The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Emile Thivier (1858 - 1922) Seated Female Nude

Emile Thivier (1858 - 1922) was Parisian by birth. He traveled extensively in France and abroad. He always took advantage of new experiences to renew artistic subjects and improve and replace his color palette. He firmly believed that the answer to any interpretation could be found in nature. Art for him was in fidelity to nature coupled with an intelligent choice of subject matter, light, and mood. He studied at the Academy Julian and was greatly influenced by the Academic techniques of Georges Picot (1838-1909) and William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Thivier in his concepts is a strong academic. His works fall between the major trends in painting in the latter part of the 19th century which was marked by the passage of the Academy of Fine Arts and influence of modernism. The first part of his career was devoted to portraiture commissioned by wealthy patrons. He traveled to Normandy where the climate was reputed to aid his frail health and to the south of France where his color palette was influenced by the light.

This drawing came from a dealer in Paris and the minute I saw it I knew it had to be part of my collection. As I have mentioned previously, quality female nudes from the 19th century Academie period are somewhat rare. You find a lot of female nudes from the mid-20th century which do not even approach the quality of this drawing. The artist has rendered the pose with great sensitivity, notice how delicately he has rendered the model's left hand. Indeed a beautiful example of Emil Thivier's talent.

Caption: Seated Female Nude
Artist: Emile Thivier (1858 - 1922)
Medium: Pierre noir on paper
Dated: circa 1870-1890
Here are a few more academic nude drawings and mature works by Emile Thivier:

Young Saint John the Baptist ...exhibited at the 1880 Paris Salon

Standing Male Nude --- Pay close attention to the model's left hand. It appears Thivier had some problems with the foreshortening of the forearm and hand and flubbed it up. The hand seems out of proportion. I guess even accomplished artists have their off days. Compare his missed application in drawing that hand and the same foreshortening problem on the Yohn standing male nude in the previous entry and how Yohn handled the same problem and succeeded. Drawing is about observation. I once heard a story about Manet and Monet as they sat sketching on the riverbank. After some time Monet had a pile of wadded up sketches piled up at his feet. His friend looked over sympathetically and smiled. "Having an off day my friend?" Sometimes genius just doesn't come easily, even to the most accomplished of us.

Suzannah Hammer ...

Promenade in the Alps..

Le pecheur d'agguilles..

Laundry in the river...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Frederick Coffay Yohn (1875 - 1933) Additional Male Nude Drawing

I found an additional example of Yohn's exquisite drawing skills. I believe this was listed at the same time I bought the below listed Yohn drawing. Again, this is another beautiful example of Yohn's drawing and observational skills:

Frederick Coffay Yohn (1875-1933) Standing Male Nude

Frederick Coffay Yohn (born 1875 Indianapolis, Indiana - died 1933 Norwalk, Connecticut) was a very productive painter and magazine illustrator. His work appeared in popular publications of the era including Scribner's, Harper's, and Collier's Weekly. He illustrated many books including Jack London's A Daughter of the Snows and Henry Cabot Lodge's Story of the American Revolution. He originally studied at the Indianapolis Art School during his first student year and then studied at the Art Students League of New York under Henry Siddons Mowbray (1858-1928). Mowbray studied at the Atelier of Leon Bonnet in Paris. Yohn specialized in historical military themes, especially of the American Revolution, as well as the First World War. He designed the US .02 cent stamp in 1929 to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of George Rogers Clark's Victory over the British at Sackville. He is best known for his painting of George Washington at Valley Forge. As exemplified by the below academic nude, his forte was the accuracy of expression and attention to exquisite detail. His mastery of the medium is very evident in the below drawing. If you look closely you can see how he very carefully treated the pelt of fine hair on the model's upper chest, stomach, and even included the model's circumcision scar (Don't get me started on that subject. I consider it the height of barbarism and an abomination, an attack on one's manhood, genital mutilation, pure and simple). Interestingly enough, this is the only circumcised male figure I have in my collection. Look at the intense detail of the model's right foot, the graceful crook of the toes. Later in his career, Yohn also taught at the Art Students League. This drawing came from the estate of a relative of the artist in upstate New York and most likely, based upon the obvious age and condition of the paper, is dated during his time as a student at the Art Students League in New York. Again, I am indeed humbled by his draftsmanship.


Caption: Standing Male Nude
Artist: Frederick Coffay Yohn (1875-1933)(signed in the upper right hand corner: Fred C. Yohn)
Medium: Pierre noir on laid paper
Dated: circa 1900
Here are some examples of Yohn's mature works, magazine illustrations and historical paintings

American Soldiers Storming a German Position ...1918

Alice of Vincennes..

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Continental School 19th Century - Nude Ephebe with Flute

This beautiful, sensitive drawing of a nude ephebe playing a reed flute came out of a Sotheby's Auction about ten years ago. Well executed with a delicate hand, it is a fine example of mid-19th century drawing technique. Unfortunately it is unsigned and undated and does not bear any identifiable studio stamps which might help us identify the artist.

Caption: Nude Ephebe with Flute
Artist: Unknown-Continental School
Medium: Pierre Noir on Laid Paper
Dated: circa 1840 - 1865