Thursday, December 22, 2005
Almost Christmas and Cecilia Beaux
Almost-almost Christmas Eve.
One of my Art pleasures of the week was a quick flip through a new book about Cecilia Beaux, whose portraits are familiar and now happily brought back to my mind. I read about her years ago. An often-repeated quote is from William Merritt Chase, who called Cecilia, “The greatest woman painter of modern times.” Here’s hoping one more mention will add to her rediscovery.
Here is some bio. info.:
Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942) was a Philadelphia-born painter who enjoyed great success while grand manner portraits were fashionable. Her reputation (like that of Sargent and many other 19th-century painters) went into a steep decline in the first half of this century, and her work has never really been rediscovered.
I'd show you a few images, but I'm having trouble uploading them. Plenty of images in NetWorld to see if you decide to look her up.
CECILIA BEAUX'S SOPHISTICATED conception of the enterprise of a portrait painter acknowledged the multiple interactions between creator, subject, and medium. For a lecture she presented at Simmons College she wrote, "In this collaboration between personality, artist and material, there must be exercised infinite reconciliations, shiftings, compromises -- exchanges between the absolute -- (that is, the weight and momentum of the personality) and the flexible power of line, modelling and color. But to go into the intricacies and interdependencies of the interchange between spirit and matter . . . all of this would be an endless story." Were she to look from our contemporary vantage she might also endorse it as an apt characterization of the complex and long-lived relationship that she enjoyed with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. - Jeanette Toohey
Since I haven't succeeded in showing you one of Cecilia's images, I added another of local interest, for now.