Posts Tagged 'Camille Pissarro'

Fall Is in the Air

Fall is one of my favorite times of year: the leaves turn colors and the weather turns cool, bringing with it the promise of the holidays soon to come. One thing I enjoy most is taking a walk around my neighborhood to appreciate the fall scenery. I especially love to take in all of the beautiful colors this season has to offer. Red orange, spring green, golden yellow, deep magenta, and navy blue are just a few that might come to mind.

If the weather is too cool for a walk, a trip to the Museum is definitely the next best thing. The DMA has such a wonderful collection of paintings that capture the beauty of fall. One artist who was greatly inspired by nature in every season is Camille Pissarro. He loved to paint outdoors, sketching every detail he observed and then adding his own color to the picture.

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest, 1888, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund, 1955.17.M

Pissarro’s Apple Harvest shows a fun seasonal activity that takes place in the French countryside. Normandy, the province where this scene occurs, is well known for its apples. Many of the region’s most famous dishes include apples: apple brandy, apple tarts, and mussels with apples and cream are some examples of Normandy’s cuisine. Pissarro chose his colors very carefully to convey the colors of the countryside. There are warm hues of orange and red, bright tones of green, and cool shades of blue. His painting is a perfect reminder of all there is to enjoy about the beauty of the season.

Camille Pissarro, The Road to Versailles, Louveciennes: Morning Frost, 1871, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.42

Pissarro was also well known for his landscape paintings, in which he strove to capture his chosen scene with great attention to detail and honesty. He found great beauty in nature, carefully observing his surroundings. One of his paintings in the Museum’s Reves Collection depicts a morning walk in the fall, just before the season turns into winter. There is snow on the ground, but it is beginning to melt in the morning sun. Pissarro loved to take humble scenes, like a morning walk, and make them into something special.

Take some inspiration from Pissarro this season. Take time to observe your surroundings—there is so much beauty to be seen at this time of year.

Samantha Evans is the McDermott Graduate Intern for Family and Access Teaching at the DMA.

Pet-a-Palooza: A Tail-Wagging Line-Up of Fabulous Felines and Furry Fidos

You have got to be kitten me right meow—is it national Dress Up Your Pet Day already? Indeed it is! If you were having a ruff day, not to worry! Every January 14 the dog-gone crazy DMA staff transform their cuddly critters into a favorite work from our collection (check out the catwalk from 2014 and 2015). It is im-paw-sible not to smile after viewing these purr-fect copycats. Who will be your favorite cat-tenders?

recto

DMA Staffer: Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services
DMA Pet: Parker, English Springer Spaniel, age 2 (he belongs to my parents but I borrowed him when I was home for Christmas)
Portrait Inspiration: Camille Pissarro, Self Portrait, c. 1898
I sent my mom several portraits from our collection to pick from and she liked Camille Pissarro’s Self-Portrait best because Parker has the same soulful look. We had a lot of moving parts with this portrait—from props, background, and getting the right angle so that Parker’s chest hair looked like a beard—therefore it took about 120 shots to get one good one of Parker as Pissarro. And a shout out to George Costanza for letting Parker borrow his beret and painter’s palette.

Mexico Jessica
DMA Staffer:
Jessica Fuentes, C3 Gallery Manager
DMA Pet: Fidel (age 4), Nene (age 6), and Cappuccino (age 2 months), Chihuahuas
Portrait Inspiration: Jesús Guerrero Galván, Images of Mexico (Imágenes de México), 1950
New year, new pup! Just a few weeks ago we added a new Chihuahua puppy to our Chihuahua family, so when thinking about this year’s Dress Up Your Pet Day, I had to find a work of art with three figures. I planned to roam the galleries searching for the perfect painting, starting on Level 4 and working my way down. But I didn’t have to go very far. On the Level 4 Landing, overlooking the DMA Cafe, I came across Images of Mexico (Imágenes de México) by Jesús Guerrero Galván. Not only did it contain three figures, but each figure seemed to capture each of my dogs’ traits. The figure in the middle with the piercing eyes had the unmistakable stare of my moody dog, Nene. The figure on the left seemed younger and sweeter, asleep and cuddling up to the older sibling, spot on for my loveable, cuddly Fidel. And the figure at right, lying slightly adrift, illustrated the slight rift between the dogs who’ve grown up together and the newbie, Cappuccino.

