Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jennifer Jones 1919-2009

Portrait of Jennie, 1948

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,
that is all ye know on earth,
and all ye need to know.

Robert Brackman was chosen by producer David O. Selznick to paint the portrait which in the film can be seen to grow under the brush of Joseph Cotten. The canvas was painted in Brackman's studio in Noank, Connecticut, near New London, where Jennifer Jones resided during the period required for the fifteen sittings needed to complete the picture. Brackman also made a pastel study of Jennie as a young girl, which appears in the film in the early phase of the romance.
American Artist, December 1948

Joseph Cotton in the film starting the portrait.

Publicity photo, Cotton looks on as Robert Brackman paints Jennifer Jones' portrait.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Battle Rages On

I recently overheard at the water-cooler that Stanley Meltzoff and 60's illustrators in general "all had a solid understanding of abstract art and the emerging color theories". Apparently intimate knowledge of the "notan" enabled Meltzoff to replicate, albeit in reverse, the composition of the late Salon era French academic Georges Antoine Rochegrosse (1859-1938).

The Meltzoff depicts the battle of Thermopylae during the second Persian invasion of Greece. The Rochegrosse depicts the battle of Marathon during the first Persian invasion of Greece. Coincidence? Did somebody say i-ran?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Emile Friant (1863-1932)

Whilst skipping across the bytes of internet I often see the name Emile Friant mentioned. The regularity of which surely bewilders equally those that do and don't know. 5 works presented here for those that admire his finest and wish to see more, with humble apologies for the lack of color.

each jpeg is tagged with the title and date

Stop standing in the middle, what do you think of Friant? If positive, which "Friant" is your favorite?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Swipe Spot #5

Making the scene at the local grindhouse on Saturday night, I was disgusted to see a bit of plagiarism, usually, worthy only of an Italian. Dancing upon the wall with its sirens call was the one-sheet for The Witch Who Came From the Sea. The image of the scythe wielding witch seems to bear more than coincidental similarity with the cover to Vampirella #11.

Shocked that such could happen here in 1976, I trudged along to see the vixen of the sea in action. My nausea from that outrage in the lobby was not to be abated. Upon viewing the film, it came to me the realization that I had misread the billing. I mistook Rick Jason as "Billy Batt" for special guest star "Billy Barty". Here's to a better '77.

Art in film, Birth of Venus by Botticelli, do you get it? from the sea!

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.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Virginie Avegno

Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau) by J.S. Sargent

Virginie was painted by Sargent when she was 25. The portrait was ill received, strangely, depicting her as she was turned out to be scandalous. The lower left of the canvas shows Sargent's usual light gray priming.

detail, hand holding fan, careful edge control hard~blur, the ring is depicted with one impasto touch, crazy crackle

Virgine, 7 years later, painted by Gustave Claude Etienne Courtois (1853-1923)

Fashions having changed, Courtois' canvas was well received.

Premier coup (loose window-shading) and gratuitous pentimenti aside, Sargent would rely on preliminary drawings, no matter how cursory, for planning and capturing the essence.

Thanks for the artifacting, blogger. Sargent painting via or

Friday, October 23, 2009

Swipe Spot #3 & #4

Arrow Collars & Shirts for Dress, still the hallmark of style and taste. The two examples here use it as a veneer to sinister undercurrents.

The variant cover by Dennis Calero to Luke Cage Noir #3.
Arrow Collar ad by J.C. Leyendecker,

The Joker & Harley Quinn by Alex Ross / Arrow Collar ad by J.C. Leyendecker

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day- 2009

Sadly today now seems to mark the marginalization, the ghettoizing of holidays, as though Columbus day was a celebration of his ethnicity. Columbus day is the celebration of what he represents, leadership, courage, perseverance and the spirit of adventure. The indomitable will that was the spark for the greatest nation on Earth, and as such should be collectively remembered.

"Columbus in the New World" by Edwin Austin Abbey

Columbus, richly clad and in full armor, grasping the Royal banner of Spain, kneels behind the three priests, who, clothed in magnificent black and gold vestments, are consecrating the New World before an improvised altar covered with red velvet. A further group, among them the brothers Pinzon, who commanded the two caravels, kneel apart, and three of the company bear aloft the banners of the "Green Cross," a device of Columbus, presented to him by Ferdinand and Isabella. Farther away are the sailors and the three ships at anchor, while the background is filled with a flight of flamingoes, streaming away from the land, thus symbolizing the departure of the native, the indigenous, the wild, upon the arrival of the foreign and the cultivated to implant civilization.

