Manchester is unsurpassed.

[Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 97.16 cm]

Edward Hicks - Peaceable Kingdom [c.1834]

Edward Hicks (Attleboro, Pennsylvania, April 4, 1780 - August 23, 1849) was an American folk painter and distinguished minister of the Society of Friends. Calmness and peace, rather than abrupt action, characterise Hicks' compositions. Many of the shapes and forms in his work appear to be organic, flowing and soft. One must pay close attention to the gestures of individuals and animals in his paintings to derive meaning. Hicks uses small detail variations as a way to force a viewers to pay attention to content because they are deliberate and purposeful.

[Oil on canvas, 76.2 x 90.2 cm]

Joaquim Sunyer - Pastoral

[Oil on canvas, 65.5 x 81.5 cm]

Arseny Meshchersky - On the River

Meshchersky studied at the Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg. He was a full member of the St. Petersburg Society of Artists, founded in 1890. The Society’s major aim was the development and dissemination of arts in Russia. Following his years of study at the Academy of Arts, Meshchersky was awarded a travel scholarship to Europe and, like many of his contemporaries perfected his technique in the workshops of German and Dutch masters.

Theodor Kaufmann - On To Liberty [1867]

As a Union soldier, Kaufmann (American, 1814 – 1896) may have seen retreating Confederate troops take adult male slaves with them, leaving women and children to fend for themselves. His portrayal of a group of fugitives includes symbolic details that suggest the lack of either a clear path to liberty or a guarantee of what it would bring to African Americans. The figures flee toward the flag that looms large but remains frighteningly close to the ongoing battle. One of them wears red beads, which signified victory in nineteenth-century African American folklore; another wears blue beads, which were considered amulets of protection. Three of the women carry forked sticks, which slaves believed would ward off witches. Although the figures emerge from darkness into light, the anxious expression on the face of the boy at right acknowledges the danger of their endeavour. A ledge of boulders separates the rocky path underfoot from the smooth road leading to the Union forces.

[Oil on canvas, 91.4 x 142.2 cm]

Eva Gonzalès - Nanny and Child [1877-78]

Eva Gonzalès (French, 1849 - 1883) was the only formal pupil Manet ever had, he was notoriously ill-disposed toward taking on students. Her painting of a nanny and her young charge, the first facing the viewer, the second turned toward a barred gate, is an unmistakable homage to Manet's The Railway. Her brushwork is similarly broad and energetic; it eliminates transitional tones and detail. Nevertheless, Gonzalès' painting feels different. Its open airiness contrasts with The Railway's restricted and compressed space.

Gonzalès was part of the impressionist circle in Paris, one of only four women generally associated with the group. She shared their interest in depicting modern life, although, like Manet, she did not join in the impressionists' exhibitions. This painting was shown at the Salon of 1878 and is perhaps her most accomplished work. Her family was a distinguished one. Her father was a well-known writer and her mother a musician, both of whom fostered her interest in the arts. This canvas was probably made in Dieppe, in Normandy. As the closest seaside resort to Paris, with a promenade, pebble beach, and casino, Dieppe was popular with well-to-do tourists who came for the season. The English nanny (Gonzalès' original title was Miss et bébé) is a sure mark of upper-class status.

[Oil on canvas, 65 x 81.4 cm]

Isaak Izrailevich Brodsky - Nanny With Children [1912]

Isaak Izrailevich Brodsky (Sofiyevka, Ukraine, January 6, 1884 – Leningrad, August 14, 1939) was a Soviet painter whose work provided a blueprint for the art movement of socialist realism. He is known for his iconic portrayals of Lenin and idealised, carefully crafted paintings dedicated to the events of the Russian Civil War and the Bolshevik Revolution.

[Oil on canvas, 87.5 x 105 cm]

Vincent van Gogh - Memory of the Garden at Etten [1888]

This painting was produced at Arles, in Provence, to which van Gogh moved in February 1888, embarking upon 15 months of frenetic painting - he produced over 200 canvases, despite or perhaps because of his depression and nervous crises. This painting recalls his native Holland and the garden of his parents' house at Etten. The artist's impressions of the bright sun and resonant colours of the south were combined with nostalgia for home. Working in Arles alongside Gauguin, he came under the strong influence of the latter's style, which can be seen in the flattened space and the broad areas of colour outlined with thick contours. But van Gogh's powerful romantic temperament demanded expression in a more dramatic style that was to be found in Gauguin's work, and he used intense colouring and rough surface texture to create an individual artistic language which expressed both the energy and drama of life.

