Saturday, April 19, 2014

2014 BP Portrait Awards Shortlist

In what must have seemed a herculean task, this year's judges for the BP Portrait Award – writer Joanna Trollope; Director of the Holburne Museum, Dr. Alexander Sturgis: Director of UK Arts and Culture for BP, Des Violaris; artist Jonathan Yeo; Contemporary Curator at the National Portrait Gallery, Sarah Howgate: and National Portrait Gallery director Sandy Nairne – pored over the record-breaking 2,377 entries from 71 different countries to establish which three works would be shortlisted for the grand prize.  Those finalists are:  Englishman Richard Twose for his painting of septuagenerian fashionista Jean Woods, German Thomas Ganter for his painting of Karel, a homeless person, in Man with a Plaid Blanket, and American David Jon Kassan for Letter to my Mom, a very personal portrait of his mother, Roberta.  Whichever man wins will receive a £30,000 ($50,375) cash award, plus the chance to complete a portrait commission for the permanent collection of London's National Portrait Gallery worth £5,000.  The winner and other prize recipients will be announced June 24th, two days before the BP Portrait Award Show opens at the National Portrait Gallery.  All three finalists' works will be on view then, alongside 52 other works chosen from this year's field.

For more information, please visit the Bp Awards Page at the National Portrait Gallery's website.  

David Jon Kassan
Letter to My Mom
oil on aluminum panel
124.5 X 81 cm

"Brooklyn-based artist David Jon Kassan, born in Little Rock, Arkansas, invited his mother to sit for him in his studio while she made a brief stop on her way to Europe. She was reluctant and in order to persuade her he had to bribe her with a painting of his son Lucas.

He says: ‘My work is very personal and heartfelt. It’s my visual diary, so my family and loved ones make up a large part of what and why I paint. My parents have always been inspirational to paint. This portrait is a letter to my mom, who hates it when I paint her. But I tell her in the painting that by painting her, it is my way of spending time with her, contemplating our relationship and time together, my earliest memories. The Hebrew text reads: ‘Dear Mom,/ This painting is my way to spend more time with you./ My way to meditate on our life together./ And all of the earliest memories I have/All of my earliest memories from you’."

Richard Twose
Jean Woods
oil on board
90 X 60 cm

"Richard Twose is an artist and teacher based in Bath and it was there that he first saw the sitter of his portrait, Jean Woods. He was impressed not only by her striking looks and style, but also by the depth of character in her face. Following the broadcast of Channel Four's documentary Fabulous Fashionistas which featured Jean, Richard’s daughter told him she was the grandmother of a friend. After calling and asking her to sit for him, he was struck by her professionalism – derived from her recent experience as a fashion model and from a quality of stillness she seemed to possess naturally.

He says: ‘Sometimes as Jean was talking, especially about her much-missed late husband, she reminded me of Rembrandt's Portrait of Margaretha de Geer. Jean has a similar intensity and honesty in her gaze. I wanted to capture that sense of someone who has learnt to be almost fearless, looking forward to life still but with a great richness of experience behind her’."

Thomas Ganter
Man with a Plaid Blanket
oil on canvas
160 X 60 cm

"Thomas Ganter is an artist and illustrator from Frankfurt/Main, Germany. His shortlisted portrait of Karel, a homeless man he encountered following a visit to a museum, invites the viewer to contemplate the coexistence of wealth and poverty.

He says: ‘After being in a museum, I saw a homeless man and was stunned by a similarity: the clothes, the pose, and other details resembled what I just saw in various paintings. However, this time I was looking at a homeless person wrapped in a blanket. By portraying a homeless man in a manner reserved for nobles or saints, I tried to emphasise that everyone deserves respect and care. Human dignity shouldn’t be relative or dependent on socio-economic status’."

In the Galleries: Haynes Galleries, TN - Celebrating the Portrait as Art (updated)

Stephen Bauman
When I Was Young
oil on canvas
55 X 45 ¼ in.

If you have been to one of the Portrait Society of America's annual conferences in the past several years, you have likely seen Gary Haynes of the Haynes Galleries.  Gary has never confided this in me, but I think he really LOVES portraits.  I have seen him moving about excitedly, like a kid in a candy shop, carefully examining everyone's competition entries, face-off paintings, and portfolios during the conference weekends.  And if I have ever seen him disappointed, it would probably only be because there were not even more works for him to enjoy.

