Sunday, February 5, 2017

"Not Always Black and White"

16 x 16"
oil on panel

My show at Robert Lange Studios is less than a month away - I'm hoping you'll take a long weekend and stay in Charleston and join me on March 3rd.  This is one of the paintings included in the show, let me tell you a little bit about the art.

John Singer Sargent made a lucrative living as a portrait artist for the wealthy in both America and abroad, including the two featured in my painting - Madame X and Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Phelps Stokes.

Madame X debuted in Paris in 1884, critics deemed it scandalous, immoral and erotic based on society's tastes and standards of etiquette at the time.  The model, Virginie Gautreau"s family was outraged because one of her straps slipped off her shoulder.  Sargent appeased and repainted the strap, kept the painting three years before it was sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1916.

Edith and Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes were banking and shipping heirs.  Known as New York liberals, Edith insisted she be painted in street clothes (the kind she rode her bike in, etc.)  - she wanted to represent the New Woman Movement.  She flouted the upper-crust norms, marrying at 28, adopting a child openly and bringing kindergarten to the U.S., a then-radical idea.  Newton was something of a dandy, studied architecture during thier extended honeymoon, joined a New York firm and helped design buildings that stand today, like St. Paul's Chapel at Columbia U.  His advocacy led to the Tenement House Act of 1901, reforming low-income housing in Manhattan.

Both paintings hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Please click here for a larger view.

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