Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lucian Freud, Renoir, and Pretty People Portraits

Figure Class Pastel Sketch - 1990
Number one rule for an artist's website blog is make it beautiful

 Pretty counts far more than content if you want to capture visitors who linger. There are many art magazines and books in my home, most filled with pretty people and pretty places. I'm guilty of appreciating pretty images and avoiding ugly in my art. Today, I dug through a dusty old portfolio to find a few pretty faces for this post. This lovely image created over 2 decades ago is still a contemporary work of a very pretty and intriguing face.

Little Skater Acrylic Sketch - 1979

This little Pretty Face image, now  over 3 decades old and well-travelled without a portfolio to protect it, doesn't even show the face. It's a pretty image, though. The image is captivating because of the colors, movement, and what we read into it. I asked the model today whose big baggy yellow jacket she was wearing. She replied "Mom, it was a red jacket, you painted it yellow." I'll take her word for it.

Lucian Freud's portraits will not make your website blog beautiful

I've been thinking about how to structure this post about two exciting portrait exhibitions for a week or so. Shock and Awe with Lucian Freud's work above the fold, or pretty first and last to ease the shock? Pretty won. I'm inserting 2 links in the post to share Freud's images Lucian Freud Portraits Video and a review that is text with only one picture. Lucian Freud Review  These links are adult and should not be opened at work. Not that you would read art blogs at work unless you're in your studio.

As most of the images in these two links are extreme in the reality of aging anatomy and posing, I've elected not to include any of the works in my post images. For a comprehensive understanding of why Freud painted primarily not-in-the-least pretty people, I highly recommend the second link from Prospect Magazine. Freud's paintings included in the video are incredible and they are magnificently executed. I do recommend staying with the video beginning to end.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Portraits were of Fashionably Beautiful People
Beautiful, full-length portraits, but, as with fashion of any period, the costumes date these gorgeous images. Renoir at the Frick I've always loved Renoir's art for his skill in execution, for the colors in impressionism, it's French, I could go on with accolades. Would I hang such art in my home? Probably not. My taste is  too contemporary to be surrounded with those old pretty people living their pretty lives. I much prefer studying Freud's every brush stroke to Renoir's.

Two marvelous portrait exhibitions to visit and appreciate the differences in how the artists rendered the human form. I wouldn't want to spend my days surrounded by either of these master painter's works, but brief visits are wonderful.

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All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studio

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