[Oil on canvas, 73 x 92 cm]

Aelbert Cuyp - The Maas at Dordrecht [c.1650]

Here the river Maas is the focus of great activity; in the foreground a dignitary dressed in a black jacket with an orange sash has just arrived at a large sailing ship. He is greeted by a distinguished–looking gentleman who stands among other figures, including a man beating a drum. On the left, a second rowboat approaches, carrying other dignitaries and a trumpeter who signals their impending arrival. Most of the ships of the large fleet anchored near the city have their sails raised and flags flying as though they are about to embark. The early morning light, which floods the tower of the great church and creates striking patterns on the clouds and sails, adds to the dramatic character of the scene.

Cuyp (Dutch, 1620 - 1691) was probably commissioned to represent an event that occurred during the summer of 1646. At that time an enormous fleet of ships carrying thirty thousand soldiers was anchored at Dordrecht; presumably for symbolic purposes rather than for specific military ones as peace was finally at hand. The Treaty of Münster, which ended all hostilities with Spain and created an independent Dutch nation, was signed only two years later.

[Oil on canvas, 114.9 x 170.2 cm]

Imitator of Gustave Courbet - Landscape [19th century]

Despite the signature, it is doubtful whether this picture is the work of either Courbet or one of his collaborators.

[Oil on canvas, 83.2 x 105.4 cm]

Lev Kamenev - Landscape [1861]

Lev Lvovich Kamenev (1834 - 1886) was a Russian landscape painter. The real blooming of Kamenev creative came in 1860-70s, when his painting Winter Road took its place in the Tretyakov collection. In 1869 for the painting Winter View from the Outskirts of Moscow and View from the Outskirts of Porechye he received the title of academician of the Academy of Arts landscape painting and became a member and one of the founders of The Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions. Between the 1871-1884 Kamenev took part at the exhibitions of the Association. In 1886 Kamenev died in poverty and solitude.

Aert de Gelder - Judah and Tamar [c.1681]

According to the story from the Old Testament, Judah, having consented to the marriage of his youngest son to his daughter-in-law Tamar, failed to keep his word when the boy came of age. In revenge Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and seduced Judah, after having received his ring, bracelet and staff. She later produced these pledges, thus saving her life, and bore him two sons. This painting shows the moment when Tamar demands the pledges from Judah. Old Testament stories were popular subjects for paintings in 17th-century Holland and contemporary viewers would have immediately recognised the source for this picture.

Aert de Gelder, a native of Dordrecht, was rembrandt's last pupil. He worked in his studio in Amsterdam in the 1660s before returning to Dordrecht. De Gelder's style, with its loose and fluid brushstrokes and muted palette, remained remarkably close to Rembrandt's late style, while the general taste at the time favoured a Flemish-influenced more colourful and tightly executed manner of painting.

[Oil on canvas, 80 x 97 cm]

Hendrick ter Brugghen - Jacob Reproaching Laban [1627]

The Old Testament Book of Genesis tells how Jacob had fallen in love with Rachel and agreed to work for her father for seven years as a shepherd to earn her hand in marriage. When the marriage took place, Laban substituted his elder daughter Leah for Rachel, for which Jacob reproached his father-in-law. Laban was unrepentant and Jacob had to work a further seven years to win Rachel, an admired example of constancy in love. 

Ter Brugghen was one of the main Dutch followers of the Italian artist Caravaggio. His family settled in Utrecht, probably in about 1591, where he was a pupil of Abraham Bloemaert. He travelled to Rome in about 1604, within the lifetime of Caravaggio, and remained there until 1614. By 1615 he had returned to Utrecht, where he died in 1629. Ter Brugghen was the first important painter influenced by Caravaggio to return to Holland. He developed a highly personal style characterised by a soft handling of paint and pale vibrant colouring.

