Thursday, November 5, 2009

What's in the Water

One can easily discern a Gerome from an Ernst or a Bouguereau from Munier or even a better Lenoir. Kirby from Colan, no problem. A Monet is a Monet, a Renoir a Renoir, easy, but can anyone name the artist or make a distinction between these 5 paintings, done by 5 different painters. Is there a difference between this type of work and product licensing art depicting, say, Mickey Mouse or Winnie the Pooh. Several of the painters even use the same typeface for their signature.

What is the root of the school? Same teacher? Same influences? Large and active market? Narrowness of vision?

Love those head studies!

The style lacks a name, so I'm going to call it Natur-Elle Moderne, let's see if it takes.


  1. Hello, I love your name for the 'movement'. Natur-Elle alone might work as well. I'm curious of your exact opinion of the work though. Do you pass judgement positive or negative?

  2. I know I skirt the edge of jaded snide cynicism, which can make my positions unclear, but I like Natur-Elle. I merely attempt to point toward mannerisms, for as with all art, design and execution are paramount. Those elements will define the Master from the Minor, the "school of" from the "followers of".

    The combination of the often mentioned Naturalist and the, to my ears, never mentioned society painters of the Belle-Epoque bore the generation of American illustration from 1910-1945. These Illustrations, being a strong source of modern inspiration, present the allure/trap of doing retro costume images…is that what these paintings are? No. Though some within the style are ambigous. Is that in and of its self good or bad? Everything old is new again!

  3. Some of these painters also know each other and are good friends...your point is well-taken. I would say all your answers to the question are correct. I think the distinct attempt to appeal to both younger men and women is demonstrated by the fashionable poise of the subjects, without nudity or intellectual depth. These are very talented painters who learned their craft young and still need time to mature as artists and men. Hopefully they will find their own ways and ignore their agents!