george chloe
DMA Staffer: 
Amanda Blake, Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences and Interim Director of Education, and Kimberly Daniell, Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy
DMA Pet: George Costanza (age 9) and Chloe (age 10), West Highland White Terriers
Portrait Inspiration: Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican Adam & Eve (Adam y Eve Mexicanos), 1933
George and Chloe enjoyed teaming up so much for last year’s blog that they just had to do it again in 2016. Chloe desperately wants to be best friends with George, but becomes a bit shy when he is around because he is such an Insta celebrity. In order to get her out of her bubble and bring these two westies closer together, we decided making them the original couple would help them take their friendship to the next level—could it be puppy love? Both pups enjoyed re-creating this beautiful, large painting by Alfredo Ramos Martinez, and they can’t wait for next year’s art date.

Jessi red hat
DMA Staffer:
Jessie Frazier, Manager of Adult Programming
DMA Pet: Jenny, Basset Hound, age 5 1/2
Portrait Inspiration: Frank Duveneck, Lady with a Red Hat (Portrait of Maggie Wilson), c. 1904
This is one of my favorite paintings in the collection, and I thought it was only fitting for one graceful lady to emulate another. Jenny agreed that, like Ms. Maggie Wilson, her delicate features are best captured in profile.

T43118, 3/31/05, 12:37 PM, 8C, 5518x7554 (216+420), 100%, Repro 1.8 v2, 1/8 s, R68.5, G54.1, B79.0

DMA Staffer: Rebekah Boyer, Assistant Manager, DMA Member Groups
DMA Pet: Stokely Carmichael, Domestic Housecat, suspected Panther, age 4
Portrait Inspiration: Eugène Delacroix, Portrait of a Woman in a Blue Turban, c. 1827
This painting by Eugène Delacroix always catches my eye when I browse our European collection. The model is dressed with studio props intended to persuade the viewer that she is a mysterious and “exotic” foreigner; her “otherization” is further solidified by the use of familiar conventions of Renaissance portraiture. Not only does this send me down memory lane to my undergraduate infatuation with Edward Said but the contemplation of this “Orientalism” piques my interest in the model herself. Was she complicit in this “imperialist oppression,” or was she merely seeking gainful employment to alter her material conditions? I think Stokely’s faraway gaze mirrors and reveals the original work’s secrets: He is ready to help, as long as there is a tuna-laden reward awaiting him.

pollock, 7/10/08, 12:29 PM, 8C, 4086x8892 (1584+108), 112%, chrome 7 stops, 1/8 s, R55.4, G34.4, B47.8

DMA Staffer: Chelsea Pierce, Curatorial Administrative Assistant, Contemporary Art
DMA Pet: Helios, Great Pyrenees mix, age 6
Portrait Inspiration: Jackson Pollock, Portrait and a Dream, 1953
Helios is a sensitive dog with many artistic qualities. Most days, he lounges in his armchair as he waits for his mom to return home. Above this chair is a work on paper—made by a DMA colleague—that resembles the black entangled mass in Jackson Pollock’s Portrait and a Dream. After catching Helios curiously examining this work, the idea presented itself to use his precious face as the portrait side of Pollock’s work. Having worked on the current Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots exhibition for over a year, I can say that Pollock has now become ingrained in every aspect of my life.

2008_43_2_a_e, 11/18/08, 12:33 PM, 8C, 6000x8000 (0+0), 100%, Custom, 1/15 s, R92.9, G57.6, B60.4

DMA Staffer: Andrea Severin Goins, Interpretation Manager
DMA Pet: Artemisia Gentileschi (“Artie”), Malshi (Maltese-Shihtzu), age 6
Portrait Inspiration: Marcel Dzama, The Minotaur, 2008
While Artie is named after a 17th-century painter, her favorite kind of art is contemporary. She is particularly drawn to this Dzama sculpture because, like the Minotaur—a hybrid of man and goat—Artie is herself a hybrid (of Maltese and Shihtzu).

lindsay dorothy
DMA Staffer: 
Lindsay O’Connor, Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs
DMA Pet: Hattie, Dachshund-Terrier mix, age 1
Portrait Inspiration: John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900
Little Miss Dorothy was the natural choice for feisty one-year-old Hattie’s first Dress Up Your Pet Day. While this energetic pup enjoys getting cuddles or tearing around the dog park, Hattie patiently sat for her turn-of-the-century portrait and met the camera with poise beyond her years. She enjoyed chewing on the bonnet when we wrapped up.

