Archive for January, 2010

Sketches after Whistler

Here are a couple of sketches that I completed the other day. One is after “Portrait of the Painter’s Mother” by James McNeill Whistler, and the other is after the “Portrait of Theodore Duret.”
Whistler’s painting of his mother is considered a masterpiece and extremely well known. I find the limited color palette of the original quite beautiful in its subtle hues. I’m fascinated with the way that the dark clothing of the mother, the base of the wall and the curtain all blend into one large block of form, becoming very flat despite the detailed nature of the painting. I have attempted to capture some of the subtle details of pattern observed in the curtains reminiscent of a motif featuring Japanese cherry blossoms. The framed picture on the wall is painted with little detail, but appears to be one of Whistler’s earlier etchings.
Theodore Duret as I have learned was a traveller, collector of art, crooked art dealer and man about town, or boulevardier. His father was a wealthy businessman who owned a brandy business in Cognac.

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