My Art Picks of the Week: Gilbert Stuart, Qi Bashi and More

Here are some artworks that have been my world lately for you to feast your eyes on. This week’s list includes works by Gilbert Stuart, Qi Bashi, José Guadalupe Posada and more.

 

Two Male Skeletons in Suits Dancing (Vignette for the Feast of the Dead)
José Guadalupe Posada, ca. 1890-1910
from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York, USA

José Guadalupe Posada is a pioneer of Mexican graphics as we know them today. He was responsible for establishing much of the symbolism that define the country on an international level to this day, particularly in his illustrations related to the Day of the Dead and his political cartoons.

 

Tiger and Lion
Takeuchi Seihō, 1901
from the Mie Prefectural Art Museum, Tsu, Japan.

Takeuchi Seihō was the most celebrated practitioner of the Maruyama-Shijō school of art, a realistic style of art dominant in the Edo period. Animal painting was particularly prominent in Japanese and Cantonese painting at the start of the 20th century, as it was used to represent strong political ideas and symbolism.

 

Denise Proutaux
Amrita Sher-Gil, 1932
from the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India.

Denise Protaux was a personal friend of Amrita Sher-Gil and posed for her more than once, including in the more famous Young Girls from the same year. Sher-Gil was particularly noted for the sense of melancholy, pensive poses and expressive representation of womanhood, all of which are present in this portrait.

 

George Washington
Gilbert Stuart, 1797
from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, USA.

Gilbert Stuart, one of America’s foremost portraitists, painted two portraits of George Washington in his lifetime and one of Martha Washington. This one was made during the final year of Washington’s presidency and of the two, it is not that ended up on the American one-dollar bill.

 

Scratching Zhongkui’s Back
Qi Bashi, 1957
from the China Modern Contemporary Art Document, Beijing, China.

Qi Baishi was an influential Chinese painter who is credited for modernizing the gongbi style of classical Chinese painting. This work has its origins in a folk tale, featuring a mischievous little devil who scratches the back of its master, Zhong Kui. The humourous inscription is exaggerated, yet it is intended to inspire: it is never easy to scratch another’s itch, just as it is not easy to serve your master.

 

Portrait of Constantijn Huygens
Jan Lievens, c. 1628-c. 1629
from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

A somewhat overlooked figure of the Dutch Golden Age, Lievens’ art absorbing many different influences. This portrait, the scale of which is a bit off, was painted in two stages: first the clothing and the hands, then the face. The man portrayed was secretary to Stadtholder Frederick Henry and a notable connoisseur.

 

C’Etait Notre Maison
Jean-Louis Forain, c. 1914/1919
from the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA.

The French Impressionist Jean-Louis Forain was a follower and protegé of Degas known for his paintings and etchings of Parisian nightlife. The title of this watercolor and black crayon scene is “This Was Our Home,” which may refer to the theme of patriotism that defined much of his work around the time of the First World War, although it’s difficult to tell, it may depict a wartorn setting.

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