Not DMA Photography

DMA Staffer: Dr. Anne R. Bromberg, The Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art
DMA Pet: Miss Suzl, Maine Coon, age 5
Portrait Inspiration: Thomas Sully, Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, 1843
Miss Suzl loves posing in her library home and we have a white Snow Leopard toy for her to pose next to as Cinderella and her cat. I named this piece Companion Animals: Miss Suzl and the White Pussy.

queta
DMA Staffer: Queta Moore Watson, Senior Editor
DMA Pet: Floyd, Tan and White Tabby, age 9 months
Portrait Inspiration: Léon Frédéric, Nature or Abundance (La Nature or Fécondité), 1897
This allegorical depiction of the unity and harmony of nature was painted by Belgian symbolist artist Léon Frédéric. The dual title, Nature or Abundance, is apt here as flora and fauna unite while surrounded by the abundance of the holidays. Perhaps even more apt, however, is the abundance of ornaments Floyd broke as he harmonized with nature.

(Images: Camille Pissarro, Self-Portrait, c. 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.44; Jesús Guerrero Galván, Images of Mexico (Imágenes de México), 1950, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1951.102; Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican Adam & Eve (Adam y Eve Mexicanos), 1933, oil on canvas, Lent by Private Collection, Dallas, TX; Frank Duveneck, Lady with a Red Hat (Portrait of Maggie Wilson), c. 1904, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation, 1987.368; Eugène Delacroix, Portrait of a Woman in a Blue Turban, c. 1827, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Patricia McBride, 2005.34.McD;  Jackson Pollock, Portrait and a Dream, 1953, oil and enamel on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, 1967.8, © 2015 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Marcel Dzama, The Minotaur, 2008, plaster, gauze, rope, fabric, chair, bucket, and paintbrushes, Dallas Museum of Art, DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, 2008.43.2.a-e, © Marcel Dzama; John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc., 1982.35; Thomas Sully, Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, 1843, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation, 2005.1; Léon Frédéric, Nature or Abundance (La Nature or Fécondité), 1897, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2007.18.FA

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy, and Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA.

ThisClose: A Rare Look at Reves Treasures

This year, the Dallas Museum of Art celebrates the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Wendy and Emery Reves Galleries, which house a varied and celebrated collection of paintings, sculptures, furnishings, and decorative arts. The Reves Galleries were designed as a replica, on a slightly reduced scale, of the principle rooms in the couple’s villa on the French Riviera. The unusual domestic character of these galleries has made them both loved and loathed over the years. They offer an opportunity to step into the past and discover the history of art collecting and display in the mid-20th century. But, the barriers that separate visitors from the displays have been a perennial frustration. As curators, we are often as frustrated as our audiences with the limitations of the display in the Reves Galleries. Yes, we feel your pain.

The Grand Salon in The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art

The Grand Salon in the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art

This spring, we are making some modest refurbishments to two of the rooms in the Reves Galleries that will require them to be closed for some months (the rest of the Reves wing will remain open). We’ll take advantage of the partial closure to photograph the works of art on view in those galleries as part of the DMA’s multi-year digital cataloging project. In coming months, visitors to our online collection will discover the fruits of that labor in hundreds of new and improved images of works of art in the Reves Collection. But, there will be also be an even more immediate opportunity for visitors to take a closer look at some of the Reves treasures.

Claude Monet, The Pont Neuf, 1871, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.38

Claude Monet, The Pont Neuf (detail), 1871, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.38

On January 31, we will open an intimate exhibition, included in free general admission, in Focus Gallery II on Level 1, featuring the great impressionist paintings from the Reves Collection, including works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Paul Cézanne. These works, usually on display in the Library and Grand Salon of the Reves Galleries, are among the greatest treasures of the Reves Collection . . . and among the most difficult to appreciate in their current setting, hanging on distant walls some twenty or even thirty feet from the barriers. In the exhibition Impressionist Paintings from the Reves Collection, thirteen of the greatest paintings from the Reves Collection will be brought together for a period of close study and exploration. Anyone who has longed for a closer view of these paintings will revel in this opportunity, curators included! But, this opportunity will be a limited one. Impressionist Paintings from the Reves Collection will be on view only until March 22, so be sure to plan a visit soon for an up-close and personal visit with these old friends.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Lise in a White Shawl (detail), c. 1872, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.58

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Lise in a White Shawl (detail), c. 1872, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.58

Heather MacDonald is The Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art at the DMA.