[Oil on canvas, 97.5 x 114.3 cm]

Childe Hassam - Improvisation [1899]

Childe Hassam (Dorchester, Massachusetts, 1859 - East Hampton, New York, 1935) was the premier Impressionist painter of New York City. From 1890 through World War I he painted its fashionable boulevards, genteel park lanes, festive military parades, new neighbourhoods, and occasionally the new skyline that was prompting many to call New York the eighth wonder of the world. Like many American Impressionists, Hassam was a New Englander. A charter member of The Ten, he began drawing in the 1870s, studying in Boston under William Rimmer and the Munich academician, Ignaz Gaugengigl. Influenced by the tonalist painter, George Fuller, Hassam became well-known for his street scenes. He went to Paris in 1886, making numerous rural and urban plein-air paintings that put him in the centre of the emerging American Impressionist brotherhood. He returned to Boston in 1889, eventually settling in New York City.

[Oil on canvas, 76.3 x 86.2 cm]

William Merritt Chase - Idle Hours [c.1894]

Between 1891 and 1902 Chase (American, 1849–1916) found genteel outdoor subjects in Southampton, Long Island, where he directed the Shinnecock Hills Summer School of Art. In this scene, set on the scrubby dunes along Shinnecock Bay, he shows four of his frequent models: a woman in a red bonnet (probably his wife), two of his daughters, and, possibly, one of Mrs. Chase's sisters. Chase invites the viewer to fill in the picture's sketchy forms and elusive story. Idle Hours, which is typical of the pictures of urbanites enjoying suburban retreats that displaced images of country folk at play, hints at the growth of leisure time in response to urbanisation and industrialisation, women's predominance at summer resorts while their husbands worked in the city, and unaccompanied women's preference for safe seaside pastimes. The narrative may also be as simple as Henry James's observation: "Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."

[Oil on canvas, 99.1 x 123.5 cm]

Ernest Lawson - The Harlem River [c.1911]

Ernest Lawson (March 22, 1873 – December 18, 1939) was a Canadian-American painter and a member of The Eight. Lawson was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Though Lawson mostly painted landscapes, he also did some realistic urban scenes which were shown at the 1908 exhibition of The Eight. His painting style is heavily influenced by Impressionism, especially the style of John Henry Twachtman, Alfred Sisley, and J. Alden Weir. He died in Miami Beach, Florida in 1939.

[Oil on canvas, 101.6 cm x 127 cm]

Gabriel Deschamps - The Harbour at Saint Tropez

Gabriel Deschamps was born on July 20, 1919 at Bonneville, Haute-Savoie. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Paris in 1939 and 1940 and then from 1942 until 1946 at the Narbonne. He was a regular exhibitor and Member of the Paris Salon. He painted mostly scenes of the South of France and the Mediterranean coast and has held many exhibitions in Paris, Algiers, Oran and Casablanca. He is well known both in Europe and on the American continent.

[Oil on canvas, 59.7 x 71.7 cm]

Gustave Courbet - Girls on the Banks of the Seine [1857]

[Oil on canvas, 174 x 206 cm]

Julius Olsson - Gulls at Low Water, Carbis Bay, Cornwall

Julius Olsson (Islington, London, 1864 - Dalkey, Ireland, 1942) was a British painter, the son of a Swedish father and an English mother. He was entirely self-taught and developed a lively impressionist style that owed little to the conventions of maritime painting. With his favoured palette of vivid pinks and blues, he often depicts the Cornish coast at its most luminous and exhilarating. He died of cardiac failure at St Heliers, Dalkey, County Dublin in Ireland while on a visit to his sister-in-law's home.

[Oil on canvas, 61 x 76.5 cm]

Nicolas Poussin - The Finding of Moses [1651]

To escape Pharaoh's order to kill Israelite boys Moses was placed in an ark of bullrushes upon the Nile. Here he is discovered by Pharaoh's daughter (in yellow), who is attended by her maidens and by the baby's sister Miriam (in white), who cradles the child. Painted in 1651 for Monsieur Reynon, a silk merchant in Lyon, this is the latest and grandest of Poussin's three versions of the subject. The other two are in the Louvre, Paris. This picture once belonged to the Marquis de Seignelay and later to Clive of India.

