Monday, August 13, 2018

Eye Candy for August

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933, US) for Tiffany Studios (1902–1932, Corona, NY), Vase, designed ca. 1900. Green glass with gold leaf, height: 10" (25.4 cm). © 2018 Brooklyn Museum. (BMA-5549)

I can’t think that anybody doesn’t find the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany and his designers to be absolutely beautiful specimens of glass art. Seeing some of his windows recently in Boston reignited my admiration for what that artist achieved. More are currently on view at the museum here in Worcester. Tiffany did not have a simple path to enacting his artistic vision, either. The son of Charles Tiffany (1812–1902), the founder of Tiffany and Company jewelry store in New York, he relied time and again on his father’s company to keep his studios solvent. And thank goodness for that!

Tiffany’s studio system was not a simple one. Under his scrutiny, his team of talented designers and artists translated his overarching vision to produce fabulous blown glass objects. He publicly credited individual designers, which included many women artists such as Lydia Emmet (1866–1952), Agnes Fairchild Northrop (1857–1953), Alice Carmen Gouvy (1870–1924), and Clara Driscoll (1861–1944). Keep in mind that these artists were often replicating designs conceived of by Tiffany in their own interpretations. All of the pieces in this post contain the LCT initials on the bottom. Whether that was reproduced from an original Louis design, I’m not sure.

Tiffany learned the techniques involved in high-end jewelry and tableware production from his wealthy father’s firm. Initially, he studied painting. His travels through North Africa exposed him to exotic subject matter, but more importantly, decorative motifs in ceramic tile, mosaics, and wall paintings in non-Western styles. After that trip (1870–1871), he turned away from painting to interior design and decoration. His first stained glass project that emerged in 1878 already contained unconventional techniques.

Between the 1880s and 1890s, Tiffany experimented with numerous techniques in glass, mosaics, and tile work. Around 1892 or 1893, he built a glass studio in Corona, NY, where he helped develop colors of glass by blending different colors in a molten state. He achieved subtle effects of shading and texture that Tiffany subsequently called Favrile. Favrile was based on an old-English word for hand-built (fabrile). Tiffany trademarked the name in hand-blown works such as the following objects:

Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany Studios, Flower Vase, designed ca. 1900. Favrile glass, height: 2 7/8" (7.3 cm). © 2018 Brooklyn Museum. (BMA-5509)

Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany Studios, Flower Vase, designed 1900–1910. Favrile glass, height: 11" (27.9 cm). © 2018 Brooklyn Museum. (BMA-5510)

Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany Studios, Salt Cellar, designed 1896–1919. Opalescent glass, width: 2 7/8" (7.3 cm). © 2018 Brooklyn Museum. (BMA-5553)

I’m not really sure of the difference between the opalescent glass and the Favrile. Tiffany described Favrile as an imitation of the iridescent colors on the wings of butterflies or feathers of a peacock. 

I have a feeling that if Tiffany constantly sought his father’s help for solvency since the numerous incarnations of his glass studios were based on financial circumstances. Here are the companies that he instituted:

Louis C. Tiffany and Company (1878–1885)
Tiffany Glass Company (1885–1892)
Tiffany Glass and Decoration Company (1892–1900)
Allied Arts (1900–1902)
Tiffany Studios (1902–1932)
Tiffany Furnaces (1902–1919) and Louis C. Tiffany Furnaces (1920–1928) helped support the other studios by producing the metal frameworks for lamps, desk sets, and other items that combined glass with metal.

I’m not really interested in why he had so many different entities, because the result was so many beautiful works of art, and that’s the important thing.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Artists with August Birthdays

Sakai Hōitsu (August 1,1762–January 4,1828, Japan), Cranes. Two-fold screen, ink, colors and gold leaf on paper mounted on wooden frame, 4'9" x 4'9" (143.5 x 143.3 cm). © 2018 Worcester Art Museum. (WAM-152)

Monthly artists’ birthdays are a good way to introduce you to a variety of artists I actually adore, while contrasting art from vastly different cultures. I’m not going to call it “interesting,” but it is certainly notable that both of these artists died in January, almost one hundred years apart. They certainly left a lot of beautiful art behind!