This year it seems Haynes has found a way to better sate his appetite for more portraits – and ours as well – by hosting a portrait exhibit at his Nashville gallery that will run during this year's Art of the Portrait conference.  "Celebrating the Portrait as Art," the gallery's new show, features artworks which, though very traditional in genre, are part of a more contemporary view of portraits as works which can, "transcend time and personal relationships," and thereby appeal to everyone – whether the viewer knows the sitter or not.  "These works capture much more than a likeness," says Haynes. "They capture mood, essence, and emotion."

Many of the artists in the show will be very familiar, especially to members of the Portrait Society of America;  several of those featured in the show have previously been finalists at the Art of the Portrait International Portrait Competition.  And some, like Seth Haverkamp, T.J. Cunningham, and Alicia Ponzio are once again finalists this year (this does mean that some of the artworks in the show will be on leave from April 24th through the 27th so they can be on view at the conference in Washington, D.C.).

"Celebrating the Portrait as Art" opens April 18th and runs through May 24th at Haynes' Nashville Gallery.  An opening reception will take place on the 18th, from 5:00 to 7:30 PM.

Haynes Galleries is located at 1600 Division Street., on the Music Row Roundabout in Nashville. The gallery hours are 10 PM - 4 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and by appointment. For more information, please visit or email

Burt Silverman
Summer Hatoil on linen
13 X 10 ½ in.

Burt Silverman
Light With II
oil on canvas
16 X 21 in.

Katie O'Hagan
True North
oil on canvas
30 X 38 in.

Joseph Todorovitch
The Hunt
oil on board
24 X 17 in.

Ellen Cooper
oil on linen
48 X 32 in.

Aaron Westerberg
Self Portrait
oil on panel
30 X 20 in.

Candice Bohannon
Bear the Light
oil on canvas
28 X 33 in.

Carla Crawford
Lisa Asleep
oil on canvas
11 X 18 in.

Cindy Procious
But I Have Promises to Keep
oil on panel
20 X 16 in.

Jesus Villarreal
oil on panel
12 ¼ X 9 in.

Joseph Dolderer
Miss Ellie
oil on linen
30 X 24 in.

Gregory Mortenson
Pearl Earring
oil on linen
17 X 11 in.

Martin Arnold
Lauren Seated
oil on panel
48 X 28 in.

Marc Dalessio
Self Portrait
oil on canvas
55 ½ X 47 in.

Kerry Dunn
Toto & I
oil on canvas
40 X 30 in.

Lea Colie Wight
oil on linen
20 X 26 in.

Michael Siegal
The Philosopher
oil on panel
24 X 20 in.

Ryan S. Brown
pencil and white charcoal on paper
10 X 10 ½ in.

Milixa Morón
Lisa Chica Lunar
oil on linen
39 ⅜ X 27 ½ in.

Richard Greathouse
Wall of Opposites
oil on canvas
99 ⅝ X 66 ⅞ in.

Tamie Beldue
Mellow Vignette IV
graphite, watercolor, and encaustic
11 ¼ X 7 ½ in.

Seth Haverkamp
oil on panel
36 X 24 in.

Seth Haverkamp
Essie's Unicorn
oil on panel
24 X 36 in.

Alicia Ponzio
The Letting Go
bronze on belgian marble base
62 X 31 X 16 in.

Daniel Sinclair
11 X 6 X 5 in.

Alia El-Bermani
Kitchen Window
oil on panel
48 X 36 in.

Stephanie Rew
The Marabou Fan
oil on panel
19 ⅝ X 15 ¾ in.

T.J. Cunningham
oil on linen
48 X 24 in.

Suchitra Bhosle
Portrait of a Gypsy
oil on hardboard
20 X 16 in.

Linda Tracey Brandon
oil on panel
64 X 48 in.

Terry Strickland
Ode to Melancholy
oil on panel
24 X 36 in.

In the Galleries: Glenn Dean
at the Maxwell Alexander Gallery, CA

Glenn Dean
Canyon Riders
23 X 30 In.

