July 17, 2011

Favorite Paintings

Speaking of art, if you could own, that is see every day on your wall, one painting, which one would you choose? I pondered that question while flipping through an old House Beautiful and surprised myself with the choices that came to mind.

In contemplating living with a painting I moved past the old masters and settled for the less grand canvasses that I would tire of looking at but would still be filled with warmth and harmony with each glance. These choices all hover somewhere between modern and traditional, spanning about the same era as my World Fair poster picks.

I’ve always loved this painting, from the moment I saw it on a poster, before I ever knew who Edward Hopper was, and seeing the original in the gallery did not dispel its magic for me. Perhaps because I first saw this piece as a child, I do not feel the alienation often attributed to Hopper, I see the shapes in vibrant colors and one can always supply a story as to why these two women are lunching here.

Painting by Edward Hopper Chop Suey 1929
Edward Hopper, Chop Suey (1929) - in Barney A. Ebsworth collecton

As for runners up, these three choices were really about the artist, not the specific paintings. Joseph Mallord William Turner’s paintings at times look almost abstract. The combination of blues with siennas and ochres is fresh and rich.

Painting by Joseph Mallord William Thurner Rain Steam Speed
J.M.W. Turner Rain, Steam and Speed (1844) National Gallery, London

Undoubtedly portraits are my favorite genre and I am yet to see a portrait by
Modigliani and not fall for it. One wonders what masterpieces the artist would have produced if not for his demise at 35.

portrait by Amadeo Modigliani Paul Guillaume
Amedeo Modigliani, Paul Guillaume, Novo Pilota (1915)

In Vuillard’s paintings the flat shapes overlap and create a very complete work. His works have a certain coziness about them.

French artists Edouard Vuillard The Yellow Curtain
Edouard Vuillard, The Yellow Curtain (c. 1893) Alisa Mellon Bruce Collection

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