If you ever want to teach a lesson on positive and negative space, this painting would serve as a wonderful example. Its beautiful composition is also a good example of asymmetrical balance. There were so many wonderful schools of painting active through the Edo Period (1615–1868) in Japan, and they were nourished by the isolation of the Tokugawa dictators, who cut outside contact. This caused Japanese artists to look to lauded styles of past periods. One of the most popular styles that persisted through the Edo Period was the yamato-e, one that had come to full bloom during the Heian Period (794–1185).
Yamato-e (“Japanese painting”) originally flourished in the form of scroll painting, particularly in illustration of literature. It is characterized by decorative surface, contrasting patterns, bright color, and the liberal use of gold leaf. During the Edo Period it became a popular style in screen painting. The screen is called a byōbu, and a two-fold screen is a furosaki (or nikyoku) byōbu. The simplicity of this screen is a striking feature in the yamato-e aesthetic in which nature is reduced to shapes, and is typical of the work of Sakai Hōitsu. Although the birds cast no shadows, they do not really seem to float because they are anchored by the stylized stream behind them. The gold leaf background adds to the decorative effect of the screen, composed of 2" (5.1 cm) square sheets of beaten gold leaf.
Sakai was the son of a samurai, the lord of Himeji Castle in Hyōgo Prefecture. You probably know what it looks like: 

Himjei Castle, 1333, 1346, and 1601–1609. Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Photo by Bernard Gagnon. CC BY-SA 3.0

Fortunately for us, Sakai shunned the military life and became a painter instead. He was a devoted follower of the Kōrin School of painting, named for its “founder” Ogata Kōrin (1658–1716). This school was sometimes called “Rinpa”: “pa” for school, and “Rin” from Kō(rin). Along with the Tosa and Kanō schools—in both of which Sakai trained—the yamato-e style really flourished up to and through the 1800s. This style is an interesting contrast to the ukiyo-e style with which most Westerners are familiar. Yamato-e painting was favored by the nobility, particularly because of its historical connotations, and was, of course, too expensive for the middle class to afford.

Sakai successfully established a Rinpa school in Edo (Tokyo). He studiously copied many of Ogata’s paintings, often on the back of screens he had painted in his own style. He published two woodblock print albums of Ogata’s work, One Hundred Images of Kōrin and Album of Simplified Seals in the Ogata Style. Talk about hero-worship!

Correlations to Davis programs: Discovering Art History 4E: 4.4; The Visual Experience: 13.5 

George Bellows (August 19,1882–January 8, 1925, US), Gorge and Sea, 1911. Oil on canvas. © 2018 Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC. (MIN-12)

I came to be a big admirer of the so-called Ash Can School artists many, many years ago, first when I discovered Twin Lights, Purple Rocks (1915) by John Sloan (1871–1951) at the Worcester Art Museum. I had never, I guess, thought of the Ash Can artists as colorists, but that painting convinced me they were. What further convinced me was when I saw Vine Clad Shore, Monhegan Island (1913) by George Bellows at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I had never thought of the school as landscape painters, either.

After Vine Clad Shore, I started to note other works by Bellows (and other Ash Can painters) that are infused with an almost Impressionist palette, such as Blue Morning (1909, National Gallery), which is a cityscape. Being a landscape painter, however, I’m so drawn to the landscapes of these artists. I particularly like the broad, fluid brush work of Bellows, no matter what palette he happens to be using. I guess it’s not surprising that they gravitated toward the Impressionist palette, since many of their works—like the Impressionists—lauded everyday city life and were often sketched on the spot.

Unlike the other members of the group of “The Eight,” Bellows was a member of the conservative National Academy of Design in New York that had rejected “The Eight” members’ works and was the impetus for the creation of the “Ash Can School” in 1908. He was elected in 1909, the youngest person ever elected to the academy. Born in Columbus, Ohio, he studied at Ohio State University and then at the New York Art School, where he studied with American Impressionist William Merritt Chase (1849–1916) and Dark Impressionist mentor of the Ash Can painters, Robert Henri (1865–1929).

Works such as Gorge and Sea, above, show the dichotomy of Bellows landscape palettes. It’s dark tonalities and muted colors remind me more of Dark Impressionism than Impressionism. But there is a vitality and an exuberance of paint application that I just really like. Bellows was praised by Academy members for his works that displayed the “American temperament,” whatever that might mean. As much as his cityscapes captured the vitality of city life, so too did his landscape capture the excitement of nature.

