Irène Henry (1894)
Henri-Gabriel Ibels was a prominent figure in avant-garde circles in 1890s Paris and well-known for his inventive poster designs, characterized by areas of flat color and a strong sense of decorative pattern. In this poster, he represents the singer Irène Henry performing outdoors at a café-concert, L'Horloge, on the Champs Élysées in Paris. Café-concerts enjoyed great popularity in late 19th century France and served as a more informal space (allowing consumption of food and drink) than more conventional concert halls. Here, Irène Henry artfully leans forward and is silhouetted against the trees, gas lights and evening sky. The poster announces that she performs "tous les soirs" or "every night."
View of Lake Garda
Oil on canvas
"Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was one of the leading French landscape painters of the 1800s. During repeated trips to Italy between the 1820s and 1840s, he dedicated himself to painting and sketching from nature. Later in life, when he preferred to work in his Parisian studio, Corot relied on these sketches for inspiration or painted landscapes from memory. In this painting, a boatman and a contadina (Italian peasant woman) lounge on the banks of Lake Garda, a site that Corot had visited three decades earlier."
The Young Sabot Maker, 1895
Henry Ossawa Tanner
Oil on canvas
Henry Ossawa Tanner's The Young Sabot Maker depicts a man and boy, likely a father and son, carving traditional (sabots) wooden shoes in Brittany, France. Such images of rural folk engaged in old customs were popular in the fast-changing world of the late 19th century. Tanner's painting also evokes Christian associations as, according to biblical tradition, carpentry was the trade of Joseph, Jesus' father. Fittingly, Tanner presented the painting as a gift to his mother and his father, Benjamin Tanner, who, for a time, served as bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Kansas.
Tanner studied in his native Philadelphia with Thomas Eakins. He subsequently trained and remained in Paris, where he encountered less racial prejudice.👥👥
Coffee Grinder and Glass
1915 Oil on paperboard
In this jewel-like still life, the letters "Le J" refer to Le Journal—the Paris newspaper that Juan Gris depicted in lavender on the blue top of a black table. The window blinds, coffee grinder, and wine or aperitif glass suggest that the setting may be a Paris café.
The still life was a favored subject for Gris, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and other Cubists. However, their paintings are not at all still! Instead, forms are broken up and overlaid. Tabletops tilt upward, and perspective is reversed. Cubist artists, like their contemporaries in science and mathematics, explored new ideas about time, space, and motion.
Jardin des Plantes, Paris
By Rainer Maria Rilke
(translated by Len Krisak)
In Fragonard-reflections such as these,
one sees no more of true flamingo red
or white than if some messenger had said
about the image of his lover, “She’s
still soft with sleep.” For when they’ve walked green grass,
and stood together, lightly turned on pink
stalks—blooms in flower beds—they seem to think
themselves seductive; that their charms surpass
a Phryne’s . . . till they curl their necks to hide
pale eyes in softness all their own (inside,
there lie concealed both berry-red and black).
Then, through the bird-house: envy’s sudden scream.
But they have stretched the wings that were pinned back,
and stride, alone, into the world of dream.