[Oil on canvas, 115.7 x 175.3 cm]

Sebastien Bourdon - The Finding of Moses [c.1655-60]

Bourdon (French, 1616 - 1671), one of the twelve founding members of the French art academy, had spent the years 1634-1637 studying in Rome. In 1652-1654 he served as court painter to Queen Christina of Sweden. An extremely eclectic artist, Bourdon borrowed motifs and styles from a wide variety of sources and at least once sold one of his own landscapes as a work by Claude Lorrain.

Seeking to provide an accurate setting in biblical Egypt, Bourdon included palm trees in the fanciful landscape. He adapted a few elements from two different treatments of this subject by Poussin. The composition, though, is more severely geometric than any of Poussin's works. Pharaoh's daughter and her retinue of handmaidens, for instance, are grouped into the silhouette of a perfect square. Moreover, the translucent colours are unique to Bourdon and foretell the pastel hues of early eighteenth-century art.

[Oil on canvas, 119.6 x 172.8 cm]

Ivan Shishkin - Edge of the Forest [1879]

Ivan Shishkin (Yelabuga, January 25, 1832 - St. Petersburg, March 20, 1898) was a Russian landscape painter. Ivan Shishkin owned a dacha in Vyra, south of St. Petersburg. There he painted some of his finest landscapes. His works are notable for poetic depiction of seasons in the woods, wild nature, animals and birds. He died in 1898, in St. Petersburg, while working on his new painting.

[Oil on canvas, 149 x 90 cm]

Anders Zorn - En Eva [1902]

[Oil on canvas, 127 x 78.5 cm]

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Paul Trouillebert - Bank of the Loire Near Chouze

Paul Desiré Trouillebert was a famous French Barbizon School painter in the mid-nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. He was born in Paris in 1829 and died there on June 28, 1900. Trouillebert is considered a portrait, and a genre and landscape painter from the French Barbizon School. He was also interested in Orientalism and produced paintings of nudes.

Franz Roubaud - Cossacks in the Mountain River [1898]

Franz Alekseyevich Roubaud (Odessa, June 15, 1856 - Munich, March 13, 1928) was a Russian painter who created some of the largest and best known panoramic paintings.

Charles-Francois Daubigny - The Banks of the Loing

Daubigny, a famous French landscapist, belonged to the group of artists of the Barbizon School, who took their name from the village of Barbizon, near Paris, where they worked. Daubigny painted nearly all his works from life, with the exception of large canvases. At the end of the 1850s the artist built a boat-studio, on board of which he created many landscapes travelling along the rivers Loing, Oise and Seine.

Here we see a sunny summer day. The composition resembling a fragment of a large panorama is built up of alternating planes in a manner typical of Daubigny: a blue ribbon of the river, then a bank with its emerald-green grass, a little village in the distance, and the pale blue sky with floating clouds. The tiny bright red spots which indicate the cottage roofs reinforce the sense of spatial depth. Daubigny’s method of working in the open air, the light palette and the broad, free painterly style anticipated the work of the Impressionists.

[Oil on canvas, 25.5 x 41 cm]

Eugene Fromentin - The Banks of the Nile [1874]

Fromentin's full name was Eugène-Samuel-Auguste Fromentin-Dupeux. He specialised in African scenes, and was the author of a celebrated book on Dutch and Flemish painting, 'Les Maîtres d'Autrefois' ('The Old Masters', 1876). He exhibited at the Salon from 1847. Fromentin was a prolific and popular painter of 'orientalist' scenes, set mostly in North Africa. He provided a European clientele with images of an exotic but reassuringly recognisable way of life, as in this placid scene of shipping along the River Nile.

[Oil on canvas, 54 x 78.7 cm]

Alexander Ivanov - Appearance of Christ Before the People [1837-57]

Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (July 28. 1806 – July 15, 1858) was a Russian painter who adhered to the waning tradition of Neoclassicism but found little sympathy with his contemporaries. A native of St. Petersburg, Ivanov studied together with Karl Briullov at the Imperial Academy of Arts under his father, Andrey A. Ivanov. He spent most of his life in Rome where he befriended Gogol and succumbed to the influence of the Nazarenes. He has been called the master of one work, for it took 20 years to complete his magnum opus, The Appearance of Christ befoe the People (1837-57), now in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.

