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Impressionist Still Life by Eliza E.…

Impressionist Still Life

by Eliza E. Rathbone

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0810906139, Hardcover)

Famous for outdoor scenes bathed in light, the impressionists are hard to imagine as dedicated still-life painters. By and large, they weren't. But Monet's rare small paintings of flowers were snapped up by contemporary collectors. And several artists who exhibited with the impressionists, influenced them, or were influenced by them--including Manet, van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cézanne--devoted a sizable portion of their oeuvre to the genre. While Impressionist Still Life is a somewhat misleading title--yet another marketing ploy to attract lovers of a popular style, it seems--this book makes a good case for the importance of this intimate genre of painting to major themes and techniques of later-19th-century art. Published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. (September 22, 2001, to January 13, 2002, then traveling to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), this volume is lavishly illustrated and rich in detailed information. Five essays trace themes ranging from the influence of 18th-century painter Jean-Baptiste Chardin on still-life composition and the use of color to the strikingly modern way Cézanne's famous apples devalued subject matter to emphasize the physicality of brush strokes. The stunning paintings featured in full-page plates include some rarely seen canvases, such as Monet's Jar of Peaches from 1866. In this tour de force of illusionism, the flattened look of peaches packed in a glass jar contrasts with fuzzy whole peaches that cast reflections on a marble table scribbled with bold white veins. A genre that could encompass both the luminous intimacy of Eva Gonzalès' White Shoes and the restless drama of Cézanne's Still Life with Ginger Jar and Eggplants turned out to be uniquely suited to individual perceptions of modern life. --Cathy Curtis

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:11 -0400)

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