Correlations to Davis Programs: A Community Connection: 6.4; Discovering Art History: 4E 15.1

Monday, July 30, 2018

Have You Had Your Fiber Today?

Sheila Hicks (born 1934, US), The Principal Wife Goes On, ca. 1970. Linen, silk, wool, and synthetic fibers, 11' 4" x 4' 10" (342.9 x 147.3 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art. © 2018 Sheila Hicks. (PMA-8626)

As you all know, I’m not a fan of the words “decorative arts,” “artisan,” “crafts,” or “craftsperson.” I think we’re way beyond that now. If any artist exemplifies how far from “craft” certain art forms have come since the early 1900s, it is Sheila Hicks. She has transformed fiber arts into installation art. Her early pieces were BIG, but her latest installations are huge and gorgeous.

Hicks was at the forefront of the transformation of textile arts from “craft” to fine art already in the late 1950s. The evolving Feminist Art Movement of the early 1970s focused attention on art forms traditionally considered "women's work," a major example being fiber arts. This revolution in the perception of textiles was pioneered by many women who had studied under Bauhaus textile artists, particularly Anni Albers (1899–1994), who taught at Yale University after leaving Germany. The movement reinvigorated traditional types of fiber art such as wall hangings, quilts, and tapestries, but also encouraged artists to explore new genres of fiber arts that transcended two-dimensional forms.

Hicks was born in Nebraska and received both a BFA and MFA from Yale University. She studied under both Anni Albers and Josef Albers (1888–1976), initially to become a painter. That all changed when she received a Fulbright scholarship to study painting in Chile (1957 to 1958), and Anni Albers suggested that she study the indigenous textiles for the vibrant use of color. That was all it took to hook her on fiber arts. She subsequently studied the medium in Mexico and South Africa, opening workshops in both places. Her name is now forever linked to the fiber medium, and her work has grown in both concept and size. Her room-sized installations are mind-blowing! 

Sheila Hicks, Blue Letter, 1959. Hand-woven wool, 17 ¾" x 17" (45.1 x 43.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2018 Sheila Hicks. (MOMA-S0148)

While still at Yale, Hicks's habitually carried around a portable hand loom on which she experimented with various techniques and combinations of techniques when inspired in her daily travels. She has called these study works of the last fifty years "minimes." Minimes invariably explore a variety of stylistic anomalies that are unique to Hicks' body of work. Blue Letter is a double-sided minime weaving in which she incorporated hieroglyphics into the texture by varying the width of the warp. It is an early example of how Hicks brought the textile arts medium to the threshold of crossing into sculpture. 

Sheila Hicks, Wow Bush/Turmoil in Full Bloom, 1977. Installation, cotton, variable dimensions. Philadelphia Museum of Art. © 2018 Sheila Hicks. (PMA-7032)

Hicks’ fiber works span the media of painting, architecture, sculpture, and textile. Color is the focus of practically all of her works, reflecting the impetus for her turning to fiber arts in the first place while thinking she wanted to be a painter. Her sensitivity to color helps augment the sculptural quality of her pieces, particularly in works like Wow Bush, which dominate the gallery not only by size but in the brilliance of the color.

Correlations to Davis programs: Explorations in Art 1E Grade 3: 6.31; Explorations in Art 2E Grade 3: 6.1, 6.3; Explorations in Art 1E Grade 4: 5.27; Explorations in Art 2E Grade 4: 5.4; Explorations in Art 1E Grade 5: 2.10; Explorations in Art 2E Grade 5: 2.5

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Put on Your SPF 100 Sunblock

Alex Katz (born 1927, US), Vincent with Radio, 1974. Oil on canvas, 72" x 96" (182.9 x 243.8 cm). Image © 2018 Philadelphia Museum of Art. © 2018 Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York. (PMA-8136kzvg)

Alex Katz’s birthday is today, the 24th of July. Happy Birthday to this extraordinary artist! I’ve come to be a great admirer of his work, and find it unfortunate that he is sometimes categorized as “Pop Art” simply because he documents everyday American life. Pop Art, ugh. His work soooo transcends that designation. And New Realism doesn’t quite make it either, because he is not imitating the look of photographs. I’m (personally) adding new categories to art historical subject designations for Katz’s work: “Awesome” and “Brilliant.”