In Glenn Dean's second solo show with Maxwell Alexander Gallery, the young Californian expands upon his repertoire by focussing a large portion of his current work on the figure.  Of the more than two dozen pieces in the show "Landscapes of the American West," more than a third feature peoples of the West – Native Americans, cowboys, and gauchos – interacting with the land that shaped them, as much, if not more than, they had shaped it.  It is a departure for the young self-taught artist, but one that is a welcome addition to his award-winning landscapes:  not only does it show that Dean does not suffer the shortcomings of the early American landscape painters of the East who could paint beautiful landscapes, but could not convincingly populate them, it shows that he is an artist who is willing to challenge himself (and succeed) – a sure sign of staying power in the art world.

"Landscapes of the American West" is currently on view at the Maxwell Alexander Gallery, and will run through the 17th of May.  More information on the show can be found on the gallery's website, or by contacting the gallery directly at 310.839.9242.  Maxwell Alexander Gallery is located  at 6144 West Washington Boulevard in Culver City, California, and is open daily, Wednesday through Saturday, 12:00 to 6:00 PM.

Passing Storm
24 X 30 in.

Gazing West
24 X 30 in.

Desert Rider
20 X 24 in.

Midday Sun
16 X 20 in.

The Red Roan
9 X 12 in.

9 X 12 in.

Village in the Valley
9 X 12

Vaya con Dios
20 X 24 in.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

At Auction: Bouguereau at Bonhams, NYC

William Bouguereau (1825-1905)
Portrait of Eva and Frances Johnston (1869)
oil on canvas
39 ½ X 32 in.

As mentioned in two previous posts, New York City in the springtime is the place to be for seeing – and possibly purchasing – some fine examples of 19th century European art.  Christie's Auction House will be holding its sale of work from this period on April 28th, with previews beginning on the 25th, while Sotheby's will hold its sale on May 9th, with previews beginning May 2nd.  Not to be outdone, the prestigious British auctioneer, Bonhams, will also host a sale of 19th century European art in New York City, with a sale on May 7th, and previews beginning on the 3rd.

Bonhams 19th Century European Art Including Old Master Paintings features 108 lots created during the 16th through the 20th centuries.  Though many of the paintings were done by artists less known in the United States, there are a few works whose authors hold a bit more cachet in this country.  Chief among them is the French Master William Bouguereau (1825-1905) who is represented in the sale by a rare double portrait commissioned by John Taylor Johnston - first president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art - of his two daughters.

Previews for the sale of 19th Century European Art Including Old Master Paintings begin at noon on May 3rd and run daily through the 7th at the Bonhams facility located at 580 Madison Avenue.  The auction itself begins at 1:00 PM on the 7th.  To see the full catalog of the sale, please visit the Bonhams website.

Preview Times

May 3, 2014   |   12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
May 4, 2014   |   12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
May 5, 2014   |   10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
May 6, 2014   |   10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
May 7, 2014   |   10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Saturday, April 12, 2014

At Auction: Sotheby's 19th c. European Art

John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
Fair Rosamund
oil on canvas
38 X 28 ½ in.

I do not have a "bucket list," at least not an official one.  Sure, there are some places I want to visit, some things I want to do, and some paintings I wish to paint during what remains of my time here on earth, but I have never made a conscientious list of such things.  

The closest I come to having a "bucket" goal is this vague desire in the back of my mind to someday see every painting by John William Waterhouse in person.  It is not a realistic goal;  for example, I do not expect that Rod Stewart will ever invite me up to his bedroom to see his Waterhouse – and if he were to do so, I would probably have some serious reservations – but it would be nice to fit as many of those paintings in as possible.  Thanks to the Waterhouse show that ran from the end of 2008 to the beginning of 2010, I was able to see a good portion of his body of work when the exhibit visited Montreal.  I have also been able to see a few others in museums, but not many.  

To my surprise, I have probably seen just as many Waterhouse paintings in person at the auction houses as I have seen in museum collections, so I like to keep my eyes open just in case one of his paintings goes up for sale.  Well, I have the chance to add to my visual collection of Waterhouses when Sotheby's New York offers Fair Rosamund at their spring auction of 19th Century European Art next month, and I am very much looking forward to it.  I have previously seen the painted study for Fair Rosamund, and was not sure I would ever have the chance to see the original of this particular major work, so I think of this sale as a rather rare opportunity.