Painting Without the Point: Pissarro’s “Apple Harvest” Unvarnished

A long-time favorite in the DMA’s European galleries, Camille Pissarro’s Apple Harvest of 1888 has returned to view this month after a visit to the Painting Conservation Studio.

Camille Pissarro’s Apple Harvest (1888), on Mark Leonard’s easel, in the DMA’s Painting Conservation Studio

Camille Pissarro’s Apple Harvest (1888) on Mark Leonard’s easel in the DMA’s Painting Conservation Studio

Removal of the old varnish layer began at the right side of the picture, as is seen in this image taken during the cleaning process.  Soft cotton swabs and a mild organic solvent mixture were used to remove the discolored resin.

Removal of the old varnish layer began at the right side of the picture, as is seen in this image taken during the cleaning process. Soft cotton swabs and a mild organic solvent mixture were used to remove the discolored resin.

The painting, which has been at the Museum since 1955, is in very good condition, but it was brought to Chief Conservator Mark Leonard to determine whether it was in need of cleaning. He opened a small “cleaning window” along the right side of the canvas, removing the layer of protective varnish. The bright pigments revealed by this small test confirmed that the varnish had become dark and yellowed over the past half-century, masking the true colors of the painting. It needed to be removed. The painting was carefully cleaned and its original vibrant tonality has been rediscovered.

 

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Pissarro actually made three different paintings of this subject: a group of peasants gathering apples in the shade of an apple tree. The first version dates back to 1881, when Pissarro was one of the leaders of the impressionist group, and is painted in a classic impressionist style, with open brushwork describing the dappled sunlight that falls on the figures.

Camille Pissarro, Apple Picking, 1881, Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 21 ¼ in. (65 x 54 cm), Private Collection

Camille Pissarro, Apple Picking, 1881, oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 21 ¼ in. (65 x 54 cm), Private Collection

The same year, Pissarro started another, larger version of the subject, but did not complete it until 1886, when he showed it at the eighth and final impressionist exhibition.

 Camille Pissarro, Apple Picking, 1881-1886, oil on canvas, 49 5/8 x 50 in. (126 x 127 cm), Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan

Camille Pissarro, Apple Picking, 1881-1886, oil on canvas, 49 5/8 x 50 in. (126 x 127 cm), Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan

At that exhibition, Pissarro championed the participation of the young pointillist painters, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, and Seurat showed his “manifesto painting,” A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte1884.

Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte—1884, 1884-86, oil on canvas, 81 ¾ x 121 ¼ in. (207.5 x 308.1 cm), Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection

Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte—1884, 1884-86, oil on canvas, 81 ¾ x 121 ¼ in. (207.5 x 308.1 cm), Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection

Pissarro had recently adopted Seurat’s neo-impressionist method as the approach to painting that was “in harmony with our epoch” and an evolution from the older, “romantic” impressionism of artists like Monet. When he began work the next year on the DMA’s Apple Harvest, Pissarro was returning to a familiar subject, but armed with the new, “scientific” principles he had learned from Seurat.
Pissarro prepared the painting with a number of drawings, oil studies, and a full compositional watercolor, which he squared for transfer.

Camille Pissarro, Compositional study for Apple Harvest, c. 1888, watercolor on paper, 6 5/8 x 8 ½ in. (16.7 x 21.5 cm), Whereabouts unknown

Camille Pissarro, Compositional study for Apple Harvest, c. 1888, watercolor on paper, 6 5/8 x 8 ½ in. (16.7 x 21.5 cm), whereabouts unknown

In one drawing for the apple tree, Pissarro carefully noted the local colors he observed in the grass while sketching in the apple orchard: “yellowish red-orange,” “green,” “violet,” and “pink.”