I’m just getting back from vacation. Believe me, I would never let the sun hit me like in this painting. 100-something SPF is the ticket! This is Vincent Katz (born 1960), son of the artist. He is a poet who has published numerous books, including Cabal of Zealots (1988), Understanding Objects (2000), and Fantastic Caryatids (2017).

Katz was born in Brooklyn, the child of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. He studied art and commercial design at the Cooper Union School in New York between 1946 and 1949, the Skowhegan School of Painting in Maine, and under Josef Albers (1888–1976) at Yale University. He chose figurative work very early in his career and has remained faithful to it throughout his life.

Katz’s portraits tend to depict people whom he knows: his wife and son, artists, poets, and art critics in his circle of friends. During the 1950s, during the height of Abstract Expressionism, Katz’s portraits were painterly. Eventually, however, his style evolved into what he paints to this day: hard-edged forms; careful drawing; brilliant color applied in broad, flat fields; and radical reduction of forms. The sitters are usually depicted bust-length, often in extreme close up. The large, simplified portraits are reminiscent of billboards or advertising, possibly the influence of Katz’s study of commercial art.

Katz’s simplification of form and contrast of positive and negative space render his work in a class all its own. It is sophisticated in the Renaissance-like compositional skill of the artist. At the same time, it is approachable and endearing because we know—in the artist’s careful definition of individual people—of the artist’s personal connections to all his subjects. Summer Tales shows the artist at the height of his power to draw the viewer into a composition using the simplest of means. 

Alex Katz (born 1927, US), Summer Tales, 2007. Oil on canvas, 9' x 24' (274.3 × 731.5 cm). Image © 2018 Philadelphia Museum of Art. © 2018 Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York. (PMA-7902kzvg)

Once you’re convinced you’ve seen all that Katz has to offer, you are confronted by his cityscapes! They follow the same general formula of simplification and suggestion. I find them totally exciting because they are images of New York, where Katz lives and works. These views are so evocative, and yet, share the same emotional attachment to the artist as do his paintings of his family and friends.

Alex Katz (born 1927, US), Bond Street 2, 1998. Oil on canvas, 10' 6" x 10' 6" (320.7 x 320.7 cm). Image © 2018 Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. © 2018 Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York. (AK-408kzvg)

A colleague with whom I am (temporarily) sharing an office has reminded me that these cityscapes are reminiscent of the shin-hanga (new print) movement in early 1900s Japan. It was an extension of ukiyo-e, but it dealt with modern urban imagery, often with brilliant night scenes.

Tsuchiya Kōitsu (1870–1949, Japan), Rain in Ginza, from the series “Tokyo Views,” 1933. Color woodcut on paper, 15 ½" x 10 7/8" (39.5 x 27.5 cm). ©Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts, Heald Fund for Asian Art and Asian Art Various Donors Fund. (WAM-531)

Monday, July 16, 2018

An Important Art Colony School

Frederick McDarrah (1926–2007, US), Hans Hofmann, Provincetown 7/4, 1959, 1959. Gelatin silver print on paper, 8" x 8" (20.3 x 20.3 cm). Image © 2018 Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. (AK-1487)

Fred McDarrah was a groundbreaking photographer who documented the rise of American modernism. He also captured many cultural and art movements of the 1960s such as the Beat Movement, Abstract Expressionism, the Civil Rights Movement, Gay Rights Movement, Pop Art, and the anti-Vietnam War protests. Born in Brooklyn, he practiced photography while a paratrooper in World War II (1939–1945). In 1955, he became a staff photographer for The Village Voice newspaper when it began. His photographs essentially became a voice for an American subculture that revolutionized American thinking in many ways, not just about abstract art.

I will soon be on my way to Provincetown for vacation. Some of my favorite things to do with my husband in Provincetown are looking at the art in all the galleries and finding out where certain artists had studios during P-town’s heyday as an art colony and breeding ground of Abstract Expressionism. In 2009, I saw an exhibition of the drawings of Hans Hofmann’s (1880–1966) students at the Provincetown Art Association Museum. It was brilliant. Hans Hofmann had a major impact on the direction of abstraction in American art, particularly the Abstract Expressionists. I’m going to try to find his studio in P-town when I’m there!

In 1915, Hofmann opened an art school in Munich, where he achieved a reputation as a great teacher; a reputation that led to his invitation to teach in the US in 1930. He taught in the US from 1932 on, first in California, then at the Art Students League in New York, and finally his own School of Fine Art (1933). He established a summer school in the venerable art colony of Provincetown in 1934.