[Oil on canvas, 540 x 750 cm]

Louis Michel Eilshemius - Afternoon Wind [1899]

Louis Michel Eilshemius (1864 - 1941) was an American painter. One of the most striking features of Eilshemius’ artistic development is the dramatic shift from his charming late-19th-century landscapes in the Barbizon manner to the eccentric, frequently disturbing subjects and idiosyncratic style of the later period. Dominated by female nudes, this work is characterised by a colourful expressionism in which personal fantasy, growing directly from the experience of his life and travels, is more important than the impact of the Armory Show or modernist theory. After being hit by a car in 1932 he was confined to his home where he railed against his misfortunes in an endless flow of letters to the New York press. Despite three simultaneous one-man exhibitions in New York in 1939, the artist was by this time reduced to a state of helpless poverty. He died of pneumonia in 1941.

[Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 91.4 cm]

Dirk Hals - The Fête Champêtre [1627]

A group of people (rich, chic and carefree) enjoy themselves at a 'garden party': a festive gathering in the grounds of a large country house. Elegantly dressed people talk, laugh, eat, drink, flirt and make music. The painter Dirck Hals was almost ten years younger than his famous elder brother Frans Hals. Dirck probably learnt to paint from his brother, though their paintings bear little resemblance to each other. Whereas Frans mainly painted portraits, Dirck made so-called 'companies': groups of fashionably-dressed people at parties in gardens or indoors. Nowadays such paintings depicting daily life are called genre paintings. 

Garden parties were popular subjects for paintings in the seventeenth century. The theme was taken from medieval depictions of love gardens: beautiful gardens with elegantly dressed people making music and flirting. Many parts of this garden party fit within this tradition: an enormous garden, exotic birds and the warning element of the monkey. 

[Oil on canvas, 78 x 137 cm]

David Teniers the Younger - The Covetous Man [c.1648]

An illustration of one of the parables of Jesus about coveting too much wealth. An already rich man became richer and instead of using any of his goods for religious or charitable works, he built larger warehouses and gloated over his stored-up wealth. But God said to him 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God' (Luke 12).

[Oil on canvas, 62.5 x 85 cm]

Adolphe Monticelli - Sunset [c.1882-84]

Adolphe Monticelli (Marseilles, October 14, 1824 – Marseilles, June 29, 1886) was a French painter of the generation preceding the Impressionists. After 1870 he would live in poverty despite a prolific output, selling his paintings for small sums. An unworldly man, he dedicated himself single mindedly to his art. The young Paul Cezanne had befriended Monticelli in the 1860s, and the influence of the older painter's work can be seen in Cézanne's work of that decade. Between 1878 and 1884 the two artists often painted landscapes together, once spending a month roaming the Aix countryside. Although Monticelli experimented briefly around 1870 with a treatment of light reflecting the discoveries of the Impressionists, he found the objectivity of this approach uncongenial.

[Oil on wood, 31.8 x 44.8 cm]

Eero Alexander Nelimarkka - Morning in a Peasant House

Eero Alexander Nelimarkka (born Vaasa, October 10, 1891) was a Finnish painter. 

[Oil on canvas, 100 x 125 cm]

Paul Gauguin - The Bathers [1897]

This work was painted after Gauguin's return to Tahiti from Paris. Notice how the colours of these later pictures are nuanced, more blended than the flatter, more intense hues found in the earlier ones. He has still outlined many of his shapes, yet they nonetheless appear softer, and the large areas of colours are neither so bold nor so distinct. Here, especially, the coarse texture and heavy weave of the canvas add a tapestry-like effect. Whereas the earlier works from Tahiti are vivid and direct, those painted during this second trip have a more dreamlike appearance and spiritual intensity. The figures are more monumental, with an aura of timelessness and dignity. And their colour is more expressive.

Gauguin had always been preoccupied with the role of colour, calling it a "profound and mysterious language, a language of the dream." He described its effects as akin to music and its relationships to musical harmonies. The gentle tones here, the soft mat of pinks that carpets the foreground, the swirls of lavender water, seem to be scented with the sweet perfumes of paradise. This is one of the most sumptuous of all Gauguin's paintings. 

