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Oh, Russell

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

I have to teach Russell that when I say, "I just devoured that book!" I don't mean it literally.


However, I must admit that he has a discerning eye, and has brought some forgotten favorites back to my attention, like this --Art Nouveau by Martin Battersley, from The Color Library of Art.


Book Cover, Art Nouveau,

Here is Symbolist poet Robert de Montesquiou, an aristocrat and a dandy, the original of Proust's Baron de Charlus. I placed him with this Barbie because she has a Belle Epoque kind of vibe.


Robert de Montesquiou and Barbie

Robert de Montesquiou and two Barbie's, apple blossoms

The painter is Giovanni Boldini 1842-1931. "He fascinated his sitters by his method of painting, gazing at them intently as though to draw out their inmost secrets and then attacking the canvas with long brushes held at arm's length. He transformed his sitters into almost impossibly seductive creatures striking languorous poses and suggested that the slightest movement would result in the beautifully painted silks, chiffons, lace and chinchilla falling off to reveal them in writhing nudity. .."

Like her, perhaps?


oil painting of a seductive woman in pink,

Here's one of his most famous portraits--it now lives at the Met--


Boldini portrait of the Duchess of Marlborough and her son

Consuelo Vanderbilt (1876-1964) Duchess of Marlborough and Her Son, Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill


The book goes on to say, "His male portraits show a deeper realization of character and personality."

Well, of course they do. This is a portrait of John Singer Sergeant.


Giovanni Boldini portrait of John Singer Sergeant

This is Guiseppi Verdi.


Art Nouveau, Giovanni Boldini portrait of Guiseppi Verdi

The book is in bad shape so I'm doing a Marie Kondo, recycling its most appealing images into collages and then saying good-bye with my thanks.

Here's Barbie with a sculpture of a nymph standing on a crystal rock.


Barbie with golden nymph

I don't know who this is supposed to be but I thought she looked good with this view of Venice as if she's rising from the canal.


Golden sculpture before scene of Venice

I"m beginning a new drawing, with the pencil sketch complete. Putting the first ink marks on the paper is for me like standing on the high diving board. Making collage is a fairly respectable way of procrastinating--it's great fun and I have something to show for it. I keep promising myself I'll get to the drawing table but then I'll see another something that would be great in a collage.

Like this image of Mary Cassatt in an etching by her friend, Edgar Degas. I first saw this years ago and then couldn't find it but this morning I just googled Mary Cassatt in a gallery and there she is--looking at Etruscan art at the Lourve.


Degas etching of Mary Cassatt at the Louvre

Degas may be my favorite of all the Impressionists because I see more draftsmanship in his work and I love his diagonal compositions. I try to ignore the way he treated women, remembering the rule, "Don't get too close to an artist--He might smell bad." Mary Cassatt didn't seem to mind him.

Anyway, I've long wanted to use this image of her and now I can. I'll either print it and cut it out or I'll draw it myself or I'll try my hand at playing around digitally. As my old teacher, Leo Manso said, this is a playground for me.

Next week I'll share the new drawing.

One more thing; rest assured that Russell and I are undergoing rigorous training to break the book eating habit because a book worm is one thing, and book dog quite another.




August 24, 2023




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