In Provincetown, he initially leased a barn (Miller Hill) and then taught in Days Lumberyard, studio space for artists starting in the early 1900s. In 1945, he bought property at 76 Commercial Street, now a private home on the main drag in P-town. Among the students who came to his Provincetown school were many of the Abstract Expressionists. It is thought that everyone who made important contributions to American modernism took at least one lesson with Hofmann while he was in P-town.

Hofmann’s greatest concern as a teacher was a solid pictorial structure. This was based in part on the architectonic principles of Cubism and partly on the color abstract of Orphism, the painting style of Robert Delaunay (1885–1941). These two styles impacted Hofmann the most when he was in Paris in the 1910s. He developed a personal theory of “push and pull” in abstract painting, where solid elements seem to float above painterly shapes. He used color to help imply space in cools and warms that recede and project on the picture plane. His school in Provincetown, like the one in New York, emphasized painting almost exclusively.

If you can’t picture the idea of “push and pull” based in color usage, then here’s a prime example. If this wasn’t influenced by New York, I don’t know what is. 

Hans Hofmann (1880–1966, Germany/US), Towering Spaciousness, 1956. Oil on canvas, 84 ¼" x 50" (214 x 127 cm). Brooklyn Museum. © 2018 Estate of Hans Hofmann/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. (BMA-5291hmars)
In 1958, Hofmann closed both of his schools and turned them into studios. This was due to the fact that he wanted to concentrate on his own painting, as well as competition from the avant-garde art school that had evolved at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Black Mountain College, run by Josef Albers (1888–1976) and Anni Albers (1899–1994)both former faculty of the Bauhaus in Germany—emphasized the Bauhaus curriculum that taught the integration of fine arts with industrial design and other disciplines.

Here are just a few of Hofmann’s students of whom you might have heard:

Richard Anuszkiewicz (born 1930, US), Dusk, 1970. Acrylic on canvas, 72" x 48" (182.9 x 121.9 cm). Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. © 2018 Richard Anuszkiewicz/Licensed by VAGA, New York. (AK-115azvg)

Nell Blaine (1922–1996, US), Outdoor Festival, 1954. Oil on canvas, 41" x 62 3/16" (104 x 158 cm). Davis Art Images. Photo courtesy of the late Artist. © 2018 Artist or artist’s estate. (8S-16935)

Lee Krasner (1908–1984, US), Untitled, 1949. Oil on composition board, 48" x 37" (121.9 x 93.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2018 Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. (MOMA-P2861krars)

Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011, US), Radius, 1992–1993. Nine-color woodcut from six blocks on hand-made paper dyed with six colors, sheet: 28" x 28" (71.3 x 71.3 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art. © 2018 Estate of Helen Frankenthaler/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. (PMA-8308fkars)

Larry Rivers (1923–2002, US), Drummer, 1960. Oil on canvas. Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence. © 2018 Estate of Larry Rivers/Licensed by VAGA, New York. (SMA-64rivg)

Correlations to Davis programs:  A Community Connection: 7.4; Discovering Art History 4E: 17.1; Discovering Art History Digital: 17.1

Monday, July 9, 2018

Wear a Protective Mask!

Merete Larsen (born 1953, Denmark), Translucent Vessel, 2000. Sycamore, 7 ¾" x 7 ¾" (19.7 x 19.7 cm). Image © 2018 Philadelphia Museum of Art. © 2018 Merete Larsen/Artists Rights Sociary (ARS), New York. (PMA-8715larars)

My dear friend Matt was an engineering professor at a local university. You wonder why I start with that line? Well, that’s because he was also an artist in wood, as I mentioned in a previous post. He showed me how artists form a bowl out of a wood burl on his lathe. And he made me wear the head shield while he was showing me, because he told me of the dangers lathe artists face if they do not wear a head shield. Long story short, I gained a massive respect for artists in wood, because when I paint I don’t even bother putting on latex gloves! So, imagine my excitement when we added this piece to our Davis Digital collection, which was worked on a lathe so precisely that the bowl is translucent! And it’s tiny (well, small)!!

One of the reasons the art of wood is so sophisticated in Scandinavian countries is because of the arboreal abundance. In Denmark, artists who adopted the aesthetic goals of the Bauhaus in Germany helped form the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen (1924) to push the modernist goal of elegant functionalism without ornament. That was the beginning of “Scandinavian Modern” in furniture that revolutionized contemporary interiors.