[Oil on canvas, 60.4 x 93.4 cm]

Eugene Boudin - Beach Scene, Trouville [c.1860-70]

This painting is one of the two panels that may have belonged to Monet. Characteristic of Boudin's approach is the delicate fragmentation of the handling, which invests the scene with a sense of atmospheric freshness. This work records a bright but cloudy day with a group of fashionably dressed visitors gathered around a flagpole on the sandy beach.

Between the misty blue of the sky and the brown tones of the sand, an emphatic white dress is visible in the centre, with touches of bright red and blue among the figures to each side. The seated figures to the left suggest comparison with Monet's painting of 1870, which probably shows Boudin's wife to the right, seated beside Mme Monet.

[Oil on wood, 21.6 x 45.8 cm]

Auguste Renoir - Oarsmen at Chatou [1879]

Rowing was the foremost attraction at Chatou, while only a few kilometers upstream Argenteuil's more reliable winds attracted sailors. Here a man brings a pleasure gig to shore. These two-person boats were designed for more relaxed recreation than the sculls we see in the distance. The rower sat facing his companion, who controlled the rudder by means of ropes. The man in this gig, wearing the boater's typical costume of short jacket and straw hat, may be the artist's brother Edmond. The man standing on the bank, similarly attired, is probably the painter Gustave Caillebotte, a devoted rowing enthusiast. The woman may be Aline Charigot, who became Renoir's wife and was a favorite model.

The painting captures the brilliance of sun and water, summer and youth. In the water, skips of strong blues and white alternate. Their shimmering intensity is enhanced by the equally strong presence of orange in the boat's reflection and the scarlet accent of Aline's bow. Renoir has put into practice aspects of current colour theory. The principle of simultaneous contrast suggested that colors were perceived more strongly when juxtaposed with their opposites - orange with blue, for example, or green with red. The silky texture of Renoir's feathery brushstrokes mirrors the languid and leisurely scenes.

[Oil on canvas, 81.2 x 100.2 cm]

Konstantin Korovin - View from the Terrace, Gurzuf [1912]

It is with a true joie de vivre that the colours explode onto the canvas of this painting. The composition dances with light and in the torrent of pinks, purples and azure blues, there is a sense that life in all its vivacity and beauty is parading before our eyes. Korovin explained the sentiment at the core of his work as "the beauty and joy of life. The re-creation of this joy is the very essence of my picture, of every part of every piece of canvas I ever painted, of my ego..."

[Oil on canvas, 90 x 145 cm]

Adriaen van Ostade - Analysis [1666]

[Oil on wood, 28.2 x 22.5 cm]

Adriaen van Ostade - The Cottage Dooryard [1673]

In contrast to the paved, urban gardens portrayed by Pieter de Hooch, this country cottage has only a dirt yard, where the wife cleans mussels for dinner. Laundry dries on a line attached to a shed, which also supports a pigeon coop, and the shelf by the door holds beehives. The clinging vines may allude to family unity.

In addition to such touching and dignified portrayals of peasants, Van Ostade painted bawdy scenes of taverns and barns. He entered the Haarlem guild in 1634. Adriaen van Ostade's students included Jan Steen and his younger brother Isack van Ostade. Both Van Ostade brothers' attention to textures is remarkable. Even such common surfaces as thatched roofs, crumbling bricks, and cracked window panes are forcefully described.

[Oil on canvas, 44 x 39.5 cm]

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Joseph Mallord William Turner - Venice, The Dogana and San Giorgio Maggiore [1834]

At the “especial suggestion” of a British textile manufacturer, Turner devised this Venetian cityscape as a symbolic salute to commerce. Gondolas carry cargoes of fine fabrics and exotic spices. On the right is the Dogana, or Customs House, topped by a statue of Fortune, which Turner greatly enlarged in size. Moreover, the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore has been pushed very far back in space, making the Grand Canal seem much wider than it really is.

These theatrical exaggerations and the precise, linear drafting of the architecture owe much to Canaletto, an eighteenth-century Venetian painter whose art glorified his city. At the 1834 Royal Academy show, critics gave enraptured praise to the scene’s radiant, sparkling waters. The next year, another commission from the same patron resulted in its moonlit companion piece, Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight.

[Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 122 cm]

Joseph Mallord William Turner - Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight [1835]

On England’s River Tyne, near the mining city of Newcastle, stevedores called keelmen transfer coal from barges, or keels, to oceangoing vessels. The harsh glare of the workmen’s torches contrasts with the funnel of creamy light emanating from the moon. Critical opinion about Turner’s unusual nocturne was divided. One reviewer observed: “It represents neither night nor day, and yet the general effect is very agreeable and surprising.”

Commissioned as a pendant to Venice: The Dogana and San Giorgio Maggiore and shown at the Royal Academy in 1835, this canvas creates a total counterpoint in mood and meaning. The Venetian scene is far away in the Mediterranean Sea, concerns luxury goods, and glows with warm daylight. This North Sea view, a familiar sight to the British public, reveals sooty, modern industry chilled by the colours of a winter’s night.

[Oil on canvas, 92.3 x 122.8 cm]

John Constable - Wivenhoe Park, Essex [1816]

This picture, exhibited at Britain’s Royal Academy in 1817, demonstrates Constable’s wish to be a natural painter because it was created almost entirely out-of-doors. During August and September 1816, the artist documented this country estate of old family friends and recorded his progress in letters to his fiancée. The commission financed their wedding.

Centred in the panoramic design, the red brick manor house stands out by reason of its warm colour in an otherwise cool scheme of blues, greens, and grays. Constable wrote about the great difficulty of incorporating the thatch-roofed deer barn. To add this requested motif, he cleverly sewed about an inch of extra fabric to the canvas at the far right. Then, in order to restore the composition’s symmetrical balance, he stitched a similar strip to the left side, where he showed the owners’ daughter, Mary Rebow, driving a donkey cart.

[Oil on canvas, 56.1 x 101.2 cm]

Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem - View of an Italian Port

Nicolaes Pieterszoon Berchem (Haarlem, October 1, 1620 – February 18, 1683) was a highly esteemed and prolific Dutch Golden Age painter of pastoral landscapes, populated with mythological or biblical figures, but also of a number of allegories and genre pieces. In 1645 he became a member of the Dutch reformed church and married the year after. According to Houbraken he married the daughter of the painter Jan Wils, who kept him on a short allowance, but to finance his collection of prints he would borrow money from his pupils and colleagues and pay them back from the proceeds of paintings that he didn't tell her about.

Claude Monet - The Japanese Footbridge [1899]

In the last decades of Monet's life, his prized water garden at Giverny became a subject the artist explored obsessively, painting it 250 times between 1900 and his death. Eventually, it was his only subject. He began construction of the water garden as soon as he moved to Giverny, petitioning local authorities to divert water from a nearby river. The resulting landscape was Monet's invention entirely, and he used it as his creative focus and inspiration.

The treatment of the water's surface, like the envelope of light and atmosphere that bathed the cathedrals and other serial subjects, unified the Giverny work. Here, the sky has disappeared from the painting; the lush foliage rises all the way to the horizon, and space is flattened by the decorative arch of the bridge. Our attention is focused onto the painting itself and held there, not drawn into the scene depicted. In later lily pond paintings, even more of the setting evaporates, and the water's surface alone occupies the entire canvas. Floating lily pads and mirrored reflections assume equal stature, blurring distinctions between solid objects and transitory effects of light. Monet had always been interested in reflections, seeing their fragmented forms as a natural equivalent for his own broken brushwork.

[Oil on canvas, 81.3 x 101.6 cm]

Pieter de Hooch - The Courtyard of a House in Delft [1658]

This is one of several paintings signed and dated 1658. The carefully observed architecture takes precedence over the figures in the painting; the decayed garden wall on the right contrasts with the well-preserved house on the left, where a passage affords a view to the street beyond, and with the freshly swept pavement. The stone tablet over the doorway was originally over the entrance of the Hieronymusdale Cloister in Delft. When the cloister was suppressed this tablet was removed and set into the wall of a garden behind the canal. Another signed and dated version of the same view (private collection) probably preceded this painting.

[Oil on canvas, 73.5 x 60 cm]