For the dreamers, the visionaries, and to progress, Hail Columbus!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beer with Dolores & Brick

Nothing sells beer like film stars. Smooth and cool. Long tall and handsome. Who wouldn't want to drink what they drink? While some stars take a shine (and the money) to these ads, others shy away (or are to big to lure). Would Doris Day and Rock Hudson in their day and at their prime shill for Schlitz? Or in this case Burgie. No! What to do then? Why, hire an illustrator and through artful manipulation subtly imply the stars. Like the best propaganda, you'll never know why you want the product so much!

This throwaway production art, a billboard maquette (the proper term eludes), displays more effortless skill than you'll find on most museum walls.

Unidentified west coast illustrator (if you can identify the artist, please do).

Golf and beer with Bob Hope and his lovely wife. I'm there!

Billy Dee Williams, the man still has "it". Smooth.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Central Casting - CREEPS

Men of no shame: harvey weinstein, woody allen, michael mann, mike nichols, martin scorsese, steven soderbergh and a cast to numerous to mention.

"...let's suppose for the sake of argument that the petition's signers are motivated exclusively by the desire to see justice done. What might that mean in practice? The petition starts out by coolly dismissing Mr. Polanski's crime as "a case of morals" (i.e., no big deal) involving "one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers." It then goes on to argue that the Zurich Film Festival is an "extraterritorial" event held in a "neutral country" to which filmmakers should be allowed to travel "freely and safely," just as if they were doctors or diplomats. The implication is all too clear: No matter what he may have done in the past, Mr. Polanski is an artist and therefore ought to go free. Period.
I find this pseudoargument impossible to stomach, and I can't imagine that Mr. Polanski's fellow filmmakers would be similarly inclined to make it on behalf of a director of made-for-TV movies."

WSJ article~

Yet more proof that you wouldn't be wrong in believing Hollyweird is populated by odious degenerates (as though the steady stream of filth they produce wasn't enough). These nickelodeonist stand in strong support of the convicted child rapist Roman Polanski. One might expect this from uber-cretin Woody Allen, but now one must question if Martin Scorsese spent any extra time "going over the script" with Jodie Foster during the filming of Taxi Driver. Mr. Scorsese has seen his own film, right?

For those that need a bat upside their numb-skull~

Friday, September 25, 2009

Master Drawing- Fechin's Wife

Economical, yet the structure is fully realized. The judicious use of white finishes the form.

Николай Иванович Фешин


Pencil and charcoal on handmade paper
17 by 12 1/2 in.

at auction via Sotheby's, New York, Tue, 6 Oct 09. They estimate 7,000 - 10,000 USD. I say it should be 4,500 - 7,500 USD. We shall see.

Don't forget to click on the image for a larger file!

UPDATE: Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 9,375 USD, which means the winning bid was 7,500 USD.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


With her striking look artist-model Cassandra has proven popular with a number of artists.

Artist Alia E. El-Bermani stated in an interview "... I hired Cassandra who I had drawn from at local groups. She was becoming a semi famous Los Angeles artist’s model. I started the painting purely for the love of paint and the human form. I was hoping a deeper meaning would emerge as the painting progressed but, unfortunately nothing ever came. Perhaps part of that was not having a connection to the model; not knowing her inner thoughts. I like to get to know my subjects well enough to put more into the work, but this model, although beautiful and strong, didn’t offer more of herself than the outward shell. During breaks, she sat in the corner of my studio quietly texting or reading. It was sort of uncomfortable."

Just how personal can a painting of a professional model be?

top to bottom: John Asaro, Hong Ly, Steve Assael, Alia E. El-Bermani, Adrian Gottlieb

Friday, September 18, 2009

Swipe Spot #2

Enric, master of Vampirella, with an easily spotted swipe from Solomon J. Solomon. Note how the chest of the beast doesn't project properly without the accent of a nipple. Is Ajax really stepping down from that 2" beveled edge?

Why has this site included a Simeon Solomon in the S.J. Solomon gallery for apparently 8 years?ARC-SJS

Friday, September 11, 2009

Past is Present

9/11 and the 'Good War'
It was the furies of the Arab world, not Afghanistan, that struck America eight years ago today.
... by Fouad Ajami