Thursday, March 15, 2007

Daumier's young artist

Honoré Daumier (French, 1808 -- 1879), after 1860, oil on canvas,
41 × 33 cm. National Gallery of Art, washington DC

Daumier is one of my favourite artists. I love his acute observation and his humour, and find endless pleasure in his drawings and lithographs, as the French public did during his lifetime. His ability to make recognisable and pointed caricatures of public figures got him thrown into jail, more than once I believe, but he continued as soon as he got out.

This piece
is one of his rare paintings. It shows a young artist asking advice of an older one. I love how Daumier has managed to make the youth so callow, and how he has created a relationship of deference vs experience between the two men with a minimum of means. And I also love the way the feet of both figures are flat on the ground.

Image from Wikimedia

More Daumier images from Wikimedia

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Klee on good pictures

"I want to find out whether or not I'm looking at a good picture and just what is good about this particular work. I don't want to examine the common feature of a series of works or the difference between two series of works -- no such pursuit of history for me -- but to consider the individual act in itself, and were it only a single work that had the luck to become good, as recently happened with two or three of my 'paintings.'
For the fact of my not painting good pictures with a certain measure of regularity results precisely from my imperfect knowledge of what makes a good individual work."

Paul Klee