Art Talk: Up Close with French art at the National Gallery of Art in DC

This is going to be a super fun post.

I often take really close up pictures of paintings. It is so interesting to see the texture, the colors, and sometimes to see if I can make a beautiful picture from the artist's original painting.

I will show the close up and if you would like see if you can guess who the artist is from the brush stroke, paint colors, subjects etc.

We'll start off with this painting. As this artist has a very distinct style.
Can you guess who did it?

If you guessed Vincent Van Gogh you are correct. His thick paint and very wide brush strokes are very distinct.

Green Wheat Fields, Auvers, 1890
Vincent van Gogh

This painting was painted during the last year of his life in Auvers, France which is just outside of Paris. van Gogh painted about 900 works of art. I really do enjoy his paintings of plants and fields... like this. And look at those clouds!

A hint about this next one is that it is very close in place and time. It was painted in 1873 also in Auvers, France.

Paul Cézanne
French, 1839 - 1906
House of Père Lacroix

Paul Cezanne was considered a post impressionist painter and yet this painting along with two others were shown at the first impressionist show in 1874 at the urging of his friend Camille Pissaro. 1

Can you tell who painted this?

Maybe the whole picture will help.

Camille Pissarro
French, 1830 - 1903
The Gardener - Old Peasant with Cabbage

Not as many people will probably be familiar with Camille Pissarro. As mentioned earlier he encouraged Paul Cezanne to show in the first impressionist exhibition. He is considered the "father" of impressionism. Like many of the impressionist Pissaro liked to paint the "common man" like we see here with this cabbage farmer.

You will see a distinct and different style in this next painting. The paint is very much soft and blended.

Auguste Renoir
French, 1841 - 1919
The Dancer

You will notice that the date of this painting is 1874 which is the same year that the first impressionist exhibition was. This was at that show which at the time was called the "Société anonyme coopérative des artistes, peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc."

Here is another French painter that paints ballet dancers. Can you recognize the artist?

Edgar Degas
French, 1834 - 1917
Four Dancers
c. 1899

If you guessed Degas you are correct. Two of his favorite subjects were ballet dancers and horses. Unlike Renior's very formal picture of the ballet dancer, Degas liked to paint unusual viewpoints and shapes. He also used very rich earthy colors in this painting.

Wow, look at the brush strokes and colors of this painting?

Berthe Morisot
French, 1841 - 1895
In the Dining Room

This and another painting by Berthe Morisot are two of my favorites in the gallery. She had a such a wonderful talent for painting light and making this woman stand out in a beautiful way in a very ordinary space.

Let's look at them all together.
All these paintings were painted in France in a 26 year time frame, between the years 1873 and 1899.

Isn't it interesting to see the the variety of style of each of these 6 artists?

Art and art history is so great!

Art Talk Series Highlights

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