Merete Larsen, born in Copenhagen in 1953, states that she has had a love of wood since childhood. She studied cabinet making from 1976 to 1979 in SIlkeborg, Denmark. She went on to study furniture restoration at West Dean College (1980–1981) in Chichester, England. While in England, she first tried turning wood herself on a lathe. She did not take it up seriously, though, until 1992.

Larsen states that she begins her work with a log and a chainsaw. She cuts sections of wood and brings them to the studio. It literally takes hours and hours of turning on the lathe for the artist to achieve the translucent results seen in this piece. She bases many of pieces on the shapes of Chinese porcelain from the 1700s. Larsen prefers native woods such as sycamore, beech, and ash.

I have seen many of her bowls and vases that she paints with acrylics, applying a shellac to finish them. I think I prefer this bowl displaying the natural grain of the wood. It’s almost as if Larsen has created a porcelain out of wood!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Happy July!

Edward Penfield (1866–1925, US), Harper’s July, poster for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, July 1894. Zinc etching on paper, 18 1/8" x 12 9/16" (46 x 32 cm). © 2018 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (MFAB-215)

I want to wish everyone a happy July, even though it pains me when I think that the summer is half over, here in New England anyway. However, what better way to ignore that idea than to focus on art? While many art historians date the American poster “renaissance” to 1890–1900, I am more liberal and find lots of exciting examples well into the 1930s. A narrow classification, I feel, limits it to French poster pioneer Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's (1864–1901) period of productivity, and I think American graphic artists did equally exciting things in the genre.

Edward Penfield (1866–1925) is often mentioned as one of the most important poster artists of the period and his work is distinctly American in outlook. Along with his fellow “star” of poster art, Will Bradley (1868–1962), Penfield helped establish a “look” that was influenced by Art Nouveau aesthetics, but also reflect the major changes taking place in American society, particularly a world in which increasing numbers of women were finding jobs outside the home. The poster art of these two artists sought to define the “typical American girl,” which still was not much of a liberated idea, since women could not vote at the time.

Penfield was born in Brooklyn and grew up with a single mother. He decided to become an illustrator, influenced by his uncle Henry Lewis Penfield (1825–1901), who was an engraver in New York supplying work for publishers. He enrolled in the Art Students’ League in New York and studied painting under George de Forest Brush (1854/18551941), an artist known for painting the American West and developing military camouflage. Around 1890, Penfield was offered a job as a staff illustrator of Harper’s Weekly magazine, based on works he had exhibited. Early duties included cleaning up and inking other artist’s sketches and making small illustrations from photographs. His first published work appeared in Harper’s Weekly in 1891. A visit to Paris in 1892 exposed Penfield to the Art Nouveau craze. When he returned to the US he became the head of the art department at Harper’s until he retired in 1901.

Penfield’s illustrations were meant to appeal to the stylish men and women of the burgeoning middle class. There is an influence of Art Nouveau and Japanese ukiyo-e prints in the flat shapes, asymmetrical compositions, and emphasis on swirling contour lines. His contour lines are less animated, however, than those of Bradley. 

William Bradley (1868–1962 US), Poster for Thanksgiving No. of Chap Book, 1895. Zincograph on paper, 20 ¾" x 14" (52.7 x 35.6 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2018 artist or artist’s estate. (MOMA-P0003)

Below is a Penfield for August, just to keep you going. I love the onesie swimming suit on the dude, but not that pathetic excuse for a cigarette in his mouth. Of course, the man is allowed to flaunt sexuality in the bathing suit, while the woman is depicted prim and proper. Maybe the whole scenario is why Penfield depicted her looking a little frustrated, especially since it was frowned upon at the time for women to smoke? Probably not. 

Edward Penfield (1866–1925, US), Harper’s August, poster for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, August, 1896. Zinc etching on paper, 18 9/16" x 13 7/16" (47.2 x 34.2 cm). © 2018 The Museum of Modern Art, New York. (MOMA-D0573)

Correlations to Davis programs: A Personal Journey: 4.3; Explorations in Art Grade 3: 3.7; Explorations in Art 2E Grade 3: 3.7; Explorations in Art Grade 6: 5.27; Explorations in Art 2E Grade 6: 5.6; Communicating through Graphic Design: 3, 6