Of course, amongst the 103 lots in this sale, Fair Rosamund is in my opinion the highlight of the auction, but it is not the only work worth seeing.  Also up for bid are a Bouguereau, a well-known Gérôme, an Alma Tadema, a couple of Godwards, a couple of Dawsons, a couple of Blair Leightons, a Breton, a Dagnan, a Vibert, and several Munnings.

Sotheby's sale of 19th Century European Art will take place at 10:00 AM EDT on May 9, 2014.  Previews will be held at the Sotheby's New York location at 1334 York Avenue beginning Friday, May 2nd.  For those unable to attend, the full sales catalog is also available for online viewing at Sotheby's website.

Preview Times

Friday, May 2   •   10:00am - 5:00pm EDT
Saturday, May 3   •   10:00am - 5:00pm EDT
Sunday, May 4   •   1:00pm - 5:00pm EDT
Monday, May 5   •   10:00am - 5:00pm EDT
Tuesday, May 6   •   10:00am - 5:00pm EDT
Wednesday, May 7   •   10:00am - 5:00pm EDT
Thursday, May 8   •   10:00am - 1:00pm EDT

(I will be curious to see how much the Waterhouse painting fetches.  It is estimated to sell for between $600,000 and $800,000, and I would have guessed the upper range would have been a bit higher.)

William Bouguereau (1825-1905)
Le bouquet de violettes
oil on canvas
25 ⅝ X 21 ⅝ in.

Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904)
Cléopâtre et César
oil on canvas
73 X 50 ⅝ in.

Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912)
The Collector of Pictures at the Time of Augustus
oil on panel
28 X 18 ¼ in.

John William Godward (1861-1922)
The Tambourine Girl
oil on canvas
24 ¼ X 12 in.

John William Godward (1861-1922)
When the Heart is Young
oil on canvas
20 ¼ X 40 in.

Jean Denis Antoine Caucannier (c. 1860-1905)
Eve et la pomme
oil on canvas
39 ½ X 78 ¾ in.

Edmund Blair Leighton (1852-1922)
A Picnic Party
oil on canvas
21 ⅓ X 32 ⅓ in.

Edmund Blair Leighton (1852-1922)
Yes or No?
oil on canvas
37 X 20 ⅛ in.

Jules Breton (1827-1906)
La petite couturière
oil on canvas
22 X 16 ⅞ in.

Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (1852-1929)
Young Woman in a Garden of Oranges
oil on canvas
40 X 29 ⅛ in.

Gottlieb Theodor von Kempf-Hartenkampf (1871-1964)
oil on canvas
44 ⅝ X 23 in.

Émile Meyer
A Painting Cardinal
oil on panel
16 X 12 ¾ in.

54 Jehan-Georges Vibert (1840-1902)
The Three Patiences
oil on panel
36 ½ X 28 ¾ in.

Adrien Moreau (1843-1906)
Les noces d'argent
oil on canvas
37 X 52 in.

Arturo Ricci (1854-1919)
In the Studio
oil on canvas
26 ½ X 36 ⅝ in.

Marie-François Firmin-Girard (1838-1921)
Le quai aux fleurs
oil on canvas
39 ½ X 57 in.

Edwin Lord Weeks (1849-1903)
Horses at the Ford - Persia
oil on canvas
35 ⅜ X 61 ⅞ in.

Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878-1959)
Morning Exercise
oil on panel
16 ¼ X 37 ½ in.

Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878-1959)
The Morning Ride
oil on canvas
20 X 24 in.

Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878-1959)
The Leaders
watercolor on paper laid down on board
15 ¾ X 21 ¾ in.

Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878-1959)
Studies from the picture "The Vagabonds"
watercolor and graphite on paper
10 ¾ X 13 ½ in.

Alexander Max Koester (1864-1932)
Enten in Teich (Wild Jagd)
oil on canvas
28 ½ X 48 in.

Montague Dawson (1895-1973)
Wind in the Rigging
oil on canvas
42 X 28 in.

Montague Dawson (1895-1973)
The Southern Cross
oil on canvas
24 X 36 in.