My Fate Is in Your Hand (1950)
American, born Japan, 1889–1953
Oil on canvas
My Fate Is in Your Hand was painted five years after the end of World War II. Its jewel-like colors and geometric composition suggest joy and order. However, the caterpillar held in the palm of a hand and the grasshopper clinging to the painting’s vertical edge are reminders that forces beyond our control can affect our lives.
Yasuo Kuniyoshi immigrated to the United States in 1906. Throughout his life he faced anti-Asian bigotry. Although he evaded the Japanese internment camps during World War II, Kuniyoshi was designated an “enemy alien” by the American government. Despite discrimination, he worked for the U.S. cause during the war.
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.
Italian Woman at the Fountain
Oil on canvas (1869)
William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s technique appears almost photorealistic—a result of close study of nature and the use of photographs that allowed him to capture the most minute details of his compositions. His typical works were classical, religious, or everyday life scenes characterized by their realism, restrained palette, and classically posed figures inspired by Italian Renaissance models.
A leading Academic painter of his time, Bouguereau also achieved great commercial success. He was wildly popular with critics and the public in France, as well as with American and British collectors in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Woman in Red Armchair, Oil on canvas, 1929.
When you don’t have something that is what is everyone craves,
Then the trouble begins in waves.’
The clock loudly and soundly does tick
While you get tired sick.
You go do something that depends on others
Better do quick lest disagree your mothers.
Rhyme does you no then good,
Seems like that something is the only food.
The world beats around in their newly acquired fun
While you sit alone there, one and only one.
The clock loudly does tick
making you sick; really really sick
Tired of the fun, you go sit one,
While the music subsides and leaves you then,
With what you want.
The clock does tick,
Making you tired sick.
Oil on canvas (1970)
"Picasso's father took him to see his first bullfight in 1889, when he was eight years old. The spectacle made a deep impression on him, and he made it the subject of his very first painting that year. In 1934, he took up the bullfight as a theme, using it as a metaphor for life and death. Here, Picasso painted himself as a bullfighter with his usual passion for color and feverish strokes. Nearing 90, however, his stare has a tinge of world weariness."