Pueblo Tesuque, No. 2 (1917)
George Wesley Bellows
Oil on canvas, mounted on plywood
George Bellows spent the summer of 1917 mainly in California on a break from his teaching at New York's Art Students League. Pueblo Tesuque, No. 2 was painted on his return trip, when he visited in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Tesuque Pueblo, near Santa Fe, offered Bellows the perfect opportunity to paint the Southwestern scenery and American Indian subjects that were increasingly popular around World War I. Bellows' composition depicts the daily life of the pueblo and includes its white adobe church on the left. A man dressed for the Green Corn dance, an annual rite of renewal prior to the corn harvest, adds an exotic air to the scene as does the highly keyed palette of purple, red-orange, green and blue.
Mexican Girl with Oriental Scarf
Oil on canvas
Robert Henri painted sitters from many races, portraying them with his signature keen analysis of character and masterful brushwork. A 1914 trip inaugurated his long-standing fascination with the Southwest and the region’s ethnically diverse people.
This interest was further fostered by multiple visits to northern New Mexico where he found subjects who reflected a blend of cultures, notably Mexican and local Native and Hispanic Americans. Henri acknowledged: “I am looking at each individual with the eager hope of finding something of the dignity of life…the humanity…. I do not wish to explain these people…. I only want to find whatever of the great spirit there is in the Southwest. If I can hold it on my canvas, I am satisfied.”
White Lilacs in a Crystal Vase
1882 or 1883
Oil on canvas
In the last year of his life, while seriously ill and confined to his home, Edouard Manet painted at least 20 floral still-life paintings. From his bedside, he painted the bouquets brought by his closest friends. The restraint and simplicity of these compositions highlight their true subject: the artist’s masterful, seemingly effortless application of paint that defies the difficult circumstances in which they were made.
Still Life with Guelder Roses
1892, reworked 1929
Oil on canvas
Pierre Bonnard was a member of the Nabis, a group of young artists that emerged in the 1890s. They produced intimate paintings of domestic subjects in a flat, decorative style that was heavily influenced by Japanese art and the work of Paul Gauguin.
In 1892, when Bonnard started this still life, he emphasized surface patterns and simplified, flattened forms. Nearly 40 years later, when his style had become much more painterly, he added brushstrokes of pale yellow to the blossoms, creating a sense of three-dimensionality that was intentionally absent from the earlier composition.
The Willow Tree, 1889
Oil on canvas
Fleeing what he felt was the overly civilized and decadent environment of Paris, Paul Gauguin lived periodically in the remote and rugged Brittany region of northwestern France. In works such as this, he sought to convey traditional village life, which he considered an antidote to the ills of modern society.
Unlike the Impressionists, Gauguin did not aim to objectively reproduce the natural world. Rather, through a careful synthesis of exaggerated line, form, and color, he strove to capture the essence of his subjects as filtered through his own perceptions.
Virgin of the Immaculate Conception
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Oil on canvas (ca. 1670)
Murillo was one of Spain's greatest 17th-century painters, known for his atmospheric renderings of religious scenes. The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception is a later work painted in what is called Murillo's vaporous style. Here surface textures soften, and contours appear to dissolve in the shimmering atmosphere, lending a gentle, otherworldly aspect to the subject of the painting. A belief of the Latin Church for centuries, the Immaculate Conception holds that the Virgin Mary was conceived naturally in her mother's womb, but with immunity to Original Sin. As the second Eve and the mother of Christ, she was proclaimed to be spotless or "immaculate." The crescent moon on which the Virgin stands is the spiritual symbol of the Immaculate Conception.
Enamel paint on panel (2005)
Tom Burckhardt's Double Team represents his signature style-an abstract composition of energetic patterns and bright colors interwoven with passages of realism.
In the lower register of Double Team, the large square of warm beige doubles as an abstract element and construction material. Burckhardt manipulates scale and spatial relationships, representing diminutive workmen with caps and tool belts, who labor to construct the composition of the work of art in which they are depicted.
The postmodern Double Team borrows freely from earlier styles-zigzagging lines and stripes from Pattern & Decoration and Op Art, squares of color from Hans Hofmann and the vertical format of Chinese landscape painting. The red calligraphic line recalls Abstract Expressionism except that here the stylized gesture is a carefully planned, formulaic drip.