Camille Pissarro, Study for Apple Harvest, c. 1888, graphite and colored pencil on beige paper, 7 x 9 in. (17.8 x 22.7 cm), The Eunice and Hal David Collection

Camille Pissarro, Study for Apple Harvest, c. 1888, graphite and colored pencil on beige paper, 7 x 9 in. (17.8 x 22.7 cm), The Eunice and Hal David Collection

In the final painting, these colors were evoked optically through a flurry of carefully selected and painstakingly applied flecks and dots of pure, unmixed color.

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest (Cuillette des pommes), 1888 (detail)

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest, 1888 (detail)

The pointillist method was a source of ongoing internal debate for Pissarro during these years. Despite his methodical preparatory studies, Pissarro placed a very high value on freedom and improvisation in painting. In September 1888, around the time he was completing work on Apple Harvest, he wrote to his son Lucien, a fellow neo-impressionist: “I am thinking a lot here about a way of producing without the point,” he reported. “How to attain the qualities of purity, of the simplicity of the point, and the thickness, the suppleness, the liberty, the spontaneity, the freshness of sensation of our impressionist art? That’s the question; it is much on my mind, for the point is thin, without consistency, diaphanous, more monotonous than simple.”

In Apple Harvest, Pissarro went to great lengths to avoid the monotony of pointillism, and his dots are surprisingly active and diverse, fracturing and curling to define form as well as color.

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest (Cuillette des pommes), 1888 (detail)

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest, 1888 (detail)

Robert Herbert, one of the great 20th-century historians of impressionism, described Pissarro’s complex approach to describing the deep shadow under the apple tree at the center foreground of the painting with a myriad of colored points: “The shadow has brilliant red, intense blue, intense green as well as pink, lavender, orange, some yellow, and subdued blues and greens. The pigments were not allowed to mix much together, and preserve their individuality which, because of the high intensity, results in an abrasive vibration in our eye that cannot be resolved into one tone. In order to make the contrast still sharper, Pissarro strengthens the blue around the edges of the shadow, a reaction provoked by the proximity of the strong sunlit field.”

 Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest (Cuillette des pommes), 1888 (detail)

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest, 1888 (detail)

By February of the next year, Pissarro informed his son that he was still “searching for a way to replace the points. Up until this moment, I haven’t found what I desire; the execution doesn’t seem to me to be quick enough and doesn’t respond simultaneously enough to sensation.” Pissarro sought nothing less than translating the immediacy of his optical sensations into the solid fact of paint on a canvas. Throughout the late 1880s, he was testing the capacity of the neo-impressionists’ methods to sustain this personal artistic goal.

Camille Pissarro taking his rolling easel outdoors to paint near his house in Éragny, France, c. 1895

Camille Pissarro taking his rolling easel outdoors to paint near his house in Éragny, France, c. 1895

The first critics who saw Apple Harvest in 1889 and 1890, when it was shown at important exhibitions in Brussels and Paris, were profoundly impressed with how Pissarro managed to convey the experience of sunlight using the pointillist approach. One early critic wrote, “Truly, the canvases of M. Pissarro are today painted with the sun.” Later writers have agreed, pointing out how Pissarro “directed the light so that it appears to radiate from the depths of the scene, to activate with color everything along its path and then to issue forth in to the viewer’s space.”

How, then, does the painting’s recent cleaning alter our understanding of Apple Harvest? For many decades, the painting has appeared more yellow than Pissarro intended because of the darkened layer of varnish on its surface. This change has no doubt influenced viewers of the painting who noted the “warm” palette of the canvas, which “positively throbs with the heat of a late summer’s afternoon.” The intensely sunlit effect of the painting was, it seems, given an additional golden glow by the amber hue of the darkened varnish. But, the dazzling luminosity of Apple Harvest—its “powerful fiat lux,” in the words of one early critic—was no accident of time. It was apparent to viewers as soon as the painting left Pissarro’s easel, and now, 125 years later, the painting’s brilliant colors and lighting effects have been restored to their original, white-hot intensity.

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest (Cuillette des pommes), 1888, oil on canvas, 24 x 29 1/8 in. (61 x 74 cm), Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest, 1888, oil on canvas, 24 x 29 1/8 in. (61 x 74 cm), Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Celebrate Camille Pissarro’s birthday on July 10 with a visit to the newly conserved work on Level 2.

Heather MacDonald is The Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art at the DMA.


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